URC Devotions

URC Daily Devotion: 29th May

Mon, 29/05/2017 - 06:00
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} } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser 2 Tim 2: 1-13     You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier’s aim is to please the enlisting officer. And in the case of an athlete, no one is crowned without competing according to the rules. It is the farmer who does the work who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. The saying is sure:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself. Reflection What hardships confront you in your Christian witness, and how are you facing them?

Hardships – “even to the point of being chained like a criminal” (2:9).  In 3:11, Timothy is reminded of the sufferings Paul faced in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra.  You can see those hardships in Acts 13 & 14, while Paul (as a current URC theme would put it) walked the way of Christ and helped people to develop their discipleship.

But the word of God is not chained.  Therefore, Paul said (2:9-10), he endured everything for the sake of enabling people to obtain salvation in Christ Jesus.  And he urged Timothy to do likewise: to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and to pass on his words to faithful people who would be able to teach others (2:1-2).

This devotional passage happens to be set for the day after the German Kirchentag (24th-28th May), a festival congress of churches which includes URC participation in this commemorative year.  The theme may help to set whatever hardships we are facing in the context of the whole span of God’s work for the world through the ages.  It is 500 years since Martin Luther’s attempt to bring the Church back to true gospel teaching on salvation.

Disputations about the true way to receive life from God spread in the context of competition between rulers and assertion of cultural identities.  Hardships escalated through incarcerations, executions and religious wars for most of the next 150 years, and division between churches persisted.

Now we have had the more ecumenical 20th century, and currently one of the Reformation’s key issues is being resolved through the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification*.  When considering this, the Reformed Churches particularly want to emphasise that righteousness in Christ means both justification and justice, so justification (being set right with God) should bear fruit in work to right injustices in the world.

The aim of Paul’s teaching, as he said early in his first letter to Timothy (1 Tim 1:5), is “love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith”.  As we approach Pentecost we could explore this point from Paul’s conclusion to Timothy (2 Tim 3:16): “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.”

We can take courage and strength from God as we face hardships – and as we help others to face theirs.

*  The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification was agreed by the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation in 1999.  It was supported by the World Methodist Council in 2006, and the Anglican Consultative Council in 2016.  The United Reformed Church Mission Council in October 2016 gave warm support for the World Communion of Reformed Churches’ intention to associate with the Joint Declaration.
  Prayer For facing hardships, this prayer comes to mind from use every week in a Congregational Church Scout Troop.  It was written by Roman Catholic, St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556).

Teach us, good Lord,
to serve thee as thou deservest,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do thy will. Today's Writer The Rev’d Bernie Collins is a member of Avenue St Andrew’s in Southampton and Convenor of the URC Mission Committee Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion: 28th May

Sun, 28/05/2017 - 06:00
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} } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser 2 Tim 1:1-18  From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, sent to proclaim the promised life which we have in union with Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dear son: May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy and peace.  

I give thanks to God, whom I serve with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did.  I thank him as I remember you always in my prayers night and day.  I remember your tears, and I want to see you very much, so that I may be filled with joy.  I remember the sincere faith you have, the kind of faith that your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice also had.  I am sure that you have it also.  For this reason I remind you to keep alive the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you.  For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control.  Do not be ashamed then, of witnessing for our Lord; nor be ashamed of me, a prisoner for Christ’s sake.  Instead, take your part in suffering for the Good News, as God gives you the strength to do it.   He saved us and called us to be his own people, not because of what we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace.  He gave us this grace by means of Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but now it has been revealed to us through the coming of our Saviour, Christ Jesus.  He has ended the power of death and through the gospel has revealed immortal life.  

God has appointed me as an apostle and teacher to proclaim the Good News, and it is for this reason that I suffer these things.  But I am still full of confidence, because I know whom I have trusted, and I am sure that he is able to keep safe until that Day what he has entrusted to me.  Hold firmly to the true words that I taught you, as the example for you to follow, and remain in the faith and love that are ours in union with Christ Jesus.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, keep the good things that have been entrusted to you.  

You know that everyone in the province of Asia, including Phygelus and Hermogenes, has deserted me.  May the Lord show mercy to the family of Onesiphorus, because he cheered me up many times.  He was not ashamed that I was in prison,  but as soon as he arrived in Rome, he started looking for me until he found me. May the Lord grant him his mercy on that Day!  And you know very well how much he did for me in Ephesus. Reflection We learn, in this letter to Timothy, of the personalities of the people actively involved in creating the life of the early churches, and their relationships to one another in family life and in the congregations.  Still more powerfully, we witness the giving of God who saves us and calls us to proclaim the promised life that “we have in union with Christ Jesus” .  Paul makes it clear in the opening words of greeting that he is an apostle of Christ Jesus “by God’s will”.  Paul met Timothy on his first missionary journey in Asia Minor at Lystra where Timothy lived.  Timothy was a Christian who was well thought of by those around him.  His mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, both Jewish, were also Christians and members of the local congregation.  Timothy’s father was Greek (Acts. 16 v 1-3).  The name Timothy, in Greek, means “honouring God”.    Paul knew the family.  Paul and Timothy had a long association developing and supporting the life of the early churches.  Timothy  became an evangelist under Paul’s guidance, helping with the long ministry of teaching at Ephesus and acting as messenger taking letters from Ephesus to Corinth.  His manner was reserved and gentle in contrast with the apostle Paul’s.  Paul had a trusting relationship with Timothy addressing him at the opening of this second letter as “my dear son”.

I wonder how many contemporary Church leaders have been influenced by Christian family backgrounds to take up their vocation to proclaim the “promised life which we have in union with Christ Jesus”.  As a child of the manse, I grew up recognising Sundays as special days of the week.  They were a different kind of working day geared to meeting the commitments of Sunday morning service, Sunday School and Sunday evening worship too. There was Sunday - best wear and Sunday lunch (no playing cricket outside in the street either).  Sunday was chiefly a day for quiet and devotion. There was the regular sharing in worship and fellowship, as well as some social times, with the members of the ‘family’ of the church  those who were called to be God’s “own people not because of what we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace.”  

Timothy is encouraged to trust that God will keep safe the gifts God gave to him  through Paul in the laying on of hands.  He must hold firmly to the “true words” Paul taught him and remain in the faith and the love of God through the power of the Holy Spirit “who lives in us”.  The same Spirit will supply the sustaining power to endure through the suffering of humiliation, rejection, even imprisonment and maybe death, for the Good News.  There is no shame in these circumstances.  Paul, apostle and Timothy’s mentor, was in prison in Rome..”a prisoner for Christ’s sake” simultaneously deserted by “everyone in the province of Asia”. The outstanding exception in this bleak picture is the caring conduct of Onesiphorus who worked for Paul in Ephesus and seeks him out in Rome.  It is heart-warming to hear Paul’s appreciation of Onesiphorus’ companionship, a man who “cheered me up many times”.     Prayer Loving God  
We thank you for family, friends and others in the Church who have inspired us to find our own relationship with You. Please bless us and keep us.  
We are Your people not because of what we have done
but because of Your own purpose and grace.  
Amen Today's Writer Pamela Dowling is an Elder who served at the former St John's URC in Forest Hill. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotions: 27th May

Sat, 27/05/2017 - 06:00
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} } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser 1 Tim 6: 17-21 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the profane chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge; by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith.

