Monday, 31 January 2011

Honest Prayers

If you ever need a dose of honest prayer, turn to the pages of the Psalms. The writers of these inspiring Psalms (including David) felt they had the freedom with God to talk straight - no pretenses. God invites you and I to do the same.

"Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer;
answer me, for I need your help.
Protect me, for I am devoted to you.
Save me, for I serve you and trust you.
You are my God.
Be merciful to me, O Lord,
for I am calling you, constantly."
- Psalm 86:1-3

Living in Grace,

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Small grows to BIG

One of the hindrances in our spiritual growth is our frustration with the lack of progress we see. We feel we should be further along the Christian road, than we actually are and this demoralises us. God is not disappointed in our 'small' attempts to follow Christ, as long as we are deeply committed to His cause and willing to count the long-term cost of being a disciple.

Do you think that God despises the acorn because it looks so small and insignificant? Of course not. God knows that within that small seed lies massive potential. God sees the same in you. Don't be discouraged, keep your eyes on Jesus.

Ephesians 4:14
“We are not meant to remain as children at the mercy of every chance wind of teaching...but we are meant to speak the truth in love, and to grow up in every way into Christ, the head.”

We will see growth when we surrender our entire lives into his hands.

Living in Grace,

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Good question

In some of his writings, Thomas a Kempis contemplates the value of 'knowledge' without putting it into practise.

"If you knew the entire Bible by heart and were familiar with all the philosophers, what good would it all be without the love of God and his grace?"

I think that this is a brilliant observation and question. We should never gain just 'head knowledge' of the Scriptures, without allowing the essence of truth to transform our lives.

What do you think?

Living in Grace,

When people let you down

What do you do when people let you down? Do you get angry with them? Do you show your disappointment? Do you lose faith in them?

It is hard to react with true perspective in situations like this, because we so often fail to remember the times we let others down. None of us is perfect and we will let others down too. All I try to do in these situations is to treat people with the same 'grace' I would hope they would offer to me. I think that's the Jesus way...

Matthew 7:1-2
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Living in Grace,

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Love in action

Charles Spurgeon wrote: "If we truly love Christ, we shall care for those who are loved by Him."

He seems to imply that we can't really choose to love some people and not others. His words "shall care" make it our responsibility. That's how I interpret this quote. What about you?

John 13:34 - "A new command I give you: Love one another."

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Love on the Line

I have really been enjoying reading 'Living the Message' by Eugene Peterson. In one of the sections of the book he writes:

Every day I put love on the line. There is nothing I am less good at than love. I am far better in competition than in love. I am far better at responding to my instincts and ambitions to get ahead and make my mark than I am at figuring out how to love another. I am schooled and trained in acquisitive skills, in getting my own way...

Is this something you can also relate to?
Is love a harder choice for us than selfishness?

"Love is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." - 1 Corinthians 13:7

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Gratitude and Love

Sometimes I find it hard to express myself - do you have the same trouble? I think that many people struggle with understanding gratitude and then expressing our thanks. If you need a little inspiration in this area, read these words from C.S.Lewis.

"Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present."

When it comes to Jesus, I would like to suggest that the expression of our 'gratitude' and 'love' (towards God), should look to both past and present. Looking back, we see what God has done for us, in Christ Jesus. This fills our hearts with gratitude. When we bring the grace of the past into our 'present' we often feel an overwhelming emotion of love. It is this love that compels us to respond today.

Just a few thoughts - what do you think?

Living in Grace

Monday, 24 January 2011

After the invasion

Well, I am still alive, despite the recent attacks from cyber viruses. Thanks for the messages of support and prayer. I appreciate the thoughts.

Just an interesting comment on all of this - my devotion for this morning used Matthew 24 as the focal passage. Hidden in this chapter are these words:
"If the owner of the house had known at what time the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and wouldn't have let his house be broken into." (v.43) - If I had known the virus was going to destroy everything I would have been more vigilant, but 'would have' is not good enough now. I have learnt my lesson.

