Short Thoughts

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

Busting Bible Myths – 2 You may be very surprised to hear that the idea that people go to heaven when they die is not found in the Bible. The concept of an immortal soul – something spiritual within us that lives on after our body has died – is an ancient one. It pervades all major world religions in one form or another. Films, books, TV shows from all cultures consistently present the notion of living on after death. Yet the very phrase “immortal soul” is nowhere to be found in the Bible. What we ARE told is that in the beginning, God created man “from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2 v7, NKJV) It is like an equation: dust + breath of life = living being. Take away the “breath of life”, or destroy the “dust”, and there is no longer a living being. There is nothing. The breath of life is God’s life-giving power that sustains all living things; it is not unique to the person.

Busting Bible Myths 1 Did you know that the most commonly taught concept about God himself does not actually come from the Bible? Mainstream churches teach that God can be defined by the concept called “the Trinity”. The idea is that God is one God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. However, the phrases “God the Son” and “God the Holy Spirit” literally never appear in the Bible. What is more, these notions are totally contrary to Bible teaching. Although anticipated all through the Old Testament, Jesus – God’s son – did not exist beyond a definite concept in God’s mind until he was physically conceived in Mary’s womb. Mary was told quite clearly how this would happen: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you…” (Luke 1 v35, NKJV). There is absolutely no mention of the idea of God transforming Himself in some way or that the being she would give birth to would be God Himself.

At this time of year, many people are involved in ‘remembering’.

I recall as a child reciting over and again “Remember, Remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot.” In fact, November has two occasions of ‘Remembrance’: • Guy Fawkes on Bonfire night when the gunpowder plot that tried to overthrow King James I and his government is remembered, and • Remembrance Sunday when British and Commonwealth Military Service personnel who served in the two World Wars and conflicts ever since are remembered. In contrast, it is interesting to see what God in His Word asks us to remember. In Deuteronomy 8 v11 Moses warned the children of Israel to ‘Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.

My boss proudly posted on our work group chat after his summer holiday that he and his wife had “finally finished the Wainwrights!” Alfred Wainwright wrote seven pictorial guides to the Lakeland Fells between 1952 and 1966, after falling in love with the beauty of the place, and enthusiasts now endeavour to ‘follow in the footsteps of Wainwright’ by walking every route he documented so carefully in these guidebooks. This goal is not an easy one to achieve. It requires dedication, preparation, suitable clothing and footwear, the proper equipment, a reasonable level of fitness - plus a good head for heights and a willingness to scramble over ridges! It is best to walk with someone else, both for company and help when needed, and taking suitable provisions and safety measures is vital. Crucially, this mission takes time, probably years, perhaps for some even a lifetime.

Autumn could seem a gloomy and depressing season.

Summer has passed, with all its long days, warmth and fun. Ahead we might only see long dark nights with wet and dreary days in between. Yet God in His wisdom gave us so much to be thankful for at this time of year! Many of our crops are now filling our stores – crisp apples and pears, summer berries (now frozen) and root crops. As plants die back we have the opportunity to have a good clear up, move things around, rethink for next year. And throughout the country, God paints the trees with a myriad of stunning colours – their final artistic flourish before their winter rest. Personally, I love autumn. Crackling wood fires, warming stews, crisp country walks stomping through leaves. After a busy summer it’s a welcome opportunity to stop and take stock of what has been and what is still to come. A time to thank God for all He has done and look forward to all He promises to do.

What do you expect? A flash of lightning? A vision? No!

My journey began much like a little seed planted in good soil... a bit like the sower sowing the seed in the parable Jesus told. As the fourth child of Christadelphian parents, my three brothers and I were blessed with a childhood being taken to a Christadelphian Sunday School every week. This was followed as I got older by fun on Friday nights at youth club and weekend gatherings, sharing great times making friends from all over the country enjoying Bible related stories and activities. Even better were the most fantastic annual holidays ever, spending a whole week at a summer camp in Dorset with lots of friends from across the country from the age of 10 and right up into my twenties. Lifelong friendships were established - including meeting my future long-suffering husband in a field in a camp at Corfe Castle!

“Try one of these!” my brother urged.

Inquisitively, I popped the little green fruit in my mouth. “Urrgghh!!” That was my first experience of an olive! Over time, I have come to enjoy olives, both green and black. As interest in foreign foods has grown, food halls now tend to stock a huge range of the little fruits, sometimes stuffed with garlic or pimentos, or in a flavoursome marinade, evoking thoughts and smells of the Mediterranean. Bars and restaurants often serve them with drinks before or at the start of a meal. Olives are very versatile. They can be eaten as they are, preserved for later use, or pressed to give oil for eating, cooking, medicinal purposes or producing light. The Bible often refers to olive oil because the land of Israel had (and still has) many olive groves, and olive oil was a staple for the people of the land.

