Feed aggregator

URC Daily Devotion 28th June

URC Devotions - 9 hours 9 min ago
96 URC Daily Devotion 28th June 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%; } .mcnPreviewText{ display:none !important; } #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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 6: 8-15 Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.  Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and others of those from Cilicia and Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen.  But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. Then they secretly instigated some men to say, ‘We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.’ They stirred up the people as well as the elders and the scribes; then they suddenly confronted him, seized him, and brought him before the council. They set up false witnesses who said, ‘This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses handed on to us.’ And all who sat in the council looked intently at him, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. Reflection “You shall not bear false witness” – one of the foundation commandments of the Jewish religion, but Stephen’s accusers seem to have had no scruples about inciting others to give false witness claiming that Stephen attacked their faith and practices.

This tragic event arose out of an argument in the synagogue of Greek speakers. It is clear from the preceding item in Acts 6 that there was tension in the Christian community between Greek and Hebrew speakers about the distribution of supplies and as a result Stephen was one of the first seven “deacons.” Perhaps members of the Greek speaking synagogue knew something about this and were troubled, feeling threatened by the loss of some of their members to the new Christian heresy, as they saw it. They could not refute what Stephen had to say and so they jettisoned one of the building blocks of their religion to use lies to attack him. The false accusations were presented before the Council whose members looked intently at Stephen whose “face was like the face of an angel” – a messenger from God.

Occasionally (all too rarely?) we can find ourselves in the presence of someone whose holiness and Christian faith shines out – and how do we feel in such situations? Uncomfortable and unworthy perhaps – even tempted to find reasons to disparage such a person rather than be inspired to be more Christ-like ourselves. At any rate Stephen’s witness was such that rather than accept what he had to say a lynch mob was formed.

None of us likes what we feel precious being attacked and it can be hard to admit that an alternative view may in fact be correct; “argument weak, shout louder” has been a response resorted to in so many situations over many generations! But telling lies is far worse, and is being “economical with the truth” so much better? In this incident lying led to murder.

Pray God that when we feel threatened we can resist the temptation to twist facts into lies, bear false witness and seek to exact a form of vengeance against those who unsettle us.

“We are not like that” nor, in their own eyes, were those who attacked Stephen.   Prayer Gracious God,
we give thanks for the witness of Stephen
and of so many faithful Christians in every generation.
We pray for others and for ourselves
that when what we hold dear is threatened
we may have grace and wisdom to accept new insights
that build up our faith
but also have the strength needed
to resist all that would undermine true witness
to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
Amen Today's Writer The Revd Julian Macro is a retired minister and member of Verwood United Reformed Church 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotion 27th June

URC Devotions - Tue, 27/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 27th June 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%; } .mcnPreviewText{ display:none !important; } #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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 6: 1- 7   Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food.  And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait at tables.  Therefore, friends,  select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.’ What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. Reflection Sadly there’s nothing new in experiencing the Church as something less than one big happy family. Here we see believers who in the early flush of faith had all things in common falling into factionalism. Maybe the sharing of resources that first marked their life together had led some individuals into poverty, and now they had a sense that their own group were not being treated fairly. Study Church history, and you have the sense that the great causes of division over the ages have been theological and ecclesiological; but pick up an honest history of some local congregation, and you discover conflicts of a very different order.

How we deal with conflict in the local church is a real test for us all: do we face it, or do we pretend it is not there and ignore it? The Jerusalem congregation has strong leadership, and the twelve have a positive proposal to put to them. The way forward is going to be to develop local leadership – but that is only going to work if those who are chosen are then ready to develop and play a full part in this new ministry within the church.

But just what form this ministry will take is yet to be made clear. There’s something a bit uncomfortable about the implication that devoting oneself to prayer is somehow superior to a ministry of waiting at tables: didn’t Jesus come among us as one who serves? But we’d be missing the point if we thought that these seven appointed men are proto-deacons, or indeed if we thought any of these passages provide a clear pattern for later developments of ministries and orders. Stephen is never going to be remembered as an organiser, whatever might have been in the minds of those who appointed him. Once we allow the Holy Spirit a part in resolving our differences and guiding our futures, we can forget about the neat and tidy solutions we might have been planning.   Prayer Everyday God
through the hurts and quarrels and frustrations
that still mark the life of your church
keep us faithful to you.
And through the quiet influence of your Spirit
may we find new and better ways
of journeying together. Today's Writer The Rev’d John Durell is a retired minister in Northern 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotion 26th June

URC Devotions - Mon, 26/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 26th June 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%; } .mcnPreviewText{ display:none !important; } #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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 5: 34 - 42   But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. Then he said to them, ‘Fellow-Israelites,consider carefully what you propose to do to these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and disappeared. After him Judas the Galilean rose up at the time of the census and got people to follow him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!’

They were convinced by him, and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonour for the sake of the name. And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. Reflection Today’s Devotion narrative text from Acts continues on from last Saturday’s, where Peter and other Apostles are before the council of priests. Like in any court of law, there comes a point in proceedings when those responsible for making the decisions are in closed session away from the ‘accused’ to discuss, evaluate and decide. The events in today’s passage are very similar to this.

Gamaliel is an unlikely, unsung hero of New Testament times: a Pharisee, a teacher of the Jewish Law, but as we see in today’s text, a man of an open mind. He had clearly seen a number of false Messiahs or false saviours: he mentions two of them, Theudas and Judas, and how their movements died out.

Gamaliel had the wisdom to leave the door open for God. He knew that any religious movement not of God would die out, but if God were in the movement, then there would be nothing humankind could do to defeat God’s purpose. In Gamaliel’s words: “…if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them - in that case you may even be found fighting against God!” (Acts 5:39)

Looking at the decreasing size and number of congregations, it can sometimes be disheartening. URC attendance in 1980 was 138,300; in 2016, just 33,100 ( Source: www.faithsurvey.co.uk ) Even at its peak in the 1920s, UK church attendance was around 30% ( Source: www.brin.ac.uk ); in 2015, that figure was around 3%.

Despite the Romans’ brutal suppression of Christianity, the faith survived and grew, and it became a world-wide faith. Almost 2000 years have passed since Jesus’ historically documented time on earth, and globally, 1 in 3 people identify as Christian. Weighing the history and the statistical evidence against Gamaliel’s declaration, clearly it is of God.

500 years ago, the Reformation began, bringing about massive changes to all Christian churches. In the Statement Concerning the Nature, Faith and Order of the URC, we read: “Faith alive and active: gift of an eternal source, renewed for every generation.”

