Sunday, 4 December 2016

Prayer for today

I am most grateful to John Birch for his inspiring poems and reflections on Advent.
The Advent story
of hope and mystery,
a kingdom
of this world and the next,
and a king
appearing when we least expect.
Heaven touching earth,
the footsteps of the divine
walking dusty roads
as once they did in Eden,
and a people,
searching for a Saviour,
and walking past
the stable.
Open eyes and hearts,
that this might be
an Advent of hope to the world.

May God grant us the ability to see beyond the dust of this life and gaze into the glory of the next.

Living in Grace

Friday, 2 December 2016

God knows best

This poem by Helen Steiner Rice has been around for a long time, but it still speaks into the deep questions of our lives. As we continue this exciting journey of Advent, I invite you to reflect on God's Love for you, despite the circumstances you may be facing.

Living in Grace

Our Father knows what's best for us,
So why should we complain
We always want the sunshine,
But He knows there must be rain

We love the sound of laughter
And the merriment of cheer,
But our hearts would lose their tenderness
If we never shed a tear...

Our Father tests us often
With suffering and with sorrow,
He tests us, not to punish us,
But to help us meet tomorrow...

For growing trees are strengthened
When they withstand the storm,
And the sharp cut of a chisel
Gives the marble grace and form...

God never hurts us needlessly,
And He never wastes our pain
For every loss He send to us
Is followed by rich gain...

And when we count the blessings
That God has so freely sent,
We will find no cause for murmuring
And no time to lament...

For our Father loves His children,
And to Him all things are plain,
So He never sends us pleasure
When the soul's deep need is pain...

So whenever we are troubled,
And when everything goes wrong,
It is just God working in us
To make our spirit strong.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Shield - Advent 3

"I bind myself today
The power of God to hold and lead
His eye to watch, His might to stay
His ear to hearken to my need
The wisdom of my God to teach
His hand to guide
His shield to ward
The word of God to give me speech
His Heavenly Host to be my guard." - Irish Blessing

It is the image of God's protective shield that struck home to me today. What strikes you about this blessing? May God be near you and may God bless you.

Genesis 15:1 - After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Stronger than ... Advent prayer 2

"Lord, goodness is stronger than evil,
Love is stronger than hate
Light is stronger than darkness;
Life is stronger than death;
victory is ours through you who love us." - Desmond Tutu

Evil, hatred, darkness and death are all strong words, but I am grateful that Jesus has given us things that are much stronger. This advent season remember that 'Goodness, Love, Light and Life' are all much stronger than anything the evil one has planned for us.

1 John 4:20 - Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

Living in Grace

Monday, 28 November 2016

Blessing - Advent 1

In a world where so many people demand things, it is refreshing to know that God is still generous and gracious. In order to celebrate God's merciful nature, I have chosen to share a few blessings and prayers with us all over this Advent season. May each one of these offer you much love, hope and peace.

Be thou a bright flame before me,
Be thou a guiding star above me,
Be thou a smooth path below me,
Be thou a kindly shepherd behind me,
Today - tonight - and for ever

--- Columba (521-597) Irish monk and missionary in Scotland

John 10:11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."

Living in Grace

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Advent begins

“I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
    Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
    and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
    upright and just is he. – Deuteronomy 32:3-4

When we read these two verses we note a number of things to Praise God for:
1. His NAME
3. His WORKS

As we start this season of ADVENT, where we wait for the birth of the Messiah, why don't you reflect on a few of these virtues and use them as a prayer of thanks to God.

Living in Grace

Friday, 25 November 2016

Doesn't Black Friday miss the point?

Doesn't Black Friday miss the whole point of "Thanksgiving"? When people gather with their families on Thanksgiving Thursday, it should be about celebrating LIFE, family, friends, togetherness and just simply being thankful for all that we already have in our lives. There is usually a sense of deep contentment or blessing on this particular occasion. But, clearly it seems that underneath the surface this is NOT the case!

The fact, that we are rushing around 24 hours, trying to get the best bargain on toilet-paper and TV's, implies something about our lack of Contentment. Now, don't get me wrong, I am part-Scottish and so I love a bargain more than most people, but I feel there is something amiss.

Reflecting on this today, I am left with a few questions and I am always open for your wisdom and insight into this event called Black Friday. My musings are as follows:

1. It shows how discontented many of us are probably feeling.
2. It points to a desperation among the poorest of the poor - who rely on these bargains to survive.
3. It tells us the shop owners and stores are already making loads of cash on their goods, so discounting them is not a problem. Is that Just?
4. It is a brilliant strategy to draw people into the shops to buy things they made not really need.
5. People fight each other for the limited bargains - where is the humanity in that?
6. Does Black Friday now mark the beginning of the Christmas spending spree - stretching people's already tight budgets?
7. It makes people live more off their credit cards as they believe these bargains will never be repeated.

I just don't know - please let me know your thoughts. And if you are one of those bargain hunters, let me know what you managed to get and why you think Black Friday is a good idea - I am open to all suggestions.
2 Corinthians 4:15 - All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

Living in Grace