Mike Willesee: A premonition, plane crash and testing miracles

From the ABC:

Mike Willesee: A premonition, plane crash and testing miracles

Updated 

Veteran journalist Mike Willesee has revealed how miraculously surviving a plane crash changed his life forever, kick-starting a journey back to his Catholic faith.

It is this faith, and the support of his family, that has sustained Willesee through his current battle with throat cancer and a debilitating course of radiation therapy that ended only recently.

The legendary current affairs presenter and reporter was too unwell to attend his induction into the Australian Media Hall of Fame on Friday in Sydney.

In a pre-recorded acceptance speech he said: “To be a journalist, for me, has been a gift that just keeps on giving.”

If it wasn’t for an extraordinary twist of fate 20 years ago, Willesee’s career could have been cut short well before now.

In 1997 he and his cameraman Greg Low were about to board a twin-engine Cessna plane in Nairobi, Kenya, bound for Southern Sudan to film a documentary.

But before they took off, Willesee said he had a premonition the aircraft would crash.

“I couldn’t understand it. I had this fight in my own head before I got on the plane. How do I tell Greg that it’s going to crash?

“I don’t believe in premonitions. Did I believe it was going to crash? Absolutely.”

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

VIDEO: Everyone aboard the Cessna aircraft was unharmed. (ABC News)

The plane took off in a tropical downpour and shortly after began experiencing problems.

For Willesee, the experience was surreal.

“When it stalled, and it stopped for this one excruciating second and then started to spiral and go down, the only thought I could get out of my head was, ‘I was right’, which is pretty freaky.

“I said my first prayer to a God who I didn’t understand and whose existence I was quite unsure of.”

That wasn’t the end of the drama. When the aircraft finally settled, the pilot and the other two passengers got out as fast as they could, leaving Willesee and Low in their seats.

“Greg’s seat buckle was jammed because he had his camera on his lap and we thought the plane would explode and burn because of the noise and incredible amount of smoke.

“So I ran back into the plane and Greg freed himself as I got in and we got out.”

The plane crash was the start of a long journey back to the Catholic faith of his childhood.

“The plane crash changed me a lot,” Willesee said.

“It still took me I think maybe two years, for me to actually say there is a God.”

Read the full story here

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3 Reasons to Not Believe

Some satire from “The Babylon Bee”

Here Are 3 Totally Solid Reasons To Believe Jesus Came Back From The Dead, But I Don’t Believe Them Because I’m Not A Weak-Minded Moron

 

It’s that time of year again—sheeple everywhere are celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus. Religious simpletons who choose to regurgitate the blind faith their parents hammered into their skulls when they were children are gathering in church buildings and worshiping their magic sky fairy who has “come back from the dead.”

It’s interesting that the Christian religion sort of hinges on this event, and I’ll admit that there are a number of reasons why it actually makes sense to believe that the resurrection of Christ is a historical fact. I would probably even believe it myself, if I were a low-brow, dunderheaded flat-earther.

Well, just for fun on this Easter weekend, I thought I’d go over a few of these rationales. So here are three totally solid reasons to believe Jesus came back from the dead, which I don’t believe because I’m not a weak-minded moron.

1.) The tomb was empty. Jesus was publicly executed and laid in a guarded tomb in the city of Jerusalem. I mean, these are verifiable things that played out in front of people, you know? And with so many authority figures viciously opposed to Jesus, the entire Christianity thing could’ve been squashed right off the bat—all they had to do was produce his dead body (which, you better believe, they tried to do). But nobody could, because his body was gone. The empty tomb is quite a convincing reason to believe in the resurrection, but I never will because I’m not a mentally challenged dolt.

2.) He appeared to lots of people after his death. So tons of people claimed to have encountered the resurrected Jesus. Which is crazy. The Apostle Paul was one of them—and he gave up his enviable life of privilege in exchange for imprisonment, beatings, stonings, starvation, shipwrecks, and traveling thousands of miles to tell people that Jesus had come back from the dead, before being executed. Which would be weird for him to go through if he were just making it all up. And the disciples of Jesus—they all claimed to have encountered the back-from-the-dead Jesus. And they all maintained his resurrection as truth, all the way to their bloody, torturous deaths for claiming so. Which again, you know, wow. They literally could’ve stopped being tortured in horrific ways by denying that Jesus was risen. That’s a legit reason to believe that they were not actually lying, and they had actually seen the resurrected Christ with their own eyes and knew he was Lord and Savior, but I just can’t accept that because I’m not a feeble-minded, Bible-thumping robot.

