God’s Honours List

Once again  the Queen’s Birthday Honours List has been published. No doubt many of those so honoured deserve to be publically praised and rewarded. But do you know that in the New Testament there is an Honours List of men and women who faithfully served God? This list is found in Hebrews  11. Please do read the whole chapter.

Here we have a history of Godly folk who are mentioned in the Old Testament,  people who have not yet received their prize! For the writer says: “And these all (those in the chapter) having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. (Hebrews 11:39-40). The prize for those in the Old Testament list, which includes many who are not named, (see verses 32-38), will be awarded when those of New Testament times and we ourselves, by God’s grace, stand before the righteous judge, the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 4:1 and 8). The dominant word in Hebrews 11 is faith. “By faith” they lived their lives acording to God’s imstructions. We are told in the Bible how faith is obtained: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). In God’s Honours List, those who are motivated by His Word, the Bible, to live lives which give him pleasure  will eventually receive God’s prize. They all looked forward in faith to the Kingdom of God. (see Hebrews 11:13-16) They were so motivated by the vision of that time that it changed their attitude and lifestyle. They were happy to confess that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth (see verse 13).

But the day is coming, and signs in the world indicate that it is near, when God’s citizens will receive their reward. Not a title or letters after their names. Those on the list will experience everlasting life in a planet renewed by the judgements and the mercy of God. As the apostle Paul wrote: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able to subdue all things to Himself” (Phillippians 3:20-21).

How can one compare the honour bestowed by the Queen, to that offered by God through the Lord Jesus Christ?

May we all strive to be on God’s Honours List!

*Quotes NKJV

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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)

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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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WHAT ON EARTH IS HAPPENING?

musclce-confusion-workouts

The speed of events worldwide is breathtaking! These are just a sample.

* Brexit has totally transformed the political landscape in the UK. In days there was a new Prime Minister and Cabinet. This change has huge consequences for Britain and Europe.

* According to the US National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration this June was the hottest ever recorded worldwide and the 14th consecutive month that global heat records were broken.

* We have witnessed Islamic terror attacks in Europe.

* The refugee and economic migration crisis is destabilising Europe.

* Aleppo is Syria’s largest city – 300,000 residents are facing barrel bombing by Syrian forces.

* President Putin has signed an anti-terror law which includes the banning of many activities by Christians such as emailed invitations for friends to attend church services.

* Because of intimidation worldwide, particularly in France, large numbers of Jews are moving to Israel.

The list goes on! Where can we find the solution to our world’s horrific problems?

God’s revealed Word, The Bible, has the answer.

The prophecy of Habakkuk in the Old Testament opens with the prophet complaining to God about the evils of that society – Habakkuk 1: 1 – 4. God then warns him of greater problems to come – Habakkuk 1:5 -12. God advises Habakkuk to place his faith in Him – Habakkuk 2: 1-4, that one day “… the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” Habakkuk2:14.

God then tells the prophet in a vision, Habakkuk 3, of the day when God will intervene in the earth and will establish that “glory”.

Having received this vision and having believed in what God had promised, Habakkuk accepted that horrific events were to happen in his own life time. Nevertheless he looked forward in faith to the time God has promised and writes “ yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God the LORD is my strength…”Habakkuk 3:18-19.

Are we like Habakkuk? Shall we see the “glory of the LORD” when Jesus returns? Just like Habakkuk we need the spectacles of faith to see beyond the horrors of the present time. How do we obtain faith? “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” Romans 10:17.

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Quotes taken from the KJV and 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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