Tag Archives: judgement

mmmm nahum and hosea mmmm

mmmm Chicken Rice this Easter mmmm

Mum lovingly cooked Chicken Rice for our family

Coronavirus has closed down most hawker stalls in Sydney

So instead we enjoy this South East Asian dish at home

This Easter we are at home as the government has banned travel

Many Australians usually travel on holidays at this time of year

But this year we are all in lockdown thanks to the coronavirus

I have been reading the Old Testament recently:

The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;

The LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.

The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies.

The LORD is slow to anger and great in power;

The LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.

The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.

He cares for those who trust in him.

Nahum chapter 1 verses 2,3 and 7

 

Come let us return to the LORD.

He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us;

He has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.

Hosea chapter 6 verse 1

Both these Old Testament books are prophecies of God’s judgement

But there are also glimmers of hope for salvation

How are we to view the coronavirus in the light of the Bible?

Is this a sign of God’s judgement on the world?

Many have become sick and some have recovered

Friends have lost their jobs due to the lockdown

The world is gripped with fear and anxiety

The Bible verses above include hope

God is good and cares for those who trust in Him

He will heal us if we return to Him

The coronavirus reminds us that the world is temporary

This is not our real home

We long for the day when we enter heaven

A place where there is no more sickness and sin

The coronavirus reminds us that we are not in control of the world

Only God is in control of the world and He is trustworthy

So despite all the bad news about the coronavirus

We can find peace with God through Jesus

He is a source of comfort for all those who trust in Him

We can pray and know that God listens to our prayers

Who do you trust this Easter?

Can your government stop coronavirus?

How does hoarding toilet paper make you feel secure?

For followers: how do you explain the coronavirus to your friends?

mmmm bible mmmm

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mmmm clouds of heaven mmmm

mmmm Celebrating Christmas with Fruit Mince Pies mmmm

This year I am sharing these delicious pies with family in Sydney.

This pie traces its history back to 13th century Britain [1].

The pie spices apparently symbolise the gifts that the wise men gave to Jesus.

The original pie shape symbolises the manger that Jesus was born in.

There’s even Gluten-Free pies for my coeliac nephew!

Sydney has been smothered in bushfire smoke for the last 6 weeks.

The prevailing wind blows the ash from bushfires across the NSW coast.

Thanks to Climate Change, Australia’s experiencing severe bushfires in several states.

Sydney’s air pollution levels are amongst the worst in the whole world at the moment.

What appears to be cloudy weather is actually bushfire haze on the horizon.

I have been reading about different kinds of clouds this Christmas:

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

Daniel 7:13-14

Daniel was an Old Testament prophet who was given the ability to interpret dreams by God.

He had a dream about 4 beasts and interpreted these as 4 kingdoms.

He also dreamed about a king that looked like a son of man – a human king.

This human came from heaven riding the clouds like a chariot [2].

This man approached God – the Ancient of Days.

This king was given authority, glory and sovereign power.

People from all nations will worship this king.

This kingdom is eternal and will never be destroyed.

Contrast this with our current world with changing world leaders in different nations.

Elections in different countries result in new politicians promising prosperity to win votes.

Ordinary people are protesting in the streets against unpopular politicians and their policies.

Allegations of corrupt politicians and impeachment fill our TV screens.

So who do you trust in a world of uncertainty?

Daniel prophesied about Jesus – an eternal king who will return to judge the world.

This prophecy is echoed in the New Testament:

“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So it shall be! Amen.”

Revelation 1:7

Christmas is about Jesus and the beginning of his eternal kingdom.

Jesus was born into a human family 2,000 years ago.

He preached that his kingdom was near and called people to repent.

He was pierced by nails on a cross where he died to save humanity.

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

He will return triumphantly and all nations will bow down to worship him.

Jesus is not promising prosperity but promises eternal life instead.

World leaders cannot cooperate to combat Climate Change.

The bushfire haze shows us that this world is only our temporary home.

Our permanent and real home is in heaven with Jesus.

Personally the smoky clouds in Sydney remind me that Jesus will return.

Questions to consider this Christmas:

Do you trust human politicians to save you from Climate Change?

Are their promises trustworthy?

How is Jesus different from human politicians?

For followers: do your family & friends know about eternity in heaven?

 

Footnotes:

[1] Wikipedia article “Mince Pie”

[2] Longman & Dillard (2007) An Introduction to the Old Testament (Inter-varsity Press)p396.

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mmmm Day of the LORD mmmm

mmmm Celebrating Christmas with Yumcha Dim Sum mmmm

Yumcha is my favourite food in the whole world!

