Saturday 9 December 2023

We must decide for ourselves!

It is clearly evident that Jesus' ancestors were a mixed bunch of people - some were godly and upright, but there were a few that were quite the opposite. Even in a short list of names we can see the diversity of these men (Matthew 1:8-9): 

"Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat (good guy). 
Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram (not so good).
Jehoram was the father of Uzziah (okay - better than his dad).
Uzziah was the father of Jotham (righteous).
Jotham was the father of Ahaz (very dodgy)".

No matter how good a King tries to be, it is still the responsibility of the people to follow God or not. Jotham seemed to be a man after God's heart, but many people stubbornly chose their own paths, ignoring his example.

"Jotham did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. He did everything his father, Uzziah, had done, except that Jotham did not sin by entering the Temple of the Lord. But the people continued in their corrupt ways." - 2 Chronicles 27:2

This is an important lesson for all of us: We can teach our family about the ways of Jesus, but in the end, we really must pray that they decide to follow Christ for themselves. We cannot have a 'personal' relationship with God on behalf of someone else.

Thought: When we stand at the manger this Christmas, we must each decide what to do with Jesus!

Living in Grace

Friday 8 December 2023

Holding fast to the Lord

Jehoshaphat was known as a king who followed the commands of God, and he is definitely a relative that we would love to see in our own genealogy, let alone in the lineage of Jesus. He succeeded his father (Asa) when he was about 35 and reigned for another 25 years. 

The bible mentions him a few times, including:

1 Kings 22:43 - Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the example of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. 

One of his success stories was that he managed to make peace with the king of Israel - at this point in history the 2 kingdoms were divided, and this was a remarkable achievement. His reliance on the Lord is evident in this exchange with the king of Israel:

"Then the king of Israel turned to Jehoshaphat and asked, “Will you join me in battle to recover Ramoth-Gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “Why, of course! You and I are as one. My troops are your troops, and my horses are your horses.” Then Jehoshaphat added, “But first let’s find out what the Lord says.” - 1 Kings 22:4-5

Those last words are very telling, for me. They show me that he was willing to seek the wisdom of the Lord first, before he ran into any situation, or he was tempted to make rash decisions. 

Jesus was also very good at doing this. Before he had to make any major decision, we note how he withdrew to a quiet place and spent time in prayer with his Father. It seems that some of the great wisdom of Jehoshaphat may have worked its way down the family line :) 

Thought: Advent is a time for pausing and reflecting on our relationship with Christ and others. Are we able to seek the face of Jesus, despite the noise around us? Are we able to hold fast to the Lord, as Jehoshaphat did?

Living in Grace


Thursday 7 December 2023

It is not always, "Like father, Like son!"

Another one of Jesus' ancestors was King Asa, the son of the wicked Abijah (Matthew 1:7). Thankfully, Asa was nothing like his father, and he remained faithful to the Lord for most of his life. This is how he is described in 1 Kings 15:

"Asa did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, as his ancestor David had done."- v.11

"Although the pagan shrines were not removed, Asa’s heart remained completely faithful to the Lord throughout his life." - v.14

As much as each of us is shaped and influenced by our families and peers, we all need to take responsibility for our own faith. Asa could have also ended up as the "bad apple", but he chose a different path from his father, and he ended up leaving a fairly positive legacy. 

Asa was not perfect and sadly towards the end of his 41-year reign, he began to make some foolish mistakes. On the whole, he is still considered to be a good and godly King, thus putting pay to the old saying: "like father, like son!" In the end, Asa was nothing like his dad.

As we think about the life of Jesus, especially during the season of Advent, it is wonderful to reflect on how much Jesus reflects the nature of his Father. The bible reminds us that we actually get a glimpse of God, through the person and life of Jesus.

Living in Grace


Wednesday 6 December 2023

Drawing straight lines with crooked sticks


After our church services on Sunday, one of my friends shared this intriguing quote with me. He was speaking in the context of how God's divine plans are carried out by fallible human beings. 

"God can strike a straight stroke by a crooked stick." - Thomas Watson, English Puritan (also used by Martin Luther and Ignatius Loyola) 

These words came back to me today as I was reading Matthew 1:7, noting that Rehoboam's son, Abijah was not the best of kings. He was not fully committed to the Lord and did some wicked things. In many ways, he becomes an interesting ancestor of Jesus.

"But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. – Psalm 33:11

Advent reminds me that God chose to use 'ordinary' people to accomplish his extra-ordinary purposes. We can never deny the eventual outcome of God's plans. 

Living in Grace


Monday 4 December 2023

When your family tree looks a little sketchy!

