Thursday 30 March 2023

Stick with this

Stickability may not sound like a real word, but it is. It means "a person's ability to persevere with something or to have staying power." 

The season of Lent reminds us of the cost of following Jesus and the call for each of us to have 'stickability' in our faith. This will be hard at times, but in other moments, it may be a little easier. Each of the disciples had to wrestle with their own struggles in this area, especially after Jesus was arrested. Their natural desire was to turn and run away. 

"Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.” - John 8:31-32 (The Message)

Question: If you had to rate yourself between 0-10 on STICKABILITY today, how would you fair?

Living in grace


Wednesday 29 March 2023

We want to see!

In this passage from Matthew 20, we note that Jesus asks two blind men an interesting question: "What do you want me to do for you?" Our natural reaction is to think: "Of course that is what they would like - how can Jesus ask such a silly question?!" 

However, maybe there is more to this than we first think: 

"As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind. Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

“Be quiet!” the crowd yelled at them.

But they only shouted louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, “What do you want me to do for you?” 

 “Lord,” they said, “we want to see!”Matthew 20:29-33

Is it possible that what they truly want is more than just their eyesight, but rather they want to see "Spiritually?" Maybe they have lived with broken dreams and promises their entire lives. Maybe they have felt spiritually short-changed, and they are seeking something deeper. Perhaps they realise that Jesus has the answer for them, and this is why they call out to him.

What do you think?

Helen Keller - The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.

Living in Grace


Tuesday 28 March 2023

How far would you go?

How far would you go to get something or to achieve a goal? 

Thomas a Kempis, who wrote in the 14th Century, made an interesting observation of his peers: 

"For a small reward people will hurry away on a long journey; while for eternal life, many will hardly take a single step." 

Following Jesus is a challenging calling - how far are you willing to go in order to keep your faith?

John 6:67-69

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Living in Grace


Monday 27 March 2023

Keep moving forward

As one takes a deeper look at the familiar story of the Israelites heading towards the Promised Land, we notice something interesting:

"After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people." - Exodus 13

It only occurred to me now, why God used the pillar of fire to lead the Israelites. God wanted them to keep moving forward, and to put distance between themselves and the chasing Egyptians. It probably seemed a natural thing for them to rest at night and to only travel by day, but this would have been too dangerous for them, so God told them to walk in the dark. 

Obviously, God is not suggesting that we don't sleep at night, but I do think there is something profound about the idea of us 'moving forward', despite the darkness that may hamper our journey. Is it possible that in a time of despair we are tempted to stop? To give up? Could God be nudging us onward and promising to shine a light for us?

What do you think?

Living in Grace


Saturday 25 March 2023

Acquaintance or friend?

One of the very first things that occur through this learn­ing process is that acquain­tance­ship with God gives way to friend­ship with God.” - Richard Foster

How would you define the difference between an acquaintance and a friend? Would it be time spent together? Depth of conversation and stories shared? Trust and understanding? Having similar interests? Enjoying each other's company? 

When Jesus invites us to be his friends doesn't this make us different in some way? I can imagine being an acquaintance of God, because God has billions of people desperate to speak to him and know him. However, the idea of being a friend of God is hard to comprehend. It is beautiful, but still hard to grasp.

Richard Foster puts forward the idea that the more we journey with Christ (the path of discipleship), so this relationship transforms from one of casual acquaintance to deep friendship.

I know which one I would rather have - how about you? 

John 15:15 - "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."

Living in Grace


Thursday 23 March 2023

The best tactic

Tactics: a game plan for discussing your Christian convictions ...

"Our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in "muchness" and "manyness," he will rest satisfied."- Richard J. Foster

What do you make of this quote?

How often have these 3 things played a role in drawing us away from a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Christ? 

  • Noise? 
  • Hurry?
  • Crowds?

If the enemy's tactic is to bombard us with these 3 things, would you say he is succeeding or not?

Psalm 23:2 - "He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters."

Living in Grace


Wednesday 22 March 2023

True strength

Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” - Unknown 

What do you consider to be a representation of 'true strength?'

Exodus 15:13 - In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.

Romans 4:20 - Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.

