Child of God

He's got the whole world in His hands!

Walton

27 November

I am currently studying Luke’s Gospel, as part of my daily Bible reading. I’ve read it many times before but enjoy it more each time I read it, as I grasp the significance of the Crucifixion and what it means to me.

I was in tears as I yet again read Luke’s account of how Jesus was hounded into a false trial, betrayed by one of his own disciples, and how Pilate refused to set him free, although he believed Jesus was not guilty of the crimes He had been accused of. It was cowardice that made Pilate give in to the crowds, as he was afraid of losing his high position in the Jewish government.

I read afresh how Jesus was mocked, tortured and humiliated, before being forced to die such a painful and agonising death. And He did all this so that the likes of you and me could be forgiven and granted a place in God’s kingdom.

People (including me) glibly accept the sacrifice our Lord made, so that we don’t have to take the rap for our sins. It’s a foundation of the Christian faith that we only become close to God by the blood of Jesus Christ and it’s so familiar that we sometimes recite it without thinking much about it. This is why we need to read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark and John, as well as Luke) on a regular basis – to keep this fresh in our minds.

Yet again, through my tears, I thanked Jesus Christ from the bottom of my heart for going through these horrific times for my sake – and the sake of everyone else who believes in the death and the resurrection of Jesus. He was God in human form and must have suffered from the very real human terror of what was to come. Luke says that Jesus prayed so hard beforehand that He ‘sweated blood’. Jesus apparently prayed to His Father, God, and asked if it was possible for Him not to have to go through this ordeal but there was no other way to atone for all the sinners on the earth, and so He went willingly to the cross for us. But can you begin to imagine how terrified He must have been?

I read just one chapter of the Bible each day, because I read all the notes in my study Bible, and also the cross-references to other parts of the Bible. In this case, I was overwhelmed by the following verses.

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience, and having our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)

The curtain referred to was in the Holy Temple and was torn in half at the moment of Jesus’ death. This was the curtain which separated the ultimate ‘Holy Place’ where priests were only allowed to go once a year, to offer the sacrifice for the nation’s sins. This passage refers to the fact that the blood sacrifices of the Old Testament, eg goats and lambs, are now extinct, as Jesus had not yet been born into the world. But approximately 2000 years ago, the Son of God came into this world as a new-born baby, to live in Israel for a short 33 years. He trained His disciples to carry on His ministry after He was gone, and so Christianity was born.

The good news is that Jesus did actually rise from death three days later and showed himself to many people, over the course of 40 days, before being taken back to heaven to be with His Father again. Christian actually means ‘little Christ’ and this is what we are, once we truly believe and accept what Jesus did for us and why. All we have to do is acknowledge that our sinful nature could never be acceptable to God. We need to believe in Jesus’ death on the cross, and also believe that He did indeed rise again three days later.

Once we truly believe and repent, that’s the moment that we become Christians and are accepted as God’s children. And is that it? Well, yes – and no….

If we have accepted the gift of eternal life, we surely want to pass on the good news to as many people as possible during the time that we have on this earth. As well as that, if we are truly grateful to God for the gift He has given us, we should want to live as much like Jesus as we can. A very tall order indeed but we can certainly read and learn from His word in the Bible. We can always pray to God to ask Him to help us to do our best to live the best life He wants us to.

Above all, God wants us to have complete faith in Him. He doesn’t want us to worry too much about what is going on in this world but to take comfort from the fact that there is a far better world beyond this, which every Christian can realistically hope for.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayers and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Wishing you all a peaceful and blessed weekend. Keep safe and well.

Ann ❤

Monday, 16 November

“Jesus replied, ‘if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

In this verse, Jesus was trying to show how important faith would be in His disciples’ future ministry. If you are facing a problem that seems as big and immovable as a mountain, turn your eyes from the mountain and look to Christ for more faith.

