Brexit – To Be or Not To Be …

Winston Churchill observed in 1947: ” No-one pretends that democracy is perfect, or all wise, Indeed it has been said that it is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Do you watch the News? Just lately our news has been dominated and almost taken over by Brexit and by the passion shown by our democratic Parliamentarians for and against the proposed exit from the European Union. Such events are almost unheard of in Westminster.

Many people are perplexed, frustrated and worried as they try to follow the complicated and seemingly endless turns of events. How will it be resolved? Will it never end?

Do those who have faith in God and in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, need to worry? The Bible, God’s handbook for the faithful believers, explains clearly what the Almighty and All Powerful God has in store for the world He created. It tells us that He is in control and that, however changeful, difficult and stressful our lives may become the present rulers of our world will be swept aside.

The Bible tells us plainly that God’s Government is coming to this planet, God centred, guided and ruled over by Jesus Christ and his saints.

The prophet Daniel writes: “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).

If we go on we are told: “He [Jesus] shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth” (Psalm 72:8) “… and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth” (Zechariah 9:10)

Jesus told his followers: “The one who conquers, and who keeps my works to the end, to him I will give authority over the nations”. (Revelation 2:26)

This world will be ruled by Jesus Christ, the Saviour and his faithful followers who have, in spite of all the difficulties of life, really done their best to serve God. This Kingdom of God will have a righteous ruler whose concern is for all people.(Psalm 72:12-14)For he (Jesus) delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life and precious is their blood in his sight.

There will be fertile lands, once desert and food for all. Please read Isaiah 35 a wonderful prophecy of the Kingdom of God on earth.

The nations will want to serve God (Micah4:1-2) It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains and it shall be lifted above the hills and peoples shall flow to it and many nations shall come and say: Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD….that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.

War will be abolished (Isaiah 2:4).He (Jesus)shall judge between the nations and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation neither shall they learn war any more

Jesus said: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.

This wonderful Kingdom will come soon! God and Jesus will rule the World.

Even so come Lord Jesus!

*Quotes ESV & NIV

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Have we got the message?

About 3 weeks ago our television stopped working. This sign came up on the screen NO SIGNAL. I checked all the connections and even brought out two other televisions to try as well! Again, NO SIGNAL x 2. Was I getting the message at last? NO SIGNAL meant something other than that there was a fault with three televisions. My friend told me that his television also had this NO SIGNAL message and that he was able to retune his set. Everything was now working properly. I tried this but, sadly, I couldn’t access the screen directions.

As I went to take our car for its MOT I noticed a television company van parked at the roadside. I stopped and asked the driver about our problem. He was really helpful and suggested that it might be because the TV tower had recently had changes to its frequency. A new aerial might be the only answer. He opened the rear door of the van to show me a dozen or so new types of aerial he was now having to fit. I felt that I had found the truth of the matter. This man had clearly explained what I must do. He was an expert!

If we want to know the truth about God and His Son Jesus, we have to open our Bibles to read what they tell us about what is promised for us in the Word of God. God promises resurrection from the grave to live forever when Jesus returns to live on this earth to set up his Father’s Kingdom.

God’s message gives us hope. He is the expert. He is in control. Open your Bible (rather like the van doors) and you will find the “truth of the matter” within its pages.

As soon my helpful nephew retuned our television normal service resumed. We can switch it on to watch a programme at any time of day.

Of course we can all open our Bible at any time of day to access God’s message to us all. God doesn’t want any of us to perish. Our minds need to be tuned to His message. We need to be on God’s frequency to understand how we should live our lives by God’s laws.

John 3: 16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Jesus said “Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” Matthew 11:28-30.

Quotes ESV

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Spiders and the Bible

Whatever have spiders got to do with a blog about the Bible? Well, in the Book of Proverbs we are directed to study some of the smaller creatures. Proverbs 6:6 “Go to the ant O sluggard; consider her ways and be wise” So let’s look at the jumping spider! A study carried out by Harvard University reveals the amazing ingenuity of the jumping spider, Myrmarachne formicaria. Whenever a potential adversary looms into view they impersonate something their predator would avoid.

