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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Loneliness

In spite of Facebook, Twitter and Skype, tools that help us to stay in touch with friends and relations, loneliness is one of the great evils of the 21st Century. This is particularly so for many elderly people. Some do not have any meaningful contact with others for weeks.

Yet God created us to be ‘social’ creatures, caring for one another. This is where Bible based Christianity can help. Take the creation of Eve for Adam.

imagesGod says “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). That ‘helper’ was Eve (v 20).

One of the main purposes of marriage is companionship, being like minded, particularly if both are Christians. Thus the Gospel brings the believers into fellowship with God and the Lord Jesus Christ. This unity gives a real meaning to life.

Jesus said “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

The spiritual mind finds outlets in helping others come to the Gospel, knowing that this life is a pilgrimage to the promised coming Kingdom of God.

Having established that there is a resurrection to everlasting life for the faithful Christian, the apostle Paul writes “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that, in the Lord, your labour is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58). The Christian’s work is ‘not in vain’. There is a time of peace and righteousness coming. The regular reading of the Bible and prayer will provide spiritual stimulation, comfort and peace of mind (please look at Philippians 4:6 – 9). We all appreciate the depths of loneliness a wife or husband feels when their beloved partner dies. But they know and are comforted because they know that they are “… heirs with you of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7), so that, by God’s grace, they will be together again when Jesus returns.

Christianity is about God’s plan for this life and the future. Paul wrote: ” …godliness (trying to be like God) is of value in every way as it holds the promise for the present life, and also for the life to come” (1Timothy 4:8). Our world, with all its problems, including loneliness, is comforted by God’s promise of eternal life in the Kingdom of God. What a prospect!

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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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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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Faith

“Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even because of the lack of evidence. Faith is not allowed to justify by argument.”

Excerpt taken from a speech by Prof Dawkins (1992), entitled Lions 10, Christians nil

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Faith in God is derived by reading, understanding and believing the Bible’s message. The apostle Paul wrote: “So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the Word of God”. (Romans 10:17)

Let us put this Biblical faith to the test, particularly the Old Testament. God has a purpose with the Jewish people. They have been dispersed throughout the world, as the Bible says (Deuteronomy 28:64-68) because of their waywardness. However, God promised and we are witnesses to the fact that they have returned to Israel, in fulfilment of Bible Prophecy. The prophet Ezekiel writes: “Thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the people from the nations among which they have gone and will gather them from all around, and bring them to their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all …” (Ezekiel 37:21,22)

Since 1948 the Jews have returned to their land and are now a prominent nation in the earth. We are seeing part of the above prophecy being fulfilled. Other prophecies indicated the following events happening just before the return of Jesus to the earth. For example:

  •  Jews in control of Jerusalem (Joel 3:1)
  • Jerusalem -source of international trouble (Zechariah  12:1 , 2)
  • Jewish nation prosperous (Ezekiel 38:12 ,13)
  • Arab nations and others trying to destroy Israel( Ezekiel 38:1, -12).

Remember, the Old Testament was written before Jesus was born!

I can get on a plane to Israel, journey to Jerusalem and note the hatred towards the Jews by some Arabs and see the prosperity of Israel. All these events prerecorded in a book which was written before the birth of Jesus!

These details are just a few of many that could be presented.

Shortly Jesus will be back to establish the Kingdom of God. What a shock for Dr Dawkins!

Will it be a shock for you? We all need to be getting ready for this world shattering event!

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*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. Our next public meeting will be held at 2.30pm on Sunday, in our hall, Foundry Road, Ammanford. All are welcome to attend!

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