Tuesday 29 April 2014


It seems as if some gremlin has crept into my blog and sent out some weird correspondence to a few of you. I must apologise for that, although I have no idea who did this. In the future if you receive something from me that seems 'weird' or unrelated to 'Living in Grace', then please just click delete. I will only send Christian devotional material from this blog.

I suppose that I now need to 'turn the other cheek' and forgive someone for messing with this blog :)

Jesus said it like this:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them theothercheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well" - Matthew 5:38-40

Living in Grace

Monday 28 April 2014

It was for Freedom...

On this Freedom day in South Africa, I will leave the political rhetoric to those in the know, but I would like to share a few scriptures that speak about our freedom in Christ. We should not forget that Christ died in order to set us free from the power of sin and death. For me, this is the best freedom there is.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV)

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12 NIV)

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, (James 2:12 NIV)

May you experience the freedom and peace of Christ today.

Living in grace

Thursday 24 April 2014

Emmaus Walk

In one of his post Resurrection appearances Jesus encounters the 2 men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24). As Jesus shares about his life and death, the two men suddenly become aware of who he is and their lives are changed. It is such a wonderful story to read and if you haven't read it before, please read it today - I have attached it at the bottom of this post.

Today, I have the privilege of going on an Emmaus Walk and will be sharing with many wonderful people from around Kwazulu Natal. The Emmaus movement began as a weekend of spiritual renewal, offering people a chance to encounter Jesus, along similar lines to the 2 men in Luke 24. It is such a blessed weekend and we would covet your prayers for all of us who are leading/attending this time away.

If you have even been on an Emmaus Walk please reply to this post and let me know of your stories from the weekend - I would love to hear them.

May we all walk close to Jesus today and tune our ears to hear his voice.

Living in Grace

On the Road to Emmaus

13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Pass it on

Yesterday I mentioned that the first words Jesus spoke to the group of disciples in the upper room were, "Peace be with you" (John 20:19). Well, today I want to take this further and mention that the second thing he says is pretty much the same, except it has another statement attached to it. He says:

“Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21 NIV)

Jesus reminds them of his mission - "sent by my Father" and that their mission was now "to be sent." The disciples would have understood what he was saying - Jesus had now passed on the baton to them and they were to take the message of Grace and Mercy to the whole world.

The challenge for all Christ-followers is to hear these same words spoken to us today. We have a job to do - we need to take the message of the Gospel and pass it on. Are you willing to take up the challenge?

Living in grace

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Experience Peace

The first words Jesus spoke to the group of disciples, after his resurrection, are powerful indeed:

"Peace be with you." - John 20:19

The Lord speaks through the pen of Thomas a Kempis, saying...

"Everyone wants peace, but very few care for the things that produce it.  My peace is with the humble and gentle, and especially with the patient. If you will listen to me, and act accordingly, you will  enjoy much peace."  

What things in your life are preventing you from enjoying peace at the moment? Is it a habit, a job, a broken relationship, a sin or even just stress! Why don't you take 2 minutes out of your day right now and offer these things to God in prayer. Remember that "things" can never bring true peace - it is the work of the Spirit which enables us to rest in God's presence.

May we stay close to The Lord and enjoy His peace.

Living in grace

Monday 21 April 2014

The final word

Frederick Buechner - " Resurrection means the worst thing is never the last thing."

I love this about Easter Sunday - it fills us with the inexplicable hope that God will always have the final word. On Friday, we feel that the enemy has won the battle and we are left feeling very deflated, however, the Resurrection changes all that. As the sun rises on Resurrection Sunday we recognise that God's Word is always the final 'Amen!'

So, remember that even the worst thing that can be thrown at you, never has to be the last thing. 
Jesus has won the battle and we get to share in that glory.

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55, 57 NIV)

Living in Grace

Saturday 19 April 2014

Good Friday

Every Easter I am amazed at how the familiar story of the cross hits home with new impact. This year I have been deeply moved by Jesus' words from Mark 15:34 - "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" These words are a direct quote from Psalm 22:1 and remind us of Christ's loneliness and his sense of betrayal.

However, when we read Psalm 22 in it's entirety, we see that perhaps Jesus was passing on a crucial message to his disciples and to us. This Psalm is a Messianic psalm and the Disciples would have known the wonderful words of promise that conclude this Psalm (have a read of it when you get a chance).

"For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help." - Psalm 22:24

Although the last word of Jesus seems bleak at first glance, it actually points us to powerful and life- changing words of Promise.

May the God of grace and hope, fill your hearts with peace today

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Misplaced trust

Although Jesus loved humanity deeply, he never placed his dependence and trust upon our goodness. He cared for his disciples and he loved them until his last breath, but Jesus was fully aware of their frailty and sin. The fact that he chose to love them, despite their imminent betrayal, means the world to me today. It teaches me that even though God knows I am going to mess up, He still loves me. Of course, this should never be an excuse to live irresponsibly, but rather to live from a place of gratitude.

"Do not be anxious for the shadow of a great name, for the close friendship of many, or for the particular affection of men. These things cause distraction and cast great darkness about the heart." - Thomas a Kempis

Jesus' mission was never to earn himself a great name, to win friends or to be popular. I am sure that he was hurt when the disciples deserted him in the garden, but he had already set his mind and heart on His Father's Kingdom. That made all the difference.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 15 April 2014

A prayer for the clearing of my mind

I just love the prayer that emerges from today's reflection. It seems as if Thomas is having a hard time of it and so he writes a sincere prayer, asking God to help clear his mind. How often do we find ourselves unable to think clearly because we have some heavy weight on hearts and minds? May the words of this prayer offer you some hope today.

