Observations on life; particularly spiritual

Spiritual

Biblical evidence of the Trinity

Three angels that visited Abraham - Gen. 18:1-8 - Andrei Rublev 1411 or 1426I have been asked, “How do you know that there is a Christian trinity ? Where is the proof in the Bible?”

This post comes from CrossExamined.org

The doctrine of the Trinity has come under increasing attack over recent years from a variety of groups. Some of these groups (such as Muslims and Jehovah’s witnesses) deny that this doctrine is even found in Scripture. They are often quick to point out that the word “trinity” is to be found nowhere in the Bible. This is correct. While the phraseology is not found in Scripture, however, the concept most certainly is. (more…)


The Trinity is unique to Christianity

This post comes from Dr Tom Murphy who lives in Sydney, Australia.

What feature most differentiates Christianity from any other religion? What makes it special? Is it the crucifixion? The resurrection? The belief that Jesus was divine? Or something else?

What makes Christianity special? (more…)


Tyre reminds us that God keeps His promises

Roman ruins at Tyre in LebanonTyre was an island 800m (0.5 miles) off the coast north of Israel with two harbors, which was part of Phoenicia, an ancient civilization of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily located in modern Lebanon. It was noted for its wealth, pleasant environment and security (Ezek. 27:3-25; Hos. 9:13). Tyre was wealthy because it was a great trading center (Isa. 23:8; Ezek. 27:12-14; 28:4-5). In Semitic languages, the name of the city means “rock” after the rocky formation on which the city was originally built. (more…)


COVID anger

Anger can kill other emotions, like a very hot chilli can overpower all other flavors!

The changes, uncertainties and reductions in some of the freedoms we had taken for granted can lead to frustration, and sometimes even to anger.

This post comes from Philip Nunn who lives in The Netherlands.

How do you respond to the arrival of new COVID variants, rules and restrictions? How do you feel about the social and legal changes aggressively promoted by those with new ideas on sex, family and gender? Are you concerned? The issue that frustrates you may be more local, at your workplace, your church or in your family. (more…)


COVID fear

There is considerable fear and anxiety about COVID-19Yesterday there were 35,000 new cases of COVID-19 in New South Wales, Australia. And it was 38,600 today. The World Health Organization has warned of a “tsunami of cases” of COVID-19 (from Omicron and Delta variants) around the world.

This post comes from Tony Payne who lives in Sydney, Australia.

A lot of Christian pixels have been spilt over the past several weeks about vaccination, conscience, the weaker brother, civil obedience, the freedom to gather, the desirability of not excluding anyone, and more besides. (more…)


The Lord’s Supper is a memorial, not a transubstantiation

Christ the Redeemer monument, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilWe celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a memorial or a remembrance of what Christ did on the cross, but it can be different in some other churches.

According to the Roman Catholic Church, at the Lord’s Supper the bread and the wine mystically change into the actual body and blood of Christ. However, the outward characteristics of the bread and wine remain unaltered. This miracle (called transubstantiation) is believed to be brought about by the priest’s prayer. After this they believe that the bread and wine are holy and sacred. (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…)


Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

Reformation DayI have been asked the following question,
“The 31st October 1517 was Reformation Day, when Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the Roman Catholic church door. It has been suggested that this should be an annual church celebration. I have only recently learned of this event. My initial reaction to making Reformation Day an annual celebration was one of hesitancy. Luther did some very good things, but there are also some things that concern me. Is this such a significant event in the history of the Church that we should celebrate it? My greatest concern is that should this become a celebrated event akin to that of Easter and Christmas, are we exalting a man and not Christ?” (more…)


Joy to the world, the Lord has come

If Jesus’ birth was the advent of joy for all people, where is this joy? None of us have to search hard to find life is still riddled with hurt, sickness, resentment, rejection, violence, broken relationships… You could keep the list going I’m sure.

The birth of Jesus doesn’t seem to have made much difference to the suffering of this world. Where is joy to the world? (more…)


Synonyms of the Lord’s Supper

Synonyms of the Lord’s SupperThe Lord’s Supper is described in the Bible in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and the books of Acts and 1 Corinthians. These were all written between about AD 45 and AD 63 (Appendix A). Where do the synonyms we use for the Lord’s Supper come from?

At the last Passover before Jesus died (about AD 30), He told His disciples to eat the bread and drink the cup of wine “in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19NIV). Although there is no name for the Lord’s Supper in these gospels, some people call it “the Remembrance Service” or “the Memorial service”. (more…)


The relationship between voluntary assisted dying, suicide and murder

A "Voluntary assisted dying" (VAD) protestA vote on the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Bill 2021 in parliament has been delayed until next year. The Bill intends to, “create a safe framework for people who are in the final stages of a terminal illness and who are experiencing cruel suffering that cannot be relieved by treatment or palliative care to be provided with the choice to die peacefully, with dignity and surrounded by loved ones” (NSW PRS, 2021). NSW is currently the only state in Australia that doesn’t allow terminally ill people to seek medical assistance to end their own lives. VAD is defined in Appendix A. (more…)


The original context of the Lord’s Supper

"The last supper" by Leonardo Di Vinci in 1498 Paul described the Lord’s Supper as follows, “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:23-26NIV). (more…)


Genocide of the Midianites?

