Report From the Front

It’s tough here at Port Macquarie- so many potential activities battling the desire for a quiet week. Margaret’s been taking the morning shift and I take the afternoon shift for naps.

Tuesday night is the big special at Mike’s Seafood in the heart of Port Macquarie. The deal is you buy one serve of fish and chips at the regular price of $9.25 and a second serve costs just $2. You get very generous servings of well cooked battered fish and scrumptious chips.

So we took our fish and chips 50 metres to the Town Green, near the Hastings River. We sat down on the grass ready to be mean to the assembled seagulls which seem to believe that humans are there to feed them. 

Then we were joined by a pelican which seemed determined that we would donate our fish. He landed a few metres away but edged closer and closer, until the tip of his beak was almost in Margaret’s dinner. Until you have confronted a pelican eye to eye over a piece of fish, you have no idea how menacing they can be.

I waved at it to send it away. It backed off a metre then edged closer again.

I was about to stand up to scare it off when a man behind me said, “I can help with that. I wasn’t sure if you wanted it there or not.”

With that he unleashed the secret weapon- a two year old boy! The boy wasted no time in chasing the birds. The seagulls and pelican headed out over the river and towards the boats. The seagulls regrouped later but the intimidating pelican was not seen again.

Tonight’s dinner will be pancakes at the Pancake Palace. This is Margaret’s favourite eatery in the entire universe.

Tomorrow we will be meeting old friend Kerry Medway for lunch at Sea Acres.

Friday night we will be having dinner with Margaret’s cousin Lorraine who lives in Port Macquarie with husband Chris. In fact we can see their flat from our apartment here. 

Between our social engagements, morning trips to the spa and pool, and daily visits to the beach, we are also finding time to go shopping- a tea shop and several charity shops were on the agenda today. I believe Bunnings and Harvey Norman are expecting our attendance also.

It’s hard work, but we are managing to keep up with it.Image

Reflection on Micah 6:1-8

Reflection on Micah 6:1-8

Religion! Religion!
What a burden this is!
Pray now. Face that way.
Cut your hair. Grow a beard.
Kill your child.
Give up this, Fast from that.

“Relax!” says my God.
“You don’t have to impress me.
I’m the one who saved you
Freely, unasked
Before you knew it
All I want is you
Your life reflecting me
Justice, mercy, humility
Let’s walk together.”

Turning The Bible Into An Idol

King James BibleI couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was Google Plus, in a community dedicated to The Bible, and the person was saying something along these lines: “Why should the Hebrew take precedence over the King James Version? God gave us the King James Version in English.” It turned into a long rant, but I was captivated by the opening words.

When pastors talk about the inspiration of Scripture, they mean that the original version written down by the prophets and apostles were directed by the Holy Spirit.

If you actually look at the process by which the book we call the Bible has been handed down to us, the whole process is a great miracle. Very early texts have been preserved for thousands of years, the agreement between the preserved portions is very high considering they were individually hand written.

I also believe that the Holy Spirit guides the thoughts of those making the translations from Hebrew and Greek into English (or the hundreds of other languages spoken round the world) and most importantly, the Holy Spirit uses those words to speak to the reader, convicting us about sin, holiness and the need for salvation.

But, and this is really important, if you want to read the inspired version of Scripture, you must learn Greek and Hebrew, and read it in the original languages.

Translation from one language to another is an art. It is tricky because no single word in any language really covers the full range of meaning of its equivalent in another language. Even within the English language, Australians use words differently to Americans and New Zealanders. Not only that, but words change subtly in meaning over time even during one person’s lifetime.

So yes, the original Hebrew text does take precedence over the King James, or any other translation for that matter, even the NIV.

Having said that, English speakers are blessed in having dozens of translations of the Bible to choose from. Many of them are very good, and strive to be as accurate as possible in rendering the meaning of the texts. If you can’t learn Greek and Hebrew, read a couple of different English versions to get a wider understanding of the text.

But please don’t turn your favourite translation into an idol. The original texts are infallible, translations less so.

Capitalism- Setting Slaves Free.

 

Mining magnate Andrew Forrest announces coal conversion deal to free 2.5m from slavery in Pakistan

 

 

Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest has announced a plan which he says will free 2.5 million people from slavery in Pakistan.

Mr Forrest has signed a deal with the Pakistani state of Punjab which will give it access to Australian technology which can convert lignite coal into diesel.

In return, he says Pakistan has agreed to bring in laws which will tackle the problem of slavery, or bonded labour.

The Global Slavery Index, compiled by Mr Forrest’s Walk Free foundation, estimates that some 16 million people in Pakistan and India are held in slave-like bondage through debt and forced labour.

Mr Forrest announced the deal in the Swiss resort of Davos, where world leaders are meeting for the World Economic Forum.

“They [Punjab] have literally hundreds of billions of tonnes of equivalent barrel of oil energy in their lignite,” he said.

“That technology we will make available – pro bono, without charge – and linking that informally, but absolutely, to their total commitment to free their people from slavery.”

The concept has won praise from former British prime minister Tony Blair, who described it as a great example of Australian philanthropy.

Mr Forrest says the technology, developed by Curtin University, has the potential to be cost-effective.

“Turning lignite to diesel is proved – so we have no doubt it’s going to happen,” he said.

“The economic cost is the question, and that’s why we’re using Curtin University technology to get that cost as low as possible, so the advantage to the people of Pakistan is as high as possible.”

Mr Forrest has previously invested millions of dollars in Aboriginal employment initatives in Australia and in 2012 founded Walk Free, a philanthropic charity focused on ending slavery worldwide.

He also helped to launch a global slavery index, alongside Mr Blair and former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, which found that 29 million people were living in conditions of modern slavery around the world.

 

From the ABC

Reflection on Matthew 4:12-22

Fishers Of Men1

Scripture

From that time on, Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Observation

After the temptation in the desert, Jesus moves to Capernaum, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy of the light coming to the land of Zebulun and Naphtlali.

From that time, Jesus begins to preach the Good News of the Kingdom.

Jesus calls Simon Peter and Andrew to come and be fishers of men. James and John are in their boat, and they leave to follow Jesus.

Application

Jesus starts preaching and calling His disciples to follow Him.

The message of the Kingdom is still the same. We need to turn away from our self-absorbed ways, obey God and live in the Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God is here so life annot continue in the same old ways.

Like the four men- Simon, Andrew, James, and John- we have to leave the old life behind even at the cost of losing our business or family.

Jesus is calling us to leave everything behind and follow Him.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you died to save me. Help me to give up my hold on my life to follow you. Amen.