31st July 2018

The Importance of Listening

“While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!’”
Matthew 17:5 (CSB)

There is nothing more frustrating than having a problem with your phone, your car, your broadband, your bank or one of the utility companies and the person on the other end of the phone simply does not listen. Each time the problem is passed to someone else, you have to begin again and explain it from the beginning. Or perhaps you have been talking to someone and you can see they are not really listening to you, just passing time while they look for someone more important to talk to. Incredibly rude, but it happens!

Listening properly, giving the other person your undivided attention, is a skill that can be learnt and developed. But in our world of constant communication, it’s a skill which seems to be dying out. What about Christians, do we have the skill of listening? Christianity is, at heart, about relationships, first with God, then with all the other people we come into contact with. As the verse above shows we first need to listen to God. But could part of our life as a Christian be devoted to developing the ability to listen and to give people our full undivided attention? Seems almost too simple to believe, but when you really listen, focusing on the other person’s concerns, you will find that the relationship between you deepens and strengthens.

In our busy world finding someone who really listens to you is so rare that such a person stands out. So if we want to share our faith, as and when we are asked, perhaps the key is to become an active listener, to build a solid relationship with another person first. We need to be listening to learn and to help; trusting God to create an opportunity for us to speak at the right time for that person. We should not listen with the ulterior motive of preaching the gospel or getting the person to come to church. We need to learn to listen with a genuine love and concern for all the people we meet, because often just listening properly to someone is all the encouragement and help they need. We can never know the pressures and pain behind another person’s smile but God does. Maybe just being a listener is the way God will use us in a relationship from time to time.

In times of difficulty, such as death or illness in the family or the many other pressures in life today, being able to talk to someone who really listens may be all a person needs to cope, to survive a crisis, to get back on track. They may not realise it now, but that may be the way God is working with them at that moment in their life. Becoming a better listener makes you a better Christian and a better person!

Remember, too, that God always listens to us.

Prayer
Loving and merciful Father, thank you for always being ready to listen to us. Please help us to learn to listen to others properly so we can help them, and so maybe the time will come when they want to listen to us talk about the hope that is in us.
In Jesus name we pray.
Amen
 

Study by Keith Hartrick

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About the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, and serves on the Church Council there.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LEEDS
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone: 01484-312347
Email: malcolm701@googlemail.com

30th July 2018

Are You A Sinner Or A Saint?

“For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”
Romans 7:19-20 (NKJV)

There was a popular TV programme in the 1990’s that re-runs occasionally, called Quantum Leap. The lead character, Sam Beckett, is stuck in a time loop trying to get back to his own time, and every time he ‘leaps’ he ends up in the body of an individual in a different time. He always finds that he is able to help that person in some way, correcting mistakes, preventing disasters and to make a difference in their life before he leaps again. The odd thing is that when he looks in the mirror, he doesn’t see himself, he sees the character he is helping.

Who do you see in the mirror? Do you see a sinner or a saint? It seems no matter how hard we try, we still sin. Even the Apostle Paul wrote, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:19-20 NKJV). Yet Romans 8:1 says “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

All Christians are saints with Christ living in them. Galatians 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” When God looks at us, he sees His Son, Jesus, who died for us and lives in us. When we look into the spiritual mirror, we should see a ‘Christ’-ian, that is, we see Christ. And when others look at us they should see Christ. We should reflect that light and character to the world around us.

Unlike the character in Quantum Leap, when we look into a physical mirror, we see ourselves, warts and all, but this is a ‘false reflection.’ Unlike ‘fake news’ we need to tweet the true ‘me’ inside, that the Apostle Paul spoke of in Galatians 2. Christ in us—our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)—that is who we really are!

Prayer
Father in Heaven, help me to reflect Christ in me to the world, to help others and to make a difference in this world through the Holy Spirit.
Amen

Study by Nancy Silcox

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About the Author:
Nancy Silcox attends the Watford Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, part of Grace communion International. Nancy prepares and uploads the Day by Day studies submitted by members of the Worldwide Church of God UK/Grace Communion International.

