A Question of Love

You are likely to have come across the following words at some point;

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”               (John 3v16)

They are found in the gospel of John in the Bible and come from the mouth of Jesus Himself. 

This simple sentence contains a profound truth which has touched the hearts and transformed the lives of countless men and women since it was first expressed. 

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It starts by describing the love that God has for the world, which we understand to mean people – you and me.  Seeing that we were destined to “perish”, or die forever, He put together a plan to rescue us.  He had a human son, conceived with his mother Mary, and he would lead a life of complete obedience to God and then die a sinless death, the first and only person ever to do so.

All who then believed in that son and were baptised (symbolically associating themselves with his death and subsequent resurrection) would be forgiven for their sins and granted eternal life, not now but in the Kingdom to come.

These are the “nuts and bolts” of the gospel message, but the sacrifice required to make this plan a reality was truly momentous.  God loved His son, Jesus, as any father would love his child.  To watch as they were taken and nailed to a cross to die without intervening, as He could easily have done, would have been unimaginably difficult.

It is simply staggering that the Creator of the universe, together with his only Son, would make such an enormous sacrifice to save us from eternal death and give us the opportunity to live forever.  These actions, and those words spoken so long ago, ask the question of all of us as to how we are going to respond.  Can we ignore such an unwarranted outpouring of love?

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Can anything in life be certain?

It has been said that the only certain things in life are taxes and death. That’s a grim outlook even if was said tongue-in-cheek. 

Supposing you were told something that was the ‘absolute truth’. In a post-modern world, can anything be said to be the truth? You may prefer to think of it as my version of the truth. 

However, God has an unique perspective on things. He isn’t bound by the same limitations of our human condition—so when He says something will happen, we can be sure that it will happen. 

God can change uncertainty in our lives into certainty

In an increasingly uncertain world, where predicting the future has become more difficult, it is a comfort to know that there are things which are stated as the absolute truth with 100% certainty that they will happen.

These things are not told us by well-meaning politicians or people doing their best, however well-meaning, but by the giver of life. 

God says in Acts 3:19-21 that Jesus will return to the earth so that the earth— God’s creation—will be restored. There is no doubt, no room for debate about what God says—this will happen and God will make it happen. 

To hear more on this, check out our presentation video on the subject ‘Certainty in an uncertain world’ on our YouTube channel.

Angels – who are they?

The idea that we share this planet with heavenly beings who go unseen or unrecognised amongst us is intriguing and the inspiration for many fictional films and books.  In the Bible, angels are portrayed as real beings who have enormous power and go about doing God’s work.  Most of the time they do so without being seen but on rare occasions they have been observed by people.  Often when this happens, they are not recognized as angels and are mistaken for ordinary people.  In Hebrews we are told “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels” (Hebrews 13:2, NKJV).  This makes it plain that angels do not ordinarily have wings.

The original words translated angel in the Bible also mean “messenger” (the Hebrew word ‘malak’ and the Greek word ‘aggelos’). This gives us a clue as to what angels do – they are God’s messengers who convey information from Him to mankind, as the angel Gabriel did when he famously told Mary she was going to give birth to Jesus.

Reading more reveals that angels are far more than just the bearers of news – they also work behind the scenes to carry out God’s will on earth.  In the Psalms we read “Bless the LORD, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word. Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.” (Psalms 103:20-21)

This work extends to influencing world affairs.  In the book of Daniel, we have a fascinating glimpse into the angelic  realm when Gabriel, talking to Daniel, says “… the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.” (Daniel 10:13).  Gabriel was trying to influence the ruling powers of the Persian Empire and encountering difficulty, without Cyrus the Great or his government even being aware of it.

Another way the angels work is what they do with individual men and women, extending God’s care and guidance to those who believe in Him.  In Hebrews angels are described in this way “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14).

In these uncertain times there is immense comfort in the knowledge for believers to know that the world is in safe hands, and that these amazing and powerful beings are at our side.

There is a better time to come

We have all had a difficult year with various restrictions in our lives; we haven’t been able to do the things we enjoy, see those we love, go on holiday or even pop in for a cuppa! It has been even tougher for people who have lost jobs, homes and even loved ones.

Thankfully, there is light at the end of the tunnel now — many have been vaccinated and there is a roadmap out of lockdown back to near-normality. We hope that we will be able to go back to spend time with friends and family soon and do all the things we enjoyed before the pandemic. Everyone is talking about getting back to normal, but is this what you really want?

If you are looking for more than the new normal why not try looking for a better future and join God’s family? In the Bible in Psalm 72 we are told about many of the blessings to come, here are a few:

• One righteous judge to rule the whole earth

• All those in need will be saved

• There will be food for all — even grain swaying on the mountain tops

• All nations will be blessed

• God’s glory will fill the whole earth

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A Perfect Planet?

Did you see the recent David Attenborough five-part TV series, “A Perfect Planet”?

Some remarkable statements were made during the course of the series:

· “Our planet is one in a billion”

· “There is only one planet in the Universe, as far as we know, that has life”

· “Life here is only possible because of a unique balance of natural forces”

It was a fascinating presentation of many factors that contribute to what David Attenborough, and other scientists, refer to as “The Goldilocks Effect”, which makes our planet unique.

It’s a reference to the children’s tale of Goldilocks who found daddy bear’s porridge ‘too hot’, mummy bear’s porridge ‘too cold’, but baby bear’s porridge ‘just right’?  David Attenborough made the point that without the light, and heat, from the sun there can be no life.

Another essential for life is water. Surface temperatures of 500C have been recorded on Venus – ‘too hot’! Dawn temperatures on Mars are -76C – ‘too cold’! These are our nearest planetary neighbours. 

Planet Earth is at the optimum distance from the sun to be ‘just right’.  It has water, a breathable atmosphere and many other features that are vital to sustain life.

These are just a few examples that David Attenborough presented in the series. It should raise the question in our minds – Are all of these ‘just right’ factors a result of ‘cosmic good fortune’, or were they put in place by an intelligent creator?

If you would like to see more examples of scientifically accepted facts that make our planet ‘just right’, search for Gorseinon Christadelphians on YouTube and see the video we prepared on this subject.

Discover more about this and many other Bible topics by applying for a free correspondence course called “Exploring the Bible”