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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Where are you from?

How often this question is asked when meeting other holiday makers. “And where are you from?” Perhaps because their accent is so distinctive, it may not be necessary to ask which part of UK they are from, However, we may still like to know exactly where they live!

When we look into the Gospels, we find the Apostle Peter had the distinctive accent of the Galileans. He tried to hide during the trial of the Lord Jesus Christ, but as he stood by the fire in the courtyard of the High Priest, one of the servant girls noticed him and said: “Certainly you are one of them (of the disciples) ; for you are a Galilean” (Mark 14:70).

Where we come from is vital in spiritual terms. The Apostle wrote “But our citizenship is in heaven and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body by the power that enables him to subject all things to himself ” (Philippians 3:20). Again Paul writes: “He (Jesus) raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”(Ephesians 2:6). He appeals to the believer: “If then you have been raised with Christ seek the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”. (Colossians 3:1) By reading and listening to the Word of God (see I Peter 1:23, James 3:17 – 18) and applying it in our lives, we can develop a meaningful relationship with Jesus, our Lord, Saviour and Mediator, and we are born from Heaven.

Then, when Jesus returns to bring the ways of Heaven upon this earth, we shall be granted everlasting life, even though we are sinful, because we have endeavoured to be one with him,

Sadly, when Jesus returns, some faithless folk will earnestly appeal to him to accept them. He will say: “I do not know you “. “But he will say “I tell you I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil” (Luke 13:27).

It doesn’t matter what our accent is, or where our natural birth took place, but it is vital that the influence of Christ’s teaching is reflected in all aspects of our lives. In this way we show that we try to follow Christ and truly seeking the citizenship from above.

Quotes from the 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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Toilet discovered at 2,800-year-old shrine reveals Biblical tale of desecration of religious sites by King Hezekiah of Judah

Toilet discovered at 2,800-year-old shrine reveals Biblical tale of desecration of religious sites by King Hezekiah of Judah

  • The city gate at Tel Lachish in Israel has been found to have once contained a sacred shrine with two altars
  • Raised corners once decorated the altars have been cut and a toilet was installed in the corner of the shrine
  • Archaeologists believe this was a desecration as part of a religious crackdown on cults and idol worship
  • King Hezekiah is said in the Bible to have ‘removed the high places’ and ‘smashed the sacred stones’

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King Hezekiah instituted one of the most zealous religious crackdowns in the history of Judaism and saw the numerous cults in ancient Judah smashed to pieces.

Now evidence of the reforms implemented by King Hezekiah, which are described in the Old Testament, around 2,800 years ago have surfaced in a surprising form.

Archaeologists digging at the site of an ancient gate to the ruined city of Tel Lachish in Israel have uncovered the remains of a shrine that was desecrated during the purges in the 8th century BC. The discovery at Tel Lachish, however, is the first time that an archaeological find confirms this practice.
The Lachish city gate, as it is known, consists of six chambers which contain signs of city life at the time. In one of the chambers, however, is a shrine that once had walls covered with white plaster and two altars decorated with raised corners – known as horns.

These, however, appear to have had their tops deliberately cut off, a sign that there had been an attempt to end the spread of religious cults and centralise worship in Jerusalem  Putting a latrine at a holy site was considered to be sacrilege as it soiled a religious location that was to be respected. In the case of Jehu who destroyed the cult of Baal in Samaria the Bible states “And they demolished the pillar of Baal and demolished the house of Baal and made it a latrine to this day” (2 Kings 10:27).

Perhaps the greatest sign that the shrine had been the site of one of King Hezekiah’s crackdowns was the installation of the toilet within the inner sanctum of the shrine.

This stone with a hole cut through the centre would have been the ultimate desecration of the holy site. 38e07e1f00000578-3811712-tests_on_the_stone_toilet_pictured_and_the_ground_around_it_sugg-a-59_1475070670278

Sa’ar Ganor, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said: ‘Steps to the gate-shrine in the form of a staircase ascended to a large room where there was a bench upon which offerings were placed.

‘An opening was exposed in the corner of the room that led to the holy of holies.

‘To our great excitement, we found two four-horned altars and scores of ceramic finds consisting of lamps, bowls and stands in this room.

‘It is most interesting that the horns on the altar were intentionally truncated. That is probably evidence of the religious reform attributed to King Hezekiah.’ According to the narrative given in the Book of Kings in the Bible, King Hezekiah oversaw a widespread effort to abolish the religious cults and idol worship that had sprung up in Judah.