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.sueann.henderson49@gmail.com

29th July 2018

The Trinity Revealed 

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims…, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: grace to you and peace be multiplied.”
1 Peter 1:1-2 (NKJV)

A few weeks ago I attended a friend’s church. As the service began, the choir began to sing an old hymn. It was a paraphrase of Martin Luther’s theological work, and it went like this:

When Jesus went to Jordan’s stream his Father’s will obeying,
And was baptised by John, there came a voice from heaven saying:
“This is my dear beloved Son upon whom rests my favour.”
And till God’s will is fully done he will not bend or waver, for he is Christ the Saviour.
The Holy Spirit then was shown, a dove on him descending;
The Triune God is thus made known in Christ as love unending.

Sometimes we forget that the word “trinity” isn’t in the Bible. But the actual Trinity is all over the place—especially when we read the account of Christ’s baptism! Luke writes, “As he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased’” (Luke 3:21-22 NIV).

In that moment all three persons of the Trinity are revealed at once. God the Father is ‘heard’ through the opening of heaven and by the sound of a voice. The Holy Spirit descends to Christ in a form like a dove. And Christ is firmly planted in the waters of the Jordan River.

What I enjoy about this account is that it illustrates our access to the whole Triune God. We, like the others who were there that day, are baptised into Christ because of his incarnation and atonement. By the power of the Holy Spirit we are comforted and counselled. That same Spirit, with Christ as our brother/advocate, invites us back into communion with our heavenly Father, who says to us, through his Son: “You are my child, whom I love. With you I am well pleased.”

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing yourself in three persona, or aspects. Three ways of better seeing your might, majesty and your condescension towards us, so that we can better understand something of how you deal with us, regard us and love us. 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 July 2018

The Apple of Your Eye

“Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”
Psalm 17:8 (NIV)

“Ah yes,” said my mother with a knowing smile, “your father had you as the apple of his eye all the time he served in Burma during the war.” As a child I had no idea what she meant, but I liked the sound of it. My parents married soon after the end of the second world war and I was born the year after. As an adult I began to understand the words of my mother. To be the apple of one’s eye is to be someone very special. Even before I was born I was the dream of my father – it gave him purpose in the dense perilous jungles of Burma. He dreamt of a time when he would live in peace with his future wife and children.

We are the apple of God’s metaphoric eye – He loves us more than we can ever comprehend. He gave His Son that we may live (John 3:16). God has dreams and plans for us. We are going to share eternity with Him. We will see His face one day. Revelation 22:4 tells us, “They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.” There is a fantastic future ahead for us, a time of joy and excitement, all because we are the apple of God’s eye.

God asks us to “Keep my commandments and live; guard my teaching as the apple of your eye” (Proverbs 7:2). He wants us to stay close to Him and to hold the dream of His wonderful kingdom, to keep Him as the apple of your eye.

Prayer
Loving and amazing God, thank you that we really are the apple of your eye – we are humbled and grateful for your love.
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.sueann.henderson49@gmail.com

 

27th July 2018

Time and Chance Does Not Separate us From God’s Love 

“I saw something else under the sun. The race isn’t won by fast runners, or the battle by heroes. Wise people don’t necessarily have food. Intelligent people don’t necessarily have riches, and skilled people don’t necessarily receive special treatment. But time and unpredictable events overtake all of them
Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NOG)

Unexpected tragedy happens. This week we’ve seen some terrible examples, such as those caught up in the wildfires in Greece, in the floods in Japan and in the bomb attacks in Pakistan. Our hearts go out to those the victims and their relatives and friends.

When Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, he was reflecting on life as he had seen and experienced it. Sometimes his view is that most things are meaningless, and in the verse above he sounds almost despairing. He is, of course, writing without the benefit of what we know about Jesus Christ. Although time and chance overtake us, it’s also true that the grace of Jesus overtakes us and covers our life, no matter what may happen to us. The victory of Jesus over death brings hope to all of humanity so that we are redeemed from victimhood to become victors in and through him.

The Apostle Paul put it this way, in expressing the hope not just for believers but also for those who might still believe, “What will separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can trouble, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, or violent death separate us from his love?…The one who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties. I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love” (Romans 8:35-38).

Despite time and chance, nothing separates us from God’s love in Christ Jesus.

Prayer
Thank you, Father, that nothing, not even the tragedies of life, separate us from your love. 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

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