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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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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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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God’s Promises

How important it is that a promise should be kept! If someone breaks a promise to us, we feel disappointed and hurt. We are less trusting when more promises are made. We remember the past, and we wonder. When promises are kept we trust that future promises will also be kept.

Gods Promises

Has God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, made promises to mankind? Why would He do such a thing? What would He promise? “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?” (Numbers 23:9) Yes, God has made promises to us. He wants us to feel joy and love, to feel special, and to trust Him.

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An amazing chain of God’s promises to mankind runs from the beginning of time to our day, and can include us! God’s purpose from the beginning was that He would offer us salvation through Jesus. Since God’s intention of giving us eternal life was from the beginning of time, it is unlikely that He would be silent about it during His dealings with people recorded in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is full of prophecies and promises which give details of this plan. The writer of the book of Acts wrote, “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10:43)

The apostle Paul refers to promises

He wrote that he was a servant and an apostle (student as well as inspired teacher) of “a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” (Titus 1:2-3) Paul, a zealous Jew, knew his Old Testament very well, and so he was aware of the promises made by God to his ancestors. In self-defence before Caesar’s court he says, “It is because of my hope in what God has promised our (Jewish) fathers that I am on trial today.” To the believers in Ephesus, Paul wrote that prior to belief and baptism into Christ they were “separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God.”(Acts 26:6)

What are the promises to which Paul refers?

Adam and Eve died because they broke God’s command. But a promise of hope was also given. God would provide a “seed” – a son (Jesus) – who would suffer because of sin but deal a death blow to sin and death.(Genesis 3:15) A righteous man named Abraham was promised a land and a son, and many descendants, even though, at the time of the promise, Abraham and his wife were nomads, childless, and old. God told him that all the nations would be blessed because of his seed (Jesus). (Genesis 12:13 and 22) God repeated the promises to Abraham’s son Isaac and grandson Jacob and to the nation of Israel (Psalm 105:8-10) We can be involved! In the New Testament Paul wrote to the Christians in Galatia, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus…If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”(Galatians 3:26-29)He told them it didn’t matter if they were Greek or Jew, man or woman, slave or free. If they had been baptised into Christ, they had become part of Christ’s family and could inherit the promise as the sons of Abraham and of God.

 

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Promise to David

About 1,000 years after Abraham lived, Israel had a king named David. God loved David, and David loved God. God made a promise to David that one of his line, a son, would sit on David’s throne and rule from Jerusalem forever.(2 Samuel 7) Over the centuries, the Jews had remembered this promise and looked for a “Messiah” or “anointed one” (a king) who would provide this leadership. That is why the New Testament often refers to Jesus as the “Son of David.”(Matthew 21:9)

Jesus at first rejected

Jesus knew that his teachings, his miracles, even his resurrection would not convince some people of his identity. He said, “If they don’t listen to Moses or the prophets (which refers to the Old Testament), they will not be convinced even if someone rise from the dead.”(Luke16:21) After his resurrection, Jesus talked to two men on a road outside Jerusalem about all the events of the past week — his entry into Jerusalem, his trial, crucifixion and resurrection. “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”(Luke 24:25-27) Jesus emphasised that the entire Old Testament spoke of him. The disciples knew the Old Testament. They just had not understood the real message about Jesus.

It can be the same for people today. We can know about the stories and teachings of the Old Testament, but if we don’t see the message of Christ and the Kingdom of God in it we are missing its point. We should be very grateful to have the New Testament because it helps us to understand the importance of the Old Testament. Luke, who wrote the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles recorded the preaching of Paul, “The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath…We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus…Therefore, my brothers, (sons and daughters) I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you…Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.”(Acts 13:27-41)

The promises are being fulfilled

The promise of a son has been fulfilled in Jesus. The promise of a land has been partially fulfilled. Israel became a nation again in 1948 after almost 2,000 years, and Jerusalem is now Israel’s capital. The promise of a righteous King and Priest ruling and leading worship forever from Jerusalem is still to be fulfilled.(Isaiah 9:6-7) The New Testament, especially the Book of Hebrews, teaches that these promises will be fulfilled forever in Jesus, who will be both Priest and King, ruling over His Father’s Kingdom on this earth. These promises are what make up the true Christian hope. Christians and the Covenants The Old Covenant, made between God and the Jews, helps us to understand the New Covenant made between Jesus and his followers. Now we can be “…a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” the way God wanted the original Jewish nation to be, setting an example for the rest of the world and glorifying God.(1Peter 2:9) We can become true heirs of God by our desire and willingness to be “adopted” into His family. All God asks of His people is belief and trust that He will deliver His Promises We are told that “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”(Isaiah 9:6-7) The prophet Isaiah was reminding himself and Israel that God upholds those who believe Him and obey His laws. We need to know the promises He has made, find out what our part of the bargain must be, and lay hold of Him, joyfully. Again, Luke talks to us. “When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honoured the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.”(Acts13:48)

