Tag Archives: eternal life

mmmm ecclesiastes 3 mmmm

mmmm Turkish Gozleme in Sydney mmmm

#Love to #eat multicultural #Aussie #food from #Asia!

Have you tried #Gozleme from Turkey?

Over the last decade in Sydney, this Turkish flat-bread has increased in popularity.

It is cooked in front of you with a choice of meat or vegetarian fillings.

These lovely Aussie-Muslim ladies from Turkey always serve me graciously.

Like most peaceful Aussies, they contribute greatly to multicultural Australian society.

But sadly peaceful Muslims face racial discrimination and xenophobia all over the world.

They are unfairly blamed for the Syrian War and extremist Islamic Terrorism.

Now the peaceful Muslim community in New Zealand has been attacked.

The world has been shocked by the Christchurch terror attack in March 2019.

2 mosques in Christchurch were attacked and 50 Muslims shot dead during Friday prayers [1].

This is easily the largest mass-shooting in New Zealand’s history.

Even peaceful New Zealand (far away from the Middle East) is not immune to terrorism.

This follows a terrorist attack in my home city of Sydney just over 4 years ago [2].

The visibly-shaken NZ Prime Minister condemned this unprecedented act of violence [3].

Regrettably the arrested gunman was a NZ resident originally from Australia [4].

This White-Australian (Anglo Saxon) is from rural Australia where there’s less cultural diversity.

However this is no excuse for his premeditated shooting of innocent victims.

Aged 28, this radicalised man posted a White Supremacist manifesto online.

This deluded man’s right-wing ravings have been linked to racist neo-Nazi groups [5].

I join with many globally in rejecting this racist ideology and condemning violence.

The time for killing, war and hate is over.

I hope and pray that this unfortunate event will not spark revenge attacks.

The time for healing, love and peace is now.

This week, I have been reading these verses from an Old Testament book:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verses 1 to 8

From this book, this passage is probably what is most remembered by followers.

The author has the Hebrew pseudonym “Qoheleth”.

This may be translated into English as “Assembler” or “Teacher” or “Preacher” [6].

He suggests that human life consists of a series of major life events.

There appears to be a time and season for every human activity:
1. Birth
2. Death
3. Planting & Building
4. Laughter & Dancing
5. Weeping & Mourning
6. War & Hate
7. Love & Peace

In the context of the whole book, the author claims that life is “meaningless” [7].

The author despairs that all human activity is pointless because we all die anyway.

He observes that work is hard (toil) and we cannot take our money with us when we die [8].

Death is the same fate for everyone, no matter if you are rich or poor [9].

But death is not the end, there is a glimmer of hope:

He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men…

Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verse 11A

This may mean that God has placed a desire in our hearts to search for eternity beyond death.

In the context of “life is meaningless”, our hearts may also desire to know the “meaning of life”.

Philosophers have pondered the “meaning of life” for thousands of years.

The New Testament offers us the answer to “meaning of life and death”.

Viewing Ecclesiastes with the lens of the New Testament reveals:
1. The promise of eternal life [10]
2. Life after death [11]
3. Peace with God through Jesus [12]
4. God demonstrating His love by sending Jesus [13]
5. A place with Jesus in heaven [14]
6. The undeserved gift of salvation [15]
7. Salvation by trusting in Jesus [16]

Despite all the war and terrorism in our world, we can find peace with God through Jesus.

Unfortunately we cannot predict where war and terrorism will strike next.

But we can find hope knowing that life and death are not meaningless.

In life and death, the only true meaning is “Jesus”.

Leading up to Easter, let us reflect on God’s forgiveness and mercy.

Another glimmer of hope: Christchurch shooting survivor forgives his wife’s killer [17].

Questions to consider this Easter:

Do you think life is meaningless and then you die?
Do you know the promise of eternal life?
Are you at peace with God?
For followers: how is Jesus the “meaning of your life” in your daily activities?