As I work my way through the genealogy of Jesus, I have been reading up on a few of his ancestors. It seems that Jesus also had some relatives who were a little sketchy. However, despite their short-comings, God was still able to work through their lives and to pave the way for his Son, Jesus. 

Solomon's son, Rehoboam, was the first King of Judah and he certainly was not a saint. Some of his decisions were based on arrogance and were disastrous for his people, however he at least came to a place of admitting his folly. Perhaps this is his most redeeming feature - he was able to admit his mistakes and say sorry:

"Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah." - 2 Chronicles 12:12

Advent takes us on our own spiritual journey of discovery. It should remind us that Christ came to earth for all people - arrogant, proud, sinful, righteous, faithful, humble, weak and strong. 

Rehoboam's story teaches me that every one of us has to face a big decision in our personal lives: Do we blindly follow our own will and plans or are we willing to humble ourselves and submit to the Lord?

No person can come to the manger on their own terms!

Living in Grace


Saturday 2 December 2023

The importance of a name - Jesse

In the season of Advent, we re-read the stories of Christ's birth and the fulfillment of many prophecies. There is much hope and wonderful anticipation hidden in these special pages of the Bible. One of the passages that often gets brushed over is Matthew 1 (and Luke 3), which includes the Genealogy of Jesus. 

I think the reason it gets skipped past is because we are confused by the many names. Some of the people mentioned we recognise, but many of the names don't ring a bell for us. However, we must remember that they are all included for a specific reason, and we would do well to understand the significance of each person - after all, they are all ancestors of Jesus Christ.

During Advent this year, I will try and shed a little light on some of these people and it is my prayer that this will help us understand the magnitude of the birth of Christ.

In Matthew 1:6 we come across arguably three of the most recognizable names in the bunch - "Jesse the father of King David. David the father of Solomon..." Each of these men has their own powerful story and legacy, but to note that they are ancestors of Jesus is remarkable.

Jesse is a unique man in that he is also surrounded by famous family members. He is the grandson of Ruth and Boaz, and then the father (and grandfather) of the greatest Kings of Israel. He was obviously some special guy and even his name alludes to this: Jesse means 'God's gift.'

Isaiah writes of him:

"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord— and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; .." (Isaiah 11)

As we slowly focus our attention on the Christmas season, let us not overlook the deep significance of the people involved in our Lord's life.

Living in Grace


Thursday 30 November 2023

Waiting, waiting, waiting!

It seems that the Lord is trying to teach me (and a few of you) the valuable lesson of waiting. I am not a patient person, so this is a tough lesson to be learning again! I had hoped that by the time I was in my 50's I would be a lot better at this discipline, but alas, it seems I am not! 

Thankfully, the Bible speaks on this issue in many places, and I am grateful for the words of advice that can help me in my wrestling. So, if you find yourself in a similar boat, I offer you some words of solace and may God grant us all the ability to 'wait patiently.'

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

“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about." - Acts 1:8

Psalm 37:7 - "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;"

Isaiah 26:8 - "Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts."

Living in Grace

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Failure is not fatal!

I have some inspirational quotes at the bottom of my diary. There are days when they don't really speak into my situation, but there are some days where they really make a lot of sense. This is what the quote said today:

"Success is not final; Failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

None of us enjoys failing at anything, but it is a part of life. However, it is important to have the courage to get up and try again. This also applies in our Christian faith. Although we strive to be Christ-like, we will make mistakes and disappoint ourselves and the Lord. The important decision for us to make is to ask for forgiveness, and then to ask God to help us move ahead. 

1 Chronicles 28:20 - David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.

Prayer: Lord, give us the courage to continue following you, no matter how imperfect we feel. 

Living in Grace

Monday 27 November 2023

Carry on until the end

Sir Francis Drake wrote a prayer that may be helpful for you today:

"O Lord God, when thou givest to thy servants to endeavour any great matter, grant us also to know that it is not the beginning, but the continuing of the same unto the end, until it be thoroughly finished, which yields the true glory: through him who for the finishing of thy work laid down his life, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen."

Philippians 1:6 - "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."

The hardest part is not always beginning something, but rather having the courage to carry on until the end. 

Living in grace


Sunday 26 November 2023

Christ the King

The last Sunday before Advent is usually marked as Christ the King Sunday. It is a significant occasion for believers as it draws our attention back to the Sovereignty of Jesus. In a time when leaders scramble for power and worldly leadership is often self-centered, we would do well to honour Christ as our King and Saviour. 

1 Timothy 1:17 - “To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Revelation 19:6 - “On his robe and on his thigh, he has a name inscribed King of kings and Lord of lords.” 

