Short Thoughts

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

Does the census matter?

Are you one of the millions completing their census form this weekend? Perhaps, like me, you feel a little anonymous as you fill in your form: am I simply a statistic, a dot on a graph, a line on a chart, a single digit among millions? Do I count? Of course, on a practical level, every government must plan for the needs of its population: for instance, what should transport, education and healthcare look like in future years? But one thing the census won’t reveal is who you are as a person. Though it compiles details of your age, your gender, your ethnicity, your religion and so on, it will not discover what your character is like, what you aspire to, your hopes and dreams…nothing of that will show up in the ‘final analysis’. That’s why I’m always glad to turn to the word of God where I learn from Jesus that God focuses on us as individuals. He is concerned about our wellbeing. ‘Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered.

The recent tragedy of the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard has triggered a national debate about the safety of our streets – particularly for women. There’s a sense in which this is somewhat surprising: there is – depressingly – nothing new about this particular murder. Similar crimes have been committed countless times before. However, it is understandable and right that councils and governments have been made to think a little harder about what they can do to make the world a safer place for all. The focus seems mainly to be on good town planning: making sure that street lighting is adequate and that routes are well-maintained; perhaps more police officers on the beat and plain clothes officers in potential hotspots. Fundamentally, though, as many people are recognising, none of this will avail much as long as there are wicked people around. The problem is really too enormous. Few streets in human history have ever been safe for all.

Have you ever marvelled at how a baby develops and grows in its mother’s womb? Have you ever been amazed at the process of labour and birth? Or wondered at the bonding that occurs between a baby and its parents? These days it is common practice for midwives to place a new-born baby straight on to its mother’s chest immediately after birth. If a baby is placed in direct skin-to-skin contact with mum (or another care-giver) it helps in the bonding process, stimulating mum’s brain to produce hormones involved in the production of milk, feeding and feelings connected to guarding, protecting and love. For the baby it is beneficial for physical, emotional and nutritional reasons. The baby can hear mum’s heartbeat and breathing, see her face, feel her warm skin and soon smell and taste her milk. Skin-to-skin contact helps to de-stress and calm a baby after birth and stabilise their heart rate, breathing, body temperature and other physiological functions such as blood sugar levels.

Mothers' Day Most people nowadays probably don’t know that the origins of this festival are found in the established church: the date is set by the church as the fourth Sunday of Lent, three weeks before Easter Sunday. It was around the beginning of the 20th Century that the “Mothering Sunday Movement” gave it a slant that had less to do with the church and more to do with mums. The fact is that Mother’s Day has nothing to do with the Bible as such. Christadelphians try hard to stick with what the Bible says and not to make too much of anything that does not find its origins there. We try to allow it to guide our thinking and our behaviour. So what does the Bible have to say in relation to this? The Ten Commandments include “Honour your father and your mother” and respect for parents and grandparents is paramount throughout Scripture. So too is the importance of being grateful. Gratitude for all the blessings of our lives is a significant antidote to bitterness and greed.

Do you ever worry that you are missing out?

A short session on Facebook or other social media may convince you that everybody is having a better time than you. But are they really? Let’s face it, no one is going to post a photo of a kitchen accident resulting in a broken plate or a ruined meal. No one’s going to write a blog about a missed bargain on a website or clothes ruined by a muddy puddle. Likewise, photos of amazing parties, holidays, adrenalin filled activities (not so much at the moment obviously!) can make our take away in front of the telly look a bit flat by comparison. So if all we see and hear are other people’s little wins we can think we are missing out. What can we do about this? Well, science research suggests that passive over use of social media can make us feel less positive about life. So for FOMO today, maybe cut down on viewing these kinds of posts. Ignorance could be bliss!

Does archaeology support the Bible?

