Monday 28 February 2022

Survivng the heat

Today has been a rather hot February day. Hot weather impacts us all in different ways, but it tends to make many people lethargic and it saps our energy. And it is not just humans who feel the impact. Taking a quick look at our dogs, I see them lying all over the house, enjoying the coolness of the floor. 

In the midst of the hot weather, this verse came to mind:

“But I will bless the person who puts his trust in me.
He is like a tree growing near a stream
and sending out roots to the water.
It is not afraid when hot weather comes,
because its leaves stay green;
it has no worries when there is no rain; it keeps on bearing fruit."
- Jeremiah 17:7-8

Living in Grace

Sunday 27 February 2022

Standing on the promises of God

See the source image

Russell Kelso Carter wrote a beautiful song in the 1870's. The words remain true even in today's broken world:

Standing on the promises of Christ my king,
Through eternal ages let his praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Saviour,
Standing, Standing,
I am standing on the promises of God.

Verse 2:
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word and God, I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.

May we find the promises of God to be our sure foundation.

2 Corinthians 1:20 - For in him every one of God’s promises is a “Yes.” For this reason it is through him that we say the “Amen,” to the glory of God.

Living in Grace

Friday 25 February 2022

Glue or Solvent?

“Fear is the glue that keeps you stuck.
Faith is the solvent that sets you free.” - Shannon L. Alder

John 8:36 - So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Romans 8:2 - "...because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death."

Galatians 5:1 - "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."

I think it is clear which one the Bible is pointing us to! It is now up to us whether we want to choose to be 'glue' or 'solvent.'

Living in Grace

Thursday 24 February 2022

Planted in salty ground

The thought of planting something in soil that is not suitable for any growth, really seems ridiculous. Would you even think of wasting your hard earned money on buying plants, only to plant them in soil that is harmful for their growth? I don't think so!

This is the picture that Jeremiah is offering us today, when he suggests that when we put our trust in the strength of 'mortals', it is as if we are planting something on salty ground. 

"The Lord says, “I will condemn those who turn away from me
and put their trust in human beings, in the strength of mortals.
He is like a bush in the desert, which grows in the dry wasteland,
on salty ground where nothing else grows. Nothing good ever happens to him."
- Jeremiah 17:5-6

As we reflect on this verse, we must ask ourselves what the alternative solution would be? Surely, it is plant ourselves in the fertile soil of the Almighty. And that as we remain rooted in his grace and forgiveness, so we grow into the people of God.

“Pray, and let God worry.” - Martin Luther

Living in Grace

Tuesday 22 February 2022

In front of your house

We have been looking at the book of Nehemiah in our weekly Bible studies and it is such a remarkable account of God working in the lives of ordinary citizens. If you want to listen to some of these studies you will find them on Spotify (just search for my name or Living in Grace) - they are all for free :) 

One of the things that struck me about chapter 3 is the list of people working on the wall and the area of their work - it was noticeable that they focussed on the parts of the wall that were in front of their own homes. 

"The priests repaired the wall up the hill from the Horse Gate, each one doing the section immediately opposite his own house." - Nehemiah 3:28

Sometimes we can get caught up in trying to solve everyone else's problems that we neglect the issues that may be staring us in the face. In ministry this is one of the things that pastors have trouble balancing - there are so many needs in the community, that each pastor has to wrestle with caring for the church, but also taking care of their own family. 

How do you understand this verse? What does it say to you about your present circumstances?

Living in Grace


Monday 21 February 2022

The greatest Fear

What is your greatest fear?

"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." Hebrews 2:14-15 

There are many things to be afraid of, but perhaps our greatest fear is death. We fear death for many reasons, but perhaps the most common are: 

  • What really lies beyond the grave? 
  • What happens to me in those final moments? 
  • Will God receive me into his kingdom?
I don't have good answers for the first two questions, but I believe that Hebrews 2 gives us a great answer to the third question. The actions of Jesus have given us a gateway into a new experience - we don't need to fear death anymore, because their is no other power (i.e. the devil) who has the final say in our eternal future. Jesus has the keys and the power. 

So, where this leaves us is in a place of trusting the answers to questions 1 & 2, in the hands of a gracious Saviour. If I can trust in a God who is merciful, then I can be at peace about what lies beyond this life. 

What are your thoughts?

Living in Grace

Sunday 20 February 2022

Guardian of our souls

"He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross,
so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.
By his wounds you are healed.
Once you were like sheep who wandered away.
But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls." - 1 Peter 2:24 (NLT)

The phrase that struck me in today's reading is 'Guardian of your souls.' 
This speaks to me of the promise that our Saviour has finished the work of salvation on the cross. When we place our lives in his care, we will still face trials and struggles, but Jesus remains the Guardian of our Souls. 

