Tuesday 31 August 2010

Would you start with this?

Most of us find the Psalms a breath of fresh air. They are honest, heart-felt, challenging and also filled with promise. But if you were going to group the Psalms together, would you have started with Psalm 1? Read it and see what you think...

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

At first I wasn't sure, but the more I read it the more I think it is a great way to 'kick off' the collection of Psalms. What do you think?

Living in Grace,

Monday 30 August 2010

Spiritual COR

Whenever we buy/sell a car we have to make sure that we get the vehicle through COR. The guys at COR take a look at everything in the car and they make a list of everything that needs to be repaired in order to ‘pass’ and to receive the certificate. You can’t register the vehicle into your personal name until this process is complete – that’s just the way it is!

Can you imagine if God did a personal COR test on each one of us when we decided to surrender to Him – when we chose to be under new ‘ownership.’ I wouldn’t pass the test – how about you?

Thankfully Jesus doesn’t wait for us to be perfect in order to bless us with his forgiveness and grace. We become his children FIRST and then he begins the task of ‘fixing’ us up through the power of the Spirit.

Romans 5:8“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Thank you Lord for operating under terms of Grace and Mercy.

Live for Jesus.

Sunday 29 August 2010

Another Inspiring picture

As we get ready to start another week, I pray that this picture would inspire you and remind us of how awesome our God is.

Psalm 8:1 - O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

Living in Grace,

Saturday 28 August 2010

The Cross

Think on this. And then pray on it too!

"The way of the Cross winds through our towns and cities, our hospitals and factories, and through our battlefields; it takes the road of poverty and suffering in every form. It is in front of these new Stations of the Cross that we must stop and meditate and pray to the suffering Christ for strength to love him enough to act." - Michael Quoist

God Bless you and keep you.

Living in Grace,

Friday 27 August 2010

Guest Blogger

Today I want to do something different with my blog.
You are getting used to my thoughts and opinions on things, but I want to bless you with the insights of a friend of mine. Rev Gareth Killeen is our guest blogger today. Here are his thoughts:


Life is not about me. This is one of the hardest lessons the Gospel has to teach us. For everything in society screams at us that life is in fact all about us, and that if it is not then we are doing something seriously wrong. ‘Look after number one!’ ‘Everyone for themselves!’ ‘It’s a dog-eat-dog world!’ ‘Survival of the fittest!’ These are just some of the messages we are relentlessly being force fed through TV, movies and magazines. A billboard for a popular car a few years ago summed up this attitude up by showing a picture of its vehicle with the words, ‘Me. Me. Me,’ splashed all over it.

But life is not about you. This truth may come as a quiet whisper at first. A feeling of disquiet deep within that gradually begins to protest at this ‘me-centric’, self-absorbed society. “Surely,” we begin to ask, “There is more to life than just me?” For self-absorption only leads us down the rather dark and lonely paths of selfishness, insecurity and unfulfillment. As the old saying goes: ‘A person wrapped up in themselves makes a very small package indeed.’

The Bible brings to us an entirely different, yet profoundly simple message in comparison. You are a beloved, precious child of God, but life is not about you and you were not created to live as if it were. If we want to learn more about this then we need look no further than Jesus. Jesus, who has been described as the ‘human face of God,’ did not follow the ‘me-first,’ self-absorbed models of life that we are told are essential to our happiness. Instead, Jesus was quite prepared to spend his days involved in matters other than himself: Worshiping God, helping the sick, washing feet, loving the unlovable, and standing up against oppression and injustice,.

Jesus was utterly focused on God and then through God onto others. And we have been made to be like Jesus – to imitate his way of being. Romans 8.29 (MSG) sums this up beautifully:

“God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.”

Thanks to Gareth for these insights. Gareth is heading up So What! at the moment (under the ministry of Crux Mobi Media). If you are in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday evening come and listen to Gareth as he shares at the Wesley evening service (6pm).

Living in Grace,

Thursday 26 August 2010

Jesus Creed

Scot McKnight, amongst others, refers to Jesus' version of the Jewish
Shema as the "Jesus Creed." These well known words of Jesus are
deeply profound. I urge you to take a minute and to say these words
out loud.

Here O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the
Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your
mind, and with all your strength.

The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no
commandment greater than these.

Be blessed.
Living in Grace

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Prayer with a difference

Eugene Peterson is an inspired author, pastor and teacher. I love his version of the Lord's Prayer. It just brings a different dimension to something that we know well. Sometimes familiarity can close our senses to the beauty of the True message. Read this and see if it breathes some freshness into the ancient prayer:

"Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right:
Do what's best - as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes."

