Tag Archives: God’s presence

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 psalm 146 mmmm

Mmmm Fresh Seafood at Cantonese Yumcha Mmmm

In Australia, we have amazing, 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.

Praise the Lord.Praise the Lord, my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life;

    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,

    the sea, and everything in them –
    he remains faithful for ever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the alien
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The Lord reigns for ever,

    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.

Psalm 146

Recently I was reading this passage in my personal Bible reading session.

Many of the psalms were written to be sung by the Israelite community praising God.

Many of the psalms were written by King David as blogged about in 2 Samuel.

But the author of this psalm is anonymous with a surprising statement about kingship.

The psalmist tells us not to put our trust in princes because they are only human beings.

Kings eventually die like everyone else and cannot save us.

Australia has just elected a new government who asked us to trust them.

But they will eventually pass away in time.

Instead we must trust in God alone – the creator of Heaven and Earth.

God sent his son Jesus to save us and conquer death forever.

God raised Jesus to rule as King of the universe.

Jesus can be trusted as our King because he lives forever.

Only Jesus can save us as governments will surely disappoint us.

But that’s not all: this psalm also reveals that God cares about the oppressed and the poor.

This includes asylum seekers and refugees who are aliens in Australia.

God cares about the refugees even when our “Christian” politicians try to “hide” the problem.

The number of refugees coming by boat to Australia is tiny compared to those fleeing Syria.

2 million Syrian refugees are fleeing into surrounding countries to escape civil war.

Instead of cruelly turning them back:

Syria’s neighbours are trying hard to accommodate these traumatised people.

So why are Australian politicians complaining about our asylum seeker intake which is a measly 2.5% of what Syria’s neighbours are dealing with?

Why doesn’t the Australian community show more compassion towards vulnerable refugees?

What you can do:

Watch this recent ABC Compass documentary about Refugees in Australia

Write to the Prime Minister about Refugees

Donate money to help the Syrian refugees

Share and pray about this blog with your friends

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mmmm 2 chronicles 20 mmmm

Mmmm Malaysian Popiah with Chilli Mmmm

In Australia, we have amazing, 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.

And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said,

O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it for ever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgement,or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ 10 And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— 11 behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. 12 O our God, will you not execute judgement on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

2 Chronicles 20:5-11

Recently I was reading this passage in my personal Bible reading session.

Jehoshaphat was a minor king in the period after King Solomon in 1 Kings.

It is rare that a prayer from a minor king is quoted in the Old Testament.

Yet the author of 2 Chronicles thought it was important to include.

Notice the language and the childlike tone of this prayer.

This king was the supreme leader of a nation, yet he humbled himself before God.

He admitted that he and his nation needed desperate help and salvation.

Australia has just elected a new Prime Minister who happens to be a devout Catholic.

Just before the election, a Non-Christian journalist asked him about his faith.

She asked how God played a part in the ups and downs of his life.

He avoided the question and just replied that he would like to attend Mass more often.

He continued inferring his private religion did not have any bearing on his public politics.

This was a surprising admission from a man who previously trained for the priesthood.

Unfortunately the leader of our nation does not involve God in his government.

He has had a colourful history with less than godly behaviour at times.

Disappointingly, his faith does not extend Christian compassion to the plight of refugees.

We hope that governments are wise and we have even higher expectations of Christian leaders.

This election neither major party got my vote because both Christian leaders failed to impress me.

Sadly I’ve met many Catholics similar to the Prime Minister.

They worship God on Sundays and then put Him in a box for the rest of the week.

God has no bearing on their jobs or the rest of their daily lives.

Their faith is invisible and no one would know how important God is to them.

Their friends and colleagues have no idea about their hidden faith.

God calls us to be Christians 24/7 and visible to everyone around us.

Do your friends and colleagues know that you are a Christian?

Are you humble enough to seek help and salvation from Jesus?

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mmmm 1 kings 3 mmmm

Mmmm Indian curries with Naan bread Mmmm

In Australia, we have amazing food from all over the world!

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

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

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you.’ Solomon answered, ‘You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. ‘Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?’

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, ‘Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for – both wealth and honour – so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.’

1 Kings 3:5-14

What leadership qualities do you look for when electing a government?

Australians will vote on 7 September 2013 for the political party that will govern for the next 3 years.

There has been a lot of talk about “Who do you trust?”

Politicians trumpet their economic credentials and sadly their hard line stance against refugees.

There has been little talk about “wisdom” or “wise government”.

In the Old Testament, Solomon was a young and inexperienced king.

He took over governing Israel from his father – David.

David was Israel’s greatest king as shown in 2 Samuel.

Solomon had big shoes to fill and the Israelites had high expectations of him.

In the passage above, Solomon had a chance to make a request from God.

Solomon could have requested long life, personal wealth or death of his enemies.

Instead, he asked for something unusual: a discerning heart in government.

God was pleased with this request and granted Solomon a wise and discerning heart.

Solomon is known as one of the wisest kings in Israel’s history.

Wisdom is a rare quality in today’s political debates as Australia’s leaders promise many things.

So far I’m not convinced that our current leaders are displaying discernment.

But let us pray that whoever wins the election will govern wisely for all Australians?

Ultimately, all politicians will disappoint us as they are only human.

The Bible tells us of an amazing king descended from David.

This amazing king’s government is based on justice and righteousness.

The kingdom of Jesus lasts forever and is a peaceful haven free from war.

Do you want to be in this kingdom?

mmmm Bible mmmm

mmmm 2 samuel 7 mmmm

Mmmm freshest Japanese Sashimi Mmmm

Sydney has fantastic Asian food in my neighbourhood!

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

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

18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? 19 And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord God! 20 And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! 21 Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it. 22 Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

2 Samuel 7:18-22

What sort of personal qualities do we see in the rich and famous in our society?

Our TV screens are filled with loud and proud characters promoting themselves to adoring fans.

Our world follows celebrities who are self-confident, opinionated and outspoken.

When we look at the Old Testament passage above,
we see David: the greatest king in Israel’s history saying something surprising.

He was rich, powerful and famous achieving great military success.

God promised to establish his kingdom forever in the previous chapter.

David could have easily been arrogant and boastful in response.

Surprisingly he was extremely humble when talking to God.

David would have had many servants, yet he called himself a servant before God.

He recognised that God was his master and much greater than himself.

David saw God’s uniqueness in the universe.

How many celebrities do you know who are humble?

We read in the New Testament of a greater king than David.

Jesus came to earth and took on the nature of a servant.

He humbled himself and was even willing to die on a cross to save us.

Do you know of any celebrities willing to die for their followers?

God raised Jesus to life again as king of the whole universe.

Who do you follow and why?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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