Grace be with you.   Reflection Do you consider yourself rich?  Like poverty, richness is a relative term.  We may not find our names on the Forbes list of billionaires, but we are probably not struggling to exist either.  The middle is a comfortable place to be, just like Goldilocks and her porridge, we're just right.  So this passage isn't really relevant for us, right?
Wrong!

I would suggest that richness might incorporate a major element of independence - having the skills and income to live life as we choose rather than in a way forced on us by someone else.  We may not have everything on our wish list but at least we have choices as to what to do with what we have got.  Many in our world have little, if any, choice of how to live their lives.

The danger for us is that because we have choices, we start to believe that those choices are our "human right" in spite of the fact that more than half the world are denied that right for one reason or another.  And that is my understanding of the word haughtiness.  It could be just pride or arrogance, but I think it’s more than that, a belief that it is my right as a person to have this choice regardless of the cost or the impact on others.  So when that choice is threatened, or even taken away altogether,  it triggers a strong reaction which can be hurtful or even violent.

For Timothy, as a young church leader, he was likely to be facing such issues on a regular basis since Ephesus was a large trading and commercial city with large sums of money and goods changing hands daily. So this was a very real issue for him as it is also for us in our busy western culture.  Paul's advice to Timothy, and to us, is to set our hopes on God's provision rather than on our own provision of  "stuff" - either the money available to acquire "stuff", or the "stuff" acquired already.  If we rely on God's provision, (and sometimes that provision includes "stuff") we know it’s because God loves us and wants us to enjoy it.  So we can and should be generous with it, we can and should do good works with it and we can and should share it with others - all contributing to a good life in preparation for God's coming kingdom.

But (and you knew there'd be a 'but', didn't you?) once we get comfortable, we start to forget that God was the source of the provision; we start to think we were, and still are, in control and we forget God's part in it all.  In doing so we risk losing much more than "stuff".  Paul is making clear to Timothy, and also to us, that the church (and that of course is the people not the building) needs to make sure that not only do we believe that all our provision comes from God, but that we behave in a way which makes it clear to everyone else that that's the case.  This is especially important for those in leadership roles because an important part of those roles is the making of disciples and part of that is modelling  the way of life ourselves.  And of course we can't do this on our own, we need help.  So let's pray:   Prayer Creator and sustainer God,
We pause for a moment to reflect on all that we have, which for many of us exceeds what we need or deserve.  And in that time of reflection, we offer to you our thanks and praise for all your blessings showered on us, past and present.

In bringing all these to mind, we realise that many times we have forgotten where these blessings came from, we have been so wrapped up in the busy-ness of life that we act as if we are in control, that our decisions were critical, that we deserved the benefits.  Forgive us for all those times when we allowed ourselves to be carried along on waves of success or struggle instead of stopping to look for you in what is going on around us.

Help us to keep you at the front of our minds, help us to look at the world through your eyes, to actively seek your guidance through prayer and the scriptures, and to show to the world, not in a Uriah Heap "ever-so-'umble" kind of way, but in a joyful and grateful kind of way, that everything we have comes from you and we don't ever want to forget that.
Amen. Today's Writer The Rev'd Sheila Coop is the minister of Macedonia URC in Failsworth. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion: 26th May

Fri, 26/05/2017 - 06:00
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padding-left:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardLeftImageContent,.mcnImageCardRightImageContent{ padding-right:18px !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; padding-left:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcpreview-image-uploader{ display:none !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h1{ font-size:24px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h2{ font-size:20px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h3{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h4{ font-size:16px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templatePreheader{ display:block !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser 1 Timothy 6: 11-16      Aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the presence of God who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen. Reflection Be it by Spirit-inspiration or coincidence or an informed decision by the person commissioning these reflections, I find myself with a personally appropriate theme. Ordained forty-one years ago and having served as College Principal and Synod Training Officer for eighteen, I am now teetering on the brink of retirement from my professional posts and indeed active ministry. It is then a ‘time for reflection’ (to borrow a Scottish Parliament phrase). Please forgive the personal here, but I hope that these thoughts resonate with others. Thinking back over time, I am conscious that the virtues suggested in I Timothy have been present and absent in perhaps equal measure over my ministry!

For me, I have had two vocations, running together, not in parallel but intertwined – minister and educator. Two passages have underpinned them: Deuteronomy 30:15, ‘See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil’ and John 10:10, ‘I am come that they may have life, and have it abundantly’, words that are echoed in today’s passage – ‘take hold of the eternal life to which you were called’.
Celebrating the sacrament of eternal life, pastorally working with people to restore fullness to their lives, educationally supporting folk to realise and achieve their potential as people fashioned in the image of God – these have lain at the heart of my calling. When I reflect on that, I feel anew the thrill of my vocation. Yet, I am also aware that our increasing institutionalisation as a Church, our anxious fears over survival, the seeming pressures to ‘manage’ decline, our lack of imagination and creativity too often draw us away from life, from life-enhancing decisions, from what enlivens and energises us, from concerns that are more truly eternal.

Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.   Prayer Source and lover and sustainer of life,
help us to see others and ourselves as made for abundant life
help us to choose life when we are faced with decisions
help us to choose life in our daily living. Today's Writer The Rev'd Dr Jack Dyce is the Principal of the Scottish United Reformed and Congregational College and a member of Port Glasgow URC. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion for Ascension

Thu, 25/05/2017 - 06:00
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} } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser Acts 1: 1-11 Dear Theophilus:

In my first book I wrote about all the things that Jesus did and taught from the time he began his work until the day he was taken up to heaven. Before he was taken up, he gave instructions by the power of the Holy Spirit to the men he had chosen as his apostles. For forty days after his death he appeared to them many times in ways that proved beyond doubt that he was alive. They saw him, and he talked with them about the Kingdom of God. And when they came together, he gave them this order: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised. John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?”

Jesus said to them, “The times and occasions are set by my Father's own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After saying this, he was taken up to heaven as they watched him, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They still had their eyes fixed on the sky as he went away, when two men dressed in white suddenly stood beside them and said, “Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven.” Reflection For a contemporary Jewish audience, Jesus’ farewell to His disciples would be recognised as a clear parallel with Moses who ended his days on the top of Mount Nebo, where he commissioned Joshua to be his successor. In the Gospels of Matthew, John and Luke, and in the Acts of the Apostles, Jesus is doing the same thing: He is commissioning His disciples to carry on His work.

On one level, we can look at the Ascension as a farewell event. It was a painful human moment, filled with emotion. If we go to any railway station or airport, all around us are people saying goodbye: some for a short time; others for a longer time; and others still for whom it is probably farewell for ever. This man, this Jesus, whom the disciples had lost once when He was crucified; they are losing Him again. The emotion of painful separation, grief, is palpable in the story. And into this fragile human moment, God acts supernaturally: Jesus is taken up into Heaven and became hidden from their sight.

The 20th Century theologian, Karl Barth, called the Ascension “an historical turning point”. The Ascension is Jesus re-gathering His followers. Jesus did not choose learned or powerful people to be His disciples: He chose every day, working people; He chose the outcasts. And just as He called them the first time, He calls them again.

For the disciples Jesus was hidden from their sight at Ascension; they knew they would never see Him again in the flesh and stood there in shock and amazement. Like we can be, there were paralysed into inaction. The Disciples needed a nudge, for they were staring into the sky. The angels speak to them, assure them and they begin their descent of the mountain to begin Christ’s Church.

