Observations on life; particularly spiritual

Gospel

Sin bin Sunday

NRL players going to the sin bin in Sydney on 11 Sep 2022Yesterday was called “Sin bin Sunday” by the Sydney news media. Seven players were sent to the sin bin (Appendix) in a game for the first time in Australian Rugby League history. (more…)


Be who were born to be, a child of God

Be who were born to be, a child of GodWhat 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…)


Repentance – turning around to follow the true God

We had to turn around 180 degrees to reach our destinationIn 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…)


Strangest thing – Jesus will return

Strangest thing - Jesus will returnThe 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…)


Two scientists who left atheism for Christianity

Rosalind Picard - Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MITThis 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…)


Strangest thing – Jesus rose from the dead

Strangest thing – Jesus rose from the deadThe 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…)


Pray for justice, mercy and peace

Pray for justice, mercy and peaceWhen 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…)


No one knows what tomorrow will bring

No one knows what tomorrow will bringHave 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…)


Love hurts

Love opens us up to grief and painDo 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…)


Meet your maker

Meet your maker before you meet your makerThough 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…)


Jesus is even better than Bluey’s dad

Jesus is even better than Bluey's dad“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…)


You are welcome here

You are welcome hereIt 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…)


Living dangerously

Many people are living dangerously today and they are oblivious to the massive risk they are taking!

Power plant electrical transformersElectrical 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…)


Are you protected?

Are you protected?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…)


Freedom from lockdown

Milo, the dogAfter 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 – Easier said than done

Forgiveness – Easier said than doneForgiveness 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…)


The gospel in one Bible verse

Joe lives alone and has been socially isolated during the 3-month COVID pandemic lockdownJoe 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…)


Is it time to start trusting God?

Is it time to start trusting God?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…)


At life’s crossroads? Let Jesus give you directions

Life’s road is rarely straight. We often find ourselves in places we didn’t expect or want. How are you going with the uncertainty of life at the moment? Do you feel like you’re standing at a crossroads and not sure which direction to take? There are so many unknowns and what ifs. However, we don’t have to step into the uncertainty alone.

When Jesus was facing His violent crucifixion, He took the time to explain to His followers that although they couldn’t go with Him immediately they would one day be reunited with Him in His eternal kingdom. One candid follower verbalized his concern,

“Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life’” (John 14:5-6). (more…)


Jesus: a 4-letter word or the name above all names?

Jesus: a 4-letter word or the name above all names?What do you do in that flash of anger, shock or pain? When you’re driving and another car dangerously pulls out in front of you; when you kick your toe; when you hear bad news; it seems universally human to call out in exasperation. Jesus Christ is commonly used as an expletive in these times. However the Bible tells us, Jesus Christ, an empty swear word to so many, is actually the most honorable, worthy and precious name. Why? (more…)


Sanitize more than hands

Sanitize more than handsHow clean do you keep your hands? Hand hygiene has certainly gotten a lot of attention lately. It reminds me of one of my favorite Shakespearean scenes — Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking after she has orchestrated the murder of her king. In her sleep she sees spots of blood on her hands and no amount of washing can remove them. She smells blood on her hands and “all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten” them. Of course it is her conscience and not her hands that is really unclean. (more…)


Imagine someone knowing everything about you!

Imagine someone knowing everything about you, and still loving you (God does)Do you know you’re not the only one? We all have parts of ourselves we’d rather no one else knew about. Parts we may try to hide from even ourselves, to distract ourselves from with busyness or entertainment, to overcompensate for with gifts or acts of service. But they are there. Whether it’s memories of what we’ve done or what has been done to us, ugly thoughts and feelings we can’t bear to look in the face, the way we treat our family when no one else is around, secret addictions we believe render us unlovable… Oh they are there and they want to remain hidden in the dark where no one can see and judge them. (more…)


Still social distancing from God?

Still social distancing from God? Get close today.It’s something you took for granted isn’t it? To hug someone hello. To shake a congratulatory hand. To hold that fresh new baby at that birthday barbecue or slap a mate on the back. It feels wrong to sidestep strangers, least of all a relative.

Since COVID-19, there are people who have left this earth in solitude and babies who have been born into the arms of parents, yet haven’t seen another face. They left the doors of the hospital and have never been passed around their village of friends and family. (more…)


The themes in the book of Acts

The overall theme of the book of Acts in the Bible is the growth of the early church. And the key verse is “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (1:8NIV). That’s the mission of the church. Believers are to be God’s witnesses.

Schematic diagram: Themes of Acts (more…)