17th May 2013

May 17, 2013

Salty quotes 

“You are the salt of the earth.”

Matthew 5:13 (NIV UK) 

Most of us are familiar with the scripture above. I have heard many sermons themed around it. Also, it has been quoted in different ways. One of my favourite quotes is from the English writer, Rebecca West. She said, “nobody likes salt being rubbed into their wounds, even if it is the salt of the earth”. 

Another quote is from the Sadhu Sundar Singh, an Indian Christian missionary. Singh, who had been a member of the Sikh faith, accepted the grace of Christ in 1903 and went on to preach in India and Tibet until his death in 1929. He referred to salt in this way, “Salt, when dissolved in water, may disappear but it does not cease to exist. We can be sure of its presence by tasting the water. Likewise, the indwelling Spirit, though unseen, will be made evident to others from the love which He imparts to us”. 

Pentecost is often a time when Christians think about evangelism. We see it as a reminder to engage in mission through the power of God’s Spirit within us. We, who are the salt of earth, desire to bring others to Christ that they may taste and see that the Lord is good. 

Both of the quotations about salt have something to tell us about evangelism. Evangelism involves gentleness, especially when people are vulnerable in some way. Also, evangelism is not our work: it is the work of the invisible Spirit who witnesses to Christ’s love within us. 

As we spread the gospel in word and in deed, let’s be gentle and let the Spirit do Christ’s work of love in and through us. 

Prayer
Heavenly Father, let others taste of your salvation through the work of the Spirit within us. In Jesus’ name.
Amen

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bible1About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.  You are welcome to attend any of our Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
Email:  admin@daybyday.org.uk

17th February 2019

February 17, 2019

A More Excellent Way 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35 (NIVUK) 

Before working for GCI, I worked as a middle-school maths teacher. To earn my teaching credentials, I spent over 1,000 hours, first observing and then practising instruction in a variety of schools.

I quickly saw a common thread in the most effective teachers’ classrooms. The common denominator in these rooms was love. It didn’t matter what the subject was, teacher’s age, or location of the school, in the classrooms where the teacher’s care for the students was palpable, students were more engaged and successful in mastering the content. Without love, the teacher’s efforts were that of a clanging cymbal. Perhaps this is why in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul starts the love chapter with, “And yet I will show you the most excellent way,” because without love we can accomplish nothing.

Paul goes on to illustrate the kind of love God extends to us: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

When received, this kind of affection cannot be bottled up. The love of God transforms us, and flows through us to those around us. In these verses Paul is describing what it truly means to be a Christian. In fact, what Paul is doing here is helping us get a better understanding of Jesus’ new command. On the night he was betrayed he shared with his disciples this more excellent way of love, quoted above in the header scripture.

When God calls us to himself, he is calling us into a relationship where we can experience his unconditional love. And here’s the good news: he doesn’t just offer this to some, he offers a relationship of love to all. He will never force us to accept the offer; he gives us the freedom to live outside of that relationship. But when we do accept, we can know that the one who loves us is patient and kind, and does not hold our wrongs against us. May you receive the love God is extending to you today. His love that never fails. 

Prayer
Loving Father, you are the perfection of love, a love that we can only grasp in part. Help us, as we walk with you daily, to learn more about your love for us, unfailing and eternal. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Study by Michelle Fleming

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About the Author:
Michelle Fleming in 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

 

17th November 2013

November 17, 2013

The Bride 

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.”
Revelation 19:7 (NIV UK) 

I recently officiated at the wedding of a friend’s daughter. I’ve known this young lady for quite a while and was thrilled to be included in her special day. As I stood at the altar and watched father and daughter walking down the aisle toward us, I was momentarily overcome with emotion as I realised how beautiful the bride looked and how proud her father was as he escorted her to the groom standing beside me. I could tell the groom was filled with anticipation and excitement. He was looking forward to the culmination of several months of planning and preparation for the moment when he and his bride would become man and wife. 

It made me think of how excited Jesus must be seeing his bride—the church—being prepared by the Holy Spirit for the great wedding celebration we read about in the book of Revelation. I can only imagine the joy he is experiencing, knowing that everything he had worked toward will soon come to pass. 

Jesus shared many parables about weddings and feasts, and his first miracle was at a wedding. I believe of all the metaphors and analogies used for the fulness of God’s Kingdom, one of the most beautiful to relate to is Jesus calling the church his bride. 

The remainder of my friend’s daughter’s wedding day was full of joy for all involved. Everyone was included in the celebration of a bride and bridegroom coming together to begin a new life as one. I can’t help but reflect on the joy all will know when they realise they are included in God’s plan to bring all into relationship and oneness with his Son. 

