Transformation

Sitting out on the patio in the warm sunshine in Kent, I was admiring my sister-in-law’s potted plants. Suddenly my eyes focused on something unusual on a fuchsia branch. Looking closely, I remembered seeing exactly the same thing in South Wales years before. It had a large, arresting head end – the large, dark eyespot markings giving it the sinister appearance of a snakes’s head! At the other end of the soft and thick brown-grey body was a black tail spike. It was an Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar and, at 85mm long, is one of the largest and most distinctive in Britain! It takes about 30 days to grow to full size from the 4mm mini-versions that hatch from eggs. To complete its’ life cycle, this sluggish soft-bodied creature forms a leathery-cased chrysalis (or pupa) and from this a totally different form emerges. It changes to an attractive pink and brown moth, that moves quickly through the air on its delicate wings.

This incredible transformation is called metamorphosis. It is controlled by hormones. Tissues are broken down in the chrysalis (they virtually liquify) and then cell growth and development cause the different tissues and organs of the adult to form!

Now, is there a spiritual lesson here? Well, the Greek word ‘to metamorphose’ is ‘metamorpho’ and it occurs in the New Testament just four times. It is translated as ‘transfigured’ in Matthew 17:2 and Mark 9:23, as ‘transformed’ in Romans 12:2 and as ‘changed’ in 2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV.

The two gospel verses speak of Jesus’ change in appearance on the Mount of Transfiguration: “and he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light” (Matthew17:2). Peter, one of the disciples watching this, later wrote in his second epistle that they were “eyewitnesses of his majesty for he received from God the father honour and glory”.2 Peter 1:16 KJV. It was as if they were seeing Jesus as King coming in power to reign – eternal, glorified, with all righteousness and power.

Some years later, Paul the apostle, writing to Christians in Rome, encouraged them not to conform to the surrounding culture but to be “transformed by the renewing” of their minds. Romans 12:2 This would enable an outlook that was good, mature and acceptable to God, being changed from the inside outwards.

Paul also wrote to the church at Corinth, a city notorious for depravity, and again brought in ‘metamorpho’: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed (changed) into the same image from one degree of glory to another” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV). It has been described as transfigured into ever increasing splendour” or as another has paraphrased it “nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of His face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (The Message Bible)

So, regardless of cultural background, we are to change, trying every day to become more Christ-like. The apostle Peter puts it like this in the following free paraphrase, “complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipleship, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the other” (2 Peter 1:5-8, The Message Bible).

The complete transformation for the faithful is at Jesus’ return, when they are resurrected and judged and “have everlasting life … and shall shine like the brightness of the sky above” Daniel 12 : 2-3).

Perhaps the freedom in flight of our moth emerging from an apparently lifeless chrysalis can be a trigger to help us think about these things. It gives a little echo of some uplifting words in Isaiah, “they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” ( Isaiah 40:31)

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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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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Are you ready for the BIG earthquake?

A minor earthquake with a magnitude 4.4 on the Richter Scale has been felt in parts of Wales and England reported the British Geological survey on Saturday 17th February. The epicentre was approximately 20km north-north east of Swansea and at a depth of 7.4km. “The house started rocking” said one correspondent, and another that her flat moved from side to side for about ten seconds.

Of course we know that this earthquake was nothing compared to those experienced in other countries.

However, we must point out that the Bible predicts a huge earthquake that is going to happen in Israel which will change the geological features of that country. It will herald the return of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven to this earth!

After foretelling the massive Middle East War to be fought in the vicinity of Jerusalem, the Prophet Zechariah records:

“Then the Lord will go forth

And fight against those nations,

As he fights in the day of battle.

And in that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,

Which faces Jerusalem on the east.

And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,

From east to west,

Making a very large valley;

Half of the mountain shall move towards the north.

And half of it towards the south” (Zechariah 14: 3 – 4)

The prophet then describes the people fleeing from the city through the mountain valley created by the earthquake.

