26th August 2020

Best Practice 

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)

‘Best Practice’ is the standard with which manufacturing companies, public services and the consumer industry are expected by government to comply.  The concept ‘is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things, e.g., a standard way of complying with legal or ethical requirements.’ 

Although initially a methodology that causes inconvenience and cost, those who follow it ruefully admit it has raised standards in every field in which it has been applied.  As a consumer we could easily take this for granted – but without it we would not experience the quality of life we enjoy every day.

The apostle Paul describes a spiritual ‘best practice,’ he called it ‘a more excellent way’ in 1 Corinthians 12:31. “Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.” The context is that the love which comes from God is the more excellent way.  No matter what trials we face, no matter how far we become caught up in spiritual drift, God (Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit) – whose very name is love – holds out for us.

We are loved by God; He knows us inside out. We are God’s children, so let’s imitate Him. In Ephesians 5:1-2, we are encouraged to follow God’s example: “therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” By loving our neighbour, we show our very ‘best practice’ – this most excellent way!

Prayer
Father God, thank you for your infinite and unconditional love. Help us by the mighty power of your Spirit to show to others this most ‘excellent way.’
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: watford@gracecom.church

25th August 2020

The Repair Shop

“He heals the broken hearted and bandages their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3 (CSB)

There is a programme on BBC1, called The Repair Shop. People take treasured family heirlooms to the experts for repair and renovation. Most items are old and of no great value but are priceless to the individuals. It may be an old painting, a broken ornament, a toy which no longer works, a music box or a rocking horse. All come with a story about what they mean to the person or family today.

The experts in the repair shop have all the skills and tools required as they lovingly restore whatever the object may be, to the right condition. Sometimes this is a sympathetic repair which retains the history of the object, sometimes a complete renovation, which ends up with the object looking like new again. When the object is returned, the joy and wonder in the faces of the people who have brought it in, sometimes even tears of emotion, make it all worth while both for the experts and for us viewers.

It is a gentle, happy programme which is a pleasure to watch, no bad language, no nastiness, just the enjoyment of the experts as they use their skills to restore the object and the happiness of the people who see their pride and joy restored to good condition. Which got me wondering if we could have a repair shop for people? In one sense we have: if we are physically ill, the NHS is our repair shop, again, with experts and all the equipment necessary to restore us to health in most cases.

But what about our emotional and spiritual health, where do we find a repair shop for them? Emotional wounds are often very deep and invisible so we may carry them for years without people realising we have them. From divorce, bad parenting and money problems, to being treated unfairly. There are many causes of emotional wounds.

What about spiritual wounds? We may suffer from these but just not know it. We may have feelings of frustration about our lives, a feeling of emptiness, a sense of dissatisfaction, or a sense of restlessness and of something missing in our lives which we can’t identify.

Emotional and spiritual wounds often can’t be treated by the NHS. So where do we go to repair them, to find peace? The answer is to God who heals us emotionally and spiritually in a way no human doctor can. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Emotional and spiritual wounds do make us feel weary and burdened, so this is a wonderful promise from God. All we have to do is take advantage of it and let God repair us now and for eternity.

Prayer
Loving and gracious Father, help us to put our absolute trust in you and allow you to heal our emotional and spiritual wounds so we may be closer to you and be better servants to all the people we meet. In Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by Keith Hartrick

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About the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LEEDS
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone:  01484-312347
Email: leeds@gracecom.church

 

24th August 2020

Green with Envy 

“I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbours. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.”
Ecclesiastes 4:4 (NLT)

I guess we are all familiar with the saying ‘green with envy,’ but where did this saying come from? And who first said it? The saying is believed to have come from the great William Shakespeare. Shakespeare described envy as the green sickness (Anthony and Cleopatra, Act 3, Scene 2). Also, in Othello, Lago warns Othello, “Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on” (Othello, Act 3, Scene 3).

Envy and jealousy go hand in hand. But long before William Shakespeare we learned about envy (jealousy) in Genesis 4:3-8, where we are told the Cain was jealous (envious) of his brother Abel to the point that he killed him. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary describes envy as: “Painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with desire to possess the same advantage.” Another good example of someone who was really jealous, envious, and angry is told in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:23-31.

Green can be deadly, sinful, when we associate it with envy. When one is green with envy it can lead to all kinds of evil. James 3:14-16 says, “But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.”

People envy each other for different reasons. But the fountain of envy is always the same—the heart. Jesus said, “What defiles a person is not what goes into the mouth; it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles a person.” So we should “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23). Shakespeare warns us to beware of the green-eyed monster, which is envy. God warns us to guard our hearts.

