Saturday 26 March 2016

The power in words

We should always choose our words carefully. They have the power to bring life and death. When Jesus was being flogged and beaten, he chose to remain silent. When he was dying on the cross, he chose to remain silent. There must have been a thousand words he wanted to speak out, but chose his words carefully. In the end, there were three words he spoke, just before he breathed his last:

"It is Finished."

These are the words that can bring us all Life.
They were Jesus last words, before he died, but the irony is that they offer us the chance to LIVE again.

Living in Grace

Friday 25 March 2016

Give me your hand!

I came across this interesting illustration in preparing for the Good Friday sermon today. I am not sure if I will use it or not, but hopefully it will offer you a blessing today.

"Norman Lord Grimbald de Pauncefort was captured by the Saracens. When asked the ransom price for his release the Turkish prince demanded the severed right hand of de Pauncefort's young bride, Constantia. In a tremendous act of courage and sacrifice, Lady Contantia complied, and had her left hand amputated and sent to ransom her husband.

In a sense, that's what Jesus did for you, but He didn't just give His hand - He gave His life." - (From a sermon by Fred Markes)

How amazing is that?

This is what the cross is about - Jesus gave his life to set us free from sin that held us captive.

May God bless you with his grace today and always.

Matthew 27:45-50 - From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

Living in Grace

Thursday 24 March 2016

The essence of the Easter story

There are many different accounts that speak of the Crucifixion of Jesus, but the passage that sums up the message of the Good News is this one:

 "This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people." - 1 Timothy 2:3-6

May you have a blessed Good Friday.
May the knowledge of Christ's sacrifice fill your heart with joy and gratitude.

Living in Grace

Wednesday 23 March 2016

The heart of God

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing." - Matthew 23:37

This verse shows me the true heart of God. Jesus longs to gather us together as his children, but we often choose to go our own way. It is my prayer that we will be moved to trust in Jesus over this Easter period and to believe in his loving hand. When he wants to gather us together, it is not to be over-bearing and controlling, but rather to protect us.

"Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
    for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
    until the disaster has passed." - Psalm 57:1

Living in Grace

Tuesday 22 March 2016

People make noises, but don't follow through with action

"Many will say they are loyal friends,    but who can find one who is truly reliable?" - Proverbs 20:6

Jesus experienced this first hand. There were many who proclaimed they were his friends, but one by one, the abandoned him, betrayed him and deserted him. It is easy to say you are a loyal and trustworthy person, but the proof is really in the follow through!

In another translation the word loyal is actually rendered 'loving':
"Many claim to have unfailing love,    but a faithful person who can find?" (NIV)

Either way, there are a number people who claim to be loyal and loving, but in the end they aren't reliable.

Prayer: Thank you Jesus that you are loyal and loving to us, despite the fact that we are often very unreliable. May we learn to respond to love with greater loyalty. Amen.

Living in Grace

Monday 21 March 2016

Fresh Start

"Give us a fresh start." (Message)
Lamentations 5:21 -  "...renew our days as of old."

Easter is always a reminder that we can begin again. Even Jeremiah knew this was possible - with God there is always a chance to begin again. May we all get to experience the Joy of starting over again this Holy Week. God bless you.

“Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” - L.M. Montgomery

“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” - Meister Eckhart

Living in Grace

Sunday 20 March 2016

The Ask


There will come a time when Jesus makes "an Ask" of us. What I mean is this: God will Ask us to do something for him. It may be something simple or something that moves us out of our comfort zone, but God will ask it of us. The question is: How will we respond?

In the following passage we see Jesus giving his disciples some instructions:

“Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.” - Matthew 21:2-3

This was clearly arranged before the time and the owner of the donkey and the colt was more than likely a Christ-follower. However, he didn't know the exact time of when Jesus was going to ask for the animals, so he had to be prepared for the 'Ask' and then be willing to surrender to Jesus' request.

This challenges me - even though I am a Christ-follower, will I be ready to respond to the "Ask" that Jesus makes of me, or will I fumble around and delay?

May we be ready for when Jesus comes asking!

Living in Grace

Saturday 19 March 2016

The Courage

As we edge closer towards Holy Week it is deeply profound to contemplate the courage of Jesus. I mean who of us walks into a City where people want you dead? Jesus knew what was lying in wait for him, yet he still rode into the messy cauldron of religion, politics and economic chaos. He had come to Save the world and this was his moment.

Hebrews 12: 2-3 - "looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart."

How does Jesus' Courage inspire you?
What are you facing at the moment? Ask God to give you Courage.

Living in Grace

Friday 18 March 2016

Bring us back

"Bring us back to you, God—we’re ready to come back." - Lamentations 5

When can be so full of pride at times. We go our own way and when we realise we have made a mistake we are so slow to admit our error. Sometimes we need to be like the wayward son and eventually bump our heads so hard, that we only wake up when it hurts!

Jeremiah turns to God, on behalf of his people, and admits that they are ready to come back. He asks God to bring them back into the relationship of old - they long to be resting in the shelter of the most high and God longs for that too.

Remember that Lent teaches us that we are always welcome in the company of Jesus, but we need to be ready to come back to him. Jesus is not into "arm-wrestling" us back into his home, but he will gladly welcome us back, if we want.

Luke 8:39 - Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him."

Living in Grace

Thursday 17 March 2016

Saint Patrick quotes

Seeing as though today is Saint Patrick's day, I have decided to share a few of his thoughts with us. He was indeed a very charismatic man and he made a huge difference for the Gospel. For one man to have such an inspiring impact upon one country is truly remarkable.

"Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me"

"Before I was humiliated I was like a stone that lies in deep mud, and he who is mighty came and in his compassion raised me up and exalted me very high and placed me on the top of the wall"

“May the strength of God pilot us, may the wisdom of God instruct us, may the hand of God protect us, may the word of God direct us. Be always ours this day and for evermore."

His life teaches me that even when we go through difficult times, God can use those situations for his Glory. 

Living in Grace