Monday 30 April 2018

Starting afresh

The beginning of a new month opens up the wonderful possibility of starting all over again. There is something special about the days of the month starting again from one (1), that makes me think of how blessed we are to know of Christ's forgiveness.

If you find yourself in a strange place today, why don't you ask God to help you begin all over again. Recommit your heart and life to Christ, asking Jesus to guide you through this new month.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for guiding me through all that has past in this month, but I look forward to beginning a new month with a new focus and a clean slate. Please help me to walk in your ways and to have the strength to face all obstacles that come my way.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Living in Grace

Friday 27 April 2018

Celtic Prayer

"Let us GO forth
In the goodness of our merciful Father
In the gentleness of our brother Jesus
In the radiance of His Holy Spirit
In the faith of the apostles
In the joyful praise of the angels
In the holiness of the saints
In the courage of the martyrs." - Celtic Prayer

Isaiah 9:2 - The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Living in Grace

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Prayer during difficulty

"Help us bear difficulty, pain, disappointment, and sorrows, knowing that in Your perfect working and design, You can use such bitter experiences to shape our character and make us more like our Lord." - Ignatius of Antioch

2 Chronicles 32:8 - "With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles."

May God walk alongside you during the strains of life and may His Spirit carry you when you can't walk yourself. 

Living in Grace

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Give me an Island

Many years ago Corrie Ten Boom was arranging flights for her next speaking engagement. In those days there was no direct flight from Sydney to Cape Town, so the travel agent booked a stop over for the plane to refuel. Unfortunately the stop over was going to delay Corrie's plans and was going to make her miss some speaking engagements. She called the agent and asked why this was the case and the answer came back: "I am sorry, but there are no refuelling spots in the middle of the Indian Ocean."

Corrie was adamant she needed to arrive on the correct date and so she responded with these words: "Well, I cannot change my plans at this late notice. I will just have to pray for an ISLAND, so we can land there."

A few hours later she got another call from the Travel agent saying that they had just managed to arrange a fuel stop on the Cocos Islands - God gave her the ISLAND she prayed for!

Sometimes God answers prayers in ways and means that we could never imagine.

Acts 19:11 - "God did extraordinary miracles through Paul..."

Living in Grace

Monday 23 April 2018

The Clouds in our lives

The clouds were spectacular on my morning run today. They were unique, dark and full of promise. In the distance I saw the sun trying to shine through the clouds and leaving wonderful colours on the horizon. 
Then it struck me - so often we assume that Cloudless days are the best days and that they somehow speak of a perfect day. However, the best sunrises and sunsets are when there are clouds in the sky. The clouds change the colours of the light and make these moments into glorious events. Of course, clouds also hold the promise of rain and of new life. And who can forget how God guided the Israelites by using a clouds in the desert.

Job 35:5 -Look up at the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you.

Job 36:28 - the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind.
Ezekiel 1:28 - Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord
Prayer: Thank God for the clouds in our lives.
Living in Grace

Sunday 22 April 2018

Just one prayer!

Today I just have one prayer and it goes like this:

"Thank God for everything! If I have been to consumed by asking for things, then please forgive my selfishness. I choose to pause today and to allow my heart to be filled with Gratitude. I only want to offer two words to you today - THANK YOU."

During our Harvest Festival celebration this morning I was deeply convicted of how often I 'ask' God for things, but I also need to offer more prayers of THANKS. Gratitude is such a healthy spiritual attitude to have. In many ways, Gratitude can change the way we look at others and at how we serve Jesus.

Why don't you start by listing a few things that you are GRATEFUL for right now:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 - "Give thanks to the Lord in all circumstances..." 

Living in Grace

Short prayer to INSPIRE

This has to be one of the shorter prayers out there, but the more I pray it, the more it speaks to me. If you are struggling in your prayer life then why don't you start with these words and see how God uses the prayer to bless you.

"Holy Spirit, come into my heart, and in your power, draw my heart to you." - Catherine of Siena

As you read this prayer it can be tempting to think "is that all?!" 

That was my first reaction to be honest. However, I kicked myself for being proud and so I looked at the prayer again. The second and third times I prayed Catherine's prayer it began to impact my heart. Why don't you try it too?

