Chapter 2 Written / Published 23.2.19/1.3.19 (Pics by author, unless indicated)
Summer in Australia is always hot. January 2019 broke many heat records.
The needle of the world's moral compass, including Australia, is pointing in the wrong direction. Brutal laws are passed in our Parliaments that resemble a slap in the face of our Holy Creator. Should we be surprised that natural disasters are more frequent and become more devastating?
The controversial US President provides a breath of fresh air at the beginning of the chapter. At the end we'll have some fun with his name and A.
In recent years more and more bad behaviour is coming light, hidden for decades. A clerical collar is no guarantee of holiness. How must God feel, who sees it all? He must be furious about the world's sin. God be merciful and save their souls!
If only all would accept the solution - the Saviour.
2. Trump et A
Our family Christmas 2018 get-together almost ended with an argument. Somehow the conversation turned to politics. Many times in the past it had been contentious moral issues or religion that spoiled many happy gatherings. When our eldest son studied US history during the Iraqi war, the trigger point was US politics.
There is some merit in not discussing religion or politics, but I don't entirely agree. In Australia we have compulsory voting, when every few years we have to vote for those who promise to implement laws and programs that we want.
Not only did local politics stir the emotions at the Christmas lunch, it got worse when the subject turned to the US President. One of our sons gave Trump a verbal thump, pardon the pun. It's happening all over the world - a crude joke about Donald and you have the party laugh out loud.
Our psychologist son had just been watching a Netflix documentary on Roger Stone, a influential character who, as I understood, used dubious methods to help various US Presidents get elected. (Late January 2019 Stone got arrested).
Ridiculing the US President has become a movement. Powerful voices in the media and Hollywood, as well as many liberated young people, have jumped onto the bandwagon.
Love him or hate him, on certain issues President Trump is showing outstanding, fearless leadership. Take his uncompromising comments, expressed during the State of the Union address on February 5th 2019, on the subject of abortion. Read it in the paragraph below. It feels like a breath of fresh air; at least to those with the moral fibre to stand up for what is right - not those who insist on their rights!
Has any President ever spoken out so passionately? Ardent campaigners for women's reproductive rights in Australia are the Greens. The Green Party advocates that a woman can do with her own body as she likes, even murder her unborn baby.
The only female Greens Member of South Australia's Parliament is pushing ahead with their latest Abortion Reform Bill in Parliament. The bill would remove Section 82A of the current law. Section 82A are the safeguards against the abuse of terminating pregnancies.
As I understand it, the new laws would allow abortion up to birth, would require only one health professional's involvement and young teenagers would not need parental consent etc. Abortion is Government sanctioned murder at a grand scale.
Sadly, it has already been happening for decades! But it still doesn't make it right! In a speech to Parliament the Greens MP is quoted as saying: "Abortion is a healthy choice..." What a barbaric, heartless society have we become! How can snuffing out the life of a perfectly healthy human being be called healthy? It certainly isn't for the helpless unborn baby!
I find it outrageous that there is very little outrage in the community. The media virtually ignores this brutal slaughter of these helpless human beings, mass murder on a grand scale. Where are the church leaders, who preach the Ten Commandments behind their pulpits, but keep silent about this government sanctioned massacre?
In the five decades I have attended thousands of church services, I'd find it hard to recall one sermon, where a preacher spoke out boldly against abortion laws.
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Before our Premier and/or the Labor Opposition backs Greens Abortion Bill, God forbid, may I remind them what happened after Queensland's Premier proudly announced her achievement in decriminalizing abortion.
It's amazing that in times of a desperate drought even politicians and the media can be heard telling people to pray for rain. If they did during above fires, their prayers appeared to have been answered. Rain came indeed. In the last days of 2018 a tropical low brought rain, heavy rain and more rain. But what at first had looked like a blessing soon turned into another natural disaster if immense proportions.
This river swelled to a body of water 60 kilometers wide in places. Wildlife and livestock ran out of places of safety. Entire cattle stations were wiped out in a short time. Latest reports say that volunteers are helping to dig mass graves for the 1/2 million estimated cattle that drowned. How putrid would those rotting carcasses stink...!
During January 2019 Australia experienced its hottest month on record. Various locations around our state on January 24th, exactly one month from the date of this writing, our suburb reached an all time heat record. Take a look at the thermometer on our back veranda:
Para Hills, South Australia 24.1.19 - approx. 47° C.
The first five words - I can do all things - are very much misunderstood. A fervent bible believer who claims these words as a promise from God is mistaken. Yes, we can stand on God's Word, but anyone who mistakenly thinks they are operating by faith, who expect Christ to magically arrange a hat trick in soccer or score 50 points in basketball, is deluding themselves.
The first problem - what if the opposition also stands of this false premise, which was not meant as a promise? (Unless, if they do, this could explain the many drawn soccer games, ha ha?)
Secondly, scripture must be taken in context. In the preceding verses the Apostle Paul writes about a holy contentment - to be able to live in abundance as well as being able to handle hardship. And didn't he have many of those for the sake of his trust in his Lord?!
Perhaps here Paul was expressing a similar principle as that at the beginning of this book: "When I am weak then I am strong?" A real winner doesn't lose his joy, or his interest in the sport when they don't win every race or game. A real winner is one who came second or last, (being weaker, so to speak) and in defeat can congratulate the gold medallists genuinely for their achievement. Loser who throw a tantrum when they don't win are losers twice!
