Earlier this week, the Australian Federal Government announced that they had downgraded their projected 2019 budget surplus by two billion dollars. And with the Tasmanian government’s announcement that they are considering spending $40,000,000 on upgrading the Derwent Entertainment Centre to be able to host a Tasmanian based NBL team, there were some locals who claimed that this was a waste of tax-payers’ dollars. These two news items got me thinking. What would our economy look like if our governments ran their operations like not-for-profit organisations have to run theirs? If you’re not familiar with how we not-for-profits have to run our organisations, let me enlighten you.
When Paul said that “we wrestle” against “cosmic powers” that were not “flesh and blood”, what was really saying? In the previous verse, Ephesians 6:11, he describes these forces as being a part of the “schemes of the devil”. It seems that Paul had a very keen sense of the demonic real that was at work in attempting to hinder, destroy, and distort the work of the Kingdom of God on earth. He wrote to the Corinthians and told them that they were not “not ignorant of his (Satan’s) schemes” (2Cor. 2:11). He told the Thessalonians that he was hindered by Satan from coming to them earlier (1Thess. 2:18). And while there are a few other references in Paul’s epistles to Satan, it is perhaps surprising just how little attention the New Testament pays to the topic of Satan. But based on what Paul told us about Satan, it appears that the devilish work of Satan is still in operation, and if my reading of Revelation 20 is correct, there are good reasons for thinking that this might get worse in the days to come.
JOHN THE BAPTIST’S D-DAY
Can a believer be inoculated against doubt? If so, what would it take for someone to become immune from doubt? An angelic visit? A vivid vision of your immediate future? Hearing the audible voice of God?
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John the Baptist was a miracle baby. He was born to aged parents who were past the age of child-hearing. His father had an encounter with an angel who announced to him the birth of his special son. John was born and raised with a deep awareness of God and His presence. The next time we meet him is when he is around 30 years of age, has never had a haircut, and his breath smells like locusts.
I am fascinated by history and particularly the history of past empires and the lessons to be learned from why an empire arose; and, why an empire collapsed. (I sit the final exam for this course next week.) This leads me to reflect on the most common I answer I get from people when I ask them, “What was/is your least favourite subject at school?” So far, my polling sample is unanimous with their reply: History! Some schools incorporate their history subjects into Social Studies (“Sose”) which sounds to me like they are trying to hide the foul tasting medicine capsules inside a chocolate cake! Another associated question I often ask adults is in two parts: (i) Can you remember anything you learnt in school? (ii) Have you learnt more when you were at school, or after you finished school? The answers I get to the first part of this two-part question is mixed, but the answer I get to the second part of the question is always the same: “I have learned way more things since I left school” This raises another question I then sometimes ask – How do you learn things? And that’s the question I’m going to ask you now.