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SHIFTING THE ATMOSPHERE OVER OUR CITIES FROM FEAR TO FAITH

By Australian Newsletter

A spirit of fear is trying to permeate our nation due to the threats of the Coronavirus.  The stock market is being impacted and our nation is taking extreme actions to curtail any unnecessary exposure.  Other nations have also begun to shut their borders due to the threats of the virus.  There is panic buying of food and other items as people fall prey to a spirit of fear.  It is time for us to pray about the spirits behind the coronavirus.  It is time for us to pray and proclaim God’s Word over our communities and the nation as a whole.  We cannot control the media’s propaganda or various political agendas, but we do have a say in what kind of atmosphere hovers over our own cities and communities.

This is where we have the most authority and the most responsibility in clearing the air and shifting the atmosphere from fear to faith.  We need to rise up in our corporate spiritual authority to displace the illegitimate authorities that are seeking a foothold in our nation. Intercessors can shift the atmosphere in their cities through prayer, worship, and a corporate spiritual authority far greater than any demonic threat or attack.  The posture of our hearts and the words from our mouths determine the atmosphere in a place.  The power of our praises and our prayers can shift atmospheres in a room, a building, a neighbourhood, and even an entire city.

This is the amazing result of believers coming together in agreement and drawing power from heaven through their unified proclamations and worship.  It permeates the spirit and displaces demonic activity, making way for heaven to come down and God’s presence to be made known.  In the early Church, unity was so strong that Scriptures speak of a “great grace” that was released in the city.  This grace opened the door to miracles, signs, and wonders, and salvations on a daily basis (see Acts 4:32-34).  Earlier in this same chapter, it speaks of their daily fellowship and breaking of bread.  Because of these things, God’s grace empowered them to do far beyond what they could have done in the natural.

This should be our desire as we come together as watchmen in prayer over our cities and nation.  We can pray in such agreement with heaven that the atmosphere over the city begins to be permeated with the grace and favour of the Lord.  Our spiritual adversary will continually find ways to spread fear, chaos, turmoil, and hopelessness over the land.  It is our responsibility to displace those demonic spirits by keeping our corporate prayer altars ablaze.  We must use our authority in Christ to displace rulers in high places and declare the work of the cross and the power of Christ’s resurrection.  Let’s agree together to speak life instead of death, order instead of chaos, and faith instead of fear.

Source: Intercessors for America

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Feature Article 14 March 2020

By Feature Articles

DOOMSDAY MESSAGE HAVING DANGEROUS EFFECT ON CHILDREN

There’s a new fire and brimstone, but it’s not coming from preachers.  It’s coming from climate alarmists and it’s causing children to panic, according to a new report.  Imagine Christianity stripped of all its redemption. We are imperfect sinners, eternally at odds with God, bound for damnation, and there’s no way to change course, there is nothing that can put us in right standing with God.  Imagine the bleak reality of a Christianity without Jesus.  That’s the artificial religion of climate change.  It has religious teachers, such as scientists, environmental activists, and progressive politicians.”  It even has evangelists like 17-year-old Greta Thunberg.  But there is no redemption.  There is no hope.

The religion of climate change is like a doomsday device with no solution.  I’m not an expert on the environment nor do I know the intricacies of the science behind it, so I’m not making an argument here about the legitimacy of the issue.  But I do know this: our way of talking about the climate is dangerous.  A newly released survey from BBC Newsround found children are suffering nightmares, losing sleep, and developing unhealthy eating habits over fears about climate change.  There has been plenty of other research, too, showing climate change alarm is bad for mental health.

In fact, in a 2018 review of the psychological effects of climate change on children, Australian researchers found the issue increases kids’ risk of developing PTSD, depression, anxiety, phobias, and substance abuse problems, among other things.  But I think the research is getting it wrong.  The catalyst for people’s anxiety is not climate change.  It’s the idolization of the hopeless issue that’s causing problems in people’s lives.  We are, as pastor and author Tim Keller put it, taking good things, like tending to the earth (a role God gave to humans), and making them “ultimate things.”

“Sin is not just doing bad things,” Keller said.  “It’s turning good things into ultimate things, because it ruins your soul, destroys community, and dishonours God.”  Every climate change evangelist is preaching the hopeless message of eternal destruction with only one patently impossible solution: every leader around the world simultaneously embracing their particular solution to the issue.  I don’t blame Thunberg and others for being so fearful.  In 2018, climate change scientists claimed we have only a dozen years to quell the environmental “catastrophe.”  And 1 year ago, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Dem-New York) admitted she fears the world “is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”

So we shouldn’t be surprised when Thunberg says things like this: “This is all wrong.  I shouldn’t be up here.  I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean.  Yet you all come to us young people for hope.  How dare you.  You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.  We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.  How dare you.  For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear.  How dare you continue to look away.  It’s sad, not because I judge Thunberg or others like her for their fears or their passion.  It’s sad because they have been sold a religion without redemption.