However, this passage carries on to say, "So, you must also be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (v.44) What do you make of that? We can't keep putting off our response to Jesus until a later date, because we may be taken by surprise. Christ's return is not written on our calendar's, but we do know that He will come again.
Worth thinking about?

Living in Grace,

If we have been in touch via email, please can I ask you to send me an email so I can start patching up my email contacts. Thanks. Send it to this new address:

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Invaded and violated

How is this for irony? Just as I posted yesterday's prayer for 'peace of mind' my laptop crashed! A hectic virus gate-crashed my computer, somehow getting past all the anti-virus software and 'walls' of protection that I had in place. I was totally gutted by this invasion and I felt violated. I didn't give anyone permission to trash my computer and how on earth did they 'find' my world in the first place - I am still feeling a little shaken by this incident.

Sure, it is only a computer, but it is symbolic of other 'violations' we experience. When thieves steal our cars (or radio's from the cars), or break into our homes or even physically endanger us, we feel violated and abused. This kind of invasion is even more traumatic than a computer virus crashing our systems, yet they both leave us feeling traumatised.

In a split second some people lose all their earthly possessions or dignity. In a split second, a virus from the blue stole my documents, photo's and emails. They are gone, floating somewhere in a world I can't get to. I am disappointed and angry.

Anyway, having had a day to reflect on this incident, I feel God has given me some insights that may be helpful to share:

1. I may have lost my 'stuff', but I still have loads to be thankful for. I have my health, my family, my friends and my church community.
2. The world still has people that only seek to destroy the good that exists - being a believer doesn't mean these people won't try and impact our lives. (I would have to preach on 'loving your neighbour' today - aaaah, so hard to to into practice after this incident!)
3. People have survived for centuries without computers, email and internet and I can survive too! (I know it's hard to remember a world without these things, but it did exist:)
4. God's faithfulness has not changed and His love is still constant in the midst of this mess.
5. Back up! Back up! Back up! Back up! Back up! (You know what I mean!)

May your week be better than the way mine has started. God is still sovereign - I promise you:)

Living in Grace

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Prayer for peace of mind

Francis Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917) wrote this profound prayer many years ago. May these words offer you comfort and strength.

FORTIFY me with the grace of Your Holy Spirit
and give Your peace to my soul
that I may be free from all needless anxiety,
solicitude and worry.
Help me to desire always
that which is pleasing and acceptable to You
so that Your will may be my will. Amen

Living in Grace,

Friday, 21 January 2011

What we long for...

"We nurse within our hearts the hope that we
are different, that we are special, that we are
extraordinary. We long for the assurance that
our birth was no accident..." - Alan Jones

Is this something we can identify with?

Let me remind you - you are extraordinary in
God's eyes. You are no accident! God believes
in you.

Living in Grace,

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Personal Space

With the start of the new school term life has become hectic in our home (I am sure you can relate to this or remember those days). In truth, things can easily spin out of control unless we are proactive and carve out time for ourselves. One can call it 'personal space' or 'time for yourself' - the name we place on this precious commodity is a matter of semantics.

I would like to encourage us all to find time to refocus our lives, to get back to an intentional time with Christ and to be refreshed. In my personal experience no one will help you to do this - it has to be initiated by ourselves. If we have the power to fill our diaries with other appointments, then we must add some 'alone time with Christ.' If Jesus found it important to spend time with his Dad, then so do you and I.

Mark 1:35 - "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."

Think about it.
Put it into your diary now.

Living in Grace,

P.S. - If you have just finished shaking your head, wondering where you will ever get time for yourself, then please find 30 minutes for yourself in the next 5 days. Go on, I dare you. Read this site for some handy tips on how to make it happen.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Love follows knowledge

1 John 4:8 - "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."

When we know God, then we will love others. What surprises me is the millions of 'Christians' who claim to know God, yet they don't show any love. Interesting hey?


Any thoughts?

