Wednesday, 27 October 2021

At home


The old saying states that "home is where the heart is!" I think we all understand the sentiment of this and it makes complete sense. When Paul writes to the Church in Ephesus he puts a spin on this when he says: "I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him" (Ephesians 3:17)

Eugene Peterson adds a more homely tone to this verse: "that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in."

As you go about your tasks today, may you open the door of your heart to Him and that you would give Jesus a home in your life.

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Waiting on God...


It is impossible to reach a milestone in your life - for example like our church Centenary - without thinking of the 'what next' question? We take very little time to savour the joy of a moment before we start thinking of what lies down the road. While this is a good practise in some respects, it does make us a slave to our own agenda and sense of timing. Waiting on God is a hard discipline to get right.

“Wait on the Lord" is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.” - J.I.Packer

Isaiah 40:31 - "...but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Monday, 25 October 2021

Choosing a moment of silence

 


If anyone needed a reason to have a moment with the Lord as a form of devotion or quiet time, then this quote gives us one: "We are silent at the beginning of the day because God should have the first word, and we are silent before going to sleep because the last word also belongs to God" - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Too often I find that before I have hit the ground running there is already a cacophony of noise blaring for my attention. Being silent before the day begins (and as it closes) is a brilliant way of allowing God to speak to us.

Mark 6:32 - So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Time to Celebrate


We had a wonderful time of celebration today as we marked the Centenary of our church community. It is the first time I have been part of a Centenary as a minister and I found it to be a beautiful moment. One of the great delights was getting together with so many people from our community to worship God and to fellowship with one another. Having the worship service outside was a risk, but the weather was almost perfect. We felt truly fortunate and blessed for this great gift. 

This has been the first time in nearly 2 years we have been able to get the whole community together and the sense of relief and joy in the celebration was tangible. I think that this is something every community has missed during Covid and something we need to make space for in the future. I think this is what kept the Israelites focussed despite their tough circumstances - they were able to get together to honour God, to feast together and to laugh and sing. 

Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the Lord.” - Exodus 10:9

Luke 15:24 - For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

How are you able to Celebrate with your family, friends and Church community?

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Pessimist? Optimist?


Are you more of an Optimist or a Pessimist?

Before you answer my question, read these words from Helen Keller and see if her words make a difference to your answer.

"No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars,
or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit."

I believe that when our optimism is coupled with Faith in Jesus Christ it becomes an incredible force for good. Optimism can get us so far, but trust in the power of God is the real difference.

Galatians 1:10-12 Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or court favor with God? Or get popular applause? If my goal was popularity, I wouldn’t bother being Christ’s slave. Know this—I am most emphatic here, friends—this great Message I delivered to you is not mere human optimism. I didn’t receive it through the traditions, and I wasn’t taught it in some school. I got it straight from God, received the Message directly from Jesus Christ. (the Message)

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Definition of the Soul


"No one can give a definition of the soul. But we know what it feels like. The soul is the sense of something higher than ourselves, something that stirs in us thoughts, hopes, aspirations which go out to the world of goodness, truth, and beauty. The soul is a burning desire to breathe in this world of light and never to lose it - to remain children of the light." - 'Reverence For Life', 1933.

In answering this really complex issue of the soul, I think that Albert Schweitzer gives us a great starting point. It is our soul that connects with the heart of God and inspires us to remain as Children of God. None us of knows that the soul actually looks like, but we know it is there.

Deuteronomy 4:29But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.

What are your thoughts on the Soul? How have you been able to understand it?

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Out of the shadows

Shadows in Cinema: A Complete Guide to Using Shadow in Narrative Filmmaking  & Video Projects • Filmmaking Lifestyle

Most of us reading these words are familiar with the idea of the Incarnation - God becoming flesh and living amongst us. Sadly, this idea loses its magnitude in the fog of our religious language and rhetoric. This morning I was reading these words from Leonardo Boff and the image of the Incarnation struck home again:

"God has left the resplendent shadows of an inaccesible abode and now draws near the murky light of the human race. God enters the conflict, takes up the cause of the conquered and the marginalised against the mighty...the mercy of God is not reserved for the end time alone."

