30th November 2017

Self Control

“Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Peter 1:5-8 (NKJV)

As believers in Jesus Christ, God has given us a new nature, but at the same time, we also have to deal with the old carnal nature. Self-control is listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5—our new nature. In order for the fruit to grow we must stay connected to the vine! John 15:4 says “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

We shouldn’t say, “I just don’t have any self-control” because the truth is that we do have it, but it needs to be exercised in order to be strong. We can develop self-control by using it, just as we can develop muscles by using them.

Exercising self-control is a form of freedom. We don’t have to do what we feel like doing—that which comes naturally from carnal nature. We are free to do what we know is wise and good and Godly. Discipline and self-control will help us as the Holy Spirit works in us to become the person we want to be as followers of Jesus.

When we depend on Jesus and what He can do through us, there is no need to fear, for Jesus has no limits. He finished the work. He paid the price for all of our sins. He died in our place. We all slip and fall into sin at times, but God looks on us as righteous. The price of sin has been paid in full by the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. In John 19:30 Jesus said, “It is finished!” The victory has been won for all who call on the name of Jesus and depend completely on Him.

Prayer
Father God, please help us to resist what is wrong and to do what is right through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Amen

Study by Allan Frankcom

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About the Author:
Allan Frankcom is on the Pastoral Council of the Bristol Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God, UK. He and his wife, Julie have attended the Bristol Church for over 30 years.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Bristol
Emmersons Green Village Hall
Emmerson Way
EMMERSONS GREEN
South Gloucestershire
BS16 7AP

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Allan Frankcom
Email: jf007d9991@blueyonder.co.uk

29th November 2017

The Mistlethrush

“When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?”
Psalm 8:3-4 (NLT)

When King David was a shepherd boy, he would have spent many nights under the stars protecting his father’s sheep. David believed that God had created the magnificent beauty of the night sky. That belief inspired and encouraged him but it didn’t prevent the discouragement and depression that David often felt. During those times he was thankful that God did care about ‘mere mortals.’ In Psalm Chapter 13, and verses 2 and 5, David says, “How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?…But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.”

God understands us all individually and he knows how to lift our spirits and keep us moving forward. A few years ago I was in a dark place mentally. God moved me forward through the singing of a mistlethrush. I captured that experience by composing the following poem:

It’s hard to stay cheerful when winter’s so grey,
When rain keeps on falling day after day.
It’s hard to keep smiling when the world is so sad.
The wars and the violence. The crime rate so bad.

It’s hard to keep singing when birds make no sound.
Just hungrily pecking at hard, frosty ground.
While deep in the depths of this wintry gloom,
A magical sound seeps into the room.

A mistlethrush, high on his perch, in the tree,
Is piercing the darkness, I feel, just for me.
His beautiful trill, the pitch and the tone,
Is bursting with joy, even though he’s alone.

And as the wind strengthens and tugs at his wings,
He grows more excited and louder he sings.
I smile at the glorious song of that bird,
And wonder if other people have heard.

The thrush cannot know that my spirit has soared,
That my mind has re-focused on God and His word.
And I look past the pain in the world of today,
To the time when God sweeps all anguish away.

When His vast creation, united as one,
Is governed with love, by Jesus, His Son.
And I’m grateful to God for encouraging me,
Through the song of a thrush, on his perch, in the tree.

Prayer
Thank you, Father, for encouraging us when we struggle. Help us to trust in your unfailing love. In Jesus name.
Amen

Study by Diana Hall

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About the Author:
Diana Hall attends the Southampton Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God, UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Southampton
Tauntons College
Hill Lane
SOUTHAMPTON
SO15 5RL

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Noon
Email: peter_noon@wcg.org.uk

28th November 2017

The Witness of The Archangel Gabriel 

“The angel said to him, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.’”
Luke 1:19 (NIV)

Gabriel is the name of the archangel that God uses to inform certain individuals of very important messages. He stands in the very presence of God. He knows the God he represents, and sees the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit in action. He is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament he was sent to Daniel to explain Daniel’s visions, although it did not make any sense to Daniel! (Daniel 8:15–27; 9:20–27).

In the New Testament he was sent to Zechariah, Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, to foretell the births of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. In his encounter with Zechariah, Elizabeth and Mary, there are three significant messages that we will do well to pay attention to. Although Gabriel has not appeared to us in person (and how amazing that would be—someone from the world of light talking with us face to face! Would we be gripped by fear as was Zechariah, and then be reassured by Gabriel?), his messages are applicable to each of us.

His first message is found in Luke 1:13 “…your prayer has been heard…” Gabriel stands in God’s presence and knows that when you and I pray, we do not go into the presence of God alone. By the Spirit, Jesus accompanies us, and prays with us, sanctifying our prayers and presenting them to the Father, who always hears the prayers of the Son. So Gabriel can confidently say that our prayers are also heard, as were Zechariah’s.