Let us ask ourselves the question: what are we doing to cooperate as God seeks to renew the Church?   Prayer O Loving God,
You are the Living God, the only God, ever to be praised.
We give thanks to You for Your grace.
Help us to respond to the prompting of your Word.
Send Your Holy Spirit on us,
That we might be renewed for this and every generation.
Source, Guide and Goal of all that is: to You be eternal glory. Amen. Today's Writer Walt Johnson is a member and elder of Wilbraham St Ninian’s URC, Chorlton, 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotion 25th June

URC Devotions - Sun, 25/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 25th June 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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#aaaaaa; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Psalm 3
  O LORD, how many are my foes!
How many up against me rise!
They all are saying now of me,
“In vain he on his God relies.”

But you are my protector, LORD;
You are a shield around me spread.
My glory comes from you alone,
The one who raises up my head.

When to the LORD I lift my voice,
In face of those who hate me still,
The LORD will hear my cry to him
And answer from his holy hill.

I settle down and sleep in peace;
I wake in God’s upholding hand.
I will not fear ten thousand foes
Who circling round against me stand.

Arise, O LORD! Save me, my God!
Deliver for your mercy’s sake!
Strike all my en’mies on the jaw;
The wicked’s teeth in pieces break.

The LORD alone deliverance sends;
No other source of help have we.
Therefore upon your people all
May your eternal blessing be.
This can be sung to the tune Galilee  or the tune Uffingham Reflection How many are my foes! How many up against me rise! The psalmist is amazed by the growing opposition. How many?! It is a familiar feeling to many of us. How many? How many more difficult days can there be? How much more worrying news? How many more challenges for our world and our future?

But rather than allowing fear and worry to triumph the psalmists find courage and confidence in the knowledge that God is present. They dwell on what they know of God’s character, they draw strength and faith from God’s actions in their lives so far. They meditate on God’s encompassing protection, in the evocative image of a shield.

The shield is the most often mentioned ‘weapon’ in the Psalms, reminding us of God's protection, our help, our shade and our strength. Focusing on God as a shield, the psalmist can inspire us to lift our heads up in faith, despite an uncertain future. We may rattle our swords in anger or frustration, but this shield, God’s shield, is much more powerful.

Recalling all God has done for us before, how God has sustained us safely through other dark nights, we, like the psalmist, can pray for deliverance with confidence and praise, knowing that deliverance comes from God alone. Prayer God of protection and blessing,
You surround us, sustain us and shield us,
Your actions of yesterday give us assurance for today.
God of promise and deliverance,
Lift our heads, our hearts and our hopes,
So we may look confidently towards tomorrow.
Amen Today's Writer Jo Clare-Young is an ordinand at Westminster College and member of Cuxton URC in Kent Bible Version   Sing Psalms (C) Psalmody and Praise Committee, Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank Street
Edinburgh, EH1 2LS. Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

URC Daily Devotion 24th June

URC Devotions - Sat, 24/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 24th June 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%; } .mcnPreviewText{ display:none !important; } #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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 5: 22 - 33 But when the temple police went there, they did not find them in prison; so they returned and reported, “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.”

Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words they were perplexed about them, wondering what might be going on.

Then someone arrived and announced, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.”  Then, the captain went with the temple police and brought them, but without violence, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

When they had brought them, they made them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them saying,  “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.”

But Peter and the apostles answered “We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Leader and Saviour that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them.
  Reflection Some strong words and accusations flying about here!

Let’s set the scene. The jail is locked, the guards are outside but no one is inside, how can this be? More importantly where are they? Where have Peter and the Apostles gone and what are they doing?
Well, they are doing exactly what they were doing when they were arrested; they are preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.

So, the captain and the temple police go and get them. Temple police! That set me wondering, but of course it was the temple police who came to arrest Jesus in Gethsemane (Luke 22:52) so they bring the Apostles and Peter back in and say  “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

Many years ago I spent ten years in what I call my ‘spiritual wilderness.’ I was brought up in Church life, steeped in it, taking youth services and was a Deacon in my late teens, only to drift away in my late twenties. I drifted back ten years later and many passages that I’d read in church without much understanding, suddenly started to make sense and this was one of them.

The preacher that day – I won’t name names - read this passage and asked, ‘What would you do if you had been arrested and told you would only be released on condition you stopped preaching?”

I said,  “exactly what I would do at work – tell them what they wanted to hear then please myself!” In other words, had I been Peter I would have said ‘Yes, fine I’ll go away and be good, I’ll not trouble you any more,’ then once on the street I’d continue as before. My logic being that I wouldn’t be of any use to anyone in prison.

This is the worldly view – very hypocritical and with no integrity whatsoever. Hopefully I’ve learned since – but I’m still aware that there is a lot of cynicism out there.

Anyway, back to Peter and the other apostles. No such cynicism or hypocrisy with them. Peter leaves the accusers in no doubt, about whom Jesus is with his heated reply. In a nutshell:

“We must obey GOD not you. It was GOD who raised Jesus from the dead, whom YOU killed by hanging him on a cross. GOD exalted him as Prince and Saviour that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

The pre Pentecost Peter denied Jesus. The post Pentecost Peter swore his love for Jesus, and here Peter is in no doubt about his mission or his message. So strong a message, that his accusers wanted to put them to death.

I wonder, if I was arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me?   Prayer Lord,
thank you that we are blessed with the scriptures
and that through the lives of those gone before
we have examples of living faith.
Thank you that we can practice our faith without fear of persecution
and we pray that, in some way, the time will come
when all will be free to practice their faith in freedom
as we learn to truly love you and so learn to love one another.
Amen Today's Writer The Rev’d Lena Talbot is Minister of Revidge Fold, Trinity Brownhill and Westbury Gardens URCs in Blackburn. 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotion 23rd June

URC Devotions - Fri, 23/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 23rd June 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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 5: 17-21 Provoked mightily by all this, the Chief Priest and those on his side, mainly the sect of Sadducees, went into action, arrested the apostles and put them in the town jail. But during the night an angel of God opened the jailhouse door and led them out. He said, “Go to the Temple and take your stand. Tell the people everything there is to say about this Life.”  Promptly obedient, they entered the Temple at daybreak and went on with their teaching. Meanwhile, the Chief Priest and his cronies convened the High Council, Israel’s senate, and sent to the jail to have the prisoners brought in. When the police got there, they couldn’t find them anywhere in the jail. They went back and reported, “We found the jail locked tight as a drum and the guards posted at the doors, but when we went inside we didn’t find a soul.” Reflection This passage again shows us the way that Paul is willing to be sent to the highest authority in the Roman Empire in order to defend his faith, something that perhaps we could take note of in today’s society. It is so very easy for those of us in Europe and other ‘Western’ cultures to exercise our rights to religious freedom and to attend church as and when we wish or are able. It is our brothers and sisters in Christ who are not able to worship freely in places across the world, and could be punished purely for their faith, that we must remember when we read this passage.