Christians who blame God when a storm upsets their comfortable, middle class life, who give up their faith, who lose their trust and joy in the Lord during hardship, must remember that contentment, peace and joy come from knowing Jesus intimately. Circumstances, be they good or bad, does not destroy a real winner's trust in God.
(Back to Australia's 2019 summer heat).
In the middle of the record breaking months of January 2019 another natural catastrophe in Australia made heart-breaking news. Reports spoke of fish dying en masse in the Darling River as well as Lake Hume in New South Wales. An estimated one million (1 000 000) Murray Cod and other endangered species perished.
If the drought had caused this calamity maybe we can make God responsible? Why did HE not bring rain to make waters flow for fish to thrive in a healthy river?
What if God is greatly angered by the barbaric human behaviour that HE sees every day? The killing of the unborn is only the tip of the iceberg. The daily news is filled with human misbehaviour. The word is SIN. Sin is not merely the disregard of the Ten Commandments. It's a total turning away from God, denying that sin even exists, refusing to repent, stubbornly rejecting HIS gentle call to surrender and acknowledge that Jesus is Lord!
Who is interested in humbling themselves? Does anybody still pray? Do HIS people seek HIS face daily? Who is turning from their wicked ways?
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Is there a better example of a wolf in sheep's clothing? Maybe, because his church pews are empty the holy man has finally found an audience. Did this shepherd ever preach the parable about the shepherd and the lost sheep?
Has the church lost its saltiness? Love for everybody is wonderful, a very biblical principal. But love for God takes preeminence. Can anybody really believe in the bible, which does not condone the gay lifestyle, yet at the same time appear on television and invite people to cheer on those who take pride in it??
As I write on 27.2.19, let me assure you, the church is not the flavour of the month. The world's spotlight is on another man of the collar, who has been found guilty of sexual abuse of two 13-year old altar boys. Our Advertiser front page, plus five more pages, deal with only this one story. The world is shocked, leaving Catholics speechless. The media can't get enough of it, feeding frenzy describes it best!
Besides the allegedly abused boys and the Cardinal only God knows the whole truth, which one day will be revealed. If not on this side of eternity it will be when the Cardinal stands before God Almighty, who is the judge. On that day all will stand before God to give account of their life, including those who are presently pouring out their anger and hatred at the Cardinal and the Catholic Church.
"So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God" (Romans 14,12 NIV).
God will not ask: "What did you think of that Cardinal who did this, and the Catholic Church?" He will ask about the choices you made in your life: Did you love God with all your heart? Did you trust HIM with all your mind? Did you do HIS will on earth?
God is raving mad at the rampant sin all over the world, not merely those of the clergy. The human race has lost the plot. They need a Saviour. In the Old Testament we read about the constant cycle of God's people falling into sin and God having to deal harshly with them to draw them back to HIM. Eventually, the people were sorry, paid their sacrifice and all was OK for a time.
Soon it was back to the usual misbehaviour and the cycle had to start all over again. Until - Jesus came on the scene. Now all only needed to accept the sacrifice HE made, allowing HIS life to be snuffed out on a wooden beam under immense physical and psychological pain. Yet HE forgave.
All mankind from then on needed to do, accept Jesus and what HE did. But people won't.
Could this be why God withholds HIS blessing, prosperity, health and all HE intended for us, all HE is able to do and wants to accomplish?
Climatic disaster are to show HIS ultimate power over all things, including nature. They are to humble the proud, who think there is no God. It's to demonstrate how helpless the most brilliant of scientists are compared to God's universal supremacy. With the breath of his mouth God can create a cyclone category 5. The maker of heaven and earth can display HIS power whenever, wherever HE likes.
Another reason HE withholds the rains or allows the storms to rage is that HE loves us! HE is not saying I told you so. God needs to discipline nations to draw them back to HIM. HE wants to heal their land, even the land of Australia.
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This chapter commenced writing about our Christmas table discussion and the worst subject we could have chosen - Donald Trump. Was there ever another President who was as controversial, loved, hated, and who has been made fun of to the degree the 45th President of the USA has? He even makes fun of himself. Let me explain.
Around 10 PM on Dec. 26th 2018 I heard him speak on our ABC 24 News Channel. From memory the President was sitting at a desk, when I heard him speak the word company, before quickly correcting it to country, Many times had I heard somebody* say a word, only to say the correct one straight after. We all do it.
However, thinking a little further, for whatever reason, I sensed something in my spirit. Perhaps there was some fun to be had? I scribbled down COMPANY / COUNTRY on a piece of paper. I played my letter elimination game, which left the letters MPA from company and U TR from country; next game jumble letters and voila - TRUMP A.
Strange, I thought, the President's own name plus the letter A?
What came two months later trumps even that! On February 23rd I commenced this chapter with Donald Trump and his fresh air comments on abortion. The very next day in church, during the same service as the yellow I CAN T-shirt sage above, I suddenly saw the Presidents name in the lyrics of a hymnal.
Take a look at some lyrics from Horatio Spafford's famous hymn It is well with my soul, written in 1873:
On a serious note, there is a tragic story behind this hymn and it perfectly fits our thoughts on being strong through the storm and trusting God, who is able to see us through.
Only God's Holy Spirit could have provided such strength, such deep peace and security in the midst of the worst tragedy imaginable.
Trust me, HE can do it for all. HE is able. HE is Lord of ALL.