As Christians, we are automatically expected to have faith – in God, in Jesus, in our own salvation. But we are still only ordinary mortals and sometimes our faith ebbs and flows, according to what is going on in our lives. One day, our faith cup overflows; on others, it seems to be draining rapidly. On bad days, Satan gets into my head and I begin to wonder if I am indeed one of God’s children. After all, barely a day goes by without my doing, saying or thinking something I know I shouldn’t – or not doing, saying or thinking something I know I should! My nightly prayers are full of apologies to the Lord but the important thing to remember is that He knows all our faults and yet still forgives us because He loves us so much. God sent His beloved son into the world to live the life of a man for 33 short years, before becoming a sacrifice on the cross for all of us sinners. That’s how much He loves us. So, yes, I should think He certainly loves us enough to forgive us for our sins, no matter how many times we ask Him!

The main thing is to keep our focus on Jesus, the ultimate prize. As the world grows even more chaotic and we wonder if it will ever return to normal, we should keep looking to Jesus, not the world, for answers about our ultimate destiny.

As well as faith, Jesus wants us to love Him, but how can we do that when we don’t know Him? The answer to that is, of course, that we can’t. But love can grow from a healthy respect for the Lord, along with gratitude for what He has done for us.

When I committed my life to God, almost ten years ago, I did it out of gratitude. As I mentioned previously, I went through a very bad time in my life, which culminated in a nervous breakdown. During that time, I contemplated taking my own life – that’s how rock bottom I was. But, looking back, I am quite honestly glad that I had to live through this terrible time, because it led me to Christ. If these events hadn’t happened, I am absolutely convinced that I would never have become a Christian, and would have missed making the wisest decision of my life. As I said earlier, I had been aware of God’s calling from the age of 14, but had chosen not to answer the call. God very graciously gave me a second chance, and I grasped it out of sheer gratitude, as I was convinced He had guided me through the bad times.

Yes, I was grateful to God at that time but did not yet love Him. That came later. I had a lot of learning to do and the more I found out about Jesus and his life and ministry, the more I was moved to becoming closer to Him. He began working in my life in ways I would never have imagined and now, after almost ten years of getting to know Him, I can honestly say that I love Jesus with all my heart.

Praying makes me feel closer to God. I truly believe He listens to all my prayers and that He answers them, too – oh, not always in the way I want him to. As my pastor once said, “God’s not your genie!” How true this is. When my brother passed away in June, after a short illness, lots of prayers had gone to the Lord, from family, friends and church. Michael didn’t survive; but neither did he suffer – he passed away quietly. He had underlying health issues which would have made it extremely unlikely that he could have enjoyed any quality of life, particularly in these times, and now he is at peace. As far as I am concerned, God did indeed answer that prayer.

That said, we still miss him, of course. But we can draw comfort from the Lord when we are feeling down. Jesus is always there for us to draw upon His strength and He is always there to listen to us.

So, back to the question of faith. Faith is a gift from God and we can ask for our supply to be topped up. We are very weak in ourselves and our own strength but we can still ask for more faith, more love, more perseverance or, in my own case, more patience, as I certainly haven’t been blessed with this virtue!

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7: 7-8

Sunset on Walton Reservoir

Thursday, 12 November

Hello. As promised, here are my last three devotionals, as broadcast on Hope FM Bournemouth last week.

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man”. (Proverbs 24:33-34)

I thought I would go off kilter today, with this passage! I really enjoy Proverbs, find it interesting and quirky, as well as relevant to the present times. There are seven deadly sins and one of them is sloth. I have to admit to the sin of sloth; this would have to be my favourite sin! I am admittedly very lazy and extremely fond of my bed. Since retiring from my job two months ago, I have indulged myself with lie-ins, once my husband has gone to work. Oh, I do my duty as a good wife and get up with him, make sure he has his breakfast, doesn’t forget his lunch or his phone. We also have prayer time together every morning. But once that door closes behind him, I frequently give in to going back to bed for “just another hour” which, I’m afraid, usually stretches into two or more..

