Life is a Gift from God

As I write this, around 210,000 people have died worldwide as a result of the coronavirus. Many people find it difficult or impossible to believe that a loving God can exist when something like this happens. Why wouldn’t he do something about it?


As a Christian I see life as a gift from God.
Today we tend to think that life is a right, something which we are entitled to simply by virtue of being human and which nobody has the right to take away from us.
This can lead us to believe, even if only subconsciously, that God is somehow obliged to preserve our lives and keep pain and death away from us.


As I see it, he isn’t obliged to do any of those things. He gave us life as a gift, one which we do not deserve and which is given on his terms, not ours.
Nowhere in the Bible does God promise that human life will be easy or free from pain and suffering. Not even to Christians does he promise that. In fact, he warns that becoming a Christian may actually lead to life becoming more difficult than it was before.


“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have
become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is Godbreathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:12–17)

Here Paul describes the two priorities for a Christian’s life.
First, to receive “training in righteousness” by learning from God’s message and from the example of Jesus and other Christians how we ought to live, so we can be ready for “every good work”.
Second, to accept that happiness and comfort in this life is not our goal. What is? “Salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”.


What does that mean? It means that a Christian’s hope lies in the world to come after Jesus returns from heaven, not this one.
For a Christian, this life is really a time of preparation for the day when they meet Jesus. How we respond to the pain and suffering in our lives, and in the lives of others, will shape our character and determine the person Jesus sees in
us when that day comes.


At a time in his life when it looked likely that he might die, Paul wrote:
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” (Philippians 1:21–24)


For a Christian, life is an opportunity to prepare oneself to meet Jesus and to help others do the same, and death is simply the last waking moment before we meet him.
Suppose you were to be given a trial or probationary period by an employer with the promise that after a certain period of time your performance would be reviewed to determine if you were to be offered a permanent position within the organisation. While this isn’t a perfect analogy (Christians don’t earn eternal life from Jesus through good performance!) it does illustrate that the life we have now is only a temporary time of testing which will (and should) inevitably come to an end.

God gives us this life as a gift, but that gift comes with certain responsibilities and instructions on how it ought to be lived. It isn’t for us to do whatever we like with and indulge ourselves. God is perfectly entitled to take it away again if we haven’t used it responsibly or if we’ve ignored his instructions.
Moreover, God isn’t being unjust or unkind to take away this life if he has an even better one to offer.


But where do our priorities lie?

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Coronavirus, a message from God – are you ready to listen?

In what feels like the blink of an eye, the world as we know it has changed. It is no longer a place of relative safety, where we luxuriate in comfort, routine and excess, but it has all too quickly become a perilous place, where men’s hearts are failing them for fear.

Mankind has come to recognise that we cannot control world events. Day by day each news report brings another tidal wave of uncertainty. Leaders of countries are changing policies as quickly as they made them. Hospitals, banks, businesses, shops and families are struggling to keep up with events.

In amongst the chaos, we begin to wonder, will we ever find the calm?

Perhaps we ought to use this time of isolation to stop, reflect and search for the answers from a power greater than ourselves.

In the Bible, God tells us “that in the last days perilous times will come.” Are we not certainly living in perilous times? The chapter carries on to tell us, “For men shall be lovers of themselves, lovers of money and boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving unforgiving, slanders, without self control, brutal, dispisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3 v 1-4)
All this is sadly true of the world around us.

God made a promise to King Solomon, that he would always be with him, but only as long as Solomon walked in the ways of the Lord, “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send an epidemic among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7 v 13-14)


So we may ask ourselves what is the answer for us today?

The Bible in the book of Ecclesiasties gives us the answer, it is very simple: “Fear God and keep His commandments.” (Ecclesiastes 12 v 13) This is all God has ever asked for, it’s quite simple really, but for thousands of years people have turned their back on Him.

We are getting close to the time when He will send His son back to the earth. In the book of Matthew  we are told, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24 v 29-30)

What does that mean for you?

Don’t stress about what tomorrow will bring, as Jesus tells us in Matthew, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” Tomorrow is another day, worrying about it will not change things. Rather turn to God and seek his coming kingdom, when goodness and mercy will prevail,”Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? … For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6 v 31-34)

If we do this we have nothing to fear.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

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Please Wash your Hands!

