Sunday, 25 June 2017

Deuteronomy - Loved by God

"About Benjamin he said:
“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him,
    for he shields him all day long,
    and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.” - Numbers 33:12

I have always loved these words spoken over the tribe of Benjamin. They speak to me of an intimate relationship with God and remind us that God shields us all day long. The last part of the verse creates the image of a parent drawing a child close to their heart (between the shoulders) and allowing them to rest secure.

May God continue to watch over you and may you rest between his shoulders.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Numbers - 2 brave men

Has someone ever inspired you to move beyond your comfort zone and when you have done this remarkable thing, you found yourself feeling grateful for that "nudge"?

In the book of Numbers we come across 2 remarkable young men - Joshua and Caleb. Along with 10 other spies they entered the Promised Land to have a look at the layout of the land and then to report back to Moses and Aaron. However, they the time came for the report back, the 10 spies were afraid of the Giants in the land and urged that the Israelites stay put. However, this was not what Joshua and Caleb felt. These are their words to the leaders:

"Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” - Numbers 14:6-10

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Friday, 23 June 2017

Leviticus - a word on rest!

You can't work the whole time! 
You need to rest!
You will burn yourself out!

Do any of these statements sound familiar to you? It is often the concern of a loved one who speaks these words to us, especially if we are at the end of a long, busy run at work. Each one of these statements speaks a truth into our lives and reminds us of the words of God from Leviticus 23:

"You may work for six days each week, but on the seventh day all work must come to a complete stop. It is the Lord's Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day to assemble for worship. It must be observed wherever you live." - v.3

So, when are you going to listen to this advice from Leviticus? What will it take for you to have a rest and to observe the sabbath? Please don't let yourself reach burnout before you take some time out.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Exodus

The Exodus story is another powerful reminder of God's grace and providential care. It is right that we wrestle with Questions like: "Why did the Israelites have to suffer so much at first?" or "Why did God take so long to answer their prayers?" However, we should never lost sight of the fact that God journeyed with them from Egypt into the Promised land.

21 The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. 22 And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people." - Exodus 13:21-22

Day and night, God is watching over us. We may not notice his hand of guidance and protection in the moment, but when we stop and look at the full picture we will see how God has been with us.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Genesis

Joseph was just 30 years of age when he was made second in command of Egypt. He had been through an incredibly tough few years, but God had stood by his side and honoured his faithfulness and perseverance.

The book of Genesis is long, but these verses from chapter 43 mark a special moment in the story of Joseph. They remind me that God is always redemptive and just when we think all is lost, God does amazing things. By reading these words may we all be encouraged to NEVER give up Hope.

37 Joseph’s suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his officials. 38 So Pharaoh asked his officials, “Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. 40 You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.”
41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. 43 Then he had Joseph ride in the chariot reserved for his second-in-command. And wherever Joseph went, the command was shouted, “Kneel down!” So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt. 44 And Pharaoh said to him, “I am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval.”

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Monday, 19 June 2017

To be Hopeful

To be hopeful in difficult times is not easy! However, as Christ-followers we are given extra incentive to be hopeful because of the great promise we have been given. Our troubles will last a moment compared with the future that is in store for us.

"The hopeful person sees success where others see failure, sunshine where others see shadows and storms." - O.S. Marden

For the Apostle Paul LOVE was the foundation of his HOPE. Not human love, but the LOVE of God. It was this love that gave him hope in every circumstance.

"Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." - 1 Corinthians 13:7

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Good, good Father

Chris Tomlin sings a beautiful song called 'Good, good Father', as an ode to our heavenly Father. This is such an appropriate song to sing on Father's Day and if you would like to listen the song you can click here

These are the words to the song - enjoy.
Living in Grace
D3LM3


Oh, I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like
But I've heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you're pleased
And that I'm never alone

Chorus: You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am


Oh, and I've seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we're all searching
For answers only you provide
'Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word

Chorus:

 'cause you are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

Oh, it's love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think

As you call me deeper still [3x]
Into love, love, love

Friday, 16 June 2017

Grabbing a dog by the ears

You just have to love the images that flow from the chapters of Proverbs. Take this classic one as an example:

"Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears    is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own." - Proverbs 26:17

Everyone knows that if you grab a dog by the ears it is going to end badly. And so the wisdom from Solomon is simple. Just like a stray dog is going to turn around and bite you (if you grab her ears), so then will a quarrel end badly if you rush into it, especially if we should stay out of it.

What do you think?

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Cold Within

We are dying inside! If you find yourself living in 'this Generation' and particularly in places where there is so much negativity, hate and pain, then you may echo my words - we are all slowly dying inside!

I came across this famous poem by James Patrick Kinney, who wrote these words in the 1960's. The words were controversial then and perhaps even a little today, BUT they are so true. Before you read them, remember that we ALL have a choice as to how we will live our lives. I don't want to die from the COLD within!

