Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Strength together


The word 'Comfort' has many different meanings, which include: "easing the distress of someone" or "freedom from pain". However, I came across this definition which really speaks to me - Comfort means "strength together." 

If you have ever needed comfort then I sure you can relate to the idea of someone drawing alongside us in order to offer us solace and strength. We can rise from our periods of pain and despondency when we know that another person is there to assist us. 

Surely, part of the calling of being 'church' is that we comfort one another?

In our mutual journey of faith, we draw comfort from the words, actions and prayers of those around us. If we withdraw from community and fellowship then there is a danger that we have no one to comfort us.

Henri Nouwen wrote: "Comfort is the great human gift that creates community. Those who come together in mutual vulnerability are bound together by new strength that makes them into one body."

1 Corinthians 12:26 - If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.

Living in Grace


Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Perfected through adversity

Dr. Robert Frost wrote a book entitled Our Heavenly Father. In this little gem he penned these words:

"There is nothing more precious to God than our praise during affliction... What He does not protect us from, He will perfect us through. There is indeed a special blessing for those who do not become offended in God during adversity."

The words I have highlight truly struck me as profound. We long for God to protect us from all trials and adversity, but this was never promised to us. What God does promise us, is that he will guide us through the troubles and we will be 'perfected' by what is revealed to us during these times. 

Paul used different language to express the same sentiment.

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." - Romans 8:18

Living in Grace


Monday, 24 January 2022

God is a friend of silence

"God is a friend of silence.
See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grow in silence.
See the stars, the moon, the sun,
how they move in silence."
- Mother Teresa of Calcutta

I find it interesting that our world is obsessed with noise and when we seek to be liberated from all the sounds of life, we face plenty of opposition. More often than not, the resistance comes from within our own hearts. We may feel a pull towards silence, but we struggle to let go of the noise. We keep the TV on, we keep the notifications pinging on our phones, we turn the radio on when we drive - we are afraid of the silence.

But, why is this? 

Are we afraid of God may say to us?

If silence is Golden, why do we resist it so much?

Job 33:31 - "“Pay attention, Job, and listen to me; be silent, and I will speak."

Revelation 8:1 - "When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour."

Challenge: Try and spend some time in silence today and just 'be' in the presence of God. 

Living in Grace

Saturday, 22 January 2022

To be with Jesus

Acts 4:13 – “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished, and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

I think that these words from Luke are perhaps the greatest compliment anyone could give another Christian - "we see that you have been with Jesus." Although Peter and John had their own blind-spots and many areas of growth, the time they had spent with Jesus had changed their lives.

Is this something that others could say about us? Has our time with Christ changed our lives?

How can we spend more focussed time with Jesus?

Living in Grace


Friday, 21 January 2022

The offering of all things

“Human resources
However limited,
When willingly offered
And divinely empowered,
Are more than adequate
To achieve divine ends.”
- Stuart Briscoe

In preparation for our Covenant services this weekend, I found this poem. I think it is really challenging and invites us to offer our 'human resources' to the Lord. The small offering we can give will be divinely empowered and multiplied to share with others.

Psalm 76:11 (The Message)Do for God what you said you’d do— he is, after all, your God. Let everyone in town bring offerings to the One Who Watches our every move.

What is it that you will bring? 

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Rule of thumb

“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get." - Matthew 7:12 (The Message)

This was the verse for today and I was struck by how simple the 'rule' is, yet how hard we make it. Can you imagine how our world would be if more of us followed this behaviour?

Living in Grace


Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Back to school

The importance of learning is clear to all of us. For this reason we send our kids to an academic institution to further their studies and to gain valuable knowledge (and hopefully some wisdom). All of this involves numerous sacrifices on the behalf of the parents, as well as the students. Completing an academic milestone takes times, resources, effort and perseverance. 

As we send our kids 'back to school' this week, I am reminded of our call to keep studying the word of God and to keep growing in our faith. Learning to be a follower of Jesus will take our entire lifetime, but we need to be committed to the process.

So what are we doing to further our 'spiritual education?'

What tools help you to discover more about God and our journey of discipleship?

Psalm 111 - "Hallelujah! I give thanks to God with everything I’ve got— Wherever good people gather, and in the congregation. God’s works are so great, worth a lifetime of study—endless enjoyment! Splendour and beauty mark his craft; His generosity never gives out. His miracles are his memorial— This God of Grace, this God of Love."

Living in Grace