Friday, 23 July 2021

Hiding from evil


"Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers." - Psalm 64:2

It is very easy for us as South Africans to draw a parallel from today's reading, to the recent events of looting and violence in our country. It seems clear that those behind the actions plotted and conspired to bring maximum destruction to our communities. 

So, in light of these events, how do read David's words and what do we make of them? Would this mean that we hope God can hide us from the physical evildoers, or is he asking for protection from the fallout of their actions? Or is it a little of both? It is clear that as Christ-followers we will not be exempt from suffering, but what can we expect from God during these times? 

I realise these are tough questions, but they are on everyone's minds at the moment. Perhaps my response is too simplistic for some, but I want to believe that I can turn to God for help in my time of need and that God will protect me from the 'evil one.' This doesn't mean that I will never face trials or sorrow, but I see it as God's promise to keep my 'soul/spirit/life' safe from the clutches of the enemy. Even in ultimate death I can know that I am in the strong hands of my loving Saviour.

"Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings." - Psalm 17:8

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Healthy Complaining


Is there even such a thing as 'healthy complaining?' I am not 100% sure, but what I do note from the Psalms is that David (and the other authors) feel very comfortable to cry out to God in their times of need. Perhaps their complaining is more a 'prayer' than anything else, but they certainly feel that they are able to voice their hearts cry. 

"Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy." - Psalm 64:1

Sadly, I have been witnessing a lot of complaining online lately and most of these complaints are anything but prayers. It seems that anyone who has a computer or phone is now an expert in every single matter under the sun. In my opinion, most of these complaints are addressed at belittling others instead of calling out to God.

Charles Spurgeon wrote that: "We shall act wisely if we make prayer to God our first and best trusted resource in every hour of need." He also said," Prayers which are unheard on earth may be among the best heard in heaven." 

Perhaps David's advice to us would be 'pour out your complaints and issues to the Lord. He knows what is going on and God will be able to provide a way through our tough circumstances.'

Is this just a oversimplification of our complaints? Have I missed the mark in some way? Share your thoughts with me if you have a minute. Thanks.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Fragile plans



Life teaches us that all of our best made plans are merely fragile attempts at ordering our lives. 

"But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations." - Psalm 33:11

When the Psalmist wrote these words I wonder what was going through his mind and what was happening all around him?

We have come back from an interesting trip to KwaZulu-Natal, that began as a celebration, but ended up with a huge dose of stress, anxiety and uncertainty. The whole experience has reminded me that often our best made plans don't come to fruition, but does that mean we shouldn't even make plans? Well, I believe that we all need (have to) make plans, but we also need to realise that we have to surrender these 'ideals' into the hands of our loving God. 

When I reflect on Psalm 33, I believe that the plans of the Lord that David was speaking about refer to the 'heart' of God and not necessarily how this will unfold. 

What I mean is this: 

I see it that God has always planned to show us his love, mercy and grace and this 'plan/purpose' will never change, even if circumstances change around us. God's plan of redemption will stand forever and so will the purposes of God's heart. This reassures us that 'come what may' God will not change his mind about how he loves us.

What do you think?

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Some will sing, while song will be silenced



In his parting words of Psalm 63, David tells people that he (as King) will continue to praise God. He implies that the mouths of liars will not silence him, but rather will be silenced themselves.

"But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God will glory in him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced." - Psalm 63:11

Is this something that you find easy or hard to do? I mean - trusting in the Lord even when things haven't yet been resolved? I find it hard at times, but am learning more and more to 'rejoice in the Lord' and leave the results to him.

Living in Grace
D3LM3


Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Tables turned



"Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.
They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals." - Psalm 63:9-10

In these verses David reminds his listeners (and his enemies) that those who plot against the Lord will end up on the losing end. This reminds me that even when it seems that evil is winning, we must remain hopeful and remember that God has already won the battle for us.

Who is seeking to hurt you at the moment? Does today's scripture give you any hope?

