Friday 29 November 2013

One at a time

"Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you." - Mother Teresa

So who is that "one" person today?
Are you able to help them? Then do it!

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Pray for them.
Call them.
Email them an encouraging word.
Bless them in a practical way.

As Jesus said - "Do unto others as you would want them to do to you."

Living in Grace

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Psalm 46

When words fail me I turn to the Psalms. This Psalm has been prayed more than once this week.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! Interlude A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts! The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude Come, see the glorious works of the Lord : See how he brings destruction upon the world. He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude (Psalms 46:1-11 NLT)

Hold onto the God who strengthens the weak, heals the broken-hearted and loves the poor in Spirit.

Living in grace

Monday 25 November 2013


"Bravery is about facing up to the things we fear the most, and overcoming and conquering those fears .... Or at least quelling them for a while." - Bear Grylls

I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. “O God my rock,” I cry, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?” Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! (Psalms 42:7-11 NLT)

Living in Grace

Sunday 24 November 2013

New week quotes

Abraham Lincoln sets our minds racing with some of his brilliant quotes. I hope and pray that some of his thoughts inspire you today.

"Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."
"Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
"Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm."
"Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right."
Once you have reflected on them, please let me know which one stood out for you. 
Be Blessed.
Grace and peace,

Thursday 21 November 2013

Among you

Why don't you try something different when you read this verse? I pray that it helps you to focus on the verse and to allow the Spirit to speak to you.

"For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you." - Isaiah 12:6

  • Now read it again, but slower.
  •  Re-read the verse, but "chop" off the first word of the verse.

  • Keep doing this, one word at a time, reading the remainder of the verse.
  • Stop when you are left with only 2 words.... "among you!"
Ruminate on these words. Let them sink into your hearts and spirit.
God is among us.
Jesus is Immanuel.
God with us.

Prayer: Let your prayer now be Isaiah 12:6.

Blessings and Grace

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Loved me back to Life

I know that it may be considered a crime to mention the lyrics of a Celine Dion song, but when I heard Loved me back to Life on the radio, I immediately thought of how the song could reflect a powerful testimony. Sure, this was not Celine's intention in writing the song, but is it not true that when Jesus is invited into our lives, that He loves us back to life? Often we feel spiritually empty, dry and dead, but the Spirit of God offers us life. Jesus loves us back to Life again.

Jesus promised that he came to reveal true life to us - "I have come that you may have life and have it in abundance." (John 10:10)

If you are feeling down and out at the moment, why don't you pause for a while and ask Jesus to 'love you back to life!?'

Living in life-giving Grace of Jesus

Tuesday 19 November 2013

A mere hand breadth

The reading at our men's group (at McCafe) this morning was from Psalm 39. There are a number of challenging verses in this Psalm, but the two that stood out for me were verse 4 -5:

"Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting is my life.
You have made my days a mere hand breadth;
the span of my years
is nothing before you.
Each man's life is but a breath." - Psalm 39:4-5

If you have a moment, take a look at the palm of your hand. Trace a line from one side to the other - It is not too wide, is it? The Psalmist suggests that our lives are but a mere hand breadth - here one day and then gone the next. It is a sobering thought.

Now, do the same thing again - trace a line across your palm. Where would you estimate your life to be along that line? Is it close to the end of your hand? I find that simply doing this exercise helps me to comprehend how brief my life will be and that I need to make the most of life God has given me.

May your 'handbreath' be a blessing to God and others.

Living in Grace

Monday 18 November 2013

Remember me

In his final chapter, Nehemiah makes an interesting appeal to God. He asks God to remember all that he (Nehemiah) has done and to show him mercy. Nehemiah had done an amazing job of rallying the Israelites to rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem. His leadership had been par excellence and yet he seemed a little insecure in his position with God. This is what he prayed:

"Remember me for this..." - 13:14

"Remember me for this also, O my God, & show mercy to me according to your great love." - 13:22

"Remember me with favour, O my God." - 13:31

I am convinced that Nehemiah has a special place in heaven and I know that God remembered everything that he did. In a similar way, I believe that God remembers each one of us and he knows us by name.

Don't let your despondency turn you away from Jesus. He remembers you!

Living in Grace

Sunday 17 November 2013

Isaiah 25

 May these words offer you hope and encouragement today.

"There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The Lord has spoken! In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the Lord, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!” For the Lord's hand of blessing will rest on Jerusalem" - (Isaiah 25:7-10 NLT)

May The Lord bless you and keep you;
May The Lord make his face shine upon you
And give you his peace

Living in Grace

Friday 15 November 2013

All will be made new

Henri Nouwen makes a beautiful comment on prayer and how it has the potential to make all things new. He writes:

"Prayer is a radical conversion of all our mental processes because in prayer we move away from ourselves, our worries, preoccupation, and self-gratification - and direct all that we recognise as ours to God in the simple trust that through his love all will be made new.

Directing all that is "ours" to God is a good practise. Not something we are good at doing, but something we need to do. Prayer gets us to trust that, in God, "all will be made new!"

Have a blessed weekend.

Living in Grace

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Words from the wise

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. (Proverbs 17:17 NIV) 

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. (Proverbs 21:21 NIV)

Desire without knowledge is not good— how much more will hasty feet miss the way! (Proverbs 19:2 NIV)

May the wisdom of Solomon speak to your heart today. 

Witness the grace of our God

Tuesday 12 November 2013


Let me tell you a true story. This really happened to me and I still find myself shaking my head in disbelief.

The other day, I went to visit the now 'newish' Library in the centre of PMB. I have to confess that I had never been to see the Library, so I went, half out of interest, and half out of needing to do some work.

