These three occasions, when a voice spoke to Jesus from the sky, mark stages in the Gospel story when Jesus understood and accepted the destination of his ministry. He wasn’t was born knowing the full script for his life. He was born as a normal, human baby lying helpless in a cattle trough – then he learned his destiny by stages.
When people turn to prayer as a last resource, they are being logical. It’s as reasonable as gasping in a quick breath and swimming along a flooded passageway to find an uncertain escape route. It’s better than giving up. Prayer in hopelessness contains an improbable grain of hope.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19 (NIV) Optional How restrictive is an anchor? Not much. It’s an optional item of marine equipment, but not in the sense that it’s dispensable. It would be a foolhardy sailor who set out without one. But an anchor doesn’t get … Continue reading Shackle, Stake, or Anchor?
Years ago, I was taught that the Transfiguration was the fulfilment of Jesus' promise that some disciples would see him "coming into his kingdom". I felt dissatisfied with that explanation - but now I see the point.
DispiritedThe movement was slight, but the new manager glimpsed it from the corner of his eye as the HR Director ushered him in to meet his staff. Girls who were lounging on their desks, had suddenly straightened up. Sales were low, morale was low, and the staff were bored and dispirited... But, move the scene … Continue reading What a thing is Faith!
Setbacks, tragedies, and worries were raining down, and I was devastated. So, what did I do? I turned to Job. The courage of Job’s faith inspires me afresh each time I return to his story.
“Deliver us from evil” (a phrase from ‘the Lord’s Prayer’) doesn’t mean “make us nicer people”. Rather, it asks God to protect us from a force that can trap or imprison us (otherwise why would we need deliverance?) Yes. Evil is a force, and it’s not just the Bible that sees it that way. Science fiction often treats evil as a force – for instance, in the Star Wars films. In the Bible passage that introduces the Lord’s Prayer the original Greek speaks of the evil and some English versions translate it as the evil one – in other words, the Devil. But does anyone still believe in the Devil, demons, or evil spirits?
I’m writing this during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic when the whole world is anxious and many Christians are talking about ‘spiritual warfare’. All prayer is good, but not all types of prayer are right for everyone. This unseen virus offers a metaphor for the forces to be fought in spiritual warfare. But we must be selective.
My previous blog, “How Temptation Works”, explained the subtle workings of temptation. It helps to understand how temptation works, but we also need to understand how to overcome it.
Grace. Free forgiveness. Undeserved acceptance. The Gospel of Christ is unique among religions. It turns upside down the idea that salvation depends on our good deeds. It doesn’t. God’s forgiveness, and our future destiny, depends entirely on God’s generosity. But that doesn’t mean that morality has no part in our faith