So this Bible verse always makes me smile when I read it. If I do sleep too much, I feel so guilty for being idle. I know I’ve worked all my life and am entitled to a rest but I am aware that there is so much I could be doing during these wasted hours. I am not, and never have been a morning person, unlike my husband. When he wakes up, he is instantly fresh, alert and ready for the day. It takes me so much longer to come round and feel human.

I regularly apologise to the Lord for this sin and hope and believe He forgives me. When I do eventually join the land of the living, I am willing to serve Him and do what I believe He wants me to do. As I stated recently, I firmly believe it is the duty of all God’s children to share His word with as many people as possible. There are so many ways to do this and of course nobody can do everything but everyone can do something.

One of the ways I do this is to write this blog, which I started back in April, after I had been furloughed from my job. I have always loved writing from being a child and, when I became a Christian, I began a journal of my walk with Christ. My sister suggested that I could share this journal somehow but it just never happened until lockdown, when I realised that I no longer had any excuse not to do it. So my blog was born. I love sharing my testimony and I love remembering what God has done for me.

Another way that I share the gospel is by buying testaments from the Pocket Testament League UK each month and distributing them wherever I get the chance. So far, my husband and I have left them on park benches, on shop shelves, in supermarket trollies, in cafes and pubs, on trains, and even posted them through red post boxes. We live in a block of flats and once bought enough for everyone to have one and simply posted them all into the letterboxes of 30 flats. We don’t know if any lives have been touched by these – for all we know, the testaments could be lying in bins somewhere – but we’re doing this as an act of faith. We’re trusting God to direct these to the people He wants to read them.

One way of serving God is by helping in your church but, at the moment, this isn’t really feasible for a lot of people. Most churches are still not being allowed to open but I’m fortunate, in that mine is now open. As I said earlier, it only has a very small congregation, so it’s relatively easy to social distance. Like every other church, ours always needs people to volunteer for such jobs as cleaning and maintaining the building. In normal times, we have regular members’ meetings, and I usually volunteer to take the minutes. My husband is a very practical man and does a lot of maintenance.

Everyone has different talents and abilities and these are all gifts from God. He gave us the means to carry out His work in all sorts of ways. We also have gifts of the Holy Spirit. Romans 12 mentions such gifts as: prophesying, serving, teaching, encouragement, leadership and mercy. During my time in Poland, as a Christian missionary teacher of English, a lovely American missionary lady told me that my spiritual gift was encouragement, and I was delighted with this statement.

We are such a diverse mix of personalities, skills, abilities and talents. We are all so different but we are all God’s children. Let’s keep working together to add to God’s family.

Dear loving heavenly father Thank you for all the skills and abilities you have gifted us with. Help us to use them to your glory and for your honour. Please keep reminding us that you are the focus and you are what matters in this broken world. Amen

 

And Jesus said unto them, “I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6: 35)

People eat bread to satisfy physical hunger and to sustain physical life. We can satisfy spiritual hunger and sustain spiritual life only by a right relationship with Jesus Christ. This is why He called Himself the bread of life.

Jesus was renowned for feeding the hungry, and many examples of this have been documented in the Bible. Of course, there was the famous five loaves and two fishes story, where 5000 people were fed from this modest amount of food. When Jesus multiplied the bread to feed the crowd, bread became a sign of sharing. It also symbolised the word of God which nourished the crowds. Bread is a gift from God. Moses fed his people in the desert with food which fell from heaven, called manna. During the last supper, bread became the body of Christ, and this is celebrated in Holy Communion in churches on a regular basis. Jesus had a great compassion for the hungry, the under-privileged and the forgotten, and we should be willing to follow his example.

I’ve always been very interested in food and cooking. My first cookery lesson was in my third year at secondary school, when I learned how to make apple crumble. My hapless family were fed this same pudding week after week - until the time I got over-confident and forgot to add the sugar! Enthusiasm waned after that.

