Tag Archives: encouragement

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

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mmmm ruth 3 mmmm

Mmmm Cantonese Yumcha with college friends Mmmm

Sydney has the best Chinese Food in Australia!

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

I’m continuing to eat mouthfuls of Old Testament after last semester’s feast at college.

3 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”

So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wingsover your servant, for you are a redeemer.” 10 And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman…”

Ruth 3:1-11

The book of Ruth sandwiched between Judges and Samuel is often overlooked as it is so short.

It’s worth reading the 4 chapters to uncover a special story of faith, hope and love.

This book is set against the disastrous period of the Judges where anarchy reigned.

But here we have a subtle love story that has great significance for Israel’s history.

This is no Hollywood Romance, but instead we have an account of salvation and love.

Ruth, a foreigner accompanied her mother-in-law Naomi back to Israel when her own husband died.

She risked everything showing great faith not knowing what would happen in this strange land.

Naomi and Ruth were 2 poor, helpless women with an uncertain future.

Ruth met Boaz, an older land-owner who showed grace and great kindness to her.

This was a glimmer of hope from God for Naomi and Ruth during unpredictable times.

We pick up the story when Naomi suggests that Ruth seek protection from Boaz –
a distant relative.

According to local customs, Boaz could act as a “kinsman-redeemer” and save Ruth.

Boaz was pleased that Ruth chose him instead of chasing after a younger man.

He praised her noble character and thanked Ruth for her kindness.

Boaz married Ruth and they became the great-grandparents of David – Israel’s greatest king.

But there is a greater love story in the New Testament.

In Romans 5, we read that God loved us as his children even when we were his enemies.

At great personal cost, God sent his son Jesus to save us and bring us into His family.

We live in unpredictable and uncertain times.

Do you want to be assured that God loves you always, in good times and bad?

mmmm Bible mmmm

mmmm 1 samuel 8 mmmm

Mmmm spicy Chinese beef with Italian Farfalle & Parmesan Mmmm

I love cooking Fusion Food that mixes my Asian heritage with Aussie flavours!

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

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

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to leadus, such as all the other nations have.’ But when they said, ‘Give us a king to lead us,’ this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.’

1 Samuel 8:4-7

The book of 1 Samuel talks about Israel’s first king.

The elders of Israel don’t want a repeat of the anarchy when Israel was led by Judges.

So they ask Samuel for a king just like the neighbouring nations have.

This idolatrous request is a slap in the face of God as we read in the verses above.

Israel has rejected God as their king.

In the rest of chapter 8, God warns that a king will enslave and tax them.

The elders refuse to listen to wisdom and stubbornly repeat their request for a king.

Like other parts of the Old Testament, God gives the Israelites over to their sinful desires.

God is still sovereign: He uses kingship as a mechanism to judge and bless Israel.

So what does this mean for us today?

Verse 7 above reminds me of the popular Gospel tool: 2 Ways To Live.

God created the whole universe and is rightfully king over all peoples on earth.

But all humans reject God as their king.

Instead, we appoint ourselves as “king” and try to rule our own lives without God.

But we fail to rule the world properly and control our own lives.

God will punish us for our rebellion with death and judgement.

God sent Jesus to die in our place and take God’s punishment that we deserve.

God raised Jesus to life as King of the Universe and He will return to judge all people.

So we now have 2 choices:

1. Accept Jesus as our king and rely on his death to pay for our rebellion.

2. Continue as “king” and suffer the consequences of our rebellion: death and judgement.

Which way do you choose to live your life?

mmmm Bible mmmm

mmmm 1 samuel 2 mmmm

Mmmm spicy Thai Green Curry with Tofu Mmmm

Sydney has fantastic Asian food that is so fresh!

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

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

‘The Lord brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.
The Lord sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and makes them inherit a throne of honour.
‘For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s;
on them he has set the world.

1 Samuel 2:6-8

After the anarchy of Judges in the previous blog post below, we come to a new period in Israel’s history.

1 Samuel opens with the birth of the prophet Samuel to Hannah.

Hannah was so thankful to God for answering her prayer that she dedicates Samuel to priestly service.

A portion of her thanksgiving prayer is quoted above.
But take time to read the whole of Chapters 1 & 2 in 1 Samuel.