The Ascension is about Jesus is completing His journey and us beginning ours. Jesus becomes human, is born as a baby, lives His life, is tried and executed. He rises from the dead, and in the Ascension, Jesus is going home. Jesus who is fully human, in the Ascension forever changes the doorway between Earth and Heaven. This is the truth: Jesus, a human-being, entered heaven - a human-being entered heaven!

That is the amazing mystery of the Ascension: a human-being entered glory and is with God. And because Jesus did, we can, too.   Prayer Loving God,
today as we recall Your Son’s return to glory,
we give You thanks that,
in Your Son, we, too, now have our home with You.
As the disciples came down the mountain
and began the work to spread the news of Your love,
fill us anew with Your Spirit
and revive Your Church.
Amen. Today's Writer Walt Johnson is an Elder of Wilbraham St Ninian's URC in South Manchester. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion: 24th May

Wed, 24/05/2017 - 06:00
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padding-left:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardLeftImageContent,.mcnImageCardRightImageContent{ padding-right:18px !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; padding-left:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcpreview-image-uploader{ display:none !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h1{ font-size:24px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h2{ font-size:20px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h3{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h4{ font-size:16px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templatePreheader{ display:block !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser 1 Tim 6: 3-10     If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.   Reflection In the sometimes bewildering world of the Internet we can struggle to discern what is right and true.  Anyone can claim to be a Christian or a Christian teacher, with a website, a book, a video or a following seeming to add credibility to that person.  So often what we read or see is nothing more than “an unhealthy craving for controversy" that creates “constant friction among people”.  The melange can cause great confusion even as various people vie for our attention.  So how can we discern rightly in the midst of all the confusion and competition for our attention?

In this passage, Paul gives us four criteria to use for discernment.  First, Paul suggests that we should be aware of anyone who teaches a "different doctrine" from the one he taught.  Today, the letters he wrote become our guide in this, presenting his Spirit-inspired counsel for many different people and places.  Second, Paul indicates that we should not trust anyone who does not "agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ".  Anyone who departs from the clear teachings of Jesus in the Gospels (not what we wish or imagine he should have said but what he actually did say) should cause us concern.  Third, Paul cautions us about anyone who teaches anything that does not "accord with godliness".  The word "godliness" indicated to his readers a moral attitude expressed by the way one lived.  For Paul, this moral attitude would have reflected his doctrine as well as the words of Jesus.  Paul believed that any teaching outside these parameters would produce many problems and conflicts among Christians.

Paul presents a fourth criteria by which to discern in the second half of this passage.  Paul suggests that we must beware anyone for whom the "love of money" seems to be an issue.  Surely there are those who seem to use "godliness" as a way to promote their own financial gain.  Paul does not say that money itself is wrong, nor does he suggest that it would be inappropriate for a ministry or leader to ask for financial support.  But he does warn Timothy that those who seemed to focus on money would cause many problems among Christians.

We Christians are blessed with a greater diversity and variety of resources to help us grow in our faith than all the previous generations of Christians combined.  This is an amazing advantage for us, but it also contains many traps into which Christians fall almost every day.  Following the standards for discernment that Paul set for Timothy might enable us to avoid these traps and receive the greatest benefit from the resources available to us.  This will enable us to extend the good news about Jesus into the world around us.   Prayer Almighty God, we are so grateful for everything you have provided for us so that we might grow as followers of Jesus.  Thank you for equipping us to share your love, grace and mercy with the people around us in the name of Jesus.  But we also realize that we need the help of your Holy Spirit to discern rightly that which is beneficial to us and that which might lead us astray.  We pray that your Holy Spirit might remind us about Paul's guidance to Timothy so that we might apply the standards Paul set for Timothy in our own hearts and minds.  Please help us use the resources you have given us to grow to maturity in Jesus.  And help us encourage our sisters and brothers in Christ as they to seek to discern rightly what is truly from your heart.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen. Today's Writer The Rev'd Rodney Woods is the minister of the City Temple in London. Bible Version   The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®).  © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion: 23rd May

Tue, 23/05/2017 - 06:00
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} } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser I Tim 6:1-1-2 Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honour, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these duties. Reflection
Oh dear! The record of Christianity with regard to slavery is not a good one. Our instinctive tendency is to play that down – as many Bible translators do. The Message, for example, says that the author’s advice to slaves is “to make the best of it”, which is not what he wrote at all. Alternatively, we simply ignore the passages advocating obedient slavery, placing them in square brackets and moving swiftly on. Today, however, let us pause.

Friedrich Engels, in his essay on the Book of Revelation, describes Christianity as a religion of slaves. He saw in Revelation the seeds of the revolt of the slaves against the empire – the whore of Babylon. The trouble is, he noted, that those in power have been only too ready to promote a less revolutionary and more compliant form of the religion. Slave owners had a particular motivation so to do. They have then co-opted others – such as the author of this letter – to defend and justify the system in the name of good order and Christian conduct.

We do not have to believe all of Engels’s revolutionary creed to accept his insight. In popular usage, “being Christian” often means being nice, compliant, not rocking the boat, even being a doormat. Note how the author is especially keen that Christian slaves with Christian masters should be obedient and hard-working – for such good “Christian” relations are what makes the world go round. At least, the world of the well-off slave-owner and the middle-class epistle writer.

And yet, at much the same time as this epistle was being written the revolutionary religion of Revelation was also taking hold. The later slave-owners of the American South and the West Indies were only too pleased to make their slaves into obedient, 1 Timothy 6, Christians. But when those slaves sang of the exodus, they were beginning also to see possibilities in the gospel that their masters had ignored. Their Bible pointed to a world that could and should be turned upside down, in which slaves are freed, empires fall and justice reigns. The Christian slave-owners who made their slaves Christian so that they were obedient were in fact unknowingly arranging their own downfall.

In generations to come, people will look back on the church of 2017 and be amazed at the things we got so wrong. Our complacency about climate change. Our scandalous silence as child tax credit was limited last month to only two children per family, with rape victims having to prove that they did not want the third child. Our blind eye turned to the refugees being shipped back from the European continent and treated like slaves. We have no right to criticize the author of this letter; we are in the same boat. The gospel already contains the seeds of the destruction of our complacency and hard-heartedness too.   Prayer Loving God,
father of slave and slave-owner,
obedient slave and revolutionary,
prophet and justifier of the status quo,
open our eyes to the fullness of your gospel
and challenge us to see the seeds of our own downfall
in the poor and the oppressed around us.  
Amen Today's Writer The Rev'd Gethin Rhys is policy officer for Cytun and a member of Parkminster URC in Cardiff. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotions: 22nd May

Mon, 22/05/2017 - 06:00
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padding-left:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardLeftImageContent,.mcnImageCardRightImageContent{ padding-right:18px !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; padding-left:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcpreview-image-uploader{ display:none !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h1{ font-size:24px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h2{ font-size:20px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h3{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h4{ font-size:16px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templatePreheader{ display:block !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser 1 Tim 5:17-25     Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching; for the scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain’, and, ‘The labourer deserves to be paid.’ Never accept any accusation against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest also may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels, I warn you to keep these instructions without prejudice, doing nothing on the basis of partiality. Do not ordain anyone hastily, and do not participate in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.

