Tuesday 31 July 2018

The Kitchen worker

Reflecting on the story of Stephen, in the book of Acts, one easily notices the dramatic event of his martyrdom (Acts 7), but we often forget that he was appointed as one of seven people to help sort out a problem in the early church (Acts 6). The problem was around the distribution of food and so in some senses, Stephen's ministry centred around a kitchen. I love this take on his work:

“Stephen, the kitchen worker, stands tall in the annals of faith as one of those men who did much for God’s Kingdom. Clearly, God doesn’t need everyone to be preachers and teachers; he just needs ordinary people who will learn from Him and be willing to be used in extraordinary circumstances.” – NLT Bible commentary

May we do all we can to serve Christ today.

Living in Grace

Monday 30 July 2018

Forced out the comfort zone

Whether we are conscious of this or not, most of us have a "comfort zone." Once we are settled in this place, it is hard to get us to budge anywhere. When we look at the early disciples, they were not afforded the luxury of staying in their 'comfort zone' for long, as they were forced to move beyond the borders of Jerusalem. One shudders to think how the gospel would have spread to the 'ends of the earth' if these believers were not 'forced' to leave.

Acts 8:4 -Forced to leave home base, the followers of Jesus all became missionaries. Wherever they were scattered, they preached the Message about Jesus.” (Message)

Reflection: God is able to take a potentially painful experience and turn it into something that honours his Kingdom and brings hope to others. Though we may not enjoy the discomfort, God is gracious enough to keep his eye on us at all times and to use all circumstances for our benefit (Romans 8).
Living in Grace

Friday 27 July 2018

Prayer for Peace

"Oh Lord, sometimes my insides feel like a battle zone, where missiles are falling too close to home. Other times I'm caught in an endless storm, with thoughts flying out of control. Confusion reigns, and defeat creeps in to steal my joy. 
I need your peace—the deep-down-in-your-heart kind that stays with me day and night and speaks confidently into the wind. Calm my anxious spirit, Lord; all the attacking "if-onlys" and "what-ifs" fill me with needless worry.
I know that trust is a big part of experiencing peace and that fear has no place in my life. Most of the things I worry about or dread don't even happen. So I'm declaring my trust in you. I'm releasing the reins of my life again and asking you to take control. 
I may need to pray this same prayer daily, but I'm tired of the frenzy of life that leaves my schedule and my thoughts without any margin. I need more of you, Lord, and less of me."

This is part of a prayer written by Rebecca Barlow Jordan. We thank God for these wonderful words of encouragement and honesty. For the full prayer click here.

 John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you; my peace i give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Living in Grace

Thursday 26 July 2018


“We are used to viewing the early apostles as superstars on a pedestal that we can easily forget that they were pitifully inadequate for the task which they were given.” – Phil Moore 

This quote makes me feel a lot more comfortable about serving God "as I am", rather than trying to be a Mega-Star pastor. God certainly desires to use every person to help build his kingdom, and God ABSOLUTELY needs all of us to take our "inadequacies" and to use our lives to honour him. 

Let us not make excuses today as to why we "can't" do something for Jesus, but rather show that we are WILLING to offer what we have.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 24 July 2018


During the days of the Roman Empire the pledge of allegiance was "Caesar is Lord." Obviously, when one said these words you were showing where your allegiance lay. For us to now say, "Jesus is Lord" shows others that our allegiance belongs to another empire - a different kingdom - the Kingdom of God.

Many Christians were persecuted for being unpatriotic, as well as for their belief in Jesus. Sometimes we are brought to a place of choosing one kingdom over another kingdom. In the end, we must decide who we make our PLEDGE too.

So, who is your Lord today?

Acts 10:36This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

Living in Grace

Monday 23 July 2018

Hard to miss

There are some people that shine the light of Christ wherever they go. You just see them and speak to them and you know that there is something different about them. These are the kind of people you want to spend time with because they make you feel closer to Jesus. I am not sure if you know people like this, but there are a few people I can think of right now.

When the disciples began to preach and teach, just after Pentecost, people noticed that "they had been with Jesus" - this was a compliment to indicate that the things of Christ had rubbed off onto them. Obviously this presents a challenge to us all, as we would love people to say, "Ah yes, I can see _________ has been with Jesus!"

Acts 4:13 - The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognised them as men who had been with Jesus.

Let your Light shine amongst all people.
Living in Grace

Friday 20 July 2018

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee became an icon before he died at the age of 32 - today (20th July) marks the day he died and many marital arts fans will pause to remember his life. If you spend a little time reading about his life and some of the words he spoke, you will note that he had some wise words to pass onto others. I am not sure where Bruce stood with the Lord, but there are traces of the words of Jesus and the Scripture in his quotes.

 "A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough." - (see Proverbs 12:16)

"Real living is living for others." (see Jesus' words in John 15:13)

"Showing off is the fool's idea of glory." - (see Matthew 23:17)

No matter the good impact of another human being, let us remember to place our trust in Jesus Christ.

