Reflection on Matthew 16:21-27

matthew-16

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=book+ch.vs

Scripture

Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

Observation

Jesus begins to talk seriously about His suffering and crucifixion. Peter takes Him aside and says, “This must not happen to you Lord.” But Jesus responds with, “Get behind me Satan!”

Jesus then tells the disciples that in order to follow Him, they must take up their own cross and die to themselves. To seek to save our own life is to lose it, but to lose our life for His sake is to gain life.

Application

Peter thought he had it all worked out. Jesus was the Messiah, and He would usher in a new kingdom of prosperity in Israel. When Jesus started talking about being crucified, Peter was appalled and started to rebuke Jesus.

Peter could not see that God’s plan was different and far greater than he could imagine. He was seeing from man’s perspective rather than God’s.

We find it hard to break out of our mental strongholds to see our life from God’s perspective. We are surrounded by a culture that is focused on the here and now and which often denies God’s purpose completely.

The thought of dying to ourselves to follow God is nice in theory. In practice we want one foot in the Kingdom and the other in the world. Like Peter, we are always hoping that Jesus will avoid the cross this time.

I need to learn to die to my plans and ambitions, my dreams and visions. Instead I need to follow Jesus day by day, step by step. I need to do this without trying to impose my agenda on Him.

Being totally subservient to the Lord’s plans is a tough walk in an age of self-promotion. This is the path we are called to walk.

Prayer

Lord please show me the parts of my life that are filled with the plans of men rather than the plans of God. Give me grace to walk in your ways. Amen.

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Reflection on Romans 12:9-21

romans12

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+12.9-21

Scripture

Outdo one another in showing honour.

Observation

This machine-gun list of commands come down to the practicalities of living the christian life each day.

We should hate what is evil and love what is good. We should love other christians and contribute to their needs,

We are to extend that love to those who persecute or curse us. We must bless them and not curse. We must not seek revenge, but leave that to the Lord. If our enemies are hungry we must feed them; if they are thirsty give them something to drink.

Application

We must be people who not only live honourable lives, but also excel in giving honour to one another.

We live in an age where honour is conditional and limited. We honour sports champions as long as they keep winning. We honour political leaders as long as they are on our side.

Many people spend a life-time quietly and humbly serving their community, but are ignored or taken for granted.

Even churches are loathe to honour leaders and servants. Pastors are criticised rather than lifted up. Other churches and denominations easily receive criticism.

This week the city of Houston in the United States is being pummelled by a hurricane and the subsequent flooding. Some people were quick to criticise Joel Osteen for not opening his church building as a refuge. It turns out that they offered their facility to the city as a last resort because it was feared that it could become subject to flooding also. We can be so eager to assume bad motives to other people.

Outdo one another in showing honour.” This must start with me. How can I express honour to the people around me, especially the one I don’t get along with?

Prayer

Lord may I become a person who builds up not criticises others. Show me how to honour my brothers and sisters, even my enemies. Amen.

The Truth About Same Sex “Marriage”

The Spectator comes up with some unspoken truths about Same Sex “Marriage”

But it’s all about equality, right?

31 August 2017

7:28 AM

We are in the middle of a storm of misinformation as the plebiscite on same-sex marriage draws near. Who do we believe?

George Brandis, who tells us everything will be fine and that those who have religious objections have nothing to worry about? The Greens, who say that the majority of Aussies want to redefine marriage but don’t want us to vote in a plebiscite because they’re afraid that we the people will say something different to the social media Twitterati, or Bill Shorten, who claims that any disagreement with same-sex marriage would only unleash hate, vilification and bigotry?

Along with a huge proportion of the mainstream media, the leader of the opposition has been caught out in ‘stretching the truth’ with their inaccurate reporting of having personally witnessed homophobic posters that were supposed to have been plastered all over the streets of Melbourne recently. Network Ten, in particular, were exposed by the ABC’s Media Watch for, by their own admission, a “creative” presentation of the facts by intentionally doctoring images made to look like they were being prominently placed on bus stop shelters.

To be honest, I don’t believe any of them. However, there is one person I believe. And, interestingly, she comes from the Marriage Equality side: Marsha Gessen, a lesbian political activist.

Gessen really let the genie of deliberate public deception out of the bottle all the way back in 2012 when she told the Sydney Writer’s Festival:

Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there. Because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change. And that is a lie.

We should have woken up to the alarm bell then but here we are, five years later, and the campaign for marriage ‘equality’ is lying more than ever in at least three different ways.

First, they want to redefine what marriage is. Everyone assumes that they just want to get married like the rest of us. But for many homosexual people, lifelong sexual fidelity is neither a reality nor an ideal. For instance, the psychiatrist and physicist Jeffrey Satinover writes: “One of the most carefully researched studies of the most stable homosexual pairs, The Male Couple, was researched and written by two people who are themselves a homosexual couple – a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Its investigators found that of the 156 couples studied, only seven had maintained sexual fidelity; of the hundred couples that had been together for more than five years, none had been able to maintain sexual fidelity.”

Why not be honest then and admit that what the LGBTIQ community mean by the term ‘marriage’ is not what everyone else does? Why mess with a proven and trusted social institution and turn it into something else? So, if you want to vote “yes” in the upcoming plebiscite then just know that you’re not voting for an exclusive sexual commitment of ‘love’ as most people assume, but something altogether different to what marriage historically means.

Second, they lie about what redefining marriage means for the rest of society. For example, approximately 12 months after the referendum on same-sex marriage in Ireland religious exemptions that had previously been promised were suddenly withdrawn.

