Wednesday 30 March 2022

Words of wisdom

"From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence.
Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin."
- Proverbs 13:2-3

I am always amazed at how relevant the ancient words of Proverbs still are. It is almost as if humanity hasn't changed at all. Jesus said something similar when he spoke to the crowds following him:

"For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” - Matthew 12:37

How can we guard our lips today?

Living in Grace

Sunday 27 March 2022

Who are we carrying the stone for?

I came across this lovely story that is told by Elisabeth Elliott. It challenges us on the question of why we actually follow Jesus. What are our true motives? Do we respond to God, because we think there is something in it for us or just because we love Jesus? 

“One day Jesus said to his disciples: “I’d like you to carry a stone for me.” He didn’t give any explanation. So the disciples looked around for a stone to carry, and Peter, being the practical sort, sought out the smallest stone he could find. So he put it into his pocket. Jesus then said: “Follow me.” Jesus led them on a journey. About lunch time Jesus invited them all to sit down. He waved his hands and blessed the stones and they all turned into bread. He said, “Now, it’s time for lunch.” In a few seconds, Peter’s lunch was finished.

After lunch, Jesus told them all to stand up and he said again: “I’d like you to carry a stone for me.” This time Peter said, “Aha, Now I get it!” So he looked around and saw a small boulder. He hoisted it on his back and it was very painful – in fact, it made him stagger. But he said, “I can’t wait for supper.” Jesus then said: “Follow me.”

Jesus led them on a journey, with Peter barely able to keep up. Around supper time Jesus led them to the side of a river. He said to them, “Now everyone, throw your stones into the water.” They did. Then Jesus said, “Follow me.”

Peter and the others looked at Jesus dumbfounded (even angry). Jesus sighed and said, “Don’t you remember what I asked you to do? “I’d like you to carry a stone for me.”

Who were you carrying the stone for?” – Elisabeth Elliot

Living in Grace


Saturday 26 March 2022

Our home - Psalm 90


The hymn I mentioned in yesterday's post was 'O God, our help in ages past' and it is believed that Isaac Watts based his lyrics on Psalm 90. If one takes the time to read through the words of this Psalm, we will note that there is a strong correlation between the two. 

May the words of the Psalmist encourage you today and always.

"Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.

Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn people back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”

A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.

Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
they are like the new grass of the morning:" - Psalm 90

Living in Grace

Friday 25 March 2022

O God, our help in ages past

The words of this beautiful song remind us of God's faithfulness in the past and his promise to help us in the future. Jesus is our hope for an uncertain tomorrow. I am convinced that Isaac Watts would have only penned these words if he had experienced this truth in his own life.

O God, our help in ages past,
  Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
  And our eternal home.

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while life shall last,
And our eternal home.

May these words offer you hope and help today.

Living in Grace


Thursday 24 March 2022

Hard questions

Author and speak, Dr. Larry Crabb writes as if Jesus is speaking to each one of us:

“Face the hard questions that life requires you to ask. Gather with other travellers on the narrow road, pilgrims who acknowledge their confusion and feel their fears. Then, together, live those questions in My Presence.”

This is what it means to be in a church. To gather with fellow believers; to share our joys and sorrows; to help each other find Jesus in the midst of the brokenness. Remember that Jesus is never afraid of our hard questions. In fact, he joins us on the road, for the very purpose of listening to our deepest longings.

"Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
- Luke 24:13-17

Living in Grace


Tuesday 22 March 2022

Human rights

In response to the South African national holiday, Human Rights Day, I found a few quotes from the scriptures, which would be good to read in light of our Christian response to the rights of all people. This is usually a sensitive topic as we all have varying opinions on our rights, but hold these verses up to the debate and see if they add any wisdom.

"Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees,
to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.
What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help? 
Where will you leave your riches?" - Isaiah 10:1-3

1 Corinthians 8:8-9 - "But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak."

Lamentations 3:34-36 - "To crush underfoot all prisoners in the land,
35 to deny people their rights before the Most High,
36 to deprive them of justice—would not the Lord see such things?"

