The Bible and Happiness

It is quite likely that most of us spend some time looking for ways to improve the quality of our life to ensure that we find true happiness.

But the question is what is happiness? A dictionary will tell us that happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

There may be many things in your life that you may think bring happiness. It could be your car, your family, your job, having money in the bank or a nice house. But do these things really bring long- lasting happiness? What if there is more to life than possessions?

A Buddhist Monk said, “No matter how many possessions we acquire, they will not provide us with any lasting happiness and freedom. On the contrary, it is often our pursuit of material possessions that causes our problems. If we want ultimate happiness and freedom from suffering, we must engage in the supreme practices of training the mind. There is no other way”

Would it surprise you if these sentiments and the keys to true happiness are actually found in the Bible? The Bible is a book written by God, which is able to give you a sense of purpose, a happy mind and contentment with the things that we have.

The Lord Jesus Christ tells a parable about a man who kept building built bigger barns to store his possessions.  Suddenly, his life came to an end.  All his achievements had come to nothing. The moral of the parable is that “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things that he possesses (Luke 12:15). Possessions will not give us long-lasting happiness.

The Bible records the reign of many kings of Israel and Judah, but there is only one kingdom where we are told the people were happy. It was the kingdom of Solomon. His reign was a picture of what the reign of Jesus will be like. In 1 Kings 10:8 it says: “Happy are your men, happy are these your servants, who  stand continually before you, and that hear your wisdom”.

The wisdom of Solomon was God-given. The comment above was made by the Queen of Sheba when she visited Solomon. She noticed that Solomon’s servants were happy because they stood before the king and heard his wisdom. We can stand before our king, the Lord Jesus Christ, and hear his wisdom. This will make us happy.

David the Psalmist wrote a lot about happiness. He comments in Psalm 34 that a person is happy when they trust in God. We need to taste and see that God is good. Taste is all about experiencing something, so we need to experience what God can do for us, to find true happiness.

In Psalm 32, David understood that an aspect of happiness is knowing that our sins can be forgiven. Forgiveness comes from God and through believing in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the gospel that is preached in the Bible.

It is important also to note, however, that believing in God does not always mean our lives will be easy and that we will not experience difficulties. We need to believe that trials are for our benefit, to make us more like Jesus and ready for God’s kingdom. This takes faith and trust in God – but the reward will be eternal happiness in the kingdom of God.

Why Jerusalem matters

There is widespread consternation in many political circles over Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of Israel. The Muslim world is incensed and the decision promises to prompt widespread protests.

This is no surprise to students of Bible prophecy. In Zechariah we read: ‘I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples” (12:2). The ancient city will be ‘a very heavy stone for all peoples’ (12:3).

The prophecy continues by describing a great destruction of the nations that ‘come against Jerusalem’ by ‘the LORD’ who will ‘defend the inhabitants’ (12:8).

A few verses later we read that the same LORD who fights against the nations ‘will stand upon the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east’ (14:3,4).

Finally, ‘the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be “The LORD is one,” and His name one’ (14:9).

So in this prophecy we have a vision of Jerusalem being a focal point for international conflict, but being saved from destruction by ‘the LORD’. So who is ‘the LORD’?

The capital letters indicate to us that the original Hebrew word is ‘YAHWEH’. This is the name of the God who made promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs of Israel, and to David, Israel’s greatest king.

These promises foretell that a ‘seed’ or descendant of these faithful men will bring blessings to all nations, when he comes to occupy ‘the throne of his father David’ in Jerusalem and to ‘rule over the house of Jacob for ever’ (Luke 1:32,33).

This seed is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, whose destiny is to bring glory to God and ‘on earth peace, goodwill toward men’ (Luke 2:14). Because he perfectly demonstrated the character of YAHWEH, he was ‘Immanuel’ – ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:23).

The gospels tell of his life and teaching, and of his cruel death by crucifixion outside the walls of Jerusalem. But the gospel – or ‘good news’ – assures us that God raised him to new life, after he had spent three days and nights in the grave. At the end of 40 days of appearances to hundreds of people, he took his closest followers onto the Mount of Olives and was taken up from them to his Father in heaven.

