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The Word was made flesh

Tom Torrance was an army chaplain in World War Two.  He reckoned that the number one question soldiers asked him was this, “Is God really like Jesus Christ?” With the bullets flying and lives on the line, that’s what they needed to know.  Because if God is like Jesus then, ultimately, it’s going to be […]

In the beginning was the Word

When it comes to prayer I think the most common question I’m ever asked runs something like this: “Should I really pray to God about such and such?”  So many Christians seem to feel that “bothering God” with the minutiae of their lives is beneath the majesty of the Most High. God seems to have […]

Prisoners of hope

We have all met people who are prisoners of despair.  What we call depression could well be described in those terms: it is a helpless and hopeless condition with no prospect of release.  They don’t want to collapse in despair but they feel bound to do so.  Perhaps we have been in that waterless pit […]

The Desire of All Nations

There is a limit and a longing to us all.  And that interaction between the limit and the longing defines our human condition.  We are finite creatures, and yet this finite world does not satisfy. The prophet Haggai wrote in the 6th century BC to the Israelites in a strange kind of in-between time.  They […]

In the twinkling of an eye

[Apologies for this post out of sequence] What have been the decisive moments in your life?  Can you pinpoint certain choices or “chance encounters” that have shaped your destiny?  One single piece of news, good or bad, can change everything.  Sometimes our whole world can turn “in the twinkling of an eye.” When the Apostle […]

Sackcloth and ashes

Could Jonah be the most successful evangelist in the Bible?  In Hebrew the report of his sermon consists of 5 words.  And yet, in response, the 120 000 residents of Nineveh cover themselves in sackcloth and ashes and turn to the LORD. Sackcloth was the clothing of mourning.  Ashes were also a reminder of mortality.  […]

Reap the whirlwind

“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  Paul’s saying from Galatians 6:7 is a common biblical theme.  The judgement which befalls the wicked is not an alien imposition.  It is the way they’ve been heading all along, the destination of their course, the fruit of their living. Hosea looks on the northern kingdom, […]

Play the harlot

How would you feel if you had your yearly work review and the verdict on your performance was, “Unfaithful.”  You might expect negatives like “incompetent” or “negligent” or “unqualified” or “lazy”.  But “unfaithful”?  What if your boss said your work was “adulterous”?  “Adulterous”?  You might well protest: “Hang on, I’m not married to my job […]

For ever and ever

Given the suffering of this world, how can anyone believe in a good God or a happy ending? In Daniel 7, the prophet has a vision of the most terrible cruelty imaginable.  It was a “vision by night” that left him, in his own words, “grieved in my spirit… and the visions of my head […]

Daniel in the Lion's Den

The bible is all about dramatic reversals. Perhaps Mary said it best when she was told that the Mighty Christ would be born into her humble circumstances: “He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath […]