and men loved darkness rather than light

While ISIS are an obvious current threat within the world, some of the conditions that made their murderous regime possible were set in place through the military campaign conducted by the US, Britain and Australia against Iraq a decade ago. Violence perpetrated by the west made way for violence against the west.
Sowing and reaping.

But that isn’t the only contributing factor. Prince Charles recently made claims that climate change also played its part, with Syria experiencing severe drought for many years that caused shifts of population and increased poverty. It seems he has been mocked making such “ludicrous” claims, but the same things were said in Years of Living Dangerously, a documentary I saw several months ago, in which Pulitzer Prize-winner Thomas L. Friedman examined the role of climate change on Syria’s turbulent political situation and how the resulting destabilisation created conditions for what’s happening today.
Climate change, the result of man’s greed and exploitation of God’s creation
Sowing and reaping.

The above two situations were exploited by men intent on violence, men driven by religious ideas that excuse and encourage their violence. Ideas that allow them to victimise and exploit the weak and helpless. They are parasites, feeding on the fear of those they oppress, choosing to follow evil passions and using their god as justification for what they do.

Earlier I mentioned my own thoughts about what I’d do if I was in a position where I could put an end to a situation like that in Paris, if killing a terrorist and stopping his rampage of murder would save countless other immediate victims.
The likelihood of that happening would be close to zero, but I wanted to consider how I’d respond in the very unlikely case that it did – and what response would be acceptable or “right”. It was more of a moral assessment than a serious consideration of viable possibilities. Surely I should turn the other cheek? But what if it’s not my cheek that was hit, or my life under threat? Do I turn a blind eye to the horrors being inflicted on others if I could make a difference?

Would prayer would be a preferable option in that case? Or standing up to them in the name of Jesus, to share the gospel?
It possibly would be if I knew I had faith strong enough to stand between the murderer and his intended victims and for those actions to bring about a favourable end to the situation. But unless God gave me a special gift of faith for that moment, I don’t think my faith wouldn’t be sufficient – and all I’d be doing was adding myself to the victims without preventing any further murders, and considering the present day methods of terrorists, it wouldn’t even prevent the perpetrator’s death (at his own hand).

Elsewhere I’ve received responses that say the terrorists are no greater sinners than all of the rest of us, that their murdering is no more sinful than the things we may see as being lesser evils: that we don’t see sin in the same way God sees it. All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory…
But does God Himself NOT make distinctions? Clearly under the law he established with Israel He ordered harsher penalties (even death) for some sins than He did for others. All sin has eternal consequences, but some sin has consequences in the here and now.

Receiving the gift of salvation is conditional upon each individual’s choice. Those who openly choose systematic murder, rape, torture, terror and ultimately suicide, and encourage others to take the same path, disqualify themselves from any part in God’s blessings.

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practising evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Latest ISIS Recruits in action

Over the weekend there were several violent clashes around Australia, centred on “Reclaim Australia” rallies.

Sadly it seems that false prophet Danny Nalliah, head of Catch the Fire Ministries (and also head of Rise Up Australia, his own political party) has a strong involvement with Reclaim Australia. I’ve seen him on the TV news a few times speaking at their rallies.

Nalliah infamously “prophesied” election results back around 2007. His prophecy failed miserably. He never backed down from his predictions, but blamed Australian Christians for not voting in line with his prediction. Since then he started his own political party, which now seems to be aligned with the Reclaim Australia movement.

Nalliah long ago fell for the apostate mix of politics and religion that is increasingly becoming the face of “christianity”.

ISIS recruitsOn the other side of the equation are anti-racism protestors, some of whom aren’t averse to using violence in their opposition to Reclaim Australia – and RA aren’t averse to violent retaliation.

I’m sure that ISIS must be thrilled with the actions of these unwitting (and witless) recruits.

John Safran made the following observations in an article linked below the quotes.

About half of these Reclaim Australia people are from Catch the Fire Ministry, or their political branch, Rise Up Australia.

Catch The Fire Ministry/Rise Up Australia is not the only gang here supporting Reclaim Australia. I walk away from the ute, deeper into the crowd where big red flags cast shadows. This is the territory of the far-right United Patriots Front. Here are white Australians who look like bikies.

Danny Nallah’s back on the ute. He starts screaming about his love of his brothers in the United Patriot Front. Still, I don’t think this is the mask slipping off a racist self-hating brown man. I think Danny is leveraging secular white Australia’s xenophobia to serve his Christian agenda.

“Turn on the gas!” a leather-clad man shouts at Jewish John Safran.

“Is that a joke?” I ask.

“No, no,” he mumbles, immediately backing down. I’ve met Holocaust deniers before but this is the first Holocaust joke denier I’ve come across.

see article here:

I’m Now a “Professional” Artist!

