Monday, 17 February 2020

Praying is no easy matter

Image result for Hard pray
Prayer can be so easy at times and then, in other moments, it can seem so hard. Henri Nouwen reflects on the intimacy of prayer, which can help us understand why it is so hard at times.
"Praying is no easy matter. It demands a relationship in which you allow someone other than yourself to enter into the very center of your person, to see there what you would rather leave in darkness, and to touch there what you would rather leave untouched."

1 Corinthians 2:11 - "For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."

May you discover more of yourself as you allow the Spirit to speak to you during your times of prayer.

Living in Grace

Friday, 14 February 2020

Pale Blue Dot

Pale Blue Dot

Thirty years ago, on Valentines day (1990), Voyager 1 took the remarkable image of the earth from 6.4 Billion kilometers away - look at where the arrow is pointing in the picture. It was called the 'Pale Blue Dot' by scientist Carl Sagan and it remains a humbling reminder of how small, yet precious the earth is.

As far as we know the earth is the only planet that can support human life. We may try and send people to live on Mars and the Moon, but that is still a long way in the future. We should recgonise the gift we have been given and remember how amazing our God is.

So for this Valentines day let us focus on the remarkable LOVE we have been given by God and that our planet was considered so special that God sent his Son to reveal his glory to us.

John 1:9 - "The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world."

John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

At the mercy of ...

Image result for Mercy, word
There are many things that are out of our control. We are at the mercy of things like: the weather, the taxman, load-shedding, aging and illness. But have you ever considered that we don't have to be at the mercy of everything that comes our way? There are some things that can guide us and provide a solid foundation for us.

Listen to these insightful words from Eugene Peterson:

"Worship is an act of attention to the living God who rules, speaks and reveals, creates and redeems, orders and blesses ... failure to worship consigns us to a life of spasms and jerks, at the mercy of every advertisement, every seduction, every siren."

By centering our worship on Jesus, God helps us remain secure in the gift of his grace, without the fear of being held hostage by every little thing.

Thought: It is best to rather be 'at the mercy' of Jesus.

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Go for the LOVE

Image result for Go for the love

Rick Warren – “Go for the Love, not always the win!”

Many times we are so busy trying to 'win' the arguments with our loved ones, friends and colleagues, instead of asking what this does to our relationships. Is it better to feel the satisfaction of winning an argument or rather to walk away for the sake of Love? 

In a week where the world will go crazy buying Valentines gifts, cards, flowers and treats (all as a show of love) let us not forget the real source of love - Jesus. 

Romans 12:9-10 (Message) "Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle."

Choosing Love this week may be the biggest victory you will experience.

Living in Grace

Monday, 10 February 2020

In this together

Image result for In this together
I have often wondered why the 12 Step Program is used so successfully with organisations like AA and others. A thought occurred to me this past week, while preparing a sermon on 'Living in Community', that it surely has to do with a deep sense of mutual struggle and empathetic understanding. In groups like this there can be no pretense and everyone knows your pain, so this often drives us to greater care, sincere encouragement and a collective feeling of 'we are in this together.'

Sadly, the same thing is not always evident in our churches, but it should be. We are all in this 'life' together and we all have struggles and pain, yet somehow we arrive at church with great pretense and our personal spiritual masks firmly in place.

Please read this well known verse very slowly and see what God is revealing to you today.

“A new command I give you:
Love one another.
As I have loved you,
so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know
 that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.” - John 13:34-35

Living in Grace

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Showing Sympathy

 Image result for sympathy
One of the advantages of being involved in community is that when we suffer through hard times there are people to walk alongside us. If we need encouragement, then we know we will be encouraged; likewise if we are needing sympathy, then others will show us sympathy.

It would be very sad if during our darkest times we had no one to put their arms around us and to remind us: "God is with you - and so are we!"

In his letter to the early church, Peter encouraged the Christians to show sympathy to one another:
"...Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble."

As Jerry Ellis states - “We are all fragile threads, but what a tapestry we make.” 

Our tapestry shows off the array of it's colours when believers walk alongside each other.

Who can you show sympathy to this week?

Living in Grace

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Living in Community

Image result for Living in Community
Living in any community is not always easy. Even in a small group of people (family sized) there will always be something that will cause us frustration. The same applies in churches, schools, places of work and social clubs - little irritations crop up which cause us to pull away from these groups of people for a while. 

In the end, it is the desire to belong and be connected, that draws us back into community again. We were designed to be in community! As Trevor Hudson remarked – “Clearly, the climate for growth and deepening in discipleship is community. We can’t become the people God created us to be without experiencing divine and human relationships.”

      Solomon agreed. He wrote “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

      Living in Grace