Divine Reversal

How does trust work? What does trust really mean?

Does it mean naïve simple blind trust? Is it a feeling that comes over us and we simply trust? What does it mean to really trust someone without having to worry? Does it mean we have peace without worry when we trust? Is it really that simple?

When Joseph was sold off as a slave by his brothers, what do you suppose he was thinking? “OK, I’ve had dreams about being

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Free Speech? Whose Right?

What is free speech? Who has the right to speak up? Or even, when did Easter become ‘unfashionable’ in our culture? Recently, the White House banned the use of religious-themed designs in their Easter Egg contest. Closer to home, ABC radio presenters were told not to use the word EASTER this year, presumably to protect someone’s rights or in case it caused any offence. Really?

What has happened to the world?

Even closer to home, media have

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Glowing in the Dark

Joni Eareckson Tada (see below) recently posted on Instagram that “God permits what He hates, to accomplish that which He loves.” How often do we talk about this? How hard is it to accept that times of great suffering have been permitted by God, to allow even greater things to occur – for His glory and our growth? Is it a ridiculous notion to think that this topic could be ‘covered’ or ‘answered’ in a short article such as this one? Definitely yes, inconceivable. But does that mean we shy away from it completely? Please, no.

Yes, God is not the author of us suffering, but at the same time wants the best for us. How do we reconcile this? When life is just ‘plodding along’, it is easier to

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Frogs, Fish & Water

Have you heard the fable about the frog, hopping around the kitchen and into a pot which has recently been placed on the stove. The water is nice, a comfortable tepid temperature, and the frog swims around in the pot. The frog could easily hop out again, but just keeps swimming around, enjoying the water which slowly warms up. The water eventually rises to the boil and the frog is boiled to its death.

Or have you heard the saying: ‘If you want to know about the water, don’t ask the fish.’ This makes you wonder: Can the fish know the difference between the water it is swimming in and any other body of water? Both the frog and the fish are in environments that are affecting them – you could say cultures that are shaping them. Both will be…

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Answering the Greatest Question

Can you believe this?

Two women – desperate – desperate to take the baby home. Two women brought before you and told that you will decide who will be the mother. Both women claim to be the baby’s mother. Both women beg you to look at them and say they can take the baby home.

What would you do? What would you decide?

Solomon was asked…

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Second Chances

In a recent article in the Christian Education Matters Journal, (CEM 11, 2023) Pam O’Dea wrote about a situation when she shared God’s grace with one of her students.  Pam, a Principal with the St Phillips Group of Schools, met with a student who had ‘crossed the line’. Her intention for the meeting was to ‘encourage him to take the opportunity to start afresh and find the gold that God had put within him.” (O’Dea, 2023, p. 9).

She offered a solution which both acknowledged the seriousness of the situation but also gave him hope of a second chance based on a change to that particular behaviour. The student accepted the

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Do you love me?

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” Anne Lamott

At the beginning of the year, we began our series of Hope with Grace by looking at the ancient art of Kintsugi, how it beautifully exhibits the work of grace in our lives.  How, even when we ‘mess’ up in our lives, God graciously puts us back together with His ‘Gold’, the special work of His Holy Spirit, restoring as well as making us even more grateful for His mighty work in us.

There are many examples in the Old Testament of God’s grace – intervention, redemption, and restoration and the New Testament brings us the same message of hope through the

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Grace, a precious choice

“I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships, so will our healing, and I know that grace rarely makes sense for those looking from the outside.” Wm. Paul Young, The Shack

Missy – such a precious little girl. In the movie/book, ‘The Shack’, Mackenzie is the father of three children, and during a camping trip, the youngest, Missy, is tragically abducted and murdered. Her blood-stained dress is found in a shack in the mountains. Mackenzie spirals downwards into paralyzing grief and agonizing despair, isolating himself from his wife and their remaining two children. A few months later, during a snowstorm, Mackenzie finds a note in his letterbox without any postage stamps and showing no footprints near his letterbox.

The note is very personal, addressed simply to him and signed by ‘Papa’, the name his wife uses for God. It invites Mackenzie back to ‘the shack’, saying it has been a long time since they saw each other. Remembering the sight of
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Answering the Tough Questions

“Does God really care when we hurt?”
“Does it matter what gender I choose?”
“Can’t we just agree that all love is OK?”
“Are all races equal?”
“Who gets to go to heaven and who goes to hell?”

These questions cut to the core of this generation’s sense of identity, self-esteem, purpose and lifegoals. We need to know how to answer them. They are conversations we really want to have with our students

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“I Can Buy Myself Flowers…”

Has there been a time in your life when you wanted God’s compassion and grace but didn’t feel worthy enough to receive it?  King David’s great-great-grandfather’s wife was in such a position. At the time, Rahab was living as a prostitute in the wall of Jericho. She had heard about the Israelites and how they were on their way to take Jericho as part of conquering the Promised Land.  Rahab had heard about the God of the Israelites but didn’t know Him.  She didn’t know that He is a God of grace.