Do you feel the pain of those persecuted for their faith or have you always been able to exercise your faith publically? Jesus calls us to a life of service, sacrifice and grace. It is when we truly accept who we are as followers of Jesus, that we are able to serve him. However we must realise that serving our Lord is something that we cannot do without asking the question “What sacrifices am I willing to make for my faith?”. Being willing to make sacrifices in modern times and in the West is not having to risk your life to worship, but perhaps try and remember the last time you went to church instead of attending a football match on a Sunday or the last time you attended a mid-week service instead of being tied up with other social engagements. Christ calls us to make these sacrifices, small they may seem, but in doing so we are able to glorify God through them.   Prayer Loving God,
Through your love you sent your Son to us, so that we may live.
Jesus gave the greatest sacrifice, his life, so that we could be made free.
Help us be willing to make the same commitment to you, in our busy lives.
In Jesus’ name, Amen. Today's Writer Jake Convery is organist at Congleton 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotin 22nd June

URC Devotions - Thu, 22/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotin 22nd June 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%; } .mcnPreviewText{ display:none !important; } #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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 12: 5-16 Now many signs and wonders were done among the people through the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared to join them, but the people held them in high esteem. Yet more than ever believers were added to the Lord, great numbers of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and mats, in order that Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he came by. A great number of people would also gather from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all cured. Reflection How many times I have preached on this text the wrong way round – in such a way that it must have left congregations feeling rubbish that their church life is nothing like that in Acts, no communal sharing, no dramatic miracles, not even a healing of a cold! This can’t be what God wants us to feel. But maybe there is a real challenge to us today in this reading. Do we risk our life in the body of Christ, its power, and its health by attempting things without the power of the Holy Spirit?

As we read through Acts, it is a testimony of Christians being discipled by the Holy Spirit – indeed it is “Walking the Way,” but – more like hop, skip and jumping the Way, or as one man did, “walking and leaping and praising God” (Acts 3:8). That was the disciples healing one man, but in today’s reading they are healing many. They begin their church life spending time together, but soon are sharing their possessions as the mission needs. They speak of Jesus to anyone who will listen, but it isn’t long before they are witnessing to those in authority, and persecution begins, until by Chapter 8 we read of a scattered Church. They needed to be prepared for that – and through the power of the Holy Spirit, miracles and wonders were happening - summed up in the reading, that “yet more than ever believers were added to the Lord” and when people brought “the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, they were all cured”.
    
This is not a church boasting of the wonderful things it is doing, but one humbled by the immense task of the mission before them, ever-increasing persecution and the eventual breaking up of their fellowship to the four corners of the world. Notice that people were bringing loved ones from the towns of Judaea – already, ready or not, we are taken into phase two of God’s mission, firstly Jerusalem, but then Judaea! Keep up! Keep following! Soon, it would be the strange folk of Samaria, and then the Pagan world itself! They could not have survived in their own strength, let alone been effective witnesses for Jesus. The miracles and wonders were great to convince the crowds, but I am sure they also built up the confidence of the believers themselves. The lesson for our discipleship I hear, is simply to know more and more how much God has given us in Jesus Christ, and how totally dependent we are on the Holy Spirit to empower us with the same love that raised Jesus from the dead, for our discipleship today.   Prayer Holy Spirit:
When God’s Mission is just too awesome,
give to us just one person to share the good news.
When God’s Mission loses its excitement,
give to us the unexpected answer to prayer.
When God’s Mission is overwhelmed by problems,
give to us renewal of Faith in Jesus.
When God’s Healing is no longer believed,
give to us reassurance of answered prayer.
When God’s Healing seems impossible,
give to us vision to see the Healing in every day of our life.
When God’s Healing does not come,
give to us Faith to believe the Healing in Eternity.   
Amen Today's Writer The Rev’d Kevin Watson is 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotion 21st June

URC Devotions - Wed, 21/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 21st June 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%; } .mcnPreviewText{ display:none !important; } #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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 5: 1-11 But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property; with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us but to God!” Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard of it. The young men came and wrapped up his body, then carried him out and buried him.

After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you and your husband sold the land for such and such a price.” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of these things. Reflection The story of Ananias and Sapphira can often catch us off guard. Following the resurrection of Jesus, his ascension and then the descending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Luke has been painting a positive picture as the seeds of early Church activity are planted. The apostles take the lead and set out the shape of how this community of Jesus followers should operate. They seem united and committed about how they should live and worship and they do so with confidence. All is well. That is until we encounter the disturbing events in Acts 5: 1-11.

To transfer all private ownership to common ownership seems a big ask from the apostles. However, it was a way to ensure an even distribution of resources that meant “there was not a needy person among them” (4:34) and it was a policy that appeared to work. But does that mean everything? Clearly for those with little or nothing this would be a popular community to be part of but for those with assets, this was a bigger test of faith. Ananias and Sapphira fell into the latter category so perhaps as an insurance policy just in the case this Jesus movement did not work out, they retain some of the proceeds from their sale.

However, this is a decision that backfires when they are both found out. The problem here though is not that they have decided to keep some funds to themselves, it is they have tried to do so in a way that gave the impression they had not. The Acts description of the perfect church has been shattered by the actions of Ananias and Sapphira. Luke could of course have left this story out but that would have given a false impression of the early Church. It consisted of real people with real weakness so in this sense was no different to the church we are part of today. This story contains a warning for us when we are tempted to present ourselves through our words and actions as better than we are. At the end of the day it is only ourselves that we are fooling but it is God that we are letting down. For Ananias and Sapphira the realisation of this was just too much when directly challenged by someone with the authority of Peter.   Prayer God of wisdom and love,
You know me better than I know myself.
You know my weaknesses.
You know the times when I have given way to temptation.
You know my strengths.
And you know my heart.
Forgive me for the times I have failed you.
Enable me to serve you as you desire
and be the person you want me to be.
Amen Today's Writer David Scott is an ordinand at the Scottish United Reformed & Congregational College. 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotion 20th June

URC Devotions - Tue, 20/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 20th June 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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 4: 32-37 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Reflection For some readers, the first thing they notice about this text is the part about the holding of everything in common and the end of private ownership. Perhaps Marx comes to mind and the maxim that ‘property is theft’. They will light on the parts about the lands and houses being sold so that no one was hungry or in need. Barnabas from Cyprus sells a field, gets a new name and a firm place in the history of early Christianity.