They have bought into a belief system that puts total trust in things that are created rather than in the God who created them, and in the end, it is guaranteed to fail them.  In his letter to believers in Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote: “My dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.”  At the time, the Corinthians were tempted to put their trust in pagan statues made of wood or stone.  Our idolatry doesn’t look like that anymore, but it’s still very much alive.  Nowadays, it’s sneakier, and disguised as compassion and zeal for things that matter.  We should be concerned about things like caring for our environment.  But we shouldn’t, as Keller said, take those good things and make them “ultimate things.”

There’s no doubt this earth will ultimately fail.  But it will fail not because we didn’t work hard enough or because we didn’t pass the right legislation or because we didn’t take action quickly enough.  It will end because, one day, Jesus will return to form a new heaven and earth.  In the meantime, we should work to care for the world around us, steward our time and resources wisely, and trust in God’s ultimate promise of redemption.  Don’t put your trust in a small-G god who can’t deliver; trust in the one true God who already has.

Source: Tre Goins-Phillips, Editor Faithwire

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ASIO UNCOVERS AGENT RUNNING MAJOR SPY RING IN AUSTRALIA

By Australian Newsletter

ASIO has revealed it has uncovered a “sleeper” agent running a major spy ring which provides logistical and financial support for foreign agents engaged in intelligence gathering missions as well as harassing dissidents in Australia.  The domestic security agency has also apprehended an increasing number of spies entering or trying to enter the country as it warned that more foreign agents were now operating on Australian soil than during the height of the Cold War.  Without directly naming China or other countries known to aggressively engage in espionage, there were cases where “hostile intelligence services” had directly threatened Australians.

Delivering the Annual Threat Assessment in Canberra, ASIO director general Mike Burgess said that counterterrorism and protecting lives was still the agency’s “number one mission,” revealing the number of active terrorist leads it was investigating had doubled in the past year.  Burgess revealed that Australia was operating in an increasingly hostile environment with the agency facing rapidly evolving technology used by foreign governments and terrorist groups.  Burgess confirmed that the agency was forced to use the controversial encryption laws almost immediately upon their passage through parliament in 2018 to thwart a potential terrorist attack that posed “serious harm” to Australians.

“I can confirm that ASIO has used the Assistance and Access Act to protect Australians from serious harm,” Mr Burgess said in a written copy of his speech delivered to 400 government officials, members of the intelligence community and diplomats.  “We needed to take advantage of the new powers within 10 days of the legislation coming into effect, a clear indication of its significance to our mission.  “The bottom line was this, these new powers helped ASIO prevent a real risk of injury to Australians.”  He said he was disturbed by the extent to which extremists were known to be actively trying to recruit schoolchildren as young as 13.

Mr Burgess was the former head of the Australian Signals Directorate before taking over as the head of ASIO last September after the retirement of Major General Duncan Lewis.  In his first Annual Threat Assessment he outlined the current level of threat posed to Australia’s national security in a speech partly designed to demystify the secret operations of the domestic spy agency.  The country’s top spy boss took the rare step of revealing several recent cases in which terrorism or espionage had been foiled including scientists and academics who had infiltrated university campuses with the “aim of conducting clandestine intelligence collection”.

“ASIO has uncovered cases where foreign spies have travelled to Australia with the intention of setting up sophisticated hacking infrastructure targeting computers containing sensitive and classified information,” Mr Burgess said.  “And perhaps most disturbingly, hostile intelligence services have directly threatened and intimidated Australians in this country.  In one particular case, the agents threatened the physical safety of an Australia-based individual as part of a foreign interference plot.  The level of threat we face from foreign espionage and interference activities is currently unprecedented.”

In another case, Mr Burgess said ASIO had intercepted and disrupted a foreign intelligence service agent sent as a ‘sleeper’ agent to Australia. “The agent lay dormant for many years, quietly building community and business links, all the while secretly maintaining contact with his offshore handlers,” Mr Burgess said.  “The agent started feeding his spymasters information about Australia-based expatriate dissidents, which directly led to harassment of the dissidents in Australia and their relatives overseas.  “In exchange for significant cash payments, the agent also provided on-the-ground logistical support for spies who travelled to Australia to conduct intelligence activities.

