Child of God

He's got the whole world in His hands!

With my friend Pauline at Worsley Canal

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no-one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

I look at these words and am yet again thrilled by the fact that I am saved. When I first became a Christian on Friday, 25 February, 2011, I wrote a little poem about it and I would like to share it with you.

My Salvation

Brought up as a believer, my mum taught me to trust

Went to Sunday school classes, with Christian Endeavour a must.

Passed my scripture exams and prayed to God at night

Dipped into my Bible, while fighting the good fight.

At 14, joined a youth club run by a man called John

Who was training to be a pastor but he made his teaching fun.

John taught me about Lord Jesus and what He had done for me

I met many chums at youth club and it even included tea. 😀

We had hikes and Christmas parties and trips to the country too

I was warmed by Christian company and knew what I must do.

To accept Jesus as my saviour seemed the wisest of actions then

But I contracted jaundice - was away for a week or ten. (It was five weeks but that doesn’t rhyme!) 😉

During that time, the devil made me think I was missing stuff

So I turned towards the dark side, thinking it was enough.

Now my life became so selfish, seeking pleasures and worldly aims

For a long time I did my own thing, thinking life was just a game.

I continued to pray and stated that a Christian I remained

But I wanted my cake and eat it - O how Jesus must have pained!

Well I went my own sweet way, then for – oh such a lot of years

There was laughter, it’s true, I tell you but also a lot of tears. 😥

Well, my luck began to run out and my life went to pieces too

I was no longer in control, now and was feeling pretty blue. 😥

But the Lord helped me though the bad times,

Picked me up when I fell and said that he’d never desert me, ever

Held my hand and stroked my head.

I decided to follow Him then, as that was the only way

Picked a church out of Yellow Pages (well, Thomson’s Directory but it doesn’t fit in!) 🙃 Turned up one cold and wintry day.

I had an invitation to hear Barry Woodward speak

But it was on a Friday - the end of a long, long week!

But then as I lay in my bathtub with bubbles around my head

I listened to Jesus speaking, and this is what He said.

"I want you to go with Andrew And Tracy to see that man

And listen to Barry’s message cos he’s part of my plan."

So, dripping wet, and shivering, I telephoned Andrew to

Relay to him God’s message but he said he already knew!

I went to the Lighthouse Church then - enjoyed all the show, it’s true

But looked forward to the ending and a glass of wine or two. 🤒

God had other plans, though, as I pledged myself to Him

And now I’m a proper Christian With even a favourite hymn! (Well, several, actually!)

Bridgewater Canal, Worsley

When someone gives you a gift, do you say “That’s very nice – how much do I owe you?” No, the appropriate response to a gift is “thank you”. Yet, many Christians – even after being given the gift of salvation – feel obligated to try to work their way to God. Our salvation and faith are gifts from God. We should respond with gratitude and praise.

“As it is written, ‘there is no-one righteous, not even one’ “ (Romans 3:10)

This means that no-one is innocent. Every person is valuable in God’s eyes because He created us in His image and He loves us. But no-one is righteous. Though valuable, we have fallen into sin. But God, through Jesus, His Son, has redeemed us and offers to forgive us if we return to Him in faith.

“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith, apart from maintaining the law.” (Romans 3:28)

God saves us by faith alone; it’s not a deed that we do. Faith is about what God has done, not what people do. It admits we simply cannot keep the law enough to measure up to God’s standards – we need help. Faith is based on our relationship with God, not our performance for God!

Bridgewater Canal, Worsley

“Who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)

God wants all to be saved but unfortunately this does not mean it will happen! The Bible makes it crystal clear that many have and will reject Christ. The gospel message is universal, not directed to people of one race, sex or background. God loves the whole world and sent His Son to save sinners. This means that no-one is outside God’s mercy, or beyond the reach of His offer of salvation.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Believing that God exists is only the beginning; even the demons believe that much! God will not settle for a mere acknowledgement of His existence. He wants a personal relationship with you that will transform your life. Those who seek God will find they are rewarded with His presence. The closer you try to get to God, the more He will draw nearer to you. I am speaking from experience!

“He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” (1 Peter 1:20)

Christ’s sacrifice for our sins wasn’t an afterthought, not something God decided to do when the world spun out of control. This plan was set in motion long before the world was created.

Paddington Meadow, Warrington

Dear Loving Heavenly Father

For anyone who is hesitating about committing their life to you, I ask that you will prompt them. Reassure them of your love for them and remind them of the wonderful blessings awaiting children of God. Let them know that the time is now.

In Jesus’s name

Amen

River Mersey, Warrington

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promises is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)

Once you have fully trusted God with your life, you no longer need to carry your worries, stresses and daily struggles by yourself. We can take comfort from the fact that God cares for us but sometimes it’s hard to admit we need Him. We might think that problems caused by our own sin and foolishness are not God’s concern but, when we turn to Him in repentance, He will even help us with those struggles. Don’t submit to circumstances, but to the Lord, who controls all circumstances.

With this in mind, take a break from the chaos of everyday life and think about how much God loves you. Remember that He lavishes His grace and forgiveness upon you in the cross of His son.

I am, by nature, sometimes anxious about many things – news headlines, health problems, the future – you name it! It’s a good thing my Kev is just the opposite and of a calm disposition. I am not really a morning person and my anxieties often surface at that time but I have a routine of prayer and Bible study, which definitely helps me to feel calmer. There is a song I remember from childhood, which goes, “A little talk with Jesus makes it right, alright”. I totally agree with this. The trick is to try to switch off the chattering voice in your head, and focus on the Lord. Not so easy, sometimes!

