Short Thoughts

Start your morning mediation with inspirational quotes & Bible thoughts for the day. Rise and shine with our Bible-based words of encouragement.

The five senses - SMELL Our sense of smell is so powerful.

Without sight, you could still recognize family members or homes by their smell for example. It can bring back strong memories too. At first, smell might seem a bit of an odd sense when looking for links to the Bible. However, right back in Genesis when Noah makes burnt offerings of thanks to the Lord having been saved from the flood, God smelled a "sweet smelling aroma". Paul picks up on this in one of his letters (2 Corinthians 2:15) and explains that God describes our prayers today using this metaphor. So not only does God hear and see our praise and prayers to him as we might expect, he appreciates them like a lovely smell too! A bombardment of the senses! He is glad to hear us speaking to Him and glorifying His most holy name. Praying to our Father in heaven is very beneficial for us to cast our cares on him and to ask for forgiveness.

How thrilling must it be to win a medal at the Olympic Games?

After years of absolutely single-minded dedication, sacrifice, coaching and sheer hard work, a select few come away from the Games with the ultimate prize. Even sitting at home watching from miles away, we can get a sense of the intensity of joy, relief, and glory to be crowned champion. Yet for all the thrill of the Games, all the fuss and glory of “the greatest show on earth”, the effects of all that effort are only temporary. In the ancient Greek games, the winners were awarded a crown of olive leaves rather than a medal. And, like the crown of leaves, eventually the victors fade away into the history books and are largely forgotten. The Bible tells us of a prize which is far superior to a crown or medal at the Olympic Games. It is available to all those who make the aim of their lives now the pursuit of “the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”.

The five senses - HEARING Paul tells us in Romans 10:17 that "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God". Paul also talks about baptised believers as those who have "been saved through faith" (Ephesians 2:8) and Jesus tells us in Matthew 17:20 that with the power of faith "Nothing will be impossible for you". This shows that faith is key - and we can grow in faith by hearing God’s word from the Bible. The power of faith doesn't mean that we will have no difficulties in this life, but it gives us the strength to manage to get through them if we have faith that God is in control and that Jesus knows how we feel. Paul summarises this in Philippians 4:13 where he says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." So hearing God's word in the Bible allows us to build a faith that will help us in times of distress, and ultimately will lead to our salvation by God's grace and baptism. pershore-bible pershore-christadelphians.

The five senses - SIGHT "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord" (Exodus 14:14) Our lives are so busy and that can mean we forget to stop and see the things that are happening around us. God is always working in your life, even in simple blessings of providing clothes and food. If you take the time to stand still you might notice even more things! One reminder for me is seeing the beauty of God's creation everyday. It can be easy to go out on a walk and be so engaged in my thoughts that I don't notice what's around me. That's why I think this verse from Exodus is so helpful. Standing still and seeing things properly is very powerful. So look out for God's blessings in your life today. You never know what you might spot! pershore-christadelphians.

Nobody likes a rainy day.

Living in England, when the sun is shining, we tend to feel upbeat and relaxed. When it rains, we are more likely to feel cooped up and fed up. If it’s the weekend and we have made plans for summery, outdoor activities, we will probably be thoroughly annoyed! Some years ago, however, I was given a totally different perspective on rain. I was on a visit to California. Suddenly, one evening, during a barbecue with friends, it started to tip it down. My instant reaction was, “Huh! Typical! The evening’s ruined!” But to the Californians, it was thrilling! They ran around in it, getting soaked through and whooping with delight! It hadn’t rained properly there for several years: they were desperate for rain and at last it had come, bringing refreshment and new life to parched ground. In the Bible, rain is used as an image of God’s Word.

Watch BBC Radio 4’s GQT (Gardeners’ Question Time) presenter Matthew Biggs talk about the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula). In this fascinating video, he explains how this carnivorous plant has strengthened his religious faith and his belief in creation rather than evolution. pershore-christadelphian.

Mmmm! Honey!!

So sweet and delicious, and one of the healthiest natural sweeteners, yet do you know how much effort goes into producing just one jar? 1,286 bees need to work their entire lives to produce 750g of honey! Or put another way, a single worker bee produces 1/12th teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. My father has been a beekeeper all my life and still has a few hives of bees today. I grew up enjoying the fruit of the bees’ labours on toast, in a cake or even in a main meal. I would often help extract the honey from the honeycombs and watch my mother fill countless jars with the delicious, sweet liquid. What a lot of bees must have been involved in making all that honey!! It is interesting that God chose to promise His people, the children of Israel, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’ (Exodus 3:8, NIV). Clearly honey was valued right back in the time of Moses as something precious, so God used this metaphor for a place of bounty and blessing.