For other readers this passage is not so much about the end of private property, but about the impressive authority of the apostles. There are no less than four references to ‘the apostles’ in these short verses and they add up to a kind of insistence that the apostles had a huge amount of power and authority. They gave their testimony to the resurrection with great power. The money from the sales of possessions were laid at their feet. And the apostles gave people new names –they who turned Joseph into Barnabas, a ‘son of encouragement.’ They have the power to preach the Gospel, they have power over the money and even over the identity and naming of new members of the community. For some readers, this passage is about the apostles and their significance and belongs not in the political category (where we are inclined to put ideas about property and redistribution), but in the ecclesiological box (where we put the things that make the Church what it is, including ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic’).

I find some things difficult about both readings (and no doubt there are other readings that might trouble me too). I am rather attached to the relatively small (or should that be large?) amount of private property that I have. I dread ending my days in a place where I might wear a nightie that someone else chose. The things I treasure are freighted with memory that no one else would see in them. I am content to give generously and to change the world for good, but I am reluctant to live in a community where everything is owned in common. Similarly, I am wary of a model of Church where some have the kind of authority described here, to claim a privileged witness to the Gospel, to control the money and to name others.

So, this reading challenges me. I am challenged to let my own life be shaped by the witness of the apostles as much as people were in the first century. My possessions and my possessing, my politics and my giving, should be shaped by their authoritative witness. I have been ruthlessly shaped by a culture that values privacy and individuality, and that rejects external authority. But my life is given to Christ, whose Gospel and challenge I have heard through the witness of the apostles. May this text, and their witness, speak to me still, and let me hear it.     Prayer O Christ who calls me into your Church,
let me discover again that the Church is One,
rejoicing in its unity and diversity,
reaching out to meet my brothers and sisters.

O Christ who calls me into your Church,
teach me what it means for the Church to be Holy,
and to be touched by that promise,
that my life may be holy too.

O Christ who calls me into your Church,
show me how Catholic is your community,
the broadness of its tent
and the wonder of its peoples.

O Christ who calls me into your Church,
let me hear again and again
the witness of the apostles
and find those who faithfully echo their testimony today.

Shape me into your body
and give me grace to be conformed to you,
nonconformist though I am.
Amen. Today's Writer The Rev'd Dr Susan Durber is the minister of Taunton 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotion 19th June

URC Devotions - Mon, 19/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 19th June 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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 4: 23-31 After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant: ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers have gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’ For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness. Reflection I’m reminded of the testimony of a retired vicar when I read this. He and a mission team overseas were praying fervently when their building began to shake. They remembered this passage where the fledgling church in Jerusalem prayed for boldness after Peter and John were released by the Sanhedrin. The group continued their task with fresh expectation and their mission proved fruitful.

Peter and John were ordered not to preach any further about the resurrection in Jesus. They had no intention of obeying: ‘We cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard’ (Acts 4:20). Their community didn’t dwell on the threats. They didn’t keep quiet for safety’s sake.

These early believers were realistic about the opposition they would face. Their prayer for boldness shows they acknowledged their fear. But they were convinced that God’s mission would be fulfilled even if they drew back from the task before them. They focussed on God’s creative and redemptive power in Jesus.

We’re well-aware that any opposition to our expression of faith in the U.K. is minimal compared to persecution of Christians elsewhere. We value the privilege of freedom of worship too lightly, and practise our faith superficially. The early Church knew their dependence on God as they encountered opposition and persecution; many of our persecuted friends in Christ know this dependence in a way we do not. As we thank God for our freedom to worship, and pray for persecuted believers, let’s also pray for boldness to believe that God continues to act in mighty ways despite the feebleness and frailty born of comfortable complacency.   Prayer Creator God, strengthen the suffering and persecuted;
Redeeming God, shake the comfortable and complacent;
Sustaining God, embolden us all.
Amen. Today's Writer The Rev’d Dr Gillian Poucher is  Minister of Gainsborough 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotion 18th June

URC Devotions - Sun, 18/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 18th June 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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#aaaaaa; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Psalm 2
  Why do the heathen nations rage?
Why do the peoples plot in vain?
Earth’s kings combine in enmity;
Her rulers join against God’s reign.

They take their stand against the LORD
And challenge his anointed one:
“Let us break off their chains from us;
With their restraints let us be done.”

The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
The Lord on high derides them all.
Then he rebukes them in his wrath;
His rage and terror on them fall.

The LORD has made it known to them:
“My chosen king I have installed
On Zion, my own holy hill.
He is the one whom I have called.”

The king then solemnly declares:
“I will proclaim the LORD’s decree.
‘Today your father I’ve become;
You are my son,’ he said to me.

“ ‘Ask me, and for your heritage
I’ll give you nations near and far.
You’ll break them with an iron rod,
And smash them like a potter’s jar.’ ”

Now therefore, kings, true wisdom find;
You judges of the earth, give ear.
With rev’rence come and serve the LORD;
Bow down with joy and trembling fear.

Pay homage to the royal son
Lest you in wrath aside are thrust,
For swiftly can his anger blaze.
Blessèd are all who in him trust.
This can be sung to the tune Mainzer (best known to the hymn Jesus shall reign.)  Here you can hear a Free Church congregation sing this to the tune Crassellius (from v 5). Reflection Psalm 2 has been widely regarded as one of the messianic psalms and so for Christians it points to Jesus. There has been much written about it and discerning the meaning of it makes an interesting study. However, one of the wonders of the Bible is that it can certainly be read and studied with depth and academic rigor but also God can speak to us in far simpler but profound ways. So, I would encourage you to spend a little time meditating on the line in the penultimate paragraph which says:

With rev’rence come and serve the LORD Bow down with joy and trembling fear.

