Friday, 21 January 2022

The offering of all things


“Human resources
However limited,
When willingly offered
And divinely empowered,
Are more than adequate
To achieve divine ends.”
- Stuart Briscoe

In preparation for our Covenant services this weekend, I found this poem. I think it is really challenging and invites us to offer our 'human resources' to the Lord. The small offering we can give will be divinely empowered and multiplied to share with others.

Psalm 76:11 (The Message)Do for God what you said you’d do— he is, after all, your God. Let everyone in town bring offerings to the One Who Watches our every move.

What is it that you will bring? 

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Rule of thumb


“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get." - Matthew 7:12 (The Message)

This was the verse for today and I was struck by how simple the 'rule' is, yet how hard we make it. Can you imagine how our world would be if more of us followed this behaviour?

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Back to school


The importance of learning is clear to all of us. For this reason we send our kids to an academic institution to further their studies and to gain valuable knowledge (and hopefully some wisdom). All of this involves numerous sacrifices on the behalf of the parents, as well as the students. Completing an academic milestone takes times, resources, effort and perseverance. 

As we send our kids 'back to school' this week, I am reminded of our call to keep studying the word of God and to keep growing in our faith. Learning to be a follower of Jesus will take our entire lifetime, but we need to be committed to the process.

So what are we doing to further our 'spiritual education?'

What tools help you to discover more about God and our journey of discipleship?

Psalm 111 - "Hallelujah! I give thanks to God with everything I’ve got— Wherever good people gather, and in the congregation. God’s works are so great, worth a lifetime of study—endless enjoyment! Splendour and beauty mark his craft; His generosity never gives out. His miracles are his memorial— This God of Grace, this God of Love."

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Monday, 17 January 2022

Greatness is determined by?

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Martin Luther King Jnr - "Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service."

As our friends in the USA are enjoying Martin Luther King Day, it is worthwhile reminding ourselves of some of his inspiring words. It is also important to remember that he also lived out what he preached. This is the true test of any person - that their actions match their words.

Luke 10:36-37 - “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

2 Corinthians 4:5 - For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Sunday, 16 January 2022

Not be shaken


"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” – Psalm 55:22

These words of comfort and hope are a great encouragement for us today. I pray that we would learn to cast our cares onto Christ and trust in his sustaining power. May the Spirit of God help us to rest secure and to not be shaken. 

"Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me." - v.1

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

The great mediator


Jonathan Edwards wrote “The redeemed are dependent of God for all. All that we have—wisdom, the pardon of sin, deliverance, acceptance in God’s favour, grace, holiness, true comfort and happiness, eternal life and glory—we have from God by a mediator; and this mediator is God."

Is there any one of these gifts that stands out for you today?

I am thankful for everyone of them, but today I am most grateful that Jesus is my mediator. Jesus stands in the gap on my behalf. When I don't have anything to give, to pray or say, it is Jesus who speaks on my behalf.

Hebrews 9:15 - "For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant."

1 Timothy 2:15 - For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Pulling us forward


Our encounters with God are never meant to be kept private, but rather to inspire us to share the good news with others. Each moment with Jesus is a further reassurance that God is with us and that he has given us all we need for the future. God's spirit lead us continually forward - and sometimes it is almost as if he is pulling us into the next stage of this adventure.

§       Melissa Bane Sevier - "We leave our place of worship, the reminder of our baptism, the ringing in our ears of the voice of God heard in the scriptures and the voices of our friends who encourage us, and we walk back into our everyday life, with a sure sense that God is pulling us forward."

Galatians 5:25 - Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Monday, 10 January 2022

Even before we were known on earth


Every time I read Psalm 139 I am reminded of how much God loves each one of us. And then when we read the same passage from a few different translations, the wonder of God's love becomes even more pronounced. Take the words from Eugene Peterson's paraphrase as an example:

"Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day." - Psalm 139:13-16

Max Lucado adds another unique insight into these words when he contemplates how God has loved us even before we breathed our first breath – “You were loved in heaven before you were known on earth.”

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Sunday, 9 January 2022

Grant us strength


Here is a meaningful prayer for the beginning of a new week. May these words uplift you and inspire you. 

“Grant us strength and grace to run the race to the best of our ability,
with our eyes focussed on you.
Fill our hearts with love for you – love that leads to action.
Place our feet sturdily on the road that you have shown us
and bring us to the destination you have prepared for us.
In Jesus name. Amen.”
– Solly Ozrevech

2 Corinthians 12 - My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Thursday, 6 January 2022

What is Epiphany and how does it change my life?


We have the word before, but what does it really mean? Epiphany!

Epiphany is the English form of word that means 'manifestation' in Greek. It is directly related to the occasion where Jesus is presented to the Magi and they offer him their gifts. It symbolises that the message of the Good News is 'manifest' or 'offered' to the Gentiles for the very first time (Matthew 2) and so this becomes a historic moment. If you would like to read a good source on the background to Epiphany you can click here. 

