Tag Archives: church

mmmm lamentations 3 mmmm

mmmm Chocolate mmmm

We know Easter is coming when supermarkets are bursting with chocolate.

Chocolate Eggs, Bunnies and my favourite: Chocolate Hot Cross Buns!

Some may complain that combining Chocolate & Hot Cross Buns is not traditional.

But you have to try this yummy combo before dismissing it entirely!

So what does Easter mean to you?

In Australia, it is the longest national public holiday besides Christmas.

Many Aussies make the most of pleasant Autumn weather and flee the cities for the coast.

Thanks to Climate Change, Sydney will have a mini-heatwave during the 4-day long weekend.

This March, there has been unseasonably scorching weather resulting in devastating bushfires.

We remember the NSW South Coast bushfire victims who lost homes 2 weeks ago.

69 homes were destroyed and a further 39 were damaged in the beachside town of Tathra.

Mercifully no one died, as residents escaped to the beach with the raging fire behind them.

There was little warning about this impending emergency and people just ran for their lives.

They returned a few days later to see the smouldering ruins of their homes.

The shock of losing everything is all too real for those suddenly made homeless.

It reminds me of something I was reading recently:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:22-26

This was written by an Israelite who witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC.

The Babylonians invaded this important Israeli city and burnt everything to the ground.

They devastated the surrounding countryside and even ransacked the holy temple.

The desolation was overwhelming for those who lost everything.

There was much weeping and lamenting recorded in these “lamentations”.

However, there was still hope for the hopeless.

This hope is not found in money or material possessions.

The writer acknowledges that Lord God is faithful to those who trust in Him.

His steadfast love is everlasting and mercies are never-ending.

If we look carefully, we can see new mercies from God every morning.

Even when we have lost everything.

How can this be?

Because God is my portion.

His grace is sufficient and satisfies my deepest spiritual need.

We are promised that God will be good to those who wait for His salvation.

His ultimate salvation is freely given through his son Jesus.

Jesus died on a cross and that’s what we remember at Easter.

God sacrificed his only Son to pay the price for the sin of the whole world.

We deserve to die for our sin, but Jesus died and went to hell instead of us.

God saves those who seek forgiveness from Him.

Forgiveness is only possible by trusting that Jesus died in our place.

We are helpless to save ourselves and our good works cannot save us.

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

This is what we celebrate at Easter:

New life with Jesus in His eternal kingdom, here on Earth and in Heaven.

This gives us “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow”

Great is God’s faithfulness!

This is the greatest mercy we can see every morning.

Who do you trust when you’ve lost all your money & possessions?

Google?

Facebook?

May I suggest that God will outlast all imperfect, human-made technology?

God’s love lasts forever!

For followers: are you waiting for real salvation or relying on your career/wealth instead?

mmmm Bible mmmm

I do not endorse or receive payment for the advertisements above & below my blog. WordPress is the sole beneficiary and responsible for advertising on its own platform. Thanks.

Advertisements

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

mmmm Bible mmmm

I do not endorse the advertisements you may see above or below my blog. WordPress is solely responsible for advertising on its platform.

mmmm zechariah 9 mmmm

mmmm Chocolate Hot Cross Buns mmmm

As Easter approaches, the Western world goes crazy about Chocolate!

Does Easter have another deeper and more significant meaning?

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
    Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Zechariah 9:9

The prophet Zechariah predicted that the King would arrive on a colt.

Jerusalem would witness the righteous Messiah bringing salvation.

About 500 years later, Zechariah’s prophecy came true:

When they [the disciples] brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people [from Jerusalem] spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

‘Hosanna!’

‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’

‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’

‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts.

Mark 9:7-11a

Jerusalem witnessed Jesus riding a colt into the city.

They welcomed him as their King and Messiah.

This event is still remembered 2,000 years later.

Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Less than a week later, Jesus was crucified on a cross.

Three days later Jesus was raised from the dead.

Easter celebrates Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Jesus was righteous and did not deserve to die.

But he chose to die in our place taking our punishment.

The punishment for our sins is death.

Jesus saved us from eternal death and hell.

Jesus went to hell in our place.

God raised Jesus to life again on Easter Sunday.

God crowned Jesus the King of the Universe.

Jesus offers us eternal life in his heavenly kingdom.

