womens’ page

Helen Wreford

IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO PLUMB THE DEPTHS OF
A MOTHER’S LOVE

WREFORD FAMILY
iBelieve’s mother-in chief, Helen Wreford, reflects on the differences between boys and girls this Mother’s Day
Gather round and let me tell you a story. Once, there was a beautiful young lady, and she married her prince. They went off to live happily ever after, but then they remembered that the story doesn’t end there…
Five years later, enter son one. I don’t do pregnancy well: my body just doesn’t like it. l felt so sick for so long, but at the end of that whole process l met Mark.
That’s a moment I’ll never forget, nor be able to describe. A little bundle of flesh and blood that I cared about more than l imagined possible.

It’s impossible to plumb the depths of a mother’s love —just like it’s impossible to plumb the depths of the exhaustion you can feel late at night, when you’re feeding again and the hours stretch out. But here I was, and I was all he needed. He depended on me and l was there.

I don’t think that ever really goes away. I’ve always wanted to make everything OK for my children. Mark was followed by Jamie and then Sophie. When we had the first two, l thought l had found out how different children could be, but oh my I giddy aunt was l wrong!

Boys are simple creatures, it seems to me. Enough food and enough football and they’re happy. They don’t tidy their rooms, no matter how hard you try, and they might start washing a bit more once there’s a girlfriend in the picture. Until then, it’s damage limitation. Especially, when it comes to clothing! On one priceless occasion, we spent an afternoon picking out an outfit for Jamie. He needed to dress to impress at a school disco, if l remember correctly. When it came to it, he decided he’d rather wear a scruffy old hoodie. Not so Sophie. Now here’s a girl after my own heart. Fluff, sparkles and finally some fashion-consciousness came back into my world.

Sophie was also responsible for the rediscovery of funny things called emotions in our house. While she was blissfully inhabiting a world of princes, ponies and pink, her brothers had graduated to the grunting monotone of teenage-dom. We still spoke — well, l did — but they didn’t have a lot to say for themselves. Sophie, though, has a more eclectic approach to feelings: she wants to sample them all! At least, that’s how it appears from a mother’s vantage point, as exam stress gives way to elation on completion; tearful depression one minute, hyper excitement the next. Oddly, we’ve not tried calm consistency recently…

l think the one thing that stays the same through all of these differences is love. My kids love-their food. But actually, I love them.

Cooking for them is one way of showing it — and I’m infamous for my massive portion sizes – but it’s an expression of my passionate love for them. Now, boys and girls, remember that and live happily ever after — and tidy your room!

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sermons to note

 

ernes1Rev. E. Anderson
THE INTERVENTIONS OF GOD

Reading Psalm 107

Text Ephesians 3: 20

Introduction

BOOK: Many years ago I read a book that made a great impression upon me. It was entitled: “Then God Stepped In.” There were a number of amazing and extraordinary stories and accounts in it where people found themselves in circumstances that required unique intervention and extraordinary help and they witnessed such fantastic happenings. They could only put it down to God working in their affairs. There are those who honestly believe in God and that He is both able and desirous of moving in work in situations beyond the capabilities of man.

DIVINE CHARACTERISTICS: There are many wonderful characteristics with regard to God that ought to be known and understood, but there two simple yet powerful truths and facts that really should be appreciated. One is His untold goodness and the other is His staggering greatness. The first expresses that He is exceedingly and exceptionally kind and good and that He loves to act on behalf of those who will seek and ask Him. The main reason why He does work in such wonderful ways is to show and prove His love and concern.

HUMAN RECOGNITION: It is important that as human beings we come to know and experience both. He wants to establish both His goodness and greatness in our lives and experiences so that we can share Him with others. He is not a ‘show-off’ although there is naught He cannot do but desires to commence and establish a dynamic relationship with people who will recognise Him and all that He stands for.

BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATIONS: The Bible provides us with ample proof with regard to God and His interventions in the affairs of people. Those concerned were glad that He not only existed but were delighted that He had a personal commitment to them in their extreme needs. He was there with them amidst their crises and made manifest the fact that He could work on their behalf and demonstrate His authority and ability. So many people could be brought forth as a witness and testimony with regard to His movement and working to their good.

1/. HE INTERVENED TO MAKE A FAMILY UNIT COMPLETE

Most know the story of Abraham that is found in the first book of the Bible. He came to believe in the one true and living God rather late in life and discovered that He was truly aware of him and had a lovely purpose for his life. Abraham had a real problem: he had no family although he was desperate for a son and heir. In the course of coming to know God he found out that God was desirous of bringing about his desire and promised that he would be a father – see Genesis 12-21. He certainly kept him waiting until he was an hundred and his wife was ninety, but He was able to work the miracle and provide a choice son for His servant – c.f. Romans 4.

