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April 2019

A SEASON OF PRAYER FOR THE FEDERAL ELECTION – WEEK 4

By Australian Newsletter

WEEK 4 – PRAYING FOR ALL WHO ARE STANDING FOR ELECTION

Day 1 – Monday 6 May
Thanksgiving, Requests, Prayers and Intercession Let us begin this week by giving thanksgiving to the Lord for all who are standing for election. Pray and ask the Lord that He would lead us to pray His heart for them. Make your requests known to Him asking that all who seek to serve our nation would walk in truth, integrity and righteousness. Intercede that in the election process and outcome the Lord’s will be done here on earth as it is in Heaven.
Scriptures: 1 Timothy 2: 1-6

Day 2 – Tuesday 7 May
That we may lead peaceful and quiet lives in all Godliness and holiness Pray for the Peace of God to invade this Election and that Leaders & Candidates would experience God’s peace. Pray and Intercede that they will receive visions and dreams of, and from, God. Pray for the Prophetic voice of encouragement to come alongside those standing for election, that they would speak truth in all their utterances.
Scriptures: Isaiah 60: 1-2

Day 3 – Wednesday 8 May
For there is one mediator between God and Mankind, the man Jesus Christ Remember in our prayers that Jesus gave His life for all mankind. Give thanksgiving and praise that Jesus gave himself as ransom for those standing for election. Pray for the salvation of all those who seek to serve us that they will not reject ‘the truth’ that Jesus gave His life for them. Pray that in the lead up to the elections many Leaders & Candidates who believe would publicly confess their faith in Jesus as Lord.
Scriptures: Hebrews 9: 11-15

Day 4 – Thursday 9 May
Do nothing out of selfish ambition and vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves Pray that those seeking public office would walk in humility not pride as they prepare to serve our Nation of Australia. Pray that Leaders & Candidates will live in love, humility & service to one another. That they be unified as one in purpose for the betterment of our nation.
Scriptures: Philippians 2: 1-11 Prov 14: 34

Day 5 – Friday 10 May
Praying for the character of God to emerge in those standing for election Pray for electoral success for all Leaders and Candidates who are prepared to walk in righteousness and justice. Pray that they would recognise the need to be in right standing with God in personal moral, spiritual, and relationship issues. Pray they would be faithful, thoughtful and wise as the Lord places them in strategic areas to serve our Nation.
Scriptures: Romans: 5: 1-5

Day 6 – Saturday 11 May
Immersing all candidates in His love Read today’s scripture and pray that all who are standing for election would exhibit the qualities of love outlined in verses 4 to 7. Pray for the raising up of the banner of His love over all standing for election.
Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 13: 1-8a

Day 7 – Sunday 12> May
Praying for our nation to be built on the foundation of Jesus Christ Pray that candidates will acknowledge and honour the Christian foundations of our nation and continue to build around the Chief Corner Stone (Jesus Christ). Pray for believing politicians to stand firm and profess their faith in Christ. Pray that the Spirit of God would speak clearly to all who put themselves up for election bringing conviction of their need to rely on Him for all wisdom. Pray with confidence remembering that God works quietly and continuously to bring His kingdom on earth.
Scriptures: Matthew 21: 42-44

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CHRISTIAN CONFERENCE CENSORED BY FACEBOOK

By Australian Newsletter

This coming June, along with some of the brightest legal minds from Australia and around the world, Dr Augusto Zimmermann is hosting a conference called Religious Freedom at the Crossroads: The Rise of Anti-Christian Sentiment in the West.  When he and others shared the conference link on social media, Facebook censored it, claiming that the conference violates their community standards.  The biggest social media platform in the world censored an event highlighting the rising intolerance of Christianity.  Did you catch the irony?

