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.

Please share and like this post:

Israel at 70

On Wednesday, April I8th, Israel celebrated 70 years of statehood.
In 1948 the new state’s population was 872,000. Today there are over 6.6 million Jews living in Israel, just under half of world Jewry.
No other post-colonial state has remained a democracy whilst granting its people a developed world standard.
GDP per capita, Israel ($40,762) is twenty third out of 193 states-just behind France and the United Kingdom!
Israel, in 1948, was an exporter of avocados and oranges.
Today she is second only to Silicon Valley, California, in the technical sector.
Israel has the world’s highest quota of engineers.
Israel has the most powerful military capability in the Middle East.
The whole country has become a listening post, and a constant source of intelligence for Western States.
T-shirts sold in tourist shops bear the slogan ‘Don’t worry, America: Israel’s got your back’!

What has this got to do with the Bible, you may ask?

Well, the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, their prosperity, their reliance on their own ability and not on God is a sign that JESUS IS COMING BACK . This nation is a wake up call for all who would serve God to prepare for this momentous event.

He is coming back to be their King.

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King coming to you … he shall speak peace to the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.” (Zechariah 9:9-10)

At his trial Jesus told Pilate, the Roman Governor of Israel, clearly that he was born to be King of Israel. “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate therefore said to him ‘Are you a king then? Jesus answered ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” (John 18:36-37)

To Mary, the mother of Jesus, the angel Gabriel said: “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God will give unto him the throne of His father (ancestor) David; And he will reign over the house of Jacob (the Jewish nation) for ever: and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”(Luke 1: 30-33)
The Jewish nation must be in Israel in order for this to happen. Jesus is a direct descendant of King David, who reigned in Jerusalem.

The return of the Jews is a sign of the times. God is at work among the nations. When Jesus reigns over the Jews in the Kingdom of God they will accept Jesus as their King. They will be a splendid example of godliness and, with the believers of all ages, will help bring about the time when “the earth will be filled with the glory of God.”

We must all get ready now to welcome King Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

(Quotes 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.

Please share and like this post:

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.

Please share and like this post:

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.

Please share and like this post:

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.

Please share and like this post:

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.

Please share and like this post:

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

Please share and like this post:

Another election!

This democracy business gets a bit tiring!

Yes, it does! But the election talked about in this blog post concerns really changing the world for ever by those who are true followers of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter when encouraging the believers wrote: “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practise these qualities [the Christian virtues of 2 Peter verses 5 -7] you will never fall. For in this way there will  be richly provided for you  an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10 -11).

The election that the followers of Jesus look forward to is to be with Jesus in his Kingdom, the Kingdom of God that will be established when He returns (2 Timothy 4:1). The Bible clearly teaches that true believers of God and Jesus will become rulers the Kingdom!

The prophet Daniel said “the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High …” (Daniel 7:27, see also verse 22).

Jesus promises that the believers will be part of his rulership team (Revelation 3:21, see also 2: 26 and 27). The Apostle Paul wrote: “… if we endure, we shall also reign with him [Jesus]” (2 Timothy 2:12). Jesus even promised that the 12 faithful disciples would assist him in ruling over Israel when he is their King (Matthew 19:27 to 30).

The manifesto of that Kingdom?

The principles are set out in the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew chapters 5-7) and other Scriptures. These rulers will have, during their lifetime, tried to follow the teaching of Jesus and so, when Jesus sets up His Kingdom, will be given an incorruptible body (I Corinthians 15:50 – 54, Philippians 3:20 – 21) and with perfect wisdom and judgement they will help to put this wrong world right for God.

Wow! What a hope! Remember the Bible predicted both the mess we are in now (Luke 21:25 to 26) and the wonderful time when Jesus will again be in the earth (Psalm72), so that there will be “glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace and goodwill amongst man”.

Will you strive to make your election sure?

*Quotes 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.

Please share and like this post:

When Terror Strikes

Sadly, another terrorist attack in the UK, the terrible slaughter of those young people and their parents in Manchester, both young and older lives tragically cut short. Even as we write this blog, similar atrocities are occurring daily in such countries as Syria, Iraq and Yemen, as well as in far away countries we do not often hear about in our media. Why are people killed in such terrible and random acts?

During His ministry, Jesus was approached by a group of people who described a recent tragic event. “There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he (Jesus) answered them, Do you think that these Galileans  were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No I tell you, but, unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you: but, unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1 – 5)

Do you get the point Jesus is making?  We know we all will die. As the saying goes ‘ There is nothing more certain than death and as uncertain as life’. The vital thing that what we must do is “repent” whilst we have the opportunity. Constantly, in the Bible, God’s Word, the urgent message is to do today what Jesus requires of us  ” Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”(Acts 2:38). We must give attention to the Word of God.

Jesus warned his disciples not to be anxious about tomorrow but to seek today the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33 – 34). The Apostle Paul warned believers not to be like Israel of his day, hardened in their hearts “Take care, brothers lest there be in any of you an evil unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort (encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called “today” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”(Acts 2:12-13) The Psalmist, so aware of the frailty of life wrote “My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day for their number is past (beyond) my knowledge” (Psalm 71:15).

Living spiritually on a daily basis is what is required by God. If we try as hard as we can to follow God and Jesus even if we are cut down suddenly by a tragic event or illness, God invites us, by His grace, to share in His wonderful Kingdom here on earth when He will raise us from the dead.

World events indicate that Christ’s second coming is near.

Quotes taken from the ESV

TODAY IS THE DAY OF OPPORTUNITY!

screen-shot-2017-05-31-at-13-44-47

 

To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

Please share and like this post:

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)

 

Please share and like this post: