In the current issue of Day by Day with God
Find out more about Day by Day with God September - December 2015:
The Editor writes...
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? A cloak of invisibility? The ability to travel at the speed of light? Maybe the superpower to click your fingers and find your house immediately clean and all washing and ironing perfectly done?
Over these coming months, as we consider the heroic characters in the Bible, we could be fooled into thinking that perhaps these people had superpowers of some sort. David conquered nation after nation, Abraham fathered countless descendants, Peter walked on the water and Paul preached the gospel tirelessly and effectively.
We don't need to scratch very far beneath the surface of any of these characters, though, to find flawed humans, just like you and me. In fact, some of them behaved in appalling ways: Abraham very nearly trafficked his wife to another country, David committed murder and adultery, Paul avidly persecuted the early church and Peter denied even knowing Jesus. All the people we read about were thoroughly human and yet powerfully used by God.
What makes up for that huge gap between our human behaviour and the powerful works of God? Again and again, it is the wonderful grace of God - the forgiveness we don't deserve, the love we are unworthy of, the embrace from a perfect father for his imperfect children. Falling on his grace is the ongoing theme in this edition of Day by Day with God. Grace is defined by Sheila Jacobs, in her notes on the subject of forgiveness, as 'God's free, unearned favour' - God's giving of himself at no cost to us. Our fallibility and brokenness, also known as sin, should not paralyse us; instead, we can turn to Jesus, to be healed, restored and even celebrated by God.
Through these next months we will be looking at the ways people in the Bible fell upon God's grace, and the ways in which we might do that too. I'd love to draw your attention to Lucinda van der Hart's notes at the end of September, which are written in a slightly different style from usual - as if God is writing directly to you. I encourage you to really soak in those notes and enjoy hearing his words entirely for you, his daughter and loved one.
And what about the real Superhero? Well, as we move into Advent and preparation for Christmas, we will discover a bit more about him and the people surrounding him too.
Forgiving for freedom
1 - 5 September
Living a fruitful life
6 - 19 September
Amy Boucher Pye
The family of God
20 September - 3 October
Lucinda van der Hart
Philippians: citizens of heaven
4 - 17 October
Rooted in the Psalms
18 - 24 October
Nehemiah's 'big issue'
25 October - 7 November
Abraham: new man for a new season
8 - 21 November
Reading the signs
22 November - 5 December
Preparing for the king
6 - 19 December
The arrival of the king
20 - 31 December
Sheila Jacobs is a writer, editor and award-winning author of eleven novels, including Watchers (2003, 2009). She has also written non-fiction (Insight into Forgiveness, with Ron Kallmier). Single, she lives in rural north Essex and attends an Elim church, where she is involved in evangelism and leads a house group.
Amy Boucher Pye is a writer, speaker and editor, living in north London. She's thrilled to (finally) have her first book published this autumn: View from the Vicarage, a loving look at life in the UK as seen through her American eyes.
Lucinda van der Hart is Associate Editor for Premier Christianity magazine and presents Woman to Woman on Premier Christian Radio. She is married to Will, a vicar, and has two toddlers.
Naomi Hutchison is a speaker and writer who loves to encourage people to take steps for spiritual growth. She has worked for ministries including Ignite and Youth for Christ as National Evangelist. She lives with her husband, Andy, and two young children in Tunbridge Wells.
Henrietta Blyth is a keen gardener, despite living in London NW6. She loves knitting and helping people to become who God created them to be. She works as the People and Organisational Development Director at Tearfund.
Catherine Butcher is a journalist, author and editor. Newspaper-trained, she helps churches to point people to Jesus, as Communications Director of HOPE Together. This year's book is about Edith Cavell.
Lyndall Bywater is a freelance writer, trainer and consultant in all things to do with prayer. She lives in Canterbury with her husband.
Tracy Williamson is an author and speaker, working for MBM Trust, a music and teaching ministry headed by gospel singer Marilyn Baker (for more information, visit www.mbm-ministries.org). Together, they give concerts and lead conferences drawing people into wholeness through intimacy with God.
Rosemary Green lives in Abingdon, where she is immersed in pastoral work in the local church. She has a husband, four adult offspring and 14 grandchildren.
Ali Herbert is a freelance writer who also works part-time as a church communications manager in Twickenham. She is married to Nick and they have two children, Gracie and Josiah.