Saturday, 31 July 2010

1000 words

They say that "every picture is worth a thousand words!"

What does this picture say to you? (see above)

Would these words be appropriate for this picture?

Matthew 11:28 - "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Living in Grace,

Picture from here

Will you worship?

Millions of Christ-followers will worship Jesus this Sunday. Many of this number will be distracted and will leave their church buildings feeling empty. I have been greatly challenged by this quote from Louie Giglio:

"When God is not greatly praised, it's only because we don't think he's that great of a God. When our worship is small, it is because our concept of God is small. When we offer God little-bitty sacrifices, it's because we have somehow reduced him in our hearts to a little-bitty God. Our vision has become clouded, our hearts distracted. As a result, our lives shrivel into insignificance and meaninglessness. We just bump along in this mass of humanity, having no real clue what life is all about. We fret. We get depressed. We worry and get bent out of shape. We go down all kinds of dead end paths as we try to accomplish everything by ourselves. Sometimes leading to irreversible destruction."

What will our response be?

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'" - Luke 4:8

Living in Grace,

Friday, 30 July 2010

Powerful challenge

Here is a quote that deserves many hours of reflection:

"What a vast distance there is between knowing God and loving him." - Blaise Pascal

There are many people who know God, but we need more people who Love God. If our communities were filled with people who loved God, perhaps our world would be a radically different place. When we Love God we would be consumed with living for Him and our actions would want to honour God.

Well, that's what I think anyway. You?

1 John 5:2 - This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

Just out of interest Blaise Pascal created the mechanical calculator in 1642 at the age of 19.

Living in Grace,

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Stumbling blocks

I was fetching my kids from school yesterday when I noticed these words on the school notice board:

"Turn your stumbling blocks into stepping stones!"

It was just what I needed to hear. I saw that as a well-timed word of encouragement from God. I hope it means something for you too.

Psalm 56:13 - "For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life."

Living in Grace,

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


What good can come from difficult times?
The writer of Lamentations was pouring out his heart about the many problems he had to deal with and then he wrote these words...

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
- Lamentations 3:21-24

I pray that these words encourage you today. Lean on His grace for 'TODAY' and don't worry what tomorrow holds.

Living in Grace,

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Which days?

I have been noticing a trend when it comes to the reading of this blog (and email) - it seems that most people read and comment on the blog during the weekdays, especially between a Monday and Thursday. Friday to Sunday get very few responses and I suppose that this makes sense. I assume that a large number of people, reading these thoughts, read them at work and that you take a break from your computer over the weekends (which is a good thing).

Out of interest, could you let me know which day/s seem to offer you more freedom to read the blog? All I am asking for is a one word answer (i.e. Tuesday) - it would really help me out for future devotions and blogs. Many thanks.

May your "witness" change the world!
Living in Grace.


By what standard do we measure things?
Our modern faith is coming more and more under threat from the 'world's standards.' As Christians we are spending less time in places that shape us spiritually and as a result we have started to allow 'another standard' to impact our Christian lives.

"Above all, let us guard against the temptation, to which we are all susceptible, of lowering our standards to match our lives, rather than raising our lives to match our standards." - William Wilberforce

I would like to change the last lines his quote to read - "raising our lives to match GOD'S standards!"

Ezekiel 11:12 - "And you will know that I am the LORD, for you have not followed my decrees or kept my laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you."

What's your take?

Living in Grace,

Cool pic from here

Monday, 26 July 2010

Christ heals us

As we contemplate the amazing gift of Christ, it is incredible to see how much his death 'covers us'...

Isaiah 53:4-5“Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”(NLT)

What do you think about this passage? What do you feel about Christ's wounds healing us? Let me know your thoughts...

Living in Grace,

Saturday, 24 July 2010


Who can you trust anymore? Politicians, lawyers, friends, family? Sadly every human being has the potential to disappoint us and to break our trust.

When we trust in God, things are different.

"Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever." - Psalm 125:1

"Blessed in the man (and woman) who makes the Lord their trust..." - Psalm 40:4

Live and Trust in God's grace,

Photo credit here

Friday, 23 July 2010

Pleasing God

Ask most Christians if they want to 'please God' with their actions and lives and most of us would say a resounding 'YES!' But, how easy or hard is this to accomplish?