No longer drink only water, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.The sins of some people are conspicuous and precede them to judgement, while the sins of others follow them there. So also good works are conspicuous; and even when they are not, they cannot remain hidden. Reflection If you can’t get guess which verse instantly grabbed my attention, then you have never attended an Elders’ Meeting!

Before I start it is worth mentioning that Paul (if indeed it was he) probably didn’t have the URC’s Elders in mind when writing, but rather presbyteroi; ‘the older men’ – the ones of significant responsibility and age whose experience would mean they would naturally be looked to for leadership. It is therefore helpful to consider all men and women in our churches who have a leadership role – any who labour for the community of God.

The number of Facebook posting ministers and elders who look forward to ‘an evening with Glen(fiddich)’ or a ‘nice bottle of red’ at the end of the day is worthy of note. It seems that this imbibement is entirely Biblical. Was that a universal ‘hoorah!’ I just heard?

At the risk of ill-informed speculation, we can read between the lines of vs.23 and envisage Timothy drinking only water and suffering from numerous ailments or weaknesses. ‘A little wine’ in his case could certainly have been justified to purify the water. Medicinal indeed!

We might also imagine a young man whose heavy responsibilities might cause him considerable stress manifested through his ailments. Paul’s suggestion makes perfect sense.

We have cause to reflect on the strain and stress of ministry, eldership and leadership in our church life;
  • the effort that goes into maintaining buildings and structures,
  • the 5 or 6 people who are on every committee,
  • the family life disrupted,
  • the ever-diminishing number of people available to take on roles,
  • the challenge and toil of discerning and enacting vision through mission,
  • and, no doubt, the expectations we face.

All of this will have an impact on us: perhaps even physically as it did on Timothy, and may at times mask the wonderful privilege and joy of serving.

I’m not advocating that we all turn to the bottle, but perhaps we do need to take seriously how we offer rest, relaxation and restoration to those who are tired and close to burn-out.

Perhaps we can build this important facet of our spiritual and physical well-being into our church life.
Perhaps we can stop judging our leaders by how busy they are – working to ban the idea that the phrase “I’m terribly busy” is somehow virtuous.

Perhaps we might indeed, leave a bottle of something fruity on someone’s doorstep, as a sign that they are appreciated and should take a breath, pop their feet up and relax.   Prayer God who rested on the 7th day,
You do not call us to self-destruction,
but to a life of wholeness.
Help us to learn that we cannot serve each other or you,
if we do not care for ourselves.
Help us to get the balance right and to not feel guilty.
Help us to listen when You tell us through our bodies that we need to stop
and find our rest in You. Amen Today's Writer The Rev'd Martin Knight is minister of St Paul's URC in Croydon. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotions: 21st May

Sun, 21/05/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotions: 21st May table.mcnFollowContent{width:100%;} table.mcnShareContent{width:100%;} td.columnsContainer{width:30%;} p{ margin:10px 0; padding:0; } table{ border-collapse:collapse; } h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ display:block; margin:0; padding:0; } img,a img{ border:0; height:auto; outline:none; text-decoration:none; } body,#bodyTable,#bodyCell{ height:100%; margin:0; padding:0; width:100%; } #outlook a{ padding:0; } img{ -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; } table{ mso-table-lspace:0pt; mso-table-rspace:0pt; } .ReadMsgBody{ width:100%; } .ExternalClass{ width:100%; } p,a,li,td,blockquote{ mso-line-height-rule:exactly; } a[href^=tel],a[href^=sms]{ color:inherit; cursor:default; text-decoration:none; } p,a,li,td,body,table,blockquote{ -ms-text-size-adjust:100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; } .ExternalClass,.ExternalClass p,.ExternalClass td,.ExternalClass div,.ExternalClass span,.ExternalClass font{ line-height:100%; } a[x-apple-data-detectors]{ color:inherit !important; text-decoration:none !important; 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} } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser 1 Timothy 5. 1-16  Honour widows who are really widows. If a widow has children or grandchildren, they should first learn their religious duty to their own family and make some repayment to their parents; for this is pleasing in God’s sight. The real widow, left alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give these commands as well, so that they may be above reproach.  And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Let a widow be put on the list if she is not less than sixty years old and has been married only once; she must be well attested for her good works, as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints’ feet, helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to doing good in every way. But refuse to put younger widows on the list; for when their sensual desires alienate them from Christ, they want to marry, and so they incur condemnation for having violated their first pledge.  Besides that, they learn to be idle, gadding about from house to house, and they are not merely idle, but gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not say.  So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, and manage their households, so as to give the adversary no occasion to revile us. For some have already turned away to follow Satan. If any believing woman has relatives who are really widows, let her assist them; let the church not be burdened, so it can assist those who are real widows.  
  Reflection Welfare is a tricky business. Human need presses on all sides. How do you distribute the proceeds of the widows’ fund? This chapter gives advice, but also illustrates what a minefield it is. Timothy is advised only to help “real” widows, which seems to cut out the younger ones, especially any “merry” ones!.  We have to smile at the author’s condemnation of the flighty gossip-prone ones!  (Who says the Scriptures are boring?)

But widowhood is no laughing matter. War creates widows every day. The widows and children of Syria still cry out in 2017. Child brides become widows overnight. There are no age restrictions. All need urgent help. Christians and Muslims alike weep at the futility.

So what is our response?  Christian Aid Week rolls round again, and we walk the streets, and knock on doors, and we hear the blunt grunts:  ”charity begins at home!;” “I don’t give to foreigners” and so on.  The western world is pulling up the drawbridge… UK first….America first…. but the widows of the world will not go away.

Two of the best known widows in the Scriptures were beautiful people: Naomi and Ruth. Their story must always be our story. They found bread in Beth-lechem  (“House of Bread”). Boaz became an answer to prayer.

So do we.

Don’t forget the widows. They focus our Christ-like response. Always.   Prayer God of Ruth, teach us friendship.
God of Naomi, help us to love and care for our families.
God of Timothy, help the Church to be wise and generous.
God of Jesus, accompany us into ministry,
into compassion,
into a world where the tears of widows are dried
in Jesus’ way.
Amen Today's Writer The Rev'd David Jenkins is a retired minister and member of Marple URC in Cheshire.
. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion: 20th May

Sat, 20/05/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion: 20th May table.mcnFollowContent{width:100%;} table.mcnShareContent{width:100%;} td.columnsContainer{width:30%;} p{ margin:10px 0; padding:0; } table{ border-collapse:collapse; } h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ display:block; margin:0; padding:0; } img,a img{ border:0; height:auto; outline:none; text-decoration:none; } body,#bodyTable,#bodyCell{ height:100%; margin:0; padding:0; width:100%; } #outlook a{ padding:0; } img{ -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; } table{ mso-table-lspace:0pt; mso-table-rspace:0pt; } .ReadMsgBody{ width:100%; } .ExternalClass{ width:100%; } p,a,li,td,blockquote{ mso-line-height-rule:exactly; } a[href^=tel],a[href^=sms]{ color:inherit; cursor:default; text-decoration:none; } p,a,li,td,body,table,blockquote{ -ms-text-size-adjust:100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; } .ExternalClass,.ExternalClass p,.ExternalClass td,.ExternalClass div,.ExternalClass span,.ExternalClass font{ line-height:100%; } a[x-apple-data-detectors]{ color:inherit !important; text-decoration:none !important; 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} } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser 1 Tim 4 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared with a hot iron.  They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.  For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving;  for it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.

