Wednesday, 22 November 2017

First thing in the morning

What do you do first thing in the morning?
Make some coffee?
Check your phone?
Make breakfast?
Do your devotions?

When Isaiah was expressing his heart to God, he asked God to treat the people kindly and to 'be there for them' FIRST THING in the morning. It gives me a wonderful sense of comfort and peace to know that God is there for us and that God is our Hope. How do these words make you feel?

"God, treat us kindly. You’re our only hope.
    First thing in the morning, be there for us!
    When things go bad, help us out!
You spoke in thunder and everyone ran.
    You showed up and nations scattered." - Isaiah 33:2-4

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 21 November 2017


John Henry Jowett made this lovely observation:
“When we have the mind of anybody, we share the very springs of their being… (we) have their way of feeling, their way of doing things. It is to be like them in the pattern-chamber of the life, where conduct is originally fashioned, and where all the outside issues are finally determined.” 

So, it seems that we all have this 'pattern-chamber' inside of us. Perhaps it is better to call it our 'hearts' or 'souls', but that can just be semantics. The pattern-chamber will guide us to replicate and copy all the things we see, watch and hear in our daily lives. 

So, if we want to think like Jesus, to see like Jesus, and to listen like Jesus, we need to make sure that we put Jesus into the pattern chamber of our lives. 

2 Timothy 1:13 - What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.

Romans 12:2 - Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Living in Grace

Monday, 20 November 2017

Hummingbird or Vulture?

I came across this lovely illustration the other day and I think it speaks volumes into how we see the world. Apologies to those who heard it on Sunday, but it is worth reading again.

Both the hummingbird and the vulture fly over our nation's deserts. All vultures see is rotting meat, because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colourful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking for. We all do.  - Steve Goodier

So, in response to that story, what are we looking for?
If we look for the bad and negative, we will be sure to find it - we don't have to look far. 
However, if we are willing to look for the good in others and in the world, surely we will also find it?

Genesis 37:14-15 - "So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.

When Joseph arrived at Shechem, a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”

Living in Grace

Sunday, 19 November 2017

"A" is for Attitude

"Everything can be taken from a person, except ONE thing: To choose ones attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose ones way.” - Viktor Frankl, concentration camp survivor. 

Although circumstances can conspire around us we can still choose how we will respond to these circumstances. Attitude is such a key character trait in people and the best example of someone with a great attitude is Jesus. Take a look at these words from Paul - he reveals the humble ATTITUDE of Jesus.

Philippians 2: 5-8 - "In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!"

May the example of Jesus inspire you to choose the best Attitude you can.

Living in Grace

Friday, 17 November 2017

Full in the face

Looking at someone 'full in the face' is a sign of love and appreciation. It tells the other person that we value them and that they are worthy of our attention. The way you look at someone can tell them a lot about what you think of them. So, with this in mind, have a read of Numbers 6:24-26 from Eugene Peterson's 'The Message':

"God bless you and keep you,
25 God smile on you and gift you,
26 God look you full in the face
    and make you prosper."

May God look at you 'FULL in the face' today and may you feel God's pleasure.

Living in Grace

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Courage is not the absence of fear

"Courage is not the absence of fear; it is acting in spite of it!" - Mark Twain is thought to have written these words, which have in turn inspired millions of ordinary people to do amazing things. This quote has meant a lot to me over the years, because I often feel as if I am fighting 'real' fears in my mind.

Take this blog as an example - the first time I began to pen some words, which I knew would be open for public scrutiny, I felt my heart pounding and I nearly didn't get passed the first entry. Well, over 2400 posts later, I am still grateful that God prompted me to deal with my 'fear' and to continue in his strength.

The other relevant example is of publishing my first book. I remember having a real wrestling match with myself, agonising over the writing of Living Oceans Apart. In the end, God gave me a specific scripture verse to help me overcome my initial fear, but I still needed to trust in his promptings. Again, I am thankful that God gave me those initial doses of courage, as it has given me the confidence to carry on writing and countless other blessings.

So, here is the challenge for us all. What are you afraid of at the moment? Is God moving you into a particular place or direction and you are feeling fearful? Ask God to give you his courage and the ability to take a step in faith. You may still feel a little afraid, but the presence of Christ will give you the extra courage you need to proceed. Go in Jesus name!

Living in Grace

Thank you so much for all the kind words and support for my latest book 'Living in Grace', which is a collection of daily devotions. If you would like a copy please go to the website to order or get them from the Church office. God Bless you.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

A prayer of pain

If you take a read of Psalm38 you will notice that King David is carrying a very heavy load - in actual fact he is carrying far too much baggage. Sadly, the baggage of his sin is self-inflicted, but he still has enough faith to cry out to God. Listen to the first cries of his confession and prayer:

“My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.”
 “My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.
….my BACK Is filled with searing pain.
 … I am utterly crushed!” 

Even if we let ourselves and God down through our sins (like David), I pray that we would still find a way back Home. I pray that we would still have enough humility to admit our mistakes, confess them to our loving Father, and then receive his peace. Like I mentioned yesterday, when we do this, God is not in the business of counting our sins against us. He will see the sincerity of our confessions and is faithful and just to forgive us.

Is Psalm 38 your prayer today? If yes, then know that God doesn't want us to carry the Baggage alone, but that he desires to forgive us.

Living in Grace