I was invited to preach at a youth camp in a couple of weeks time. I have never had an invitation to preach before and apart from my town of Mount Morgan I have never preached anywhere, so this will certainly be a new experience for me. The Bible says that "We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us." Nothing God asks us to do is impossible because He is helping.
In the midst of such devastating events as Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans many people sometimes wonder what God was doing when it happened. Is God to blame? The truth however is simple, God was in the same place He was when He watched His own Son die. God has not stopped caring for the people of New Orleans, in fact the proof of His love is that He did send His son to die. The blame for these terrible events lies actually at our own feet. The Bible says in Genesis that as a result of the sin of humans, that the world is under a curse.
Proverbs tells us to honour the Lord with your wealth and with the first of our income. This means that whatever we earn, we take the first percentage (10%) and give that back to God, this is called tithing.
My Father John Alley was a missionary in Papua New Guinea many years ago and had the task of teaching new christians all over the country to tithe. He worked for the Salvation Army and back in the early 1980's tithing was so low in all those new churches that it averaged less than a dollar per person per year.
The Swine Flu has arrived in Mt Morgan – we all thought that it would eventually arrive, but maybe not as quickly as it did. To me it seems that fear of the swine flu is worse than the swine flu itself. It’s like the old saying about some dogs – their bark is worse than their bite.
Everywhere we turn people are talking about “bad things.” It could be the Recession and how there are no jobs around. It could be Global Warming and how the world is coming to an end. It could be talk about Swine Flu, North Korea, Rising Prices, Unemployment or a million other things. Bad news is and will always be a part of our lives.
Someone once said that there are only 2 certainties – death and taxes. In addition however it seems as though its certain that there will always be someone telling us how bad things are and how they are only going to get worse.
Last year in our church we spent some time discussing the countries of Africa and why there was such a problem with poverty. We did some research into the causes of poverty and found out what a big problem it is for many people in the world’s largest continent.
I’ve already mentioned previously how my family lived in Papua New Guinea when I was a child. One year there was a ‘civil war’ between the Papuan Police Service and the PNG Military. For 3 days they battled between themselves in the streets of Port Moresby where we lived. It was not extremely serious, no-one was killed and life continued more or less as normal. Neither was it a real war for control of the country. It was more or less just an issue of pride.
When I was a child we lived for 5 years in Papua New Guinea. My parents were working for the Salvation Army helping with missions and also running a printing business for the Salvos. I enjoyed life as a child oblivious that all around us were signs left over from serious fighting in World War II.
The simple answer is YES but only to a certain point. Recently in my reading on the internet I read some articles about some research that has been done into the subject of happiness. The results were interesting.
The research showed that people suffering from extreme poverty were unhappy and they found that as people earned income that covered their basic needs this did in fact improve happiness in their lives and in the lives of their families. However they found that as income increased beyond this point that happiness stopped increasing but stayed more or less the same.