Enjoy and be blessed.

Living in Grace,

Who is more important?

The present Teacher strike is causing a lot of chaos in our nation. While many of us are ready to get back to normality it seems as if the strikes are set to cause further upheaval. My own thoughts on the issue are that the Unions should take the offer on the table (for now) and let the children have the education they deserve. If they are still feeling aggrieved (which clearly they are) then they should get a commitment from the Government to sit down and negotiate a better deal ASAP. I think the 'powers that be' realise that any future strikes would be crippling and would hopefully they come to the party.

Anyway, this whole 'strike' issue has been highlighted through our preaching series on the Church, although with a different slant. This Sunday we discussed the 'Body of Christ' and we noted Paul's words to the church in Corinth:

1 Corinthians 12: 14“Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.”

1 Corinthians 12:22“On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour…”

It is tempting to believe that the pastor or leader of the Church is the most important in the body, but this is not what the Bible says. It is the members of the body that appear to be the 'least' or 'weakest' that we should treat with honour. This makes one think doesn't it?

So in our context, who is more important now? Or who has the most power at the moment? Is it the President of our country or a teacher? One on one, most people would answer: "the President!" But the reality is that when a group of people get together, the 'power tables' can be overturned.

For our churches it is vital to remember that when every member functions at their optimal and uses their gifts for the Kingdom, then our World could be changed for good.

What are your thoughts on this?

Living in Grace,

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Bird Song

What normally wakes you up in the mornings? For me, it is usually one of two things. Either it is one of my boys coming into the room to announce they are awake or else it is my phone alarm. Usually the alarm is only set us a back up, because most often my boys 'beat' the alarm hands down.

However, this morning things took a strange turn. It was not the boys or the alarm that woke me, but rather it was the sound of birds singing. Wow, what a way to wake up. I thought I was still dreaming, but I soon realised that the birds were real! They must have been excited about the rain. Spring is almost here.

Ecclesiastes 12:4 - "...when men rise up at the sound of birds."

One more thing. The amazing thing about the birds this morning is that they were singing after the rain and even when it was still dark. Their voices carried a message of hope - the dawn is upon us and the light is pushing back the darkness.

"Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?" - Rose Kennedy

Have a blessed day.

Living in Grace,

Monday 23 August 2010

How are we doing?

On Sunday we wrestled with what it means to be the 'Body of Christ.' When Jesus lived on earth, his human body 'housed' the Living God. He was God in the flesh! This is why Jesus said, "When you have seen me, you have seen the Father."

However, after Jesus ascended into heaven, his physical presence was missing on earth for a while. That is, until Pentecost. In Acts 2 we read how the Spirit of God descended upon the believers and filled each one of them. The gathering of believers became the new 'body of Christ.' It was God's plan to use the Church to visibly display the power of God. Frank Viola wrote:

“The Body of Christ exists to express God in the earth.”

And Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:7, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

So, how are we doing as the 'Body of Christ?' Is the world able to indentify the love, mercy, grace, power and glory of God through the example of the body? What do you think?

Living in Grace,

Sunday 22 August 2010

Prayer for you

Here is a prayer for you today:

"Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing make you afraid.
All things pass away.
God never changes.
Patience obtains everything.
God alone is enough."
- St Theresa of Avila

May you be blessed today.

Living in Grace,

Saturday 21 August 2010

Inspiration point

Another weekend is upon us and many of us are preparing ourselves for a hectic time. Here are a few thoughts to help us remember the presence of Christ in all we do.

"The one thing that matters is that we always say YES to God whenever we experience him." - Julian of Norwich

"A person can't be always defending the truth; there must be a time to feed on it." - C.S.Lewis

"My child, your sins are forgiven." - Jesus, in Mark 2:5

Living in Grace,

Friday 20 August 2010

Out of Interest

I am grateful for the many people that have touched my life and who inspire me in my Christian journey. I am deeply grateful for them, as well as I am for you - thanks for taking the time to read this blog.

This post is about introducing some of my friends to you.

Dion Forster writes about his journey in his blog called An Uncommon Path. Today's post on 'fasting' is deeply challenging.

John Van De Laar has just released his new book, 'The hour that changes everything' and you can read more about his ministry at Sacredise.

David Barbour writes an insightful and inspiring blog called Skypilot. Stop by and have a look sometime.