The threat of catching Coronavirus has made us all aware of the importance of washing our hands. Every time we listen to the news or read a newspaper we are reminded of the importance of making sure we wash them thoroughly.

The washing of hands is not a new idea. In the last century one in four pregnant mothers who entered hospital died from some form of infection. Philip Ignaz Semmelweis , an obstetrician, had a death rate of only eight women in a thousand. That was less than 1% !! What was the secret ? It was very simple. Dr Semmelweis washed his hands! In the 19th century doctors often went from the mortuary or from the dissecting room straight back to their rounds of the hospital wards. They hardly stopped to wipe their hands on their already soiled aprons. Dr Semmelweis had realised that doctors were spreading the disease from the infected patients to the healthy ones.

But the washing of hands and personal hygiene was stressed 3,500 years previously in the Law given by God to Moses in the Old Testament of the Bible.

Here are just two examples.

Preventing the Spread of Infection.

A man or woman who had a bodily discharge was considered unclean until investigation by the Priest.

Their bed and anyone who touched the bed or touched them were considered unclean . Moses writes: “Anyone the man with a discharge touches without rinsing his hands with water must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening”

Leviticus 15:2-11

This is just one illustration of many cases of treating infection.

Isolation and Quarantine.

People are being advised to stay at home if there is likelihood that they may have been in contact with anyone who may be able to pass on Coronavirus The Law of Moses states “ When anyone has …. an infectious skin disease , he must be brought to… a priest…. the priest is to put the infected person in isolation for seven days. On the seventh day the priest is to examine him, and if…. unchanged…… he is to keep him in isolation another seven days”

Leviticus 13:2-8, 46

Once pronounced clean the man had to “wash his clothes, shave off his hair and bathe in water..

Leviticus 14:8-9

How did the people of Israel know about these vital matters? Because God told them and Moses reminded them to obey what God had commanded them. (Deuteronomy 4:5-9).

Do keep washing your hands to help to combat this new virus! Meanwhile we must remember that the God of the Bible knows about the problems we all face. When Jesus returns to establish his Father’s Kingdom those who have made God’s Laws rule in their hearts will be invited by him to share in the perfect and everlasting health of his reign.

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The Amazing Gift at the Heart of Christmas

Our families, if we are fortunate enough to have them, are a special part of our celebrations at this time of year. We look forward to gathering together to catch up with those we rarely see. We enjoy our Christmas dinner and  exchanging presents. It’s a time when we can all get caught up in the hype that starts months before in September. Our supermarkets tempt us with cut price offers of boxes of sweets, biscuits and chocolates. Christmas puddings, cakes and mince pies make their appearance by early October! We look forward to giving and receiving gifts.

How many people in our increasingly Godless and materialistic  society will spare a thought for the birth of Jesus, the Christ (Messiah), in Bethlehem? Almighty God, in His love for humankind, sent us all a marvellous present, the gift of His Only Son, the pathway to salvation for those who trust in Jesus and in God, his Father.

The story is simple. God chose Mary, a virgin, to be the mother of His beloved Son. The angel Gabriel was sent to tell Mary. “ And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary,  for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” … The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God.” (Luke 1:30-33,35)

And so Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city of his ancestor King David, as foretold by the prophet Micah so many years before. “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel …” (Micah 5:2)

Why was the Son of the Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth, born in such poor and humble surroundings? This humble birth sends an amazing message to us all. The All Powerful God chose to give us the gift of His Only Beloved Son Jesus, our Saviour and King, born as one of us, to reveal God’s character and His plan of salvation. Jesus told  his disciple Philip “… he who has seen me has seen the Father …” (John 14:9)

The baby born in Bethlehem resisted sin all his life. Jesus lived a perfect sinless life  He is our Saviour and High Priest who, by his death, is the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all who would try to follow his example. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that “… we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

So, as we look forward to Christmas, we must always remember why Jesus was born and give our grateful thanks to God for His Gift, Jesus the Saviour, who is described by the apostle Paul as “God’s unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 2:15)

Quotes ESV

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Has God forgotten me?