Living in Grace


Saturday 21 April 2018

Prayer by Mother Theresa

The following prayer is from Mother Theresa - a woman of immense faith and someone who practised what she preached!
"Dear Jesus, help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go.
Flood our souls with your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly
that our lives may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through us and be so in us that every soul we come in contact with
may feel your presence in our soul.
Let them look up and see no longer us, but only Jesus.
Stay with us and then we shall begin to shine as you shine,
so to shine as to be light to others.

The light, O Jesus, will be all from you.
None of it will be ours.
It will be you shining on others through us.
Let us thus praise you in the way you love best by shining on those around us.
Let us preach you without preaching,
not by words, but by our example;
by the catching force - the sympathetic influence of what we do,
the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you. Amen."

Living in Grace

Friday 20 April 2018

Better moments

Dear Lord Jesus,
In my better moments I want nothing more than to be like you.
But there are other moments ...
Help me to see how good conformity to your way really is.
In my seeking for you may I be found by you.
I love you, Lord.
Amen." - Richard Foster

I enjoy Foster's take on having 'Better moments' and 'other moments' in our faith. I guess the essence of true Christianity is faithfully walking with Jesus in between the high and low moments of our lives. Holding God's hand in the ordinary things of life.

Living in Grace

Thursday 19 April 2018

Dangers that threaten us

"O God, I know that there are certain dangers which are always threatening me. 

Keep me from taking people and all that they do for me for granted, and help me to show them how much I value them, and how much I appreciate all that they do for me.

Keep me from allowing myself to become satisfied with less and less, from lowering my standards, from forgetting my ideals as the days go on.

Keep me from taking sin less and less seriously, from allowing myself things which once I would have refused, from accepting as inevitable things which once would have shocked me.

Help me to walk looking unto Jesus, that I may see all things in the light of his life and of his Cross, so that I may strive to be always on the upward way.

This I ask for your loves sake. Amen." - William Barclay

May this pray help us to avoid the quiet dangers that lurk out there and threaten to derail our relationship with others and with God.

"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty." - Proverbs 22:3

Living in Grace

Wednesday 18 April 2018

A Prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"God of the day and the night,
in me there is darkness,
but with you there is light.
I am alone, but you will not leave me.
I am weak, but you will come to my help.
I am restless, but you are my peace.
I am in haste, but you are the God of infinite patience.
I am confused and lost,
but you are eternal wisdom
and you direct my path;
now and forever. Amen." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This is such an inspiring prayer that I don't want to mess it up by adding any more words to it. If you are interested in reading a scripture that could go with this prayer then read Psalm 73:23-26

Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 17 April 2018

A second Prayer

"Thanks be to You, our Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits which You have given us,
for all the pains and insults which You have borne for us.
Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
may we know You more clearly,
love You more dearly, 
and follow You more nearly, 
day by day." - Richard of Chichester

Three things about this prayer stick out for me:

Knowing God more clearly...
Loving God more dearly...
Following God more nearly....

If we could only do this, how different would our lives be?

Matthew 7:24 - “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.

Living in Grace

Monday 16 April 2018

Prayer - Give me strength

More times than we care to admit we find that praying can be a struggle for us. We can't seem to find the right words or even a good place to begin, yet in the back of our minds, we realise our need of prayer.

For this reason, I am planning to share a few prayers over the next couple of days. It is my hope that they would help you to begin your times of prayer and to inspire you to speak to our Lord.

Today's prayer comes from John Wesley - I have slightly altered his prayer to make the English a little more understandable:

"Give me your strength;
Give me your love;
and be the motive behind my understanding, 
my affections,
my senses, 
my health, 
my time,
and whatever other talents I have received from you.
Then will I be able to fulfil your command of loving you with all my heart, 
and mind, and soul and strength. Amen."

If you would like to read a scripture to go with this prayer, then perhaps turn to Colossians 3:23.

Living in Grace

Friday 13 April 2018

Squeeze out all the juice you can

If you have ever made home made orange juice you will know the delight of squeezing every bit of delicious juice (and pulp) out of the orange. It makes the best juice ever!

