Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Best is still to come

As we say goodbye to 2015, with all it's laughter, tears, celebration and pain, may I remind us of the promise of a new beginning - a new year brings new opportunities and new possibilities.

Wouldn't it be awesome if 2016 was much better than this year?
Wouldn't it be incredible if our pains from this year were cut in half & our JOYS were doubled!?
Wouldn't it be terrific if our relationship with Jesus became more real this year?

Perhaps you want to add your own comments in this next one:
Wouldn't it be great if _______________________?

As we contemplate a new year, may our prayer be something like this:

"Thank you Lord for all that has past in 2015. We trust in your goodness and mercy for 2016 and we hold onto the promise that in Jesus name, the BEST it still to come. Amen."

Living in Grace

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Trouble - Advent word for today

In some countries the 26th December is called Boxing Day. This is not because Families are so tired of each other that they are literally 'Boxing' with each other, but it has it's roots in generosity. Servants and tradesmen would receive a "Christmas Box" from their employers on the 26th December, which was a reward for their good work during the year.

I have chosen the word 'Trouble' for today's Christmas word, because soon after his birth, Jesus was greeted with trouble from all sides. Herod was angry that he had a new challenger and so he ordered all the boys under 2 to be killed. This meant that Joseph, Mary and Jesus needed to get away from the trouble that was coming for them. I wonder if Mary had recognised some of this potential strife when she first heard the news of Jesus' birth?

Luke 1:29 - "Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be."

What comforts me is that Jesus understands hardship and trouble, so when I go through tough times, I know that he relates to me 100%. 
As you spend time with your loved ones this Christmas hold onto the promise that Jesus will help us overcome our troubles.
Living in Grace

Friday, 25 December 2015

Be blessed this Christmas Day

Our family wants to take this opportunity to wish you all a Blessed Christmas. Thank you for all the love, support and friendship over the years - may God grant you His peace, joy and love this Festive season.

"Christmas is the Day that holds all things together" - Alexander Smith

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” - Luke 2:11

Living in God's Grace
D3LM3 and family

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Advent word - PEACE

I have been holding out on sharing this word for Advent - PEACE - because it is such a hard word to describe. In a lot of ways it is equally a hard emotion to put into words.

Is Peace the absence of trials and stress? Probably not.
Is Peace the feeling you get when things go your way? I don't think so.
Is it how we feel when everyone else is in bed and everything is quiet in the house? Maybe!
Is Peace the term we use when people are no longer fighting with each other? In part, I guess.

So what is it then?
Well, I believe it had a lot to do with the Spirit of Christ dwelling inside our hearts. It is the move of God to take up "residence" in our minds, souls and lives. Peace becomes the state of knowing that despite all exterior things, God is in control and God will make a way!

Well, that's what I think anyways....
....what helps you understand PEACE?

“I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly.” - Psalm‬ ‭85:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Living in Grace

Monday, 21 December 2015

Full of Wonder - Advent

The word AWESOME has been used in all sorts of contexts nowadays. In some ways it has lost it's original meaning and we forget that to be in AWE of something is truly remarkable and unique.

I feel the same can be said of the word WONDERFUL - it is also now used to describe things like:
The weather...

However, as we edge ever closer to the birth of Jesus I am choosing to reserve my WONDER and Awe for the ONE who truly deserves it.

His name is Immanuel.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called WONDERFUL Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”- Isaiah‬ ‭9:6‬ ‭

May you have a day filled with the wonder of Jesus.

Living in Grace

Friday, 18 December 2015

Preparation - Advent Word

Preparing for Christmas is such an exciting event for many people - although it can also be really stressful and tiring for others. In our preparation for the actual day of Christmas we can easily get side-tracked with our lists of food, gifts, decorations, and travel arrangements. None of these things are bad in themselves, but it goes without saying that they should not be the ONLY focus of our preparations.

As we enter into the final week of preparations for Christmas I pray that we would all keep Jesus in our thoughts and that he would appear at number one on our list. All of the material preparations can never prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus. I urge us all to spend some quality time in reflecting on the Incarnation - the word made flesh - the coming of our Messiah.

Living in grace

Thursday, 17 December 2015

"Branch" - Advent Word

Nature is amazing! You can do a little pruning in one season, but as soon as the rains come, then one witnesses new growth. Even if you cut off a branch from a tree, soon a new one will grow. Jesus is likened to a Branch in the Old Testament. Although Israel was pruned, God was going to allow something better to grow - this is the Jesus we worship this Christmas time.

