Friday, 30 September 2016

Head and Shoulders

"God holds me head and shoulders
    above all who try to pull me down.
I’m headed for his place to offer anthems
    that will raise the roof!
Already I’m singing God-songs;
    I’m making music to God." - Psalm 27 (Message)

There are many people who try to pull us down and to drag us into their mess, but God desires to hold us 'head and shoulders' above these people. I don't see this as an act to keep us away from those in need, but rather to protect us from people who want to harm us.

May you enjoy the view from the shoulders of the Lord.

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Looking beyond

"Trusting God means looking beyond what we can see to what God sees." - Charles Stanley

My vision of the future is very limited. I can only see "so far" and this limits my ability to trust in the Lord. When I can see how things will work out in the future, then I settle into a place of trusting in my abilities to make things work out. However, when the future is blurry, then I have to trust in the Lord.

So, I guess that sometimes "Not knowing" is the starting point of putting our faith into practice. It teaches us to rely on the goodness of God and in trusting that God will make things work out for us.

Psalm 56:4When I get really afraid I come to you in trust. I’m proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God. (The Message)

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


The book 'Unbroken" tells the amazing story Louie Zamperini, an Olympic runner, US prisoner of war and later on in life, Christian evangelist. What Louie had to endure in his life was way more than the ordinary person would ever dream of, yet God had a special purpose for his life.

All that Louie had to go through, particularly as a castaway for 47 days in the ocean and as a POW, would have broken the average person, but all of these trials seemed to build a 'steel resolve' into his character. In the end, Louie is remembered as a person of character, determination, strength, forgiveness and grace.

This book has challenged me on how easily I feel defeated at times, and how we let small things get us down. In order for us to walk the way of Faith, we need to develop a character that is not willing to be broken by the enemy and that is willing to allow God to work miracles in our lives.

Proverbs 24:10 - If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!

Romans 5:2-5 - "And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

Living in Grace

Monday, 26 September 2016

Lectio Divina - Psalm 37

In our Church History class this morning, I reminded the students of an ancient spiritual practise called Lectio Divina (Divine Reading), which has been used by many Spiritual giants in the past. This discipline includes taking a portion of scripture, reading it, praying over it, reading it again and then allowing the Spirit to speak to you. Often what happens in these moments is that the Spirit highlights certain words or verses that you need to hear.

Today we used Psalm 37 and it was wonderful to see how God worked through this Psalm.
These were some of the thoughts that I found meaningful this morning:

23 The Lord makes firm the steps
    of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

Why don't you try this spiritual discipline sometime? Take a Psalm and give it a try.

Living in Grace

Sunday, 25 September 2016

It is not over YET...

As long as you have breath, it is not over YET.
Hang in there and believe in the miracles that God can reveal in and through us.

"For with God, nothing shall be impossible!" - Luke 1:37

Hold unto this belief and see what God can do. May you have a blessed week.

“When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” - Helen Keller

When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another. Helen Keller
Read more at:
n we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another. Helen Keller
Read more at:
Living in Grace

Saturday, 24 September 2016


We are so used to taking charge of situations in our lives that we don't like to be second in command. We may be happy to have an Assistant, but we like to know that we can call the shots most of the time. The trouble with this is that we then treat God in the same way. We think that God will make a great Assistant - we can call on him whenever we get stuck on our own projects.

In truth, God is not looking for the job as our Assistant. God wants to be our LEADER, our LORD and our Captain.

Let's stop trying to fit Jesus into the position as our assistant and let's hand over the reins to Him.

Psalm 68:6God makes a home for the lonely; He leads the prisoners into prosperity, Only the stubborn and rebellious dwell in a parched land (Amplified).

Living in Grace

Friday, 23 September 2016

Our Youth need new Heroes

Our young people need new heroes! One of the reasons so many young people are getting caught up in this '#feesmustfall' campaign is because they have been let done by their leaders and heroes. People are searching for a cause to believe in and are looking for a new sense of leadership. I am not sure where this leadership is going to come from as the 'bottom of the barrell' is staring at us in the face, but perhaps Christopher Reeve's quote offers us some direction in looking for a Hero:

"...a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles." - Christopher Reeve

We need ordinary men and women to stand up and to offer leadership in the midst of these troubled times. Sadly, our leaders aren't able to offer us the direction we seek, so we may just need to look for new heroes.

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.
Read more at:
"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Read more at:
Living in Grace

P.S. - In response to the student protests happening all over the South Africa campuses, I need to state that I am anti-violence. I believe that ever person has the right to be heard, but as soon as protests become violent, then I am less likely to listen to the 'reasons' for the protest. As a Christ-follower, I need to look to Jesus as my role model. It was possible for Jesus and his disciples to start a Revolution, not through violence, but through Love.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

You are .... (a Prayer for today)

If you have ever wondered how to express your love for Jesus, then start with this lovely prayer from Saint Francis. I am not 100% sure of the exact title of the prayer, but I would give it the following title - "You Are...

You are the holy Lord God
Who does wonderful things.
You are strong. You are great. You are the most high.
You are the almighty king. You holy Father,
King of heaven and earth.