“These are the sort of insidious activities ASIO works to detect and disrupt every day.”  ASIO would not reveal what had happened to the agent but a government source said that it was reasonable to assume that they had been thrown out of the country.  The threat level in Australia remains at “probable” with Mr Burgess confirming that credible intelligence has led to a number of individuals and cells intent on conducting onshore terrorism now being on ASIO’s radar.  “ASIO has previously assessed and stated publicly that the threat posed by terrorism in Australia has plateaued at an unacceptable level,” Mr Burgess said.  “This is sometimes misunderstood as the fact that the threat has simply plateaued.”

“So let me be clear: the threat of terrorism at home is ‘probable’ and will remain unacceptably high for the foreseeable future.  “I am particularly concerned that we continue to see vulnerable and impressionable young people at risk from being ensnared in the streams of hate being spread across the internet by extremists of every ideology.  “As a father, I find it truly disturbing to see cases where extremists are actively trying to recruit children who have only just started high school and are as young as 13 or 14.”  At the heart of the increasing challenges faced by ASIO on cyber security, espionage and terrorism, was the technological advancements in communications encryption.

“Encrypted communications damage intelligence coverage in nine out of 10 priority counter terrorism cases,” Mr Burgess said.  “That’s 90 per cent of priority cases.  “And that’s just counter-terrorism. In the counter-espionage world we are dealing with even more sophisticated targets. “The government recognises this dilemma as do senior executives in the tech sector.  Technology should not be beyond the rule of law.” Seeking to engage the agency in a broader public dialogue, Mr Burgess said he had wanted to “move beyond the bureaucratic language of annual reports and help everyone understand the significant threats we see directed at Australia and Australians”.

“We are not seeking to be a secret organisation with secret powers,” Mr Burgess said.  “We do need to keep secret the precise nature of many of our operational capabilities and operational activity.  These are the tools of our trade but I will never knowingly put any of my team at additional risk by carelessly talking about their operations.  The people who work alongside me every day are ordinary Australians just like you.  When they are not at work they are ordinary members of our community who have family and caring responsibilities, mortgages and who worry about the same sorts of things that we all do or they may be your neighbours or friends.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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10th NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR DEFENCE

By Australian Newsletter

The weekend of 28-29 March (and in the week preceding) Military Christian Fellowship (MCF) are asking Christians on Defence Bases, along with Churches and other Christian groups across Australia, to join them in upholding the Australian Defence Organisation in prayer.  Last year 26 groups across Australia and overseas took part.  Churches and other Christian groups (such as prayer groups) are strongly encouraged to be involved.  Please register your Church or group’s interest by sending name, place/address of event, date and time to the MCF office.  To do this, and access resources for the event, or to find out more information please contact: mcf.office@defence.gov.au or go to www.mcf-a.org.au or (phone 02 6266 4950).

Source: Military Christian Fellowship Australia

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PSYCHIATRISTS GO PUBLIC OVER TREATMENT OF TRANSGENDER YOUTH

By Australian Newsletter

Senior psychiatrists have gone public with ethical and scientific concerns about Australia’s first long-term treatment study of transgender-identifying teenagers and children.  The Trans20 study at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne involves a projected 600 patients aged 3-17 given pro-trans “gender affirming” care, including potentially sterilising hormonal treatment for gender dysphoria, or distress about one’s body.  “There’s a kind of assumption that the gender affirming treatment being provided is the gold-standard, appropriate treatment,” Sydney psychiatrist Roberto D’Angelo said.

Dr D’Angelo is one of six psychiatrists to put their names to a letter in the journal BMJ Open.  “Are families actually told, ‘we’re still not sure this affirmative model treatment is the best way to treat gender dysphoria’?”  There is concern about possible social contagion in rapidly increasing numbers of teenagers, chiefly girls, declaring trans identity with no childhood hint of gender confusion, and undergoing novel treatments with puberty blocker drugs, cross-sex hormones and sometimes surgery.  Critics say the evidence for these treatments is low-quality, short-term, flawed or missing.

At the RCH youth gender clinic, the number of female-born new referrals in 2018 was 2600% higher than in 2012 when there were just seven, according to data obtained under FOI legislation.  Clinic director Michelle Telfer, a paediatrician, has appealed for more public money so RCH can begin “gender affirming surgery” (double mastectomies) for post-pubertal “transmasculine” patients.  RCH says its gender service is a world leader and follows “strict clinical governance standards”.  In its journal letter, the group of six psychiatrists says it has “grave reservations about the ethical underpinnings and methodology” of the RCH Trans20 study based on what’s been made public.

