Wednesday 28 February 2018

30 - Can I ask for this?

On a Lenten journey today we move to take a look at a word from the Proverbs. Solomon asks God for something unique. He says:

"...give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
    and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonour the name of my God." - Proverbs 30:8-9

When we analyse this word from the Message, we note something intriguing. Solomon suggests:
"If I’m too full, I might get independent, saying, ‘God? Who needs him?'"

This is one of the troubles of our modern world - we have become too self-reliant. We have lulled ourselves into a false sense of security, believing that our Independence has surpassed our need of God. Sadly, many people only realise their mistake when they have lost all their own 'gods' and wake up to discover God is all they have.

Prayer: Lord, help me not to wait until I crash and burn, before I realise my need of you. Thank you for providing for me today. Amen.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 27 February 2018

31 - Into your hands

We are familiar with the words of Jesus when he says: "Into your hands I commit my spirit." (Luke 23:46). What we may not be familiar with is where the words come from. There is every chance that they come from Psalm 31, as Jesus knew the Psalms backwards. He would have recited them over and over again, so he knew the sentiments of each Psalm clearly.

Psalm 31:5 - I entrust my spirit into your hand.
    Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God. (NLT)

"I’ve put my life in your hands. You won’t drop me,
    you’ll never let me down." (Message)

"Into your hands I commit my spirit;
    deliver me, Lord, my faithful God." (NIV)

I believe that we can also pray these words - they are a sign of surrender and submission to Jesus.  Have you done this today? Our journey towards Easter is a daily journey in surrender and trusting in the character of Christ.

Prayer: "Lord, I choose to place my life, my spirit, my all, into your hands today. Amen."

Living in Grace

Monday 26 February 2018

32 - Evaporating

We had a few millimetres of rain the other day and it was such a wonderful relief to see the ground soak up the beautiful gift. When the rain had passed I noticed that the bird bath had filled up with sparkling water. However, within a few days the water had evaporated  and the bath was bone dry again. It reminded me of these words from Psalm 32.

"My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat." - Psalm 32:4

When we get caught up in busyness of life, ministry and other things, our strength evaporates very quickly. We need to be conscious of this and work out how we can restore the balance and 'fill the tank' with the water of God's grace. So, how are you going to do this today?

Prayer: Lord, when I feel that my strength has gone, please fill my heart with grace so that I can carry on. Amen.

Living in Grace

Friday 23 February 2018

33 - The Cheer

Why do we find it natural to Cheer for our favourite sports teams or musicians, but when it comes to worshipping God we seem to fall silent? You can even attend a school sports event and hear the wonderful cheers and war cries from the students. They all offer support and encouragement to their team mates. It is a fantastic thing to hear.

Sadly, we have developed a notion that 'quietly' praising God (and there is nothing wrong with this) is the only acceptable form of worship. However, there is also a call for us to CHEER for the Lord. The Psalms are the call for us to Cheer for Yahweh.

1-3 Good people, cheer God!
    Right-living people sound best when praising.
Use guitars to reinforce your Hallelujahs!
    Play his praise on a grand piano!
Invent your own new song to him;
    give him a trumpet fanfare." - Psalm 33 (Message)

I am sure that God doesn't mind how we "CHEER" for him, but it does bless God when we actually put some energy into it. So, if you prefer to use your voice, or guitar or grand-piano then use these things to Cheer for God.

Living in Grace

Thursday 22 February 2018

34 - The Desperate Prayer

The word for today is simple and clear.

When we pray our desperate prayers, God makes sure that an Angel surrounds us and protects us.

"In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
    he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
    he surrounds and defends all who fear him." - Psalm 34:6-7

You may not be feeling it today, but this verse teaches us that the Angel of the Lord is there. Let us believe it!

Living in Grace

Wednesday 21 February 2018

35 - Don't stay silent

"O Lord, you know all about this.
    Do not stay silent.
    Do not abandon me now, O Lord.
23 Wake up! Rise to my defense!
    Take up my case, my God and my Lord.
24 Declare me not guilty, O Lord my God, for you give justice.
    Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles.
25 Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted!
    Now we will eat him alive!” - Psalm 35:22-25 (NLT)

Did you notice how many times David pleads with God to ACT, even if some of them are in a round about way. He asks God: 
To Speak, 
To Accompany him
To Wake up
To Rise up 
To Defend
To Declare "not guilty"
To be Just
To quieten others who laugh
To change the voices of his oppressors.

