Tuesday 23 April 2024

Just like a star


Just like most people, I am not a fan of adversity. I don't deliberately seek out conflict or trials, and when I encounter tough times, I am probably the first to ask: "Why, Lord?!" However, the older I get, the more I can see God's hand at work, despite what may look like a mess. 

Perhaps it is true that Hope is indeed like a star:

“Hope itself is like a star – not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.” - Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Job 11:18 - You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.

What do you think?

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Monday 22 April 2024

A story of the beautiful old, cracked pot


I came across this beautiful story of an old, cracked water pot. I used it in my message on Sunday and it is such a wonderful reminder of how God chooses to use us despite our flaws and imperfections. May God bless you and remind us of his deep grace for us all.

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years, this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

 After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you”.  The bearer asked, “Why? What are you ashamed of?”  The Pot replied, “For these past two years I am able to deliver only half of my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you don’t get full value for your efforts”.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old, cracked pot, and in his compassion, he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”  As they went up the hill, the old, cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wildflowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it somewhat.  But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.” (Source, Unknown)

2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Thursday 18 April 2024

A prayer for the night


There are many wonderful and insightful prayers that come to us from the Celtic tradition. Here is one entitled: A Celtic Night Prayer (written by Beth Maxwell Boyle) 

"Creator God who upholds me,
Send your peace to sooth me,
When this world and its troubles,
Press hard down upon me.

Like a fair breeze from the south,
Your words they comfort me.
They make me long each day,
For everlasting justice and peace.

You alone have the wisdom of the ages,
You alone understand my heart.
Please Holy One give me rest and repose,
Give me the peace that only you can grant.

Give me repose this night and every night.
In the name of the Lamb,
The redeemer and the comforter,
Christ our King. 
Amen."

Psalm 42:8 - By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. 

Living in Grace

D3LM3
 Prayer

r God who upholds me,
nd your peace to sooth me,
When this world and its troubles,
Press hard down upon me.

Like a fair breeze from the south,
Your words they comfort me.
They make me long each day,
For everlasting justice and peace.

You alone have the wisdom of the ages,
You alone understand my heart.
Please Holy One give me rest and repose,
Give me the peace that only you can grant.

Give me repose this night and every night.
In the name of the Lamb,
The redeemer and the comforter,
Christ our King.

Amen

By Beth Maxwell Boyle

Wednesday 17 April 2024

The Gospel is...


Trying to define the 'Gospel' can either be overly complicated or seem too simplified. I really enjoy Tim Keller's definition of the Gospel. I pray that you would also find it helpful.

"The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope."

Luke 2:10 - “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people."

Luke 4: 18-19 - “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners,
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

What does the Good News (Gospel) mean to you today?

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Rocks into water


When we read the words of Scripture, we see that people in Biblical times believed that miracles were very possible. Sadly, our modern age has brought with it a great degree of skepticism, and unless we can explain something, we are reluctant to believe it possible.

In Psalm 114, the Psalmist writes:

"Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord,
    at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turned the rock into a pool,
    the hard rock into springs of water."

In this post-Easter season, the idea of God turning rock into water shouldn't be so hard to comprehend. He did a similar miracle through the hand of Moses (water from the rock) and then later through the example of Jesus, God raised him from the dead. 

Thought: What do the words of Psalm 114:7-8 mean for you today? Why are we so skeptical of things we cannot understand? 

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Monday 15 April 2024

The Rendevouz

 

The word 'rendevouz' means: "a meeting at an agreed time and place."

Although this word may have different connotations, it is an important word for us to reflect on in light of our relationship with God. Perhaps part of the modern dilemma is that we have agreed 'meeting times' with a whole range of people, but we struggle to stick to these times with God. Our one-on-one moments with God are so vital for our faith, but we still don't always make them a priority.

James Finley writes: "At the end of each rendevouz with the deeper place, we ask for the grace not to break the thread of that sensitivity as we go through the rest of our day."

James 4:8 - Come near to God and he will come near to you.

How are your meetings with Jesus going? 

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Thursday 11 April 2024

Learning Perseverance


Do you ever get the impression that God is wanting to teach you something?

Or that you are experiencing much of the same kind of thing, and you wonder what lesson you need to take from these moments? 

Well, I have been having one of those weeks and sense that the lesson I need to learn is perseverance. I admit that I am not enjoying learning the lesson so much, but I do trust that I will soon understand why it is a value lesson to learn (or re-learn).

Can you relate in anyway? What are having to learn at the moment?

"May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance." - 2 Thessalonians 3:5

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it." - Maya Angelou

"For great things do not just happen by impulse, but are a succession of small things linked together." - Vincent Van Gogh

Living in grace

D3LM3