If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed.  Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself in godliness,  for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.  The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance.  For to this end we toil and struggle, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe.

These are the things you must insist on and teach.  Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching.   Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.   Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress.   Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers Reflection Leaving to one side problems of authorship and dating, Chapter 4 offers important elements of advice for today, being addressed to all who have pastoral responsibilities within the Church. Specifically this means advice to pastors, but it can equally be applied to the care of each Church member for the other.

I recall the inscription from 1Timothy 4 on an ordination gift (a book) to me some 32 years ago.  It quoted verses 12-15, starting with the words ‘Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct , in love in faith, in purity’. Even though I wasn’t in the first flush of youth, I had cause to recall these words with gratitude. Age is not a reliable guide to spiritual maturity.

Chapter 4 instructs Timothy on his duty to restrain false and useless teaching. It also reminds him of the prophetic character of his calling and encourages him to exercise it. The letter starts with a stern warning against the teaching of those who shamelessly claim to preach the truth, but who actually lead folk into a rigorism which is alien to God’s abundant generosity. We recognise this tendency today in those who insist that ever greater discipline on our part is necessary before we can be confident of our salvation. Timothy is urged to reject this. And so should we. It is the grateful heart, full of thanksgiving for all that God gives us, that gives us confidence in our faith, not a reliance on ever stricter practices. We are not called to be less generous than God, but as generous.

What the life of faith means in practice is a sustained and sustainable lifestyle, one that has to be worked at. An attitude of thankfulness to God when things are going well for us is not too difficult. However, when we are mired in the mud of life, struggling to maintain our temper, dignity and confidence, gratitude to God is not as easy. Verses 8-10 remind Timothy of the hope that is in us – a hope that can sustain us through thick and thin, and today we may need reminding of this!

‘Do not neglect the gift that is in you’ (v14) is a reminder and encouragement to all church workers to be ‘intentional’ in what they do. No one person, no matter how talented she or he is, possesses all the gifts the Church needs. But the harvest of God given gifts members possess - sustains and enriches the whole Church.   Prayer Gracious God,
when siren voices urge us
to doubt our experience of you
in favour of new certainties,
help us to value the wisdom of others
according to
             the kindness,
             the generosity,
             the love
which you have shown
and are showing to us
in the life of your Son,
who gathers us together
to be your people
in word and action. Amen Today's Writer The Rev'd John Young is a retired minister and member of Giffnock URC in Glasgow. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion: 19th May

Fri, 19/05/2017 - 06:00
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} } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser 1 Tim 3:14-16 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great:

He was revealed in flesh,
vindicated in spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among Gentiles,
believed in throughout the world,
taken up in glory.    Reflection Paul uses the words of a poem or hymn to explain the mystery of our faith. The hymn stresses the humanity of Christ and the universal nature of salvation. It reminds us not so much of Jesus’ birth but the fact of Christ’s humanity and that the arena of humanity was where Christ carried out his work and mission. This first line points us towards Jesus’ death. The second line, contrasts ‘flesh’ and ‘spirit’ pointing us to the risen Christ. It speaks to us of the completion of Jesus humanity as death is overcome through his resurrection.  Line three continues this thought with reference to heavenly powers.  Lines four and five shift the focus to the effects of the mystery within humankind – the focus develops from Christ to mission.  ‘Among the Gentiles’ and ‘throughout the world’ remind us on the universal nature of the Gospel. Belief is the human response to Christ and proclamation is both the consequence of belief and the responsibility of the believer. The hymn ends with Christ exalted in glory.

The hymn articulates the mystery of our faith by reminding us of the centrality of the Christ-event but also reminding us that human response and responsibility is essential in the missio Dei. As surprising and unlikely as it may seem God invites us, despite all our faltering steps of faith, to be necessary partners in God’s mission. The hymn reminds us of the intimate relationship that exists between Creator and creation which has been re-established through the incarnation, death and resurrection of God’s Son.  It is a hymn about restoration and wholeness – the reconciliation of God and humanity into a unified relationship through the human experience of Christ.   Prayer Calling God,
you invite us to be partners in your mission
to tell the story of Jesus
and all that his life, death and resurrection means for us
and for the whole Creation.

Sending God,
you entrust us with your message of restoration and wholeness
guide our faltering steps of faith
that we may be witnesses of your reconciling love.
Amen. Today's Writer The Rev'd Lindsey Sanderson is the minister of the East Kilbride and Hamilton Joint Pastorate in Scotland.    Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion: 18th May

Thu, 18/05/2017 - 06:00
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padding-left:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardLeftImageContent,.mcnImageCardRightImageContent{ padding-right:18px !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; padding-left:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcpreview-image-uploader{ display:none !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h1{ font-size:24px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h2{ font-size:20px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h3{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h4{ font-size:16px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templatePreheader{ display:block !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser 1 Tim 2:9 - 3:18  also that the women should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing, not with their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes,  but with good works, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God.  Let a woman learn in silence with full submission.  I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.  Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.

The saying is sure: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task.  Now a bishop must be above reproach, married only once, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money.  He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way—  for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?  He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.  Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.

Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money;  they must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.  And let them first be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them serve as deacons.  Women likewise must be serious, not slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things.  Let deacons be married only once,[i] and let them manage their children and their households well;  for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. Reflection For those of us who are women in church leadership, or for all of us who have learned from or been nurtured by women in church leadership, this passage needs to be read carefully.

Paul deals with three main things in his address to women: appearance (v. 9), behaviour (v. 10), and learning (vv. 11-14). Presumably none of us have a difficulty with the idea that a church leader’s appearance, behaviour and learning should all be appropriate to her (or even his) role.  But why the apparent stance against women’s leadership by Paul?  

Paul is writing at a time when women, generally, would not have had the same education as men. For Paul, women are relatively uneducated and so easily deceived – just as Eve is deceived by the serpent because she only heard the Lord’s admonition against eating the fruit second hand from Adam (in the Genesis story Eve had not yet been created when the Lord God shows Adam the tree of the knowledge of good and evil).

Paul might never have imagined that there would come a time when Jewish girls will go through ‘bat mitzvah’ when their brothers go through ‘bar mitzvah’, when young women outnumber young men at universities, when women are every bit as qualified as men to teach and preach and lead.

Paul is right that a leader’s appearance, behaviour and learning are all important – but we are wrong if we think that women can never achieve those standards.

In our world of equality of opportunity in education, Paul’s teaching about leadership is equally applicable to women and men and all leaders are called to be respectful, thoughtful, honest, gentle, not greedy, and holding fast to the faith. Thank God that these are gifts and graces given by God to all – for without God’s grace surely women and men would all fail in leadership.   Prayer We thank you Lord
For your grace and power
Poured out on women and men.
Grant to all people your grace,
Give to all leaders your gifts,
That your whole church may learn the truth of the gospel.
In the name of Jesus, the servant leader.
Amen Today's Writer The Rev'd Ruth Whitehead is the Moderator of the South Western Synod. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion: 17th May

Wed, 17/05/2017 - 06:00
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} } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser 1 Tim 2: 1-8     First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all — this was attested at the right time. For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument; Reflection Pray for everyone. That’s the advice given here and that doesn’t change. We pray for everyone because, as we are reminded, God loves everyone and so ‘desires everyone to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.’ Some things, like God’s love for everyone, do not go away, so neither should we cease to pray for everyone.

