31st October 2019

Don’t Lose Your Head!

“Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body.”
Colossians 1:18 (NLT 1996)

I’m sure that many of us are very familiar with this old saying in the title. I guess there’s a touch of humour about it but it tells us; don’t fly off the handle, stay in control, come to your senses, be aware, be alert (your country needs “lerts”–sorry!)

The great Apostle, Paul wrote a letter to the church at Colossae and in it he points out that they need to know that Christ is the Head of the Church! Why? Perhaps this small congregation were drifting away from this basic truth, this awareness that the head controls the body, that He is the source of our spiritual life, our guide, counsellor, even our spiritual identity! He is not merely an important part of our new life he is our new life, the reason for everything we do; so it is very important not to lose our head!

Notice here in Colossians chapter 3:3-4—“For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.” This scripture flags up another blessing that our Head gives us—He brings us to glory! He also encourages them to understand that, “In this new life it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilised, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters and he lives in all of us” (verse 11). And because of this indwelling we need to “Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done” (Colossians 2:7).

Perhaps you remember the poem by Kipling called “If” which begins, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…” really good advice don’t you think? Because, without a head we are lifeless, cut off from reality, adrift in the seas of life. So let’s keep reminding ourselves—“Don’t lose your head!”

Prayer
Loving Father; help us to keep our head even if all around are losing theirs and to yield to the One who is our spiritual head and our very life.
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: luton@gracecom.church

30th October 2019

Life is Like a Cup of Coffee

“Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV)

In many ways, life can be like a cup of coffee. There’s a story of a gathering of alumni, all now well established in their careers, competent and hard-working. As they renewed their acquaintance, the conversation soon turned to the stress and pressures of work and life.

The professor put out a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups & mugs—china, plastic, crystal, with some expensive and some cheap-looking. People helped themselves to the coffee and then the Professor began to talk to them, saying, “Consider whether life is not like a cup of coffee. You had the choice of a variety of cups and I notice that the larger, attractive, expensive cups went first, leaving the plain and cheap ones. It’s normal to want the best but this can sometimes be the source of your problems and stress. The cup itself adds no quality to the coffee and even hides what we drink. We all wanted coffee, not a cup, but you chose your cup and then began to look at others’ cups to see who had the best one. And just like these cups of coffee, life IS the coffee, while the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The type of cup we have does not define, nor dictate the quality of life we live. In fact, sometimes we focus so much on the ‘cup’ that we fail to enjoy the coffee!”

As Christians we can carry this analogy further. Jesus speaking to the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:27 says “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Or as the Message Bible says, “People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.” The cup may be beautiful on the outside, but it is what is inside that counts.

Remember Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” And this is borne out in how we react to our ‘cup of life’—the difficult situations and hardship in the struggles of our lives.

Prayer
As we drink the ‘cup’ that is our life, Father in Heaven, help us to remember that it is what is in our hearts that counts, not how we look, what job we have or how rich we are.
Amen

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

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

29th October 2019

FAITH, Hope and Love

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIVUK)

When the apostle Paul discusses spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, he reveals that not all Christians are given the same gifts. Also some gifts will cease (1 Corinthians 13:8) but, as the above scripture states, three gifts remain. These are foundational gifts given to all Christians and last forever.

In the post-modern society, faith is a much misunderstood concept. To many, faith is only associated with religion and is regarded as a rather naïve, outmoded concept. Yet the reality is that everybody must rely on faith to some degree. Since the existence of God cannot be proven or disproven, it follows that Christians have faith there is a God and atheists have faith there isn’t a God. The nihilist has faith that life and the universe are meaningless; others have faith in individuals, possibly a dictator or an ideology such as socialism or capitalism. At a more mundane level, people in the UK have faith that five pound notes, which have no intrinsic value, can be exchanged for goods and services. Since we all believe on faith in something, the important question then, is in whom or in what do we have faith?

Belief and faith are interrelated but there can be subtle differences. Christian faith is more than just intellectual assent to certain truths—as James states, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder” (James 2:19). There is an intellectual content to faith, but Christian faith is not simply “belief that” certain facts are true, it is “belief in” or “belief on” a certain somebody. As the Apostle John states in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The Greek preposition (eis) translated “in” literally means “into.” Faith moves individuals out of themselves and into Christ. The New Testament expression frequently used of Christians is being “in Christ.” In the scriptures a different Greek preposition (epi) is variously translated as “on” or “in.” In the NKJV it is translated as “on” as indicated in Acts 16:31 (NKJV), “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” The Apostle Paul also speaks of believing “on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Romans 4:24 KJV).