While the disciples looked on in astonishment, two angels appeared to them, assuring them that one day Jesus would return ‘in like manner as you saw him go into heaven’ (Acts 1:9-11).

We can see now the significance of the words of Zechariah concerning the LORD who will stand on the Mount of Olives, the one who will confront those nations that have come against Jerusalem, and finally establish his rule over all the earth. For just as Jesus did the work of his Father during his first coming, so he will represent his Father at his second coming, so that his rule over the earth can be described as ‘the kingdom of God’.

The gospel is described in the Bible as ‘the gospel of the kingdom of God’. It is good news, because the turmoil and conflict in our world will be resolved by his just and righteous rule, bringing peace and well-being to people from every nation.

So, why does Jerusalem matter? Because beyond the political squabbles of the present situation is the prospect of Jerusalem becoming the capital of the world, from which divine laws will govern the nations, whose weapons of destruction will be replaced by instruments of productivity (Isaiah 2:3,4).

This is a message of hope for the world, of hope for all people who hear the word of God and believe in its inspired message.

Post Truth, Alternate Facts and Fake News

In a confusing and changeable world the Bible’s message provides an unchanging hope!

In recent months terms such as Post truth politics, alternate facts and fake news have increasingly come to the fore in the media. But what do these terms mean and why have they been used so regularly to speak of the current global political landscape?

Post truth has been defined as “Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief, for instance: ‘in this era of post-truth politics it’s easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire’ ” (1).

Is ‘Post Truth Politics’ anything new? Is it true to say politicians of bygone eras used to have greater integrity in the way they handled information, or have people always used Propaganda to support their own agendas?

The term ‘Alternative facts’ was recently used in a media interview by a high ranking assistant in the Trump administration to describe a factually inaccurate statement made by a colleague. Political ‘spin’ is nothing new, but in a world where information is increasingly spread by the medium of social media, the way people access news is changing and the potential for bias towards one particular view point has perhaps increased, particularly with the rise of ‘Fake News Websites’ – a term which speaks of websites deliberately publishing disinformation and propaganda for political or financial gain.

With such changes to the way that news can be accessed, it’s becoming increasingly bewildering to know what to believe as true, with claims and counter claims made by opposing parties.

The Roman governor Pontius Pilate famously once asked: “What is truth”?

For many, truth can be seen as a flexible or arbitrary commodity, prone to change as and when the alternate facts might suit. But why did Pilate ask this question about truth? Pilate was judging Jesus of Nazareth a man whose whole life was founded on truth.

Jesus had said to Pilate:
“…to this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is of the truth hears my voice” (John 18 v 37-38)

The truth that Jesus witnessed to was in no way arbitrary. It is absolute. Unchanging. Jesus said:
“I AM the way, the truth, the life: no man comes to the father but by me” (John 14 v 6)

So many people claim ‘you can have your truth and I’ll have mine’, but Jesus’ message was stark by comparison. Jesus claimed he was The way and The Truth. And the only way to God is through him.

When Jesus met a woman from Samaria he again stressed the importance of truth:
“God is Spirit (or: Breath) and those who worship him, must worship in Spirit and in Truth” (John 4 v 24)

Jesus’ message stands in stark contrast to the post truth politics of today. What a hope the Bible gives us that the broken system of man’s politics will be replaced by a king who reigns in mercy and truth!

Many events in the world today seem to point towards the soon return of Jesus Christ as prophesied in the Bible. Isaiah 16 talks of the way in which Jesus Christ will reign as king when he returns to the earth:
“In mercy the throne will be established; and one will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness. (Isaiah 16 v 5)

Only with a ruler who acts in truth can righteousness like this ever be attained. He is a king who will act out of his love of those things which are true rather than any personal self-interest.

How we need such a ruler today!

The President of America


Which way is he pointing?
                Which way is he pointing?

The election of Donald Trump as the future President of the USA has been the cause of much debate.  It seems people either love him or hate him. Christadelphians believe the Bible is the word of God. As a consequence we try to look at what is happening in our world from a Biblical perspective.

