Saturday 31 October 2015

The 'fatness' of God

You have got to love the language of kids. Josh was explaining something to me today and was trying to tell me how 'wide' his fort was, but he instead he used the word 'fat'. I gently tried to correct him, but it did make me chuckle. I thought of the passage in Ephesians that speaks of the height, width and depth of God's love and if we inserted the word 'fatness' into this scripture, it would
make interesting reading:

Ephesians 3:16-19
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide (FAT) and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

I thank God that he is so 'Fat', awesome and incredible. His love is so wide it covers every area of our lives.

Living in Grace

Friday 30 October 2015

The boomerang and the Critic

What goes around, comes around!
That's how the old saying goes and there is a lot of truth in this sentiment. When Jesus gave his famous sermon on the mount, he challenged people to treat others with respect and to be wary of criticising others too quickly. I have always been challenged by this message and I don't know how you feel about it?

It is especially hard when you see someone making the same mistake, again and again. When do you draw the line better speaking the truth (in Love) and seeming critical?

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole travelling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbour." - Matthew 7:1-5 (The Message)

Let's be wary of the 'criticism boomerang' - it may just come back to hit us in the back of the head.

Living in grace

Thursday 29 October 2015

It is not the Critic who counts!

On the 23 April 1910, in Paris, Theodore Roosevelt delivered a speech that has echoed down through the ages. I am blown away by these words and they leave me feeling deeply inspired and challenged at the same time. I urge you to read these words and to pass them onto someone else who may need to hear them today. God bless you.

These are some of the famous words from that speech...

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - T. Roosevelt

Romans 2:2 - Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done.

Just get into the arena and Trust God for the results. When we live for the honour of Jesus, God will take care of the rest.

Living in Grace

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Ask for help

We have become very independent people! We like to know that we can cope with any situation and asking for help is not the cool thing to do. In fact, somewhere along the line, we have convinced ourselves that needing help is a sign of weakness.

I want to say that this is utter garbage! If we believe that we have all things figured out and that
don't need to ask for help, then we border on arrogance. Every human people needs help at some stage in our lives - I think that God created us to be dependent on the love and support of our communities.

Even if we look at the beginning and end of our existence - when we come into the world as tiny babies we need people around us to help us - we won't survive if these care-givers aren't there for us. However, the same applies for when we are old and frail - we need people around to help and care for us. This is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of healthy community.

So, if you are sitting in a troublesome situation today, I urge you to ask for help. Don't worry about what others may think - they are probably also seeking help, but are too proud to ask someone.

Matthew 7:7 -[ Effective Prayer ] “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 

Living in Grace

Tuesday 27 October 2015

No Discounts in Faith

There are no short cuts along the road of Faith. We may look for discounts at the local store, but we can't find those same discounts in the Christian faith. Everything worth living for comes as a great cost. As Eisenhower once said:

“There are no victories at discount prices.” 

When Christ died on the cross, he achieved something remarkable for all humanity, but that forgiveness clearly came at a huge personal cost. Our victory came at His cost.

Colossians 2:13-15 - You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

If you are finding that your faith is a struggle at the moment, remember that your Faith is worth fighting for. There may be no discounts, but your Faith is worth every bit of sweat it may take.

Living in Grace

Monday 26 October 2015


It is not a question of "if", but rather a case of "WHEN."

"When faith is tested to the limit and we stumble,
forgive us.
When feet stray from the path and we wander
forgive us.
When our neighbour is in need and we pass by
forgive us.
When the voices of this world
drown out your whisper
forgive us.
When love draws us to your feet in repentance
forgive us." - John Birch

2 Corinthians 13:5 - Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?

If you find yourself relating to the prayer above, then why don't you use it as your own prayer for today?

Living in Grace

Sunday 25 October 2015

Get the full message

We need to get the full message first, before we jump to a wrong conclusion. Sometimes only half of the message can distort the real truth and this can cause all sorts of heartache and pain. Read this next story and you will see what I mean.