"Battle of Gideon Against the Midianites" by Nicolas Poussin 1626Does the Bible support genocide, violence and war? In the Bible God tells the Israelites to destroy the Midianite nation. I have received a comment about the military threat of the Midianite nation, “Why couldn’t they (the Israelites) spare any (Amalekite) captives? At least those who wouldn’t be a military threat in the future like the Midianites?”

After the death of Sarah, Abraham married Keturah, and Midian was one of their sons (Gen. 25:1-4; 1 Chron. 1:32-33). Midian’s descendants were called Midianites or Ishmaelites (Gen. 37:27-28; Jud. 8:24-26). They settled in “the land of the east (of Canaan)” (Gen. 25:6NIV). And they are thought to have worshipped many gods, including Baal-peor and the Queen of Heaven, Ashteroth. (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…)


Taking risks for God

Developer ordered to fix serious defects in a 16-storey apartment tower in AuburnIn March 2021 a developer was given an order to fix serious defects in a 16-storey apartment tower in Auburn in New South Wales. The defects included waterproofing, fixing of wall tiles to bathroom and ensuite walls, and falls to bathroom and ensuite floors. Following the structural flaws in Sydney’s Opal and Mascot towers, there has been increased attention on weeding out shoddy work. The risk assessment done by the builder was something like this. I can make more money by not doing everything properly. What could go wrong that could harm my profit? I could get caught by the NSW Building Commissioner. What would be the consequence of this happening? Is it minor, or moderate or major? Besides the extra cost it would be bad publicity and so the impact would be “major”. What is the likelihood of this happening? Is it unlikely (rare), or possible, or likely (common)? Because he thought he could get away with it, he thought it was “unlikely” (rare). What is the risk level? The risk matrix (table), says that a “unlikely” likelihood and a “major” consequence give a “medium” risk ranking, which is tolerable. That’s why he went ahead with the shoddy work. But he erred – the likelihood was actually “possible”, which gives a high risk. And he suffered the consequences. (more…)


Meeting as church after COVID-19

Watching church onlineWhy change from following online services at home?

This post comes from Philip Nunn who lives in The Netherlands.

COVID-19 is here to stay. It is another serious threat humanity is learning to live with. This morning I read a thought provoking article in my local newspaper about the future of high street shopping. During these last two years of lockdowns and physical limitations, web shops have grown in popularity. Online shopping is available day and night, it makes products and suppliers easier to compare, you don’t lose time going, queuing and coming back, no parking fees and the prices are very competitive. Why would customers want to return to high street shopping? City planners, sociologists and shop owners are clearly concerned. They propose creative ways to make high street shopping an interesting and engaging experience. We Christians must also awake to the new opportunities and challenges that lay before us. Change has happened. (more…)


Occam’s razor

How has sea level changed over history?How has sea level changed over history?

Scientists think that in ancient times the global climate and sea level went through many cyclic changes. Why do they believe this and what is the pattern of the sea level according to written history? This post addresses the gross features of the global mean sea level (GMSL), and not minor variations and trends. (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…)


Demons Bluff is falling down

Demons bluff - Image by WagscapesFrom March 2021 the beach below Demons Bluff (near Anglesea in Victoria, Australia) has been closed due to the significant risk of cliff collapse. Landslips are unpredictable and can occur without warning. The size of material that falls onto the beach can be very large, with rocks and debris a potentially fatal hazard. A crack about 10 centimeters wide has grown to 70 centimeters in recent years, and that part of the cliff “is about to disappear”. The crack runs about 60 meters along the cliff. A large chunk of cliff collapsed at Demons Bluff in 2019. (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…)


Heroes and villains

World Watch List 2021: the 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian. The top 5 are North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and Pakistan.

Christian martyrs

Graham Staines was an Australian Christian missionary in India. In 1999 he and his two sons were burnt to death by Hindu fundamentalists alleging “forced” conversions. A mob of about 50 people, armed with axes and other implements, attacked a jeep while Staines and his sons were asleep inside, and set it alight, trapping them inside and burning them to death. A few days later, Graham’s wife, Gladys, made a public statement forgiving the killers. But hate crimes against religious minorities continue in India. (more…)


Where is Grannie?

At Christian funerals we celebrate Christ’s victory over deathA message given at my mother-in-law’s funeral on 16 September 2021

Grannie was brought up on farms where they grew their own food and prepared their own meals. It was hard work. There were no takeaway meals or supermarkets in those days! Then she married and spent 31 years in country towns bringing up her five children. After this she used her cooking and hospitality skills and experience to cater at Winmalee Christian Conference Center for 11 years before she retired. (more…)


What does the Bible say about Christians getting vaccinations?

Should Christians get vaccinated against COVID-19?I have been asked if Christians should get vaccinated against COVID-19. As vaccination was invented in the late 18th century AD, while the New Testament was written at least 1,700 years beforehand in the 1st century AD, this topic isn’t addressed in the Bible. However, there are principles in the Bible that are relevant.

Debatable Matters

In a situation that is not sinful, whether to get a vaccination can be considered to be a debatable matter where Christians may have different opinions and convictions. These are secondary matters that are not essential to the Christian faith. The Bible distinguishes between essentials and non-essentials in the Christian faith. The essentials or fundamentals or primary matters are things which all believers should agree on. They are the tests the Bible quotes for recognizing false teachers and false ideas about things such as the person and work of Christ; the good news of salvation “by grace … through faith .. not by works” (Eph. 2:8-9); and the inspiration and authority of the Bible as God’s revelation to us. (more…)