Tag Archives: pain

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 john 3 16 mmmm

Mmmm Sydney Italian Pasta Mmmm

In Australia, we have delicious European Food thanks to waves of migration!

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.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Sydney has been shocked by another radical terrorist attack:

A 15 year-old boy targeted a Police station and shot dead a civilian employee.

America has been shocked by yet another mass shooting:

A 26 year-old gunman targeted a College in the US state of Oregon and killed 9 people.

The Syrian Civil War has claimed more than 200,000 lives since 2011.

Death tragically robs families of loved ones, often unexpectedly.

Is there any hope in our world so stained by death?

The verse above is the most famous and most quoted in the Bible.

Why? Because it sums up the message of the entire book so succinctly.

The Bible tells us that God created the world and mankind.

The devil tricked Adam & Eve into rebelling against God.

God punished them with death.

God still loved mankind and gave us a second chance.

He promised that 1 of Adam’s descendants would defeat the devil in the future.

The Old Testament follows these descendants such as King David in Israel.

King David ruled over a peaceful kingdom, but did not defeat the devil.

Within 2 generations this kingdom was divided and eventually invaded by Babylon.

Prophets predicted that a Saviour would redeem his people.

The Jews desperately wanted freedom and the restoration of their own kingdom.

Jesus was born during Roman occupation of Israel.

He did not defeat the Romans as the Jews expected.

Instead Jesus came to save the whole world by dying on a cross.

His death gives us life and signals the devil’s defeat is imminent.

Jesus will finally defeat the devil and eliminate the stain of sin and death.

This Earth with terrorism, mass shootings, wars and death will be destroyed.

Jesus offers eternal life and entry into God’s kingdom.

This offer is open to everyone in the world including the Jews.

We have the chance to live again after we die.

God will create a new Earth that will be free from pain and death.

How can you have hope while surrounded by death in this world?

What will happen after you die?

For Christians, do those around you know your hope for the new creation?

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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 job 28 mmmm

Come for a delicious journey through God’s Word with a hungry Sydney Bible College student!

Do you crave something more filling than yumcha?

If so, read on ….

Job 28:20-28 (NIV 1984)

Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds of the air.
Destruction and Death say,
‘Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.’
God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
And he said to man,
The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.’”

The book of Job in the Old Testament is about a Man and his relationship with God.

Job experiences unexplained suffering and cries out in pain.
His friends try to offer comforting words of wisdom but are tactless and foolish.
Job wonders where true wisdom can be found.

Only God is the source of true wisdom.

Man can find wisdom in right relationship with God.
We do this by humbly approaching Him and recognising that He is the Creator (and we are not!)

He creates thunderstorms like Super Storm Sandy that devastated NE USA recently.
I love New York in the Spring – one of the great cities of the world alongside Sydney.
So to see the recent devastation is heart-breaking and humbling.

When suffering happens to us, we cry out in pain.
But instead of asking, “Why did you do this, God?”

We should ask, “How can I trust God to get me through this suffering?”

God is more important than our treasured homes that can be washed away in a storm.

God is more reliable than politicians who promise but fail to deliver.

God wants us to trust Him when everything collapses around us.

He sent Jesus to give us eternal hope so that we can weather the most powerful storm.

Who do you trust when you lose everything?

mmmm Bible mmmm

mmmm colossians 1 mmmm

Come for a delicious journey through God’s Word with a hungry Sydney Bible College student!

Do you crave something more filling than yumcha?

If so, read on ….

Colossians 1:15-16 (NIV 1984)

He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

What is the meaning of life?

Philosophers, comedians and theologians have pondered this question since time began.

Some answers include:

  • Love, Family relationships and friendships
  • Knowledge, learning and education
  • Career success and job satisfaction
  • Good food and wine
  • Money, possessions, a comfortable home in a good suburb and a fast car
  • Good health, the body beautiful, fitness and sport
  • Art, architecture, music and entertainment
  • Travel and the environment
  • Recreation and leisure
  • Humour and happiness

Colossians tells us something different and often we miss the last 2 words in verse 16.

Jesus created the universe for himself. This includes all humans – Christian and non-Christian.

We belong to Jesus. He is our “meaning”.

So what does this look like?

Jesus desires to enjoy us in close relationship to him – closer than our family or best friends.

We often look for meaning in the wrong places:

  • Family and friends come and go – we mourn when we lose them
  • Even with all the knowledge in the world, we can still be lonely
  • Redundancy can stunt our career plans and threaten our homes
  • Cancer and Diabetes can spoil our appetite for good food and wine
  • Money and possessions can be stolen or destroyed in fire
  • We are so busy in life and no longer have time for rest and hobbies
  • Worries and Depression can make our fun and laughter disappear

Jesus is eternal – he is still there when our world collapses around us

He is our food that satisfies the greatest hunger when we need it most

Enjoy him today!

mmmm Bible mmmm

mmmm psalm 88 mmmm

Come for a delicious journey through God’s Word with an inquisitive Sydney Bible College student!

Do you hunger for something more filling than yumcha?

If so, read on ….

Psalm 88:1-5 (NIV 1984)

O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you.
May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.
For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like a man without strength.
I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care.

The writer of this psalm strongly believes that God will save him even though he is in immense pain.

Life is tough sometimes ….

Maybe you’re in a backbreaking job with a bullying boss

Or you’re about to lose your job in uncertain times

Maybe you suffer chronic pain like arthritis

Or you’re a persecuted Christian in China jailed for attending an unregistered church

Maybe one or both of your parents are dying of cancer

This psalm is written to be sung in community and maybe it’s appropriate when there is a great tragedy like the outpouring of grief over the sudden premature death of a child in a car accident

When your world collapses around you, who do you turn to and what do you hope for?

Jesus has taken our pain on himself and can be trusted to save us now and in the future

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