Never write God off - God can do amazing miracles.

“‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch." - Zechariah 3:8

Isaiah 4:2 - In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. 
Isaiah 11:1 - A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
Living in Grace

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Reconciliation - Advent Word

The 16th December is known as the "Day of Reconciliation" in South Africa. This day has a long history in our nation, but this new name seems appropiate, especially in a world where there is so much brokeness and hurt.

This Advent season we remember that Jesus Christ came to reconcile us to our Heavenly Father and to each other. May we find the resolve to forgive those who have wounded us and the humility to turn to Jesus.

Romans 5:11 - "... but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Hope - Advent word for today

What are you HOPING for?
Who are you placing your HOPE in?
Hope is a very unusual concept to describe, but it is one that keeps us going? I feel that we all need something to HOPE in, otherwise life can become very depressing. Thankfully this Christmas we can celebrate that Jesus is the HOPE of the world.

em-title-wrap col-sm-3"> Job 7:6 - “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope." (It is interesting that the book of Job mentions HOPE nearly 20 times - If anyone needed something to HOPE for, it was Job).
Psalm 9:18 - But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.

"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness." - Desmond Tutu

Living in Grace

Monday, 14 December 2015

Rejoice - Advent word

"You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder." - Isaiah 9:3

When the Bible includes a word three times in a short space of text then we should stand up and take note. This is the technique that Isaiah uses in chapter 9 - he wants us to get to grips with the theme of Rejoicing. In a time when people were depressed and miserable, Rejoicing seemed unlikely, but certainly hoped for. The same could be said for many people today -  there is a lot of strife in our communities, but the longing to 'Rejoice' and be Glad can keep us going.

Luke 1:14 - He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth.

"There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice." - John Calvin

Living in Grace

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Advent word - Song

Does music make you happy?
Can it also make you feel a little sad?
We often find that music expresses things in our hearts that we just can't even seem to understand ourselves, yet music tells a powerful story.

When Mary was told that she was going to be the mother of Jesus, she burst into song. Even in the midst of her grappling with this
miraculous news, her heart poured forth a song.

Luke 1:46-49
 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.

May you sing a wondrous song this Christmas season.
May the Spirit of Christ gives you words to sing.

Living in Grace

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Saviour - Advent word

"And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” - Matthew 1:21

How our world needs a Saviour right now?! No human on this planet has the ability or influence to save our world from self-destruction, but we believe that Jesus can. It is when we place our hopes and hearts into the name of Jesus, that is when our salvation starts.

Instead of trying to be your own saviour, why not believe in THE Saviour?

“I will not wear a crown of gold where my Saviour wore one of thorns” - Godfrey of Bouillon

2 Samuel 22:2 - "The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour."

Living in Grace

Friday, 11 December 2015

Advent word - HOPE

We live in a world of lots of pain. Many of us have suffered heartache and loss. For some of us, Christmas will not be a time of great peace, love or even joy. If you find yourself in this situation this Christmas, please can I ask you to hold onto one word - it is the word HOPE.

Hope offers us the possibility that tomorrow will be better.
Hope enables us to believe that God is listening.
Hope reminds us that Jesus came into the world for each one of us.
Hope reaches into the dark corners of our souls.
Hope is food for today.
Matthew 12:21- "In his name the nations will put their hope.”
Romans 5:2 -  "And we boast in the hope of the glory of God."

May your hope rest in Jesus.

Living in Grace

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Advent word - Orientation

I remember going to the Cango Caves when I was twelve years old. It was a memorable experience for a young child and one of the things I still remember was when the guides turned all the lights out. That cave was pitch black and within a few seconds everyone felt disorientated. We all breathed a massive sigh of relief when the guide lit a candle again - suddenly we could see where we were.

Life can do the same thing to us - in an instant we can be thrown into complete darkness and this can leave us feeling disorientated. We don't know which way to turn or even how to pray. However, the Good News of Advent is that we are awaiting the birth of the "LIGHT of the World." Jesus brings new orientation to our lives and helps us realise where we are.

Don't panic if you have suddenly been thrown in the darkness. Christ is with you and he will soon show you the way.

Genesis 28:15 - I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Remember our key word for today - ORIENTATION.

