Thursday, 22 August 2019

On Leave

Light Blogging

We are on leave for the next couple of weeks or so.  Apologies for the ensuing light blogging.

Will resume early September.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Dumb Rules and Dumber Politicians

Worker Shortages and Dumb Rules 

Kneecapping Business

Mike Hosking
NZ Herald

I ask a simple question: Why is this Government so hell-bent on making doing business in this country so hard?

We could, of course, spend the whole morning discussing the plight of the farmer. Isolated as some sort of demonic operator, pillager of the earth. Instead of the backbone of the economy.  But this specific question is asked as a result of seeing Francie Perry on the news. Her plight is the plight of many like her. She grows strawberries, and like most others who grow stuff, she can't get people to pick the stuff she grows.

And the Government won't let her solve her problem. She employs 1200 people - but needs 140 or so from offshore and bureaucracy is killing her. Excuses and ideology are killing her and her business.

Daily Meditation

Growing into Conformity

The modern distinction between the “carnal Christian” and the “Spirit-filled Christian” is a dangerous one. If a carnal Christian is described as one whose fallen nature has not yet been changed by grace, it is a contradiction in terms. If a person is carnal in the sense that the Holy Spirit resides in him without affecting his constituent nature in any way, then he is simply not a Christian. To view regeneration as not effecting any real change in the person is a serious distortion of regeneration. Here the Holy Spirit indwells but does nothing to effect change in the person.
If a Spirit-filled Christian is defined as one in whom the flesh is absent entirely, then the only Spirit-filled Christians are those now in heaven. Every Christian is to some degree carnal in this world, insofar as the remnants of the flesh are still there provoking warfare. In this sense, the Apostle Paul, after his conversion, was a carnal Christian. Every Christian is also spiritual in that the Holy Spirit indwells him and works in him, through him, and on him.
The biblical view involves the indwelling of a divine person within a human person who has been truly regenerated by the power of the divine person. The human person has changed. His old nature is dying, and by cooperation with the grace of the Holy Spirit, the new man is growing into conformity to Christ.

Coram Deo

Thank God for the ministry of the Holy Spirit working in, through, and on you.

Passages for Further Study

Monday, 19 August 2019

Veganism For Children Outlawed

Belgium Will 'No Longer Tolerate' Parents Who Force Their Kids to be Vegan

Dan Satherley
News Hub

Belgian officials will "no longer tolerate" parents who force their kids to be vegan.  It follows a number of cases in the European country of children being hospitalised and suffering health complications, and even a death in 2017, linked to vegan diets.

Government children's rights official Bernard Devos asked the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium to make a ruling on the controversial diet, whose adherents avoid eating meat and dairy, and avoid using products made from animal-derived sources.  The academy did so on Thursday, reports local paper Le Soir, saying it was "not ethical" to impose veganism on children.

"This restrictive regime requires ongoing monitoring of children to avoid deficiencies and often irreversible growth delays," the academy's report said.  "It is unsuitable for unborn children, children, teenagers and pregnant and lactating women... This concept of nutrition is similar to a form of treatment that it is not ethical to impose on children."  It's reported around 3 percent of Belgian kids live in vegan families.

Daily Meditation

Becoming a New Creation

As Christians, we are new creations. Our hearts of stone have been turned into hearts of flesh. In this metaphor, flesh is used as a positive figure, not a pejorative one. Where once my heart was cold and recalcitrant, dead and inert to the things of God, now it throbs and pulsates with spiritual life. Once I was biologically alive but spiritually dead. Now I am biologically alive and spiritually alive as well. I am a new person.
There is radical discontinuity between my new self and my old self. This radical discontinuity, however, is not total discontinuity. A link between the old man and the new man remains. The old man has been dealt a mortal blow. His total destruction is certain, but he is not yet dead.
The conflict of the Christian life is a struggle with sin. Sin no longer has dominion over us if we are in Christ, yet sin is still in us. Regeneration liberates us from the bondage of original sin, but our corrupt nature is not totally annihilated this side of heaven.
Paul speaks of the warfare that goes on between the flesh and the spirit. “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal. 5:17).

Coram Deo

Thank God for the new heart of flesh He has implanted in your spiritual being.

Passages for Further Study

Getting the Fundamentals Right

Look To The Rock

Many Christians misunderstand their connection with the Jewish people.  They fail to grasp that the New Testament teaches that we are of ancient Israel--which is not to say that we are all British Israelites. 

