Sunday, 28 February 2010

Our God!

I just wanted to remind us of what Jesus did for all of us, regardless of whether we believe it or not...

"Come, sinners, see your Saviour die, and say, "Was there ever grief like His?" Come, feel with me his blood applied: my Lord, my Love, is crucified!" - Charles Wesley

"Without Gethsemane, there would have been no Golgotha." - Michael Card

May we recognise His Grace and sacrifice.

Living in Grace,

Friday, 26 February 2010


It seems as if my computer has crashed. I am hoping that it may be salvaged (thanks Martin), but if it can't be then I will just have to cry myself to sleep:(

May you have a blessed weekend and remember:

"God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power..." - 2 Timothy 1:7

Living in Grace,

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Watch and Pray

Speaking about 'Partnering with God' has been an interesting journey for me. At the same time as reading John Ortberg, I have been working through Contemplating the Cross (T.M.Rhodes) and today she wrote on the Garden of Gethsemane.

You may remember that Jesus had invited the disciples to keep watch and to pray, but they had fallen asleep. Was this not a moment where the disciples were asked to 'Partner with Jesus' but they ended up dropping the ball? For me, it seems so!

How often have I given my 'Yes' to Jesus, but then become sidetracked by other things (sleep, pressure, opinion, fear, pride etc) and then woken with the realisation that I had let Jesus down?
Too often, me thinks!!

"Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation;
the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
- Mark 14:38

Prayer is partnering with God.

Living in Grace,

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Rest in Peace Steve

I join with many sad family and friends as we mourn the loss of Prof Steve De Gruchy. While tubing with his family on Sunday, tragedy struck and he went missing in the river. His body was found this morning. We are all in shock and send our prayers, love and support to his family.

Last Friday Steve and I briefly chatted while we were both making photocopies at the Varsity. He asked how I was doing and I enquired about his heavy workload. His daughter stood next to him whilst we chatted and I remember thinking, "She loves and admires her dad! How awesome!"
Little did I ever expect the tragedy that has now unfolded.

Although we were not close friends, in a sense, I still feel an overwhelming heaviness and numbness. It should not end like this:(

Pray for the De Gruchy family at this time. The memorial service will be on Saturday.

Rest in Peace, Steve.

Living in Grace,

P.S. to read what others have written about Steve go to Wessel's post
and Jenny's post

Is this your idea of being a King?

The Witness today carries this story,
"Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini wants the KwaZulu-Natal government to ensure that his portraits are displayed in public areas such as stadiums and airports before the 2010Fifa World Cup begins...."

This is so far from the image of Kingship that Jesus displays. Jesus would never demand that His portrait even be painted, let alone displayed in arrogance. What's your take on this?

"He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not." - Isaiah 53:2-3

Follow the REAL KING!

Living in Grace,

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Sitting at His feet

Luke 10: 39 – “She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he said.”

When we read this at first we can be forgiven for thinking that this means that Mary literally goes and sits at Jesus’ feet. However, the phrase – ‘sitting at someone’s feet’ speaks of the relationship between a Rabbi and their disciple. When people chose to become a disciple of a Rabbi (JESUS), they chose to follow their every move, to be mentored by them, to watch how they handled their relationships, their friends, families, finances so on. There was nothing passive about 'sitting at someones feet!'

Are you sitting at the feet of Jesus or are you preoccupied with other things?

Living in Grace,

Monday, 22 February 2010

Strength in a Team

"In union there is strength." ~Aesop

When we work alongside God (and according to His divine purposes) that's when we see results. In union with God the Church will change the world.

"When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up — one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset." - Exodus 17:12

Living in Grace,

Cool photo from here

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Partners with God

Have you ever thought about the concept of 'partnership with God?' I know that it seems a little weird - what could I contribute that God hasn't already got sorted out? The amazing thing is that God delights in working with us to see his purpose prevail. Sure God doesn't need our help, but the fact that he wants to include us is awesome.

Philippians 1:5 - "...because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now."

