Child of God

He's got the whole world in His hands!

Susan, me and Michael

“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

Hello again. I don’t know about you but I am really missing seeing my family. I have two sisters and am quite close to them both, but not geographically, unfortunately. Susan lives in Rossendale and Janet lives in Blackpool. They are both younger than me but I think they regard me as their ‘younger sister’ as they are both much more grownup and sensible than I am! They are my rocks and I dread to think how I would have got through my crazy life without them. I visited Susan on Christmas Day but have not seen Janet since September and wonder when I will be able to get together with them again. I talk to them on the phone regularly, along with texting, but it’s not the same, is it? I also have a brother, Steven, who lives in Blackpool and I last saw him in September. I was the eldest of five but Michael, our other brother, passed away in June last year. Our lovely mum passed away in 2004 and a better mother we couldn’t have wished for.

Anyway, moving on…. regarding the above Bible verse, people had to decide whether to obey the Lord who had proved to be trustworthy, or obey the local gods, which were only man-made idols. It’s easy to go about life in your own sweet way – I did plenty of that in the past. But the time comes when you have to make a choice. Will it be God, your own limited self, or another imperfect substitute? Once you have chosen God, you need to reaffirm this on a daily basis. I use my prayer and Bible study to ‘feed’ me every day; this helps to keep me on the right track and stop me from sliding off the Lord's path onto my own rocky road.

Me and Michael

Our Steven

It’s a good thing if there is a Christian in a household; it’s a better situation if there are two. If children are brought up to know the Lord, that is the ideal – at least from the Bible’s point of view. Christian parents are in the best position to bring up their children to know God. As I said previously, my mother had a very strong faith in God and she brought us up accordingly. She taught us to pray and to trust Jesus and she made sure we attended Sunday school and Christian Endeavour. The fact that I later went off the rails can in no way be blamed on my mum or anyone else – it was down to my own selfish nature. I’m now fortunate enough to be married to a man who has been a Christian since the age of 12. We are learning and growing together spiritually and he is very knowledgeable about the Bible.

Mum with Liam, my nephew

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:35)

The apostle Paul, mentioned in my previous blog, devoted twice as many words to telling husbands to love their wives as to telling wives to submit to their husbands. Kev and I chose not to include the word ‘obey’ in our wedding service. I personally think it’s a bit outdated in these days. We have a good, solid relationship based on friendship, companionship and mutual respect, and we are both willing to compromise. Having said that, it’s still early days yet, as our fourth wedding anniversary is next month! But, above anything else, he is my best friend, as well as my soul mate – aw! 😘

Of course, when you marry, you acquire another set of people in your family. I now have a mother and father-in-law, three sisters-in-law and a brother-in-law. I also became a step-mum to three when I married Kev. His daughter and two sons live in Scotland with their mum and her new husband.

Kev and Josh a few years ago

“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” ((Romans 12:5)

According to the Bible, all who have put their trust in Christ are considered as one ‘body’ or family. Our church has only a tiny congregation and we therefore know each other very well. We are a mixed bunch of personalities and ages, with varying interests and priorities. In God’s eyes, we are brothers and sisters in Christ, and we frequently pray for each other, as well as for people outside the church.

It’s not just our church, though; there are many churches in this country and, indeed, in the whole world, and believers in Christ are all part of the same family – God’s family. When I became a Christian, I was adopted into this wonderful network of people, all with shared feelings of gratitude for what Jesus did for us, and with the sure hope of meeting Him face to face one day.

Me and Susan, Poppy and Bubbles (RIP)

“For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35)

In this verse, Jesus explained that, in our spiritual family, relationships are ultimately more important and longer lasting than those formed in our physical families. All God wants is for us to follow His word and try to live for Him. It’s sometimes a big ask – I know it’s a big ask! But, day by day, ‘with a little help from my friend’ I am getting there. The alternative – to turn my back on Him – isn’t even an option for me.

I have always been a bookworm but am in my element since retirement, gobbling up loads of books. I am currently reading a fantastic one called “The Last Hour” by Amir Tsarfati. He’s a Jewish Bible teacher living in Israel, and he writes about the state this world is in. He relates topical events to Bible prophecies and it is absolutely fascinating. I can highly recommend it – it will certainly make you think.

In the meantime, have a peaceful and pleasant weekend, and God bless.

Ann ❤

No Christ, no hope - know Christ, know hope! 