Prayer focus: May you be strengthened in all that you may face today. 

Living in Grace

Monday 20 March 2023


"Just as worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience. If worship does not propel us into greater obedience, it has not been worship." - Richard Foster

There is a big difference in going to church because we feel that we need to 'tick the box', and worshipping with a great expectancy that the Spirit wants to commune with us. Developing an attitude of holy expectancy is the starting point of this transformation - once we arrive for worship with this expectancy, then we are more open for God to speak to us. Obedience is then our sincere response to 'hearing' from the Spirit during our times of worship. 

What are your thoughts on this? What is hard about this? 

"But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams." - 1 Samuel 15:22

Living in Grace


Sunday 19 March 2023

In all trouble we should seek God

"In all trouble you should seek God. You should not set Him over against your troubles, but within them. God can only relieve your troubles if you in your anxiety cling to Him. Trouble should not really be thought of as this thing or that in particular, for our whole life on earth involves trouble; and through the troubles of our earthly pilgrimage we find God." - Saint Augustine

I am challenged by the idea of placing God in the midst of our troubles. It makes sense to me, but honestly it is something I struggle with. I am usually pleading with God to get me out of the troubles I find myself in, but Augustine suggests we invite God into the middle of the mess. What do you feel?

"Even if I pass through death-dark ravines, I will fear no disaster; for you are with me; your rod and staff reassure me." - Psalm 23:4 (Complete Jerusalem Bible)

Living in Grace

Thursday 16 March 2023

10 Ideas to help us move towards simplicity

In reflecting on our need to "detach" from all the things that overwhelm us in todays' world, Richard Foster makes the following suggestions. Admittedly, these are from a number of years ago, but I feel they still strike a chord with me. Have a look at these and see if there is any one of them that could be helpful for you at the moment.

1. Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.

2. Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.

3. Develop a habit of giving things away.

4. Refuse to be swept up by gadgets.

5. Learn to enjoy things without owning them.

6. Develop a deeper appreciation for the creation and nature.

7. Keep a sceptical attitude about “buy now pay later” deals.

8. Obey Jesus’ instruction about plain honest speech (Matthew 5:33-38)

9. Reject anything that hurts other people.

10. Shun anything that distracts you or keeps you from seeking the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).

Luke 12: 29-31 - “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need."

Living in Grace

Wednesday 15 March 2023

He will hold me fast

Keith and Kristyn Getty wrote a beautiful song called "He will hold me fast." It really is an inspirational song and fills one with lots of hope. If you would like to listen to the song or forward it unto someone in need, then here is the link. 

The chorus reminds us all of the wonderful promise that Jesus will hold us fast, no matter what is happening around us. He is our strength and our anchor.

"He will hold me fast,
He will hold me fast,
For my Saviour loves me so,
He will hold me fast."

1 Thessalonians 5:21 - Hold on to what is good.

Isaiah 41:10 - Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 14 March 2023

Trust in the Lord

The words in the following Proverb are so simple, yet so hard to live out. However, if we manage to truly honour these words, then I believe that we will begin to see God's hand at work in our lives.  

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." - Proverbs 3:5-6

Question: Has there ever been a time when you have felt that your 'way' was the best way forward, but it hasn't worked out according to your plan? How did the situation end up and did God show you which path to take in the end?

John 12:44 - Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me.

Living in Grace


Monday 13 March 2023

There is a remedy, but we don't think we need it

Life is busy! Actually, a better way to describe it is this: Life is relentless. 

We never seem to get a break or catch our breath. We are rushing from one thing to the next, giving ourselves little time to even process our emotions along the way. And the result of all of this is that more and more of us are feeling exhausted and ready to scream. We constantly ask the question: Is it ever going to stop!? And in truth, if we don't do something about it, then this same cycle will continue, perpetually! It won't stop if we don't so something about it.

Ecclesiastes 7:39 – “God made man simple: man’s complex problems are of his own devising.” (Jerusalem Bible)

At the core of our culture of busyness, is our reluctance to take a Sabbath rest. Perhaps it is because we are afraid to fall behind the racing pack, or we argue that we can't afford the time to recreate ourselves. However, in truth, we are harming ourselves in the long run. We are not able to perform at our peak, because our bodies and minds are exhausted. Our mental health has taken a hit and we are left fending off all kinds of demons in our minds. 

