Short Thoughts

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

My car – an ageing Mini – had to go for its annual MOT test today.

Passing the test is compulsory in the UK to ensure that all cars being driven around are “road worthy”. When my car fails – as these days, it always seems to – there’s a cost involved in bringing it up to standard, making it fit to be driven safely around. It feels like a real nuisance until I think about the benefit of driving on roads where all the vehicles DO meet a decent standard, rather than – as I’ve done in other countries in the past – being subject to all kinds of hazards from polluting, lop-sided, unlit, decrepit motors all sharing the road. Then I’m thankful for the “road-worthy” standard that we have in the UK. God makes it clear in His Word, the Bible, that He has a standard to which He will, one day, hold us all to account, for which we can be even more thankful. His standard is not just a case of reaching a certain minimum level in order to be “worthy” to live. It is perfection! Why?

“Be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness ‘mindfulness’. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.” This is the NHS’s fifth piece of advice for maintaining good mental health. This is surely not an encouragement to look in on ourselves and over-think situations – that’s definitely not helpful for either good mental health or spiritual growth. But it is certainly good for us to develop appreciation for the good things we have and to embrace whatever situation we are in, understanding that it is part of God’s care for us. Scripture says that we should “in everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This elevates “mindfulness” to beyond the NHS’s sound advice and up onto another level: prayer. Scripture’s mindfulness is about fixing our minds on God: on His goodness and love and on His promises for the future.

Would you like to understand what you read in the Bible?

Do you know about its message to you? This course is for you! Ten weekly lessons delivered over Zoom, starting Monday 1st March, God willing. You will learn skills to help you understand scriptural teaching and principles for yourself and so benefit from a new appreciation of the Bible. https://www.biblecoaching.co.uk/?

One thing I get really excited about is driving along a country lane where a canopy of trees make a tunnel with the road. That moment when the sun comes out, and shines through the bare trees to produce a truly wonderful pattern of dappled shade on the road as you drive along - WOW! It is sometimes these little things that can bring a smile to your face, and indeed we should be thankful to our Creator for allowing us such experiences. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth…” Genesis 1v1 I don’t know if you have ever thought about this before, but next time you are out and the sun is shining, see what you can spot from God’s creation which stands out as more beautiful than before. And please do let us know about it! PS The photograph shown here was taken by a car passenger 🙂 pershore.bible pershore-christadelphians.

Beating the January Blues - 5 a day, the Bible Way (This is the fourth of five posts on this topic. Check out the previous three; final post coming later this week!) “Give” is the fourth recommendation from the NHS’s mental health care campaign. It says, “even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks.” Again, and surely not surprisingly, this advice is very strongly echoed in the Bible. God is the ultimate giver – the giver of all life. God wants us to be like Him, so He encourages us to be givers. He wrote into His law that, “if among you, one of your brothers, should become poor… you shall open your hand to him.” (Deuteronomy 15:7-8). The Lord Jesus said, “Give to everyone who asks of you…” (Luke 6:30) and Paul wrote that “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Did you know that Codex sinaiticus and Codex vaticanus actually date closer to the events recorded in the Bible than the Annals of Tacitus or the works of Pliny do to their events? Did you know that there are 8 manuscript copies left of Herodotus, 7 of Aristotle and 20 copies of Tacitus manuscripts, yet there are a massive 20 to 24 thousand New Testament ones surviving?! Watch our video to see for yourself. https://www.pershore-christadelphians.org/articles/2020/08/why-i-believe-bible-manuscripts.html pershore.bible pershore-christadelphians.

I came across a frozen pond this morning.

Ice dulled its entire surface, and I was reminded of what I’d been taught at school—how water is the only substance that gets lighter when it freezes. If it wasn’t for this unique behaviour, ice would sink to the bottom of the pond. More ice would then form on the surface before also sinking until the pond’s full depth was frozen solid. Think of the fish and other living creatures in that water. If water followed the same law as everything else, those fish would die. It’s only because ice floats that they are protected from the cold. Water’s amazing characteristic demonstrates the cleverness with which nature has been designed. As God challenged Job in the Bible’s Old Testament, “From whose womb comes the ice? ...The waters harden like stone, and the surface of the deep is frozen” (Job 38 v 29-30). God created our earth perfectly—Genesis says that, “God saw everything that He had made and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1 v 31).

Beating the January Blues – 5 a Day, the Bible Way To maintain and improve good mental health, experts say that one of the 5 key things we should do is to “keep learning”. The NHS campaign reads: “learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike?” The Bible is God’s way of communicating with us, and in it we find that we are called to be “disciples”. This word perhaps now has the connotation of slavishly and unthinkingly following someone else. However, the meaning behind the original word is simply “learner”. So God, who as our Creator knows what’s good for us better than we do ourselves, encourages us to “keep learning”. What is it that we are to be learning, then? We are called to be disciples of the Lord Jesus: people who learn from him and try to copy him in our lives. We are naturally nothing like him!

“Hands. Face. Space.” Good hygiene is more important than ever before.

In 1847, Ignaz Semmelweis discovered how hand washing could prevent the spread of puerperal fever. In this short video, a doctor looks at the importance of hand washing and other good hygiene practices in light of what the Bible’s Old Testament laws taught the early Israelites to follow. It’s amazing to see how the Bible described things that scientists are only now realising are vital for maintaining good health. pershore.bible Pershore-Christadelphians.org https://www.pershore-christadelphians.org/articles/2020/08/why-i-believe-bible-law-of-moses.

Excited? Expectant? Curious? Apprehensive? Worried? Bored? Uninterested?

