1st October 2018

October 1, 2018

Personal Resurrection

“I am the Resurrection and the Life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
John 11:25-26 (NRSVA)

My own personal understanding of the resurrection has grown over the years. As a young Christian, I imagined millions of believers being raised to glorified life all together. The world would become the largest stadium in history, with us all singing: “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10). Wow! Now that will be a great worship service to join in with!

But there is a missing part to that vision: the personal face-to-face encounter with Jesus. My huge concert of praise would have me somewhere “lost” in the massive crowd, looking at God and Jesus Christ from afar. The Gospels show Jesus to be someone who loves to personally encounter the children of God. Think of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), Nicodemus (John 3) or Thomas (John 20); 3 stories among many told by the New Testament. God did not love them from a distance—Jesus Christ engaged them in direct conversation.

Perhaps the raising of Lazarus in John 11 is a good indication of what the resurrection will be like. “When [Jesus] had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’”(John 11:43). Will that be the same for us? Could it be that one day I will be raised from death by the cry “Ian, come out!”? Jesus himself told us: “Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out” (John 5: 28-29).

Certainly, we know that “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him” (Revelation 1:7), but I guess the full itinerary of the day of Resurrection has not yet been published. But, like a small child in the back of the car on a long journey, I’m impatient to find out more! It is good to look forward with excitement to the full unveiling of God’s kingdom, as such meditation fills our hearts with hope.

The Resurrection will be such a wonderful event. In that hour we will all sing together in great praises to God. In fact, will the angels be able to shut us up?! Even better than that, we will all personally meet our Saviour, the One who made us, became just like us and then died for us – so that we can live forevermore.

Prayer
Father, thank you for the wonderful hope of the resurrection from the dead. We look forward to the day when will will see Jesus face-to face and when all Christians, from all ages, will sing praises to you. We anticipate this in the Name of our one and only Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Amen

Study by Ian Woodley
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About the Author:
Ian Woodley is an Elder and Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International (Gracecom for short).

Local Congregation:
Gracecom, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EDINBURGH
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: peter.mill@gracecom.church

May 21st 2009

May 21, 2009

Ascension!

“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:9-11 (NKJ)

The resurrection of Jesus is reported in each of the four Christian Gospels in considerable detail, but the ascension of Jesus, His return to the right hand of the Father, is mentioned only briefly, and only in the Gospels of Mark and Luke. It is in the book of Acts, also written by Luke, where we find a more detailed description of this crucial event in Jesus’ atoning work on behalf of humanity.

Our world is far more familiar with astronauts than with angels, and with space shuttles blasting off into the heavens than with Jesus’ ascension into heaven.

But the ascension is a vital part of our understanding about Jesus, and about what He is doing for us and in us moment by moment. The ascension tells us that Jesus now sits at the right hand of God the Father. This is a poetic way of saying that all power is in Jesus’ hands, and that Jesus and the Father dwell in perfect unity and love. Jesus, not only reigns with God the Father over all the Universe, He and the Father, with the Holy Spirit, are one.

But perhaps even more amazing is what Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:4-7, that God “made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. In Jesus, God has brought us into the loving relationship that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit share. In Jesus, we are accepted, wanted, and we are included. No wonder we read that after Jesus ascended into the heavens, His disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the Temple blessing God!

It was so important that more than 30 years later, Peter was still talking about it. In Peter’s first epistle to the Christians in Asia, he wrote that “Jesus has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him” (I Peter 3:22).

In the first century, every Roman soldier proclaimed his allegiance to the emperor by saying, “Kyrios Kaisar!” “Caesar is Lord!”

But the Christians could not, would not, say that. They said instead, “Kyrios Christos!” “Christ is Lord!”

And many of them paid with their lives for that faith, knowing they awaited a personal resurrection into the new life of the kingdom of God. They knew that the proclamation, “Christ is Lord,” spelled the beginning of the end of all tyranny, because the Saviour Himself had ascended to the throne.

The ascension of Jesus also declares to us that as a man, as God in the flesh, Jesus took our sinful humanity and, having redeemed it through His life, death and resurrection, He presented it clean and perfect to His Father.

In Jesus, we have fellowship with our Father in heaven, and just as Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, so we too, with Jesus our Lord, our Saviour, our Friend, and our Brother, dwell in the Father’s presence forever.

Prayer
Thank you, Father, that Jesus sits at Your right hand. Thank you that through Him we dwell in Your presence forever. Thank you that that we are included in the fellowship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen

Study by Joseph Tkach

30th May 2020

May 30, 2020

Pentecost

“Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house…and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Act 2:1-4 (NKJV)

The word Pentecost is not found in the Old Testament. It was after Israel was delivered from Egypt, that God gave them a liturgy of worship and instruction to follow His ways. Thus the Feast of Harvest of the firstfruits was observed by Israel as recorded in Exodus 23:16. This festival was often referred to as the Feast of Weeks because it fell seven weeks or fifty days from a set day during the spring festivals (Leviticus 23). And it is from this instruction that we have the word Pentecost, which is a Greek word meaning to count fifty.

In the New Testament, the new Christian Church was founded on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out as prophesied by Joel. There is not much mention of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, although we know that King David prayed that God would not take the Holy Spirit from him, so we know that God was working in and through some of the leaders like Moses and Elijah. However it would seem that most of Israel did not understand the implication and the application of this celebration that came to be known as the Christian Festival of Pentecost, which celebrated not only the coming of the Holy Spirit but the birth of the Christian Church.