‘Everyone’ includes ‘kings and all who are in high positions’ and so today’s premiers and presidents, and all in high positions, need to be included in our prayers. Praying this way because, among other reasons, we wish to live in peace and quiet, is quite legitimate. Those who think otherwise live in fortunate places where such things can be taken for granted.

Living a quiet life does not trump the duty to tell the truth. The lives of many faithful followers of Jesus, Saint Paul being one example, demonstrate that. Sharing such knowledge of the truth can lead to inconvenience, conflict and even suffering.  Sometimes this comes from the hands of those in high positions, those for whom you have been praying.

Yet, while some things, like God’s universal love, and our call to inclusive prayer have not changed since this letter was written to Timothy, others have. Unlike in his day, in ours these people in high positions now include Christians, as well as those of other faiths and those with none.

In Timothy’s day Christians might (and should) pray for those who wielded imperial authority but they were not permitted to not hold such authority. Today, truth-telling Christians are able to respond to God’s love for everyone not only through prayer but also with political action, involvement and responsibility.

Churches in our day are in a changed and changing place from those in Timothy’s day, socially and politically, so we are not limited to organising or acting in exactly the same way as churches did then. In whatever new ways we act or organise, however, we continue to pray for everyone because God still loves everyone, desiring them to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth.   Prayer Loving God,
We pray for everyone,
including those in high positions,
including followers of Jesus.
May all enjoy lives that are peaceable and quiet
and may we play our part in making that so.
Amen. Today's Writer The Rev'd Trevor Jamison is the Environmental Chaplain for Eco-Congregation Scotland and a member of Augustine United Church in Edinburgh.
. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion: 16th May

Tue, 16/05/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion: 16th May table.mcnFollowContent{width:100%;} table.mcnShareContent{width:100%;} td.columnsContainer{width:30%;} p{ margin:10px 0; padding:0; } table{ border-collapse:collapse; } h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ display:block; margin:0; padding:0; } img,a img{ border:0; height:auto; outline:none; text-decoration:none; } body,#bodyTable,#bodyCell{ height:100%; margin:0; padding:0; width:100%; } #outlook a{ padding:0; } img{ -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; } table{ mso-table-lspace:0pt; mso-table-rspace:0pt; } .ReadMsgBody{ width:100%; } .ExternalClass{ width:100%; } p,a,li,td,blockquote{ mso-line-height-rule:exactly; } a[href^=tel],a[href^=sms]{ color:inherit; cursor:default; text-decoration:none; } p,a,li,td,body,table,blockquote{ -ms-text-size-adjust:100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; } .ExternalClass,.ExternalClass p,.ExternalClass td,.ExternalClass div,.ExternalClass span,.ExternalClass font{ line-height:100%; } a[x-apple-data-detectors]{ color:inherit !important; text-decoration:none !important; 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padding-left:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardLeftImageContent,.mcnImageCardRightImageContent{ padding-right:18px !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; padding-left:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcpreview-image-uploader{ display:none !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h1{ font-size:24px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h2{ font-size:20px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h3{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h4{ font-size:16px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templatePreheader{ display:block !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser 1 Tim 1: 12-20  I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.

I am giving you these instructions, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies made earlier about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have suffered shipwreck in the faith; among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have turned over to Satan, so that they may learn not to blaspheme. Reflection What a jam-packed reading this is.  One commentary I looked at devoted 14 pages to this passage!  Don’t worry, I want to focus on just two aspects; calling and gratitude.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt (feels) inadequate for the role they were called to do.  In a small way, I have a lot of empathy with Paul as he shares his calling with Timothy.  I identify with four key elements within this journey of Paul: he was called, forgiven, trusted and strengthened.  This was no vindictive ordeal where Paul was called and then sent off to fend for himself, he was made ready for his work.  Firstly, he was forgiven so that he could leave his past behind and focus on the future.  Secondly, he was trusted by the Lord to do His work; and if the Lord says he is fit to do the work who are we to disagree.  Finally, he was strengthened for the tasks ahead.  If your call is from God you too will be forgiven, trusted and strengthened; thanks be to God.

Paul never lost his gratitude for what God had done for him.  In this passage, and in others, Paul reminds us that he was a great sinner, the chief of sinners.  He knew he was forgiven (otherwise his sin would have incapacitated him) but he never forgot his sin.  In remembering his sin Paul avoided any pride in his ‘own’ achievements and it served as a constant reminder to him of Christ’s love for him.  Just imagine if someone bought you a coffee and someone else paid off your mortgage, who would you be more grateful to?  For us sinners, God has done a lot more than just pay off our debts he has given us new life; forgiven, trusted and strengthened.   Prayer
Lord, as I read of your great servant Paul,
and I look into my sins
I realise what an almighty God you are;
you don’t give us what we deserve,
you give us what we need.  
For this we are eternally grateful.  

Lord I pray that we will never lose the sense of immense gratitude
for the way you unendingly forgive us and strengthen us
and then trust us to do your holy work.  
Amen Today's Writer Alan Yates is a member of Trinity URC, High Wycombe  and Moderator of General Assembly Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion: 15th May

Mon, 15/05/2017 - 06:00
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} } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser 1 Tim 1:8-11 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it legitimately. This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, fornicators, sodomites, slave-traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. Reflection Now how did I end up with this passage, let alone choosing it. For even if I can squirm out of the labels of folk that Paul lists, I am then caught in the net, with “whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching”. Guilty! So there’s no way I can be judgemental of anyone else, but does it also mean I must drown in my own guilt for letting God’s side down? I don’t want to be semantic with words, but if I say I am ‘caught in the net’ and can’t wriggle out – do I really want to?

That net might just be my salvation from drowning! The image of nets Jesus uses is of his friends, the fishermen, as he calls them to use their nets to be fishers of people. It is a positive image of being rescued, saved, brought home, rather than being ensnared by the nets. Reading on in Timothy – it is about “conforming to the glorious gospel of the blessed God” As Gospel is good news, we are being reassured, that we are being restored into a loving relationship with God, in a way that Law cannot do, for we are all failures and miscreants (love that word) guilty and doomed. But because of Jesus we know we are also all loved beyond measure - forgiven where we need forgiveness, strengthened to resist temptation where that is needed, and drawn close to Jesus Christ as our model of human living for inspiration and guidance.   Prayer Now is the time, Lord, I need:
Forgiveness for all the wrong-living
that needs putting behind me;
Resistance against all the temptation
to return to those ways;
Realisation of all the possibility of living for you;
Guidance for all the right choices;
Peace of mind to know
You are there loving me through it all.
Amen Today's Writer The Rev'd Kevin Watson is the Moderator of both the Yorkshire Synod and the General Assembly. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion: 14th May

Sun, 14/05/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion: 14th May table.mcnFollowContent{width:100%;} table.mcnShareContent{width:100%;} td.columnsContainer{width:30%;} p{ margin:10px 0; padding:0; } table{ border-collapse:collapse; } h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ display:block; margin:0; padding:0; } img,a img{ border:0; height:auto; outline:none; text-decoration:none; } body,#bodyTable,#bodyCell{ height:100%; margin:0; padding:0; width:100%; } #outlook a{ padding:0; } img{ -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; } table{ mso-table-lspace:0pt; mso-table-rspace:0pt; } .ReadMsgBody{ width:100%; } .ExternalClass{ width:100%; } p,a,li,td,blockquote{ mso-line-height-rule:exactly; } a[href^=tel],a[href^=sms]{ color:inherit; cursor:default; text-decoration:none; } p,a,li,td,body,table,blockquote{ -ms-text-size-adjust:100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; } .ExternalClass,.ExternalClass p,.ExternalClass td,.ExternalClass div,.ExternalClass span,.ExternalClass font{ line-height:100%; } a[x-apple-data-detectors]{ color:inherit !important; text-decoration:none !important; 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} } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser For the next couple of weeks we look at 1 and 2 Timothy.