Janet, me and Gino

Marek, Pat and Cindy

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Hello again. I hope you're all surviving these lockdown rules! My little world is shrinking more every day! We have had to stop going to church, as it is in a different county, and are tuning into the online version on Facebook. Now, the latest guidance states that we are no longer allowed to shop in pairs! Kev used to shop alone last year, when this all began, but I have started going along with him again. I like shopping - strange but true! I enjoy perusing the supermarkets, looking for nice things to eat and drink. And it gets me out of the house. Since retirement last August, I haven't been out much (neither has anyone, I imagine) and I sometimes get a bit of cabin fever.

Okay, whinge over! We do try to get out for a walk every day, and I see the sun has actually made an appearance today, so I might make the effort to go to one of our local parks.

God has a plan for everyone's life. He knows where we will be born and where we will live. He knows the day and the hour we will die. God has made everything for a purpose and His purposes are always right, despite our doubts sometimes. When our life journeys are lived God's way, we are in the right place at the right time. It took me many years to get back on track with God's plans for me!

Led by the Lord

I currently live in Warrington but had never ventured here before I met Kev. I'd heard of it but didn't feel the need to see it for myself! I was born and bred in Rossendale, East Lancashire, but moved to Blackpool in my thirties, because my sister had moved there and I had always loved the seaside.

Whilst living in Blackpool, I decided that I would finally realise my ambition of becoming a (very) mature student and applied to university. I wanted somewhere I could travel to quite easily for the first year, as I did not want to live in until my second year. I looked at several, including Bolton, Preston, Edge Hill and Lancaster, but when I attended the open day at Salford University, I decided this was the one for me.

After graduating, I stayed in Salford for a year or so, before going to China to teach English, but moved back to Blackpool after that. I drifted around for some time, moving to Manchester for a while, but eventually got a job in Salford and so I moved back there.

I've always had a special place in my heart for Salford. I was living there when I had my nervous breakdown and I always joke that if you are going to have a breakdown, choose Salford to do it in! The care and help I received were second to none. The healthcare staff I met were amazing, from doctors, to counsellors to therapists. This is also where I met my lovely friend Sam, one of the best friends I ever had, but she passed away suddenly almost four years ago.

More importantly, Salford is the home of my church. I would say it was sheer good luck that I found this church, but I happen to know that luck didn't come into it. It was the Lord's plan. Kev had originally attended the church, before moving to Scotland for ten years but, when his marriage broke down, he returned to his home town of Warrington. He had kept in touch with the church and decided to start attending again. Although we have a half-hour drive to our church, we would not want to go anywhere else.

There are some excellent churches in Warrington but Bridgewater Baptist is where Kev and I met and married and our hearts belong to it. So I firmly believe that God wanted me to move back to Salford for a reason. I'm so glad I did.

Krakow

Krakow

I lived and worked in a beautiful city in Poland - Wroclaw - but I was fortunate enough to visit other places, including Krakow, twice. In my second year, the school took us on a staff weekend to this wonderful place and I fell in love with it. I also went on a second visit with my friend Elaine and would love to return with Kev, once travel is allowed again.

The right place at the right time

As I have stated many times, my biggest regret is not responding to the Lord's call at the age of 14. I led a very chequered life before I eventually became a Christian, and I often wonder how things would have turned out if I had accepted Jesus into my life when I was a lot younger. A lot of my adventures would probably not have happened but I am sure God would have provided many more adventures of a different kind!

The fact is that I did find God eventually and He did lead me to my church in Salford (Bridgewater Baptist), where I met and married my lovely Kev. I thank God each day for the gift of a wonderful husband who loves me unreservedly, and who loves the Lord with the same passion.

Krakow Palace

Your carriage awaits!

Acts - the story of the beginning of the Christian church

I am currently reading Acts, as part of my Bible study. It's quite exciting, because it tells the story of what happened after Jesus was resurrected and went back to heaven.

I am so fascinated by the story of Paul, the man who opened up the Christian church, telling the story of Jesus far and wide. He actually started out as anti-Christian, and persecuted, imprisoned and executed people who tried to follow Jesus. But Jesus had other ideas for him and waylaid him on his way to Damascus, to wreak more havoc among believers. He used Paul (who was originally called Saul) to be one of his strongest evangelists.