The second message from Gabriel is seen when he was in conversation with Mary, in verse 37 (ESV), “For nothing will be impossible with God” or in the NIV, “For no word from God will ever fail.” So we have a witness from the very presence of God telling us that nothing is impossible with God, and that his word will not fail.

The third message from Gabriel is that we must believe and not doubt. Zechariah did not believe what Gabriel told him, and was struck dumb, temporarily unable to speak (Luke 1:20). What will be the fate of those who do not believe God? Bearing in mind that God is not willing that anyone should perish, but everyone to repent—have a change of heart (2 Peter 3:9). Gabriel has shown us that believing God is of paramount importance. We can always trust God to do what he says in his word, the Bible. His word will never fail.

Prayer
Thank you, Father, for giving us your word, the Bible, where we can read about your amazing servants, the holy angels, who are sent to serve us, your children. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Study by Sherwin Scott

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About the Author:
Sherwin Scott is a Deacon in the congregation of Grace Communion Church in Lewes.
Like us on www.facebook.com/GCLewes

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Lewes
The Priory School
Mountfield Road
LEWES
BN7 2XN

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Hilary Buck
Email: hilaryjbuck@gmail.com

27th November 2017

Who Did They See?

“Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.”
Exodus 24:9–11 (KJV)

Jesus said “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape” (John 5:37). This seems to disagree with the header scripture. If they saw “the God of Israel” but didn’t see the Father, who did they see?

John the Baptist said “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18). In John 5:18, the Jews thought Jesus was blaspheming and “sought to kill him” because he said God was his Father, making himself equal with God (John 5:18). It seems Israel had not heard about God the Father, whom Jesus came to reveal. The Apostle John explains, “They understood not that he spoke to them of the Father” (John 8:27).

Christians tend to assume that the Lord God in the Old Testament was the One we know as the Father. However, the apostle Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 10:4 “our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”

That “Rock,” Jesus Christ, came to dwell among us as our Emanuel–“God with us”– the Logos (“Word”) who spoke all creation into being as it says in John 1:1-3: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

In the words of the Father himself when Jesus was transfigured in front of his disciples, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:5).

Prayer
Father, thank you for revealing yourself through your Son Jesus, sent to be Emanuel–God with us. By your Holy Spirit, help us to hear him.
Amen

Study by Duncan McLean

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About the Author:
Duncan McLean and his wife, Shirley, attend Grace Communion Church Luton, where they regularly contribute music. They run a monthly choir workshop, which is also a social occasion where all are welcome–see www.kingsfold.org

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill
LUTON
LU1 5JE

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone: 01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

26th November 2017

Night and Day 

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”
John 3:19-20 NIV UK 

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, he attracted a lot of attention from important people. One of the most memorable was Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, the same group of men who, in alliance with the Romans, eventually had Jesus crucified. But Nicodemus had a very different relationship with our saviour—one which totally transformed him. When he first met Jesus, Nicodemus insisted they do so at night. Why? Because he had a lot to lose by being seen with this man whose teaching stood so strongly at odds with the teachings of his peers. He was ashamed to be seen with him.

But this couldn’t be any more different from the Nicodemus we read about just a short time later. The Bible tells us that not only did he defend Jesus to his fellow Sanhedrin members, Nicodemus was also one of the two men who asked Pilate in person to care for the body of Jesus after his death. This difference between Nicodemus before and after he met Christ is literally the difference between night and day. So what changed? Well, it’s the same change that takes place in all of us after we meet and are transformed by a relationship with Jesus.Just like Nicodemus, before we meet our saviour many of us have put our trust in ourselves for our own spiritual welfare. Unfortunately, as Nicodemus knew, this doesn’t quite work out. As fallen human beings, we’re incapable of saving ourselves. Thankfully, there’s hope. As Jesus told him: “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned…” (John 3:17-18).

After meeting the Son of God in person and putting his trust in him for eternal life, Nicodemus knew that before God, he stood spotless and pure in Christ. He had nothing to be ashamed of. He had experienced exactly what Jesus told him would happen: “…whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of [or through, 1978 NIV] God” (John 3:21).

After we’ve entered a relationship with Jesus, we exchange trust in ourselves for trust in Jesus, who has set us free to live a life of grace. And just like Nicodemus, that difference can be as large as the difference between night and day.

Prayer
Mighty Father, to understand the transformation you desire in us is one thing, to bring it to pass by surrendering to you is another. For that, even to establish and build the desire and trust in you, we need much help. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Study by Joseph Tkach

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About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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