I have been collecting cookbooks for many years and have spent lots of happy hours perusing recipes. I am an enthusiastic, but strictly average cook, but that doesn’t stop me. Now I’m retired, I have more time to try out new recipes and they don’t always work out how I imagine they should, but my poor, long-suffering husband never complains. He must sometimes wonder what on earth he will be coming home to, and may well be tempted to call at the chip shop en-route home. But when they do work out – oh, what pleasure and satisfaction it gives me. My favourite thing to cook is definitely soups and I usually make at least one a week. I have my old favourites but love to try different variations but, again, some results are better than others.

It’s good to have so many different ingredients readily available at the shops, and so much fresh produce. We love a trip to local markets to stock up on the best fruit and vegetables, and to buy some organic meat or fresh fish for a treat. But we never forget to thank the Lord for His generosity and we always appreciate everything we have, as a lot of people – even in this country – simply do not have the means to buy a basic meal and feed their children.

That’s where food banks come in and worrying statistics from the Trussell Trust state that as many as one in five of the population live below the poverty line. This project works to tackle food poverty and hunger in local communities and across the UK, and is a lifeline to many people who would otherwise go hungry. Donations of food or essential non-food items can easily be made by placing these things into the designated trolleys at the entrance of all major supermarkets. Cash donations can be made direct to the food banks, or you can volunteer. God wants us to share our resources with the less fortunate, whether it’s money, time or energy. I reckon this is a good way of doing it.

It says in Matthew 4:4, Jesus answered “It is written: man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”

In this case, Jesus had been fasting in the desert and had just been encouraged by Satan to turn stones into bread, to relieve His hunger. In this verse, Jesus rejects that idea and replies that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. He is clearly stating that His physical needs come secondary to His spiritual ones and that God should come first. One interpretation of this is that people need more than material things to truly live. Physical nourishment is not sufficient for a healthy life, as man also has spiritual needs.

Of course, it is easy to quote these verses when your stomach is full. Not everyone is granted that privilege and we are urged to share what we have with people who need our help. But Jesus is also very interested in spiritual food too, and that’s where we, as Christians come in. Once we accept Christ into our lives, we are duty-bound to share the good news with others. We cannot just accept the free gift of salvation and carry on with our lives without trying to include others in the wonderful promises of our loving saviour.

Dear loving heavenly Father Thank you for our daily bread – physical and spiritual. Thank you for providing for our needs and please help us to remember to share with others less fortunate. Please prompt us to share our testimonies with others, so that more people can come into your glorious kingdom. Amen

 

"Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will live with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:3-4

Have you ever wondered what eternity will be like? The New Jerusalem is described as the place where God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. This means there will be no more death, pain, illness or grief. This is a wonderful promise to hang onto, no matter what you are currently going through. These times are not the last word. God has written the final chapter, which is about eternal joy for those who love Him. We may not know as much as we would like, but we do believe that eternity with God will be more wonderful than we could ever imagine.

It’s good to keep this in mind, as the worldwide situation gets worse and seemingly more hopeless. Every day seems to bring an increase in cases of Covid-19, many resulting in death.

Christmas is on the horizon and many people are probably wondering what sort of celebration it will be this year. Gloomy headlines forecast that most areas will be escalated to Tier 3 by then, with bans on mixing households in most areas. Family get-togethers, works nights out, carol services, even shopping trips – all have been dramatically impacted. Is Christmas, as we know it, cancelled?

The resounding answer to this of course is that Christmas is by no means cancelled. We may not be allowed to celebrate it in our old traditional ways but we need to remember that Christmas is essentially about celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to earth in human form to redeem us for our sins, so we can have a loving relationship with God the Father.

I am sure there will still be carol services but these will be online. We can still enjoy these traditional favourites in the comfort of our own homes. Live streaming church services is now a way of life and one of the best things to come out of this crisis. Hopefully, many more people will have the opportunity to hear the real Christmas story, and accept Jesus into their lives.

Christmas has always been about giving. I have already started my Christmas shopping and enjoy anticipating the pleasure my gifts will give to those I care about. But as well as giving gifts to our family and friends, we should not forget those who do not even have the basics. As I mentioned previously, the food banks really need our donations, particularly now. Charities need our money. Let’s ensure we follow Jesus’ example of sharing and caring.

