Friday 28 March 2014

A bright hope

"Although life can be bleak, it can become bright again with Your help." - Thomas a Kempis

It only takes a few cold, miserable, wet days to make us all feel a little down and depressed. Life seems bleak and it may seem like the sun will never shine again. However, we know that it will reappear soon and then things will be bright and warm again.

The same can be said of things in our lives. It may seem 'bleak' for you at the moment, but trust in Jesus to make it 'bright' again. God knows your situation and His light will shine into your life.

Living in Grace

Thursday 27 March 2014

The power of Influence

"Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another." - George Eliot

Is there someone who has influenced your life? It could be from a spiritual perspective, or someone who has influenced your career, sport or even your hobby? Influence is such a powerful thing and we should never underestimate it.

Reflecting on Thomas a Kempis' "The Imitation of Christ" I can see how he influenced John Wesley in many ways. One of the things which Wesley introduced was an Annual Covenant service, where Christians we encouraged to renew their commitment to Jesus. The words of the Covenant prayer are profound and challenging, but I ask you to read these words from Thomas a Kempis and spot the similarity with the Covenant prayer.

"Do with me whatever you choose, because it can only be good. If you want me to be in darkness, I will bless you; if you want me to be in light, I will bless you again. If I am comforted, I will be grateful; and If I am afflicated, I will be equally grateful...
... for you sake, I will gladly bear what I must, wherever it may be. I will accept good and evil, sweet and bitter, joy and sorrow, and for all of it I will give you thanks."

So, as you go about your tasks today, stop and think what influence you may have on someone else. We just never know what we may pass on to someone else.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 25 March 2014

You are right!

How often have you cared to admit that someone else may be right and we may be wrong? It is not an easy thing to admit that we are wrong, but we can't always be right. In fact, it borders on pride, if we are never humble enough to admit we may have got something wrong.

In his short reflection on 'Trusting God', Thomas a Kempis, writes:

"Lord, You are right. You care about me more than I care about myself."

There are times that we fall into a trap of believing that God doesn't care about us or that God doesn't know better, but that is incorrect. God does love us and God wants to lead us into paths that are best for us. We just need to learn to say, "Lord, I trust you and you are right!"

Read: Matthew 6 as a reminder that God takes care of us.

Living in Grace

Monday 24 March 2014

Monday Morning Prayer

I was given a copy of this prayer for a Monday Morning and I think it is brilliant. There are so many lines in the prayer that are worth thinking about, perhaps even praying ourselves. Enjoy and please pass it on.

"It's Monday morning again, Lord,
another week in view.
Please help me do the best I can
and walk along with you.
Whatever's around the corner, lord,
Just somewhere out of sight,
Help me to meet it cheerfully
And seek your guiding light.

The weekend goes so quickly, Lord,
And Monday's always near.
I think there must be more of them
All scattered through the year.
Please teach me to be patient, Lord,
And find the strength I seek.
It's Monday morning yet again...
Go with me through the week." - Iris Hesselden

Living in Grace

P.S. My thanks to Neville for sending this prayer to me.

Sunday 23 March 2014

How to pray...

Often when we pray for things we need, we are caught in a dilemma. We may feel a little awkward asking for these things and wonder if God is willing to respond to these prayers. On the other hand, we know that God has invited us to bring our requests to him. So, this is why I like Thomas a Kempis' comments on this topic.

"My child, this is the way to pray:
'Lord, if it is pleasing to you, fulfill my request. 
If this will honour you, let it be done in your name.
If it is good for me, grant that I may use it for your honour.
But, if you know that it will hurt me, take the desire away from me.'"

This is a balance prayer. It is prayed with faith, but also with the humility to recognise that what I want, may not be what God wants.

What do you think?
Compare this prayer with Jesus words in Matthew 21:22: - 
"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

And Paul's words in  Ephesians 6:18: - 
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."
Living in Grace

Thursday 20 March 2014


"If you abandon us, we sink and perish;
but if you come to us, we are raised up and we live.
We are unstable, but you make us stand firm;
we are cold, but you inspire us." - Thomas a Kempis

We can sometimes go crazy asking the "what if" questions....
"What if" this happens or "what if" that happens."IF" can be such an uncertain word.

