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


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


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

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


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

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



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


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

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


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


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


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


Friday 13 August 2021


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

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

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


Tuesday 10 August 2021

A better tomorrow

As you read through this powerful quote today, stop and reflect on the words that mean the most to you.

Hope is faith in the immutable promise that miracles prevail when the darkness tries to win-out with cries of despair. Hope is a gift from God that helps us yearn, and live a life that believes and moves with the pledge of a better tomorrow. And what’s more, hope springs-forth resurrection life, and draws us near to the love of Christ, who is the light of God who walked out from the grave to make the way for everlasting life.” - Jason Bonniksen

As I read these words, I am moved by this phrase...

"the pledge of a better tomorrow."

Romans 8:19For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.

Living in Grace


Monday 9 August 2021

When anger leads to foolish decisions

In these present times it is hard not to let anger win out. Most of us are living on edge and the slightest provocation can send us spinning off on a tangent. I was reminded again this week, while reading through the book of Esther, that when the “ego” of a person is pricked, it can lead to all kinds of consequences - one of them is anger!

Pietro Aletino (1492 – 1557) wrote that “angry people are blind and foolish.” This is so true. Our anger can blind us to the other people around us and often brings about a fracture in relationships. It is no wonder that Paul said:  “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:26-27). 

Paul understood that when we get angry we are skating on thin ice. We can easily become the victims of our own folly, and so can those who come across our path. 

Question: Have you ever had an angry moment where your decisions have not been the wisest? 

Living in Grace


Sunday 8 August 2021



Although we don't usually give women special gifts on National Women's Day, I feel that we can do even better than simply offering a material gift. We can pass on our deepest gratitude and appreciation for the Women in our lives and for the roles they play in our society. And this should never be done in a patriarchal, condescending spirit, but rather with the uttermost respect for each woman in our lives. 

So, from my side: THANK YOU ladies. For all that you do to make our world a better place to live in. 

Proverbs 31 (The Message) - The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Adorn her life with praises!

“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman” – Margaret Thatcher

“A woman is like a tea bag – you never how strong she is until she gets in hot water” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Living in Grace


Saturday 7 August 2021

We need some more Wonder!

Perhaps we all need a little more 'Wonder' in our lives at the moment. 

You may think I have lost my mind (again), but let me explain. When Isaiah challenged the Israelites about their relationship with God he said this (Isaiah 29:13-14): The Lord says:

“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is based on merely human rules they have been taught.

Therefore once more I will astound these people
with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish."

It seems to me that God wants us to move from our rote words and worship, thinking that we have God all figured out. Our complacency moves us into a space of boredom, where we leave no room for awe and wonder.

How would God astound you at this moment in your life?

What would leave you in awe and wonder?

Living in Grace


Thursday 5 August 2021

It matters

I like to do some reading around Leadership as often as I can and one of the authors I enjoy is Nancy Ortberg. She wrote a lovely book called "Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands", where she reflected on leadership with these words:

“Leadership matters. It stands at the crossroads of what we do and who we are, and that is a profound place. It requires that we shape vision and develop a plan and work hard.  It requires that we become stronger in our resilience and forgiveness and determination and love.”

This last sentence is the one that I wanted to highlight, because I believe this speaks to all of us, not just leaders. Life is teaching us that we can become stronger and more resilient. If we choose determination then I also feel we can lean more towards forgiveness and love. 

What do you think?

Ephesians 1:7 - "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace."

Living in Grace


Tuesday 3 August 2021

What's on the sandwich?

What do you like to put on your sandwich snacks? Do you enjoy a piece of cheese, or some meat or are you happy with something plain like peanut butter? You are wondering why I am speaking about sandwich fillings, when I should be sharing about Psalm 57? Well, as I read through the Psalmist's list of woes, I note that in the middle of dealing with the 'pride of lions' (v.4) and the 'pit of distress' (v.6) he calls out for God to be exalted in the heavens:

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.

For me, it is almost like he wants us to know that God can still reign supreme, despite what is happening around us. So, perhaps his call for God to be exalted and glorified is a reminder to himself, as well as a call for God to take his rightful place. 

They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
but they have fallen into it themselves. (v.6)

How do you see God acting when you face times of trial? 
Do we need to be reminded that God is exalted and that his glory will fill the earth?

Living in Grace

Monday 2 August 2021

The pride of lions

"I find myself in a pride of lions who are wild for a taste of human flesh;
Their teeth are lances and arrows,
their tongues are sharp daggers."
- Psalm 57:4 (The Message)

I would never want to find myself in the middle of a hungry pride of lions. I can imagine it, but wouldn't want to truly experience it. David has obviously found himself in the midst of a vicious group of back-stabbers and gossips - people who are willing to destroy him with their mouths and attacks. 

Although this is how he feels at the moment he is able to hold onto the promise of God's intervention - God will soar from the skies and deliver him from their hands/claws. This is such beautiful imagery and it is easy to put ourselves into the scenario.

Soar high in the skies, O God! Cover the whole earth with your glory! (v.5)

May you hold onto the fact that God watches over us and that God can make a way out of the 'pride of lions' for us.

Living in Grace

Sunday 1 August 2021

Until the Hurricane blows over

"Be good to me, God—and now!
I’ve run to you for dear life. 
I’m hiding out under your wings
until the hurricane blows over.
I call out to High God,
the God who holds me together.
He sends orders from heaven and saves me,
he humiliates those who kick me around.
God delivers generous love,
he makes good on his word."
- Psalm 57:1-3

There is something in the promise of God helping to hide us under his wings that is always comforting. In this version of Psalm 57, I am drawn to the picture of God letting us hide out until the hurricane has blown over. 

What is your 'Hurricane' at the moment? Can you picture yourself hiding out in the shelter of God's grace?

Before you rush off into the rest of the day why don't you pause for a minute and imagine yourself in hollow of God's hand.

Living in Grace