Thursday 18 May 2023

An Ascension Blessing

As we mark Ascension Day today (18 May), I wanted to remind us of the beautiful fact that Jesus' last act, before ascending to heaven, was to bless his disciples. He had already spoken to them and given them their purpose, and now he wanted to offer them God's grace and love. 

"Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy." - Luke 24:5-52

 B.W. Johnson - "The last act of the Saviour upon the earth was a blessing.

As we remember this important milestone in our faith, I also offer you my own special blessing. May you receive it as an act of God's love for you.

"May you be blessed enough to see God's hand at work in every moment;
May you know the joy of friends and family, to accompany you through the valleys and hilltops;
May you experience moments of divine peace, as the storms rage around you;
May the voice of Jesus guide your very steps, even those that seem unsure;
May the Spirit of Christ embolden you for every task that lies before you;
And may the love of God surround you every moment of your life."

Matthew 5:5 (The Message) - You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

·    Living in Grace,  


    P.S. Remember that I will be walking the Camino in the next few days, so you may not receive blog posts for a while. Do not stress, I will be writing again soon :) Grace and peace. 

Wednesday 17 May 2023

Camino tales

People of all ages love to listen to stories (well most of us anyway). As children we are encouraged to use our imagination and to place ourselves into the stories we read or listen to. As I mentioned yesterday, I am super excited to enter into the story of the Camino de Santiago and to listen to the stories of thousands of pilgrims who have walked the path before us. 

Of course, literature is full of classic stories of Pilgrimage, and one doesn't have to physically walk the miles in order to experience something of the journey. Two of the more popular books in this regard, Canterbury Tales (by Geoffrey Chaucer) and Pilgrim's Progress (John Bunyan) tell of people making a journey of spiritual discovery. And of course, the Scriptures are also filled with accounts of the Israelites walking to the Promised Land, recounting stories of life, faith, trial and joy - all as the travel along the ancient paths to their end goal. 

If you didn't know this already, The Canterbury Tales, were crafted by Chaucer as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims travelling towards Canterbury. They were on a journey to visit the shrine of Thomas Becket, which was housed in the famous Cathedral. Apparently, the prize for the best tale was a free meal at the Tabard Inn at Southwark on their return.

To be honest, I am not really interested in any particular prize (not that there is really a prize), except for the joy of completing the walk, encountering fellow pilgrims along the way, enjoying God's presence and discovering more about myself. 

I will let you know if I get the prize in the end.

"We are invited to make a pilgrimage – into the heart and life of God."Dallas Willard

I want to enter the story of the Camino, so that I can reconnect with my part in the Greater Story. 

Living in Grace


Tuesday 16 May 2023

The Camino de Santiago

The idea of walking the Camino has been in my mind for a while now and I am so excited to have the opportunity to fulfil this dream. This week is the week that we get to tick 'The Camino' off our bucket list.

In truth, I can't tell you exactly when I first heard about the Camino de Santiago, but the very idea of going on this pilgrimage has remained in my heart for ages. Every person I have spoken to, who has walked a part of the Way, has beamed when relating their own experiences and I hope to be one of those people in the future.

For those of you who may not know too much about El Camino, it is quite simply a pilgrimage (usually walking) that ends up in the city of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. This is the place where the remains of James (Jesus' disciple, the son of Zebedee) are supposedly buried.  When translated, the name Santiago de Compostela means 'Saint James, in the field of stars.'

Sounds simple hey? Well, not exactly ....

In order to officially complete the pilgrimage, you need to walk a minimum of 100km's on any of the official routes and end up in Santiago. We will be walking on the Camino Primitivo route, which is the original pilgrim route in Northern part of Spain, and we should be covering a distance of close on 250km's. 

For us, the idea is to walk, to pray, to contemplate, to listen and to connect with God again. I know that one doesn't have to travel half-way around the world to do these things, but there is something special about doing it in the footsteps of millions of others. 