Romans 12:1 - Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

If you want to see how else to please God then read 1 Timothy 5:3-5.

William Wilberforce says this about pleasing God:
"If we really want to please God, we will always seek the path that he wants for us. We will not wait lazily, satisfied that we have not refused any opportunity to do good that was forced upon us."

May we live to please God,

Living in Grace,

Thursday, 22 July 2010

William Wilberforce

I have just finished reading an inspiring book about the life of William Wilberforce. The movie Amazing Grace was released a few years ago - this detailed his life and his great work in seeking justice for all human beings.

Here are a few quotes from Wilberforce:

“Of all things, guard against neglecting God in the secret place of prayer.”

"...when we think of eternity, and of the future consequences of all human conduct, what is there in this life that should make any man contradict the dictates of his conscience, the principles of justice, the laws of religion, and of God?”

“Let everyone regulate his conduct . . . by the golden rule of doing to others as in similar circumstances we would have them do to us, and the path of duty will be clear before him.”

When we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, our lives can be a tribute to the living God. God seeks people who are willing to make a stand for His Kingdom principles.

Living in Grace,

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Challenging thoughts on forgiveness

A friend asked me today to blog my thoughts on Colossians 3:13 - "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

So, here are a few thoughts:

1. Context is crucial in most passages - the young church in Colosse was facing many outside challenges and Paul wanted to encourage them to stick together and to practise forgiveness and 'patience' in the church.

2. We need to remember that just as we have faults, so do others. When we worship in the body of Christ, alongside people with faults, we need to be more understanding of their faults (as they will have to be with ours).

3. If we allow forgiveness to fester within our spirit it will slowly destroy us and ultimately the church (the Bride of Christ)

4. Jesus forgave us, even when we were not in a place to make things right. His forgiveness was unconditional.

5. Christ's forgiveness meant 'abundant life' for us. Forgiveness granted to others, can mean 'life' for them, but it always leads to 'life' for us.

6. It sometimes helps to read the verse in different translations. The ones I like to read are the New Living Translation and the Message, just to get a different perspective.

"Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." - NLT

"Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you." - Message

This is my 5 cents worth. Please reflect on this and feedback to me. I will pass on your pearls of wisdom to my friend. Better still, comment on the blog-site and they will be able to read it themselves.

Living in Grace,

P.S. If you have something that you would like me to blog about, send me a message and I will see what I can do. Thanks. Photo credit here

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Vuvuzela Legacy

The vuvuzela has been exported to every continent on the globe and now it can be heard all over the place (whether we like it or not!) My little boy, Joshua, who is 2 years old, can blow the vuvuzela better than I can and he knows all about the 'famous' instrument. The vuvuzela legacy was evident at lunch today, when he rolled up his piece of ham and put it to his mouth, saying 'vuzela' (his word for the vuvuzela). I chuckled to myself and thought 'an instrument that makes a dreadful noise has made an impact on my son!"

How much more precious is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and yet many people feel that kids are to young to understand it - how wrong can we be! Sure, they don't get things like the Trinity, Incarnation, Ascension, Trans-substantiation, the Rapture and so on, but neither do we! The truth is, all they need to know is that Jesus loves them and that they can love Him back. That's enough of a start!

May the legacy of Christ continue to be felt all over the world and especially in those places where his name has not been heard yet and in those places where Jesus' name hasn't been heard for a long time.

Psalm 112:6 - "Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever."

Living in Grace,

Monday, 19 July 2010


Teaching kids boundaries and life skills can be an exhausting business.

...What DVDs are OK to watch and which one's are not so great.
...What words and actions are appropriate and which aren't.
...How to eat at the table.
...Potty training!!
...Saying 'thank you' and 'please.'
...When it is safe to cross the road etc.

As parents we fully understand the magnitude of our God-given responsibility and we believe firmly in guiding our kids as much as possible. We pray the results will be worthwhile, in the end.

But, this is for kids. What about adults?
A huge dilemma is "How do we go about teaching boundaries, faith-skills and Godly living to 'adult' Christians?" Is there a way of doing this effectively?

