Tag Archives: christmas

mmmm Day of the LORD mmmm

mmmm Celebrating Christmas with Yumcha Dim Sum mmmm

Yumcha is my favourite food in the whole world!

Also known as Dim Sum: it originates from Cantonese-speaking China & Hong Kong.

This year I celebrated Christmas by sharing Yumcha with friends in Sydney.

Without prompting, my Dad organised another Yumcha Christmas Party with family.

I wish this Yumcha celebration would never end!

In contrast, did you know that our world will come to an end?

Last month, a visitor to my fellowship asked me an eschatological [1] question.

He volunteered his email to receive my answer and so he could ask more questions.

There is global fascination with the Second Coming of Christ and the “End Times”:

  • When will Jesus return?
  • When will the “Day of Judgement” occur?
  • What will the LORD God [2] do on “Judgement Day”?

Judgement Day is known as the “Day of the LORD” in the Bible.

For thousands of years many have speculated when the day of the LORD will occur.

Many have tried to calculate the date unsuccessfully with spectacular failure.

Some even speculate that Jesus will return directly to Jerusalem in the End Times [3].

Is this one reason behind the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by USA [4]?

Australia has also recognised Jerusalem 2 days ago (15 December 2018) [5].

If Jerusalem is in allied hands, will this hasten Jesus’ return & Judgement Day?

For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 2

No human political decision can speed up Judgement Day.

The New Testament verse reminds us that this date cannot be calculated.

The day of the LORD will arrive when we least expect it (like a thief in the night).

What else does the Bible say about the day of the LORD?

Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it.

Isaiah chapter 13 verse 9

That day is the day of the LORD God of hosts, a day of vengeance, to avenge himself on his foes.

Jeremiah chapter 46 verse 10 part A

For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations.

Ezekiel chapter 30 verse 3

Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.

Joel chapter 1 verse 15

Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why would you have the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light…

Amos chapter 5 verse 18

For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.

Obadiah chapter 1 verse 15

And on the day of the LORD‘s sacrifice— [Lord God declares] “I will punish the officials and the king’s sons and all who array themselves in foreign attire…

Zephaniah chapter 1 verse 8

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.

Malachi chapter 4 verse 5

The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.

Acts chapter 2 verse 20

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

2 Peter chapter 3 verse 10

From these eschatological verses [6] we can see the colourful imagery of the day of the LORD:

  • A day in the future when God will destroy the earth and sinners
  • A day in the not-too-distant-future when God will punish his enemies in all nations
  • A day in the near-future when our past deeds will return to haunt us
  • A day coming soon when God will judge the people of Israel and the whole world

But the Bible also promises salvation to those who trust in Jesus

This is the great hope we celebrate at Christmas:

God loved the world by sending his son Jesus [7] to save sinners in all nations.

Our Father God has graciously given the gift of forgiveness for the whole world.

So Jesus’ followers need not fear the Day of the LORD

But we are to be ready for this day: seek forgiveness for your sins now

One question remains:

Is Jerusalem important to Christians today?

Historically the Jewish people made an annual pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem.

The temple symbolised the LORD God dwelling with His people.

The Jewish temple was destroyed by the Romans soon after Jesus’ death & resurrection.

This temple was never rebuilt (in fact there is now a mosque in its place).

So Christians do not need to make an annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Jesus’ followers can worship Father God anywhere on Earth.

Through Jesus we can speak to God in prayer at any time and any place.

Jesus is where we go to meet God (instead of the earthly Jerusalem).

God now dwells inside his followers: we are the new temple!

The joy of Christmas is knowing that we’re on the journey to our real home.

Our real home is with Jesus in the New Jerusalem – the heavenly city [8].

The earthly Jerusalem is currently divided and a flashpoint for conflict [9].

The REAL Jerusalem is in Heaven with Father God where there is eternal peace.

Questions to consider this Christmas:

Are you prepared for Judgement Day?

Have you sought forgiveness for your sins?

Have you discovered the Joy of Salvation available exclusively from Jesus?

For followers: does your family & friends know about the New Jerusalem?

Footnotes:

[1] Eschatology is the study of the “End Times” prophesied in the Bible: this includes the Second Coming of Christ and the Day of Judgement (also known as the Day of the LORD).

[2] In modern translations of the Bible: LORD (in capital letters) refers to the Hebrew name of God: Yahweh/Jehovah. In English, the name of God may be referred to as “The Lord God Almighty”.

[3] The author of this blog does not uphold the Premillenial view of Eschatology. After reading various news articles, the best descriptions of Premillenialism are listed here:
CNN News (14 May 2018): https://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/08/opinions/jerusalem-israel-evangelicals-end-times-butler-bass-opinion/index.html
BBC News (5 January 2018): https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42402350

[4] Last Christmas in my Micah blog (see below with original news article links), I blogged about USA controversially recognising Jerusalem causing immediate global protests. Jerusalem remains an important city to the Israeli/Jewish people today. However Jerusalem is currently a divided city with the Eastern portion belonging to the Palestinian territories (as officially recognised by the United Nations). The Palestinians also claim that Jerusalem is the capital of their territory. So the status of Jerusalem is currently disputed.