I believe God designed marriage just so we could get a taste of what he has in store for us as we join with him—not till death do us part—but for eternity. 

Prayer
Holy Father, we too, as Christians, look forward to this time when the marriage of the Lamb is come, since his bride will include us. Help us, please, to keep this vision and focus clearly in mind as time moves on toward that day, whenever it may be. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen
 

Study by Joseph Tkach

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joeandtammyAbout the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
Email:  admin@daybyday.org.uk

17th October 2013

October 17, 2013

Seeing and Believing 

“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
J
ohn 20:29 (NIV) 

Here is a thought experiment about different kinds of belief:
A crime has been committed and there were two initial suspects, both of whom you happen to know personally. (Let’s say you are not the investigating officer, so that you are under no obligation to discount personal knowledge of the suspects.) In the case of Suspect A, there is no evidence to exonerate him, but yet you feel an inner certainty that he would not and did not commit the crime. Suspect B comes up with a watertight alibi, and so you know he was not the perpetrator either. You believe it must have been someone else, since you are equally sure neither A nor B did it: A, because you would trust him anywhere, and B, because there is clear evidence. 

Which is the better kind of belief? Which way would you choose for people to believe in you? Why did Jesus value more highly the belief that is not limited to the empirical evidence—the belief that is rooted in relationship, trust and honour? 

Sometimes along the Christian path it might be nice to have proof—ongoing and unmistakeable evidence—of what God is about. However, ancient Israel’s journey in the wilderness stands as one long-drawn-out example of the insufficiency of visual evidence to engender true loyalty (Psalm 106). Seeing may be one kind of believing, but the belief in someone’s inner character—that which could be called faith between those who know one another—is to be blessed. 

Prayer
God, you know how firmly indoctrinated we are by culture and education to rely only on physical evidence. You ask for another kind of belief, and we try to work up some sort of effort or emotion when what we really need is to know Jesus. Help our unbelief.
Amen
 

Study by Fiona Jones 

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fionajones1About the Author:
Fiona Jones attends the Worldwide Church of God UK in Perth/Fife where she assists her husband in his pastoral role there.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Perth
Combination of house churches and monthly outreach service and lunch
Gillespie Centre, Dunfermline, monthly
House churches on other Saturdays

Meeting Time:
11am Saturday

Contact:
Email:  info@gracecom.org.uk

17th September 2013

September 17, 2013

We Are The Servants Now  

“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.’”
Mark 10:42-44 (NIV) 

In 1945, after 10 years out of office, Clement Atlee’s Labour Party achieved a landslide victory in the first General Election after the Second World War. One of the statements made by a member of the Party on taking up government was We are the masters now.’ 

Fifty-two years later, in May 1997, Labour achieved another landslide victory, and in one of his first speeches to the parliamentary party Tony Blair made reference to that statement. He told his MP’s that they must always remember that they are the servants of the people and not the masters, and if they forget, the people would show they are not the masters at the next ballot box. 

Tony Blair’s statement may have been politically motivated, to ensure his party retained power for as long as possible, but if we take it at face value it’s perfectly true: the government is there to serve the people. It is, after all, composed of a Prime Minister, and Cabinet Ministers. The very terms imply service: to minister to. Its administrators are even called ‘Civil Servants’. 

There is an important parallel here for Christians, because just as those in the government of the day should be servants, so should followers of Christ live a life of service, as members of God’s Kingdom. Jesus himself said, ‘…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…’ (Mark 10:45) and one of the great hallmarks of his followers is that of being a servant. 

How can we serve others? Matthew 25 gives us some pointers: giving the hungry something to eat, the thirsty something to drink, and being hospitable to strangers (Matthew 25:35). Giving some clothes to the needy, caring for the sick, and visiting those in difficulty (verse 36). When we carry out these small acts of kindness to others we not only follow Jesus’ example of service, it’s as if we are directly serving him (verse 40). 

It’s of no surprise that Jesus will say to these servants, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” (verse 34), because God’s kingdom is all about service not lauding it over people. 

Let’s live out the Kingdom life together, committing ourselves to God’s service, for we are the servants now! 

Prayer
Father, may the love of Jesus fill me with compassion and concern for others and motivate me to look for ways I can serve as I live out my Christianity in your service.
Amen
 

Study by Barry Robinson

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barryrobinsonAbout the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder in and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God London
Indian YMCA Student Hostel
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
LONDON
W1T 6AQ

Meeting time:
Saturday 2:30pm
Local Congregational Contact:
Martin Ryan
Phone:  020 8202 3998
Email:   martin_ryan@wcg.org.uk

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