23rd March 2020, an infamous & momentous day in England, as the country lockdown came in due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 6 months ago, we can all look back to the inconveniences and changes we faced. But what about the future? In 6 months from now – Where will you be? Remember with all of life’s uncertainties Eternity is for sure! Make plans for it, be prepared!
Read the Bible ( B.I.B.L.E – Be Informed Before Leaving Earth)
The breakdown of the moral fabric of society. Is this a world in decline and is there any hope? This blog addresses what the Bible has to say about the direction the world is heading in.
Sometimes people ask me ‘are we in the last days of this world’s history’. The truthful answer is, I don’t know. The Bible does predict that the world will end one day; but it makes clear that it will not be man who destroys it. I know that many of you will not be convinced that God designed and created the world. I believe that is the only logical explanation. The Bible says that God created everything and that He will bring this world’s history to a grand finale.
It states that  ‘Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail.’ This statement teaches us a number of things :
God created the universe
God is eternal and will outlive this world
While God is eternal the world is not.
These verses also hint at the fact that there will be a new universe when this one has fulfilled its purpose. Peter, Jesus’ disciple, described the incredible scenes of destruction when this world ends but in the same breath, he said that  ‘we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteouness.”
If we are all honest, we would all like to see a world of justice, fairness, kindness and peace. The Bible teaches that this will happen one day on the basis of what Jesus achieved through His death. One clear verse from the Bible states  ‘And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.’ The peace we long for is only available because the cause of sin and hatred was dealt with by Jesus’ death on the cross. God will bring peace to this world in a future day and thereafter create a new world, but in the meantime, He offers  ‘joy and peace in believing’ to those who turn and trust Him.
So are we nearing the end of the world? No one knows! The Lord Jesus taught these facts have been hidden from us –  ‘but of that day and that hour knoweth no man’. What we do discover is that the conditions and trends of the last days are described in the Bible. These lists make sobering reading as they match the moral decline, the current philisophy and the global conditions we are facing. For instance, end times will be marked by fatal epidemic diseases, famines and terrifying scenes on earth.
We need to wake up and understand the times we live in. It is vital that we get perspective and understand that we will not be here forever. It is possible to be safe and sure of the future. Jesus said  ‘I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish’.
 Hebrews 1:10-12  2 Peter 3:13 Colossians 1:20 Romans 15:13 Mark 13:32 The Gospel of John 10:28
In mid-2019, an eye-catching advert appeared: “Get 20/20 vision before 2020”. It was from a company offering eye surgery, encouraging readers to have the operation before the end of 2019, so that by the beginning of the year 2020 they would have ‘normal vision’. It is now too late to have it before 2020, but doubtless the same business, and others, will continue to offer it in this New Year.
In John chapter 9 (the Bible) we read about a man who received a transformation in eyesight far greater than that offered by any surgical procedure: instantaneously he went from being totally blind, to seeing clearly. This miraculous change took place because the Lord Jesus Christ had pity on him and healed him.
This tremendous event is a ‘sign’ of what Christ can do for us. The blind man was in physical darkness, where he had been all his life, and, until he met the Lord, he was destined to remain there. His physical darkness pictures our spiritual darkness: the darkness of sin, ignorance, and Satan’s dominion. That is where everyone is, from birth, and no-one can free himself from it, but is destined to go to Hell, and be in ‘the blackness of darkness for ever,’ Jude. 13. However, God desires to ‘deliver us from the power of darkness,’ Col. 1. 13, and so He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, Who said, ‘I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness,’ John 12. 46.
In our story, the Lord Jesus made clay, put it on the man’s eyes, and then told him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam, which he did, and he was able to see, John 9. 6,7. The Lord did the work, but to benefit from it the blind man had the responsibility to obey His command. It is so as far as salvation is concerned: Christ did all the work that was necessary, when He died for us at the cross, but if you are to be saved from your sins, you must obey the call of the gospel, by repenting and putting your trust in Him to save you. The Lord Jesus told Paul to preach the gospel message to people, ‘to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me,’ Acts 26. 18. Have you put your faith in Him, and received the forgiveness of sins?