We can never know what tomorrow holds for us, but we can know a few things for certain:

  • God loves us
  • God wants to make us whole
  • God knows us
  • God cares for us
  • God speaks to us

"...if God comes to us, we are raised up and live!"

Now, that is something worth giving thanks for.

Living in Grace

Wednesday 19 March 2014

What do you have to complain about?

It was this question that got me thinking today?

"What do you have to complain about?" (Thomas a Kempis)

Of course I have a few things that I feel I could complain about right now (and I am sure you do also):
The poor service delivery in our city.
The weakening Rand.
The political situation in our country.
Bad drivers.
Rising cost of living.

My leaking roof!
______________ (you fill the space)

But then it struck me - do I really need to complain about all these things? How blessed I am in so many other areas. Sure, there are many things wrong in our city and country, but there are loads of great things that we could celebrate.

In a spiritual sense, we are greatly blessed by God's mercy and grace. God could complain about us on so many levels. God could create an endless list of the ways I mess up everyday. He could call it: "The Thousand ways Delme messed up today!"
And if he kept score, then I would be damned - pure and simple! I would stand no chance. But thankfully God offers me grace instead of judgement. I am a blessed man.

Thomas a Kempis adds, "If you were to receive what you earned, you would be condemned to hell. But I have spared you because you are precious to me. I want you to know my love."

Worth thinking about!

Living in Grace

Tuesday 18 March 2014


"O Lord, my God, I know that patience is necessary for me because many things disturb me every day. No matter what plans I make to keep myself at peace, I cannot avoid life's struggle and sorrow." - Thomas a Kempis

Life is a struggle. We will have difficulties and challenges, but the only one who can give us peace is Jesus. Turn to the Lord today and may His spirit bring you peace.

Living in Grace

Monday 17 March 2014

Being content

Contentment is something that many of us wrestle with. We wonder how much is enough? We look across at our neighbours and wish we had what they've got? We think that some people have got it all together - and we long for more!

The Bible reminds us to be content with what we have. This is not a ploy to make us unambitious or lazy, but rather it is just a reality check - it teaches us to count our blessings before we long for more and more.

Psalm 17:15 - "But as for me, my contentment is not in wealth but in seeing you and knowing all is well between us. And when I awake in heaven, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see you face-to-face."

Philippians 4:12 -  "I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want..."

Thomas a Kempis writes...."you will learn to be content with little, to be pleased with simple things, and not to complain about inconveniences."

Living in Grace

Friday 14 March 2014


Have you ever pictured God's Love as a flowing river or waterfall? If you imagine standing at the Victoria Falls (or even at the Howick Falls in the Midlands) and watching the water flow over the falls - it is a visual reminder of God's constant love. As water falls down to the pools below, so it is replaced by more water at the top - a continual cycle of life-giving water.

And so, God's love falls upon us, day in and day out. We may not notice it today, but it is still there and it will keep flowing. May we take the time to notice the love of God this week.

"You are a waterfall of unceasing Love." - Thomas a Kempis

In some translations of Thomas a Kempis' "The Imitation of Christ, the word for waterfall is actually 'Fountain'. This reminds me of the following old hymn.

"Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise His Name I'm fixed upon it
Name of God's redeeming love."
- Robert Robinson (aged 22)

Living in grace

Thursday 13 March 2014

Be grateful

"You only realised what you had when it's gone!"

How many times have you heard this saying before? A few, I am sure. Even though we may have heard this saying a number of times before, we still need to be reminded to be grateful. So why don't you take a moment to thank God for everyone/everything in your life - offer them all up to God in prayer.

Perhaps even send them a message of appreciation too!