3.) Christianity totally exploded. Jesus’s death should’ve killed Christianity, you know? Like, OK, no more Jesus, no more Christianity. Seems simple. Especially in that place and time—that population was staunchly opposed to the idea that people came back from the dead, and the idea of worshiping a man, to them, would have been the lowest form of blasphemy. But what happened? Well, starting from the place Jesus was crucified—which is the same place tons of people started claiming he had risen from the dead—Christianity exploded and believers were multiplied exponentially. Now if you think about it, the only thing that can really account for that would be the hundreds, or even thousands of people who told everyone they knew that they had literally seen the resurrected Jesus with their own eyes, and were willing to risk any form of punishment rather than deny what they had seen and knew as truth. Seriously, guys, think about that. I’m so glad I’m not a religulous, room-temperature-IQ-having buffoon, because If I were, I totally might believe that. But then I would be an emotional-crutch-needing dimwit. And people might make fun of me.

So there you have it. Those three reasons are pretty legit, are they not? Told you. They’re super-solid. I feel sorry for you lunkheads who take them to heart. You’re laughably weak-minded and unintelligent. I, on the other hand, am neither—which is why I don’t believe them.

I’m so glad I’m not a brainwashed half-wit, otherwise I’d probably believe all of this sound evidence.

Stephen McAlpine: Happy St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre Day Everybody

Stephen McAlpine writes a word of encouragement for christians in a culture turning against us:

Happy St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre Day Everybody

daniel-in-the-lions-den-briton-riviere1

Is this not brilliant?  It is Daniel in the Lion’s Den, painted in 1872 by British artist, Briton Riviere.  Not the most British name is it?  Riviere was descended from the French Huguenots, the Protestants slaughtered by the French regime, a massacre that started on this very evening, 23rd August, way back in 1572 and which peaked over the following weeks.

It’s become known as the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, and the spark that set it ablaze was fierce political rivalry in the French court, stirred up by Catherine de Medicis, who loathed the Huguenot influence over her son.

The sheer, but impotent, rage on the faces of the lions in the face of the humble servant Daniel, thrown to his death for showing nothing but an allegiance to his God above all else, mirrors the terrible rage of the French court during that bloody time doesn’t it?

St Bartholomew had another name of course, Nathaniel, the Israelite and disciples of Jesus in whom Jesus memorably states “there is no guile” (John1:47).

His guilelessness did not stop him being martyred however.  History reports that Bartholomew/Nathaniel had the skin stripped from his body, much as a lion might do to a human.

That lack of guile links Daniel with Bartholomew, and of course links both men with the true Israelite who trusted God above all else in the face of his jealous enemies – the Lord Jesus.

Daniel was hated by his enemies not for his royal court guile, but for his guilelessness and his excellent spirit before King Darius, who sought to promote him because of it.

Any charge against Daniel would have to be conjured up.  And it was clear to his enemies that nothing would stick unless it was to do with the worship of his God.

So too with the Lord Jesus.  Pilate knew it was for jealousy that the religious leaders of the Jews had handed him over.  Not that his more excellent spirit would save him from the jaws of the lion on the cross.  Just like Daniel he had to go.

But just like Daniel – only in an even more spectacular way -, God brought Jesus up of that stone-covered mausoleum, not simply to be showered with honour and glory by a relieved King Darius, but to be given the glorious rule of the universe by His Father.

So here we are in our own time of exile.  The culture rages against the people of God as it has always done.  And it’s tempting to respond in any way except in the one way Daniel did.

When the jealous officials tricked Darius into signing a decree that only the king should be petitioned for a period of thirty days, we are told that:

10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.

Notice that last clause: “as he had done previously”.  The culture has turned hard against him.  The lions are looming.  But he does not panic.  He does not start to pray like he’s never prayed before.  He does not give up on thankfulness and descend into grumbling about how the culture has turned against him, and used fair means or foul to sideline him. He does what he had always done in his time of exile: puts his hope in the covenant God of Israel.

He turned his face towards the place of his future hope – the new Jerusalem that would be coming – and thanked God.  This was no moan about how good the old Jerusalem was, and how it would be good to get back to those days.  No! It was a prayer of certain hope that God would bring in a new Jerusalem even if he never lived to see it.

