Tag Archives: heaven

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 1 john 4 mmmm

Mmmm French & Italian Patisserie Mmmm

In Australia, we have beautiful cakes & pastries made by Europeans!

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

At Bible College this semester, I’m eating big mouthfuls of the New Testament.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:7-10

Our world is constantly searching for love.

We are born into families and are loved by our parents.

Our parents love us selflessly and seek the best for us.

As children we depend on and love them in return.

Growing up, we love our friends at school, university & work.

We enjoy fun times laughing with our mates.

As we leave home, we seek love in finding the right partner.

We settle down in a new home and begin a family.

And the cycle of love starts again with the birth of children.

Our society bombards us with countless love songs & movies.

We are conditioned to believe that love = sex.

Society tries to convince us that erotic love is the ultimate goal in life.

But many of us don’t find a partner and remain single.

Many marriages end in divorce leaving people single again.

Some relationships end tragically with domestic violence.

The Bible passage above talks about love better than sex.

In fact, God is love.

God’s love is supremely higher than anything else in the universe.

God loved us humans even when we were his enemies.

He did not wait for us to love him before trying to save us.

God sent his only son Jesus to pay for our sins by dying on a cross.

Our sin is the barrier between us and God.

Now that Jesus has removed this barrier, we can experience true love with God.

We now have “real” life and a relationship with the Creator of the Universe.

This amazing love now motivates us to love & care for everyone else.

Because of God, Christians reach out beyond their immediate family & friends.

Christians also care for their neighbours & the disadvantaged in our community.

Christians share Jesus with everyone who needs physical & spiritual help.

Have you found the “true” love that is better than sex?

Do you have a loving relationship with God that is eternal?

For Christians, how are you helping your neighbours & sharing Jesus with them?

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mmmm 2 thessalonians 2 mmmm

Mmmm Fettuccine Marinara with Prawns & Scallops Mmmm

In Australia, we have the freshest seafood caught locally!

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

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

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Our world continues to be shocked by global terrorism.

France, Kuwait & Tunisia have seen deadly attacks recently.

Christians are being openly persecuted in Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan & Syria.

The New Testament letters were written to persecuted Christians.

2000 years ago, Christians were under attack from jealous Jews and the Roman Empire.

They faced discrimination, violence and even death for following Jesus.

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians to encourage these suffering Christians.

He reminded them that God chose and saved them through the gospel.

Through the Holy Spirit, they were made clean to stand before God.

They would share in the glory given to the risen Jesus.

This was amazing news to downtrodden people.

Paul encouraged them to stand firm and remain strong in the faith.

They were to remember the gospel teaching about Jesus.

Only Jesus gives eternal life to those who trust in him.

There is no other way to heaven and no other name that brings salvation.

Christians do not place their hope in money and careers which are only temporary.

Christians hope for eternal life with Jesus.

So those who are terrorised in this world will eventually see peace in heaven.

Death and fear will be replaced by life and love in God’s presence.

Do you fear death?

What do you hope for?

For Christians – are you living today with an eternal perspective?

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mmmm james 1 mmmm

Mmmm Cha Siu Bao (BBQ Pork Buns) at Yumcha Mmmm

In Australia, we have excellent Cantonese Food!

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

At Bible College this semester, my Missions subject has been delicious.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

James 1:2-5

Nepal has been hit by 2 major earthquakes recently with thousands dead.

Our TV screens have been filled with scenes of complete devastation.

How are we to understand this suffering and misery?

Eastern religions may say that angry gods are punishing humans.

These “gods” may be displeased with poor sacrifices offered to them by followers.

Christianity takes a different view.

Christians experience real pain and are not immune to suffering.

Much of the New Testament was written to encourage suffering Christians.

2000 years ago, Christians faced natural disasters, shipwrecks, famines and sickness.

They also faced religious persecution, imprisonment, torture and even the death penalty.

Suffering was part of normal life and expectations of Jesus’ followers.

James wrote to Christians and even called them to be joyful in suffering.

This sounds like a crazy idea, but he gave a good reason for joy.

Suffering tests our faith in God and produces perseverance.

If we persevere in trusting Jesus, we develop a stronger and more mature character.

We can even ask God for wisdom and strength while enduring suffering.

Suffering causes us to cry out to God in pain – this is a natural response.

God wants us to closely depend on Him in prayer during good and bad times.

We can pray that He will comfort and give us the peace that surpasses understanding.

Jesus understands our suffering – he suffered death on a cross to bring us forgiveness.

God does not promise us a pain-free life.

He does promise us eternal life if we trust in Jesus.

So how does this give us hope?

We know that this world with earthquakes is not our permanent home.

We are only passing through on our way to heaven.

So this pain and suffering is only temporary – it will eventually come to an end.

So let us pray that emergency aid and comfort reaches Nepal soon.

But let us also pray that the Nepali people will trust in the one true God.

How do you cope with suffering?

Who do you call for help and are they trustworthy?

Is your pain-relief temporary or everlasting?

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mmmm 1 thessalonians 4 mmmm

Mmmm Har Gau (Prawn dumplings) at Yumcha Mmmm

In Australia, we have the freshest seafood!

