Archive for the ‘Biblical’ Category

Personal

June 3, 2011

Here is a song about how God knows all about each one of us, loves us anyway and desires to have a personal relationship with each one of us.

Personal

Chorus
You’re a personal God who desires to
Walk and talk with me
You’re an intimate God who adores to
Spend some time with me
You know when I sit and rise
You perceive my thoughts from afar
You delight in me your precious child

Verse 1
You’re not made of stone
You’re not made of wood no no
You’re not made of cold hard gold
But you are living breathing giving
With the most enormous heart
Dying for me to give me new life

Chorus
You’re a personal God who desires to
Walk and talk with me
You’re an intimate God who adores to
Spend some time with me
You know when I sit and rise
You perceive my thoughts from afar
You delight in me your precious child

Verse 2
You are not distant
You are not a million miles away
You are not a lifeless thing
But you are all around me
You’re spirit dwells within my heart
Step by step you lead me in your way

Bridge
You created me in your image
Knit me in my mother’s womb
Made me in a secret place
Wove me in the depths of the earth
So one day I could fellowship with You

Chorus
You’re a personal God who desires to
Walk and talk with me
You’re an intimate God who adores to
Spend some time with me
You know when I sit and rise
You perceive my thoughts from afar
You delight in me your precious child

Chorus
You’re a personal God who desires to
Walk and talk with me
You’re an intimate God who adores to
Spend some time with me
You know when I sit and rise
You perceive my thoughts from afar
You delight in me your precious child

Psalm 139:2,  13-15,  149:4,  Genesis 1:27

(c) Beverley Tang 2004

 

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Rest In Me

March 18, 2011

Are you seeking rest or peace within your soul? Here is a song where Jesus invites you to find rest in Him.

Rest In Me
Matthew 11:28

Verse 1
Are you weary from a burden
Do you find it hard to rest?
Are you chasing time
That keeps running away?
Is it like you’re in a dessert
Searching for a drop to drink?
Crawling to a place
That keeps moving away?

Pre-chorus
Is helping coming near?
A voice then called me loud & clear

Chorus
Come & rest in Me
Like a babe in a manger
Without a concern
In the world
Come & rest in Me
In a place that is peaceful
Where you’ll always find
Rest for your soul

Refrain
Rest in Me Rest in Me
Here you’ll find peace for your soul
Rest in Me Rest in Me
When you do you’ll become whole

Verse 2
Are you climbing up a ladder
Hoping soon to reach the top
Finding you were climbing
The wrong one?
Do you feel you’re on a treadmill
Going nowhere really fast?
Looking for a way
Out of this maze?

Pre-chorus
It may be all futile
Is it really all worthwhile?

Chorus

Bridge
This place of rest
Like a cosy small home
Safe & secure
You are never alone
You’re welcome now
To be a part
For I am gentle
And humble of heart

Verse 3
Do you feel there’s something missing
Deep within your inner soul?
Like a black hole in the universe?
Mister Miracle is waiting
To perform a wondrous act
Turning lives around
Is what He can do

Pre-chorus
If you realise you’re lost
Throw a life line to the cross

Chorus

Refrain

Refrain

(c) Beverley Tang 2003

[ Taken from the album “Transformation”]

Armour – Ephesians 6

March 6, 2011

Here is a song to encourage you when you need to do spiritual warfare:-

Armour
Ephesians 6

Verse 1
We face a struggle everyday
That’s not against flesh and blood
But against rulers, Satan’s authorities
Against the powers of this dark world

Pre-chorus
So put on the armour of God

Chorus I
Stand firm with the belt of truth
That’s buckled around your waist
Stand firm with the breastplate
Of righteousness in place
Feet fitted with the readiness
That comes from the gospel of peace
Stand firm by putting on the
Full armour of God

Verse 2
We also fight the spiritual forces of
Evil in heavenly realms
When the day of evil comes around
Need to be ready to stand firm

Pre-chorus

Chorus II
Stand firm with the shield of faith
To put out the arrows of the evil one
Stand firm with the helmet of salvation
Sword of the Spirit
That is the Word of God
Stand firm and pray in the Spirit
On all occasions

Bridge
The armour of God
Used to fight the forces of evil
The armour of God is ours to declare
To those who are losing the battle

Chorus I & II

© Beverley Tang 2004

You can listen to the song at :- http://www.soundclick.com/bevsnewworld

I’ll Carry You

March 4, 2011

Here is a song that was inspired by the poem “Footprints:. This poem reminds us that at times when we may feel forsaken by all, Jesus is still present to comfort us in our hour of need, so we are never really alone.

Carry You
Isaiah 46: 3-4, Psalm 121:5

Verse 1
When you feel down
And there’s no one around
I’ll carry you
When you’re feeling the pain
And all seems in vain
I’ll carry you
When you feel like the world
Is not on your side
I’ll carry you
When you’re feeling the bruise
Of the wound in your heart
I’ll carry you

Chorus
You are my child
The delight of my heart
The sun will not smite you by day
I’ll carry you
In the warmth of my arms
And the moon
Will not smite you by night

Verse 2
When hurts do arise
And your life flashes by
I’ll carry you
When others are smiling
But you’re crying inside
I’ll carry you
When injustice continues
And seems unresolved
I’ll carry you
When prayers seem unanswered
And nothing makes sense
I’ll carry you

Bridge
I’m here to comfort you
My precious child
You don’t have to hide
Your emotions from me
Like a young lamb
Running back to the shepherd
I’ll protect you
From the dangers you see

Chorus

Chorus

©  Beverley Tang 2004

FOOTPRINTS  (Original Poem)

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed He was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from His life. For each scene He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonging to Him and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of His life flashed before Him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of His life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of His life.

