mmmm james 1 mmmm

Mmmm Cha Siu Bao (BBQ Pork Buns) at Yumcha Mmmm

In Australia, we have excellent Cantonese Food!

But that’s not the only food that is mouth-watering.

At Bible College this semester, my Missions subject has been delicious.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

James 1:2-5

Nepal has been hit by 2 major earthquakes recently with thousands dead.

Our TV screens have been filled with scenes of complete devastation.

How are we to understand this suffering and misery?

Eastern religions may say that angry gods are punishing humans.

These “gods” may be displeased with poor sacrifices offered to them by followers.

Christianity takes a different view.

Christians experience real pain and are not immune to suffering.

Much of the New Testament was written to encourage suffering Christians.

2000 years ago, Christians faced natural disasters, shipwrecks, famines and sickness.

They also faced religious persecution, imprisonment, torture and even the death penalty.

Suffering was part of normal life and expectations of Jesus’ followers.

James wrote to Christians and even called them to be joyful in suffering.

This sounds like a crazy idea, but he gave a good reason for joy.

Suffering tests our faith in God and produces perseverance.

If we persevere in trusting Jesus, we develop a stronger and more mature character.

We can even ask God for wisdom and strength while enduring suffering.

Suffering causes us to cry out to God in pain – this is a natural response.

God wants us to closely depend on Him in prayer during good and bad times.

We can pray that He will comfort and give us the peace that surpasses understanding.

Jesus understands our suffering – he suffered death on a cross to bring us forgiveness.

God does not promise us a pain-free life.

He does promise us eternal life if we trust in Jesus.

So how does this give us hope?

We know that this world with earthquakes is not our permanent home.

We are only passing through on our way to heaven.

So this pain and suffering is only temporary – it will eventually come to an end.

So let us pray that emergency aid and comfort reaches Nepal soon.

But let us also pray that the Nepali people will trust in the one true God.

How do you cope with suffering?

Who do you call for help and are they trustworthy?

Is your pain-relief temporary or everlasting?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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mmmm 1 thessalonians 4 mmmm

Mmmm Har Gau (Prawn dumplings) at Yumcha Mmmm

In Australia, we have the freshest seafood!

But that’s not the only food that is mouth-watering.

At Bible College last semester, I ate big mouthfuls of the New Testament.

For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

1 Thessalonians 4:14

The world has just witnessed the mass slaughter of Christians in Kenya.

Islamic terrorists burst onto a university campus and killed 148 innocent students.

These gunmen asked the students whether they were Christian and shot them.

Sadly these terrorist attacks are not isolated to Kenya.

Christians are also being terrorised in Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria.

Death is a tragedy robbing families of loved ones.

The bible verse above gives hope to those who believe in Jesus.

Jesus died and rose again – this is what is celebrated at Easter.

Jesus took our punishment and died on a cross in our place.

God raised him to life again as King of the Universe.

Jesus will return again to judge the whole world.

1 Thessalonians 4 describes the second coming of Christ.

The New Testament author uses an interesting euphemism in this verse.

Those who have died have “fallen asleep”.

This is like our polite expression “passed away” for our dearly departed.

Fallen asleep” suggests something temporary instead of permanent death.

Those who fall asleep will wake up again feeling refreshed.

So Christians who die will rise again to have new life in heaven with Jesus.

Non-Christians who die will face permanent death in hell.

So even though it is a great tragedy, those Kenyan Christian students are now in heaven.

Their Christian parents will see them again – they are not lost forever.

What will happen to you after you die?

Do you want to awake again in heaven?

Or do you want to be lost in hell forever?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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mmmm romans 5 mmmm

Mmmm Chocolate Hot Cross Buns Mmmm

In Australia, we have access to awesome food!

But that’s not the only food that is mouth-watering.

At Bible College last semester, I ate big mouthfuls of the New Testament.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:6-11

We know Easter is coming when all the stores start selling Chocolate Eggs & Hot Cross Buns.

Every year they start appearing earlier and earlier as retailers exploit this Christian holiday.

Sadly I saw eggs appear in January immediately after months of Christmas commercialisation.

Although eggs and buns are delicious, what is the real meaning of Easter?

The passage above is a great summary of the “Amazing Grace” of Easter.

Humans fight with God even though He lovingly created us.

We hate God and His name has become a common swear word in society.

We are at war with God and have become his bitter enemies.

As a result our world is in a mess: wars everywhere and environmental destruction.

How does God respond?