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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CHRISTIAN WOMAN PROTESTING ABORTIONS RULED A CRIMINAL

By Australian Newsletter

A Christian woman seeking to save saving unborn children has been ruled a criminal.  In 2016, Kathy Clubb was arrested for offering help and hope to mothers near an abortion clinic in Victoria.  Recent laws had made it illegal for pro-life activists to be within 150 metres of such a facility.  She decided to challenge the law since it goes against Australia’s Constitution which grants Australian citizens freedom of political communication.  The highest court in Australia dismissed her challenge and forced her to pay fines and all of the court costs.

There’s a bitter irony in the story too.  Former Greens leader Bob Brown faced similar charges to Kathy Club for protesting against logging in an exclusion zone.  His case was acquitted by the High Court.  Since when are trees worth more than babies?

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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A SEASON OF PRAYER FOR THE FEDERAL ELECTIONS – Week 3

By Australian Newsletter

WEEK 3 – PRAYING FOR A NATION THAT REFLECTS GOD’S JUSTICE

Day 1 – Monday 29 April
Justice in the Church  Let us pray for justice to be manifested in the Church. Let us repent of our prayerlessness for those in government, and for the times we have judged and criticized them, instead of praying for them.  Pray that the Church will be faithful in praying for all members of Parliament, and their advisors, taking the time to find out the policies and intentions of those in their own constituencies standing for parliament, and ask the Lord to grant His grace and favour to those who would stand up for justice and truth to be elected.
Scriptures:  Matthew 5:13-16 Col 4:2

Day 2 – Tuesday 30 April
Justice in our Communities  Pray that the rights of the poor, the homeless, the marginalized, the aged, unborn children and refugees be upheld.  Ask the Lord to raise up people in our government and amongst those who advise them, who will understand with godly wisdom, and implement with compassion, principles that will meet the needs of these people in fair and practical ways.  Ask that those elected to government will honour, encourage and support Christian churches and organizations who care for the poor and homeless.  Pray that no government legislation will attempt to compromise their Christian values.
Scriptures:  James 2:5-9

Day 3 – Wednesday 1 May
Justice in Government  Pray that the person called to be Attorney General in the next government will be a God fearing person of integrity, with a clear understanding of justice and truth, and a heart after God’s own heart.  That he/she and his/her department would have God’s wisdom, strategies, favour and blessing in dealing with the issues of this portfolio.  Some of those areas covered in this portfolio include:

  • Australia’s national security which includes Security intelligence and border protection
  • Organised crime
  • Promoting access to justice and protection of human rights. Also censorship.
  • Indigenous law and justice
  • Courts, tribunals and the Judiciary Appointments
  • Family law

Scriptures:  1 Timothy2:1-4 Proverbs 24:23b-25 Prov 29:4a

Day 4 – Thursday 2 May
Economic Justice  Let us bring before our Lord today, that the person of His choice will be elected as the Treasurer of our Nation. Pray that He would prepare the heart of this person and all who would advise, and head up the departments under this portfolio, to think and to act in the counsel of God regarding the financial policies of Australia. These areas include:

  • Economic and fiscal policy and taxation
  • Prices surveillance; competition policy
  • Taxation
  • Superannuation, banking, insurance, and foreign investment.  Pray that the policies of both major parties regarding finances will reflect God’s compassion for those in greatest need – the poor, the homeless, the aged, families etc.  Also that they would research their financial responsibilities well and be accountable when implementing new policies.  Especially pray that in the run up to election unattainable promises would not be made to win votes.