"It is reported that at the close of the Battle of Waterloo, upon the issue of which hung the destinies of Europe, the English people were anxiously awaiting news of the result. Their only means of communication was a system of signal lights flashed across the English Channel. The fog became so dense that only a part of the message was made out. It read, "Wellington defeated." 
Gloom settled upon the English. But imagine their joy when the fog lifted and they received the whole message, "Wellington defeated the enemy." (Sermon

In the story of Christianity, there was a moment when the message went out to the world, "Christ is defeated!" Thankfully, this was only half of the real story. When the fog of Good Friday lifted, the world heard the great news that Christ had defeated sin and death! 

As Christ-followers we should remember that the Full message of Jesus Christ is that there is always HOPE - we may need to wait for the full story to be told, but God has won the victory for us.

Living in Grace

Friday 23 October 2015

Strong arms

In a museum in Scotland, resides the sword of the famous Scotsman William Wallace who was a hero and patriot. A visitor once said, “I do not see how this sword could win such victories.” 
“Ah sir, you do not see the arm that wielded it,” came the reply. “ - G.B. F. Hallock

When it comes to trusting in the power of God to work, we sometimes forget the strength of 'God's Arm' - It may seem that God has lost his power or that the enemies around us are stronger than our God, but we should never forget the power of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 59:1 - Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. 

Isaiah 52:10The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Psalm 136:12 - "...with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures for ever."

Trust in the power of God today.

Living in Grace

Thursday 22 October 2015

Strong and Immovable

In the midst of crises and difficulty how do you feel? How do you cope?
When Paul wrote to the people of Corinth, they were facing many obstacles and enormous challenges in their faith. He encouraged them:

"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable." - 1 Corinthians 15:58

It is my prayer that we would all be strong in the Lord and then allow his Spirit to keep us from being shaken. In my experience, Christianity doesn't help us avoid pain and trouble, but rather our Faith in Christ helps us to stay strong/immovable in the times of trial.

May God be with you today.
Be strong and immovable.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Imagine this

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Very thought provoking words indeed.
What do you think of this idea?
Can you imagine what it would be like if Christ wanted to come and live in 'your' home?

1 Corinthians 3:16 - Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?

Living in Grace

Monday 19 October 2015

Stumbling friend of Jesus

"O Lord Jesus, 
you who came to us
to show the compassionate love of your Father,
make your people know this love
with their hearts, minds and souls.

And to me, O Lord, your stumbling friend,
show your mercy.

This prayer was written by Henri Nouwen and I love the honesty of it. After all, how many of us are likely to admit that we are 'stumbling friends' of Jesus?

Psalm 37:24 - Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

No matter what faces you today, may you know the mercy and Grace of Jesus.

Living in Grace

Sunday 18 October 2015

Israel Trip - May 2016

Hello there friends - sorry for using my Blog as a message board, but I just wanted to make the most of this Good News. We met with our Israel tour operator last week and he has kindly agreed to extend the registration deadline for another 2 weeks. So, if you were sitting on the fence, wondering if this trip is for you or not, then I urge you to jump at the opportunity. We are going to have an amazing time.

Check at some of the awesome places we are going to visit:
Mount Carmel
Sea of Galilee
Mount of Beatitudes
Jordan River
Lazarus' tomb
Wailing wall
Mount of Olives
Garden of Gethsemane
Dead Sea
and a whole lot more....

Please send me an email if you want to find out more. God Bless.

Matthew 21:1 - As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives.

Living in Grace

Saturday 17 October 2015

A new take on Obedience

This morning I discovered a slightly new take on the topic of Obedience. It may not seem like a huge revelation to many others, but it struck a chord with me today. Obedience simply means 'being a listener to God.' Let me share the paragraph I was reading and see what you think:

"Jesus learned obedience from what he suffered. This means that the pains and struggles of which Jesus became a part made him listen more perfectly to God ... Entering into the suffering of the poor is the way to become obedient, that is, a listener to God." - Henri Nouwen

Sometimes we need to go through difficult times in order for our senses to be in tune with the Divine voice of Jesus. We should desire to become 'listeners to God.' Once we hear the voice of God then we can know what we should do and which way to go.