Alec Motyer put it this way:

. . . Old Testament thinking is precisely what Paul took seriously in his description of the church of our Lord Jesus Christ as the children of Abraham (Rom. 4:13--18) and Gal. 3:26--29).  The straight line out of the Old Testament runs into the New Testament.  This is tragically confused when people speak or write of the New Testament Church as the "new Israel."  There is no such entity.  There is only one "Israel", and from the start it was the people within the people, the line within the line, the believing community within the professing body, the Israel within Israel--the Israel of God.  [Alec Motyer, Look to the Rock: An Old Testament Background to Our Understanding of Christ (London: Intervarsity Press, 1996),   p.181.]

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Where It All Began

Meditation For the Lord's Day

We have been working through a most remarkable book.  Written by Alex Motyer, it is entitled, Look to the Rock: An Old Testament Background to our Understanding of Christ (Intervarsity Press, 1996).  It is full of profound observations.  Here is one of them:

In . . . Genesis 3:9, 10 there is the matter of a bad conscience.  We are not told how the man and the woman greeted the Lord's earlier visits to them.  However, the air of easy delight that breathes through the narrative in Genesis 2 suggests that, when God spoke to the man about his place in the Garden and the law under which he was to live, and when he shared with the man and woman the divine ideal of marriage, they stood in his presence with open minded pleasure. 

Now, however, that fear of God which is henceforth to mark human reactions to his appearing--that moral fear which cries out 'I have seen him; I will die'--has entered the world.  Never again can humans stand unafraid before God.  Yet it is not the awesomeness of his presence that warned the first couple of this, but the inner voice of conscience: it was now natural for them to be afraid of God. 

Genesis 3: 7-10 lays the groundwork for all human ills in a fallen world; we are dislocated within ourselves, dislocated from each other, dislocated from God.  Personal fragmentation, social tension and spiritual alienation are now the parameters of life upon earth. ( p.119)

Friday, 16 August 2019

Pure Love and Bravery

Why The World Needs To Allow Women To Shout Their Adoptions

People often think that if a child is unwanted by a birth mother, he is unloved. But placing a child for adoption is a profoundly loving choice.

The Federalist

When defending a woman’s power to abort her child in May, Alabama state Rep. John Rogers, a Democrat, made remarks before the legislature that took a dark turn. “You bring them in the world unwanted, unloved, you send them to the electric chair,” Rogers said. “So, you kill them now or you kill them later,” reported the Washington Examiner.

Rogers’ remarks incurred anger from people on all sides of the abortion debate, but the resulting maelstrom did not address the most damaging part of his argument: the assumption that “unwanted” is synonymous with “unloved.” 

In the late 1980s, my birth mother placed me for adoption, making me one of around seven million adopted Americans counted today by Adoption Network Law Center. I was raised by an incredible couple who gave me all the love I could ask for, and taught me the life skills I needed to be successful—and, although this fact ought to be fairly obvious, to avoid any contact with an electric chair.

I may have been adopted, but with the exception of more limited knowledge of my medical background and a keen fascination with how other children resemble their parents, I grew up no differently than my non-adopted friends.

My parents never let me doubt that my birth mother had placed me for adoption because she loved me. It was part of the language they used every time we spoke about how I became their child. Their assurances rung true when, as an adult, I was given the letter my birth mother left for me after I was born. “If I loved you a little,” her letter said, “I would keep you. But I love you a lot so I’m going to give you up.”

Like many adopted children, I was interested in finding my birth parents. I was in my mid-twenties and early thirties when I met my biological parents for the first time. As long as I live, I will never tire of telling the stories of those reunions. Without exception, my experience never ceases to generate enthusiasm and joy, whether I discuss it with neighbors, colleagues, family members, or friends.

A Much More Mature Perspective

Skillet's John Cooper Wakeup Call

It's Time to Stop Putting People as Christianity's 'Source of Truth'

Written by Michael Thom
Published: 14 August 2019

John Cooper issued a response to the many public departures from the Christian faith by people considered to be leaders in Christianity at one time. (John Cooper/Facebook)  As former pastors and worship leaders are making very public departures from their Christian faith, one Christian musician has made a very public response which has quickly gone viral.

John Cooper, lead singer and bassist from the band Skillet, made a post on social media Tuesday, August 13, entitles 'What in God's name is happening in Christianity?' Last month former pastor and celebrated author Joshua Harris publicly declared that he is no longer a Christian. Then over the weekend Hillsong songwriter and musician Marty Sampson made a public post saying "I'm genuinely losing my faith and it doesn't bother me." Sampson clarified later that he hasn't renounced his faith, but that it is on "shaky ground."

