Displaying posts tagged with

“death”

A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions

In June it was reported that a 17 year old Chinese youth sold his kidney to buy an iPad2. We recognize the folly of that kind of covetousness instantly.  But what about greed that is closer to home? Recently I read an excellent discussion of the much-used phrase “material blessings” in our church prayers.  We […]

Wise as serpents, harmless as doves

Matthew 10:16 is a veritable menagerie of biblical imagery: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Not since the ark have so many animals been crammed into so short a Scriptural space.  Yet Jesus thinks we will be well prepared […]

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted

What could be more nonsensical than this?  Or insensitive?  “Blessed are they that mourn”? In my Greek lexicons the word that invariably appears next to “Blessed” is “Happy”.  It’s a word denoting a prosperous and favourble condition.  Some dictionaries list “blissful” as a synonym!  So how on earth can Jesus call mourners “blessed”? Well it’s […]

Unto us a child is born

I grew up with Summer Christmasses.  Mangoes for breakfast.  Cold meats for lunch.  Backyard cricket.  Swims and BBQs.  And I loved them.  But, biblically speaking, a summer Christmas is a contradiction in terms.  Christmas is not a celebration of our sunny circumstances.  Christmas comes in the darkness. That’s what Isaiah prophesied in chapter 9.  It’s a […]

A fly in the ointment

—  Doctor, Doctor, there’s a fly in the ointment! —  Yes, he’s recovering from a nasty soup burn. Ehem. “A fly in the ointment” is that minor detail that causes major irritation. The phrase has evolved from its biblical origins in Ecclesiastes: “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking […]

Eat, drink and be merry

“A man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.”  (Ecclesiastes 8:15) Here is very good advice.  There is nothing better in life than to […]

To every thing there is a season

Aside from the title – “Turn, Turn, Turn” – Pete Seeger wrote 6 words.   Solomon wrote the other 173.  Yet , today, it’s probably the Byrds’ cover version that’s more famous than either! There has never been a chart-topper with older lyrics than this song.  Yet, of all Scripture, why have these words from […]

There is nothing new under the sun

–  “History repeats itself.” –  “What goes around comes around.” –  “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Anyone who lives long enough will observe a relentless circularity to life.  That was certainly Solomon’s experience.  And it bred in him a desperate world-weariness. Here’s how he began his spiritual journal: “4 One […]

Vanity of vanities

In Proverbs we heard the wisdom of Solomon, here in Ecclesiastes we listen in on his despair. “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.  Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”  (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2) So begins the spiritual journal of the richest, wisest and most famous […]

At their wits' end

There’s a saying: “Most people only look up when they’re flat on their backs.”  It’s proved in the bible time and again.  And this phrase “at their wits’ end” is a perfect description for where people find Jesus.  Or rather, where He finds them. “Wits’ end” is quite a creative translation from the AV.  If […]