Monday, 17 June 2019

On our Doubts


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“A faith without some doubts is like a human body with no antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask the hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person's faith can collapse almost overnight if she failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.”
Tim Keller 
 
Jude 1:22 - Be merciful to those who doubt;
 
May our doubts lead us to a deeper and more genuine faith.
 
Keep walking in the ways of Christ and may he show you his path. 
 
Living in Grace
D3LM3 

Friday, 14 June 2019

Dear Jesus

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If you have ever wanted to pray, but haven't known really what to say, then use this prayer as a starting point. It is truly a great prayer.

"Dear Jesus,

Help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.


Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in
contact with may feel Your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus!


Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others; The light, O Jesus will be
all from You; none of it will be mine;
It will be you shining on others through me.


Let me thus praise You the way You love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching,
not by words but by my example,
by the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.
Amen." - Prayer written by John Henry Newman

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Love them anyway


Have you ever felt so despondent with people that you are tempted to pack it all in and to stop giving of yourself? If you are nodding your head right now, then you will want to read these words -

“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centred. 

Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. 

Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. 

Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. 

Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. 

Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. 

Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. 

Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. 

Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. 

It was never between you and them anyway."

 

These words are attributed to Mother Teresa. They have been adapted from the original words written by Dr Kent Keith.

If you find them useful please feel free to pass them on and give credit to the original authors.

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Stopped in your tracks


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    Have you ever been so impressed by something that it has literally stopped you in your tracks? You can't believe what you are seeing & experiencing that you need to stop to appreciate what you are encountering? Usually these events leave a life changing impression upon us and we are 'different' for the experience. 

   Selwyn Hughes argues that this what our encounter with Christ should be - we should be changed by meeting Christ and then living differently. 
  
 “No one can be a disciple of Jesus unless he/she has been stopped in their tracks by Jesus & experienced an inner change.” – Selwyn Hughes

Have you experienced that inner change? Are you still allowing the Spirit of Christ to stop you in your tracks?

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Sizonqoba

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Sizonqoba - 'together we triumph.'
This was the motivational slogan for Comrades 2019 and I felt honoured to be running in this years race. My experience of running in this awesome event is that it brings all sorts of people together, all with the same common goal - to finish the race!

Of course we can draw a wonderful parallel with our Christian race and if Jesus spoke isizulu he may have even told his disciples - Sizonqoba! As a Church community the more we learn to rely on each other and to help each other, then the more we will all triumph in the end. God is glorified in the collective Body of Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 3:1 -Finally, dear brothers, as I come to the end of this letter, I ask you to pray for us. Pray first that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and triumph wherever it goes, winning converts everywhere as it did when it came to you.
Living in Grace
D3LM3

Sunday, 9 June 2019

The Watershed Moment

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John told his followers about the gift of the Spirit long before Pentecost. Of course, most people couldn't fully grasp what he was saying, until the actual moment took place. God chose the annual feast of Pentecost to pour out the Spirit upon the entire Church - what perfect timing. From this point on (the Watershed Moment) the people of God were mobilised to share the Good News without fear.
 
Matthew 3:11 - “I baptise with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
 
As always Eugene Peterson puts these words into language we can all relate too.
 
“I’m baptising you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: The main character in this drama—compared to him I’m a mere stagehand—will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”
 
The real action of our faith comes from the inspiration of the Spirit.
The Spirit ignites the Kingdom of God in us.
The Spirit changes us from the inside out.
We serve in the drama of the faith, but the main character is always JESUS.
 
Living in Grace
D3LM3

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Waiting

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When you are waiting for something it is often easier if you know when the actual date is going to be. For example, if you are preparing for a big event - like a wedding, family celebration, function, race or sports fixture - the waiting is made bearable by the prescribed date. 
 
However, when you are asked to wait for something and you have no idea when the 'date' is going to be, that is hard to do. This was the situation the disciples faced between Ascension and Pentecost. We know now that it was only 10 days for them to wait for the Spirit to descend, but they didn't know that. It could have been 2 weeks, 2 months or even 2 years.

The spiritual challenge for us is to remain patient with God's timing, even in the moments when we wish God would hurry up. God's plans and gifts are always worth waiting for!
 
Luke 3:15 - The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.

Hebrews 6:15 - And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Take Time

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There is a sign on a wall in one of the Children's homes in Calcutta; this is what it says:

"Take time to think
Take time to pray
Take time to laugh.

It is the source of power
It is the greatest power on Earth
It is the music of the soul.

Take time to play
Take time to love and be loved
Take time to give.

It is the secret of perpetual youth
It is God's given privilege
It is too short a day to be selfish.