We should always remember that the greatest gift we have received is the gift of our Lord Jesus Christ. But Jesus is not just for Christmas – He’s for life.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 8:38-39

I am now going to share a few lines from a prayer on the Christian Aid website.

"For those who are unwell and concerned for loved ones

For those who were already very anxious

For those immune-suppressed or compromised

For those vulnerable because of underlying conditions

For those in the ‘most at risk to coronavirus’ categories

For those watching their entire income stream dry up

For those who have no choice but to go out to work

For those who are afraid to be at home For those who are more lonely than they’ve ever been

For those who are bereaved and grieving God be their healer, comfort and protection.

Be their strength, shield and provision. Be their security, safety and close companion And raise up your church to be your well-washed hands and faithful feet to respond with love in action, even from a safe distance. God in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Amen"

Stay safe, keep well, and remember God's wonderful promises.

Ann ❤

Monday, 16 November

“Jesus replied, ‘if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17, verse 20

In this verse, Jesus was trying to show how important faith would be in His disciples’ future ministry. If you are facing a problem that seems as big and immovable as a mountain, turn your eyes from the mountain and look to Christ for more faith.

As Christians, we are automatically expected to have faith – in God, in Jesus, in our own salvation. But we are still only ordinary mortals and sometimes our faith ebbs and flows, according to what is going on in our lives. One day, our faith cup overflows; on others, it seems to be draining rapidly. On bad days, Satan gets into my head and I begin to wonder if I am indeed one of God’s children. After all, barely a day goes by without my doing, saying or thinking something I know I shouldn’t – or not doing, saying or thinking something I know I should! My nightly prayers are full of apologies to the Lord but the important thing to remember is that He knows all our faults and yet still forgives us because He loves us so much. God sent His beloved son into the world to live the life of a man for 33 short years, before becoming a sacrifice on the cross for all of us sinners. That’s how much He loves us. So, yes, I should think He certainly loves us enough to forgive us for our sins, no matter how many times we ask Him!

The main thing is to keep our focus on Jesus, the ultimate prize. As the world grows even more chaotic and we wonder if it will ever return to normal, we should keep looking to Jesus, not the world, for answers about our ultimate destiny.

As well as faith, Jesus wants us to love Him, but how can we do that when we don’t know Him? The answer to that is, of course, that we can’t. But love can grow from a healthy respect for the Lord, along with gratitude for what He has done for us.

When I committed my life to God, almost ten years ago, I did it out of gratitude. As I mentioned previously, I went through a very bad time in my life, which culminated in a nervous breakdown. During that time, I contemplated taking my own life – that’s how rock bottom I was. But, looking back, I am quite honestly glad that I had to live through this terrible time, because it led me to Christ. If these events hadn’t happened, I am absolutely convinced that I would never have become a Christian, and would have missed making the wisest decision of my life. As I said earlier, I had been aware of God’s calling from the age of 14, but had chosen not to answer the call. God very graciously gave me a second chance, and I grasped it out of sheer gratitude, as I was convinced He had guided me through the bad times.

Yes, I was grateful to God at that time but did not yet love Him. That came later. I had a lot of learning to do and the more I found out about Jesus and his life and ministry, the more I was moved to becoming closer to Him. He began working in my life in ways I would never have imagined and now, after almost ten years of getting to know Him, I can honestly say that I love Jesus with all my heart.

Praying makes me feel closer to God. I truly believe He listens to all my prayers and that He answers them, too – oh, not always in the way I want him to. As my pastor once said, “God’s not your genie!” How true this is. When my brother passed away in June, after a short illness, lots of prayers had gone to the Lord, from family, friends and church. Michael didn’t survive; but neither did he suffer – he passed away quietly. He had underlying health issues which would have made it extremely unlikely that he could have enjoyed any quality of life, particularly in these times, and now he is at peace. As far as I am concerned, God did indeed answer that prayer.