Let’s consider some examples of powerful leaders in Bible times. For example the Pharaoh who ruled Egypt in the days of Moses. This is what the Bible says of him: “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My Power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth” (Romans 9:17, citing Exodus 9:16). Did this mean that the Pharaoh was a God-fearing man? By no means! But in some way, he was there to facilitate the will of God – which was that the Israelites should leave Egypt and journey to the Promised Land.

Many years later, the great Babylonian monarch Nebuchadnezzar conquered all the lands around Israel and crushed the tiny kingdom of Judah. He took the Jews into exile in Babylon, where they remained for 70 years. All this had been foretold by prophets like Jeremiah and is recorded in the Bible. So we can say that God was at work in the rule of Nebuchadnezzar. In fact he learnt from the prophet Daniel that “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Daniel 4:25).

After the Persians overran the Babylonian empire the Jews were encouraged to return from exile to rebuild Jerusalem and establish the worship of God there. Cyrus, the great Persian ruler, is described in these terms by God: “He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem ‘You shall be built’” (Isaiah 44:28).

It is the same message throughout the Bible. Men and women are moved into place by the angels, working to God’s plan, to achieve His purposes.  We may not always be clear what role they will play, but we can be sure that somehow, world events are being directed by the angels to bring out the grand climax – the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, when “the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

So, in response to the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, Bible believers can stand back and watch the development of events, knowing that God is at work whoever is placed in power

. What a comfort this is! Although the Bible tells us there will be ‘a time of trouble’ in the earth, worse than anything that has gone before (Daniel 12:1, Matthew 21:21), events will herald “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).

Jesus tells us to ‘watch’. We can let the word of God be our guide and prepare our hearts and minds for the return of Christ. This will make us ready, whatever the future holds: “For the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44).

The Financial Crisis – Don’t Worry

The Financial Crisis – Don’t Worry


We live in uncertain times; we have recently seen Britain make the decision to leave the EU. The questions are now being asked, what will the impact of this be? How will the financial markets cope as a result?

Quite often we see headlines on a day by day basis “IMF warns of financial stability risks”, “FTSE 100 slides and pound remains under pressure”. We can easily find ourselves worrying about how we will pay the mortgage? What will happen to our savings? How will we save to provide for our pension?

The reality is nobody really knows what the impact will be and how the financial markets will respond but the Bible tells us that God is in control of the world and has a plan and purpose with the earth.

The Bible says through the profit Daniel in chapter 4:17, “This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” So God is in control of the world and is working out his plan.

What we have to do then is to sit and watch and see God’s plan unfold; we must not worry. In the gospel of Luke 21:25-28 we read, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

The sun moon and stars represent the powers of the world, whom God is controlling, this prophecy of Luke is coming true, the next thing we are looking for is the return of the Lord Jesus Christ who will return the world to how God first intended.

Earlier in the gospel of Luke Jesus tells a parable about worrying, it is recorded in Luke 12:16-21 “And Jesus told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to  down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?  So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Jesus says we need to be rich before God. In verse 22, “ And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.”

So rather than reading the news and worrying, look at the news and remember that God is in control. We need to build up treasure with him not on earth and look up for soon the Lord Jesus will return. The signs are all around us.

A Message from the Paralympic Games

A Message from the Paralympic Games


The Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro have been beset with problems and controversy. It seems the host nation, Brazil, has not had too much interest in the sporting prowess of disabled people. Perhaps the reality of the event will create more positive attitudes.

It’s not so long ago in the UK – and in many countries – that people with disabilities were either put in institutes or depended completely on family support to be able to cope. When we look at what the Bible shows us, we realise that it was tough in Bible times too for those who could not so easily manage in the struggle of life.

But what we do read there, is that God is interested in all those who are disadvantaged in any way. None of us is perfect, of course, and the Bible explains that this is the result of man turning away from God and His laws.  But there are numerous examples of compassion shown to those in need and of wonderful miracles of healing and restoration for the lame, the blind, the deaf, the paralysed.

The Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated God’s concern in the healing work he undertook, so that the blind could see, the lame walk and the deaf hear.  By this means, he showed the power of God to give fullness of life to those who believe in the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

This kingdom will replace the kingdom of man when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to the earth.  At that time ‘the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped… the lame man shall leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing’ (Isaiah 35:6).

