Thursday, 29 September 2011

Pray with us

I sometimes find it helpful when people keep me accountable to pray. Because prayer is such a private devotion at times, we feel awkward to do this, but I think it is necessary. So I am inviting you all to join us in a day of prayer on Saturday (1st October). Pray where you are or join us at Wesley between 8am and 3pm. Pray for anything and anyone - pray for 5 minutes or 5 hours. Just pray.

1 Corinthians 14:15 - So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.

Living in Grace

Teresa of Avila

I never quote people because I want to glorify them, but I recognise that often God has given them a deeply profound insight that blesses me. Teresa of Avila is one of the Christian Mystics who has inspired millions of people. Her 'success' is only founded in her love of Jesus. Read some of her insights that I have quoted below:

“To have courage for whatever comes in life - everything lies in that.”

“There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.”

“Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee; All thing pass; God never changes. Patience attains All that it strives for. He who has God Finds he lacks nothing: God alone suffices.”

“It is love alone that gives worth to all things.”

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

I Care cycle tour

A group of young cyclists have just finished a tour from Jo burg to Durban. What has made this trip remarkable is that they have completed this journey in 4 days - that's an average of 160 km's a day. I am tired just thinking about riding for that long:)

They have done this all in aid of "I Care" - an organisation which seeks to rehabilitate street children. Their commitment is an inspiration to many and we pray that their Cycle Tour will help set up a shelter in Pietermaritzburg. If you want to check out their Facebook page click on this link - They are still looking for donations towards the "I Care" ministry.

Thanks for the inspiration guys - Mike, Paul, Darren, Jane, Brad, Quin, Stu and the others...

Living in Grace,

No great man ever complains of want of opportunities.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

All shall be well

Julian of Norwich is best known for the following quote:

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” (She does repeat the first part on purpose:)

These words speak of her incredible faith in Jesus, because she was not going through a good time when she wrote those words. Sometimes we need to claim the promises of God, despite how we are feeling. Faith requires action. 

This is another one of her thoughts...
“Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes away except God.” 

Be blessed by the Spirit of God.
Living in Grace

Monday, 26 September 2011

Lesson from the Mystics

I am currently leading my church history students through a study on the Christian Mystics. I find so much inspiration in the lives of people like Thomas a Kempis, Julian of Norwich, Meister Eckhart, St John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. I would love to share some insights with you, from these humble Christians. Hopefully I will get to include a quote from each of them, over the next few days. May you be inspired by these words from St John of Cross today:

“In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.”

In tribulation immediately draw near to God with confidence, and you will receive strength, enlightenment, and instruction.

Living in Grace,

Sunday, 25 September 2011

No matter what!

When Peter wrote to the early church he wanted to encourage the Christians to keep the faith and to believe that God was with them, no matter what they were facing.

“My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that the grace of God is with you no matter what happens.” – 1 Peter 5:12 (NLT)

May you know that God is going to be with you today, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS!

Living in Grace,

Friday, 23 September 2011

You call out the stars

I had the privilege of sharing in the confirmation service at the Wykeham Collegiate School today. During our time of worship we sang a wonderful song called 'You call out the stars' - these are some of the words of the song:

"When I think the closest star is more than a million miles away
I can't even dream, how great you are
When I think that all I have is what you've given me
I'm so thankful Lord, so thankful Lord.

When I think you walked on water and calmed the raging seas
I am overwhelmed, how great you are
Amidst the storms and troubles, Lord beckon me
To walk on water, I'll walk on water.

To whom can I compare you, Holy One
Who is your equal, Lord there is none
There is none besides you, how great you are
There is none so worthy, how great you are
How great you are, Lord, how great you are."

Living in Grace,

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Is this right?

Aristotle is said to have been one of the wisest men to have ever lived. He is quoted as saying:

"Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence."

Can this be true?
What do you think?
What would Jesus say about Happiness?

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Do you want to enjoy life?

Do you want to enjoy your life? I am sure that most of us would say 'Yes' to this question, even if we don't always feel as if we are enjoying it. Well, Simon Peter quotes the words of David (Psalm 34:12) when he advises us as to how we can enjoy life:

"If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies." - 1 Peter 3:10

What are your thoughts on that advice?

Living in Grace,

Monday, 19 September 2011

Prayer and hypocrites

Prayer can be tricky sometimes! We don't seem to be inspired or we wonder if we are doing it right. We question whether God is listening or even concerned about our needs. When Jesus gave some advice on prayer, his opening words were: "and when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites" (Matthew 6:5). A hypocrite is someone who 'lives behind a mask' - so the key ingredient in prayer has to be honesty. We can't fool God with our stiff upper lip faith - God wants our prayers to be real, honest, and sincere.

May you feel a new freedom as you pray to God today.

If you attend Wesley, please remember our Day of Prayer on the 1st October. You only need to commit to pray for as long as you want...5mins, 30mins or whatever.

Living in Grace,

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Sand dunes in the sky

Driving along the Greytown road, late this afternoon, we witnessed the most amazing display of God's creation. The clouds looked like sand dunes in the sky  - well, that's what the boys thought. Eventually when the sun disappeared behind the mountains the 'dunes' changed colour many times...white, yellow, gold, red, orange and finally grey. It was a fitting reminder that our God is awesome.