That said, we still miss him, of course. But we can draw comfort from the Lord when we are feeling down. Jesus is always there for us to draw upon His strength and He is always there to listen to us.

So, back to the question of faith. Faith is a gift from God and we can ask for our supply to be topped up. We are very weak in ourselves and our own strength but we can still ask for more faith, more love, more perseverance or, in my own case, more patience, as I certainly haven’t been blessed with this virtue!

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7: 7-8

Thursday, 12 November

Hello. As promised, I am including my second devotionals. You could still hear some of them on https://tunein.com/radio/901-Hope-FM-s80435/ Meanwhile, here is Tuesday's broadcast:

"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

Death casts a frightening shadow over us because we are entirely helpless in its presence. Even strength and courage cannot overcome death. It has the final word. Only one person can walk with us through death’s dark valley and bring us safely to the other side – the God of life, who is our shepherd. Because life is so uncertain we should follow this shepherd, who offers us eternal comfort.

This reading is another classic, and for good reason. It sounds gloomy but many people do indeed feel they are living under the shadow of death. Statistics for Covid-19 are increasing alarmingly, day by day. The country has been divided into tiers, from medium to very high risk. We learn of the high number of infections and consequent deaths. It’s all most depressing and worrying.

I have seen and heard a wide variety of theories about this pandemic, from Christians and non-Christians alike. Some people are wondering whether the Lord has sent this as a punishment or rebuke for the state of this sinful world. Others speculate if this is yet another sign of the end times. As a child of God, I can honestly admit that I simply do not know. I don’t know if God has made this happen, or simply stood by and allowed it to happen. What I am sure of is that this is no surprise to God – he knew exactly when and how this catastrophic event would take place.

This crisis is reminding people of their own mortality, and posing questions about the afterlife. I have been asked how a loving God can allow such terrible things to happen. My answer is that God’s own son was subjected to ridicule, persecution, torture, and an agonising death. And the reason that God allowed this was so that our sins could be forgiven and we could 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 anything different?

But, as so many other people have observed, it’s not all bad news, as a lot of good things have come out of this situation. My church has a very small congregation but now we are broadcasting our sermons and Bible studies every week, and hundreds of people from around the world are accessing these recordings regularly. Even if and when things settle down, I know that my pastor will continue to record these services, as he is amazed and delighted at the response. Many churches are following this example, and there is a huge choice of recordings to watch. Hopefully, this will be a period of revival across the nations. God seems to be using this time for his own glory, enabling so many people to have the opportunity to hear his word and take it to heart.

Some reports suggest that carbon emissions reduced considerably during lockdown. Many people have also rediscovered hobbies and interests in the home, reconnected with families and learned to appreciate what is on their doorsteps. As they say, “every cloud has a silver lining”.

But this is no comfort to those suffering from the virus, or who have lost loved ones from the same. It’s scant consolation for the many people who have seen their businesses close and their jobs lost.

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. When Jesus eventually returns to earth, we are promised there will be no death, pain, sickness, evil, or sin of any kind. I, for one, am so looking forward to that day!

Dear loving heavenly father Please wrap your loving arms around each and every one of us. Please stay close to us. Help us to reach out to you and take comfort from your love. Console the sick, comfort the bereaved and keep our eyes focused on you, the prize. Amen

Keep well, stay safe, keep your distance and wear your mask! 😀

Ann ❤

Wednesday, 11 November

Hi there. I promised to share my devotionals with you and, as the first two have now been broadcast on Hope FM Bournemouth, I am enclosing the first one. Some of the details of the Covid situation are now out of date, but I had to write and record these in time for a deadline.

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

Jesus has power over life and death, as well as the power to forgive sins. He is the creator of life and so can restore life. Whoever believes in Christ has a spiritual life that death cannot conquer or diminish in any way. When we realise his power and how wonderful his offer to us really is, how can we help but commit our lives to him? To those of us who believe, what wonderful assurance and certainty we have!