"What is happening in Christianity?

Thursday, 15 August 2019

"We Are the Champions of the World"

Rules and Regulations Are For Dummies

What is going on?  We have not followed the story printed below in any great detail.  But it does not appear to pass the smell test.  Is this a case of the left wing parliamentary Labour Party spending most of its waking hours hectoring and lecturing everyone.  Is it so captivated by its own importance  that it feels justified in dismissing out of hand stories of its own malfeasance? 

'Process Underway' a Convenient Shield

Barry Soper NZ Herald

First of all the Labour Party dodged answering questions about allegations of sexual assault and rape by one of its workers because "the process" involved in the investigation exonerating him was under way.  Now that they've set up an appeal process for the complainants they're not commenting because that process is underway. It's a convenient shield for the party to hide behind.  And all of this from a party leading a Government that Jacinda Ardern promised would be the most transparent in our history.

Prime Minister Ardern's prior sanctimony and self-righteousness is now in tatters.  But that's a relatively minor matter.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Nails, Colours, and Masts

Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Affirms Creation in Six Days

by Lita Cosner

Often, news coming out of various denominations can be grim. It seems every month there is a new announcement about a traditionally conservative group accepting gay marriage or other liberal ideologies. However, recently there was very good news coming from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). The Christian Post reports, “At the 67th Regular Convention of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod on Tuesday [23 July 2019], the theologically conservative denomination adopted Resolution 5-09A, titled ‘To Confess the Biblical Six-Day Creation.’”1

The official LCMS newspaper comments, “Few, if any, Christians dispute God’s creating act. Many Christians, however, struggle with the age of the earth.” This makes the resolution taking a stand on this issue all the more important, as many people have questions about the age of the earth.  It makes little difference to have a strong stand on creation as a denomination if the ‘average person in the pew’ is never informed about it.

Another important part of this resolution is that it “instructs pastors to focus on teaching the parishioners they serve, especially youth, about these issues. It asks pastors to equip their people to give a respectful Christian witness about the biblical teaching regarding creation and the intersection of faith and science.” This is crucial, because it makes little difference to have a strong stand on creation as a denomination if the ‘average person in the pew’ is never informed about it. We appreciated the youth emphasis here. The need aptly demonstrated by CMI’s FALLOUT! survey of college campuses of once-Christian youth.

The creation litmus test

How a church treats creation is indicative of its other views.

Daily Meditation

Understanding the Basic Conflict

The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde could be an allegory for the Christian life. There is a war in our members, a constant conflict between the old and the new, between vice and virtue, sin and obedience. We seem to be moral schizoids. It is a struggle between what the Bible calls the “old man” and the “new man.”
Whenever I hear an evangelist declare, “Come to Jesus and all your problems will be over,” I cringe because I am hearing false advertising. I cringe because this promise conflicts with my experience and my spiritual pilgrimage.
In one sense, my life didn’t become complicated until I became a Christian. Before my conversion, I only had one man with which to contendthe old man. My spiritual life was one-dimensional. I was Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll never showed up to bother me.
Prior to my conversion, I was dead in trespasses and sins. As Paul describes the course of the unregenerate person in Ephesians 2, I “walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (v. 2).
But now I am a Christian. I have been made alive to the things of God, being quickened to new life by the regenerating grace of God.

Coram Deo

Thank God that you no longer walk according to the course of this world and the prince of the power of the air.

Passages for Further Study

Worse Today Than Ever

Abortion And The Ancient Idolatries

There have been some excellent speeches in the NZ Parliament opposing abortion.  Here is one of the more outstanding contributions from Simon O'Connor MP.

As for ourselves, the more time passes the more we have come to loathe abortion as one of the most evil, selfish acts a human being could ever undertake.  But far, far worse is the evil of the State being the official abortion merchant, killing defenceless children at the will and whim of adult bullies. 

In the former days of the Old Covenant, Israel was surrounded by tribes and nations whose evil was mature.  They worshipped local deities which called for children to be sacrificed to the god, Molech.  It is the sort of monstrosity which leaves people gasping and incredulous.  But that was all so long ago.  It was the kind of thing practised by ancient and primitive peoples, but now expunged from the world..

Not so.  Molech worship is a rampant secularist rite throughout the world, particularly in the West.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

A Reality Check

9 in 10 Young Britons Believe Their Lives Have No Purpose

Victoria Friedman
Breitbart News

A nationwide poll (in the UK) has revealed that 89 per cent of 16- to 29-year-olds believe that their lives have no meaning or purpose.  The poll, conducted by Japanese company Yakult and reported by The Sun, also found that 30 per cent of young people believe they are stuck in a rut with 84 per cent saying that they believe they are failing to “live their best life”.

