Monday 24 June 2024

Late or right on time?

"There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. 

In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling short-changed. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready." - Romans 5: 3-8(Message)

I really enjoy Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of these verses from Romans. It gives me the peace that Jesus is always showing up in our lives, at just the right time! If you read it in different versions, you will get the same confirmation, but with a slightly different emphasis.

"When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners." - Romans 5:6

Living in Grace


Sunday 23 June 2024

A prayer for the start of a new week

As you begin the new week, I wanted to offer you a beautiful prayer to help you in your plans and preparations. May it be a blessing to you.

“O Lord, who has mercy upon all, take away from me my sins,

and mercifully kindle in me the fire of Your Holy Spirit.

Take away from me the heart of stone,

and give me a heart of flesh,

a heart to love and adore You,

a heart to delight in You,

to follow and to enjoy You,

for Christ’s sake.” - St Ambrose of Milan, 337-397 AD

"I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." - Ezekiel 11:19

Living in grace


Thursday 20 June 2024

Take my hand

There are many stories of how difficult circumstances have birthed songs, books or poems. The songwriter, Thomas Dorsey, wrote the words to "Precious Lord, take my hand", after hearing of the tragic death of his wife and infant son. I can't imagine the pain he must have been experiencing, but I find it remarkable how he was able to put his emotions into these words. I believe that these words can offer us all some hope and courage in our own times of difficulty. 

Lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the light:

Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

When my way grows drear,
Precious Lord, linger near,
When my life is almost gone,
Hear my cry, hear my call,
Hold my hand lest I fall:

When the darkness appears
And the night draws near,
And the day is past and gone,
At the river, I stand,
Guide my feet, hold my hand:

Psalm 73:23 - Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

Living in Grace

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Remembering that God will help us to face all obstacles

Hudson Taylor – “All God’s giants have been weak people who did great things for God because they reckoned on God being with them.”

As these words began to sink into my mind, I thought of all the 'spiritual giants' in the Bible and realised that Hudson Taylor is right. The reason why they all did great things for the Lord is because they remembered that God was always with them. This doesn't mean that they didn't encounter tough times, but their faith's foundation was built on the promises of God. 

Do you know that God is with you? What stops you believing this?

We note the confidence in young David when he stood up to Goliath. He knew God would deliver him from the hands of the giant. 

"The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!” - 1 Samuel 17:37

Living in Grace


Monday 17 June 2024

Our confidence in Christ

Can our confidence in Christ help us in our everyday witness for the Gospel? If you are not sure what I am really asking, then please read these words from Huldrych Zwingli and see if my question then makes sense.

"Our confidence in Christ does not make us lazy, negligent, or careless, but on the contrary, it awakens us, urges us on, and makes us active in living righteous lives and doing good. There is no self-confidence to compare with this."

Zwingli's words make sense to me. It reminds me that when we rely on the gift of the Holy Spirit, we can be confident in God working through our lives.

Hebrews 10:35 - So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!

Living in Grace

Thursday 13 June 2024

If God is for us...


Our thought for today is really simple. I pray that it would help you in whatever you are facing.

"What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" - Romans 8:31

Try and remind yourself that it is not just 'you' facing the world alone; but rather it is 'Christ and you' standing together. When Christ is 'for you', nothing can stand against you.

Living in Grace


Wednesday 12 June 2024

Trying to find the right balance

As Christians we wrestle with the dilemma of being submerged in our communities, as witnesses for Jesus, but at the same time, not wanting to take on the ways of the world. It is a hard balance to live out. Too much of an influence from the outside, can pull us away from the Christian Life; but if we stay hidden away from a world that is searching for answers, how will people ever hear about Jesus?

It is interesting to read these words from the early Church Father, Tertullian, who shows us how the Christian community didn't shrink back from the world in which they found themselves:

“We have filled every place among you – cities, islands, fortresses, towns, marketplaces, camps, tries, companies, palace, senate, forum …. We are not like (others) exiling themselves from ordinary life…. We go to your forum, your market, your baths, your shops, your workshops, your inns, your fairs, and the other places of trade.” - Tertullian

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house." - Matthew 5:13-14

Thought: Ask God to help you shine His shine into your community today.

Living in Grace

Monday 10 June 2024

Prayers for post-Election deliberations

As we contemplate the outcome of the elections in South Africa and as we nervously seek a way forward, we have been asked to hold these deliberations in prayer. Here is a prayer that was given to us by the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. Even if you are currently living in another country, I believe the prayer is appropriate for all of us to use. Let us believe in miracles. God bless you. 

"Heavenly Father,

We come before You with hearts full of hope and faith, seeking Your divine intervention in the formation of a government of national unity in South Africa. We acknowledge Your sovereignty and wisdom over all nations and leaders.