This really bothered Him and He questioned the LORD about it. LORD you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.

The LORD replied, my precious, precious child, I Love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.


Carolyn Carty, 1963




Why We Suffer as Christians

September 17, 2010

I recently read an excellent book called “Broken Things – Why We Suffer”. This was a huge encouragement to me since it gives common sense reasons why many of us as Christians often go through great trials and suffering while on this earth. The following is a summary of the reasons stated in this book:-

1. Suffering Silences Satan – when we are willing to go through suffering without abandoning our faith, it proves to Satan that we are not just serving God for what He can do for us, but for who He is. This is demonstrated in the book of Job where Satan accuses Job of worshipping God only for the riches and blessings that God can give him. When Job was then greatly afflicted and all his good fortune was taken away, Job did not curse God, but remained faithful. This was shown in Job’s words “ The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away ; blessed be the name of the Lord”. Job 1:21

2. Suffering Enables us to Glorify God – many people have to go through excruciating trials eg. healing from childhood sexual abuse, severe racial injustices, marital abuse, a painful terminal illness etc. Some of these trials may continue for many years. However when God finally delivers us from them, His name can be praised and glorified. Even while we are going through these trials and have not received final or total deliverance, God can still give us the supernatural strength to endure so we are not totally defeated. In this way God is also glorified. This is shown in John 11:5 when after great sorrow at the death of Lazarus, Jesus came to raise him from the dead giving praise to God’s name.

3. Suffering Makes Us More Like Christ – God does not wish to save us just to forgive our sins so we’ll go to heaven. His dual purpose is to also make us more like Christ. As a result we can then reflect God’s glory to the rest of mankind and help make this world a better place. Romans 8:29 says that God’s intention is to conform us to the image of His Son. Often we can only be perfected through trials and suffering. Hebrews 2:10.

4. Suffering Makes Us Appreciative – often when we are in bed with a bad case of the flu, we begin to appreciate the blessing of having good health. While we are healthy we often take it for granted. When things are taken away from us we learn to appreciate them more & thank God for them. Without trials and suffering we may become self centered people who are always wanting more.

5. Suffering Teaches Us To Depend On God – when everything is going fine and rosy we often feel less need for God. We may tend to forget about Him and even survive by relying on our own strength and resources. However when we encounter suffering it compels us to cry out to Him for help. At these times we learn to trust and depend on Him. God desires this because he knows He can provide much better and way beyond what we can do for ourselves. He also wants close fellowship with us on a personal level. In Exodus 14:13 when the Israelites stood before the Red Sea with the Egyptians behind them and the desert and mountains on each side,  Moses said “ Stand firm  and you will see  the salvation the Lord will bring you today”.

6. Suffering Makes Us and Keeps Us Humble -Learning to depend on God requires us to be humble and can be a blow to our pride. God hates pride but exalts the humble. This is why Paul was given a “thorn in the flesh”. 2 Corinthians 12:7. We don’t know what this was. Some think it was a hunchback, speech impediment or a certain illness. However God allowed this so that Paul would remain humble and always acknowledge his need for God’s help.  Paul was a highly educated scholar from good breeding.  Perhaps God knew that Paul needed something to keep him humble.

7. In Suffering We Exercise Faith– In Hebrews 11:1 it says “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” While going through suffering – not knowing the outcome and when it will cease, it forces us to exercise our faith in God. This in turn helps our faith to grow. If we knew what will happen in the future & when, then we would not need faith. In learning to exercise faith we are learning to put our trust and security in God and his character rather than the things of this world. A faith that is not tested will never be strong. If you are suffering and asking “Why must I suffer? Why can’t I be like others?” remember God’s words in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

8. Suffering Teaches Us Patience – Have any of you been waiting a very long time for an answer to prayer? Perhaps it is a healing, a loved one to come to Christ or a breakthrough in a certain area? The waiting time in this trial teaches us patience and this is one of the fruits of the spirit – Galatians 5:22. The more time we have to wait the more we will grow in patience. During this waiting time it compels us to seek God’s word for comfort & faith and learn to trust that God knows best for our situation. It also forces us to give up control of our own lives.

9. Suffering Makes Us Sympathetic – ever met people who are hard of heart, unmerciful and even condescending to the poor, marginalized and those going through trials? It may be because they have never had to go through suffering in their own lives to be able to empathize with those who do. There is nothing like a period of trial, to help give us true compassion and empathy for the hurting. Often it is only when we are humbled and broken in spirit from suffering, that we can begin to allow God to open up our hearts to the hurting people around us in society and take some action to help them out.

10. Suffering Teaches Us To Pray – only when we go through great suffering do we learn to pray with earnest from the depths of our soul and spirit – often because there is nothing left that we can do. In doing so we learn to commune with the heart of God and foster a closer and more intimate relationship with Him.

11. Suffering Brings Rewards – De Haan states that there is a “special crown, a special reward for those who suffer patiently for Him”. In 2 Timothy 2:12 Paul says that “ If we suffer we will also reign with Him”. This helps to make more sense of some of the deepest suffering that some Christians have to face. It also helps to bring a sense of justice into our lives here on earth”.

Conclusion

The above are the main points that DeHaan describes as to “Why We Suffer” as Christian believers. He also talks about the need for brokenness in our lives to be fully used by God for his purposes and gives more encouragement for those who suffer, throughout the book.