In these two lines, we are led to contemplate how we approach the Lord, in these few words there is a rich content and a seeming contradiction with having ‘joy and trembling fear’. Perhaps though it is when we approach God with a godly fear and reverence that we can know true joy. Prayer Dear Lord,
help me to meditate upon these words from scripture,
I invite your Holy Spirit to speak into my heart and mind as I do so.
With rev’rence come and serve the LORD
Bow down with joy and trembling fear.
Thank you Lord,
Amen Today's Writer The Rev’d Andrew Willett is an Evangelism and Renewal Advocate for GEAR and a local church minister. Bible Version   Sing Psalms (C) Psalmody and Praise Committee, Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2LS. Copyright © 2017 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

URC Daily Devotion 17th June

URC Devotions - Sat, 17/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 17th June 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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 4: 1- 22 While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came to them, much annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming that in Jesus there is the resurrection of the dead. So they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who heard the word believed; and they numbered about five thousand.

The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’  There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus.  When they saw the man who had been cured standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.  So they ordered them to leave the council while they discussed the matter with one another.  They said, “What will we do with them? For it is obvious to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable sign has been done through them; we cannot deny it.  But to keep it from spreading further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.”  So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.”  After threatening them again, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because of the people, for all of them praised God for what had happened.  For the man on whom this sign of healing had been performed was more than forty years old. Reflection This is a tale of three powers.  We had the earthly power of the Romans and of the Jewish hierarchy, embodied in their supreme court, the Sanhedrin.  The power exercised by the Sanhedrin was only possible because the Romans were very tolerant of local ways in most things unless they incited public disorder, when they were totally merciless.  And finally we have the power of God as demonstrated through Peter and John.  So, the Sanhedrin were exercised by two things; firstly, that they did not agree with resurrection in general, or for Jesus in particular, and secondly, they were trying to avoid public disorder.  If they did anything to Peter and John, the people could create a disturbance which would cause the Romans to respond ruthlessly and then to be less tolerant towards the ongoing governance of the Jews.

Here we see the Sanhedrin trying to curtail the actions of Peter and John through threats and intimidation.  The Sanhedrin must have been a very intimidating body, combining as it did the rich and priestly Sadducees, the well-educated and fanatical Pharisees and the respected Elders of the community – basically the Who’s Who of the Jewish community.  Peter definitely displayed his rock-like qualities when he withstood all the threats and would not be silenced.  Like John Knox, Peter feared God so much that he didn’t fear mortals.

I’m pleased I haven’t been tested in the way that Peter and John were, but many in our history have been.  I remember reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship with its vivid comparison of cheap and costly grace.  Dietrich knew all about costly grace as he was martyred by the Nazis in one of their final acts in 1945.   Prayer Lord, we thank you
for all the women and men who had held steadfastly onto their faith
in the face of intimidation, violence and death.   
We see your power at work
as much in their confidence and calmness as we do in miraculous healings.  
We pray for all who today are persecuted and suffer violence and personal hardship on your behalf; be with them, keep them safe and let them be a beacon for us all.  
Amen Today's Writer Alan Yates is the Moderator of General Assembly 2016 to 2018 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotions 16th June

URC Devotions - Fri, 16/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotions 16th June 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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 3: 11-26 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s Portico, utterly astonished. When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk?  The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you,  and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.

“And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer.  Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets. Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you from your own people a prophet like me. You must listen to whatever he tells you. And it will be that everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be utterly rooted out of the people.’ And all the prophets, as many as have spoken, from Samuel and those after him, also predicted these days.  You are the descendants of the prophets and of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your descendants all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’  When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you, to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” Reflection In the 1980’s I was given the responsibility of coordinating the translation of the New Testament into ‘Mend Angal’, the language of the Mendi people of the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea.  The Regional Synod had heard a plea for ‘God’s Word in our own language’, and a local minister, the Rev’d Wasun Koka, was set aside to do the primary translation.  We worked under the guidance of the Papua New Guinea Bible Society.  Where to start?  Wasun had been the first of his people to come to Christian faith, in 1960.  This was a first generation church.  He wanted to start with Acts.  “We know the Gospel stories quite well”, he said.  “What we now need to know is how a brand new church responds to the Gospel, and lives it out”.

Omolpi Kuling was a young mother involved in teaching literacy.  She turned up one day with chapters of Acts that she had translated by the light of a hurricane lamp in her village home.  She joined our translation team. I recall the thrills, the laughter and the mind-stretching effort that Wasun, Omolpi and I shared through those years of translation; with others too.  And the heartache to return from leave in the UK to hear that the completed text had got lost on its way to publication.  Omolpi typed the whole thing again.  This time it was OK.

As I write this reflection I have with me that first edition of the Book of Acts, published in 1990.

In today’s passage Peter is giving the theology behind the miracle of the lame man walking and praising God.  It centres on Jesus, and the hearers’ response to Jesus, as does his sermon in Acts 2.  I think of the faith of the Mendi people, who understand themselves to have been given power through new life in Jesus Christ.  Power ‘to walk and leap and praise God’ (v.9).  I think of their ongoing struggle to live out their faith through turbulent times.  I am, like the people in the temple, ‘utterly astonished’ (v.11) at the energy and transformation that is released by faith in Christ’s name.

You and I are not part of a first generation church, with all the freshness, wonder and challenge that that brings.  Even if you, reader, are a first generation Christian in terms of your own family history, you are aware of the hundreds of years of history of the Church in this country.  Yet we too have, thank God, myriad opportunities to place our faith in Jesus Christ, to turn to God for cleansing, refreshment and renewal, and to interpret for our place and our day what being a disciple means.   Prayer God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob;
God of the Mendi people, and our God;
God who glorified your servant Jesus,
raising him from the dead;
in your loving mercy refresh and restore our faith in his name, today.
Amen Today's Writer The Rev’d Dr Gwen Collins is a retired minister and member of  Avenue St Andrews URC in Southampton. 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotion 15th June

URC Devotions - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 15th June 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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 3:1- 10 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Reflection How I love my routine. It gives me a great sense of comfort and familiarity which makes it much easier for me to function in today’s very confusing world. It makes me feel safe. The last thing I ever want is for anything to be different and for something unfamiliar to come my way. I’m really not good with change. Which is probably why I always feel such sympathy for the lame man in this passage. He likes his routine too, and the last thing either he or the people who know and help him want is for that routine to be shattered.

But shattered is exactly what that routine is going to be. Because Peter and John aren’t interested in responding to the lame man in the way he expects them to. Much like Jesus’ responses to the people He met during His earthly life, the two disciples answer a question which hasn’t even been thought of, let alone asked. They command him to walk. How ridiculous! The lame man has never walked – he doesn’t even know how. What kind of demand is this? They must be insane. There is absolutely no way that the lame man can do this, or even try. Is there?

