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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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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M = Mining is a massive blessing from God

A young teacher sits in a classroom and enthusiastically tells the kids how bad mining is for our world. The students all agree and post about it on Facebook. That teacher sits on a chair with metal legs, and a seat made of plastic, derived from petrochemicals. On her desk rests a reusable coffee cup, […]

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L = Living Waters

O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water. (Jer. 17:13) Kangaroo carcasses, spread on the side of the dirt road, and next to each lifeless […]

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K = Kill ’em all

  1   “When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you, 2 and when the […]

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J = Jethro ‘destroying’ solo ministry

15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; 16 when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.” 17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you […]

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I = “I” in Psalms and Songs in the Old Testament

Back in the 90s, I recall a heightened interest in making sure that all church activities were corporate, and explicitly so. The Apostles’ Creed in some churches was modified from “I believe” to “we believe” and songs were judged poorly if they were not plural. That shibboleth only applied unevenly to new songs, since almost […]

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H = Heroes At Drinking Wine (aka. Intoxicated Masculinity)

  “Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!” (Isa. 5:22-23) The battle-lines have been dug in the conflict about christians and alcohol, with entrenched positions generating pamphlets, sermons and even denominations. But […]

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G = Guard AND Pray

  “And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.” (Neh. 4:9) If falling on your knees in prayer is so powerful, why endure that vomit-inducing totally-debilitating chemotherapy? If God promises to give you the words to speak, why would you spend so much midnight-oil reading […]

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F = A Fountain of Blood and Water

  “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.” (Zech. 13:1) Red-wine stains are removed by first sprinkling salt, wax by ironing with brown paper, and oil necessitates a surfactant detergent. For every domestic disaster, there is […]

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E = Entertaining Angels (and Others)

  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Heb 13:2) This verse takes us outside our comfortable places. When we talk about angels, we move from speaking about world-view analysis, philosophical frameworks and cultural paradigms. We stand clearly on the ground of revelation. God shows himself as […]

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D = Day of the Lord

  “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.” (Mal 4:5) The day you were born and the day you die, that time you buy your first car, received the award, enter marriage, find out the results of the scan and hear the news of […]

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