Be strong and of good courage

We are all afraid at times, it is a fact of human experience. But we should not to be ashamed when it occurs, because we all have fears, worries, concerns, which change as we pass through life. Some of our fears are “private”, known only to oneself, and some are evident for all to see.

As children we might fear the dark; being left alone by our parents; not being liked by other children; and a multitude of other small problems which appear as enormous in a child’s mind.

As we grow up there is the typical fear of not succeeding at school, and of having to “stand up and be counted” when we are resolved to stand against the permissiveness and evil of our present world.

Husbands, have particular worries concerning making a success of their work and looking after their children. Wives, might be concerned about family problems, and both partners might well be concerned about their children, their education, their friends, and the influence the present evil age might have upon them.

The older we are, the more we fear increasing ill-health, the pain and suffering, trials and loneliness, or loss of independence, that might come with increasing age.

But God, who knows our weaknesses, gives us reassurance, if we align our lives with His, and seek to do His will, instead of being on our own, He says “… I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews:13v5

Jesus was once asked by his disciples to forecast the events that would lead up to his return to the earth from heaven.

He foretold precisely what has happened in the intervening years since then, wars, famines, earthquakes and illnesses, would increase as things got progressively worse, ultimately Jesus said people would be terrified for the future.

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke:21v25-28

How well those words describe the days in which we now live, giving assurance to Bible Students that Jesus’ return cannot be far away.

But notice also, how these two things are brought together in the passage above:

1. When people in general are distressed by the things that are coming, when they say among themselves “Whatever next?”

2. the believer need have no fear for the future.

Because, the believer who has prepared his or her life for what is coming next – the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth – knows that Christ is coming to redeem and rescue those who are his, and to reward them with righteousness and immortality for faithful service, and an abiding place in God’s Kingdom that Jesus is to establish upon the earth.

No wonder then that Jesus bids them, “Look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

So when Jesus tells his faithful servants to, “Be not afraid” he gives them a positive message as well, to be firm and resolute in his service, because  whether they are alive or dead at his return, they are all assured of a reward for faithful service, as the words of 1 Thessalonians tell us, and they were to be comforted and edified by these words.

“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words …
For God did not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thessalonians4:15-18; 5:9-11.

Quotations from The New King James Bible

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Engaging Children with The Bible

In the Bible we read what God and Jesus say about teaching children.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. And these are the words I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up”. Deuteronomy 6 v 5-7

‘Then the little children were brought to Him (Jesus) that he might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven”. And He laid His hands on them, and departed from there’. Matthew 19 v13-15

The Bible is for everyone no matter what their age, however sometimes it can be difficult as a parent, grandparent or Sunday school teacher to engage children with God’s word. We want them to fall in love with the Bible like we have and want them to learn more about God and His plan for us.

To do this sometimes we have to think a little bit differently, to find a way that it will relate to them and the things they like doing. We all learn in different ways so in order to make the Bible engaging for children we need to find a way that it will really engage them.

From young babies, singing songs and simple Bible stories books especially those with animals is a great way to start teaching them about the Bible.

For children sometimes just reading through passages of scripture doesn’t excite them, so it can be good to pick topics or themes that are of interest to your children. If your child likes super heroes, then look at heroes in the Bible, even looking at the villains in the Bible can be fun providing many lessons for them.

If your child likes acting you could try getting them to put together their own little plays about parts of the Bible you have been reading together.

Bible journaling is also a great way to engage children, especially those who love drawing or painting, it doesn’t need to be fancy it can be as simple, like after reading a passage together, ask them to draw something about what was read. They could even write out and illustrate a favourite verse.

Music is another great way to get them to enjoy God’s word, singing songs or making their own songs relating to something that has been read.

Anything that makes it fun for your children. It doesn’t have to be particularly structured, it may just be making a point of talking about a Bible story or verse as they play, when out for a walk or over a meal. Having biblical songs and hymns playing in your house, may spark your children to ask questions.

If your children are older get them involved by asking them what part of the Bible they would like to read or study. This may help them to take ownership of what you are doing and to be invested in it.

Most importantly make it fun and age appropriate. Let them see how passionate we have for God’s word the Bible and what it teaches us as well as them.

Quotations taken from New King James Bible

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A New Year Reflection

It’s that time of year again where we all start making plans for the coming year, we set ourselves goals and make resolutions. But actually it got me thinking about the year which has just passed. Surely if 2020 is anything to go by, we have all learnt that we can make all the plans we want, but in reality none of us know what will happen next month, next week or even tomorrow.

So, here are the five main lessons we can learn from 2020 and help to focus our minds for the coming year:

  1. God is in control

“Yours, O Lord is the greatness, the power, and the glory, the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all.

Both riches and honour come from You and You reign over all; In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great, and to give strength to all.”

