31st December 2018

Our Daily Bread

“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Matthew 6:11 (NRSVA)

I’ve just discovered that Day By Day is 10 years old tomorrow, 1 January 2019. Wow! Where has the time gone?

This prompted me to revisit the very first article that kicked off this series of daily reflections. Written by James Henderson, the message focused on one of the lines from the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.” At the end of the article, James reflected on the ‘us’ part of the verse; that Jesus desires us to include the needs of others in our daily prayers. We must always pray as part of, and for, the community that we truly are.

Over the years, I have heard stories that have reflected on how Day By Day is a community experience. I only have space to mention a few: I know of one person who prints them out and sends them to someone with no internet access. Some readers have been so inspired or encouraged by certain articles that they have sent notes of thanks by email. Personally, I have been greatly moved by those who have had the courage to write about their faith during times of severe trial. I can think of three people who penned articles after the death of their spouse. Another spoke of the challenge of following God while undergoing treatment for cancer. I am very grateful to all those who expressed how their faith wrestled with the emotional, physical and spiritual pain that life too often brings.

To be in Christ is to be in community. The Lord’s Prayer begins with “Our Father” (Matthew 6:9), which we can only say because God’s true Son, Jesus, became “like his brothers and sisters in every respect” (Hebrews 2:17). Jesus has chosen to share his son-ship with us all; the Father loves to receive the prayers that we offer in Jesus’ name. And when we include each other in our prayers, we are testifying to the community that Christ is building. In the ‘About’ section of the Day By Day website, it states that “the site gives an opportunity for those who attend our church to share their faith experience.” We truly have experienced a sharing of faith, through our individual ups and downs, over the last decade. Here’s to another 10 years!

P.S. If you have been inspired, encouraged or moved by a Day By Day article over the years, why not email the Day By Day team at admin@daybyday.org.uk? It is always encouraging to hear how one person’s story of faith has benefited others.

Father, thank you for all who contribute to Day By Day. I especially thank you for the quiet hands behind the scenes; those who receive, edit and schedule our stories of faith. Show us, Lord Jesus, how we can participate more fully in the community that you are building; a community that together prays ‘Our Father’.

Study by Ian Woodley

About the Author:
Ian Woodley is an Elder and Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International (Gracecom for short).

Local Congregation:
Gracecom, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: peter.mill@gracecom.church

30th December 2018

Take a Good Look

“But the man who loves God is known by God.”
(1 Corinthians 8:3 NIV UK)
“But now that you know God—or rather are known by God….”
(Galatians 3:9 NIV UK)

When Smokey Robinson and the Miracles recorded their smash hit, The Tracks of My Tears, I’m sure none of them had ever heard the word: ‘Selfie’. And to be honest, until last year, I hadn’t either. But all that changed when the Oxford English Dictionary chose the term as 2013’s “Word of the Year.” For those of you who still don’t know what it is, maybe this will help.

A “Selfie” is defined as: “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a Smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” Even though I don’t Tweet, the concept got me thinking: “Could you do a spiritual ‘Selfie?’”—a snapshot of our souls. What would it reveal? I think this verse in Proverbs hints at what we might find: “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart” (Proverbs 27:19).

In other words, our soul, our spirit, who we really are inside, is reflected in the external life we lead. What we do and what we say does matter. And for some of us, that can be a scary thought. But it doesn’t have to be.

With our adoption through Christ, we don’t have to stand before God alone. Now, when he looks at us, God smiles because he doesn’t see what we used to be—he sees what we can be in Christ. With Jesus, we all have a chance to start again.

So in the new year, the next time you take a “Selfie,” “take a good look at your face” and know it’s one God loves.

Holy Father, constantly you are revealing more of yourself to us. Once we thought we were on our own, alone in a hostile world. But now we know that you know us. In fact you have always known and loved us. Why, even sending your son to live as a human and then die for us before we were born demonstrates your love for each of us. Now we know that daily we walk this Christian walk with you, hand in hand, known of you, loved by you. Thank you in Jesus’s name.

Study by Joseph Tkach

About the Author:
Dr. Joseph Tkach made over 500 Speaking of Life video presentations over the last 11 years (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), and we have used the transcripts of these for our Sunday Day by Days. Speaking of Life has recently run five of Joe’s favourite episodes as a tribute to him. This is the fifth and last in the Tribute Series.

Joseph Tkach was the President of Grace Communion International and resides in California, USA. He has now retired and passed the baton to Dr. Greg Williams, but still chairs the Board of Grace Communion International.

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.

Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

29th Decemer 2018

Gifts Not Just For Christmas

“On coming to the house, [the Magi] saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
Matthew 2:11 (NIV)

It has been said that if the wise men were women they would have brought Mary and Jesus nappies, baby wipes and milk formula rather than the impractical gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. However impractical these gifts may seem to be, they were of considerable significance, and what’s more, they were gifts not just for Christmas.

By presenting Jesus with gold the Magi were indicating that this baby is our king. The gold in any land was in the keeping of the king, held in the king’s treasury. The taxes and revenues collected from people in the kingdom were put into the treasure house of the king. The wise men were bringing their gold to royalty. Jesus may look like a baby in a manger but he is ‘KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS’ (Revelation 19:16).