[5] On 15 December 2018, Australia recognised both West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem as the future capital of Palestine. News articles:
BBC News (15 December 2018): https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-46576716
SBS News (15 December 2018): https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-recognises-west-jerusalem-as-israeli-capital-but-embassy-move-on-hold

[6] This is not an exhaustive list. Other “Day of the LORD” references include: Isaiah chapter 13 verse 6; Isaiah chapter 58 verse 13; Ezekiel chapter 13 verse 5; Joel chapter 2 verses 1, 11, 31; Joel chapter 3 verse 14; Amos chapter 5 verse 20; Zephaniah chapter 1 verse 7, 1 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 5; 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 2.

[7] John chapter 3 verse 16

[8] Revelation chapters 21-22 (final chapters in the last book of the Bible)

[9] Useful articles to read about the current divided status of Jerusalem:
Gospel Coalition (16 May 2018): https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/9-things-you-should-know-about-jerusalem/
Reuters News (21 January 2018): https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-israel-pence-jerusalem-idUSKBN1FA0JL

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mmmm micah 5 mmmm

mmmm Celebrating Christmas with Festive Food from All Nations mmmm

Sydney is enjoying sunny days and warm weather in the first month of Summer.

Perfect for Christmas parties with family, friends and colleagues.

We in the Western World are extremely fortunate to celebrate in peace and freedom.

Unfortunately not everyone on Earth lives freely or peacefully.

Let us remember the victims of terrorism and persecution.

Earlier this week, a Christian Church in Pakistan was bombed by IS terrorists [1]:

A sad & constant reminder that innocent Christians still face persecution this Christmas.

Recently, President Trump announced that the USA recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital [2].

This provocative statement sparked immediate protests across the world [3].

Even Bethlehem (in Palestinian territory) was the scene of violent protests [4].

What’s so special about Bethlehem?

Bethlehem was the birthplace of the Messiah* as prophesied by Micah in the Bible:

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.

He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach the ends of the earth.

Micah chapter 5, verses 2 & 4 (5:2,4)

*Messiah (translated as Christ in the New Testament):
A future king of Israel descended from King David (former shepherd and author of Psalm 23).

This verse is quoted in Matthew – the 1st book in the New Testament [5].

The famous Christmas story reveals that Jesus was born in Bethlehem [6].

The 3 Wise Men asked King Herod, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews?” [7].

King Herod asked the Jewish chief priests and the teachers of the law [8].

They replied, “Bethlehem” and referred to Micah’s prophecy quoted above [5].

The 3 Wise Men travelled to Bethlehem in search of the Messiah [9].

When they found Jesus, they bowed down and worshipped him [10].

The New Testament clearly identifies Jesus as the Messiah.

Matthew begins with a genealogy linking Jesus with King David [11].

This family tree traces the ancestors of Jesus all the way back to David and Abraham.

Jesus identified himself as the Good Shepherd looking after sheep [12].

This bears striking resemblance to Psalm 23 and the Micah prophecy above.

Jesus said that he was willing to die to protect the sheep [13].

Jesus did actually die on a cross to bring salvation for the whole world.

So the Christmas story is not limited to the Jewish people in Israel.

Christmas is Good News for everyone in every nation on Earth!

God loved the world & gave us Jesus so that we may have Eternal Life [14].

The promise of Salvation is what persecuted Christians cling to.

God’s love shown through Jesus gives comfort to those who are suffering.

The hope of Eternal Life reminds us that life on Earth is only temporary.

Whatever pain we’re currently experiencing will not last forever.

The joy of Christmas is knowing that we’re on the journey to our real home.

Our real home is with Jesus in the New Jerusalem – the heavenly city [15].

The earthly Jerusalem is currently divided and a flashpoint for conflict.

This city is being bitterly fought over by the Israelis and the Islamic world.

The REAL Jerusalem is in Heaven with Father God where there is eternal peace.

What do you hope for this Christmas?

Are you looking for Peace in a world of terrorism and war?

Have you discovered the Joy of Salvation available exclusively from Jesus?

For followers: do those around you know about the Good Shepherd you trust?