Prayer: Lord, show me how I can 'partner' with you. I want to be on your team and see your Kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven.

Living in Grace,

Photo from here

Friday, 19 February 2010

Comfort Zone

In 'God is closer than you think' John Ortberg shares about a principal called 'Habituation'. It sounds awfully confusing, but it is actually very simple to understand.

Habituation refers to how something that is new and exciting eventually becomes ordinary and loses it's 'new appeal.' This happens in relationships, it can happen with new cell-phones or gadgets, it also happens with work. The initial 'wow' factor vanishes and we move into a kind of comfort zone.

The real danger comes into play when our faith develops 'habituation.' This results in a sense of 'spiritual comfort.' We lose the passion we once had for the Good News and the things of God.

Revelation 2:4 - "You have lost your first love."

Has this happened to you?

If it has, then ask God to make your faith 'fresh' again. Ask the Spirit to breathe newness into your soul.

Living in Grace,

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Deus Absconditus

There is certainly enough evidence from Scripture to reassure us that we are not the only generation to feel that God sometimes hides from us.

Habakkuk 1:2 – “How long O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?”

Psalm 22: 1-2, 19
v.1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
v.2 “O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night and am not silent."

v.19 “But you, O Lord, be not far off…”

Thomas Aquinas first used the phrase 'Deus Absconditus', which suggests a God who has consciously left this world to hide elsewhere. Martin Luther spoke about this many years later as he tried to explain the 'remoteness' of God.

However, is it true that God hides from us? Does God want to abscond from his creation? If the answer is 'No' then how do we explain the times when God seems far away from us?

What do you think?

Resting in God's Grace,

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Ordinary Days

As much as God speaks to us in the 'Rainbow' days of our lives, so God also seems very silent during other time periods. These days are referred to as 'Ordinary days.' Perhaps this is what happened in the days of Samuel:

“In those days the word of the Lord was rare.” – 1 Samuel 3:1

So the big question is: "Is it my fault or God's?"
"What is God up to?"
"What am I supposed to be doing during these times of silence?"

John Ortberg says this - “Maybe the reason God lowers his voice is so we will learn to pay attention.”

What do you think about this?

Living in Grace,

Photo from here

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Rainbow Days

John Ortberg speaks about 'Rainbow days' in our faith. These are the kind of days where God seems so real and present in our lives. He gets this idea from where God gave Noah the rainbow as a promise of His covenant love.

Genesis 9:16 – “Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

There are plenty of other ‘Rainbow’ days in Scripture.
• When David defeats Goliath
• When Joshua crosses the Jordan into the Promised Land
• When Gideon and his 300 men defeated the Midianites

What 'Rainbow' days have you experienced in your life?
When was the last time you had a rainbow day?

“People who are wise learn to treasure rainbow days as gifts. They store them up to remember on days when God seems more elusive.” – John Ortberg

May God bless you with a Rainbow day soon.

Living in Grace,

Monday, 15 February 2010

Where is God?

As we kick off our week of reflection on 'Where is God in my world?' we need to level the playing field and to be honest - sometimes God seems very illusive!
If you don't believe me, read these 2 quotes...

Brother Lawrence“God has various ways of drawing us to him, but sometimes he hides himself.”

Psalm 13:1 – “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”

At this point in time, would you say that you are experiencing God in a clear way? Is God real to you or does he seem to be hiding from you?

Prayer: Lord, in our hearts we believe that you are present with us in the power of the Holy Spirit, but sometimes we long to see you face to face. Reveal yourself afresh to us, as we seek you in the midst of our world.

Living in Grace,

Sunday, 14 February 2010

What is love?

What is love?
This is a seriously hard question to answer. The main reason for this is that there are a million different opinions on what the answer should be? Ask 5 people this question and you will get five different answers.

"Love doesn't make the world go round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile." - Elizabeth Browning

"One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love." - Sophocles

"Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all." - St. Augustine

Psalm 145:8 - "The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love."

Romans 5:8 - "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

What is your answer to the question: "What is love?"