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

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

For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

1 Thessalonians 4:14

The world has just witnessed the mass slaughter of Christians in Kenya.

Islamic terrorists burst onto a university campus and killed 148 innocent students.

These gunmen asked the students whether they were Christian and shot them.

Sadly these terrorist attacks are not isolated to Kenya.

Christians are also being terrorised in Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria.

Death is a tragedy robbing families of loved ones.

The bible verse above gives hope to those who believe in Jesus.

Jesus died and rose again – this is what is celebrated at Easter.

Jesus took our punishment and died on a cross in our place.

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

Jesus will return again to judge the whole world.

1 Thessalonians 4 describes the second coming of Christ.

The New Testament author uses an interesting euphemism in this verse.

Those who have died have “fallen asleep”.

This is like our polite expression “passed away” for our dearly departed.

Fallen asleep” suggests something temporary instead of permanent death.

Those who fall asleep will wake up again feeling refreshed.

So Christians who die will rise again to have new life in heaven with Jesus.

Non-Christians who die will face permanent death in hell.

So even though it is a great tragedy, those Kenyan Christian students are now in heaven.

Their Christian parents will see them again – they are not lost forever.

What will happen to you after you die?

Do you want to awake again in heaven?

Or do you want to be lost in hell forever?

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mmmm 2 corinthians 5 mmmm

Mmmm Spicy Moroccan Eggs with Haloumi Cheese & Coffee Mmmm

In Sydney, we have a vibrant cafe culture with great coffee & yummy food!

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

At Bible College this semester, I’m eating big mouthfuls of the New Testament.

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:the old has gone, the new is here!
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God.
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21

2000 years ago the city of Corinth in Greece was world famous for sexual immorality.

The ceremonial worship in Temple of Aphrodite (goddess of love) involved prostitution.

Ordinary citizens were often promiscuously infatuated with unnatural sexual relations.

Even some of the Corinthian Christians were boasting about their sexual exploits.

Fast forward to today and nothing has changed: our World is obsessed with Sex!

Paul wrote this letter to remind readers of the gospel message.

Many of us have read the Bible or heard that Jesus died on a cross.

But why did he have to die and why is this significant?

The Bible passage above is a great summary of the Good News that Christians celebrate.

From the Old Testament, God required a perfect spotless lamb to be sacrificed every year.

This sacrifice allowed humans to atone for their sins and be declared righteous before God.

In the New Testament, Jesus took on this role of the sacrificial “Lamb”.

When Jesus lived on Earth he led a perfect sinless life.

So he was the only one on Earth able to die for others providing atonement.

We deserved to die for our own sins but Jesus took our sin on himself and died in our place.

So in Jesus, we can be declared righteous before God and have a relationship with Him.

God no longer counts our sins against us because of the cross of Christ.

Jesus died for all Christians once and for all.

So we don’t have to go through the Jewish ritual of atonement year after year.

Our old self has been crucified with Jesus and we have been given new lives.

So if we now trust Jesus, why would we return to the sins in our past?

If we were sexually immoral before, why would we choose to return to this promiscuity?

The cross of Christ is at the centre of every Christian’s life.

We are now his ambassadors telling everyone we meet about this Good News.

As God’s representatives on Earth, it is our mission to make Jesus known to everyone.

Are you confident that God will declare you righteous when you meet Him?

Is Jesus at the centre of your life and how has he transformed your life & actions?

As a Christian, are you still involved with sexual sin?

How are you going with sharing the Good News with your family, friends & neighbours?

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mmmm philippians 2 mmmm

Mmmm Spanner Crab Tagliolini with Chilli Mmmm

In Australia, we have amazing, fresh seafood!

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

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

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
    taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to death –
        even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

Remember there was this craze several years ago for “WWJD” bracelets.

WWJD” stands for What Would Jesus Do?

Teenagers would wear these bracelets to remind them to make godly decisions in life.

Last week my lecturer rightly pointed out “WWJD” should be “WDJD”.

What Did Jesus Do?

The Bible passage above shows exactly what Jesus did for us 2,000 years ago.

Jesus is God and enjoyed the perfect relationship with his Father.

He gave up this relationship to be born into our world as a Man.

Compared to his relationship with his Father, he became “nothing”.

He was not born in a luxurious palace, instead he was born in a farm shed.

He took on human form with all its sickness, hunger, pain and disappointment.

He was a King in Heaven and became a Servant on Earth.

Instead of being served as a King on Earth, he came to serve us humans.

He humbly obeyed his Father and died a humiliating death on a cross.

Crucifixion was the lowest form of punishment reserved for the worst criminals.

Jesus died in our place taking the punishment that we deserved.

Because of his obedience, God raised Jesus back to life again.

Jesus has conquered death once and for all.

God made Jesus King of the Universe again.

Jesus will come again and judge all human beings.

At that time everyone will acknowledge that he is indeed the Lord of everything.

Jesus offers eternal life with him for all his followers.

But those who reject him will face eternal death.

Do you have a real relationship with Jesus?

Do you have the eternal life that Jesus offers?

Can those around you see your actions reflecting that Jesus is LORD of your life?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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