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Among - New Advent word

“Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you." - Zechariah 2:10-11

Zechariah's prophecy came true in the most profound of ways. Jesus came to live AMONG us. The King of kings and Lord of lords, joined us in the midst of our world and revealed the love of God to all humanity. It is a pity that we miss out on the true nature of God, by getting images of people who insist that God is full of hatred. Advent reminds us that God is LOVE.

May the light of Christ fill your heart with joy today.

Remember God may not take our trouble from us, but He will be with us in the midst of it all.

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

"Us" - new Advent word

Can you believe that you have been included in God's plans!?
I can't believe the news sometimes, to be honest. Why would God want to include me in His Divine plans? I am not sure why, but it is awesome to recognise that I have been on the guest list since the day I was born.

"For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given..." - Isaiah 9:6

If you have ever invited someone to a gathering and they never bothered to show up then you can understand how God must feel at times. He offered his Son, for all of "US", but there are some people who just won't be bothered to reply this Christmas.

What about you? Have you embraced Jesus as your Lord and Saviour?

Living in Grace

Monday, 7 December 2015

"SEEK" - Advent word for today

To 'Seek' something, means to search intently for that thing. It is not just material things that we seek - we can seek for another human being, and even for something that is hard to quantity. For example, when we 'seek' peace, we are searching for something that is hard to see, but it certainly can be experienced.

The Magi came to Bethlehem because they were SEEKING the Messiah - they wanted to pay homage to the King. This Christmas we are all seeking for something - perhaps we just don't know what it is yet?

So, what is it that you are looking for this Advent season? Are you searching in the right place?

1 Chronicles 16:10 - Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Luke 12:31 - But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
Jesus even did a little 'seeking' of his own. Remember these words:

Luke 19:10 - "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Living in Grace

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Advent word - Unexpected

The coming of the Messiah was definitely expected by God-followers - for hundreds of years before he was born people were waiting for his coming. However, what was unexpected was the way things happened (i.e. born in a manger in Bethlehem) and where Jesus would position himself in society (with the poor, widows and sinners).

In a deep sense, everything that Jesus did was beyond the norm - it was UNEXPECTED.

Our Messiah is a God of surprises and if we "box" him into a particular place this Christmas we may just miss out on the miracle of the Nativity.

Matthew 2:6 - “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’

John 4:27 -  Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman.

Living in Grace

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Accomplish - Advent word

When God sets out to do something it gets done! We may not always understand God's ways or His timing, but we need to remember that it will come to pass. Take a read of this often overlooked verse in the Birth narrative of Luke's Gospel.

"For no word from God will ever fail." - Luke 1:37

How awesome is that promise?!

Psalm 20:4 - May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Living in Grace

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Do not Fear - Advent #5

The birth narratives of Jesus are filled with words of courage - the angels often tell Joseph and Mary not to fear what is to come. Although the changes in their lives are about to be significant, the angel reassures them that all is part of God's plan.

Is this perhaps an advent message for some of us today?

Matthew 1:20 - “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:30 -  “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favour with God!

May God help us not to be so afraid, that we forget to trust in Jesus.

"Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence." -

Pope John Paul II

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Advent #4 - Strength

It may be easy for me to say this in hindsight, but I am struck by the STRENGTH of many of the Christmas characters. This strength could only have come from one source.

Zechariah had a deep strength and courage to affirm that his son's name would be different from what his family expected.

Mary clearly had a unique STRENGTH to carry the Christ-child and to deal with all the gossip around her pregnancy.

Joseph showed incredible strength of character to marry Mary, knowing that there was something supernatural taking place. He also showed great obedience in listening to the Lord and then leading his family to safety in Egypt.

"He will stand and shepherd his flock
    in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God." - Micah 5:4

How strong are you feeling today? It is not to late to call on the name of the Lord and to allow Jesus to be your STRENGTH.

Luke 22:43 - "An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him."

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Disturbing - Advent #3

The birth of Jesus caused quite a stir in nation of Israel, but it also impacted the Roman's too. Herod was ruler at that time and he was DISTURBED by the news he received.

"When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied..." - Matthew 2:3-5

It may seem a strange word to include on our Advent journey this year, but I firmly believe that the birth of Jesus doesn't leave us feeling ambivalent. It should stir something within us. Either it will move us to bow before him as our Lord, or it will disturb us so much that we will do all we can to ignore him or even destroy him.

Which response is yours this Advent season?

Please pray for those people who seem to have the spirit of Herod this Christmas time. Ask the Lord to reveal himself to them in a significant way.

Living in Grace