14 June 2018

June 14, 2018

Do You Have A Cold Shoulder?

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”
Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV)

Christ gives us everything. Everything that is worth having. And this is despite the fact that our behaviour is often rude or inconsiderate. He died for the vilest amongst us. Even after baptism we continue to sin and are unworthy of him. When on earth he was betrayed, he was deserted by his followers, he was mocked and much more besides. It has been speculated that when he was dying on the cross his facial expression must have been one of tremendous emotional hurt as well as deep love. After all, he died for us, we despised him and denied him: who wouldn’t feel hurt?

But he keeps on loving and forgiving, and he commands us to follow his example. This is hard, especially when someone hurts us, not just once but repeatedly. The most typical response is to withdraw from the one who hurts us. We reason “I’ve had enough of you, I really do not like the way you behave, and therefore from now on I’m going to have as little as possible to do with you.” In other words, we say because you’ve hurt me I’m going to avoid you as much as possible so that it can’t happen again. This is colloquially known as the cold shoulder. Thank God that Jesus doesn’t take that approach with us, but how saddened he must be when we do it to one another.

Cold shoulder treatment is a form of self protection. By withdrawing from the person who causes the hurt we avoid being hurt again. BUT, this isn’t what Christ commanded and it isn’t his example for us to follow. Instead he commanded us to love one another…which is just the opposite response to that of self protection.

How should this love work in practise? And how should we respond when we find ourselves on the wrong end of situations such as those we’ve been discussing? If we read the whole of the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians we get a good insight.
*Love is patient: when someone close to you does something annoying or obnoxious ‘yet again’—try not to react. It is tough to do so, but take it on the chin and continue to be friendly.
*Love is kind: continue to be friendly and pleasant despite the real, or perceived, character deficiencies and difficulties of the other person.
*Love is not rude: if we are impolite, ill mannered, off handed or just give someone the cold shoulder, then we are being rude. This is the opposite of love, whatever reasons or excuses we may have.
*Love is not easily angered: this is similar to being patient, but is singled out because human nature is so prone to being easily angered by the inconsiderate behaviour of someone else. Whenever you ‘flare up,’ remember this commandment.

Finally, whenever we struggle to obey these commandments remember what Jesus did for us. He will never withdraw from us, i.e. he will never give us the cold shoulder despite our difficult behaviour. Let’s follow his example.

Prayer
Father in heaven, you set us the example of patience and love. Help us not to give others the cold shoulder, but to respond with forgiveness in Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by Gary Nichols

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About the Author:
Gary Nichols is active in the Cambridge Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Cambridge
Comberton Village Hall
Green End
Comberton
CAMBRIDGE
CB23 7DY

Meeting time:
Saturday 2:00 pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Bill Lee
Email: cambridge@wcg.org.uk

7th June 2019

June 7, 2019

Public Opinion

“Tell the nations, ‘The Lord rules! Yes, he set the world firmly in place; it won’t be shaken. He will judge all people fairly.’”
Psalm 96:10-13 (CEB)

We live in a time of uncertainty. Today is the day that Theresa May is stepping down as the leader of the Conservative party and we will likely have a new UK Prime Minister in a matter of weeks. There is little doubt that public opinion has been against her. Perhaps sometimes it was unfair, and at other times it seemed justifiable. Let’s remember to pray for her as she comes to terms with her stepping down.

I am reminded of a time when public opinion was unjustifiably against our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Jesus was rejected and sentenced to death by the court of public opinion. He was sarcastically crowned as ‘king of the Jews’ and the Roman Governor Pilate, despite knowing he had done no wrong, ordered him to be executed by crucifixion to appease the Jewish crowds and leaders.

Yet, as Christians we know that this was not the end. We do not worship a Lord who is subject to the political will of the electorate. We worship the living God, who created the Heavens and the Earth. On the Day of Pentecost after the sacrifice of Jesus, he sent ‘another comforter’ – the Holy Spirit who helps us in our weakness. Romans 8:14-39 tell us that although creation was subjected to frustration, through God’s Spirit we have the hope that we will be set free and “brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children…that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We look forward to the time when Christ will return in glory, when everyone and all things will know that he is King. In Psalm 96 the Psalmist speaks of this hope: “Let heaven celebrate! Let the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it roar! Let the countryside and everything in it celebrate! Then all the trees of the forest too will shout out joyfully before the Lord because he is coming! He is coming to establish justice on the earth! He will establish justice in the world rightly. He will establish justice among all people fairly.” (Psalm 96:10-13).

Prayer
Father, God who is in charge of all things, thank you for the Spirit of truth that we remember at this time. Guide our nation’s leaders as they steer through perilous times. Give them wisdom and hope for the future. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Study by Gavin Henderson

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About the Author:
Gavin Henderson is an Elder and the Operations Manager of the National Ministry Team for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in 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:
gavin.henderson@gracecom.church
Or email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

8th September 2018

September 8, 2018

The Sound of the Trumpet

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NKJV)

The sound of the Trumpet is ringing in my ears since 1963. It was a privilege to hear it many a time, especially when we sang the hymn: God Speaks To Us, preceded by Duncan McLean on the trumpet before every stanza, accompanied by his wife Shirley on the clarinet and David Brace on the piano. It filled the hearts of the brethren with joy and great sense of worship. I knew Duncan McLean since 1963—a man of many talents, polite and always greeted me with his charming voice and unforgettable grin. Sadly, he died in June and I will miss him and the sound of his trumpet but I am glad, and thank God, that he is at rest, taken away from this present evil world and as we read in Isaiah 57:1. Psalm 116:15 tell us “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”

We all have the guarantee and assurance of eternal life through the promise of God. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, “For the Lord Himself will descend with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the Trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” There is other good news in Revelation 11:15, when the seventh angel (or trumpet) sounded, the kingdoms of the world became the kingdoms of Christ and He shall reign forever.