Scriptures:  Romans 13:6-7

Day 5 – Friday 3 May
Justice in the Electorate  Let us ask the Lord to move people’s hearts to research the policies of the different parties and understand how those policies will affect them and their family’s lives. Pray that voters will not look for money or favours for their own gain, but look to the real needs of the Nation. Ask that voters be given divine discernment to choose to vote for those candidates with godly principles.
Scriptures:  Micah 6:8 (particularly in The Message)

Day 6 – Saturday 4 May
Justice in the Media  Pray for all those who report, commentate, and opinionate in newspapers and magazines, on TV and radio. Ask the Lord to enable these people to be neutral and fair in their assessments of the policies presented, that deception and lies be exposed, that truth and righteousness be declared and encouraged, and those who are reading, listening and seeing these reports will perceive what is real, just and true. Pray too that political advertising will not demean personalities, but will concentrate on the policies and issues being presented. Pray that voters will not be influenced by people, but by God.
Scriptures:  Proverbs 12:17-23

Day 7 – Sunday 5 May
Election of Just, Righteous and Honest Parliamentarians  Please pray that the Lord would call and appoint those who are just, righteous, honest and with integrity to lead our country.  Pray today for the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison and the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten.  Wait on the Lord, and ask Him how you are to pray for our leaders and then obey Him in prayer.  Pray also for all candidates standing on a Christian platform that they would truly reflect Jesus in their public life and that God would grant them favour in their constituencies, that many people would vote for them because of their Christian stand.  Pray that those who will hold the balance of power in the Senate will be men and women of faith, integrity with a true sense of justice for all.
Scriptures:  Proverbs 8:12-16 Psalm 72:1-4

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OUR WORLD NEEDS THE COURAGE OF ISRAEL FOLAU

By Australian Newsletter

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe…” (Rom 1:16) There was once a society very similar to our own.  Children were seen as a burden.  They were routinely left to die in the hours after their birth, for the convenience of their parents, in a primitive abortion-like practice.  Sexual expressionism was celebrated, in an ancient version of what we might call PRIDE.  Homosexual activity was a feature of religious practice, and prevalent in the culture.  The weekend crowds at the stadium left our MCG’s capacity in the shade.

Materialism, love of entertainment, and hedonistic pleasures reigned supreme.  A condition which gave rise to the idiom, “bread and circuses.”  Orgies were the foul indulgence of the elite.  There was even a thriving feminist movement.  Public expressions of Christianity were dissident acts, offending the cultural sensitivities of the time, and earning adherents a place on the fringe of society.  It was a world in which the emperor would marry two boys, one he called his husband, and the other his wife.  But not before he had kicked his pregnant (actual) wife to death amidst the rise and rise of a broader domestic violence epidemic.

It was a world whose power, prestige, and wealth betrayed its crippling sickness; a sickness of soul and spirit, which ultimately destroyed it completely.  It was the dizzying and spectacular, yet broken world of pagan Rome.  What medicine does a world like this need?

Where to begin?  How to engage?  The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at the epicentre of it all – in Rome herself. “I am not ashamed!” he declares.  And why should he be?  He carries a priceless treasure for a broken world.  He knows and proclaims the truth which will set these people free.  And he pulls no punches in demonstrating just how unashamed he is.

His very next words state the blunt truth that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” We only need to look at Israel Folau’s lot over the past week to know how inflammatory that was.  You can almost see the furrowed brows of outrage over this man’s lack of nuance and grace.  How dare he! Why is he alienating people?  Such judgmentalism! But he will not stop.  He calls out the people’s sins in rapid-fire succession, not pausing for breath for three chapters.

And yes, he even has a few uncomfortably direct things to say about homosexual behaviour.  And hellfire, for that matter.  Crucially, he does not ease up the pressure until he is sure his readers are no longer pointing the finger of accusation outwards at their culture… but at their own hearts, too.  Until they have had every defence mechanism, every excuse, every instinct to burst with outrage, overwhelmed with rapid-fire condemnation.  Paul concludes, “None is righteous, no, not one,” “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  But of all the sacred cows he kills along the way, self-worship would have to be the biggest.

Because, in times like these, the very last thing people can comprehend is the idea that they might be wrong; that they could be judged by God and found wanting; that they could possibly be hell-bound.  That is offensive. It is worthy of ridicule.  Reading over the various opinion pieces on Israel Folau, the common feature among authors, both his supporters and detractors, is their contempt for this very notion.  “If those are the criteria for entry [to hell], then I’ll see you all down there,” says one.  Well… yes… exactly… Above all things, we live amongst a generation that tells us to believe in ourselves, so we do.  And we believe that self is good.

