Thursday 29 September 2022

Life with God

"Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties." - C.S. Lewis

Jesus said the same thing 2000 years before C.S. Lewis, but this is still a hard reality for us to grasp.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33

Jesus makes it clear that we will face difficulties, but that we will find our deepest peace in Him, and not in anything else.

May we learn to 'take heart' in the One who brings us Peace.

Living in Grace


Wednesday 28 September 2022

A true show of commitment

This past weekend I had the privilege of being part of the Ordination service for all new Ministers in the MCSA. This service marks the end of a long journey of preparation for each one of them, some being close on 9 years in the making. While the Ordination service is not the culmination of their ministry, it is a real affirmation of their gifts and calling. 

What struck me again was the level of commitment it has taken for these men and women to get to that moment. They have had to go through ups and downs, trials and triumphs, tears and laughter. So, the inevitable question arises:

Are we prepared to commit to Jesus Christ and to gear up for the long haul? What prevents us from staying the course?

"His (God) love is not a passing fancy or superficial emotion; it is a profound and unshakable commitment that seeks what is best for us." - Billy Graham 

George Barna wrote on the present state of the American church: "we are willing to expend some energy in religious activities such as attending church and reading the Bible, and they are willing to throw some money in the offering basket, but when it comes time to truly establishing their priorities and making a tangible commitment to knowing and loving God, most people stop short."

Living in Grace


Tuesday 27 September 2022

Controlling the whole horse

"A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell." - James 3 (The Message)

I came across these words today and they reminded me of the power of the tongue amd how our words can "make or break" others.

May our words be few and our actions many! 

Living in Grace


Monday 26 September 2022

What is a Christian?

In response to the question: What is a Christian? (or maybe it should read 'Who' is a Christian), Augustine offers these thoughts: 

"A Christian is: a mind through which Christ thinks, a heart through which Christ loves, a voice through which Christ speaks, and a hand through which Christ helps." - St. Augustine

What do you feel about this? 

Would you add anything else to his quote?

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails."
- 1 Corinthians 13

Living in Grace


Saturday 24 September 2022

Where did the time go?

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote: "Art is long and Time is fleeting."

As we celebrate our son, Nathan's 18th birthday today, we have been looking at a whole lot of photos of when he was younger. We have been left with the great impression of how quickly time has gone. It seems 'just the other' day that he was celebrating his 5th or 10th birthday's. 

I suppose the biggest lesson for us all is that life is short, and we should enjoy every moment of it.

Job 9:25 (The Message) - “My time is short—what’s left of my life races off too fast for me to even glimpse the good. My life is going fast, like a ship under full sail..."

As we all have to face up to this reality, may we do so with the grace and love of God in our hearts.

May the Lord be with you today.

Living in Grace


Thursday 22 September 2022


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

As we contemplate this verse, we should note the invitation to relinquish our burdens and cares to the Lord. This is not always an easy thing to do, but such an important step in our faith.

What are struggling to relinquish to God at the moment?
How can you begin to let God take control?

Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns (The Message). 

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
― Ann Landers

Living in Grace

Wednesday 21 September 2022

A Good Example

What does it mean to follow someone's example? Is it as simple as taking note of how they live, speak, act and then trying to emulate that? How do we know that their example is the right one to follow as there are plenty of people who aren't good examples?

When we turn to the Scriptures, we find the charge to follow the example of two extremely influential people - Jesus and Paul. 

"I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you" - John 13:5

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." - 1 Corinthians 11:1

Thoughts: How good are we at following Jesus' example?

Albert Schweitzer - "A good example has twice the value of good advice."

Living in Grace


P.S. Remember that you can get this devotion directly to your email inbox - just go to the subscription block on 

Tuesday 20 September 2022

The illusive gift

If you hadn't realised it as yet, the world offers us many gifts to try and appease our feelings of unease. These take the form of many disguises and facades, but in the end, they usually fail to meet our deepest needs. Jesus steps into the fray and offers us something remarkably life-giving - it is the gift of himself. 

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - John 14:27

In my experience, the PEACE that we are invited to share, is not just a 'feeling', but a relationship with the ONE who is PEACE personified.

What do you feel?

Where do you find your peace? 

Living in Grace


Monday 19 September 2022

The Greatest Disease

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty -- it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There's a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” ― Mother Teresa, A Simple Path: Mother Teresa

What do you feel about this quote?

How can you reach out to someone who is need of love?