If you would like to obtain a copy of this thin paperback – “Broken Things – Why We Suffer” you can contact:-

Email : australia@rbc.org OR

Address: RBC Ministries South Pacific Ltd
PO Box 393
GLEN WAVERLY VIC 3150

The book is free or you can make a donation.

NB. The author M R DeHaan founded “Radio Bible Class”, now RBC Ministries who produce the free “Our Daily Bread” devotional booklets. They also publish other books teaching materials and online Christian courses.

Give The Man A Chance……

June 22, 2010

Kevin Rudd

I felt the need to express my views about the present political climate that is leading up to the upcoming federal election.  Basically I feel really sorry for Kevin Rudd that he is taking such a beating from the media and the general public as a whole.

Yes it is true after nearly three years of closer scrutiny of our present leader we have discovered that he is human and imperfect.   It is true he has not totally delivered successfully (yet) all of the things that we wanted him or he promised to do.  All I can say is – welcome to the real world.  What did people expect ?  A wizard who can just wave a magic wand and allow perfect bills to be passed at his own whim?  (eg.  for climate change).   If people expect magnanimous reforms (that have never been accomplished before)  to be performed in such a short time,  then those people better may need to choose a more a communist or totalitarian regime to live under.   If people want to get used to living in a democracy they had better open their eyes and realise  things cannot just materialise overnight at the beck and call ( spontaneous criticism) of the general public.

Climate Change Bill

Take the climate change bill for example.  After 3 times it was presented to the Senate it kept on getting knocked back because it was not yet “perfected” in the eyes of numerous green and liberal senators.   Then there was Copenhagen where the rest of the  world especially the major continents like China and the USA were not ready to commit to such huge reductions in green house gas emissions.    After this continuous series of ” brick walls”   anyone  would probably feel they needed  a break from this uphill battle.   This does not  signify that major reform for climate change will not come.  It’s just that it does not come overnight or easily because we live in a real world with many other influencing factors.  eg.  like the global financial crisis.

Abolition of the Slave Trade Bill

Take for example the Bill to end slavery which was presented for the first time by William Wilberforce in 1789.  This cause was an even greater “moral challenge of our time” then climate change.  However due to constant and vehement attack   by the opposition party  it was continually rejected.  It was only 18 years later, after Wilberforce almost ruined his  physical health,  that the bill was finally passed in 1807.

Abolition of the White Australia Policy

The abolition of the White Australia Policy is another example of major reform being a long and drawn out process.  This policy was first introduced in the early 1850’s and it was only in 1973 that the Whitlam Government took steps to remove race as a factor in deciding immigration.   This was finally cemented when a larger portion of  non European migrants were permitted to enter Australia under the Fraser Government in 1975.  This sensitive reform took a period of 25 years to achieve.  (See  http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/08abolition.htm)

However, from the example of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Bill and the Abolition of the White Australia Policy,  it is  evident that major reform often  takes a long time.   In the light of this fact,  is it realistic for the (quick to criticise )  public and media, to expect that a new Climate Change Bill will be successfully passed at the public’s whim,  within only the first term of a new government?   If so, it’s time that people started getting  in the real world.   Also does the public think that giving the present government the “flick” will actually improve Australia’s chances of progressing in climate change reform?  I don’t think so.  Half of the Liberal Coalition either don’t believe Climate Change exists or don’t believe it is serious enough to warrant discussion.  Also do people really think that a Greens vote will accomplish anything?  This will only probably produce another “Hung Parliament” as in Tasmania where it will probably take 3 months after the election to decide who is going to lead the country (let alone renew climate change policy).

Another factor I would like to add in this discussion is that it is better to have some climate change policy (even if it only cuts emissions by a lower target than anticipated) rather than have nothing at all.   This is the problem with the continual rebuttal of the Rudd’s original Bill.   To accept a climate change policy even though it has a lower target, can be easier and less costly for the business community as a whole.  The reason is that once a new carbon tax is put in place, it will initially take time and extra cost for businesses to administer –  just like the GST first did.     After this teething process has passed and businesses have learnt to factor this tax into their every day operations,  then the target levels  could be gradually increased.  This would then lessen the huge burden that could be suddenly thrust upon businesses.  Instead it could spread the cost of the tax and it’s administration over a longer period of time.

Global Financial Crisis

Also in having a break from pushing the Climate Change Bill,  Rudd is also giving financial breathing space to ordinary working families, by holding off this increasing cost.  It would be harder on working families to introduce this new tax during the middle of the  global financial crisis,  since many people may be laid off work during this volatile period of time.

It is important to note that the Rudd government is not saying they will completely abandon their original Climate Change Policy or promises they  originally made.  Instead they are saying they are waiting for the right time in the future when the Senate are ready to accept it and when the businesses and the general public can afford to  pay for it.  However his main critics are saying that he has not achieved this soon enough and hence it is probably time to give him the “boot” in the next federal election.

Insulation Scheme

However the proof that the Government was greatly concerned about the environment and climate change was their action taken in providing insulation to all homes that were eligible.  Yes there were shortcomings in how this was administered – this was because there were shonky dealers who wanted to make a quick buck and rort the whole system.  (My heart does still go out to those families who lost loved ones).    However these faults probably occurred because they wanted to take action quickly and be seen as a government who will actually do something instead of just giving lip service during election times.     Hence it would appear that the government is damned if they try to do something quickly and damned if they don’t do something quickly.