 

Footnotes:

[1] ABC News online (originally published Friday 15 March 2019, updated Sunday 17 March 2019): “Christchurch shootings: what we know”
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-15/christchurch-shootings-what-we-know/10904982

[2] ABC News online (16 December 2014): “Sydney siege: Two hostages and gunman dead after heavily armed police storm Lindt cafe in Martin Place”
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-16/sydney-siege-gunman-two-hostages-dead/5969162

[3] ABC News online (15 March 2019): “Christchurch shootings mark ‘unprecedented act of violence’, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says“ including the Full Transcript of NZ Prime Minister’s press conference statement
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-15/christchurch-shootings-unprecedented-pm-jacinda-ardern-says/10904950

[4] ABC News online (18 March 2019): “Christchurch shooting investigation reaches NSW, police raid Brenton Tarrant’s sister’s house“
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-18/christchurch-terror-attack-investigation-prompts-nsw-raids/10910798

[5] ABC News online (17 March 2019, updated 18 March 2019): “Accused Christchurch mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant used same radicalisation tactics as Islamic State, expert says“
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-17/christchurch-shootings-brenton-tarrant-social-media-strategies/10908692

[6] Longman & Dillard (1994, updated 2011) An Introduction to the Old Testament: Ecclesiastes (IVP) p279

[7] Ecclesiastes chapter 1

[8] Ecclesiastes chapters 2 & 5

[9] Ecclesiastes chapter 7

[10] John chapter 3 verse 16

[11] 1 Corinthians chapter 15

[12] Romans chapter 5 verse 1

[13] Romans chapter 5 verse 8

[14] Ephesians chapter 2 verse 6

[15] Ephesians chapter 2 verse 8

[16] Romans chapter 10 verse 13

[17] BBC World News online (17 March 2019) Video: “Christchurch shooting survivor says he forgives his wife’s killer“
https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-47602781/christchurch-shooting-survivor-says-he-forgives-his-wife-s-killer

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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?

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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 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

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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 1 peter 1 mmmm

Mmmm Chocolate Hot Cross Buns Mmmm

Aussie supermarkets desperately try to boost their profit margins:

Hot cross buns & Easter eggs appear earlier and earlier each year.

This year in January, supermarket shelves were already full with Easter food.

Christmas had only just finished and Easter was a distant 3 months away.

Retailers don’t waste time when money and sales are involved.

Beyond the chocolate, what is the real meaning of Easter?

Is there a deeper meaning behind the commercialisation of this season?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…

1 Peter 1:3

The bible verse above encapsulates Easter so brilliantly.

God the Father of Jesus showed his love to the whole world.

He mercifully sent Jesus to save us from the mess we were in.

We were powerless to save ourselves.

Jesus died on a cross – the cross in Hot cross buns.

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

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

The resurrection is proof that there is life after death.

Those who trust Jesus have new birth into a new life now and in the future.

The Easter egg symbolises new life and a new beginning.

The offer of new life is for everyone no matter how big a mess we have made.

We now have a real and living hope for eternity beyond the grave.

Death is not the end for followers of Jesus.

It is the gateway to life with Him in heaven.

At Easter we remember the sacrifice of Jesus dying to save us.

We also celebrate his resurrection and look forward to being raised to life in the future.

What will happen to you after you die?

Would you like to have a 2nd chance at life after the mess you’ve made?

For followers, can family, friends, neighbours & colleagues see Jesus in your life?

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mmmm philemon 6 mmmm

Mmmm Chinese Noodles Mmmm

In Australia, we have the best multicultural food from all around the world!

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

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

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.

Philemon 6

I join with many other Chinese in celebrating Chinese New Year.

  • What do you hope for in a new year?
  • What new good things would you like to try?
  • How would you like to actively change your life?

The Bible passage above was written by Paul to a fellow brother.

Paul was asking this brother to change his attitude towards a friend.

He encouraged this brother to forgive his friend.

Paul hoped his friend would be given a new chance and beginning in life.

What is this “good thing” we have in Jesus?

Followers of Jesus have been given a 2nd chance and a new beginning in life.

Once we were condemned and facing eternal death.

We had no hope and no way of saving ourselves.

But at great cost, God saved us by sending Jesus to die in our place.

God demonstrated great love by giving us a 2nd chance that we did not deserve.

We can never earn salvation or pay God back for this gift.

Can we ever fully understand the enormity of God’s love for us?

How do we respond to God’s love?

  • By accepting His gift of love with humility and thanks
  • By trusting Jesus to save us and putting our lives in his hands

God’s love is such great news that we want to tell everyone.

By telling others, we are sharing God’s love and light in our dark world.

  • What do you hope for in the new year?
  • Do you know the love of God?
  • Would you like to be given a 2nd chance and new beginning in life?

For followers:

  • How often do you pray for others?
  • Can those around you see that you are different to the mainstream world?
  • Have you ever shared the source of your hope with others?
  • Can others see that this hope is at the centre of your life?
  • Have you experienced forgiveness?

How do we actively share?

  • By praying for others regularly
  • By loving others so that they may ask why we are different to the world
  • By telling others the source of our hope
  • By showing others that this hope is at the centre of our lives
  • By giving others a 2nd chance in life through forgiveness

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