This involves mimicking an ant, because ants have venomous stings, produce unpleasant chemicals and are generally aggressive.

How is a tall, stocky, eight legged spider with three segments able to mimic a thin, six-legged ant with two body segments?

For starters, the spider lifts up two of its legs above its head to give the impression of antennae. It mimics the ant’s winding gait. Finally, it adopts the ant’s habit of frequently stopping for incredibly short periods of a 10th to a 100th of a second. Amazing!

Are we seeing here the completion of evolution, a development over millions of years? Remember, every act of mimicking must work at the same time. Or are we seeing the work of God the Almighty Creator? Jesus Christ believed in creation. Mark 10:6 “ But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female” See also Matthew 19:4 “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female …” Mark 13:19 “For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now …”

Quotes from the ESV.


Join us this coming Sunday at 6pm for a special Bible-based presentation on A Bugs Life – presented by the curator of entomology at the National Museum of Wales Cardiff (he will even bring along some of his collection for you to see)! More details can be found here.

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6 Recent Archaeological Discoveries that Affirm Details in Scripture

Each time an artefact related to the Biblical narrative is unearthed in Israel or the surrounding lands of the Bible it becomes a witness to the perfection of God’s Word.

And it happens all the time.

Here are six recent discoveries that affirm some rather obscure details in the Bible. Each one provides material evidence of the historical reliability of the Bible, and hopefully, increases our faith.

Biblical city of Ziklag

Aerial view of the archaeological site at Khirbet a-Ra’i where researchers believe they have located the biblical city of Ziklag.
Photo credit: Emil Ajem, Israel Antiquities Authority

While hiding from Saul in Philistia, King Achish of Gat awarded Ziklag to David as a vassal state. The book of Samuel reveals the Amalekites later destroyed Ziklag. Now when David and his men came to Ziglag on the third day the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziglag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire….. (1 Samuel 30:1) Read the whole chapter to find out what David did!

(Though archaeologists have suggested several sites as possible locations, none have included evidence of both a Philistine settlement and a settlement from the time of David.)

That is until a few weeks ago.

After a 12-year study of the entire region, archaeologists say they may have found the biblical city of Ziklag near the southern town of Kiryat Gat2 in Israel. The find, dating to the early tenth century BC, is consistent with scriptural references to the geography of the area: a rural settlement dating to the time of King David among the remains of a Philistine settlement that had been destroyed by fire.

Clay Pomegranate found in Tel Shiloh

A distinctly Jewish symbol, pomegranates were one of the seven species of Israel (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25) and were common tabernacle and temple motifs (1 Kings 7:18; 2 Kings25:17). But long before the first temple was built, they were sewn into the hem of the high priest’s robe by God’s command:

“On its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, around its hem, with bells of gold between them, a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe. And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the LORD, and when he comes out, so that he does not die.” (Exodus 28:33-35)

That’s why the 2018 discovery of a small, fully intact ceramic pomegranate at Tel Shiloh, the site where many believe the tabernacle rested (Joshua 18:1), bolstered scholars’ excitement.

This clay pomegranate fits the description in both shape and size of the pomegranates that hung from the priests’ robes. For some scholars, the discovery of the pomegranate affirms the sacredness of Shiloh (Jeremiah 7:12) for the Jews in Israel’s early days.

Photo credit: Ancient Shiloh

Beka weight from the Temple Mount

Beka weight found among dirt near the foundation stones of Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Photo credit: Eliyahu Yanai, City of David

A small weight dating to the First Temple period was unearthed at the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount in soil removed from under the Western Wall, just north of the City of David in the area of Robinson’s Arch.

The Hebrew word beka (בֶּקַע) inscribed on the weight is equivalent to a half shekel, or about 0.20 ounces. (Exodus 38:26) explains these small stones served as the measurement for the half-shekel temple tax.

“The silver from those numbered among the congregation . . . a beka (בֶּקַע) per person, that is, half a shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel.”

