28th February 2018

The Oil Shall Not Run Dry 

He looked up and saw the rich dropping their offerings into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow dropping in two tiny coins. ‘Truly I tell you,’ He said. ‘This poor widow has put in more than all of them. For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on’”
Luke 21:1-4 (CSB)

In November Keith Hartrick, a regular writer for Day By Day, used this verse to talk about collections. It has always been a scripture that makes me think, so I shared it with my six year old and asked her what it means. She never seems to give the response I expect and this time her response made me ponder: “It means you’ll always have enough oil and flour…’—I didn’t get it.

Kindly, she went on to explain further, ‘… like the widow who fed Elijah—that is why she could give everything she had.’ This was a story she had just been told in assembly. Local schools in the area are blessed with a church group that, with the school’s permission, act out Bible stories in assembly following a programme called ‘Open the Book.’ The story she refers to is in 1 Kings 17:1-16. Here we read that Elijah was told by God to go and hide, leaving all that he had and be fed by ravens. Talk about an act of faith from Elijah! Following that, God then asks Elijah to go and be provided for by a widow, in a land poor with drought and famine. When Elijah asks the widow’s help she responds in verse 12 by saying, “As the Lord your God lives, I don’t have anything baked—only a handful of flour in the jar and a bit of oil in the jug. Just now, I am gathering a couple of sticks in order to go prepare it for myself and my son so we can eat it and die.”

Elijah tells the widow not to fear, and instead make him a cake! “…for this is what the Lord God of Israel says, ‘The flour jar will not become empty and the oil jug will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the surface of the land.’ So she proceeded to do according to the word of Elijah. Then the woman, Elijah, and her household ate for many days. The flour jar did not become empty, and the oil jug did not run dry, according to the word of the Lord he had spoken through Elijah” (1 Kings 17:14-15).

Indeed, when we give our hard earned coins into a church collection, let us not forget who we are giving to—God of Israel, Lord of the impossible!

Prayer
Heavenly father, thank you for all that you provide for us, that we need not worry about the food we eat or the clothes on our back. Thank you for the tremendous care and love you show for us when we commit to you in faith. You are our almighty father and ultimate provider—praise be to you. In Jesus’ Name.
Amen

Study by Simone Royle

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About the Author:
Simone Royle attends the Birmingham Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Birmingham
All Saints Church
George Road
BIRMINGHAM
B23 7QB

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1:00pm

Local Congregational Contact:
David Gibbs
Phone: 01213420609 (answer phone)
Mobile: 07974440580
Email: david_gibbs@wcg.org.uk

27th February 2018

The Patience of Job 

“For examples of patience in suffering, look at the Lord’s prophets. We know how happy they are now because they stayed true to him then, even though they suffered greatly for it. Job is an example of a man who continued to trust the Lord in sorrow; from his experiences we can see how the Lord’s plan finally ended in good, for he is full of tenderness and mercy.”
James 5:11 (TLB)

The patience of Job is regarded as one of the most gracious virtues in a man. How can anyone endure patiently what Job went through—what he had to endure? One of the last things, if not the last, that people are known for is patient endurance. Many have little tolerance for pain and even less for discomfort.

Job endured a succession of tragedies that robbed him of his health, wealth, and family. Job could have easily lost his faith and his sanity. But Job endured. No wonder then that James said Job is an example of a man who endured patiently. Job could not see God’s plan for him, and a lesson for us, while sitting on an ash heap scratching himself with a piece of pottery, not to mention the words from his wife, which were not very encouraging! Then came his friends, which Job described as ‘miserable comforters.’

From Job’s experience we see how the Lord’s plan finally ended in good. Through all of Job’s suffering he could say these beautiful and uplifting words, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. And I know that after this body has decayed, this body shall see God! Then he will be on my side! Yes, I shall see him, not as a stranger, but as a friend! What a glorious hope!” (Job 19:25-27).

Even if we are spared the trauma Job experienced, we still need hope to focus on. We should consider the farmers—“Now as for you, dear brothers who are waiting for the Lord’s return, be patient, like a farmer who waits until the autumn for his precious harvest to ripen. Yes, be patient. And take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near” (James 5:7-8). The real harvest that begins at the Lord’s return.

Prayer
Dear Lord, thank you for the glorious hope we have in Jesus Christ, so we can say like Job “I know that my redeemer lives.” In Jesus’ Name.
Amen

Study by Dennis Payne

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About the Author:
Dennis Payne attends the North London Congregation of the Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International London
Indian YMCA
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
LONDON
W1T 6AQ

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2:30pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email:   london@gracecom.church

26th February 2018

Filled With The Unlimited Fullness of God!

“…and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:19 (NIV)

If you haven’t decided to become a Christian yet; if that decision is somewhere in the back of your mind and you feel urged to make it, I guess one of your questions that eats away at you must be “How can anyone live the life of a Christian in this world?” In answer to that, I’d like to draw your attention to a section of a prayer that one of God’s greatest servants prayed for a tiny congregation in a place called Ephesus. Ephesus was a large and prosperous city in Asia Minor and was the Headquarters of the goddess Diana’s worship. Because of this, Ephesus was a very difficult place to be a follower of Jesus. His beautiful prayer of encouragement for this tiny Church, surrounded by pagan worship is recorded in Ephesians 3:14-21. As you read this amazing prayer you’ll be aware that Paul is praying that they would come to understand the sheer dimensions of God’s love for everyone:

First the “length” to which God’s love is willing to go—it’s limitless! And so “he (Jesus) is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Next, the “breadth” of God’s love is shown by Christ being “the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

Now the “depth” of it? Well, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8: 9 ).