Instead of waiting for us to be his friends, he takes the initiative to reach out to us.

God demonstrated his amazing love for his enemies by sending Jesus to die on a cross.

Very rarely will anyone choose to die for anyone else.

Possibly you might choose to die for a good friend, but never your enemy.

We deserve to die for our own sins – our rebellion against God.

God sacrificed his own Son to die in your place to pay for your sins.

Jesus chose to die so that we can have peace with God.

God raised Jesus to life again as King of the Universe.

We can now have a real relationship with God.

At Easter we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The amazing grace is the gift of eternal life that Jesus offers his enemies.

If we accept this gift, we can be friends with God.

If we reject this gift, we remain his enemies and face eternal death.

Are you at war with God by fighting or ignoring Him?

Do you want to be at peace with God and have forgiveness for your sins?

For Christians, do you think that the Jesus’ grace is the most amazing thing in your life?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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mmmm luke 23 mmmm

Mmmm Freshly baked Buttermilk Scones with Cherry Jam Mmmm

In Australia, we have the freshest produce to make awesome food!

But that’s not the only food that is mouth-watering.

At Bible College last semester, I ate big mouthfuls of the New Testament.

Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, ‘We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.’ So Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ ‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied. Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, ‘I find no basis for a charge against this man.’ But they insisted, ‘He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.’ On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends – before this they had been enemies. Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, and said to them, ‘You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.’ With one voice they cried out, ‘Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!’ (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.) Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. But they kept shouting, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ For the third time he spoke to them: ‘Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.’ But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

Luke 23:1-25

There has been debate about 2 Aussie men facing the death penalty in Indonesia.

Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were convicted of drug trafficking in 2006.

The punishment for this crime in Indonesia is death by firing squad.

Australia no longer has the death penalty for any crimes.

Some have argued that Indonesia should show mercy and let them live.

Others argued that they should be punished as they knew the consequences.

Interestingly, Andrew became a Christian in prison after his conviction.

He even started studying at an Aussie Bible College by distance education.

He led a Christian fellowship inside the prison and cared for other inmates.

It is a shame that he cannot continue pastoring those who need his care.

The New Testament passage above tells of another man who faced the death penalty.

2000 years ago, Jewish leaders falsely accused Jesus of crimes against their nation.

However, they needed the permission of the Roman government to execute him.

The author Luke recorded the trial of Jesus before Roman leader Pilate.

Three times Pilate declared that Jesus was innocent and did not deserve to die.

But the Jewish leaders insisted that Jesus be crucified.

Crucifixion was a punishment reserved for the worst criminals like murderers.

Pilate gave into their demands and sentenced innocent Jesus to death.

The Jewish leaders thought they had triumphed by getting rid of Jesus.

But his death was foretold in the Old Testament as the way of salvation.

God raised Jesus to life again as King of the Universe.

Jesus now offers eternal life to those who trust in Him.

Jesus will return to judge the world.

Are you afraid of dying?

Do you have the hope of eternal life that Jesus freely gives?

Or will you be judged by Jesus to spend eternity in hell?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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mmmm titus 3 mmmm

Mmmm Aussie home-made Apple & Apricot Pie Mmmm

In Australia, we have the freshest fruit to make awesome food!

But that’s not the only food that is mouth-watering.

At Bible College last semester, I ate big mouthfuls of the New Testament.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.
We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared,
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour,
so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:3-7

How can you live the good life as the New Year begins?

Will you live longer and be healthy, wealthy and wise?

There is a common misconception that you have to be “good” to get into heaven.

Some falsely believe that you “earn” your way by performing good deeds.

The Bible passage above reminds us that God saves us because of his mercy.

God does not save us because of the righteous things we have done.

Paul wrote this letter to Titus who was leading a church in Crete.

Paul reminded Titus of what Christians were like before they were saved.

We lived foolish and disobedient lives.

  • Some of us were even criminals and thieves.

We were deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.

  • Some of us were sexually immoral and slaves to alcohol, gambling and drugs.

We were malicious, envious and hated everyone around us.

  • Some of us were murderers.

No amount of good deeds can cancel out our former lives.

God cannot let our former lives go unpunished.

God punished his son Jesus for the sins of the whole world.

We were once enemies of God facing death and judgement.

God showed us kindness and love by sending Jesus into the world.

Jesus died on a cross and took the punishment that we deserved.

This is called “grace” – a gift that we don’t deserve.

God generously gives eternal life to all who trust in Jesus.

As you reflect on the previous year, how will you pay for all your mistakes?