Gareth Killeen heads up CruxMedia, which is busy transforming the social media scene by loading relevant and life-changing Christian content onto Mobile phones. Check out So What

Jenny Hillebrand has been blogging for years. This year she is based at the Seth Mokitimi Seminary and her powerful insights, into life as a Seminarian, are well worth following. Her blog is called Carpenters shoes

I will blog again about some of my other friends next week. I pray that you will have an awesome weekend.

Living in Grace,

Whose team?

Remember when you were kids and teams needed to be chosen? If you were lucky enough to be captain of one of the teams, you always tried to choose the best players first - well, that's normally what happens!

Sometimes we treat God in this way. We think we are the captain of the team and naturally God would want to be on my team. In truth, should it not be the other way around? God is always the Captain and we must do all we can to be on his team. Thankfully, God wants us on his team, despite the fact that we drop the ball more often than not. That's Grace!

We open ourselves up for huge disappointment when we mistakenly believe we can manipulate God onto our team, regardless of what our team stands for. God is the rightful Captain and his teams always play for love, truth, peace, justice and mercy.

"I do not boast that God is on my side. I humbly pray that I am on God's side." - Abraham Lincoln

Join the right team.
Read 2 Chronicles 15:2

Living in Grace,

Thursday 19 August 2010

Jesus' Star

Our 5 year old son took us by surprise last night! It was just getting dark and we had finished eating supper, when he quickly popped outside to get something. A few seconds later he came running inside saying, "Come and see Jesus' star! Come and see Jesus' star!"

Our immediate response was, "Our child has lost his marbles!" However, it slowly dawned on us that he was talking about the Evening Star and then we chuckled about it. He made the simple connection between the star at Christ's birth and the one he was seeing now. What is even more profound is that he taught me another lesson -"Jesus is present with us today, as much as he was real 2000 years ago."
Thank you Nathan for the reminder.

Matthew 2:1-2 - "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

And a child shall lead them...

Living in Grace,

Wednesday 18 August 2010

What will it take? (Part 2)

I often pull my hair out (no jokes) with people who come to God when things are going wrong in their lives and then stay at church for a few months and finally disappear not be seen again - of course, until the next crisis brings them back. God becomes a kind of 'doctor', but he never truly feels like a friend.

The reason I feel strongly about this, is not an issue of 'judgement', but rather from the point of Life. Jesus promised us the 'abundant life' (John 10:10) and that implies that through the struggles we face, we can know the hand of God with us. God will give us his peace and joy, through every circumstance - good, bad or ugly! God is delighted when we share our entire lives with Him. He takes delight in us as his children, but we treat him as a distant specialist.

So, what will it take for some people to come back into an awesome relationship with God? Sadly, for many, it will take:
1. Grief or loss
2. Financial crisis
3. Broken relationships
4. Uncertainty or fear
5. Needing urgent answers
6. Tragedy
7. Loneliness
8. ___________ (you fill in the blank)

Thankfully, God's incredible Grace, still receives us when we come to Him during these times and God gladly helps us through these crises. However, I am sure God would love to be in relationship with us, all year round, and then to guide us through the 'valleys' as a companion and friend.

Perhaps I am being too harsh? What do you think?

Living in Grace,

Photo from here

Tuesday 17 August 2010

What will it take? (Part 1)

What will it take to get you to feel 're-energised' again? A holiday, a day to yourself, a soaking bath, a red-bull, a good sleep? Sometimes the simple movement we have to make is to realise 'what it will take' and then we face the harder task of taking initiative and actually doing it!

When the rich young ruler asked Jesus this question in Mark 10, he was asking because he felt as if he was lacking something in his life - he was in a rut, he was feeling unfulfilled, he craved something more. He may as well of asked, "Jesus, what will it take for me to feel alive again?"

Jesus gave an answer which the young man didn't like and so he went away sad and disillusioned. He knew the answer, but he was unwilling to take Jesus' advice. There is another lesson in Mark 10 (besides the usual one's) and that is this: "Don't ask the question, unless you are prepared to act on the answer. How desperate are you to know 'what it will take' to change your life around?"

Action: Read Mark 10. What are your thoughts on this ?

I have made a few changes to the design of the actual blog page, which are just a little experiment. Please make a turn to www.delmelinscott.blogspot.com for 20 seconds and let me know your thoughts.

Living in Grace,

If you like Polar Bears then you must click on the photo link

Monday 16 August 2010

This is tough to live out

In our preaching series on "Is there more to Church?" we focused yesterday on the 'Church as the Family of God.' One of the challenging things for me, about being part of a Christian Community, is how do we continue to worship alongside people that we are struggling to 'like?' What options do we have? We could leave our church and soon find ourselves struggling to 'like' someone else, in another church. Or we could just ignore them? Or perhaps change our service times? But, does this actually get us anywhere?

