We can not live well without love. It is a universal truth as much as it is a cliche. Love lost, love unrequited, love received – these are the real events that make our lives and mark our memories. Without true love in our lives, whether it be a parent, a child, a lover, a friend, or a pet, we limp along surviving but never thriving. And it is not a coincidence that as the oft- quoted Bible verse declares, “God is love” (1 John 4:16). God is love, and He has created us to exist, to thrive, in His love. (more…)
What is your ultimate holiday destination? Dream big, imagine you have no limit on your budget or time. Are you a chalet in the Alps, sitting by a wood fire drinking cognac kind of person? A New Zealand extreme sports adventurer? A culture vulture visiting the galleries of Italy? Or would you prefer a tropical island with massages, snorkelling, and endless feasts? There are so many beautiful places and experiences to be had if you have the money and time for them. (more…)
It’s particularly upsetting when a Christmas gift gets lost in the post – one that you’ve carefully chosen and wrapped and sent with love to that special someone you can’t be with over Christmas. With Australia Post making over 2 million deliveries a day it’s no wonder some Christmas parcels go missing. Such as the fruitcake that 3 year old Beau baked with his grandma and sent to his great grandparents. That lovingly made fruitcake only had to travel 150 km and should have taken about a week to get to Beau’s great grandparents. But because of an old barcode left on the re-used parcel box, Beau’s fruitcake travelled approximately 7,000 km and took almost two months to arrive. (more…)
Tsunamis, floods, and bush fires are no joke. In 2021 it was estimated by Deloitte that natural disasters cost Australia over $38 billion a year and this will nearly double by 2060. The real cost, however, is more than a financial one, many people and animals lose their homes and even their lives when a major disaster strikes.
So what should we think about the weather? Is God really in control? Most of us are comfortable asking God for good weather for our next sports game or outdoor event – we may even thank God for a perfect sunny day. But when it comes to bad weather, who’s to blame – infamous weather systems like El nina or God? And who can we go to about these disasters? (more…)
“God Save the Queen” has been the anthem of Britain for the last 70 years; the phrase used as an expression of patriotism and royal support. But what did the Queen need saving from? Did she need saving from republicanism, from the decline of the Commonwealth, from foreign invasion, or the collapse of her own family? In her own words, Queen Elizabeth II explained she needed saving from something far more insidious and universal than outside enemies. “Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves—from our recklessness or our greed,” Queen Elizabeth said during her Christmas message in 2011. This remarkable woman, who has since her passing been described as dutiful, faithful, servanthearted, forgiving and stable, recognised that she still needed saving from her own sin. (more…)
Queen Elizabeth was the world’s most famous woman. She was depicted in award-winning films such as The Queen and the popular Netflix series The Crown.
One of the prayers at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral service began, “We give thanks to God for Queen Elizabeth’s loyalty to the faith she inherited through her baptism and confirmation, and affirmed at her coronation; for her unswerving devotion to the gospel; and for her steadfast service as Supreme Governor of the Church of England”. But are these indicators of a true Christian? (more…)
What would your ideal parent be like? This question may feel a bit awkward or even painful to answer, but I invite you to consider it for a moment. If you’re anything like me, your character list of the ideal parent might go something like… caring, gentle, wise, compassionate, capable, stable, fun. Then, if I was really going all out with a wish list I might add powerful, rich and well respected. (more…)
In 2013 a friend and I walked through Glenbrook Gorge in the Blue Mountains to Lapstone Rail Station. I had a map to follow. Outside the gorge we reached a junction, but I didn’t know where we were on the map. So I didn’t know whether the station was towards the left or the right. We walked right towards the north for about 15 minutes and then repented (turned around) because we realised that the station was probably towards the south! We had to turn around 180 degrees to reach our destination. As we wasted at least half an hour because of this mistake, I decided to get a mobile [cell] phone so I could use a GPS like Google maps to show where I was on the map. (more…)
The day of reckoning – it’s an exciting moment in the movie or TV show we’re watching. Finally the wrongdoers get exposed, the evil monster is overpowered and defeated, justice is served. It appears to be a universal longing played out in film and television across cultures and time. We also hope for a judgement day in the real world as we watch televised court cases about abusers, big corporations causing harm in the interest of making money, corrupt politicians using their power for personal gain and the actions of despotic dictators. But when it comes to a universal, ultimate day of reckoning we’re not so keen. The Christian doctrine of a final judgement day is often seen as archaic, incompatible with a loving God or just plain laughable. (more…)
This post is based on two articles by Dr Jay Wile.
Professor Rosalind Picard
Rosalind Picard (1962 – ) is a Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who invented a new branch of computer science called affective computing. Picard was raised an atheist, but converted to Christianity as a young adult. When she was a school student she believed that smart children didn’t need religion. So she promoted atheism and dismissed people who believed in God as uneducated. (more…)
The existence of another dimension. A character with the ability to influence and change the physical world without physical force. A powerful evil monster out to kill. These are the elements of a science fiction narrative. But what if there is truth in them?
The message of the Bible is pretty strange. It talks of a spiritual dimension – angels and demons and an all powerful, all knowing God in control of it all. This spiritual dimension is generally unseen by us ordinary humans with our physical eyes. But the Bible records a special time in history when the supernatural burst into the world in the very natural form of a new born baby. Jesus’ birth, life and even His miracles are recorded in numerous ancient historical accounts. Turning water into wine. Healing a paralysed person with only His words. Bringing a man who has been dead for four days back to life. This is not the kind of thing we see outside of science fiction and fantasy. (more…)
When a maternity hospital is bombed; when a 55 year old woman with multiple sclerosis has to be carried from her home to escape shelling; when a 5 week old baby is shot dead with his family as they try to drive to safety… What words are there?