Health  Care Reform

My sympathies  go out to Mr Rudd because I believe he is genuinely trying to do something about the great holes and needs in the health care system through his national hospital reforms.    Again it is not claiming to have the funds to be able to fix every single aspect of the system eg.  including aged care,  mental health etc,  but at least he and his team are trying to make a start .  eg.  to do something about the shortage of nurses and beds in certain hospitals.

North West Rail LinkKristine Kenealy

It is evident that the Rudd Federal Government and Kenealy NSW State Governments are doing their best to provide the necessary infrastructure for the future growth of Australia as a whole.  This includes the upgrades to the present health care system,  schools and transport .    One of the reasons the Metro project was scrapped is that those funds are needed to provide the much needed train line to alleviate the traffic congestion for workers travelling from North Western Sydney to the city,  and other parts of the Sydney Metropolitan area.    There are already frequently running buses every 10 minutes or so in the city area as well as the mono rail so they do not need another Metro in this region.

Karyn Paluzzano

It is evident that the media loves to pounce on stories of MP corruption and misconduct in the ALP ranks.  Such behaviour indeed should not be tolerated in any level of leadership or government. She is now being investigated and dealt with accordingly as cases like this should be.    It is highly unfortunate when cases like this arise.    This occurs because each one of us are faced with personal choices each day –  whether to do right or wrong in every situation.  Do any of us have a perfectly sinless record in our past lives?  Only Jesus lived a totally sinless life on this earth.  Each one of us are open to temptation to go against God’s laws or our better judgment.    As Jesus said to his onlookers in John 8:7 ” Let he who is without sin,  cast the first stone”.

However, just because one MP is found guilty of misconduct does not  necessarily mean that this attitude applies to the whole  government department or party  as well.   To put it another way :-  if you owned a small business like a dress shop and you found that one of your employees were secretly stealing dresses and money from the till,  does this mean that your whole shop and your associated franchises are corrupt and dishonest as well?  Does it mean you being the boss are guilty as well?  Of course not.      In the same way,  the general public have to be more discerning in their judgement of what they see in the media and the inferences that can be implied from media reports.   Just because there is one bad egg does not necessarily mean that the whole carton is rotten.

As another example :  there is a famous Christian speaker who has a very reputable organisation for bible teaching.  She shared in her talks once that she found in her organisation of hundreds of staff,  there was one employee who was caught viewing pornography on the internet during work hours.   This was unacceptable conduct for her organisation, so eventually he had to find work elsewhere.  However this speaker who was the leader of her organisation took the appropriate disciplinary action.  Because there was one worker in her firm that was doing the wrong thing,  it did not necessarily reflect the character of her whole organisation;  herself as a leader or the strict policies and beliefs that her firm was built on.    The same thing can apply to the case of the former Penrith State Labor MP Karyn Paluzzano.  Just because she was guilty of misconduct does not mean that this also applies to the Premier or Prime Minister of her party.

Mining Tax

It can be said that Kevin Rudd can be a highly intelligent person in terms of his policies and ideas.  Being the former political adviser for Wayne Goss in Queensland,  Rudd was largely the brains behind this premier’s political victories in his day.  I believe Kevin Rudd also has a genuine desire to make life better for the Australian people,  especially the vulnerable and underprivileged in society.  He just needs more practice in trying to communicate these policies in a more simple and easy to understand way so that it will sound convincing to the general public.     Let’s face it no one is good at everything.   I believe the voting public need to give Rudd a chance to develop these other skills of negotiation,  communication and process,  so that his intelligent ideas  and desire to achieve ultimate good and betterment for the Australian people can be realised. This would be preferable to  endorsing someone who knows how to speak and sell in a clever self seeking way but whose policies are self seeking,  total crap or non existent.

Perhaps a large sector of the public are against the mining tax because they hold personal shares in mining and hence do not wish to see their value decrease.     However people need to realise that this tax is a means by which the government can raise funds to help pay the budget deficit, which occurred in order  to alleviate the global financial crisis.  Funds also need to be raised to   help pay for necessary infrastructure to fund important services for the Australian community eg.  the  hospital reforms,  disability and aged care services,  schools ,  transport etc.  Basically Rudd is just wanting the mining billionaires to “share some of the joy around” with the rest of us.  The fact is, ultimately greed does not make anyone happy in the long term.  Have we not yet learned our lesson from Wall Street recently?  See Luke  12:15-21 below:-

Luke 12:15-21

15Then he (Jesus) said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

16And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘

20“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

—oOo—

Also a problem with greed is that if a person is not content with what he or she already has, they still won’t necessarily be content with more – because once they get more – they will still want a bit more and a bit more after that.    The secret is not trying to attain more and acquire more wealth, but to first learn to be content with what you already have.  This then halts the vicious destructive cycle which can ultimately destroy us.     “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.”  1 Timothy 6:6  (New Living Translation 2007).

No “Magic Pudding” Economics

With all the needs in our society including the need for health reform the money has to come from somewhere.  Until that time,  some health care reforms may not be able to proceed as yet.

It is well to remember that the media is mainly in the business of reporting bad news,  because for some strange reason,  in western culture, this is often what sells more newspapers and boosts TV ratings .     If you visit your local ALP branch meeting you may discover more good news.

Social Justice – Helping the Marginalised

Here are some examples:-

1.  Recently the Rudd Government passed a Bill for an 18 week paid parental leave scheme for working mothers.

2.  ALP representatives will be writing to Mr Rudd to put forward his  bill for climate change for Senate approval for after the next election

3.  Largest increase in funding for disability services ie 9.8%

4.  Aboriginal leaders shared that they appreciated the acknowledgement of their people as the original owners of this land at the start of all council meetings.    This motion will be put forward in the future.