Across all age groups, over half (51 per cent) of those surveyed believe they were put on the earth to be as happy as they can be, whilst 37 per cent believe that it is their role to make people around them happy, with 31 per cent believing humanity’s purpose should be to do good.

With religion being a major source of sense of purpose, a separate survey reported last month that those professing a Christian faith in the UK is at a record low at 38 per cent, with only one per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds identifying as belonging to the Church of England.

Daily Meditation

Waiting in Faith

When Abraham arrived in Canaan, it was by no means a great nation. But he dwelt there, living in tents. God may have prepared a mansion for him in heaven, but in Canaan all he had was a tent. The only parcel of Canaan he ever actually owned was his burial plot.
Most importantly, Abraham waited. This is perhaps the hardest test of faith. Unrealized expectations make for bitterness and despair in many people’s lives. But Abraham waited in faith, just as God later required of the prophet Habakkuk, when He said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Hab. 2:2–3).
Abraham waited in faith and died in faith. With the rest of the Old Testament saints, it was said: “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us” (Heb. 11:39–40).

Coram Deo

Do you have a good testimony of faith? Have you learned to wait in faith for God to move on your behalf?

Passages for Further Study

Sex and Gender Artificially Torn Apart

How Embarrassing

New Zealand risks becoming infamous for its adherence to idiocy.  Recently, the country starred on Fox News

Transgender weightlifter’s gold medal sparks new debate

By Lukas Mikelionis
Fox News

Should transgender persons be allowed to compete by sex or by gender identity?  A women’s rights group demanded action after a transgender weightlifter dominated a recent tournament and is free to compete at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.  The controversy stems from Laurel Hubbard’s performance at the Games in Samoa earlier this month, where she won two golds and a silver in three of the women’s heavyweight categories.
 Transgender weightlifter’s gold medal sparks new debate
Women’s rights groups are demanding action to stop biological male athletes from competing against biological women after transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard (right) dominated a recent tournament and is free to compete at next year’s Tokyo Olympics. (AP)

Monday, 12 August 2019

Isn't Climate Wonderful

The Deceit Is the Actual Terrifying Truth

We have long held the view that the climate zealots have zero credibility.  Here is another example of the exaggeration, fear-mongering, and deceit:

Greenland Ice Melt Shock – The Terrifying Truth!

James Delingpole
Breitbart London

Greenland just lost 11 billion tons of ice melted in one day because of this shocking weather event known as ‘summer’.
CBS News‘s resident climate expert Ted Scambos [loving the poetry of that first syllable in his surname!] thinks this is worrying and unusual; so does the Washington Post, which declares it “one of its greatest melting events ever recorded”; so too does renowned Canadian alarmist Bill McKibben.

Bill McKibben  @billmckibben

As Greenland's heat wave peaks tomorrow, rate of melting is expected to be highest ever recorded. This is ngood
The Greenland ice sheet is in the throes of one of its greatest melting events ever recorded.  The heat dome that caused the extreme European heat wave is now affecting the Arctic, where the Greenland Ice Sheet is seeing one of its most intense melt events on record.
So too does presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar, Senator for Minnesota:

Daily Meditation

Putting Faith into Action

The author of Hebrews defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Faith fills the vacuum of hope. Hope, when coupled with faith, has substance, and substance is something rather than nothing. Faith also provides evidence for that which is not visible. Faith is not blind. Indeed far from being blind, it is both far-sighted and sharp-sighted. Its evidence rests not on speculation but on confidence in a God who sees what we cannot see. It rests on trust in the reliability of every promise that is uttered by God.
It is one thing to believe in God. It is quite another to believe God. Abraham believed God when He said He would show him a better country. He believed God again later when God dramatized His covenant promise in Genesis 15, and by this faith Abraham was counted righteous. He was justified by his faith.
That Abraham’s faith was genuine is seen in that he obeyed God by faith. True faith is always obedient faith. Abraham obeyed the call of God on his lifeand he demonstrated this obedience when he “went out.” His faith issued in action.

Coram Deo

How can you put your faith into action today?

Passages for Further Study


The Lord Holds Them In Derision  (Psalm 2:4)

The Chinese Communist regime is scared.  Unable to win over the hearts and minds of its subjects, it has taken up the most idiotic forms of censorship.  This is the signature of a regime which knows, were a free election to be held, it would be deep-sixed in the China sea before the ink could dry on the ballots.  