Question: Why would God leave the glorious light of His abode to come close to the dingy light of planet earth?

Answer: For us. 

John 1:14 - "And Christ became a human being and lived here on earth among us and was full of loving forgiveness and truth."

Living in Grace 

D3LM3 

 


Monday, 18 October 2021

Cherubim - What comes to mind?



"The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
let the earth shake." - Psalm 99:1

When we read about the cherubim in Psalm 99 what kind of 'being' comes to your mind? Angelic? Baby-faced? Peaceful?

If any of these comes to your mind, then I would have to agree with you. However, we would all be very wrong! According to biblical scholar Robert Alter, cherubim "are not the dimpled darlings of Christian iconography but fierce mythological beasts - with the body of a lion, large wings and a human face..."

So, as we picture the Lord sitting between these incredible beings, now we know why the earth will shake and tremble. 

Question: What part of God's personality leaves you feeling a little bit of 'holy fear'?

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Thoughts from C.S. Lewis


As we begin a new week, it is often good to reflect on the wisdom of those who have gone before us. One of the authors that inspires me is C.S. Lewis. In these 2 quotes he offers us some beautiful insight and food for thought.

"Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties."

"We all agree that forgiveness is a beautiful idea until we have to practice it."

John 14:1 (Living Bible) - “Let not your heart be troubled. You are trusting God, now trust in me."

May God bless you today. May you find the peace of Christ in your heart and mind. 

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Thursday, 14 October 2021

The least


"Loving as he loves,
Helping as he helps,
Giving as he gives,
Serving as he serves,
Rescuing as he rescues,
Being with him twenty-four hours,
Touching him in his distressing disguise."
- Mother Teresa

These words of Mother Teresa reminded me of the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:40
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

This is a great challenge for all of us as Christ-followers - our goal is to love, help, give, serve, rescue and reach out to all who need it.

Living in Grace
D3LM3


Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Being happy


Happiness is an elusive thing. We search long and hard for it, but we seldom find it. Perhaps it is because happiness is just an overflow of a deeper emotion - Joy. 

And Joy is not an emotional we can create ourselves, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit. So, having said all this, maybe searching for happiness should really begin in the quiet moments with God. As we discover the Spirit of Joy, this will spill over into the happiness we seek. What do you think?

Psalm 21:6 - You have endowed him with eternal happiness. You have given him the unquenchable joy of your presence.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

End or beginning?


"What the caterpillar calls the end of life, the master calls a butterfly." - Richard Bach

This lovely quote reminds me of the different view on life that God gives to us. The resurrection may have seemed the end to all the disciples, but to the Father it was just the beginning of the greatest miracle ever! I am challenged to view my life from the stand point of the Master and not from the world. What the world may call the end, God could be shouting 'let us begin!'

Job 8:7 Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Monday, 11 October 2021

The discovery of God

Richard J. Foster Quote: “The discovery of God lies in the daily and the  ordinary, not in the spectacular and the heroic. If we cannot find God  in...”

"The discovery of God lies in the daily and the ordinary, not in the spectacular and the heroic. If we cannot find God in the routines of home and shop, then we will not find Him at all." - Richard J. Foster

Thank you for being patient with me as I took a week to be with my family. It was a much needed break. 

These words from Foster reminded me today that too often we seek God only in the spectular and so we miss out encountering God in the ordinary things of life. I believe that God is present with me always, but it is my choice to open my eyes to see his splendour.

1 Chronicles 16:7 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

A different way


“Endeavour to be inclined always:

Not to the easiest, but to the most difficult;
Not to the most delightful, but to the most distasteful;
Not to the most gratifying, but to the less pleasant;
Not to what means rest for you, but to hard work;
Not to the consoling, but to the unconsoling;
Not to the most, but to the least;
Not to the highest and most precious, but to the lowest and most despised;
Not to wanting something, but to wanting nothing;"

Sixteenth Century Mystic, St.John of the Cross, wrote these words as a way of expressing the different path we take when following Jesus. They are tough words and very challenging for all of us to contemplate. What stands out for you from his thoughts? 

