Thursday, 30 May 2013


When we ask the boys to do something for us, they love to tell us that they are "just"going to do another thing and then they will do what we ask. So, here is an example:

Q: "Boys, please take your plates to the kitchen."
A: "We are "just" playing - we will do it soon."

Does this sound familiar?
"I will do that important task, but I "just" need to procrastinate a little longer!"

This simple word "just" can also imply spiritual procrastination of dangerous proportions. It can take this form:
I will commit my life to God later - I "just" need to sort my studies out.
I will go back to church - I am "just" so busy at the moment.
I will pray with my kids sometime - the time "just" doesn't seem right.
I would love to read my bible more, but it "just" seems like an effort right now.

What is your "just" excuse at the moment?
Don't you think it is time to "just" stop making excuses?!

I am just asking...

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Psalm 54

A way of reflecting on Scripture is to pray before you read a passage and to then ask the Spirit to highlight something for you. This may be a verse, word or phrase in the actual passage. This is not an exact science, but is a way of expecting God to speak to us through the passage. Why don't we give this a try today? Read this Psalm and see what God may be saying to you today.

"Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might. Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth. Arrogant foes are attacking me; ruthless people are trying to kill me— people without regard for God. Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. Let evil recoil on those who slander me; in your faithfulness destroy them. I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good. You have delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes." - (Psalm 54:1-7 NIV)

I would to know what the Spirit is whispering to you - drop me a note and let me know.

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Life Apps

Modern language includes the term 'App', which stands for 'application software' and usually refers to our computers or phone Apps. You download them onto your phone and use them to access a whole range of things. I am not sure what you have on your phones, but I have a number of Apps on my phone, including, Bible Apps, Sports Apps, WhatsApp, Flipboard, News, Games, Kindle, Twitter and so on.

If I am honest, there are one or two apps that I have downloaded, but which I haven't used as yet. This is hugely ironic, I guess. If I download an 'App' then surely I should be using it - application would be helpful:)

Many Christians are in a similar place with the Bible and Prayer. We know that if we read the Bible more and prayed more frequently, we would feel more connected with God, but we don't. We don't apply our faith in anyway and then we end up feeling frustrated.
Is this you?
What is God wanting you to Apply in your life?

This Sunday Evening we start a preaching series called 'Life Apps' - looking at various Applications that would help us on the Christian journey. Check this out for more details - Life Apps.

Living in Grace

Monday, 27 May 2013


There is something powerful in a name. All of our names have meanings, but during the past few days I have been reminded of the Zulu name, Nkosinathi, which means "God is with us!" We may recognise this saying from the Bible, where Jesus was called Immanuel (God with us).

Whatever you face today, may you remember that God is always with us. Just as a parent cares for a child and longs to watch over them, so does God long to do the same for us.

Nkosinathi ....
.... God is with us.

Living in Grace

Sunday, 26 May 2013

What is Synod?

In case you have been wondering if I was away on leave, I have actually been at our annual church Synod. For my sins, in 2012 I was elected as the secretary of the Natal West District, and so I had the privilege of working alongside many people in leading this years event. It was held at the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary in PMB and lasted 3 days. This year our Bishop, Sandy Dickie led our 200 delegates through a truly encouraging gathering and for a change, I left Synod feeling uplifted and a sense of deeper connection with our broader church community.

Many people are unfamiliar with the name "Synod", but it simply means a conference or gathering of Believers. We don't use the word conference, because the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) has an Annual Conference that meets in September. That event brings together delegates from all the provincial Synods - running a big organization can be a huge undertaking and this seems to be the easiest way to work things out.

I thank God for the presence of his Spirit during our gathering. God is good!

I look forward to getting back into my blogging routine again soon.

May god bless you.
Living in grace

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The school of hard knocks

You may have heard this saying before - "The School of hard knocks?"
It simply means "learning something the hard way - usually through your mistakes."

The Bible includes a few people who attended this 'school'.... Thomas, King David, Samson, Paul, Joseph. Perhaps the best student of this school would be Simon Peter - he learnt by putting his foot in it all the time. His hard knocks taught him so much about being a Christ-follower and I love him for his tenacity and persistence.

If we are honest we have also attended the same school - the tough question to ask is, 'have we learnt from being at this school or do we keep making the same mistakes?'

"Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny." - C. S. Lewis

What is God teaching you today? Don't allow the hard knocks to distract you from seeing God's plan for you right now.

Be blessed today.
Living in Grace

Monday, 20 May 2013

How desperate are you?

How desperate are you?
I mean, when you go through difficult times, how desperate do you get and what are you prepared to do? I see many people willing to do a whole number of things, but it is only those who are truly desperate who turn to prayer. And rightly so.