In our Church tradition Epiphany is also linked with the Baptism of Jesus, which is remembered at this time of the year. God's love and delight in his son are clearly made manifest in the proclamation from the heavens which says, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:23) 

So, how does this change my life and should I even bother remembering this feast day? The answer to this question is really up to you, but I find it helpful to mark this day as a day of Gratitude. As a non-Jewish person I am delighted that God's gift of salvation is also offered to me. I am overwhelmed that God delights in us and that God made a way for us to know Him. Of course, I don't need to wait for the 6th January to remember this glorious gift, but it does make sense to mark this occasion just after the birth of Jesus.

What are your thoughts on this? What gifts can we bring to Jesus. 

Luke 2:32 - "...a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

Acts 11:18 - “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Wednesday, 5 January 2022

A new form of prayer


If you read the title of my post and got excited about learning a 'new form of prayer', then you may be a little disappointed, but I really hope not. So, please hear me out and hopefully I can change your mind. 

I think that a lot of Christians struggle with prayer and most often it is because we aren't sure if we are 'doing it right!' We stumble along, trusting that God is listening and perhaps even getting bored of our routine words. However, prayer is so much more than trying to get a formula correct - it is about spending time in the presence of the Almighty - and there is no formula for that!

Contemplative prayer is a newish word for a form of prayer that has been around for generations. This is how Jan Johnson describes it:

"Contemplative prayer, in its simplest form, is prayer in which you still your thoughts and emotions and focus on God Himself. This puts you in a better state to be aware of God’s presence, and it makes you better able to hear God’s voice correcting, guiding, and directing you…. The fundamental idea is simply to enjoy the companionship of God, stilling your own thoughts so you can listen should God choose to speak. For this reason, contemplative prayer is sometimes referred to as ‘the prayer of silence."

So, if you have never tried it, then I urge you to find a quiet spot and just BE STILL.

Mark 1:35 - Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Living in Grace

D3LM3


Tuesday, 4 January 2022

I am not ready for Easter!



I was shocked to walk into a supermarket today and find that they had already put out Easter Eggs. I may have said something under my breath, but that would be inappropriate to repeat on this blogpost :) 

I am still trying to figure the whole thing out, to be honest. Easter is in the middle of April this year - that makes it 3 months away. And so there can be no other reason for the display of chocolate eggs than commercial greed, unless I am missing something. Couldn't the store owners wait a week or two? 

As you are well aware, I am huge fan of spending time in preparation for our Holy days - Lent for Easter time and Advent for Christmas, are two of my personal favourites. There are also many significant Holy days in between Easter and Christmas, and I feel we should be observing these too. Perhaps this is why I over reacted to the sight of the eggs - I feel we rush through these seasons without truly digesting their great significance for our lives.  

It is only 4 days into 2022 and I am still wanting to dwell on the miracle of the 'Word made flesh', as well as the Epiphany of the Magi. I need time to process my own surrender to our King and what gifts I want to offer God this year. I am definitely no were near ready to start my journey towards Easter. 

John 1:14 - "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

How do you feel? Any thoughts are welcome.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

P.S. No chocolate Easter Eggs were harmed in the writing of this post, although a few Christmas chocolates may now be consumed to calm my shattered nerves :) 

Monday, 3 January 2022

Here I stand - I can do no other!

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It was on the 3rd January 1521 that Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Church by Pope Leo X. One of the main reasons for this was the way that Luther challenged the official Church doctrine on various issues. He was a man of principles and conviction, which led him to proclaim "Here I stand; I can do no other!" when he was ordered to recant his beliefs.

Although we may not be asked to make the bold stand of Martin Luther, but we will be asked (everyday) to stand for Christ. Sometimes we will face huge uncertainty and maybe even opposition, but we will be ask to commit to Jesus.

Matthew 24:13 - "but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."

In what ways are you being asked to stand for Jesus today.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

P.S. If you would like to support my writing ministry, please check out my Patreon site. Thanks for the willingness to support this ministry. All proceeds go towards the writing of new material, as well as making the content/books more affordable for the community. God bless. 

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Waiting on God


Most of us are not so good waiting, let alone waiting for the Lord to speak to us. It can seem like a long time of silence, when God is working in the background, but we need to trust in his timing. 

“Waiting for God is not laziness. Waiting for God is not going to sleep. Waiting for God is not the abandonment of effort.  Waiting for God means, first, activity under command; second, readiness for any new command that may come; third, the ability to do nothing until the command is given.” - G. Campbell Morgan

·     Isaiah 64:4 - For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!

As the week unfolds, may the Lord speak to you and may we be blessed with the gift of patience.

Living in Grace

D3LM3

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Reflecting on letting go of the old and embracing the new


Here is a delightful poem for the beginning of our new year. It was written by late Irish poet and author, John O'Donohue. Enjoy ...

"As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.

The days when the veil lifted
And the soul could see delight;
When a quiver caressed the heart
In the sheer exuberance of being here.

Surprises that came awake
In forgotten corners of old fields
Where expectation seemed to have quenched.

The slow, brooding times
When all was awkward
And the wave in the mind
Pierced every sore with salt.

The darkened days that stopped
The confidence of the dawn.

Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.

We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination." (take from "To bless the space between us")


1 Peter 1:14 - "So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then."

Living in Grace
D3LM3