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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Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

With January nearly over how are our resolutions holding up?

While we might be concentrating on getting fit and losing some extra weight, are we taking care of our mind?

“For bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4v8

Keeping our mind healthy and positive can help us when dealing with life’s troubles. It can help us move forward and concentrate on those things which are good and true.

God helps us with this and encourages us to keep our minds fixed on him and the great love that he shows us.

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3v2

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3v5

God teaches us that by not getting ourselves tangled up in this world and all its values we can be transformed.

“Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12v2

If we put our trust in God he will strengthen and help us.

“Casting all your care upon God, for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5v7

“God giveth strength to the weary and to them that have no might he increases strength.” Isaiah 40v29

“The Lord is my strength and shield, my heart trusts in him and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoices and with my song I will Praise him.” Psalm 28v7

By having God as our guide we can think on the positive things of life.

“Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praise worthy – think on those things.” Philippians 4v8

Quotes King James Version

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Loneliness at Christmas

December is almost here and the shops have been promoting Christmas since mid October! It is also appearing in adverts in newspapers, magazines, online and TV.

For most of us it is a happy time spent with families and friends but for some it is the loneliest time of the year. They live alone. Their loved ones may have died or are living far away. They remember the years gone by when they were surrounded by so many who loved them. Most of us can’t imagine being so isolated and unhappy.

We know, of course, that everyone struggles with loneliness at some point, even in the midst of a crowd.

The problem is so prominent in our society that the Government is proposing the setting up a Minister and a team to see what can be done.

The Bible, God’s Word, can provide hope and strength if we are prepared to let its message filter into our thinking. Please think about the positive flow of thought that comes from the Bible passages listed below. They are just a few of many.

King David wrote: “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8)

“O Lord, all my longing is before you ; my sighing is not hidden from you.” (Psalm 38:9)

“He (God) heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)

Jesus, God’s beloved Son, appealed to the people: “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 light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

The apostle Paul wrote: “ Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Peter, Jesus’ disciple, also adds to the message:” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

So David, Jesus, Paul and Peter, although at times feeling lonely, found their solace and comfort in God, knowing that His purpose with them would be fulfilled . The power of meditating on the Word of God, prayer and actively applying God’s principles in their lives provided the stimulus to keep going. We, with them can look forward to the promise of God’s Kingdom on this earth (Hebrews 11 to 12:1 and 2) and in that Kingdom feelings and experience of loneliness will be a thing of the past.

May those of us who are blessed with families and friends and looking forward to their company this Christmas spare a thought for the lonely and, if we can, invite them to share our happiness.

All quotes from English Standard Version. 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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A Trip to Auschwitz

Hello readers,

This blog post is a little bit different to our usual. One of our members has recently travelled to Poland and visited Auschwitz Birkenau (the former Nazi Concentration camp) and has very kindly agreed to share their experience with us on the blog.

I recently had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz.

The first thing you are greeted with is the infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign, being translated “Your labours will set you free.” This is a play on a verse in John 8v32 “Then you will know, the truth will set you free” where Jesus is explaining to the Jews that he will return to this earth one day to set them free from sin and death. The use of the verse for the sign was just one of the many mind games the Nazis played with the prisoners during this ordeal. As we know there was no freedom from this camp. The people being transported to Auschwitz had no idea where they were being taken or what horrors awaited them when they got there. (I will say ‘people’ throughout rather than specifically ‘the Jews’, because while the Jews were predominantly the targets of the Nazis, many others were taken to Auschwitz for “ethnic cleansing”, including homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, individuals with learning difficulties or physical deformities and so on.)
The sign is above the entrance to a compound, where the able men and women were made to work. Many didn’t survive the dreadful living conditions they were subjected to through starvation, sickness and exhaustion.

It is very hard to explain the emotions you feel as you walk around Auschwitz. There is a solemn silence, as everyone visiting is very respectful. There is a great deal of reflection about those who lost their lives there and you are surrounded by an overwhelming awareness of the abhorrent deeds carried out in this place.

After going around the Auschwitz camp we were then taken to Birkenau, a site separate from Auschwitz but part of the same camp.

Birkenau

As we walked down the tracks, we walked along what is described as the “Death Ramp”. Men, women and children lined up as they came out of the train carriages (the prisoners were taken to Auschwitz in over-crowded cattle trucks, not trains as we often think. From there, they were separated  into two groups:
1. those who were able to work
2. and those who served no purpose.

(A picture of one of the cattle trucks that were used for transportation. There would have been up to 200 people in that one carriage.)