When we contemplate death, we have more comforting words in verses 53-54 as we follow the lead scripture, “For this incorruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality…then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’” Also we read that God will collect His saints according to Matthew 24:31, “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a Trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” There is hope for everyone who believes in Jesus Christ the Lord and awaits His coming in glory and majesty. I am looking forward to the Trumpet Call of the Lord when He returns. Are you waiting for it in great anticipation?

Prayer
Father in heaven, thank You for this glorious news. Come quickly Lord Jesus. This is my prayer and earnest desire, for You alone can usher in peace on this Earth. In Jesus’ name I pray.
Amen

Study by Natu Moti

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About the Author:
Natu Moti is a Deacon in the Birmingham Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God, UK, a part of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Birmingham
All Saints Church
George Road
BIRMINGHAM
B23 7QB

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1pm

Local Congregational Contact:
David Gibbs
Phone: 01213420609 (answer phone)
Mobile: 07974440580
Email: david_gibbs@wcg.org.uk

25th June 2018

June 25, 2018

The Postcard

“For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.”
Psalm 116:8 (NIV)

It had been eighteen months since the death of my husband as I wrote this—there are still good days and bad days. The good days comprise of episodes of grief that no-one sees. The bad days are best left unspoken. The loss of a loved one is exclusive to the individual, but all Christians who have been bereaved will tell you of the comfort and presence of God in their situation. Psalm 34:18 tells us “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

My story is an illustration of this actuality. It acts as a reminder that our Father in heaven hears our prayer instantly and gives the answer in the same manner, when it is according to His infinite wisdom.

It was a lovely winters day, crisp and bright. However, as I drove home I could feel my spirits sinking, poignant memories were rushing through my mind, causing emotions to rise and threaten tears as I was driving. I found it hard to breathe, the tears were stinging my eyes, I cried out to God ‘Father help me please’!

I was approaching a small junction on the rural road and it was as I was turning right along a road that took me adjacent to the village green when suddenly I saw them. A large dog fox strutting nonchalantly across the green, his wife strolling behind him with a dead squirrel in her mouth. They were so close I could see the colour of their eyes. I stopped the car and watched with amazement. Not in the thirty years of living here had I seen anything like this. The spectacle was stunning, verdant grass contrasted by the vivid chestnut of the animal’s coats. It all happened in slow motion – awesome in its simplicity and beauty. Two foxes out for lunch. God’s timing is above reproach, God’s timing is never early, and it’s never late – it is perfect. Psalm 27:14 reminds us to “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

On my arrival home I reflected on the scene and quickly realised that it was a postcard from my heavenly Father. He had heard my cry and blessed me with an answer that displayed His magnificence and declared His compassion. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

God diverted my emotions from grief to wonder. We are never alone – Jesus keeps His promise, “I am with you always to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Receive His comfort and His love with thanksgiving.

Prayer
Wonderful Father, we thank you for your mercy and compassion which knows no end.
Amen

Study by Irene Wilson

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

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God 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-sue.henderson@tesco.net

24th June 2018

June 24, 2018

The Story of Jacob 

“Jacob said, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.’”
Genesis 32:29-30 (NIV UK)

Ever heard of ‘middle child’ syndrome? It’s the “won’t-take-NO-for-an-answer” attitude some middle children or second born kids exhibit, spurred on by always having to fight just that little bit harder than their older siblings. A feeling I know personally, because I’m a second born child. I had an elder brother. I always felt that I had to approach life with just a little bit more cunning and fight.

Turns out I’m not alone! You might remember the story of Jacob and Esau, sons of Isaac. Esau, the first son, was a born leader, clear favourite of his father. Jacob, born second, was underdog in every way but one—his cunning. And it was that which came into play when one day he disguised himself as Esau, and stole his birthright blessing.

Esau was furious, and vowed revenge. Years later he made good on that promise, pursuing Jacob who stayed up all night, trying to think his way out of the situation. Then something strange happened: a divine being visited him. But instead of welcoming this stranger, Jacob fought him!

Scripture tells us that they wrestled all night, Jacob refusing to yield until he was blessed. As day was breaking, the stranger dislocated Jacob’s hip. Even then, Jacob wouldn’t let go. He fought the pain, until the stranger relented, blessed him and changed his name to Israel, which means, “he who struggles with God.”

What I love about this story is how Jacob channeled his fighting spirit and turned it into something which allowed him, literally, to cling to our Lord. That has inspired me countless times, because choosing the incarnational life offered by Christ is sometimes hard! Our ‘grip’ on Christ can slip. Paul describes his experience: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15).

No one said life as a Christian would be easy. Jesus himself warned and prayed about the difficulties we would experience. But at the same time, we know (by Jacob’s example) that we can fight to receive God’s blessing. Energy and discipline and exertion, however, is not required of us because somehow God doesn’t want to bless us, but rather because there are obstacles between us and God which prevent us from receiving what God has to give us. Jesus has actually made provision for us, offering us a share of his own sanctifying power and presence by his Word and Spirit. As we seek Christ with that fighting spirit, pushing aside every obstacle, we will find that he is faithful to reach us.

I pray that you remember Jacob and cling to the Lord, seeking him with the kind of fervency and strength that refuses to let go. Remember his example, so that we can count on our Lord faithfully to meet us and transform us from ‘Jacob’ into ‘Israel’, from our old into a new creation—finding renewed life in him.

Prayer
Gracious Father, we ask that you will help us to remember how Jacob clung to you through thick and thin until you blessed him. We seek to do the same, as we pray in Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by Greg Williams

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About the Author:
Greg Williams is Vice President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), 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.

Contact:
Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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