Tag Archives: sydney

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?

mmmm Bible mmmm

Advertisements

mmmm 1 samuel 2 mmmm

Mmmm spicy Thai Green Curry with Tofu Mmmm

Sydney has fantastic Asian food that is so fresh!

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

At Bible College, I’m eating mouthfuls of Old Testament this semester.

‘The Lord brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.
The Lord sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and makes them inherit a throne of honour.
‘For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s;
on them he has set the world.

1 Samuel 2:6-8

After the anarchy of Judges in the previous blog post below, we come to a new period in Israel’s history.

1 Samuel opens with the birth of the prophet Samuel to Hannah.

Hannah was so thankful to God for answering her prayer that she dedicates Samuel to priestly service.

A portion of her thanksgiving prayer is quoted above.
But take time to read the whole of Chapters 1 & 2 in 1 Samuel.

Hannah’s prayer acts like a roadmap for Israel’s kingship history that follows.

Even though she is not a prophet, the words of her prayer are prophetically played out in the lives of Israel’s kings.

We can see that God alone is in control of the rise and fall of kings.

David, Israel’s greatest king had humble beginnings as a shepherd and God exalted him (lifted him up) to become the leader of a nation.

But sadly, David abused his royal power and God humbled him in the end with disastrous consequences for his family. But God still lovingly forgave him and promised that his dynasty would last forever.

So what does this mean for us?

God brings prosperity and also poverty to everyone on earth – Christians or non-Christians.

Some people have the wrong view of Christianity – they believe that as long as they follow the Ten Commandments, God will shower them with wealth and success in their lives.

But Christians can also experience poverty, hardship and unemployment at some point in their lives.

This is not necessarily because they are leading “bad” lives.

Bad things can also happen occasionally to “good” people or loyal followers of God.

God is reminding us that he is in control and that we need to trust him even when disaster strikes in our lives.

Whether we are rich or poor, we need to live humbly before God and not to become proud of our own achievements. We need to thank God in good and bad circumstances.

It’s not all bad news: there is a greater promise in these verses.

God has the amazing power to raise people from the dead!

God raised Jesus to life again after he died on the cross.

If we trust Jesus with our lives, God will also raise us to eternal life after we die.

This is the hope and confidence that Christians have.

Some Christians are rich, some Christians are poor.

But we all will face Jesus as our judge at the end of our lives, regardless of our wealth.

Clearly we cannot control the global economy or prevent cancer from striking.

How do you cope when disaster strikes?

Who do you trust?

mmmm Bible mmmm

mmmm judges 2 mmmm

Mmmm fantastic Korean BBQ feast on the weekend Mmmm

Sydney has the most diverse multicultural Food in Australia!

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

At Bible College, I’m eating mouthfuls of Old Testament this semester.

After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance. The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.

Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heresin the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals.

Judges 2:6-11

Joshua successfully led the Israelites to claim the Promised Land.

During his lifetime, the Israelites followed God faithfully and lived in peace.

But after Joshua and that generation died, a new generation grew up not knowing the amazing things that God did for their parents.

Joshua’s generation failed to teach the younger generation about God.

The children started worshipping idols or Baals and turned away from God completely.

And so we have the sad book of Judges which details the anarchy that followed.

Similarly in Australia, most of the Baby Boomer generation went to church in the 1960s and were familiar with the Bible. Australia was a “Christian” society.

But now most of Generations X & Y no longer go to church and know nothing about God.

Their parents failed to teach them about the Bible.

Now Australia is a “post-Christian” society where most people in my generation chase after other false idols like money, career and sexuality.

But these false idols don’t bring happiness, they bring loneliness and emptiness.

Australia has higher rates of alcoholism, divorce, depression and suicide than ever before.

Do you know the hope and peace that only God can give you?

If you are a Christian, are you teaching your kids about the Bible?

mmmm Bible mmmm

mmmm joshua 1 mmmm

Mmmm yummy Chinese Rice Noodles with Chicken, Fish Tofu & Fresh Coriander Mmmm

Sydney has the best Chinese Food in Australia!

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

At Bible College, I’m eating mouthfuls of Old Testament this semester.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ 10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 ‘Go through the camp and tell the people, “Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.”’

Joshua 1:9-11

Here we have the amazing encouragement of God’s presence with his people.

Joshua succeeded Moses in leading the Israelites after the exodus from Egypt.

The previous generation were too afraid to claim the land that God promised them.

The new generation of Israelites now had a choice:

  • Would they trust God and follow Joshua across the river Jordan into the new land?
  • Or would they give in to their fears and continue wandering in the desert?

God sent Joshua to save the Israelites.

God sent a greater saviour Jesus to bring everyone home and give us rest.

This home is not the physical nation state of Israel and the disputed territories of Palestine.

This home is heaven where we can finally rest from all our worries.

  • Is that what you hope for at the end of your earthly life?
  • Or are you too afraid to trust in Jesus?
  • Are you worried about your own security and whether you have enough money?

God offers a life where we do not have to be terrified.

Do you want to have reassurance that God is with you in this life and the next?

It’s an amazing relief knowing that God cares for you and is walking beside you every step of the way.

mmmm Bible mmmm

mmmm deuteronomy 6 mmmm

Mmmm Enjoyed delicious Aussie Seafood at Sydney’s Palm Beach on the weekend Mmmm

Sydney has amazing seafood that is so fresh!

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

At Bible College, I’m eating mouthfuls of Old Testament this semester.

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.

 Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Recently, I was talking to my Jewish workmate about the Shema or verse 4 above.

It struck me how impersonal his relationship with God was.

It’s possible for Jews to follow all the Laws in the Torah (1st 5 books in the Bible)
and not really know who God is.

They can robotically observe all the Laws without having any real love towards God.

These Laws are an inconvenience as Jews get on with their ordinary lives.

These Laws are open to abuse as Jews try to find loopholes to avoid obeying them completely.

Jews probably view God as some anonymous “cosmic policeman”
who spoils their fun and enjoyment of life.

As Christians, we have a completely different view of the Torah.

Jesus summed up the whole Law with verse 5 above and
“Love your neighbour as yourself”.

Because we have a real relationship with Jesus, these Laws reflect God’s holiness
rather than repetitive rules and regulations.

Our sole purpose is to Love God as our Father with all our whole being
he is number 1 in our lives.

We view these Laws as a general guide in our lives, not as an inconvenience.

Jesus has freed us from the punishment and consequences of the Law.

Unlike Jews who are culturally bound by the Torah,
Christians do not robotically observe the Law.

Instead our lives are characterised by Love and wanting to please God because he first loved us.

Jesus has superseded the Law and the New Testament has replaced
all of the Food, Ceremonial & Sacrificial Laws and Rituals.

Yet the Ten Commandments reflect our love for God.

We do not have to worry if we accidentally break one of them.

Instead our relationship with Jesus means that we are forgiven.

Christians are known for their love for God, families, friends, neighbours and strangers.

Do you have a close loving relationship with God as your Dad and Jesus as your brother?

If you are a Christian, can people around you see your love for God and others?

mmmm Bible mmmm

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