Still, he does. In the middle of the busy temple with all its comings and goings and constant distractions, the lame man just for that moment focuses all his attention on the stranger who is asking the impossible, casts aside his expectations, accepts the help he’s offered and not only stands up, but actually jumps. I think it must be the bravest act the lame man has ever done – and it changes him forever.   Prayer God of surprises,
help us not to be so caught up in our own routines and expectations
that we do not recognise or respond to You.
Help us to fix our attention on You
and to jump with enthusiasm and joy into Your constant goodness.
Amen. Today's Writer Anne Brooke is a worshipper at Elstead 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotion 14th June Remembering Richard Baxter

URC Devotions - Wed, 14/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 14th June Remembering Richard Baxter 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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#aaaaaa; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Richard Baxter
  Richard Baxter was born at Rowton in Shropshire in 1615. In 1633 he was at the court of King James I but was so disgusted with the low moral standards there that he returned home in order to study divinity. He was ordained but after the promulgation of an infamous Oath in 1640, which required obedience to a string of persons ending in the trite phrase 'et cetera', he rejected belief in episcopacy and went as a curate to a poor area of the west Midlands. He opposed the Civil War and played a prominent part in the recall of Charles II, but his continuing dissatisfaction with the way episcopacy was practised led him to decline the See of Hereford. This refusal led him to be debarred from further office in the Church of England, though he continued to contribute to its life as a prolific hymn writer. He died in the year 1691. 1 Corinthians 2. 1–10 When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him’—  these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.   Reflection Richard Baxter is perhaps best known to the average Christian today as a hymn writer.  He was Puritan minister in the town of Kidderminster for seventeen years in the 1640s and 1650s.  During that long ministry many people were converted, and our church in Kidderminster is still proudly named in his memory today.  He wrote the book The Reformed Pastor in 1656, which sets out his model of ministry, which was a highly successful model in his lifetime.  Although deeply unfashionable today, no better book has yet been written.

One reason that Baxter’s ministry has much from which we can learn today is that he described his work as “a dying man to dying men”, which is where today’s reading comes in.  Paul writes of knowing nothing apart from Jesus Christ and Christ crucified, which is surely what Baxter was meaning.  Paul writes of the importance of God’s wisdom, rather than the wisdom of the world, which is surely what Baxter was putting into practice.  Paul’s concentration upon all being focussed upon Christ is surely reflected in Baxter’ striving for unity among different traditions at a tumultuous time in English religious life.  

Paul was a tireless teacher of the faith, and Baxter was a tireless pastor, who cared deeply for the lost and for his sheep.  Reflecting upon the themes that Paul offers us in today’s reading, let the last word be from Baxter: “In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity.” Prayer We give you thanks, most gracious God,
for the devoted witness of Richard Baxter,
who out of love for you followed his conscience at cost to himself,
and at all times rejoiced to sing your praises in word and deed;
and we pray that our lives, like his,
may be well-tuned to sing the songs of love,
and all our days be filled with praise of Jesus Christ our Lord.  
Amen. Today's Writer The Rev’d Michael Hopkins, Minister of Farnham and Elstead URCs, and Clerk of the General Assembly Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 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.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

URC Daily Devotion

URC Devotions - Tue, 13/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 2: 42-47  They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. Reflection Most Biblical commentators describe this passage as “idealised” – in other words, this is Luke’s picture of what the early Christian community should ideally have been like, rather than how it actually operated. The letters of Paul suggest that if things ever were like this, they soon degenerated – and 1 Corinthians 11 describes a church in which people would not share their food equally even at communion, never mind selling all that they had.

Whatever our views on Biblical authority, most of us are comfortable with this idea that the passage is idealised – because, after all, we haven’t sold all our possessions either.

But what if this is how Christian life is meant to be? My family and I had the immense privilege for seven years of being wardens of Coleg Trefeca in Breconshire, home of Howell Harris, the first Methodist (converted before Whitefield and the Wesleys, in 1735). He took this passage utterly seriously, and in 1752 established in Trefeca a community, all of whose members did sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all (well, they actually gave their possessions to Harris – he was a bit of a control freak – so that he could distribute them). It continued in that form long after Harris’s death in 1773, becoming a more conventional college in 1811.

Most of the members were ordinary tenant farmers – they had very few possessions to sell in the first place. At times the community was in debt and in the 1760s it was ravaged by smallpox. But by the 1770s it was noted for having over 70 different trades practised – the members shared their talents as well as their wealth. More than a century before universal education, all the children of the community and the surrounding village were educated and could read and write in both the English and Welsh languages. A sanatorium was established which offered health care, free of charge, to the local community – 170 years before the NHS. The community’s farms were models for introducing the new techniques of the agrarian revolution into Wales. The security of shared wealth meant that individual tenants could afford to experiment with new techniques without facing starvation if things went wrong.

They did all this because they had read Acts 2.42-47 and decided that, in the name of the Risen Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit, they could live it too. Like those early Christians, their lives were surrounded by prayer – three times a day – and by weekly attendance at the parish church, where they provided the music.

I wonder what we could achieve as a church and a society if we took this passage seriously?   Prayer Loving God,
help me to read this passage
and imagine what life would be like if we lived it,
as Howell Harris and the Trefeca Family once did.
And after the imagining, Lord,
give us the faith to act.
Amen. Today's Writer The Revd Gethin Rhys is National Assembly Policy Officer for Cytun (Churches Together in Wales) and a member of Parkminster URC, 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotion 12th June

URC Devotions - Mon, 12/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 12th June 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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 2: 37 - 41 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”  Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.   For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”   And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”  So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. Reflection How many times have you been “cut to the heart” by a sermon? In my late teens I started going to a local URC and the minister’s words, Sunday by Sunday, spoke to me. It was like he was speaking directly to me. This was no dry, theoretical preaching, but preaching with the Spirit’s fire and relevance. It opened my spiritual eyes to the saving love of Jesus and drew me into a relationship with God that I would never have thought possible, even a few months before.

Preaching has had a bad press recently. This is because it is often seen as either dry and boring or condemning. Even outside the Church people are heard to say “don’t you preach at me!”, which usually means that they are being told something that they disagree with. Peter’s preaching in Acts was challenging but certainly not boring, it demanded a response. The people gathered around had witnessed a move of the Holy Spirit and wanted to know what it was all about. Peter, inspired by the same Spirit, helped them to understand, using the Bible in ways that they would relate to. His preaching always pointed to Jesus and his saving grace. This cut them to the heart.

