New signage up for Jerusalem’s new US embassy.

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Today is a bank holiday in the UK, so probably more people are watching the news and folks are excited about the signs going up for the forthcoming new US embassy.   This is a good thing, this is a landmark event, as it shows the first of many nations (the US) is making Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and recognition of God’s holy city.

So years ago, when I lived and volunteered in Jerusalem, I saw another sign that excites me.   Its this one.

This is the East part of Jerusalem.   Many people, the Islamic world, and much of the western world which wants to appease the Islamic world think it would be a good idea to make this part of the city into the capital of a Palestine state.   Two issues with this.   Cutting a city in two for capitals of a couple of nations has and would never work.   Look at how that worked out in Berlin for instance.   The other significant issue is that bible believing Jews and Christians believe that Jerusalem should never be divided.    The scriptures warn of catastrophic consequences for any authority that tries to do this.

On the Google Street view, you can spin to the left and see the Mount of Olives or to the right and see the walls of Jerusalem’s old city.

This sign to me show “The last path”  as its the place where Messiah Jesus returns.

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China trip – 26. My visit Buddhist temple as an evangelical Christian

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Why did I come here? 1. I was with two other men from my youth hostel 2. I wanted to see various historical sites, and 3. I visited this place as a Christian to try and get some understanding of what makes up Buddhism so I am in a better place to tell explain the gospel of Jesus with people from other faiths.  I’m not a liberal.

The tall vase thing on the right is there for people to throw coins up in the air and if it lands in the centre section that I think you get good luck.

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All faith systems prosletyze, usually through people visiting a religious building jsut for curiosity, and therefore information on that belief is available for visitors to take away.

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This wooden structure contains incense sticks which visitors are encouraged to burn.   So of course, foreigners and non-practising Buddhists take part in this, including two men I was visiting with.   I preferred to just observe what was going on.

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So the big rooms in the temple have these very large deity statues in them.   People offer fruit and flowers.   I’m not sure if people are discouraged when the offerings just rot when the people that oversee the site do the cleaning up every so often.

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The temple is a nice design with attractive wooden balcony all the way around it.

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This 7 tonne bell continues to ring for 3 minutes!

It was during my time here, one night I had this really dreadful dream.   Something demonic, a picture or face of a ‘thing’ that had a representation of death and torture.I am a Christian of 40 years old, I am still trying to get better at responding to prompting by the Holy Spirit, and it would seem that visiting this place was unwise on my part, and I think setting foot in a temple of a foreign god isn’t recommended for followers of Jesus.  Talking to friends back in the UK who are Chinese and missionaries to China have confirmed this.

This verse came to mind today.   Psalm 135 : 13 Your name, Lord, endures forever, your renown, Lord, through all generations. 14For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. 15The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands. 16They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. 17They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. 18Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.

25. Chinese Dragons and the bible

27.

Israeli Messianic band Miqedem release album no.2

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Horaay! The new album from Messianic Jewish band MIQEDEM from Israel is out!!

If you are a Christian lover of Israel you will definitely like this, but if you want to try worship music with a slightly exotic middle east flavour you really should get their Volume II album.

The formula of this music is simple.   All lyrics are pure chunks of scripture from the Tanakh (what’s commonly known as the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament)  in the original Hebrew.

One of the members Jamie Hilsden was the worship leader of King of Kings Jerusalem which was my main church when I lived in Israel 2009-2013.

Ahavti is my favourite track on this one.

https://miqedem.bandcamp.com/ 

 

China trip – 25. Chinese Dragons and the bible

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Every building of significance, actually most hotels, and some restaurants and my hostel have these dragons either side of the doorway.   Seems the bigger the better.   All these dragons have one with one paw on a ball, and the other one has a paw on baby dragon turned upside down.   I’m still trying to figure out the meaning of this.