Living in God's amazing love,

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Good days

We all have good days and bad days - right?!
Well, today has been a great day for me and here are the reasons why.

1. Kim and I have been married 11 years today and I am truly blessed to have an amazing wife. It has been a great anniversary.
2. I also spent some good time with my 3 awesome boys.
3. I swam the Midmar Mile and finished in the time I was hoping for.
4. I got to spend a large part of today outdoors enjoying God's gift of creation.
5. It is raining!!!

What has your day been like?
Remember to be thankful for the blessings in your life.

Living in Grace,

P.S. The photo is our family 'foot' photo:)

Friday, 12 February 2010

Believe this promise

As we finish off our reflections on 'God's desire to be with people' (based on John Ortberg's series God is closer than you think), I want to leave us with these thoughts:

Matthew 28:20 – “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Revelation 21:3 – “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

Hold onto these promises. God is not going to change his mind.

 “Once you see God in an ordinary moment at an ordinary place, you will never know where he’ll show up next.” – John Ortberg

“Every moment is a revelation from God.” – Jean Pierre de Caussade

Be amazed by His Grace,

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Practising the Presence of God

Firstly, I want to thank you for your interaction with this blog. It is great to hear some of your thoughts. I would love to hear from more of you though:) If you want to comment on any post, please send it to my email address ( or on the blog itself. Thanks again!

Brother Lawrence wrote the inspiring book 'Practising the Presence of God.' After experiencing a lot of frustration in his faith, he decided that he would seek God in the "common business" of life. No matter how mundane or ordinary these things were, he felt that God's love could be found in them.

He wrote - "Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God."

I find this inspiring and helpful. How do you feel?

Perhaps part of his motivation came from this verse:

Colossians 3:23 - "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."

Living in Grace.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Acts 17

Whilst reading through John Ortberg's material on 'God is closer than you think' the one thing that has struck me the most has been the concept of God encountering us anywhere. As I shared a few days ago, this meant that God spoke to people on top of mountains, in caves, by the roadside, under trees, near rivers and at the temple.

In my devotion this morning (which is totally separate from this preaching series) the reading was Acts 17. In the midst of this chapter, two verses struck me:

Acts 17:24 - "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands."

Acts 17:27 - "God did this so that men/women would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."

Wow - God is gracious!

What do you think?

Living in Grace,

The awesome photo came from here

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Conscious of God

When Jacob encountered God at Bethel, he was amazed at this experience. The bible records this comment from Jacob,

"When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it." He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven." - Genesis 28:16-17

How often does it happen to us that we find God in the most unexpected places? Where suddenly we become aware of the whisper of the Spirit, reminding us that God is present.

The next time you are in a place, where you least expect to experience God, remind yourself that God is not confined to our expectations or parameters.

Prayer: Lord, please teach me to be more aware of your life-giving presence. Help me to notice you more in the everyday things that I am involved in.

Live in His Amazing Grace,

Photo from here

Monday, 8 February 2010

God is closer than you think

If we make the assumption that God is only present in our places of worship (Churches, chapels etc), then we have clearly missed the message of the Bible.

God was with Adam in the Garden of Eden,
With Jacob in the open spaces near Bethel,
With Joseph in prison,
With David while he hid in the cave,
With Gideon in the winepress,
With Daniel in the lion's den,
With the disciples in the boat,
With the 2 men on the road to Emmaus,
With Peter as he spoke to the crowds at Pentecost.

Stop for a moment. Breathe deeply.
Can you sense that God is with you right now?
Wherever you are, remember that 'God is closer than we think!'

Living in His Grace,

P.S. I will be blogging a bit more about this over the next few weeks as we are doing a preaching series on this topic. We are going to be using some of .John Ortberg's helpful material

Sunday, 7 February 2010

What God looks for.

"Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." - 1 Samuel 16:7

This is such a timely reminder for us all. Thankfully God looks at our hearts and not our outward appearance. This is why God choose people like Gideon, David, Daniel, Moses and even Paul. On paper, they weren't the wisest choices, but God had already seen their credentials 'on their hearts.'