As Christians, how do we view 'our' rights in the context of a fallen world? What action should we take to protect the rights of the marginalised and poor?

Living in Grace

Friday 18 March 2022

The Root

"... consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you." - Romans 11:18

This verse reminded me of a profound truth. 

Christ is meant to be the one who keeps us rooted to the Father and to our faith. We are not the one who supports God - rather, it is God who supports us.

Let us stop trying to support the "root" and rather receive our strength and support from the Living God.

Living in Grace


Thursday 17 March 2022

This is what is missing on most CV's

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) can give us a good idea of someone's skills, experience and general life context. However, there is something that is often overlooked, but should be an important criteria in appointing any person to a job... that is integrity! 

For me, this would the defining difference between 2 equal candidates (on paper). What is the underlying character of this person? When Nehemiah was appointing people to help rebuild Jerusalem he was very clear on who he was looking for:

"I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do." - Nehemiah 7:2

For the moment, we will overlook the obvious nepotism in Nehemiah's appointment of his brother, but his choice of commander of the citadel was based on 'INTEGRITY' and 'GODLINESS'. 

What do you feel about this? Is this important for you or not?

Living in Grace


Wednesday 16 March 2022

Confident of these things

I was thankful for the inclusion of Psalm 27 in the lectionary reading for Sunday. It reminded me that we can be confident in the goodness of God. This has been very helpful, especially in light of all that is happening around us at the moment.

"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. " - Psalm 27:13-14

I believe that a person can only say these things if one has experienced them in the past. We can know God's strength and power, when we are willing to wait on Him. 

May God's spirit strengthen you and enable you to Take Heart.

Living in Grace


Tuesday 15 March 2022

Probing questions

When a rich young man came to Jesus to seek his advice, Jesus didnt hide from his challenging questions, but he also didnt make it easy for him. In an ironic twist, Jesus knew what this young man was hiding in his heart and so Jesus challenged him to give that "idol" up. 

Even when the young man refused Jesus' challenge, we note Jesus' response:

"Jesus looked at him and loved him." - Mark 10:21

If God asks us probing questions it is not to be malicious in any way, but rather to get us to see what God already sees. If there are issues in my life that prevent me from living an 'abundant life' then I would want a gracious God to speak into my life.

What about you?

Living in Grace


Monday 14 March 2022

Hiding Place

Chuck Swindoll wrote: “In place of our exhaustion and spiritual fatigue, God will give us rest. All he asks is that we come to him...that we spend a while thinking about him, meditating on him, talking to him, listening in silence, occupying ourselves with him - totally and thoroughly lost in the hiding place of his presence."

Which part of these words from Chuck Swindoll ring true for you today? Perhaps the Psalmist would argue that the idea of God's presence being a hiding place would be his thought for the day.

"You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance." - Psalm 32:7

Living in Grace


Friday 11 March 2022


"They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."
- Isaiah 35:10 (NIV)

In the New International Version use is made of the word 'overtake' to describe how joy and gladness will come upon the returning Israelites. It may seem a little out of place, but when we look back at verse 8, we note that Isaiah mentions a road, a highway, the Way of Holiness. 

So, in my mind's eye, I picture pilgrims walking wearily along a road, only to suddenly notice that they are being overtaken by something. However, what is coming passed them is not something dangerous or negative, but rather 'gladness' and 'joy.' 

May God's overwhelming joy and peace move in your hearts today, so that all sorrow and sighing may be left in the 'dust.'

