Thursday 31 July 2014

Prayer for today

I think that we can learn so much from the faith of those who have gone before us. In teaching Church History I have the privilege of reflecting on the remarkable lives of many men and women. I want to share an awesome prayer from St Ignatius of Loyola with you today. If you have already come across it before, then please send it onto someone who needs it today.
Be strong and filled with Grace.

“Teach us, good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deserves; 
to give and not to count the cost; 
to fight and not to heed the wounds; 
to toil and not to ask for rest;
 to labour and not to ask for any reward, 
save that of knowing that we do thy will. 
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.”St Ignatius of Loyola

Living in Grace

Tuesday 29 July 2014

How will they know? The fun of Traffic fines.

I thought I was being a model citizen today. I went to the office of the Mzunduzi Traffic Fines, just to check if I owed any outstanding fines. Of course, I thought I owed nothing, but I just wanted to make sure. So, you can imagine my shock when the kind gentleman at the counter showed me a print out of my outstanding fines (yes, that is a plural!).

After I got over the initial shock, I ask him why I had never received these in the mail. His reply was candid - "Well, perhaps the postman lost them on the way!"
Knowing that this could be true, I then asked him, "How was I supposed to know that I owed anything? Who was going to tell me?"
The shrug of the shoulders said enough and so I walked out the office feeling poorer and frustrated.

But, here is my spiritual reflection on this:
How will others know about the grace of Jesus, unless we tell them. They will not just 'guess' or 'surmise' that God loves them. We need to tell them. And just in case the message gets lost along the way, we need to send a reminder. We need to keep reminding people that God desires to be in relationship with us all and that God is not the enemy. Some people won't get the message after the first try - they need to be told again and again. So, if you have a friend or family member who doesn't want to 'hear' the message, don't give up. Keep sending the message... Jesus loves you.

 Romans 10:14-15 - "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Living in Grace

Monday 28 July 2014

What is your Anchor?

I have long been fascinated by this verse from Acts 27 and so when it came up in our preaching series this week, I enjoyed reflecting on it again.

Acts 27:29Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.”

This event took place when Paul was on board a cargo ship to Rome. A storm came up and threatened to wreck the boat. Even though Paul was being held as a prisoner, he still encouraged them to drop 4 anchors into the water, desperately hoping they would survive. 

In the end, they all lived to tell the tale, but it got me thinking about my own life. When the storms hit us without warning, what anchors do we have in place, that we can use to keep us secure? Do we have faith in God, our refuge and rock, to get us through the worst of the storm?

I shared my 4 "Anchors" with the congregation yesterday, but I would love to hear what your Anchors may be? If you have 1 minute please drop me a comment/email with your thoughts. Thanks.

May God hold you secure this week and always.

Living in Grace

Sunday 27 July 2014

Making a change

Sometimes the smallest change can make a big difference. We decided to move my office desk around (Kim thought it was a cool idea - and I didn't argue :) So now my desk faces in the opposite direction from the way it has faced for years. This may not seem radical at all (and it's not), but it makes the office feel totally different. Although it will take some time getting used to the idea, I actually think I like it.

What needs to shift in our faith at the moment? What needs a little change in direction? It may not mean getting rid of something (I still use the same desk), but maybe there is something that should be altered, so that we can get another perspective.

What do you think about this? What things are you challenge to shift?

Matthew 18:3 - "And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Isaiah 42:9 - "See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare."

Living in Grace

Friday 25 July 2014


Where would we be without 'Post-it-notes?' I keep many of them in my drawer at work, because I use them every time I lead a service - they are such helpful little pieces of paper! Not only do I use them to mark my place, but I usually write peoples names or various points onto them - just in case my brain decides to go into slow motion.

If you are interested in reading the story behind the Post-it-notes, then read it below - it's brilliant! But, before you do, let me ask us this question: If a 'Post-it' helps us to keep our place in a book, what would a Spiritual equivalent of this be? How do we 'mark' our place in our story with Jesus? How do we remember where we are in the bigger story, if we don't have a means of finding our place again?

One of the best ways of 'remembering' where we are in Gospel narrative is by worshipping with other believers. We remind ourselves of who we are and why God loves us. We connect with our Saviour. We pause and reflect on our role in becoming disciples of Jesus. We gather insight and strength for the journey ahead. We are challenged in our responsibility towards our neighbours.

For some more great thoughts on worship, read my friend John's blog today. It's challenging and insightful.

So as we go into the day, may we take seriously the spiritual 'post-it-notes' on our journey.

Living in Grace

In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M in the United States, developed a "low-tack", reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive. For five years, Silver promoted his invention within 3M, both informally and through seminars, but without much success. In 1974, a colleague of his, Art Fry, in a church choir in North St. Paul, Minnesota, was frustrated that his bookmarks kept falling out of his hymnal. He had attended one of Silver's seminars, and, (I love this part) while listening to a sermon in church, he came up with the idea of using the adhesive to anchor his bookmarks to his hymnal, and the first "Post-It Notes" were born.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Courage may not Roar!

I came across this interesting quote just now and wanted to share it with you:

“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.”- Mary Anne Radmacher

When we invite the Spirit of God into our lives, He blesses us with 'courage' and 'strength' beyond our wildest dreams. Commit your day to the Lord and invite His spirit to guide you and to grant you courage for whatever you may be facing. Remember that God's voice isn't always the loud 'roar', but sometimes it is just the still small voice.