Acts 2:28 - "You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

If God hadn't been by our side



"If the Lord had not been on our side—
let Israel say—
2 if the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us,
3 they would have swallowed us alive
when their anger flared against us;
4 the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us,
5 the raging waters
would have swept us away.

6 Praise be to the Lord,
who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird
from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth."
- Psalm 124

In today's reading the Psalmist comes to a powerful realisation about God's help in difficult circumstances. He realises that things would have been a lot worse 'IF' God hadn't been there for him. 

This is a timely reminder for all of us I think. Have you ever wondered how your life would be IF God wasn't in your life?

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Monday, 27 September 2021

Moved any mountains?


This is a prayer that I found last week and used conjunction with the sermon entitled "What is your mountain?" It is so appropriate and beautiful that I want to share it with us all.

“Lord, I've never moved a mountain and I guess I never will. All the faith that I could muster wouldn't move a small ant hill. Yet I'll tell you, Lord, I'm grateful for the joy of knowing Thee, and for all the mountain moving down through life You've done for me.

When I needed some help you lifted me from the depths of great despair. And when burdens, pain and sorrow have been more than I can bear, you have always been my courage to restore life's troubled sea, and to move these little mountains that have looked so big to me.

Many times when I've had problems and when bills I've had to pay, and the worries and the heartaches just kept mounting every day, Lord, I don't know how you did it. Can't explain the wheres or whys. All I know, I've seen these mountains turn to blessings in disguise.

No, I've never moved a mountain, for my faith is far too small. Yet, I thank you, Lord of Heaven, you have always heard my call. And as long as there are mountains in my life, I'll have no fear, for the mountain-moving Jesus is my strength and always near. - Source Unknown.

Matthew 17:20-21 - “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.”

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Searching for the well



"What makes a desert so beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well." - Antoine de Saint Exupery

As you make your way through the wilderness of life, please remember that our gracious Father has given us beautiful wells along the way. May we find these gifts and may they quench our thirst.

John 4 (Living Bible)

He had to go through Samaria on the way, and around noon as he approached the village of Sychar, he came to Jacob’s Well, located on the parcel of ground Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jesus was tired from the long walk in the hot sun and sat wearily beside the well.

Living in Grace

D3LM3



Wednesday, 22 September 2021

No easy matter


How easy do you find Prayer? 

I admit that on some days I find it incredibly tough and this is usually because of outside circumstances. Yet, on other days the words seem to flow from deep inside me. Although prayer can be simple, it can also be hard. I am consoled by the words of many great saints who have paved the way for us, and of course from the pages of the Scriptures. It all helps me tremendously. 

"Praying is no easy matter. It demands a relationship in which you allow someone other than yourself to enter into the very center of your person, to see there what you would rather leave in darkness, and to touch there what you would rather leave untouched." - Henri Nouwen

Matthew 6 (The Message)

“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best— as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes."

Observation: Prayer is not an easy matter, but it is one of our deepest necessities. 

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Monday, 20 September 2021

Falling into the hands of mercy


David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands." (2 Samuel 24:14)

Initially I read this verse very quickly and almost skipped over the essential meaning, but am glad I lingered a little longer. What do you notice when you read it through a few times?

David understands something very profound - that God is way more merciful than many human beings are! I saddened by the judgement that many Christians make of each other, sometimes in very painful ways, yet we easily forget how much mercy we have all received from God. 

I realise I am still a work in progress, but I would rather be judged for being too merciful, than for being too bigoted. Thankfully God will decide our fate and not those who oppose us. 

What do you think?

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Sunday, 19 September 2021

Overcoming ourselves


Thomas a' Kempis wrote in the 15th Century, “the hardest struggle is the struggle to overcome ourselves." I think that what he could have meant by this is that we are often our own worst enemy. We struggle with our faults, short-comings and sins, wondering if God could even love us. This can sometimes move us away from the embrace of our loving God. Thankfully we have Jesus who has paved the way for our salvation and he is the ultimate victor.  

What things in your life do you struggle with? 

Do you find that your mind plays tricks on you? Does your mind sometimes run away from you so that your biggest struggle is with yourself? If you can relate to this, then I pray that these scriptures help you today.

Jeremiah 1:19 - They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

Mark 9:24 - Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Re-imagining Church - part 2


Last month I wrote an article for Scripture Union magazine on Re-imagining Church. As I began to explore this huge topic I realised that I have undertaken a task that was larger than I initially thought. Thankfully, SU was gracious enough to let me explore the subject in a second part, which was released yesterday. If you would like to read the article please simply click this link. 

I do believe it's a worthwhile read and I would love some of your comments on what I have wrestled with in writing. Thanks and God bless. 

Stanley Hauerwas says it best when he writes,

“God’s truth is credible to the world only when it sees a community shaped by the truth … if the Gospel is to be heard, it must also be seen.”

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

The Juggler


The world record for juggling stands at 14 balls at one time and is held by Alex Barron. If you want to watch him breaking the record you can click on this link. So, why am I talking about juggling on this blog? Well, I feel it has a lot to say to many of us at the moment and I am including myself in this group.

What are you juggling at the moment? Are you feeling a little overwhelmed with all the balls in the air? I know that I have felt a little overawed at times. It just seems that the more balls one has in the air, the more we are tempted to add others to the game. However, the odds are always going to be stacked against us - the more we try to juggle, the greater chance there is of us letting the balls drop. So, what is the solution? 

Well, we would be wise to listen to the words of Jesus. He spoke to a different generation, but his words are still very relevant for us all.

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6)

What are you juggling at the moment?

What things are perhaps being dropped or neglected?

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Monday, 13 September 2021

Turn your eyes upon Jesus


The words of this beautiful song have been helpful for me today. Sometimes we find ourselves brought low by the issues that surround us, but we can always TURN OUR EYES UPON JESUS and know that he will hold us close. 

We don't always remember that the song we usually sing in church is just the chorus of the hymn. The rest of the words are equally special and reassuring. May they offer you love and support today.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Thro' death into life everlasting,
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion--
For more than conqu’rors we are!

His Word shall not fail you--He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell! (Helen Howarth Lemmel)

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Is forgiveness possible?


This weekend has been a significant reminder of the atrocity of 9/11. I really can't believe that twenty years has come and gone so quickly and it is hard to imagine what our world was like before then. Of course the pain of remembering loved ones is always there for each one of us, but when your family are killed in such brutal ways, it must be hard to even contemplate forgiveness. 

This is the truly difficult part of Jesus' teaching on forgiveness and loving our enemies. It sounds good in theory, but when we have to put it into practise it is a mammoth task. Paul offers us this suggestion and it is a helpful starting point for us: 

"If you want to keep from becoming fainthearted and weary, think about his patience as sinful men did such terrible things to him. After all, you have never yet struggled against sin and temptation until you sweat great drops of blood." (Hebrews 12:3-4)

May you know the love of Jesus as you seek to love those around you.

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." - Lewis Smedes

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Friday, 10 September 2021

Do not despair

 See the source image

Isaac of Syria once wrote to his followers encouraging them not to fall into despair. His words were more in line with feeling desperation for our sins, but I feel that his words' do not despair' are also true for us in all other circumstances.

“Do not fall into despair because of stumbling. I do not mean that you should not feel contrition for them, but that you should not think them incurable. For it is more expedient to be bruised than dead. There is, indeed, a Healer for the man who has stumbled, even He Who on the Cross asked that mercy be shown to His crucifiers, He Who pardoned His murders while He hung on the Cross."

2 Corinthians 4:8 - "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair."

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Finding rest in love


"The soul is made of love and must ever strive to return to love. Therefore, it can never find rest nor happiness in other things. It must lose itself in love. By its very nature it must seek God, who is love." - Mechthild of Magdeburg

Mechthild's words sound a lot like the words of Augustine, who wrote nearly 9 Centuries before of the same rest we can only find in God: "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” 

And of course, these words find root in the prayers of the Psalmist who expressed in Psalm 67:1 - "Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him."

May you find your rest in Jesus. 

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Wednesday, 8 September 2021

What hinders our relationship with Christ?