Living in Grace
uick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/bruce_lee

Thursday 19 July 2018

Mistakes happen

"A mistake proves that someone stopped talking long enough to do something." - Phoenix Flame

When you look at the lives of the early Christians they were not faultless by any means. They made mistakes! In their desire to spread the Good News they stepped on some toes, they argued with each other, they had to deal with conflict and I am sure they made numerous faux pas's. But, in the end, at least they were being obedient to the charge given them. They did not just talk -they acted.

2 Corinthians 8:5 - "They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do."

Action: Let us not just talk the talk. Let us act. 

Living in Grace

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Thank you Madiba

There remains something remarkable and deeply influential about the name of Nelson Mandela. Perhaps we don't all realise yet, because he only passed away recently, but the impact of Madiba is uniquely profound.

It is interesting that the stories of most of the"great" names of history have filtered down into our school books, oral traditions, community events (and even sermons), but none of us ever got to meet these people in person. However, Madiba has lived in OUR time, and even if we have never met him in person, we can't deny his Legacy. 

As you know by now, I am huge fan of quotes and so to remember Madiba's 100th birthday I want to share a few of his lesser known words:

"I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances."

"Man's goodness is a flame that can be hidden, but never extinguished."

"I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps trying."

"There can be no greater gift than giving ones time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return."

May God bless you as you seek to follow JESUS and leave your own Legacy for Jesus sake.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Hatred or Forgetfulness?

Image result for Bonhoeffer quotes 

Hatred seems a long, long way from being Forgetful. And yet, when you read these next words, it is surprising to see how close they are to each other.

"The devil doesn't fill us with hatred for God, but with forgetfulness of God." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This reminds me that the work of the evil one is very subtle and his end desire is the same - to draw us away from the love of God. If we fall into this trap through forgetting to honour God and to make God a priority, then I guess the devil is succeeding in his mission. What do you think? Am I being to simple-minded about this quote?

Psalm 88:12 - "Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds? Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness?"

Living in Grace

Monday 16 July 2018

Words for our time

I have been reading a wonderful book on the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It has really challenged me on how different people view Christ and then live out their Christianity. Bonhoeffer suffered so much for his faith, but his testimony lives on well beyond his earthly life. Here are a few quotes from Dietrich, which speak into our present South African context (I believe):
"We must learn to regard people less in light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer."
"Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility."
"The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children."
Matthew 19:14 - But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”
Living in Grace

Thursday 12 July 2018


Understanding our own limitations can be a very insightful journey to embark upon. It is not a sign of weakness, but rather a place of recognising where God's power is most profound, because our 'success' has nothing to do with our own efforts.

7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me..." - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

So, let us get in touch with our limitations and instead of allowing these to defeat us, let them move us to our knees.

Be filled with God's grace today.

Living in Grace

Wednesday 11 July 2018

It is NOT ...

"It is not what people eat, but what they digest that makes them strong.
Now what we gain, but what we save that makes us rich;
not what we read, but what we remember that makes us learned;
not what we preach or pray,
but what we practice and believe that makes us true Christians." - Francis Bacon

Let us not lose focus of the truly important things in life. Life is often NOT what we think it is - hidden in the midst of our daily routine and activity is the whisper of God.

John 10:25-30 - Jesus answered, “I told you, but you don’t believe. Everything I have done has been authorized by my Father, actions that speak louder than words (Message).

Living in Grace

Tuesday 10 July 2018

Why are troubles sent my way?

Why do troubles come our way?

If we could answer this question you would all be a multi-millionaires. There is no easy answer to this dilemma, but what we do know is that ALL people encounter trouble. Rich, poor, black, white, male, female, young and old - every person encounters trouble at some point. For me, the question is how we respond to these troubles - that is the harder part to fathom.

Matthew Henry has a lovely take on this and he writes:

"Troubles are sent to teach us to pray; and are continued, to teach us to continue in prayer. Though God accepts the prayer of faith, yet he does not always give what is asked for: as he sometimes grants in wrath, so he sometimes denies in love." 

What do you make of those words? 

I have found great encouragement from the last words of his quote - "sometimes God denies things in LOVE." 

Just because God says NO to something does not make God nasty and mean. 

Living in Grace

Monday 9 July 2018

Complete Faith

"You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete." - James 2:22 

On the one hand, I am not sure whether our faith can ever be complete or perfect, but what James is suggesting in this verse is that our lives (and actions) bring completion to the words we profess. To put it slightly differently - it can be like clapping our hands. When we bring our two hands together we complete the 'Clap' - it is very hard to clap with only one hand. In the same way, our Faith is made complete when our actions and words come together. Does that make sense? I hope so.

God bless you. 

Living in Grace

Sunday 8 July 2018

Love in Action

"We pondered your love-in-action, God,
    waiting in your temple:
Your name, God, evokes a train
    of Hallelujahs wherever
It is spoken, near and far;
    your arms are heaped with goodness-in-action." - Psalm 48:9-10 (Message)

The true testimony of our faith is when people can see our LOVE in action (or our GOODNESS in action). The Psalmist speaks of how these traits are evident in the nature of God, and so by definition, all Christ-followers should so signs of these qualities too.

May your day reflect the mercy of God and may we seek to show our love-in-action.

Living in Grace