Which word describes how you feel about the 20th January 2021 – the day a new world leader will be sworn into office? What impact will his term of office bring? There are many hopes and concerns surrounding what might change – how will it impact on the economy, climate change, international relations, Covid-19, poverty? The list is endless. Some will have high hopes whilst others will be expecting the worst. Despite any world leader’s best efforts or intentions, they will always be hampered by a myriad of problems. They cannot predict the future, they are not all-powerful, and fundamentally they are human, with all the weaknesses that brings. So, it is unlikely everything they do will be positive or constructive. However, as Bible believers, we are comforted to know that a time is coming when there will be a new global leader – Jesus Christ – who will rule over ALL the earth.

Beating the January Blues – 5 a Day, the Bible Way “Be Active” is the second of the 5-a-Day concepts put forward by experts for maintaining and improving good mental health. It goes on: “You don't have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life.” Being physically active in order to improve our mental wellbeing is an increasingly well documented notion. People who exercise regularly tend to have better self-esteem, less anxiety, feel more energetic and sleep better too. It would be hard to honestly argue that the Bible specifically says that we all ought to be exercising; in fact what it does say on the subject is that while it is “profitable”, it is not as good for us as working on being more like God in our character and thinking! (1 Timothy 4:8). However, we need some context here. The Bible was written during times when people were anyway more physically active.

Gardens can be a real place of respite for many people.

They are a great place to sit and contemplate, relax, and appreciate the wonderful creation all around. At the moment they are looking a little dreary, if yours is anything like mine, but I just can’t wait until the first bulb pops up! The Bible teaches that Jesus enjoyed the peace of a garden - in the Garden of Gethsemane just before he was to die that awful death. It is so lovely that God has given us the same opportunity for moments of peace and time to contemplate. Even if you don’t have your own garden, there are many public gardens and parks where you can often find a quiet nook. Let’s say a big thank you to God for giving us this chance to think about His wonderful creation, and how we can be part of His great promise of a kingdom on earth. Why not even take your Bible with you to see what wonderful things God has in store for you if you take up the challenge. Check out pershore.bible for more info.

How beautiful, delicate, and wonderful the hoar frost has been recently!!

The intricate patterns clothe everything in white! And yet the lightest of touches from a finger can sweep it away. God’s creative touch is apparent even in the harshest of weather or circumstances. The fragile nature of the frost takes my mind back to the Exodus journey. God fed His people while they wandered through the wilderness by providing ‘manna’ which is described as ‘a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.’ (Exodus 16:14) Everyone was to go out and gather enough in a basket for their own appetites for that day. Imagine trying to gather the hoar frost that has been around recently – very fiddly, I should think! But God asked His people to do this. It would require care, patience, and effort. And you could not leave the job till later – once the sun was up properly, it melted away – very much like our frost!

Beating the January Blues – 5-a-day, the Bible Way After the fun of the festive season, many of us can feel overwhelmed with feelings of emptiness, depression and even despair. It can feel as if the lighter, warmer months and the freshness and renewed energy that come with spring are still a long way off. A few years ago, a campaign was launched to cultivate better mental health, tapping into the now well-known “5-a-day” message for good physical health. “5-a-day” for good mental health is not about eating fresh fruit and vegetables, but about adopting certain good habits for living. They are: Connect Be Active Keep Learning Give Take Notice It will probably not come as a surprise to the regular Bible reader that you can see a clear connection between these 5 habits, proposed by mental health experts, and the way that God – our Creator – through the wisdom of His Word, encourages us to live. Let’s look today at the first of these pieces of advice.

When lockdown initially happened in March, to ensure I left the house every day to get some fresh air, exercise and a change of scene, I set myself the target to walk 6000 steps per day. With the aid of an app on my phone, I could keep track of my progress and soon found a number of routes which would help me achieve my goal. Its been a real pleasure taking a daily walk and despite the shorter days I am determined to continue this through the winter, come rain or shine! However, my opportunity to walk tends to come after 5pm. When the clocks changed in October, I soon found I needed to take a torch with me for the odd stretches which weren’t lit to illuminate my path. What a surprising experience these night-time walks are – bats and moths pass me most nights now and familiar routes have taken on a very different perspective. Our life is like a ‘journey’ or a ‘walk’ and every day we must choose which path to take. But how hard it is to know which way to go!

Is there really “truth”? Does it matter?

We believe it DOES matter, and yes there is! We share with you a 20 minute talk by a member of one of our South Wales congregations.

Duck or rabbit? What do you see? Or can you see both?

Sometimes there are simply two different ways of looking at the same thing. It probably doesn’t matter that, in the case of this image, both can be seen as correct interpretations. So it is with many things in life: we can agree to differ and no harm is done. Ideally we can learn to see both points of view! However, we can take this too far in life and assume that nothing is really definite; that everything is open to our own personal interpretation and that there is more than one truth about everything. We are especially prone to doing this in relation to truth that we do not wish to accept. We have witnessed politicians doing just that recently: throwing out lots of completely uncertified statements as if they are most definitely true, simply because the alternative – the truth, perhaps – was unpalatable. Increasingly, we see “fact checkers” in the media alongside speeches that have been made.

“Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace; goodwill toward men!

” – so sang the angels to the awestruck shepherds when Jesus was born (Luke 2:14). But what did they mean by peace? Most of us, if asked to define “peace”, would think either of the absence of war, or on a more personal level, the absence of obtrusive noise or worry. However, when we look carefully at the Scriptures, we find a very different definition. Ever since Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, humans – in fact the whole of creation – have been out of sync with Him. Instead of unity and harmony with the Creator, there is wilfulness and discord. This is our natural state before Him. The Scriptures use strong language to describe this natural state, calling it “enmity”: “…the natural mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God…” (Romans 8:7). The peace of which the angels spoke is all about the work of the Lord Jesus in reconciling us to God.

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