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Showing posts from November, 2016

GOD SAVE THE KING: Why Study First (I) Samuel

A powerful prophet, a promising potentate, a perishing Philistine, and persistent paranoia - welcome to the Book of I Samuel. This book tells us the transition from the time of the judges to the birth of Israel’s monarchy. Another way to look at it is the theocracy of Israel, where God was king, evolved into a man-led monarchy. Seen in this context, Israel’s monarchy is not a sign of progress nor a divine promotion.
I Samuel starts with the birth of the most credible prophet in Israel since the time of Moses - Samuel. Following this is the birth of the Israelite monarchy, the rise of Saul and David, and their bizarre interaction. Highlights include the rise of Samuel, the destruction of Shiloh and journeys of the Ark, the temporary neutralising of the Philistine threat, David’s victorious confrontation of Goliath, and David’s life as a fugitive from Saul. As usual in Scripture, there is no whitewash of the main characters. The story is told as it is. The book ends with the death of ki…

God’s Peace Process - Part 01

Among the most desirable and least obtainable commodities in the world is peace. In the last century, we had two world wars and dozens of regular wars since. We even had a very dangerous ‘Cold War’ where the American and Soviet superpowers avoided direct conflict, but they facilitated several proxy wars while pointing nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles at each other. We even now have a ‘war on terror,’ which, in reality, is a war with global jihadism.
In addition, there are global hotspots, mostly in Asia, where a miscalculation or lack of statecraft could result in a regional or global conflict. These ‘hotspots’ include the Korean Peninsula, China-Taiwan, India-Pakistan, Israel-Iran, Israel-Arabs, the Syrian war and the threat of the Islamic State.
Yet, even in prosperous and relatively peaceful societies, there is a shocking lack of personal peace. Rates of anxiety and depression are at record levels, especially in prosperous peaceful countries like Australia. Those wh…

Bacon and Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is an amazing dish: simple, creamy, and tasty. It is also versatile: you can make it as you like, more or less rice, more or less vegetables. This particular recipe has been a family favourite for years. Give it a try.
Bacon and Mushroom Risotto
1 ½ litres (6 cups) chicken stock 2 T. olive oil 4 slices of bacon (or ham) 500 g button mushrooms halved 1 medium thinly sliced leek or 2 onions 1 clove crushed garlic 1-2 cups Arborio rice (according to taste) 160 ml (2/3 cup) light cream 1 cup parmesan cheese ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper 1 T. finely chopped fresh basil leaves or 1/2 T. dry 2 T. chopped fresh chives or 1 T. dry
STOCK: Put the stock into the pot and heat; then reduce to low while keeping the stock hot.
HEAT olive oil in large pot or saucepan. Cook bacon (or ham, whole or diced) in the oil until crisp; then remove from pan.
COOK sliced mushrooms in the same oil until coated and tender. Add leek/onion and stir until clear and soft. Add the uncooked rice and bacon to the pan Heat u…

Seven Pillars to Understanding the Future: Introduction Part 01

We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there—US INVENTOR CHARLES FRANCES KETTERING
When you think about it, the Christian faith is not just wedded to the ancient past or focusing on a successful present. It is helping to prepare people for a glorious future that will never end. Failure to keep our eyes on the future makes us less ready for it.
Consider this: Today’s world is change-filled, increasingly complex, crisis-riddled and chaos-laden. The rise of jihadism, an assertive China in the South China Sea, a temperamental nuclear-armed North Korea, growing western debt, an uncertain European Union, and redefinition of like marriage and family.
Part of the issue is that the situations we face today are unprecedented - we have never been this way before. The best and brightest among us, when pressed on the point, have to admit that they don’t know what to do. That includes leadership. If our leaders do not know what to do, what hope…


NOTE: This author is constantly being asked to comment about Donald Trump, even though his topics are on other matters. This is the first of a series of articles called ‘The Trump Chronicles.’ Terminology: US Republicans are roughly equivalent to Liberal/Nationals in Australia and Tories in the UK. US Democrats are similar to Australia and Britain’s Labor Parties).
The Great Political Upset
They said he would never make it. The media, the Democratic Party, even part of his own Republican Party, were all against him. He faced the formidable, ‘cashed-up’ Clinton political machine. The campaign itself was long, gruelling, and the dirtiest in 100 years. The polls were predicting a Clinton win, even a landslide.
Yet, despite it all, Donald J. Trump pulled off one of the greatest political upsets in US history to become America’s 45th President. In addition, his Republican Party retained majorities in both houses of Congress.
What are we to make of all this?
First, the US election is the late…