Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Sorry for posting my second post for the day, but just felt I needed to remind us all of this important point.

“Your difficulties are not almighty. The Lord alone is ALMIGHTY.”Selwyn Hughes

If we give our difficulties reign in our lives, then we shift our focus from God, who is truly ALMIGHTY.

Living in Grace

Forgiveness is so hard

Why is it so hard to forgive others?
I wish I had a neat, simple answer for this question, but I don't. I guess because it is so hard, this makes it is such an important thing. If forgiveness was as easy as picking up a few groceries from the store, we wouldn't appreciate it as much. It wouldn't even make a dent on our emotional radar's.

Forgiveness is really life changing. The longer I refuse to forgive others the longer I live in bondage to that person - my unforgiveness gives that person/situation power to rule my life. It also prevents me from fully enjoying the forgiveness offered by God. My decision to hold onto the burden, grudge, and pain means that I haven't got an empty heart to receive God's blessing of forgiveness.

Eugene Peterson - "In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part. (Matthew 6: 14-15)

Living in Grace

Monday, 30 July 2012

Wanting the best for others

I don't know Cameron van den Burgh. I have never met him or even seen him in the flesh, yet last night I cheered for him like I was his best friend. I threw my hands into the air and shouted for him every moment of his 58 second world record swim. I was so proud of him and of being a South African. I wanted him to win and was delighted for him when he stood on the podium.

It's weird, but how do we have so much emotion for someone we don't know? So, it got me thinking about whether we actually want the best for other people? It may be easier to cheer for Cameron, because I am not a threat to him (my 100m Breastwork time is just slightly slower than his - by about 10 minutes) - but can I seek the best for others who are closer to me. My colleagues, my family, my friends? Do I really want the things that are best for them or am I too proud to cheer them on?

Jesus wanted to bring out the best in others - he came to put others before himself. He suggested that we should go and do likewise.

So how about it - will you put someone before yourself today?
Just asking....

Living in Grace

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Lord's Prayer with a difference

The Lord's Prayer with a difference (author unknown)

I cannot say "OUR" if I have no room in my life for others and their needs.
I cannot say"FATHER" if I do not demonstrate this relationship in my daily living.
I cannot say"WHO ART IN HEAVEN" if all my interests and pursuits are in earthly things.
I cannot say"HALLOWED BE THY NAME" if I, who am called to bear His name, am not holy.
I cannot say"THY KINGDOM COME" if I am unwilling to give up my own sovereignty and accept the righteous reign of God.
I cannot say"THY WILL BE DONE" if I am unwilling or resentful of having God's will in my life.
I cannot say "ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN" unless I am truly ready to give myself to His service here and now.
I cannot say "GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD" without expending honest effort for it, or by ignoring the genuine needs of others.
I cannot say "FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US" if I continue to harbor a grudge against anyone.
I cannot say"LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION" if I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am likely to be tempted.
I cannot say"DELIVER US FROM EVIL" if I am not prepared to fight in the spiritual realm with the ultimate weapon of prayer.
I cannot say"THINE IS THE KINGDOM" if I do not give the kind of disciplined obedience of a loyal subject.
I cannot say"THINE IS THE POWER" if I fear what my neighbours may say or do.
I cannot say"FOREVER" if I am too anxious about each day's events.
I cannot say"AMEN" unless I can honestly say, "cost what it may, this is my prayer."

Have a wonderful day - be blessed.
Living in Grace

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Who do you depend on?

If I depend on others for everything, then I will only be disappointed in the long run. If I depend on myself, then I will be equally frustrated. If I put my trust in my company, career, organisation or even church, then I am likely to be let down. However, when I rest my life in the hands of God, then I will be eternally blessed and content.

"When we depend on organisations, we get what organisations can do;
when we depend on education, we get what education can do;
when we depend on man, we get what man can do;
but when we depend on prayer, we get what God can do." - A.C. Dixon

So who are you depending on today?

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Olympic verse

As we approach the beginning of the London Olympics, athletes are wrapping up their final preparation. These athlete's will use all kinds of personal techniques to get prepared and focused on their targets. Getting their minds right will be as important as getting their bodies prepared.

Perhaps a verse that we may want to use today in our own spiritual journey's is this one:

"I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. 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." - Philippians 3:13-14

May God help you in your thoughts, actions and words today.

Living in Grace

Monday, 23 July 2012

Text version of the Lord's Prayer

We are busy doing a preaching series on Prayer and we came across this version of the Lord's Prayer written in 'text' (sms) format. The best way to read it is to do this:

1. Recite the version of the Lord's Prayer you know first.
2. Then read this version.

"dad@hvn, ur spshl. we want wot u want &urth2b like hvn. giv us food & 4giv r sins lyk we 4giv uvaz. don't test us! save us! bcos we kno ur boss, ur tuf & ur cool 4 eva! ok?"