These are the strangest and most scary times that I have ever lived in. It feels like we are all extras in a science fiction film about apocalyptic times. People just don’t know what to make of it all and no one seems to have any answers to the questions, or solutions to the problems. We can feel adrift, lost at sea, and all alone – but are we?

I think we are all agreed that the world is not finding it easy to solve this problem. With the best will in the world, our leaders are fumbling around, looking for ways in which they can alleviate the suffering and the chaos and the trauma that is Covid 19. Businesses are being forced to close down and thousands of people have already lost or are in danger of losing their jobs. NHS staff are under immense pressure. Restrictions are changed on what seems an almost daily basis and many people are confused about what they should and shouldn’t be doing. What brings it closer to home is that my brother and his partner have recently contracted the dreaded virus and they are, understandably, scared and bewildered.

I am, by nature, rather anxious, and have the bad habit of looking at the news headlines on a regular basis. This only reinforces my feelings of helplessness and I often wonder how on earth we are going to come back from this. We are right, in that an immediate solution is not to hand. The political leaders, the World Health Organisation, scientists – none of these people are actually in charge. But, we, as Christians, know who is charge – and it is our wonderful God, who is looking out for us in these troubled times.

I have been a Christian for some ten years and can therefore gain comfort and strength from my loving saviour, Jesus Christ. I can honestly say I do not know how on earth I would cope if I did not have his strength to draw upon. I just have to remind myself who is in control of the world and that God knows exactly what he is doing, and none of this is a surprise to him. If I am feeling particularly anxious, I listen to my Christian playlist and this uplifts, inspires and soothes me. Reading my Bible is obviously another way of calming myself down, and John’s Gospel is a classic for this.

The words of the verse are so familiar, and so comforting – a promise from Jesus himself! “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies”. How reassuring is that! A timely reminder that this life is not all we have to look forward to. I am very glad I don’t have to rely on my own very flawed character to win a place in the kingdom of God! That just wouldn’t happen, as I am very far from God’s perfect standards. Instead, I have chosen to place my trust and faith in Jesus to do that for me, and I am secure in the knowledge that I have a future with him to look forward to.

My heart goes out to the millions of people who are isolated, lonely, scared, maybe grieving for loved ones who have passed away. I wish I could enfold them all in a gigantic hug, but that is not allowed. But I know that Jesus is waiting on the side-lines, ready to give them that hug. I feel so sad for all the folk who still haven’t accepted the free gift of eternal life. I feel frustrated, too, because it’s there for the asking. I keep wanting to shout, “What are you waiting for?” But who am I to judge? It took me many years to stop sitting on the fence and come down onto the side of Jesus. One of my biggest regrets is that I wasted so many years doing my own thing but the point is I did make the right decision in the end, and God was gracious and patient enough to wait for me. But, in these chaotic times, do we really have time to hang about? I would say, “Strike while the iron’s hot – the time is now”.

This should be the number one priority of every Christian – to spread the word of God through their faith and life’s work, to make sure that everyone has been given the opportunity to grasp this precious gift from our Creator.

Dear loving, heavenly Father We lift up this broken world to you. We need you now more than ever. Please speak through your children and help us to reach those who still don’t know you. Amen.

If you would like to hear the rest, you can tune into https://tunein.com/radio/901-Hope-FM-s80435/The devotionals are broadcast on "Thought for the Day" at 8am and just after 4pm. The next one will be at 4pm today.

In the meantime, please stay safe and well. God bless.

Ann ❤

 

Friday, 6 November

Hello all.

I'm sorry it's been a while since I updated my blog but I have been busy writing and recording daily devotionals for Hope FM, a Christian radio station in Bournemouth. They will be played next week, from Monday, 9 November, one a day from Monday to Friday. I am hoping this will bring more people to God and am also using it as a platform to promote my blog. After these have been played next week, I will share them with you.

In the meantime, God bless, keep safe and well, and have a good weekend. Ann ❤