Apathy

As citizens of Australia many of us need to wake up from our complacency. Our life is eroding away with every tick of the clock and yet we keep finding excuses to keep busy.  It is as if we are frightened of what might happen if we were to stop and ask ourselves what our life is really all about.

A lifetime can be measured, but eternity is endless. However, it seems how we spend that eternity is directly related to what we do here on earth during our lifetime.

Perfect peace cannot be found in anything of this world. No amount of money or possessions can buy it and no variety of drugs can induce it.  In this world our trust in other humans can often lead us up dry gullies. Greed, money and sex are seen by many as their God and the major concern of many of us Aussies is only for ourselves.

It is time to cast off the apathy that abounds in this sun-drenched country of ours and allow ourselves to find peace.  We have been graced with this land of Australia, yet we shy away from recognising and accepting how we managed to be planted here.

If we fit this category, let’s make a genuine attempt to try and change our apathetic approach to life now.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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Perseverance

So, you have a sick friend and you pray for that friend to be healed. Your faith tells you your prayer has been heard, yet your friend remains sick with no apparent signs of change for the better.

The longer this situation continues, the more frustrating it can become for you. First, you start to question whether your prayer has fallen on deaf ears. You ask yourself whether your God is really listening or perhaps is too busy attending to other’s prayers for more important needs.

Sometimes you might even feel you are insignificant in the overall scheme of things and your prayers are down the bottom of God’s ‘to do’ list. You might question your faith or even the existence of God. You could even start questioning whether the non-believers might have got it right after all.

As humans, how easily we can be disillusioned because things don’t happen for us when we want them and the way we want them to happen. We have become an instant society and because we can get instant answers by ‘asking Siri’ or typing our question into a computer search engine, we might tend to forget our God looks well beyond our instant expectations.

Let us be prepared to persevere in our prayer and understand that the healing of our sick friend is happening, in God’s way and time – not ours.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

We need love to survive

So often at wedding celebrations we hear the words Paul wrote to the Corrinthians concerning LOVE. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”.

Paul was a bachelor and I wonder if he really understood how difficult it would be for couples today to survive with all the pressures of life that surrounds us. There is a constant call for couples to sacrifice much of their own personal desires in order to maintain a loving relationship together.

When life deals us hard blows, it is so much easier to be able to face the situations and work through the problems together. When the kids get sick or there is a death in the family or one of our adolescents tangles with the law, our love for each other can unite us and help us face the situation together.

Even though love in a relationship should be more the giving than receiving, it is easy to understand how a couple might get to the point where they seriously consider giving up on the relationship. While we sometimes might dislike things about our partner’s actions, this does not have to affect the unconditional love we have for each other. For love is more deep-seated than emotional concerns. Love is not a feeling. Love is a decision.

Our prayer together should be that our God will help us love and care for each other, accept each other’s differences and help us make our love grow stronger.

Hopefully, this will enable us to happily face the future together, for we all ‘need love to survive’.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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The Invitation

“Come back to me with all your heart, don’t let fear keep us apart”.

This is the opening line of the ‘Hosea Song’. It is an invitation to relook at our relationship with our God.

However, the operative word in this line is ‘fear’. God doesn’t want fear to keep us apart from Him. Yet, sadly, this is maybe the reason why we can easily distance ourselves from Him. Maybe we have grown up fearing the consequences of our indiscretions and have been in fear of God, the judge.  We all tend to judge ourselves severely, yet quite often forget to give ourselves credit for all the good we do for others.

Sometimes we might stray a bit from our faith and our personal feelings of negativity kick in. We can perhaps see ourselves as doomed and therefore find it easy to give up on God. This situation might even cause us to forgo some, or even all, of our religious practices which help us maintain our faith. So, we stumble along through life, often feeling alone and deserted, yet determined, that if we have to, we can do this alone.

How sad it is if we might have grown up with this fearful attitude. How sad that we may have only seen God as a judge on high and not seen Him as a caring, loving God who dwells within each one of us.

Perhaps we have failed to realise as humans we are not perfect. Our heavenly Father, recognizing our plight, sent us Jesus as our Savior. He taught us about the unconditional love our God has for us. He suffered and died for our sins and rose again that we might be convinced He was who He said he was. His simple message was to love our God and to love one another.

Sometimes it can be good for us to take time out to do a personal stocktake and clean out our inner cupboards. As the Hosea Song says, “The wilderness will lead you to your heart where I will speak”. And the Holy Spirit who lives in us adds, “Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply a new life”. Thus, we are all being given the invitation to strengthen our faith and relationship with our loving God. It is up to us when, and if, we choose to accept it.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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Finding your God

Eckhart Tolle in his book, ‘The Power of Now’, tells us that the word ‘God’ has become “empty of meaning through thousands of years of misuse”.

When you think about it, everyone’s idea of God is different. Today, many people, amazed or excited by something, will often blurt out ‘Oh my God’!  The phrase has also been shortened for texting messages. One has to question whether these people are really calling on their God for assistance?

People of different faiths all have different ideas about who or what their God is, and in what form their God takes. For many, God is often referred to as having a male or female gender. One wonders whether an almighty being would have a gender at all?

The question we might ask ourselves is whether our God is distant, or permanently in the clouds above us, or can we look for and find our God here on earth, in nature, or maybe even within ourselves? Is our God seen as ‘Enlightenment’; ‘A Father figure’; ‘A Being’; a Spirit, or maybe just ‘Peace and Love’.

A well-known Budda saying is that “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without”. The Bible tells its followers to “go to your inner room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret”.

