Monday, 21 October 2019

Our contradictions

The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God's mercy to me.

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"The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God's mercy to me." - Thomas Merton

We can be such a mix of contradictions at times.
We are full of kindness one moment and then suddenly we struggle to cope with our selfishness. Our patience levels seem to have improved and then we lose our cool in a fleeting moment. One day we feel so close to God and the next it seems a massive struggle just to read your Bible.

Perhaps Paul summed up our contradictions well when he said: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." - Romans 7:15

Thomas Merton is onto something when he suggests that God's mercy is revealed to us through our contradictions. God could grow weary and impatient with us, but he chooses not to. God understands our struggle with sin and offers us redemption through Jesus Christ.

What 'contradictions' do you battle with at the moment?

Living in Grace


Sunday, 20 October 2019

An extra hour?

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If you have ever found yourself worrying about something then today's post is for you. 
It is so hard not to worry about things - even when we deal with one issue, then inevitably another one crops up. 

Jesus had some solid advice for us and for his followers:

"Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" - Matthew 6:27
So there it is! 
Jesus is telling us that worry is not going to change anything. It won't even add 60 minutes to our lives. So, what do we do then? If we shouldn't worry, how do we deal with the situations that cause us sleepless nights? 

Jesus tells his followers that most of the things we worry about concern things in this world - things that are temporary - so he instructs his disciples to focus on Kingdom matters. By re-aligning our mind on things of God, we slowly start to get a better balance and a divine perspective.

I know that this is much easier than it sounds, but why don't we give this a try today. 
Seek first the Kingdom of God and then all these other things will be added to us.

Living in Grace

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Marked by love

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"Just then a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and from deep in the cloud, a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love. Listen to him.” - Mark 9:7 (Message)

When God proudly spoke of Jesus as his son, he used the phrase 'marked by my love', which speaks of identity and influence. Everything about Jesus came from the Father and Jesus bore the marks of his heavenly parent.

The challenging question for us is this: "In what way are we revealing the marks of Christ in our lives?"
Can people see Jesus in us?
Can they see how God has changed our lives?

What does being 'marked by love' mean for you today?

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

The final No

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"After the final No there comes a Yes,
And on that YES
the future of the world depends." - Wallace Stevens

This little poem is wonderfully intriguing. It is worth reading a few times before one comes to understand what he is getting at. It may be helpful to read this in conjunction with the following words from Revelation.

Revelation 14:13 - Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labour, for their deeds will follow them.”

Revelation 22:20 -  He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Death will be the final No for each one of us, but after this No there will come a great YES. Our eternal future depends on the YES of Christ.

What do you think?

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 15 October 2019


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“Rejection is just an opinion, remember? It reflects them more than me, right?”- Jia Jang

In his outrageous experiment called "100 days of Rejection", Jia Jang set out to conqueror his fear of rejection by doing a hundred "off the wall" things to face rejection from others. What he learnt was that people are actually a lot kinder than we think and that rejection is not as bad as we imagine it to be.

His quote (above) is interesting as it reminds us that 'rejection' can be more about the other person's tastes and opinion than our identity. It doesn't need to define us.

And of course, looking at the life of Jesus we see that he was also rejected many times over, but his purpose still prevailed. It is God's opinion of us that truly matters!

Psalm 118:22 - The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone

Luke 9:22 - And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

Living in Grace

Monday, 14 October 2019

Good reminder

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As the year races towards the end we can be overwhelmed with everything that has to happen and is currently on the go. My devotional reading today comes from Psalm 59 (in Our Daily Bread) and it was a timeous reminder of God's STRENGTH and how we can put our lives into God's strong hands.

"But I will sing of your strength,
    in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
    my refuge in times of trouble.
You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
    you, God, are my fortress,
    my God on whom I can rely." - Psalm 59:16-17

Lord, may you be my strength today. I rest in your greatness and not in my weakness. Amen."

Living in Grace

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Which measure?

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When Jesus was teaching on the Mountain overlooking the Sea of Galilee he said these words:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." - Matthew 7:1

The part about the 'measure' always seem to allude me until I understood that certain Rabbi's spoke of two different 'measures' for judgement. The first one was the measure of Justice, while the second one was the measure of Mercy.

If we keep judging people with the measure of Justice, then that is the one God will use on us, but if we use Mercy, then that is the one God will use on us. That seems to make a lot of sense. The trick is now trying to make sure that we use the right measure when we look at other people.

Which measure do you usually revert too?

Living in Grace

Thursday, 10 October 2019


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"We need companions on the journey, godfriends.... who will keep us to a chosen narrow way of pilgrimage, who themselves are becoming friends of God." - Jim Cotter

I really like this idea of a 'godfriend' and Jim Cotter is right - we all need someone to walk alongside us as we follow Jesus. Just as I am seeking to become a friend of God, so I can help you along the way and then of course I can also count on your encouragement.

So who is that godfriend for you?

James 2:23 - "And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend."

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Feeding your mind

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It is safe to say that most people recognise that our minds are incredibly powerful instruments. We can use our minds for great good or sadly for destructive purposes. What is important for Christians is what we are feeding our minds. If we feed ourselves a diet of negativity and criticism, then we will begin to live like this. However, if we choose to feed our minds with godly things, then we will reap a spiritual harvest.
Luke 24:38 - He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?

Jesus dealt with the doubts that arose in the minds of the disciples and when he shared the scriptures with them he was helping them understand all that they had learnt.

Luke 24:45 - Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
Allow the Spirit to feed your mind with godly things so that your life will be led by the things of Jesus.
Living in Grace

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Anger continued

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“The person who is a slave to anger; 
the person who speaks in the accent of contempt;
the person destroys another’s good name may never have committed murder in action, but he is a murderer at heart.” - William Barclay

These are the words that Barclay uses when he reflects on Jesus words in Matthew 5:21-24. It is easy to get all smug and say "I have never killed anyone and so look at how good I am", but what is really going on inside of us? Is there something that is potentially as dangerous and hurtful? Something that may not kill a person physically, but rather destroy their name and reputation?

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment." - Matthew 5:21-22

Living in Grace

Monday, 7 October 2019

The destructive nature of Anger

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We live in an angry world. People are angry with each other over a myriad of issues, but in the end, a lot of our anger ends up being self-destructive. Read these interesting words from Frederick Buechner on how anger destroys us in the end.
"Of the 7 deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savour to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back--in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you." - Frederick Buechner

What do you think about this?

Ephesians 4: 26 - "In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry."

Living in grace