Did you know the longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119 with 176 verses?

It is an acrostic Psalm – it’s split into 8-verse sections, every verse in each section begins with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Another key feature of the Psalm is every verse (except verse 122) uses one of ten Hebrew words that describe or relate to God’s Word or His teaching. The Psalm is emphasising repeatedly that God’s Word is key to our lives and without it, life is meaningless. Why does God use ten different words to describe His law? It is not just to make the reading of the Psalm more interesting! Each word shows a different aspect or characteristic of God’s ways, helping the reader understand its importance and relevance, and how to use it and apply it in their own life.

On our wedding day thirty six years ago, my new husband and I were privileged to witness a magnificent and breath-taking starling murmuration. We watched in wonder as thousands of birds all swooped and dived together in perfect harmony and unity for about five minutes. As the incredible spectacle unfolded we were almost lost for words as the birds swirled, twisted and turned together in ever changing shapes above us; a dance taking place in the sky. Ever since that day I have been fascinated by this amazing natural phenomenon. As a Christadelphian I believe that God created the earth and everything in it. In witnessing scenes like this I see God’s power and His greatness. How could this intricate behaviour have evolved? How does each individual bird know when to turn in perfect synchronisation with all the others? How do they all know to funnel towards the ground in one common motion at the end of the murmuration?

Throughout May, the forget-me-nots in the garden have formed a beautiful blue haze over the flowerbeds. As they say, all good things must come to an end, however, and now they are fading it’s time to pull them out to make room for the other plants vying for space in the sun. I suppose they’re called forget-me-nots because, despite the ferocity with which we’re pulling out bucket load after bucket load of the things, they’re sure to be back next year! We’re never going to forget a plant which, whatever we do, keeps on returning. Not that we’re concerned with this: they bring a subtle, gentle colour to the garden, forming a misty background against which other plants shoot forth their green spring growth. As any gardener knows, not only are they lovely from a distance, the closer you get the lovelier they appear. Clusters of blooms form a natural bouquet atop each stem, lush dark green leaves contrasting with the gentle blue.

As recently reported by the BBC, a group of Yemeni fishermen made a life-changing discovery – a huge quantity of ambergris in the belly of the carcase of a whale. It’s a substance produced by the whale’s digestive system that’s used in the manufacture of perfume. And it’s very valuable. The amount found by the fisherman is valued at $1.5 million. It’s actually not the first time something hugely valuable has appeared from the belly of a whale (or something very similar!). The Biblical prophet Jonah attempted to escape God’s command for him to go and preach to the city of Nineveh. He considered the Ninevites not to be worthy of God’s blessing. God was not to be mocked, however, and the Old Testament book that bears Jonah’s name records how a great storm blew up around the ship on which he was trying to escape. Convinced that the storm had been brought as a result of his disobedience, Jonah insisted that the sailors throw him into the raging waters.

As a Christadelphian, I am looking forward to Jesus Christ returning to the earth to set up a kingdom. Angels talked about this time to those who witnessed his departure from earth to heaven, as we read in Acts 1 v11: “this Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.” (ESV) “But what will that kingdom be like?” you may ask. Well there are lots of places in the Bible which talk about the kingdom, but one aspect I think worth considering is this as it is something we can relate to now. A sunny day makes us all feel so much better, and in that kingdom we know that God’s glory will light the whole earth. “Night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light.” (Rev 22 v5 ESV) How bright and great that will be, even better than the sunniest of days now! Why not dig that old Bible off the bookcase and have a read for yourself to see what is promised to happen very soon?

FOR my lunch a few days ago, I had, amongst other things, a very good helping of healthy cabbage. I am well aware that there is nothing very remarkable in that, for I imagine cabbages or similar green vegetables are eaten almost worldwide. However, there was something very remarkable to me about my cabbage. The story started last spring, when I took a walk into my garden and dropped about twelve "full stops" into the damp, warm soil; well, they were not actually full stops but they were about that size. They were of course cabbage seeds, and I marvelled that within each tiny seed there was the unseen germ of life. Over the next few weeks, with the sun and the rain that God controls, and with me nurturing them and keeping them free from weeds, they put down their roots and produced the food that has helped to sustain my life. All of this is undoubtedly remarkable and is a constant reminder of the power and the love of the Creator, and of His provision for us.