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)

As God reveals Himself in nature, we learn about His power and our limitations. We’re surrounded by fantastic displays of God’s craftsmanship. The heavens give dramatic evidence of His existence, power, love and care. To say that the universe happened by chance is absurd! Its design, intricacy and order point to a personally involved Creator.

One of the best cures for anxiety is a walk in the fresh air. Kev and I love to walk in the nearby countryside, seeing the trees and wild flowers, and hearing the birds sing. As we stroll along quiet lanes, past reservoirs and canals, we often talk about how fortunate we are to have God’s love. Kev became a Christian at the age of 13 and has many more years in the Lord than I have, at a mere ten. In my previous chaotic life, I would not have dreamed that I would one day be happily married to a godly man.

“Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:25)

Jesus’s disciples were on a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. They had been caught in a violent storm and were understandably very scared. Although they had witnessed many miracles, they panicked, knowing the danger they were in. They should have realised that Christ could control the forces of nature. Jesus’s power that calmed this storm can also help us to deal with the problems we face. He is willing to help, if we only ask Him.

“Who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples.” (Psalm 65:7)

Heron

Seeing God’s creation just reminds us how blessed we are. We love spotting wildlife, be it robins or squirrels, swans or ducks, even the occasional heron.

The beauty of nature reflects the glory of God the Creator. Nature shows God’s generosity, giving us even more than we need or deserve.

Heron in flight - a rare sight indeed!

Sankey Valley Park, Warrington

Sunsets are incredible to watch, when we get the timing right. We like observing how the moon looks from one evening to the next, seeing the stars – all wonderful sights from our loving Creator. Taking a walk in the countryside sometimes puts all our problems into perspective. We cannot fail to marvel when we look around us and know that God has created this beautiful landscape for us to enjoy. We are assured that His love never fails and will be with us for ever.

Rainbow over Warrington

One of my favourite sights is the rainbow. I get so excited when I see this because, not only is it beautiful, but it’s actually written in the Bible as a symbol of God’s faithfulness. He promised that the seasons would always come around regularly and so we can look forward to spring, summer and autumn every year. Winter comes as part of the package, but there you go! Of course, the rainbow was also a sign of God’s promise that the earth would not be flooded again, after Noah's time, so that’s a relief!

“For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” (Romans 1:20)

Nature shows us a mighty God of intelligence and intricate detail, order and beauty, who controls powerful forces. God reveals His divine nature through creation.

Bridgewater Canal, Monton

Dear loving heavenly Father

Thank you so much that you are there for us every single minute of our lives. Thank you for giving us the assurance of your constant love. It’s so reassuring to know that we can relax in your care and give up all our anxieties and worries to you. Please help us to turn our eyes upon you and away from the world. You are our saviour and our strength.

Amen

Pennington Flash, Leigh

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

Hi everyone. Isn’t this weather glorious? I know it was forecast but – I don’t know about you – I don’t always believe it until I see it! We had a very pleasant Bank Holiday weekend, fitting in three good walks and time with friends.

The simple statement that God created the heavens and the earth is one of the most challenging concepts confronting the modern mind. The vast galaxy we live in is spinning at the incredible speed of 490,000 miles per hour but it still needs 200 million years to make one rotation!

“For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God!” (Deuteronomy 32:3)

It’s common knowledge that if we were a bit closer to the sun, we would fry and if we were a bit further away, we would freeze. If the moon wasn’t exactly the size it is, and with exactly the same orbit it has, we would be flooded by the tides. If the Big Bang Theory was a fact, we would need so many different forces to magically exist for no apparent reason on day one, in order to get our universe.

Even Britain’s most famous scientist, Stephen Hawking, concluded in his book “A Brief History of Time” that “It would be difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us."

To say that the universe 'just happened' or 'evolved' requires more faith than to believe that God is behind all this!

Sankey Brook, Warrington

Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Wigan

“Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them.” (Psalm 69:34)

Just how did God create the earth? This is still a subject of great debate. Some say there was a sudden explosion and the universe appeared. Others say God started the process and the universe evolved over billions of years. Almost every scientist has an opinion about the origin of the universe. But only the Bible shows one supreme God creating the earth out of His great love, and giving all people a special place in it. We will never know the answer to how God created the earth, but the Bible assures us He did indeed create it.

“On the glorious splendour of your majesty, and on your wondrous works I will meditate.” (Psalm 145:5)

God did not need to create the universe; He chose to create it. He created the world and its people as an expression of His love. We should avoid reducing God’s creation to merely scientific terms. Remember, God created the universe because He loves each of us.

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6)

I've decided this is definitely my favourite season - spring, the showcase to all things new and fluffy and cute! We have been so blessed to see all the babies out - goslings, ducklings, cygnets, lambs, baby squirrels - we love them...😀

A walk along Wigan canal

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

We are mortal but God’s word is eternal and unfailing. Public opinion changes and is unreliable but God’s word is constant. Only in His eternal word will we find lasting solutions to our problems and needs.

“First of all, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people.” (1 Timothy 2:1)

Although God is all-powerful and all-knowing, He has chosen to let us help Him change the world through our prayers. This is a mystery to us because of our limited understanding but it is a reality.

My prayer list keeps getting ever-longer! Sadly, I am hearing of so many people who need prayer – whether through illness, bereavement, redundancy or other problems. I truly believe in the power of prayer and have experienced it myself on many occasions.

“Worthy are you, Our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)

Well, that’s all for now, folks! I’ve read that this gorgeous weather is set to last throughout the month and I hope that’s true. As always, I wish you a safe, healthy, blessed and peaceful time over the coming week.

Ann ❤

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