Dear Brothers and Sisters,
A shorter letter this week as, after 14 months with no break – we are taking a couple of days off. We are not permitted to leave Australia (which is one of the few countries in the world that does not permit its citizens to leave), and we are not even permitted to visit other States within Australia – such is the pandemic of fear engendered by Covid. But New South Wales is a big country and so we are heading out of town for a couple of days.
It has been really wintry here. At least in Australian terms – there has been lots of snow in the ski areas, and a chilly blast from the Antarctic means we even have our heating on. However, I guess you need to set that in perspective – its 14 degrees here in mid-winter – when we phoned Scotland last night our friends told it was 14 degrees mid-summer!
One wonderful piece of news is that this time last year we were in drought and under strict water restrictions. The main dams were only 45% full and there was talk of Sydney running out of water. Today have a look at this picture. The dams are basically 100% full – of course now the doom-mongers want to tell us that we are all in danger of drowning! It never rains but it pours. But I am thankful to the Lord that there is now four years’ worth of water in the main dams. Who knows – we may be able to travel by the time that is all used!
It’s strange how fear has gripped so many people. Or perhaps it isn’t so strange. Fear can be deliberately engineered as a means of control. Take for example this leak from SAGE – the UK government advisory body.
I am also intrigued how the Scottish government is using fear to try and get us to accept their proposed new blasphemy law. My good friend Al Smith made this wee video of Humza Yousaf the justice secretary asking a very good question – why do Stonewall, the Equality Network etc support the bill?
It’s because they are the ones who make their living out of stoking up fears. Take for example The Equality Network. It has a very narrow definition of ‘equality’ – nothing to do with poverty or the many social injustices that we face – it’s all about sex and sexuality (and now Islamaphobia!). The Equality Network is an organisation that is paid for by the Scottish government, to lobby for the Scottish government to do what the Scottish government has said it is going to do! Stonewall and others are in the business of fear.
There is a fear that is healthy and a lack of fear that is stupid. “Fear the Lord’ is the beginning of wisdom. In the sense of reverence, awe and humility. But the fear that is being spoken of here is an emotional manipulation, based upon pride and selfishness. Christ came to deliver us. He came to free those who all their lives are held in slavery by their fear of death (Hebrews 2:15). Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.
I will leave you with some verses from Psalm 34 which give us the biblical balance on fear.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me;he delivered me from all my fears.5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,and he delivers them.8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
See you next week,