Tag: God

The cosmological constant

Peter’s Corner
I fitted another piece to an empty spot in my jigsaw puzzle, and marvelled at finding the only piece that perfectly fitted the shape and picture required for the empty spot. That reminded me how marvellously our universe is put together. It is like a jigsaw built not from cardboard pieces, but from physical and mathematical laws and numbers.
Did you know that scientists have discovered stunning coincidences between the values of some physical constants and the requirements for life? The numbers have amazingly exact values. This is called “fine tuning.” According to Michael Turner, famed astrophysicist, the fine-tuning of some of the constants is as unexpected as throwing a dart across the universe and hitting a precise one millimetre wide target.
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Holiness is not really a concept bandied about much in our culture today. If the term is used, it would most likely be negatively, as in “Stop being so holier-than-thou!” Meaning, “stop being so self-righteous”, or “stop judging me for my bad behaviour”.
‘Holiness’, as far as our culture understands it, is something we think we ought to avoid in order to make others feel better about themselves. Even exercising a free choice, like not drinking alcohol, not swearing or not sleeping with someone can be construed as some sort of super-spiritual behaviour depending on the company, and elicit an accusation of being too ‘holy’.
In the Bible, however, the word ’holy‘ in the Hebrew language means ’things belonging to God‘.
Things and people are ’made holy‘ by dedicating them for use by and for God.
When God shows up somewhere, like in the Jewish temple or at Moses’ burning bush, He transforms that space into a holy place. Even coal shovels and candlesticks can be holy, because they are set aside for use in God’s service.
Other words that convey that special use for God’s purposes are ‘sanctified’ or ‘consecrated’.
The New Testament calls Christians “a holy people”.
Looking around at those who follow Jesus that you know, you might disagree. But the point is that they are not holy because of what they do, they are holy because they belong to God and God is using them for His purposes.
Christians should indeed act in a manner that is upright and sin-free, but that comes out of the identity of holiness that God has already given them by forgiving their sin and accepting them as His children, not out of a striving on their part to become ‘good enough’ for God.
The Christian God, Yahweh, is perfect, sinless and all good. God’s standards are high and holy. Apart from Jesus’ atoning [paying the debt] sacrifice on the cross there is no way humans could meet them.
However, with Jesus as both Saviour and Lord of their lives, Christians are empowered to live holy lives — not sanctimonious lives, but lives full of humility, love, kindness, patience and self-control.
You too can be holy and live holy, no matter how you have lived up to this point. You can change the script of your life by committing yourself to God by means of a simple prayer such as the one on this page.

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Disappointment with God

THIS paper is filled with success stories about people who have found God, been set free from their addictions, been healed emotionally and physically, had their marriages restored and found a peace and joy that was previously unknown. As a result of this, you may be forgiven for thinking that giving your life to Jesus will fix all your problems and make your life rosy.

The truth is, though, that in the Christian life there will likely be deep disappointments and unanswered prayers.

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Our faith is not blind

WORLD SIGHT DAY is on the 13th of October, celebrating our physical sight – a wonderful gift and a vital sense that helps us interpret and evaluate our environment.

However, there are many real and important things that are not visible to us like energy, love, and gravity.

What about faith? An oft-quoted Christian phrase is “we walk by faith and not by sight” but is it really true that “faith is blind”?

Homicide detective J. Warner Wallace, in his 2013 book entitled Cold Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels, discusses how, as a religious sceptic, he investigated the death of Jesus Christ and the evidence for God in the same manner he investigates cold cases (unsolved murders of the past) in his job.

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What type of father is God?

HAVE YOU HEARD people say ‘I like the Jesus of the New Testament (NT) but I don’t like the angry God of the Old Testament (OT)?’

According to Christianity, Jesus is God in human form. Jesus told His followers that if they had seen Him they had seen God.

Sometimes it seems to me though that we think they are two different types of gods: that the OT God is a stern, strict Victorian father who takes the strap to his children if they do wrong, whereas we imagine Jesus as a modern, fun parent who gives us lots of hugs and positive reinforcement.


But are either of these really the picture the Bible portrays?      

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Ask an expert

Tips for Life

by Alan Bailey

EVERY now and then we hear of expectant mothers rushing to hospital for delivery but not getting there in time. So many gripping stories are told of how a policeman helped deliver the baby on the side of the road, or perhaps a taxi driver. Sometimes a husband is left with no alternative but to do what he would never choose to do.

However, under more normal conditions, a woman would never call a policeman or a taxi driver to do the work of a mid-wife or a doctor. Nor would any of us ring a plumber if we had a medical problem. If the car plays up we would not think of getting anyone but a mechanic to fix it.

Simple. Special knowledge is required for certain tasks. At times, a word of authority is needed, not just something instinctive. This is especially so when a good deal is at stake. No point in taking risks when it’s unnecessary. Nevertheless, we all have opinions and we like to express them. How often we hear people begin with “I like to think of it this way…” or “In my humble opinion…..” and they are talking about the big questions of life! Such as; Is there a God? What is He like? What is my relationship with Him? Will I meet Him when I die?

Of course we are all entitled to have and express opinions. But these questions call for some word of authority, not uninformed speculation. We must find truth we can trust. Which really means someone we can trust. Opinions are not enough.

Someone has given us answers to the above questions and many more. No, we don’t have answers to all the questions but we have enough to meet our needs in this life. There has been no greater authority on Earth than Jesus Christ. He gave us great truths and insights, telling us that “Heaven and Earth may pass away but My words shall never pass away”.

Further, He showed by His life that He was more than just a man, more than just a religious leader. He claimed to be equal with God the Father, to be the Saviour of the world and its final judge. On one occasion God spoke from heaven saying “This is my beloved Son; listen to Him.”

It pays to listen. And to realize that He gave His life on a cross in order to pay sin’s price and make a way for us to be in a right relationship with God. It pays to be certain. ●

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Being blissfully unaware

Tips for Life

by Alan Bailey

Peoples’ lives are often violently interrupted. News has gone around the world in recent days of earthquakes and a tsunami which have caused many deaths and huge devastation. We almost get used to hearing such reports.

In certain places, calamities are bound to happen. Cities are built on fault lines. Large populations live on low ground subject to flooding. Tornadoes often occur in a known strip across a country. To live there is like sitting on a time bomb. Sooner or later it will explode. Yet, life goes on in these places, daily cares being the focal point. The people are largely unconscious of potential dangers.Continue reading

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Learning from the samurai

by Andrew Lansdown

Anyone who has seen The Last Samurai can easily understand why it has been nominated for four Academy Awards (best art direction, best costume design, best sound and best supporting actor). It is an outstanding film about a disillusioned American soldier, Captain Algren (played by Tom Cruise), who goes to Japan in 1876 to help modernise and train an army for the Emperor. He knows nothing of the samurai, the enemy he is about to face. Then in his first battle against them he is taken captive. Thus begins his (and our) discovery of the samurai and their way of life.

And what a discovery it is! I doubt that anyone could watch the film without feeling a sense of admiration for those warriors of ancient Japan.

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Are you suffering through Christmas?

Published Christmas 2018

Most people are familiar with the basics of the Christmas story and the manger scene of baby Jesus in the hay; however, they might think ‘well so what? Even if that is the historical basis for Christmas, it is irrelevant to me now in the 21st century.’

Christmas, to most Aussies, has come to mean presents, food and maybe some time off.

For some, though, it is not even a festive holiday but a hard time. Christmas may bring with it unnecessary debt, unwanted expectations, demanding social engagements and painful memories of family members who are no longer with us or relationships that have broken down.

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