Tuesday 30 November 2021

Something to shout about

When something good happens in our lives it is important to shout out the news of this great joy. Many people do this via social media nowadays, but we can also simply tell others the news via the trusted means of our voices. 

Zechariah speaks out the good news of God's presence amongst us when he says:

“Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you." - Zechariah 2:10-11

I take solace from the picture of God always living amongst his people. And when this happens we KNOW that God has sent help our way.

Question: How do you feel about Zechariah's good news? Does it change the way you view life when you know that God lives amongst us?

Living in Grace


Monday 29 November 2021

Words fit for a King

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Sometimes we find ourselves lost for words and it is not for a lack of words to use, but rather a moment where we just can't seem to place them in the right order - we struggle to express how we are feeling. 

In this season of Advent I would like to explore a theme entitled: Words fit for a King. My motivation for this is that we should seek appropriate words to express our praise and worship of King Jesus. Thankfully there are many people who have already gone before us and they have given us a great head-start. This week we explore the words of the ancient prophets who conveyed their longing for the Messiah in very eloquent and expressive language. 

Jeremiah wrote of a desire for a King who would rule with wisdom, righteousness and compassion.

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness." - Jeremiah 23:5-6 (KJV)

Eugene Peterson puts the last part of these verses like this: This is the name they’ll give him: God-Who-Puts-Everything-Right.’ (The Message)

Thought: As you express your heart to God today, what does it mean to trust in a God who is able to put everything right? 

If you would like to listen to the sermon from Sunday you can click onto this link.

Living in Grace

Saturday 27 November 2021

Dealing with disappointment

As I write these words most of our lives have been turned upside down again. There are many of us who have just had the wind taken out of our sails. Covid-19 has played another hand and it has caused major disappointment for families who were planning on spending precious time together. None of us really expected the new variant of the virus to strike so quickly, but it has. And so now we deal with the disappointment. The question is how do we cope?

In truth, I am probably not the best person to answer this question, as usually I am bad at dealing with sudden disappointment. However, I am grateful for the words and wisdom of those who have also experienced this emotion and have discovered the capacity to handle it. 

“If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.” - Henry David Thoreau

"Disappointments are inevitable; discouragement is a choice." - Charles Stanley

I think this quote is very helpful for us in today's climate. We very easily slip into discouragement, but I pray that we don't allow our disappointments to way to heavily on our hearts. May we turn to Christ and seek His peace.

Proverbs 23:18 - You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.

Living in Grace

Thursday 25 November 2021

Do not give in to fear

To mark the beginning of 16 days of Activism in South Africa I wanted to share this beautiful quote from Rosa Parks. As you read this please reflect on your own fears, convictions, ministry and the hurdles you need to overcome.

“I learned to put my trust in God and to see Him as my strength. Long ago I set my mind to be a free person and not to give in to fear. I always felt that it was my right to defend myself if I could. I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear." - Rosa Parks

This made me think about Jesus' final moments again. Was he afraid? Was he tempted to give into his fears? 

If we understand his humanity, then I am sure there would have been a part of Jesus that encountered fear, but at the same time, Jesus would have known the peace that passes all understanding. The Father gave him strength to overcome the greatest challenge in his life.

And God can do the same for us too.

Living in Grace


Wednesday 24 November 2021

Still I rise

Maya Angelou wrote these words at a time of great struggle and pain in her life. What I love about the sentiment of her writing is that every one of us can relate to parts of her experience. Although the discrimination and rejection she went through are unique to her situation, they provide a link with all human suffering. Despite all of this, she still had the courage to state: STILL I WILL RISE!

“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.”

May you and I learn to RISE with Jesus Christ - he is the one who helps us overcome!

Living in Grace


Tuesday 23 November 2021

Remembering C.S. Lewis

Forgive me for being a day or two late, but the 22nd November marks the anniversary of the death of C.S. Lewis. Needless to say he left a huge legacy in the literary arena, as well as in the church context. To honour his life and his contribution, I have chosen a few of his lesser known quotes to share with you. 

May God bless you as you read these today.

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

“Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” 

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” 

Which is your favourite C.S. Lewis quote of all time - please share it with me. Thanks.

Living in Grace


Monday 22 November 2021

Stronger together

Times are tough for everyone at the moment and this is when we need to stick together, especially with those we love and those in the body of Christ.

"Separate reeds are weak easily broken, but bound together are strong and hard to part." - Unknown

The writer of Ecclesiastes would give his approval of this sentiment as he once wrote:

"By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped." - Ecclesiastes 4:12 (Message)

What do you feel about this?

Living in grace


Sunday 21 November 2021

The end of the year - Christ the King Sunday

In the Christian calendar today (21st November) marks the last Sunday of the liturgical year. Today is known as Christ the King Sunday and it is a special reminder of our King, Jesus. Next Sunday marks the beginning of the season of Advent, which is our preparation for the arrival of the Messiah. 

I know that it can seem a little confusing, as the official end of the year is usually the 31st December, but I think it is a good way of reminding ourselves that we belong to a different kingdom. Jesus spoke about his kingdom often and it was his clear conviction that he came to establish a new reign and that his kingdom was not of this world.