Those who weren’t deemed suitable for work were taken straight to the gas chambers. At no point did they realise what was happening. They were simply told they needed de-lousing after their journey and had to take a shower to be decontaminated. This was another mind game, used by the Nazi guards to avoid hysterics or panic within the camp. We all know how this ended.

It is important to remember the monstrosities that took place here, to make sure that this never happens, to anyone, ever again.

Yet in spite of the majority of the people’s apathy at that awful time let us hold on to the hope which we have in the Lord God.
The fact that the Jews went through such persecution and still survived is an amazing sign of how there is truly a God and he is at work in our lives even now. For we are told in Exodus 6v7 “I will take you as my own people and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.”

What other nation on earth has survived like the Jews?

For we know that God has said: “As surely as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the Glory of the Lord.”

We hope and pray that day may come quickly.

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Is our world doomed?

Do you think our earth will survive or will we destroy it?

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) certainly think so! These learned scientists created the Doomsday Clock in 1947, as a metaphor for how close humankind is to destroying the earth. On Thursday 25th January 2018, in Washington DC, BAS moved the clock forward to just two minutes to midnight! The scientists on the committee singled out the nuclear tests in North Korea and the rising tension between Russia and the West as the main contributory factors for their decision.

Jesus prophesies that the world will be in great turmoil prior to his return.

“And there will be signs in the sun and the moon and the stars and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” ( Luke 21:25 – 27).

Yes, the believers in God’s Word, the Bible, know there are terrible times to come as Jesus cleanses the world of evil.

“ … but with righteousness he (Jesus) shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.” (Isaiah 11:4)

“… when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” (Thessalonians 1:7- 8)

The purpose of God is to bring His kIngdom to this planet. Then these wonderful and beautiful promises will be fulfilled.

The Angels who announced the birth of Jesus to the Shepherds looked forward to this time.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, among those with whom he is pleased.” (Luke 2:14).

Speaking of Jesus, King David prophesied ”In his days may the righteous flourish; and peace abound till the moon be no more.” (Psalm 72:7).

The prophet Isaiah writing about Jesus declares ”He shall judge between the nations , and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks : nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more”(Isaiah 2:4).

These are just a few examples of a range of Bible verses telling us about the wonderful time that is coming to this earth. We must prepare ourselves now for the coming of God’s Kingdom when Jesus returns. God’s clock is ticking!

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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Blue Planet III

Did you watch those exciting episodes on Blue Planet II narrated by Sir David Attenborough?

We were thrilled as the underwater cameramen revealed exciting discoveries.

As Sir David pointed out, almost three quarters of our planet is covered in water.

The seas influence our weather, shape our climate and provide us with food. But although we depend on them completely, the vast majority of the oceans remains unexplored!

The way some creatures appear aware of the danger involved in collecting food is truly amazing! How did they learn these skills?

In geologically active regions on the margins of the Earth’s tectonic plates, the cracks in sea bed rocks spews out superhot water in excess of 400 deg C. Around some of these vents there are swarms of an interesting shrimp called dumbo octopus. This little vivid orange crustacean has no eyes but appears to have a sensor on its back that probably detects light from the vent.

This shrimp has a strange way of farming its life giving bacteria. It holds a population in its mouth and under modified gill covers. To feed them with minerals the shrimp must position itself directly on the border between cold oxygenated ocean water and the hot, mineral-rich vent water.

If it drifts into the hot water and stays a moment too long it cooks, and if it is too far from the vent its bacteria die. It has to work the first time! Who gave this creature this wisdom? Mindless chance or the Creator of the Universe? Many other such examples could be presented.

The Psalmist wrote about the God: “Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that that therein is …” (Psalm 146:6). In fact, at creation, Adam and Eve were to have “dominion over the fish of the sea” (Genesis 1: 26). Through sin they lost that privilege. However, at the return of Jesus to the earth this planet will be like the garden of Eden restored. Harmony will exist amongst all forms of life (please see Psalms 8 & 72, Isaiah 11 ), controlled not only by Jesus but by his faithful followers.

Do you want to be part of Blue Planet III with Jesus? We must prepare now.

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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Time for God

“All men were created equal but some are more equal than others.” This saying questions the premise that we are all equal. Of course, in reality, we are not. We come with varying degrees of ability in everything from athletic prowess to musical talent. God has never made two individuals alike, so naturally we are not equal.

The wonderful thing is that God knows the abilities of each one of us and He does not expect us to live up to the potential of another. However He does expect each of us to use the talents He has given us and to develop them for Him. There is no such thing as a “no talent Christian.” This would be telling God that He made a mistake when He made us. He most certainly did not!