And what can the “height” of this love be? Ephesians 2:4-6 tells us “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”

Such is the amazing generosity of God’s love for everyone and filled with the power of that love which indwells every corner of our lives, we can all become—“more than conquerors through him who loved us!” (Romans 8:37). This is how much you are loved—so now you know—the next move is yours!

Prayer
Father, your love is overwhelming—a great gift for all peoples because of the precious sacrifice of your son, Jesus. Please accept our thanks and praise.
Amen

Study by Cliff Neill

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About the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

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

25th February 2018

Our Divine Heritage 

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”
Romans 8:14-16 (NIV UK) 

Last year here in the USA, America’s National Park Service celebrated its 100th birthday. Back when Congress created it, its purpose was to protect and preserve the places of wild beauty in America. This mission was originally championed by Teddy Roosevelt, who said, “We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.” So, too, we as Christians receive an incredible spiritual heritage when we become members of the family of God. In Ephesians, Paul tells us: “In him (Christ) we have obtained an inheritance…In him you also, when you heard the word of truth…and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:11, 13-14 ESV).

The inheritance Paul is talking about here is the limitless wealth of life in God, secured for us by the saving work of Jesus through his life, death on the cross, resurrection and ascension. Our eternal future is settled, and we are assured that an inheritance beyond our most glorious imagination awaits us in heaven.

But that doesn’t mean our heritage is some wistful daydream. Rather, it’s a living hope we can count on. And because it is secure already in Christ, it’s also a present reality that we can take part in each and every day. How? Part of our heritage is a relationship with the Holy Spirit who joins us to Jesus. Through the Spirit we can begin to taste the spiritual riches of eternity even in the here and now. And we can act now as we count on God’s faithfulness to deliver on his promises. We can live now in a way that points to what we hope in—that God will, in the end, put everything right. God’s kingdom will come and his gracious and good will, will be done in the new heavens and new earth. We will truly be his glorified children sharing in the very same love the Father has for the Son and the Son has for the Father in the Spirit. By that same Spirit we are renewed, transformed, and empowered to act on the hope we’re already assured of in Christ for eternity.

Living in hope of such an inheritance from God is a powerful, life-changing process. And, as much as I like our national parks, I think I’ll take my heritage in Christ over that one any day!

Prayer
Holy Father, thank you for rescuing us from ourselves and giving us the vision of the glorious future with you which you have promised us. Help us for the rest of our physical lives to walk closer to you and to seek to transform ourselves into the mould of your son. 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

24th February 2018

Gilt and Guilt

“Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious! But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.”
Proverbs 9:17-18 (NIV)

‘Not before your dinner’ my mother warned. In my childish eyes the gold wrapped sweets glowed on the plate, the compelling urge to swipe one grew – risking the wrath of my parent, I succumbed to temptation and sneakily retrieved a sweet from the plate. It was delicious! Then the consequences, ‘did you take one of those sweets?’ Oh no! Now I would have to lie to someone who knew the truth perfectly well! The British politician Dennis Healey was known to have said ‘when you are in a hole – stop digging!’   Unfortunately, my misdemeanour preceded these words of wisdom by many years. By the end of the day I was ashamed and had completely forgotten the taste of the forbidden sweet, however, I still remembered how attractive the gold wrapper was. The writer of Proverbs described how ‘sweet’ ‘stolen waters’ can be but then he/she goes on to explain the dire results.

What is gilt gold? An example is to be found in coinage. Essentially it means that a coin has a thin layer of gold, or something resembling gold, on it. Beneath the meagre gold layer of the coin is almost certainly some base metal. The example is apt, under the thin veneer of temptation are base results.

Sin is often like that, there it is in location, tempting and beckoning – metaphorically gold wrapped. We lie to ourselves about the consequences, but we are caught in the heat of the moment. It doesn’t have to be an item that we covet, perhaps it is something we have heard – a tasty piece of gossip – something we can add to that maybe no-one else knows. The apostle Paul quantified sin in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’”

Thankfully we have been ‘rescued’ from our sins by Jesus Christ, as we read in Galatians 1:4 “who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” Jesus has paid for our sins, and washed away the guilt.

Each of us have sinful natures, giving in to temptation and sin, and as a result bear the ensuing guilt or shame. Guilt is often associated with depression, anxiety, stress and other mental health related problems. Sin is bad for us in so many ways! We need to recognise the ‘gilt’ of temptation and seek the power of the Holy Spirit to resist and repent—by doing we are released from guilt.

Prayer
Father God, we come before you, sorry for our sins, and through the sacrifice of Jesus, we ask for your forgiveness and thank you from our hearts for the release from the burden of guilt.
Amen
 

Study by Irene Wilson

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About the Author:
Irene Wilson is a Deaconess in the Watford Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, part of Grace Communion International, where she also serves on the Pastoral Council.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Watford, Herts.
WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone: 01923-855570
Email: george-sue.henderson@tesco.net

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