Hannah’s prayer acts like a roadmap for Israel’s kingship history that follows.

Even though she is not a prophet, the words of her prayer are prophetically played out in the lives of Israel’s kings.

We can see that God alone is in control of the rise and fall of kings.

David, Israel’s greatest king had humble beginnings as a shepherd and God exalted him (lifted him up) to become the leader of a nation.

But sadly, David abused his royal power and God humbled him in the end with disastrous consequences for his family. But God still lovingly forgave him and promised that his dynasty would last forever.

So what does this mean for us?

God brings prosperity and also poverty to everyone on earth – Christians or non-Christians.

Some people have the wrong view of Christianity – they believe that as long as they follow the Ten Commandments, God will shower them with wealth and success in their lives.

But Christians can also experience poverty, hardship and unemployment at some point in their lives.

This is not necessarily because they are leading “bad” lives.

Bad things can also happen occasionally to “good” people or loyal followers of God.

God is reminding us that he is in control and that we need to trust him even when disaster strikes in our lives.

Whether we are rich or poor, we need to live humbly before God and not to become proud of our own achievements. We need to thank God in good and bad circumstances.

It’s not all bad news: there is a greater promise in these verses.

God has the amazing power to raise people from the dead!

God raised Jesus to life again after he died on the cross.

If we trust Jesus with our lives, God will also raise us to eternal life after we die.

This is the hope and confidence that Christians have.

Some Christians are rich, some Christians are poor.

But we all will face Jesus as our judge at the end of our lives, regardless of our wealth.

Clearly we cannot control the global economy or prevent cancer from striking.

How do you cope when disaster strikes?

Who do you trust?

mmmm Bible mmmm

mmmm judges 2 mmmm

Mmmm fantastic Korean BBQ feast on the weekend Mmmm

Sydney has the most diverse multicultural Food in Australia!

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

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

After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance. The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.

Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heresin the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals.

Judges 2:6-11

Joshua successfully led the Israelites to claim the Promised Land.

During his lifetime, the Israelites followed God faithfully and lived in peace.

But after Joshua and that generation died, a new generation grew up not knowing the amazing things that God did for their parents.

Joshua’s generation failed to teach the younger generation about God.

The children started worshipping idols or Baals and turned away from God completely.

And so we have the sad book of Judges which details the anarchy that followed.

Similarly in Australia, most of the Baby Boomer generation went to church in the 1960s and were familiar with the Bible. Australia was a “Christian” society.

But now most of Generations X & Y no longer go to church and know nothing about God.

Their parents failed to teach them about the Bible.

Now Australia is a “post-Christian” society where most people in my generation chase after other false idols like money, career and sexuality.

But these false idols don’t bring happiness, they bring loneliness and emptiness.

Australia has higher rates of alcoholism, divorce, depression and suicide than ever before.

Do you know the hope and peace that only God can give you?

If you are a Christian, are you teaching your kids about the Bible?

mmmm Bible mmmm

mmmm joshua 1 mmmm

Mmmm yummy Chinese Rice Noodles with Chicken, Fish Tofu & Fresh Coriander Mmmm

Sydney has the best Chinese Food in Australia!

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

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

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ 10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 ‘Go through the camp and tell the people, “Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.”’

Joshua 1:9-11

Here we have the amazing encouragement of God’s presence with his people.

Joshua succeeded Moses in leading the Israelites after the exodus from Egypt.

The previous generation were too afraid to claim the land that God promised them.

The new generation of Israelites now had a choice:

  • Would they trust God and follow Joshua across the river Jordan into the new land?
  • Or would they give in to their fears and continue wandering in the desert?

God sent Joshua to save the Israelites.

God sent a greater saviour Jesus to bring everyone home and give us rest.

This home is not the physical nation state of Israel and the disputed territories of Palestine.

This home is heaven where we can finally rest from all our worries.

  • Is that what you hope for at the end of your earthly life?
  • Or are you too afraid to trust in Jesus?
  • Are you worried about your own security and whether you have enough money?

God offers a life where we do not have to be terrified.

Do you want to have reassurance that God is with you in this life and the next?

It’s an amazing relief knowing that God cares for you and is walking beside you every step of the way.

mmmm Bible mmmm