The Biblical response is the hardest option to live out. Reflect on these thoughts from John for a while:

1 John 4:20-21 - "If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother."

Love is always the hardest option, but in the end, it is the only solution. Try it sometime!

Living in Grace,

Sunday 15 August 2010

Inspiring photo

It seems that weekends are quite hectic for most of us, so I decided to change the pace of this blog and upload another cool photo. Take a look at the picture and think about what feelings it stirs within you.

There is light in the midst of the darkness - His name is Jesus!

May you have a blessed day.

Living in Grace,

Saturday 14 August 2010

Do something

Oscar Romero of El Salvador was assassinated in 1980 for speaking up for his faith. In part of a beautiful poem, he wrote these words:

"This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities."

Do something for God today. Plant the seed; water the seed or lay some foundation. It may not be complete, but God will help to bring the appropriate harvest.

Living in Grace,

Friday 13 August 2010

Put the light on!

Stumbling in the dark is not without it's dangers. Stubbing your toes, walking into coffee tables or walls, feeling your way from room to room and praying that you will find the matches. This happens when our physical worlds are plunged into darkness, but is it not the same kind of scenario when spiritually or emotionally we feel the darkness descend? It's hazardous territory.

Thankfully, 'Light' and 'darkness' are very popular themes in the scriptures. Take this one for example:

"You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness." - Psalm 18:28

Live in the light of God's grace,

P.S. Awesome photo from here

Thursday 12 August 2010


"God creates out of nothing. Therefore, until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him." - Martin Luther

I am not sure what you make of this quote, but the first scripture that came to my mind, when I read these words, was this one:

John 12:24 - "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."

What's on your mind?

Living in Grace,

Wednesday 11 August 2010


My youngest son, Josh, is going through an interesting phase. Somewhere along the line he has learnt to 'shift blame' onto other people. Like this morning for example. He woke up at his usual 5:30am and wanted Kim to read him a story (I was grateful that he chose her to read at that time of the morning and not me).

Anyway, as he was turning the pages, he tore one of them and when Kim asked him not to tear the book, he responded, "Daddy did it!" There I was, just innocently trying to decide if I wanted to get up or not and I got blamed for something I knew nothing about. That's bleak!

Poor old Nathan and Declan (and Bella, the Labrador) have been blamed for a lot of stuff lately. As parents our role is to now teach him how to accept responsibility for his actions. Pray for us!

The thing is, Josh is going through a phase that we will 'train' him out of, but many people are still playing the 'blame game' and they are not 2 years old! Sure, it started with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, but we need to start taking responsibility for the choices we make.

I came across this encounter in the Old Testament:
"When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. She fell at his feet and said: "My lord, let the blame be on me alone. Please let your servant speak to you; hear what your servant has to say." - 1 Samuel 25:23-24

Abigail was prepared to 'take the blame' for something. That's brave! Many others wouldn't have.

What things are we facing in our lives, where we are still blaming others. Is there going to be a time when we say 'enough' and start turning things around?

Just thinking!

Living in Grace,

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Do you think or do you know?

When Jesus heard this, he told them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor - sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners." - Mark 2:17

So, which one are you? Do you 'think' you are righteous, but perhaps you may be missing the essence of God's love and grace? Or do you 'know' you are a sinner, saved by the amazing love of Christ, and now you desire to live your life to honour this gift?

May we wrestle with our faith in such a way, that we refuse to become like the pharisees, but that we also seek to be transformed sinners.

Living in Grace,

Monday 9 August 2010

I pictured him to be different!

When we read the writings of famous authors, we put together an image of how we expect them to look. Just think about some of your favourite authors and what image comes to your mind? Have you ever thought about this when you are reading from the Bible?

To be honest I had a certain 'image' in my mind of the Apostle Paul and I was quite content with this, until I read this description of him (from a 2nd century historian):

"A man small in size, with meeting eyebrows and a rather large nose, bald-headed, bow-legged, strongly built, full of grace; for at times he looked like a man, and at times he had the face of an angel."

Paul seems different all of a sudden!

So, how do you picture Simon Peter, or Matthew or even Jesus? What has shaped our minds to come up with a particular 'image' of these people? When we meet them face-to-face will we stop for a second and say, "I thought you looked different!"

