Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Don't let them out of your sight

"My child, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
preserve sound judgment and discretion;
they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.
Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet."
- Proverbs 3:21-24

What things of value do you try and keen within your sight? 

Is wisdom and understanding on that list?

I find it interesting that Proverbs teaches us that we will sleep soundly when we start by keeping wisdom and understanding close at hand. There is a lot of truth in this.

"A man only becomes wise when he begins to calculate the approximate depth of his ignorance." - Gian Carlo Manotti

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

So little time

In her book, The Quotidian Mysteries, Kathleen Norris reflects on our universal lament of how little time we all seem to have. She argues that it is not the time that is the big issue, but rather how we reflect during the 'hours' of everyday. She writes:

“The often heard lament, “I have so little time,” gives the lie to the delusion that the daily is of little significance. Everyone has exactly the same amount of time, the same twenty—four hours in which many a weary voice has uttered the gospel truth: “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Mt 6:34, KJV). 

But most of us, most of the time, take for granted what is closest to us and is most universal. The daily round of sunrise and sunset, for example, that marks the coming and passing of each day, is no longer a symbol of human hopes, or of God’s majesty, but a grind, something we must grit our teeth to endure. 

Our busy schedules, and even urban architecture, which all too often deprives us of a sense of the sky, has diminished our capacity to marvel with the psalmist in the passage of time as an expression of God’s love for us and for all creation: It was God who made the great lights, whose love endures forever; the sun to rule in the day, whose love endures forever; the moon and stars in the night, whose love endures forever. (Ps 136: 7—9, GR)

How can this change the way we think about our lives and encountering God in the ordinary moments?

Living in Grace


Monday, 16 May 2022

Idolising the self

We live in an age where we are constantly posting updates, pictures and information online - most of this may pertain to others, but a lot can revolve around ourselves. While, there is nothing wrong with this, we need to be careful (as Christians), that we don't fall into a trap of self-idolatry. The line is very fine, but the real test is whether we find we 'need' the affirmation more and more, or whether it's just good to stay in touch with others. 

What sparked these thoughts was a line that I read today in The God of Surprises by Gerard W. Hughes - "To repent and believe the Good News is to turn away from self-idolatry and to let God be God in us..." 

Jesus calls us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves, so we can see that we are supposed to love ourselves on one level, but self-idolisation is crossing the line. 

Acts 17:16 - While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.

Any thoughts?

Living in Grace


Sunday, 15 May 2022

God's timing

Many of us have a constant need to know what's going on and when! However, LIFE has an uncanny way of keeping these two things a mystery for us. Perhaps this is why Jesus reminded his disciples of this powerful truth:

Acts 1:7 (Message) - He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit.

We need to be content with the gift of the Spirit (which should never be seen as the second prize by-the-way). He will lead us into the knowledge of all things. Timing is the Father's business.

As I write these words, I am busy recovering from my first case of Covid, so these words are intriguing for me. Is it just a case of 'God's timing' or 'it was eventually gonna happen?'  

Makes one think, doesn't?

Living in Grace


P.S. I apologise for the lack of blogs over the last couple of days, but I have barely made it off the bed. I appreciate the prayers and support. Stay safe. 

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

What are we defined by?

Whether we like it or not, each one of us is defined by something. We can be defined by our upbringing, or our education. We can be defined by our faith or friendships. We can also be defined by our careers and the context in which we find ourselves. 

When Paul writes to the church in Colossae he has some words of encouragement for them and it may help us to understand his intention, especially in light of 'what defines us'.

"Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ." - Colossians 3: 11(The Message) 

Once we are "in Christ" this is what should be our defining criteria. 

What do you think?

Living in Grace


Monday, 9 May 2022

The donkey in the Lion's skin

Aesop, the ancient storyteller, told this remarkable fable: 

"Once upon a time, a donkey found a lion's skin. He tried it on, strutted around, and frightened many animals with his new appearance. Soon a fox came along, and the donkey tried to scare him, too. But the fox, hearing the donkey's voice, said, "If you want to terrify me, you'll have to disguise your bray." 