As we journey towards the conclusion of this liturgical year perhaps it would be a good practise to ask ourselves what we are hoping for in the new season of Advent. Will Advent usher in the peace, hope, joy and love we all seek? Should we not turn again to Jesus Christ, the one who can make all our hopes a reality?

"Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” - John 18:36

Living in Grace


Friday 19 November 2021

God in action

I was struck by how active God was in the life of the Israelites. I don't think anything has changed in God's nature and so we hold onto the promise that Jesus is active in our lives too. Of course there are times when we struggle to see this and to remember, but it is then that we need to be reminded. Take these verses as an example:

"He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness..." - Deuteronomy 8:15-16

Have you noticed God's activity in your life of late? What has God been showing you?

Living in Grace


Thursday 18 November 2021

Full of yourself

It happens often enough that we shouldn't be too surprised when it does occur. We go through a good patch and suddenly start to feel as if we are 'bullet-proof' - we take our eyes off the Lord and soon we start to forget all that Christ has done for us. I don't believe that it is the Lord tripping us up, but I do know that he uses those moments to call us back. Our attention is then not distracted and we can listen to God again.

"make sure you don't become so full of yourself and your things that you forget God..." - Deuteronomy 8:13 (The Message)

Are we full of ourselves at the moment?

Have we taken our eyes off the Lord?

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Living in Grace


Wednesday 17 November 2021

Missing out on what stares us in the face

As history would confirm, the Emperor Vespasian was born on the 17th November 9AD. Obviously not short on confidence, he once remarked: "Dear me, I believe I am becoming a god. An emperor ought at least to die on his feet." 

It is ironic that he lived at the same time as Jesus and yet was not able to appreciate that the Son of God graced the same planet as he did. He was too busy appreciating himself in the mirror that he forgot to look around and notice that the Messiah had come. 

Sometimes we are all guilty of missing out on the truth that stares us in the face.

Mark 8:18 - Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?

Living in Grace


Tuesday 16 November 2021

Replacing the battery

I have a clock in my office that has been stuck at 12pm for the last year. It has been entirely my fault though, because I simply decided that I didn't actually need the clock to tell the time - I have my own watch and my phone also tells the correct time, so I thought it was unnecessary. However, today I decided it was TIME to put a new battery into the old clock and I admit that it is nice to hear the tick, tick, tick when all else is quiet around me. So this got me thinking:

Do we sometimes feel we are stuck in one place?

When last did we recharge our batteries?

What will it take for us to fulfil our God-given potential? (If a clock is made to tell the time and it is not fulfilling that function, then surely it must feel frustrated - assuming clocks have feelings :)

What parts of our spiritual lives need a little jump-start?

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."

Living in grace



Monday 15 November 2021


"You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." - John 5:39-40

Just like many families at the moment, we are in the middle of exam season. Needless to say this time carries a certain degree of stress and much patience is required. 

As I was reflecting on this I was reminded that we are all called to keep on studying, no matter our age. As followers of Jesus we are life-long students, but we must remember to do our studying with the right motives. Jesus' speaks to those who follow him (in John 5) and teaches that our studying of the scriptures is to encounter the Messiah and not just to gain head knowledge. 

Enjoy your studies :)

Living in Grace


Saturday 13 November 2021

Death and taxes

It was on the 13th November 1789 that Benjamin Franklin wrote these iconic words: "Nothing certain but death & taxes (sic)." His statement is true even to this day and I think that living through recent uncertain times has just solidified his opinion. 

The bible speaks about both death and taxes. It seems that as far back as the scriptures take us, there were people levying taxes on others. Of course, Tax collectors were well known in Jesus' day and many of them came to follow him (Matthew, Zacchaeus). 

Jesus spoke a lot about the topic of death, but often in the light of hope beyond the grave. For Jesus, death was an inevitable part of human existence and something that was not to be afraid of. When we place our faith in the Messiah, death would simply be a transition from one world into the next.

"Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life." - John 5:24

Question: What impression does Benjamin Franklin's quote leave on your life today?

Living in Grace


Thursday 11 November 2021

A time to Remember

Armistice Day will always be a time where the world should pause and remember the great cost of war and violence. As we pause for a minute of silence at 11am on the 11th November I believe we should reflect on all tragedies and ask how we can learn from the past. In our posture of gratitude, for those who have paid the ultimate price, we should also prepare ourselves to tread gently into the future. If we can't learn from history we will be doomed to repeat all the mistak
es of the past. 

I came across this beautiful piece of writing from Malcolm Guite today. His moving words struck a chord with me.

November pierces with its bleak remembrance
Of all the bitterness and waste of war.
Our silence tries but fails to make a semblance
Of that lost peace they thought worth fighting for.
Our silence seethes instead with wraiths and whispers,
And all the restless rumour of new wars,
The shells are falling all around our vespers,
No moment is unscarred, there is no pause,
In every instant bloodied innocence
Falls to the weary earth ,and whilst we stand
Quiescence ends again in acquiescence,
And Abel's blood still cries in every land
One silence only might redeem that blood
Only the silence of a dying God. 