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Cling to?


"I cling to you; your right hand upholds me." - Psalm 63:8

I think that we all cling to something in our lives, even if we don't really think so. Another way of putting it, is things that we lean on when times get tough. We turn to a person, or a habit or even a ritual. These are things that help us through the seas of trial and turmoil.

David tells us that he clings to God and when he does that then we feels secure and protected.

Who do you turn to?

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Monday, 12 July 2021

Remembering God through the night



"On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings." - Psalm 63:6-7

The first impression I get from these verses is of David struggling to sleep. As he lies awake at night - perhaps fearing for his life or just thinking about his troubles, so he turns to God. He remembers God and that God has been with him in the past. We also know that the 'night' was considered to a symbol of evil and the demonic world, so David allows his thoughts to turn to God in these dark times, rather than dwell on the evil around him.

The picture of a tiny bird singing in the shelter of her mother's wings comes to my mind as I read through the second part of the passage. The chick is vulnerable and afraid, yet it is able to sing because it has the reassurance of its mother close by. 

How does this make you feel at the moment? Can you relate in anyway?

Eugene Peterson paraphrases these verses in this way:

If I’m sleepless at midnight,
    I spend the hours in grateful reflection.
Because you’ve always stood up for me,
    I’m free to run and play.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Fully satisfied

 


"I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you." - Psalm 63:4-5

David's pledge to God is that he will worship him for as long as he has breath. The act of lifting holy hands is a sign of surrender and an offering to the Lord. The word 'praise' in the New International Version can also read "honour", which is a nice way of committing our allegiance to the Lord. We will live to honour God and to bring praise to his name. 

The 5th verse of Psalm 63 has nothing to do with eating food, but rather with the comparison of knowing God. David would have known the joy of eating delightful foods and being hosted at great banquets, however he is arguing that none of those feasts could satisfy him like knowing God has.

The idea of being fully satisfied or have a full stomach implies that you don't want to eat anymore. Because you are full, you will not go looking for more food. The connection is the same with God - if we are feeling satisfied through the Holy Spirit, then we will have no need for other sources of spiritual food.

Are you 'satisfied' in your relationship with God at the moment? Why or why not?

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Saturday, 10 July 2021

Better than life


"I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you." - Psalm 63:2-3

In calling out to God for help David reminds himself (and the Lord) that he has already experience the power and glory of God in the sanctuary. This could be a way of reassuring himself that God is 'alive' and able to make himself known to his people. When you feel all alone and you struggle to see when God will show up, it is good to look back and be reminded that God is always present with us. This can in the temple or in the desert. Anyway, actually. 

Verse 3 is David's way of saying that knowing the unfailing love of God is worth more to him than surviving his current ordeal. This knowledge would allow David to push through the pain of his trials. Or as one author states: 

"Life without God is worse than death itself" (A. Anderson)

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Friday, 9 July 2021

Longing for God - Psalm 63



"You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water."
- Psalm 63:1

There is a part of us that resonates with David's cry for God. We sometimes feel dry or barren in our spirit and we long for an experience of God. It feels as if there is no water in sight and that we may die of spiritual thirst. 

This can happen when we go through difficult times or face big disappointments in our lives. It can even happen out of the blue or when things are going fine. I believe we shouldn't beat ourselves up over this, but rather cry out to the Lord and trust that he will quench our thirst in time.

It is thought that David was actually hiding out in the desert while he wrote these words, so he is comparing his thirst for God with his actual thirst in the desert. 

It is interesting how our personal experiences can help us see God in a new light.

Living in Grace
D3LM3


Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Anyway - a remarkable poem



This poem is so remarkable and inspiring that I feel it is worth sharing again. The world in which we find ourselves now is in need of love, kindness and grace. Despite the negativity that surrounds us let us 'live for God' anyway. Enjoy these words:

"People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
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 false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
 
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
 
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
 
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
 
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
 
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
 
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway." - Mother Theresa

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Fighting for unity in the church


I had the privilege of writing an article for the Scripture Union magazine a while ago and it was published last week. It is around 'fighting for unity in the church' - if you find the time please click on this link and have a read of the article. There are some other great articles from other authors there too.