1 Chronicles 29:11-12

  1. If we are with God, he will be with us and will not forsake us

“Fear not; for I am with you: Be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; Yes, I will help you; I will uphold you with the My righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw near to you.”

James 4:8

  1. As believers in Christ, we have each other for comfort and support

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

Always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,

For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.”

Philippians 1:3-5

  1. Christ is coming back to set up His kingdom on earth

“And there shall be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

Men’s hearts failing them from fear and expectation of those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

Then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

Luke 21:25-27

  1. We’re nearly there

“Now when these things begin to come to happen, look up, and lift up your heads; because your redemption draws near.”

Luke 21:28

So as 2020 comes to an end and we stand on the precipice of a new year in these uncertain and sometimes frightening times, let us always remember,

“Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

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It’s Christmas Countdown!

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Black Friday is already behind us. Ahead lies the anticipation of Christmas, with excitement, and perhaps panic and sheer hard work for those who have to pull it all together. It’s just what we Britons do, spurred on by the media, many people over indulge in food and drink and generally having a good time.

Perhaps this assessment of the festivities is a little cynical. After all, beneath the tinsel and tack there is much charity and goodwill. There is, too, for some, the real reason for Christmas – remembering the Birth of Jesus over 2000 years ago. Nativity plays familiarise us with that Bible message. Seasonal services in church and chapel remind us that Jesus is real, his existence a fact of history.

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Many passages from the Gospels (Good News) of Matthew and Luke ring out clearly with authority and excitement. Hear the Angel Gabriel’s message to Mary “….the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – The Son of God”. Luke 1:35

Nine months later an angel pays a night time visit to Bethlehem’s hill country bathing shepherds and their flocks with the light of God’s glory.

His message “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord”

”… and suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God …”Luke 2: 11&13.

Why such rejoicing for a baby? Decades later the apostle Paul writes “… Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” 1 Tim 1: 15. Jesus did this by living a sinless life, dying painfully and then being raised to immortal life “Consequently He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him since he always lives to make intercession for them”. Hebrews 7:25.

Have you ever noticed that nowhere in the Bible are believers told to celebrate Jesus’ birth, but they are commanded to remember his death? “Christ… will appear a second time…to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” Hebrews 9:28

Now that is something to celebrate!

(Quotes from English Standard Bible, 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 6pm on Sunday, in our hall, Foundry Road, Ammanford. All are welcome to attend!

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Spiders and the Bible

Whatever have spiders got to do with a blog about the Bible? Well, in the Book of Proverbs we are directed to study some of the smaller creatures. Proverbs 6:6 “Go to the ant O sluggard; consider her ways and be wise” So let’s look at the jumping spider! A study carried out by Harvard University reveals the amazing ingenuity of the jumping spider, Myrmarachne formicaria. Whenever a potential adversary looms into view they impersonate something their predator would avoid.

This involves mimicking an ant, because ants have venomous stings, produce unpleasant chemicals and are generally aggressive.

How is a tall, stocky, eight legged spider with three segments able to mimic a thin, six-legged ant with two body segments?

For starters, the spider lifts up two of its legs above its head to give the impression of antennae. It mimics the ant’s winding gait. Finally, it adopts the ant’s habit of frequently stopping for incredibly short periods of a 10th to a 100th of a second. Amazing!

Are we seeing here the completion of evolution, a development over millions of years? Remember, every act of mimicking must work at the same time. Or are we seeing the work of God the Almighty Creator? Jesus Christ believed in creation. Mark 10:6 “ But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female” See also Matthew 19:4 “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female …” Mark 13:19 “For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now …”

Quotes from the ESV.


Join us this coming Sunday at 6pm for a special Bible-based presentation on A Bugs Life – presented by the curator of entomology at the National Museum of Wales Cardiff (he will even bring along some of his collection for you to see)! More details can be found here.

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Public Enquiry: Did Jesus die and rise from the dead? – A Special Event for Easter

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Did Jesus die and rise from the dead?

Witnesses will be called.

The evidence presented.

The decision is yours!

The Ammanford Christadelphians are hosting an exciting dramatisation of a public enquiry into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Several ‘eye-witnesses’ will testify and describe the dramatic events. Evidence will be displayed and analysed through powerpoint presentation (some bits can be a little gory). YOU are the jury. Did Jesus really die and rise from the dead? That is for you to decide.

It is free entry and no need to book in advance, just show up on the night – everyone wlecome!

To find out more contact [email protected]ians.co.uk

The Ammanford Christadelphians invite you to this dramatised enquiry at 2 venues in the coming week:

Tycroes Village Hall, Ammanford Road

Wednesday 12 April 7.30pm

and

The Christadelphian Hall, Foundry Road, Ammanford

Sunday 16 April 6.00pm

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