As I sat working on my laptop I realised that I needed to plug in before the battery ran dead. So, after spotting 5 empty cubicles on the bottom floor, I politely asked one of the Librarians if I could use one of the plug points. She looked at me as if I had just asked her for a million bucks or else it may have been that she swallowed something very sour! Anyway, this is what she told me,

"No we can't allow you to plug your computer in - if we do then the municipality will have to pay a huge electricity bill every month." (By this she implied that every person in PMB would want to follow suit...)

I tried hard to act like a good Christian, but my mind was swimming as I walked away. I thought of the students who may want to study there, but could only do so if they used pen and paper, or had a mega long battery life on their laptops. As I walked out, I noticed dozens of PC's, with empty chairs staring at them - what about all that wasted electricity?! But, hey what do I know!

So, needless to say, I nearly choked on my cornflakes this morning, when I read about the municipality wanting to put a 1200% electricity price hike on small businesses. The cheek of it! The municipality won't give it's citizens access to a plug-point (for 15 minutes), because it is going to cost them too much money, but hey they feel quite comfortable ripping honest citizens off .... to the tune of 1200%!!!!

Something is rotten in Denmark and I think that it is really starting to stink!

That's my rant for the month. I would be interested to hear your thoughts. Maybe I am just having a bad hair-day, but feel free to comment.

Living in Grace

Monday 11 November 2013

Taking the slum out of me!

"The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in.
The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people." - Ezra Benson

Just a quick glance at this quote will remind us that Jesus works in ways that are different from the world's ways. As the bible says, "God's thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways!"

The one thing about this quote, which I would challenge, is that it is also Jesus' desire to take people out of their "slum." Of course I believe that God wants to rid us of our sin and so remove the filth of a slum from our lives, but Jesus would also do all in His power to care for those living in slums. God never delights in oppression and poverty, but rather asks that we would help to reach people trapped in those situations.

Any thoughts on this quote?

What work is God doing in your heart today?

May we be conscious of God's grace today.
Living in Grace

Friday 8 November 2013

Make the most it!

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” - Psalm 90:12.
In this generation, we have been very sensitive to put measures in place to save our natural environment - and rightly so. We are also becoming more conscious of how many of our resources we waste - minerals, food, fuel and so on. 

Yet, for me, the great tragedy is that we still spend a lot of our time on trivial things - things that probably won't matter in the long run. Perhaps what we need is a deeper sense of urgency, comprehending that are time is precious and is always diminishing. As the old adage states: "Time is ticking away..."

Let's ask God to teach us to make the most of our days.

“We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end.” - Seneca.

Living in Grace

Thursday 7 November 2013

Making God our pet

Job 42:5 - "Can you make a pet of him (God) like a bird or put him on a leash for your girls?"

This verse alone is enough to make us think seriously about how we treat God. It is very easy to make God our "pet" - a play thing to keep us amused for a while and then neglected until tomorrow. Of course there are a few of you who treat your pets like family, but Job wasn't referring to "pet" in a positive light. In his time, pets were kept by some people, but it was all about having control and authority over the animal or bird. The danger of making God our pet is that we believe we get to control Jesus and not the other way around.

Worth thinking about, I think? Your thoughts?

Living in Grace

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Not a Drug!

Karl Marx controversially remarked that " Religion is the opium of the people." His point seemed to suggest that "religion" becomes a drug that we take in order to help us deal with life. In his understanding, religion served as a temporary satisfaction, but left us feeling empty and, in the end, changed nothing in our existence.

I am not sure how you feel about that, but I obviously feel quite differently to Mr Marx. For me, my faith is based on a relationship with Jesus Christ and in this relationship my life is forever altered. It is not a temporary "fix", but rather a life- long connection to the Living God. But that is my opinion and we are entitled to our own thoughts - what do you feel?

"Christianity is not a drug which suits some complaints and not others. It is either sheer illusion or else it is the truth. But if it is truth, if the universe happens to be constituted in this way, the question is not whether the God of Christianity suits us, but whether we suit Him." - William Temple

Living in Grace

Monday 4 November 2013

Real prayer

"Countless people have such a 'stained glass' image of prayer that they fail to recognise what they are experiencing as prayer and so condemn themselves for not praying." - Richard Foster

I really appreciate this understanding of prayer. I helps me to feel released from the 'religiosity' of my prayers and to comprehend that God is with me in all things. As a Christ-follower, I place my life in the hands of Jesus and so with this decision comes a deep trust that all of my experiences are noticed by my Saviour. In His grace, God receives my life as a form of prayer.

Of course, this is not an excuse to move away from formal, disciplined prayer, which is also commended in the Scriptures, but it does remind us that God sees and hears all things. It is my desire to offer more of my experiences to God - to be aware of his presence in my daily routine.

So think on this -
Perhaps you have prayed today without being aware that you offered a form of prayer!

Living in Grace

Sunday 3 November 2013

Thanksgiving and pain

We had our Thanksgiving services today and we were blessed by the many testimonies shared. There was one thing that struck me throughout the day - almost every testimony of Thanksgiving was rooted in some area of pain. It was almost as if each of us was taken through trial and difficulty, before we could comprehend the hand of God in our mess. It was in such times that we could see how God had delivered us and shown us how he had not abandoned us during the tough times.

May you remember today that LIGHT is best seen on a backdrop of  DARKNESS.

 "...singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all your wonders." (Psalms 26:7 NLT)

Living in grace

Saturday 2 November 2013

Coming alive

I love it when I read a portion of scripture and it comes alive again. Take this well known passage from Luke 11 and read it as Eugene Peterson puts it:

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?” (Luke 11:10-13 MSG)

What do you think of that? Awesome hey?

Next time you read a verse and it comes alive for you please send me a message and let me know.

Living in Grace