New notes and the new issue of Get Messy!
What will the New Year bring? After the strange events of 2020, I hardly want to guess what 2021 has in store! But I do know that whatever happens, we need to trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding. If you've been struggling to see God recently, take time in the New Year to discover him daily with our Bible reading notes.
Find out what's inside our January–April 2021 issues from some of the editors below...
A note from the editor, Sally Welch:
'I write this at the very beginning of a new year, looking at the illuminated decoration in the shape of a star which a clever carpenter has made and which sits now at the top of our church steeple. It is a visual reminder that ‘the light shines in the darkness’ and also that the ‘darkness has not overcome it’ (John 1:5, NIV). In the post-Christmas gloom that can sweep over us during the cold days of January, it is important to hold on to a belief in the light... I pray that the reflections you find in here will keep the light burning in your hearts and minds this season.
Also available in large-print format: New Daylight Deluxe.
New Daylight January–April 2021 | Subscribe to New Daylight | Subscribe to New Daylight Deluxe
Day by Day with God
The January–April 2021 issue of Day by Day with God will be Jill Rattle's last before she hands the editorial baton on to Jackie Harris, former editor of Woman Alive magazine. Here's a note from Jill in her introduction to the new issue:
'After this issue of Day by Day with God, I’m passing on the editorial baton to Jackie Harris, the former editor of Woman Alive magazine... The great thing about laying down one baton is that God always has a new one for us to pick up. God is the God of the new, of renewal, of new experiences to show us and share with us. In our reading of the Bible, the Holy Spirit constantly refreshes our understanding of God and leads us into new encounters with him... I hope that as you read the contributions in this issue day by day, you too will have some beautiful refreshing times with God. And as you approach Easter, may you be gripped again by the wonder of his cross and his resurrection, bringing you new life!'
Day by Day with God January–April 2021 | Subscribe to Day by Day with God
The Upper Room
A note from the new UK editor, Daniele Och:
'For me, the dominant theme that has emerged from this year of lockdown and social distancing is the importance of presence. While video calls and other technology have been a blessing in enabling people to continue to see and hear their loved ones and participate in communal activities, there is nothing like being actually present with those we care about. It did not take the pandemic to make me realise this, but being compelled to self-isolate did show me how much I take for granted the gift of being present with others.
And it has given me a new appreciation for what it means that God is present with us. The reason that a daily quiet time of reading the Bible reassures us of God's presence is because the whole book is about our creator God longing – indeed dying – to be with us.'
The Upper Room January–April 2021 | Subscribe to The Upper Room
Bible Reflections for Older People
A note from the editor, Eley McAinsh:
'Months of lockdown took their toll in many ways, but among the most painful was the ban on touching, holding and hugging loved ones. Jesus’ words to Mary Magdalene at sunrise on Easter Day have never had such resonance – Noli me tangere!, translated variously as ‘Do not hold on to me!’, ‘Do not touch me!’ or ‘Do not cling to me!’ (John 20:17)... It was so hard when we couldn’t be Christ’s hands and feet in the world, but Martyn Payne wrote another prayer, for those difficult days: ‘God of compassion, who can enter where we cannot go and who can touch those we aren’t allowed to hold… Please be our hands and feet, our smile and words, to lighten up their darkness, for nothing is impossible with you.’
Bible Reflections for Older People January–April 2021 | Subscribe to Bible Reflections for Older People
A note from an editor, Helen Paynter, on some of the reflections in the January–April 2021 issue:
'In response to the pandemic that hit us hard around the time that this edition was being prepared for press, I made the decision with BRF that we would switch out two weeks of notes for some reflections on the crisis and how we might respond to it. This is one of the greatest challenges that we are facing, as a world and as the church, in living memory, and it is important to reflect carefully on what God is saying to us in this time. There is a limit to what we can say in two weeks of reflections, but I hope that they will stimulate some prayerful contemplation.
So as another new year begins and we journey from the cradle to the cross, I pray that you will be blessed, challenged and inspired by these notes and the scriptures that they invite you into.'
Guidelines January–April 2021 | Subscribe to Guidelines
And for Messy Churches, church leaders and volunteers seeking inspiration for the New Year...
In January, enjoy the classic and possible best-known story in the Bible – the good Samaritan – with plenty of insights and examples from recent months in your own neighourhood of 'good neighbours'. In February, explore Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. March brings Mothering Sunday in some parts of the world, and we'll look at the story of Ruth and Naomi. Then in April, we'll celebrate and enjoy the wonder and power of Jesus' resurrection once again.
Get Messy! January – April 2021 | Subscribe to Get Messy! | Subscribe to Get Messy! PDF