Elizabeth Joy-Lawrence wrote: "We need Christ the King Sunday because we need to remember that our ultimate hope is not in any human being, but in Christ.”

      Thought: How could Christ the King Sunday change the way we live our daily lives?

      Living in grace



Wednesday 22 November 2023


"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

As Paul ends off his letter to the church in Thessalonika, he urges them to hold JOY as their life-breath, PRAYER as their divine connection with God, and GRATITUDE as a daily practice. 

His words are equally inspiring for all of us, despite the challenge of trying to put these ideals into practice.

What do you think?

"Always be joyful.
Always keep on praying.
No matter what happens, always be thankful,"
 - Living Bible

Living in Grace


Monday 20 November 2023

We can't go back to yesterday

"It is no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then." - Lewis Carroll

There is a profound truth in this statement! When one sincerely confesses our sins (of yesterday), and we seek to live in the grace of God today, we need to let go of the past. Sadly, there are many people who keep trying to dredge up the pain of the past, but through God's mercy we can move on into our future. 

"No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." - Philippians 4:12-13

Thought: What past mistakes keep you from moving forward with freedom?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that you do not hold grudges against us. Teach us to let go of our pasts and to trust in your mercy in the future. Amen. 

Living in Grace


Sunday 19 November 2023

Come Holy Spirit (Uthando)

I have been listening to this beautiful song over the last while. It was written by a friend of mine, Mark Counihan, with input from his wife, Denise and friend Langa Mbonambi. If you need a song to quietly lift your spirits and remind you that God is still with us, then please click the link and listen. I am sure you will be blessed by the words and melody. (Come Holy Spirit)

Come, Holy Spirit
Move among us
Come Holy Spirit
Flow Living Water
Flow within us
Flow Living Water


Your Love is alive
Breaking the darkness
It’s bringing the Light
To soften the heart of stone
Your Love is alive
Breaking the darkness
And winning the fight
And bringing the orphan home


Uthando uthando
Lwakho lwakho
Luyaphila luyaphila
Your love is alive
Umbuso umbuso
Wakho wakho
Uyaphila, uyaphila
Your Kingdom is alive

No matter what language we speak - the Spirit of God is among us and God is alive.

Living in Grace

Thursday 16 November 2023

You don't have to save the world!

There are a large number of us who are adversely impacted by events happening around the globe. It is not that we are physically affected in anyway, but we certainly feel frustrated that we can't do anything to help. 

I have found that the emotions, that come along with these feelings of helplessness, can wear us down to a point of paralysis in our present contexts. In other words, we are so caught up in the battles raging elsewhere, that we have no energy to make a difference where we are living now! 

This quote has helped me to have a reality check:

Parker Palmer – “Our real freedom comes from being aware that we do not have to save the world, we must merely make a difference in the place where we live.”

Jesus told his disciples to be witnesses in Jerusalem first. Once they had done that, then they could move out to Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Living in Grace


Wednesday 15 November 2023

It is a good thing to have hope

When reading through the book of Lamentations, I couldn't help stopping at chapter 3 again. As you read through these words (in the modern paraphrase), I pray that they may be a blessing to you. 

It’s a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God

I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

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. 
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
(Eugene Peterson) 

Living in Grace

Tuesday 14 November 2023

A visual reminder

Sometimes we need visual reminders of things that are important to us. This can be photographs of loved ones, or mementos of holidays or a cross that hangs up in our home. All serve the purpose of jogging our memories in order to keep us living in the now. In ancient Israel, Moses was given this instruction:

"Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach them with a blue cord. When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the Lord instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do. The tassels will help you remember that you must obey all my commands and be holy to your God." - Numbers 15:37- 40 

What do you use to help you remember important things in your life?

Living in Grace

Monday 13 November 2023

Forget me not!


According to the Green Thumbler (a garden blogger), the story behind the "Forget-me-not" flower goes like this:

"It is said that while God was walking in the Garden of Eden, He came across a blue flower and asked for its name. The flower, being shy, whispered that it had forgotten its name. In response, God named the flower “forget-me-not,” promising that He would not forget it."

This ties in nicely with the words of Isaiah 44:21-22, which remind us of the promise that God never forgets us.

“Remember these things, Jacob, for you, Israel, are my servant.
I have made you, you are my servant; Israel, I will not forget you.

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

May these words offer you great comfort today.

Living in grace


Saturday 11 November 2023

Fallen Soldier

I came across a lovely poem from Branden Hildago called Fallen Soldier. In memory of all who have died in wars and conflicts around the world. We also remember all the innocent victims of violence and war. Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayers.