You are three and one, the Lord God of gods;
You are the good, all good, the highest good,
Lord God living and true.

You are love, charity; You are wisdom, You are humility,
You are patience. You are beauty, You are meekness,
You are security, You are rest,
You are gladness and joy, You are our hope, You are justice,
You are moderation, You are all our riches to sufficiency.

You are beauty, You are meekness,
You are the protector, You are our custodian and defender,
You are strength, You are refreshment, You are our hope,
You are our faith, You are our charity,
You are all our sweetness, You are our eternal life:
Great and wonderful Lord, Almighty God, Merciful Saviour.

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Steadfast - part 2

Yesterday's post was about how we need to remain strong and Steadfast in the face of opposition and of trials. However, today I wanted to remind us all that even if we can't be Steadfast, God is always STEADFAST. Listen to what the Bible says:

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
His mercies never come to an end." - Lamentations 3:22

Psalm 6:4 - Return, O Lord, rescue my soul; Save me because of Your [unfailing] steadfast love and mercy.

I am greatly encouraged by the fact that God will always be there for me. His love remains steadfast and secure through all the uncertainties of life.

Hold onto the goodness of Jesus today.

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 20 September 2016


“Create in me a clean heart O’God and renew a STEADFAST spirit in me.” – Psalm 51:10

We all face times of struggle in our lives. We can be tempted to pack it all in and to give up, but the call for today is that we remain Steadfast. This implies that we firmly plant our feet on the ground and that we grit our teeth, fighting for another day. In a strange way, the more 'Steadfast' we become the stronger we get.
2 Chronicles 27:6 - Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord his God.

What is God asking you to remain steadfast in today?
I pray that God allows you the strength to "Hang in there" for one more day. 

Living in Grace

Monday, 19 September 2016

It Changes Everything!

It changes Everything!
You may be wondering what "it" I am speaking about - well, this "it" is LOVE. When we come to a deeper understanding of God's love for us, it is this LOVE that can change everything in our lives. If you don't want to take my word for it, then ask the billions of people who have had their lives changed by the indescribable love of God.

We sang a version of the well known song, 'Love Changes Everything' in our service on Sunday.It was Michael Ball who sang the original (I think) and these were some of those words:

 Love, love changes everything
Hands and faces, earth and sky
Love, love changes everything
How you live and how you die
Love, can make the summer fly
Or a night seem like a lifetime
Yes love, love changes everything
Now I tremble at your name
Nothing in the world will ever be the same.

Jesus' Love changes everything about our lives.

 John 15:9 - “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

Living in Grace


Sunday, 18 September 2016

Just Hope

"Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint." - Isaiah 40:28-31

We have one task to live out today. All that is required of us is to HOPE in the Lord. Once we start with that, then the rest will follow.

Have a blessed Day.
Living in Grace

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Prayer for this day

"God, in Your goodness
grant me the intellect to comprehend You,
the perception to discern You,
and the reason to appreciate You.
In Your kindness
endow me with the diligence to look for You,
the wisdom to discover You,
and the spirit to apprehend You.
In Your graciousness
bestow on me a heart to contemplate You,
ears to hear You,
eyes to see You,
and a tongue to speak of You.
In Your mercy confer on me
a conversation pleasing to You,
the patience to wait for You,
and the perseverance to long for You.
Grant me a perfect end,
Your holy presence. Amen." - Benedict of Nursia

This words are from St Benedict and they are a lovely way to help us focus on the character of Jesus. I have underlined the 4 words in the Prayer that I believe are central to our prayer life - the Goodness, Kindness, Graciousness and Mercy of God.

Please read this prayer, pray it and then pass it on to someone.

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Time to sleep?

I have been teaching my students on the life of Benedict this week and I have loved being re-acquainted with this man of faith. He seemed to have a good grasp of the urgency of time and sharing the gospel while we can. He is known to have said the following:

"It is time now for us to rise from sleep."

"The sleepy like to make excuses." 

It is a sad reality that the Church ends up moving into seasons of 'sleep', where we forget the urgency of the Gospel. These times of 'sleep' are different from planned 'rest' or 'sabbath', but are occasions when Christians have fallen asleep in the face of the Mission of God.

Where is your faith at the moment? Is it alive and awake or have you fallen asleep?

Mark 14:37 -"Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour?"

Living in Grace

Monday, 12 September 2016

Short Prayers

Jesus didn't like long winded prayers either! He encouraged his disciples to pray sincerely, but their prayers didn't need to be long. Benedict of Nursia agreed with Jesus on this, when he urged his monks with the following words:

“Prayer ought to be short and pure, unless it be prolonged by the inspiration of Divine grace.” - St. Benedict

As you come to God in prayer today, don't fall into the trap of thinking you need hours to pray. Just a short prayer is enough to start. I think that God knows what the following prayers mean:

"Lord, help!"
"Grant me strength O Lord."
"Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me."
"Thank you Jesus."
"I love you Lord."

Luke 20:46-47 - “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

Living in Grace

Friday, 9 September 2016

Salt water anyone?