We see the power of the Holy Spirit evidenced in the lives of the Apostles. Peter, who cursed the Lord and denied Him three times on the night He was taken by the enemies; was transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and he preached Jesus, and Him crucified and His resurrection from the grave, with such conviction and authority and power that on the same Day 3000 souls were added to the Body of Christ. It was a most spectacular event in the history of the Church of Christ.

Today, that same Holy Spirit is given to those who accept Jesus as their personal Saviour, which we show by our baptism, which is a participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus. We are raised to new life in Christ (Romans 6:4). We find in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” And as human parents bestow good things upon their children, our Father in Heaven wants to bless His children with His Spirit. Luke11:13 says, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

The Old Testament Festival celebrated the physical harvest, while the Christian celebration of Pentecost pictures the spiritual harvest. The Holy Spirit has brought spiritual revivals and through powerful preaching of the gospel many souls have been reaped—people have come to the Lord. My prayer is that God will stir up the hearts of the ministers and members alike to reach out to the world with this hope of new life in the Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth (John 16:13), renew our minds daily to help us walk in the Spirit (Romans 12:2).

Prayer
Father God, we thank You for the day of Pentecost. Help us to appreciate the gift of the Holy Spirit who reveals the deep things of God to us. I pray and praise You in Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by Natu Moti
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About the Author:
Natu Moti is a Deacon in the Birmingham Congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Birmingham
All Saints Church
George Road
BIRMINGHAM
B23 7QB

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1pm

Local Congregational Contact:
David Gibbs
Phone: 07777-667635
Email: birmingham@gracecom.church

4th May 2020

May 4, 2020

You Only Live Twice

“Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
John 3:3 (KJV)

An old James Bond film was entitled, “You Only Live Twice.” However, the film producers had no idea how true that statement was, because twice is the only way to live! You can’t live the Christian life until you have been born into the Christian family. And that’s what Jesus told Nicodemus: We have to be born again.

In his book, “New Life, New Lifestyle”, Michael Green likens us to tadpoles and frogs. Up till our conversion we were living in a pond like the tadpoles and now we have turned into frogs and come out from the pond to begin a new life on land. Like the frog we are completely at home in our old world, the pond, and we know all the experiences we had before, but a new world has opened up to us. We have died with Christ, ending the old way of living, and can now share Christ’s resurrection life through the Holy Spirit, because He is the example of the right way to live. “…The old life is gone, a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT).

The Amplified version of Romans 8:9 says, “But you are now living the life of the Spirit if the Spirit of God dwells within you, directs and controls you.” We are now God’s people, part of his family and we live by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Because we are living the new life, Colossians 3:1-4 NLT tells us, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honour at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”

Prayer
Father, I am so glad that I have been born again into your family. Please help me to do everything you tell me and follow the perfect example of your Son and our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Amen

Study by Jill Newman

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*This article is being reprinted from November 2009, in honour of Jill Newman, who died on 23 March 2020, and whose funeral was on 30 April. Although she did not die of coronavirus, this pandemic had a profound effect on her funeral during lockdown. We plan a memorial Service for Jill after the lockdown eases.
Jill worked as a Secretary and Personal Assistant in the faculty offices of Ambassador College for many years until it closed, and then in the UK Church offices until her retirement. Over eight years from when it began, Jill wrote over 80 Day by Day Studies!

About the Author:
Jill Newman was a Deaconess in 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

12th April 2020

April 12, 2020

Papa and Paco

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Colossians 3:1-4 (NIV UK)

Ernest Hemingway’s short story, Capital of the World tells of a Father looking for his son. Paco had created a rift between them, and chose to leave home to make a name as a matador in Madrid. After some time the Father goes looking for him, unsuccessfully, among the crowded streets of Madrid. Eventually, he places an ad in the local newspaper: “Paco, meet me at the Hotel Montana, Noon Tuesday. All is forgiven. Papa.”

The result was astounding. On Tuesday at noon, 800 young men, all named Paco, show up longing to be reconciled to their father.

Hemingway was an atheist, but his story tugs our hearts toward the Gospel. Can you identify with one of the Pacos? Far from home, trying to create a name for yourself? A lonely journey down a dead-end street! But Jesus has met us at the end of that road with a word from his Father. In Jesus’ life, death and most importantly, his resurrection, our Papa makes it crystal clear that all is forgiven. He is calling us home.

Our heavenly Father didn’t just put an ad in the paper, he showed up in Jesus. The disciples struggled to believe that Jesus had risen. But after Jesus encountered them, personally, their lives were lifted to a whole new level. This same Jesus still encounters us today by the Holy Spirit. And his word from the Father hasn’t changed. Putting your trust in Jesus is to be lifted in his relationship with the Father.

This is the good news of the Easter story. The Father has removed all that keeps us from knowing and enjoying him. Now we can respond to him with our head held high, knowing our identity as sons and daughters is secured in Jesus, our elder brother.

Prayer
Most holy Father, may we each, personally, hear your voice, raised in Jesus, calling us home. And respond. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Study presented by Jeff Broadnax
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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. Jeff Broadnax is a GCI Elder in Grace Communion International in the USA and serves as National Coordinator of GCI Generation Ministries.

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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