 

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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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The Weather

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The British weather is a constant topic of conversation! In spite of the very sophisticated equipment available to forecasters today the forecasts are often wrong. Many do not really appreciate how bad or unseasonable weather can affect horticulture and farming and even the retail trade.

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Jesus passed judgment upon the leaders of Israel when they asked him for a sign from heaven (Matthew 16:1)”He (Jesus) answered them, “When it is evening, you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.” And in the morning, “It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening”. You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”(Matthew 16: 2 – 3). We have a similar saying “Red sky at night shepherds’ delight, red sky in the morning shepherds’ warning!” Israel’s leaders’ tragedy was that they were aware of “signs” in the sky but did not recognise the signs of the times, namely that their Messiah, their Saviour, had arrived and was talking to them! Jesus had come, in fulfilment of their Scripture, the Old Testament.( read, for example, Micah 5:2. There are many other prophecies of the coming of Jesus, the Messiah.)

 

Now, in our day, the signs of the times point to the imminent Second Coming of Jesus from Heaven to establish God’s Kingdom on earth.(Ezekiel 37: 21, Luke 21:25-36) Sadly these signs are not known to most of our contemporaries.

The Old Testament makes clear that God controls the weather. If the nation of Israel refused to worship Him, their land would suffer; “And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron. The Lord will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you, until you are destroyed. (Deut 28: 23 – 24). In the book of Judges we read of the wickedness of Israel. Because of this a famine plagued the land (Ruth 1:1) so that families in Israel journeyed to Moab to escape hunger.

We can find many events in history where the weather has played a deciding role, the defeat of the Persian fleet by the Greek navy, the retreat of Napoleon and his troops from Russia and so on. God is in control and many of these happenings can be shown to fulfil Bible Prophecy. God does not only control the weather and climate change. In His good time He will send Jesus back to sweep away the chaos of human rule and establish a time of peace, and true prosperity for all (read Psalm 72).

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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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Say it as it is!

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We sometimes pretend that something is different from what it really is and hope that somehow it will become what we have called it. For example a small boy wants a horse. He finds a broomstick and straddles it and calls it a horse and, to him, it becomes a horse. We are wise if we confine this to childhood and with the Apostle Paul say, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” 1 Corinthians 13:11

Do we, sometimes, permit this child’s play to persist into adulthood?

These days our laws have made progress in making sure that the products we buy are clearly labelled. The manufacturer must list all the components of the product. If a jumper is made purely of wool, the label must tell us, but if it isn’t the label lists all the yarns used.

When it comes to worshipping God, we must be accurate and call things by their true names. So often we hear that every man has a right to worship God as he pleases. However, just saying this does not make it so. Man has a right to worship God only in the way God Himself has appointed. To say that we are free to worship God as we see fit is not true, just as if our saying that the broomstick is a horse actually turns it into a horse!

Jesus Christ told the religious leaders of His day, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honours me with their lips but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” Mark 7:6-7

God’s promise of salvation lies in calling things by their true names. We have to read the Bible as it was written, “…Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes by someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man; but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1: 20-21

We are not free to worship God as we see fit. We must worship Him as He has commanded. To find His commands, we must go to our Bibles with our minds ready to accept His teachings as they are written. To impose our private interpretations on God’s Holy Word, the Bible or to allow someone else to read it and tell us what to believe is disastrous. We must never replace Bible teaching with the doctrines of men.

When it comes to something as important as our eternal welfare, let us put away childish ideas and call things by their true names. Certainly we do not want to be found in the position of those who were condemned by Jesus when he said, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? ……for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.” Matthew 15:3, 6

So, let us worship God, not as we see fit but as He commanded us. Let us search the Scriptures daily so that we will be numbered among those “…who feared the Lord and spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed His name. They shall be mine, says the Lord of Hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession and I will spare them, as a man spares his son who serves him.” Malachi 3:16-17

*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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