I sometimes despair when I hear or read of how Christians behave. It seems as if they are worse than toddlers! But what can one do? After all, adults are not wanting someone to tell them what to do and how to live... or are they? I feel that many Christians are actually crying out for Discipleship. Men and women are wanting to be mentored and guided in our faith. We want to learn from others and know that we are on the right path. We want to know what the Scriptures teach.

Deuteronomy 4:9 - "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."

Any thoughts on this?

Living in Grace,

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Standing Firm

Sometimes we need to dig our 'faith' heels in and stand firm. Just as these words encourage us to do:

"But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News." - Colossians 1:23

Who or what has helped you in the past to feel 'anchored' in your faith? Please let me know!

Living in Grace,

Friday, 16 July 2010

Lausanne Movement

Working together to spread the Good News! Is this something that actually happens in your experience? Do we see Churches working together to share the Gospel? Sadly, we don't see it enough. BUT things are looking up. The Lausanne Movement is a worldwide movement that mobilizes Christian leaders to collaborate for world evangelization. This is an incredible movement and one which we pray will have a profound impact on the world.

Lausanne usually only meets once a decade, because of the shear size of the gathering, and what's even more impressive is that they are meeting in Cape Town from the 16-25 October 2010. In Christian circles this is even bigger than the World Cup Soccer so please listen out for Lausanne.

John 17:22-23 - "I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

If you want to know more about Lausanne click here for a 3 minute video clip.

Living in Grace,

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

I Spy

It seems that 'spying' is in the news again. Russian spy Anna Chapman has had her cover blown and has now been sent back from American and has also had her UK citizenship withdrawn. It's a tough life being a spy.

I wonder what the papers would have said about Joshua sending 2 spies into Jericho (Joshua 2)and when Moses sent Joshua and Caleb to explore the promised land? They were certainly not going on a holiday - God sent them with a purpose of finding out crucial information that would help the Israelites settle in their new land. Yes, they were technically spies!

So, in Biblical times people were hailed as heroes for spying on others, but today people are despised for the same thing. Is that fair? If the people of Jericho had captured the 2 spies you can bet that they wouldn't have just withdrawn their passports - it would have been worse than that!

I am not sure how you feel about 'spying', but most of us would feel as if our privacy had been invaded if we discovered that people had been watching our private lives. Spying is not a cool occupation in the modern world, unless of course you are James Bond.

Million Dollar question:Is it ethical to be spies for God? (Just wondering! - let me know your thoughts)

Living in Grace,


Who is calling the shots in your life at the moment?

Thomas a' Kempis wrote, "It is of great importance to be obedient, to respect authority and to let someone else captain our ship."

For us, as Christians, this has to mean allowing Jesus to be our 'captain' and our leader. This is why I love the term 'Christ-follower' - we follow our true Captain.

Living in Grace,

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Planning to fail?

Chris Brogan wrote a great post yesterday about planning. Of course 'planning' in the corporate world goes without saying and people who don't plan will fail miserably. Sometimes Christians feel that too much 'planning' in the Church is a hindrance to the Holy Spirit, but I disagree. If our lives are surrendered to the will of God and open to the guidance of the Spirit, then surely God leads us whilst we are planning for Church events.

What about planning time in the day to spend in devotion or prayer? What about planning and praying over themes to discuss in Cell groups, Kids Church, Sermons and worship teams? Of course, we need to make sure that our planning is not loaded with our human agenda's, but I strongly feel that the only way I can be accountable in my walk with God is to plan some things.

In my experience, if I don't plan a day retreat for myself once every 6 months (for example), then I am actually planning to fail in my spiritual life - harsh, but true for me!

Even God plans....

Isaiah 19:17 - "And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the LORD Almighty is planning against them."

And what about Jesus? Do we think that God just made it up as He went along? No! Jesus was God's plan of Salvation & redemption for the world!

Living in Grace,

Monday, 12 July 2010

Back to school blues

A sudden quietness has fallen upon our household. The boys realise that school starts tomorrow and they are not convinced about going back. I think that returning to school or work, after a holiday, has to rate as something that most people dread. No wonder they called it 'back to school blues!'

Of course, we know that a day or two down the line, everything would have settled back into routine and another term will be in full swing, but it's hard to remember that.