I will try and write a little more in the next few days, before we leave, but I would appreciate your prayers as we head out into this great adventure. It is my prayer that we would have our own Emmaus Road encounter (Luke 24) - and meet Christ as we walk and reflect. 

In 1604, Sir Walter Raleigh wrote: 

"Give me my scallop of quiet,
my staff of faith to walk upon,
my scrip of joy, immortal diet,
my bottle of salvation,
my gown of glory, hope's true gage,
and thus I'll take my pilgrimage."

Living in Grace

Monday 15 May 2023

Who is a saint?

Who comes to mind when you hear the word 'Saint?'

Is it the usual people that are mentioned in sermons and speeches - St. Augustine, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Francis, St. Benedict or St. Patrick? The list is endless, I guess. 

But have you ever considered that every saint has their faults and not one of them was without sin? I like the suggestion in today's quote, that being a 'saint' is actually something that we could be within reach for all of us (in a way). 

“A saint is not a person without faults, but a person who has given themselves without reserve to God.”Brooke Westcott

Thought: How do we give ourselves more fully to God today?

Living in Grace


Sunday 14 May 2023

An honest Mother's Day prayer

I stumbled across a beautifully honest prayer for Mother's Day. It is from Hannah Kardon - I hope you find it helpful. Blessings to you all.

To the Moms who are struggling, to those filled with incandescent joy.
To the Moms who are remembering children who have died, and pregnancies that miscarried.
To the Moms who decided other parents were the best choice for their babies, to the Moms who adopted those kids and loved them fierce.
To those experiencing frustration or desperation in infertility.
To those who knew they never wanted kids, and the ways they have contributed to our shared world.
To those who mothered colleagues, mentees, neighborhood kids, and anyone who needed it.
To those remembering Moms no longer with us.
To those moving forward from Moms who did not show love, or hurt those they should have cared for.
Today is a day to honor the unyielding love and care for others we call 'Motherhood,' wherever we have found it and in whatever ways we have found to cultivate it within ourselves.

- Hannah Kardon, Pastor at Elston Avenue United Methodist Church

Living in Grace


Saturday 13 May 2023

The Christian is ...

If we had to ask a group of people the following question, we would get a huge array of varying answers:

"Define who a Christian is?" 

I found the following insight from William Barclay to be quite helpful. He suggests:

“The Christian is the person who has ceased to do what they want to do and who has now begun to do what Christ wants them to do.” – William Barclay

Jesus would tend to agree with this. Jesus said:

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me." - Matthew 16:24


What would your answer to today's question be? 

A Christian is ...

Living in Grace


Wednesday 10 May 2023

Supreme happiness comes from this ...

"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that one is loved; loved for oneself or better yet, loved despite oneself." - Victor Hugo

These words ring true for the Christian as we remember that we are the 'beloved of God.' We are God's children, not because of anything we have done, but thanks to God's boundless mercy and love. It is from this starting point that we recognise that we are loved beyond measure. 

Matthew 12:18 - “Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.

Beloved means 'loved much' or 'greatly loved.' However, if we split the word into two, then it could read "Be loved." This is perhaps the hardest thing for most of us to accept - that we are truly loved by God. Our sin sometimes prevents us from accepting our belovedness.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 9 May 2023

Qualifications needed?

I am fascinated at how the early church chosen 7 people to sort out a crisis in their midst. On face value, they could have just appointed people in an ad hoc kind of way, but they took the situation serious and sought out the best people for the job. Read what Luke says:

"But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.

So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program.  And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility." - Acts 6:1-3

In serving the Lord, God doesn't need all the bells and whistles, but he does need people who are full of the Spirit. I think this is a beautiful way to level the playing field and this opens up ministry to anyone who is willing to allow God to fully take over our lives.

Reflection: Do you feel that you are full of the Spirit? Why or why not? What can you do to make a change today?

Living in Grace

Monday 8 May 2023

And then there were Four!

It is quite common for us to feel as if we are alone in the battles we fight. We may have friends and family standing alongside us, but we can still feel a little desperate. It is at times like this that we should remember that God stands with us. He is the fourth person in the fiery furnace. He is our protector and redeemer.

"Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.

But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?”

“Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.

 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” - Daniel 3:19-25

Reflection: Take stock of how God has been with you through some of your toughest times.

Living in grace

Saturday 6 May 2023

You can count on it

During the last week I have been reminded of the practice of Lectio Divina. If you are unfamiliar with this contemplative technique of reading Scripture, then you may find this a helpful link to read. However, very simply, we approach the Biblical passage with the attitude of "what does it say to my heart" and "which words/phrases" jump out at me? Following on from this initial reading, we begin to pray into these words and verses, until we know that God has spoken a word to us. 

I am giving us a familiar passage (Jeremiah 29:11 - from a different translation) to see if this is something that works for us today. Why don't you give it a try? See which words or phrases stick out for you. Then pray on them for the rest of the day.

10-11 This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

12 “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.

13-14 “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.

“Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree.

“I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”—God’s Decree—“bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.

Response:    The words that stick out for me today are: "You can count on it!"

Living in Grace

Note: I will be taking my Sabbatical in 2 weeks' time, so my blogs will be a little less frequent over that time. If you read my ramblings on other social media platforms (like Facebook), I won't be posting these to Facebook during the Sabbatical, as I am also taking a Media Sabbatical too. Of course, you are welcome to sign up to receive the posts directly to your email and then you will still get them. Thanks for your support. 

Thursday 4 May 2023

Loving a Cow

“Some people want to see God with their eyes as they see a cow, and to love Him as they love a cow - for the milk and cheese and profit it brings them. This is how it is with people who love God for the sake of outward wealth or inward comfort. They do not rightly love God, when they love Him for their own advantage." - Meister Eckhart

These words of Meister Eckhart really hit home as they challenge us to reflect on the real reasons why we love God. Do we just love God because we expect something in return or out of fear? If this is the starting point of our worship and love, then we will surely be disappointed. 

The same applies with our children - if they loved us only because of what we could give them or buy for them, we would eventually feel used and unloved. 

Question: Is it possible to love someone (or God) just because of who they are? If yes, then what stops us from loving in this way?

1 John 4:7 - Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.

Living in Grace


Wednesday 3 May 2023

Live life in Crescendo



What is a crescendo? In musical terms it is described as "a gradual increase in loudness in a piece of music", while the dictionary says that it simply meansthe loudest point reached in a gradually increasing sound.

The late, Dr Stephen Covey, had a motto that he lived by - Live Life in Crescendo. I love his thinking and it is inspiring to contemplate living our lives so that we hope to get better and better (or to have more influence). 

The subtext of the Crescendo is that the music (life) is not yet over! We have more to live for and we get ask God to take us further and higher, for his sake.

What does this word stir up in you?

"He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” - 1 Chronicles 4:10

Living in Grace


Tuesday 2 May 2023

Safe thus far

In the well-known hymn Amazing Grace, there is a verse that says:

"Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home."

As we read these words today, what things has God brought us safely through? Can you think of some snares and dangers that the grace of Christ has carried you through lately?

I am thankful that this hymn reminds me that God has been with me in the past and he will continue to lead me home. 

1 Samuel 7:12 - Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

Living in Grace

Monday 1 May 2023

Doing the work

On the 1st of May many countries around the world pause and celebrate Workers Day (also known as Labour Day or May Day). It is a call to remember the rights of all workers and to draw attention to issues of social justice and plight of millions of people. Each country has its own unique story in this regard and South Africa is no exception. 

The Bible speaks about 'work' in many of the various books, with 56 of the 66 books mentioning work in some form or another. From this we can conclude that work is an integral part of being a human being. Of course, not every person enjoys their work, and many people dream of doing something else, but work is part of who we are. 

Today I want to take a look at a different perspective on work, where the scriptures invite us to put our time and energy into working for peace and love. 

Hebrews 12:14 - Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life...

2 Timothy 4:5 - Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

May the Spirit of Christ work in our hearts so that we may glorify him:

2 Corinthians 12:9 - Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Living in Grace