Fallen Soldier All Alone
Fallen Soldier Far From Home.
Trickling Down His Face A Tear,
Forgetting How It Feels To Fear
Death And All It's Fate And Glory.
Now It's Here, No Need To Worry.

Fallen Soldier All Alone
Fallen Soldier Far From Home
He's One Of Those They'll All Forget;
The Life He Lived, The Goals He Set,
The Ones He Loved, The Ones Who Wait
To See His Nearly Forgotten Face.

Fallen Soldier All Alone
Fallen Soldier Far From Home
Now Breathing's Just A Waste Of Breath
And Living's Just A Waste Of Death
As He Searches For A New Address;
A Brand New Home Free Of Loneliness.

Fallen Soldier All Alone
Fallen Soldier Far From Home
Lying Motionless On The Ground,
The Battle Raging All Around.
For Now He Is Not All Alone.
This Fallen Soldier Is Welcomed Home.

Living in Grace


Wednesday 8 November 2023

Not sure how I feel about this - what do you think?!

Sometimes we read things in the Bible that make sense, on one level, but also sound a little scary or even unfair, on another level. Take this verse as an example: 

Deuteronomy 8:2 - Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.

Or this one, which is referring to Hezekiah: 

"However, regarding the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, whom they sent to him to inquire about the wonder that was done in the land, God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart." (2 Chronicles 32:31)

I am okay about God using testing times to teach me things, but not sure how I feel about God testing me to see what's in my heart. Especially the part about withdrawing from me. Maybe it is just the language that is used, that makes me a little nervous, or perhaps I just need to trust more in the ways of God.

How do you feel? Any thoughts? 

Living in Grace


Tuesday 7 November 2023

Preparing for future trials

As I have been reflecting recently on the reasons why we encounter trials and times of testing, I was struck by how Jesus' temptation in the wilderness prepared him for his future ministry.

Matthew 4:1- Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (the Greek word tempted can also be translated as Tested.)

James points out that we can profit from our trials and struggle when he says: " My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:2-4)

So, I guess I have been challenged to try and consider my trials from a different perspective. Is it possible that God allows us to endure times of testing, in order to prepare us for something else in the future? What could that be? 

How do you feel about that?

Living in Grace


Monday 6 November 2023

You moved any mountains lately?

I came across this prayer recently. I am not 100% sure who the author is, but the words struck me as being authentic and honest. 

Lord, I've never moved a mountain and I guess I never will.
All the faith that I could muster wouldn't move a small ant hill.
Yet I'll tell you, Lord, I'm grateful for the joy of knowing Thee,
and for all the mountain moving down through life You've done for me.

When I needed some help, you lifted me from the depths of great despair.
And when burdens, pain and sorrow have been more than I can bear,
you have always been my courage to restore life's troubled sea,
and to move these little mountains that have looked so big to me.

Many times, when I've had problems and when bills I've had to pay,
and the worries and the heartaches just kept mounting every day, Lord,
I don't know how you did it. Can't explain the where’s or whys.
All I know, I've seen these mountains turn to blessings in disguise.

No, I've never moved a mountain, for my faith is far too small.
Yet, I thank you, Lord of Heaven, you have always heard my call.
And as long as there are mountains in my life, I'll have no fear,
for the mountain-moving Jesus is my strength and always near.
 - Source Unknown.

Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Living in Grace


Thursday 2 November 2023

Why wait until tomorrow?


As November picks up pace and we suddenly start to realize that Christmas is next month, we can become a little flustered. Some of us are motivated to get done, as much as possible, while others of us may be tempted to procrastinate. 

This quote from Charles Spurgeon may give us all something to think about.

"Alas, tomorrow never comes! It is in no calendar except in the almanac of fools!" 

Jesus said“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." (Matthew 6:34 - The Message)

Proverbs 27:1 - Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

The challenge for all of us is to not leave these things for tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come!

What do you think?

Living in Grace

Wednesday 1 November 2023

The secret of success is ....

Benjamin Disraeli once remarked: "The secret of success is constancy of purpose." 

I believe he has a point in many aspects of life, and we saw part of this in the Springboks recent World Cup Rugby victory. When a team (or individual) pushes forward with one purpose in mind, there is greater chance of success. The more the purpose is thwarted or watered-down, the less likely that the result will be successful.

I would argue that this can also apply to faith, although I wary of the word 'success' when it comes to ministry and Christianity. Jesus certainly had a consistency and singlemindedness, that motivated him to change the lives of his disciples and all that met him. He poured his life into the lives of others and drew them into the heart of the Father.

What purpose is motivating you at the moment? Are you able to keep your eye on the main focus?