If you like Malcolm's writing please click onto his home page and enjoy his gift.

Living in Grace


Wednesday 10 November 2021

Loving the unloved

"When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive..." - Genesis 29:31

"The text says that when the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he loved her. God was saying, 'I am the real bridegroom. I am the husband of the husbandless. I am the father of the fatherless.' This is the God who saves by grace. The Gods of moralistic religions favour the successful and the overachievers. They are the ones who climb the moral ladder up to heaven. But the God of the Bible is the one who comes down into this world to accomplish a salvation and give us a grace we could never attain ourselves." - Tim Keller

What do you think and feel about this quote? It may lead us to ask a whole lot of other questions, but on a simple level I am drawn to the idea that God loves those who feel unloved. This is the underlying message of the gospel too - that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Those who are written off by the rest of society are loved by Jesus.

Living in Grace


Tuesday 9 November 2021

Fighting the urge to take over

Most of us like to know that we have some control over our lives. There are many of us who like to advise God on how he should be doing things and we would be willing to become God's PA if the post was ever advertised. Sadly (for us), God is never going to need a personal assistant so we are faced with the choice of either letting God be God or trying to be our own Saviour. 

Corallie Buchanan offers us some remarkable insight into our dilemma. She states: "When we look to God as provider, we are surrendering our independence and trusting in someone else to meet our needs, over which we have no control. We need to fight the urge to take over and just let God be God, because He can provide for us better than we can." 

Matthew 10:39 (Living Bible) - “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will save it.

Living in Grace


Monday 8 November 2021


"If God limited his work to people who were talented, capable or credentialed, there would be no mystery to God's accomplishments, and little glory to his account." - Chuck Smith

This quote reminded me of the many characters in the bible who are 'ordinary' people like us. This makes the mystery of God's work in their lives even more believable, because very little depended on their 'spiritual qualifications.'

If capable and talented people accomplish great things we don't always notice God's Spirit working in their lives, but when something amazing is done through a 'Joe Soap' or 'Mary Bloggs' we know that something supernatural had to have been involved.

Acts 19:11 - "God did extraordinary miracles through Paul..."

Living in Grace


Sunday 7 November 2021

When character is lost, all is lost

Billy Graham was born on the 7th November 1918 and has arguably impacted the lives of more people than almost any other Christian leader. On this day I would like to remember the incredible legacy he left our faith and the many words of wisdom he offered to all believers. 

"When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost."

"I am not going to Heaven because I have preached to great crowds or read the Bible many times. I'm going to Heaven just like the thief on the cross who said in that last moment: 'Lord, remember me.'

"Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion - it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ."

Today, the quote that speaks to me the most is the first one. Which one stands out for you?

Acts 17:11 - "Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

Living in Grace

Thursday 4 November 2021

The Bigger YES

"You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically to say 'no' to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside." - Stephen Covey

As I read today's quote I am struck by how Jesus applied this principle in his life and work. He knew what he had been called to do and what his father wanted from him. Nothing was going to take him away from the path that lay before him, even if some of his followers were well meaning in their suggestions and remarks.

Matthew 16:23 - Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

What is your bigger YES? 

How difficult is it for you to remain focused on your goals?

Living in Grace


Wednesday 3 November 2021

Guidance and the willingness to act

“Do not ask God for guidance if you aren’t willing to move your feet.” - Anon

So often we are guilty of asking God for the necessary guidance, but then we expect God to airlift us to the finish line. However, this requires no act of faith on our behalf. God may give us the goal, the direction, the guidance, but God expects us to move our feet. 

Matthew 14:28-29 - “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

The first step is usually the hardest to take, but from then on, just move one foot in front of the other.

Living in Grace


Tuesday 2 November 2021

Reformation Day - making a statement

Reformation Day marks the moment that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg. This was the 31st October 1517 and the date was not as random as we may believe. 

The church was about to put on display a number of relics the following day (1st November - All Saints Day) and this had begun to concern Luther. His well timed action was done to stir debate and to put his mark in the sand. Luther was saddened at how the church had begun to put more emphasis on 'objects' and 'relics' instead of the person of Jesus Christ. Luther felt the church needed more than a wake up call - it needed REFORMATION!

As we remember significant dates in the history of our faith we should always be asking the question: What needs to be reformed in our lives and in that life of the Church?

Here are a few of Luther's lesser known quotes to mark this occasion.

"God does not need your good works, but your neighbour does."

I have no use for cranks who despise music, because it is a gift of God. Music drives away the Devil and makes people joyful; they forget thereby all wrath, unchastity, arrogance, and the like. Next after theology, I give to music the highest place and the greatest honour."

“The Church’s true treasure is the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Living in Grace


Monday 1 November 2021

Placing your trust in people

"Don't put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there." - Psalm 146:3

In the light of voting in our local government elections today what do we make of the words of Psalm 146? For me, it is just a reminder that my hope and trust in not in another person. 

Of course this doesn't absolve me from playing an active role in society or in holding government officials accountable to their jobs. However, it does draw me back to the heart of the matter - God is the only one worthy of my trust and hope.

What do you make of this?

Living in Grace