Christian, even the new Jerusalem ushered in by God after the return from exile was merely a shadow of the true new Jerusalem that is coming down from heaven, and from whence is our hope. And we may not live to see it.  We may live during an increasing time of cultural hatred towards the gospel that is both licensed and litigious.

Yet in the midst of all of that we don’t need to moan and complain about how the culture has turned against us and how the old Jerusalem worked so well.   We can get on with a guileless, excellent-spirited servant-hearted life in our exile, even if the culture conspires all sorts of ways to make us look like the baddies.

Even if the only charge that can be levelled against us concerns our relationship with our God.

Especially if the only charge that can levelled against us concerns our relationship with our God.

The lions may roar, the culture may desire to pick over our bones and mock our eclipse. But we will open the windows of our hearts towards the new Jerusalem and give our God the praise and honour due to His name.

Is Britain really ceasing to be a Christian country?

Britain and Australia are following very similar trajectories. Only thoroughgoing revivals such as those which established them as christian countries in the first place can save us.

From thedokimos.org

Is Britain really ceasing to be a Christian country?

 

The decline in religious belief has become precipitous in recent years

A landmark in national life has just been passed. For the first time in recorded history, those declaring themselves to have no religion have exceeded the number of Christians in Britain. Some 44 per cent of us regard ourselves as Christian, 8 per cent follow another religion and 48 per cent follow none. The decline of Christianity is perhaps the biggest single change in Britain over the past century. For some time, it has been a stretch to describe Britain as a Christian country. We can more accurately be described now as a secular nation with fading Christian institutions.

There is nothing new in the decline of the church, but until recently it had been a slow decline. For many decades it was possible to argue that while Christians were eschewing organised religion, they at least still regarded themselves as having some sort of spiritual life which related to the teachings of Jesus. Children were asked for their Christian name; conversations ended with ‘God bless’. Such phrases are now slipping out of our vocabulary — to wear a cross as jewellery is seen as making a semi-political statement. Christians are finding out what it’s like to live as a minority.

Just 15 years ago, almost three quarters of Britons still regarded themselves as Christians. If this silent majority of private, non-churchgoing believers really did exist, it has undergone a precipitous decline. Five years ago, the number of people professing no religion was only 25 per cent.

 

Remarkably, the overall decline of religion in Britain has coincided with the arrival of three million migrants who tend to have more religious belief than British Christians. In particular, the visual impact of Islam, most obviously expressed in the proposal for a 9,000-capacity ‘super-mosque’ in east London that was rejected by planners last year, might give the impression that migration has brought a religious revival to Britain. Yet neither the growth of British Islam nor the huge influx of Christian immigrants from Africa and Eastern Europe has spurred a revival in public Christianity.

It is possible that the rise of Islamism has made casual believers less inclined to ally themselves with any kind of organised faith. Say ‘religious’ to many Britons and the next word that pops into their heads is ‘extremist’, or perhaps ‘bigot’ or ‘homophobe’. To the growing population of secularists, religion has become something to be treated with suspicion. Politicians who are religious find their faith used against them. Iain Duncan Smith’s Department of Work and Pensions was known by his critics as the Department of Worship and Prayer, the joke being that his reforms were inspired by a desire to save lives rather than money. In government, to be a Christian can be seen as a personal failing. The ambitious minister keeps his or her faith under wraps. It is unthinkable now that a Prime Minister would do as Mrs Thatcher did on arrival in Downing Street 37 years ago, and quote St Francis of Assisi. All Cameron has dared to say, quoting Boris Johnson, is that his faith comes and goes like the reception of Magic FM in the Chilterns.

The eclipsing of our national religion has deep implications for those who do retain faith, especially those who wish to pass it on to their children. They must now face the reality that they, no less than Muslims, Jews and Hindus, face being treated as oddballs.

As for the church itself, it is no use pretending there is a Christian majority whose non-attendance at church is just down to laziness. If church leaders wish to keep their buildings open, they will have to start from the beginning — with missionary work to recruit parishioners in a now-sceptical country.

