30th April 2018

A Lover’s Promise Never Came With A ‘Maybe’!

“For all the promises of God in Him (Jesus) are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”
2 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV)

Promises and hope go together like strawberries and cream, like fish and chips, like Darby and Joan. They’re joined at the hip as we say; dovetailed together in a very special way—so when God promises something, we do indeed have hope.

In his book “Pilgrim’s Progress,” John Bunyan’s hero, Christian, is captured by Giant Despair and incarcerated in doubting Castle. Under the harsh treatment of Giant Despair, Christian loses heart almost to the point of taking his own life. Then one morning he wakes up—just like the Prodigal Son—and says, “What a fool I am to lie in this stinking dungeon when I could walk at liberty. I have a key in my bosom called Promise that will unlock any door in Doubting Castle!” This pilgrim lay in despair because he had forgotten the promises, had stopped hearing God’s voice within him, but he received strength, courage and faith by remembering.

The quote I have used as the headline above is from a song by ‘Simply Red’ called ‘Stars.’ ‘Maybe’ should never enter into a promise: Jesus instructed his followers to “let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No!’” (Matthew 5:37).

Are God’s promises trustworthy? You bet! Do we have a guarantee? You bet! (note the scripture above!) Can anyone or anything pull us away from those special blessings—no! Jesus reassures us that nothing and no one can. Notice, speaking about those who belong to him he says, “for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. So, no one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” (John 10:29-30 NLT).

The writer to the Hebrews hits this particular nail squarely on the head when he writes, “Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence. This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain of heaven into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High priest in the line of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:8-20 NLT).

Have you run to God for refuge yet and have you claimed his promises for yourself? I sincerely hope you do so—He’s waiting patiently!

Prayer
Our faithful Father, thank you for your precious promises which are perfectly guaranteed for us all.
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

29th April 2018

Seeing in Colour 

“His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, ‘The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God have been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.”’”
Luke 8:9-10 (NIV UK)

When Bill Reed’s family celebrated his 66th birthday, they gave him something very special: a new pair of eyes. You see, Bill was colour-blind. To him, the world around him existed in shades of grey and muddy brown. But thanks to a company called EnChroma, that was about to change. EnChroma manufactures glasses which utilise a special technology that filters out small slices of the light spectrum in their lenses, effectively correcting colour-blindness. And while that might sound too good to be true, Bill’s reaction is all the proof you need that it works. A large, gruff man who was once a competitive bodybuilder, he fell silent the instant he began to see what he’d been missing, and slowly started to cry tears of joy as he looked at the colours of the trees, flowers, and sky around him for the first time. As he marvelled, his daughter said something that summed up the whole scene quite well: “Papa, now you can see with our eyes.”

It’s a touching story. But as remarkable as it is, it’s nothing compared with the gift of ‘new eyes’ that we’re offered in Christ. Jesus began his earthly ministry by quoting from the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18).

While Jesus did restore sight to the blind during his earthly ministry, there’s another meaning at work here as well. Christ came to enable us to ‘see’ God clearly and truly in him so that we might come to love his ways, and long to see his rule and reign come in fulness over all the earth. And as we come to know and put our faith in God and his coming Kingdom, we are given new sight, spiritual sight to see the world through the eyes of Christ.

When we do, it reveals beauty where we never would have noticed it before. We also come to see the desperate need of all to receive forgiveness and hope and put our lives in his hands and come under his new management. We’ll see the need to live by the hope that the merciful judge of the Universe will bring about his righteousness and so in the end make all things right. 

Prayer
Holy Father, we thank you so much that you have enabled us to ‘see’ this world through spiritual eyes, to understand where our world needs your love, and how you will effect change. 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

28th April 2018

Living With Dying

“While the child was alive I wept. And I did not eat anything. I thought that perhaps the LORD would be merciful to me. I thought that he might forgive me. Then he might let the child live. But I do not need to do this now that the child is dead. I cannot bring him back to me. I will go to him but he cannot come to me.”
2 Samuel 12:22-23 (EE)

Today, 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer.[i] This statistic isn’t given to scare or shock people, but rather to acknowledge more of us will be living with, caring for, or supporting people dying from a disease, which might be cancer, or perhaps Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or other illness.

We read in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “You will have difficulties like this. But they are the same kind of difficulties that every person has. God always does what he has promised to do. Remember this. He will not let any difficulty be too big for you. He does not want you to do anything wrong because of any difficulty. He will make you strong. He will show you a way out of the difficulty.” As David and Bathsheba lost their baby in the header scripture, perhaps someone close to you is dying, and you feel you have little control.

We know that God has a plan for each one of us, and it can be difficult to understand why someone close to us is dying prematurely – especially when that person is young! Nevertheless, God has offered us avenues of hope and help.