When Jews would bring their half-shekel tax to the temple for the census, they had no coins, only pieces of silver—and it was necessary to know their true weight. Silver pieces were weighed based on the beka weight.

The beka discovery lines up with the biblical narrative and helps confirm the Old Testament system of weights and the existence of Solomon’s Temple.

Five rare coins from Jerusalem

Photo credit: Zachi Dvira, Temple Mount Sifting Project

Though small, these five coins are a big find.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project discovered five rare coins dating from the fourth century BC from around the time described in Ezra and Nehemiah. These two books document the Jewish people returning from Babylonian exile and beginning construction of the Second Temple by decree of Cyrus the Great.

Bearing the inscription in ancient Hebrew יְהוּדָה (Judah), they are believed to be some of the earliest evidence of Jewish coin minting in Israel:

“These were the first coins ever minted by Jews . . . They express the people’s return to their land after the Babylonian exile, and their ability to hold and maintain diplomatic ties with the ruling empire—then Persia.” — Zachi Dvira, Temple Mount Sifting Project

Like the beka weight, these coins affirm details often overlooked in Scripture: a thriving commercial and administrative temple life.

“Then they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and gave food and drink and olive oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, so that they would bring cedar logs by sea from Lebanon to Joppa, as authorized by Cyrus king of Persia.”8 (Ezra 3:7)

Watchtower dating to the time of Hezekiah

Photo credit: Israel Antiquities Authority

Just weeks ago, the remains of a 15 X 10.5-foot stone watchtower were discovered on a hilltop inside a paratrooper base in southern Israel. It’s believed to be a watchtower abandoned when Assyrian King Sennacherib invaded the area in 701 BC at the end of King Hezekiah’s reign.

The view from the tower includes the Hebron hills, the Judean plain, and Ashkelon. In Hezekiah’s day, soldiers could easily monitor the area and report activity back to their king.

At that time, the entrance to the tower was sealed up and the soldiers fled. Sennacherib’s military campaign in Judea was particularly devastating with Assyrian writings claiming he destroyed 46 cities and over 2,000 farms and villages. Sennacherib went on to lay siege to Jerusalem but was ultimately unsuccessful.

You can read the whole account of Sennacherib’s unsuccessful siege of Jerusalem in (2 Kings 18:13-27)

“He struck down the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city. … In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.” (2 Kings 18:8, 13)

Fortification wall at Lachish

Photo credit: Yossi Garfinkel, Hebrew University

Biblical scholars have long debated whether a strong centralized kingdom existed during Solomon’s reign.

But recently, archaeologists unearthed a fortification wall at Lachish and dated it to the tenth century BC. They argue the fortifications are evidence of the Bible’s account of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam.

The kingdom of Israel had split after Solomon’s death, and to prepare for an expected attack from Egypt, Judah’s new king fortified a series of cities:

“Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem, and he built cities for defence in Judah . . . Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah . . . He made the fortresses strong, and put commanders in them, and stores of food, oil, and wine. And he put shields and spears in all the cities and made them very strong. So he held Judah and Benjamin.” (2 Chronicles11:5, 9, 11-12) Though some scholars disagree, others stand firm that the finding shores up this biblical account in the book of Chronicles.

These recent discoveries are the latest of many discoveries found by archaeologists. They all prove that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. We hope that you will reach for your Bible to read all the given passages and that you will be encouraged to read about the wonderful message it has about God’s promise of salvation to all who put their hope and trust in Him.

This article was originaly written by Karen Engle Wed, July 24, 2019. Karen Engle received her MA in Biblical Studies and Theology from Western Seminary. She is an editor for Faithlife and regularly takes groups to Israel.
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It may be too late to save the planet!

The Prince of Wales has always expressed great concern regarding the natural world. He fears that the changes needed to save it could come too late. When he met with President Trump recently he tried to impress him with the urgency of doing something about it.

