31st December 2017

Once Blind, Now I See 

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
1 Peter 2:9-10 (NIV) 

There’s a painter working in Laguna Beach named Andrew Meyers, and he’s approaching his art in a totally fresh way. Instead of layering oil paints to produce texture and depth like Van Gogh, Andrew ‘paints’ with thousands of screws. He drills each one into a wooden canvas at different levels to create a three-dimensional portrait. And, unlike the paintings you’ll find hanging in a museum, Andrew’s work is actually meant to be touched. In fact, he encourages it! I found out about all this when I watched a video of a blind man reach out and actually touch his own portrait which Andrew had made. And the expression on that blind man’s face when he saw it was one in a million. It was as if he could ‘see’ himself for the first time.

I know that many of us move through this life thinking that we know who we are. We think we have a clear view of ourselves. We’re fathers or mothers. We’re accountants and steel workers. We vote this way or that way. And we cheer for the home team at the weekends. But all of these things aren’t really who we are. At our most core level of being we know from scripture that we are God’s beloved. We are his son or his daughter. And we are adopted and justified before him through our Lord Jesus Christ. We are his children. And our identity is in Christ Jesus. I think if I could have had a video made of my face the first time I found that out—I probably would have looked like that blind man reaching out and touching the painting and ‘seeing’ for the first time.

Once we know our identity is rooted in Christ alone, there’s no going back. Our eyes have been opened and we’ve finally seen ourselves for the first time. Paul seems to have thought along these lines expressed here in this passage from his letter to the Ephesians: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” (Ephesians 1:18). 

I pray that as we continue through this life and into the New Year, that we’ll be able to show others the joy of seeing themselves for the first time in Christ Jesus.

Prayer
Holy Father, you have given us the gift to see ourselves as you see us. Once sinners, but now forgiven, redeemed and founded in your love and compassion. Help us, heavenly Father, to use this to help others to come to you, as you call them. 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

30th December 2017

It Is Now Or Never 

“God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:9 (NIVUK)

“It’s Now or Never” is the name of a love song made famous by Elvis Presley, who is often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” or simply “the King.” If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you have been called into a holy love relationship with the King of kings. A calling which cannot be revoked or rescinded, “for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). God is faithful and he will not change his mind about calling you at this time. He began a good work in you, which he has promised to complete, as we read in Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” That ‘good work’ is all about forming the image of Christ in you. “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19).

God is a fellowship or communion of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, existing from eternity. And we have been called, or invited, to participate in this special relationship. For those invited to participate in this holy love relationship, it is now or never. Our only response is “yes Lord Jesus.” The end result will be our glorification! Romans 8:30 tells us that “those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Calling you into this special relationship was not an afterthought on God’s part, it was not accidental. It was carefully worked out a long time ago! Our time is now, and we are truly blessed to be called at this time.

When the Creator of the universe and all life chooses us out of the masses of humanity and specifically calls us into something, or rather in this case, into a relationship with Someone! We have to take it seriously and treat it as the special gift that it is. God does not make mistakes, so, “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest” (Hebrews 3:1).

Prayer
Father in heaven, thank you for calling me into fellowship with Jesus, the Son. By your Spirit, please enable me to regard this calling as the special gift that it is.
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

29th December 2017

Hope for 2018 

But you remain the same,
and your years will never end

Psalm 102:27 and Hebrews 1:12 (NIVUK)
 

Help! Where did the year go?

No one really knows who wrote Psalm 102. Perhaps it was just before the end of the exile, and the writer is speaking personally and also for the nation. Whoever it was, he or she was at a particularly low ebb. Note the flow of what is said: “my days vanish like smoke,” “I forget to eat my food,” I groan aloud,” “my days are like an evening shadow, I wither away like grass,” (verses 3-5,11). Pretty depressing stuff, is it not? Maybe it sums up how we may feel from time to time.

But the Psalmist moves on to a positive conclusion. There is hope because of God’s constant nature and because God is Eternal. The Lord sits “enthroned forever,” he “will arise and have compassion,” “respond to the prayer of the destitute,” “and appear in his glory” (verses 12-13,16-17). All this, the Psalm continues, is written for people like you and me: “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord” (verse 18).

