Child of God

He's got the whole world in His hands!

Happy Easter!

A very different Easter to the ones I usually celebrate, as church is obviously closed but we have been very fortunate, as our pastor and his wife have held communion in their home and made it available live online. The wonders of modern technology! It felt quite strange taking communion in our home - just the two of us - but I am sure Jesus was with us too - and that's the main thing...

We usually take communion every month and it is a crucial part of our church life. The bread represents Christ's body, as he died an excruciating death as a penance for our sins - that is, me, you, and every other human who has ever lived and will ever live on this earth. Jesus himself never sinned - he was the perfect Son of God. The wine represents His blood - spilled on the cross - yet another symbol of His death, so that we can enjoy eternal life with Him and His Father, God.The good news, of course, is that Jesus did come back to life and that is the real celebration of Easter.

Jesus said: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies" (John 11:25)

I am very glad I don't have to rely on my own good character to win a place in the kingdom of God! I couldn't see that happening, somehow. I have put my trust and faith in Jesus to do that for me; that way, I know my future with Him is secure.

We sang "Amazing Grace" at the end of our communion service. I love the words to that. GRACE - God's riches at Christ's expense!

Still not much in the shops, is there? My lovely husband did manage to get me a large Lindt Easter egg and some beautiful carnations, though! We are going to go out on our allowed walk later on and are grateful for the gorgeous sunny day.

Have a peaceful and happy Easter weekend. Keep safe, stay well and remember that God loves you - so much that He sacrificed His only son for you.

Ann x

Hello again.

What a beautiful day it is today! One stunning day after another, lately... I hope you enjoyed your Easter weekend. Hubby and I managed to clock up a few miles over the four days, on our allowed local walks. Good thing we are in walking distance of a few parks and rivers. In doing that amount of exercise, I managed to shed a few pounds in the process. Still not exactly "summer-ready" but never mind! We have been eating far too many sweets and chips lately - I think they call it the Lock-Down Diet 😋

Life seems quite surreal lately - rather like an extended holiday, in some ways - but without the benefits of travel, days out, meals out, drinks in a nice country pub - but every morning we make a point of thanking God for another healthy day, and for the opportunity to get out into the fresh air. I sometimes think how nice it would be to have a garden, and wistfully envy folk that do - but then I realise how fortunate we are to be able to see a bit of greenery outside our windows, and to amble round our local green areas. There is always someone worse off than you!

It was a friend's birthday yesterday. She lives in Poland. Her daughter organised a Zoom meeting of all her family and friends to celebrate the event. We had the pleasure of seeing them and having the chance to pass on our greetings and best wishes, along with lots of other people. Until recently, I had never even heard of Zoom! Isn't technology wonderful?

The internet is really coming into its own in these troubled times. My church congregation is only small but, as a result of posting sermons and Bible studies online, this number has multiplied several times over. It's amazing how many people are viewing our pastor's posts, and we hope to carry on with this, once life is back to normal. I may be biased but I find these messages uplifting and soothing; they help to keep me on track when I find myself giving in to anxiety about the future.

As the song goes, "I am no longer a slave to fear; I am a child of God". (No Longer Slaves, Bethel Music). I hang onto to this with all my grip and all my heart. I dread to imagine a life without my wonderful Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Stay safe, keep well and God bless.

Ann x

Hi there.

I have let a few friends know that I've started this blog. It's all new stuff to me, this blogging lark, so I am quite out of my depth here. I hope at least a few people have read my first section, anyway - but here I go again!

Well, another weekend has gone by without our old routines of church, entertaining and visiting friends, driving out to local beauty spots and having a spot of lunch and a nice cold drink in a country pub or village cafe. Simple pleasures have become the order of the day - short, local walks - once only! - phoning friends and family, taking time out to thank the Lord that we and our loved ones are still safe and well. Spending quality time with the people we live with - our 'bubble' - and eating home-cooked meals. We have to be careful not to over-indulge now, as the gym remains firmly closed for the foreseeable!

One of my interests has always been trying new recipes from the many cookbooks I own. A friend suggested I try baking; consequently, every flavour of muffin is being produced in my oven, and the extra pounds are piling on me and my husband already!

Another passion of mine is reading - well, not so much reading, as gobbling books up in huge, greedy bites! I have made a vow not to spend unnecessary money during this crisis, preferring to donate to the many good causes crying out for funds. I am working my way through my bookshelves, comfort-binging on Maeve Binchy, Dorothy Koomson and Lisa Jewell. I am also trying to have a Christian book on the go, as well, as all this pulp fiction can't be doing my spiritual life much good. My book of the moment is called Gideon by Jeff Lucas. It's about an ordinary man who was called to do extraordinary things by God.

One of my favourite Christian books is "Once an Addict" by Barry Woodward. It's a true story of a Salford lad who was indeed a drug addict and is now a world evangelist. I bought it at the Lighthouse Church, after hearing Barry speak at an event. He was charismatic, funny and compelling. The reason I went was to be polite, as my pastor and his wife had invited me. Well, he must have been good because I went in as a non-Christian, and came out saved! But that's another story for another time.

There are a lot of alarming and depressing news headlines around now. I sometimes try to bury my head in the sand and not read them (la, la, la, not listening!) but sometimes I am drawn to them like a magnet. And then I sometimes get depressed and alarmed. My remedy for this? I simply remind myself that God is in charge! I remind myself that I am a child of God and in His hands.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me" Psalm 23:4

I wish you all comfort, safety and good health. I know I have found mine in the Lord Jesus. God bless.

Ann x

Hello there!