God is a GOD who ACTS on our behalf. God is on our side and God will defend us in the times of trial. Be reassured of that this day. Even when things seem to be turning out differently, God is acting for us.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 20 February 2018

36 - Meteoric and Titanic,

"God’s love is meteoric,
    his loyalty astronomic,
His purpose titanic,
    his verdicts oceanic.
Yet in his largeness
    nothing gets lost;
Not a man, not a mouse,
    slips through the cracks." - Psalm 36:5-6 (Message)

How amazing is this passage from Eugene Peterson's translation? Have you ever considered these aspects of God and heard them described in this way?

Love - Meteoric
Loyalty - Astronomic
Purpose - Titanic
Verdict - Oceanic

God is so incredible that not even a mouse slips through the cracks - God always notices us. 

Reflection: Take a minute in your prayer time to use the four words from the Psalm to offer prayers to God. Meteoric, Astronomic, Titanic, Oceanic.

Living in Grace

Monday 19 February 2018

37 - Taking it one day at a time

We have all heard the saying - "taking it one day at a time!" The meaning is simple:
"don't get ahead of yourself..."
"don't live in tomorrow, when there are pressing things for today..."
"take things slowly..."

The question in all of this, is "where are we going that we need to take it slowly?" David gives us some insight:

"Put your HOPE in the Lord.
Travel STEADILY along his path." - Psalm 37:34

The road we are trying to walk down, is God's path. We need to walk steadily and be reassured that God is with us. When our HOPE is in Jesus, we will not be disappointed.

Prayer: "Lord, help me to walk down your path and to keep walking in Faith. Let me not get ahead of myself, but stay close to you. Amen."

Living in Grace

Friday 16 February 2018

38 - Will God dump you?

"Don’t dump me, God;
    my God, don’t stand me up.
Hurry and help me;
    I want some wide-open space in my life!" - Psalm 38:21-22

For all of us who have a broken heart before, we can relate to the words of David in Psalm 38. It is almost as if he recognises the signs before him and that God has slowly become a distant companion - the silence has become deafening for him. David fears the worst and so he pleads with God not to dump him - not to stand him up.

And yet, earlier on in the same Psalm, David answered his own question in a way when he wrote:

"Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God." - Psalm 38:15

He knows that God won't dump him and won't leave him hanging. God will hear his cry and will answer him in time. And that promise is the same for us today.

Prayer: Thank you Lord that you don't stand us up! When you commit yourself to us, that is your true covenant. You will not leave us to find someone else - you are a faithful God.

Living in Grace

Thursday 15 February 2018


Have you wondered how long you will live for? I know it is a tough question to ask, but sometimes we need to contemplate the life we have been given. Of course, we can never know the 'length of our days', but we can surely remember that life is fleeting. In a strange way this motivates me to try and live my life to the fullest. When I remember I am 'dust' and to dust I shall return, then the urgency of Life grips me.

This is what David contemplated in Psalm 39...

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.

You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure."

“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. ... The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.” - Seneca, On the Shortness of Life

Prayer: Lord, we are grateful for the breath you have given us, but teach is to remember that our days are fleeting and that we need to use every moment as a gift from you. How can I honour you with my life today?
Living in Grace

Wednesday 14 February 2018


Lent is a period of 40 days of preparation before Easter - it  is actually 47 days if you include every Sunday until Easter, but these days are considered to be Sabbath days. Over the course of the next 6 weeks I have chosen to reflect on some Psalms, Proverbs and words from Ecclesiastes. I hope and pray that these words will help all of us journey towards the Blessing of the Resurrection.

A great place to start today is at Psalm 40. As I was reading through it again I was struck by the power in verse 5.

Psalm 40:5 (Message)
The world’s a huge stockpile of God-wonders and God-thoughts.
Nothing and no one comes close to you!
I start talking about you, telling what I know, and quickly run out of words.
Neither numbers nor words account for you.

Did you notice that? David was lost for words - he ran out of words to describe how amazing God is. Have you ever encountered that before? When words, numbers, letters are all totally inadequate to describe our Lord.

Psalm 40:5Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us. None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.

Prayer: Lord, I am lost in the wonder of who You are. Teach me to find the right words to express my praise and worship of You. None can compare with you, Jesus.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Once in 73 years

How would you feel if your partner, loved ones and friends only told you that they LOVED you once every 73 years? We would feel disappointed and starved of love. We would be left wondering if our loved ones actually 'loved us' at all. In actual fact we would only end up hearing those words 'I Love You' once or twice (maximum) in our entire lives. That would be sad!

So, why am I saying this?
Well, Ash Wednesday falls on St. Valentines day this year, for the first time in 73 years. Both days are significant for different reasons, but the deeper connection is that they both point to acts of LOVE as their foundations. Ash Wednesday begins the journey of LENT, which reminds us that God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to live and die for us.