Just pondering:)

Living in Grace,

Sunday 8 August 2010

Insightful Woman

As we near National Women's Day in South Africa, I thought it would be appropriate to turn to some insightful wisdom from Teresa of Avila. She was a 16th century mystic, who had turned to Christ as a young woman. Bearing in mind that she was born into a noble family, her conversion would have cost her dearly. She wrote these powerful words:

"Let everyone understand that real love of God does not consist in tear-shedding, nor in that sweetness and tenderness for which we usually long, just because they console us, but in serving God in justice, fortitude of soul and humility."

She may have been inspired by Micah, who wrote:

"He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

Have a blessed Women's Day!

Living in Grace,

Saturday 7 August 2010

What did God have in mind?

At our Sunday services this week we are looking at the theme of 'What God had in mind for the Church?' In a week where Anne Rice has controversially decided to quit Christianity, this is a pertinent question to ask.

Some people would agree with this sentiment from Philip Yancey:

“Church should be a beacon of grace to the rest of the world, not a fortress of legalism.”

And others may feel strongly that the Church should follow Paul's words to the Church in Ephesus:

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.” – Ephesians 5:1

It is easy to point out what is wrong with our local church, or denomination and even the world wide Church. If we started a list now, we could happily fill it with many reasons to 'leave' the Church. But here is the burning question for us -

"What are we doing to live more like the Church Jesus called us to be?"

Living in Grace,

Anne Rice

Friday 6 August 2010

Give me sense

Somethings just make sense. For example, when you buy a steaming hot cup of coffee from a take-away and the lid says, "Be careful. Hot Coffee!" That makes sense to most of us, but clearly someone has got 'burnt' before, hence the need for the warning.

God's word and commands also make sense and they are given to us to prevent us from getting 'burnt.' Sadly, many people think they know better and have chosen to ignore God's direction. That doesn't make sense to me, but then again, people are people!

Listen to what Psalm 119:73 says,
"You made me; you created me.
Now give me the sense to follow your commands."

Just like the message on the hot coffee is to protect us, so it is the same for God's word. God wants to lead us into a life that is 'best for us.'

May we have the sense to follow God's commands.
Living in Grace,

Thursday 5 August 2010

The Best?

I know I have already blogged a few things from our conference,
but I need to share this quote from Dallas Willard:

"The Church has always been best when it has had the least."

Wow, I find that an incredible thought.
What are your thoughts?

Often we worry about what we need in our churches, but
God knows what we truly need. And ultimately we only need God!

Read Luke 11:9

Living in Grace,

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Seek first the kingdom

At our conference Dallas Willard stretched our thinking with this quote:
"God's intent for each of us is that we should become the kind of person
He can empower to do what we want."
Now that sounds self-gratifying, at first glance, but God wants to trust
us enough that want we 'want' is actually what he wants. In order to get
to get to this place we need to begin with scriptures like Matthew 6:33 -
"Seek first the kingdom of God and its righteous."
When we get to this place, then what we want would be only what God desires.
Now that challenges me! You?

Living in Grace,

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Dallas Willard

I am attending a conference in Benoni, which is being led by
Dallas Willard. He is an amazingly deep Christian and some have
compared him to a modern day C.S.Lewis. One of his
comments today was "all of the troubles and failures of
human existence are rooted in failure to think rightly about God."
This is a huge statement to make and one that deserves time to
wrestle with this.

John 1:10 - He was in the world and though the world was made
through Him, the world did not recognize Him.

May we not miss Christ in the midst of our life and

Living in Grace,

Good advice

We often go to great lengths to get good advice, but we seldom turn
to the best advice EVER - that honour surely must go to Solomon in
Proverbs. Take this for example:
"When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away,
but the godly have a lasting foundation." - Proverbs 10:25

When looking for godly advice, why not turn to Proverbs?

Living in grace,

Sunday 1 August 2010

Do you like Mondays?

I was 7 years old when the Boomtown Rats released their hit song 'I don't like Mondays!' (Some of you have just started singing the song in your minds, I bet you!)

I love this song - it has such a catchy tune! However, I only recently found out the true story behind the song. A teenage girl woke up one Monday morning and decided to go to school and open fire on her teachers and class mates. When she was arrested, she simple said:
"I just started shooting, that's it. I just did it for the fun of it. I just don't like Mondays. I just did it because it's a way to cheer the day up. Nobody likes Mondays."

That is hectic! Who does something like that? There are many people who don't like Mondays, but very few who would do something this crazy.

As you start the week, may you surrender your fears and dreams, stress and challenges to Jesus. May He carry us through all that we will face in the coming days.

Nehemiah 8:10 - "This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

Live in His grace,