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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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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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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Jerusalem!

In 1995 the United States Congress passed a law concerning the removal of the U.S Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The President has control of this law. It contains a waive provision “safety valve” that allows any President to delay the removal of the Embassy every six months because of security factors.

So from 1995 every US President has exercised this waiver, and thus delaying the re-siting of the US embassy to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. Most world powers do not recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. During the seventy years of Israel’s history, the status of Jerusalem has been the central issue of contention!

However, very recently, President Trump did not sign the waver provision. The U.S. now regards Jerusalem as the legitimate Capital of Israel. Why is this important to those who trust God’s Word, the Bible?

Jerusalem is to be the Capital of the nation of Israel, an Israel that acknowledges the Lord Jesus Christ as their King Messiah and King of the World when He returns.

Jesus said that Jerusalem is “… The city of the great King.” (Matt 5:35)

Peace and harmony amongst the nations will be experienced when Jesus reigns from that city. (Isaiah 2:1 to 5) Verse 3 “… For out of Zion shall go the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem 4.He shall judge between the nations … and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

Godly worship, joy and a strong desire to serve God will be revealed in Jerusalem. (Zechariah 8)

Israel will be the joy of all nations! (Isaiah 60 – please read the whole chapter.)

However, before this wonderful time comes the Bible prophesies that Jerusalem would be a great source of trouble to the nations. The prophet Zechariah wrote: “Behold I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burden-some stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12: 2-3, see also Joel 3.)

We are seeing today the anger expressed by many nations about Israel and Jerusalem. The invasion of Israel by many nations is clearly prophesied in the Bible. (See Ezekiel 38.)

However, Jesus will return in power to remove this invading force, and establish a glorious time of harmony and peace on this planet. We must watch events unfolding in Jerusalem and pray for the return of the Lord Jesus from heaven.

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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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