Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Get Energized

"God energizes those who get tired,
    gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
    young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
    They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
    they walk and don’t lag behind." - Isaiah 40:29-31 (Message)

God will give you the strength you need for today. Plug into the Power of the Spirit. 

"He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint." - New International Version

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Inspiration or Desperation

"We usually change ourselves for one of two reasons, inspiration or desperation." - Jim Rohn

So which one of these applies to your life? Do you only begin to change things when circumstances are so desperate (that there is no other choice) or do you allow Inspiration to bring about change?
I wish I could be admitting that I always rely on Inspiration, but sadly I can easily avoid change, so that I end up getting to a place of desperation before I make changes.
How about you?
Be honest now?

If we look at the lives of people in Jesus day, it seems that many of them waited until things were desperate before they turned to him. It was in their deepest need that Jesus healed them.

"Do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need." - Psalm 79:8

"Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me." - Psalm 142:6

Living in Grace

Monday, 14 August 2017

When we rely upon ....?

Who or what are you relying on at the moment? Invariably, we limit what God can do in our lives when we rely on other people/things. I feel that God graciously steps aside and lets us carry on along our own path until we choose to bring our prayers to him.

"When we rely upon organization, we get what organization can do; 
when we rely upon education, we get what education can do; 
when we rely upon eloquence, we get what eloquence can do, and so on. 
Nor am I disposed to undervalue any of these things in their proper place, 
but when we rely upon prayer, we get what God can do. - A.C. Dixon

Who are you relying on today?

Psalm 59:17 - You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.
Living in Grace

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Pray from your heart

“When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words without heart.” - John Bunyan

It is far better to come to prayer with no words and a heart ready to be with God, than to come with eloquent words and no desire to be in the presence of God. I think God would much prefer to "listen" to our hearts cry and be bored by our fancy words and perfect grammar.

What do you think?

Action: Pour out your heart to Jesus today. Don't worry about what it sounds like.
Living in Grace

Friday, 11 August 2017

Just one step at a time

I came across a lovely story that reminded me not to get caught up in trying to solve all my problems at the same time. Even though I may want God to give me the final answers NOW, often God takes me one step at a time towards the final destination. It is what some people refer to as 'Gradualness.' Perhaps it is because I couldn't handle the whole story now, that God allows me to take one step at a time. May you be blessed as you read through this story:

"One day Dwight Morrow and his wife, the parents of Anne Lindbergh, were in Rugby, England.  After wandering through the streets they realised that they had lost their way.  At this moment an incident occurred that entered into Morrow's philosophy and became a guiding principle in his life. He stopped a little Rugby lad of about 12 years. "Could you tell us the way to the station?" he asked. "Well," the boy answered, "You turn to the right there by the grocer's shop and then take the second street to the left. That will bring you to a place where four streets meet. And then, sir, you had better enquire again."  
"This answer came to symbolise for Dwight Morrow his own method of approaching complicated problems," writes Harold Nicolson in his excellent biography. "It implied in the first place a realistic scepticism regarding the capacity of human intelligence. It was in the second place an object lesson in the inevitability of gradualness. And in the third place, it was a parable of how, when the ultimate end is uncertain, one should endeavour to advance, if only a little way, in the correct, rather than the incorrect direction."- Bits and Pieces, December 1991

Joshua 1:9 (MSG) - "Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”

Living in Grace

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Who is happier?

"Who is the happier person? The person who has braved the storm of life and lived or the person who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed." - Unknown

Following God is about risks and counting the cost. Being a Christian is never about being afraid to step out in faith and to follow Christ. We will need to be brave to follow Jesus through the storms of life and to trust in his mercy and care. When we do this we will not avoid suffering, but we will be 'happier' for trusting in God's grace.

What is stopping you from venturing off the shores?

Isaiah 38:3 - “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.”

Romans 3:28 - Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade.

Living in Grace

Monday, 7 August 2017

Better than money in the Bank

What is better than money in the bank?

"A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich;  a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank." - Proverbs 22:1 (MSG)

Building your reputation is a hard thing to do, especially because it can take one incident to ruin your reputation. A gracious Spirit is something that we all can seek to have, no matter our reputation or what others think of us. If we get to show off this gracious spirit, then Solomon suggests it will be better than having money in the bank.