This new life is far better than all the chocolate in the world!

Sadly 2 Egyptian churches were bombed on Palm Sunday.

More than 40 Christians were killed by suicide bombers.

Egyptian Christians have been terrorised for several years now.

This Christian minority faces violent persecution from the religious majority.

These recent attacks occurred on an important Christian day.

Australian leaders have condemned these as an attack on freedom of religion.

These terrorists tried to disrupt Easter celebrations.

Terrorism highlights that our world needs Jesus’ salvation more than ever.

The importance of Easter will never be silenced by terrorists.

Followers wait for Jesus to return to judge the world.

Followers know that Jesus will judge these terrorists.

So there is no need for Christians to take revenge against terrorism.

Instead we join the world in opposing radical terrorism.

We condemn the lies told to suicide bombers by radical preachers.

As Christians, we forgive our enemies just as God forgave us through Jesus – the real meaning of Easter!

Jesus will also judge those who have not accepted his gift of eternal life.

Are you ready to face Jesus’ judgement?

Do you have the hope and assurance of eternal life?

For followers, how does Jesus reign in all aspects of your life?

Recent news about Egyptian church bombings on Palm Sunday 9 April 2017

mmmm Bible mmmm

I do not endorse the advertisement you may see below my blog:

mmmm 3 john mmmm

Mmmm Aussie Asian Food Mmmm

Australia has a great variety of food because we are so close to Asia.

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

There is food in world news and current affairs.

What is truth?

Journalists seek the truth when reporting the news.

But how do we know they are telling the truth?

The USA government has challenged traditional news channels.

An official spokeswoman presented her own “Alternative Facts”.

The USA President complained that traditional news channels spread “Fake News”.

He prefers that we only follow his Twitter account instead.

But he was caught out spreading his own Fake News about Sweden.

He claimed that a terrorist attack occurred in Sweden.

The Swedish government confirmed that there was no terrorist attack.

A senior USA senator claimed that the President was trying to control the News.

This is reminiscent of news channels being controlled by dictators like Hitler.

Democracies rely on free and independent news channels.

Traditional news channels are competing with Social Media for our attention.

We increasingly rely on our smartphones for information and news.

Journalists need to write sensational headlines to attract more click-throughs.

How trustworthy and reliable is your source of news?

Celebrity gossip pages have infiltrated traditional news channels.

News editors have discovered that gossip attracts attention and sells newspapers.

There is a fine line between the truth, embellished facts and celebrity gossip.

The following Bible passage tells of a different truth that is more important:

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

3 John 2-4

The author of this letter wrote to a leader of congregation, possibly a small house-church.

He calls them his children and prays for good health for them.

He expresses joy that this church is continuing to walk in the truth.

He encourages hospitality to support the work of the truth.

He warns against troublemakers spreading malicious gossip.

He hoped to see them again face-to-face.

So what is this truth that is so important in the church?

This truth is a person.

This truth is Jesus.

God lovingly and mercifully gave us His son Jesus.

We deserved to die for our sins.

Jesus died in our place and took the punishment we deserved.

Through Jesus we can be at peace with God.

Jesus graciously offers us forgiveness and eternal life with him.

This is the eternal truth that shapes the lives of Jesus’ followers.

Ultimately celebrity gossip is meaningless.

Fake News and controversial governments will soon be forgotten.

They will all be replaced by eternal truth.

Can you differentiate between Fake News and the truth?

Do you know the truth that offers forgiveness and peace?

For followers, how does the eternal truth shape your daily lives?

mmmm Bible mmmm

I do not endorse the advertisement you may see below my blog:

mmmm 2 john mmmm

Mmmm Sydney Desserts Mmmm

Sydney has great patisseries, bakeries and cafes with great desserts.

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

There is food in public thought and conversations.

2016 is a year of political elections.

Australia held its federal election earlier in July with a cliff-hanger result.

USA is currently in a long and bitter battle between Clinton & Trump.

There is endless news coverage of their verbal sparring & tweeting.

Both claim to be speaking the truth.

Both claim the other is speaking lies.

How do we know who is speaking the truth and who is lying?

Is the American public tired of their claims and counter-claims?

Ultimately their claims will be forgotten as the 24-hour news cycle reports wars & disasters.

