Ruth: three thoughts

I was named after Ruth in the Bible. I may be biased, but I’ve always thought she was pretty special. I’ve always been interested in the book named after her. As a child, I thought it was the loveliest of love stories. As an adult I still think it’s within the top five loveliest of […]

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Less people are dying from natural disasters

Look at this diagram from Our World in Data, trusted by the BBC, CNN and the New York Times. Take out the earthquakes and the graph is even more dramatic. If there are more extreme weather events in recent times, and yet less people are dying from them, then something is enabling human beings to […]

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A Personal Reflection on Submission in Marriage

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. A secret in my marriage that I have never discussed with my husband. Nor has my husband discussed it with me. Are you ready? Andrew and I have completely different ways of hanging towels in a bathroom. I didn’t say it was an exciting secret. […]

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The Devil’s schemes in these days, weeks and months of COVID19 

Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11)  We heard a great sermon this weekend on standing firm in Jesus Christ, and our preacher rightly warned us about the role of the evil one.  In the Zoom question time afterward someone asked me […]

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Y = A heavy or light yoke? Jesus and the kings of old

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Jesus. Matt. 11:29-30) Jesus […]

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X = Xylolatry: the worship of wood

Can a piece of timber lead you to hell? Can it make you turn your back on the true and living God? Read the Bible, and you’ll find the answer is yes. Think about the wooden instrument you tap with a mallet and the practice of serving idols, and you’ll have our very rare word, […]

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W = Why would the Israelites call their father a wandering Aramean?

1. A God given liturgy for future generations   Does God tell his people exactly what to say when they gather to serve him? Does he give a liturgy for his people to follow in perpetuity?  For the most part, he seems not to. Look throughout the Scriptures and notice that wedding and funeral services […]

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3. The Church’s capacity to leave toilet paper on your doorstep…

I wrote this title almost a year ago, a long time before the infamous ‘toilet paper dash of 2020’.   It feels odd writing it now, knowing how desperately short of toilet paper the supermarkets, and many homes, became for a time this year.  But it is my story to tell, and this was the […]

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V = Visions of Victory That Disturb and Terrify

Years ago I made the mistake of reading a few of H. P. Lovecraft’s short stories. My recollection might be blurred, but I remember a similar thread in each. The protagonist investigates macabre events, ominous signs, cultic symbols, and unexplained happenings. But there is never a good resolution. Some things are better left covered. In […]

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2. The importance of knowing God’s word when your child is well…

“I don’t know how you coped so well.” “I don’t know how you do it.” “You seem to be doing so well.” I can’t tell you the number of times I heard these statements during the year my son was sick, and the year after his death. Statements meant as an encouragement, statements that came […]

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1. What it is like to miss church regularly

I’ve had the privilege of growing up in a Christian household, where going to church weekly, and often more than once weekly, was just the way we lived. It was a pattern that I neither questioned, nor particularly thought about. Most children don’t think about why school is Monday through to Friday, even if they […]

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U = Unto Us a Father is Born. The Fatherhood of Jesus in Isaiah?

Can a man be at the same time a father and a son? Of course. If he couldn’t, the human race would quickly disappear. But, what about Jesus? Isn’t it blasphemous to call him father since he never married and sired children? And furthermore, doesn’t this confuse the members of the God-head, since he reveals […]

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T = Trees in the House of God: where they belong

Ancient church leaders posed deep questions about the relationship between philosophy and Christianity when they said, “what has Jerusalem to do with Athens?” I’m asking something more figurative. What does the Jerusalem Temple have to do with Gardens ‘R’ Us? Or perhaps more precisely, what does the Lord’s temple have to do with gardens, and what does that have to with us?

Do you see yourself as a tree planted in the temple of the Lord?

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T = Trees in the House of God: facing hard times

It’s not only bombs that destroy a church. White-anting also happens from within. When there is no acknowledgement of the King of Kings, the people determine what is right in their own eyes. The Bible may be paraded in the pulpit and even studied diligently, but judges sit in the polycarbonate chairs, stand behind the […]

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Q = Quick wrath, quick atonement; stored-up wrath, planned atonement.

Let’s step into dangerous territory and speak directly about the anger of God. Our own worldly hearts testify with the liberalism entrenched in Western churches: speaking on this topic is both dangerous and unpalatable. Preachers, including this author, dance around hell when speaking to a friendly congregation, let alone the outside world. A colleague answering […]

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P = Prayer in the Book of Job

What if Job had more to say about right relating to God than it did about right theology? I first read the Biblical book of Job in my final year of High School, sitting in my living room, covered head-to-toe with chicken pox. My take-away was simple. I didn’t have it as hard as him; […]

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S = Sorrow Upon Sorrow of Parents Who Lose A Child

Tomorrow marks two years since we said goodbye to our teenage son, Nathan, who went to be with Jesus. We were on holidays and we knew that the cancer would take him soon, but it’s hard to drive home with one less kid in your car. When he died, I was relieved that he was […]

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R = Raised Up a Horn For His People (Christmas Special)

Christmas is a time when metaphors shine, and the most popular one does so literally. Christ is the true light who came into a dark world. Names also speak volumes. Immanuel is God for-us becoming God-with-us. He is called Jesus because he saves his people from their sins. One name and metaphor, however, is lost […]

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O = Outwit, Outplay, Outlast! Hebrew Women are Survivors.

Watch a woman give-birth, a mother stand-up for her child, a widow quietly undergo hardship, and you will see a strength, dignity and endurance of a different type to men. Not better, just different. On average, men can bench-press more, fight wars for national protection, and engage in riskier professions, but women are the survivors. […]

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N = Nebuchadnezzar, will I see you in heaven?

My family loves Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), a triple-win, big-family congeniality and clean humour, all served-up Steve Martin’s wit. One scene stands out, where he, the stressed-out and guilty father, has to perform an impromptu funeral for his oft-forgotten son’s favourite pet. “Beans was a good frog. He was, uh, not like a lot […]

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