30th June 2019

Hinder

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.”
Hebrews 12:1 (NRSV UK)

Have you ever been hindered by something? To hinder means to slow down or make difficult the progress of something or someone—to hold someone or something back.
We can be hindered by many things. We can even be a hinderance to others as we get in the way of their promotion, or we drive too slowly in the fast lane causing someone to be late to an appointment. Sometimes it’s even a power-kick to hinder someone.

But what about God? Can anything hinder him? Can anyone or anything hinder God and keep Him from doing what he is going to do? Is it possible our attitude, stubbornness or sin could keep him from fulfilling His will? The answer is no, not at all.

In the book of Acts God gave Peter a vision, making it clear that his desire is to draw all people to himself—Jews and Gentiles, slave and free, male and female. Peter shares the revelation that through Jesus there is nothing that can hinder all people from being in relationship with God. This truth was revolutionary. In the cultural climate of the time it was not believed that Gentiles could be called in the same way.

Notice the account when Peter went to the Roman centurion’s home to proclaim this good news and share what God had given to him: “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God? When they (the other disciples) heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:15-18). It was and still is God’s intention to call all people to himself. Peter was among the first to realise that nothing can hinder God from what he desires and intends to do.

What hinders you? There’s probably a few things that come to mind immediately.
What hinders God? Nothing. And for that we may be thankful. Because nothing can hinder the love of Father, Son and Spirit towards us all. And that is good news, indeed!

Prayer
Merciful Father, thank you that nothing can hold back your purposes. Help us to reach the full potential that you have in mind for us. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Presented by Greg Williams
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About the Presenter:
The Day by Day each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life,’ (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International. Greg Williams is President of Grace Communion International and lives 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.

Contact:
Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

29th June 2019

The Inventor’s Use

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

At bedtime I asked my girls what they think the above scripture means.

‘It’s like an inventor,’ my daughter Jessica began, ‘who made this really cool invention but the years went by and everyone forgot what it did. Maybe it wasn’t used at all, or maybe it was used for something it wasn’t meant for. Then the inventor came back and told everyone what it was meant for and it was like it was new again. That is what God does to broken hearts, to make them new again.’

God is good. This was an end to a weekend of answered prayers; difficult relationships had mended further and this was yet another answered prayer. ‘Please God,’ I prayed earlier in the day, ‘help me share your word with the girls tonight.’ I flipped closed a colouring book just before bedtime and this scripture was written on it – when it came to bedtime it was all I had to share.

As Jessica spoke I thought of the damaged relationship that God was healing this weekend and thought of it being made new. Being made new because I was being made new, finally beginning to understand what I was made for in a relationship, with God and my fellow man. A small glimpse of the mighty unfolding of a new beginning…back to how it was supposed to be in the first place.

Prayer
Wonderful Father, thank you for your mighty power to change all things, to make them new and redeem them back to you. Thank you for sending your Son to redeem me. Thank you Jesus, that because of you I have begun a new life where I know what I was made for, and all the damage of no use and misuse are being washed away. Thank you for making me ‘new’ again.
Amen

Study by Simone Royle
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About the Author:
Simone Royle attends the Birmingham Congregation of Grace Communion International.

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

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1:00pm

Local Congregational Contact:
David Gibbs
Phone: 07777-667635
Email: birmingham@gracecom.church

28th June 2019

Money Matters

“So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”
Luke 16:11 (NIV)

The state of the economy plays a major role in the discussions about Brexit. Businesses are concerned about the effect of Brexit on their access both to goods from and to market in the EU, while individuals have concerns about the affect on their living standards. A tough task for the government! All this goes to show that for people in the UK money matters.

As Christians we are aware that we are not to store up for ourselves treasures on earth (Matthew 6:19) and that our focus should be on seeking first God’s kingdom and his righteousness (verse 33). But does that mean we are not to pay any concern to financial matters? All of us still have to live in a world that operates in a financial climate. We all have to earn and manage money. We are all affected by the economy, austerity and living standards.