Aesop's moral: Clothes may disguise a fool, but his words will give him away.

This fable still finds value in today's context. How many times do our politicians try to disguise themselves with titles, propaganda and staged photoshoots, but in the end, their words still give them away?

"Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions." - Proverbs 18: 2

"The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives." - Proverbs 18:7

This challenge is not just for the politicians of this world, it is also for ourselves. We may think that by putting on airs of respectability we may win a few supporters, but it is our words that give prudence to our true characters. 

Living in Grace

Sunday, 8 May 2022

A prayer for Mother's

I have come across a lot of different prayers and thoughts for Mother's Day, but this is one that I really found meaningful. I have taken the liberty of changing a few words and lines, but I give the full credit to Rebecca Barlow Jordan for the majority of the inspirational words.

"Dear Lord, Bless every mother, grandmother and women with the finest of your spiritual blessings today. Confirm in her heart and spirit the work of her hands and the love that she has freely given to the children and people under her care. Validate her worth daily so she has no doubt that she is loved, valued, and cherished in your eyes.

Create in her a deep sense of your protection and trust, so that worry and fear disappear as she places her loved ones into your care. Let her know that every prayer she has prayed and every encouraging word she has spoken have been transformed into sweet, fragrant offerings.

Whisper deep within her spirit the sweet words she longs to hear from you. Show her that nothing can ever separate her from your love. Help her to nestle daily into the promises of your Word, standing with faith on the things you declare are true. Let her know that you reward faithfulness, and that true success doesn’t lie in accomplishments or accolades.

Let her rest in knowing that she has done all she can and that she and those she loves truly belong to you. Bless her with a servant spirit so she can teach her own the joy of hearing one day, “Well done!”

Let her joy be contagious; let her passion be pure; and let her life overflow with all the blessings she deserves—on special days, and on every day of her life. In Jesus’ name. Amen. (Adapted from Rebecca Barlow Jordan)

May all mothers, grandmothers, and women in general, have a blessed day today.

Living in Grace


Saturday, 7 May 2022

The Conspiracy of Kindness - changing the world by simply being kind

In his book, “The Conspiracy of Kindness,” Steve Sjogren makes an interesting observation. He states that less than 10% of Christians have the spiritual gift of evangelism, but around 90% have the gift of serving. He then goes on to speak about how we can witness to people through our acts of kindness and service. 

I find this a very thought provoking point, especially in the light of sharing our faith. When we speak to congregation members about sharing our experience of Christ, many people glaze over and become very scared. All the excuses in the book are then put forward as to why they can't evangelise and I fully understand how intimidating it can be. However, every person has the ability to 'serve' someone else and to show kindness. 

Imagine if we all ventured out into the world with the idea of sharing God's love with people through our actions and service?

In Acts 9 we read of a woman named Tabitha, who did exactly that. If you are interested in knowing more about her, then please check out our latest sermon on this remarkable woman. 

Living in Grace


Thursday, 5 May 2022

Will there be Good News?


We use the phrase 'good news' in many different contexts today. 

  • Will there be good news about the petrol price?
  • Will there be good news about the war in Ukraine?
  • Will there be good news about Covid?
  • Will there be good news about ......?

When Jesus offered himself to humanity, it was not so much what He could do for us that made it good news, but rather that He was the good news all wrapped up in one remarkable Person.

Luke 4:43 - But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”

·       William Loader - "The good news is about bringing life where there is death, love where there is hate, healing where there is brokenness."

Living in Grace


Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Leave it all to Him

"He will provide the way and the means, such as you could never have imagined. Leave it all to Him, let go of yourself, lose yourself on the Cross, and you will find yourself entirely." - Catherine of Siena

Leaving the real work to the Lord is something we all battle with. We sweat, we strive, we plan and we try to work things out by ourselves. However, all the time, the Spirit of God is wanting to work in our lives and to show us that God cares abundantly.

What do you need to 'leave' to God?

What in my heart must I let go of?

Matthew 8:13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “GoLet it be done just as you believed it would.”

"You are rewarded not according to your work or your time but according to the measure of your love." - Catherine of Siena

Living in Grace