Thursday, 9 April 2020

26a - Delusions of grandeur

Delusions of Grandeur | Michael Thomas Howard Investigation
We are all a lot like Simon Peter - we have delusions of granduer! We promise much, but end up falling short of our bold promises. We mean well and we desperately want to give our all to Jesus, but in the end our frailties trip us up.

31 On the way, Jesus told them, “Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say,
‘God will strike the Shepherd,
    and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
32 But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”
33 Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.”
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
35 “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same. (Matthew 26:31-35)

We can't fault Peter for his willingness to try and this is why he is such a beloved disciple for all of us. He keeps stumbling, but then rising again. He makes a mistake, wrestles with his sins, and then comes clean before Jesus. And in seeing the heart of Peter, Jesus loves him and gives him the greatest responsibility of all - carrying the message of Hope to a broken world.

This Holy Week remember that Peter was forgiven for his failings and lauded for his Faith. 

It is not our failings that will turn Jesus away from us, but rather our refusal to to recognise him as our Lord.

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

25 - Smart or Silly

Poll Of The Week: Smart or dumb? - Kinda Funny Forums
Some of Jesus's teachings are simple to understand, while there are a few that leave us scratching our heads. If you read through Matthew 25, you will notice three classic parables - The first one is about the 10 Young Women (virgins), then Jesus shares about the 3 servants and their bags of gold, followed by a teaching on the final judgement, where there will be a separating of sheep and goats.

In the light of our Lent period coming to an end and the Easter weekend upon us, read these words from Matthew 25:1-13 and see if there is a message for you in this. Ask yourself these questions as you go through it:

1. What does it mean for us to "have extra oil on stand-by?"
2. What makes us "tired" as Christ-followers?
3. Does this parable make God seem unfair to you?

1-5 “God’s kingdom is like ten young virgins who took oil lamps and went out to greet the bridegroom. Five were silly and five were smart. The silly virgins took lamps, but no extra oil. The smart virgins took jars of oil to feed their lamps. The bridegroom didn’t show up when they expected him, and they all fell asleep.
“In the middle of the night someone yelled out, ‘He’s here! The bride-groom’s here! Go out and greet him!’
7-8 “The ten virgins got up and got their lamps ready. The silly virgins said to the smart ones, ‘Our lamps are going out; lend us some of your oil.’
“They answered, ‘There might not be enough to go around; go buy your own.’
10 “They did, but while they were out buying oil, the bridegroom arrived. When everyone who was there to greet him had gone into the wedding feast, the door was locked.
11 “Much later, the other virgins, the silly ones, showed up and knocked on the door, saying, ‘Master, we’re here. Let us in.’
12 “He answered, ‘Do I know you? I don’t think I know you.’
13 “So stay alert. You have no idea when he might arrive.

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

24 - Is this the end?

When You Don't Expect Him" — Matthew 24:42-44 (What Jesus Did!)

Many people are jumping onto the religious bandwagon at the moment with some predictions of the end of the world, especially in the light of the Corona pandemic. Again, I will not get into that debate at the moment, but I find it interesting, that in the days before he went to the Cross Jesus preached about the end of days. I find these final teachings of Jesus so interesting and challenging.

This is what he told his disciples:

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." - Matthew 24:42-44

I honestly don't know when the world is going to end, but the one thing I know I can control is how I respond to the Son of God, today. By choosing to receive the gift of grace offer to us through Jesus, we are promised a placed in Christ's kingdom.

C.S. Lewis wrote in "The Case for Christianity" - 
"That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.”

Living in Grace

Monday, 6 April 2020

23 - Practise what you preach

Quotes about Practice what you preach (34 quotes)
As soon as Jesus entered Jerusalem, he began to speak out more and more against the religiosity of the Teachers of the law, often exposing their faults and false practises. Of course this didn't do anything for his populatity, but Jesus was not worried about winning the award for "most polite Rabbi" of the year. Jesus knew his days were numbered and so he was willing to challenge anyone who was willing to hear the truth:

"Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them." - Matthew 23:1-4

His words in verse 3 are known the world over, albeit in different forms. We have all heard the phrase "practise what you preach" and this is Jesus main argument against the Pharisees. They had lots of good things to say (things that we God-fearing and holy), but they didn't actually live these laws and ideals themselves. That is the tragedy of the whole thing - they were so close to being true disciples, but they refused to do what Jesus had asked of them.

So, as we edge closer to Easter, I think it is worth asking ourselves the question:

"Do we practise what we preach?"

If we don't do this people will soon see through our masks and disguise.

Living in Grace

Sunday, 5 April 2020


Free printable or desktop wallpaper // Matthew 22:37-38 // via ...
Alright my numbering system may seem a little off, but there is some method in my madness. I have been trying to write a brief post on eavh chapter from Matthew's gospel during Lent. We managed to get up to Matthew 21, which was Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, but I didn't want to surge ahead and lose the connection with Jesus' last week on earth.

Matthew saves seven chapters for Jesus' death and resurrection, so we will use these as our reflection over Holy Week. And it is during these days that we note Jesus' powerful teaching on a number of different subjects. For today, we see how he is questioned by many of the religious leaders, all trying to catch him out, but he stumps them with his profound words. In Matthew 22, he says:

"Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22: 34-40)

There are a lot of things we can draw from these verses, but in my opinion the obvious one is this: 
"If we practised these 2 key commandments sincerely we would end up keeping all the other laws and commandments together."

It was Jesus' love for his Father and his love for us that drove him through the last week of his life.

What keeps you moving forward day after day?

Living in Grace

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Celebrating the King

Zephaniah 3:17 — Today's Verse for Wednesday, May 16, 2018
As we celebrate Palm Sunday, let us read some words from Zephaniah who shares a remarkable prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. As you read his words cast your mind on the image of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey. Hosanna in the highest - praise the Lord of lords.

14 Sing, Daughter Zion;
    shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
    Daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
    he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
    never again will you fear any harm.
16 On that day
    they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
    do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.” - Zephaniah 3:14-17

For all of the reasons mentioned by Zephaniah, Jesus comes into our lives this week and invites us to kneel before his throne. What will our response be?

Living in Grace

Friday, 3 April 2020

Lent thoughts

Three Bible Stories That Teach Kids About Lent | Catholic lent, 40 ...
Sometimes one just needs to read the wisdom of those who have progressed a little further down the road of life, love and faith. Enjoy these thoughts as we travel deeper into Lent and closer to the Cross.

“No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.” John Chrysostom 

“Lent is a time for discipline, for confession, for honesty, not because God is mean or fault- finding or finger-pointing but because he wants us to know the joy of being cleaned out, ready for all the good things he now has in store.” N.T. Wright  

Jesus -  "Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Matthew 9:13)

May you have a blessed day.

Living in Grace