They call for the release of details showing that informed consent for participation in the study takes account of mounting concerns about the safety and ethics of the affirmative model and life-altering medical interventions. Trans20 researcher Ken Pang said there was a response coming to the psychiatrists’ questions.  Meanwhile, in a sign of international networking by critics of the affirmative model, seven Swedish physicians, including adolescent and child psychiatrist Sven Roman, have written to Scott Morrison, backing local calls for an independent inquiry.  A medical college is already reviewing standards of care.

The Swedish doctors cite the high rate of psychological and other disorders in the mostly teenage girls now diagnosed with dysphoria by gender clinics.  “There is a possibility that the majority of patients in the new group have autism or autism-like conditions,” they say.  “In their teens, people with autism have even more concerns about their body and identity than other adolescents.”  They say these patients often suffer from self-harming, eating disorders, mental trauma, depression and emotional instability, which along with autism may be the main underlying problems.

Like similar projects overseas, the Melbourne study lacks a comparison group of patients getting rival treatment, casting doubt over what the results mean.  “If the kids seem better after a year or two, we won’t know whether it’s because of, or despite, the gender affirmative intervention, or because they got a lot of attention,” Dr D’Angelo said.  Before the 2000s, gender dysphoria typically appeared in preschool boys, and in most cases resolved itself as children matured, with many emerging as young gay or bisexual adults at peace with their biological sex.  The psychiatrists’ letter warns that the affirmative-only approach may “lock” young people into gender dysphoria.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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Q SOCIETY DEREGISTERS FEARING LAWSUITS UNDER RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT

By Australian Newsletter

The right-wing anti-Islam organisation Q Society of Australia has announced it will deregister itself because religious freedom legislation will make it “an easy target for hostile litigation” and put its board members at risk of being sued.  A letter sent out to “members and supporters” by Q Society president Debbie Robinson says the group decided at its last AGM to voluntarily deregister its incorporated organisation by the end of the financial year.  Q Society, which has been criticised as Islamophobic, is registered in Victoria as a non-profit.  Ms Robinson’s letter says Q Society has lost so much financial support it can barely cover the costs of insurance, statutory compliance and office administration.

But it also cites the risks of “federal legislation concerning religious ‘tolerance’ … likely to change this year”.  “As a consequence, the incorporated association will become an easy target for hostile litigation.  “The risk for board members being sued for criticising Islam becomes unsustainable.”  Attorney-General Christian Porter is reviewing submissions on the second exposure drafts of the Religious Freedom Bills, released just before Christmas.  The proposed legislation, a response to the religious freedoms review of 2018, is controversial among many faith-based groups, and the LGBTI lobby.

While intended to protect religious people from discrimination, some argue the legislation does not go far enough to grant positive rights to people of faith, while others argue it will allow religious groups to discriminate against people.  Q Society has always rejected charges of Islamophobia.  Its website says it was “formed in response to growing concerns about the discrimination, violence and other anti-democratic practices linked to Islam”.  Federal MP George Christensen attended a Q Society fundraiser in 2017, saying he was there to push back against the “erosion of free speech” by the left.  Q Society will continue to operate via Facebook, a newsletter, and a US-based website.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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ALARMING TRANSGENDER TREND STATISTICS FOR BRISBANE

By Australian Newsletter

An alarming report by the Australian newspaper has indicated that the trans trend is on the rise.  The number of children and teenagers at Queensland’s publicly-funded transgender clinic has risen 330 per cent over five years, with an 85-fold spike in patients taking controversial drugs to block puberty.  In 2018, there were 207 trans or gender diverse patients, up from 48 in 2014, at the Queensland Children’s Hospital clinic in Brisbane, with 171 on the puberty blocker Leuprorelin, and 30 getting the opposite-sex hormone testosterone, according to the first data obtained under Freedom Of Information (FOI) law.

The rise comes despite an increasing number of health care professionals calling for inquiries and further research to be done.  Some Psychiatrists, GP’s and Endocrine specialists have expressed concern that underlying issues such as depression, eating disorders and autism are not addressed before offering transitioning treatments to gender dysphoric youth.  When approached by the Australian “the Brisbane clinic would not give a breakdown of patient numbers by birth sex, but almost all those on cross-sex hormones in 2018 were given testosterone, meaning they were born female.”

Psychiatrist Stephen Stathis has pointed out that “occasionally young female victims of sexual abuse wanted to be boys in the belief this might protect them but hormonal treatment was not the right response.”  One also told him, “I want to be transgender, it’s the new black.”  There is also great concern that parental rights are being undermined as guidelines suggest children under the age of 18 can make decisions to transition without parental knowledge or consent.  Smith said “The evidence is clear.  There is a transgender trend and it is capturing young females in particular.  “The accelerated march into transitioning treatments for youth must be halted and properly investigated.”

Source: Binary

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