Thought for the Month


Addiction

Recently I suffered with a trapped nerve in my back. The pain was intense and visits to the doctor brought nothing but increasingly strong pain relief tablets. I very quickly realised that one type turned me into a zombie, unable to think or function in a normal way and a little bit of research showed me that this was quite common. Indeed there were people who took the same drug daily to help them get through life and, as an opiate, it can be addictive.

More recently we had a talk at church from a doctor who specialises in treating drug users, helping them to kick the habit. We realised that this was a life’s work and that it took an incredible amount of expertise, compassion and patience dealing with people who were often extremely unattractive because of their drug fuelled lifestyles. And, by a strange coincidence, in the previous week the news had been full of drug related problems – cocaine as the recreational drug of choice at middle class dinner parties, the spice epidemic in Manchester, turning people into zombies, drugs now available for ordering by mobile phone and then delivered to your door. Drug addiction is a terrible, life destroying thing.

But when we turn to the Bible we find an addiction problem far worse than anything any known drug can produce. It is a 100% killer, once taken you are completely hooked and can never give it up. It has infected everyone in the whole world except for one man.

It is of course sin and the Bible talks about it in this way, as something highly addictive with terrible consequences for the wages of sin is death and everyone dies because we have all sinned.

The Apostle Paul, one of the greatest disciples of Jesus who ever lived, was distraught about its effect on his own life. He wrote ‘I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Because of sin that dwells within me’.

The Bible also tells us why it is so addictive as it describes it as ‘the pleasures of sin’. We can understand this, we all enjoy doing what we want, what pleases our egos and satisfies our desires.

Fortunately the Bible offers a solution involving the greatest doctor who ever lived. The Lord Jesus Christ, the only sinless man who ever lived died on the cross that our sins might be forgiven and our addiction cured. His promise is that, through God’s grace, our mortal, dying lives might be changed miraculously into immortal perfect and sin free ones when he returns to set up his kingdom If we believe in him, when he comes we shall be changed to be like him.

Here is a doctor worth visiting, one who has a complete understanding of our addiction and can cure it through his healing touch. Why not book a consultation?


Holidays

August is the time of year when many people anticipate taking a holiday. It’s the time when school children have their extended summer break and families are free to travel away from home and spend some time enjoying new places and fresh experiences.

 

The origin of the word ‘holiday’ comes from the time when breaks from the daily routine were tied to the church calendar, so Easter, Pentecost and Christmas were particular times when most people had one or two days off to have a rest and remember events in the past that were fundamental to their Christian beliefs. So ‘holiday’ in this context comes from the idea of a ‘Holy Day’.

 

The idea of ‘Holy Days’ has a long history. In the Bible, the nation of Israel were instructed by God to hold a number of ‘Feast Days’ at special times in their yearly calendar. While these ‘days off’ would have been welcome breaks for the working people, they also had a special significance in teaching the people about the way of salvation being offered to them by God.

 

A few examples illustrate this:

 

  • The first ‘Feast’ of the year was ‘Passover’, held on the 14th day of the 1st month of the Jewish calendar (the Christian ‘Easter’ is synchronised with this, which is why it moves about each year). This feast commemorates the rescue of the nation from slavery in Egypt and the start of their journey to the ‘Promised Land’. A lamb died as a sacrifice to deliver them from slavery, and in the New Testament, Jesus died at Passover to release us from slavery to sin.
  • The sixth ‘Feast’ was the ‘Day of Atonement’ (Yom Kippur in Hebrew). This was a day when special rituals were performed to symbolise the release of the nation and the people from their past sins. But it also looks forward, in the Christian context, to the day when Jesus will return to finally remove all sin.
  • And the seventh ‘Feast’ was that of ‘Tabernacles’, when the Jews built little shelters outside their homes to lived outside together, worshipping God. This looks forward to the time when God’s Kingdom will be established on the earth and all will live together in harmony and worship God their creator.

 

Thus, each year, as they celebrated their feasts, the Jews were reminded that God has a plan for mankind and that there is a great hope to look forward to for those who are faithful to Him, when the troubles of this life will be replaced with the peace and harmony of life in God’s Kingdom.

 

For more information about the Jewish feasts and their Christian context, see a video on the subject at:


Unusual Weather!

Yorkshire is having the best summer for many years, hot sunny days follow one after another. But gardeners and farmers are looking anxiously at the sky looking for signs of rain which flowers, vegetable and grains desperately need. Rain is essential for plant growth upon which our food supply depends.

We can admire the dramatic graphics of the weather forecasters but do they really explain why the weather is as it is?

The Bible teaches that God is in control of all things including the weather.  Eliphaz in the book of Job says “He (God performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted ….He bestows rain on the earth,. He sends water upon the countryside” (Job 5:9-10) Elihu also in Job describes the rain cycle which results in “abundant showers that fall on mankind”

Of course sometimes we see the consequences of too much rain, floods, houseswashed away and crops ruined.  So we may wonder what is God up to.

The Bible is quite clear that God manages all things so we have to accept with grace what God sends. Job says “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the Lord be praised” (Job 1) so whatever the weather we can have total confidence that God is in control. Putting our total trust in God can change our attitude to life, we don’t need to worry God will send rain and sunshine in sufficient balanced quantities.

But God’s control is not limited to the present.  He has promised to create a new heaven and a new earth.. the sound of weeping will be heard no more (Isaiah 55) This will be when Jesus will  rule in righteousness and at that time the weather will be perfect every day!


Love

I think it’s fair to see we all enjoy a good wedding, and last month the country was able to celebrate the marriage of Prince Harry and his fiancé, Meghan Markle.

 

The pastor at the service spoke of the power of love, quoting the French Philisopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire”.

 

The Bible has a lot to say about love. The writer Paul emphasises its importance in Galatians 5, saying “in Christ Jesus… the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” and urges people to “serve one another in love”.

 

Love needs to be our motivation, and should fill our lives, guide our thoughts and actions.  Love will make us into the person God hopes we will be.  The bible says that the two greates commandments are to love the Lord your God with all your mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbour as yourself.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3v 16).


Hope of Summer

The month of May is when we see the flowers and blossoms coming to abundance around us. The apparent deadness of winter, the cold and grey skies, the short days and long dark nights all are behind us and we look forward to the long warm days of summer to come, the sunshine and the blue skies.

Jesus spoke of the Springtime. He was telling his disciples about the future time when he would come back to set up God’s Kingdom here on earth. He gave a number of signs to look forward to so that we could recognise when the time of his return was near. Then he said:

“Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.” (Luke 21:29-31 ESV)

Just as we can look at the flowers and blossoms blooming around us and understand that summer will soon be here, so we can look at the signs in the world that the Bible talks about and understand that the Kingdom of God is near.

There are signs all around us in today’s world so we can be certain that Christ’s return and the establishment of God’s Kingdom on the earth is very close.

For more information about this, contact us by clicking the link below.

http://www.doncasterchristadelphians.org/contact-us/

There are also some links to videos and web pages giving more information.

Video talk – Ezekial 38 and signs of Christ’s return: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KV7x5IdF6QQ

Video talk – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udPqNBZDWd0

Signs from the Bible – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E83KGQdPftQ

Olivet prophecy signs – http://www.christadelphians.com/biblebasics/app03nearnessofchristsreturn.html

Luke 21 online lesson – http://www.cbm.org.uk/cbm40lesson08.pdf

‘Christ is coming!’ book – http://www.thechristadelphian.com/christ_is_coming_online.htm