I Tim 1: 1-6 From Paul.  God our Saviour and Christ Jesus commanded me to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, who gives us hope. Timothy, because of our faith, you are like a son to me. I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind and merciful to you. May they bless you with peace! When I was leaving for Macedonia, I asked you to stay on in Ephesus and warn certain people there to stop spreading their false teachings. You needed to warn them to stop wasting their time on senseless stories and endless lists of ancestors. Such things only cause arguments. They don’t help anyone to do God’s work that can only be done by faith.  You must teach people to have genuine love, as well as a good conscience and true faith.  There are some who have given up these for nothing but empty talk.  They want to be teachers of the Law of Moses. But they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they think they do. Reflection There has been much said about “fake news” and “alternative facts” recently.  Much has also been said about getting back to an unspecified time so we can re-experience “greatness.”

This feels depressing as we wallow in self-delusion and falsehood. But in other ways it’s heartening to realize there is very little is new under the sun. Those in the early Church experienced the same thing and survived it.

So how do we move onwards?  I think taking Paul’s good advice….. just stop it!  ……have faith and love! …….grow up and realize that self-importance isn’t real importance at all!

Perhaps if we all heeded this we’d be able to move on from this rather depressing period in modern times.   Prayer Loving God,
How frustrating it must be for you
To see us endlessly repeat our mistakes.
Twisting words to suit ourselves
Lacking love
Missing the point of faith.
And yet you are there
Endlessly patient
As we stumble our way to you.
Thank you for your faithfulness
For that merciful kindness
That holds us close
even we are barely aware
That you are there. Today's Writer The Rev'd Dr Chris Dowd is a minister in the Hull Area Team. Bible Version   Contemporary English Version®
© 1995 American Bible Society. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion:  13th May

Sat, 13/05/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion:  13th May table.mcnFollowContent{width:100%;} table.mcnShareContent{width:100%;} td.columnsContainer{width:30%;} p{ margin:10px 0; padding:0; } table{ border-collapse:collapse; } h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ display:block; margin:0; padding:0; } img,a img{ border:0; height:auto; outline:none; text-decoration:none; } body,#bodyTable,#bodyCell{ height:100%; margin:0; padding:0; width:100%; } #outlook a{ padding:0; } img{ -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; } table{ mso-table-lspace:0pt; mso-table-rspace:0pt; } .ReadMsgBody{ width:100%; } .ExternalClass{ width:100%; } p,a,li,td,blockquote{ mso-line-height-rule:exactly; } a[href^=tel],a[href^=sms]{ color:inherit; cursor:default; text-decoration:none; } p,a,li,td,body,table,blockquote{ -ms-text-size-adjust:100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; } .ExternalClass,.ExternalClass p,.ExternalClass td,.ExternalClass div,.ExternalClass span,.ExternalClass font{ line-height:100%; } a[x-apple-data-detectors]{ color:inherit !important; text-decoration:none !important; 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} } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser James 5: 7-19 Be patient, then, my brothers, until the Lord comes.  See how patient a farmer is as he waits for his land to produce precious crops.  He waits patiently for the autumn and spring rains.  You also must be patient.  Keep your hopes high, for the day of the Lord’s coming is near.  Do not complain against one another, my brothers, so that God will not judge you.  The Judge is near, ready to appear.  My brothers, remember the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  Take them as examples of patient endurance under suffering.  We call them happy because they endured.  You have heard of Job’s patience, and you know how the Lord provided for him in the end.  For the Lord is full of mercy and compassion.  Above all, my brothers, do not use an oath when you make a promise.  Do not swear by heaven or by earth or by anything else.  Say only “Yes” when you mean yes and “No” when you mean no, and then you will not come under God’s judgement.   

Is anyone among you in trouble?  He should pray.  Is anyone happy?  He should sing praises.  Is there anyone who is ill?  He should send for the church elders, who will pray for him and rub olive- oil on him in the name of the Lord.  This prayer made in faith will heal the sick person; the Lord will restore him to health, and the sins he has committed will be forgiven.  So, then, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you will be healed.  The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect.  Elijah was the same kind of person as we are.  He prayed earnestly that there would be no rain, and no rain fell on the land for three and a half years.  Once again he prayed, and the sky poured out its rain and the earth produced its crops.

My brothers, if one of you wanders away from the truth and another one brings him back again, remember this; whoever turns a sinner back from his wrong way will save that sinner’s soul from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins. Reflection At about the time I was preparing this reflection I attended a day’s workshop of practice guidance as part of my ‘continuing professional development’ as a social worker.   This is a requirement to stay on the professional register and be deemed fit to practice.  The letter from James to all God’s people is rather like practice guidance for those called to be Christians.  The letter is a collection of instructions.  

James uses vivid figures of speech and models like Job and Elijah to illustrate his instructions.  The letter stresses the necessity of patience to endure present circumstances while waiting for God’s coming.  A farmer patiently waits for the seasons’ rains to refresh the soil on his land so that it can produce the precious crops for harvest.  James tells his ‘readers’ to be similarly patient and to keep their hopes high as they anticipate the coming of the Lord. Likewise, the prophets and Job demonstrated patience in their endurance under suffering.  They trusted in God, who is compassionate and merciful, and God provided for them in the end.  Remembering that God wants the best for us, Christians can endure suffering for the Gospel and, in God’s sustaining love, be happy.  

The next instruction follows the words of Jesus about making promises which must be done clearly and simply by saying “Yes” or “No” to a commitment.  No swearing, no oaths by heaven or earth, or anything else. We need to take care and guard our tongues.  

James reminds those he is writing to of the need to pray, if in trouble, or to sing praises, if happy.  If a brother or sister in the fellowship is ill, then the church elders should be sent for to pray for that person and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.  The fellowship needs to be strong now, as then.  Christians must be patient with one another to endure stress and avoid falling into the temptation of offloading irritation in complaints or grudges against one another.  And, there must be confidence and trust with confession of sins and prayers to promote fitness of soul and body and healing and offset the danger to the soul of the believer who may be falling away from the true path of faith towards spiritual death.  

James offers Elijah as an example of a great pray-er who “was the same kind of person as we are”, praying against rain when it was not needed (no rain fell) and then for rain when it poured and watered the soil so that “the earth produced its crops”.  The same holds true for those who follow Elijah’s example.  “The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect”.     Prayer Dear God  
May we be patient,
as James instructed,
enduring what we suffer in faith
till You come to restore us and make us happy.  
Empower our fellowships with the grace
to foster growth in faith and healing.  
Make our prayers effective.  
Amen Today's Writer Pamela Dowling is an Elder who served at the former St John’s Church URC in Forest Hill. Bible Version   Good News Bible © 1994 published by the Bible Societies/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd UK, Good News Bible© American Bible Society 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992. Used with permission. Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion: 12th May

Fri, 12/05/2017 - 06:00
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padding-left:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardLeftImageContent,.mcnImageCardRightImageContent{ padding-right:18px !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; padding-left:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcpreview-image-uploader{ display:none !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h1{ font-size:24px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h2{ font-size:20px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h3{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h4{ font-size:16px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templatePreheader{ display:block !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser James 4:13-5:6  Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.’ Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.

Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Listen! The wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts on a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you. Reflection The Letter of James is theology from below. It speaks from the grimy hut where migrant workers live, from the soup queue, from the broken housing on the edge of town, for the families with no bread-winner, for people who sleep cold on the street. It seems to come from an era in the Holy Land, possibly the 50s or 60s AD, when big landowners were getting bigger and everyone else was sliding down – from smallholding to tenancy, to day-labouring and debt, and on to begging, destitution, the gutter and the grave.

So these verses are a howl of protest, against hard hearts and greedy eyes. Planning, pomp, profit – you cannot live by these alone. Even the powerful need to pray, and look to God. When they do (it says elsewhere in the Letter), they might start to look with compassion and respect on their neighbour.

Who works for you, is another of James’ questions. What are these workers paid? Does it all get paid on time? Or is a mighty debt owed to the poor and to God, by people who are more used to owning the world and the world owing them? For God listens in the shack and the shanty. God cares about decent reward for honest work, for harvests that are truly shared, for generosity and justice with the goodness of earth.

So is there a question for you and me, about what we have and where it comes from, about how we plan and what we hope for, about whom we share with, and about what God thinks of it all? If those questions linger in our minds, it might just be God who put them there.   Prayer God of justice,
  please help us to see through your eyes:
  to see human worth and need;
  to see what we owe – to others, to justice, to you;
  to see the smallness of our own ambitions,
  and the greatness of your judgment and love.
For Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen. Today's Writer The Revd John Proctor is General Secretary of the URC, and a member of Emmanuel URC, Cambridge. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion: 11th May

Thu, 11/05/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion: 11th May table.mcnFollowContent{width:100%;} table.mcnShareContent{width:100%;} td.columnsContainer{width:30%;} p{ margin:10px 0; padding:0; } table{ border-collapse:collapse; } h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ display:block; margin:0; padding:0; } img,a img{ border:0; height:auto; outline:none; text-decoration:none; } body,#bodyTable,#bodyCell{ height:100%; margin:0; padding:0; width:100%; } #outlook a{ padding:0; } img{ -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; } table{ mso-table-lspace:0pt; mso-table-rspace:0pt; } .ReadMsgBody{ width:100%; } .ExternalClass{ width:100%; } p,a,li,td,blockquote{ mso-line-height-rule:exactly; } a[href^=tel],a[href^=sms]{ color:inherit; cursor:default; text-decoration:none; } p,a,li,td,body,table,blockquote{ -ms-text-size-adjust:100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; } .ExternalClass,.ExternalClass p,.ExternalClass td,.ExternalClass div,.ExternalClass span,.ExternalClass font{ line-height:100%; } a[x-apple-data-detectors]{ color:inherit !important; text-decoration:none !important; 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} } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser James 4:1-12      Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?  You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says,

“God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?

But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says,

“God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.”

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. Whoever speaks evil against another or judges another, speaks evil against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.  There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbour? Reflection Like many people, when I watch The Apprentice on BBC1, I cringe when the candidates return to the Boardroom to face Lord Sugar.  In every episode, people, who have agreed with and supported one other throughout their work in that episode, suddenly rewrite the history of what happened and tell a story of how wonderfully they, alone, performed.  Often they also share a very biased tale of how it is solely their colleague’s personality failings and incompetence which caused their team to fail so dramatically.
As much as I enjoy watching programmes like The Apprentice, there is something very uncomfortable about watching people highlight the faults and weaknesses of their former colleagues and trample on the others in a futile attempt to get ahead.
How often do we hear similar stories in the life of the Church?Surely this is a same problem that James was writing about.  If we are serious about submitting ourselves to God, shouldn’t the Church be more willing to put the needs of other people in the community first? Maybe we really could be working in harmony and supporting one another?  Maybe we could even highlight the wonderful things the other members of our community do and not pick on the things which they maybe don’t do so well at?
What would the Church look like if we prioritised supporting the rest of the Church community? How very different would our own church look if we humbled ourselves and accepted the grace of God to be more alive in all we do?   Prayer Grace-giving God,
So often we find ourselves consumed by pride.
Help us to be less proud,
let us be more supportive of those we work with.
Open us to a fresh sense of humility
and lift us with your mercy.
We offer ourselves to you afresh:
ready for you to use us to serve your people.
Amen Today's Writer John Grundy is an ordinand at Northern College in Manchester. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion: 10th May

Wed, 10/05/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion: 10th May table.mcnFollowContent{width:100%;} table.mcnShareContent{width:100%;} td.columnsContainer{width:30%;} p{ margin:10px 0; padding:0; } table{ border-collapse:collapse; } h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6{ display:block; margin:0; padding:0; } img,a img{ border:0; height:auto; outline:none; text-decoration:none; } body,#bodyTable,#bodyCell{ height:100%; margin:0; padding:0; width:100%; } #outlook a{ padding:0; } img{ -ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic; } table{ mso-table-lspace:0pt; mso-table-rspace:0pt; } .ReadMsgBody{ width:100%; } .ExternalClass{ width:100%; } p,a,li,td,blockquote{ mso-line-height-rule:exactly; } a[href^=tel],a[href^=sms]{ color:inherit; cursor:default; text-decoration:none; } p,a,li,td,body,table,blockquote{ -ms-text-size-adjust:100%; -webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; } .ExternalClass,.ExternalClass p,.ExternalClass td,.ExternalClass div,.ExternalClass span,.ExternalClass font{ line-height:100%; } a[x-apple-data-detectors]{ color:inherit !important; text-decoration:none !important; 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padding-left:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardLeftImageContent,.mcnImageCardRightImageContent{ padding-right:18px !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; padding-left:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcpreview-image-uploader{ display:none !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h1{ font-size:24px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h2{ font-size:20px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h3{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ h4{ font-size:16px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ #templatePreheader{ display:block !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:18px !important; line-height:125% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ font-size:14px !important; line-height:115% !important; } } Today's Daily Devotion from the United Reformed Church View this email in your browser James 3: 13-18 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.  But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth.   Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish.  For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. Reflection My father always used to curb my impulsiveness by saying

‘Count to ten, Richard.’

Early in his presidency, Barack Obama, was facing the White House press pack and pausing before answering one of the many questions directed at him.

‘What’s the matter Mr President, don’t you have an answer for us?’

‘I like to let my brain catch up with my mouth', he replied.

Wisdom lies in not giving way before the first impulse. A gentle attitude is one which takes time with people. A dismissive attitude is one which has already settled the matter and is already moving on to the next thing.

This deferral of judgement until all the facts are known is a fruit of the Spirit which is much needed in our impatient age.   Prayer Lord Jesus,
Help us to be patient with one another,
seeking truth in the other.
Deliver us from the pressure to dismiss others.
May the mind of Christ,
Be evident in our speaking and in our actions,
Amen Today's Writer The Rev'd Richard Church is a member of the leadership team of Islington URC and Deputy General Secretary (Discipleship). Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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