Also known as Dim Sum: it originates from Cantonese-speaking China & Hong Kong.

This year I celebrated Christmas by sharing Yumcha with friends in Sydney.

Without prompting, my Dad organised another Yumcha Christmas Party with family.

I wish this Yumcha celebration would never end!

In contrast, did you know that our world will come to an end?

Last month, a visitor to my fellowship asked me an eschatological [1] question.

He volunteered his email to receive my answer and so he could ask more questions.

There is global fascination with the Second Coming of Christ and the “End Times”:

  • When will Jesus return?
  • When will the “Day of Judgement” occur?
  • What will the LORD God [2] do on “Judgement Day”?

Judgement Day is known as the “Day of the LORD” in the Bible.

For thousands of years many have speculated when the day of the LORD will occur.

Many have tried to calculate the date unsuccessfully with spectacular failure.

Some even speculate that Jesus will return directly to Jerusalem in the End Times [3].

Is this one reason behind the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by USA [4]?

Australia has also recognised Jerusalem 2 days ago (15 December 2018) [5].

If Jerusalem is in allied hands, will this hasten Jesus’ return & Judgement Day?

For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 2

No human political decision can speed up Judgement Day.

The New Testament verse reminds us that this date cannot be calculated.

The day of the LORD will arrive when we least expect it (like a thief in the night).

What else does the Bible say about the day of the LORD?

Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it.

Isaiah chapter 13 verse 9

That day is the day of the LORD God of hosts, a day of vengeance, to avenge himself on his foes.

Jeremiah chapter 46 verse 10 part A

For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations.

Ezekiel chapter 30 verse 3

Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.

Joel chapter 1 verse 15

Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why would you have the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light…

Amos chapter 5 verse 18

For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.

Obadiah chapter 1 verse 15

And on the day of the LORD‘s sacrifice— [Lord God declares] “I will punish the officials and the king’s sons and all who array themselves in foreign attire…

Zephaniah chapter 1 verse 8

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.

Malachi chapter 4 verse 5

The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.

Acts chapter 2 verse 20

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

2 Peter chapter 3 verse 10

From these eschatological verses [6] we can see the colourful imagery of the day of the LORD:

  • A day in the future when God will destroy the earth and sinners
  • A day in the not-too-distant-future when God will punish his enemies in all nations
  • A day in the near-future when our past deeds will return to haunt us
  • A day coming soon when God will judge the people of Israel and the whole world

But the Bible also promises salvation to those who trust in Jesus

This is the great hope we celebrate at Christmas:

God loved the world by sending his son Jesus [7] to save sinners in all nations.

Our Father God has graciously given the gift of forgiveness for the whole world.

So Jesus’ followers need not fear the Day of the LORD

But we are to be ready for this day: seek forgiveness for your sins now

One question remains:

Is Jerusalem important to Christians today?

Historically the Jewish people made an annual pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem.

The temple symbolised the LORD God dwelling with His people.

The Jewish temple was destroyed by the Romans soon after Jesus’ death & resurrection.

This temple was never rebuilt (in fact there is now a mosque in its place).

So Christians do not need to make an annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Jesus’ followers can worship Father God anywhere on Earth.

Through Jesus we can speak to God in prayer at any time and any place.

Jesus is where we go to meet God (instead of the earthly Jerusalem).

God now dwells inside his followers: we are the new temple!

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 [8].

The earthly Jerusalem is currently divided and a flashpoint for conflict [9].

The REAL Jerusalem is in Heaven with Father God where there is eternal peace.

Questions to consider this Christmas:

Are you prepared for Judgement Day?

Have you sought forgiveness for your sins?

Have you discovered the Joy of Salvation available exclusively from Jesus?

For followers: does your family & friends know about the New Jerusalem?

Footnotes:

[1] Eschatology is the study of the “End Times” prophesied in the Bible: this includes the Second Coming of Christ and the Day of Judgement (also known as the Day of the LORD).

[2] In modern translations of the Bible: LORD (in capital letters) refers to the Hebrew name of God: Yahweh/Jehovah. In English, the name of God may be referred to as “The Lord God Almighty”.

[3] The author of this blog does not uphold the Premillenial view of Eschatology. After reading various news articles, the best descriptions of Premillenialism are listed here:
CNN News (14 May 2018): https://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/08/opinions/jerusalem-israel-evangelicals-end-times-butler-bass-opinion/index.html
BBC News (5 January 2018): https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42402350

[4] Last Christmas in my Micah blog (see below with original news article links), I blogged about USA controversially recognising Jerusalem causing immediate global protests. Jerusalem remains an important city to the Israeli/Jewish people today. However Jerusalem is currently a divided city with the Eastern portion belonging to the Palestinian territories (as officially recognised by the United Nations). The Palestinians also claim that Jerusalem is the capital of their territory. So the status of Jerusalem is currently disputed.

