Walking with God

Most babies begin to try to walk a few steps during the first year of their life. Walking is a big accomplishment for them and, once they master it, they take off on every direction imaginable! The parents’ job is to try to direct their little steps so they don’t come to any harm.

The problem of making sure that we head off in the right direction continues long after we are babies. We all need to be directed by GOD to walk in the right way. King Solomon tells us what to do if we don’t want our steps to get us into trouble. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart: and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5)

Babies don’t understand the dangers of walking in busy streets, stairs or pools of water. The awareness of danger comes with age and experience, coupled with wisdom. It is the same for us. Although we all have experiences as we pass through life, the question is, how much wiser are we? We cannot see what lies ahead for us in the future. If we rely on our own wisdom or that of others to guide our way we will fall into trouble.

Jesus explains “… And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into the ditch” (Matthew 15:14) We need always to ask the Lord to direct our paths. Solomon said twice “There is a way which seems right to a man. But its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25) We dare not lean on our own understanding any more than we would allow a little child to play in the street, even though he thinks it is all right. GOD really does know what is best for us.

It is amazing how many people who consider themselves wise simply do not consider GOD’S way. They speculate as to whether or not Jesus was married, or what happens when we die and they honestly don’t know the answers. They aren’t aware that our Maker, the Creator of the Universe, has provided an instruction manual, the Bible, that has all the answers. If we want to know how to live wisely, we can go directly to the source and humbly ask GOD, as King David did in the Psalms, “Show me your ways O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach, For you are the God of my salvation.” (Psalm 25:4-5)

It is wonderful that the believer can communicate directly with GOD and ask Him anything by praying to Him. Sometimes the answer to the request is “No” and it isn’t easy to accept, just as children may not like being refused sweets even though they may not be good for them. However, there is one prayer that all believers can pray. The request that GOD has promised to fulfil is the believer’s request for wisdom. However there is one condition.

James, the servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ explains. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8) If we ask GOD to give us wisdom to walk in His ways He will say “Yes” to that prayer if we believe and do not doubt.

Many times Jesus said “Follow me.” What is it that we are doing when we are trying to follow Jesus? On one occasion, the disciple, Thomas, was confused and asked “Lord, we do not know where you are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:5-6) A few verses later Jesus said “If you love me keep my commandments” (John 14:15)

The apostle Paul gives encouragement when he tells us “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)

The prophet Micah tells us what the Lord requires of us. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

All who follow Jesus must choose their steps wisely and with humility, always trying to follow the path towards the promise of salvation revealed by GOD in His holy Word, the Bible.

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What will be the greatest wedding of all time?

Well it’s nearly here! The impending nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are only days away. What is it about a royal wedding that generates such excitement?  Is it simply that any wedding brings general cheer, and therefore this happiness is more widespread because the royal family are a historic part of the British nation?

Whatever the reason, many will be tuning in on Saturday to share in the viewing of this momentous marriage.  After all, weddings are a shared experience aren’t they?  The act of two people so in love they want to join themselves together for the rest of their lives, gladdens the hearts of those who know them.  Married or not, most of us feel that need to be loved so deeply, that we know we matter more to that one person than anyone else in the whole world.   And then to have that person willingly stand in front of others and profess that love and commitment must be one of the most uplifting experiences a person can have.

So where does marriage come from?  Well, the Bible sheds some light on it.  Back in the first book of the Bible, we learn,

‘…a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh’ Genesis 2:24

God established marriage early on, but it’s not only for the individual couples that we have this union. God uses it in the Bible to tell us of a forthcoming marriage, a royal marriage…

‘…Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’               Revelation 19:9

So whose wedding is this?  Well, the ‘lamb’ refers to Jesus.  He was sacrificed on the cross and he is referred to as a ‘lamb’ because lambs were used in the original sacrifices in the Old Testament.  By his death, Jesus removed the need to sacrifice animals as payment for sin, so he is the ‘lamb’ that ‘takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29). 