The Mardi Gras banners emblazoned with “pride” just give overt expression to the cardinal, though often more subtly expressed, sin of our times.  Our highest value is ourselves, and our identities.  Paul presses this very button in Romans 1, declaring that we “worship and serve creature rather than creator.”  We’re narcissists who have killed God in our thinking, putting ourselves on His throne.  Nietzsche’s famous words have been fulfilled, “If there is a God, how can I bear not to be that God?”  And Paul intends to burst that bubble with some serious trigger words.

Because he knows it is the thing which is immunising his fellow Romans against the gospel of Jesus Christ.  So long as this remains true, they will never repent.  They will never turn to Christ.  They will never be saved.  And that means ultimate disaster.  That is why the Apostles preached sin, guilt, and judgment with boldness at every turn.  There is not one public sermon in the book of Acts which does anything less than press the issue home with unrelenting conviction, normally right after exposing the specific sin of the crowd being preached to.

Paul even declared the coming judgement of the “unknown God” to the men at Mars Hill, whose forebears had killed Socrates for “introducing new deities”, no wonder scripture says he was stressed before he spoke!  And the full ambit of reactions is seen.  Paul was mocked and laughed at. Peter and John were hauled before a tribunal for hate speech.  Agrippa had his curiosity aroused.  Many were “cut to the heart” in response to Peter.  Detractors plotted revenge.  People threw stones at Stephen.  The churches were a mixed bag, too.  Some listened, clearly, but Paul also writes that “all in Asia have deserted me.”  And he had to defend himself against endless attacks and smears by writing 2 Corinthians.  His was no smooth road.

And, crucially, anger continued to swell from all quarters against these men who dared to point the finger, name sin, declare Christ’s judgement, and urge repentance.  Paul died as an axe took his head off.  Every Apostle was martyred, except the one they exiled.  But they followed in the footsteps of their Lord, the crucified Christ.  And He, too, was One who began His earthly ministry with the word, “Repent.” And He, too, experienced the full range of reactions.  But crucially, we must not forget that something else happened.  The gospel spread faster than a pandemic through the Ancient Roman world, fuelled by the unrelenting boldness of these early Christians.

Why do I say all this? Because too many of us think Israel Folau did something wrong.  If he did the wrong thing, then so, too, did Paul, Peter, James, John, the rest of the Apostles, and Jesus Himself.  The truth is, there’s nothing more offensive than the ideas of sin and judgment to a generation like ours, no matter how you say it.  The notion that in myself I am judged and found wicked is anathema and contemptible.  This idea that some sovereign God has power over me in any real sense must not be countenanced.  But the truth will set the people of such a world free, as it did you and I.  And the truth, whenever it is spoken, will yield fruit.  That is a promise of God.

I have no doubt that there are many who are saved through the most gentle of encounters, as Christ with the woman caught in adultery, or through honed apologetics, like Nicodemus.  But in a hardened, self-loving, neo-pagan age, maybe Folau’s paraphrase of a scripture which assaults it all head-on will be just the medicine someone needed to turn to God in repentance and faith, and know Him forever through Jesus Christ.  If we don’t believe that, then we must ask ourselves to what extent our wayward culture has shaped our thinking.

Perhaps the boldness of the apostles, who bravely declared against the odds that they were “not ashamed” is what God looks for among His people in these changing times.  From pagan Rome, to neo-pagan Australia, there really is nothing new under the sun.