Time is the one area that we all share. There are 60 minutes every hour and 24 hours every day. This applies to all, rich or poor, male or female. Each has exactly the same number of hours in a day, whether our lives are short or long. Time is the one thing that we always spend. No one gets towards the end of the week only to discover that they forgot to spend all of Thursday afternoon and have some time left over. We always spend every minute every day. How we spend it varies greatly but spend it we do.

The difference between those who will be in the Kingdom of God and those who will be rejected by Christ will be because of the way they spent their time. How do we spend our time? It is foolish to say “We haven’t time” for we have all there is. How much time every day do we spend for the Lord?

When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ we will realise that so many things that took our time were just not worth it. We will be wise to realise this now.

Do we find time to read our Bible every day? If not, we have allowed something far less important to crowd God’s Word right out of our life for that day. What did we do that was so important that it took priority over the Word of God?

The Bible is God’s letter of salvation to us. He loves us so much that He caused His servants to write words “which are able to make wise unto salvation.” 2 Timothy 3:15 God has taken great care to preserve His Word letter down through the ages so that we can learn to know Him and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to love them.

God knows all that we do. He sees our busy little lives and sees that we aren’t taking the time to read the very words He caused to be written for our salvation. It’s no use telling Him how much we love Him if we don’t make time for Him.

Our time is all we can give to God. He first gave it to us and He can withdraw His breath of life from us at any time. While we live, let us live for Him. Let us find time each day to read His word and do His Will. The time we spend with God is the best time of our life.

Quotes taken from the KJV. 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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Virtual Reality

This is tipped to be the ‘must have’ this year. Put on the headgear and you will be in another world of your own choice, far away from the mundane and, at times, stressful problems we all have to face.

You can even seem be participating in what you see on the screen.

The problem is that this ‘time out’ does not really help us come face to face with the real world.

If only there were information available which could be used in this nasty real world of today which could enable the mind to look forward to a time when this planet would be peaceful and stress free, information that provides consolation and hope when we face the trials of life and also shows that the present evils are but signs of a wonderful age to come.

Such information is available in the Bible!

What we need are the spectacles of faith! Faith is listening to what God has said and making the vision God’s Word presents real in our minds Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ”. And what is the vision? A world of peace and harmony (Psalm 72:7,Isaiah 2:1 to 4), the needs of the poor fulfilled (Psalm 72:12,13 and 14) the necessities of life provided (Isaiah 11; 65:17-24) immortal rulers governing righteously (Isaiah 32: 1-5) led by King Jesus (John 18:33-40).

Jesus warned that, prior to his coming again, there would be stress and anguish on a worldwide scale.

People will be perplexed as to what is going on in the world Luke 21:25-27. “And there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity … people fainting with fear and with foreboding for what is coming on the world … And then they will see the Son of Man (Jesus) coming in a cloud with power and great glory”

Prophets of Israel foretold that the Jews would return to their land. They foretold that this, in itself, would cause friction, unrest and hatred in the nations (Ezekiel 38). Look at the State of Israel today and see what enmity the surrounding nation have towards Israel.

So in the Bible there is both the bad news and the good news. This is real information, as you would expect from the all knowing God who controls the planet and the universe. Why not read the Bible and consider the truth and accuracy of Bible teaching?

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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Patience and Perseverance

Patience and perseverance are much needed virtues but they seem to be sadly lacking in our modern world. The fast pace of our lives today doesn’t help us to cultivate patience. Paul, the apostle, tells us that tribulation produces perseverance (patience) and perseverance character and character, hope. Romans 5:3. Children are born completely lacking patience. Wise parents try to teach their little ones that they cannot have everything they want immediatly. True Christians, God’s children, need to remember that they cannot always have what they want.

God always answers the prayers of the righteous but sometimes he says, “Not in the way you think is right but in my way.” We must wait for God to work his will in our lives. Impatience may sometimes cause us to doubt God but we should be wise and remember that “(God) who works in you both to will and to work on behalf of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13 James advises us, saying,  “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it, until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:7 Every farmer has learned to wait for his seed to spring up. He has to wait patiently for the first signs of growth, The Lord Jesus Christ will come again to establish God’s worldwide rule and we have good reasons to believe it will be soon. In the meantime, we are to continue patiently in well doing. We should read our Bibles daily and believe that “whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans15:4 The Bible, the Word of God, teaches us patience for we can, as James suggested “… take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience” James 5:10.

In this impatient world of sound bites and quick reviews, we need to get back to the Bible, to “rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 37:7. Paul declares, “Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ,” 2 Thessalonians 3:5 . Those “who by patient continuance in doing good, seek for glory and honour and immortality,” Romans 2:7, will, when Jesus returns, be given eternal life and will reign with Him forever and ever.

Quotes from the NKJV. 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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