Friday 30 November 2018

Twelfth Hour

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“The man that decided to change on the 12th hour died at the 11th.” - Hlovate

We come to the end of November today - the 11th month of 2018. I am struck by how many people are slipping into holiday mode already, yet I feel that there is still so much more to do! Perhaps it is because in the ministry December is a busy time, but I am also conscious of making the most of our days. 

If you still feel that 2018 hasn't "delivered" on what you hoped it would, then please don't rest yet. There is still time to do what God has called you to do. The 12th hour has just begun and this is when we can still commit to end well!

To use another analogy - Comrades Marathon runners know that the majority of the field only cross the line between the 11th and 12th hours. So, they know that the "last hour" is the most crucial of them all. Friends, there is so much more running to do, so let's put one foot in front of the next and get going.  God be with you.

1 John 2:18 - "Children, it is the last hour."

I am going to taking a Spiritual Journey through the book of Malachi this Advent season, so I invite you to join me tomorrow to see where this takes us.  

Living in Grace, 


Thursday 29 November 2018

Looking to the Finger Posts

"Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement." - Charles F. Kettering

Okay, I am going to admit something - I had to google what 'finger posts' are? I know it is terrible of me, but I was a little confused and so I needed to figure it out. I know 'finger posts' as 'sign posts' or 'guide posts', but in essence they are the same thing. Technically a finger post has a few signs (fingers) on the same post and these all point in a different direction - they are usually seen in the UK and Ireland.

Anyway, I am getting distracted. My point relates to the initial quote from Kettering. He makes the observation that any 'failure' we experience is really just a way of pointing us in the right direction. If we believe that God is our GUIDE and that God will lead us where we need to go, then our failures are not fatal and God will still get us home.

I hope this offers you some hope today. Follow the finger posts and see where God is leading you.

Genesis 24:49 - Now if you will show kindness and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so I may know which way to turn.”

Living in Grace

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Stephen King on Life, Hope and Writing

Just to change things up a little, I want to reflect on a few thoughts from the author Stephen King. I have been reading his wonderful book "On Writing", which is not only brilliant, but also incredibly candid. In his book, he shares how he got started writing and the 'lucky' breaks he had in his career. One of the things that struck me most was how persistent he was and how he continued to write, even though he hadn't "made it" as yet.  

Here are a few of his quotes (not all from the same book):

  • Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
  • Either get busy living or get busy dying.
  • The scariest moment is always just before you start.

These all speak to me on some level, but as a Christian they remind us to always use the GIFTS God has given to us and to keep PERSEVERING no matter the obstacles that lie before us.

Hebrews 10:36 - You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
Living in Grace

Tuesday 27 November 2018

What are you Restless about?

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Restlessness can be a good thing.
(Of course, it can equally be a debilitating ache that drains all emotional energy from our lives.) However, today, I want to focus on the positive aspect of becoming RESTLESS. When we discover that we are feeling restless about something it can drive us towards action. Take a look at Psalm 132 and note David's restlessness and the language he uses to respond to his feelings:

Psalm 132.
He swore an oath to the Lord,
    he made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“I will not enter my house
    or go to my bed,
I will allow no sleep to my eyes
    or slumber to my eyelids,
till I find a place for the Lord,
    a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

He was restless because the Ark of the Covenant had no 'home'. David had built himself a beautiful palace, but he realised he had neglected to provide for the Lord and the Ark. His restlessness lead to him acting and starting to build the Temple.

What is making you restless today? Can you do something about it?

Living in Grace

Monday 26 November 2018

Beautiful Attitudes

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Someone once remarked that the Beatitudes (found in Matthew 5) could be called "The Beautiful Attitudes" - I like that name - I think it describes them so well. In our modern world these kind of attitudes seem very foreign to us, but that shouldn't prevent us from trying to live them out. After all, being part of God's Kingdom means that we should be living under different rules in any case.

What do you think of these attitudes?:

Matthew 5:3-10
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Living in Grace

Sunday 25 November 2018

Prayer for today

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May you find the following simple prayer as profound as I did. Enjoy and God bless you.

"Lord, goodness is stronger than evil;
love is stronger than hate;
light is stronger than darkness;
life is stronger than death;
victory is ours through you who love us.
Amen." - Desmond Tutu

John 12:25 - "Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life."