Being a language geek and also knowing that Dragons are mentioned in the bible I decided to look this word up using Google translator (using VPN app, as everything Google is banned in China) on my phone:-

דְרָקוֹן

This is the Hebrew word for Dragon, which is transliterated as “Drakon”

תַּנִּין

This word is from the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible, aka the Old Testament) which is pronounced “Tanin”  you can see the meaning of the Strongs link here.

δράκων

This is the Greek word for Dragon I just looked up that appears at various times in Revelation, this is also pronounced “Drakon” in Strong’s.

I listened to a recording of one of my favourite Christian teachers Derek Prince.   Derek liked Chinese art and had some hanging fabrics with Chinese dragons on them, and he reluctantly threw them out as the Lord prompted him to.   Revelation shows the dragon to be a representation of Satan.

I am not asking all my Christian readers to throw out all things with dragons or Chinese art, but I think its necessary if you are a follower of Christ to make sure you don’t have anything in your house that could be a representation of evil.   I think its important when you buy souvenirs that you are not promoting another deity in your house.   I’ve started to really like oriental art, a pastor friend in Israel had lots of interesting pictures brought back from China.   I’d ask and pray to the Lord of anything you are not sure about if it has a place in your home.  One example of this is people often have Buddha statues in the UK, as you can buy them from any garden centre!

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Dragons and other mythical creatures, also appear on the corners of these characteristically Chinese roofs on buildings everywhere I have seen in this country.

24. Staying healthy in China

26. My visit Buddhist temple as an evangelical Christian

China trip – 24. Staying healthy in China

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China has quite a few traditional medicines, and the people are known to be quite superstitious so certain types of health treatments are quite different from what people are used to the western world.   These shops have cabinets and small drawers full of unusual medicinal things.

These days everyone in my country wants to trust a new and esoteric type of medicine or treatment they have read on the internet.   We can see this in the growth of the modern vegetarian and vegan movements.   But also outrightly false types of advice are being pushed around on the web;  “Vaccines cause autism” said, someone, I have never met.  With no formal qualifications.  On the internet.   With a beard.   Someone I know who got into some of this stuff took this one step further, refuses to visit any hospital or doctor and gets advice from complete strangers.   I find this really strange.

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So its quite funny that Chinese have a message to those who might take complementary medicine a bit too far.

I was working in different parts of Europe (Barcelona, Vienna, Stockholm, and Lisbon) for a few months in 2017.   One thing I noticed was all of Europe has agreed to make cigarette packets focused on the deadly health consequences of smoking.

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This isn’t yet true of China, cigarettes show flowers and other pretty items on their cigarettes.

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I like this automated orange juicer.   Being a geek I appreciate being able to see inside.  Each orange is slice in half, each piece falls into a rounded cup which is rotated 180 degrees and then squashed simultaneously.   We could do with more of these in Britain.  I’d imagine this would need a lot of maintenance as there must be spillage inside.

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The tea shop! everything to do with tea, pots, cups, is in this place.   Note the ornamental pot with water fountain.

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See the brick things in the tea shop?   They are not bricks as in part of the building, they are bricks of tea demonstrating how tea has been packed for export.

23. Urban fishing Shanghai style

25. Chinese Dragons and the bible

China trip – 23. Urban fishing Shanghai style

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This young man’s determined to go fishing in a banned place got everyone’s attention….

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Soon dozens of people are watching….

This is some kind of water filtration plant.   Signs and spikes don’t put him off.  Nor that the water isn’t a very nice colour.

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We are in the financial heart of Shanghai, with different shaped high blocks of offices around everywhere.

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….Success!   the young man got his fish using a strange looking small harpoon gun with a length of nylon wire.

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Meanwhile, ordinary fishing takes place, with wide nets across the canals just around the corner of Shanghai.

22. Brand new church Shanghai

24. Staying healthy in China

China trip – 22. Brand new church Shanghai

My hostel is on this map here. (don’t forget nothing Google works inside China)

Directly opposite the hostel is a church.   Not just any church, this was brand new.   Not a tiny place run on a shoestring, but a building three floors with a underground car park and a security guard in a booth!  It appears it was built after Google made this map and no longer provides recent changes.