I choose to support the present incumbent government because with all their imperfections and faults (which one of us is perfect anyway?),  their underlying foundation and policy is to help support and advocate for the vulnerable in society –  because more often than not these groups have no one else to speak for them eg.  the disabled,  the homeless,  the aged,  disabled,  ethnic minorities,  women,  the poor,  those who cannot afford a private education but need public schools,  low paid workers etc.

I believe Kevin Rudd has experience of doing it tough in a working class family having at one time lived with his family in the back of a car as a child.  This maybe partly why he has chosen a political destiny and seeks to correct the wrongs in our society and instigate improvements  for the betterment of all Australians.

There are many areas of great suffering in society that need to be addressed, and feel that the ALP does a better job in advocating for these.  Eg,  the poor,  the disabled,  ethnic minorities,  women in the workforce,  abused children,  aboriginal welfare etc.  Sometimes only when a person has been in one of these vulnerable groups, that they can truly understand their plight and see the need for the voice of the ALP to speak for these groups.  It is the ALP who lobby for their rights and help to provide funds for important services   necessary for their survival.  And if you feel they are still not doing enough for these groups, please don’t be fooled into believing that the Opposition  Party will  do more –  because their basic philosophy is “minimal government intervention”  since they rely on market forces to work things out by themselves .  In other words their policy is to do as little as possible.

The Christian Vote

There may be Christian who focus on abortion and gay rights as the basis for their voting.   However I believe there are many more areas of greater suffering in society that need to be addressed, and feel that the ALP does a better job in advocating for these.  Eg,  the poor,  the disabled,  ethnic minorities,  women in the workforce,  abused children,  aboriginal welfare etc.

I still support the Christian Democratic Party to barrack for stopping the legalization of abortion and discouraging homosexual relationships.  The reason is that even though many non Christians may not follow these principals, they will still benefit from them since they are God’s laws created for our own well being.   I would myself propose these measures in the ALP,  however I know no one would listen to me or support me.  This is so because the Labor Party is about accepting all minority groups and all marginalized people, and opposes any sort of discrimination.

(Don’t quote me on this and this is not from the bible), but on the other side of the argument one could argue that on these issues we cannot tell non Christians to stop having abortions or stop homosexual relations until they actually become Christians.   For instance when you first build a friendship with a non believer and start evangelizing to them, you can’t tell them first off that they shouldn’t be engaging in homosexual relationships or having abortions. The reason is that they are not Christians yet and hence have no inner obligation to follow these principals as yet.  This argument could be why Christians in the ALP have to allow some of this anti-Christian legislation.

Abortion and Gay Rights are not easy issues to deal with as a Christian member of the ALP.  However I support  the CDP in campaigning against these if they see this as part of their role.

A problem also with the gay issue is that those who choose such a lifestyle can probably turn from it straight away.  Others are gay due to child abuse or abusive family relationships.  For this second group, only the healing power of Jesus can restore them – and they cannot access this fully until they become Christian believers.** Hence perhaps Christians have to put just as much effort in trying to establish evangelical ministries to reach out to these people with a balance of love and not just political condemnation.  Part of this Christian ministry has to include an attitude like that of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 – “As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, 7but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. 8We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”  We will not influence gay people to repent only through political condemnation”. Instead they are hurting people as well who need Christ’s agape love and sacrifice.  Perhaps Christians who have been gay in their former life before their healing, could minister to this group very effectively.

It terms of my support,  I just don’t believe it is fair to only vote for the CDP (who give all their preferences to the Liberal Party),  because of the gay and abortion issue, when there are so many other minority groups in society that need help which the ALP advocates for.  Eg.  Aborigines,  ethnic minorities ,  the disabled,  the poor,  women,  the aged etc who all continue to suffer constant discrimination.

PS.  Why don’t  Christians try to lobby for these 2 issues within the ALP?  Perhaps they would get a lot further with a major party not just a minor party.  Someone would need to do their proper research to expose the benefits to people and the community. It’s just an idea

**  Christian Ministries that help to provide healing for homosexual issues are :-
–  http://www.exodusinternational.org/
http://www.livingwaters.org.au/
http://restminaus.org.au/

Fight to Retain Scripture Classes in Schools

April 18, 2010

‘So how many of you are going over to the Ethics Class?’ I asked six of my Year 5 scripture children after Easter Assembly last term.

“Oh! What is the Ethics class?!”

“*Ethan is going to do it..”  *(name’s changed)

“Not me!”

“We both are, Miss..” answered two other girls.

From my scripture class of twenty-five Year 5 children, I spoke only to six. As you can see, I’m already losing 3 scripture children to the trial of the Ethics Classes.  I wonder how many children will be left in my class next Wednesday?

The trial Ethics Classes start next week in 10 primary schools when school resumes. The ABC TV station has asked permission to film this course inside classrooms. There have been lots of heated media debates/editorials in major papers like the Sydney Morning Herald throughout the course of this week. See http://www.smh.com.au/national/letters/churches-have-nothing-to-fear-from-clear-thinking-20100413-s7dj.html

PRAY NOW to Save Scripture:

‘Why do the nations conspire and the people plot in vain?…The One enthroned in heaven laughs;… and scoffs at them.’ – Psalm 2

I God will over-rule all satan’s plans & schemes. This will be the start of a long battle.

I Christians to be stirred up to urgently share the Gospel in schools & elsewhere before the doors are closed.

