It is an invigorating sight to watch the billowing sails on a yacht glide effortlessly through the water on a glorious summer day. Yet the boat needs more than the gentle breezes to make its journey. It also depends on the strength and stability of that which is unseen; the rudder and keel below the waterline.Read More
Pay Day Loans and Piety
There are ‘means’ and there are ‘ends’ and confusing the two can get you in trouble. Becoming ‘God’s people on the land’ meant that they had to get this basic social calculus right. The Bible is a profoundly relational book. And as one person said, “total love of God is the only adequate basis for the demanding social program laid out in Deuteronomy’s pastoral strategy.” (1) Moses is unfailingly clear that caring for people and caring for the land go hand in hand. God requires nothing less from us as he did from them.Read More injustice, money, sabbatical
Imagine being at the river on the day that Israel crossed over? What must it have looked like, sounded like, and smelled like that day! And then there were the battles for land – triumph, defeat and repentance. They had come out of Egypt in a hurry. They were driven away in scorn and fear. This was a story to celebrate down the ages.
Now fast forward to a humble birth in Bethlehem.Read More celebration, gratitude
When people don’t know the Word of God well, they fill the pages with foolishness that sounds biblical. Perhaps you’ve heard some of these before: God helps those who help themselves. God wants me to be healthy and prosperous. Don’t eat food with hands that haven’t been ceremonially cleaned.
The Pharisees were citing oral law here. Tradition taught that filthy hands were an open door for evil spirits to enter the body.Read More Pharisees, tradition, God’s Word
From the Heart
The problem with the Law was that it was so easily limited to behaviour modification. God’s constant lament against Israel was that they looked religious on the outside while mistreating the weak, the poor and the immigrant among them.
Jesus isn’t concerned with what foods you eat and whether you wash your hands before you touch it.Read More Holy Spirit, forgiveness, heart, root
Since the death of John the Baptist, Jesus has been seeking a place of solitude and rest. Meanwhile, ministry needs have prevailed, to the point where the Twelve don’t even have time to eat (Mark 6:31). This passage opens with Jesus stealing away to a house by the Mediterranean, but even here he’s recognized. A Syrophoenician woman finds him and begs him to heal her daughter.
On first reading, Jesus’ response to the woman seems harsh.Read More mercy, priorities, balance
Never Alone, Never Abandoned
It can be quite painful to face hardship of any kind on our own. As much as the people who care about us would like to help, sometimes they simply do not hold the solution to our difficult circumstances. So, to whom do we turn?
Psalm 25 offers us a most helpful way to pray when troubles come.Read More prayer, troubles