Living in Grace

Friday 23 November 2018

Surround Sound

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“Heard in full sound, the Gospels tell about the establishment of a theocracy, and portray what theocracy looks like with Jesus as king.” -  N. T. Wright

When we read through the Gospels we should hear the message of God in Surround Sound. It should speak 'loud and clear' to us of a different Kingdom - a new world and new Hope. So, in the light of the above quote, why don't you chew on these thoughts today:

1. A Theocracy is "a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god."

2.  I am not sure that 'priests' (including myself in this) would do the best job at ruling nations. Certainly the history of Israel shows us that there were a few exceptions, but there were plenty of failures.

3. On the other hand, I don't think Priests would do 'worse' than present day Politicians! Maybe....maybe not?!

4.  Theocracy at its ideal would find Christ as King.

5. This Kingdom would be like no other we have even seen. Oh how we long for this 'New Jerusalem.'

Revelation 21
[ The New Heaven and the New Earth ] Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them..

Living in Grace

Thursday 22 November 2018

No fear

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One of my favourite Psalms is definitely Psalm 46. In these verses are hidden some pearls of wisdom and gems of encouragement. The one thing that brings me hope at this time is David's call for us "not to FEAR". Even when things crumble and crash around us (seas, earthquakes, mountains), we don't need to fear because He is the Foundation we need to stay grounded.

"God is our refuge and strength,
    always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
    and the mountains crumble into the sea."

God is also ready and willing to help us in these times of trouble.
So hang in there. God is with you.
"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." - Marcus Aurelius

Read more at:

Living in Grace

Wednesday 21 November 2018

My old clothes

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I have been known to hang onto some of my old clothing until it can't be "saved" anymore. Call me sentimental or just attached to my comfortable clothes, but I don't like throwing these things away. However, there comes a time, when even I have to relent and send my clothes on their merry way. It may take many, many years before this happens, but it ALWAYS happens in the end. 

So, why am I telling you this? Well, because it comes up in the book of Hebrews. The writer recalls a passage from Psalm 102, where the Israelites acknowledged that just as clothes wear out, so the world will also wear out and come to an end.

"You, Master, started it all, laid earth’s foundations,
    then crafted the stars in the sky.
Earth and sky will wear out, but not you;
    they become threadbare like an old coat;
You’ll fold them up like a worn-out cloak,
    and lay them away on the shelf.
But you’ll stay the same, year after year;
    you’ll never fade, you’ll never wear out." - Hebrews 1:12 (Message)

The Good News in this verse lies in the final words, where we are reminded that even though things fade away, Jesus Christ stays the same forever - He will never end.

"You will roll them up like a robe (coat);
    like a garment they will be changed.
But you remain the same,
    and your years will never end." - Hebrews 1:12

Living in Grace

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Building Rome

They say that "Rome wasn't built in one day", so how long did it really take to build the great Eternal City? The answer is not that simple, because technically Rome is still being built - so that would make it around 2750 years for this 'long' work in progress. But, that is not really the point of the proverb, is it? Here is what I make of that lovely old adage:

In order to build the Roman Empire, the people (and leaders) of Rome, had to have a dream of something bigger than themselves. And once they had that vision, they began by laying one brick at a time. Each foundation was a step closer to the dream of a beautiful City and ultimately a magnificent Empire.

So, without getting into the pro's and con's of the Roman Legacy, let us take that simple saying to heart today - If we want to do something amazing for God and to create a Legacy that out-lives us, then we need to 'own' the dream/vision and start by laying one brick at a time. There is no faster way to complete the task - there are no short-cuts to achieve the tasks that lie before us.

1 Corinthians 3:10 - By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.
Question: What is your ROME? 
Living in Grace

Monday 19 November 2018

Breaking your word

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There used to be a time when a person's word was their guarantee. In other words, when they agreed to do something and promised to follow through - then they would do it. Their word was their bond. Sadly, that is not the same anymore, and people break promises all the time. The writer to the Hebrews reflects on this when he writes to the people of God:

Hebrews 6:13-18 (The Message)- “When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.”

God always follows through with his promises. He doesn't renege on his word. His word is ROCK-SOLID.

Thought: Let us be careful in promising things that we can't follow up on. 

Living in Grace