In the U.S. state of Massachusetts gay marriage has been legal since 2004. Almost fifteen years on and the effects are being felt in every sphere of the community; schools, businesses, the legal system, politics, adoption agencies, hospitals and churches. Not a single area of society is left untouched. But just take the example of adoption agencies for instance. Not only are 50 per cent of all adoptions in Massachusetts now to gay couples, but if you disagree with the LGBTIQ juggernaut then you are ruled ineligible and, as such, Christian adoption agencies have been forced to close.

What this means practically is not just the abolition of free thought but a 50 per cent increase in same-sex behaviour amongst children, invasive medical procedures for people to reshape their genitals and the transgender affirmative action of boys being able to use girl’s bathrooms as well as to participate on their sporting teams. But it’s all still about ‘equality’, right?

Just this past week across the pond, the New Zealand-based family organisation, Family First NZ, was served a notice by the national Charities Registration Board that it intends to deregister the organisation. The board says Family First’s promotion of its views about marriage and the traditional family “cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable”.

What’s more, contrary to what the Australian Medical Association recently claimed (based on a single study, from a single clinic, in a single city in the U.S. 14 years ago), that redefining marriage improves “overall health outcomes among LGBTIQ populations” the reality is that this is patently false. For example, in an ultra-tolerant country like Sweden, the rate of suicide among same-sex married men, which is three times greater than heterosexual married men, remains unchanged even after the redefinition of marriage.

Finally, the “yes” campaign is lying most egregiously about whom marriage really affects. The biggest lie of all is that children will be unaffected. On the one hand, according to the UN it’s a child’s right to know and be raised by their biological father and mother, so any talk of discrimination has to first of all address this. That’s because having a child is not like getting a puppy! It’s a life-long commitment that affects the well-being of not just you and your spouse, but the little ones being raised in your home. This is something that people like Katy Faust and Millie Fontana who have been raised in same-sex households know all too well.

Closely connected to this is the whole issue of surrogacy, or what Aldous Huxley envisioned in Brave New World as The Department of Hatchery and Conditioning. We’re not as scientifically advanced or impersonal as Huxley suggested, but he was right in one thing – reproduction is now being separated from relationship. And the “yes” campaign is once again lying about what those consequences will be. As Caroline Norma, herself a lesbian, wrote just last year, “Whether or not the campaign is ultimately about advancing the cause of easier access to surrogacy and expanded types of reproductive technologies is a question the equality movement leaves unanswered.”

Politicians such as Christopher Pyne and Penny Wong are assuring us that nothing at all will change if we redefine marriage: “The sun will still rise, and children will still eat more ice cream than is good for them.” But that’s just another ‘pork pie.’ Redefining marriage changes everything. The evidence from overseas unequivocally proves it.

What really stinks is that there are people on both sides of parliament who know it, but are lying to our faces.

Mark Powell is the Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield. 

How’s Venezuela Working Out?

AS Margaret Thatcher wryly observed three decades ago. “The trouble with socialism is that you always run out of other people’s money.” Hugo Chavez was idolised by leftists everywhere when he first became President of Venezuela, but he basically took over a vibrant economy and ran it to the ground- standard operating procedure for all left-wing politicians.

Reflection on Exodus 3:1-15

moses

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+3.1-15

Scripture

Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

Observation

Moses is out in the wilderness, tending his father-in-law’s sheep. He comes across a burning bush from which the Lord speaks to him.

The Lord tells Moses that He has seen the misery of His people and is going to set them free and take them to their own land. Moses is to go to Pharaoh and set God’s people free.

Moses then asks the question, “Who are you?” and the Lord says, “I am who I am. This is my covenant name for ever.”

Application

Moses turns aside to see a sign from God and he has a life-changing encounter with Him. The Lord says “This ground is holy.”

That particular patch of ground was holy because God’s presence was there in that moment. It hadn’t been holy the hour before, and as far as we know, it wasn’t holy after the meeting between Moses and Yahweh.

God’s presence makes all the difference to a place. In that moment of encounter, that place is sanctified, set apart for God.

We don’t have “burning bush” moments every day. But we do have the opportunity for God encounters. Another shepherd might have been too intent on watching his sheep, or, in our day and age, his facebook feed. But Moses took time to step away from his path to go and look and listen to God.

God moments and God encounters are waiting for us every day if only we will stop, look and listen.

We don’t need a flaming bush in the wilderness. God is with us everywhere we go.

Prayer

Lord, what special moment do you have for me today? Help me to listen to your voice among the clamour of my life. Amen.

Another Brazen Lie By The Media About Same Sex “Marriage”

There used to be an expectation that the media were there to provide information. But in the post-truth era there is no such expectation as the media just keep on pushing their favourite causes.

Bill Muehlenberg writes:

Marriage Wars: Truth Tellers vs MSM Deception
Aug 28, 2017
This is a tale of two groups – those who value truth and facts as they defend the institution of marriage, and those who merrily push falsehoods, lies and deception as they promote their radical agenda to destroy marriage. And as is so often the case, it is a David vs Goliath struggle.

In this case we have one or two folks daring to discover the truth and speak the truth vs all the money and manpower of the mainstream media and the organised left. Just one man seeking truth can help topple the lies of many, and in this case I am proud to say I know well the individuals involved in this case of truth telling vs entrenched falsehoods.

And this is a story that keeps on giving – every day new revelations emerge about just how immoral, deceptive and careless with the truth the secular left and its media allies are. And all because one brave soul first decided not to buy the propaganda of the MSM, but do a little bit of digging for himself.

Read the full article, including the role of Ten in providing their extra fake news, here