It seems possible that individually each one of us can seek our God, from within our own selves. Eckart Tolle calls this experience, finding a “oneness with Being”.

When seeking our God, I believe the Dalai Llama got it right when he said, “People take different roads seeking fulfilment and happiness. Just because they are not on your road doesn’t mean they have got lost”.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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A Hole in One

Back in 1997 there was a certain young man whose name was on every golfer’s lips. He had spent his childhood and youth being trained by his father and when it was considered he was ready, he then entered into the public life of the professional golfing circuit.

As the winner of that year’s prestigious American Open, he broke numerous records and people bowed down before him as he approached the eighteenth green to play his final putt on the last Sunday of the tournament. He was awarded the trophy and dressed in the coveted green winner’s jacket. His name – Tiger Woods.

On Palm Sunday many years ago, the same type of adulation given to Tiger Woods was given to another man who was also approaching the last hole in his round. He had performed miracles and healed many sick people along his journey to the extent that those in authority were fearful he might upset their control and power. He was duly disposed of. His final hole contained a cross. As he died, the man turned the fear of the thief beside him into love, which was typical of the man’s whole approach to life.

The Nike Company, with their well recognised “Tick” logo, claims to be one of the largest manufacturers of sporting footwear and clothing in the world. I can recall seeing one of their TV advertisements where a lot of young children were hitting golf balls. When asked who the person was they would most like to be. “Tiger Woods”, they each declared.

I wonder how many of us who carry the Spirit of the world’s greatest hero in our hearts would be proud enough, if asked the same question, to declare, “I would like most to be Jesus Christ”.

Sporting heroes come and go and ticks on logos will disappear with the clock of time. However, the Spirit of Jesus will be with us forever. Maybe it’s time we allowed the love of our God to drive away our fears so we might willingly step out on the course we are taking in life and get on with the job of helping God’s kingdom come.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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Wind

While the wind can be a nuisance at times, it does help us in so many ways.

It clears the smog from our atmosphere; it dries our clothes and can be a cooling experience on a hot day.

Just as the wind blew the first white settlers to this country, so it blows all Australians today, calling us to check our course and ensure we are sailing in the right direction.

The Apostles reacted to the wind of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  They accepted their responsibility as Christians, left the security of their hiding place and went out to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world.

Maybe today the wind of the Holy Spirit is quietly whispering to us to do the same. Let’s be brave and courageous and with the power of the holy Spirit behind us, let’s become worthy Christians.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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Wedding Day

The professional photographer was watching the image on the rear of his digital camera. The young couple were seemingly oblivious to the photographer’s intrusion during this private moment together in the midst of a busy and exciting wedding day.

The photographer wondered what they were saying to each other as he clicked off a shot, then moved to reposition himself so the sun formed a halo behind the heads of the couple.

Over the years he had heard many different conversations between brides and grooms in the period between ceremony and celebration.

For many this day is planned in the finest detail and can involve considerable expense and worry. So finely tuned are the strategic plans for their special day that the weather, arguments with relations, or even a veil that refuses to sit right, are sometimes seen as major upsets that can affect the whole wedding day,

The photographer can tell when a couple are moved by the significance of the promises they have made to each other.  The lens can easily capture the beauty and simplicity of a serious commitment. However, the photographer often requires a number of poses and retakes when the major concern of the couple is for the day and the success of the event, rather than the significance of what the day represents.

Jesus must have thought marriage was important. It was at a wedding He chose to perform His first public miracle.

A wedding day should be seen as the beginning of a lifetime of commitment and unconditional love. Let’s make sure we get the picture right.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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War

Oh my God why do you let war happen? Some people even say it is your will.  But then we are the ones who create war, not you.

I don’t believe it is your will to see thousands of people, who you have created, go through the suffering and death associated with war.  I cannot imagine it would be your will to see so many people from so many countries around the world plagued by war and political unrest.

We forget so soon that you showed yourself to us with bleeding palms outstretched, praying forgiveness for your executioners.

Even then, there were those who wanted you to establish your kingdom by force. To come as a mighty warrior and sweep the Roman Empire aside. To do that, you would have had to follow the rules of those who worship strength and force. By your actions, you showed us we cannot change the world if we abide by these rules.

You showed us love and reconciliation as being your way for the world and yet we continue to believe we can trust our armies and our bombs more than you.

To some, these armaments have become their Gods, their hope and their security.  Yet they offer nothing but destruction, oppression and death.

Help us Lord to understand your way to peace and have the leaders in our world seek peace and harmony for their people. 

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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Valentine

At last it seems as though it is all having an effect. Our parents told us all about it, our teachers extolled its value, our Church leaders are always talking about it and we even find ourselves quoting it to others.

I am referring to those words of Jesus, “Love one another as I have loved you”.

Maybe all the effort is starting to bear fruit. During the week in which we had celebrated Valentine’s Day, I was convinced the love bug was present in epidemic proportions, with many around me already bitten.

Young blokes at work, whose major concerns in life revolve around their sport, fixing the car or going to the pub with the boys, altered their centre of attention from themselves to those  who usually didn’t rate more than a cursory glance.

The girls changed too. They seemed to pay more attention to their appearance. They would blush and seemed to become shy, even embarrassed as they wondered who the admirer was who sent them flowers and the unsigned card with the romantic verse.

A pervading atmosphere of peace settled over our workplace as males and females of all ages seemed to actually be enjoying working together.

It is such a pity Valentine’s Day only occurs once a year.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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