Have we ever felt as if God may have forgotten us? It often happens when we go through a time of trouble that seems to lengthen the longer we put up with it. At those times it seems as if prayers are no longer answered, and positive spiritual thoughts seem to evaporate before they have even been spoken.

When God afflicted his people Israel, they thought he had forgotten them. God reassured them with these words (Isaiah 49: 14-16) “But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me, the LORD has forgotten me.’ Can a mother forget the her nursing child that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you! Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands …” God will never forget his people Israel, and nor will he forget us.

The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews encouraged the believers “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He (God) has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Take the example of parents of an adopted child who has gone off the rails. Though he is not their flesh and blood, they still think of him, pray for him, visit him in prison and talk about him. As part of their family, they will never forget him. How much more is that with God?

Those who have been baptised into the saving name of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who try to follow God’s Law, even though they fail at times, are God’s sons and daughters by adoption. (Galatians 3:26-29) “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For as many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ … And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.”

We can never fail to be reminded of important things by marks we see every day on our hands. As children of God, He does not need to be reminded of us. We are written, like the children of Israel, on His hands. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us however hard our lives may be at times.


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 Third Commandment

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”
(Exodus 20:7)

Many people in UK have heard of the Ten Commandments we find in the Bible. Some of these commandments still remain a basis for many of the laws in this country. “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15) “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” (Exodus 20:16)

But what about the 3rd Commandment? What does it mean? “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.”
Put very simply it means that God is asking people not to use His Name in a familiar or derogatory way. God tells us plainly that, if we do, we are guilty of causing offence to Him. The LORD wants us to realise that He is our Creator and, because He is, He expects men and women to respect Him.

For those who say that they believe in the God of the Bible and in His Son, Jesus Christ, this command is very important to remember.

We live in a society that has, for the most part, sidelined God and His Son and the laws that they have laid down.

Every day we hear the name of God and His Son used as swear words on our TV and radio programmes. They are misused in books and newspapers. People use them as swear words or as expressions of exasperation and annoyance. It is common to hear very young children misusing God’s name. Celebrities seem to think it makes them look “cool” to swear and blaspheme.

If we profess to follow God and Jesus we must try to show that we do by never ever using their names in this way. We are advised to put away
“… obscene talk from your mouth” (Colossians 3:8). Surely the most obscene talk for believers of God and His Son must be to take their names in vain.

Quotes 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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Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

With January nearly over how are our resolutions holding up?

While we might be concentrating on getting fit and losing some extra weight, are we taking care of our mind?

“For bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4v8

Keeping our mind healthy and positive can help us when dealing with life’s troubles. It can help us move forward and concentrate on those things which are good and true.

God helps us with this and encourages us to keep our minds fixed on him and the great love that he shows us.

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3v2

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3v5

God teaches us that by not getting ourselves tangled up in this world and all its values we can be transformed.

“Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12v2

If we put our trust in God he will strengthen and help us.

“Casting all your care upon God, for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5v7

“God giveth strength to the weary and to them that have no might he increases strength.” Isaiah 40v29

“The Lord is my strength and shield, my heart trusts in him and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoices and with my song I will Praise him.” Psalm 28v7

By having God as our guide we can think on the positive things of life.

“Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praise worthy – think on those things.” Philippians 4v8

Quotes King James Version

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The King born in a Manger

“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,

The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.

The stars in the bright sky looked down where He lay,

The little Lord Jesus, asleep in the hay.”

Many of us will remember singing this carol at school Nativity performances.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born in Bethlehem. Mary, a virgin, was chosen by God (Luke 1:26-33) to be his Mother, (verse 32, “and behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus”). Mary wrapped Jesus in cloths and laid Him in an animal feeding trough, a manger. (Luke 2:7)

As soon as Adam and Eve had sinned in the Garden of Eden, God had promised that He would provide a Saviour who would triumph over sin and death. (Genesis 3:15) Many centuries later the prophet Micah foretold the birth of Christ. “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel …” (Micah 5:2) This prophecy was fulfilled when Mary and Joseph, Mary’s future husband, had to travel to Bethlehem because Caesar Augustus ordered that all the Roman world should be registered. (Luke 2:1) And so Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem was crowded when Mary and Joseph arrived. There was no room at the inn. Tradition presumes that the inn was a hotel. The Greek word translated “inn” (kataluma) could be translated “guest room”. It may be that Jesus may not have been born in a stable but in a room beneath a house that was a night time shelter for the owner’s animals. Luke tells us that angels told shepherds of His birth and they ran to find him. “And the angel said to them, for unto you is born this day in the city of David (Bethlehem) a Saviour who is Christ the Lord … you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:11-12)