Jesus came to give us LIFE in all its fullness. That is what I want.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Six humans trapped by happenstance
In bleak and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood
Or so the story’s told.


Their dying fire in need of logs
The first man held his back
For of the faces round the fire
He noticed one was black.


The next man looking ‘cross the way
Saw one not of his church
And couldn’t bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.


The third one sat in tattered clothes.
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?


The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy shiftless poor.


The black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight.
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.


The last man of this forlorn group
Did nought except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.


Their logs held tight in death’s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without
They died from the cold within.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Change your looks in one simple step

There are so many people out there who are not happy with something about themselves. It could be their weight, their body, their hair, their looks and so on. So, if you find yourself feeling a little down about yourself today I am going to offer you some amazing advice - all for FREE. This is going to change the way you look and could make you feel like a million bucks!

Here it is:

"A SMILE is an inexpensive way to change your looks." - Charles Gordy

So there you have it. Take a walk to the bathroom and look at yourself in the mirror. Practise a few smiles and then you can walk out into the world a brand new person. Your smile will change the way you look. Simple hey?

Job 29:24 - When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them.

Job 9:27If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,

Sunday, 11 June 2017

A higher standard

Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you.
Never excuse yourself.
Never pity yourself.
Be a hard master to yourself.
And be lenient to everybody else. - Henry Ward Beecher

I think this quote is quite brilliant. It sums up a very good attitude and mindset, but also encourages us to have grace for others. It reminds me of the well known words of Paul from Philippians 4:8.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,  
whatever is noble,  
whatever is right,  
whatever is pure,  
whatever is lovely,  
whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.

May God bless you today.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Friday, 9 June 2017

Exam time again

Students and scholars are entering into that time of the year again - Exam time! This is where the stress levels rise in the families and people begin to walk on egg-shells. Perhaps we could rename this time of the year: Massah - after the name that Moses gave to the place of testing in the book of Exodus.

Exodus 17:6-7 - Moses did what he said, with the elders of Israel right there watching. He named the place Massah (Testing-Place) and Meribah (Quarreling) because of the quarrelling of the Israelites and because of their testing of God when they said, “Is God here with us, or not?”

You may not be writing an exam this week, or even have kids who are writing, but perhaps you are still at a place called MASSAH - a personal testing place.
May we all learn to seek God in this time of testing and to trust that God is still with us.

Go with God's grace today.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Scripture Union Magazine - Free online Mag


Scripture Union has produced a wonderful online magazine that is not only full of great content, but also FREE! If you have a moment please can you click onto this link and then read the magazine. If you like it, then you can subscribe to it (remember it is FREE) and you will receive it via email once a month - simple!

I was fortunate to be asked by my friend, Xavier Moran (from Scripture Union) to contribute an article for the first Magazine. You will find it there - it is on helping our kids deal with disappointment. There is even an article on the new kids craze - Fidget Spinners - you can read about that too!

2 Timothy 3:16 -  "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness..."

Thanks for the input and regular comments friends.
May God bless you

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Zinikele - it takes all of you

The official slogan for the Comrades is "Zinikele", which means "It takes all of you!" Too be honest I had not come across the word before, but I will remember it for a long time to come. I am only a novice when it comes to running, and competing in one comrades doesn't qualify me for any special merits, but I can DEFINITELY confirm that ZINIKELE is the right word for the race. It takes everything out of you - blood, sweat and tears. I can safely say that those 87 kilometers were the hardest journey I have been on so far.

Just a reflection on this word: Zinikele, in light of our Christian faith. If we want to be true disciples of Jesus, then we need to expect that it will also TAKE ALL OF US. This is why Jesus asked his followers to count the cost of following him. Being a Christ-follower is not an easy journey and it is best we realise this right from the start.

Are we willing to give all for Jesus today?

Luke 9:57-62

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Don't shoot the messenger

In days gone by, when messages were sent by a 'real' human messenger, it was common for the bearer of bad news to be killed on the spot. Needless to say, there were not queues of people signing up to be messengers for the King. However, in the end, the messenger had to deliver the message, regardless of the outcome.

We are asked to be Messengers of our Lord and King, and sometimes we will get 'shot down' or ridiculed for the message we share. We can plead with people not to "shoot the messenger", but in the end, it is the Good News that needs to reach the ears of all people.

Let us resolve not to worry about the reaction of those to our message - after all, it is the message of the King we are relaying - it is not our own message.

Luke 13:34 - “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.

John 13:20 - "I tell you the truth, anyone who welcomes my messenger is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me.”

