The Sky Voice

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.

Prayer in hopelessness

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.

Deliver us from Evil

“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[1] 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?

Fit to fight?

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.

How Temptation Works

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

Heroes of Doubt

People assume that heroes don’t feel fear. They are wrong. Brave people feel the fear but act in spite of it. Those who have no sense of fear are not brave, but naive. People of faith experience doubt, but act in faith. It’s not the way we feel that counts, but the decisions we make. Doubt takes you down to the depths, where you discover your foundations and find that they are strong