Christian faith has a firm foundation—it is based on/in God and Jesus Christ. It means taking hold of the promises of God in Christ for salvation. It is an attitude of trust in Christ and abandoning all self-efforts of obtaining salvation.

Prayer
Father in heaven, we thank you that you have called us through faith to know and have a relationship with you through Jesus Christ.
Amen

Study by Eddie Marsh
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About the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends Grace Communion International in Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Sheffield
The Source Training & Conference Centre
300 Meadowhall Way
Sheffield
S9 1EA

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

28th October 2019

The Celestial City

“By faith he (Abraham) went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”
Hebrews 11:9-10 (ESV)

I live in the country and my front garden looks out across a lane to fields and trees. I enjoy visiting our capital city of London and all that it has to offer, but I always give a sigh of relief when I leave behind the pollution and noise and bustle of its streets. The Bible starts in a garden and ends with a vision of the great city, the New Jerusalem. Now I know that many people love living in cities and hate the idea of living in the country, so they must be happy to see that God leads us to a city. But what does a country-dweller make of this?

After all, the Biblical record begins with a city built by a murderer. After killing his brother, and receiving God’s sentence, Cain journeyed east and built a city, naming it after his son Enoch. The tower of Babel was built as a challenge to God. The city of Sodom was destroyed because it was not possible to find even ten righteous people in it. Solomon built cities which he named after pagan gods; and even Jerusalem, the centre of God’s worship, became corrupted. And Babylon is the greatest image of a rebellion against God. Cities don’t seem to get good press in the scriptures.

Psalm 127 opens by stating that unless the Lord builds the city, the labours work in vain. Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, picked up on that thought. You’ll find ‘Nisi Dominus Frusta’ (without the Lord frustration) on its crest and on the city documents. And we’ve tried our best, but our cities are mixtures of good, and not so bad, and shockingly bad.

What Abraham was looking forward to is a city designed by God – the architect and builder. Now that is what makes all the difference—who’s the designer. And it’s coming. At the end of Revelation John describes a city of gold, free from all evil and ugliness, with God and the Lamb at its centre, coming to unite heaven and earth. Then we’ll see how to build a city – city of joy.

Prayer
Father, whilst we endeavour to deal with the problems we have created in our cities, we can be encouraged as we look ahead, as Abraham did, to the time when we see your city, a place of joy and devoid of all evil.
Amen

Study by Hilary Buck
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About the Author:
Hilary Buck pastors Grace Communion in Lewes.
Like us on www.facebook.com/GCLewes

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion in Lewes
The House of Friendship
208 High Street
LEWES
BN7 2NS

Meeting Time:
Sunday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Hilary Buck
Email: lewes@gracecom.church

27th October 2019

Humility

“Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great; for it is better to be told, ‘Come up here,’ than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.”
Proverbs 25:6-7 (NRSV UK)

The story is told about a rider who came across soldiers trying to move a heavy log without success. The corporal was standing by watching. The rider asked the corporal why he wasn’t helping. The corporal replied: “I am the corporal; I give orders.” In response, the rider said nothing. Instead he dismounted, joined the soldiers and worked with them to move the heavy log. With his help, the task finally was done. Who was this helpful rider? None other than George Washington, the Commander-in-Chief. He quietly mounted his horse, turned to the corporal and said, “The next time your men need help, send for the Commander-in-Chief.”

Humility is one of the most revered characteristics a person can have. George Washington did not think it beneath him to help soldiers with something that needed to be done. Humility is about being modest, respectful and putting others before yourself. It is not calling attention to self or thinking more highly of self than you ought.

Jesus harkens back to the proverb, above, while eating a meal at the house of a leader of the Pharisees. He noticed how the guests chose the places of honour in which to sit. He told them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honour, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honoured in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 14:8-11).

Humility compels us to put others before ourselves, especially others we would otherwise overlook or forget. We always have the choice to give in to our pride, or we can let the humility of Christ lead us in our thoughts and deeds. Whether helping someone, or giving up your seat for someone, may humility be your default response.

Prayer
Gracious Father, we know how we should live and what we should do. But so often we get in the way. Help us, please, to as it were stand aside, and let Jesus remind us what we should do, how we should behave. 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

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