Click here to read the article 

Ephesians 4:3 - Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Monday, 5 July 2021

Blue Monday


Monday's can be a little depressing for many people. A lot of this has to do with it being the first day of the week for many folk and so it marks the return to the 'grind-stone.' However, today is a 'Blue Monday' for me for a number of different reasons. Let me share these with you and then make a reflection.

In the main, it has been a deeply sad day because I have heard of a number of deaths today. Two colleagues of mine from the Methodist Church passed away due to Covid - they were both in the prime of their lives, but contracted the virus. I grieve for their loss, for their families, their communities and the loss for the church. 

I also heard of two other deaths - both deeply saddening and traumatic. I grieve for each member of those families and for their overwhelming sorrow and loss. It all seems too much. 

So, where do we turn and how do we recover from such grief? We can turn to the pages of the Scriptures, as well as the wisdom of those who have also endured great loss, and yet have had the strength to carry on. One of these people is St. Augustine. In his work "The City of God" he writes of heaven:

"We shall rest and we shall see,
we shall see and we shall love,
we shall love and we shall praise,
in the end, which is no end."

If you have also had to deal with grief during this time of the pandemic, I urge you to remember that God is still with us. God never let's us go, despite what our circumstances may tell us.

John 17:1-4 - You put him (the Messiah) in charge of everything human, so he might give real and eternal life to all in his care. And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, The one and only true God, And Jesus Christ, whom you sent. (The Message)

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Comfort is here


How often do you think of Jesus as Comfort

I know that we speak of the Holy Spirit as the 'comforter', but what about Jesus? As he reflects on the life of Christ, Bernard of Clairvaux writes:

"Comfort is here; help has come down from heaven. The kindness and humanity of God our Saviour have appeared. The kindness of God was always there, for the Lord's mercy is from everlasting; but it was hidden till the 'humanity' had appeared."

I think it is a beautiful picture of Jesus - not only is he the one who sends the 'comforter', but he is also Comfort.

"... who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." - 2 Corinthians 1:4

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Why not me?


When Christopher Reeve was thrown from his horse and broke his neck in 1995, many people wondered how such a tragedy could befall a famous actor like him. Christopher response was something along the lines of "why not me?" His point was that anyone can suffer. Suffering is not reserved only for the poor, the outcast, the sinner. Everyone suffers at some point in our lives.

This point was driven home to me when reading through Mark 5. Suffering is universal – rich and poor encounter it. Just because we have social status like Jairus (the leader of the Synagogue) doesn’t preclude us from suffering. 

This is the one thing that Covid has also shown us. People from all walks of life have suffered and even died – doctors, lawyers, teachers, pastors, clerks, the homeless etc.

It is interesting that we somehow think that the rich don’t encounter trials and difficulties – but we are wrong. We were watching the movie about the life of Steve Jobs the other evening –he was the founder of Apple. This is what he said towards the end of his life, as he was dying of Cancer.

Steve Jobs - “At this moment, lying on the bed, sick and remembering all my life, I realize that all my recognition and wealth that I have is meaningless in the face of imminent death… In other eyes, my life is the essence of success, but aside from work, I have a little joy.”

As we go through our own periods of trials and testing let us remember we are not alone. Others can relate to us and certainly God is with us. 

Mark 5:22-23 - Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”  So Jesus went with him.

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Wednesday, 30 June 2021

If you subscribe to this Blog please note

If you subscribe to Living in Grace and usually receive these posts via email, then please note there is a problem with this at the moment. This platform is no longer supporting this option, so I will need to transition this in the near future. However, you can still read the blog on the following platforms:

1. Directly on this blog (www.delmelinscott.blogspot.com)

2. On the website www.livingingrace.co.za

3. On Facebook

THANK YOU so much for your support of this blog. I truly appreciate the time you take to read these thoughts and ramblings. God bless you. 