Sometimes we come across a passage in the Bible, that just keeps coming up again and again. Perhaps there is a reason for this and it is worth checking to see if God wants you to squeeze all the "juice" out of that passage. If this is happening to you at the moment, then stick with that particular passage; pour over it again, and enjoy every ounce of the life-giving juice that flows from these precious scriptures.

This is the one passage that I have been "squeezing" a lot recently.
2 Corinthians 1:3-11

Living in Grace

Thursday 12 April 2018

Whose strength?

I came across this wonderful scripture the other day and it spoke to me of our natural tendency to do things in our own strength. However, when this doesn't work out for us then we have to rely on the power of God. I don't know why we keep trying to do it ourselves, but it seems to be part of our human nature. For Paul and his friends, it was only when they had stopped relying on their own power that they learnt to rest in God's strength.

"In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead." - 2 Corinthians 1:9

So, here is the big question for all of us today:
In whose STRENGTH are you going to live today?

Living in Grace

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Waiting for the Sun

As I write this post today I have noted that the morning sun doesn't come anywhere near my office at all. However, as the mid-afternoon moves closer towards the evening, the sun begins to shine directly onto my desk - it is a wonderful gift to be able to feel the sun upon my face.

So this random little fact got me thinking:
Just because I can't see the sun shining into my office (in the morning) doesn't mean that the sun doesn't exist or that it won't shine into my world later on in the day. Likewise - just because I can't sense God in my life today, doesn't mean that God doesn't exist or that God won't show up later!

Psalm 72:17 - "May the king’s name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun shines. May all nations be blessed through him and bring him praise."

Have a lovely day. May the sunshine of God's grace fall upon you.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Keep your Fears to yourself

Robert Louis Stevenson has this quote that leaves me feeling a little troubled. He writes:

"Keep your fears to yourself;
Share your Courage with others."

I understand why he says we should keep our fears to ourselves, because we can easily drag others down with us, or end up making them more troubled by our fears. However, when I am afraid, I find I need to speak to someone about it, as this helps me gain perspective on these things. I believe that keeping my fear to myself (entirely) could be more harmful in the long run. What do you think?

Anyway, for today, remember that we can always turn to God for help and when we have been encouraged through the Spirit, we can then "share our courage with others."

Psalm 56:3 -  "...when I am afraid, I put my trust in you."

Living in Grace

Monday 9 April 2018

Do not be anxious

Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Sometimes the things we worrying about come to pass, but more often than not, they actually never materialise. So, if you find yourself as a "worrier" then the words from Paul in Philippians 4 are for you today. He gives us this solid advice:

1. Don't be anxious
2. Pray about these things
3. Ask God to help you in these tough times
4. Offer thanksgiving to God for his deliverance (in advance)

Hope this helps us all today. Go with God.

Living in Grace

Sunday 8 April 2018

1 - Wisdom that lasts forever

Well I suppose it is better late than never. A week on from Resurrection Sunday I should have posted this blog, but having spent a few days on leave, I am only getting to this post now. Over the last 40 odd days I have taken a look at some verses from the Psalms, some from Proverbs and others from Ecclesiastes. It is fitting that to end this little 'series' I have taken a verse from each one of these incredible parts of the Bible. Enjoy.

"Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;    only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning." - Proverbs 1:7 (Message)

"All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again." - Ecclesiastes 1:7

"Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
    you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
    bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
    always in blossom."
- Psalm 1:2-3 

Living in Grace

Thursday 5 April 2018

2 - When money can't buy you love

So many people dream of having big bank balances because we believe that this will solve all our problems. However, if we could ask the King who had everything (Solomon) he would give us the following advice:
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
    I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labour,
    and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
    and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
    nothing was gained under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

So it seems that money can buy most things, but it really can't buy us love. If we put us much time into our relationships as we did into making money, perhaps our world would be a better place.

Living in Grace

Wednesday 4 April 2018

3 - Prolonging your life

My apologies - I know that I was supposed to be doing a count down to Easter Sunday, but in all the busyness of preparing for the services I ran out of time. So, if you would humour me for these posts, these are the last 3 days of my 40 days "Lent" count down. These few verses from Proverbs 3 have always been meaningful to me and I offer them to you today.
"My child, do not forget my teaching,
    but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
    and bring you peace and prosperity.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favour and a good name
    in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Living in Grace