There are so many devout Christ-followers that we know so little about. One of the 13th century mystics, Mechthild of Magdeburg, wrote passionately concerning her love for Jesus. She desired to truly follow Christ and to eliminate all things that came between her and God.

"What hinders spiritual people most of all from complete perfection is that they pay so little attention to small sins. I tell you in truth: When I hold back a smile which would harm no one, or have a sourness in my heart which I tell to no one ... then my soul becomes so dark ... and my heart so cold that I must weep greatly."

This is an interesting take on our attitude to 'sins.' So often, we as Christians, like to focus on the bigger sins of others and forget the 'little sins' that trip us up on a daily basis.

Matthew 7:1-5 - “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. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Living in Grace

D3LM3



Tuesday, 7 September 2021

True Friendship

                                             See the source image

As we sang this beautiful hymn last week at a memorial service, I was reminded of the friendship that Jesus offers each one of us. And as we contemplate all that Christ brings to this friendship it still baffles me why people choose to say 'no thanks' to this gift. As you read through these familiar words may the Spirit of Jesus fill you with grace and peace.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

What a friend we have in Jesus,
  1. All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
    Oh, what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Everything to God in prayer!

  2. Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful,
    Who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness;
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
  3. Are we weak and heavy-laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
    Take it to the Lord in prayer!
    In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
    Thou wilt find a solace there.
  4. Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
    Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
    May we ever, Lord, be bringing
    All to Thee in earnest prayer.
    Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
    There will be no need for prayer—
    Rapture, praise, and endless worship
    Will be our sweet portion there. (Joseph Scriven)

Sunday, 5 September 2021

What to pray for?


Here is an interesting take on things we could pray for:

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men (and women). Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks.” - Phillips Brooks

As you look ahead at your week, what prayers do you need to offer up to the Lord? Ask God for the strength to handle the tasks God has entrusted into your care.

Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

God bless you. 

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Starting where we are


"Where do we even start on the daily walk of restoration and awakening? We start where we are." - Anne Lamott

The future is often something we gaze at, believing that it will be better than the present. We pray for restoration and renewal, but we are not sure where it will come from. As Christians we hold fast to the belief that there is always hope in Jesus and that our time of revival can start today! 

As Anne Lamott writes, if we desire something in the future, the only way we can move towards it is by faith and simply walking one step at a time. 

Psalm 37:23 - The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.

Hebrews 3:5 - “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Christ in our Chaos - new book release


I am pleased to announce that my new book Christ in our Chaos is officially released today. This book has been awhile in the making and has been greatly influenced by the stress, turmoil and chaos of the past 18 months.

It is my prayer that God would use this material to help many people to see that Christ is still present with us, even in our times of great trial. If you would like to order a copy of the book please check out all the details on the website www.livingingrace.co.za - This is mainly for people living in South Africa.

If you have family or friends living abroad, who may benefit from reading the book, you can also order it on Amazon. It can be sent to them either via Kindle or print on demand. Thanks for your ongoing encouragement and support of this ministry. 

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

What pleases God


Hidden away in a verse in Timothy we catch a glimpse of something interesting. Paul suggests that we can please God with the way we pray about issues and people. See what you think:

1 Timothy 2:1-3 –I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour…”

The first thing I notice in these words is that we can present our requests to God in many different forms:

Petitions, Prayers, Intercession, Thanksgiving...

Which one of these types of prayer do you find the most difficult at the moment? 

"Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference." - Max Lucado

Then Paul says that we should pray for all in authority, as this can impact upon our own lives. We pray for those in authority so that we may live peaceful lives. Interesting, hey? What are your thoughts?

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Monday, 30 August 2021

Great mercy


Daniel 9:18 - We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.

Daniel reminds us of the mercy of God in this particular verse. I have been quite saddened to see how many Christians like to dwell on the vengeance and anger of God. I know that there will come a time when God has to wrap things up and judgement will come, but I believe the world also needs to be reminded of his mercy at this point in time. 

"My trust in God flows out of the experience of his loving me, day in and day out, whether the day is stormy or fair, whether I'm sick or in good health, whether I'm in a state of grace or disgrace. He comes to me where I live and loves me as I am." - Brennan Manning

And it is because of God’s great mercy that I know I can approach the throne of Grace.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Friday, 27 August 2021

When the mountains move

 Lynn Lacher : Mountains Move

Following on from our theme of mountains in yesterday's post, we take a look at another mention of the moving of mountains.

