Saturday, June 6, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I have now added links to some of my favourite music and you can click on the appropriate tune on the RH side to hear it for yourself. Enjoy!
Monday, February 16, 2009
With the arrest of an arsonist responsible for one of the fatal fires, anger and hatred seem to be the over riding emotions. That is human nature. People in grief experience anger as well as depression, denial, shock, bargaining and even physical symptoms.
For those who have suffered loss these things are normal and will eventually fade.
I have a problem with the fact that so many who have not suffered personally, and particularly the media, get on the band wagon and incite more anger and more hatred.
- They don't have the excuse of personal loss to justify their emotive outbursts.
- It's really a bit selfish too, because it distracts attention from those who need it - the real victims.
- Instead, those shouting the loudest with the most hateful invective become the focus of attention.
- And it's counter productive because it gives the perpetrators more fame and attention, even if it is in a negative way.
- It doesn't help the victims move on either, but keeps pulling them back to the anger stage of their grief.
Doesn't our human dignity mean that, no matter what is done to us, we are not beasts? We don't repay in kind, because that would cause all humanity to degenerate to the lowest level.
We don't treat criminals with sadistic torture (even if we think they deserve it), because to do so lowers us to their level or worse. We are made in God's image, even though a bit tarnished. To act with violence and hatred would be a disgrace to that image, wouldn't it? It would also be to take authority away from God. Vengeance is his prerogative alone. I prefer it that way because only he knows the whole story. Only he is entirely just.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Floods explanation here
Droughts explanation here
Crocodiles explanation here
Disease explanation here
This is all happening here in one country, Australia, and only on the east coast. If we look further, there are ice storms and blizzards in the USA, earthquakes in China and Japan, volcanoes in the Philippines, famine in Ethiopia and wars all over the place.
I can't answer why God has not answered the prayers of many in relation to these tragedies and yet he does answer prayer. Why some and not others? I don't know. All I know is that (according to the Bible) :
God does not cause or allow needless suffering;
Satan is the prince of this world;
this world is not our home;
our earthly life is only temporary and we will all die one day and (unless we opt for suicide)
we do not choose the manner of our death.
Suffering in this life is not proof that there is no God
Turn the clock back 2000 years and some of Jesus larger group of disciples (not the 12) left him when the going got tough. Jesus and Peter are talking about the loss of faith of these disciples:
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
His song, Home Free, has probably been the most successful of his career. I've used it when I've taken memorial services inside prison. Recently I used it for the background to a power point slide show (Experience Jesus in the the good times, the bad times and beyond the GPS) at a women's camp. I always get asked - Who sings it? Where can I buy it? What is the title of the CD?
At memorial services there was never a dry eye left after I'd played it. The tune is great too. Go and buy it or just listen to it at your Christian bookstore. He has recorded it on a couple of his Cd's. You won't regret it.
Here it is.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
A little girl by the name of Tuesday Fiona Whitt lost her battle with cancer a couple of days ago. I have been following her family’s blog for a while and was amazed that they continued to update their blog throughout the whole nightmare.
Their faith and courage is as evident right the way through, as much as their pain and fear for their little one.
It prompted me to think about heaven again and to do some research. I do this every now and then because there are so many wrong ideas about what heaven is like and who gets to be there. I need to dig into my Bible and remind myself why I believe what I do believe.
(All direct Bible quotes are in italics)
· Firstly for Tuesday and all little children there is this - your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.
· He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
· He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces
· you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
· God himself will be with them
· In my (i.e. Jesus) Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
· God . . . has prepared a city for them.
· There is wow factor: You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly
· Jesus called it “paradise”
· There will be nothing to fear in heaven. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
· Children will not even fear the dark for there will be no darkness. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
· No disease or famine or war. No longer will there be any curse
· On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there
· into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you,
· they will be like the angels in heaven
· we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
· In this you greatly rejoice though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
· Heaven is better than anything we can even imagine. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
· And so we will be with the Lord forever.
The Bible has even more than this to say about heaven, but it's a start.
Monday, January 26, 2009
I often wondered what was really wrong, what was at the heart of this Christian organisation that allowed so many people to become indifferent to Biblical values. It began to dawn on me that they were so certain of their rights as God's children and so assured of his forgiveness, no matter what, that they thought it didn't matter how they behaved. Like spoilt children who know that their parents are going to feed them and clothe them and care for them in spite of their worst misbehaviour they depended on God's promised forgiveness. God's hands were legally tied (in their reckoning). Salvation is assured.
Because of the cross, Jesus is not just another historical figure. He is my friend, but not just my friend. He is my brother, but not just my brother. He is my teacher, but not just my teacher. He is my saviour who was whipped and insulted and nailed to a cross for me. That has to affect how I live.
We have to be cross centred.
What of Bible studies and devotions? Well to be honest, I can't remember anything of significance at all. Maybe that is an indictment of me, but in my defence I have to say that it was a long time ago.
Sticking in my mind is the early morning prayer meeting. I'm not a morning person, but I thought that since I was attending as a chaplain, it would be best to set an example and not be found wanting. Big mistake!
It was a beautiful mild morning. The magpies were singing in the distance and the doves were calling their gentle "doodle doo, doodle doo" from every tree nearby. The air had that gentle, caressing feel about it. An ideal setting to let your mind dwell on the creator and to let go of distracting emotions and thoughts. That is what I was thinking and at first it went according to plan.
Someone started the morning with a short explanation and led us with a short prayer. Other women followed naturally with their own short prayers and it was flowing as it should. Someone near me began to pray in tongues. Someone else followed suit, but sang her prayer in tongues. This seemed to be a cue for others who did this sort of thing to also sing their prayers in tongues and one by one at first, then several at a time and finally, it seemed, most of the group were singing in tongues.
I'm told that this can be very delightful and pleasing to the ear. It wasn't. It was a cacophony. Each new tongue singer seemed to want to be heard above the last and so the volume got louder and louder in a great discordant crescendo. I couldn't think straight with the noise of their "singing" clashing and clanging in my ears. Prayer was no longer a possibility for me in the midst of this clamour, apart from pleading with God to give them all a mild dose of laryngitis. I felt that the morning had been hijacked by the Pentecostals.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-Pentecostal. But I do find that many Pentecostals don't realise how much their exercise of their religious freedom often intrudes on and overrides the religious freedom of those who have a more conservative faith and less demonstrative way of expressing our faith. At the prayer meeting, it seemed obvious to me that the goal of many of the pray-ers was to be the longest and loudest, as though God was a deaf old man. As though he could not hear even the prayers of a normal speaking voice, let alone the unspoken prayers of our hearts.
Theologically speaking, St Paul had quite a lot to say about this when he wrote to the Corinthians about orderly worship. He did say that one must speak at a time and that what is spoken in tongues should be interpreted. After reading 1 Corinthians, chapters 12-14, maybe we should ask ourselves:
- Spiritual gifts, such as tongues, are for the building up of the Church. In what way is my spiritual gift building up the Church, if at all?
- Am I using my gift to serve others or myself?
- Are more than 2 or 3 speaking at a single meeting? Paul specified this for a reason.
- Am I contributing to the orderly nature worship?
- Am I being loving to those around me now, and in my relationships with others (and God) at other times? If not I'm just a "clanging cymbal" (Paul's words not mine).
- What would a "stranger" to our meeting learn about God from this?
This was just a spur of the moment idea because it was on my mind when I woke up this morning. I may have left out some important questions. You can let me know.