Thursday 30 August 2018

What's changed?

Reading these words, makes me realise that not much has changed over 1000s of years. People are still people - political leaders are still vying for power and prestige; others are trying to denounce God and yet still look for their own messiah's. David understood the world very clearly when he wrote:

"Why the big noise, nations?
Why the mean plots, peoples?
Earth-leaders push for position,
Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks,
The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers:
“Let’s get free of God!
Cast loose from Messiah!” - Psalm 2:1-3
"What has changed is that nothing has changed... that's what has made me more unhappy than everything else." - Willie Nelson

Let us try and make some change for good. Change only happens when willing people make a move to bring about change.The good news is that Jesus is always willing to help us bring about Godly change and renewal.

Living in Grace
Read more at:

Wednesday 29 August 2018

On Assignment

Whether we realise it or not we are all busy on some assignment right now. Yes, that includes you too! It may not seem like anything official, but we could be working on the assignment of:
career, parenting, retirement, recovery, serving, helping, studying, planning, praying, loving.
Being on assignment can mean a range of things for each one of us - the important thing to remember is WHY you are busy on this assignment and for WHOM are you so busy.

Peter was very clear on his purpose and that is why he wrote:

"I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours!" - 1 Peter 1:1-2 (Message)

Just reading these words from Peter I am also greatly encouraged by the words:

"no one is forgotten..."
"the Father has his eye on you...."

Living in Grace

Tuesday 28 August 2018

Make a way

Have you ever had something in your life that seems to frustrate you no end? No matter which way you turn or which solution you try to find, nothing seems to work! I have had one of those scenarios over the last few weeks. In trying to sort out something quite simple (or at least I thought it was) I have encountered dead end, after dead end. My frustration levels rose, but I kept at it, trying to find a solution.

In the end, I am so relieved to announce, that "God made a way!" The problem was resolved and I feel so much better!

This whole incident reminded me of this verse:

Isaiah 41:13 - For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you.

Or as the song by Don Moen goes:
"God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me."

Living in Grace

Monday 27 August 2018

Finding out you are normal

Finding out you are normal is quite a relief. So often we assume that the struggles we are having and the stress we are under, seem to be our burden to carry. However, there are so many others dealing with similar trials and tough times.

This became so apparent to me last evening, as we shared Testimonies in our worship service. It was as if the Lord spoke through each person and allowed the congregation to feel that we are NOT ALONE in our struggles. The biggest mistake we make is looking at others and only seeing the 'mask' on the outside. Hearing that God has worked through their Story reassures all of us that God can also be REAL in our story too.

When David spoke these words to the community, he was not shy to speak of what God had done during the tough times in the past.

"I have told all your people about your justice.
    I have not been afraid to speak out,
    as you, O Lord, well know.
10 I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart;
    I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.
I have told everyone in the great assembly
    of your unfailing love and faithfulness." - Psalm 40:9-10

Remember that every believer struggles from time to time. If you are feeling as if you are in tough place right now, hold on, because you have just discovered that you are Normal :) 

Living in Grace


Sunday 26 August 2018

Watching over us

"For the Lord watches over all the plans and paths of godly men, but the paths of the godless lead to doom." - Psalm 1:6

As I read through this verse I was trying to find a good way of explaining what it means, when I stumbled across this poem. It reminds me that God watches over me at all times. God is ever-Present. May the knowledge of this give you hope and joy this week.

"The light of God surrounds us;
The love of God enfolds us;
The power of God protects us;
The presence of God watches over us;
Wherever we are, God is!" - James Dillet Freeman

Living in Grace

Thursday 23 August 2018

Why do the wicked seem to prosper?

Tough question for today:
"Why do the wicked always seem to prosper and to get away with things?"

Sadly, I don't have a neat answer for us today, except to use Psalm 1:4 as a form of explanation.
David wrote, "The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away."

When wheat grows the husk/chaff grows with the good part of the plant, until they are ready for harvest. The farmer doesn't do anything with the husk until it has dried out and is then threshed. Only then is the chaff left to be taken by the wind, or to be disposed somewhere else. 

I understand this parable to imply that we won't necessarily get rid of the wicked in our time, but when the time of judgement comes, they will get their due. It is left to us to remain as 'healthy' and 'pure' as we can, so we can be used by the Father. We will have to leave the final threshing to God to sort out. 