In  a speech at the opening of the Paralympic Games, Carloz Nusman, the president of the organising committee, spoke of building “a new world, more accessible to all and with no obstacles”.

That new world will surely come when Jesus establishes God’s Kingdom on earth. It will not require funding, or an organising committee.

For it is God who ‘gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength… They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.’ (Isaiah 40:29-31).

Why does God allow Earthquakes?

Why does God allow Earthquakes?


Earthquakes in various places- Italy

We are always saddened when we hear of natural disaster and even more sad when we hear that many people including young children have lost their lives. At times such as these it can be all too easy to turn round and question the existence or indeed question whether God is a loving God who really cares.

The Bible presents to us a God who created a perfect world, at the end of the sixth day of creation; God Himself commented that the world He had made was ‘very good’. God wants mankind to follow after Him and to love Him and follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ. The world as we know it now is not the world that God intended, mankind has destroyed God’s perfect world.

God cares for us and for His creation. The prophet Ezekiel speaks these words recorded for us Ezekiel 18:32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.”

The Apostle Peter in his second letter writes these words, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

So although God is in control of all things he does not want anyone to perish but natural disasters will occur and as sad as this is, we cannot blame God.

God has a plan for the earth that is centred on His son the Lord Jesus Christ, who died so that we can have a hope of life. If we trust in him we can be forgiven those things that we have done wrong. Jesus is going to return to the earth to set up God’s kingdom. The world will be restored to how God created it and intended it to be. In fact it will be a new heavens and new earth, developed from the innocence of the Garden of Eden.

There are many verses in the Bible that tell us of this time one in particular is Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

You may be thinking does the Bible say anything about earthquakes? The Lord Jesus Christ tells us that earthquakes are a sign of his second coming when he will come to set up the kingdom.

Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.” (Luke 21:10).

So the state of the world is pointing to the nearness of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot solve these problems ourselves, we cannot blame God but we can put our trust in Him and believe that the Lord Jesus will return to the earth and change the world to the way God intended it to be.

Britain’s future outside Europe

Students of Bible prophecy have long thought that Britain’s destiny is outside Europe. There are a number of reasons for this:-

  1. A good case can be made out for Britain being the Tarshish of the Bible, based on the search for tin which brought the Tyrian merchants to Cornwall. In Ezekiel 38, Tarshish looks on as the Northern confederacy of nations under ‘Gog’ (= Russia and her allies) descends upon Israel and meets its end when confronted by the Lord Jesus Christ. Tarshish is not part of that invasion.
  2. Russia’s allies will include the nation states of continental Europe, bound together by their desire to achieve political union and a common vision, strongly influenced by the Roman Catholic church.
  3. This political union is described in Revelation 17, where the woman who rides on the beast would have been recognised when Revelation was written as a reference to the mythological Europa riding upon the bull – an image used by the EU today. The nation states ‘have one mind, and give their power and strength to the beast’ (17:13). Britain, with its strong Protestant heritage, has no part in this union and has chosen not to surrender its sovereignty to an EU founded upon the Treaty of Rome.

God is indeed the One who rules in the kingdom of man. While the outcome of the Referendum surprised and shocked so many, students of prophecy were well prepared for what has happened.

Each of us must prepare for the likely return of the Lord Jesus Christ – soon.

Casting Our Vote

Elections are in the air at the moment. There have been local elections and the referendum on membership of the EU is scheduled for June. What should be the attitude of the follower of the Lord Jesus Christ?

In the First Century, when Jesus lived in ancient Israel, there were no political elections, though there was much political activity, especially as the Jews (and Jesus was a Jew) were living under the occupying power of Rome. Jesus never directed his followers to get involved in politics. In fact, he stated, ‘My kingdom is not of this world, else would my servants fight’ (John 18:36). The work of the disciples was to witness to the coming kingdom of God, for ‘here we have no continuing city, for we seek one to come’ (Hebrews 13:14).

In Paul’s letter to the believers in Philippi, a city proud of its Roman political system, he put it this way:

‘Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body’ (Philippians 3:20,21)

For this reason, Christadelphians do not take part in the political process, but ‘render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’ (Mark 12:17)