 

Footnotes:

[1] SBS News (17/12/17): IS claims deadly pre-Christmas suicide bombing of Pakistan church

[2] BBC News (06/12/17): Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, says Donald Trump

[3] Reuters (10/12/17): Anti-Trump protests in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Morocco & Indonesia

[4] NBC News (07/12/17): Tear Gas fired at Palestinian protesters in Bethlehem

[5] Matthew 2:6

[6] Matthew 2:1

[7] Matthew 2:2

[8] Matthew 2:4

[9] Matthew 2:7-10

[10] Matthew 2:11

[11] Matthew 1:1-17

[12] John 10:11-16

[13] John 10:11 & 15

[14] John 3:16

[15] Revelation 21-22

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mmmm jude mmmm

Mmmm Fresh Aussie Seafood Mmmm

Australia has the freshest seafood to make awesome Asian food!

But that’s not the only delicious food on offer.

There is food for thought in what we read.

We know Christmas is near when tinsel appears in shops and supermarkets

These decorations appear earlier and earlier each year as retailers try to maximise profits

December is the most important time in the retail calendar

But is there more to Christmas than retail profits and gift giving?

I heard a radio announcer asking about the real meaning of Christmas

He honestly had no idea

He asked his audience to call in with their opinions

Many callers mentioned spending time with family and friends

Other callers mentioned a well-earned holiday break

Only one caller mentioned Jesus

So who is this Jesus?

Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Jude 21

God showed great love by sending his son Jesus to save his enemies

We were his enemies because we chose to reject and ignore God

We were dead in our sin with a hopeless future

We could not save ourselves

God showed great mercy by giving us a second chance at life

Jesus died in our place taking the punishment that we deserved

God raised Jesus to life again as King of the Universe

Jesus has conquered death and now offers eternal life with him

We can enjoy peace and rest with God

This is the real meaning of Christmas – the hope of eternal life

There is more to Christmas than retail profits and holidays

What will happen to you after you die?

Do you have eternal hope and peace?

For followers, how does this eternal hope shape your life?

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mmmm isaiah 9 mmmm

Mmmm Grilled Japanese Scallop Sushi Mmmm

In Sydney, we have awesome, authentic Asian food!

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

At Bible College last semester, I ate mouthfuls of Old Testament.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and for ever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:6-7

Isaiah was an Old Testament Prophet that lived 700+ years before Jesus.

During this period the people of Israel & Judah turned away from God to worship idols.

Isaiah prophesied the consequences of the sin of his people.

Israel & Judah were soon invaded by foreign enemies resulting in mass exile.

During this time of judgement, there was still a glimmer of hope.

Isaiah prophesied that a Messiah would be born in the future to save his people.

We read about this Saviour in the passage above.

This leader would be descended from King David as blogged about in 2 Samuel.

His government would be marked by justice, righteousness and enduring peace.

This was in direct contrast to the war and conflict that surrounded Jerusalem.

Look at the incredible titles of this Messiah:

  • Wonderful Counsellor
  • Mighty God
  • Everlasting Father
  • Prince of Peace

It was obvious that this future leader was no ordinary earthly king or governor.

Nor was he a military warrior that would defeat the invading armies.

This Messiah is Jesus and he rules over a spiritual kingdom now and forever.

Australia recently elected a new government that has quickly caused controversy.

We will be sorely disappointed if we put our trust in earthly Prime Ministers.

Likewise we cannot find security in wealth and possessions that easily fade away.

Instead as we celebrate the New Year, let’s trust in Jesus who will never fail.

Place your hope in Jesus who has conquered death and sin once and for all.

Look forward to a kingdom where there is no more death, darkness, pain and crying.

  • Who do you trust?
  • Where do you find hope?
  • What do you look forward to?

Consider Jesus in this new year and stop worrying about financial security and materialism.

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mmmm numbers 9 mmmm

Mmmm Enjoyed delicious Japanese Sushi & Sashimi today Mmmm

Sydney has amazing Asian food!

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

At Bible College, I’m eating mouthfuls of Old Testament this semester.

And the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying,“Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.” So Moses told the people of Israel that they should keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did.

Numbers 9:1-5

Just before Easter, a Jewish workmate went around our office
telling everyone that it was Passover.

He shared his unleavened bread (bread without yeast) and made us all taste it.

Jews celebrate Passover by remembering how God saved their firstborn sons and animals prior to the Exodus from Egypt.

This is also the Last Supper that Jesus celebrated with his disciples prior to his death on a cross.

I talked with my Jewish mate about the Old Testament and showed him this Blog on my SmartPhone so he could read the Gospel message in the previous post.

My Jewish mate is not Orthodox and does not observe the Sabbath,
but he does observe cultural celebrations like Passover and Yom Kippur.

He is not particularly religious but identifies himself as culturally Jewish.

This reminds me of many Aussies who are nominally Christian –
they only go to church at Easter and Christmas.

They think that this minimal attendance will get them into heaven.

As long as they lead a “good” life – they’ll be right mate.

God does not want us to just pay “lip service” and observe cultural events.

He wants us to have a real relationship and spend every day with Him.

A real relationship is characterised by daily conversations, not just twice a year encounters.

How often do you talk and listen to God?

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