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Suggested Reading ...

As requested by a number of you, herewith a few books that I strongly recommend.

The Case for the Psalms:Why they are Essential - N.T.Wright

Journey to the Common Good - Walter Brueggemann

Gagging Jesus: Things Jesus said we wish he hadn't - Phil Moore

Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God - Bob Kauflin

The Writings of the New Testament : An Interpretation - Luke Timothy Johnson

These titles I have been able to source through Loot.co.za- happy reading!

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Home DAILY DEVOTIONS
Daily Devotions by Grant Nuss
Grace to the humble. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 17:21

James 4:10; “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful” (John Wooden). Humility. I spent some time with a great friend of mine at his office this afternoon (he makes a profound cappuccino) and we touched on the topic of pride both in ministry and the church. So, as I was reading Wooden’s quote here, Paul’s statement in Philippians 2:3 was laid on my heart that; “In humility consider others better than yourselves.” In other words, that a follower of Christ is to live for the interest and well-being of others. Do you see that happening around you currently? Imagine if the church today was known for this? Think about this with me for a minute. If this were the case in your church, would there ever be any conflict? Well, there shouldn’t be, because your members would be all sacrificing for others. Would there be any unmet needs within your church? No. Would there be any grudges or politics in your church? No, everyone would be looking out for each other. You are likely saying; “Yes, Grant, that’s such a Utopian view, but will never happen!” Well, I hate to break it to you, this is not only a possibility that your church can actually function this way, but it’s both biblical, and, as followers of Christ desiring to become more like Him, it is what we strive for. If Jesus could have such humility and a sense of sacrifice and love, then we are mistaken if we somehow believe that God would not ask us to make sacrifices too. So here’s a question for you and your church community: how does your attitude measure up to Jesus? I think A.W. Tozer gets this right by stating that; “Because Jesus Christ came into the world clothed in humility, He will always be found among those who are clothed in humility”. My prayer is that this, if it isn’t a deep-seated part of your ethos already, becomes that. How? It’s simple really. All it needs is for a few of your members to abandon themselves in service to others, and then watch the resultant effect. So may you and your church determine to be those people Paul speaks of today, and, let me tell you, you will see God use their lives in astounding ways?

 
Your life matters to God. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Monday, 05 December 2016 15:22

2 Corinthians 2:14; “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.”

“God wants your life to be a story worth telling” (Anonymous). Your life and what you do with it matters to God. It is a biblical fact that, where your life is at any given moment matters to God irrespective of what state it is in, good, bad, ugly, or indifferent. Perhaps like you, I have done some crazy things in my life and often at these times I have thought that “this time I have really blown it with God.” Why would we think that way? Because those around us, friend or foe, are likely to cut us off and cast us out, but God doesn't do that … ever. Think about it: even when Jesus was dying on the cross He looked at those who crucified Him and cried out; "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing!” God always offers you a chance to repent, change your mind, and grow deeper in relationship with Jesus. His hand is always extended to you and He says; "I know you've messed up and wandered from the path, but take my hand and I will get you back on the right track.” Your life matters to God. Paul’s use of the image of incense is an illustration of Christian ministry. He saw believers as incense, giving out the fragrance of Jesus Christ in their lives, work, ministry and labours. In God’s eyes, believers are the very fragrance of Jesus Christ. What does that mean? Well, the way we live, work, and basically everything we do can mean life or death to a lost world around us. Paul reminds the Corinthians that his heart was pure, his motives sincere, and, that there was no need for him (and us) to be clever and “peddle” the Word of God, when he was following in the triumphant train of the victorious Saviour! That although they might misunderstand him, God always knew his heart. Finally, you and I do not have to fail. Although circumstances may discourage us, and people may oppose us and misunderstand us, we have, in Christ, the spiritual resources to win the battle: a clear conscience, a compassionate heart, and a conquering faith (Romans 8:31; 37). Your life matters to God.

 
Christian Character Development. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Sunday, 04 December 2016 12:19

Romans 4:20; “Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.”

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved" (Helen Keller). I don’t know about you, but the Christian faith is an amazing one. One of the many things I find amazing about it, is that, when people meet you for the first time and find out that you are a pastor, they are stunned to see that you are just a normal oke (I hope they think that way about you whether you’re a pastor or not)! And, as soon as they find out that you enjoy ‘throwing meat on the fire’ with tons of people, perhaps having a bitterly cold beer with them, listening to loud music and are … just a regular dude, they somehow feel free to open up and voice their questions and share their concerns. In these discussions, it most often comes down to issues of faith. In a discussion I had recently with someone who had walked away from the church but hung on to their faith, the idea that God doesn’t want us to obey Him out of compulsion or because we feel that we have to, but so that we depend entirely on His goodness rang true in the core of her being. What is clear is that faith is the critical foundation to our relationship with God. But here’s the deal, faith can only grow in the right environment which, most often, isn’t a comfortable one. Faith only grows by stretching us. The lady I was having the chat with asked me what I meant. I summed it up this way. You and I cannot have more faith, or witness any character growth, unless we experience situations where we need to rely solely on God in the midst of them. The reality that doesn’t get preached on often is that, if you want to grow in your faith, you need to be stretched and, quite simply, must not resist irrespective of what you are going through. Is your faith being ‘stretched’ at the moment? If so, here is where the rubber meets the road, the greater the problem you’re facing, the greater the opportunity for you to believe in and have faith in an all-sufficient God. The result? The greater you hold on, trust, and believe, the greater you will find your faith being rewarded. God is bigger than all our worries and problems put together, and we need to realise that if we are to have any victory in our lives. So may you determine to think bigger? “God can do anything, far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

 
Walk a Mile in my Shoes. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Saturday, 03 December 2016 13:32

2 Corinthians 7:6; “Then the God who lifts up the downcast lifted our heads and our hearts with the arrival of Titus.”

“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes” (Jack Handey). Watching the Bluefish clip attached to the devotional of yesterday which some might think was insensitive, I was reminded of this quote and recalled one of my early pastoral counselling sessions. The person I was counselling had gone through an ordeal of note and I was wondering how he had survived that long. I truly felt for him and, before I knew it, in an attempt to comfort him, I said; “I know what you must be going through.” He replied; “Have you ever been through anything like this before, because, if you haven’t, how would you know?” Of course at that time I had not, so obviously did not have a clue as to what he had, and was going through.  I could not stop apologising for my insensitivity. The truth, when someone is suffering and going through a tough time we will never really know what they’re going through. Although we might have experienced a similar circumstance to them, the truth is, we can still only know a fraction of what they are experiencing. For me, it is the limited ability we have to understand the suffering and hardships of others that makes our text today so poignant. Like you, I know of a number of people who have reason to feel downcast at this moment as either they or their loved ones are going through a time of suffering or difficulty. The key for us during these times is to press hard into God. As we do He meets us at that place and pours out His grace and comfort on us. God has a special place for those who are downcast. He longs for us to draw near to Him because He is the only one who knows exactly what we’re going through, and precisely what your needs are. If you are going through a difficult time right now know that our prayers are with you, may you let God work in your heart at this time. Now, I was raised in a musical home with folks who weaned me on Elvis Presley and as I wrote this I found myself remembering his version of the Joe South song "Walk a mile in my Shoes". Click on the link below to listen to it in this context.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ov9fjaRZT4E

 
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