It took me a bit of time to get my head around it, but I guess the new generation of Christians may find something catchy in this version.

Living in Grace

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Prayer changes us

It is stating the obvious to note that when we pray we hope that something happens. We pray, trusting that God will intervene in our lives, give us guidance, bring us healing, change things - we pray hoping that God will act. However, we need to remember that prayer also changes us. The time we spend in the presence of God refines our desires, motives and perspective. If we pray, without expecting something to change within us, then we pray with wrong motives.

"Prayer - secret, fervent, believing prayer - lies at the root of all personal godliness." - William Cary

So, pray today until something happens...

Living in Grace

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Upside down tree

Josh and Kim were travelling to school the other morning when he asked her, "Mommy, why are those trees upside down?" Kim was a little confused and asked him to show her which trees he was referring to. When she saw the trees she noticed that they were not upside down, but that they had just shed all their leaves. They looked upside down, but it was merely the bare branches showing.

Sometimes things may look upside down, but perhaps they are not. Perhaps they are the right way up, but just look a little different from our perception.

Any thoughts?

Living in Grace

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Mandela in words

Nelson Mandela has been honoured in so many ways for his 94th birthday. I thought I would do something I love to order to honour his influence on the world - that is allowing a few of his quotes to speak for themselves.

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” 

 “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” 

 “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” 

Happy 94th Birthday Nelson.

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Oh my....

"Oh my!"
That was my reaction when I was reading through a book on pray today. There was a little poem on one of the pages. See what your reaction is to this:

"Said the Robin to the Sparrow:
'I should really like to know,
Why these anxious human beings
Rush around and worry so?'

Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
'Friend, I think it must be,
That they have no heavenly Father
Such cares for you and me!"

Oh my!
Is this us? Have we forgotten that God promised to take care of us? As Jesus said - "are we not more valuable to God than the birds of the air?"

May God grant you his peace today

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Empty hands

How often have you noticed a kid at a birthday party asking for more sweets, but if you look closely you notice they already have a handful? Of course we are not going to give them more sweets at that moment, are we?

Sometimes we may not receive what we ask for (from God) because we come bringing our hands "stuffed" with other things - good and bad. It is not that God doesn't want to give us good things, but we aren't able to receive it yet or perhaps even appreciate it.

God gives where he finds empty hands - Augustine

Come to God today in prayer...

"Empty hands held high, such small sacrifice" (Casting Crowns)

Living in Grace

Monday, 16 July 2012

Think the right things

Over the past few days the powerful words of St Paul have been coming to my mind again and again...

"Whatever is true, 
whatever is noble, 
whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, 
whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
—think about such things." - Philippians 4:8

If you needed a great verse to start the new term with, why not let these words sink into your Spirit.

Live in His grace

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Christ in our hearts

"The ground of our hope is Christ in the world, but the evidence of our hope is Christ in the heart." - Matthew Henry

In order for Christ to be evident in the world around us, he needs to be present in our hearts first. May we find room in our hearts for him today.

Living in Grace

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Winter reflection

For a lot of people Winter is a depressing season. However, I kind of like this time of the year. It reminds me to slow down and to take stock of things in my life. The later sunrises and earlier sunsets also nudge us inside, where things are warmer and more quiet. Richard Foster had this reflection on the blessing of Winter for him:

"Winter preserves and strengthens a tree. Rather than expending its strength on the exterior surface, its sap is forced deeper and deeper into its interior depth. In winter a tougher, more resilient life is firmly established. Winter is necessary for the tree to survive and flourish."

Winter has a purpose in our spiritual lives too. Perhaps we must celebrate that our "spiritual winter's" help us to become more resilient in the future.

What are your thoughts?

Living in grace

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Spiritually formed

In his outstanding book, The Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight remarks on what a spiritually formed person should look like:

"A Spiritually formed person loves God by following Jesus and loving others.
A Spiritually formed person embraces the stories of others who love Jesus.
A Spiritually formed person lives out kingdom values, and
A Spiritually formed person loves Jesus."

How do you measure up? We can't just be Christians in name only, we need to be 'formed' in the image of our heavenly Father.

I think it's worth thinking about, don't you?

Living in Grace

Sunday, 8 July 2012

God is awake

The God of the Resurrection is awake all the time - George MacDonald

Our God never slumbers or sleeps - Psalm 121

May God watch over you today and always. Be blessed.

Living in Grace

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Hope begins in the dark

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.” - Ann Lamott

Never forget that with God there will always be a new dawn. Joy replaces sorrow - hope begins anew.

"Weeping may go in the night, but joy comes with the morning." - Psalm 30:5

Living in Grace