At the end of the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus asked the expert in the law a question:

“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.”
- Luke 10:36-37

Living in Grace

Friday 16 September 2022

Help is on the way

If ever there was a picture of God coming to our rescue, then this must be it:

“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to help you,
And in His excellency on the clouds.
27 The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;" - Deuteronomy 33:25-27 (NKJV)

I can't but help think of God riding on the clouds of heaven, rushing to be at our side. 

What part of this passage lives with you today? Will you let God help you in your time of need?

"The whole trouble is that we won't let God help us." - George MacDonald

Living in Grace


Thursday 15 September 2022

Dusting ourselves off and starting over

"Failure is just part of the process, and it's not just okay; it's better than okay. God doesn't want failure to shut us down. God didn't make it a three-strikes-and-you're-out sort of thing. It's more about how God helps us dust ourselves off so we can swing for the fences again. And all of this without keeping a meticulous record of our screw-ups." - Bob Goff

The Grace of Jesus reminds me that no matter how many times I fall, Christ invites me to stand up again, to dust myself off and follow him. Each time this happens, I pray that I am more in tune with the wisdom and ways of God, in order that I don't make the same mistakes again.

How do you feel when you make a mistake? Or when you have 3 strikes and achieve nothing but embarrassment?

Galatians 5:1 - Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Living in Grace


Wednesday 14 September 2022

Never failing compassion

"Because of the LORD's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him.” - Lamentations 3:22-24 (NIV)

As I read these words today a few things stand out for me.

What does 'consumed' mean for us in today's language? I found the Living Bible offers more clarity for me: "It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction." (v.22)

And how can the word 'portion' speak into our lives? Well, that word can also be read as 'inheritance' - so, what the writer is suggesting is that God himself will be our reward for faithfully following his ways. In this world, we can possibly expect to leave a material inheritance for our families, but can you imagine if we could leave 'God' as the eternal gift?

Eugene Peterson writes:

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.

Living in Grace


Tuesday 13 September 2022

Looking up

How often do we look up to the Lord when we pray? 

I know that God is not limited to our geographic perceptions, but there is something profound in looking to the heavens when we pray. It is interesting that the Bible only mentions are few occasions where Jesus looked up to heaven when he prayed - one of these events (the feeding of the 5000) is recorded in 3 of the Gospels: 

Luke 9:16 - Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people." (Mark 6 and Matthew 14).

Why do you think he made a point of doing this on this occasion?
Other passages include:

Mark 7:34-35 - He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (Which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak plainly.

As we follow Jesus today, let us remember to keep looking up. It is in keeping our eyes fixed on Him that we will be able to face all the challenges that lie ahead of us.

Living in Grace

Monday 12 September 2022

A Royal Crown

In a week where the world has begun to mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, we are reminded that we are also considered to be 'royalty' in the eyes of God. We may not get to sit on the earthly throne of Buckingham Palace, but we will be honoured in the presence of Almighty God. 

"You will be a crown of splendour in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God." - Isaiah 62:8

"You will also be [considered] a crown of glory and splendour in the hand of the Lord, And a royal diadem [exceedingly beautiful] in the hand of your God." (Amplified Bible)


1. What prevents us from feeling like 'royalty' in the eyes of God?

2. What responsibility do you think comes with being a royal child of God?

Living in Grace


Saturday 10 September 2022

Abiding in God

What does it mean for us to 'stay in' or 'abide' in God? When John shared his Gospel with his audience, he recorded these words of Jesus:

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father." - John 15:5-8

What does that mean for you today?
How hard is it for us to 'stay in tune' with the Lord?

I suppose on a simple level, it is like having a mobile phone, but not having any ability to connect to wifi or data. The phone is still in your hand, but it has lost a lot of its functionality. 

John 15:4 (Message) - "Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you."

Living in grace

Wednesday 7 September 2022

God hears us

As we found out yesterday, God speaks to us in many different ways. However, it is also very important to remember that God also hears us when we cry out to him. In today's reading we will see how the writer of Genesis makes this very point:

7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. 8 The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

“I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied.

9 The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” 10 Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.”

11 And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the Lord has heard your cry of distress. (Genesis 16:7-11)


1. How does the knowledge that 'God hears' make you feel today?
2. Did you notice the other questions that the angel asks Hagar (in verse 8)?
3. How would you answer those questions?

"There is indeed a God that hears and sees whate'er we do." - Plautus

Living in Grace

Tuesday 6 September 2022

God speaks to Solomon

When God speaks to people in the Bible they usually listen. Obviously, some people are stubborn and refuse to listen to the words of the Lord, but many people are obedient in their faith. In 2 Chronicles 7, we find a moving moment, where God communicates with Solomon. As you read these words, ask yourself if there is anything important that strikes you in these words.

Then one night the Lord appeared to Solomon and said, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. 13 At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. 14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 15 My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. 16 For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honoured forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.