Rahab knew about the God of the Israelites but

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Stars, Hearts and Trust on Your Journey

Imagine you are 75 years old …. can you imagine leaving your home, job, extended family and friends, based on God’s call to go…?  If God said the same things to you that He said to Abram, can you imagine trusting, believing and uprooting yourself to go …. where? … for how long? … to do what?

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Sharing Easter Grace

Eggs, crosses, remembrances, and celebrations – Easter – the most important event in our Christian calendar. Every year the secular ‘Easter’ starts earlier – chocolate eggs in supermarkets just after Australia Day and Hot Cross Buns very soon after.  The commercialisation of Easter is crass and the pressure to buy into it grows every year.

Of course eggs and buns are only part of the traditions that have been built around

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Hope with Grace

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” Anne Lamott

Just like the pottery above, the 15th Century practice of Kintsugi, ‘joining with gold’, encourages us to understand that our broken places can make us stronger and better than ever before. Kintsugi suggests our broken parts can be put back together and we can learn to embrace the cracks.

How many times have you been ‘broken’ and thought there was no reason to hope – until – you were reminded that being ‘broken’ has actually helped make you stronger?…

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An End, A Beginning and inspiration for the Journey
At this time of year, with only a few days of school left, student reports have been sent, class parties are in full swing, and admin and management are busy wrapping up as well as making plans for next year.  The slow starting Term 4 is now nearly over, the school year is hurtling towards its last day, students have ‘switched off’, and an exhausted group of teachers are looking forward to a well-earned rest…

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Nearly there – now let’s go deeper
At this point in the school year, many of us are ‘running on fumes’ like an exhausted ultramarathon runner and also feverishly planning ahead.

This is the time of year when we are often frustrated on many fronts, exhausted at the pace of life, wanting to just get the rest of the year ‘done’, needing a spike of energy, and hoping that others won’t see the sense of futility and apathy we have towards those annual reports and projects that we know deserve passion and enthusiasm but encounter attitudes of tedium.

Is it a matter of talking ourselves up – a mind over matter issue? Do you feel yourself slipping, with a sense of futility, into a yearly pattern of running, running, running, breathlessly just making it to the end of the school year, wondering how to practically integrate your faith and life and wanting an invigorated sense of growth?…

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Have you ever been drenched, deluged, totally saturated, immersed in so much rain that it overwhelms you?  Have you ever thought of God’s love this way, as if His love continually rains down on us, like an endless personal drenching?

Over the years, people have described their experience of God’s love as:

“Divine love is inherently spreading, engulfing, embracing, overflowing.” (Ortlund)

“Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not”. (CS Lewis)

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us”. (Augustine)

“Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. … He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

“No matter what storm you face, you need to know that God loves you. He has not abandoned you”. (Franklin Graham)
Do you ever wonder how people who experience many hurts and difficulties can then tell you, with that steady gaze, that they are glad they have been through their situations, their circumstances, and that it feels as if Jesus is so much closer to them now than before? That their life is richer now than before and their experience of life IN Jesus has taken them to a much deeper level in their relationship with Him?…

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Take Heart | He feels for us more deeply than we know
In recent days, we, the Commonwealth and the world have lost one of the most influential and resilient figureheads to have graced our time.  Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth II encouraged us all to live out our faith, saying “to many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me, the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example.”

From Christmas and Easter messages to National and Commonwealth statements in euphoric but also extremely difficult times, we were reminded that God is our strength and hope. Her messages were of hope and faith.  Her calm, steadfast nature embodied her hope which came from her belief.  In one Christmas message she said “At the heart of our faith stands not a preoccupation with our own welfare and comfort but the concepts of service and of sacrifice as shown in the life and teachings of the One who made Himself nothing, taking the very form of a servant.” In another: “We know the reward is peace on earth, goodwill toward men, but we cannot win it without determination and concerted effort.”

Resilient, steadfast figureheads and world leaders can positively influence us.  People such as Rosa Parkes, Martin Luther King Jnr and Nelson Mandela cause us to reflect.  They inspire…

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Sunsets and Choices
I recently took the time to watch a stunning sunset from my beach chair, coffee in hand, sensing God’s peace and strength and wanting the moment to last so much longer.  As I took many photos, trying to capture the experience, I reflected on my choices and responses to recent challenging situations, realising that sometimes I choose to cling to God’s wisdom, sovereignty and strength and at other times it was ‘doing it on my own’. When I focused on who God is, He gave me hope, whereas the times of leaving Him out of my choices decreased my hope.  My choice to believe in Christ directly impacted my hope in God as my sustainer, provider and refresher.How do my choices encourage or diminish my faith, my hope?…


Tim Keller recently noted that all humans are hope-shaped. What shapes us determines how we live and how we go forward into the future with confidence. Being hope-shaped is a gift from God. Romans 15:13…