Sadly, what is forgotten, or not really appreciated, is that God’s Word, the Bible, promises that the Kingdom of God is to be established on this planet. For humankind to have any chance of making a significant difference to the rate of climate change there would be the need for all the nations on earth to work together. Just a superficial look at the present political situation indicates that this will never happen. However, when Jesus returns as supreme ruler over the planet, “… all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve him” (Psalm 72:11). Jesus, with his team of immortal saints, will cure all the ills of the natural world. Consider the following Bible verses, just a few of many.

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)

“.. And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing …” (Isaiah 35:1 and 2)

“… For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water.” (Isaiah 35:6 and 7)

Today nearly one quarter of the earth is desert or semi desert. When Jesus rules “… He will deliver the needy when he cries, The poor also, and him who has no helper.” (Psalm 72:12-13) People will not suffer from disabilities and ill health: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing.” (Isaiah 35:5-6)

The Bible speaks about the great tree planting work to be done. “I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the olive tree; I will set the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together. That they may see – that the hand of the LORD has done this.” (Isaiah 41:19-20)

Jesus taught his followers to pray: “… Your Kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

Are you ready for the coming of God’s wonderful Kingdom?


To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

All quotations from the N.K.J.V.

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How do you know when God is calling YOU?

For those of us who weren’t born into a spiritual family this is a very important question. I was 57 years old when I was finally in a state of mind to listen to God’s call – and I’m so glad I did!

This blog tells how God called me and how I responded. It will be different for everyone but you should be ready to respond and start your journey should the time come. It’s worth noting that God will give you opportunities to walk away from him. It’s always your choice.

As a younger man I recall asking myself important questions such as:

  • Why was this wonderful planet created and when?
  • Why are we here and what’s our purpose?
  • Why are there so many different types of people, good and not so good?
  • If death is really the end, what’s the point of living?
  • Why do some people seem to ‘have it all’ yet others have nothing?

Over the years I’ve met a few people who said that they followed Jesus and they did seem to have a certain ‘relaxed air’ about them. I remember thinking that I would like to feel that way, but I can now see that I was too busy working, paying the bills and providing for my family. In short – I was too busy and materialistic to hear God’s call.

Life’s adventures eventually took me abroad and I was happily enjoying semi-retirement. I thought that I had finally achieved my ambition and was looking forward to a future in the sun, sea and mountains.

To add to my contentment I was building a new camping business, which my grandchildren could choose to become involved in at a later date.

My new business was progressing well and I was integrating into the local and wider community.

However, there was suddenly a family difficulty that meant that I needed to return to the UK urgently and probably for some time.

I spent hours thinking and deciding on the best strategy to return to Wales, finding somewhere to live, yet still keeping the campsite in good order while I was away. To compound the problem I had no means of earning an income in the UK.

During these periods of thought I also reflected on instances in my life where, given the opportunity, I would have done things differently and treated some people with more compassion. I also decided that bearing grudges against others was not a good thing. Age and experience can be a wonderful thing!

Little did I know that God was listening to what I know now was my repentance. For me, it wasn’t anything dramatic. It was simply a quiet conversation with God.

A few days later, rather stressed, I found myself praying, something I hadn’t done since my school days. This time, however, it was different. I really wanted and needed God’s help. I remember promising that if I got back to the UK I would find a church and follow Him. Then, within days everything fell into place and my return to the UK was arranged. Even my friends were astonished as to how suddenly everything happened!

Settling back in Wales was very difficult but I got myself reasonably well organised and started putting my life back into order. However, I never forgot my promise to God, which I definitely wanted to keep. I need to stress that it wasn’t simply a need, but a deep-rooted desire, which drove me to succeed.

In retrospect I can see that my desire to follow God was tested several times, one of these times was when I became ill and was hospitalised. Other difficulties also presented themselves but I just worked through them. I could so easily have concentrated on my own needs and the needs of my family and not even considered God.

As I considered the best way to connect with a ‘church’ I did start to have some doubts (being tested again?) and asked myself questions such as:

  • What will others think of me?
  • Should I worship God on my own and just follow the Evangelical churches on TV?
  • Some ‘friends’ said that ‘church-goers’ are just looking to fill their empty lives with something to do.