Why was the Son of the Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth, born in such poor and humble surroundings? This humble birth sends an amazing message to us all. The All Powerful God chose to send His Only Son Jesus, our Saviour and King, as one of us, to reveal God’s character and His plan of salvation. Jesus told Philip “… he who has seen me has seen the Father …” (John 14:9)

God has promised all who truly believe that Jesus was born to be our Saviour that He will send Jesus to this earth again. This time He will come, not as Son of Man, but as the triumphant Son of God. He will be the immortal king who will set up His Father’s everlasting Kingdom on earth and reign in righteousness. Those who have believed and followed the laws of God and the teaching of His Beloved Son will be granted everlasting life.

The Ammanford Christadelphians warmly invite everyone to join us at 6pm on Sunday 23rd December to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with a special celebration entitled, “Follow the Star”.

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Loneliness at Christmas

December is almost here and the shops have been promoting Christmas since mid October! It is also appearing in adverts in newspapers, magazines, online and TV.

For most of us it is a happy time spent with families and friends but for some it is the loneliest time of the year. They live alone. Their loved ones may have died or are living far away. They remember the years gone by when they were surrounded by so many who loved them. Most of us can’t imagine being so isolated and unhappy.

We know, of course, that everyone struggles with loneliness at some point, even in the midst of a crowd.

The problem is so prominent in our society that the Government is proposing the setting up a Minister and a team to see what can be done.

The Bible, God’s Word, can provide hope and strength if we are prepared to let its message filter into our thinking. Please think about the positive flow of thought that comes from the Bible passages listed below. They are just a few of many.

King David wrote: “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8)

“O Lord, all my longing is before you ; my sighing is not hidden from you.” (Psalm 38:9)

“He (God) heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)

Jesus, God’s beloved Son, appealed to the people: “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 will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

The apostle Paul wrote: “ Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Peter, Jesus’ disciple, also adds to the message:” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

So David, Jesus, Paul and Peter, although at times feeling lonely, found their solace and comfort in God, knowing that His purpose with them would be fulfilled . The power of meditating on the Word of God, prayer and actively applying God’s principles in their lives provided the stimulus to keep going. We, with them can look forward to the promise of God’s Kingdom on this earth (Hebrews 11 to 12:1 and 2) and in that Kingdom feelings and experience of loneliness will be a thing of the past.

May those of us who are blessed with families and friends and looking forward to their company this Christmas spare a thought for the lonely and, if we can, invite them to share our happiness.

All quotes from English Standard 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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Our Favourite Verses

The blog this week is made up of 4 of our favourite verses. It is amazing to see how the Bible message from creation to salvation shines through!


Psalm 95 v 4–5
“In his hand are the deep places of the earth; the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it
; and his hands formed the dry land.”

To anyone who looks at the world and sees the stunning snow topped mountains, lush beautiful coasts and majestic forests and fails to see the Maker at work needs to take a closer look. All these amazing sights could not happen by chance. Everywhere you look all these things have been created. Come rain, snow or shine we are very blessed with such a beautiful land to live in, Everywhere we look we can see the Maker’s work. It really should make us stop and think how awesome his wonderful creation is!


Choosing a favourite is very tricky as it all depends on the mood I am in, so for this reason I tend to lean towards this one.

Philippians 4 v 4–7
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


Acts 1 v 11
Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

I love this verse – I can remember it! It’s such a straightforward verse. If you honour God’s word and take it at its face value, it’s so valuable. It is solid and concrete, providing hope of the Lord Jesus’ return and so gives comfort when life’s grim realities could pull one down.


This is a favourite verse of mine as this world can be tough, so to keep myself upbeat and cheerful I like to concentrate my mind on the things that God has in store for us.

Habakkuk 2v14
“For the Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.”


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

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