As you start a new year, will you find freedom from death and live forever?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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mmmm 2 timothy 1 mmmm

Mmmm Vietnamese Pork Roll with French-style Bread Mmmm

In Australia, we have the freshest farm produce to make awesome food!

But that’s not the only food that is mouth-watering.

At Bible College last semester, I ate big mouthfuls of the New Testament.

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord or ashamed of me his prisoner.
But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

2 Timothy 1:8-10

Australia was shocked by a hostage situation in Sydney 1 week before Christmas.

Peaceful Australia had never experienced this kind of ISIS terrorism before.

Sadly the Sydney Siege ended tragically with the deaths of 3 people.

There was an outpouring of grief across Sydney & the whole country.

Masses of flowers appeared in Martin Place to honour the dead.

Death is an unpredictable tragedy that robs families & friends of loved ones.

Grief is often raw and some mourners never get over their loss.

The passage above shows Jesus destroyed death by dying on a cross for us.

God raised Jesus back to life showing us that there is hope beyond the grave.

Immortality or eternal life is on offer to all who trust in Jesus.

Death does not have to be the tragic end, but the beginning of a better life with God.

The dark shadows of death are replaced with the light of life: Jesus.

This light is the gospel or good news that followers of Jesus share with the world.

No one can earn eternal life: only God gives this as a free gift – “grace”.

Paul wrote this letter to Timothy – a young worker leading a church.

Paul reminded Timothy that grace was the meaning & purpose of his life & work.

Gospel work was challenging but eternal life with Jesus was worth suffering for.

Fast forward 2000 years and Jesus is still at the centre of his followers’ lives.

Followers are saved by grace and called to live holy lives that reflect the light of Jesus.

Followers confidently know there is life after death – giving great hope & peace now.

Death is no longer a tragedy for those trusting in Jesus.

Followers will see each other again in heaven and genuinely rest in peace (RIP).

Those who die not knowing Jesus will not rest in peace – they are lost forever.

How do you face the tragedy of sudden death of a loved one?

Will you see your loved ones again after they die?

Is Jesus at the centre of your life, family, church & work?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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mmmm 1 timothy 6 mmmm

Mmmm Warm Lobster Salad with Chilli Mmmm

In Australia, we have the freshest seafood & farm produce to create amazing food!

But that’s not the only food that is mouth-watering.

At Bible College this semester, I’m eating big mouthfuls of the New Testament.

But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you
14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 which God will bring about in his own time – God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honour and might for ever. Amen.

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

1 Timothy 6:3-19

For many people, the “love of money” is the most important goal in their lives.

To them, money is a liquid form of power giving people “security and control”.

Recently the Global Financial Crisis shattered this security showing we are not in control.

Millions lost their jobs as major countries went into recession.

Everyone lost money as this Crisis affected investments across the globe.

Some lost their life savings and homes showing the uncertainty of wealth.

In the Bible passage above, Paul contrasts “contentment” with the “love of money”.

Paul was teaching a young man Timothy about how to lead a church.

Paul gave up a promising career and devoted his life to sharing Jesus with the world.

He had no permanent home, little money and few possessions.

Yet he found the secret of contentment by trusting God to provide his daily needs.

Paul was happy with basic needs: food & clothing.

He warned Timothy against the “love of money” as a trap to avoid.

Fast forward 2000 years later and Paul’s teaching is still so relevant today.

An Australian bank’s slogan several years ago was “Whoever dies with the most: Wins”.

How stupid?!? We cannot take our accumulated wealth with us when we die.

Money does not prevent us from dying either – we cannot buy eternal life.

Wealth gives us a “false sense of security” as we nervously watch global stock markets.

So what is the alternative?

Trust God with your life and build up treasures in heaven instead.

Place your hope in Him and nurture spiritual relationships that are everlasting.

Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness and take hold of eternal life.

Be generous with your money and share your possessions with others.

Money itself is not evil, but we are always tempted to be greedy and want more.

God knows that we need money in this world and provides everything for our enjoyment.

But the “love of money” is so insidious causing us to be discontent with our lives.

Society attitudes & pervasive advertising pressures us to buy more in order to be happy.

Don’t believe the lie that money buys happiness.

Experience God’s love now so that you can “take hold of life that is truly life”.

What do you love in life and where do you find happiness?

Who will you trust when you lose your wealth and/or job during the next economic downturn?

Are you living life to the full?

Is God challenging you to give up wealth/security so that you can share Jesus with the world?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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