A recent news posting online caught my eye – ‘A canal built by Joseph in Ancient Egypt produces some of the most lush orchards in Africa to this day’. (Israel 365 News) The article explains ‘the Bahr Yussef (waterway of Joseph) is a canal that connects the Nile River with the ancient city of Fayyum in Egypt.’ Quoting from Bill Cooper’s ‘The Authenticity of the Book of Genesis’ the article continues “It is a lush and fertile area, famed for its ‘gardens, oranges, mandarines, peaches, olives, pomegranates and grapes’. It has been like this for well over 3,000 years, and owes its lush fertility to a 200 mile-long canal which still conveys to it the waters of the Nile in a constant year-round flow… The people of Egypt are perfectly happy to tell you that it was built by the Joseph of the Bible who once was Pharaoh’s ‘Grand Vizier’”. It is not clear when Joseph may have built this canal (or if he did) but our thoughts are directed back to scripture and a lovely link that gives us hope.

Lockdown in the UK – all three of them!

– has, for most of us, brought about some new things to be thankful for. Many of us made use of extra time at home to try our hand at baking! People’s social media feeds were awash with pictures of new culinary triumphs and they vied with each other to produce ever more impressive bakes. So popular was this lockdown activity that shops ran right out of flour, baking powder and yeast! Yeast – or raising agent – was particularly tricky to find. And without it, of course, most bakes are impossible and would certainly not be making it onto the pages of social media feeds. Yet it is usually the smallest, lightest ingredient in a cake or loaf of bread. In the Bible, yeast – or leaven, as it is called – is frequently mentioned but interestingly, typically carries a negative connotation, despite its advantages. It is used as a metaphor for a bad influence.

Have you ever read the Bible cover to cover?

Perhaps you have dipped in and out on occasions. Maybe you just know some of the familiar passages read at Christmas or Easter. Have you promised to read that book one day, find out why it’s a bestseller, and see what it teaches? Maybe you have tried to read it but got confused and put it back on the shelf for another day! Anyway, why should we bother? As Christadelphians, we try to read the Bible every day because we believe it is God’s word. It holds the key to understanding why and how we exist, what the purpose of life is, who God is and that He wants a relationship with us. God has chosen to reveal Himself and His purpose to men and women through the Bible and He wants us to find out about it and respond to Him. But that brings us back to the need to read and understand it! Even if you have tried to read the Bible you might need some help to grasp what it is teaching us.

Lockdown in the UK – all three of them!

– has, for most of us, brought about some new things to be thankful for. For many people, one of these was getting fit! Sales of bikes, sports clothing and home fitness equipment rocketed as many of us decided to make the most of the extra time created from no longer commuting to work. For others, a bike ride or run was perhaps just a legitimate excuse to get out of the house for a while. We know that exercise is good for us, both physically and mentally. Physically, we keep in shape and help our heart and muscles to stay strong. Mentally, we set ourselves goals which then brings a sense of well-being in the achievement of them. The Bible encourages us to look after our bodies, too. However, the focus of the Bible message is not so much on physical fitness but spiritual. The apostle Paul wrote: “…exercise yourself rather to godliness.” (1 Timothy 4:7, NKJV). Exercise as an analogy for spiritual development is particularly apt.

I won’t be going to Heaven… The vicar did his best to answer my question, but in the end he said: "You’ll just have to wait and see when you get there." I appreciated his honesty, but it still left me wondering what would happen to me when I died. I’d asked how I could possibly appreciate ‘heaven’ if I did not have a body with eyes, a functioning mind, arms, legs and so on, to appreciate it with. The idea of some disembodied part of me floating off at death to a place beyond the skies had never struck me as a particularly thrilling prospect. What would I do there, in the clouds, for eternity, along with all the other ‘souls’ who had expired before me? Would we watch with interest what was going on ‘below’? Would we get on with one another? Perhaps I could have a bit of fun by haunting some ancient castle or scaring the life out of folk who’d given me grief in the past, like Miss Hull in Year 8 Chemistry?

Lockdown in the UK – all three of them!

– has, for most of us, brought about some new things to be thankful for. In the quest for activities to keep occupied whilst stuck at home, many of us turned to gardening – whether it be in a vegetable patch, a flower bed, or herbs in a window-box. There is a profound sense of wonder in seeing the total transformation from a tiny, dull looking seed, to a fully formed vegetable, fruit or flower. However enormous that transformation is, though, we fully expect to dig up a bunch of carrots if we have sown carrot seeds. A carrot seed won’t ever produce a potato. If we plant sunflower seeds, they will never produce lupins. Isn’t this really obvious, we might ask? But the point is that in our own lives we are all like gardeners. The Bible teaches us that the way that we invest our time and energy is like sowing seeds. Galatians 6:7 says: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

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