Tag Archives: persecution

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

 

mmmm Bible mmmm

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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 2 thessalonians 2 mmmm

Mmmm Fettuccine Marinara with Prawns & Scallops Mmmm

In Australia, we have the freshest seafood caught locally!

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

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

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

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Our world continues to be shocked by global terrorism.

France, Kuwait & Tunisia have seen deadly attacks recently.

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

The New Testament letters were written to persecuted Christians.

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

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

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians to encourage these suffering Christians.

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

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

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

This was amazing news to downtrodden people.

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

They were to remember the gospel teaching about Jesus.

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

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

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

Christians hope for eternal life with Jesus.

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

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

Do you fear death?

What do you hope for?

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

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mmmm 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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