That power, the Spirit’s power, is still available to us today. When people ask about our faith, either at work, at home, or over a coffee, we can draw on the same source as Peter did to help our friends and family understand the Good News of Jesus Christ. It is about being open to the Spirit’s prompting and living life in close relationship with God, through prayer. It is also about expecting the unexpected! We are often scared to share our faith, even when someone has genuinely enquired. Take courage that the Spirit is with you and will give you the right words for the person in front of you because God knows what they need to hear.  If you are a preacher, and trusted by the Church to preach the Good News, then again, allow the Holy Spirit to inspire your words and preach expecting a response, even being “cut to the heart”. Prayer Come, Holy Spirit, come
fill us with the joy of your presence.
Come, Holy Spirit, come
draw us closer to our Saviour, Jesus
Come, Holy Spirit, come
give us the words we need to tell others.
Come, Holy Spirit, come
strengthen us to share your love.
Come, Holy Spirit, come
Amen. Today's Writer The Revd Stuart Nixon Pioneer Minister, MediaCItyUk Church, Salford. 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotion 11th June

URC Devotions - Sun, 11/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 11th June 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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#aaaaaa; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Psalm 1
from Sing Psalms (Free Church of Scotland)  Blessed is the one who turns away
from where the wicked walk,
Who does not stand in sinners’ paths
or sit with those who mock.

Instead he finds God’s holy law
his joy and great delight;
He makes the precepts of the LORD
his study day and night.

He prospers ever like a tree
that’s planted by a stream,
And in due season yields its fruit;
its leaves are always green.

Not so the wicked! They are like
the chaff that’s blown away.
They will not stand when judgment comes
or with the righteous stay.

It is the LORD who sees and knows
the way the righteous go,
But those who live an evil life
the LORD will overthrow
Each Sunday we are going to look at a Psalm using the excellent metrical version, Sing Psalms,  published by the Free Church of Scotland.

Various tunes are suggested for this.  Click on each one to hear it.   Creator  this recording has the congregation singing whilst this recording of the tune Tallis only has the organ playing the tune.  This recording of the use of the tune St Peter's has an older translation of the Psalm. Reflection A few years ago I went on a hot air balloon ride in Egypt. As we rose higher and higher, I was struck by the life giving power of water. All around us, for as far as the eye could see, was barren desert – except for one place: along the River Nile. Here, in the middle of the wilderness, was a true oasis of life that ran hundreds of miles into the distance. It reminded me of Ezekiel’s vision of God’s living water flowing from the Temple and giving life wherever it went (Ezekiel 47). There too, as well as in Revelation 22, we read of fruitfulness and abundance – a fruitfulness that brings healing and hope.

Jesus says, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit…” (John 15:8). God wants us to be fruitful Christians. We have a calling, as individuals and as the church, to be that lush oasis of life in the wilderness. In a dry and weary land, in a land of faithlessness and injustice, each one of us is called to be like a tree planted by a stream that yields its fruit in season.

What might this fruit look like? LICC (licc.org.uk) suggest 6 fruit as part of their Fruitfulness on the Frontline material: modelling godly character, making good work, ministering grace and love, moulding culture, being a mouthpiece for truth and justice, and being a messenger of the Gospel.

I wonder: How might you bear fruit on your frontline today? Where might you bring life, healing and hope? Prayer Father, help me to…
               model godly character,
               make good work,
               minister grace and love,
               mould culture,
               be a mouthpiece for truth and justice,
               and a messenger of the gospel.
And to your glory may it be. Amen.

Prayer taken from LICC’s Fruitfulness on the Frontline material. Today's Writer The Rev’d Matt Stone is the Minister of Herringthorpe URC, Rotherham Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 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.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

URC Daily Devotion 10th June

URC Devotions - Sat, 10/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 10th June 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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#cccccc; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#cccccc; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Acts 2: 22-36  ‘You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law.  But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.  For David says concerning him,

“I saw the Lord always before me,
   for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
   moreover, my flesh will live in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
   or let your Holy One experience corruption.
You have made known to me the ways of life;
   you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”

‘Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.  Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne.  Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying,

“He was not abandoned to Hades,
   nor did his flesh experience corruption.”

This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.  Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear.  For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand,
 until I make your enemies your footstool.’”
Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.’ Reflection This is the speech that cut its hearers to the heart and, according to Luke’s telling of the story, led onto three thousand people accepting Christ and being baptised.  Like many of the sermons in Acts it focuses on the essential elements of the gospel and above all the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.   Peter ends by proclaiming the crucified Jesus as Lord and Messiah, through the work of God. He challenges his hearers to look at a man hanging on a brutal cross and see God at work.

Death is part of our lives.  People may try to distance themselves from it, living as if they were immortal and the deaths of others were unfortunate distractions from the business of living, but to try to live life that way is neither real nor healthy.  We may want to say ‘death is nothing at all’ but it feels all too real, as we look at the seas of the Mediterranean, the towns of Syria, the A and E departments of our major hospitals or among those now dead who have touched our lives down the years.

Death is real enough, but the reality of God is bigger than death and bigger than the death-dealing work of humanity.  It was impossible, Peter proclaims, for Jesus to be held in death’s power.  Here is our hope – in the One God has raised and presented to us as Lord and Messiah and the One who pours out God’s Holy Spirit into the lives of his followers.  The Spirit the crowd sees at work in the disciples is none other than the Spirit of Jesus, now set free to work through all who are open to his way.

Two days after the UK’s General Election it is good to reflect on the different kind of power we see in the One stretched out on a Roman cross, the One who could not be held in death’s power, the One who pours out God’s Spirit into our lives.   Prayer Come Lord Jesus,
touch our hearts
with your power
shown in your death on a cross
and by your rising to new life.
Come Lord Jesus,
pour out your Spirit of grace and peace
on our churches and our communities,
our politicians and our people.
Challenge the powers of death and destruction,
by your liberating love and shattering truth. Today's Writer The Rev’d Terry Hinks is the Minister of Trinity URC, High Wycombe and Cores End 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.


  Want to change how you receive these emails? You can change to plain text (which some find easier to read) or have webpage like emails by clicking here.

  If you no longer wish to receive these emails please click here.

