Australia Creation

Letter from Australia 15 – Australia’s Burning

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It’s strange and a wee bit amusing how many people back home think that we have come to paradise!  Australia IS a beautiful country but like everywhere else it has its problems too – right now the key one in NSW are the bush fires.   Over the weekend there were 17 serious major bush fires- this is the highest number that there have been at this time of year.  At least three people have been killed and 150 homes destroyed.  And its not over yet.

Screenshot 2019-11-11 05.26.52

Screenshot 2019-11-11 05.33.17For the first time the greater Sydney area has been issued with a ‘catastrophic’ fire warning for this coming Tuesday where temperatures are expected to go into the mid 30’s and be accompanied by a driving wind.  This combined with the lack of rain makes it ideal conditions for fires to start and spread.   It’s highly unlikely that the area we live in will be affected but my daughter received this warning about her area – where there is a real risk their mountain will go on fire.

I can only imagine the devastation for those who have lost their property and worse those who have lost loved ones through this ‘natural’ disaster.

This video gives you some idea of what they are facing:


Whilst in Sydney so far we have only experienced some of the haze caused by the smoke – in other areas the signs are more ominous.  In Macquarrie not far up the coast – the sky has turned red.  It is a really eerie feeling for those who are living there.

Screenshot 2019-11-11 05.39.24

Why is this happening?  Some are blaming it on Climate change – and that is highly likely to be a factor.  The drought and the warmer temperatures certainly are.  But there are other more immediate human factors.  Bushfires have always been a part of Australian life – its a continent that to some degree seems designed to burn.  But the aboriginal peoples handled it better.  The fires often ended up regenerating.  Fire purifies as well as destroys.   In fact some of the vegetation requires fires -because the heat opens up the seed pods and the ash provides fertile ground for it to grow.

When a serious fire kicks in then the firefighters will often ‘back burn’ – that is create a controlled fire to stop the out of control fire.  But there is another measure that can be taken – what is called damage limitation.  This is where parts of the bush around vulnerable areas are deliberately burned in winter, so that dried fuel is not available for the wildfires in summer.  But this has been cut back because of complaints from residents in the city about the smoke impacting their lives – and so there has been a build up of material with much of the State being turned into a tinderbox.

What can be done?  I don’t know.  But I suspect that this ‘extraordinary’ event will be the new norm.  We can and do pray for rain  but there is also a human responsibility to manage and take care of the environment.  I suspect the government is going to have to take this risk a lot more seriously – and the population will have to get used to making some ‘sacrifices’ in order to combat this danger.

In reflecting upon this in church yesterday it struck me how often fire is mentioned in the bible – both as something that destroys and punishes – but also to purify and make holy.  Who can dwell with everlasting burnings?   I wonder if sometimes the Lord uses the ‘fires’ in our lives as a kind of ‘backburn’ or damage limitation.  He wounds only to heal.  He permits burning in order to regenerate.

When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, Isaiah 4:4

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Matthew 3:11-12

Natural disasters – flood, plague, fire – are not new.  For the Christian we look to the Lord to deliver and pray for his mercy.   This morning I read this apposite verse in Hosea 13:

5 I cared for you in the wilderness,

in the land of burning heat.

May we all know His care,

See you next week, David

Ps. This upgrade on events today…. Please pray

Screenshot 2019-11-11 13.41.30

Letter from Australia 14 – Tall Poppy Syndrome and the Gift of Discouragement

Babylon’s Burning – Revelation 18


  1. But I suspect that this ‘extraordinary’ event will be the new norm.

    Regretfully, yes. And I heard 2 or 3 weeks ago that insurers in California are seriously considering not renewing (or offering) fire policies in the future. If that precedent is set, insurers in Australia might just follow their lead, and that will be an absolute disaster.

  2. In 2008 Victoria passed an ‘up to birth’ abortion bill.
    Feb 2009, BLACK Saturday, one of the States worst ever bushfires started.
    Sep. 2019 NSW abortion bill passed.
    Now the state burns.
    A coincidence??

