Posts Tagged ‘kingdom of God

06
Apr
17

Responding Biblically to the Refugee Crisis

eI consider this video to be one of the most important things I’ve posted on this blog in recent months. It relates to and encapsulates a lot of the concerns I’ve expressed recently about politics and Christian political attitudes; especially regarding the refuge crisis caused by events in the middle east.
Compare the content of this video with today’s all too common rhetoric about refugees.

Responding to the Mounting Refugee Crisis (BONUS FEATURES) from FAI on Vimeo.

From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him

16
Mar
17

Making [ your nation ] Great Again. The Sequel

What are the priorities and practices of man’s nationalistic politics and where does YOUR heart lie?

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

(Isaiah 5)

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

(James 1)

Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?  But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?

(James 2)

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

(Matthew 6)

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

(1 Tim 6)

_____________

Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

08
Mar
17

Making [ your nation ] Great Again?

The promise:

Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will fall down and worship me, all will be Yours”.

The alternative:

Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’…
…From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight … but now My kingdom is not from here.”

29
Jul
16

Democracy. Relativism. Kingdom of God.

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” (Winston Churchill, from a House of Commons speech on Nov. 11, 1947)

Recently I’ve come across a lot of people who seem to resent the idea of democracy, without considering the shortcomings of every other type of government tried by mankind.

They seem to think that their views and their desires should be imposed without regard for any democratic process. They consider those views and desires as “human rights” – without citing any foundational justification for the legitimacy of those “rights”.

The views I refer to have been centred on the question of same sex marriage in Australia. I’ve seen many individuals insisting that their “human rights” are being denied by anyone who suggests that recognition of same sex marriage in this country can only happen through a democratic process, culminating in being passed by parliament.

Those people who want to enforce their personal idea of their “rights” on the population at large have been quite vitriolic in response to anyone who would question their anti-democratic view – even towards some who have stated they support same sex marriage, but want the democratic process to be observed.

I see that kind of thinking is the natural outcome of the increasing relativist philosophy colouring the thinking of western society. Where truth is whatever “I” decide is truth and no one has the right to dispute “my” truth; even though their truth may be different.
The attitude shown says: “if their truth is different and they say anything against “my” truth, they are bigots, so replying to them in a rude and rancorous way is justified”.
That hostility seems to increase if the different idea of truth has its basis in scripture and relates to man’s relationship with God.

One of the problems with democracy is that we don’t always find ourselves on the same side as the majority, and democratically introduced legislation can be contrary to our own moral or political stance.

For Christians that difference is increasing as the world moves further away from long-standing historical, religious influences. It is easy to become discouraged and threatened by those changes, so it’s increasingly necessary to understand the truth of us being “not of the world, just as [He is] not of the world”; and that His kingdom is not of this world.

An Australian former politician, Bronwyn Bishop once suggested the best form of government was a benevolent dictatorship (as long as she was that dictator). Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I always took her self-recommendation for the job to be a tongue in cheek qualifier suggesting that all of us would think ourselves to be the only suitable candidate for that position.

While drawing considerable derision for her suggestion, I think the first part of Bishop’s view was more or less correct: that the best form of government is the rule of a single, unchallenged ruler who can be completely trusted to rule un-capriciously without rancour and without injustice.

In fact such a government is the type of rule that God intended, but man rejected; the type of rule that God will one day reinstate.
We see an example of man’s rejection of that kind of government when God’s chosen people of Israel demanded to be like other nations with a man for a king.

God gave them what they wanted after warning them of the consequences. And they suffered those consequences throughout their history, as did every other nation ruled by a man.

God could have left mankind to suffer under that choice of weak and corrupt human leadership and give up His right to rule over His creation. But He has a better plan in mind.
That better plan is Jesus, ruling as BOTH God and man, over His people for ever.

___________________________________________

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But 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.”…
…I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it,[j] for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

12
Aug
15

Secular Government and Marriage “Equality”

Unlike the rest of the “Western” world, Australia is currently maintaining its position against same sex marriage. Last night a decision was made by the Abbott Government to keep to its definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

However, that decision seems to be contrary to perceived popular opinion and the Government has suggested taking the issue to a national referendum after the next election.

One interesting aspect of the debate within Australia is that those in favour of legitimising homosexual marriage have changed their terminology to make their view more “friendly”. They speak of “Marriage Equality” and thereby subtly change the issue all together, potentially widening the goalposts, allowing others to one day broaden the definition of marriage even further.

My own position on this issue is that I would vote against same sex marriage if it does go to a referendum.
But if it DOES get passed and the legal definition of marriage is changed in Australia, I’m not going to panic. I’m not going to get upset. I’m not going to proclaim that she sky is falling, or that our government is part of a “beast system”.

I’ll accept that a secular Government in charge of a secular nation have followed a secular path that is contrary to God’s ways. Something secular nations and secular leaders have been doing throughout history.

The answer is NOT found in trying to change the ways of secular governments. The answer is in helping people migrate FROM those secular nations TO the Kingdom of God.

au.news.yahoo.com/a/29237238/coalition-mps-reject-conscience-vote-on-same-sex-marriage/

05
Aug
15

Political Extremism: Rise and Fall

The title of a forum thread started by a friend a few days ago had me wondering what planet he’d moved to…

And then I realised, it read “INCREDIBLE: NAZIS NOW TOP PARTY IN AUSTRIA and not NAZIS NOW TOP PARTY IN AUSTRALIA

It is surprising how many around the world are driven by a Nazi-friendly outlook and very disturbing when a nation has majority willing to support that ideology.
Political support can grow like a rolling snow ball. What starts out as something minor can gather support and gradually become something more significant. The more significant it becomes, the more rapid the growth. As momentum increases, the more people are willing to jump on board.

russianI recall my cousin saying many years ago that Hitler made only one mistake. I wish I’d asked him what the mistake was, and whether he thought it was a good thing that he’d made that mistake, but I think I didn’t want him to confirm that he had some sympathy for Hitler.