Source: Blog by Martyn Iles Managing Director Australian Christian Lobby

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TASMANIAN UPPER HOUSE PASSES CONTROVERSIAL TRANSGENDER LAW

By Australian Newsletter

The Tasmanian Upper House has passed an extremely controversial bill that will have far reaching ramifications for all Australians.  The bill, which began as an amendment to the Marriage Act, removes biological sex markers from birth certificates and allows self-identification on birth certificates through a declaration.  This complex, hotly debated bill underwent 20 revisions and more than 50 pages of amendments but very little expert or community consultation was passed 8 votes to 6.  Liberal Member Leonie Hiscutt said the legislation should not have been ‘rushed through’ parliament without a full review from the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute.”

A recent poll suggested 71% of Tasmanians were opposed to the bill.  Despite this, eight Labor and Independent MLCs rushed it through and hailed it as historic win for the country.  Ruth Forrest MLC, who drafted the bill, said “I think other states will be looking at us and saying “we should be considering this.”  Kirralie Smith, Binary spokeswoman said “It is very concerning that a mere eight politicians were able to rush through such an important landmark bill.  This decision will have a lot of negative consequences that were dismissed or ignored by the decision makers.

Smith said “I sincerely hope other states take note what not to do.  The community and experts ought to be heavily consulted in such a process.”  The Mercury noted that “The laws will also prevent hate speech and offensive language against gender identity and intersex status.”  Smith asked, “Who gets to decide what is offensive language?” “Someone’s feelings could be hurt by another person’s unintended remarks.  Feelings are not a consistent, reliable or measurable benchmark for determining offense.  Stating biological, scientific facts could potentially land people in big trouble with the new law,” Smith warned.

Source: Binary

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A SEASON OF PRAYER FOR THE FEDERAL ELECTIONS – Week 2

By Australian Newsletter

WEEK 2 – PRAYING FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS IN GOVERNMENT

Day 1 – Monday 22 April
God’s Righteousness  Cry out to God for His righteousness, just nature, and rulership to be established in Australia through the Government we elect, as it is in heaven.
Scriptures:  Psalm 33:5  Psalm 36:6  Psalm 45:7  Psalm 71:19  Psalm 85:13  Psalm 89:14  Psalm 145:17  Jeremiah 9:24  Acts 17:31

Day 2 – Tuesday 23 April
Australia’s Unrighteousness  In the light of His perfect righteousness let us acknowledge our sin and failures as His people to pray for, and represent Him to, our nation.  In repentance and humility let us cry out for His mercy to be extended to ourselves and our nation through the outcome of this election.
Scriptures:  1 Peter 4:17  Daniel 9:4-19  1 John 1:9

Day 3 – Wednesday 24 April
Our Righteousness before God  Let us approach His throne of grace with confidence concerning these elections, to pray that our nation will receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  Pray that the Church in Australia will be like Esther and find favour and approval with our King so that He will hear and answer our prayers.  Pray that God would give His Church the prayers of Jesus so that we pray in righteousness, unity, and maturity.
Scriptures:  Corinthians 1:30  Romans 10:10a  Esther 2:17  Esther 7:2  Hebrews 5:13-14

Day 4 – Thursday 25 April
God’s Promise of Righteousness for our Nation  Pray for righteousness to come forth from the Federal elections.  Pray that Australia would be known and respected in the forums of the world as a nation of righteousness and integrity, holding to and doing what is right regardless of internal or external pressures and short term expediency.  Pray for a government we can trust to conduct our affairs righteously in every area of power.
Scriptures:  Proverbs 14:34  Isaiah 26:2,9  Psalm 75:10  Isaiah 28:17  Isaiah 32:17  Malachi 4:2-3  Psalm 125:3

Day 5 – Friday 26 April
Righteousness in the Election Campaign  Let us pray that this election campaign, however strongly contested, will be conducted with righteousness, decency and respect.   Pray His Kingdom come and His will be done in this election.  Pray that He will expose to the eyes of the nation any hidden, ruthless, unscrupulous, unrighteous motives of parties and candidates.  Pray the electors see and take to heart what is right, honourable, just and true and let it prevail in the voting on election day:  Pray that righteousness and truth rather than sensationalism will prevail in all reporting in the media.
Scriptures:  Matthew 6:33  Romans 14:17-18  Amos 5:24  Psalm 85:13  Luke 12:2-3  Philippians 4:8  Psalm 85:13

