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July 2011

Our Father which art in heaven

What does true prayer look like?  Luke chapter 11 gives us the ultimate picture: “It came to pass, that… Jesus was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray…”  (Luke 11:1-2) And from there, Jesus teaches them the Lord’s Prayer.  This is where […]

Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth

There are many people who do good. Which is good. And there are many people who care nothing for any reputation for doing good. Which is also good. But seldom do both qualities coincide in one person. And that’s bad. It seems a regrettable fact that the world is divided between those who do good […]

Love your enemies

What does divine perfection look like? Usually we think of God’s perfect nature as that which excludes.  You know the sort of thing – “God is perfect, you are not.  You’ve got a snowflakes chance in hell with a perfect God, etc, etc.” When we think like this it shows that we don’t really like God […]

Going the extra mile

We think “going the extra mile” means giving 5 star service when much less would do.  It’s when you go “above and beyond” the call of  duty to offer something special. But that’s not really what it meant originally.   Here’s how Jesus puts it in the sermon on the mount: “Ye have heard that […]

Turn the other cheek

When we were moving through Exodus we came across the Old Testament law: “an eye for an eye.”  It limited the kind of retribution the injured party could pursue.  The law says you may exact only as much as it cost you.  There is to be no escalation of violence according to the law of […]

Hell fire

Hell is one of the most liberating doctrines in the Bible.  To understand it brings health to your soul.  But you might need some convincing about that… We’ve already said that modern people seem far more fearful of “fire and brimstone” preaching than of “fire and brimstone” itself.  But the fires of which the Bible […]

Every jot and tittle

We might say “He dotted every i and crossed every t“.  A Hebrew speaker would say “He swished every jot and swirled every tittle.” “Jot” was the smallest Hebrew letter (the letter yod).  “Tittle” was the smallest stroke of a pen – a tiny flourish that was the only distinguishing mark between the two most similar […]

Hiding your light under a bushel

Jesus used comedy.  A lot.  Jewish comedy.  Naturally. The juxtaposition of contrasting images was central to Jesus’ communication.  He would often show up the absurdity of our lives by placing two incongruous states side by side.  The resulting shock is the stuff of comedy, and of good preaching! Here’s today’s comic imagery: “Ye are the […]

Ye are the light of the world

How can Jesus call us the light of the world? If you ask your average non-Christian how they think of the church, “Light of the world” is unlikely to feature in their response.  Surely Christians are inconsequential, impotent – dim.  Or perhaps they are compromised by hypocrisy – murky.  Or maybe the church is an […]

The salt of the earth

If we call someone “the salt of the earth” we usually mean they’re real, honest, straight-talking, uncomplicated and dependable.  Jesus had something else in mind.  Although figuring out what exactly is not easy. Jesus begins the sermon on the mount with the beatitudes in which He proclaims the present-tense blessedness of His disciples.  These are […]