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Re-imagining church


What do you think the church will look like in the future?

I have been asked to share a few thoughts with a group of leaders on what it could mean for us to 'Re-imagine church.' This is with particular influence of the Covid pandemic and how we have all had to do church differently. For the purpose of this blog, I am deliberately choosing to use 'church' with a small "c", as I believe the global Church will take it's lead from the grassroots movements of the local communities of faith. 

As I have start applying my mind to this tough question, my gut response is this: "Our focus in the Christian community will need to be on the small gatherings of Christ-followers, instead of on the bigger worship gatherings." And this is not a bad thing at all - it will just take a shift in our thinking and how we analyse church

Up to about 15 months ago we got drawn into the trap of thinking a church was successful based on three criteria: 

How many people do you have in your church?
How many buildings do you have - what facilities do you have?
What resources do you have? Financial and human resources were a sign of a thriving church.

Is this a fair way to decide if a church is a success or not? If we measured Jesus on these 3 criteria, how would he have scored? He would be seen as a failure, wouldn't he?

Remember that the truest definition of 'church' comes from the Greek word 'ekklesia', which means 'the called out ones' or 'an assembly.' The Church began as a group of people, called out of the world, to recognise Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and then to follow him. 

Sadly, 'Church' has come to mean a physical space and modern dictionaries include this as part of their definition of what a church is. We should remember that the global Church didn't meet in official Church buildings/Cathedrals for nearly 300 years - we managed to do the work of God and follow Jesus without gathering in massive spaces. 

So, for this reason I believe that part of Re-imagining church is going to call us back to our roots. These roots included a few of these key ingredients:

They were small in number; 
undoubtedly filled with the Spirit of God; 
loving each member extravagantly; 
showing compassion to the community;
Mission minded;
living faith and not caught up in systems.

These are just a few of my brain-storming ideas on this topic. I WOULD LOVE to hear some of your thoughts on this. Please take a minute to respond to this question: What will Church look like in the future?

1 Corinthians 12:27 - Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Romans 16:5 - Greet also the church that meets at their house.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Monday, 28 June 2021

Daughter


When Jesus called the unnamed woman in Mark 5, 'daughter', he was giving her way much more than she could have dreamed of. 

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” - Mark 5:34

From being a nobody - an outcast - someone lost in the crowd, she is now called a “daughter of the living God.” She is given a new name and with that she is given her dignity back.

This is a profound reality for all of us, because there are some days when we feel lost among the billions of people on our planet. We wonder if anyone cares. We may even question if God cares. Today's scripture brings hope to all of us. 

God does care for us.

We are all his sons and daughters.

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Saturday, 26 June 2021

The character of a person


Jesus always treated people with dignity. Even if people disagreed with him, or even if Jesus challenged them, he could never be accused of treating people inhumanly. This makes Jesus more than just a good person, this makes him an inspiring leader and a person of deep character. As Simon Sinek comments:

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”

Most of the people who approached Jesus for help could offer him very little in return. However, he still treated them with love and respect. 

This is a great challenge for us. Too often we look down on those who can't give us something in return.
How do you feel about this?

James 3:18 - "You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor." (The Message)

Living in Grace
D3LM3


Thursday, 24 June 2021

One day at a time


The uncertainty of the present age in which we are living, really reminds us to live 'one day at a time.' Circumstances and situations are constantly changing - we never know what tomorrow may bring. The only certainty we can have is that tomorrow will not be the same as today! 

For this reason I believe in Jesus' words to his followers: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." - Matthew 6:34

James said it like this: "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14).

May you know that God will grant you enough grace for today, as we all learn to live simply 'one day at at time!'

