Monday, 19 November 2018

Breaking your word

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There used to be a time when a person's word was their guarantee. In other words, when they agreed to do something and promised to follow through - then they would do it. Their word was their bond. Sadly, that is not the same anymore, and people break promises all the time. The writer to the Hebrews reflects on this when he writes to the people of God:

Hebrews 6:13-18 (The Message)- “When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.”

God always follows through with his promises. He doesn't renege on his word. His word is ROCK-SOLID.

Thought: Let us be careful in promising things that we can't follow up on. 

Living in Grace

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Everything changes so quickly

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Change is happening all around us and it is so hard to keep up with CHANGE. As the great Philosopher Heraclitus once said:

“Everything changes but change itself. Everything flows and nothing stays the same. You cannot step into the same river twice…”

The gist of this comment is that if you were to jump into a river, then step out of the water onto the bank again, and then plunge in again, you wouldn't be swimming in the same water. The water from your first dip would be downstream already, thus leaving you swimming in new water. That is how quickly CHANGE happens.

So who can we rely on in a world that changes in the blink of an eye? The Bible teaches us that we can rely on the CONSISTENCY and DEPENDABILITY of Jesus. He is the one who never changes.

Hebrews 13:8 - "Jesus Christ is the same, Yesterday, Today and Forever."

Living in Grace

Behaving Badly

"When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world." - C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity -1952)

There are a few insightful things that emerge from this quote for me:

1. Do you note how C.S. Lewis uses the word 'We'?
In making his challenge to the Christian community he is not pointing fingers at 'others', but recognising that in himself lies the danger of failing to represent Christ.

2. Our actions have consequences beyond our church context. We can make Christianity believable (or unbelievable) for those seeking God. Sadly, there are many of 'us Christians' who make our Faith hard to believe in.

3. People are looking for spiritual 'hope' and we can effectively point them to Jesus. This is a fine line for many of us, because we like people to notice 'us', when in actual fact, we should be deflecting all the attention onto Jesus. If people only see 'us', then our failures will be a stumbling block to others experiencing Christ.

What do you think?

Acts 5:32 - We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.

Living in Grace

Saturday, 17 November 2018

If I were you...

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We can be very glib to offer advice to others, but would we be willing to take our own advice? We may even have said these words recently - "If I were you I would ..."
So, my question is this:
"Would we take our own advice?"

Often when we give good advice to other people, we aren't necessarily mixed up in the emotion of that decision, so we think about that unique situation in a different way. And besides this, it would be wrong to give people advice that we wouldn't be willing to follow ourselves.

Proverbs 12:26 -  "The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray."

"The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice we would give to others." - Unknown

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Exam time!

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By this stage of the year most families with school-going kids are fully into the 'stress' of exams. A lot of us are just hanging onto the last thread of our sanity, but we are looking forward to the end of November.

Anyway, it got me thinking about how we ALL should 'examine' ourselves from time to time - not in a school sense, but rather in a spiritual sense. Take Paul's advice below and see what I mean:

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test" - 2 Corinthians 13:5 

What does this mean for us today?
Are we "in the faith?"

Living in Grace

Friday, 9 November 2018

Buffalo or Cow?

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In Rory Vaden's best selling book 'Take the Stairs' he shares a remarkable insight about the behaviour of a Buffalo and a Cow. Actually, to be more specific, it has to do with the way each animal faces an impending storm - they respond in two completely opposite ways.

When a storm approaches, Cows respond in a fairly predictable way - they try to outrun the storm! However, because Cows are not that fast, the storm catches up with them and they end up running with the storm for a longer period - in other words, they maximise their exposure to the hectic storm surrounding them.

On the other hand, the behaviour of the Buffalo is very different. They wait for the storm to arrive and then they charge directly into the heart of the storm. It may seem like a silly thing to do, but in the end, they minimise the time they spend in the raging storm and run through to the other side.

So, the big for us today is this: Which one are you? Buffalo or Cow?
My guess is that most of us are like the Cows, because we don't like storms, conflict or trouble to come our way. In a naive way we think that we can run away from the storm, but it will invariably catch up to us. The Buffalo's amongst us will testify to the pain of the storm, but also that by facing it head on, they were into the clear sooner than the rest of the Cows were.

Interesting don't you think?

Isaiah 4:5-6
Then the Lord will provide shade for Mount Zion
    and all who assemble there.
He will provide a canopy of cloud during the day
    and smoke and flaming fire at night,
    covering the glorious land.
It will be a shelter from daytime heat
    and a hiding place from storms and rain.

Living in Grace

Thursday, 8 November 2018

A fatal capacity - Compassion

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"Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too."Frederick Buechner

I wondered why Buechner spoke about compassion being a 'fatal capacity', but on reflection I think it has something to do with being drawn into the world of those who are in pain. We need to 'feel' the pain of people in trouble, but when our compassion causes fatigue in our own lives, then we can be stepping on dangerous territory.

The second part of his words strike me as being very UNSELFISH - it is the ability to realise that my 'peace and joy' can't be fully enjoyed if I know that you are having difficulty. 

2 Kings 13:23 - But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.

What do you think?

Living in Grace