Perhaps, it is an ancient image that we should borrow for our present culture and hold onto the gift that it offers us. The world may attack us from the outside, but our Christ remains the protector of our souls. This is what Jesus was saying to his disciples, when he urged them not to be worried about what people could do to their physical bodies.

Matthew 10:28 - “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul."

Living in Grace

Saturday 19 February 2022

Immense and free

"He left His Father’s throne above— 
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me!"
- Charles Wesley (And can it be?)

These words from this well known hymn are packed with pictures of God incredible love and grace. The more you read the words the more they overwhelm you with gratitude. Jesus emptied himself of everything so that we would be the recipients of God's treasures. 

God is constantly seeking us out. God wants to find us - and not so that he can reprimand us, but to cover us with his immense mercy.

Exodus 33:19 - The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.

Living in Grace

Wednesday 16 February 2022

Don't be like Simon

We played a game as children called "Simon says." Do you remember that? Whatever Simon (the person who was the leader) said, you all had to act out and the last person to follow was eliminated from that round. 

In Acts 8 we meet another Simon (Simon Magus) - also known as Simon the Magician. Even though he had come to faith in Jesus, he tried to buy the Holy Spirit from the disciples. He was thoroughly rebuked for his attitude and Simon drifted into the background. 

"Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart." (Acts 8:20-22)

Simon's major error was believing that the things of God can be bought with human resources. And this is never true. God can't be bought and neither can the workings of the Spirit. So, when I suggest that we should not act like Simon, I am implying that we ought to wary of using God for our own gain. Sadly there are many people who go down this path, but it is a very dangerous road to take.

  • God grants his spirit to those who ask and who are willing to obey.
  • God gives us his salvation if we are humble enough to admit our sin and need of him.
  • God pours out his mercy on all who are broken-hearted.

Living in Grace


Tuesday 15 February 2022

Do you love me?

"When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” - John 21:15

The question that Jesus asks Simon Peter is the same question he asks each one of us - Do we love him? In response to this text, Henri Nouwen writes these thoughts:

"The question is not: How many people take you seriously?
How much are you going to accomplish?
Can you show some results?
But: Are you in love with Jesus?
Perhaps another way of putting the question would be: Do you know the incarnate God?
In our world of loneliness and despair, there is an enormous need for people who know the heart of God, a heart that forgives, that cares, that reaches out and wants to heal.
In that heart there is no suspicion, no vindication, no resentment, and not a tinge of hatred.
It is a heart that wants to only give love and receive love in response..."

What thoughts come to your mind when you think of Jesus asking you the question: Do you love me?

Living in Grace


Monday 14 February 2022

Only a shadow

On the day when the world turns Red to celebrate Valentines Day, it is good to remind ourselves of God's relentless love for us. Jesus' love for humanity was not something he offered for 'one day only', but rather for all eternity. Our love for each other and God, is only a shadow of God's love for us.

"My own belief in you, my Lord, is only a shadow of your faith in me,
only a shadow of all that will be when we meet face-to-face...
The love I have for you, my Lord, is only a shadow of your love for me,
only a shadow of all that will be when we meet face-to-face."
- Father Carey Landry

John 13:34 (Living Bible) - “And so I am giving a new commandment to you now—love each other just as much as I love you.

May the shadow of Christ's love overwhelm you today, so that you may love others in turn.

Living in Grace

Sunday 13 February 2022

What is Jesus doing while you go through your storm?

“For the people of the promise, Jesus is praying. The midst of your storm, he is praying for you.” - Max Lucado

I found these words very comforting this week. As you read them, I invite you to also read this passage from Matthew 14.

"As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.

Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared to death. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.

But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.” (v.22-27)

Hold onto this thought as you start a new week.

Living in Grace

Thursday 10 February 2022

Today I tried to run the world...and I failed!

This piece of writing is so spot on for many of us. It hit me straight in the heart and I pray that God speaks to you as much as I felt him speaking to me. I am grateful to the book 'Souvenirs of Solitude' by Brennan Manning for this gift. 

"Lord, today I tried to run the world singlehandedly,
I tried so hard, Lord,
to take care of everything.
I took upon myself
all of the problems,
all the burdens,
all the worries of everyone who makes up my little world.
I tried so hard, Lord, and I accomplished nothing.
I'm frustrated,
and exhausted to the point of tears.
Nothing seemed to go right.