"No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don't look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time - Bob Parsons 

"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time." - Abraham Lincoln

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Taking refuge


Augustine wrote a beautiful prayer, which is recorded in a collection entitled Little Book of Prayers. I pass it onto you and pray that it may bless you today.

"Father, you are full of compassion, I commit and commend myself unto you, in whom I am,
and live, and know. Be the GOAL of my pilgrimage, and my REST by the way.
Let my soul take refuge from the crowding turmoil of worldly thoughts beneath the shadow of your wings; Let my heart, this sea of restless waves, find peace in you, O God. Amen."

Psalm 91:1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

May you find your refuge in the shelter of the most high.

Living in Grace
D3LM3


Wednesday, 23 June 2021

To live differently


Following Jesus is an invitation for us to live differently. Often we find that we are called to go against the flow or to see the world in a new light. Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world." (John 18:36)

In his thought-provoking prayer, Pedro Casaldaliga writes about a similar attitude:

"Against the orders of hate
you bring us the law of love.
In the face of so many lies
you are the truth out loud.
Amid so much news of death
you have the word of life.
After so many false promises, frustrated hopes,
you have, Lord Jesus, the last word,
and we have put all our trust in you.
Alleluia, Alleluia." 

I am grateful that the Lord has the last word, despite what happens all around us.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Within, without


What happens when we spend time in the presence of God? Do we hear a still small voice? Do we encounter the living God? Does God inspire us to sing, write, pray or act?

During a time of personal devotion Howard Thurman wrote this response to God's prompting:

"There is a sense of wholeness at the core of man
That must abound in all he does;
That marks with reverence his ev’ry step;
That has its sway when all else fails;
That wearies out all evil things;
That warms the depth of frozen fears
Making friend of foe,
Making love of hate,
And lasts beyond the living and the dead,
Beyond the goals of peace, the ends of war!
This man seeks through all his years:
To be complete and of one piece, within, without." (The Inward Journey)

Which sentence speaks to you today?

Mine is "that warms the depth of frozen fears."

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Monday, 21 June 2021

Dark night of the soul


The term 'dark night of the soul' has been used to describe an intense period of spiritual emptiness or longing. It is a phrase that can cover a lot of different aspects, especially relating to the silence of God or even feeling as if we are wandering in the desert of loneliness. 

As we mark the shortest day/longest night (in the Southern Hemisphere) today, I want to ask you how you push through the times of darkness? If you have ever experienced the dark night of the soul, what helped you to hold on during those difficult times?

St John of the Cross believed that it was from these experiences that he encountered the light of Christ. He wrote: In the dark night of the soul, bright flows the river of God.

It seems that David also believed that by hanging on, he would eventually crawl out of his dark spaces and encounter the light of God. He says:

"Yet I am standing here depressed and gloomy, but I will meditate upon your kindness to this lovely land where the Jordan River flows and where Mount Hermon and Mount Mizar stand." - Psalm 42:6

May you lean on the promises of Jesus as you walk out of darkness into his glorious light.


Living in Grace

D3LM3




Sunday, 20 June 2021

Father to the fatherless


Fathers have been getting a lot of bad press over the last while and although there are a number of bad apples in the bunch, there are still many fathers who do an amazing job of loving their kids. 

I guess the same could be said for God in some ways. The image of God as a father has come under pressure in some quarters, but we can't ignore that God reveals himself in many ways just like a perfect father would. There are attributes of God's personality that are surely revealed in both masculine and feminine ways, but the unique gift of the 'father-heart' of God is still a beauty to behold.

On this Father's Day let us hold onto all the best qualities of a father and remember to look for them in the person of Yahweh. 

Psalm 68:15father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Isaiah 22:21 He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the people of Judah.

Pliny the Elder - "No mortal man, moreover is wise at all moments."

