Tuesday 23 July 2024

Being intentional about this important aspect of our lives

How many times have you recently thought to yourself: "I am tired. I need to get some rest. I feel drained." If you have experienced these feelings and emotions, then I ask another question: "have you managed to find a gap to restore your soul?"

When Jesus was constantly in the public arena and ministering to the crowds, he felt the same as we often feel. He was tired and needed time to recoup and regain his inner strength. Even in the midst of the demands, he made time to withdraw, even if it was for a short time.

45 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. 46 After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. (Mark 6)

The people that Jesus sent home were the 5000 that he had just fed - that is a lot of people to send packing. However, Jesus did this graciously and knew that without taking care of his own soul, he would have nothing to give the people in the future. This is such a hard practise for us to get right, but something that it well worth us being intentional about.

Vane Havner once said: If you don’t come apart and rest, you will come apart.”

If you would like to read another similar post on this topic, please re-read the post from last week. For some reason, this post was 'taken down' by Facebook and so many haven't been able to read it. I think it was due to the name of the energy drink I mentioned in the title :)

Living in grace

Monday 22 July 2024

Even in your darkest hour, Christ wants to draw near to you.


"Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morningJesus came toward them, walking on the water." - Mark 6: 47-48

At three o'clock in the morning it is arguably one of the darkest periods of the night. It certainly can be one of the loneliest too. For the disciples trying to row back home on the Sea of Galilee, they were really up against the elements that particular evening. They were physically and emotionally spent. 

However, what I love about Mark's account of this incident, is that Jesus 'sees' them and then makes a movement towards them. Too often we get caught up in trying to figure out how Jesus actually walked on water - we struggle to get our minds around the physics of the moment, forgetting the gift of his calming presence. 

Jesus wants to come to us, even in our darkest hour. Do you feel that you are struggling with many things at the moment, and you are getting into serious difficulties? If yes, then why don't you call out to God and open your heart to His life-giving presence.

Living in Grace


Thursday 18 July 2024

No greater gift

Mandela Day is celebrated on the 18th of July (his birthday) and many people try to do something charitable to honour his life. When we look at some of Mandela's words, we can understand why this is important. 

"You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself."

"It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it."

"There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return."

One of my favourite quotes is this one: "Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."

Thoughts: As Christians we know that serving others is what Jesus asked us to do, so being part of Mandela Day activities is another chance for us to serve Christ, as we serve others.

Mark 10:45 - "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Living in Grace


Pushed to my knees!

When Paul proclaimed that he was okay about his weaknesses, because they allowed God's strength to be revealed (2 Corinthians 12), I wondered how I could get to that same place. To be content in all situations is a hard journey to take.

However, as I re-read these words, from Eugene Peterson's paraphrase (The Message), I began to understand more of what this would require from me. And in truth, it is the simple knowledge, that when I am pushed down by my weaknesses and struggles, then I am moved into the best pose for honest prayer!

7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first, I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness."
- 2 Corinthians 12:1-12

Action: If you would like to listen to my 20-minute podcast reflection on this passage, you are welcome to follow this link. 

Living in Grace


P.S. Please let me know if the link works for the podcast. Thanks so much 

Wednesday 17 July 2024

Red Bull - it can give you wings!

The energy drink, Red Bull, boasts that it can 'give you wings' and make you fly through life. Although it is a modern drink, one wonders if John Wesley had something like Red Bull in his day. The reason I say this is because according to biographers, John Wesley rode 60-70 miles per day (on horseback remember), preached 3 sermons a day (on average). It is estimated that he preached close on 42000 sermons in his lifetime. 

In his 83rd year, Wesley wrote in his diary: "I am a wonder to myself. I am never tired, either with preaching, writing or travelling." 

Do you see what I mean? He must have been sipping some Red Bull on his horse :)

But seriously, the only thing he would put forward as a logical reason for his energy and stamina, would be the 'Grace of God' and the power of the Holy Spirit. You can't keep going like that, without the power of God's supernatural favour and grace.

1 Peter 4:11 If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Thought: Are you relying on your own strength at the moment, or are you trusting in the power of God's spirit? May God grant you his strength and grace today.

Living in Grace


Tuesday 16 July 2024

Pilgrims on the journey

Followers of Jesus are often called 'Pilgrims.' There is a wonderful sense of coming together for one purpose, and that is to journey to the heart of God. In the Old Testament, it was about making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and as you did this, you meet with others, sang songs of praise and began to experience profound joy.

"I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Our feet are standing 
in your gates, Jerusalem." - Psalm 122:1

Isaiah 30:29 - You will be filled with joy, as when a flutist leads a group of pilgrims to Jerusalem, the mountain of the Lord— to the Rock of Israel.

"Pilgrims are persons in motion -
passing through territories not their own -
seeking something we might call completion,
or perhaps the word clarity would do as well,
a goal to which only the spirit's compass
points the way."
- Richard R. Niebuhr

Thought: May you know the peace and joy of Christ as you continue to journey towards the heart of God.

Living in Grace


Monday 15 July 2024

Hope that is strong and trustworthy

There is not a lot in our world that one can call, 'strong and trustworthy.' In fact, displays of power and strength are usually more abusive than trustworthy. However, when I read through the book of Hebrews, I was captivated by verse 19 in chapter 6. 

Hebrews 6:18-19 - So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

Holding onto a Hope that is strong and Trustworthy seems like something that is worth holding onto. 

"Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships." - Stephen Covey

Living in grace