    1. Yes it’s a coincidence.

      Or are you seriously going to suggest that your prefer what your ridiculous comment is implying, that your loving God has allowed these fires to happen in response to the passage of legislation relating to abortion?

      Goodness me David – this is your blog but surely even you should exercise some restraint in publishing idiotic and hateful comments like this.

      1. John,
        Maybe, you don’t know the Christian Good News message of Jesus Christ, within the Trinity and Sovereignty of God,his holiness, justice and wrath, and redemption and salvation, after all.

      2. Nothing in the least idiotic or hateful about Peter Stokes’ comment. Sin has its consequences.

      3. The idiocy is in claiming to know that an event was caused by a god as a means of expressing it’s displeasure.

        If, however, you mean to imply that all one has to do is merely utter a claim for it to have the property of truth then I expect you are willing to believe any manner of statements that anyone may care to make for you must understand that once you grant it for one individual you would have no grounds whatsoever to refute claims made by anyone.

        Otherwise – perhaps you are able to explain to me how it is that Peter Stokes is able to claim and then prove that he is privy to knowledge that a god caused the fires currently burning out of control in Australia and also that this god did so solely because of some specific laws enacted that Peter Stokes has cited.

        Until then I will stand by my description of his statement as idiotic.

  3. When I think/see winter burning (limitation), I think of the fire of God’s judgment which Jesus took for us 2000 years ago. There, where the fire has been is the only place of safety for us from the fire of God’s judgment which will come at the end.

  4. Actually this “extraordinary event” is the old norm. Victoria, where I live, has experienced a series of devastating “mega” fires since European settlement, including
    Black Thursday, February 1851 when fires burnt a quarter of Victoria.
    Red Tuesday, February 1898, 260,000 hectares burnt.
    December 1938 to February 1939 culminating in the Black Friday fires of 13 January, 2 million hectares burnt.
    Black Saturday, 7 February 2009, 450,000 hectares burnt, 173 lives lost.
    What can be seen is that with a growing population and more development the deaths and devastation caused by bush fires have been increasing. For example 12 deaths in 1851 compared to 173 in 2009.
    However there seems to be little will to proactively mitigate the danger of catastrophic fires. Housing continues to be built in and around the high risk forest areas adjoining our cities and towns. Then there are the restrictions on fuel reduction burns and clearing flammable vegetation around residential areas.
    My prayer is that our leaders will have the insight and courage to take the decisions needed to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires.

  5. Hello Pastor

    I just saw on Twitter you were in my part of the world today (Sunshine Coast).

    I don’t know if you could see the Tewantin/Noosa fire from where you were (I am a little lower down, closer to BNE).

    As I have intimated before, the Anglican Dean of the Sunshine Coast, Jeanette Jamieson, has been involved in deeply unethical behavior in the past. She is a very liberal Anglo-Catholic. Bishop Jeremy Greaves promotes rainbow liturgies and wants to dump the Apostle’s Creed so I am not sure how far you’d get engaging with the Anglican Church here. As I have told you, the Cathedral is just as bad.

    Hopefully you can help spread the light of the Son on the Sunshine Coast. I will pray again for your outreach here.

  6. According to The Telegraph , Oz version, a lawyer called Christopher Sun ( a surname usually associated with Shanghainese) has been charged with arson for firestarting in Sydney. Now that’s Global Warming!

  7. Here in Adelaide we had a conservationist Dr John Walmsley who said our fire problem was severely aggravated by European settler introduction of cats and foxes which ate all the native herbivores – he wore a catskin hat.
    He then repopulated a farm and woods with original native Australian marsupials and put an electric fence around it. The native animals ate the undergrowth down. He said that fires since white settlement have become much more severe because the undergrowth is much denser as we allowed our introduced animals to upset the natural balance of the the Australian environment.
    My old Meteorological lecturer said those of us of European descent have not lived here long enough to know what a good or bad year is. If I go to a patch of preserved rain forest looking over the Glasshouse Mts in Queensland there is a stand of gum trees in the middle. A sign next to them says they should not be growing in the semi-tropical conditions – but that they germinated there 600 years ago when the weather in southern Queensland was drier – Climate Change has been happening long before the industrial revolution.

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