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Thursday, 17 June 2021

Remember when we were young


For many of us we have fond memories of our Youth. Sure there would have been some tough times, but on the whole, being young was great. As we reflect on the importance and significance of Youth Day in South Africa I wrestle with finding the right 'ingredients' to pass onto my own children and the youth in our community. We have no idea what the future holds for any of us, but the world seems to be getting more and more complicated with each passing year. 

I came across these words from Franklin Roosevelt, which I feel are a helpful starting point:

"We cannot always build the future for our youth,
but we can build our youth for the future."

I love this. I reminds me that we can instill values and principles in our children that will prepare them for the future, no matter what it looks like. As Christians this obviously means we need to teach them the ways of Jesus and trust that they find their direction, hope and strength from God.

If you have a moment read through Ecclesiastes 12 to see what the teacher said about being young. 

What do you think?

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Superficial

 


"Superficiality is the curse of our age." - Richard Foster

There are many levels on which I agree with Richard Foster's quote. The greatest irony is that we live in a time where we can be connected to people globally in a split-second, yet we still feel alone and isolated. Is this because our modern forms of technology can do nothing to bring about 'deep' relationships. It is easy to have thousands of friends on social media, but which of those friends can you truly be yourself with? 

Of course, superficiality is not new. Even in Jesus' time people could choose to put on a 'mask' in public or tried to hide their true selves from others. Thankfully, Jesus was always able to cut through the facade and to address the real needs of the people. 

Mark 2:8 - Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things?

How deep are your friendships at the moment?

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Monday, 14 June 2021

It is well with my soul


As we sang this song yesterday I was struck by the great profession of faith that lies behind the deep brokenness in Horatio Spafford's life. It is one thing to proclaim that "it is well with my soul" when things are going great, but to say these words when we are facing great difficulties is the true test of faith.

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
May we sing God's praises even when we are facing tough times.
Living in Grace
D3LM3

Friday, 11 June 2021

Benefiting others

 


The quote from Sojourner Truth sums up our attitude to the greater body of Christ. We are all given the great task of caring for each other and working for the benefit of others. There is no such thing as a faith/religion that exists solely for my sake alone. 

2 Corinthians 4:15 - All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

How can we live in such a way to benefit someone in need?

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Thursday, 10 June 2021

Tree of Calvary



"O Tree of Calvary,
send they roots deep down into my heart.
Gather together the soil of my heart,
the sands of my fickleness,
the stones of my stubbornness,
the mud of my desires;
bind them all together,
O Tree of Calvary,
interlace them with thy strong roots,
entwine them with the network of thy love."
- Chandran Devansen

Luke 23:33 - "And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left."

Colossians 2:22 - "...that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ."

Living in Grace
D3LM3


Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Love is risky


"Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." - 1 John 4:11 

What does this mean for you today? 

John gives us the starting point of our expression of love - it is God's love for us. That is the origin.

This is interesting, because usually the world suggests that we love others because of something they have done for us. However, Jesus turns this on its head. He reminds us all that if we wait for someone to love us first, before we love them, we may never get to share our love with anyone. Love is risky.

"True happiness is found in unselfish Love, A love which increases in proportion as it is shared." - Thomas Merton

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

The sponge


"People are like sponges. As we go through life, countless influences impact on our mind and personality, each leaving a definite trace. We constantly absorb new words, ideas, impressions, attitudes, prejudices and preferences." - Unknown

As I came across this quote I was reminded of how Jesus shaped the minds and hearts of his disciples. His pattern was deliberate and intentional. Jesus spoke to the crowds on various matters, but he went into greater depth with his closest followers. It was in these moments that he left a definite trace of Heavenly Grace. 

How has God shaped your life?

Do you see a trace of his heart in yours?

What are you soaking up in your life at the moment?

Matthew 16:24-26 - Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for? (The Message)

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Monday, 7 June 2021

Don't lose heart


David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” (1 Samuel 17:32)

It is a reality that most of us face on a weekly basis - we face up to something that seems bigger than us and we start to lose heart. It could a tricky situation, a person, an issue, our health or something similar. Suddenly we become afraid and our 'Goliath' seems to taunt us from across the valley. This is when we need to be reminded of the words of David to Saul...

