Saturday, 30 July 2016

Prayer for you

Here is a prayer for you today.

"Gracious and Holy Father,
give us the wisdom to discover You,
the intelligence to understand You,
the diligence to seek after You,
the patience to wait for You,
eyes to behold You,
a heart to meditate upon You,
and a life to proclaim You,
through the power of the Spirit of Jesus, our Lord." - St. Benedict

May you be blessed by these words today.

Living in Grace

Thursday, 28 July 2016

What is courage?

What is courage?
Is it a strong belief in "self" to overcome all obstacles?
Or is it perhaps the ability to recognise one's own weaknesses and to confront those?
Is it the willingness to ask for help?
Is it confronting your biggest fears head on?

I like these words from my friend, Trevor Hudson. He writes the following on the topic of courage:

"Courage is the capacity to live constantly with your deepest beliefs, no matter what confronts us. It is steadfastly holding on to what we put first and standing by it in every circumstance."

I pray for courage for all of us today.

Deuteronomy 31:6 - "So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” 

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Are you rooted?

· “What is firmly rooted, can’t be pulled out!” - Anon

Matthew 13:20-21 – “The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

I have been challenged again by the parable of the Sower (or the soils). It has reminded me that I will always be tested in life and especially in my faith. What will get me through the storms is not how good I am, but rather how deep my ‘roots’ go down into the ground. If I can ground myself firmly in the presence of Christ, then we those times of testing come, I may be battered and bruised, but I will be able to stand firm.

How deep do your roots go down?
What are you doing to make them stronger?

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The Big shadow of worry

You and I are worried about many things.
We are worried about the state of the economy....
....about the crisis in government
....about the lack of rain and now the chaos caused by the snow and floods
....about our kids and grandkids
....about work
....about friendships and relationships
....about our health

See what I mean - we are worried about many things?! The thing is - how many of these things are out of our control and how many can we influence? I loved this quote the first time I came across it:

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow. - Swedish proverb

It would be hypocritical of me to tell you "not to worry", but I do want to urge us not to allow the small things (of worry) to cast a MASSIVE shadow in our lives. 

Jesus says it best:

"Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" - Matthew 6:27

Living in Grace

Monday, 25 July 2016

Dylan Thomas, death and hope

As I prepare to share in a Memorial service today, I came across this old poem from Welshman, Dylan Thomas. One of the stanza's says this:

 “And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.”
- Dylan Thomas

It is such an awesome reminder that 'death shall have no dominion' over those who follow Christ. Even though we all face the inevitable date with death, we need not fear that moment - Christ has conquered sin and death.

Romans 8: 31-35If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Living in Grace

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Hard Heart?

"Worse than a bloody hand is a hard heart!" - P.B. Shelley

Sometimes things happen to us, or to our loved ones, and we immediately find our hearts beginning to harden. I think this is a natural response and one which we all find happens to us. The tragedy of this is that when we need to love others or to allow our hearts to show compassion, we can't anymore. The people in our 'future' are confronted by a version of ourselves that has become calloused and hardened.

Are you finding that your heart is beginning to grow hard and that you see the warning signs around you? If this is true, then why don't you start to bring this before God in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to soften your heart again.

Hosea 10:12 – “Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord.”

Living in Grace

Friday, 22 July 2016

Out of options?

"It is when we are out of options that we are most ready for God's surprises." - Max Lucado

Why is it that we sometimes have to get to the end of our 'human' wisdom and options before God seems to show up? Is it because that is when I am truly willing to do things God's way? Is it because I am so exhausted from all my own effort that I have to allow God's hand to work? I am not sure, but all I know is that God's surprise are always intended for our best interests. 

So, if you feel that you are out of options today, don't despair - God has plenty of options he is wanting to use.

“Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.’” - 2 Samuel 24:12

Living in Grace

Thursday, 21 July 2016

It is better

"It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans. 
 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes." - Psalm 118:8-9

Following God is not always easy. In fact, some days it is just plain difficult. However, despite the struggles we all face in our faith experience, the one thing I can truly say is ...
...IT IS BETTER than everything else put together. 

I have learnt to take refuge in Jesus, because He is better than anything and anyone else - His word is His bond and Jesus walks alongside me wherever I go.

What do you think?
Is Jesus "better" for you?

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Stop and ask

The other day a guy flagged us down at a traffic light - he was lost and he needed some directions. Firstly, let me say how much I admired this guy for asking for directions, but secondly, how simple it was for us to point him in the right direction.

Sometimes we find ourselves in a sticky situation, but we are too embarrased to ask for help and for directions. If we allow our pride to get the better of us, we will lead ourselves deeper into our mess, unless we ask for help.

"Show me your right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me
for you are the God who saves me." - Psalm 25:5

Living in grace

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Last Words - Gugu Zulu and others

In the last few days I have been struck by a number of tragic deaths reported on social media. One of them was South African rally driver Gugu Zulu, who sadly died while summiting Kilimanjaro. People have been remarking on some of the last words he wrote on his social media platforms and these have become seen as his 'Last words.'

This got me thinking about what I write on social media and even in this blog - and what if the words I write today were my last words? Would they be meaningful and helpful? Would they inspire others or would they just be some complaint about nothing in particular?

So, here is a challenge for us - let us try to allow our words to leave a legacy. Even if we hope to live another day, let us choose our words carefully today.

We remember the last words of Jesus, as they spoke a powerful reminder to the world that his work was complete. "When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." (John 19:30)

Living in Grace

Monday, 18 July 2016


On this Mandela Day (18th July) let us remember the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for a better future and for Justice. However, let us also not forget the great Sacrifice of Jesus, who died so that we may have eternal life. The legacy that Jesus leaves for us, reminds us that the small sacrifices we make are in response to His mercy revealed to us.

Hebrews 13:19-21 (The Message)

May God, who puts all things together,
    makes all things whole,
Who made a lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus,
    the sacrifice of blood that sealed the eternal covenant,
Who led Jesus, our Great Shepherd,
    up and alive from the dead,
Now put you together, provide you
    with everything you need to please him,
Make us into what gives him most pleasure,
    by means of the sacrifice of Jesus, the Messiah.
All glory to Jesus forever and always!

Nelson Mandela - It is in your hands, to make a better world for all who live in it.

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

It is work!

Ministers are always on the receiving end of jokes about working "only one day a week". We know that these jokes are only made in jest, just as the jokes about teachers only working half-day are also made for fun. However, when I read this quote from C.F.D. Moule today it shed some light on prayer and work.

"Prayer, genuine and victorious, is continually offered without the least physical effort or disturbance. It is often in the deepest stillness of soul and body that it wins its longest way. But there is another side of the matter. Prayer is never meant to be indolently easy, however simple and reliant it may be. It is meant to be an infinitely important transaction between man and God. And therefore, very often…it has to be viewed as a work involving labour, persistence, conflict, if it would be prayer indeed." - C.F.D. Moule 

Did you notice that? Prayer = work.
So, when I am praying (on my six days of rest), I am actually working :)

Take care and have a blessed day. Don't miss the significance of prayer being a discipline and something that may require effort.

Living in Grace