I’m now a “professional” artist.

Last week one of my paintings sold – my very first sale.

Gloria and I went into our favourite coffee shop, where some of my work has been displayed over the past two or three years, and the shop owner handed me an envelope containing money. I hadn’t even noticed that the painting was missing until she told me it had been sold.

For about a month now I’ve been saying I should change the painting for another one – but kept forgetting. I’m now thankful for my forgetfulness.

This is the painting, called “Overshadowed”.


The painting contains the following symbols and text.

1) The cup of wine representing the shed blood of Jesus.

2) A doorway with blood applied to the posts and lintel (think Passover)

3) The word RE ME MB ER spread around the corners

4) The letter “Y” – a symbol I use to represent the form of the crucified Jesus

5) The image of a parrot, that I use to represent tradition and the way teachings are so often “parroted” from generation to generation.


The Extent of God’s Love

There are probably some who will take exception to the strength of some of my comments in my previous post and the one titled, “evil and cowardice”.
They will appeal to God’s all-encompassing love and compassion.

But does God’s love extend to terrorists who murder the helpless and defenceless?

Despite popular beliefs about “unconditional love”, such ideas have no real scriptural support.

God does not show compassion and mercy towards wilfully violent murderers who have chosen to follow the path of evil, murdering others and then killing themselves in the name of a religion and the god it promotes.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

God LOVED (past tense) the world and gave His Son.
God carried out a supreme act of love in the giving of that gift.
And an important part of the gift was the promise of everlasting life to those who continue believing (trusting) in the Son who was given.

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

That favoured verse, John 3:16 is NOT an expression of a blanket, continuing, all-embracing and unconditional love. In context that portion of scripture shows a “line in the sand”, set up by God, revealing:

1) That God’s love was NOT made available only to select few.
2) It also shows that it will not be received by all.
3) We are told how to experience God’s love
4) Who will experiences God’s love.
5) Who will NOT experience His love
6) That the receiving of God’ love is conditional and NOT unconditional.

A Situation Driven by Opposite Extremes.

Alongside the US, Australia reportedly has the second largest military participation in anti-ISIS actions in Iraq and Syria.

The threat of attack here in Australia is very real.
We’ve already had the Lindt café siege in Sydney and only a few weeks ago a police employee was murdered outside a police station in Parramatta by a Moslem boy who had been armed and encouraged by extremist associates.

Also a significant and imminent attack against an Anzac Day commemoration was discovered and averted only days before it was to happen, and other planned attacks have been discovered and stopped over the past few years. Clearly nothing as significant as what happened in Paris, or what happened in London a decade ago, but it’s possibly only a matter of time.

Many young men have flown to Syria from Australia to fight with ISIS – some of them wasting their lives as suicide bombers.
Only this week an Australian Moslem woman was convicted in court of giving support to ISIS. A while ago she had been stopped at the airport, trying to leave with her kids to join her husband in Syria, taking significant money and supplies with her. Her husband was later killed in an air raid, not long after taking a second “wife” – the 13 year old daughter of another Australian terrorist.

Seeing the continual news reports of the Paris attacks made me wonder how I’d react if I found myself caught up in a similar situation.
Jeff Weddle recently said on his blog, that he personally wouldn’t kill a member of ISIS. *
Not long ago I would have agreed with him, but “right or wrong”, I think I’d be very willing to kill someone who was in the process of indiscriminately murdering others in a terrorist act, to put a stop to what they were doing. And “rightly or wrongly”, I think my conscience would remain clear afterwards.

Reading and listening to some of the media reports about the terrorist situation, it seems like the debate over the relevant issues has been hijacked by extremists of opposing opinions. Terrorists and their supporters blame others – saying they’ve been driven to their actions because of persecution, alienation, and hostile acts against Moslems carried out by western society.

But it’s not only those “extremists” that are pushing that argument, some Moslem leaders also allude to the west’s culpability, saying that terrorism is a response to racism and “Islamophobia”. Such a claim was recently made by the Grand Mufti of Australia, mixed with his expression of regret over the deaths in Paris.

I have no doubt that many Moslem families want to live their lives in peace in the west but their situation is not made easy when the words of those in religious authority are often so ambiguous.

On the other extreme, in Australia, we have both neo-fascists using violent protests to express their anti-Moslem agenda, and elements of the press also pushing extreme views likely to create the kind of alienation that militants use to excuse the actions of murderers.
Along with newspapers and TV stations giving a platform to people like Andrew Bolt, we have others regularly giving Pauline Hansen a soapbox to vent her ill-informed, extreme opinions. Apparently she was trotted out on TV to do just that immediately after the attacks in Paris.