2/. HE INTERVENED TO BRING A CHANGE OF NATURE INTO A PERSON’S LIFE

There was one fellow in the Scriptures who was not a very nice guy although he had great longings to know God and be blessed by Him. He was not the sort of person to switch you on because of his crooked nature that operated in crooked dealings. It could be said that he was the type of person that could not be trusted, but God had a vested interest in him and wanted and planned to see him transformed and changed. His name was Jacob and some of his life’s story is found in Genesis 27-50. It was necessary for God to meet him and straighten him out and change his nature – see Genesis 32.

3/. HE INTERVENED TO EXALT A MAN OUT OF AN IMPOSSIBLE CIRCUMSTANCE

Another young man discovered to his great pleasure that God had not forgotten or forsaken although he was reduced to an extreme situation. He was in prison for something he had not done and although the forecast seemed to be utterly negative, he hoped – Genesis 39-41. There he was as a prisoner and slave with evidently nothing but to view for the days ahead but the daily routine and grind in the prison. Nothing could have been more soul destroying than to land up in these conditions with no likelihood of getting out from the human standpoint. He was definitely put through an endurance test but his faith in God did not wane. In a remarkable manner got was able to turn the key of the prison and palace doors and open them both up for him. Later on he affirmed that God had been in every part, working everything out even in the most difficult and horrendous circumstances.

4/. HE INTERVENED TO TRANSFORM A STATE OF FAILURE INTO ONE BIG SUCCESS STORY

One of the most interesting life’s stories every recorded is made known in the second book of the Bible and it centres in a man by the name of Moses. If ever an individual knew what failure was, he did. The sense of being a wash-out and being no good must have really been experienced by him and it lasted over a long period of time! – Exodus 2. He had to spend 40 years in the seeming backwoods looking after his father-in-law’s sheep. It was a big come and let-down for one who had been reared in a palace and looked to have a tremendous future. When it would appear that he would spend out his remaining years in this humble occupation, God steps in and in a magnificent gesture offers him a destiny with tremendous prospects. The next forty years would be utterly different and would mark him out as one of the most outstanding men of history. His name would not be linked with defeat and disaster but with untold accomplishment. He would see some of the most astounding events of all time.

5/. HE INTERVENED TO SETTLE A LITTLE FAMILY’S FUTURE

One of the historic stories of all time as far as the Jewish people were and concerned focussed on a young lady that did not even belong to their nation. She was a foreigner and came to live amongst them after some very sad experiences – Ruth. The little book of Ruth highlights this rather choice person coming to place her faith in Israel’s God and seeing Him act most wondrously on her behalf. She arrives in Bethlehem a widow with a widowed mother-in-law, at their beam end, but had the extreme pleasure of beholding God do things in an extraordinary fashion. She finished up marrying a fine man, who was very rich and had a baby that was of great note. The Davidic and Messianic line stemmed from her.

6/. HE INTERVENED TO RESOLVE A MOST DIFFICULT PROBLEM

Daniel was to become one of the outstanding characters of Israel and of all time and he was a tremendous believer in God and in His power to perform the extraordinary. He was not ashamed of His God, although he was a captive in Babylon. He was sure that God would work even there to honour His Name and him as he trusted Him. A real problem arose with the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezer – Daniel 2. He had a dream he could not remember and he wanted someone to recall it and then to make the meaning of it known. There was no one to provide an answer and resolve the wish of the king. But Daniel knew and trusted his God and so the situation was fully answered to the satisfaction of all. The problem was not problematic to God. Even the king had to confess to the uniqueness of Israel’s God!

7/. HE INTERVENED TO CONVERT A MAN AN MAKE HIM AN INSTRUMENT FOR GOOD WITHIN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

Possibly the principal antagonist that Christ has ever known is revealed to us in Acts 8 of the NT. There was a man named Saul who was violently opposed to Christ and to those allied to Him. He felt it his business to do everything possible to eradicate Christ and His Church but found out that he had taken on a tremendous task. The time came when He had a personal encounter with Christ and was radically renewed and change instantly – Acts 9. He became the great preacher-evangelist-missionary of all time. God showed he could change one of such a spirit etc. See 1 Timothy 1:16.

CONCLUSION

The Good News is that God has not changed whatsoever and that He retains His love and power to work irrespective of generation and person.

It is necessary for you to come to know Him and to experience both His goodness and greatness in your life and affairs. It is opportune, now, for you to entertain and enjoy God acting in your interests.

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powerful quotes

leigh 10

Rev. Leigh Goodwin
POWERFUL QUOTES

“Don’t be conceited. Just because you’re sitting in the front seat doesn’t mean you’re driving the car”.

“When a person’s first love is himself, he never finds a successor”.

“Some people spend more time looking into the mirror than into the heart”.

“Don’t tell your friends anything you want your enemies to know”.

“The simplest things are often the hardest things to grasp”.

