26th July 2020

Ransomed from Futility 

“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake. Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.”
1 Peter 1:18-21 (NLT) 

Amy Hempfel’s story ‘A Man in Bogota’ is a fictional account of a wealthy man kidnapped in South America and held for a million dollars ransom. It takes his wife around three months to get the money. The kidnapped man wasn’t in the best of health with a heart condition, but his kidnappers need him alive to collect the money, so they won’t let him smoke, and they make him exercise daily. They even change his diet. His wife pays the ransom and they let him go. When his doctor examines him, he says the man is in excellent health, far better than before he was kidnapped. This story asks: “how do we know that what happens to us isn’t good?” Though this man was held captive by kidnappers, he was also unknowingly captive of a lifestyle affecting his health.

‘Ransom’ means that someone is “bought back” from some captor, which can be a person, but also a negative mindset, an addiction, or a set of bad habits (as in this story). Although we may not realise it, we have all been held captive by a negative mindset.

The verses, above, show that humanity has been ‘ransomed’—bought back from “the empty life [we] inherited from our ancestors,’ where we move through this world without knowing who we really are. Often we believe we are alone in our suffering and struggles. The good news, as these verses tell us, is that Jesus’ sacrifice absorbs the negative mindset and thoughts of separation from God.

Jesus took our pain to the grave, and then he was raised in glory. And when he rose, so did we. Even as the man in the story found release, so we have freedom in Christ!

Prayer
Merciful Father, may we know the fulness of freedom from being in Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen
 

Study presented by Michelle Fleming

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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. Michelle Fleming is an Elder in Grace Communion International and works in the International Home Office in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA as Media Director.

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

25th July 2020

Sitting Before The LORD, Talking to My Friend 

“Then King David went in and sat before the LORD; and he said…”
2 Samuel 7: 18a 18 (NKJV)

“How’s your prayer life?” was a question which came out of the opening minutes of a recent church sermon. Sometimes that is not a comfortable question to answer. We have so many clues in hymns and the Bible on how we should talk to God and yet we can somehow manage to make prayer into such a daunting deed; but it does not need to be so.

When we have difficulty talking to a good friend, we know that our relationship has a problem. True friendship or love isn’t “never having to say you’re sorry” but rather being comfortable enough to be able to share thoughts and feelings whether you agree or not. In Chronicles we see King David showing his son Solomon the importance of this: “And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him” (I Chronicles.28 :9 NLT). If we learn to know God intimately, then we will find ourselves talking to Him constantly (I Thessalonians 5:17) and including Him in all we do.

It struck me one day that it’s not our friends, parents, spouses, siblings or children that we should be pouring our intimate thoughts into but rather to God.  Just how when something good happens we think of a certain person to tell, we should think of God and we should talk to God like that; sit down with him discuss happiness, discuss sadness, success and failure, all those big things and also the little things.

King David had just been given some wonderful news from the prophet and what did he do next? He didn’t run off and find the nearest confidante, well in fact he did—he went straight to God, sat down and talked with Him. In the midst of gratitude and praise, David goes on to rehearse things that God has done in the past; almost like how a child will say excitedly “remember when you said such and such?” (Matthew 18:4)

So, how is our prayer life? 

Prayer
Father, You know everything, all our thoughts even before we can sometimes form them. Help us to remember that when we come before you, and know that we can share anything with you. Thank You in Jesus’ name.
Amen
 

Study by Jackee Brown

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About the Author:
Jackee Brown is a member in the Worldwide Church of God UK Congregation in London, a part of Grace Communion International .

Local Congregation:
WCG/GCI London
Indian YMCA Student Hostel
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
LONDON
W1T 6AQ

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2:30pm

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

24th July 2020

How Do You View Other People? 

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.”
2 Corinthians 5:16 (NIV)
 

Do you view people in the way God views them? I have to admit that I often place labels upon people both good and bad. Some are Christians, whilst others are drug addicts or terrorists. Some are nurses or teachers, others politicians, or even worse, bankers!

When Jacob looked at Joseph he saw his favourite son. Joseph’s brothers saw an idle dreamer. The Midianite merchants saw a slave. Potiphar saw a trusted servant. Potiphar’s wife saw a potential lover. The prison guards saw a prisoner. But when God looked at Joseph he saw a Prime Minister of Egypt in waiting. This tells me a couple of things:

First, I shouldn’t get discouraged by what people see in me; rather I should be encouraged by what God sees in me. Others will identify my weaknesses, shortcomings, foibles and idiosyncrasies all too easily; but God sees me as his child whom he loves and wants an eternal loving relationship with me.

