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And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

In science fiction, alien life forms are always showing up from another world.  Most often they come to destroy and dominate.  In Luke chapter 2, there is a very different kind of alien invasion: “8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 […]

She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

You didn’t choose to get born and neither did I.  Only Jesus has ever chosen to be born.  But if such powers were at our disposal, would we have decided upon the path that Jesus took? Surely not.  Surely we would have opted for powerful parents, fabulous wealth, plush surroundings, an easy life. And it’s […]

My soul doth magnify the Lord

How do you feel about musicals?  Many people dislike them because ‘in real life, ordinary folk don’t burst into song.’  Well, hopefully Luke chapter 1 will win over the doubters because here we read, not one, but two examples of spontaneous lyricism! At the end of the chapter (Luke 1:68-80), Zechariah – the father of […]


William Tyndale gave us the word, “likeminded”, but what gives us the reality? On the internet it’s easy to find “people like us”.  No matter how specialist our interests might be, the online world is so large, any subgroup at all can find “likeminded” members. But what about in the local church?  What about in […]

The unsearchable riches of Christ

What is the message of Christianity for the world?  If you could boil it down, what is the proclamation of the church?  Paul has a wonderful summary in Ephesians 3:8. John Wycliffe translated it: “the vnserchable richessis of Crist”. William Tyndale put it as: “the unsearchable ryches of Christ.” And, in that tradition, the King […]

A man reaps what he sows

The saying is instantly recognisable as religious.  Even if few people know where it comes from, most will assume it’s biblical.  And they’ll assume that they know what it means. It’s about cause and effect right?  It’s saying: ‘What goes around, comes around.’  ‘If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned.’  ‘Everyone gets […]

The Powers That Be

Romans 13 has introduced two phrases to the world that seem to pull in different directions – at least in the way they are used. On the one hand we have “the powers that be.”  We commonly use this phrase to describe nameless authorities handing down impersonal judgements: —  “Apparently, in their infinite wisdom, the […]

Vengeance is mine

Belief in a God of vengeance will create vengeful people, right? On the other hand, if we want to pursue peace ourselves, we must dispense with the view of God as some Settler of scores, right? Actually the Apostle Paul argues precisely the opposite.  He begins by enjoining an incredible level of pacifism on the […]

O wretched man that I am!

It was Jesus who coined the phrase “the Spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.”  It was Paul who explored the idea in chapter after chapter. According to the Apostle Paul there are three tenses of salvation.  There is the past tense: “According to God’s mercy He saved us.”  (Titus 3:5) There is the present […]

The wages of sin is death

Driving across my wife’s home town of Belfast, it’s difficult not to come across this verse emblazoned on some billboard or other: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23) And it’s usually in the King James Version too! It serves […]