URC Daily Devotion 9th June

URC Devotions - Fri, 09/06/2017 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion 9th June 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; font-size:inherit !important; font-family:inherit !important; font-weight:inherit !important; line-height:inherit !important; } a.mcnButton{ display:block; } .mcnImage{ vertical-align:bottom; } .mcnTextContent{ word-break:break-word; } .mcnTextContent img{ height:auto !important; } .mcnDividerBlock{ table-layout:fixed !important; } body,#bodyTable,#templateFooter{ background-color:#aaaaaa; } #bodyCell{ border-top:0; } h1{ color:#000000 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:30px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h2{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:26px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h3{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:18px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } h4{ color:#CDD0D5 !important; font-family:Helvetica; font-size:16px; font-style:normal; font-weight:bold; line-height:125%; letter-spacing:normal; text-align:left; } #templatePreheader{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent,.preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:left; } .preheaderContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#CDD0D5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateHeader{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent,.headerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:15px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .headerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateBody{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } #bodyBackground{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent,.bodyContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:18px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .bodyContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateColumns{ background-color:#aaaaaa; border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#000000; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .leftColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .centerColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent,.rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#CDD0D5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; line-height:150%; text-align:left; } .rightColumnContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#C6D137; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } #templateFooter{ border-top:0; border-bottom:0; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent,.footerContainer .mcnTextContent p{ color:#cdd0d5; font-family:Georgia; font-size:11px; line-height:125%; text-align:right; } .footerContainer .mcnTextContent a{ color:#cdd0d5; font-weight:normal; text-decoration:underline; } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body,table,td,p,a,li,blockquote{ -webkit-text-size-adjust:none !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ body{ width:100% !important; min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .templateContainer{ max-width:600px !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .columnsContainer{ display:block!important; max-width:600px !important; padding-bottom:18px !important; padding-left:0 !important; width:100%!important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImage{ height:auto !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCartContainer,.mcnCaptionTopContent,.mcnRecContentContainer,.mcnCaptionBottomContent,.mcnTextContentContainer,.mcnBoxedTextContentContainer,.mcnImageGroupContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightTextContentContainer,.mcnCaptionLeftImageContentContainer,.mcnCaptionRightImageContentContainer,.mcnImageCardLeftTextContentContainer,.mcnImageCardRightTextContentContainer{ max-width:100% !important; width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnBoxedTextContentContainer{ min-width:100% !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupContent{ padding:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnCaptionLeftContentOuter .mcnTextContent,.mcnCaptionRightContentOuter .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardTopImageContent,.mcnCaptionBlockInner .mcnCaptionTopContent:last-child .mcnTextContent{ padding-top:18px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageCardBottomImageContent{ padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockInner{ padding-top:0 !important; padding-bottom:0 !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnImageGroupBlockOuter{ padding-top:9px !important; padding-bottom:9px !important; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 480px){ .mcnTextContent,.mcnBoxedTextContentColumn{ padding-right:18px !important; 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 Columba, Abbot of Iona, Missionary, died 597
Today we start an occasional series looking at saints, Catholic and Reformed. Born in Ireland in about the year 521, Columba was trained as a monk by St Finnian and then founded several monasteries himself, including probably that of Kells, before leaving Ireland to settle on Iona, off the coast of Scotland. He was accompanied by twelve companions and the number grew as the monastic life became more established and well-known. Columba seems to have been an austere and, at times, harsh man who reputedly mellowed with age. He was concerned with building up both the monastery and its life and of enabling them to be instruments of mission in a heathen land. He converted kings and built churches, Iona becoming a starting point for the expansion of Christianity throughout Scotland. In the last four years of his life, when his health had failed, he spent the time transcribing books of the gospels for them to be taken out and used. He died on this day in the year 597. Isaiah 61. 1-3  The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
  because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
  to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
  and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour,
  and the day of vengeance of our God;
  to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
  to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
  the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
  the planting of the LORD, to display his glory.     Reflection A poet explains the meaning of vocation to a faith community that is divided and anxious.

The contemporary culture in which this Hebrew wordsmith searches for meaning is still reeling from economic collapse, political misjudgement and broken relationships. The poem is an expression of reality that is to be entered and experienced rather than to be analysed and systematically applied. This poem will come to life when the listener makes it her own and allows its timbre to find expression in ways that excite and motivate.

Those who listen to the poem are invited to become part of it. The faith community is to be ‘called oaks of righteousness’ not because of piety but for the commitment to re-shaping the world order. It is no random opening of the scroll of Isaiah in a Nazareth synagogue that begins the public ministry of Jesus. Jesus doesn’t simply read the poem; he embodies it. That is what outrages his listeners. The promise to restore economic justice and to establish joy instead of despair is the manifesto for the initiative in which Jesus becomes the divine agent of intervention in the affairs of the world.

Perhaps Columba, whose name means ‘dove’, heard the rhythm of the Hebrew poet as he explored his own vocation as a missionary, diplomat, educator and the bringer of good news.  Columba would surely have been in sympathy with the conviction of Isaiah and Jesus that God calls human beings to engage in a divine initiative that stretches beyond the walls of the synagogue, monastery or church.

Anxiety can be a crippling disease that dulls the mind and deadens the human spirit. Left unchallenged it breeds prejudice and distrust and finds refuge in fundamentalism. Agendas become dominated by internal concerns. When the rhythm of the poet is lost the community of faith is impoverished. As we, the people of faith in 2017, continue to wrestle our own vocation it is vital that we taste the freedom that Isaiah breaths into the despondence of post exilic Jerusalem. The freedom to look further than the prison of the present, to break the chains that bind us and to live the dream of a world restored. Our vocation is not to save the church but to plant seeds of hope in a world where economic imbalance, political instability and broken trust between individuals and nations is endemic. We do these things when we allow the poet to stir our hearts and our imaginations as well as our diaries and our credit cards! When the church becomes less concerned about orthodoxy and more excited by poetry then we too may become ‘the planting of the Lord, to display God’s glory’. Prayer Gracious God you call us and empower us:
to bring good news
to bind wounds
to proclaim liberty
to call for jubilee
to comfort
and restore.

Forgive us when we have allowed anxiety to dull our imagination,
open our eyes to the possibilities that surround us,
stir our hearts that we are excited again at being called people of God,
help us to catch the rhythm of your life and let it live in us.
We are yours and we will be steadfast and sure.
Amen. Today's Writer The Rev’d David Grosch-Miller is a member of St. George’s, Morpeth and an Immediate Past Moderator of General Assembly. Bible Version   New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 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.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Pages

Subscribe to East Midlands Synod aggregator