May you be reminded of God's incredible love this week.

Living in Grace,

Saturday, 17 September 2011

The results of love

Speaking on the topic of Divine love, Thomas a Kempis wrote:

"Love is a great good that makes every heavy thing light. It is not burdened by the load it carries, and it sweetens the bitter. Jesus' noble love inspires us to do great things and to long for a more nearly perfect life. Love wants to live in the heights, and not be grounded by base things."

May you know the Love of Jesus today.

Living in Grace,

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

God is practical

Sometimes we assume that God is only interested in the things of the heavenly realms that we forget how Jesus provided for the practical and physical needs of many people. Healing, food, sight, water to wine - they were all tangible miracles with a deeper truth behind the obvious physical miracles.

Someone once asked G.K.Chesterton the following question, expecting a very spiritual answer:
"If you were stranded on a desert island and could have just one book, what would it be?"
Instead of answering the Bible or some other famous Christian book, Chesterton replied, "Well, of course I would choose A Practical guide to Ship-building!"

I love it!
Our God is a Holy, Compassionate, Wise and deeply Practical God.

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

13 September

Over the last few days, much has been written about the events of 9/11. In order to make a change, I felt it would be good to write about 13 September. More specifically to remind ourselves that it was on the 13 September 1916 that Roald Dahl was born. Roald encountered tragedy in his early years - he was just 3 years old when his sister and father died unexpectedly. Later on in life Dahl fought as a fighter pilot in World War 2 and it was only after this experience that he was encouraged to write about his years in combat. This seemed to be a catalyst for more writing and Dahl went on to write numerous books.

My point is this: sometimes difficult situations in life lead us unto a path of discovery. We may not have ever had the privilege of reading Charlie and Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach and more,  if Dahl had not been encouraged to write about the difficulty of war.

I believe that no matter what we experience in life, our God will make a way. 

Worth thinking about?

Living in Grace,

P.S. what's your favourite Roald Dahl book?

Monday, 12 September 2011

Stand straight

G.K.Chesterton once remarked, "there are many angles at which you can fall and only one angle at which you can stand straight."

This is a powerful thought. We have daily choices to make - some of these choices may not be the best for us, yet there will always be one that allows us to keep our integrity, witness and faith.

Proverbs 14:12 - "There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death."

Living in Grace,

Friday, 9 September 2011


Encouragement in our faith is so vital. It surprises me that Christians neglect this simple task. The early church needed it - we need it.

"Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other's nerves you don't snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out." - 1 Thessalonians 5:13

Look for an opportunity to encourage someone today.

Living in Grace,

Thursday, 8 September 2011

A glimpse of a cross

If we look carefully we will see 'crosses' everywhere. Obviously, I am not referring to actual wooden crosses, but the shape of a cross in a window frame, a building, a design, a calendar, or even in a picture. These images of the cross give us a daily reminder of God's love for us.

"Every now and then, I would catch a glimpse of a cross - not necessarily a crucifix; maybe two pieces of wood accidentally nailed together, on a telegraph pole for instance - and suddenly my heart would stand still. In an instinctive, intuitive way I understood that something more important, more tumultuous, more passionate, was at issue than our good causes, however admirable they might be." - Malcolm Muggeridge

Look out for signs of the cross.
Living in Grace,

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

What Measure?

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." - Luke 6:36

So, what size measure are you using at the moment?

"...Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing..." - (Message)

Living in Grace,

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Arranging letters

Our language is made up of 26 letters. Everyday we get to choose which letters we put together in coherent words. Hopefully these words make some kind of sense and we then communicate effectively with our community. The power of these letters is immense. Put them in the wrong order and we can change our message drastically. Look at this example:

But, of course, if we re-arranged the word order, we would get...

Today, we have a choice. How will you communicate? You have 26 letters to choose from - choose your word order wisely.

Blessings and peace
Living in Grace,

Monday, 5 September 2011

Inspiring thoughts on suffering

I never thought I would be able to link the words 'inspiring' and 'suffering' together in the same sentence, however this quote from Eugene Peterson is so powerful that I feel that falls into that weird category...inspiring thoughts on suffering:

"We live in a culture that doesn't know how to suffer. We grow up thinking that if we are good we won't suffer; or that if we raise our standard of living sufficiently we won't suffer; or that if we acquire an education we will be smart enough not to suffer. If suffering rudely intrudes anyway, we call for anesthesia. Anesthesia, which is most useful on occasions of surgery, is most harmful in matters of soul."

What do you make of those thoughts?

Living in Grace,

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Listen carefully

"Listen carefully, my child, to the master's instruction... and faithfully put it into practice...every time you begin a good work you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection... In this way everything must be arranged so that the strong have something to yearn for and the weak nothing to run from." - St Benedict

May the peace of God be upon you.

Living in Grace,

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Growing through adversity

I love this quote from Malcolm Muggeridge - it is on seeing the benefits of affliction and difficulties.

"Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my 75 years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my experience, has been through affliction and not through happiness. - Malcolm Muggeridge, in Homemade, July, 1990.

What are your thoughts on this?
Living in Grace,