The following Bible passage tells of a different truth that lasts forever:

The elder,

To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth – and not I only, but also all who know the truth – because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us for ever:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

2 John 1-3

The author of this letter wrote to another congregation, possibly a small house-church.

He expressed joy that this church was walking in the truth.

He warned against false teachers preaching lies.

He hoped to see them again so that his joy would be complete.

So what is this truth that lasts forever?

This truth is a person.

This truth is Jesus.

God lovingly and mercifully gave us His son Jesus.

We deserved to die for our sins.

Jesus died in our place and took the punishment we deserved.

Through Jesus we can be at peace with God.

Jesus graciously offers us forgiveness and eternal life with him.

Jesus lives in the lives of his followers giving them meaning and purpose.

His followers love one another because God first showed love to them.

Politicians come and go and their claims are soon forgotten.

Are you tired of political spin?

Do you know the truth that lasts forever?

For followers, can those around you see the truth that lives in you?

mmmm Bible mmmm

I do not endorse the advertisement you may see below my blog:

mmmm 2 peter 1 mmmm

Mmmm Fresh Japanese Sushi & Sashimi 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.

What book has been influential in your life?

Is there something you read in school that opened your mind to new ideas?

Was there a text you read at university that shaped your morality and behaviour?

Most followers of Jesus view the Bible as their ultimate authority in life.

Followers believe that God is speaking to them through the Bible.

But you may ask, “Wasn’t the Bible written by ordinary men?”

“How can God be speaking through words written by human authors?”

One of Jesus’ followers, Peter answered these questions.

He was writing to counter false teachers who had infiltrated the early church.

These false teachers were challenging the Old Testament prophets & authors.

Peter wrote,

“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

2 Peter 1:20-21

Prophets wrote down exactly what they heard from God.

They did not interpret or write from their own imagination.

This is the same for the New Testament writers.

Many of them were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life including Peter.

They wrote down what they saw or heard from Jesus.

Some authors were not actually eyewitnesses including Paul.

The Holy Spirit enabled these men to see and hear God speak.

So the Bible is not a collection of fairy tales and mythical stories.

The Bible can be trusted as the Word of God.

When was the last time you read the Bible with an open mind?

Have you heard God speak through the Bible recently?

For followers: are you listening to God daily through his Word?

mmmm Bible mmmm

I do not endorse the advertisement you may see below my blog:

mmmm acts 2 mmmm

Mmmm Roast Duck & Orange Salad Mmmm

In Australia, we have amazing fresh produce & restaurant food!

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

At Bible College this semester, I’m eating the delicious New Testament.

38 Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.’
40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’
41 Those who accepted his message were baptised,
and about 3,000 were added to their number that day.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.
45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 2:38-47

In the book of Acts, we see Peter sharing the good news of Jesus with a large crowd.

3000 listeners decided to repent and accept the gift of salvation.

Their journey of faith did not stop there.

They met regularly in fellowship – this is one of the earliest descriptions of “church” in the Bible.

What did these new Christians when they met together (church)?

  • They listened to the apostles teaching about Jesus and how to live the Christian life.
  • They ate meals together.
  • They prayed together.
  • They shared their possessions and helped each other.
  • They praised God with glad and sincere hearts.

Fast forward 2000 years to today.

Christians still meet together weekly on Sundays in churches across the world.

Those who only go to church twice a year at Christmas & Easter are fooling themselves.

This irregular attendance does not make you Christian or give you eternal life.

Even regular church attendance does not give you eternal life.

Only accepting the forgiveness of Jesus’ death & resurrection gives you entry to heaven.

So what is the purpose of the 21st Century church?

Church gives Christians the opportunity to share their lives together.

We are not called to be private followers of Jesus in isolation.

We are part of a wider community who love God and each other.

So those who think they can live the Christian life without church are WRONG.

  • We need the encouragement of others to keep growing & maturing as Christians.
  • We need the love & prayers of others when we face difficulties in life.
  • We thank God & celebrate together as we overcome obstacles.

Most of all, we continually remind each other of the death & resurrection of Jesus.

  • When was the last time you went to church?
  • Did you hear the Bible read & taught at church?
  • When was the last time you shared a meal with other Christians?
  • When did you last pray with other Christians?

mmmm Bible mmmm

I do not endorse the advertisement you may see below my blog: