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Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil

It is often said that the “Lord’s Prayer” is poorly named since its petitions are not those that the Lord Himself would make.  Jesus would certainly pray “Father” – “Abba” even.  He would certainly hallow the name of God and seek His kingdom.  And He is the One who supremely did the will of the […]

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth

In The Life of Brian we join the outskirts of Christ’s audience for the sermon on the mount.  “The meek shall inherit the earth” filters through to one listener: “Oh that’s nice innit, I’m glad they get something cos they have a hell of a time.” It’s a brilliant line.  But Jesus isn’t throwing out a […]

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

According to Matthew, Jesus comes as King to bring the true end to exile (Matthew 1:1-17).   He is named as “Saviour” and “God with us” (Matthew 1:18-25).  He is the desire of all nations (Matthew 2:1-12) who is also the true Israel – going down into Egypt and rising back up again (Matthew 2:13-23).  He […]

Feet of clay

It’s the biblical equivalent of the Achilles’ heel.  When a leader has a flaw that makes him vulnerable he has “feet of clay.” The phrase orginates in the book of Daniel which, like Ezekiel, is set in the Babylonian captivity.  Daniel, along with others, is carried away to Babylon and then hand-picked to serve in […]

Great is thy faithfulness

Much of the bible’s description of exile sounds at a distance. It happens to those people who deserved it for having committed those sins.  Lamentations feels very different.  Here the anonymous author (traditionally thought of as Jeremiah) lays bare the horror of Jerusalem’s destruction.  He describes the whole thing as a first person lament.  He […]

Bind up the brokenhearted

In the Bible, hearts can be failed, faint, glad, hard, willing, stirred, sorrowful, obstinate, lifted up, circumcised, wicked, grieved, hot, astonished, trembling, melted, inclined, merry, rejoicing, naughty, offended, dead, desirous, despising, lion-like, bowed, upright, understanding, large, turned away, turned back, sore troubled, tender, double, perfect, tried, prepared, free, united, proud, soft, walking, deceived, enticed, hypocritical, […]

Led like a lamb to the slaughter

When someone is “led like a lamb to the slaughter” it’s not pretty.  Perhaps a partner in the firm is about to be ousted for the sake of the company.  As he blithely enters the boardroom he’s like a lamb to the slaughter. It’s a brutal verbal picture.  An innocent lamb will follow a leader […]

They shall mount up with wings as eagles

28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the […]

A drop in the bucket

A sense of proportion is priceless.  But it can be very elusive.  When things go wrong we speak of life getting on top of us.  Chips on both shoulders.  We can be weighed down with worry, drowning in troubles, outnumbered.  It’s us against the world.  And the world is winning. Isaiah knows how this feels.  […]


A man begs for change.  Some throw him coins.  Most pass on by.  But imagine a true philanthropist (meaning “lover of man”). He doesn’t just reach into his pocket for some change.  Imagine he stoops down beside the poor man and sits down in the gutter.  Imagine he reaches an arm around the man and […]