Black Friday is already behind us. Ahead lies the anticipation of Christmas, with excitement, and perhaps panic and sheer hard work for those who have to pull it all together. It’s just what we Britons do, spurred on by the media, many people over indulge in food and drink and generally having a good time.
Perhaps this assessment of the festivities is a little cynical. After all, beneath the tinsel and tack there is much charity and goodwill. There is, too, for some, the real reason for Christmas – remembering the Birth of Jesus over 2000 years ago. Nativity plays familiarise us with that Bible message. Seasonal services in church and chapel remind us that Jesus is real, his existence a fact of history.
Many passages from the Gospels (Good News) of Matthew and Luke ring out clearly with authority and excitement. Hear the Angel Gabriel’s message to Mary “….the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – The Son of God”. Luke 1:35
Nine months later an angel pays a night time visit to Bethlehem’s hill country bathing shepherds and their flocks with the light of God’s glory.
His message “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord”
”… and suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God …”Luke 2: 11&13.
Why such rejoicing for a baby? Decades later the apostle Paul writes “… Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” 1 Tim 1: 15. Jesus did this by living a sinless life, dying painfully and then being raised to immortal life “Consequently He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him since he always lives to make intercession for them”. Hebrews 7:25.
Have you ever noticed that nowhere in the Bible are believers told to celebrate Jesus’ birth, but they are commanded to remember his death? “Christ… will appear a second time…to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” Hebrews 9:28
Now that is something to celebrate!
(Quotes from English Standard Bible, ESV)
*To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk. Our next public meeting will be held at 6pm on Sunday, in our hall, Foundry Road, Ammanford. All are welcome to attend!
Hanukkah, also called the ‘Feast of Dedication’ or ‘Festival of Lights’ will be celebrated by Jews from the 6th to the 14th of December 2015 (25th of Kislev). But what is it, and why is it important to us today?
HANUKKAH, the only Jewish festival not mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, is an eight-day festival that commemorates the cleansing and rededication of the temple following the victories of Judas Maccabeus in 167/165 B.C. over the atrocities committed to the Jewish temple and priesthood by ‘vile’ Syrian king Antiochus IV.
Daniel writes accurately (Dan 11:29-30) about Antiochus’ defeat in Egypt – “he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation”, and about the way Antiochus vented upon Judah because of his loss “they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice”, of which the book of Maccabees records that an altar was set up to Olympian Zeus (Jupiter), upon which pigs (unclean by the Jewish law) were sacrificed. This abomination, was only turned around by the hand of God’s plan for the nation through Judas Maccabeus.
While the Jewish book of Maccabees describe the events in Daniel from this period, we do not have to rely only on one historical source of information of the events prophesied by Daniel. Polybius – a historian – is another who describes Antiochus’ actions (31.9).
Judas Maccabeus is said to have ended up cleansing and restoring the temple, after the revolt against Antiochus had ended, he dedicated the new altar with sacrifices, song, and joyous worship for eight days.
The obvious lesson from the tradition is that it follows in a long line of Jewish oppression. Time and time again, a nation will have power over them. The Egyptians, Philistines, Assyrians, Medes/Persians, Greeks, Romans. Yet where are these great superpowers, along with Antiochus and his vile crimes? God says about Israel that “You are My witnesses” (Isaiah 53:10), and that “…he that touches you touches the pupil of His eye” (Zech 2:8). Such promises were made first to Abraham and his seed, that “..I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee..” (Gen 12:3).
The Church of England arranged for cinema goers to watch an advert containing The Lord’s Prayer. At the last minute the advert was cancelled by the Digital Cinema Media because it could “cause offence to those of differing political persuasions, as well as those of differing faiths and indeed of no faith”.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of this case the important question we must ask is ‘To whom was the prayer given originally and for whom was it meant’? To find the answers we must examine the teaching of Jesus.
The prayer appears as part of The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:9-13 and later in Jesus’ ministry in Luke 11:1-4. On both occasions the prayer was given to his disciples and not to the crowds who listened to him. Why was that? The prayer is a spiritual conversation between God, the Father “OUR FATHER who is in heaven” and HIS CHILDREN. Therefore it is intended for those who have become part of GOD’S FAMILY. How do we become part of the family of God? The apostle Paul wrote “… for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:26-28. To become a son or daughter of God we must believe in Him and His Son and accept the gospel taught in the Bible and be baptised. We should obey God’s laws and try to live Christ like lives.
Why not make this prayer your prayer and so become a child of God?
*To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk. Our next public meeting will be held at 6pm on Sunday 29th November, in our hall, Foundry Road, Ammanford. All are welcome to attend!
We are all appalled by the dreadful events in Paris.
Would you shoot school children, or bomb a market place? No, you wouldn’t – but why do some people commit atrocities like this?
One answer lies in the fact that when God made the world He gave people a choice. We are not like ‘puppets on a string’. Nobody makes us commit crimes against humanity. We have freewill – it is our choice.
WHERE IS GOD IN ALL THIS?
The Bible assures us that man’s time is limited – but before that limit is reached people please themselves. So some become doctors and nurses to save lives, while others become terrorists to destroy lives. But when will that limit be realised?
“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17 verses 30, 31)
God raised Jesus from the dead, never to die again. This means that we too can rise again.
When God decides that it is time, He will send Jesus back to earth. Then He will convert the world, and eventually sin and hatred will be wiped away.
This will bring real hope for a currently hopeless world.
*To find out more about our hope and how you can be a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk. Our next public meeting will be held at 6pm on Sunday 22nd November, in our hall, Foundry Road, Ammanford. You are very welcome to attend!
Hello and wlecome to our brand new blog!
As you can see there isn’t very much here yet but keep checking back for more updates …