Often we need to quit trying to do things our own way and understand what God wants from us.

"It is often in the lowest times of despair and hopelessness that God breaks through and shows us a greater dimension of Himself. We also learn to ask God for greater things and believe Him for things we were once not desperate enough to plead for." - Michael Catt

Going to God in our time of greatest need is exactly what we need to be doing.
So what is top on your prayer list today? Take it to the Lord in prayer.

2 Chronicles 6:19 - "Lord my God, give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence.

Living in Grace

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Invite

On this weekend of Pentecost I pray that we may come to a deeper understanding of the gift of the Spirit. God is so generous with his Spirit, that we are all invited to share in this amazing gift. May we not turn down this awesome invitation from Jesus.

"The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life." - Revelation 22:17

"O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams." - Saint Augustine
Blessed Pentecost to you all,

Living in Grace

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Seeing beyond the pain

In this season of the Spirit (Pentecost) we may be tempted to forget how troubling it was for the discples, when they first heard Jesus was leaving. The followers of Jesus had grown accustomed to having him around - he was their leader, Rabbi, guide and friend. Suddenly they receive the news that he is not going to be with them much longer - wow, that must have been a hammer-blow for them. They felt uneasy and afraid. Yet, in the midst of this troubling time, Jesus gives them this promise:

  • John 16: 7 – “Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

This is not a last minute offer from Jesus - an offer to appease their concerns. This is a FULL ON promise! A promise that offers incredible blessing and hope for the early disciples, as well as for us. The Spirit would be a gift to all of us, bringing help, counsel, guidance and comfort.

The next time you are faced with a painful time in your life, try and look beyond the pain. There may well be a blessing and promise waiting for us in the future.

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Do you want it badly enough?

If you want something badly enough, you will make every effort to get it - that is how most people work! Often the things we 'want' are good and godly, but sometimes they are not. Many people have sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of that one thing (relationship, career, money, car, house) and have ended up devastated.

The Sherwood Baptist Church has a large banner in their Church that says: "Whoever wants the next generation the most will get them." This refers to the next generation of people and in case you didn't know, there is a war raging for them. The world desperately wants the next generation, while the Church seems content to sit idly by.

This challenges me greatly. We need to do something about this. How badly do we want people to experience the love and mercy of Jesus? How badly do we want people to know Jesus and the abundant life He offers us?

So what are we willing to do about it?

Just asking...

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The final word!

One of our readings on Sunday was from Revelation 22, which is the final chapter in the Bible. If you didn't know this, the Final word of the Scriptures is the word, 'AMEN.' This word has remained untranslated from the original Hebrew word. It can mean the following things:

'Let it be so'
'Oh Yes!'

So when John finishes his account of Revelation with the word 'Amen' he could be referring to the first part of verse 21, "The Grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people,' OR he could also be referring to the whole vision of Revelation, OR even the whole Bible.

Let it be so!.... Oh Yes!....Truly!

We worship a God who was, who is and who is to come again. That is the FINAL WORD!

Let us hold true to the promises of our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Living in Grace

Monday, 13 May 2013

The Power of Persistence

I started reading a really great book today, with the title "The Power of Persistence", written by Michael Catt (Executive producer of FIREPROOF movie and senior pastor of his Church). In the book he speaks mainly about the need for persistence in our prayer lives and he shares a number of powerful testimonies relating to this.

He reminds us that Christians can spend an average of 28 hours a week watching TV, but only 1 hour in prayer. If prayer is about Communion and relationship with God, then these stats tell us we are 28 times more likely to be in communion with our TV than we are with our Lord. This spells disaster for any relationship, but especially in our relationship with our Maker. It is no wonder we "feel" that our faith is average at best.

"Prayer is an admission of surrender.... An acknowledgement that I am not in charge of my life and that I am yielding to His will." - Michael Catt

Thought for today - who are you listening to at the moment? The voice of media and TV or the guidance of God? What is your average TV time versus prayer time?

Be challenged to do something today!

Living in Grace

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Predictive Text

Our phones are really smart nowadays! They can even predict what I want to say, so when I begin to write a message, the phone offers suggestions to me. The trouble with 'predictive text' is that sometimes the phone gets it badly wrong. Like the other day I was trying to type 'Spirit', but after 4 letters the phone offered me "SPUR" instead. On the surface this is not that bad, but it could change the entire meaning of my message.

"May God bless you with his SPUR today!" - ouch, that doesn't sound so cool?! (So here is a heads up - double check your messages before you send then otherwise you may send the wrong message.)

When God sends us messages, he doesn't use predictive text - God knows exactly what he wants to say and He has said it clearly and simple in His word. All we need to do is read it!

"It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special." - 1 Thessalonians 1:3-4 (the Message)

Be blessed today.