God's love is not a 'once every 73 years' event, but a daily offer of grace, mercy and love.

1 John 4:16 - "We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love."

Prayer: Thank you God that you remind us of your love on a daily basis. Every sunrise is a reminder of your great sacrifice of love. Amen.

Living in Grace

Monday 12 February 2018

How should one pray?

Abba Macarius was once asked this simple question:
"How should we pray?" (this was the same question that Jesus was asked by his disciples).
In his wisdom, the old monk replied:
"There is no need at all to make long discourses; it is enough to stretch out ones hands and say,
Lord, as you will, and as you know, have mercy."
And if the conflict grows fiercer, say,
'Lord, help!'
God knows very well what we need and shows us mercy."

I think this is such a lovely exchange between these people. I love the fact that our prayers don't have to be learned or filled with fancy language. They can be as simple as this:

Lord, as you will.
And as you know, have mercy.

Living in Grace

Sunday 11 February 2018

What counts with God?

"The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?
The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse." - James 2:24-26

From this passage in James it is quite clear that what really counts for God is that we match our words with our actions of Faith. It is not a good witness to 'talk a good faith' and then not to follow up with godly actions. 

Even as I write these words I am challenged in my own walk. As I sign off these daily blog posts, I must remember that it is not 'speaking about Grace', it is LIVING in God's grace. There is a massive difference between the two.

Prayer: Lord, teach me to back up my words with Godly actions. In this way people will see that I am living what I profess. Amen.

Living in Grace

Thursday 8 February 2018

Born in us

"If Jesus were born a thousand times in Bethlehem and not in me, then I would still be lost." - Corrie Ten Boom

To acknowledge that Jesus lived and died is one thing - to invite Jesus into our lives and to allow him to be born within us is something entirely different.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem,
But has he been born in You?!

John 3:3 - Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

Living in Grace

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Trusting the driver

"When a train goes through a tunnel and gets dark you don't throw the ticket away and jump off. You still trust the Engineer." - Corrie Ten Boom

I think this quote speaks volumes about our Trust in God or perhaps our lack of trust. When our lives take a different turn and we find ourselves going through a dark patch, do we suddenly stop trusting our 'driver?' Sadly, there are too many of us who begin to doubt the credentials of our Heavenly father at these times.

Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 

Psalm 112:7 - They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Living in Grace

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Let it sink in

I came across this wonderful quote over the last few days which speaks about allowing the Scriptures to leave their mark on us. Warren Wiersbe writes:

“Too many Christians mark their Bibles, but their Bibles never mark them! If you think you are spiritual because you hear the Word, then you are only kidding yourself.”  

It is one thing to mark some key verses in our Bibles, but do we allow these verses to sink into our lives? Do we allow them to mark us?

So next time you read a powerful scripture ask yourself if this verse can impact your life? Will it bring about change in your spirit?

Living in Grace

Monday 5 February 2018

Don't hold anything back!

“So Samuel told Eli everything; he didn’t hold anything back!” - 1 Samuel 3:18

Perhaps the context of Samuel's conversation with Eli is a little different from our own circumstances at the moment, but I like the last 5 words from this verse ...

... He didn't hold anything back!

It challenges me to ask the question: "Am I holding anything back from God at the moment?" 

Or maybe in other areas of our lives - "Am I holding back in my relationships or in my work?"

Is it because I am afraid? Or tired? Or lazy?
"Love God; love others; do your best in all you do, even if you fall short!" - Bethany Hamilton

Read more at:

Prayer: Lord, please teach me to give my all to you and those around me. 

Living in Grace


Friday 2 February 2018

Remain standing

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." - James 1:12

Did you notice that?
James says we are BLESSED when we persevere under trial. In other words, when we hold fast during times of pressure and stress, God considers us Blessed. This can be seen as a test in some ways, designed to make us stronger and more prepared for the next part of our faith journey. Our prize in the end is a crown - a reward that lasts forever.

So, if this is you at the moment, then I invite you to persevere. Face the challenges head on and don't back down, because God will be with you always.

"Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life." - James 1:12 (Message)

Living in Grace

Thursday 1 February 2018

What a Commitment!

“Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only—My Utmost for His Highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone.” - Oswald Chambers

These words show us the commitment of  a person who was ready to serve his Lord wherever God called him. If you like, this was Oswald's covenant promise to Jesus - I will do my Utmost for God's Highest! He died at just 43 years of age (in 1917), when an emergency appendectomy never healed.

The dedication of this man should challenge us to ask: "Am I doing all I can to serve Jesus? Wherever God places me, am I using all my gifts to bring out the HIGHEST for our God?"

Worth thinking about...

Romans 8:9-10 (MSG) - But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself?

Living in Grace