Lord, we came together and petitioned You for peaceful elections and You answered our prayers. We seek Your face once again Lord and ask for Your guidance and wisdom to be upon our leaders as they navigate the complexities of governance. Grant them the humility to set aside personal ambitions and partisan interests for the greater good of our nation. May they be inspired by a spirit of collaboration and mutual respect, recognizing the value of each contribution towards a unified and prosperous future.

Instill in them a deep sense of justice, compassion, and integrity, so that they may serve with a heart for the people, especially the marginalized and vulnerable. Help them to listen to one another, to seek common ground, and to forge a path that promotes peace, stability, and shared prosperity.

We pray for the people of our nation, that we may support and encourage our leaders in their endeavors. Unite us in purpose and resolve, so that we may all work together towards a future where harmony, equality, and opportunity abound for everyone.

In Jesus name, we place our trust and hope. Amen."

Living in Grace


Sunday 9 June 2024

Following closely - like a shadow

When Simon (the Sorcerer) came to know Jesus as his Lord, he left his old life and followed Phillip wherever he went. It was as if he felt that in being close to Philip, this would keep him close to Jesus.

"Even Simon himself believed and was baptized. From that moment he was like Philip’s shadow, so fascinated with all the God-signs and miracles that he wouldn’t leave Philip’s side." - Acts 8

Of course, there is a lot of wisdom in his actions, as we would all do well to follow the example of Godly people. However, we should do this without glorifying the actions of people, but rather seeing Christ in their lives.

Thought: If you could walk in the shadow of another person, who would that be?

Living in Grace



Saturday 8 June 2024

Why do we make excuses?

Many Christians make excuses for the lack of something in the spiritual lives. We may hear someone say: "I can't share my faith because I am a shy person" or "I don't know as much about the Bible as others " or "I am not perfect." 

While all of these statements may well be true, when we speak like this, we deny the power of God's spirit to work in the "ordinary-ness" of our lives. There are plenty of Biblical examples of people who used the same excuses we do, yet they eventually allowed the power of God to change their lives. 

Take Stephen as an example: Stephen was chosen as one of the 7 new disciples because “he was a man full of the Spirit and wisdom” and we see that when Stephen surrendered himself fully to Jesus, he “performed amazing miracles and signs among the people.” (Acts 6:8) However, if you read the rest of the story, you will note that he was initially chosen to be a kitchen-worker and administrator - solving the issues that had arisen in the distribution of food. 

“Stephen, the kitchen worker, stands tall in the annals of faith as one of those men who did much for God’s Kingdom. Clearly, God doesn’t need everyone to be preachers and teachers; he just needs ordinary people who will learn from Him and be willing to be used in extraordinary circumstances.” – NLT Bible commentary

Thought: What can we do for the kingdom of God?

Living in Grace


Wednesday 5 June 2024

Through the strength of God

“We are used to viewing the early apostles as superstars on a pedestal that we can easily forget that they were pitifully inadequate for the task which they were given.” – Phil Moore

This quote brings us back to the reality that the disciples were simply 'human', just like we are. They allowed the Holy Spirit to equip them and strengthen them for all the tasks that lay ahead, even when they didn't know what these would be. How often have we been confronted with a task or situation that we have felt ill-equipped for, and God has come through for us? I know that this has happened to me many times.

Thought: What are you facing today that you need to be reminded of God's strength and provision?

"The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus." - Acts 4:13

Living in Grace


Tuesday 4 June 2024

You are my hiding place

I have found such comfort in these words over the past few days. 

"For you are my hiding place;
you protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory. 

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you."
- Psalm 32:7-8

In my mind I see two big ideas that are conveyed to us through the words of this Psalm.

1. We can find shelter, protection and care, in the presence of Jesus.
2. The Lord guides us into paths that are best for us.

Which one of these speaks to your situation at the moment?

There is a beautiful song that put these words into music and verse. If you have time, you can listen to it on this platform. 

Living in Grace

Monday 3 June 2024

The riddle of the Universe

The Universe is a complex system that we only know a small fraction of. However, as Christians, we believe that when we come to know the Author of Life, we get closer to understanding the heartbeat of this universe. 

Michael Green reflects on how the Holy Spirit changed the lives of the disciples so much, that it was as if they had discovered the 'riddle of the universe' and they were prepared to live and die for it. 

“Here were men and women of every rank and station in life, of every country in the known world, so convinced that they had discovered the riddle of the universe, so sure of the one true God whom they had come to know, that nothing must stand in the way of their passing on this good news to others….”

Hebrews 11:3 - By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Thought: Are you still looking for the answers to Life? Why not place your trust in the Author of all Life?

Living in Grace