But God has already given us a remedy, but we don't think we need God's advice. We think we know better. We think that taking some time to rest is seen as a failure. However, the irony is that when we do take some time out or even a short holiday, we usually come back stronger, more focussed and more energised to do our work and to be present with our loved ones.

So, perhaps God knows best after all. It may be wise for us to listen to his advice. Our health depends on it. 

Mark 2:27 - Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Living in Grace


Saturday 11 March 2023


Isaiah 38:3 - “Remember, O Lord, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.”

Remaining Single-minded is hard in this day and age. There are so many distractions, opinions, noises and voices out there that keeping focused is certainly a tough ask. So, how do we do this? How do we remain single-minded on the things of God. How do we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus? 

I guess there are a myriad of opinions on this, but I have found that keeping a daily time with God is the most helpful in this regard. Another helpful habit is to check in with other believers, in regular worship, prayer and fellowship. 

Question: What is preventing you from keeping focused on Jesus at the moment? How can we change this, even if it is just one small change? 

Proverbs 4:25 - Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.

Living in Grace


Thursday 9 March 2023

Where are we looking?


So often we spend so much energy searching for everything else, besides God. When we continue this pattern for a long time, we eventually grow restless and dissatisfied. C.S. Lewis reminds us of the simple adjustment we need to make in our Spiritual lives:

"Look for Christ and you will find him. And with Him, everything else." 

Matthew 6:33-34 - 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

What do you think of this?

Living in Grace


Wednesday 8 March 2023

Thoughts on International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day (8th March) and so I would like to honour all of our women readers, as well as the women in our community. May God bless you all. 

To celebrate this occasion from a Christian perspective, I offer you three quotes from remarkable women of faith. These ladies may not be known by us all, but their legacy lives on through the witness of their faith. 

 “The moment we come into any trial or difficulty, our first thought should be, not how soon can we escape from it, or how we may lessen the pain we shall suffer from it, but how can we best glorify God in it.” - (Susannah Spurgeon)

“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.” - (Elisabeth Elliot)

"Look what the Lord has done for me! My people were ashamed of me, but now the Lord has taken away that shame." - Elizabeth (Luke 1:25)

Living in Grace


Tuesday 7 March 2023

Why is it so hard for me?

"Why, O Lord, is it so hard for me
to keep my heart directed toward you?
Why does my mind wander off in so many directions,
and why does my heart desire
the things that lead me astray?
Let me sense your presence in the midst of my turmoil.
Take my tired body,
my confused mind,
and my restless soul into your arms
and give me rest, simple quiet rest."
- Henri Nouwen

I believe that one of the most important things to focus on, during Lent, is our honesty and authenticity. This prayer strikes a chord with me, as it 'tells it as it is' - Henri Nouwen owns his frailty, but still reaches out to God for strength and rest.

How is your Lenten journey going?

Psalm 10:1 - "WhyLord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?"

Living in Grace


Thursday 2 March 2023

No answer or perhaps the Answer

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” - C.S. Lewis

There is something beautifully simple about these words. How often do I have questions that never seem to be answered, yet I have been given the opportunity to approach Jesus directly? God may not answer all my questions, but I should always remember that he is the Answer I am looking for. 

Does that make any sense? I hope so :) 

Romans 7:25 - The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Living in Grace


Wednesday 1 March 2023

Lord of the unexpected

"Lord of every pilgrim heart,
you are beside me and before me on the way,
surprising me through your Spirit
at every turning on the path.
Yet, like your disciples
on the Emmaus Road,
I often fail to recognise my companion.
In this morning hour,
and in whatever the day may hold,
open my eyes to see your presence,
that I may celebrate with you
the gift of the morning,
O Lord of the unexpected."
- Prayer from Iona

"That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles[c] from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him." - Luke 24:13-16 

“Earth is crammed with heaven And every bush aflame with God But only those who see take off their shoes. —ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING”

Living in Grace