Living in Grace


Monday 21 July 2014

Coping through change

A lot can change in a short space of time. One day things may be going along fine and the next your whole world can be turned upside down. This can happen in both a positive and a negative sense - good news and bad news can both surprise us, I guess.

As we contemplate today and the future, we can never predict what will happen, but we can be assured of God's presence with us... no matter what. I shared a few verses from Hebrews with the pupils from Maritzburg College this morning, reminding them of this truth. When we place our lives in the hands of Jesus, he promises to be with us.

Hebrews 13:5b-6
"For God has said,
“I will never fail you.
    I will never abandon you.”

So we can say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper,
    so I will have no fear.
    What can mere people do to me?”

If you are going through a time of change at the moment, why don't you allow these verses to become a prayer for you. When the Lord is near to us change doesn't have to be so scary.

Living in Grace

Sunday 20 July 2014

Walking on water

  "He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea." - Job 9:8

Did Job know that Jesus would fulfil this prophecy hundreds of years later? I am not sure if he did, but the one thing he knew was that God had the authority to walk on water if he wanted to. When it comes to knowing about God we are all still 'playing in the shallows' - there is so much more we can discover about our Great God. Can I encourage us to 'stretch' our understanding of God and believe in His ability to do way more than we could ever dream or imagine.

God is way bigger than we our human minds can comprehend. Let's try not to 'box' God into a tiny container and limit His incredible power.

Matthew 14:25-29
"Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

Living in Grace

Friday 18 July 2014

3 vital things for life

If we ran a poll to decide which are the most important things in life, many people would end up going for things like: love, family, friends, etc - and I wouldn't disagree with them at all. The Apostle Paul would go with his 3 favourite ones: Faith, Hope, Love (1 Corinthians 13:13) - and I can't argue with him either.

However, Solomon suggests 3 different characteristics that are vital for a godly life and they are all linked to Truth. See what he says in Proverbs 23:23
"Get the truth and don't ever sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and discernment."

No there are 3 things that could help us in a big way:

Which of these 3 are you needing today? Why not ask God to guide you into a deeper understanding of these key things?

Living in Grace

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Take courage

I know that one shouldn't pick and choose verses out of the Bible without remembering their context, but I found these lines in Ezra 7 and I couldn't resist....

"Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage..." (v.28)

It reminded me that we can truly take courage when we comprehend that God's hand rests upon us. No matter what circumstances we are set to face ahead, try and allow this image to offer you strength - God's hand rests on your shoulder, reassuring you that all will be well.

Jesus offered his friends the same encouragement - "Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Mark 6:50)

Living in Grace

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Look up

Life can often grab us by the scruff of the neck and get us so consumed with issues that we don't see things clearly. In the haze of it all, we lose hope and feel that our prayers are bouncing off the walls. Can you relate to any of this?

Well, a while ago, I was feeling a little bit like this, but then I felt as if I got a message from God. It was  during a time of group prayer when I heard the words, 'Look Up.' I can't remember what the context of the other people's prayers were, but I certainly heard these 2 words.... Look up. I felt as if the Spirit was whispering to me, "Delme, don't forget to look up to me. I have you in my sights and I can help you." Needless to say, I felt relieved and blessed - God is present with me!

Now, I know that some of you theologians out there will be quick to remind me that God is not living "Up there" - for after all, God is Omnipresent - and you would be correct. However, in that moment, what I needed most was to 'Look Up!' My vision on the ground had become to blurry and out of focus.

So, I offer you two words today:

Living in Grace

Monday 14 July 2014

A million miles in a thousand years

The title itself is captivating ... "A million miles in a thousand years!" ... and reading the book is even more interesting. This book by Donald Miller has certainly challenged me on many fronts. While there are some parts of the book that are "unconventional" and I don't necessarily agree with them all, I do love the way Miller gets people to think about our lives.

Donald Miller writes this book while he starts to do some 'editing' of his own life. He starts to realise that the 'story' he is telling with his life isn't necessarily the best and so he begins to ask himself some important questions. I found his honesty refreshing and his take on God to be full of grace. He tells some moving stories in the book and each page has something worthwhile to chew on.

For me, one of the challenges I am left with is to live a remarkable 'story'. God gives us the chance to live one life and we get to choose whether we do this for Him or not. Sometimes we are just afraid or too tired to want to live a better life.

"We don't want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage." - Donald Miller

May we find that the presence of God is with us today, urging us to live in His grace.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 8 July 2014

What legacy?

Alfred Nobel is synonymous with the Nobel Peace Prize, but his life could have been remembered for something very different. He is credited for inventing dynamite and he built up a massive fortune from this business. When his brother died, the newspaper posted an obituary for Alfred, instead of for his brother. One of the remarks in the mistaken obituary shook him to his core - it stated that he would be known as the person who created the most destructive force known to humanity - dynamite.

Alfred decided that he didn't want to be remembered for something 'destructive', so he set about making things right. He began to make plans to give his fortune away, as a way of recognizing those that had made significant contributions in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace.  

Just before his death, he confided in a friend, "I want to be remembered for peace, not destruction."
And that is what he is remembered for.... the Nobel Peace Prize.

I am challenged by his story and I ask myself what my Legacy will be? How will others sum up your life? If we think that it will be more 'destructive' than 'peaceful' then perhaps we need to make some changes while we can. What do you think?

Psalm 112:6 - "Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever."

Living in Grace