...let no one lose heart.

Why?

Because someone is willing to fight for us. And his name is Jesus.

Let us always remember this. It is true for today, tomorrow and the future!

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Saturday, 5 June 2021

Nearer to God


“I am as sure as I live that nothing is so near to me as God. God is nearer to me than I am to myself; my existence depends on the nearness and the presence of God.” - Meister Eckhart

Deuteronomy 5:27 - Go near and listen to all that the Lord our God says. Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you. We will listen and obey.”

Psalm 73:28 - But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

How do you experience the 'nearness' of God?

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Thursday, 3 June 2021

It is better higher up

 


A few of you have asked for a copy of this story that I used in my sermon last Sunday. It is such a beautiful reminder that we have something amazing to look forward to. With Christ in our lives there is always "better higher up!"

The famous preacher D.L. Moody told about a Christian woman who was always bright, cheerful, and optimistic, even though she was confined to her room because of illness. She lived in an attic apartment on the fifth floor of an old, rundown building. A friend decided to visit her one day and brought along another woman -- a person of great wealth.

Since there was no elevator, the two ladies began the long climb upward. When they reached the second floor, the well-to-do woman commented, "What a dark and filthy place!" Her friend replied, "It's better higher up."

When they arrived at the third landing, the remark was made, "Things look even worse here." Again the reply, "It's better higher up." The two women finally reached the attic level, where they found the bedridden saint of God. A smile on her face radiated the joy that filled her heart. Although the room was clean and flowers were on the window sill, the wealthy visitor could not get over the stark surroundings in which this woman lived. She blurted out, "It must be very difficult for you to be here like this!"

Without a moment's hesitation the shut-in responded, "It's better higher up." She was not looking at temporal things. With the eye of faith fixed on the eternal, she had found the secret of true satisfaction and contentment. - Our Daily Bread.

Job 36:15 - But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.

Proverbs 23:18 - There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Who you can be


It is very easy to allow ourselves to be held back by our mistakes and the sins of the past. I think the devil takes great delight in reminding us of all the times we have messed up. However, Jesus is much more focused on who we are and then completing the healing process that we all need in our lives (it is called the Sanctifying work of the Spirit). 

Simply put - Jesus spends more time focusing on who we can become (in his name), instead of dredging up our past sins. 

"I take no heed what you have been but what you would be." - Margery Kempe

John 12:36 - Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”

What do you feel?

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

The questions


"God does not give an answer to all our questions, but, in Jesus, God enters into the heart of the questions." - Leonardo Boff

I am grateful that God is not afraid of my deepest questions. In fact, I think that God invites us to bring all our deepest longings, confusing questions and overwhelming concerns to him. It is in this act of trust that the Spirit then begins to guide us through all of the muck and mire in our lives.

1 Kings 10:3 - Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her.

What do you think?

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Monday, 31 May 2021

In you



"Lord Christ,
you are the still centre of every storm.
In you is calm,
whatever the wind outside.
In you is reassurance,
however high the waves.
In you is strength,
however, contrary the tide." - Eddie Askew

We are reminded today that "in Jesus" we find our rest, peace and strength.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..." - Romans 8:1

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Who is driving?

Orbit Velocity Pro tandem: 'The perfect way to work together' | Technology  | The Guardian

I came across this lovely piece of writing this past week. It made me think about who is in control of my life? Hope you enjoy it.

“At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized his picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him.

But later on, when I met Christ, It seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal.

I don’t know when it was that he suggested that we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. . . It was the shortest distance between two points.
But when Jesus took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds, It was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!"

I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I’d say "I’m scared," He’d lean back and touch my hand.” - Anon

Who is driving in your life?

Living in Grace

D3LM3