“Our failure to hear His voice when we want to is due to the fact that we do not in general want to hear it, that we want it only when we think we need it.” - Dallas Willard

Living in Grace

Thursday 15 October 2015

You will answer "YES"

There is an old hymn that rings true for many of us today. In the third verse of What a Friend we have in Jesus, Joseph Scriven poses a question, which I know you will answer 'YES' to:

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

So, if you are experiencing trials and temptations in your life today, I encourage you to take it to the Lord in prayer. Let's try and not be discouraged by the troubles that will come our way, but rather to seek the presence of God in these times.

The rest of the Hymn goes like this:

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

May God hold you in the palm of his hand today.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 13 October 2015

The journey that seldom takes place

There is an important journey that seldom takes place in each one of our lives. It is the journey from the head to the heart. Or if you like, the journey from the intellect to the emotion. Someone once remarked that the longest journey we may have to make is that 18 inches from our minds to our heart.

You see there are many of us who are good at understanding things in our minds or even knowing 'facts' in an intellectual sense, but we battle to let this information sink deeply into the core of our being. As we are all aware, there is a massive difference between knowing about something and actually believing it with conviction.

Henri Nouwen wrote a simple prayer on this theme and I love the way he captures this idea:

"Dear Lord, 
Show me your kindness and your gentleness, 
you who are meek and humble of heart.
So often I say to myself, 'The Lord loves me,'
but very often this truth does not enter
into the centre of my heart."

Worth thinking about today, BUT even better if we allow these thoughts to transform our hearts.

Living in Grace

Monday 12 October 2015

Pain is never permanent

My students were doing their presentations on the Christian Mystics this morning and I was reminded of the spiritual depth of Theresa of Avila. She was a remarkable woman of God and her faith was deeply inspiring. It is important to note that her faith was NOT without huge pain and suffering and one reflects on how these difficulties shaped her spiritual life.

What you are facing now is not because God dislikes you, it is because God believes in you and is preparing you for some important work.

"All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding His life we find that He is the best example." - Theresa of Avila

"To have courage for whatever comes in life - everything lies in that."

"Pain is never permanent."

Revelation 21:4-5 - I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighbourhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.”
Living in Grace

Sunday 11 October 2015

I'll get you for that!

We have all heard kids talk on the playground before - one child does something mean to another playmate and the response is, "I'll get you for that!" Revenge is the first thing on their minds and they seek to dish it out as fast as they can.

As we become adults, nothing really changes. People hurt us and our gut response is, "I'll get you for that!" We conjure up schemes as to how we can get some revenge and nothing can get in our way.
However, the Scriptures remind us of another way to respond - it requires patience and a firm belief in God's sense of justice.

Solomon wrote these words in Proverbs.

"Don’t ever say, “I’ll get you for that!”    Wait for God; he’ll settle the score." - Proverbs 20:22

I am not sure how you feel about this? It is a hard thing to practise, but worth contemplating.

Living in Grace

Friday 9 October 2015

Needing Help?

Are you needing some help today? Is yes, then read on...

"Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
    Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
    Why does he say to himself,
    “He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
    you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
    you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
    call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
    that would not otherwise be found out.

16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;
    the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that mere earthly mortals
    will never again strike terror." - Psalm 10:12-18 

Living in Grace

Thursday 8 October 2015

Happy place

Where is your happy place?
If you don't know what I am getting at, let me ask it like this:
Where is the place where you feel most content and fulfilled? 
Where is the place where you can breath deeply from the peace of life? 
Where is the place where you feel at HOME?"
I feel that I am blessed to have a few places that I can call my happy place, but the one place where I feel that God speaks clearly to me is at Africa Enterprise in Pietermaritzburg. I go there when I can to retreat and pray. There is just something about that beautiful venue that makes my heart glad and my spirit soar.Of course the beach and the mountains are not far off - I always sense the greatness of God in the tranquility of nature.
Psalm 68:3 - But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.

Perhaps some of us need to visit our happy place soon, so that we can reconnect with our souls?
Ecclesiastes 2:26 - To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness.
"It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness." -Charles Spurgeon

Living in Grace