Recently I’ve been reading a lot about the violent history of last century and its two world wars. How easily things could have been very different if not for single decisions made by individuals and nations.
Maybe the “one mistake” my cousin was referring to was Hitler’s decision to attack Russia, opening up another battle front he couldn’t afford to maintain, reducing the effectiveness of what could be done elsewhere. What would have happened elsewhere if that extra commitment hadn’t been initiated?

Also, how different the world could be today if Japan had chosen NOT to have attacked Pearl Harbour, if they had left America alone? Maybe Japan could have easily taken over the rest of Asia and possibly Australia with little effective opposition. Britain had been shown ineffective against them through the fall of Singapore.pearl harbour

With the Pearl Harbour decision (like Hitler and Russia) Japan also bit off more than they could chew, stretching their resources too widely and reducing their efficiency.

Perhaps examples like that show how easily things can change in the world.
God can shape events with a little nudge rather than a heavy blow. He doesn’t need to get involved in an obvious way. Just removing His restraining hand to allow man’s sin to take a particular direction can set in motion the chain of events that will further HIS purposes.
God doesn’t need to directly crush the evils of men. He can let man’s sin run its course until its inevitable fruit is reaped.

But like Ezekiel describes, God DOES also intervene in a more direct way, drawing rulers of nations into situations that will ultimate lead to their failure and downfall.

Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army…

… ” I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand. You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken,” says the Lord God.

(see Ezekiel 38-39)

10
Jun
15

Anzacs and WWI: part 5, What Was God Doing?

I started my recent exploration of WWI because I wanted to find out why it happened. The political reason for WWII seemed clear: to put an end to Hitler’s ambitions and the atrocities he was committing in his pursuit of them. But the reason behind WWI doesn’t seem so clear cut.

WWI medal trio. 1914-15 Star; British War medal, Victory Medal.

WWI medal trio.
1914-15 Star; British War medal, Victory Medal.

While there were many possible contributing factors that led to the start of war in 1914, none of them alone seems to be significant enough to initiate and perpetuate the slaughter of the next 4 years.

While historians investigate the political and social triggers for war, as a Christian I think it’s important to look beyond those things and consider whether God merely sat idly aside as a passive observer while the people of the world gathered to blow each other apart and when the blood, mud and dust settled, redraw the boundaries of countless nations.

In other words, did God play any part in the war? If so, what part did He play?

Being neither a Calvinist nor a Moslem, I don’t believe that God pre-ordained all of the death and destruction. Mankind wasn’t driven along an unavoidable predestined path to war. War came about through choices, freely made by sinful mankind. The extent of man’s sin was displayed in the horrific acts committed and the resulting conditions arising from those acts; some of which I’ve described quite graphically in an earlier post.

God did not cause or ordain those acts, but He was more than able to USE those acts to further His purposes. He is more than willing to give mankind over to the consequences of our own choices, and will even give us a helping hand in achieving or obtaining what we’ve chosen in place of Him. (refer Romans 1:24-32 and 2 Thess 2:11-12)

What mankind meant for evil, God could turn around for His good, to move a few steps towards the fulfilment of His eternal plans.

From my reading of WWI – most of the emphasis seems to be on the Western Front. Anything else seems to be treated as peripheral to the “real war”. The Anzacs are a bit of a thorn in the side of that view of history because Australia and New Zealand insist on highlighting those “peripheral” campaigns, such as Gallipoli and Palestine, in which they played a part.

Australian Light Horse memorial, depicting Battle at Beersheba

Australian Light Horse memorial, depicting Battle at Beersheba

I’m beginning to think that those “peripheral” campaigns were really the main event – leading to the downfall of the Ottoman Empire and the freeing of the Holy Land from centuries of Muslim control and setting up the political foundations for the establishment of present day Israel only three decades later.
The Western Front remained as a stalemate for almost the whole period of the war, and yet when the Middle East was freed from Ottoman rule, the armistice came (about a month after the fall of Damascus and the end of Turkish rule).

In seeing the Middle East as the main event in God’s purposes, I need to consider how the Western Front fits into everything and two possibilities have come to mind. Firstly, it helped set up the conditions for WWII and the holocaust (which played another part in the establishment of Israel) . Secondly, Britain’s involvement alongside France, defending French territory, also eased the path for Britain to remain in control in Palestine from the time General Allenby entered Jerusalem up until Israel became a sovereign state in 1948. Under other circumstances the French would most likely have objected to Britain’s control in that region and the resulting tensions could have complicated the later move to give Jews a homeland in their Promised Land.

While western Christians today are often focused on the state of their own nations and seem to think God’s attention is similarly fixed on them (particularly in America), the reality revealed through scripture is different. Throughout biblical prophecy, the only nation on earth that has a promise to be a part of God’s Kingdom is Israel. During the 20th Century both World Wars led to political changes that made the return of Israel to the world map possible, taking us another step or two closer to Jesus’ return to rule over the nations as Israel’s King.

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.

Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.




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