28th February 2019

Focus on the Positive

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

A teacher was taking a class through the nine times table, and wrote it on the blackboard for them: 1 x 9 = 7, 2 x 9 = 18, 3 x 9 = 27, 4 x 9 = 36 5 x 9 = 45, 6 x 9 = 54, 7 x 9 = 63, 8 x 9 = 72, 9 x 9 = 81, 10 x 9 = 90, 11 x 9 = 99, 12 x 9 = 108.

The teacher ignored the muffled laughter and giggles as the table went up, then turned to face the class and asked why the amusement? Several pupils loudly pointed out that 1 x 9 = 9, not 7, as the teacher had written! “I know,” the teacher told the class, “but I did it that way to teach you a very important lesson in life—eleven out the twelve sums are right, but you all immediately zeroed in on the one sum that was wrong. In life, far too often, that is what people will do to you and, if you are not careful, what you will do to your-self.”

In life too many want perfection in all they do and expect it of the people they know at work and socially as well. But it is an unrealistic goal which is impossible to live up to, for yourself and others. Remember the only people who don’t make mistakes are people who do nothing!

It is easy to be a critic and pounce on people who make mistakes, or to beat yourself up mentally for making them. But to learn to be an encourager and supporter of both yourself and the people you know is a much harder, but much more rewarding, challenge. People who constantly criticise themselves, and far worse, others, don’t grow in confidence and develop a positive attitude to life. Over-critical parents don’t develop children who grow into confident adults. Over-critical bosses don’t develop their teams’ confidence or ability to do the job. Over-critical people don’t develop lasting, life long friendships and relationships.

Sometimes criticism is necessary but it should always be given in a balanced, constructive way. So, for example you could say, well done, you got eleven of those sums right but why not look at 1 x 9 again, do you see anything wrong with it?

We must not see failure as the end of the world we are in, but rather as a stepping stone to success. It’s not failing at something which is a problem, but failing to learn from the failure! When a baby is learning to walk, you don’t criticise or condemn them for failing when they fall over. You encourage them to try again and again and suddenly one day they are walking! So why not become an encourager at your school, home or workplace? Why not become an encourager on social media? Why not say to yourself if I can’t post an encouraging comment I won’t post anything at all? Plan to be an encourager of yourself and others on your journey through life. It will make life more enjoyable, more fun and build better relationships with all the people you meet.

Loving, merciful Father, we live in a critical and judgmental age which can affect people negatively. Help them, and us, to learn to be encouragers rather than critics, knowing and understanding that you love us and forgive us. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Keith Hartrick

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
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

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

27th February 2019

Eyes in the Back of Their Head!

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”
Proverbs 15:3 (NIV)

Am I the only person whose parents had eyes in the back of their head? No matter how out of sight I thought I was at home or in the garden, my mother and father seemed to know what I was up to! In vernacular terms, it was spooky! When I was very young I really did believe they had eyes in the back of their heads!

The Bible tells us that our heavenly parent has eyes everywhere. Today people become sensitive over privacy and accuse the government of being a ‘Nanny state’ when measures such as cameras in public places are positioned to monitor our security. They feel it an infringement of their rights whilst at the same time requiring the state to keep them safe.

How should we feel about God keeping an eye on us and why does He do it? In 2 Chronicles 16:9 we read, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” God’s eyes are everywhere protecting us, providing for us and generally taking care of us. This is an example of God’s wonderful grace, His love encompasses us, we are free in Him.

We should be thankful that God is on our side as it says in 1 Peter 3:12, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” We have peace of mind resting in the Lord who watches over us.

Loving God, your greatness far exceeds our imagination and yet you watch over us as a loving Father. We offer grateful thanks for your constant love and care.

Study by Irene Wilson

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

Local Congregation:
Gracecom 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

26th February 2019

The “I Know All About You Psalm”

“See, I have written your name on my hand!”
Isaiah 49:16 (NLT)

I listened to a CD recently recorded by Eva Cassidy. I admire the tone and quality of her voice and the songs she sings are mostly gentle and calming. Unfortunately, she died some years ago at a very young age, but her music is still out there to be enjoyed. One of those songs is entitled “Cos’ I Know You by Heart.” It is about having a loved ones’ character etched on ones’ mind—their voice, smile, laughter, their presence, in fact, everything about them. It reminds me of the Psalm I mentioned in the title, the ‘I know all about you Psalm,’ and how our great God knows all about his precious people. It reminds us about the lengths he goes to, day and night, to ensure that we are emblazoned in his mind and engraved upon the palms of his hands! The Psalm is 139 and is a Psalm of King David of Israel.