Day 6 – Saturday 27 April
The Election of Righteous Candidates  In prayer, call forth from each electorate into the Federal Parliament, those who will represent us in righteousness and will be open to the influence of His Holy Spirit.
Scriputres:  Psalm 112:4-10  Isaiah 64:4-5a  1 John 3:7-10  Psalm 34:15  Psalm 37:29

Day 7 – Sunday 28 April
Pray for a Prime Minister and Government that would lead our Nation in Righteousness   Pray in faith for a Prime Minister who will be an instrument of true righteousness in His hands.  Pray for the election of a Government that will be under His authority so that Australia can fulfil in every way the calling He has for us.  Pray that whoever is elected Prime Minister will lead Australia under His Lordship and authority and with His wisdom into paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Scriptures:  Psalm 18:20  Proverbs 14:34  Proverbs 16:7  Proverbs 21:1  Proverbs 25:5  Psalm 11:3  Hosea 10:12  Psalm 85:9-13  Jeremiah 29:11-14a

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HIGH COURT HANDS DOWN JUDGEMENT IN PRO-LIFE CASE

By Australian Newsletter

The High Court of Australia has handed down its judgement on two very important cases with serious implications for freedom of speech and the pro-life cause.  The court has upheld criminal convictions against Kathy Clubb and Graham Preston.  In doing so, they have confirmed the legality of so-called ‘safe access zones’ outside abortion clinics.  These laws prohibit anyone from communicating within the zone about abortion, in a way that can be seen or heard.  They are designed to stop pro-life counsellors from offering help and alternatives to abortion at the most dangerous moment of an unborn baby’s life.

In 2014 Tasmania made it illegal to express disagreement with abortion within 150m of abortion clinics.  Mr Graham Preston from Queensland was arrested, convicted, and fined $3,000 in Hobart for holding signs within the exclusion zone that read on one side, “Everyone has the right to life, Article 3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and on the other side “Every child has the right to life, Article 6, UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child”, along with an enlarged photo of an 8-week-old preborn baby.  Last October Mr Preston’s appeal against his conviction was heard in the High Court of Australia which has now handed down its decision that this exclusion zone law is not unconstitutional so the law will remain in place.

In particular, Kathy Clubb and the ministry she worked with has saved over 300 babies’ lives and supported their mothers, often through difficult circumstances.  When the law shuts down a ministry like this, the law clearly is not working.  As Kathy has said, her ministry is a ministry of mercy to women, and it has yielded incredible fruit.  Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) supporters all over Australia have campaigned for years against the introduction of ‘safe access zones’, standing with Kathy and Graham, praying for them, their families and for the justices of the High Court.

While the court’s decision is profoundly disappointing, it should only strengthen the resolve of supporters to stand up for freedom of speech and the cause of the unborn.  This case is not the end for Kathy and Graham as the matter will now go back to the Supreme Court of Victoria and Tasmania to deal with the rest of their appeals.  There are still substantial legal arguments about the validity of their convictions.  Please continue to uphold Kathy, Graham and our legal system in your prayers.  Could it be a criminal offence to promote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a public place in Australia?   Yes it could, based on this judgement.

Mr Preston said, “It is a very sad day for this country.  This decision means that a person can be fined up to $10 000 and/or be jailed for up to 12 months simply for promoting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child in a public place in Australia. “This is not the old Soviet Union where human rights laws were a mockery, this is Australia.  Australia is signatory to both of these documents but now you can be sent to jail for promoting them on a public footpath!  “Every Australian, whatever their views on abortion, should be very concerned about this draconian suppression of free speech that has been upheld.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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