While the receiving of sight was a great blessing for that man, he received an even greater blessing that same day: he came to know that Jesus is the Son of God, believed in Him, and received salvation. In this New Year, this is the greatest blessing you could receive. Unlike physical eye surgery, it is free, there is no waiting list, there is no possibility of failure, and its benefits last eternally. Accept it today, and you can sing, in the words of John Newton:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see.
When God made the heavens and the earth everything was perfect. The stars and the planets were in their correct order and location and everything was ‘on the move’. Planet earth, the sun and the moon each were set revolving in an orderly manner. The earth revolves around the sun at 67,000 miles per hour. The sun orbits at 492,000 miles per hour. The moon orbits Earth at a speed of 2,288 miles per hour and completes its circuit in just less than 28 days. But note the following:
We have no sensation of movement of any kind, other than we can see the moon in different positions in the sky.
We can trust and depend upon the stability of this order and mariners can plot their course by fixing their location in relation to the North Star.
We don’t have to worry when we go to bed at night that the sun will rise in the East and bring all the benefits to planet Earth that it requires to sustain life.
The earth’s perfect crust was broken up in the days of Noah when God brought a universal judgement upon the earth because of sin. The fragmentation of planet earth’s crust created tectonic plates, upon which seven continents now stand. The seven continents are Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. Europe borders with Asia and the straits of Gibralter forms a border between Africa and Europe. We have considered the geography of continents and of Europe in particular now we lets think about the geo-political structure of Europe. There are 27 nations that are presently in the European Union and 1 seeking divorce from the EU. History reveals problems between nations, which have resulted in war, and the migration of many people from their home country. The European Union has a Roman Treaty that reminds us of the four world gentile powers i.e. Babylon (Iraq) Persia (Iran), Greece and Rome. The Bible identifies these four world powers as ‘the times of the gentiles’. In Luke 21 v 24 we read “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”. The expression ‘the times of the gentiles’ does not describe the collapse of the Roman Empire but looks forward to future days when another burgeoning gentile world empire will be overthrown by the second coming of Christ to earth. In the days of the Roman Empire God revealed his interest in man’s spiritual well being by introducing the gospel to Europe. Acts chapter 16 gives the details of the Lord assembling his servants in Troas (Turkey) for this great commission of bringing the gospel to the people of Europe. While in Troas the Apostle Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia appealing for help, “come over and help us” was his prayer. Paul’s intended to travel East with the gospel but God had other purposes for him, the Holy Spirit re-directing him North-West into Europe. The writer of the book of Acts was a Doctor, Luke and in chapter 16 of Acts he changes the pronoun ‘they’ to ‘we’. This reflects when Luke joined himself to the missionary journey. God didn’t provide Paul with an accountant or a fisherman, he provided a doctor. What a blessing this was when Paul arrived in Philippi and was treated brutally. Thankfully Dr Luke was on hand to help. In Philippi, Macedonia Paul preached the Gospel and three people were became believers. The first was a lady named Lydia, she was a businesswoman who had taken her business from Thyatira in Turkey to Europe. Thyatira is the area where the purple dye was produced and Lydia was a ‘seller of purple’. Her business interests did not deter her from believing in God and when Paul preached the gospel to a company of women by the riverside the Lord opened her heart to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and she was saved. Not only was she saved, she was then baptized and immediately opened her home to the preachers. Lydia’s life was changed by her faith in the Son of God, also members of her household were saved at the same time. God delights to save in families. The second person that Paul reached with the Gospel was a young girl. People were manipulating her young life. She brought her masters a lot of profit by her sooth-saying but her demon possession ended when she received Christ as Saviour and the Holy Spirit indwelt her changing her life dramatically. Many young peoples lives are today being messed up by an indulgence in alcohol, recreational drugs which bring the sellers much gain and bondage to the spirit world. Her salvation caused a rumpus in the city and her previous controllers created an uproar resulting in Paul and Silas being thrown into prison. This place was where the third person got saved; he was the keeper of the prison. Paul and Silas were singing at midnight, their feet fast in the stocks, their backs bleeding when an earthquake occurred causing the building to be shaken and the prisoners released from the chains that held them. The Jailor fearing for his life was about to commit suicide when Paul cried “do thyself no harm, we are all here”. The Jailor called for a light, drew his sword and sprang into the secured area. The question upon his lips “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul answered his question “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and all thy house” that man was saved, and his family and they were baptized the same night.God is still saving souls in Europe, have you asked the question “What must I do to be saved”. Believe today and you will be saved.
