Tag Archives: love

mmmm Notre Dame Cathedral: House of God mmmm

mmmm Celebrating Easter with Chocolate Eggs mmmm

Just couldn’t resist all the chocolate in supermarkets

Restricted myself to the mini-eggs this year

#Love to #share & #eat #Chocolate with #family & #friends this #Easter

 

Horrified to see photos & videos of the #NotreDameFire in #Paris in #France yesterday

Notre Dame is the most visited Paris monument with 12,000,000+ visitors annually [1]

It’s one of many fine examples of Gothic architecture in Europe & the Western World.

This #church has national historical importance and a special place in French hearts

Privileged to visit this Paris church as independent travellers many years ago

Smiled as hordes of tourist groups were herded through this iconic building

Many tourists are unaware of the spiritual significance of this cathedral

The official Notre Dame website says it is a “House of God and the abode of men” [2]

 

So what is a “House of God”?

What is the origin of these stone buildings across the Western World?

The origins start with the first temple in Jerusalem in Israel

Before the Israelites settled in this city, God’s presence was symbolised by a tabernacle [3]

King David built his Jerusalem palace & saw that God was still living/dwelling in this tent

He wanted to build a “House of God” to replace the temporary tabernacle

But God responded to David through his prophet Nathan:

“When your days are over and you go to be with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne for ever.”
1 Chronicles chapter 17 verses 11-12

So King David’s son Solomon built the temple and declared to God:

“I have built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell for ever.”
2 Chronicles chapter 6 verse 2

At the dedication of the temple, Solomon prayed asking:

But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple that I have built!”
2 Chronicles chapter 6 verses 18

What did the Israelites think of the temple?

“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.”
Jonah chapter 2 verse 7

“The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”
Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 20

The temple was a place to pray and be silent before God in His dwelling place

 

So what happened to Solomon’s temple?

On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down.
2 Kings chapter 25 verses 8-9

Less than 400 years after Solomon, his temple was destroyed in 587 BC

The Israelites were then enslaved and taken to Babylon as exiles

However 50 years later, the Israelites were allowed to return to Jerusalem

In 538 BC, King Cyrus declared:

This is what Cyrus king of Persia says, “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them.”
Ezra chapter 1 verses 2-3

God also spoke to the Israelites through his prophet Haggai:

This is what the Lord Almighty says, “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honoured.” says the Lord.
Haggai chapter 1 verses 7-8

The foundations of this Second Temple in Jerusalem were laid in 537 BC

Governor Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem to protect the Second Temple.

When he completed this task, he prayed:

“Remember me for this, my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.”
Nehemiah chapter 13 verse 14

 

So what happened to this Second Temple in Jerusalem?

The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD and never rebuilt

Jesus famously spoke about the Second Temple:

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in 3 days.’ The Jews replied, “It has taken 46 years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in 3 days?”
But the temple he had spoken of was his body.
John chapter 2 verses 19-21

This is what is celebrated at #Easter:

  • 2000 years ago, Jesus died on the first Good Friday
  • His death symbolised the destruction of the temple and the old ways of the Jewish religion
  • God raised Jesus to life again as the King of the Universe 3 days later
  • Jesus’ resurrection is now celebrated on Easter Sunday worldwide

Jesus’ resurrection body replaced the importance of the Second Temple

Jesus is where we can now meet God through saving grace

We no longer need to go to Jerusalem to pray and worship God

In fact there is now a Mosque on the site of the Second Temple in Jerusalem

 

So what are the roles of cathedrals and church buildings in the 21st Century?

Are they still the “houses of God”?

Followers meet in church buildings to encourage each other by remembering Jesus

But God does not actually “live” in these buildings:

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.
Acts chapter 17 verse 24

Instead God now actually “lives” inside His followers:

[Jesus’ follower Paul said] “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”
1 Corinthians chapter 3 verse 16

[Paul continued to say] “For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ “
2 Corinthians chapter 6 verse 16

God now dwells in the hearts of His followers, instead of buildings made of stone

In Australia, some groups of followers do not own their own building

Instead they meet in rented halls and school buildings as their “church” on Sundays

  • The “church” is not actually the physical building
  • The “church” is actually the spiritual community of followers worldwide

 

So is it important to renovate & repair Notre Dame cathedral?

This evening, I heard that already $900 million has been raised for Notre Dame [4]

As long as we remember its spiritual significance in the life of followers this Easter

How to donate to the Notre Dame appeal [5]

Is the physical beauty of your church-building important to you:

  1. Stained Glass Windows
  2. Gothic Architecture
  3. Traditional Wooden Pews

Or do you love the actual church-people inside the building more?

Happy Easter!
Footnotes:

[1] SMH News online (16 April 2019) Macron promises to rebuild, but Paris monument suffers ‘colossal damage’ https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/historic-notre-dame-cathedral-in-paris-catches-fire-20190416-p51eh7.html

[2] “A cathedral of Art and history” http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/en/la-cathedrale/

[3] The tabernacle was the portable “tent of meeting” that moved with the Israelites when they were heading to the Promised Land after escaping Egypt. The tabernacle symbolised God’s Presence with the Israelites. For more info, see the “Tabernacle” article in the New Bible Dictionary (1962, republished 1996) InterVarsity Press: https://www.ivpress.com/new-bible-dictionary

[4] ABC News Radio (17 April 2019) ABC 702AM News bulletin (Sydney, Australia)

[5] How To Donate To Help Rebuild Notre Dame (17 April 2019) https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2019/04/how-to-donate-to-help-rebuild-notre-dame/ 

PS. After I published this blog post last night, I saw the Philanthropy Australia CEO on ABC24 TV evening news (17 April 2019) trying to protect Australian charities from losing funds to Notre Dame. She acknowledged that donors had become “numb” to frequent Emergency Aid appeals and this unique overseas appeal had captured the imagination of the whole world.

So don’t forget your local Aussie NFPs!

mmmm Bible mmmm

Note about advertising on WordPress:

I do not endorse or receive payment for the advertisements that you may see above, beside or below 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 & Happy Easter!

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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

mmmm Bible mmmm

Note about advertising on WordPress:

I do not endorse or receive payment for the advertisements that you may see above, beside or below 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 & Happy Easter!

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

mmmm Bible mmmm

Note about advertising on WordPress:

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 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

mmmm Bible mmmm

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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 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 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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