Apparently, it took a long time for people to trust Paul; they thought it was all a huge ploy, in order to make it easier for him to infiltrate the church and find out who was following Jesus, so he could report them to the Roman authorities. Who would ever have imagined that one of the Lord's greatest enemies could turn out to be the best evangelist ever? Life is strange, sometimes.

“And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet, He is actually not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27)

God is known in His creation and He is close to every one of us. He is in control, while at the same time knowing us so well as individuals that He knows the number of the hairs on our heads. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog. Despite my 'down' days, I keep plodding on with it because if it leads only one person to Jesus, it will be well worth the effort.

But I need your help. If you could share this blog with anyone, friends or family or colleagues or acquaintance, I would really appreciate it.

Have a peaceful and safe weekend and God bless. Ann ❤

No Christ, no hope. Know Christ, know hope.

Wawel Royal Castle

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and light for my path." (Psalm 119:105)

Hello again. Hope you're all surviving and keeping your spirits up. Walking is one of my stress releasers, but the weather isn't really inviting at the moment, is it?

To walk safely in the woods at night, we need a lamp so we don’t trip over tree roots or fall into holes. In this life, we sometimes feel as if we are walking through a dark forest of evil but the Bible can be our light to show us the way ahead, so we won’t stumble as we walk. It reveals the entangling roots of false values and philosophies. One of the reasons I try to study the Bible regularly is so I will be able to see my way clear enough to stay on the right path.

Walking in Poland

Of course, woods are really good to walk in, and I got some quality hiking practice in Poland. The school looked after its staff very well and took us on several trips away.

One of my favourite times was during the May of my first year at the shool, when we had a three-day staff retreat to the mountains. It was a very enjoyable time and I had the dubious pleasure of taking my first (and last!) trip on a chair lift. I was terrified but no alternative mode of transport was on offer, so I had to bite the bullet, just grit my teeth and pray. 😀

A scary ride!

Happy times!

The weather was kind to us and we stayed in a lovely little hotel. We hiked for several miles and enjoyed the wonderful countryside and each other's company. It felt good to leave the pressures of the school behind and simply get to know each other better.

A rest on the mountain top

The school group - I am second from right.

Our hotel

Czech Republic

In the September before I started my second year, I went for a hike on the Czech border with two Polish teachers from the school. It was a very hot day and I found it quite exhausting but thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and the company.

When we got to the border, we found a beautiful outdoor restaurant, where I ate the best trout ever. It was so peaceful.

Agnieska, Aldona and me

The restaurant

A lake on the Czech/Poland border

Those were the days!

I look back on my time in Poland with nostalgia and pleasure. Looking through my photos takes me back to happy times in lots of different places with various friends and family. It seems such a long time since we could go where we wanted, when we wanted, with whom we wanted, without a second thought.

Waking up last Saturday to a beautiful morning, Kev and I longed to visit Llandudno to walk along the Great Orme, one of our favourite places to go. Alas, those days are gone for now, and we don't know when or even if they will be back. We are restricted to travelling within five miles of our home for exercise but we are very fortunate, as we live in an area with easy access to plenty of local walks.

"The Chosen"

Along with a lot of other people during lockdown, I find myself with a lot more time to peruse Facebook, and recently saw an interesting post about a TV series "The Chosen". You can download the app for free and then watch the series. It's an excellent drama series about the life of Jesus and is really interesting. Very atmospheric, it takes you to Israel 2000 years ago and gives you an insight into life back then. The episodes are only half an hour each. Give it a try!

The beautiful mountains of southern Poland

"The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1)

Fear is a dark shadow that envelops us and makes us feel like prisoners. Each of us has been a prisoner of fear at one time, whether it be fear of rejection, misunderstanding, uncertainty, sickness, or even death.  We can conquer these fears by looking to the bright light of the Lord, who brings us salvation.

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)

If you trust God, you do not have to carry your worries, stresses and daily problems by yourself. God cares deeply for us, so we should be able to lean on Him.

There's an old song from my childhood, which starts "A little talk with Jesus makes it right, alright". I often think about this and it reminds me to talk to Him on a regular basis. It's always good to talk to someone when you're stressed or worried or scared. Try Jesus - He's a very good listener!

"I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears." (Psalm 34:4)

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog. If you have, please will you share it with family, friends, colleagues - anyone who you think might enjoy it. Have a lovely weekend, stay safe and well.

God bless.

Ann ❤

No Christ, No Hope - Know Christ, Know Hope.