Even beyond those examples, the media here is not very helpful in promoting a reasoned view. Across the board there has been a latching onto the possibility that one of the Paris killers had entered Europe among the flood of refugees leaving Syria. The media are questioning Australia’s planned acceptance of 12,000 Syrian refugees over the next year; ignoring the fact that all of those accepted will have to go through a strict and comprehensive vetting process, unlike those flooding across borders in Europe. Also many of those refugees will be Christians and other minority groups trying to escape persecution in their homeland.

An example of how seriously the threat of terrorism is being taken in Australia is the recent announcement that law enforcement officers are being trained shoot first and forget the questions when confronted with a likely terrorist situation. The policy until now had been one of negotiation, attempting to talk a person round – which is one reason the Lindt siege went on as long as it did. There is now recognition that reason is not a part of the mindset of those committing these acts.

Situations like that in Paris and the probability of similar attacks elsewhere, ought to make us assess our own situations and our association with the world around us. Despite events like the Paris attacks our lives are still far more peaceful and secure than the majority of the world.
In the west it is very easy to become complacent and comfortable and forget that the lifestyles available to us are far different from those possible for the majority of the world’s population. That difference will be shown by how quickly the Paris attacks become old news and are once again replaced by the exploits of the Kardashians.

Those living under ISIS oppression in Syria and Iraq don’t have the “luxury” of such distractions from horrors inflicted by murderous thugs.



Andrew Storm has recently posted an article: POLITICS is RUINING CHRISTIANITY

The article drew some very predictable responses that effectively show the validity of his main point, that an ugly hybrid, mixing the gospel with patriotism, has been created. Sadly that hybrid has become a significant expression of religion in America and is spreading around the “Western” world.

Clearly, living in this current world we can’t divorce ourselves entirely from the effects of national politics, but there’s a difference between our testimony having an effect on the political atmosphere around us and the growing reality that political dogma is becoming the testimony of so many Christians.

Any political attitudes and responses of Christians should be motivated by the truth of the gospel, however it is clear that the reverse is increasingly the case: that understanding of the gospel is becoming more and more influenced by the politics of the day.

See Andrew’s article here:

Evil and Cowardice

During the last two months:

Bombings in Ankara, Turkey killed at least 99.
The destruction of a Russian airliner caused the deaths of 224 on board.
Bombs in Lebanon killed at least 41.
Attacks in Paris killed more than 130.

How could anyone take pride in the cowardly slaughter of the unarmed and defenceless?

In Paris, Satan-inspired cowards didn’t have the guts to face up to anyone who could have fought back. Instead they blew themselves up to escape – foolishly thinking they would find themselves transported to paradise, “martyrs” for their cause.

And now they will find what kind of reward they will be receive for their hateful, evil cowardice. Instead of the paradise they expected, they will find that the brief agony of being torn apart by their explosive vests would itself be “paradise” compared to their actual eternal fate; “where ‘their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.”

…the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

In the list of atrocities mentioned above, I note two of them were committed in countries that are Israel’s immediate neighbours. Also I’ve just read that the concert hall where most of the murders took place in Paris is Jewish owned. I don’t think any of that is coincidence.

Remembrance Day or Daily Remembrance.

Yesterday’s post related to Remembrance Day, the commemoration of the armistice that ended WWI. It was posted at 11.00am on the 11th day of the eleventh month (my local time), when it is traditional to observe a minute’s silence to remember those who “sacrificed” their lives in the 1914-18 conflict.

However, the cultural significance of that annual time of remembrance should be greatly overshadowed by the memory of a more significant sacrifice of life. A sacrifice not to be remembered once a year, but continually.

…the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.


While that process of taking bread and wine has been turned into a kind of mystical act involving a token fragment of bread (or cracker) and a sip of grape juice during a church service, I think Jesus’s words at the last supper were possibly referring to something much more basic and frequent than an occasional formal ritual. The bread and wine speak of our daily sustenance – and therefore a daily remembrance of Jesus and His sacrifice, recalled every time we partake in the most basic, life sustaining act of eating and drinking.

Gaps on the Map

Occasionally I check the statistics related to this blog.
One of the more fascinating aspects is seeing how widespread the blog visitors are.

Since I started Onesimus Files with wordpress early in 2012 , the map of the world has slowly been filling.

For a time there was a big gap across Asia until I had my first visitor from China. There have now been 8 visits from China. That’s not many compared to the 23,279 from the US, but there’s no less satisfaction with those 8.

While most of the statistical world map has been covered, there are still countries not represented as blog visitors, mostly in central Asia and central Africa and a few in South America.

The largest land area still unrepresented is Greenland.
world stats

The countries that are part of the gaps on the map include:

In South America – Venezuela, Uruguay, Paraguay,

In Central Asia – Iraq, Syria, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan,

In Africa – Ethiopia, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Mauritania.

Looking at the list it seems clear that several of the missing nations in Asia and Africa are affected by similar political/religious conditions.