Jesus is also described as the bridegroom in other passages and his bride is the church.  That’s right: Jesus’ bride is his followers who are baptised into his name and try to be faithful to him in their lives.  The wedding supper to celebrate Jesus and the church coming together will happen when Jesus has returned to Earth to set up God’s Kingdom.   Just as a bride and groom will have their wedding breakfast and begin their lives living together, Jesus and the church of believers will live in God’s Kingdom on Earth forever more.  Jesus will be King and the church his bride.  It’s a wedding that all are invited to be actively part of, not as an onlooker but as a part-taker.  It will secure a believer in love eternally, with their bridegroom who has waited a long time to live with them.  It’s a marriage that won’t fail, can’t fail… and will bring everlasting happiness.

So we wish Harry and Meghan much happiness in their forthcoming union, but as for the marriage of Jesus and the church … that will be the greatest wedding of all time!

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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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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New hearts for old

Jesus tells us that the first and most important commandment of all is that we must “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30) so that our love for God should be obvious for all to see. Very few hearts are as filled with love for God as they should be. King Solomon observed “the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11)

What this world needs is a heart transplant operation. Today surgeons can take the heart from a dead person and cut out the diseased heart and transplant a healthy one. We marvel at what medical science can do, yet this operation is not new.God, speaking of Israel, says, “I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”(Ezekiel 36:26) Long before man ever thought of it, God promised to cut out a stony heart and transplant it with one capable of loving Him.

What kind of heart do we have? Do we need a change of heart? This is one operation which we can each perform for ourselves. God admonishes us saying, “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions; lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the LORD GOD so turn and live” (Ezekiel 18:31-32)

The world around us is dying of heart disease. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked and therefore it dies. Our only hope is to get a new heart, one filled with love for God. Paul, the apostle, tells us that if we believe in our heart that God raised Christ from the dead, we shall be saved, “For with the heart one believes and is justified…”(Romans 10:10). As a result, we are to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience …”(Hebrews 10:22)

Jesus, the great physician, tells us that “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”(Matthew 15:19) These are killing diseases. An operation is imperative to prevent death!

A new heart is our only hope. God says of His people, “I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return to me with their whole heart.”Jeremiah 24:7

If we will turn to God He will give us a new heart. The operation is guaranteed to be successful. Not only will we survive the operation but we will live forever. God says, “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruits of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:10)

 

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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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In the beginning God …

The writer of this blog reads the creation record in the first book of God’s Word, The Bible, Genesis chapter one: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) at the beginning of every New Year. These opening chapters reveal to us the order and grandeur of the record, and yet it is so worded that ordinary folk like you and II can understand it. However, creation is ridiculed by so many these days.

Scientists who believe in creation as set out in Genesis have looked at the facts of science and cannot line them up with evolution. Consider the following:

1. The origin of life is unknown to science. The Law of Biogenesis observes that life only comes from life. Louis Pasteur proved scientifically that life does not come from non-life.

2. Many animals possess sophisticated equipment. The radar system of bats, the sonar of whales and dolphins, the electro-detection system of the platypus etc. A complexity that could not possibly have been produced by chance.

3. While single-celled creatures are numerous, there are none with two, three, four or even twenty cells. Thus there is no evolutionary sequence from single-celled to multi -celled creatures.

4. All known species (several million) appear fully developed, with all vital organs operational. There are no part formed eyes, half developed intestines or evolving feathers.

5. The genetic code in each cell, in the DNA, if written out in detail, would require as many as 4,000 large volumes of closely printed text. This is no accident of nature.

6. The DNA helix in each cell requires twenty different proteins for its instruction. These specific proteins can only be produced under the direction of the information in the DNA.Ttherefore the whole complex system must have been informed complete from the beginning of life.

7. Symbiosis, the interdependence of two forms of life, such as the fig tree and the fig-gall wasp, the yucca plant and the pronuba moth, pollen plants and the bee, each dependant for life upon the other, must have been formed complete at the same time.

Many other facts of science could be advanced. The Scripture says: “I will praise thee (God) for I am fearfully and wonderfully made….” (Psalm 139:14). This, is, of course a miracle.

What do you think?

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