IMG_20170423_094729308 1024The church I went to in Beijing (in June 2017) was an international church and to comply with the government would only let in foreigners and Chinese who hold non-Chinese passports.  This place here was a indigeonous type of congregation, without obvious support from other nations and was new and seemed welcoming but no one spoke English.  I’ve no idea what was preached.    I did see this bookshop though.

I actually feel uneasy about talking about some of this on my blog as I don’t want them to face harrasment.  There are stories from Christian (in 2018) news sites about churches being demolished or blown up by the Chinese government and sales of bibles stopped.  There is definite persecution of Chinese Christians, which is why many churches operate from people’s homes.

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Meanwhile, back in London, UK.   In late 2017, I bought this bible mail order through a really good small online Christian retailer called 10ofthose.com    I only bought it as my regular bible was looking more battered, and at £12 this bible is great value and has a sturdy maroon hardcover.   Lo and behold, it is made in China!

Please remember to pray for the body of Christ in China and for the church and the gospel to continue to grow.

21. Shanghai’s Science museum

23. Urban fishing Shanghai style

 

China trip – 21. Shanghai’s Science museum

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Shanghai’s science museum is pretty good.   A modern steel and glass which is big like every other establishment in this city.

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The stuffed animals and cave-like rooms you can walk into to see a zoo of static non-live animals in a jungle atmosphere is really well done.

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There’s a good selection of robots here.  This one is playing Go (which is a Japanese board game)

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It’s funny how scientists and great thinkers can vocally follow God or reject him completely.  In the academic world, it’s either one or the other.

China is a country particularly hostile to religion but had this quote on this item in the foyer of the museum.

“I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.” (Isaac Newton)

20. The computer repair hall 

22. Brand new church Shanghai

China trip – 20. The computer repair hall

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China is the manufacturing capital of the world by a very big margin I think.   By this dual carriageway which heads through a busy Shanghai metropolis is 3 floors of technological workshops.

People in the west might grumble how difficult it is to repair or get parts for something broken.

Not in Shanghai.  The Chinese do know how to repair things as well.

This was one of the three floors of a building with dozens of computer stores selling new, used equipment and doing repairs, with amazed westerners being able to witness workshops right in front of you.

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For those who know me, I’ve done repairs on laptops and one Mac, and know how difficult how some are to get apart, and you really need to study diagrams or a Youtube video from someone else who has done it.   To take apart a Mac requires a suction cup to remove the glass before getting the TORX screws the hold the LCD out.   Getting apart phones and tablets normally involve a hairdryer on hot mode to melt the glue in the glass and prise out the glass with guitar plectrums in all four sides which requires a lot of patience.

Some of these people are in the middle of soldering, removing screws, taking complex circuit boards from the lower half of laptops.   This is a lot different from your average UK high street shop that unlocks phones and does normal PC repair.   These people seem to have a lot more dexterity and skill to do some really good workmanship.

One man is chatting with a soldering iron and the bottom half of a laptop, there are piles of chassis and circuit boards of gadgets to be repaired in untidy piles in small and cramped areas where each vendor is doing his own repairs.

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19. Shanghai’s big open food market

21. Shanghai’s Science museum

China trip – 19. Shanghai’s big open food market

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This market looks quite similar to the ones I have seen in the middle east, particularly in Jerusalem.   Maybe a little bit cleaner without a leaky roof, and has all the produce you can think of, and is all fresh of course.   There are a few Chinese specialties like those pale coloured pears you can buy in the UK.

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There’s a lot of vendors here, with all kinds of cuts of meat.

 

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Going towards the back of the market, things get a bit weird and exotic.

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….until you see a bag of live frogs and toads.   My phone gives you an idea how big they were.  No dogs or cats thankfully, a local told me this happens in more rural towns but not in Shanghai, I did see a bucket of live turtles, but it is too sad to say what happened to them….. 😦

18. Shanghai motor show 2017

20. The computer repair hall