Tuesday 27 April 2021

Afraid of the Light?

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." - Plato

This quote is filled with both truth and tragedy, for me. It is true, because we see how on a daily basis  criminals are afraid of their deeds being exposed. It is tragic because there are times in our own lives where we are the ones afraid of the light of God's spirit.

What do you think?

"Later, in one of his talks, Jesus said to the people, “I am the Light of the world. So if you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, for living light will flood your path.” - Psalm 8:12

Living in Grace

Monday 26 April 2021

Use your freedom wisely

"Nothing that is God's is obtainable by money."

"He who lives only to benefit himself confers on the world a benefit when he dies."

"You cannot parcel out freedom in pieces because freedom is all or nothing."

All of these quotes are attributed to the early Christian author, teacher and Church Father, Tertullian. What I find remarkable is that some truths are timeless. His words are just as relevant in our modern era, as they were in the 2nd Century.

Surely, the same can be said of the sacred Scriptures. They may have been written in a different time, location and generation from our own, but they always speak into our current lives. 

Galatians 5:13 - For, dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other.

Living in grace

Sunday 25 April 2021

Setting the angel free

It was Michelangelo who once remarked: "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." At another point in his career he also allegedly said: "Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."

How would you react if this were God speaking about our lives. If the Lord told us, "I see the good in you and I want to chip away at the outer parts of your life so that I can allow the angel to be seen!?"

I have no doubt the Diving sculptor is constantly at work in our lives, but I also fear that we get in the way of his work and design. We like to advise God a lot, instead of trust in his vision to see the angel in us.

How do you feel about this?

Jeremiah 18:6 - O Israel, can’t I do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.

Living in Grace


Saturday 24 April 2021

Staying close to the Shepherd


As we reflect on the beautiful image of the Good Shepherd this week, I invite you to meditate on these quotes and verses. Enjoy and may you know the comfort of the True Shepherd, Jesus.

"I am like the sick sheep that strays from the rest of the flock. Unless the Good Shepherd takes me on His shoulders and carries me back to His fold, my steps will falter, and in the very effort of rising, my feet will give way." - St. Jerome

"Christ's flock is made up of sheep that not only listen to their shepherd, but are also able to recognize his voice, to follow him, faithfully and with full awareness, on the pastures of eternal life." - Pope John XXIII

"The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same." -Stendhal

John 10:11 (LB) - “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  A hired man will run when he sees a wolf coming and will leave the sheep, for they aren’t his and he isn’t their shepherd.

Living in Grace


Wednesday 21 April 2021

Falling on grace

"If I stand, let me stand on your promise: when I fall,let me fall on your grace." - Common Prayer - A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

This one line holds so many intriguing points. It contrasts the words "if" and "when", which is an honest evaluation of our human frailty. It reminds me that the chances of me stumbling along the way of life are far greater than standing strong the whole time. 

It calls me to make sure that I can only truly stand on the promises of God, especially if I want to make a lasting 'stand.'

And then it softens my 'fall' by asking that my moments of weakness will be cushion by God's grace.

I think this prayer is profound and worth repeating as often as one dares.

Exodus 14:13 - "“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today."

Living in Grace


Tuesday 20 April 2021


While reading though a set of devotions (Common Prayer - A Liturgy for Ordinary radicals) I came across this quote by Francois Fenelon. I think that this is so true of what we may all be going through at this moment in time. May these words help and inspire you.

"We must have faith during the period of our grief (trials). We think that our afflictions will be greater than we can bear, but we do not know the strength of our own hearts, nor the power of God. He knows all. He knows every folding of the heart and also the extent of the sorrow that he inflicts. What we think will overwhelm us entirely only subdues and conquers our pride. Our renewed spirit rises from its subjugation with a celestial strength and consolation."

For me, the words that hit home today were these: "we do not know the strength of our own hearts, nor the power of God."

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 - Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Living in Grace


Monday 19 April 2021

Diet of Worms

If you read the title of this post and wondered if I was advocating a new eating habit, then you would very wrong. The Diet (meeting) of Worms (pronounced 'Varms') was an official meeting that Martin Luther was called to attend on the 17 and 18th April 1521, by the Church leaders. He was instructed to back-track on some of his ideas and his controversial opinions on the state Church. Luther thought long and hard about this decisions, but in the end he refused to withdraw his books and writings. These are the now-famous words that he spoke:

"Here I can stand. I can do no other. So help me. God."