We can pray, e.g. God lengthened Hezekiah’s life by fifteen years (Isaiah 38:5). Philippians 4:8 encourages us to meditate on positive things; whilst Paul and Barnabas had “their prayers intensified by fasting…” (Acts 14:23 MSG)

We can also give practical help. Something as simple as sending a text or card of encouragement, helping with transport, making a meal, giving someone a break—little things can often make life easier to bear.

In the scripture above, David petitioned God for his baby son’s life. He fasted and prayed. God heard his prayers but did not intervene as David wanted. Is this situation similar for us? Nevertheless, as David petitioned God for as long as the child was alive, likewise, we should persist in appealing to God for his mercy on behalf of our loved ones (Luke 18:1-8).

After David’s son died, he worshipped God. When someone close to us dies, we focus on the effect it has on us, as we go through the necessary stages of grief. Focusing on God at such times can help. God is in charge, always, and though things may feel so difficult and painful now, we can look forward to a time when there will be no more pain, no more suffering, and no more death (Revelation 21:4).

Prayer
Our Father in heaven, we ask for your intervention in the lives of those we love who are seriously ill. Help us to help and support those around us that are dying from an illness. Holy Spirit, use us as vehicles to bring words of comfort and encouragement to the dying, and those close to them. Help us to worship you always.
Amen

Study by Irene Tibbenham

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About the Author:
Irene Tibbenham is a Deaconess and serves on the Pastoral Council in the Norwich ed-TG/ed-TG/Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International. Irene’s brother died at Easter time three years ago and his wife’s sister died on Good Friday of this year. Our condolences to Irene and her family. May God comfort and encourage them with his love and hope of the future.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Norwich
New Hope Christian Centre
Martineau Lane
NORWICH
NR1 2HX

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Tony Goudie
Phone: 01508 498165
Mobile: 07931 580409
Email: tony_goudie@wcg.org.uk

[i] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288916.php

 

 

(ED:tg)

27th April 2018

Rejoicing at What Jesus Says and Does 

“As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.”
Luke 13:17 (ESVUK)

Jesus would challenge the status quo. Often. And this is one of the many examples of his doing so that Luke records.

It was a Saturday, and Jesus was teaching in a local synagogue. Attending that day was a woman who had been bent over for 18 years and could not straighten herself. Jesus healed her in front of the whole assembly, and the woman gave the glory to God. One onlooker was unimpressed. It was the ruler of the synagogue, who complained that Jesus had gone against the letter and the spirit of Sabbath observance by healing the woman on the Sabbath. You get the impression that it was not just this cleric that objected because, in the Scripture above, it refers to “adversaries”. For him it was not just a doctrinal matter, but perhaps also a control issue—did he see Jesus as a threat?

Jesus told them that they were not only being unreasonable but that they were being hypocritical. “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it?” (verse 15), he said to them, in front of the entire congregation. The result was that the status quo were put to shame but those worshipping at the synagogue rejoiced at the glorious things Jesus was doing.

Sometimes the words and/or the actions of Jesus might unsettle our personal world, and make us feel uncomfortable. We may re-act in unreasonable ways, trying to justify ourselves. When this happens, it’s time to pray that God will help us rejoice at the glorious things Jesus says and does.

Prayer
Great Father, I need you to help me to react with grace when I want to respond in anger to what Jesus does and says. I pray that, through the Holy Spirit, I might at such times be able to glorify you and give you praise. 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. 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

26th April 2018

With The Measure You Use

“’Consider carefully what you hear,’ He continued. ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.’”
Mark 4:24-25 (NIV)

With the measure you use, it will be measured to you, means that ‘you get back what you give’. Here it means that those who accept the truth of Jesus’ teachings will receive even more truth in return.

In Luke 6:38, the same Proverb is used to encourage generosity in giving; it means that you will receive back according to your generosity. Here it says, “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

What did Jesus mean by a good measure, pressed down, shaken and running over? In the marketplace, where the buyer would order a measure of grain, a particularly generous merchant would fill the container, shake it to settle the contents, press the grain down to make more room, and keep pouring until it overflowed into the buyer’s lap. It is a picture of generosity, of grace, of receiving from God far more than we give.

In Matthew 7:2 it is used to warn against hypocritical judgement—that you will be judged by how you judge. “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Take heed or consider what we hear. Why? Like the Berean Jews in Acts 17:11, who examined the scriptures to see if they were hearing truth, we are to pay diligent (or close attention) to what we hear. We should seek to understand it, and to lay it up in our minds and memories, in order that we will be able to convey the gospel message to others when anyone ask us about our beliefs, or when God gives us the opportunity to do so.

Prayer
Thank you, Father, for pouring out your blessings on us without measure. 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

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