The Killing of Belief in God and the Killing of Hope
My grandchildren play a game called Bugs Building. It is a form of Jenga where all various coloured blocks (bugs) are stacked on top of each other and built into a tall tower. The goal is to remove the blocks without causing the tower to crumble. The more blocks that are removed, the weaker the structure becomes. One by one the blocks come out of the tower and the hope of it continuing to stand becomes less and less, until eventually, the inevitable happens and it crumbles to the ground…

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The Hope of Belief
“Catch me Granny!” Have you ever walked into a room, and you see your child or your grandchild running up the middle of the dining room table, leaping, without hesitation, into mid-air and calling out with uninhibited confidence “catch me!” You gotta’ catch that kid…


Joining the Dots of Truth, Belief and Hope
One of my favourite games as a child was to play join the dots with my grandfather. As we progressively joined all the dots by following the numbers on the page, a picture would begin to form. We had to believe that following the numerical sequence would lead us to a final shape or image, usually an animal of some nature. Once all the dots were accurately joined, there was much excitement to see the end result…


Hope with Belief
As children we loved going to the beach in Summer. Our mother faithfully plastered us in sunscreen and painted our noses with neon-pink zinc cream. Our father would line us up and give us the usual beach lecture which included always swimming between the flags, not going out too deep and if at any point we got into trouble in the water, we were to put our arm up in the air to signal to the lifesavers we needed to be rescued. Then off we would go into the surf. I recall one day, the waves were rougher than usual, and a girl was carried out into the deep, choppy waters. As she was struggling to stay above the water, she shot her arm up in the air to get the attention of the lifesavers. In a flash, the rescue mission was mounted as the lifesaver jumped on his rescue board, and paddled out, to save her…

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In the Glow of Contentment
Don’t you just love a good fire? During winter, setting up the backyard firepit, igniting a roaring fire, and enjoying the warmth of the burning wood, being mesmerised by the allurement of the flames dancing and darting, listening to the crackling, and popping of the wood and did I mention the delight of melting marshmallows, so they are gooey in the centre and charred on the outer? It’s all part of enjoying a good fire. Yet the one thing about a fire is its glow. The glow of a good fire lights the faces of those encamped and there is a noticeable sense of peace and contentment…

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Contentment – God’s Assurance
Observing my grandchildren is one of life’s great delights. One of the things I have noticed is the sense of contentment they have that comes from the assurance their father gives them. Their faces beam when they snuggle in their dad’s arms or play games with him, they enjoy him tucking them into bed, and they laugh joyously when he is acting out the characters in the books he reads to them. As he engages…

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Contentment – Transformation vs Gratification
Pumping through in the veins of our society is the ideology of consumerism which boldly claims our happiness in life will be settled and enhanced by the consumer transactions we make.  Contentment appears to be within our grasp. Or is it? …

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 In a world that is continuously on the spin cycle, and the whirl of busyness keeps pulling us every which way, we are conscious that rest is an intrinsic part of our humanity and we need to step off the fast-paced motorways of life and enter the place of rest. Rest is central to who we are and we long to reclaim it to reset our souls. Just the mention of the word rest is like gold dust falling on our time-poor souls, causing us to feel instantly rich…

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I have recently been reading through the books of 1 and 2 Kings and it has been quite confronting to read about the perpetual failure of the majority of Israel’s kings. Israel, under the leadership of God’s appointed kings were to tell and live out an alternative story, God’s story…

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The idea of contentment presupposes God is enough. We are designed to be content in God and as we pursue our purpose which is to know God, we find contentment. Yet the nature of the fall disrupted the creative design of God in our humanity…

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As we continue to ride in the saddle of Hope with Contentment as our 2021 theme, in this issue we will be looking at the way God’s plan for sowing hope with contentment into the lives of others involves His people being willing to participate in His redemptive work across the earth, through service to others…


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Putting pen to paper for the first time to write about our 2021 theme feels like a new adventure. Our bags have been well packed after being treated with such excellent teaching over our 3-day Hope Conference where we gained a Biblical perspective on Hope with Contentment. We have now set off to trek through another year, embracing our call to be content in Christ…


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As we continue our theme of Hope with Contentment it is interesting to trace the idea of discontentment back to its roots in relation to human experience. As we rewind the story, we see that in original creation, contentment was a state of delight and fulfilment in God’s presence as Adam and Eve lived in perfect relationship with their creator…


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… but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:31, NIV).


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Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us of the varying seasons of life. It also highlights that no season is the same and as we navigate these ever-changing chapters, we must adjust our sails as the winds of change blow through our lives…


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As we continue to persevere and navigate our way through this challenging and complex season, I have found myself asking a philosophical question that has a spiritual answer. Are we shrinking or enlarging?


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Walking in the track of hardship is often made a little lighter when we know that others have walked before us and faithfully honoured God by staying the path in times of trouble.


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As we have journeyed through 2020 with the theme of Hope through Perseverance, we are acutely aware of the truth that faith is not an indemnity against difficulty.


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