There is a wonderful line written in Gareth and Lynette by Alfred Tennyson. It reads:
“Live pure, speak
true, right wrong, Follow the King-- Else, wherefore born?"
Gareth says these words to his mother, who is trying to dissuade him from leaving to become a Knight with King Arthur. In his heart he believed he was called to 4 great tasks:
Follow the King
What a powerful sentiment and personal mission statement. If more people sought to live pure lives, to speak the truth of Christ, to right the injustices in our society and to Follow the King (Jesus), then perhaps our world would be a better place?
Are you angry with someone at the moment? Is your anger justified? If you answered 'yes' to these 2 questions, then let me ask you are 3rd question:
"What have you done with your anger?"
Paul gives us some great advice on what to do with the anger we may be experiencing.‘In your anger do not sin’: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." - Ephesians 4:26
Anger is a natural emotion, but we are urged to be careful with what we do with our anger. Let's not allow our anger to hurt others or to get revenge. And where possible, let's say sorry, if we have allowed our anger to hurt someone we love.
I have always been drawn to the opening words of James' letter. There is something profound in the way he speaks of perseverance, wisdom and the testing of our faith.
However, the one 'stand out' image that he uses, is the one of being tossed around by the waves of the sea. He uses this in conjunction with our doubts. One just needs to swim in the shore break to know how powerful the waves can be - they can literally toss you all over the place. Doubt is exactly like that - one minute we feel fine, and the next we feel as if we are being overwhelmed with fear. Wind and waves can beat against our lives and make us feel desperate. "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But
when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who
doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do." - James 1:2-8 May we rest in the 'stable' presence of Jesus Christ. May His love and grace keep us from being overwhelmed by fear and doubts. Living in Grace D3LM3
The Psalmists loved to praise God. They also encouraged the people of God to look around at their 'world' and to find ways of glorifying God - and we should do the same. Whether it is looking at the stars in the night sky, the splendour of the mountains, the pounding of the ocean waves, or even the flight of a bird, we have plenty to praise God for...
"Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.
His greatness no one can fathom." - Psalm 145:3
Prayer focus: Thank God for all the many things that we often take for granted.
"Let us realize how near he is, and that nothing escapes him, not our thoughts, or the plans we make." - Clement of Alexandria
I remember as a young Christian reading a book by Max Lucado entitled 'God came near' - it was a wonderful reminder of how God choose to enter our world. Jesus came near to humanity and brought us all the gift of Life - this was God's master stroke.
God realised that we were floundering and so instead of sending another angel, God decided to send himself. How brilliant is that?
So perhaps Clement was right - "nothing escapes God - not our thoughts or even our plans!' It's now up to us to realise how close God is to us!
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you." - Psalm 32:8
It is important for us to be "teachable" and to tune over ear to the things of God. God is always willing to lead and guide us, but we need to allow him to instruct us. If we think that we "know it all" then God will let us be until we seek his direction and help. God will never force his help upon us, but he is always eager to help if we ask.
Prayer focus: Pray for those who are seeking direction in their lives.
enjoying sharing about the life of Martin Luther with my students. His life
inspires me and although I realise that he was far from perfect, we can learn a
lot from him. It is my prayer that some of his thoughts would inspire you
today. Be blessed.
“All who call on God in true faith,
earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they
have asked and desired.”
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than
to be alive without breathing.”
When Elijah called Elisha to follow him, Elisha knew that his response couldn't be half-hearted or one of convenience. It demanded his all. That's why it is remarkable that Elisha show his commitment by leaving his old life behind. This meant slaughtering his oxen and burning his wooden ploughs. Once he had said, 'Yes' there could be no turning back.
went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was ploughing with
twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah
went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha
then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. ‘Let me kiss my father and
mother goodbye,’ he said, ‘and then I will come with you.’ ‘Go back,’ Elijah replied. ‘What have I done to you?’ So
Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered
them. He burned the ploughing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to
the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became
his servant." - 1 Kings 19:19-21
So, I ask us this question - "When we said YES to Jesus, was there a clear call to leave our old habits and lifestyles behind, or have we still held onto them?"
Thought for the day: Following Jesus requires a sacrifice.
phrase “All Out” is often used in a cricket match. When the batting team has
lost all their wickets, then they are deemed to be “all out.” But this phrase
can also be used in a different context. We can speak of people willing to go ‘all
out’ to get something they desire. Going ‘all out’ to:
· ... get a new job,
·...to support a
·...to make a
·...to love a child.