"Living for God's approval is better than living for man's applause." - Daily Bread

Have a Spirit filled week,
Go with God.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Another Promise

A promise is a promise!
One of my pet hates is when people break their promises - what about you?
You know this already, but let me remind us that the Scriptures are filled with loads of awesome promises.

God loves promises.

What is even better is that God also delights in keeping His promises!

Remember when he said to Jacob:
"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised." - Genesis 29:15

And God kept this promise!
He will keep his promise to you too. Trust Him.

Living in Grace,

Photo courtesy of these good people

Friday, 5 February 2010

Prayer works

Sometimes we doubt whether our prayers are being heard at all. Here is a reminder that God is not sleeping and that our prayers will be answered.

Acts 12:5
"So Peter was kept in prison, but the Church was earnestly praying to God for him..."

"...many people had gathered and were praying for him."

In the end an Angel of the Lord appeared to Peter and led him safely out of the prison. The disciples couldn't believe it! Wow, God had heard their prayers.

God hears your prayers too.
Believe it!

Living in Grace,

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Does God Speak?

So, here is the million dollar question for today?

Does God Speak?

The Bible clearly says, "YES!" Many Christians say, "YES!" I say "YES!"

...let me be honest and say that I haven't actually heard God's voice, but I am convinced that God has spoken to me. That sounds weird hey?
Let me clarify.

Although I have never 'heard' God speak audibly to me, I have heard God speak to me through the following means...
1. Scripture
2. Another Christ-follower
3. Through the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit

If you have ever received a letter (or email) from someone you care about then you will be able to understand that they have 'spoken' to you, although you may have not heard their voice.

Dallas Willard - "How lonely life is! Oh, we can get by in life with a God who does not speak. Many at least think they do so. But it is not much of a life, and it is certainly not the life God intends for us or the abundance of life Jesus came to make available."

The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets. - Psalm 50:1

Living in Grace,

P.S. Thanks for photo

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Life itself

I stumbled upon this fantastic quote this afternoon.

"There is no event so common-place but that God is present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to recognize him or not...because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and Life itself is grace." - Frederick Beuchner

How about that?

"For God so loved the world that He gave us His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life." - John 3:16

Life itself is Grace.

Living in Grace,

Amazing photo from here

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

My answers

Two days ago I asked you the 3 questions,
What makes you laugh?
What makes you angry?
What makes you weep?

I realised that I didn't actually answer these for myself and a few of you have been asking for my answers - so, here goes:

1. I laugh with my family, during movies, with my friends.
2. I get angry with injustice, incompetence, hypocrisy, when innocent people suffer and I often get angry with myself.
3. I weep when I see people hurting, when people refuse to embrace God and when the Church forgets our Mission.

That's what I can think of for now.
My biggest challenge is still found in the words of the song Hosanna, by Hillsong.

"Break my heart for what breaks yours,
Everything I am for your Kingdom's cause..."

Living in Grace,

Monday, 1 February 2010

Three Hundred?

Gideon has always intrigued me. He is portrayed as a strong man of God and I often feel an overwhelming sense of peace when I read the accounts of his life in the Bible.

I was reading the children's version of Judges 7 to my kids the other night. This is the incident where God decides that it's best that Gideon whittles down his army from 32 Thousand to 300. Of course the story works out fine in the end, but I would love to have heard a little more arguing from Gideon's side. My brain was working overtime trying to figure out the Maths of the whole thing... 32 000 to 300. That's a huge loss of personnel, don't you think?

I wonder, did Gideon ever think to himself, "Lord, you have lost your marbles! How am I supposed to win this battle with 300 men?" I guess, Gideon has more faith than most of us. But in the end this fact remains - God seems to shine when the odds are against Him.

The Lord told Gideon, "With these three hundred men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites." - Judges 7:7

If you are facing a situation where the 'odds' are stacked against you, remember Gideon and remember that God gave him victory!

Living in Faith

Thanks for the photo