Apologies for the simplistic answer, but that is the best I can do :)

Living in Grace

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Standing out

Imagine yourself walking in the bushveld somewhere. Everything is dry and brittle around you and then you stumble across an evergreen tree - you notice it immediately. It stands out from the rest of the environment. The LIFE in that bush or tree may startle us at first, but then it begins to make sense. There is something in it's DNA that allows it to stay green all year around.

Now this is exactly what David is hinting at in this verse for today.

 "They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time,
    and whose leaves do not dry up.
They succeed in everything they do." - Psalm 1:3

If we put down roots near the stream of God's goodness and mercy, then the Spirit of God will begin to change us. It will be like we are planted near a stream of water - the Grace of God will help us to grow and bear fruit in time.

This sounds like Good news to me. All I need to do is make sure I don't go and plant myself far away from the source of Life.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Making someone smile

"But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely." - Psalm 1:2 (Living Bible)

It is a joy to make other people smile. When we do something that makes a difference in the life of someone else, we can feel "delighted." Following the Jesus-Way is difficult, but it also has numerous moments of joy and delight. Knowing that our words and actions can bring a smile to God is quite humbling. David suggests that we can do this by 'meditating on God's word.'

Thought: Are you ready to make God smile today?

Living in Grace

Monday 20 August 2018

We all need ENCOURAGEMENT at times

I have never heard someone says these words: "Please don't encourage me - I have had enough encouragement for today!" 

     Truth be told, we can all do with a little more ENCOURAGEMENT at times, because we certainly have lots to discourage us. When Paul was nearing Rome, he had a lot of people come alongside him and offer him words of strength and help. The very sight of these people encouraged him for his final part of the journey.

    Acts 28:15 - At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged. 

   Maybe there are some people in your life who could do with a word of 'cheer' today. Even if it takes a little effort, why don't you message them.

God bless
  Living in Grace

Sunday 19 August 2018

It is seldom "Convenient"

"Convenience" seems to be the default to which we all revert, especially when we are feeling tired and too busy. We wrestle with driving to the mall to get whatever we really want (or what is cheaper) VERSUS popping to the convenience store to get a similar item at the higher price.Of course there are many other examples of such everyday decisions.

I don't believe that convenience is the same as laziness, it is just an alternate way of making decisions. It can make perfect sense to go for the convenient option 9 times out of 10, unless of course we are using it as a mask to avoid making a CRUCIAL decision. Take a look at Felix in this next reading. Note how he lies to himself and thinks that he will make a commitment to follow Jesus, when it is more Convenient for him.

Acts 24:25As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgement to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”

It was just an excuse to avoid the tough decision he was faced with. And so that is why I believe that following Jesus is NEVER going to be convenient. 

What do you think?

Living in Grace

Friday 17 August 2018

Truly Happy

There are many books written on how we can be "truly happy" in life. A lot of these speak about reaching our goals, living our dreams, achieving success or finding the right partner. It took David one line to recommend his success for the Blessed Life. This is his advice:

"The truly happy person
doesn’t follow wicked advice,
doesn’t stand on the road of sinners,
and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful." - Psalm 1:1 (CEV)

If you wanted to read it in a slightly different version, try this one:

"Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers." (NLT)

I suppose the good news in this case is that we are clearly given a choice to be BLESSED, HAPPY, JOYFUL. Our choices will have a direct bearing on whether or not we will walk in God's Way or the potentially dangerous way of others. 

Living in Grace

Thursday 16 August 2018

Talking behind your back

"Don't worry about those who talk behind your back, they're behind you for a reason." - Unknown

We have all been victims of this before - people speaking behind our backs and not in a nice way. Dare I say, we have probably done the same thing. It is hard to accept when people do it to us, so we should learn to 'hold our tongues' when the opportunity arises to speak about others.

Gossip can destroy relationships, families, schools, churches. I guess Solomon had to endure his fair share of this, as he wrote a lot about it. See what he says in this verse:

Proverbs 20:19 - A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.
Jesus experienced this so many times and his attitude was always one of forgiveness. Perhaps you and I should learn to forgive those who "gossip" about us?
Living in Grace

Wednesday 15 August 2018

No Ordinary people - C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis - “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Very few people are interested in others. If you really find their story interesting, and care about them, they may open up to you and want to hear your story—Christ’s story.”

This is a hard thing to do, because there are so many "grumpy" people out there, but the next person you speak to, reflect on the fact that they are made in the image of God. This then makes them someone who is "extraordinary". 
Try it and see what happens.

Genesis 1:27So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Living in Grace