17 “As for you, if you faithfully follow me as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, 18 then I will establish the throne of your dynasty. For I made this covenant with your father, David, when I said, ‘One of your descendants will always rule over Israel.’

  • "Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message." - Malcolm Muggeridge

Living in Grace

Monday 5 September 2022

Your Burning Bush Moment

Have you ever had a burning bush moment?

I am assuming that if you said 'Yes', that it didn't really involve a burning bush, but something that God used to get your attention? I have had a few moments where God has stopped me in my tracks. The real challenge comes in how we respond to these moments. Are we attentive? Do we draw closer to God or are we tempted to turn away in fear?

Read through the story in Exodus 3 again:

One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”

4 When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

“Here I am!” Moses replied.


1. Did you notice Moses' response to God's call?
2. What had happened to Moses prior to this moment? Do you think he felt worthy of being called?
3. If God were to 'draw you closer' what would make you stand up and pay attention?

Living in Grace

Sunday 4 September 2022

A journey of renewal and exploration

I would like to invite you onto a special journey. I am going to be leading us on a journey of renewal throughout the month of September. It is something that I feel I personally need, and so would like to make it open for you to join me in this process. For these daily blogs, I will be giving you a scripture passage and asking you to do a few things:

1. Read through the passage once.
2. Spend a few minutes in quiet contemplation - I usually find it helpful to have a journal or diary nearby, so that when thoughts come crashing into my mind, I write them down and get back to them later.
3. Read through the passage again and underline or note any important verses or words that stand out for you.
4. Ask God to show you what this could mean for you, at this point in your life. Write this down. 
5. Is there some action that God could be prompting you to follow up with?
6. Spend some time in prayer, using the passage as a starting point. 
7. Share with someone about the word/verse that stands out for you (you can even email me if you like)

I pray that this journey may be a time of refreshing for us all. 

6 This being so, I want to remind you to stir into flame the strength and boldness that is in you, that entered into you when I laid my hands upon your head and blessed you. 7 For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.8 If you will stir up this inner power, you will never be afraid to tell others about our Lord or to let them know that I am your friend even though I am here in jail for Christ’s sake. You will be ready to suffer with me for the Lord, for he will give you strength in suffering.

9 It is he who saved us and chose us for his holy work not because we deserved it but because that was his plan long before the world began—to show his love and kindness to us through Christ. 10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, who broke the power of death and showed us the way of everlasting life through trusting him. 11 And God has chosen me to be his missionary, to preach to the Gentiles and teach them.

12 That is why I am suffering here in jail, and I am certainly not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to safely guard all that I have given him until the day of his return." -
2 Timothy 2:6-12

"Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day."- Jim Rohn.

Living in Grace

Saturday 3 September 2022

Thoughts on Worship

As we busy ourselves for another time of Sunday worship, here are a few thoughts to help us prepare our hearts and minds for this great privilege.

"Ultimately, it is the very life of man, man himself as living righteously, that is the true worship of God, but life only becomes real life when it receives its form from looking toward God."POPE BENEDICT XVI

"It is only when people begin to worship that they begin to grow." - CALVIN COOLIDGE

"God has no need for our worship. It is we who need to show our gratitude for what we have received."THOMAS AQUINAS

"God, if Thou dost never answer another prayer while I live on this earth, I will still worship Thee as long as I live and, in the ages, to come for what Thou hast done already." - A. W. TOZER

  • John 4:24 - God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.

May you be truly blessed as you worship the Living God today.

Living in Grace


Friday 2 September 2022

Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring

“Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.” - Catherine of Siena 

There is much truth in coming to understand that perseverance is a great virtue. Too many people in our modern world expect to be granted success without much 'long-suffering' or tenacity. 

Paul wrote a lot about endurance and perseverance:

"Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses" - 2 Corinthians 6:4

"...being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience." - Colossians 1:11

As you continue to walk in the ways of Jesus, may you be blessed with great courage and endurance.

Living in Grace


Thursday 1 September 2022

The test of a truly great person

"I believe the first test of a truly great man (woman) is their humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of their own power, or hesitation in speaking their opinion. But really great people have a ... feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them." - John Riskin 

I think this quote is spot on. I have met a few remarkably humble people in my life, who have not needed to strut or be arrogant in any way. Their very presence has been enough to reveal Christ to others.

Of course, on the other hand, I have also met a fair share of arrogant people. It is interesting that their attitude and demeanour actually repels you, instead of drawing you in. 

Can you think of anyone who fits the description of being humble or arrogant?

James 4:10 - Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Which one are we? 

Living in Grace