I have been thinking about this for such a long time – starting a blog. God has been prompting me to do it for ages and ages but I always had other things to do with my time. Well now, along with countless others, I have been ‘furloughed’ – a strange word I only ever associated with fields until now. There’s only so much clearing out of cupboards you can do. Only so much scrubbing and cleaning. Clothes do eventually get washed and ironed and sit vacantly in your wardrobe, reminding you that they are not likely to be worn in a long time – well, apart from your oldest jeans and tops, to be worn for your one permitted outing a day.

I have put all my ‘best’ things away – won’t need them for the foreseeable future – as my social life, along with the rest of the world’s, has effectively been put on ice. As of last Tuesday, my work wardrobe went into storage until normality and sanity returns, whenever that might be.

There are a lot of theories around how this virus came to be. Some of them are really off the wall, shared by conspiracy buffs the world over. We hear of how one man ate a diseased bat, how the virus has been deliberately manufactured, and other rumours. But we also hear a lot about God’s hand in this crisis. There are those who believe that this is the vengeance of the Lord, a plague similar to those visited upon Egypt in the Old Testament. Some say that God has just had enough of this world and its values and behaviour and decided to teach us a lesson.

But what do Christians believe? I cannot speak for everyone but, as a Christian of nine years, I see the world having to take a huge step back in time. Thanks to the terror generated by Corona virus, the world has effectively stopped in its tracks. Up until recently, most of the western world was going about its business without a care or thought. We had everything we wanted and needed – it was all on tap. Shops were crammed to capacity with goods, a few seconds’ online click guaranteed a next day delivery of whatever tickled your fancy. We took it for granted that we could go where we wanted, when we wanted, without restrictions. Money was poured into long-haul holidays, luxury weekends away, meals out, drinks in bars and pubs and clubs with our friends, trips to the country or the seaside. But this was rarely enough for a lot of people. Much wanted more! As soon as one need was satisfied, the next reared its head – greed generating more greed, lust for things and a sense of entitlement. We truly were the Me Brigade.

Instead of church, people chose to spend their Sundays worshipping the gods of retail or sport or leisure. God and church were fine for those that wanted them but not for the majority. In the short time that this virus has choked the world in its grip of terror, we have seen some light. Churches, forced to close their buildings, have delivered live services to potential audiences of thousands. People are being reached who would otherwise never have heard the Word.

We are all scared – of the present, the future, for our loved ones and for ourselves. We need comfort, and that comfort can be found in God. He is the one who created us and the world and He is the one who is in control.

So, I believe that God has forced this world to pause and think about its values and priorities. He may have chosen a very drastic way of doing it – I don’t dispute that! But He had to get our attention in a way that would work. He has slowed us right down and wants us to look to him for comfort and guidance. I firmly believe, as we enter the last days, He is trying to give as many people a chance as possible to turn to Him.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” John 3:16

This is the most frequently quoted verse in the Bible, and with good reason. It offers salvation to all who will put their trust in Jesus, Son of God. For those who will admit they are sinners and need a saviour, Jesus will forgive your sins and guarantee you eternal life with his Father.

I turned to Jesus and accepted Him as my saviour about nine years ago. I fought this for a long time, wanting control of my own life. I needn’t have worried – my life is so much better with the comfort of Jesus. I have never looked back and my only regret is I didn’t do this sooner. I would hate for God not to be in my life and especially now.

My advice? Take your chance now – join God’s wonderful family. Now is the time! Keep safe, stay well and God bless.

Ann

 

Hello. It's been quite a while since I posted anything but I have had technical problems, in that my laptop is very temperamental, but I now have a nice new one - well, reconditioned, anyway!

Well, it's another stunningly beautiful day - a gorgeous blue sky, just a few fluffy, white clouds. Typical May weather. We had a couple of lovely walks over the weekend, by the reservoir, along the canal and through the woods. We are very fortunate to have so many nice places within our local vicinity.

This lockdown thing seems quite normal now, doesn't it? It seems ages since I last went to the office but it's just over a month. I keep telling myself I will do more with the time available but the days slip by and I don't always get around to doing anything much. I'm reading a lot of books but no change there, as I was born a bookworm, and a bookworm I'll die! I clearly remember my mum taking me to join the library when I was about five years old. Looking at the shelves and shelves of books, and being told that I could take any three home with me was a taste of paradise for me. I started a lifelong love affair with reading and it remains a source of pleasure, escapism and joy. Where would we be without Kindle in these days? Libraries and book shops closed, charity shops shut down - Mr Amazon will certainly be making lots of money!

Hubby and I have just finished reading an e-book called, "Where is God in a Coronavirus World?" by Professor John Lennox. It's quite short but it makes some interesting points. I certainly think a lot of people are wondering the same thing. This crisis is reminding folk of their own mortality and posing questions about the afterlife. Over my years as a Christian, people have asked me how a loving God can allow such terrible things to happen in this broken world. My answer is that God's own son was subjected to ridicule, persecution, torture and an agonising death. And the reason God allowed this was so that we could be forgiven our sins and have a relationship with our heavenly Father, through the blood of his precious son, Jesus Christ. If God didn't spare His only son, why should we ordinary mortals expect something different? If we will only believe that Jesus died for us on the cross and rose again to be with His Father in heaven, and put our trust in Him, we can have a relationship with the living God.

This world isn't easy - lots of terrible things are going on. God never promised to shield us from bad situations but he did promise to be with us every step of the way, and to help us get through whatever life throws at us. But when Jesus returns to earth, we are promised there will be no death, pain, sickness, evil or sin of any kind. I, for one, am looking forward to that day!

In the meantime, stay safe and well, and be assured that God loves you.

❤ Ann x