I We will communicate articulately to all opposition/negativity portrayed in the media/ pro-ethics groups in a godly, rational, & loving way.

I Christian lawyers to come forward to support us by clearly defending & confirming legislation & government departmental policies.

I Christians of every denomination to stand up & make our voice heard as a united front.

I Christian parents to actively show support by writing/speaking out, be an active member of the Parents & Citizenship Association, & by lovingly communicating the value of scripture classes to un-churched parents.

I Scripture teachers to raise our bar of standard & professionalism in our teaching.

ACT NOW to Save Scripture:

For those of you who want to help take positive actions to support scripture in schools from this threat, the Australian Christian Lobby has launched an online campaign call ‘Save our Scripture’at:

http://www.makeastand.org.au/campaign/index.stw?campaign_id=32where

Please go to this website and see how you can take some practical steps to support us. THANKS!

Some of us might still wonder, what’s all the fuss about the Ethics Classes? ‘Isn’t it better that non-scripture children learn ‘something’ which is better than nothing?’

Here’s my 7 points of personal reflections on this:

1) I totally affirm that parents have every right to choose whether their children attend scripture or non-scripture.

2) The word ‘ethics’ itself sounds right and moral. But a closer look of the teaching content reveals children are taught in a context where there is no absolute right or wrong. See the following example from the session titled ‘Lying’:

“In this session they are asked to make relative judgments. They will be dealing with a range of cases in which people have told a lie and they are asked to judge to what extent that is acceptable as well as to figure out why one lie is either more acceptable or less acceptable than another.”

I wonder how many parents will be happy that their child can justify ‘lying’ as acceptable in one context and not the other. This Ethics Class should be rightly called ‘Atheistic/Secular’ Ethics Class’.

3) For children who do not attend Scripture, it is the school’s administrative responsibility to make sure they are adequately supervised and not ‘left to their own devices’, or ‘twiddling their thumbs’ as some claimed. Speaking to a primary school teacher, I am told children in primary schools today are already loaded with a packed curriculum with plenty of school work. For non-scripture children, 30 minutes of free time while others have Scripture can be a welcome change.

4) In instances where non-scripture children are not adequately supervised, it is not Scripture classes

(or Special Religious Education- SRE) that marginalized non-scripture children, it is unfortunately the lack of resources within schools’ administration to provide adequate care. See Box below paragraph 11.

5) Scripture teachers like myself are fully supportive of public schools and parents’ right of choice. What makes me personally ‘indignant’ is that the NSW Government clearly breached its own Dept. of Education policy guidelines by allowing ethics classes to be held at the same time as Scripture classes. See Box below paragraph 11.

Extractions from the NSW Dept. of Education own policy guidelines paragraph 3 and in particular paragraph 11 for the “Implementation of Special Religious Education” (or SRE, commonly known as ‘Scripture classes’):

A.     Responsibilities of schools

3.      Schools are to support SRE by ensuring that no formal lessons or scheduled school activities occur during time set aside for SRE. Such activities may create conflict of choice for some parents and for some students attending SRE.

11. Schools are to provide appropriate care and supervision at school for students not attending SRE. This may involve students in other activities such as completing homework, reading and private study. These activities should neither compete with SRE nor be alternative lessons in the subjects within the curriculum or other areas, such as, ethics, values, civics or general religious education. When insufficient teachers or accommodation are available, the school’s policy on minimal supervision will operate.

Allowing Ethics Classes clearly breached this policy ‘activities should neither compete with SRE nor be alternative lessons in the subjects within the curriculum or other areas, such as, ethics, values etc.

Source: http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/policies/religion/implement/implement/index.htm

6) The Ethics Classes were initially meant to be offered to only non-scripture children. Quoting Dr. Simon Longstaff of the St James Ethics Centre ( the secular organisation (despite its name) who came up with the ethics course) :

“Ethics classes will only be available to students whose parents have chosen for them not to attend a class of SRE. That is, the pool of potential participants will be limited to those who would otherwise be spending time ‘twiddling their thumbs”.

But this is not true as the classes are now offered to ALL children and consequently we are losing enrolled Scripture children to the Ethics course as I have shown.

7) If our scripture classes keep on reducing in sizes down the years, there will be a real possibility that scripture classes will eventually ceased to exist despite the Education Act 1990 Section 32, where there is a legislative requirement that “In every government school, time is to be allowed for the religious education of children of any religious persuasion”.  We have already seen how legislation can be so easily breached.

I hope the personal reflections above help explain what is in my heart & the grave concern shared by all who wants to see the continuation of the ‘ripe’ & ‘plentiful harvest’ that is in Scripture ministry. A great thank you to those of you who have faithfully prayed, signed petitions and publicly shown support by writing in to the papers. Praising God for His Sovereignty & in His Confidence we can rest. Love & Blessings to you, PP Pauline Pang
Children of the World
Campus Crusade for Christ Australia
02 9585 2029    (h)
61 414 580 986 (m)
Connecting Everyone to Someone who truly Follows Jesus

LATEST PRESS RELEASE

See below today’s Sydney Morning Herald has the latest
development
: Complaints put brakes on ethics class trial

April 17, 2010

HEATH GILMORE EDUCATION

VERITY FIRTH is refusing to guarantee a 10-week trial for secular ethics classes will start next week in state primary schools as expected, after a flurry of complaints from religious leaders. See http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/complaints-put-brakes-on-ethics-class-trial-20100416-skfy.html

I am not putting too much hope on newspaper headlines or Government assurances. Even if it is true we need to keep on battling on our knees. This could be only Round 1 of the many to come!

