Category Archives: Heart and soul

The homecoming of the perfect elder brother

Here’s a surprising thought! The turn of phrase used by the starving prodigal son in Luke 15:18 when he resolved to quit tending swine in a foreign land and go home – ‘Rising up [Greek = anastas] I will go … Continue reading

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Can anything ever really be ‘really, really fantastic’?

A vicar friend once mentioned how he despaired of some common misuse of our English language. As an example he referred to the noun ‘fellowship’ often wrongly used as a verb. For example: ‘It’s good to fellowship together’ should be: … Continue reading

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Who is in need of ‘a balm from Gilead’? (Jeremiah 8:22)

Jeremiah 8:22 In my childhood days Christian soloists loved to perform for us a song about ‘a balm in Gilead’. Then it went out of fashion, but I can still recall the soothing couplet: ‘There is a balm in Gilead … Continue reading

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Do you ever feel that your ministry is just writing in the dust?

Does it strike you as strange that Jesus never wrote a Gospel or an Epistle, yet we are told he did write – just once and quite publicly – but ‘in the dust‘?  We only know that fact from one … Continue reading

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Scriptural tips about beauty

Visual beauty Would anyone ever say that a rainbow is ugly? So, why the commonplace saying that ‘beauty resides in the eye of the beholder’? Isn’t it still beautiful when no one sees it? Perhaps Mortimer J Adler helps us … Continue reading

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This World of Hidden Madness

When, years ago, I heard that our grandson, a graduate in English, had elected to research comics for his Ph.D. degree, I decided not to ask for any details, to prevent me from making derogatory comments. For I was wondering … Continue reading

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Turning water into wine – why start with that?

According to the reckoning of John’s Gospel, turning ‘water . . . for Jewish ceremonial washing’ into ‘the best wine’ was the ‘miraculous sign’ with which, for ‘the first time, Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him’ … Continue reading

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‘Wellbeing’ is not just a fashionable catchphrase

Recently it seems that everyone is talking about wellbeing. It’s the fashionable way to refer to a person’s all-round good health, whether mental health or emotional, physical or spiritual health. Actually, the Hebrew language had a word similar to wellbeing … Continue reading

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‘I must be about my Father’s business’

‘I must be about my Father’s business’ (Luke 2:49 King James Version) To which God-given duties did Jesus occasionally refer? Only a few times in the Gospels do we hear Jesus speak of duties he ‘must’ fulfil. In fact there … Continue reading

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The origin of ‘Happy Families’ was more than a game!

Milton is the locality where our church meets on Sunday mornings. We expressed our vision for 2019 as: ‘Being Family at Milton’. One of the games we played when our offspring were children was Happy Families. The pack contained such … Continue reading

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Elijah meets God on Mount Sinai (1 Kings 19)

If we are not currently hearing God’s voice, one major reason could be a particular act of sin or a persistent wrong attitude – some act of disobedience or a habit of self indulgence. When one of the builders lost … Continue reading

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Peace that you can’t figure out

Christmas since Victorian times has developed into a prolonged, frenetic period of the year. Folk seem to reach a state of perpetual motion, rushing through shopping arcades to buy seasonal gifts. Sure, some have solved that problem by ordering online. … Continue reading

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Remembering can cause anguish – or ecstasy

(A sermon delivered on Armistice Centenary; Sunday 11th November 2018) [] Only ten days ago we were prompted to: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. I can’t find a reason why gunpowder treason should ever be … Continue reading

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The progressive Christian life: sitting enthroned; walking wisely; standing firm

In my youth I considered Nee to-Sheng as a model minister of the gospel – better known here in the West as Watchman Nee. He trained and inspired many apostolic teams who established 700 indigenous congregations all over their native … Continue reading

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The Snowflake Generation

Just a moment! That phrase, the snowflake generation, nowadays refers to our Western society, so restrained by political correctness that they are afraid to takes risks or show their heads above the parapet. But instead let’s consider the creation of … Continue reading

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Spirituality – have you a vague idea?

According to contemporary authors one can be spiritual without being religious. And we might suppose that our Lord himself agreed with this non-religious aspect of real spirituality when answering the lonely, religious Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar because … Continue reading

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Focus: 2018

When Roman legions occupied Britain two thousand years ago, ‘focus’ was their Latin noun for fireplace that later simply meant ‘fire’. That later Latin meaning may have mutated into current English as ‘concentrating one’s attention’ through that trick of using … Continue reading

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A Hogmanay ‘fireside chat’

‘Focus’ The English language has been a lifetime hobby of mine. I especially enjoy tracking down the source of many of our words. Of course, I was sure that I already knew the only possible meaning of the verb ‘focus’ … Continue reading

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