On September 6, 2018, Amber Guyer—an off-duty patrol officer in Dallas—entered the apartment of 26-year-old accountant Botham Jean. She later said she thought it was her own apartment and mistook Jean for a burglar, shooting and killing him.
One year later, on October 1, 2019, she was found guilty of murder. On October 2, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Botham Jean’s brother Brandt was allowed to give a victim-impact statement, and he addressed Amber Guyer directly.
The result was a beautiful Christian testimony—truly salt and light in a dark and twisted world.
“If you truly are sorry, I can speak for myself, I forgive, and I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you.
And I don’t think anyone can say it—again I’m speaking for myself—but I love you just like anyone else.
And I’m not gonna say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did, but I presently want the best for you.
And I wasn’t going to ever say this in front of my family or anyone, but I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you, because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want you to do.
And the best would be to give your life to Christ.
I’m not going to say anything else.
I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want you to do.
Again I love you as a person and I don’t wish anything bad on you.
I don’t know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug, please?
Mark 16:6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is foundational for Christianity. If He had not risen from the dead then we could not be saved. What great hope we have knowing that Jesus Christ is alive today. A man in heaven who one day we will see! Paul wrote in 1 Cor 15 that if Christ is not risen then our faith is in vain. He goes on to say that we would be of all men most miserable. The resurrection is at the root of all that we believe. Christianity is unique in this. Religion boasts in its dead leaders. They cannot take you to an empty tomb and say He is not here but is risen.
Belief in the resurrection is vital for salvation. Rom 10:9 tells us ‘that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’ Great efforts were made to ensure that the body of Jesus could not be taken away by his disciples. A large stone with a seal and Roman guard however could not keep the Lord in the tomb. The stone was rolled away and the guards became as dead men at the sight of the angel. Of course it was only rolled away to show that the tomb was empty. No doubt rumours of the resurrection spread and the soldiers were paid to lie. Those rumours could have easily been stopped. All the authorities needed to do was to show them His body. But they did not because they could not because He had risen. No one has ever been able to disprove the resurrection. The evidence to support it far outweighs the contrary. What hope and joy we have because HE IS ALIVE!
Earlier this month Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell is in the firing line after calling wartime PM Winston Churchill a villain.
Responding to quick-fire questions at the end of a live video interview with Politico, McDonnell was asked if Churchill was a hero or a villain, to which he replied: “Tonypandy – villain.”
I suppose at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what folks think about Churchill, but the Lord posed a similar question about Himself in Matthew chapter 22 “Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is He?”
In Matthew chapter 16 the Lord had asked another similar question “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” to which there had been many replies, but Peter’s answer in verse 16 of that chapter is tremendous – “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.” Let us appreciate the greatness of the Lord today, for all that He is and all that He has done!
We must agree with the astonished exclamation in Mark chapter 7 verse 37 “He hath done all things well: He maketh both the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak.”
Are you frightened about the state of the world at the moment? Many people find it very scary, as every day seems to bring another disaster. Murder seems to be so commonplace! On a daily basis we hear of someone else going on the rampage and killing people! Individual acts of terrorism are on the increase resulting in the tragedy of people being deprived of their loved ones by an act of violence. Events of yesterday seem so long ago as we wake up to hear of another tragic evil act being perpetrated.
I find it all very distressing and yet I, sadly, can see the inevitability of the way the world is going. The Bible teaches that conditions in society will get worse and worse as time progresses. Paul, as an old man, wrote to Timothy, a young man – ‘This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away,’ 2 Timothy 3:1-5. I think what the Bible is saying in these verses is staring us in the face. Do you recognize a description of our society?
If we reject the moral compass of the Bible then ultimately there are consequences. In effect morality becomes subjective and personal. There is no absolute standard of right and wrong. Everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes. This is not a new problem. It happened in Bible times, and many times since but every time is happens the results are disastrous. The old book says ‘There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death,’ Proverbs 14:12.