Whatever our political views, whatever our beliefs or our circumstances, in all of us something cries out in protest against the horror of the vulnerable and innocent people of Ukraine suffering. (more…)
Have you ever had to walk in the dark? I mean when it’s can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face dark? For those of us not used to it, walking in the dark can be slow and scary. We may have an idea of a destination but we can’t always be sure we’re going in the right direction. We desperately search for something familiar or a sliver of light to guide us. (more…)
Do you agree love hurts? Should it hurt? Is something wrong if it hurts? If we understand love as an unrelenting concern for another’s well-being, love does open us up to grief and pain in this broken world. When we love, we feel our loved ones suffering with them. When we love we are vulnerable to being hurt by our loved one’s words and actions. When we love we hurt. (more…)
Though we don’t live like it, death is a sure thing. I often take walks amongst the beautiful gardens and graves of the cemetery I live near. Thousands and thousands of headstones and memorial plaques lay quietly in various stages of abandon. Each represents another human who was once living and breathing like me. Right now death seems like something that happens to other people, but one day the sum of our lives will also be etched on a headstone for others to pass by. And then? (more…)
“You’re as good as Bluey’s dad”. It is the highest compliment our young children can give my husband. I’ve given a similar compliment to one of our humorous friends and father of four. Bandit, more commonly known as Bluey’s Dad, is an animated Australian cattle dog daddy who has captured the hearts of children and parents the world over with his dry wit, playfulness and love for his two doggy daughters. The show has won an Emmy and Bandit has been declared a dad-idol by celebrities and dedicated fan groups. (more…)
It was Christmas Day. I was in Kathmandu 10,000 kilometers from home. I knew no one. I didn’t understand the language everyone was speaking around me. The food, the gestures, the smells were all new and strange to me. Yet I clapped along to the songs, in which I understood only one word, with a sense of belonging. The word was Yesu – Jesus. Because of Jesus these strangers were also my brothers and sisters. They welcomed me. They shared their Christmas lunch with me. They invited me back to their homes with warm smiles and enthusiasm. (more…)
Many people are living dangerously today and they are oblivious to the massive risk they are taking!
Electrical substations have oil-filled transformers. A catastrophic failure can cause the loss of large amounts of oil from the transformers and can cause a fire and damage containment bunds resulting in soil and water contamination. Major power supply substations usually have two levels of pollution control for oil spills. The first level (or primary containment) is a bund (or retaining wall) which can contain any spillage. The second level (or secondary containment) is a backup if the first level fails. This can be another bund or an overflow area (like a dam). Two levels of containment is deemed to be sufficient to prevent the pollution of the soil or waterways where there is a significant risk of spillage of hazardous liquids. When these two levels of containment are in place, there is little risk of a spillage having an impact on the surrounding environment. This is an acceptable industrial risk. (more…)
The older I get the more I understand how fragile human life really is. The COVID-19 pandemic is just one example of how something seemingly small can change the lives of the entire world’s population. As advanced, intelligent and resilient as humanity is, life can be lost in the blink of an eye. For this reason we spend a lot of effort trying to protect ourselves and our loved ones… from buckling the back-arching, screaming toddler into her seatbelt, to spending hard earned cash on insurance policies, to getting the COVID jab. (more…)
After 106 days in lockdown, COVID-19 restrictions have eased today in Sydney, Australia, for those who are fully vaccinated. Cafes, restaurants, clubs, pubs, retail businesses and churches can reopen, 10 people are allowed to visit a home and the caps on numbers at weddings and funerals have increased dramatically. Stay at home rules and 5-kilometer travel restrictions have ended. The state now has 90.3 per cent of people aged over 16 who have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 73.5 per cent are fully vaccinated. (more…)
Forgiveness is hard. It is painful. It can be slow and gruelling. Yet there are no relationships in which forgiveness is not necessary.
The forgiveness the Bible speaks of is not turning a blind eye to the wrong committed against you, it is not pretending you are OK, it is not convincing yourself you deserved it or that the wrong doing wasn’t that big a deal. On the contrary, biblical forgiveness looks the offense in the eye, names it for what it is, acknowledges all its painful consequences, weeps over what has been done and lost, and in so doing says, “I love you still”. (more…)
Joe lives alone and has little contact with his family. He has no carer and needs help to look after his home, garden, health and safety. And he has been socially isolated during the 3-month lockdown in Sydney during the COVID pandemic. Like all of us, his days on earth are numbered. But being over 90 years of age, his number of days is less than most of us.
Joe is a nominal Roman Catholic who needs to hear the good news about Jesus – the Bible says that Jesus took our place before God by dying on the cross for us so that we can be forgiven and have a new relationship with God. Here’s an easy way to share the gospel with someone like Joe. (more…)
He’s known you the longest!
Something bizarre was happening inside me. While I ate and slept and talked and went about life as usual, a tiny human was forming in my womb. A minuscule heart, tiny fingers, spec sized toenails, teeny lips were taking shape. I wasn’t directing what was happening. I didn’t make any conscious effort — “OK today we’re going to separate the left and right chambers of the heart … today we’re going to form eyelids.” The only way I knew what was happening inside me was by reading about it. I felt wonder at this most ordinary miracle taking place within my body. I felt humbled at how little control I had over this most significant life event. (more…)