But green can also represent abundance, harmony, renewal, and growth. It is in nature a harmonizing, balancing and calming colour; a healing colour that gives healing to the heart. In Proverbs 14:30 (ESV) we read “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” With the Holy Spirit in us we become more and more like God, who IS love, and as we know, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud” (1 Corinthians 13:4).

Prayer
Eternal God, help up to guard our hearts that we may show love, compassion, and appreciation when others are blessed, and not to harbour thoughts of envy, lust or jealousy. This we pray in Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by Dennis Payne

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About the Author:
Dennis Payne is a Deacon in the North London Congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International 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

23rd August 2020

God with Us in Suffering 

“Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry. I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.”
Psalm 86: 6-7 (NLT) 

I recently visited the dentist. Turns out he had to extract one of my wisdom teeth. Now, I hate dentists! The scraping, the drilling, the water being sucked out of, or sprayed into, my mouth, the residual pain. Even having to hold my mouth wide open for half an hour gives me jaw-ache. I know I’ll be okay when it’s over and my mouth heals, but, when I’m in that chair, I’m suffering. I’m praying, “God, please help me get through this!” It might seem silly, but I think you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you’ve felt like this in other situations, and maybe you prayed as I did.

It’s natural to pray when we’re in trouble. You’ve probably heard the saying: “There are no atheists in sinking ships.” Suffering turns our hearts toward God. We can read many examples in the Bible, but David seems to write the best about suffering. He believes God hears when we pray, especially when we’re suffering or in trouble. David promises to call out to God in prayer, and then he confidently says that God will answer him. We can do the same.

But does this mean that our suffering will be removed? That some miracle will happen? Though that’s what we would like, prayer is not some £20 inserted into a vending machine called God. It’s possible that our suffering will go away, but the answer God provides is often an inner knowing or assurance that we are not alone in our suffering. God’s presence strengthens us and gives us courage and hope in the midst of difficulties.

Sometimes other people come alongside us in our suffering and help us; and God ministers to us through their words and their actions. But suffering is part of being human. Jesus suffered, and his example of patient endurance when mistreated, wrongly accused, beaten and nailed to a cross can help us put our suffering in perspective. God never left Jesus while he suffered, and God will never leave us.

If you are suffering today, even if it’s just a visit to the dentist, know that you do not suffer alone. God hears your prayers, your requests for comfort, and he always answers with his presence.

Prayer
Gracious Father, may we feel your comforting presence and assurance in our suffering. May we reflect daily on Jesus’ example, and strive to live our lives as he lived. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen
 

Presented by Heber Ticas

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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. Heber Ticas is an Elder in Grace Communion International and is the Superintent of the Churches in Latin America. He also serves as the National Coordinator for Church Multiplication in the United States.

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

22nd August 2020

Who Cares…

“The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.”
Psalm 121:7-8 (ESV)

The Natural History Museum in London houses a vast range of specimens from all parts of natural history. It says that it is ‘home to life and earth science specimens comprising some 80 million items.’ It’s a leading science research centre that specialises ‘in taxonomy, identification and conservation.’ Its vision and strategy statement is very interesting: ‘We are creating advocates for the planet.’ And they say that they ‘use our unique collections and unrivalled expertise to tackle the biggest challenges facing the world today.’

What’s this got to do with a Day by Day?  Well, one of my neighbours was head of one of the largest departments there. His title was the Keeper of Zoology. In our twenty-first century it seems a rather old fashioned title for such a position.  We are used to CEOs, Managing Directors, and in the museum world, more usually Curators. However there are many high-paying posts for the highly qualified that still carry the title of Keeper.

And as a job description I really like it. It made me think back to the beginning of the Bible, where in Genesis 2:15 God takes Adam and places him in the Garden of Eden ‘to work it and keep it’. So Adam was the first Keeper. Unfortunately from Adam onwards our record of being keepers of the earth has been abysmal, but today, as we realise the consequences of ravaging and exploiting our world rather than looking after it, we are starting to try to rectify the mess we have made.

I like the title for a second reason: being a Keeper, taking up the job given to Adam, is to follow in the footsteps of our Great Keeper. Psalm 121:5 states bluntly: “The Lord is your keeper.” In fact, in the eight verses of this short psalm we are told five times that God is our keeper. We get the point.

Though the earth has had some rest as we have struggled with the coronavirus, no doubt we will resume our poor care of our home. But as God’s children, let us do what we can to be Keepers of the earth he has given us.

Prayer
Father, may we take after you, and be keepers, as we are kept.
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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