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phrases

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 […]

The crumbs under thy Table

It is, perhaps, Thomas Cranmer’s most famous prayer.  Known as The Prayer of Humble Access, it is said prior to receiving the Lord’s Supper: “We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much […]

The head of John the Baptist

TS Elliot said “human kind cannot bear very much reality.”  This story plumbs the violent depths of that truth. John the Baptist was a shining light.  He was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets.  Jesus called him the greatest man born of woman (Matthew 11:11).  As the summation of all the prophets who preceded […]

Pearl of great price

Recently a friend emailed me with a question.  He’s not yet a Christian but he’s been attending bible studies for a while.  The previous night they had used Christian-sounding language that he didn’t understand.  He wrote: “They asked me if I had ever ‘given my life to God.’  I was unsure.  What does that mean?  […]

Fell by the wayside

Yesterday we encountered a mystery.  Jesus declares His word publicly – that is, for all.  But also He also proclaims it to a particular audience – not everyone has ears to hear.  You might think that Jesus takes a laissez-faire attitude to this phenomenon.  But no, He pleads “He that hath ears, let him hear.”  […]

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear

Having ears is one thing.  Having ears to hear is another. Back in Moses’ day he lamented the spiritual deafness of the people: “And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his […]

Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden…

Jesus has hit something of a brick wall in His evangelism (Matthew 11:20-24).  He brings the living and life-giving word of God.  He answers every question with the wisdom of heaven.  He performs the mighty works of God.  He is like a little oasis of paradise walking around planet earth.  Everything that He touches turns […]

Good Samaritan

It’s one of the most famous stories Jesus ever told.  A beautiful stranger helps a man left for dead when his own people disdain and forsake him.  Those who ignore his sufferings are Levites and Priests – the holiest of the holy.  The stranger is a Samaritan – from that race of hated half-breeds to […]

My name is Legion for we are many

Can people really change? Perhaps we think that, superficially, there can be a make-over.  But what about an abiding shift for good in the core of a person?  Mark chapter 5 gives us such a picture.  In the beginning we meet a man described like this: “A man with an unclean spirit,  3 Who had […]

The friend of sinners

The world is always judging Jesus.  At His birth much was made of His name (Matthew 1:18-25).  At His death the key issue was His identity (Matthew 26:63-65).  And the central question of the Gospels is “What think ye of Christ?”  (Matthew 22:42). Sometimes the labels He attracted were true and well-meant, as in “Behold […]