22nd February 2016

February 22, 2016

Night Walks

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”
Isaiah 9:2 (ESV)

For a time the famous Victorian author Charles Dickens suffered from insomnia and decided that the best way to cope with the problem was to get up and walk the streets of London and return at sunrise, tired, to a restful sleep. It was not uncommon for Dickens to walk seven or even eight, sometimes twelve miles before dawn. As he walked through the back alleys and hidden parts of London he witnessed the lives of the homeless poor and discovered the pitiable social conditions of Victorian London, including drunkenness and vice on the streets. Afterwards he wrote of his experiences in an essay entitled, “Night Walks.”

Through the incarnation, God came to those who, according to the prophet Isaiah quoted above, spiritually walked and dwelt in a land of deep darkness. Jesus Christ came to shine a light in the spiritual darkness of this world. His night walks took him through the hidden parts and back alleys of this world, not simply as an observer and witness, but as the anointed one, “to bring good news to the poor…to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” (Isaiah 61:1) Isaiah also adds that he came “to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:7)

In a world where, through the news media, we are constantly reminded of its spiritual darkness, the incarnation brings a message of hope, for “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5)

Jesus has triumphed over the powers of evil in this world. Humanity no longer has to walk in darkness but has the opportunity to have life, for as Jesus testified of himself, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Christians are encouraged not to be disheartened or overcome by the darkness of this world but to walk in newness of life through Jesus, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…” (Ephesians 5:8) Christians are called to follow the example of Jesus and walk and behave as those who live in the light.

Father, we thank you for the gift of your son who willingly gave up his glory to become a human being in a troubled world. In union with Jesus, help us to be a light that helps others to see your glory.

Study by Eddie Marsh


eddiemarshAbout the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends Grace Communion International in Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion, Sheffield
Please email for Meeting Place

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

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

22nd February 2018

February 22, 2018

GRO _ _ _ 

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;”
1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)

The third in our series on GROWTH is focused on the letter, O, which stands for Opportunity. But opportunity for what? Well it could be the opportunity to give in a non-financial manner, or to repair a broken relationship, or we could pray and ask God to give us an opportunity as highlighted in the scripture above. Maybe we don’t usually find opportunities to share our faith, but if we ask for them we had better be prepared for the unexpected.

After a heart attack in October 2016, I was transferred from one hospital to another by ambulance at 5.30 in the morning. I had stated I was a minister when giving my details on admission. So imagine my surprise when the ambulance man who rode in the back with me starting asking me about the difference between Christianity and Islam! Hopefully I was sufficiently awake and alert to respond, but I never imagined the opportunity would come in that situation.

The other important aspect of this point is to recognise when we have an opportunity. Looking back, I can now see situations when I had an opportunity to share the hope that we have, to help someone in a particular situation, to give someone time and encouragement, but did not because I had not seen that it was an opportunity to do so.

As Christians, we need opportunities to grow both within our church and in our daily life; and we need to understand when we are in such a situation. So it a good principle to pray and prepare for the opportunities that God gives us and also to ask that we may recognise them when they come.

Gracious Father, help us to be good ambassadors for you and never waste the opportunities you provide to serve, encourage, help, support and pray for others.
In Jesus name we pray.

Study by Keith Hartrick


About the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, and serves on the Church Council there.

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

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone: 01484-312347
Email: malcolm701@googlemail.com