Email  from Pauline Pang

Origins of Celibacy for Catholic Priests

April 3, 2010

The article :”The History of Catholic Celibacyhttp://www.libertyandlove.org/Resources/SexAndTheBible/01.CatholicCelibacy.aspx

describes the true origin of the rule of celibacy for Catholic Priests. This mandate was instituted in 1123, under Pope Calistus II, the First Lateran Council who invalidated all clerical marriages. The main reason for this rule, was that married priests were bequeathing all their assets and possessions to their children, whereas the church was wanting to retain it all for themselves. Hence the Catholic church instituted the law that priests were not allowed to marry,  so that all their accumulated wealth would remain with the church when they died.

You can read the details of this article in  “The History of Catholic Celibacy” http://www.libertyandlove.org/Resources/SexAndTheBible/01.CatholicCelibacy.aspx

Even when the apostle Paul talks about celibacy in 1 Corinthians 7:6-8  about being the optimum state of being,  he admits  that this is only his own opinion and not necessarily the teachings of Christ.   Hence this rule has no real biblical basis.

Now I will answer the questions that you asked in your letter. You asked, “Is it best for people not to marry?” (1 Corinthians 7:1 CEV-Contemporary Christian Version)

In my opinion, that is what should be done, though I don’t know of anything the Lord said about this matter. I wish that all of you were like me, but God has given different gifts to each of us. Here is my advice for people who have never been married and for widows. You should stay single, just as I am. (1 Corinthians 7:6-8 CEV)

There can also be disadvantages if all priests remain celibate in that  they would not have any life experience in which to give counseling for marriages or child rearing even though they may have text book knowledge.

In 1123, under Pope Calistus II, the First Lateran Council invalidated all clerical marriages

Catholic & Protestant Beliefs

March 27, 2010

The Catholic Church has done a great deal of good works over the centuries and can be proud of this tradition. The life time work of Mother Theresa is a prime example. Many Catholic believers exude more love, mercy and care at times than the average protestant believer.

A big difference from Catholic believers, is that many Protestants base their faith primarily on the Word of God first and foremost, rather than just their own experience. Hence many Protestants object to man made laws & traditions which are added to the word of God. This can be a great hindrance for Protestants to fully unite with Catholics in an official way.

Some of the man made beliefs and traditions created by the Catholic Church are:-

1. Celibacy of priests as a requirement of service – this is becoming more of a problem because it can be contributing to more cases of sexual abuse of young children and women by Catholic priests. Also this rule may be causing the decline of young men entering the priesthood. In 1 Corinthians 7: 1-7 the apostle Paul encourages believers to stay single if they have the gift of celibacy, but states that this is not a command or rule of law. (see verse 6). Instead he gives the believers the option to marry if they wish. Making the rule of celibacy into a law, is becoming legalistic and causing problems in the church. The continual reported cases of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, can be giving the Christian faith a bad name deterring people from accepting Jesus as their saviour altogether.

Here is a brief story about a a girl called Emma who was sexually abused by her parish priest. It is taken from the ASCA website (Adults Surviving Child Abuse). See:- http://www.asca.org.au/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=71
Emma Foster, a young ASCA member died early in 2008, as a result of the impact of child abuse. She and her sister, Katie had been abused by their parish priest. Emma struggled for years to deal with the repercussions of her abuse, battling anorexia, depression, self-harm and drug abuse. She died in her bedroom, alone at the age of 26, as the result of an overdose of medication. Her sister, Katie had already received a life sentence. Struck down by a car while intoxicated from the alcohol she was using to numb her pain, Katie was left severely physically and intellectually disabled, and requires 24 hour care. Anthony and Christine Foster, the parents of Emma, Katie and a third sister, Aimee continue to tell their story in the hope that other families will not have to deal with the tragic impact of childhood trauma.

2. Transubstantiation – is a man made interpretation of the sacraments which is not supported by the word of God.

3. Real Wine or Alcohol: The use of real wine or alcohol in communion may have partly led to some priests becoming addicted to alcohol. To overcome such a temptation the wine could be replaced with a non alcoholic substitute

4. Extra Bible Books: The extra books added to the officially canonised bible contravenes God’s command in Revelations 22:18 –19 “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book”.

5. Pope as the Head: The bible clearly states that Jesus is to be the Head of the church ie the body of Christ, see Colossians 1:18, and that God’s word the Bible is to be the guide book for Christian living. Hence many protestant believers object to the idea of a human person ie the pope being the supreme authority over the Catholic Church, who is able to dictate the rules. For instance they have been given the authority to institute additional man made laws which are not found in the bible, for their congregations to follow. Examples of these man made laws are the celibacy of priests and a ban on contraception for married couples.

This is stated with all due respect to the current pope and all the popes who have gone before him. The pope seems to be a very godly man to be chosen for his present role. Even so, God’s word clearly states in Romans 3:23 –“ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Even the apostle Paul in the New Testament, as godly a man as he was, in pioneering the early church against great suffering and persecution, admits to his followers in Romans 7: 18-20 –“ I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do, no the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” Hence to blatantly install a mere human being to be the head of the church instead of the true supreme and ultimate authority of Jesus, is asking for trouble. In actual fact the believer will find that the closer they get to God, the more sinful they will find they are, as God reveals the things in our hearts which can be hidden. We then find the need to receive more and more of God’s mercy each day. In Luke 19b Jesus says “ No one is good – except God alone”.