Additionally, this shows me that I should never view any person from a worldly point of view, since God loves them too, and has the same desire towards them. It’s easy to look down on people because of their current circumstances, but that disruptive child at school might be a surgeon in waiting who will operate on you in the future. That woman going to a food bank or a soup kitchen might be a Prime Minister in waiting. That drug addict shooting up in an alley might be a future Christian leader in waiting.

Impossible? Think of David, a simple shepherd boy, but was a king in waiting. Or Esther, an orphan, yet was a queen in waiting. It’s not how the world sees that matters, but how God sees, and he doesn’t seem to care about the physical things we find so important.
He doesn’t care about age; that’s why he blessed Abraham and Jeremiah.
He doesn’t care about experience; that’s why he chose David.
He doesn’t care about gender; that’s why he positioned Esther.
He doesn’t care about your past; that’s why he called Paul.
He doesn’t care about your physical appearance; that’s why he chose Zacchaeus.
He doesn’t care about how good a speaker you are; that’s why he chose Moses.
He doesn’t care about your mental condition or your past morals; that’s why he chose Mary Magdalene.

God has never seen a person that he doesn’t love, has never seen a person he will not forgive, has never seen a person he will not help, and has never seen a person that he doesn’t want an eternal loving relationship with. Now that changes my view, not only of me, but of everyone else.

Prayer
Father, help us to grasp just how wide and long and high and deep your great love is for all humanity.
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 Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove
Camberwell
LONDON
SE5 7HN

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11 am

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

23rd July 2020

Church

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand..”
Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

I am a member of Grace Communion International and have been for nearly 40 years this August. My first memory of Church was sitting on a blanket in a hall, drawing, playing with Lego and toys. I have been lucky enough to visit some of our congregations in the US and Australia, and attend church festivals in Malta and Majorca as well as in the UK over the years.

As we sit at home, missing our friends from Church—the fellowship and the atmosphere; and not forgetting the worship, messages and singing, it gives us an opportunity to think about the wider Church and the wider world we are part of, and to give God thanks for Christians around the world.

We will soon be back at Church, having a drink and a biscuit or cake or two as we chat after the service. We do need face to face interaction. For many members Church is the only social/personal interaction they have face to face. As I mentioned in my previous Day by Day, it is always nice just to put a call in to someone to make sure they are ok!

The header scripture mentions not to be saddened because God gives us the strength we need, even though we are not at Church. He will help us and his hand is here. However the next few months pan out, we will be back soon to further learn and sing praise to our Great God in Heaven and have great fellowship.

Prayer
Our great God, as we sit at home, missing church, we give you thanks that we have the Church and many church friends and family. We pray now for everyone one of our members globally and our GCI church, and we thank you so much for it.
Amen

Study by James Esom

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About the Author:
James Esom attends the Watford Congregation of Grace Communion International in the UK.

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: watford@gracecom.church

 

22nd July 2020

Lasting Beauty

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10 (ESVUK)

The Greek word that Paul used for ‘workmanship’ in the scripture is one from which we get our English word: poem. So he’s pointing to creative, quality workmanship. Some have thought it should be read as God’s creation of a ‘masterpiece.’ Thinking of ourselves as God’s masterpiece might make us wince a bit, when we consider ourselves. What me, a masterpiece? Others might look askance if I claim that I am God’s workmanship, let alone his masterpiece. And do I think of myself as a piece of divine poetry?

Great poetry – poetry sales have been booming in these recent years. Thousands of people travel each year to see great works of art – the masterpieces of our minds and hands -in our museums. Take the British Museum: five million come each year; the national Gallery about another five. In the Louvre over ten million come to see the Mona Lisa alone. Over four million come through the doors of the Victoria and Albert, called the nation’s attic, where only twenty five percent of what they have acquired is on display. Nearly four million go to music festivals here, let alone the numbers that attend concerts.

Enough of statistics. We know that we cherish the great creative works that have been made in music, writing, painting, sculpture, architecture, and all the crafts. We admire them, we are enchanted and moved by them. But none of them will last forever. There’s only one work of art that will last – and that’s us.

Michelangelo, one of the world’s greatest artists, was asked how he created his sculptures:  ‘The sculpture is already complete within the marble block’, he explained, ‘before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material’.  Of one particular piece he said: ‘I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free’. God is, if you will, carving out the new you and I, into “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

Jesus said that his Father works and he works. And Paul reassures us in Philippians 1:6 that as God has begun a good work in us, he will complete it. The detritus of our way of life, of our old minds and outlook is being carved away, one day to reveal the stunning beauty of us, his new creation in Christ.

Prayer
Our Father, we give you thanks that you have made us in your image, and now, in Jesus Christ,  you are making a new creation—one of perfection and beauty to live with you forever, to your glory.
Amen

Study by Hilary Buck

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About the Author:
Hilary Buck is an Elder and 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

 

 

 

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