Oh, how I laughed! At this point my life was incredibly busy and rather stressed. It was far from empty. I chose to ignore these people.

Once God calls you, the questions above, and much, much more become irrelevant. I can only say that if you follow God you’ll discover many answers for yourselves, as I continue to do each day.

I did a fair amount of research and the only ‘church’ organisation that I felt comfortable with was the Christadelphians and I had never even heard of them!! I would recommend their free and without strings attached one-to-one Bible course to anyone searching for God. I found these sessions incredibly helpful to increase my knowledge of the Bible. Though I’m not good at remembering things I’m improving … slowly. 🙂

I’ve been with them for over three years now and what a wonderful journey it’s been. It’s worth noting that before I opened the Bible for the first time I had not read any kind of book for over forty years. Yet I had no real difficulty reading the Gospel.

Interestingly, since following the Word of God, my life has become far simpler and it now has true meaning and purpose.

Every day I thank God for hearing my prayers and opening my heart and mind to answer his call.

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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Lessons from a Silversmith

A group of women were studying the book of the prophet Malachi in the Old Testament. As they were studying Malachi 3 they came across verse 3, which says: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver …” This verse puzzled the women, and they wondered what this statement told them about the character and purpose of God.

One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and report back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week the woman phoned a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest in order to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot. Then she thought again about the verse, that he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time as the silver was being refined. The man answered, “Yes” and explained that he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be damaged. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy. When I see my image in it.”

God refines and tests all who believe and try to follow the example that Jesus shows them. He wants all his followers to try always to reflect something of His character.

The apostle Peter tells us, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ … as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16

Throughout the lives of those who follow Jesus there will be times of trial, frustration and sadness. Believers aren’t promised trouble free lives but they know that God is watching over them at all times and shaping them to be fit for eternal life in the Kingdom that Jesus will establish on earth when he returns. 1 Peter 3:12 “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their cry …” True believers will “… run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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God’s Action Plan for Climate Change

Are you worried about climate change? By now most people who watch or listen to the news will be aware of the huge climate change demonstration that has taken place in London. The demonstrators are desperately worried about the future of the planet and for the well being of their children and grandchildren. They believe that the only way for them to make governments act is by civil disobedience. Sir David Attenborough tells us that, if humankind doesn’t take immediate action now, life on earth will be desperate for people, plants and animals in the near future.

Jesus, God’s Son, prophesied about this time, “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars and on the earth distress of nations with perplexity … people fainting with fear and with foreboding on what is coming on the world for the powers of heaven will be shaken.” Luke 21:25-26

In our country and throughout the world distress of nations is obvious. Ours is not the only country where people are realising the perils to the environment. Add to that the wars and natural disasters, hunger and disease. No wonder people are perplexed. They are wondering if there is any way out of the massive problems we all face.

Those who believe that God created our world and cares for it take comfort in what He tells us in His Word, the Bible. Luke 21:27-8, “And then they will see the Son of Man (Jesus) coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place straighten up and raise your heads for your redemption is drawing near.”

When Jesus rose from the dead he told his disciples that he would return to the earth again. As he was taken up into heaven two angels stood by them and said “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11

True followers of Jesus believe this promise. He will come again to set up God’s Kingdom on earth. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14

To conclude, this is the picture the prophet Isaiah paints of the time when God’s Kingdom is set upon earth. Here is part of Isaiah 35v1-10:
“The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; The desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped; Then shall the lame man leap like the deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion (Jerusalem) with singing; Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy; And sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”

Even so come Lord Jesus!

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No Easter at Notre-Dame

Isn’t it remarkable? In a widely atheistic age, in a secular republic, a fire at a medieval Catholic landmark has brought people and nations together. It has caused them to unite, to pray and to thank God.

I am, of course, talking about Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. I am obviously not a Catholic, so this building holds no religious significance for me.  Matthew 18v20 Jesus tells us, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”. We don’t have to worship God in a vast and ornate cathedral. It is hard, however, to be unmoved by the unfolding of recent events. But, in this largely post-Christian age, how is it that Notre-Dame has outlasted its original reason for existing?