If we don’t get back to the Bible we can expect society to get worse and worse. We need to educate the next generation so that they don’t make the mistakes that we have made. The Bible says ‘Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,’ Proverbs 22:6
I’m also glad to say that the Bible states that ‘But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,’ Romans 5:20. This means that the gospel of Jesus Christ can meet the needs of a wicked society. Forgiveness starts with the individual. The promise of scripture is still true – ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,‘ 1 John 1:9. Society will never change by enforcement but by the transforming power of God working in the each individual’s life through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Are you fearful? Scripture says ‘perfect love casteth out fear,’ ‘the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’.
A new year brings challenges and changes. Can I remind you of some of the more important challenges we may meet in this life, and the changes we need to make to be prepared.
NEW YEAR CHALLENGES
A New Year brings fresh challenges and opportunities but life is so unpredictable! At times, the variety life brings can be very exciting but sometimes it’s a bit frightening. That flood in the house, the illness that took us by surprise! The speed of change and our helplessness can be disconcerting! As mere mortals, we cannot control our circumstances and have to try to cope with what is inevitable as well as we possibly can.
There are many situations like this in life. Illness often cannot be avoided, we are affected by what other people do, and often circumstances are out of our control. Most of the time we are quite skilful at coping but sometimes we just have to go with the flow. I am not a laid back type of person so I often wonder what it must be like to be relaxed and unaffected by changeable circumstances.
The ultimate uncontrollable event is death. It creeps up on every one of us. We may prolong life and improve the quality of our twilight years but we cannot evade death in the long term! I believe, and the Bible teaches, that there is hope in Jesus.
JESUS HAS CONTROL OVER DEATH
He is the only man who ever had control over his own death. It is recorded that Jesus brought at least three people back to life – see the accounts in the Bible in John 11, Luke 7:11-17 and Luke 8:40-56. When it came to His own death, Jesus voluntarily sacrificed His life. By this, I don’t mean only that He went the place of His execution willingly but that at His crucifixion His life did not ebb away, as it would with us. He consciously laid down His life so that we might have eternal life. Read it for yourself in the Bible, Luke 23.46. The Bible states it explicitly when it says ‘Christ died for our sins’.
THE PROFOUND MESSAGE OF CHRISTIANITY
The profound message of Christianity is this! My sinful behaviour has moral consequences. God is loving but He is also holy. His distaste of sin is such that it would be an insult to His character to allow people into His presence who have been marked by it. The dilemma is that God wants to share eternal life with His creatures but we, historically, have distanced ourselves from Him.
THE BIBLICAL SOLUTION
What is the solution according to the Bible? The Son of God became a man through a miraculous conception but a normal birth. In His life of thirty-three years, He demonstrated that He was God by His miracles and His knowledge. He proved that He was holy and flawless in character by how he lived – even his enemies stated that there were no flaws in Him. All men die because of sin but Jesus could not die as He was without sin, fault, wrong or error. His death was a voluntary payment for guilty humanity. As a result, God offers us pardon and forgiveness.
So how do you get this forgiveness? God treats His creatures as thinking individuals. He has given them the capacity to choose. The offer is still on the table. Consider, grieve about and admit your sin to God, not a religious person or organisation. Believe and depend on what the Lord Jesus has done and accept Him as your Saviour.
NEW YEAR CHANGES
I cannot describe the change that you will find when you come. It cannot be defined in words. It does not guarantee a problem-free existence. It will bring about changes in your lifestyle, not enforced change as a result of rules but changes in interests and desires for better things. It will mean your guilty status before God has been resolved. You will be saved forever.
Is this vandalism or deliberate theft? We trust the culprit will return the baby Jesus.
I was reminded by this news article of the sad fact that so many people love to celebrate Christmas, but the Lord Jesus is absent! Whilst I’m not a lover of nativity scenes, I am all for reminding people that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”. Is the Lord Jesus Christ part of your life?
Do you have room for Him?
Remember, what I do with Jesus Christ in this life, He will do with me in eternity.
If I have no room for Him in life and refuse to accept Him as my Saviour, then He will have no room for me in heaven, and on account of my sin will refuse to accept me.
Wise men years ago asked after Jesus Christ was born, “Where is He?” Ask yourself the same question.