Archaeologist Leen Ritmeyer has been excavating Jerusalem for years and believes the Bible gives an accurate historical record. Jesus performed miracles at the Pool of Siloam, and you can see the water there today, coming from the Gihon spring through Hezekiah’s tunnel. Or you can stand on the Mount of Olives, where he taught. Around the city walls, you can find evidence of the AD70 destruction of Jerusalem that Jesus had prophesied. And Ritmeyer unearthed arrow heads from hundreds of years before—arrows that the Babylonian armies and Israelite soldiers fired during the battle that saw Jerusalem destroyed by the Babylonians, and the people taken into captivity. You can touch a stretch of wall that the Bible describes Nehemiah rebuilding when Babylonian exiles returned seventy years later. In this short video, Leen Ritmeyer describes why he believes the Bible.

What a glorious spring morning!

Blue skies, bright sunshine, even some warmth in the sun’s rays, and plenty of excited birdsong filling the air. After the gloomy, dark, dreary days of winter, what a tonic to lift the spirits and bring a smile to our faces! In every garden, bulbs are popping through, if not already in full bloom, blossom is starting to open on the trees and buds are fattening on plants. Spring is such an exciting time of year giving us great expectancy and hope in the potential of the year ahead, perhaps even more so this year! We seem inexplicably drawn to the brightness and light of the sun and its effects on the earth. Could it have something to do with the way God made us? We are told in 1 John 1:5 ‘God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.’ (NIV) And God wants to build a relationship with those who revere Him, those who are drawn to His light.

Why do we need the Bible message?

In a world of uncertainty, it is worth considering that there is a message of hope, something we can trust. https://lifesbigquestions.

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Planning a holiday this year? Hoping for some time away in the sun?

Perhaps you have already booked somewhere to ‘get away from it all’. UK holiday firms are expecting a boom in bookings after lockdown ends! Holidays are a great opportunity to get away from normal life and the pressures that brings. We often indulge ourselves with good food and wine, a new book, some movies, or some experiences outside the norm. Sadly, we can over-indulge too, with sunburn and weight gain telling the tale! Did you know the word ‘holiday’ comes from the old English word ‘hāligdæg’ which literally means ‘holy day’ and was associated with special religious days? ‘Holy’ means ‘set apart’ so these days were special. Interestingly, God put holidays in place right back at creation. Gen 2:2-3 tells us “…so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

What’s a church?

There’s huge variety in the Christian world: lots of churches and chapels but each diverse in its beliefs. What’s more puzzling is that most of them accept the Bible as key to their views and way of life. Does it matter? Do you head for the nearest church or join the one that suits you best? Christadelphians believe the Bible is God’s word to humankind, just as it says itself: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2Ti 3:16,17 NKJV) Amazingly preserved over thousands of years, the Bible tells a consistent story over 66 books. Christadelphians believe you can learn its truth by carefully reading it, not depending on external spirit guidance. The Bible interprets itself through a network of cross-references: the meaning of one passage leads to an understanding of others.

What is your eyesight like? 20/20? Short-sighted? Need glasses for reading?

I was chatting to my elderly dad the other evening, and he said how he would be devastated if he ever lost his sight—everything he enjoys relies on it. It made me think how awful it must be to become blind. Sight is probably something most of us take for granted. There is a future for us on this planet when things like blindness will be eradicated. Not by man’s cleverness but by the return of Jesus to earth. The Bible tells us in Isaiah, “The eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.” Bible prophecy shows that the day of Christ’s return is nearly here. What a glorious future it will bring to those who are waiting for him. pershore-christadelphians.

What is love?

“All you need is love…” “'Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” It’s arguably the principal theme of songs, drama and poetry and right now, all over the opening aisles of supermarkets in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day tends to focus on love as a physical attraction, an infatuation, a desire. It’s something we simply feel – or don’t! – towards someone else. The emphasis put on it by the world fools many into thinking that this is the ultimate kind of love to aspire to; the stuff that makes marriages work. The Bible presents a different view. It has a far richer lexicon than English for the different types of love we may experience. It speaks openly and encouragingly of the physical love to be enjoyed between husband and wife. It also emphasises the importance of love as affection and friendship. But it speaks most eloquently of the love of God Himself.

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?

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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-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).

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