His decision caused further ructions in the Church and led to the inevitable split that became known as the Reformation. 

The reason why it is important for us remember this is because Jesus' decision to remain true to his course also ended up something remarkable and changed the course of history. Jesus' decision to go to the cross ultimately opened up the way for us to return to the Father. 

Thought: sometimes we have to stand our ground in order to fulfill God's bigger purpose in our lives and in our world.

Proverbs 4:26 - Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.

Living in Grace


Sunday 18 April 2021

Radical implications

There are so many radical implications of Jesus' resurrection, for his disciples, but these are the vital paradigm shifts that take place following Jesus' appearances. 

He changes their fear to courage.

He challenges their doubts in order to move them deeper into faith.

He reveals the truth of his bodily appearance in order to remind them that He has not abandoned them.

He reminds them of their call to mission.

He empowers them with the gifts of 'peace' and the 'Spirit.'

36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence. (Luke 24)

As we reflect on these implications how many of these are still vital for us in our own personal faith?

I would guess that they are ALL necessary for us.

What do you think?

Living in Grace


Thursday 15 April 2021

Big Red L

We have had a Big Red "L" on the back of our vehicle for over a year now and it gets all kinds of funny comments from our friends. We are glad that our learner driver has recently graduated to become a certified driver. However, we will need to keep the "L" on for a while, as our 2nd son will soon be heading down the same road. This all got me thinking ....

...In a Christian sense being a disciple of Jesus implies that we are willing to be life-long learners. We follow Jesus all of our lives and we keep learning from him. I will only 'graduate' from my learnership when I die, so I guess I will have to keep the Big Red "L" on my heart until that day comes. 

The other point I want to make is that now that my son has experienced driving lessons in our town, I am a lot more sensitive to other learner drivers. It is easy to get irritated when you see someone stuck at a stop street, stalling the car a few times, but as soon as you realise that this could be your own child, it makes a huge difference in your attitude. 

So, what if we looked at other Christians in the same way? 

What if we look at the faults and mistakes of other believers with a little empathy and compassion?

What if we also saw ourselves as learners and that we may make our own mistakes today? 

I believe this may change the way we speak and care for one another.

What do you think?

Matthew 11:29 - " Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Living in Grace


Wednesday 14 April 2021

Doubt and faith

I find that sometimes inspiration comes to me the most unlikely ways. For example, today. I was reflecting on what to share in this brief devotion and I noticed a quote at the bottom of my diary that says: 

"Doubt is pain too lonely to know that faith is its twin brother." - Kahil Gibran

Immediately I was taken to the post-resurrection passages that we are focusing on at the moment. Of course, Thomas is often the center of attention. We seem to get stuck on his brief moments of doubt, forgetting that his actions of FAITH were truly remarkable. He was one of the few disciples willing to die for Jesus and, even after his initial doubts, he became a champion of the Gospel.

Let us not become stuck in our doubts as they are often intertwined with our greatest moments of faith.

"Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” - John 20:27

As Frederick Buechner is alleged to have said: "Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith!" :) 

Living in Grace


Tuesday 13 April 2021

New tasks

The last year has increased our capacity to deal with unwanted change and to equip ourselves with the skills need for new tasks. In the ministry I have had to learn to adapt and have often felt totally out of my depth and comfort zone. The reading from Acts 6 takes us back to a time when the church was expanding and they disciples needed to make some decisions and changes. They decided the following:

"Meanwhile, we’ll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God’s Word.” (The Message)

While, they decided to focus on what they were equipped to do, they let others get on with the other tasks, in order to allow the church to flourish. This is always a challenge for us in the church. I have learnt to rely on the amazing gifts of God's people and to work together as a team - we all need each other in order to move the Kingdom forward.

One of the things I have begun to do is put a few of my messages, bible studies and podcasts onto a new hosting app called Anchor. If you haven't visited it before, please take a look when you have time. Thanks. 


Living in Grace


Monday 12 April 2021

All is not as it seems

Sometimes I search for words to try and explain things, but they just don't seem to come out as clearly as I would like. Today's post includes the ancient words of Saint Gregory, which seem to help me understand the work of Christ in a simple, yet comprehensive way. I am grateful for his words and I pray that they may also offer you some grace today.