Let’s take a quick peek at some of those thoughts contained in this beautiful song today and perhaps even ponder them throughout the day as we face the difficulties of life, whatever they may be. You ready?
Verse 1—“O Lord you have examined my heart and know everything about me.”
Verse 2—“You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.”
Verse 3—Every moment you know where I am.
Verse 4—“You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.”
Verses 5 & 6—“You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand.”
Verses 7-10—I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.”
Verses 13 & 14—“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous—how well I know it.”
Verses 17 & 18—How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”

These few verses are proof that we are not on our own; we have a Father who loves us unconditionally and passionately. He is never far off but constantly guiding and leading us, his beloved children.

A million thanks Father, for all your parental care and precious blessings that we receive each day from your generous hand.

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

25th February 2019

Which Road Do I Take?

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few which find it.”
Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV)

In a famous poem written by Robert Frost he writes about two roads:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that made all the difference

The two roads that Robert Frost mentioned in his poem should remind us of the word of Jesus in Matthew 7 above. Robert Frost stood and pondered which road to take. Finally, he took the road less travelled. When God calls a person, they too have a choice to make—the broad road or the narrow road. The header scripture says that the broad road leads to destruction but the narrow road leads to life.

What do we know about the wide gate and road/way? Jesus said that it is wide and broad—it can easily be seen, it can look attractive, and people are drawn to it. It’s not that difficult to walk this road, it a very easy road, but Jesus said that it leads to destruction.

God has called and is calling people to walk the narrow (gate) road. What do we really know about the narrow way? Jesus said it leads to God’s kingdom/Life but that it is difficult to enter and there will not be many who go that way at this time. When God calls a person there should be no pondering, but we should say, ‘Lord; I’ll follow on the road you lead me onto.’

The poem says taking the less travelled road made all difference. Yes, this road that God is calling people to walk will be worth it in the end. In Ephesians 1, those who answer the call of God to travel the narrow road (strait gate) are promised a hope and inheritance in glory through the power of Christ, because of His sacrifice. Let’s stay on the road less travelled, the spiritual road that makes all the difference!

Eternal Father, thank you for the spiritual road you have provided for your people to travel. May we always stay on that narrow road that leads to life eternal. In Jesus’ name.

Study by Dennis Payne

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

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2:30pm

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

24th February 2019

Divine Participation

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials….”
James 1:2 (NJKV)

The Bible indicates that Jesus had four brothers and at least two sisters. Apparently, none of them became believers until after Jesus’ death and resurrection. One of the brothers, James, became a key leader of the early church—presiding over the church in Jerusalem. Prior to his martyrdom in AD 62, James wrote a letter we know as the book of James. This letter addresses the outworking of faith—which is the external evidence of inner conversion.

James’ letter was sent to Christians dispersed throughout the Mediterranean region. Because many of them were enduring severe trials, his letter was intended to provide encouragement and direction during those difficult times. In chapter one James begins by telling his readers to view their trials with joy. Yes, you read that correctly—trials need not rob Christians of the joy that comes from the Spirit. That joy remains and even grows during times of testing as believers realise that God has not abandoned them, but is present with them in their trials. Mature believers also find joy knowing that God is using their trials to transform them into the image of Jesus.

We refer to this transformation as the fruit of ‘divine participation’. God, who created us and redeemed us, calls us out of our dead life in sin and restores us to a relationship with himself. He does this through the atoning work of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit then works in us to transform us to be more like Jesus. It is with this process in mind, that James says: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22 NIV). The New King James translation puts it this way: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

When we really hear God’s word, James is telling us, our lives will change. Hearing is not about merely filling our heads with new notions and intellectual ideas. Neither is it about acquiring information about how to change. For James, hearing is about knowing God personally, and through that relationship, having our lives transformed. Our transformed lives then testify to the humility, patience and love of Jesus. James assures us that this journey of transformation is leading to the “crown of life.” Though we won’t experience our ultimate transformation until we are glorified, James assures us we can and will experience transformation even now as we hear God’s word, and do what it says. This is participating in God’s eternal life: from the Father, in the Son, and by the Spirit. To God be all the glory.

I pray that you are actively participating with the amazing God who is available to you now and forever!

Holy Father, you call us to change. This is not head knowledge alone, it must become heart knowledge too. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Greg Williams

About the Author:
Greg Williams is President of Grace Communion International and resides in North Carolina, 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.

Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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