Living in Grace,

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


I have been reminded again of the urgency of 'the moment.' It came via a blogpost from Seth Godin. In his post he quotes these monumental words from Martin Luther King Jnr.

"We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood -- it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, "Too late."

Wow, wow, wow!

The Scriptures say this in a similar way:

Hebrews 4:7 - "God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

Do it NOW!

Living in Grace,

Your word?

It is quite en vogue to have a particular ‘word’ that means a lot to you. Some people have chosen a ‘word’ for 2011; others have tried to find a sentence that describes their plans for the year.

If you were going to choose a word for this coming week, what would it be?


What would your word be? Let me know...

May we all be conscious of God’s presence with us this week – be blessed.

Living in Grace

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Neurotic dependency or childlike trust?

Eugene Peterson writes these interesting words on faith:
"Christian faith is not neurotic dependency but childlike trust. We do not have a God who forever indulges our whims but a God whom we trust with our destinies."
I like that! Especially the part about trusting God with our destiny. What do you feel?

We have had 3 wonderful worship services today. My friends Ross Olivier and Pete Grassow led the services and we were all challenged and blessed by their messages. If you have a moment take a look at Pete's blog sometime.

May this week be filled with moments of grace for you.

Living in Grace,

Saturday, 15 January 2011

If only I had known?

How many times have you said this?
"If only I had known?"
How would this have changed your decisions, your words, your life?
If we had known the outcome beforehand how many of us would have done things differently? Probably all of us!

Do you think Goliath would had taunted David 'if he had known' that he was an expert with the slingshot?
Do you think Jonah would have run away from God 'if he had known' he was going to spend 3 nights in the belly of a whale?

We can't live in fear of making decisions, but it is worth submitting them to the Lord beforehand - in this way, God can help us make things right when we find ourselves saying, 'if only I had known!'

Living in Grace,

Friday, 14 January 2011

Love note

If God could write you a little love note, perhaps it would say this:
"My unfailing love for you will not be shaken!" - Isaiah 54:10

Hope you like that?

Living in grace,

Thursday, 13 January 2011

11 Promises for 2011

If you are looking for some fantastic promises to hold onto for 2011, then read and remember these.

1. "The Lord your God is with you..." - Zephaniah 3:17
2. "Trust in God; trust also in me." - Jesus (John 14:2)
3. "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love." - Psalm 103:8
4. "I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28
5. "Peace be with you." - Luke 24:36
6. "The Lord is faithful to all his promises." - Psalm 145:13
7. God will restore you and make you strong. - 1 Peter 5:10
8. "We are more than conquerors through him who loved us." - Romans 8:35
9. "For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9
10. "No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame." - Psalm 25:3
11. "Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16

May God bless you.

Living in Grace,

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

How do you read it?

We had an interesting discussion at our Men's fellowship the other day. It was around the use of language and how it has evolved - in particular, with reference to the Bible. We have so many different translations of the Scriptures, all seeking to be more accurate, more relevant, more understandable. However, as language changes so does the meaning and context of a verse.

Read Psalm 66:5 for example:

"Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!" - New International Version

"Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men." - King James Version

"Come and see what our God has done,what awesome miracles he performs for people!" - New Living Translation

"Take a good look at God's wonders — they'll take your breath away." - The Message

"Come and see what God has done:he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man." - English Standard Version

For me, they all convey the same truth, but some of them sound 'better' to me. But that could do with my age, my upbringing, my education, my first language, my country.

So tell me, which one do you prefer? I'd love to know.

Living in Grace,

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

When we sin...

We are people with a leaning towards sin. We may not like to hear this, but our natural inclination is always to do things our way - that is one of the origins of sin - doing things for self.

The tricky dilemma is this - 'what is God doing when we sin?'
Is God shaking his head in disgust? Is God rubbing our names out of his book of life? Is God busy getting his lightning bolts ready to wake us up?

