Thursday, 18 January 2018

Thinking with your heart

Is it possible to think with your heart? My gut response is NO, but Jesus seems to think so.

"Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?" - Luke 5:22

So, what does Jesus and Luke mean? Don't we usually 'think' things in our minds? Well, it is perhaps because of the close link between our thought pattern and our actions that Jesus points this out. Our actions begin in our hearts, then go to our minds and finally come out in the open. Jesus cuts to the root cause of all our actions - the 'thoughts of our hearts.'

Is this why Paul went on to say these words:

"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you." - Romans 12:2 (Living Bible)

Living in Grace

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Birth pains and new beginnings

Our kids started new schools today and there was a great sense of nervousness in our house this morning. If you have ever relocated then you know exactly what was happening in our home - moments of excitement, silence, anxiety, questions and finally moving towards the car for the trip to school.

New beginnings can be tough. They can move us way beyond the comfort of the 'ordinary' and the 'usual status quo.' However, they can also teach us many things and fill us with new possibilities and joy.

In fact, this whole experience reminds me of 'birth pains' (not that I had to go through them personally, but I watched Kim go through the pains :). The joy of new birth is always preceded by pain, anxiety, worry, questions, excitement and finally that moment when all the action starts.

That fragile moment that separates pre-birth from birth; or from pre-change to change, is the occasion for FAITH. Moving from one place to the other, with no certainty of the outcome, is definitely an act of TRUST. It is all about believing that God has your back and that God will make a way.

Don't be afraid to go through 'birth pains', especially when we can trust in the grace of God.

Hebrews 11:8 - "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going."

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Hand upon you

"You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me." - Psalm 139:5

This verse was part of our readings on Sunday and it brings such a vivid word picture to mind. It is made all the clearer when you read this insight from Robert Alter, who says that this verse should rather say ... “You set your palm upon me". Of course in Hebrew culture the significance of blessing was very huge and the act of laying a palm on the head of someone else spoke of grace and mercy. It was a great sign of blessing. 

And so, as we go about our daily tasks, let us remember that our Lord chooses to lay his palm upon our heads in a sign of peace and love. He desires to bless us and not to curse us.  The additional statement that reminds us that God 'hems us in' then doesn't seem to be as scary - it is news of God's favour - the ultimate Good News.

"To give someone a blessing is the most significant affirmation we can offer." - Henri Nouwen

Read more at:
Living in Grace

Monday, 15 January 2018

The Return

"The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." - Luke 2:20

As scholars, teachers and students prepare to return back to new routines and school years, it is important to reflect on what has happened over the Advent season. The events of the Incarnation change us completely and so our 'RETURN' to our normal lives should always be with different purpose and different attitudes.

If we notice the way the Shepherds returned back to their daily tasks we see that they did so with praise and thankfulness in their hearts. The long awaited Saviour had come and they had been part of the miracle. The things they witnessed had even surpassed the hopes and dreams they had held. God was present with them and life would be filled with renewed hope.

As you return to old and new routines, remember the joy of Christ and that the advent words of HOPE, PEACE, LOVE and JOY are forever with us.

Living in Grace

Sunday, 14 January 2018


Often we deal in "maybes".
Maybe this will happen.
Or maybe the outcome will be like that.
Maybe they will call.
Maybe the weather will change.

There is not much certainty surrounding our daily lives, and that is why we need to have FAITH. Not just having faith, for the sake of convenience, but FAITH in the person of Jesus. Faith that despite all the 'maybes' that God still has our lives in the palm of his hand and that God cares for us.

Matthew 15:28 - Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

"Life itself has much to do with maybes, and human life at large has everything to do with them. So far as man stands for anything, and is productive or originative at all, his entire vital function may be said to have to deal with maybes. Not a victory is gained, not a deed of faithfulness or courage is done, except upon a maybe; not a service, not a sally of generosity, not a scientific exploration or experiment or text-book, that may not be a mistake. It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all. And often enough our faith beforehand in an uncertified result is the only thing that makes the result come true." - William James

Living in Grace

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Nothing to fight for?

There is always something worth living for - to fight for! In fact, there are numerous things that people are also willing to die for! The tragedy is when we have neither. We then find ourselves floating along in a state of uncertainty and hopelessness.

Jesus had something to live for - that was to reveal the FATHER'S LOVE to all people.
And of course, Jesus had something to die for - it was to make the Father's Love available to all who would believe.

Romans 5:6-8 - "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

And so what about you and I? Do we have something to live for? Or to die for?

“When I go up there, which is my intention, the Big Judge will say to me, Where are your wounds? and if I say I haven’t any, he will say, Was there nothing to fight for? I couldn’t face that question." - Alan Paton in (Ah, But Your Land Is Beautiful)

Living in Grace

Friday, 12 January 2018

I need a Star!

Sometimes I think I need a Star!
Just like the wise men (or Magi) in Matthew 2 I feel that there are moments in my life when I need a star to guide me and to make it clear how I should follow God.
BUT then I remember, I don't need a star. I have Jesus. And he has promised to guide me, lead me, love me and show me the way.

Matthew 16:24 -  "Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am." (MSG)

Don't look for "something" to help you out today, but rather look for someone.
His name is Jesus.

“...because life slips away, and because I need for the rest of my journey a star that will not play false to me, a compass that will not lie.” - Alan Paton, Cry, the Beloved Country

Living in Grace