"For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you." - Isaiah 54:10
 
This time we see a clear promise coming through from the words of Isaiah. He reminds us that even if the mountains disappear, which would obviously be a drastic event, God would still be faithful and sure. 
 
This idea is such a beautiful reminder to me of God's covenant of Love.
 
What excites you about today's scripture?
 
Living in Grace
D3LM3

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Lifting the Elephant

 Elephant With A Big Fear Of The Mouse Stock Vector - Illustration of  elephant, mobbing: 121566462

What did Jesus mean when he told his disciples: “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20)

If he was speaking about literal mountains then I feel like a huge failure. I am yet to move any physical mountains and it isn't for the lack of trying. However, if Jesus was speaking about issues, things, and situations that seem like MASSIVE MOUNTAINS to us, then I believe we will see God move these! 

What do you think about this?  

"With a stout heart, a mouse can lift an elephant" - Tibetan Proverb

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

The rainbow in our souls

 The soul would have no rainbow… – Spiritual Smoothies

"The soul would have no rainbows, had the eyes no tears" - John Vance Cheney

It may be a cliche, but there is truth in the fact that a rainbow only appears after the storm (rain). The quote reminds us that God doen't waste our tears and is always wanting to bring something good out of our pain. The story of the Resurrection is the greatest reminder of this truth. Even Mary of Bethany experienced the same thing. 

"Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair." - Luke 7:38 
 
Living in Grace
D3LM3

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

The web of life


Shakespeare once said: "The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together..."

The older I get the more I realise this to be so true. The web of our lives is sometimes like a ball of yarn that has got completely mixed up! Trying to unravel the knots in the yarn is almost impossible. Our lives mirror this messy yarn - we have the good, bad and ugly all mixed up together in one. We just pray that God can help us figure things out!

2 Chronicles 14:11O Lord,” he cried out to God, “no one else can help us! Here we are, powerless against this mighty army. Oh, help us, Lord our God! For we trust in you alone to rescue us, and in your name we attack this vast horde." 

Living in Grace

D3LM3

 

Monday, 23 August 2021

What must we do?


The last two years has seen a greater number of people really questioning their sense of purpose in life. It is interesting how a global "shake-up" can cause so many people to rethink their present circumstances and to ask the BIG questions: Why am I here? What is my purpose on earth?

In our reading from Esther 4 we note how she was challenged about acknowledging her purpose and thankfully she was able to do this. The scriptures speak a lot about this topic too:

·       Exodus 9:16 - But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

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

Proverbs 19:21 - Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

As you wrestle with this question what do you sense the Lord is saying to you?

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Sunday, 22 August 2021

Saying Yes!


Bob Goff writes, “I think God sometimes uses the completely inexplicable events of our lives to point us toward him. We get to decide each time whether we will lean in toward what is unfolding and say yes or back away. The folks who were following Jesus in Galilee got to decide the same thing each day because there was no road map, no program and no certainty. All they had was this person, an idea and an invitation to come and see….So the next time God asks you to do something that is completely inexplicable…(that) requires a decision or courage that way over your pay grade, something that might even save lives, say “Yes!”

This quote challenges me on many levels, but the few that are most relevant at the moment are these thoughts:

  • Do my present circumstances point me towards Christ?
  • Following Jesus implies that life is going to be a little "unplanned" at time.
  • What do I need to say 'Yes' to in order to help others?
What strikes you about the quote?

Revelation 22:20 - He who testifies to all these things says it again: “I’m on my way! I’ll be there soon!” Yes! Come, Master Jesus!

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Death shall have no dominion - A reflection on Dylan Thomas's words


Dylan Thomas fans will remember that he wrote a number of brilliant, and some controversial, poems. One of them was called: Death shall have no dominion. Although this is not the platform to debate his views on God, Dylan Thomas does make an excellent point on death. In fact, his views are just an echo of the New Testament writers. He writes:

Dead man naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

Nineteen hundred years earlier, the Apostle Paul wrote: 

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

We are living in very sobering times at the moment friends, but let us remember that the worst of things (death) has been swallowed up in Victory.