Eugene Peterson writes:
"When we sin and mess up our lives, we find that God doesn't go off and leave us- he enters into our trouble and saves us."

That's the message of the Incarnation and the Cross. God rolls up his sleeves and gets his hands dirty dealing with our sin.

Thank you Jesus for caring so much about my sin that you were prepared to do something drastic about it. I am forever indebted to your Grace.

Living in Grace,

Monday, 10 January 2011

Don't Quit

Sometimes we come across motivational poems or messages that inspire us. I stumbled upon this poem today and I feel that it may encourage you too. Enjoy...

"When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit."
- Author unknown

God is with us.
Don't quit.

Living in Grace,

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Thoughts for the beginning of the week

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S.Lewis

"Sainthood lies in the habit of referring the smallest actions to God." - C.S.Lewis

"But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The LORD is great!”
- Psalm 70:4

Have a blessed week,
Living in Grace,

Saturday, 8 January 2011

If God is for us...

Here is a timely reminder for all of us...

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" - Romans 8:31

Did you read that twice?
Please do.
Remember it.

God be with you.
Living in Grace,

Friday, 7 January 2011

In memory of Olive

Last week we found a baby Ground Thrush that had fallen out her nest. The boys managed to rescue her before our Labby chewed her for breakfast. Anyway, we called her Olive and the boys really went out of their way to feed her and keep her warm.

When things started to look a bit bleak for Olive the boys even prayed for her. Sadly, little Olive passed away and the boys were gutted - we even buried her in the garden and said a few words at her 'grave-side.' Even yesterday they asked God to take care of her 'up in heaven!' It nearly broke our hearts to see them mourn the loss of the little bird.

In the end, this little incident teaches us that life is complex and that even despite our best intentions and efforts, things don't always go our way. Prayers seemingly go unheard.

In all of this, it is still important to remember that God loves us and when we surrender to God's will, it includes things of this world and the next!

Keep the faith, my friends!

Living in Grace

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The mist will clear

Have you ever been walking in a forest during a light rain? As you climb higher you get above the mist and drizzle and it is quite surreal to look down upon the rain. If you wait there long enough you may be fortunate enough to see the mist clear and the sun break through.
I experienced this yesterday and it was magical. I felt the Spirit whisper to me:

"The mist will always clear! Trust me when things get difficult, but remember the sun will shine through!"

Maybe this is a message for you too?
The mist will clear for you. Trust in God.

Living in Grace,

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


I am setting aside the next two days to pray and plan for the rest of 2011. I am conscious that there are so many things I want to do, but I really want to do what God wants. It is easy to make our own plans and when they fail, then to blame God. I am hoping to avoid that this year.

Psalm 33:11 - "But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations."

If you are doing some planning and praying for 2011 may God grant you insight and direction.

Living in Grace

Monday, 3 January 2011

God is watching us

God is watching us - but not in the way many of us think. God is watching us, so that he may strengthen us and uphold us. That's what the Bible teaches anyway:

"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." - 2 Chronicles 16:9

May you know God's strength today.

Living in God's grace and strength,

Sunday, 2 January 2011


In a surge of adrenaline it is great to blaze new trails and to set new trends. It is exhilarating to go where others haven't gone before and I encourage you to dream outrageous dreams.

However, there are times when it is prudent to walk on ancient paths, to step where others have walked safely for generations. God has laid out guidelines and 'paths' for us to follow - and these will lead us in a Godly direction. Never be too proud to walk these roads. There will still be plenty of action, excitement and new opportunities along God's Paths, but we need to trust Him along the journey.

Psalm 25:4 - "Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths."

Jeremiah 6:16 - "This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls."

Walking in His Grace,

God, be my Vision

I haven't made any resolutions for 2011 yet. I plan to spend a few days praying about what God wants from me this year, but what I truly seek is to honour God in all I do. I hope that the words of this powerful 6th Century Irish song will be my starting place.

"Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light."

May God be your Vision and focus in 2011.

Living in His Grace,