Tag Archives: love

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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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 3 john mmmm

Mmmm Aussie Asian Food Mmmm

Australia has a great variety of food because we are so close to Asia.

But that’s not the only delicious food on offer.

There is food in world news and current affairs.

What is truth?

Journalists seek the truth when reporting the news.

But how do we know they are telling the truth?

The USA government has challenged traditional news channels.

An official spokeswoman presented her own “Alternative Facts”.

The USA President complained that traditional news channels spread “Fake News”.

He prefers that we only follow his Twitter account instead.

But he was caught out spreading his own Fake News about Sweden.

He claimed that a terrorist attack occurred in Sweden.

The Swedish government confirmed that there was no terrorist attack.

A senior USA senator claimed that the President was trying to control the News.

This is reminiscent of news channels being controlled by dictators like Hitler.

Democracies rely on free and independent news channels.

Traditional news channels are competing with Social Media for our attention.

We increasingly rely on our smartphones for information and news.

Journalists need to write sensational headlines to attract more click-throughs.

How trustworthy and reliable is your source of news?

Celebrity gossip pages have infiltrated traditional news channels.

News editors have discovered that gossip attracts attention and sells newspapers.

There is a fine line between the truth, embellished facts and celebrity gossip.

The following Bible passage tells of a different truth that is more important:

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

3 John 2-4

The author of this letter wrote to a leader of congregation, possibly a small house-church.

He calls them his children and prays for good health for them.

He expresses joy that this church is continuing to walk in the truth.

He encourages hospitality to support the work of the truth.

He warns against troublemakers spreading malicious gossip.

He hoped to see them again face-to-face.

So what is this truth that is so important in the church?

This truth is a person.

This truth is Jesus.

God lovingly and mercifully gave us His son Jesus.

We deserved to die for our sins.

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

Through Jesus we can be at peace with God.

Jesus graciously offers us forgiveness and eternal life with him.

This is the eternal truth that shapes the lives of Jesus’ followers.

Ultimately celebrity gossip is meaningless.

Fake News and controversial governments will soon be forgotten.

They will all be replaced by eternal truth.

Can you differentiate between Fake News and the truth?

Do you know the truth that offers forgiveness and peace?

For followers, how does the eternal truth shape your daily lives?

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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 2 john mmmm

Mmmm Sydney Desserts Mmmm

Sydney has great patisseries, bakeries and cafes with great desserts.

But that’s not the only delicious food on offer.

There is food in public thought and conversations.

2016 is a year of political elections.

Australia held its federal election earlier in July with a cliff-hanger result.

USA is currently in a long and bitter battle between Clinton & Trump.

There is endless news coverage of their verbal sparring & tweeting.

Both claim to be speaking the truth.

Both claim the other is speaking lies.

How do we know who is speaking the truth and who is lying?

Is the American public tired of their claims and counter-claims?

Ultimately their claims will be forgotten as the 24-hour news cycle reports wars & disasters.

The following Bible passage tells of a different truth that lasts forever:

The elder,

To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth – and not I only, but also all who know the truth – because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us for ever:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

2 John 1-3

The author of this letter wrote to another congregation, possibly a small house-church.

He expressed joy that this church was walking in the truth.

He warned against false teachers preaching lies.

He hoped to see them again so that his joy would be complete.

So what is this truth that lasts forever?

This truth is a person.

This truth is Jesus.

God lovingly and mercifully gave us His son Jesus.

We deserved to die for our sins.

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

Through Jesus we can be at peace with God.

Jesus graciously offers us forgiveness and eternal life with him.

Jesus lives in the lives of his followers giving them meaning and purpose.

His followers love one another because God first showed love to them.

Politicians come and go and their claims are soon forgotten.

Are you tired of political spin?

Do you know the truth that lasts forever?

For followers, can those around you see the truth that lives in you?

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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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