Living in Grace

Thursday 10 March 2022

My cup of compassion

I was given a beautiful piece of writing today that I really must share with you. The author is Joyce Rupp and she has a unique gift of expressing deep spiritual truths. She writes on the compassion of Jesus:

"My cup of compassion
holds tears of the world;
it overflows with sorrow,
struggles, and sadness.

my cup of compassion
holds the cries of children,
unfed, unloved,
uneducated, unwanted.

my cup of compassion
holds the screams of war,
the tortured, slain,
the raped, disabled.

my cup of compassion
I hold it to my heart
where the Divine dwells,
where love is stronger
than death and disaster."

May these words bless you as much as they have blessed me.

Living in Grace

P.S. This is just part of her poem - I am sure you could find the rest on her website. 

Tuesday 8 March 2022

Steady the knees that give way

How much can we apply today's reading to our own lives and to the circumstances of other people? Take a look at the Isaiah 35:3-4 and see what I mean? 

"Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come, he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

In my opinion, we can all do with hearing the good news that God strengthens our feeble hands and weak knees. These promises certainly apply to our daily trials and challenges. And I am sure that we long to hear the reassuring words "be strong and don't fear!" There is plenty to be make us fearful nowadays, so the words of comfort are much appreciated. 

However, if I were a Christian living in Ukraine right now, would I be tempted to read verse 4 as a prayer to deal with my enemies? Would I hang on these words as a promise that God dishes out divine retribution on our behalf? How much leeway are we allowed in interpreting the Scriptures and then allowing them to speak into our lives? 

I still think it is always best to read the passage understanding these 3 layers:

1. Historical context - who was writing this, why and who was expected to receive the message?
2. What was God's promise to the people, in the era it was written.
3. A future promise and principle for those of us reading this years later. 

Living in Grace

Monday 7 March 2022

The flowers will come

"Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days.
The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.
Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers
and singing and joy!
The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon,
as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon.
There the Lord will display his glory,
the splendour of our God." - Isaiah 35:1-2

These words of Isaiah come as powerful words of hope, following on from his previous chapters of judgement. The images that he shares with us are a reminder to all believers that the future will be very different from the present. 

The wilderness, wasteland and desert's of this life, will be replaced with beautiful flowers and luscious plains. The pain and despair of a broken world will be restored through the splendour of our God.

We live in a different era to Isaiah, but these verses are so needed in our world today! Let us believe in these promises. 

May they offer you solace and peace. In Jesus name.

Living in Grace

Sunday 6 March 2022

Accountability to God

"My greatest thought is my accountability to God.” - Daniel Webster.

For many Christians, this is what guides our decisions and the lives we choose to live. It is not meant to be something that drives us into a state of fear, but rather the acknowledgement that all our choices will need to be justified before God.

In my opinion, what happens when we don't believe in an Eternal moment of accountability, is what is happening in Russia/Ukraine right now. If people don't have a healthy respect for God, (in Solomon's words, the 'fear of the Lord'), they will abuse and destroy all in their path. 

Romans 14:10 - For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

Sadly, it seems that we have not learnt anything from history. Political leaders are deceived that they are demi-gods and millions are affected by their delusions. 

Living in Grace


Saturday 5 March 2022

Feeling helpless

Watching the ongoing war in the Ukraine it is hard not to feel completely helpless. Modern media has helped us to follow the story of this tragedy, but in a way, it has also heightened our impotence. What can we do to help the innocent who are being killed and traumatised?

We are therefore reminded to pray! I know that this is the best thing we can do at this time, and to leave the judgement and reckoning to the Lord.

Thankfully, Jesus reaches out to all who feel lost and helpless: 

Matthew 9:36 - When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Psalm 10:12 - Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 1 March 2022

Prayer for Peace

In our troubled times there are many helpful prayers for peace. Here is the short prayer that has been helping me in these difficult days.

"Lord, I come before you ready to pour out my worries, anxieties, and fears at Your feet. I am claiming and declaring Your promises for blessings of peace and strength over my life. Bring peace into my soul that passes all worldly understanding and make me a light for others to see Your strength." ( 

Paul suggests the following

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” - Philippians 4:6

May God's peace enfold you with his care and grace.

Living in Grace