Inevitably, the question of what is to be done about our national Christian institutions will arise. Is it appropriate that we are still invited to swear on the Bible in court? (Many new MPs routinely refuse to do this in the Commons.) Is it right that the Lords Spiritual should still have a role in the Upper House, or that church and state should have any formal connection at all? The British regard for tradition will see that such roles are preserved, but for nostalgic reasons. The aesthetics of Christianity — the architecture, the choral singing and so on — still pull in crowds, even if little of the liturgy is inwardly digested.

Christians, for their part, should not automatically associate a decline in religiosity with a rise in immorality. On the contrary, Britons are midway through an extraordinary period of social repair: a decline in teenage pregnancies, divorce and drug abuse, and a rise in civic-mindedness.

We cannot discount the possibility of a Christian revival; the Christian faith specialises in defying the odds. But it seems more likely that Britain will continue to muddle along as a post-Christian country with quaint customs that derive from its history as a deeply religious country. Some will find this sad, others as a sign of progress, but the greater majority will view it with indifference.

Source spectator.co.uk

Oswald Chambers: My Utmost For His Highest


The Concept of Divine Control

The Concept of Divine Control
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct in this passage for those people who have His Spirit. He urges us to keep our minds filled with the concept of God’s control over everything, which means that a disciple must maintain an attitude of perfect trust and an eagerness to ask and to seek.

Fill your mind with the thought that God is there. And once your mind is truly filled with that thought, when you experience difficulties it will be as easy as breathing for you to remember, “My heavenly Father knows all about this!” This will be no effort at all, but will be a natural thing for you when difficulties and uncertainties arise. Before you formed this concept of divine control so powerfully in your mind, you used to go from person to person seeking help, but now you go to God about it. Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct for those people who have His Spirit, and it works on the following principle: God is my Father, He loves me, and I will never think of anything that He will forget, so why should I worry?

Jesus said there are times when God cannot lift the darkness from you, but you should trust Him. At times God will appear like an unkind friend, but He is not; He will appear like an unnatural father, but He is not; He will appear like an unjust judge, but He is not. Keep the thought that the mind of God is behind all things strong and growing. Not even the smallest detail of life happens unless God’s will is behind it. Therefore, you can rest in perfect confidence in Him. Prayer is not only asking, but is an attitude of the mind which produces the atmosphere in which asking is perfectly natural. “Ask, and it will be given to you…” (Matthew 7:7).

HERE, NOW, US

Dore-Descent-of-the-Spirit-Copy-Header

“Unbelief says: Some other time, but not now; some other place, but not here; some other people, but not us.  Faith says: Anything He did anywhere else He will do here; anything He did any other time He is willing to do now; anything He ever did for other people He is willing to do for us!  With our feet on the ground, and our head cool, but with our heart ablaze with the love of God, we walk out in this fullness of the Spirit, if we will yield and obey.  God wants to work through you!”

A. W. Tozer, The Counselor (Camp Hill, 1993), page 116.

Celebrate Life

risen5815The heart of Christianity is the celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection in the season called Easter.

On Good Friday we remember that Jesus died on the cross and that His death purchased the redemption of everyone who puts their faith in Him.

On Easter Sunday we celebrate the most amazing fact of history- Jesus is no longer dead, but He is alive. Not alive in a diminished “living dead” kind of way but in a new enhanced kind of way.

The Christian conviction is that followers of Jesus will also be raised to eternal life, to a new life with Christ.

From the earliest days of the church Christians have celebrated this reality. The period from the evening of Holy Thursday through to Easter Sunday was called the “Great Three Days.” New converts were baptised on Easter morning to enter their new life on the very day that Christ was raised to life. In time the Easter season was stretched to cover the full 50 days to Pentecost- after all this is a big fact worth celebrating to the max!

Some people don’t like the celebration of Easter because of its similarities to pagan myths. For example, there is a belief that the Old Testament person Nimrod became a false god and was worshipped in the Ancient Near East because after his death some people claimed he had come back to life in the form of his illegitimate son. They also say that Christmas is pagan becasue it is the celebration of Nimrod’s birth not Jesus’.

The existence of false celebrations does not make the real thing false. In science it is said that “correlation does not imply causation”- in other words, the fact that two different things seem related it doesn’t necessarily mean that one causes the other.

Let me ask you this. Does the existence of fake $20 notes mean that you should reject real $20 notes?

The presence of false resurrection myths should not stop us celebrating the real thing.

I will kick up my heels and sing praises to God and proclaim the ancient truth:

Christ has died

Christ is risen

Christ will come again

Hallelujah!