Sunday 31 January 2016

Rejection or selection?

“There is no gift like being chosen, no pain like rejection. And when a reject is chosen by someone, a life gets changed.” – John Ortberg

I am sure that we all know the pain of rejection - or at least on some level. Perhaps we were desperate for a particular job or wanted to be chosen for a team, and we never made it. It is that feeling of rejection that can live with us for years, somethings leaving painful scars.

However, the GOODNEWS of Jesus Christ teaches us that God chose us, even before we were born. God loved us, even before we could do anything to deserve that love. Simply put - God wanted us on his team and so He chose us! How incredible is that?

Deuteronomy 7:6 - "For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure."

Living in Grace

Friday 29 January 2016

Trouble comes in Three's

People say that trouble comes in three's.Well a few weeks ago we got to experience this first-hand. First of all we had a problem with an electric cable outside;
Then it was the geyser that had some issues,
and finally the fridge gave up on us.

So, perhaps the saying is right: "Trouble does come in threes!"

However, as Christ-followers we should always be looking for the positive in all situations. In the Bible there are many references to the number three and they aren't all bad. In fact, some of them are important in our faith experience.

"For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights." - Matthew 12:40

"For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” - Matthew 18:20

And of course, we must not forget the TRINITY.

So, perhaps blessings can also come in THREES?! What do you think about this?

I pray that you may experience the blessings of God's great grace.

Living in Grace

Thursday 28 January 2016

Why 'Living in Grace?'

As you may be aware, this blog is written under the banner of 'Living in Grace.' For a long time I have been overwhelmed that the God of the universe would be willing to love someone like me. God's grace captivates my spirit and urges me to be a better Christ-follower.

I found a lovely quote from John Ortberg yesterday which sums up a little of the reason for 'Living in Grace.'

“Living in grace, 
remembering grace, 
keeps love alive. 
But losing touch with grace,
forgetting that I am loved because God is a gracious God, 
is a love-killer.”  - John Ortberg

Ezra 7:28 - "I felt encouraged because the gracious hand of the Lord my God was on me."

May you be touched by God's grace today,
Living in Grace,

Tuesday 26 January 2016

To Make a Difference - Swimming for the Rhino

I know that I can't save every Rhino that is poached in South Africa, but I want to try and at least do something. So, I am going to swim as part of the 8 Mile club again this year at the Midmar Mile. We will swim in every event and raise some awareness and funds towards these precious animals.

Stats tell us that in 2014, a Rhino was killed every 8 hours in our Country - that is 3 every day. If you have a look at the picture that is attached to this blog you will note that Poaching has increased over 9300% over recent years - that is just horrendous. My motivation in swimming the 8 miles is to make a difference to God's creation and hopefully rescue a few Rhino so that my grandkids will be able to see them "live" in their natural environment.

Please pray for me as I continue my training and over the weekend of the 13/14 February. If your company/business wants to get involved please send me an email, or you are welcome to contribute in your own capacity.

"Everyone can do simple things to make a difference, and every little bit really does count." -Stella McCartney

Living in Grace

Monday 25 January 2016

Treasure it

The old saying goes something like this: "You never realise the value of something until it is gone!"

And this is indeed true. We often take things/people for granted until that day when they are no longer part of our lives - that is when we realise the defining value they had in our lives. We need to TREASURE these valuable people/things in our lives.

This is exactly what David was getting at when he wrote these words in Psalm 119:

11 I treasure your word in my heart,
    so that I may not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
    teach me your statutes.
13 With my lips I declare
    all the ordinances of your mouth.
14 I delight in the way of your decrees
    as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts,
    and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
    I will not forget your word.

There had been a time when he had forgotten God's word and his commands, so now that he had come back to the Father, he wanted to TREASURE all the things of God. David models something powerful for us. He teaches us to place these 'treasures' in our hearts so that we won't fill our lives with other things. God's word is a gift that gives us life.

Living in Grace

Sunday 24 January 2016

Moving mountains

Singing 'Mighty to Save' again this evening, I was taken aback by the power of the following promise:

"Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save."
- Hillsong

As you start a new week, remember that Jesus can move mountains in your life. Our God is able to help us overcome any challenges that we may be facing. And if it means we have to climb the mountain for a time, God will use that experience to strengthen us and to prepare us for something else.

God can move the mountain!