Chinese Authorities Are Running Scared

Removing The Words "Bible", "God" and "Christ" From Classic Children’s Stories in School Textbook
Barnabas Fund2 August 2019

Authorities in China have erased the words Bible, God and Christ from classic children’s stories including Robinson Crusoe and The Little Match Girl as part of moves to redact Christian references.  The popular stories are among four works by foreign writers to feature in a new Chinese school textbook for fifth grade pupils, aged around 11, that offers students an “understanding of other cultures”, according to the Ministry of Education.

But author Daniel Defoe’s description of how castaway Robinson Crusoe recovers three Bibles from the remains of his shipwreck has been altered from the original 1718 novel to read that Crusoe saved “a few books”.

Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson said in his 1845 short story, The Little Match Girl, that "when a star falls, a soul goes to be with God". In the sinicised (made Chinese) version, the text reads, "When a star falls, a person leaves this world."  Anton Chekhov’s story Vanka receives similar treatment. A section telling of a prayer in church has been left out and every mention of the word Christ has been erased.

The Chinese authorities announced new policies of sinicisation in a White Paper on religion in early 2018, with the intention of selectively reinterpreting Christianity and Scripture.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Pray For the Persecuted Church in Nigeria

Genocide of Nigeria’s Christians a ‘Global Security Nightmare’

Thomas D Williams
Breitbart News

ROME — The ongoing slaughter of Nigerian Christians by Muslim herders and terrorists is a powder keg waiting to explode, according to an essay Sunday by Christian persecution expert John L. Allen.
A recent report asserted that 52 lethal, anti-Christian attacks took place in Nigeria during the first six months of 2019, notes Mr. Allen, the author of the 2013 bestseller The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian-based International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law declared that some 2,400 Christians were killed by the Fulani in 2018 alone. And Nigeria’s Daily Post reported last year that from June 2015 to June 2018, Fulani militants “killed 8,800 Christians and other non-Muslims,” torching “not less than 1,000″ churches and other places of worship during the same period.

While mainstream media have insisted that the anti-Christian violence by Muslim herdsmen is not religiously motivated, that is not the experience of people on the ground, Allen notes. 
“It’s tough to tell Nigerian Christians this isn’t a religious conflict since what they see are Fulani fighters clad entirely in black, chanting ‘Allahu Akbar!’ and screaming ‘Death to Christians!’, Sister Monica Chikwe of the Hospitaler Sisters of Mercy told Allen at a recent Rome conference on anti-Christian persecution.

Daily Meditation

Moving Out in Faith

Abraham went to a far country at the bidding of God. He was not young and foolish. He was advanced in years, being seventy-five years old when God said to him: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you” (Gen. 12:1).
Abraham’s move was not a temporary trip for purposes of study or relaxation. It was to be a permanent uprooting for himself and his immediate family. It meant leaving both his father’s house and his fatherland. It meant leaving everything that was a part of his security. He left his home, his property, his business contacts, his doctor, and everyone else that was integral to his community. He took his wife, his nephew, and some servants. The only other person who went with him was God.
What made Abraham’s departure all the more startling was that he had no idea where he was going. He was a pilgrim with no place to call his home. But he went with a promise, a sacred pledge from God Himself that the Lord would show him a land wherein Abraham would become the father of a great nation.
This moment in his life was memorialized by the author of Hebrews: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance” (Heb. 11:8).

Coram Deo

Is God asking you to move out by faith in some area of your life or ministry?

Passages for Further Study

Byzantine Contortions

Madness On A Grand Scale

New Zealand is on the precipice of a great evil.  A bill has received its first reading in Parliament which will make the killing of children yet in their mother's womb a woman's right until the birth of the child.  Peel back all the "rightsie" liberal claims and assertions and this is the stark reality which confronts the nation. 

Labour and Greens have promulgated a bill that has plenty to say about a "woman's right" to make up her own mind about such things.  But nowhere within the legislation is there any recognition at all for the human being--the most vulnerable human being--within the mother's womb.  That human person will have no recognition nor protection in law.  It's all about the mother.

And while we are gasping at the terrible proposal, it's worth noting that the Glorious Bill does not recognize in any respect the rights of the father.  Nil.  Nugatory.  Zero.

Everyone who votes for, or supports, this Bill is proceeding on what they believe is an unassailable foundation: they are emphatically certain that the baby within the mother's womb is NOT a human being.