For the Christian, money also matters and a mark of spiritual maturity is to handle our resources with proper stewardship. So not surprisingly, the Bible is full of wisdom about how we use our money and possessions. Here are some principles to reflect on:
* Remember God owns everything – “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1).
*Plan ahead – “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise…it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” (Proverbs 6:6, 8).
*Establish a savings plan – “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets” (Proverbs 21:20 Living Bible).
*Budget so that you spend less than you earn – “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
*Borrow cautiously and repay what you owe – “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
*Work hard – “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty” (Proverbs 28:19).
*Provide for your dependants – “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).
*Give generously – “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Our approach to money should matter to us because it reveals whether we can be trusted with the true riches of heaven. Now that’s something to reflect on.

Prayer
Father, help us to be wise stewards of the resources you give us so that we can be a blessing to others.
Amen

Study by Barry Robinson
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About the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder and part of the National Ministry Team directing Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He is also a pastoral worker in the South of England, 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
LONDON
W1T 6AQ

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2:30pm

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

27th June 2019

A Limited Offer?

“I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.”
Isaiah 44:22 (NLT)

As you know, limited offers are quite commonplace nowadays. I’m sure we have all heard an offer on TV, radio or in our local newspaper that describes the product for sale in glowing terms which grabs our interest, but the catch is ‘Hurry! Book now or place your order now; while stocks last,’ then there is a time and date when this offer ends, usually just a few days or perhaps even one day later. We’re also told, ‘When they’re gone, they’re gone—don’t miss this very special, unrepeatable offer!’ Oh dear, what to do? Disappointment fills our minds and we think, I’m too late, I have missed this amazing piece of equipment or whatever it happens to be—so near and yet so far!

God’s offer of salvation isn’t like that—it’s never too late and there are no pre-conditions. It’s an offer of unconditional love from a Father who cares for you and longs to have you in his precious family in order to bless, nurture, and pour out every gift upon you. It doesn’t matter what you have done with your life or how bad you think you are—the slate is wiped clean; everything is forgiven, washed away and never remembered again! Swept away like the morning mists, our Father informs us!

God tells us and reassures us that “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25 NIV). That’s a promise from your Father. But perhaps you might be thinking, “Hey, that’s okay for others, not me. I’ve sinned too much, been so far away from God that he couldn’t possibly include me!” Wrong! Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV). Notice he says “all you”—in short, everyone is welcome and there is no cut-off date; this is an open invitation to all humanity for all time!

The door is always unlocked, you just need to push it open and walk right in; how great is that? You will be very glad you did and delighted to lay your burden down at last—you’ve carried it long enough!

Prayer
Lord, thank you for the promise that you will never leave us orphans and that we will always have you to rely on.
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

26th June 2019

Simply the Best!

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”
Proverbs 25:11 (KJV)

It was the night before my final examinations. I had studied and worked hard for three years and now I was almost at the finish line. I was apprehensive and nervous. My parents assured me that all I had to do was my best; they expected nothing more from me. They believed in the scripture of Colossians 3:23 (NIV) “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

Doing our best is a worthwhile principle. The precept is clearly written in Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV), “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”

Would it surprise you to know that, in fact, Christians are required to do more? Jesus emphasised that we must love our neighbour as ourselves (Mark 12:31). It is not enough that we do our best—as Christians, God requires us to bring out the best in others. Do we leave people feeling better than we find them? Are people blessed by encountering us? What better service can we give our fellow man than to lift his spirit and genuinely encourage and praise him? Hebrews 3:13 (NIV) says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

God is glorified when His children give encouragement by positive words to those who have not seen His light. Of ourselves we are not capable of righteous deeds on our own (Romans 3:10). We must look to God for the strength and inspiration to encourage others. The world is in desperate need of encouragers. Psalm 4:6 tells us, “There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.”

We have a responsibility to show the love and light of our Saviour to those we meet. If we ask Him, He will give us hearts full of genuine concern from which words will come to encourage and uplift the downhearted. Luke 12:12 (NIV) reminds us, “for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” The best we can do for others is to let them see or hear the love of Jesus. If given in wisdom and love it will bring out the best in them and The Best – God our Father – will be well pleased.

Prayer
Loving Father, we thank you for your infinite love and goodness. We humbly ask for your help in the encouragement of those who do not know you. Grant us the words you would have us speak.
Amen

Study by Irene Wilson
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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

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