A time is coming when all of the people of the Middle East region will be in total harmony. Friendship and cooperation will arise between men of Tel Aviv and Gaza City. Genuine and lasting goodwill. This does seem unlikely, given the failure of many international peace conferences and treaties. Yet God who rules in the kingdom of men has declared that He will bring this about. (Isaiah 2: 4) The Jewish people are the chosen people because they are descended from Abraham, a man God called His friend. Crucially, they were descended from Sarah, not any of Abraham’s other wives. This is disputed: you have to assess and choose between the teaching of the Bible and the Koran. Despite this great honour, the Jewish people have consistently disobeyed God, culminating in the wilful crucifixion of His only son. Today, though inventive and powerful, many are atheists. But what do you think of the Jewish people?

It’s easy to get caught-up with everyday life.

We need to work for sufficient income to live; food and clothing need to be purchased; meals need preparing and children require education. Ordinary things like meeting family and friends are important too—something much missed during lockdown—as is participating in get-togethers such as weddings and family celebrations. Many people enjoy sport, either participating or watching, while others look forward to being able to attend cinemas and concerts once again. All these ordinary things make up our daily lives. They are necessary; they bring value and are frequently activities we enjoy and that make us feel good. Yet Jesus gave us a warning. Luke recorded this saying about the day Jesus will come back: "They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

“…it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps…” (Jeremiah 10:23, NKJV) So wrote the prophet Jeremiah in a prayer of anxiety to God. Expressed in a time of national disaster, it is an acknowledgment of people’s failure to choose and walk the right way in life. In the past few weeks we have all felt shock, outrage, despair, horror at the awful situation that has unfolded in Afghanistan. The scale of the fear and desperation experienced by so many has been terrible to witness. Howsoever these events have come about, one thing is clear: humans find it extremely difficult, even if and when they have the best of intentions, to govern. Afghanistan has been a particularly stark and potent reminder of how bad things can become. The truth is, though, that no country in the world can claim to have founded the perfect society where all its citizens are happy, healthy and fulfilled. Why is this?

The recent UN Climate Change report has been widely publicised as a “Code Red” for our planet. “The door is still ajar”, we are told, to avert catastrophe, but will soon shut irreversibly. The rate at which we, the human population, are causing irreparable damage has risen exponentially. We are already seeing and feeling the results of this: everywhere on Earth, people are experiencing messed-up, unpredictable weather patterns. Some have been hit with disastrous flooding from excessive rain and others with devastating wildfires from excessive heat. What, if anything, does the Bible have to say about our environment? Right back in the Garden of Eden, man and woman were given responsibility for looking after the earth, along with obeying God’s commands. It’s a responsibility which we have failed to live up to, developing societies based on greed, selfishness and convenience instead.

When the sun is shining, we may be tempted to dust off the barbecue and enjoy a little al fresco dining. This might involve a few burgers or sausages, but some of us get a little more adventurous by grilling fish. Whether wrapped in foil or cooked directly over the coals, grilled fish is rather wonderful! Cooking fish in this way has been done for thousands of years. Jesus prepared a hearty barbecued breakfast of fish and bread on the beach, to refresh his disciples after a frustrating night’s fishing. After miraculously filling their nets with fish, he then filled their bellies, before preparing them spiritually for the work ahead of them. (See John 21) During this breakfast, the disciples may have recalled another miracle Jesus performed earlier in his ministry which also included bread and fish. Jesus used a boy’s picnic of five small loaves and two small fish to feed around 5000 men, besides women and children! You can imagine the impact that had on the crowd – a free supper!

The five senses - TASTE "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8). Although the observant of you will notice that this verse actually includes two senses, I want to focus on taste. It’s not difficult to see that the Lord is good, but taste? We know that the Lord is good because he offers us salvation through baptism into Jesus even though we don't deserve it. But what does that have to do with taste? Before Jesus died he shared a final meal with his disciples, and commanded them to have bread and wine as a symbol of his death and resurrection. Every week as Christadelphians we follow this commandment by sharing bread and wine together. As we taste these seemingly ordinary things, we think of the extraordinary meaning behind them for our salvation.

Did you realise that nature builds its own rotary motor with an in-built power source? Molecular biologist Dr Philip Mallinder looks at how ATP synthase works, and marvels at how a collection of enzymes and proteins work together to function as a motor. In this short video, Dr Mallinder explains why wonders in nature like ATP synthase convince him they were designed by a creator God rather than occurring accidently by evolution. pershore-christadelphians.

The five senses - TOUCH Jesus had the power from his Father to heal people just by touching them. For example, a leprous man in Mark 1:40-45 was cured of this terrible disease as soon as Jesus touched him. This is just one of many amazing miracles that shows the power of God through His son Jesus Christ. If Jesus has the power to heal people just by touching them, how much more can he save us through his perfect life and sacrifice? Jesus died to save us from sin and ultimately death, which is much more than just a disease. Through him we can have eternal life in the future kingdom when he returns if we choose to be baptised and follow the example he showed. God is inviting you to feel touched by the power of Christ's sacrifice today. pershore-christadelphians.

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.

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