To install a human being to become the revered head of the church is a bit like the Israelites during the period of 1 Kings and 2 Kings in the Old Testament. The people found it hard to trust in a God that they could not see with their own eyes. Hence, they demanded the judges to give them a human king that they could look to. Finally God gave in to their demands and stubbornness and installed a human king ie Saul. However to have a human being as the head turned out to be a huge disaster, since this can never be compared to allowing the Holy and Almighty Yahweh himself to be their rightful Father, Head and guide.

6. Contraception Ban: banning contraception is not really a strict rule in the bible.

7. Praying to Saints : is also not considered a biblical principal to protestants. It is elevating a human person to what only the Holy Spirit can do for us ie. intercede for us on our behalf to God.

8. Lack of Evangelism: For centuries Jesus’ mandate for evangelism in Matthew 28:19-20 has been ignored by a large portion of the Catholic Church. However it has always been taken up by the Protestant faith which is probably why protestant churches are called “Evangelical”. Jesus’ command for the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20 must have been very important since it is the last thing that Jesus commanded his disciples before he left the earth in the Ascension.

9. Pergatory: is not an official place which is present in God’s word. It was devised by a Catholic believer who had a creative imagination, who was stretching the interpretation of a very minor point in the bible.

10. Baptism of Babies: many Catholics believe that the baptism of a baby helps that baby to become saved, later as an adult. However this contradicts bible teaching. Jesus states clearly in John 3:16 that those who make a conscious decision to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ – in his death and resurrection – will be saved. A baby is not of age to understand the concept of salvation & hence cannot do this. If it dies as a baby, it will automatically go to heaven without any baptism. The baptism of a baby is really a commitment by the parents to promise to bring the child up in a godly manner. After this is done, it is then up to the baby who grows into adulthood to make a decision whether to believe in Jesus or not, which will determine his or her salvation. One cannot rely on the fact that a baby was baptised as a child to ensure that they have received salvation and are going to heaven.

These are just some reasons why many hard lined bible believing Protestants may never fully unite with Catholic believers in an ecumenical sense, even though they would still show kindness and love to them.

Some of these man made laws such as the mandate of celibacy for priests or the ban on contraception for married couples, can be creating a heavier burden of law on everyday parishioners which they were never meant to bear. This is similar to what the Pharisees did in Jesus’ day. They wanted to create additional laws perhaps to exercise more power and control over the people. This can then make the Christian faith a legalistic set of rules enforced by human leaders, instead of the joy and freedom that it is meant to be in Christ.

Perhaps more people should write to Cardinal Pell and the Vatican to revoke many of these man made traditions and laws, since these were instituted by man, and not God. However it is imperative that any steps towards reform be done in a loving and compassionate manner and not carried out with any hint of self righteous ambivalence or pride. Otherwise the result will just be even more disunity and infighting within the Christian faith, resulting in bitterness, resentment and anger. Such an outcome can never help to further the gospel in any way, or be a witness to the unsaved world.

It can also be said, that any godly reform must come from within the Catholic Church itself, not from outside. This is so, because if protestant believers were to write letters for reform, this would probably be construed as divisive and self righteous behaviour. However if Catholic members themselves see the need for reform, there is a greater likelihood of change occurring, especially if it is in accord with the principals of God’s Word. After all it is the Bible which should be the true authority for our Christian lives and the Church not an imperfect human being.

In stating the need for reform of many of the principals and doctrines of the Catholic Church, this does not mean that many Catholic believers do not experience a real and life changing relationship with God through Jesus. This is so, because despite the presence of some faulty doctrine, God can still intervene, if the Catholic believer is genuinely searching and seeking the Lord with all their heart , soul and mind. There is clear evidence of this from the transformation of many lives through the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Since this movement has led to a whole transformation of a great proportion of the Catholic Church, there is no reason why reform in essential areas of doctrine is not possible as well.

To some ecumenical believers, some differences in doctrine may not seem important. Some Christians may also believe that one’s own Christian experience is more important than issues of doctrine which may appear legalistic. However it can be said that both areas are equally important. In fact I believe that correct doctrine is the basis or foundation of the Christian faith from which all Christian experience must spring from. Even though doctrine to some may seem like the more lifeless or boring part of the faith, it is still the foundation on what Christianity is built on. Hence if there are holes in that foundation, it can still effect the quality of our Christian experience, especially if some of those doctrines contradict the Word of God.

Ignorance of doctrines, (that seem to contradict God’s Word), covered by good intentions, I believe can still prevent one from experiencing the negative effects of this lack of knowledge. For instance, a person may be totally unaware that he has hidden sin in his heart. Until he discovers this for himself, he will continue to suffer the consequences of that hidden sin, that he is totally unaware of. Ignorance of it does not absolve him of it’s negative effects.

I hope that this discussion will help to provoke the minds of Catholic believers, to pray about some of these issues before God, to see if there are any areas in the church that may need reform so that they can experience more of the fullness of God, according to His word. I hope it will also compel Catholic believers into action as well.

Father Des Reid

January 9, 2010

I watched a very inspiring interview about  the Catholic Priest “Father Des Reid” on Andrew Denton’s program “Eldars”.

It discusses his first calling to the ministry, the unexpected surprises in his career and also his sufferings,  but how all of these events were used in a mighty way in God’s plan and for God’s kingdom.

Your faith will be truly inspired by this account.

Here is the link to the transcript of the interveiw:-
http://www.abc.net.au/tv/enoughrope/transcripts/s2307982.htm

Video Excerpt
http://www.abc.net.au/tv/enoughrope/video/default.htm?program=enoughrope&pres=20080721&story=1