"Clear my thinking, Lord Jesus, with the light you shine within me. Chase all darkness from my mind. Check my wandering thoughts and fight for me. Enter into combat with these ugly beasts (his thoughts and temptations) so there may be peace 'inside your walls and safety in your palaces'. Command the stormy winds to cease; order the waves to be still. Create a great calm in me." -Thomas a Kempis

As we get closer to Good Friday, I can't help but think of Jesus' wrestling in prayer in Gethsemane - the more he prayed, the more he grew in strength. The more he wrestled with his imminent suffering, the more at peace he became. May we find the same thing happening in our souls - pray this prayer and see how God works in your heart.

Living in grace

Monday 14 April 2014

Going before us

How is Lent going for you? Are you managing to stay committed to the promises you made on Ash Wednesday - are you surviving without those things you decide to give up? Well, I just want to encourage you to stay focused and to hang in there - it is less than a week to Easter Sunday.

In today's reflection Thomas a Kempis shares a lovely passage from Isaiah. I think this is a verse that is worth incorporating into our Easter prayers.

"I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." (Isaiah 45:2, 3 NIV)

Easter reminds me that Jesus breaks through the mountain of my sin. Even when sin threatens to keep me captive, God's grace sets me free. God goes before me and makes things easier so that I may enter into relationship with him.

May the God of freedom and grace be near you today.

Living in grace

Saturday 12 April 2014

4 Things that bring peace

In today's devotion Thomas a Kempis records a conversation he has with the Lord. In this brief exchange, God offers to teach us the way of peace and true freedom.

1. Do what pleases another rather than yourself.
2. Choose to have less rather than more.
3. Seek the lowest place and be the servant of all.
4. Pray that my will may be accomplished in you always.

Do these 4 things, and you will surely find peace and inward rest.

If you have another look at these 4, which one hits home for you today? What is God's spirit prompting within you at this moment?

Let me know your thoughts if you have a minute.

Living In Grace

Thursday 10 April 2014

That makes no sense

How often do we catch ourselves thinking, "that makes no sense at all?"
It could refer to things happening around us, in politics or sport, or even in our spiritual lives. The Bible contains a number of stories that make us scratch our heads a little - and honestly, we may even question God's sanity in some of His decisions.

Remember God's brave call to Moses? Why choose a guy as your spokesperson when he can't even speak properly? Or how about choosing a bunch of riff-raff as your disciples? That makes no sense at all? But we know that God delights in confounding our wisdom and reminding us that he is Lord.

"This is not for us to figure out!" - Thomas a Kempis

"27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are." - 1 Corinthians 1:27-28

Living in grace

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Augustine's influence

As much as I am enjoying re-reading the Imitation of Christ, I recognise the massive influence of other people on Thomas a Kempis. He was influenced by other Christians in his community, the Bible, philosophers and Church teachers. His thoughts for today include similar sentiments to those of Saint Augustine. Have a look and see what you think.

Augustine - "You have created us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you."

Thomas a Kempis - "I will never be content until my heart is devoted above all else to you."

Any thoughts?

May Jesus be the one influencing your thoughts and actions today. God bless you.

Living In Grace

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Above All

"For you, O Lord my God, are above all things the best. You alone are most high, You alone are most sufficient and most satisfying, You alone most sweet and consoling. You alone are most beautiful and loving, You alone most noble and glorious above all things." - Thomas a Kempis 

As I read this words this morning, I thought of the worship song, 'Above All' - these words express a similar sentiment to the words of Thomas a Kempis above:

 "Above all powers, Above all Kings,
Above all nature and all created things,
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man,
You were here before the world began." - Michael W. Smith

May God bless you today as you seek to honour Him above everything else.
 Living in Grace

Monday 7 April 2014

Admitting our weakness

Today's reflection from our friend, Thomas, makes interesting reading. It still amazes me that he was writing in a totally different era to us (early 15th century) and yet I feel as if he is writing with an acute knowledge of our times.

"What a strange life! Trouble and misery are always in stock. Traps and enemies are abundant. When one problem retreats, another takes its place. And sometimes the second difficulty doesn't wait for the first to be resolved."

It is in the context of the life's troubles that he realizes his need of God. Thomas a Kempis needed to admit his own weaknesses. "You know how frail I am Lord. Have mercy on me."

Identifying our weaknesses and then admitting them to Jesus is a hard thing. As Humbling as it can be, I feel it puts us in a great place to receive mercy from God.

What are your weaknesses? Are you willing to admit them to God today?

Living in grace

Sunday 6 April 2014

Ironic twist

Little did I know that when I wrote my last blogpost that it would be speaking directly to my own life. A few days after writing, "Although life can be bleak",  I had my computer stolen whilst we were having a few days leave. It was a horrible feeling to have intruders in the place we were staying, taking our possessions, while we slept (I am sure that plenty of you can relate to incidence like this!) - in the end we were left feeling grateful that no one was harmed in the incident.

Even in the midst of this, Thomas a Kempis' thoughts have been speaking to me quietly. One of his devotions in the days after this incident said this:

"Be ready for battle if you want to win. Without struggling you cannot gain patience, and if you will not suffer, you refuse to be crowned."

I guess that if we experience suffering this Lenten period it makes us understand more acutely what our Lord Jesus went through for our sake. My suffering is nothing compared to the cross!

Any thoughts from your side? Please give me your feedback.
God bless and remember to live in His Grace.