During this earthquake Jerusalem and the local areas will be lifted up (verse 10) so that the city is elevated and can be seen from afar. Jesus will reign from that city (Isaiah 2:1 – 4).

The prophet Ezekiel, speaking of the same time says:
“For in My jealousy , and in the fire of my wrath I have spoken: ’Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel’(Ezekiel 38:19 -20)

So what will be outcome of this display of Divine power through Jesus?

“Thus will I magnify Myself and sanctify Myself , and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38: 23).

“And the Lord will be king over all the earth …” (Zechariah 14:9).

Israel is situated on a fault line. They realise already that an earthquake is coming and are making preparations for it. However this earthquake will occur at the coming of Jesus Christ, of which they are unaware! Jesus will bring political, spiritual, economic and physical earthquakes at His return. Are we prepared for it ? It will be as sudden and unexpected as the minor earthquake and will change our world for ever.

All quotations from the New King James 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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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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MEN’S HEARTS FAILING THEM FOR FEAR … 

Everywhere in the world people are on edge especially since the terrible atrocities in Manchester, London, Paris and Barcelona (to name but a few). We saw people running for their lives. All over the world people are wondering what will happen next.

The Bible tells us that these events are a precursor of a time when people will be even more worried, even more terrified because of ever more violent events all over the world.

The Bible tells us all this will happen prior to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth to set up His Father’s Kingdom.

The Gospel of Luke, which is a record of the life of the Lord Jesus, sets out in order the events immediately before His return as Saviour and King. He will reign over Israel and all nations.

Luke 21:26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.  Those who believe in God and Jesus have the comfort of knowing that, although the world is a sad and terrifying place, they should not fear because the Lord Jesus and His Father protect those who belong to them.

The Bible gives believers a wonderful hope for the future. Isaiah 11:3-5 tells us of the Lord Jesus, a descendent of David, King of Israel, coming again as King of the whole world.. He will judge honestly:

“… He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash round his waist.”

There will be no more violence. Wars will cease and all will live in peace.

But before this 2 Timothy 3: 1-3 warns  “But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

This is an astonishingly accurate picture of our civilisation today. Humankind is throwing off all restraints and indulging its own desires. We have already quoted Luke 21:26. Look at verse 27 “At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

Override your fears for the future and look with confidence for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ!

*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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When Terror Strikes

Sadly, another terrorist attack in the UK, the terrible slaughter of those young people and their parents in Manchester, both young and older lives tragically cut short. Even as we write this blog, similar atrocities are occurring daily in such countries as Syria, Iraq and Yemen, as well as in far away countries we do not often hear about in our media. Why are people killed in such terrible and random acts?

During His ministry, Jesus was approached by a group of people who described a recent tragic event. “There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he (Jesus) answered them, Do you think that these Galileans  were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No I tell you, but, unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you: but, unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1 – 5)

Do you get the point Jesus is making?  We know we all will die. As the saying goes ‘ There is nothing more certain than death and as uncertain as life’. The vital thing that what we must do is “repent” whilst we have the opportunity. Constantly, in the Bible, God’s Word, the urgent message is to do today what Jesus requires of us  ” Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”(Acts 2:38). We must give attention to the Word of God.

Jesus warned his disciples not to be anxious about tomorrow but to seek today the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33 – 34). The Apostle Paul warned believers not to be like Israel of his day, hardened in their hearts “Take care, brothers lest there be in any of you an evil unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort (encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called “today” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”(Acts 2:12-13) The Psalmist, so aware of the frailty of life wrote “My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day for their number is past (beyond) my knowledge” (Psalm 71:15).

Living spiritually on a daily basis is what is required by God. If we try as hard as we can to follow God and Jesus even if we are cut down suddenly by a tragic event or illness, God invites us, by His grace, to share in His wonderful Kingdom here on earth when He will raise us from the dead.

World events indicate that Christ’s second coming is near.

Quotes taken from the ESV

TODAY IS THE DAY OF OPPORTUNITY!

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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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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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