Our call as
Christ followers is to do all we can to follow Jesus – to go “all out” in service
of Him and to make his Love known to everyone.
These are the words of David, spoken in a time when he was facing many obstacles in his life. I think they are spoken as words of promise and courage. When we are confront with trials and tribulations the easiest thing to do is turn and run. But, David had experienced God's deliverance on numerous occasions and so he reaches back into his memory and speaks a bold word of promise:
Psalm 56:3-4 -"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?"
I encourage us to do the same. Speak boldly into the situation that lies before you and trust in God's hand of deliverance.
And today God has reaffirmed that you are dearly held treasure just as he promised, a people entrusted with keeping his commandments, a people set high above all other nations that he’s made, high in praise, fame, and honor: you’re a people holy to God, your God. That’s what he has promised. (Deuteronomy 26:18, 19 MSG)
We marked today as our Annual Covenant service - in these services we recommitted our lives to Jesus and reaffirmed our promises to Him. We do this knowing that we are fragile, but that God is our strength. Even though we may not always keep our promises, we remember that God always keeps his.
Rejoice today in the knowledge that you are God's child and that God will always keep his end of the bargain.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord : He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. (Psalms 91:1-4 NLT)
May you find comfort in these words today
Living in grace
There are so many people in our world in need. In Africa we can see the need all around us and sometimes various Churches heed the call and get involved in serving others. This can be by going on mission trips to other countries or even by serving the poor locally. This year our Church community desires to focus on the needs closer to home - the needs in our city. So, we have decided to narrow our focus a little and to get involved in a few projects closer to our doorstep. Sure, there is still merit in going abroad to do mission (and if this is your call, then do it), but sometimes we miss the needs near our own community.
Scot McKnight has an interesting take on this. Read what he says and let me know your comments:
“Why do so many today want to wander off to South Africa or Kenya or
India or Russia or Honduras or Costa Rica or Peru to help with justice
issues but not spend the same effort in their own neighborhood or
community or state? Why do young suburbanites, say in Chicago, want to
go to Kentucky or Tennessee to help people but not want to spend that
same time to go to the inner city in their own area to help with justice
issues? I asked this question to a mature student in my office one day,
and he thought he had a partial explanation: 'Because my generation is
searching for experiences, and the more exotic and extreme the better.
Going down the street to help at a food shelter is good and it is just
and some of us are doing that, but it's not an experience. We want
Is our mission about an 'experience' or about serving Jesus and others?
Worth thinking about!
My friend, Dion Forster, reminded me today that it is Dietrich Bonhoeffer's birthday. I had forgotten about his birthday to be honest, even though I had shared part of Dietrich's story in my Lectures just yesterday.
His life is a remarkable testament to truth, Christianity and justice. He lived his life as a committed follower of Jesus and was prepared to die for his convictions. He was vilified by many of his peers and colleagues, especially during Hitler's reign, but many people have come to recognise the sacrifice he made for the Kingdom of Jesus.
It makes me stop and wonder: Is my commitment to Jesus nice and comfortable at the moment, or am I still absolutely convinced of the Gospel - to the point that I would stake my life upon it!?
In the words of Bonhoeffer:
“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world
that it leaves to its children.”
“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along
the corridor in the other direction.”
“To endure the cross is not tragedy; it is the suffering
which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ.”
If we were left to our own devices I wonder humanity would get up to? On a daily basis we notice what happens in our world, despite all of our laws, religions and social norms. It seems as if we are all drawn to sin - like a moth to a flame or a paper clip to a giant magnet.
However, God has given us a way out. He has given us his Son, Jesus and it is through His life and death that the power of sin has been defeated. So, we can now choose whether we want to be left to our own devices (and all it's trappings) or whether we want to have God's Spirit take control of our lives.
My own devices? ..... OR
Allowing God to take control?
It's our choice to make.... may we choose well!
Hebrews 12:1 - "....let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles."
Mark 14:38 - "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’"
Sometimes you just have to cling to God - there is nothing else to say or do, but just hang on. Life can deal you all sorts of blows, challenges and uphills, but God can help us get through these times. If you feel that you are in the middle of a time like this, then read David's words and make them your prayer:
"I cling to you; your right hand upholds me." - Psalm 63:8 Or if you prefer the King James Version of this same verse: "My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me."
Follow hard after God and cling on - God's hand will uphold you.