"He began His ministry by being hungry, yet He is the Bread of Life.
Jesus ended His earthly ministry by being thirsty, yet He is the Living Water.
Jesus was weary, yet He is our rest. Jesus paid tribute, yet He is the King.
Jesus was accused of having a demon, yet He cast out demons.
Jesus wept, yet He wipes away our tears.
Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver, yet He redeemed the world.
Jesus was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, yet He is the Good Shepherd.
Jesus died, yet by His death He destroyed the power of death."
- Gregory of Nazianzus, A.D. 381.

Are there any particular words from this piece of writing that stick with you today?

Living in Grace


Sunday 11 April 2021

Life and Hope

 "While there's life, there's hope." - Cicero

I have just finished reading a book about Cicero and Julius Caesar. It was a fascinating read and I learnt things about Marcus Tullius Cicero that I never knew. As he lived from 106 - 43 B.C. we can't claim that he was a Christ-follower, but there are plenty of links between his philosophy and that of the early Christian church. It would have been interesting to see if he would have followed the teachings of Jesus if he had lived 200 years later.

His quote above is very much a "Resurrection" quote and it speaks into our lives in a clear way. With the resurrection of Jesus there was a renewal of all hope and purpose for the disciples, as well as for us. 

May we remember that with Jesus there is always hope and therefore always life.

1 Corinthians 15:19 - "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied."

Living in Grace


Thursday 8 April 2021

Bird song

This week there has been a lovely sound of birdsong outside our office windows. It is not the first time that we have heard them singing, but this week it seemed a lot more noticeable. Perhaps it was because we have just experienced Easter and the thought of "new life" was in the forefront of my mind, or maybe it was just that I been previously distracted. In the end, I was reminded of these words from the Psalmist:

"They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work." - Psalm 104:11-13

Living in Grace

Wednesday 7 April 2021

Taking note

I came across this beautiful prayer from Eddie Askew this morning. It is such a lovely reminder of what the Resurrection means for us all. It is my hope and prayer that you would enjoy it as much as I have done. God bless you.

"Forgive me Lord,
for all the times
I walk through life head down,
my vision limited to the immediate.
Confined within the pressures of my day
problems press in,
prevent the recognition
that we both desire.
I find it hard to look beyond the obvious,
my mind so sealed
it almost breaks imagination's fingernails
to prise it open
to the wonder of your presence.

Yet you still walk with me,
each step a revelation of your love,
a gentle leading on
to boundaries of understanding
I've not yet crossed.
Have patience, Lord.
Help me see
your hand at work
shaping my life,
and make your nearness a delight
that turns my mourning into joy."

Living in Grace

Tuesday 6 April 2021


Have you ever caught yourself dreaming of the 'old days', when life seemed a lot more simple and a great deal less stressful? I think nostalgia is a natural thing for all of us, and remarkably time seems to blur the searing pain of our traumatic memories. I guess the trouble with nostalgia is if we end up getting 'stuck' in the past - we are then not free to embrace the opportunities of our present circumstances. 

If we take a look at the example of Disciples for a moment - if they had remained stuck in the past (nostalgia), they would have missed the chance to change the future. Jesus had been preparing them for some amazing adventures in the future, which they would have completely missed if their heads had remained turned to the past.

Luke 24:18-24 - "One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

“What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

May the Spirit of Christ help us to look to the future with renewed hope and a thankfulness for the lessons of the past. 

Living in Grace


Monday 5 April 2021

Transformed to help others

"Transformation in the world happens when people are healed and start investing in other people." - Michael W. Smith

I couldn't help but think of the early disciples when I read this quote. The Resurrection was the ultimate healing moment in their lives. As they came to terms with Jesus' Resurrection they allowed their healing to transform the people around them. Wouldn't it be incredible if we allowed the Risen Lord to heal us and then to equip us to transform our communities? 

John 20:17-18 - "Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her."

In my opinion, true transformation will involve a natural desire to tell others of what has changed in your own life.

Living in Grace


Saturday 3 April 2021

Silence and stillness

“Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.”Anonymous

In my experience, Holy Saturday is one of the least celebrated days of Holy week and perhaps it has to do with the fact that we don't fully know what happened on this day. There is a strong belief that this is the day that Jesus descended to the dead (1 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 4:7-10). 

We only know in part what really transpired on Holy Saturday, but what we hold onto is that Sunday is coming. The earth's silence and stillness, after the agony of the Crucifixion, prepare us for the great joy of the Resurrection.

“To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but, the more I reflect on it, the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life: we are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.” - Pope Benedict XVI

What does this day mean for you?

Living in Grace