Lord, will I never learn
that you're the one
who runs everything?
That you're the one
who knows all the answers?
That you're the only one
who can carry
the intolerable burdens
we try to shoulder for ourselves?
That you're the only one
who can solve
the insoluble problems?

That you're the only one
who accomplishes anything of worth?
That everything depends on you?

Lord, sometimes I wonder why
you bother to put up with me.
Sometimes I wonder
if you're not sorely tempted
to take me by the shoulders 
and shake me until my teeth rattle.
I couldn't blame you if you did.

Thank you Lord,
for putting up with me today.

And thank you, Lord,
for doing things YOUR way!" - Brennan Manning.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Mistakes and seeking advice

Writing is a strange thing. 

Sometimes my mind races ahead of my fingers and I end up typing words that I haven't meant to include. The same applies with silly mistakes - in my haste to finish the post, I often glance at my thoughts and mis-read my own writing. However, when I then re-read the blog post a day later, I am shocked at the mistakes I have made. I apologise for these. 

But, this did get me thinking...

Are there times in our lives where we proceed with actions (or the like) without noticing the potential mistakes? And if the answer is 'Yes', are we then willing to allow others to speak into our lives? The advice of a trusted friend is worth gold in times like these. 

Proverbs 12:15 - The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.

Proverbs 27:9 - Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.

Do you have someone in your life who is a trusted sounding board? 

Living in Grace


Monday 7 February 2022


“Yet he (Abraham) did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” – Romans 4:20-21

There is so much great content in this passage and it is well worth chewing on. 

How many of us wish that we didn't waver in our faith or that we could be 'fully persuaded' in the power of God? Most of us I think.  I don't believe it's due to lack of wanting to experience these aspects of our faith, but rather that many of us feel inferior and unworthy of God's mercy.

So, what would it take for us to become more convinced of God's promises and then to stand on these WORDS as our foundation?

How can God strengthen us in our faith at the moment, so that we can give glory to God?

"There have been so many people who have said to me, 'You can't do that,' but I've had an innate belief that they were wrong. Be unwavering and relentless in your approach." - Halle Berry

Living in Grace


Saturday 5 February 2022

I don't understand it all

As a Minister I am asked a lot of questions. Some of them I can answer, but there are many that I truly don't have a neat answer for. There is a freedom in being able to admit that I am unsure on some matters and I know that most people appreciate this honesty.

However, there are a few things in our faith experience, that we may not be able to express in clear words, but that we just KNOW deep in our stomach's. One of these for me, is the knowledge that God is our constant companion. In the words of the ancient hymn, Dora Greenwell writes:

"I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned;
I only know at his right hand
Stands one who is my Saviour."

Perhaps we could just rest in what we KNOW of Jesus today, instead of trying to figure out all the complexities of life? Just a thought! 

Mark 4:24 - Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more.

Living in Grace

Friday 4 February 2022

Perfect Peace

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal." - Isaiah 26:3-4

As we reflect on this scripture, we are reminded to keep our minds focussed (steadfast) on the Lord. This implies that when we are prone to let our minds wander, or the stress of life causes us to be 'all over the place', that we then choose to fix our eyes on Christ. Once we have developed this habit, we will begin to know the perfect peace that God offers us.

Prayer: Thank you Lord that you offer to be my steadfast rock and firm foundation. Forgive me for the times that I forfeit your Peace by refusing to trust in your plan.

"Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." - Unknown

Living in Grace


Thursday 3 February 2022


Is there a difference between these two kinds of Freedom?

2 Corinthians - 3:17 - "For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom."

"Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your FREEDOM to choose how you will respond to the situation." - Victor Frankl
What do these 2 thoughts mean for you today? 
Can the 'freedom' that Christ offers us impact the way we respond to the situations that happen all around us? 
Living in Grace
Galatians 5:13 - For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

Tuesday 1 February 2022

Like dynamite

Dynamite was invented in the 1860's by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel. We are all aware of it's destructive qualities, but when used under careful supervision, it has the power to move massive mountains of rock and soil. 

I am not sure if you have ever considered the power of God's Spirit to be like that of dynamite? When the Spirit of God moves in our lives, it has the dynamic power to transform stubborn hearts into vessels used for the Kingdom of God. It is this same Holy Spirit that is at work in our lives, if we surrender to the supervision of Jesus Christ. 

I love this short poem by Thomas Merton, who describes what can happen Christ sets us free.

"Make ready for my Christ,
whose smile,
like lightning,
sets free the song of everlasting glory
that now sleeps in your paper flesh like dynamite."

Romans 1:16 - For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is God’s powerful method of bringing all who believe it to heaven.

Living in Grace