Even if religion is set aside, historically and architecturally this building is of immense significance. Cathedrals such as this are, without doubt, great works of art. They have in their time been centres of community. They have witnessed and hosted both their nations greatest and saddest events. They were built in an age before machines by the hands of the very people who would congregate there to worship.

As an avid tourist of history and literature, it is fair to say that few houses of faith have such a vivid story to tell as Notre-Dame de Paris. Notre-Dame has been, for all of us, an embodiment of Paris and its history, of the city’s medieval Catholic past, its religious wars, its national triumphs and disasters. It was the backdrop for the Disney film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The film begins with the song, The Bells of Notre Dame, which poignantly summarises the part this building still plays in the lives of the people of Paris:
Morning in Paris, the city awakes,
To the bells of Notre Dame.
The fisherman fishes, the baker man bakes,
To the bells of Notre Dame.
To the big bells as loud as the thunder,
To the little bells soft as a psalm,
And some say the soul of the city,
The toll of the bells,
The bells of Notre Dame.

My own story with this building began as a little child when I first encountered Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, not just because of the vivid colours and the enchanting music, but because this cathedral is the stage for a story of hope, of acceptance for outsiders and those who see the world a little differently. It is something which the apostle Peter brings out for us in his first epistle, “All of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tender-hearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” 1Peter 3v8-9.

As I got older my love of this story caused me to read Victor Hugo’s, Notre-Dame de Paris, one of the great works of French literature and the story that inspired Disney. Whilst the book is darker than Disney’s interpretation, it holds a wonderful quote, which I often bring to mind, ‘A one-eyed man is much more incomplete than a blind man, for he knows what it is that’s lacking.’

That’s really the crux of my ponderings here today. Is the modern, confused and agnostic world around us the blind man? Has society travelled so far from ‘The Age of Faith’ that it doesn’t even know what it is lacking? As Jesus asks in Luke 6v39, “Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?”

This has happened at a time of miserable squabbling over the future of Europe. The truth is that, whatever we think about Brexit or a customs union, or any of the esoteric options lying before our politicians, we are all heirs of a great common history. If only the world had one eye that it might recognise what is lacking and seek out the hope set before them in the Bible – to be heirs of a future, not just a past, to be heirs of the promises of God.

In Hebrews 12v2 we are told to, “Look unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Rather fitting really when we remember that this weekend is Easter Weekend, a time when Christians worldwide reflect on the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

However, for the first time in nearly nine centuries there will be no Easter at Notre-Dame.


You are warmly invited to join us this Sunday, April 21st 2019 at 6pm for a Bible talk about ‘Jesus Christ, The Cross and You’. Find out how Jesus’ sacrifice can have a positive effect on your life and what it could mean for your future!

*All quotes are from the King James Version.

 

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The Third Commandment

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”
(Exodus 20:7)

Many people in UK have heard of the Ten Commandments we find in the Bible. Some of these commandments still remain a basis for many of the laws in this country. “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15) “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” (Exodus 20:16)

But what about the 3rd Commandment? What does it mean? “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.”
Put very simply it means that God is asking people not to use His Name in a familiar or derogatory way. God tells us plainly that, if we do, we are guilty of causing offence to Him. The LORD wants us to realise that He is our Creator and, because He is, He expects men and women to respect Him.

For those who say that they believe in the God of the Bible and in His Son, Jesus Christ, this command is very important to remember.

We live in a society that has, for the most part, sidelined God and His Son and the laws that they have laid down.

Every day we hear the name of God and His Son used as swear words on our TV and radio programmes. They are misused in books and newspapers. People use them as swear words or as expressions of exasperation and annoyance. It is common to hear very young children misusing God’s name. Celebrities seem to think it makes them look “cool” to swear and blaspheme.

If we profess to follow God and Jesus we must try to show that we do by never ever using their names in this way. We are advised to put away
“… obscene talk from your mouth” (Colossians 3:8). Surely the most obscene talk for believers of God and His Son must be to take their names in vain.

Quotes ESV

To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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