Take time to read
Take time to be friendly
Take time to work.

It is the foundation of wisdom
It is the road to happiness
It is the price of success
Take time to do charity
It is the key to Heaven."

This poem is taken from A Simple Path, a book reflecting on the life and work of Mother Teresa.

May you enjoy reading it and pass on the blessing to others.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Obedience is the hard part

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Jim Wallis – “The great tragedy of modern evangelism is in calling many to belief but few to obedience.”

Somehow we have slowly skewed our understanding of 'giving our lives to Christ.' In the early Church, it meant a deep commitment to discipleship - following the Jesus way, wherever that would take us. 

In time, we moved this to understand that salvation was only important for when you die - get the ticket for heaven and you will be okay. Jim Wallis is absolutely correct - our call should be one of a sincere calling to obey Christ. Of course, this starts with the initial belief in a loving Redeemer, but that is only the beginning. The rest is "an obedience in the same direction" (Eugene Peterson).

1 Samuel 15:22 - Samuel said, “Which does the Lord prefer: obedience or offerings and sacrifices? It is better to obey him than to sacrifice the best sheep to him.


Acts 20:22 - And now, in obedience to the Holy Spirit I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.
 
Living in Grace
D3LM3

Monday, 3 June 2019

Be Kind!

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Every few months I get the privilege of writing an article for the online Scripture Union magazine. It really is a wonderful magazine (not just cause I write for it), because it includes many different voices on a range of relevant issues. If you want to check it out, please follow the link below - the awesome thing is that it is TOTALLY FREE!

This last week I wrote an article on 'Kindness', as I believe we can change our communities by doing the small simple things. Kindness is something that we can all do - and it has the power to make a huge difference.

The other thing about Kindness is that it is a FRUIT of God's Spirit working in us. So, if we want to know how much we are growing in our walk with Christ, we should monitor the levels of our kindness. Paul wrote:

Galatians 5:22 - But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness...

Allow God's Spirit to control your actions today - shower the world with small acts of Great Kindness.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Being a life-long learner


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“A disciple is an apprentice of Jesus” - Dallas Willard

When Jesus called the 'disciples' to come and follow him, they were not yet disciples. They were ordinary citizens of a different kingdom.  They probably had a longing in their heart for something more - for something deeper, but they may have thought they were not good enough to follow a Rabbi. However, in the moment when Jesus turned tradition on it's head and called them to be his disciples, the 12 agreed to become life-long apprentices of God. 

Our decision to believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour is the first part of this journey and, dare I say it, the easiest part. What follows after this, is a commitment to intentionally walk the 'Jesus Way'  day after day. 

So, how are things going for you as a disciple? What have you learnt today about following the Son of God?

Living in Grace
D3LM3 

·   Matthew 4:19 - “Come, be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!” (NLT)

 

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Another Ascension Moment

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50 Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. 52 So they worshipped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. 53 And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God." - Luke 24:50-53

We usually focus our Ascension Day messages around Acts 1:1-11 and there is nothing wrong with this. However, Luke also mentions the Ascension of Jesus in his Gospel and it is an interesting take on this glorious moment. 

The significance of Jesus going back to his father is complex and equally crucial for the Church to understand. But just for today I want us to pause on this truth - one of the last things that Jesus did before he left the earth was BLESS his followers. It was while he was blessing them that he was taken into heaven. 

This is such a powerful image for us to hold onto. Jesus' ascension was not the father "ripping" Jesus away from a timid group of people, but rather a planned moment of implying great trust in the disciples. A moment where God willingly hands over the mantle to us.
May we know Christ's blessing upon our lives as we serve the risen, ascended Lord.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

No Strangers Allowed!?

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When you read the title of today's post you may be mistaken that I am suggesting that we don't allow strangers into our Churches, but please read the quote first before jumping to the wrong conclusion:
 
"In our world we're much more comfortable with posting a sign like "No strangers allowed" that reflects the suspicion and fear of our time. But perhaps it is time for us to acknowledge our fear, confront it, and turn that very slogan on its head. "No strangers allowed" means that in the Kingdom of God nobody is a stranger, therefore in this congregation nobody is a stranger." - Alan Brehm, The Waking Dreamer, 2009.

How does that sound? Challenging?
In truth we are sometimes worshipping in churches where we feel like strangers. We may know the faces of people, but do we spend time listening to their struggles, trials and deep needs? Christian community is a hard lifestyle to live out, but when we seek to be the body of Jesus, then we should also strive to make sure that no one feels like a 'stranger' in our midst.

Ephesians 2:19-22 (The Message)
 That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.

Living in Grace
D3LM3