What do you think?

Living in Grace

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Taking part

“We never know how God will answer our prayers, but we can expect that He will get us involved in His plan for the answer. If we are true intercessors, we must be ready to take part in God’s work on behalf of the people for whom we pray.” -Corrie ten Boom

When we are invited to pray for someone or something, we are not called to be a casual by-stander, but rather to play an active role on the life of another. We will probably not be able to change the circumstances of that person, but we could well be called upon to partner God in helping them out.  

When you pray for someone today, listen to the prompting of the Spirit as God may give you fresh insight into that situation or person's life. Believe that God wants to be involved and that your prayers are making a difference.

James 5:16 - Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Living in Grace

Friday, 4 August 2017

Product of your circumstances!?

Are you a product of your circumstances? Putting this in another way - have the circumstances you have encountered in life made you into the person you are today?

Stephen Covey argues that we are NOT a product of our circumstances. He says:
"I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions."

While I agree that situations impact upon our lives, in a greater or lesser degree, I still think that we are able to use these circumstances 'for good or bad.' For this reason, I like what Paul said in Philippians 4:10-14.

"I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am."

This is such an important lesson to try and learn. I am not there yet, but I strive to allow Christ to shape my life and not all the circumstances around me.

Living in Grace

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Football has lost the plot!

I think Football has just lost the plot! The news that Brazilian footballer Neymar is on his way to Paris Saint German (PSG) from Barcelona for a world record fee of 198 million Pounds is absolutely ludicrous. Don't get me wrong - I am a massive Football fan and take a lot of interest in all things related to Football, but this latest news is quite hard to fathom.

Let me break it down for you: This Football transfer is equal to 3,366 Billion Rand. That is all on 1 player! Neymar will take home around R 8,755 Million per week (before tax), which is a tidy sum for playing soccer.

The reason I am so against all these massive transfers, (even including my own favourite team), is because I think it creates a massive chasm between the ordinary person and these 'football gods!' There is a sense in which Football begins to lose touch with the common person, the roots of the game and essentially LIFE. What reality does one have, when you are forced to struggle to survive on R8 million a week :)

One of the few people who could speak to us about the lure of money and its ultimate impact on our lives is Solomon. After all, he had plenty of it and yet he still felt as if something was missing in his life.

Ecclesiastes 5:10 - Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.
What do you think?
Living in Grace

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

What does the Banner say?

In ancient times a Banner or Flag represented many things.Among others, it told of Royalty, Possession, Family line, Allegiance and of course Victory. When Solomon writes of a 'Banner of Love', I think he is suggesting that the 'lover' gladly display his love for his partner, by hanging a Banner for all to see. That Banner is the symbol of love. 

"Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
    and let his banner over me be love." - Song of Solomon 2:4

Of course, God has already done this for us in showing us the great display of his love for us - and at the Cross, God's 'banner of love' was lifted up for all to see. Thanks be to God.

"Not indifference, not doubt, not guilt, can put out the fire of God's love in and for us. His love will burn deep into our lives, penetrating habits and dreams until it ascends into flames of joyous adoration." - Eugene Peterson

Live today knowing that God's banner over you is LOVE.

Living in Grace

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

My beloved!

Most Christians don't really know what to do with Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) in the Bible. The easiest interpretation of the book is that the poetry is a representation of God's love for us. While this is not wrong, the poetry is really rooted in the love of two people for each other. It is the 'human' love that is a shadow of the GREAT LOVE that God has for us.

With verses like this, we can see why people are drawn to the beautiful poetry of these chapters:

"You have captured my heart,
    my treasure, my bride.
You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes,
    with a single jewel of your necklace.
10 Your love delights me,
    my treasure, my bride.
Your love is better than wine,
    your perfume more fragrant than spices.
11 Your lips are as sweet as nectar, my bride.
    Honey and milk are under your tongue.
Your clothes are scented
    like the cedars of Lebanon." - Song of Solomon 4:9-11

And then ..... Chapter 8:6-8

Love flashes like fire,
    the brightest kind of flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
    nor can rivers drown it.
If a man tried to buy love
    with all his wealth,
    his offer would be utterly scorned.

May these words of Solomon spark off our prayers of LOVE for our Saviour. May God be blessed through our response to His grace.

Living in Grace