[5] On 15 December 2018, Australia recognised both West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem as the future capital of Palestine. News articles:
BBC News (15 December 2018): https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-46576716
SBS News (15 December 2018): https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-recognises-west-jerusalem-as-israeli-capital-but-embassy-move-on-hold

[6] This is not an exhaustive list. Other “Day of the LORD” references include: Isaiah chapter 13 verse 6; Isaiah chapter 58 verse 13; Ezekiel chapter 13 verse 5; Joel chapter 2 verses 1, 11, 31; Joel chapter 3 verse 14; Amos chapter 5 verse 20; Zephaniah chapter 1 verse 7, 1 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 5; 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 2.

[7] John chapter 3 verse 16

[8] Revelation chapters 21-22 (final chapters in the last book of the Bible)

[9] Useful articles to read about the current divided status of Jerusalem:
Gospel Coalition (16 May 2018): https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/9-things-you-should-know-about-jerusalem/
Reuters News (21 January 2018): https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-israel-pence-jerusalem-idUSKBN1FA0JL

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I do not endorse or receive payment for the advertisements that you may see above, below or beside my blog. WordPress is the sole beneficiary and solely responsible for advertising on its own platform. If you see any inappropriate advertising, please report this to WordPress directly. Thanks & Merry Christmas!

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

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mmmm jeremiah 22 mmmm

mmmm Cake and Coffee on beautiful sunny mornings mmmm

Sydney has enjoyed stunning sunny weather even in the middle of Winter:

Perfect for cake and coffee with friends and family at outdoor cafes everywhere.

We in the Western World are extremely fortunate to live in peace and freedom.

Unfortunately not everyone on Earth lives freely or peacefully.

Let us remember the millions of refugees fleeing war and terrorism.

Let us remember the asylum seekers trapped in detention.

Let us look at what God thinks of these “aliens”:

This is what the LORD says: “Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien*, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.”

Jeremiah 22:3

*Alien also translated as Foreigner – a stranger/outsider from another country

 

God commanded Jeremiah to tell this message to the king of Judah.

Jeremiah lived approximately 600 years before Jesus.

God warned Judah that they faced judgement if they did not repent (turn back to Him).

Included in this judgement is a message of special care for the disadvantaged.

God showed His justice towards aliens, orphans, widows and victims of robbery.

The king and his people were to treat these poor people with fairness.

They were not to act violently or wrongly towards the alien.

Similar messages are repeated elsewhere in the Bible (see Psalms, Zechariah & James).

The principle of justice and fairness still applies today as we consider refugees.

 

My friends and I are shocked at Australia’s treatment of refugees.

Australia detains refugees offshore in neighbouring foreign countries.

Refugees on Nauru and Manus Island have experienced violence and injustice**.

Since 2001, racism and xenophobia have increased in Australian society.

Politicians have taken advantage of this “fear of foreigners/aliens”.

Harsh policies towards “boat people” have sadly become popular with voters.

Australia is a rich and affluent country with plenty of space to share.

Instead we Aussies have lost our compassion and become selfishly insular.

What happened to the Aussie concept of a “fair-go” for everyone?

Obviously the “fair-go” does not apply to refugees in our current society.

Aussies prefer to ignore what is happening on Nauru and Manus.

 

In January 2017, the Australian Prime Minister phoned to congratulate the USA President.

President Trump had just been inaugurated after winning the 2016 Election.

This was the first phone call between Australian and USA leaders.

The transcript of this call was leaked to the Washington Post in August 2017***.

This shocking transcript reveals our leaders’ callous attitude towards refugees.

They are dealing with “actual real human lives”, not commodities that can be traded.

Understandably Trump is unhappy with this “dumb deal” (see his Twitter account).

Australia should NOT be exporting our refugees to USA.

The refugees on Nauru and Manus are Australia’s responsibility, not America’s.

#BringThemHere to the Australian mainland immediately.

 

For followers, how can you demonstrate God’s love towards refugees?

 

Footnotes:

**On the day I posted this blog (7th August 2017), it was reported that a 5th refugee died on Manus Island and fellow detainees say that it was not suicide.

***The leaked transcript from the Washington Post was republished on the SBS News website (Australia) 4th August 2017.

Additional reporting from SBS News linking the leaked transcript & the refugee death on Manus Island: Was Donald Trump right? 8th August 2017

 

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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 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?

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