Matthew 17:20 - Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Living in Grace

Friday 22 January 2016

Be encouraged

The simple message I want to convey today is this: We are all inspired by encouragement. There is something mysterious about how a single sentence can change the course of your day and maybe even your life. So, if you are reading this, can I urge you not to wait around for someone elses' encour
agement, but rather to offer someone else this gift of grace. Just ENCOURAGE them.

"Correction does much, but encouragement does more." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"If you are a leader, you should never forget that everyone needs encouragement. And everyone who receives it - young or old, successful or less-than-successful, unknown or famous - is changed by it."
John C. Maxwell
"Nine tenths of education is encouragement." -Anatole France

Romans 15:5 - May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had."

Living in Grace

Thursday 21 January 2016

It is not a Sprint!

After our lovely relaxing holiday we have already hit the ground running. A new year, new school experiences for the boys, new adventures in ministry and a whole lot of other things, all acting  simultaneously, have made us a little breathless.

But, then I was reminded, LIFE is not a SPRINT, it is a marathon. If you are finding yourself in the same position as we are - take stock and remind yourself that you can't run through life at a SPRINT. Sure, we can try, but in the end, we will hit the wall and then be forced to rest.

I am trying to heed my own advice, but let's remember these words from Paul - may they motivate us to run with endurance.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." - Hebrews 12:1

May God's Grace be upon you today,

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Rooted to grow

The other day we had to cut down a bush that had died in the garden. It seemed to have a problem with its root-system and so the rest of the bush whithered and turned brown. Sadly, it had to be uprooted and thrown away.

So, how deep are your spiritual roots at the moment? Are they providing enough nourishment for your growth? Will they sustain you through the tough situations in life? Paul encourages us to have our roots go deep down, so that they may be nurtured through love - in turn this will give us the power we need to live as Christ-followers.
"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 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." - Ephesians 3:17-19

Living in Grace

Monday 18 January 2016

This is amazing

I think this is amazing. I stumbled across this verse in the Message last week, as we were preparing for the Sunday services. It makes exciting reading:

"It is clear to us, friends that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions." - (1 Thessalonians 3:3)

I love that!

This verses tells us that "God has put his hand on each of us for something special." Just think about that for a moment - The Creator of the Universe has chosen to put his gracious hand upon us, so that we can be a special part of his work.

Not only does God want to put his hand upon us, but He also wants to steel in our convictions, through the Spirit. In other words, God will give us the vision and blessing for something special and He will supply the power for us to fulfil those demands. What an incredible promise!

Living in Grace


Sunday 17 January 2016

The Rooster and the sparrow

The title of today's blog sounds more like a children's story book (and perhaps I will have to write it one day) - but it is actually something I witnessed in person the other day. I noticed a large rooster walking around a garden complex intimidating all the other birds. He looked imposing and as he strutted his stuff, I wondered what he was thinking - maybe it was something like:
"Hey, look at me! Look how big I am. Get out of my way underlings!"

But, then I saw something that made me smile. A little sparrow landed next to the Rooster and although he was dwarfed by the bigger bird, he didn't back down. He gave as good as he got. And then when the Rooster tried to push his weight around the little sparrow simply flapped his wings and flew away. It was almost as if the Sparrow was saying the Rooster - "you may be big, but at least I can fly higher than you!"

Here is my thought on this little encounter.
"There will always be Roosters in your world, but just remember they probably can't fly as easily as you can! With God on your side, you can rise above the attitude of others. You don't need to let other people's opinions influence your life."

May God's hand of Grace be upon you.

Living in Grace

Saturday 16 January 2016

Aleph - Psalm 119

If one turns to Psalm 119, we note that it is a long Psalm. It is also a unique Psalm in that it is an acrostic Psalm - this is just fancy way of telling us that every verse of each stanza starts with the same Hebrew letter. So if one reads verses 1-8 below, they would all start with the letter 'A' (aleph) if we were reading it in the original language.

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the Lord.
 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart—
 they do no wrong
    but follow his ways.
 You have laid down precepts
    that are to be fully obeyed.
 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
    in obeying your decrees!
 Then I would not be put to shame
    when I consider all your commands.
 I will praise you with an upright heart
    as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees;    do not utterly forsake me.

If we then carry on reading the Psalm we would see that it follows the rest of the Hebrew alphabet through the Psalm.

As I read verses one to eight, of this Psalm, I am stuck by the theme of OBEDIENCE. God calls us to follow him and gives us the choice to do this or not. If we choose to follow his Call, then we do so out of a desire to Obey Jesus. This is not always as easy as it may seem.

How are you finding following God today? Are you willing to Obey his lead?

Living in Grace