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Monday, 5 June 2017

A word of encouragement

"The Lord makes firm the steps
    of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
    for the Lord upholds him with his hand." - Psalm 37:23-24

These are words I had written on my arm as I ran the Comrades yesterday. I felt as if God had given me these words a few days before the race and I certainly needed these words of encouragement many times along the route. There were 2 particular times that I stumbled and wondered if I could carry on, but there were people around me who acted like 'angels' helping me. 

Next time you wonder if God is around, take a careful read of his word and see how the Spirit can use God's words of encouragement for your situation.

God bless you and thank you for all the prayers and encouragement along the way on Sunday. I needed those prayers.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Jesus eats his way through the Gospels

Mark Glanville writes an interesting article where he reflects on how it seems that Jesus "eats his way through the Gospels." If you take a careful look at Luke's Gospel you will note the many times that Jesus is either heading to a meal, attending a meal or leaving from a dinner party.

It is Jesus' modis operandi in terms of sharing the Good News. He meets in the homes of all kinds of people, but food is not the main reason. The real reason is to get into their homes, so that he can speak into their hearts. Remember that Jesus was the one religious leader who didn't judge people for who they were - he saw what they could be and so he loved them all into the Kingdom.

Luke 7:34 - The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’

Jesus was accused of eating and drinking with all the 'wrong' people, yet he changed the lives of these people and they, in turn, became witnesses to his great leave.

Perhaps we need to recapture the art of being in the company of the broken, lost, unchurched and 'tax collectors.' What do you think?

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Friday, 2 June 2017

God is ...

When David was going through a tough time he reminded himself, as well as the people of Israel, what God was really like. He used some delightful word pictures in Psalm 144 to describe Yahweh.

"He is my loving ally
and my fortress,
my tower of safety,
my deliverer.
He stands before me as a shield,
and I will take refuge in him." - Psalm 144:2

Pcik one of this images of God and dwell on this today.
May God bless you and keep you.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The beginning of Winter

In the Southern Hemisphere, the 1st June marks the official beginning of Winter. It is the start of 3 months of longer nights, shorter days and cooler weather - which for us means around 22-24 degrees in the day time :)

Just as our year goes through seasons, it is good to be reminded today, that our spiritual lives also go through seasons too. We sometimes feel as if we are really connecting with Jesus and it may have the feeling of a glorious summer or spring day. However, the day nights of winter, can easily wrap around our spiritual lives and make us feel lethargic, tired and even depressed. If this is the case for you at the moment, can I encourage you not to try and avoid the season, but rather to live through it.

Ask God to show you what he has planned for you in this time and be open to the grace of God - even if it feels like a bleak winter.

Genesis 8:22 -  For as long as Earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, day and night will never stop.”

Psalm 147:12-18 Jerusalem, worship God! Zion, praise your God! He made your city secure, he blessed your children among you. He keeps the peace at your borders, he puts the best bread on your tables. He launches his promises earthward— how swift and sure they come! He spreads snow like a white fleece, he scatters frost like ashes, He broadcasts hail like birdseed— who can survive his winter? Then he gives the command and it all melts; he breathes on winter—suddenly it’s spring!

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

You don't have to be a Pastor!

You don't have to be a Pastor to serve Christ! There are many people who feel that the way to respond to God's calling on your life is to become a Pastor - and this couldn't be further from the truth. God has need of his disciples in every avenue and community in the world. God needs people to serve him in schools, hospitals, police stations, commercial enterprises, prisons, old age homes, grocery stores, banks, taxi ranks, shopping malls, gyms, and so on.

Of course, there are some people who are called to serve Christ in the church, to equip the saints for service and to encourage the body of Christ - but this is not everyones calling. Perhaps we should stop worrying about what other people are called to do and ask God to reveal what he NEEDS us to do for him.

Ephesians 4:16 - "He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love."



·         “Each of us can reach out with Jesus in our own ways, through our vocations.”Scot McKnight 

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Don't drag your feet



There are so many people who want to leave a mark on this world or who want to make a difference in their community, but they keep procrastinating. They have lofty ideals, but never put them into practise. We should all remember that time is short and we should begin to make changes one step at a time. 

If we drag our feet and wait for another day, we may not get another chance.

“If you want to leave your footprints on the sands of time, do not drag your feet.” – Dr Abdul Kalam

James 4:14 - How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

Living in Grace
D3LM3

Monday, 29 May 2017

Love crosses the street



“What happens when love crosses the street?” – Rudy Rasmus (World Methodist Conference - 2016)

This question has such a strong challenge for us as a Christian community. When we love all people we should be willing to cross the 'street' to help them out or to draw alongside them. It reminds us of the story of the Good Samaritan, who was willing to cross the street (religious stigma, culture norms etc) in order to help someone out. If you haven't read that story for a while, then read it in Luke 10.

Are you willing to cross the street to help one of your neighbours if they are in need? 
Who could this imply in your life today?

Luke 10:33-34 - “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them.
 
Living in Grace
D3LM3