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Coptic Martyr

The Coptic Martyr of Cairo

The latest international thriller from best-selling author Martin Roth

Four Americans in Egypt on an archaeological dig. In the blistering summer heat they are fighting amongst themselves. Then they unearth a body. It is an old priest who has been murdered.

The gruesome discovery sets in train a sequence of events that leads to a deadly Islamist attack on the ancient church where the Americans are working.

The leader of the expedition, Professor Rafa Harel, must decide whether to withdraw his fractious team or continue on a mission to unveil a controversial series of wall paintings, knowing that these images have the power to spark even greater violence.

Meanwhile, watching over all of them is a dreamy young Egyptian Christian named Amir. His only quest in life is to become a martyr...

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Christians in Debt - Going for the Good Life

I saw it repeatedly at a previous church – good Christian families in pursuit of the good life and deeply in debt. Many had big home mortgages. Some husbands and wives were working demanding hours to pay back the bank and to save the money needed to send their kids to expensive private schools.

Such debt burdens must have had a detrimental impact on their giving to God’s work. And the long hours of work could not have been good for family and church life. I often wondered if they were really living as God intended.

Part of the problem is that home ownership is almost a religion here in Australia, with heavy borrowing virtually a patriotic duty. And such has been the inflation in house prices over the past half-dozen years that homes in Australia are now among the most expensive in the world (when you compare average house prices to average salaries). It’s a real problem for many good Christians.

I follow much of the investment advice that appears in books, newspapers and magazines and on radio and television. It seems to be a given that you get married, borrow heavily, work punishing hours (both husband and wife) and eventually – some decades down the track – you might achieve the good life. It is sad that so many Christians too seem to have bought into this scenario.

So it was extremely pleasant to discover the book The Total Money Makeover by financial adviser Dave Ramsey. It provides some excellent guidance on how to get out of debt, and I would highly recommend it. You can also read more at Dave’s own website.

Here’s what he has to say about debt:

Debt has been sold to us so aggressively, so loudly, and so often that to imagine living without debt requires myth-busting. We have to systematically destroy the inner workings of the myths. Debt is so ingrained into our culture that most Americans can’t even envision a car without a payment, a house without a mortgage, a student without a loan, and credit without a card.

And here are just a few of his hints:

- Debt is not a tool.

- Staying away from car payments by driving reliable used cars is what the average millionaire does; that is how he or she became a millionaire….The average millionaire drives a two-year-old car with no payments.

- Getting a credit card for your teenager is an excellent way to teach him or her to be financially irresponsible. That’s why teens are now the number-one target of credit-card companies.

- Debt consolidation is dangerous because you treat only the symptom.

There’s lots more in the book.

June 10th, 2006

 

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