"He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan..." - Luke 17:15-16

"I have given you everything you have and I want you to be grateful. This will check pride." - Thomas a Kempis

Living in Grace

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Lent 8 - God's care for us

"It is Your love that ... graciously upholds me, supports me in so many necessities, guards me from so many dangers, and snatches me from evils without number." - Thomas a Kempis

Have you ever stopped to consider how many times God may have protected us without us even knowing it? It is easy to ask God for the blessings and help, but we may never know (until we meet God face to face) how many dangers and evil things he helped us avoid.

God cares for us in ways beyond our understanding. When we place our lives into his hands, we surrender all the good, bad and ugly moments unto His will and purpose. Perhaps God will indeed show us a DVD of our lives when we get to heaven and God will point out every time he snatched us from potential harm. Worth thinking about I think!

Genesis 28:15 - "Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Be blessed today.

Living in Grace

Thanks to for the photo

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Your value - Lent 7

In our modern age we have all kinds of ways of evaluating things.
  • If a business meets it's financial targets we consider it to be a success. 
  • If a university student gets more than 75% we consider this to be a First class pass.
  • If we remember enough information we can pass our Learner driver's test.
  • You may make a certain sports team if you consistently play well.
But how does God evaluate us?

"Your value is not calculated by the number of visions you have, by your skill in the scriptures, or by your position in relation to others. You are most worthy if you are truly humble and full of divine love, and if you seek only my honour." - Thomas a Kempis

Remember that God sees us as his children. He loves us way beyond our wildest thoughts or imaginations. God cares!

Living in Grace

Monday 10 March 2014

Giving up too easily

In the next part of his reflection Thomas a Kempis records a conversation between Christ and 'The Disciple' (who could be himself or to any one of us). It starts like this:

Christ: My child, you are not yet a brave and wise lover.

Disciple: Why, Lord?

Christ: Because, on account of a slight difficulty you give up what you have undertaken and are too eager to seek consolation...

There is so much truth in this honest answer from Jesus. How many times do we fall away, or even think of giving up, when we face trials of any kind? We are prone to despair and want to throw in the towel too easily. God encourages us to push on through the troubling times and to stay committed to his ways.

"...we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." - Romans 5:3-5

So, if this is for you today, then please hang in there - God will help you to stay strong in the midst of difficult times.

Living in Grace

Sunday 9 March 2014

Lent 5 - Lips or heart?

We all know people who good talkers, don't we? People who are good at saying the right things, but never seem to follow up with their actions. We are often 'taken in' by such people for awhile, because they seem gregarious and fun, but in the end we get frustrated by their lying lips.

God knows that there are many religious people like this - we talk the talk, but we don't seem to be able to follow up with the right actions. We promise the moon, but can't even deliver a feeble commitment to worship. Jesus spoke out against people like this:

“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." - Matthew 15:8

So, here is the challenge for us this Lent - do we honour God just with our lips or are we allowing our actions to prove our real heart?

"Some have me often enough on their lips, but they have little of me in their hearts." - Thomas a Kempis

Living in Grace

Fill my heart with Grace

"In your mercy, fill my heart with Grace. How can I endure this life without your strength and mercy?" - Thomas a Kempis

We sometimes believe we have all the resources we need for life, yet we seem to lack something. Perhaps the necessary ingredient we need is one of these 3:
  • Grace
  • Strength
  • Mercy

This is the prayer of Thomas a Kempis - he asks God to fill his heart with grace. He also recognises that he can't 'survive' without God's strength and mercy. Is this perhaps our story too? If it isn't one of these 3 resources that you need, what is it? Why not ask God for help today?

Living in Grace

Saturday 8 March 2014

Choosing God

Is there anyone who serves me with the same care and devotion given to the world and its leaders?
To gain a few dollars, a long trip may be taken;
for eternal life, many will barely lift a foot from the ground.

These are the words of Thomas a Kempis as he challenges the apathy of our faith. We are willing to do many things for 'worldly treasures', but often we are not prepared to go the distance for God. Quite a challenging sentiment and worthy chewing on today.

Psalm 94:12-15 (The Message)
"How blessed the man you train, God,
    the woman you instruct in your Word,
Providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil,
    while a jail is being built for the wicked.
God will never walk away from his people,
    never desert his precious people.
Rest assured that justice is on its way
    and every good heart put right."