Joshua 1:7 - “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

Living in Grace


Tuesday 31 October 2023

To be changed - fostering a spirit of reformation

The 31st of October is known as Reformation Day - we remember it as the occasion when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of the All-Saints church in Wittenberg in 1517. A lot of things happened in the buildup to this significant event, and we would do well not to think that it only took a single day to bring about Reformation. 

We could argue that the Church is still being reformed and perhaps this is a good thing. As much as all churches seek to follow the ways of Jesus, we all end up missing the mark in some way. Our greatest danger may lie in thinking that we have 'made it' and that we are the finished article. If the Holy Spirit needs to sanctify the individual believer, then surely, He also needs to sanctify and reform the greater church.  

The question remains to be asked: Are we so keen to be changed and reformed? Reformation always looks so neat and simple in hindsight, but it never comes without a struggle and growing pains. 

"The church is always trying to get other people to reform, it might not be a bad idea to reform itself a little, by way of example." - Mark Twain

"Nevertheless, the central affirmation of the Reformation stands: through no merit of ours, but by his mercy, WE HAVE BEEN RESTORED to a right relationship with God through the life, death, and resurrection of his beloved Son. This is the Good News, the gospel of Grace. " - Brennan Manning

Living in Grace


Monday 30 October 2023

A humbling reminder

As we read deeper into Psalm 90, we note how Moses comes to the clear understanding of his own mortality. And as he does this, he naturally compares this with God's immortality. In an age, where millions of people are obsessed with making a name for themselves, we all need to humbly remember that God is the only one who has the power of life and death. 
"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:
In the morning it springs up new,
but by evening it is dry and withered." - Psalm 90

I read an interesting story that highlights this same point: 

"Philip II, father of Alexander the Great and king of Macedon, was always accompanied by two men who had a very interesting duty. One man was to say to him each morning, "Philip, remember that you are but a man," while the second asked the king each evening, "Philip, have you remembered that you are but a man?" - Today in the Word, March 30, 1993.

Living in Grace


Sunday 29 October 2023

Our Home

Psalm 90:1 – “Lord, through all the generations you have been our home…”

When Moses wrote these words, he remembered how through everything that he had been through, God had been their help and refuge. 

We all seek our homes to be places of safety and a haven from the outside world - they offer comfort and rest, a place to be vulnerable and a safe space where we can be ourselves. Although our human 'homes' offer us a glimpse of the perfect home, we know that one day we will be able to rest in the presence of the Lord. 

God will be our true Home.

Psalm 23:6 Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.

Living in Grace

Thursday 26 October 2023

Waking up the King

"The only person who dares wake up a king at 3:00 AM for a glass of water is a child. We have that kind of access (to our King)." - Tim Keller

I think these words are so beautiful and help me to remember that we can pray at any hour of the day. As a parent, I remember being woken up in the early hours of the morning by a sick child, or a child who had a nightmare or who was thirsty. Their requests didn't make me angry (although they did make me tired and sleepy), but they reveal the depth of trust that the kids had in us. 

Hold onto this image as you go about your day. Remember that we have the privilege of being able to wake up the King - any time of the day.  

1 John 5:15 - And if we really know he is listening when we talk to him and make our requests, then we can be sure that he will answer us.

Living in grace


Wednesday 25 October 2023

Set a watch on my tongue

"Set a watch upon our tongue O Lord, that we may never speak the cruel word, which is untrue; or being true is not the whole truth; or being wholly true, is merciless; for the love of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen." - William Barclay

We all know the hurt of harsh words spoken by others, especially when there is little understanding of the 'whole' story. Just as we are acutely aware of this pain, so may we then ask God to set a watch on our words, so that we don't inflict pain on others. 

James 1:26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

Living in grace


Tuesday 24 October 2023

A last bit of advice

While John Bertram Phillips was vicar of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Lee, London (1940-44), he found that many young people in his church did not understand the Authorized Version of the Bible. He wanted them to receive strength from the Bible, especially during the London Blitz, and so he used the time in the bomb shelters to begin a translation of the New Testament into modern English. 

He started with the Epistle to the Colossians and then Paul's other letters. The results appealed to the young people who found it easier to understand. Encouraged by their feedback, after the war J.B. Phillips continued to translate the rest of the New Testament into colloquial English and helpful thousands of people fall in love with reading the Bible. 

This is his paraphrase of Philippians 4:8-9:

Here is a last piece of advice. If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval of God, fix your minds on the things which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good. Model your conduct on what you have learned from me, on what I have told you and shown you, and you will find the God of peace will be with you.

Living in Grace