It states in II Kings 18:4: ‘He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles…’

Tests at the site showed that while the toilet stone appears to have been installed to desecrate the shrine, it was never actually used. Archaeologists instead believe it had been placed there symbolically and the inner sanctum of the shrine was sealed shut.

Dr Ganor said: ‘The size of the gate is consistent with the historical and archaeological knowledge we possess, whereby Lachish was a major city and the most important one after Jerusalem’.

‘According to the Biblical narrative, the cities’ gates were the place where ‘everything took place’.

‘The city elders, judges, governors, kings and officials – everyone would sit on benches in the city gate. These benches were found in our excavation.’

The ruins of the city gate today:

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A reconstruction of the city gate:

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Why should I worry?

Robert Louis Stevenson once said “Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall; anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day; anyone can live life sweetly, lovingly, patiently, purely, ’til the sun goes down.”

This harmonises beautifully with the words of Jesus Christ who said, ”Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious about itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” ( Matthew 6:34)

We all face the problem of the anxiety and frustration we experience when we try to carry yesterday’s regrets and tomorrow’s fears with today’s load. It is more than one can bear and hospitals are full of those who have tried it unsuccessfully. A study of case histories by a group of doctors established worry as the greatest cause of illness. It was reported that worries fall into three categories. 40% of our worries are about the past, 50% about the future, and only 10% about present matters. This means we can eliminate 90% of all our worries by just living one day at a time.

Christ is the perfect example for the believer. He devoted himself completely to the task before him. He did one thing at a time. He carried his load, however hard, each day but he could put it down and fall asleep, even in the midst of a storm at sea! (Mark 4:35-41)  If we follow his example, we will live our lives one day at a time. We will not look into the future with fear and wonder how we shall cope. Instead, we will remember that a trip of a thousand miles must be made one step at a time.

True followers of Jesus should try to live one day at a time because no-one can be sure that he/she will live to see tomorrow. To try to carry tomorrow’s load as well as today’s and to worry about yesterday’s only wastes time.

Let us be wise and do our very best just for today. Do not worry about the past because it is gone. We should ask God to forgive us for the mistakes we made and take comfort in the fact that He will forgive us if we are truly sorry. The words of Jesus addressed to a sinner are consoling. “… Neither do I condemn you: go, and from now on, sin no more.” (John 8:11)

Today is ours. Let us live it having a firm faith and trying always to put our trust in God and giving Him thanks for every new day. We must have the faith to realise that tomorrow is a new day and that God will provide new strength for us. “Therefore do not be anxious saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

emotion-5-summer-joy-by-zaneta-frenn

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DO IT NOW!

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It was once said “The most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it ought to be done whether you want to do it or not.”

Using this as a starting point it seems strange that most highly educated people have less time for God than ordinary people.

This proves the apostle Paul’s point when he said, “For the wisdom of this world is folly with God,” (1 Corinthians 3:19) because “.. God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world…..so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1Corinthians 1:27-29)

In this world of greatly increased knowledge we can become so absorbed in our own wisdom and our own petty problems that we completely fail to do what ought to be done when it ought to be done.

So let all of us, educated or not, learn the lesson – that of making ourselves do the thing we have to do when we ought to do it whether we want to do it or not.

The difference between success and failure in almost any venture is the ability to do the right thing at the right time. This illustrates the wisdom of Solomon who said “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die……” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) Too many of us put off doing the thing that is unpleasant or unappealing. True religion does not attract the natural man. Paul tells us that “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God: for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot.” (Romans 8:7) If we are wise, we will learn what we ought to do and do it. It is vitally important for us to apply it to serving God. In the final analysis the only education really worth having is in God’s law and the only worthwhile wisdom is Godly wisdom.

Too many have spent their lives without doing what they ought to have done for God and realised as they lay on their death bed that all the things they knew and all the money they had was of little use.

Let us remember our Creator NOW before the years draw near when we are no longer able to obey God. We must not use the lame excuse that we don’t have time. We have all the time there is, 24 hours every day! No one has more or less than that. If we are honest with ourselves we must admit that we find time to do things we like to do. We must develop the ability to make ourselves do the thing we should do when it ought to be done. Now is the time to draw nigh unto God. At our death or at the Coming of the Lord Jesus to set up His Father’s Kingdom it will be too late.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, or work, or knowledge, or wisdom, in Sheol [the grave], to which you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

There is no joy like godly joy and no pleasure on earth like the peace of God but we shall never experience it unless we begin and persevere. By doing so, we, having been ” … set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification, and its end eternal life.” (Romans 6:22)

Quotes are taken from the 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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