As much as I love holidays, I also think that routine is important for us. I believe that it helps us to keep life in balance and to accomplish our tasks. If you like, routine is as important to us, as seasons are to our planet. We don't always fully appreciate different seasons (or routine for that matter), but they remind us we are part of something bigger than ourselves.

On a Spiritual level, routine is imperative in our faith. Jesus challenges us to 'daily' renew our relationship with him - there is something about the routine of this that is helpful for us.

Luke 9:23 - "Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.""

This same routine then transfers into our devotions, our worship, our prayers and our Sunday gatherings. Routine keeps us grounded in Christ!

Ok, now that I have convinced myself of the need for routine, I had better get ready for the routine of school-runs, school-lunches, sports events, homework, parents meetings etc. I feel tired just thinking about it!

Anyway, here goes another term...

Be blessed and try and enjoy your routines.

Living in Grace,

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Where are you looking?

What is getting most of your attention at the moment? What are you focusing on?

"All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible." - Orison Marden

Hebrews 12:12 - "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Look to Jesus - He will guide you through today!

Living in Grace,

Friday, 9 July 2010

Cold Patch

This morning I went running, trying to get my pathetically 'unfit' body back into shape. My route took me through a little 'dip' in Golf road. As I entered the dip I immediately noticed the huge drop in temperature, which is mainly due to the river that flows through the valley. My only thought was 'keeping running because it's warmer on the other side.'

Sometimes we go through 'cold patches' in our lives. It may be in our relationship with God or perhaps with others. Can I encourage NOT to stop running, but rather to keep going. I promise you that 'it's warmer on the other side!' God will be with us in the 'cold valley' and He will lead us into a better place. Trust Him and keep running.

Proverbs 4:25 - "Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you."

Philippians 3:13-14 - "But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Living in Grace

Photo from here

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Which one are you?

When we are faced with difficulty we can either stand up to it or shrink back and run away from it. The Apostle Paul encouraged the early believers to persevere despite what they were going through. He told them:

“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”Hebrews 10:39

Which one are you?
If you are facing difficulty ask the Lord to help you persevere and get other Christians to stand alongside you.

Living in Grace,

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Scared of Shadows

There are times when shadows have caused us to jump! It may have been when you were arriving home at night and your own shadow loomed large against the outside wall. Perhaps your initial fright turned into amusement when you realised, "There is nothing there!"

When next you are feeling hurt and let down, frustrated or fearful, check for shadows. It may be something, but it may look worse than what it really is.

And remember this:

Judges 9:36 - "When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, "Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains!" Zebul replied, "You mistake the shadows of the mountains for men."

Psalm 17:8 - "Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings."

Living in the light of His Grace,

Struggling in Faith

We long for the moments in our Christian journey where things feel 'perfect.' The truth is that these moments don't happen all the time and often our faith is a struggle. If you are feeling like this today, then know that you are in the company of millions of Christians. We are called to fight through the difficult times and to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

"Fight the good fight of the faith." - 1 Timothy 6:12

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." - 1 Timothy 4:7

Live in His Grace,

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


We have probably come across the word 'Repent' in Church circles before. It can be used to make people feel guilty about their lives, but when used in the right way, it is a powerful concept. I have been reading 'The Secret Message of Jesus' (by Brian Maclaren) and he writes this:

"Repentance means to reconsider your direction and consider a new one, to admit that you might be wrong, to give your life a second thought, to think about your thinking. It means, just as Jesus said to Nicodemus that night, that you have to begin again, become a child again, be born again."

I find that when I take some time out, I try to 'give my life a second thought'. I try to consider the direction I have been heading and honestly discern if I need to 'repent.'

What do you think about this? Perhaps it's time for some good old repentance!

Living in Grace,

Monday, 5 July 2010

Lessons from the World Cup - part 3

It's good to be back blogging again!
Over the past few days of leave I have been enjoying watching a lot of soccer. What has amazed me is that some of the results have been unpredictable. Who would have thought that the Dutch would have beaten Brazil? Or that in their first game, Switzerland would have beaten Spain?

Remember when David stood before Goliath? Who would have thought that he would win? No one! But he did. Scripture reminds us that when God is on our side, we can defeat anyone.

Romans 1:20 - "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

Living in Grace,