The gift of incense points to Jesus being our priest. Incense was lit and spread around the altar by the priests leading worship. In Scripture, incense represents the prayers of the people (Revelation. 5:8), and we are to pray in Jesus’ name (John 16:23-24). Jesus is the only mediator between the Father and us. He is our High Priest who understands our afflictions, has experienced our temptations, and enables us to come before the throne of grace with boldness and confidence as he leads our worship (Hebrews 4:14-16).

The meaning behind myrrh is that it foretold the death of Jesus, as it was the embalming fluid of its day. This gift was a further confirmation of what Mary had heard Anna and Simeon say on the 8th day after Jesus’ birth, when they presented Jesus in the temple to be circumcised; this child would die, and while Mary’s heart would be pierced, salvation through him has come.

The tremendous meaning behind these gifts provides lessons for us throughout the year, so don’t only unpack them at Christmas. The fact that Jesus is our king (in charge of and directing our lives), priest (interceding, empathising and dispensing grace) and Saviour (forgiving our sins and reconciling us to God) gives us the strength and encouragement to follow him throughout our lives.

Maybe the wise men were wise after all; what do you think?

Father, by the leading of a star you revealed your only begotten Son to these gentile Magi. May your light continue to reveal Jesus to us as our King, High Priest and Saviour so that we can contemplate the wonder and beauty of his majesty.

Study by Barry Robinson

About the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder in and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International Central London
Indian YMCA
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2:30pm

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

28th December 2018

God is the Registrar

“An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
Matthew 1:1 (NRSV)

Over the years I have read through the Bible on a number of occasions using different programs including chronological order, daily selections from the Old and New Testaments, etc. It is about finding a pattern that suits you and being disciplined to the 15 minutes a day to compete the readings. However, no matter what the system, the genealogies always get a cursory reading. I, like many others, speed read or skip over it. Yet the Bible writers inspired by the Spirit in both Testaments regarded it important that we have these lists. Matthew and Luke felt it important that the early church have a record of Jesus’ lineage.

In more recent times there has been an increase in people tracing their genealogy and also doing DNA genetic testing to find out about their heritage. We also have programmes on TV like ‘Who do you think you are?’ which reveals some secrets of the past for the guest. On another programme we see these tests used to determine paternity for the children in question. These examples tell us that identity, history and recognition are all important to who we are.

At this time of year many will focus on Jesus – reading and enacting the nativity story, singing carols and getting together. It remains vitally important to remember who Jesus really is and also who we are. Matthew’s genealogy links Jesus back to Abraham which connects us to the God of covenant, promise and faithfulness who said, “… and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Paul picks up the theme confirming our lineage and identity in one of his epistles. “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).

I would conclude that our names are therefore included in the genealogical table, as we are children of God. Our genealogy is a rich and diverse tapestry in which each of us has a special place because we were chosen, known and remembered by God. Each name tells stories of God’s involvement, love and vision for humanity as a whole and me as a person. God is the Registrar whose hand is actively involved in writing and keeping the genealogical records.

As we pray, we call you Father because our life flows from you. Thank you that we are chosen and you call us by name.

Study by David Gibbs

About the Author:
David Gibbs in an Elder and Pastoral Worker for Grace Communion International in Central England and South Wales.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Birmingham
All Saints Church
George Road
B23 7QB

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1:00pm

Local Congregational Contact:
David Gibbs
Phone: 0777-7667635
Email: david.gibbs@gracecom.church

27th December 2018

When Jesus Comes to Call

“When Jesus got up and left the synagogue he went into Simon’s house. Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever and they asked Jesus to help her. He stood over her as she lay in bed, brought the fever under control and it left her. At once she got up and began to see to their needs.”
Luke 4:38-39 (Phillips)

As we begin to think about this visit, the first thing to notice is that it took place just after the service at the synagogue ended. Simon Peter’s house was in Capernaum and obviously quite close to the place of worship. I wonder if Jesus had been invited? Perhaps Peter’s wife had sent a message to him “Come have lunch with us directly after the service is over.” So they arrived and found that Peter’s mother-in-law had been taken ill and had a high fever. What a downer—today of all days when Jesus is coming for lunch! We don’t know her name, but she appears to be sharing the house with her daughter and her son-in-law Peter and perhaps was quite elderly.

Then Jesus arrived! In the gospels we have lots of occasions when Jesus entered into people’s homes. He loved to be amongst people and I suspect had many friends. We read about how much he enjoyed his friendship with Martha, Mary, and Lazarus who lived in Bethany. He was never aloof but very down to earth and attended feasts, marriages, and even had fun with publicans and sinners; but of course, was always full of pity, sympathy, and encouragement for those who were suffering. He often would go out of his way to minister to others and lots of times he would ask the question, “What would you like me to do for you today?” For example in Mark 10:46-52 encountering a blind man called Bartimaeus, Mark tells us that Jesus stopped, called him and asked the question, “What do you want me to do for you?”

But let’s go back to Peter’s house and look at the end result of Jesus’ visit. He rebuked this lady’s fever and raised her up totally well. Her temperature was normal once again and she was breathing easily. But notice what she does—read the final sentence of the banner scripture—“At once she got up and began to see to their needs!” The healing touch of Jesus can bring calm and peace to our fears and worries today if we ask him to do that, and when he does, let’s not forget to get up and serve both him and others!

Gracious Saviour, remember all those who have concerns, worries and fears today. Touch them, bless them and raise them up to a calm and peaceful condition.

Study by Cliff Neill

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

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

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

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