Living in Grace

Thursday 6 March 2014

Speak Lord

The season of Lent helps us to tune into the voice of the Spirit., but we need to be intentional about listening for the voice of God. It is much easier to listen to the words of others or even of the ‘biblical prophets’, but it is the voice of Jesus that we need the most.

Perhaps a simple, but profound prayer during this season is Samuel’s prayer:
Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”1 Samuel 3:10

Thomas a Kempis wrote:

“The Prophets may speak words, but they cannot give the Spirit.

Their language is beautiful, but if you are silent it will not set my heart on fire.

They give words, but you give the words meaning.

They present mysteries, but you unlock what it hidden.”

Listen for the still small voice of the Spirit today.

Living in Grace

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Lent 1 - Spiritual Comfort

We often use Lent as a time to give up various vices and in the past I have given up things like coffee, chocolate and coke. This year I would like make my priority "taking up" something meaningful, so I have gone back to one of my favourite books 'The Imitation of Christ' (by Thomas a Kempis).

I hope to read a portion of this book every day and then to reflect on it using Scripture where possible. For those of you who are familiar with the book, it is divided into 4 parts - so I will be starting in the 3rd part for my Lenten journey.

"This is what your Beloved is saying: I am your salvation, your peace and your life. Keep beside me and you will find peace. Abandon all the things that pass away, and seek the things that are eternal." - Thomas a Kempis

May we walk closely with Jesus and may we experience His deep peace, despite what may be happening all around us.

Philippians 4:7 - "Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

Living in Grace

It's all about Preparation

We use the phrase "It's all about preparation" in the context of sport or business, but I believe that it's equally compelling to use it in this season of Lent. Today marks Ash Wednesday, which is the starting point in our journey towards Easter. Like I have mentioned before, we are not required by God to observe Lent, and no one is going to rate you a second class Christian if you choose to ignore this season, but let me share why it has become a meaningful time for me (and many others).

I find that life is so rushed at the moment and my spiritual life feels the squeeze of thousands of other demands. Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday are watershed moments in our Faith and I feel it is a shame to allow them to creep up on me without any warning. In truth, I could easily allow the rush of life to accelerate me into the Easter Weekend, without pausing long enough to reflect on the cross and the empty tomb.

But, if this happens then I feel like something is missing. My spirit needs time to wrestle deeply with the suffering of Jesus, the stories of 'Holy Week', the mystery of the Resurrection and the miracle of grace. So, this is why I value "preparing for Easter" (Lent) and reflecting on the Good News of the Cross/Resurrection in bite sizes - over 40 days or so. Lent becomes a discipline for me - a helpful spiritual practise choosing to push pause on a few of my other demands and distractions.

I don't observe lent to be seen as a Saint, I observe lent to be more in tune with my Saviour. But it is most effective for me, when I spend the time preparing!

Joshua 7:13 - ‘Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, “Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: there are devoted things among you, Israel. 

Let me know your thoughts?

Living in Grace

Monday 3 March 2014

An honest look at ourselves

We are always eager to see the wrong in others, but the greatest challenge of our 'new life' in Christ is to see the sin in ourselves. 

e not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.
"Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be." - Thomas a Kempis

Jesus said it like this:

"For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?" - Matthew 7:2-4

Worth thinking about I think?

Living in Grace
 not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Responding to a Call

There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow human beings. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well.” - Walter Reuther

I have been thinking long and hard this past week ... (hope you haven't seen to much smoke coming from my little brain) ... about the issue of 'Calling'. What does it mean for us to be called by God and where will this lead us? 

In a simple way, I see that God calls us to follow him (Mark 1:17) and then also to be willing to share in His work on earth. This 'second' calling will be different for each one of us, but I strongly believe that each one of us is given something to do for God. It is a wonderful privilege to be in partnership with our Lord, as he seeks to renew our communities. 

So, what has God called you to do? Are you willing to step out in faith and follow His lead?

Let me know what you feel on this topic.

 ·      Ephesians 4:1 – “As a prisoner for the Lord then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

Living in Grace