Living in Grace

Friday, 10 May 2013

An idea of Happiness

What would be your idea of Happiness?

A relaxing holiday?
A good cup of coffee?
A special time with family?
Catching up with an old friend?
Helping someone in need?

This was Tolstoy's idea of Happiness -

“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.”

Augustine may argue that our true happiness only comes when our hearts find their rest in God:

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

When you have 20 seconds, please let me know what your idea of Happiness is.... Thanks.

Living in Grace

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Dallas Willard

I was saddened to the news of Dallas Willard's death. He passed away at the age of 77, after a long battle with cancer. He was such an inspiring man and I had the privilege of listening to him at a workshop a few years ago. These are a few words I would use to sum up the impression he left with me:

...Brilliant mind, yet totally humble. Inspiring and deep, yet simple enough to understand. Passionate about Jesus and the Gospel, yet not arrogant or too 'religious'. Hard working, yet Spirit led.

Here are a few of his quotes, in case you don't Dallas.

“We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can almost be as stupid as a cabbage as long as you doubt.” 

 “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action. Grace, you know, does not just have to do with forgiveness of sins alone.” 

"... this is an age for spiritual heroes- a time for men and women to be heroic in their faith and in spiritual character and power. The greatest danger to the Christian church today is that of pitching its message too low.”

If you want to read more of his life then please read these thoughts.

Rest in Peace, Dallas.

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Ascension Day

In our Christian tradition we celebrate Ascension Day on the 9th May 2013 - this is 40 days after the Resurrection of Jesus. Even though we don't have it as an official Public Holiday any more, Christians should still remember this day as a 'Holy' day. It is a profound day in many ways:

1. It marks the end of Jesus' physical time on earth.
2. We are reminded that he returned to the Father, where he now prays for us.
3. It was an event that released the ministry of the Gospel to the disciples - Jesus passed on the baton to them, which in turn has been passed onto us.
4. It signifies preparation for Pentecost (10 days later), when the Spirit was poured out upon the whole church.
5. It marks the beginning of His reign as the King of Glory.

"The ascension of Elijah may be compared to the flight of a bird, which none can follow; the ascension of Christ is, as it were, a bridge between earth and heaven, laid down for all who are drawn to Him by His earthly existence." - Baumgarten.

May you experience the blessing of our King of Glory.

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

You catch my eye

Gerard Kelly writes some interesting 'words of worship.' His poertry is challenging and deeply profound. He wrote a poem entitled, "You catch my eye" and here are a few of his thoughts...

"You catch my eye
in the eye of the storm.
You hold ointment appointments
when hell's hornets swarm.

When I find no time for stillness, 
you tell me there's still time.
When my words are clashing symbols,
you are reason,

You are the song that rises
in my soul,
the coin that clatters
in my begging bowl."

What do you feel God is saying to you through this poem?

Living in Grace

Monday, 6 May 2013

Wise Words

Here are some wise words to start your day. May God bless you in all that you do.

"Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be." ~Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, c.1420

"You've got a lot of choices.  If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you're not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice."~Steven D. Woodhull (U.S. geologist, 1976-)

"Remember, if you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns!" ~Allison Gappa Bottke

If ever you come across a cool quote please send it onto me - I'd love to read it.

Living in Grace

Sunday, 5 May 2013

George Washington's prayer

I love reading the prayers of other people - they offer us a window into their soul. Here is part of a prayer recorded in the journal of George Washington.

"Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the Gospel. Give me repentance from dead works. Pardon my wanderings, & direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation. Teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments. Make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber. But daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life."

Please use his prayer as an inspiration for your day.

God bless you.

Live in God's grace,

Thursday, 2 May 2013

God's number

Here is another gem from Josh...

We were talking about something, when suddenly he was telling me about "God's number."
I was a little amused by this and after asking him what he meant, he told me that anything that has a large number is "God's number!" (I guess this would include the stars in the night sky, the grains of sand on the beach and perhaps the many leaves that are starting to fall.)

So, I still chuckle when I think of Josh and God's number.
God's love can't be contained - he loves us more than we can count.

May you be blessed today, with the overwhelming presence of God.

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Dealing with disappointment

We all face disappointment at some stage in our lives. I think it is how we deal with that disappointment that ultimately defines who we are as people. So how do you handle it? Does it leave you on the carpet or can you trust God to guide you through the rough waters?

Hope always has the ability to triumph over our disappointments.

Charles Stanley - Disappointment is inevitable. But to become discouraged, there's a choice I make. God would never discourage me. He would always point me to himself to trust him.

Hope is tomorrow's veneer over today's disappointment. - Evan Esar 

Put your trust in God and allow him to journey with you.

Living in Grace