Thanks be to Jesus.

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Tuesday, 17 August 2021

What does God intend?


"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." - Genesis 50:20

This verse popped up again this last week and it always leaves me feeling hopeful. These words come at the end of Joseph's long journey through pain, slavery, prison and finally vindication. Joseph has spiritually reached a place where he is able to see God's bigger guiding hand at work in his life. I am not sure he displayed as much faith and trust in God's purposes, when he was stuck in the dark pit, or the prison cell, but to his credit Joseph kept believing in the miracles of God.

What about us? Have we learnt over the years to trust in the hand of God or do we still try and wrestle with God's ways?

Romans 15:13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Monday, 16 August 2021

The destructive nature of hate


There is so much hate around at the moment. Perhaps let me rephrase this - hate has been around since the beginning of time, but we are being bombarded with more examples of it, thanks to social media.

 What is also scary is that the attitudes of people can so easily rub off on us, without us realising the impact of their acidic attitudes. In reading through Esther 3, I was shocked by the hated of Haman for Mordecai and subsequently the Jewish nation. I wonder if Haman understood that his hate for another human being was also hurting his own life? 

Ann Landers says it like this: “Hate is like acid. It can damage the vessel in which it is stored as well as destroy the object on which it is poured.” 

Jesus spoke to his followers about the dangers of hating people and it must have been because he knew the incredible pain it can cause. Jesus said:

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6:26-28)

What are your thoughts? 

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Sunday, 15 August 2021

More to come!


There is more to come! 

These are the opening words of Romans 5:4-5 as Eugene Peterson adds his voice to the words of the Apostle Paul. I love this sentiment, especially as we are living in difficult times at the moment. When I note that there is "more to come" I don't see this as,"more bad news" or "more negativity", but rather that there is a great expectation that God is still at work and is about to do something marvellous. 

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! (Romans 5:4-5)

May you experience more of God's great grace today. 

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Friday, 13 August 2021

Providence



The timeless issue of Providence has reared it's head again as I have been reflecting on Esther's story. I have to admit that it is not always as simple as some make it out to be. Just as we seem to find a suitable answer for God's Providence, then we are thrown a curve ball of sorts. In order to try and wrestle with Scriptures like the following one, I have turned to a few famous authors to seek their collective wisdom:

Acts 24:2Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence... (KJV)

This is what these authors say:

"He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God's providence to lead him alright." - Blaise Pascal

Providence is wonderfully intricate. Ah! You want always to see through Providence, do you not? You never will, I assure you. You have not eyes good enough. You want to see what good that affliction was to you; you must believe it. You want to see how it can bring good to the soul; you may be enabled in a little time; but you cannot see it now; you must believe it. Honor God by trusting Him." - Charles Spurgeon

Nothing whatever, whether great or small, can happen to a believer, without God's ordering and permission. There is no such thing as "chance," "luck" or "accident" in the Christian's journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God. And all things are "working together" for the believer's good." - J. C. Ryle

What do you make of Providence? And is there a connection with Predestination in this?

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Thursday, 12 August 2021

The war within


I have mentioned before that in my daily work diary I have a quote at the bottom of each page. Sometimes these quotes are "nice", but they don't really speak to my current circumstances. Other days they strike a real chord with me and speak great words of wisdom. This is the quote for today (12 August):

"If you avoid the conflict to keep the peace you start a war inside yourself." (Unknown)

Don't you find these words to be true for you? How often have we kept the peace only to end up creating a war within ourselves. It is very hard to find a balance to speak the truth in love and to avoid conflict. 

Proverbs 15:1 - A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Isaiah 26:3 - You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Showed kindness


Job 10:12 - "You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit." 

In what way has God showed you kindness over the last week?

Do you have a story of how you have seen God's providence at work in your life? If you have a gap please let me know your reflections - I am interested in your story.

Ephesians 2:7 - "...in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."

As we respond to God's kindness may we, in turn, show kindness to those around us.

Living in Grace

D3LM3