We also don’t know who wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews, but he or she refers to Psalm 102, word for word in places. The unchanging Eternal God provides peace of mind for us and guarantees our future in Christ. Things around us may grow old and perish, but God remains the same and his years will never end.

The message for us at the end of 2017 is clear. Jesus, who is Lord of all, remains who he is, full of grace and always present for us. The passage of time does not diminish his love for us.

Let’s continue to trust him in 2018.

Prayer
Great eternal gracious God, thank you that your love for us is constant, despite the passage of time, and guide us please through the year ahead.
In Jesus’ name.
Amen
 

Study by James Henderson

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About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. This weekend James is speaking in our Watford congregation. 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:
james.henderson@gracecom.church
Or email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

28th December 2017

God’s Angels, Part 3—Protection 

“For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’”
Acts 27:23-24 (NKJV)

In Bible times God would occasionally commission his angels to intervene in situations to protect and bless his people (please refer to part two for examples of this). As angels are God’s ministers (Hebrews 1:14), wouldn’t it seem fitting that he would still use them today to save lives that are in imminent danger?

One such example is that of Lisa Bowdoin and Anthony Russo,who experienced a terrible car collision on Highway 6 in Crawford, Texas, in March 2009. Lisa’s car slid full speed into Anthony’s car, causing Lisa’s car to flip over several times. Unfortunately both cars caught fire. Lisa began to pray, “God help me!” She cried out to God for a miracle and believed in her heart that nobody was going to die that day.

In an instant a pedestrian named Cody Clemmons (who happened to be a Christian), came to the rescue! As he was taking Lisa by the hands to attempt to pull her out of the car, Lisa said that she saw another set of white glowy hands on top of Cody’s. She believes they were angelic hands and that God sent an angel that day to save Lisa’s life!

The worst, however, wasn’t over yet. In the other car Anthony was trapped and unconscious. The flames were beginning to hit him. Another lady eyewitness on the scene cried, “God, you have to help this man!” In seconds Anthony became conscious and she said that he floated out of the burning car and was laid safely on the ground! Afterwards, Anthony said that without a doubt he knew God saved his life that day. This is a true story and is available also in written and video form by Googling “The Divine Rescue On Highway Six.”

There are many other true stories on You Tube, where people believe they have experienced amazing angelic interventions in their lives and given God the glory for such. These stories can be a great inspiration to read, and can help strengthen our faith in the One who is able to make the impossible, possible.

Prayer
Thank you, heavenly Father, for your wonderful angelic creation. Thank you that you use angels to help, support and protect us frail humans in myraids of ways. In Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by John Magowan

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About the Author:
John Magowan is a member of the Pastoral Council at Grace Community Church, Lisburn, Northern Ireland.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Lisburn
(www.grace-ni.org)
Ballymacbrennan School Hall
129A Saintfield Road
LISBURN
BT27 5PG

Meeting Time:
Sunday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
lisburngracecom@gmail.com
Phone: 07764336760
Email: bobbeggs@hotmail.com

 

27th December 2017

Living The Love Life

“Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
John 15:13 (NKJV)

We often think of laying down our life for someone else in terms of dying. That’s what Jesus did. He loved us so much He lay down His life by dying in our place so that we could live.

But now He’s asking us to lay down our lives in a different way. He’s asked us to show our love, not by dying for others, but by living for them. Exactly what does this mean?

Sometimes it means giving our lives by spending time in prayer for someone. Other times it means giving of ourselves by extending love and understanding. Many times it means laying aside our own selfish desires in order to meet the needs of others, Romans 15:1 puts it this way: “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”

Serving others is one of the major keys that will open the door to true happiness. In Luke 22:26-27 Jesus said, But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” Jesus came to this earth in order to serve others. We should all aim to follow His example.

There are many people in this world who feel that they are all alone and that no one cares for them. They need to be told that they are special and loved by God, as well as that they are loved by us and we care about them. Let us all aim to live the Love Life by serving and helping others whenever we can.

Prayer
Father God, thank you for sending Jesus in order to serve us and to pay the price for all our sins. Help us all to realize how important it is that we also live a life of service to others.
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, a part of Grace Communion International. 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

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