Have you ever drunk salt water? Either intentionally or by accident when you have been swimming in the sea? It doesn't taste nice hey? In fact, drinking Salt Water actually makes you more thirsty. The more you drink - the more you need to quench your thirst.

This is what Jesus is getting at when he speaks to his followers in this parable from Luke 12:15-16.
"Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest."

In reality, we think that 'things' will satisfy the thirst we have for life. We argue that if I have the latest phone, or car, or gadget or whatever, that then I will be really satisfied. However, we all know that this is not true is it? Remember that toy you just had to have when you were a kid - where is that toy now? We thought that this would be the answer to the longing in our hearts, but it wasn't .

Reflection: There is only one person who can meet all of our desires and hopes. His name is Jesus.

Living in Grace

Thursday, 8 September 2016

You need more of this

We all need more of this one thing...

Read this and see what I mean:

"Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger,
misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life 
with all its sorrows is good;
that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding;
and that there is always tomorrow." - Dorothy Thompson

Psalm 84:11 - For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favour and honour; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
May God grant you enough courage to get you through this day.
Living in Grace

Wednesday, 7 September 2016


"God heals the brokenhearted
and bandages their words." - Psalm 147:3

This verse reminds me of a God who is compassionate and kind. I know that there are other scriptures that seem to point out as if God is angry, vindictive and hard, but I still struggle to believe in that part of God's nature. It could have something to do with the way the writers of some books of the Bible recorded their impression of God, but it does lead to a distorted view of God. How can God be loving when he is angry?

I realise I can't tear out the pages of the Bible that portray God as being vengeful, because they remind me of God's ultimate justice. However, I will choose to respond to those portions of the Bible that invite me into a loving relationship with Jesus. I am not sure if this even makes any sense, but I hope you understand what I mean :)

Psalm 34:18 - The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Living in Grace

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Choose a Word

If you have a careful look at the attached photo you will see that it contains a number of different words that have been scrambled into the picture. As you cast your eyes over the picture you will find that you are drawn to certain words - for example, can you see the following words: Help, Flawless, Independent, Calm, Friendly, versatile? They are all hidden in the block, but our eyes are often drawn to the word we need for the moment.

The same can be applied to our reading of Scripture. If we read a passage in a disciplined way, we will notice that the Spirit highlights certain words for us and these words become part of our lives in that moment. Why don't you give it a try and see what I mean? Read through these few verses and ask God to highlight some words for you:

"Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint." - Isaiah 40:28-31

If you have a moment, please send me a quick message with the ONE word that stood out for you today.

My word for today is: 'strength'

Living in Grace

Monday, 5 September 2016

Before you say 'Adios'

In the sixth chapter of "Half Time" Bob Burford shares the heart-wrenching story of the death of his son. The circumstances surrounding his death were tragic and it took years for Bob to come to terms with what happened. In reflecting back on that time in his life, Buford quotes from two respected authors - George Bernard Shaw and John Donne. I found these quotes helpful and so I would like to offer them to you.

"Life is no brief candle to me. It's a sort of splendid torch which I've got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations." - George Bernard Shaw

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main ... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; therefor never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee!" - John Donne

Before we all say our 'Adios' to the world, why don't we embrace all of the LIFE that God has given to us.

Psalm 104:33 - I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Living in Grace

Sunday, 4 September 2016

It needs more than a GOOD Idea

There are many wonderful ideas out there. People come up with weird and brilliant suggestions to change the world or to make life easier. Good intentions get us started onto the path of changing our city or country, but sadly many of these ideas remain just that .... random thoughts in the mind of someone.

Ideas only become reality when people put these thoughts and ideas to work. Can you imagine what the world would have been like if God had thought - "It would be a good idea to send a Saviour to planet Earth", but then God didn't actually do anything about it?

Or imagine Jesus thinking this - "I should get together a group of people who will follow me and then I can teach them the ways of my Father!" But, in the end, Jesus forgets about this Idea and lives out his days working as a carpenter!

There is an old saying that goes like this: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."As you reflect on this, ask the Lord to prompt you into action. What ideas has God given you that need to come to LIFE!? Remember this: It takes more than a Good Idea to change the world - it requires some action!

Living in Grace

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Half Time - reflection on Bob Buford's book

I have picked up an old book that I read a long time ago, but one that is so worth reading again. It is called 'Half Time' by Bob Buford. Essentially Bob observes that we spend the first half of our lives trying to be Successful, but then we start to feel as if our achievements are empty - we then search for something deeper to fill the void. He argues that then the second half of our lives move towards a search for Significance. I think he has many wise points to make and it is a challenging read.

In the first chapter his book, Buford asks the reader to reflect on what your Epitaph will look like. He actually asks us to write our own Epitaph and then to reflect on how we will live towards these words. I find this a challenging question. What do you make of this? What would you want your final words to say?

“A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough." - Alexander the Greats tombstone epitaph

Jeremiah 22:18-19 (MSG) - This is God’s epitaph on Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah: “Doom to this man! Nobody will shed tears over him, ‘Poor, poor brother!’ Nobody will shed tears over him, ‘Poor, poor master!’ They’ll give him a donkey’s funeral, drag him out of the city and dump him.

Living in Grace