“The excuses we think up for ourselves never seem so good when someone else uses them”.

“There is a difference in between being out of breath and being out of wind”.

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prayer dynamics

ernest reading pose

Rev. E. Anderson
WHEN PRAYER IS HARD WORK
Taken from Word for Today

WE ALL want what successful people have; we’re just not willing to pay the price they paid to get it When you see someone with sculpted abs and a well-toned body, they probably spend time sweating in a gym. There’s a reason Paul talks about ‘labouring…in prayers’ (Colossians 4:12 NKJV).

When you pray, you must be passionate, persistent and positive, expecting good things from God. You’ve got to put your heart into it and believe God will do what He promised. It’s not easy to fight off distractions and focus on Him. Don’t expect your fleshly nature to co-operate; it comes to the place of prayer kicking and screaming. And don’t expect your intellect to cheer you on; your self-sufficient nature will always choose prayer as a last resort But God will urge you, and draw you into His presence. ‘lf you draw near to Me, l will draw near to you.’

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points to ponder

ernest - computor

Rev. E. Anderson
THOUGH I DRIVE THROUGH THE VALLEY

I was 1972 and we had a Plymouth station wagon and a Chevrolet Malibu Whenever I would ask my parents to help me drive, they each had a reply. he would say, “Go ask your mother,” and Mother would say, “Let’s go.”

For months she would sit beside me as I practiced on the back roads of South Jersey. Sometimes she would drive and tell me what she was doing, at other times she would talk me through a particular operation of the car. I remember the first time I drove at night. We were returning from visiting my mom’s brother and had to get on the Walt Whitman Bridge from an access ramp. It was nine o’clock at night, pitch dark, pouring rain. As I sat waiting to enter the six-lane highway, with all the headlights, taillights, rain, and noise, I was thoroughly confused. All my training, but mostly youthful pride kept me from asking my mother to take the wheel.

I can remember pressing the accelerator, hearing the motor respond, hearing someone yell, “YEEEEHAHHHH,” and suddenly finding ourselves following along in traffic with everyone else over the bridge.

Certain things remain a mystery, like how we got onto the lane as confused as I was, and which of us screamed, but certain things are not a mystery, like reassuring it is to have your teacher go through things with you. Our temptation and our trials are not foreign to Jesus, nor are they ours alone to The Teacher is with us.   Fred Gr0sse

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pastor’s weekly thought

ianwilliams

Rev. Ian Williams
LIVE FOR GOD OR LIVE WITH GOD?
Robin Hart

Are you focussed on what you are doing for God or are you content just being with Jesus?

As Christians we often think that what we do for Jesus is most important and there is a danger we can latch onto this and make this our purpose and identity in life. The question is, is what you are doing for Jesus distracting you from being with Jesus?

How easily are we distracted in what we do for Jesus? Or what we think we need to do for Jesus? What we ‘do’ can become the be-all in our lives, the reason for our existence, our Christian walk can become all about what we can do, all about the task. Then the task becomes all about us, what other people think, living for other peoples’ approval.

But when you think about it, living a Christian life is not about what we can do but what we can’t do! Because we can’t live without the grace of a forgiving God. Because we continually fail in our own strength. Because we have a human nature. Because we are only made righteous in the likeness of Jesus Christ.

There is always a need for workers in the kingdom. But we must constantly be aware that there is nothing that we do that justifies us in God’s sight, only by recognising that He is our saviour and by sitting at His feet.

In Luke 10:38-42 and John 12:1-3 Martha got caught up in the task of looking after Jesus and doing things for Him. When her sister Mary just wanted to sit at Jesus’ feet or wanted to wash His feet in expensive perfume she got upset.

Mary wanted to sit at Jesus’ feet because she recognised that she needed to remain close to Jesus. She recognised that service did not mean a higher seat at the righteousness table. Only now do we understand that actually there was no service really good enough for Martha to undertake for a God who was prepared to sacrifice His only son for her. But somehow Mary did. In the legalism of the society in which she lived Mary was castigated for wanting just to sit at Jesus’ feet. But she recognised that His words brought life, liberty, freedom and hope. She didn’t want to get distracted, she just wanted to hear Jesus. She wasn’t interested in other peoples’ praise.

Don’t let your passion become a duty. Duty can lead to pride and the burden of fulfilling other peoples’ expectations of you. Instead keep your passion aflame by daily drinking living waters from the source of life itself. Let Jesus’ words bring life to you and don’t let your works for Him distract you from Him.

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past illustrious men and ministries

RICHARD BAXTER
Richard Baxter
1615 – 1691

RICHARD BAXTER One of The best known of the Puritan authors . He has been called “the most successful preacher, winner of souls, and nurturer of souls that England has ever had.” Edmund Calamy called him “The most voluminous theological writer in the English language.” Baxter wrote 160 books. George Whitefield, John Wesley, C. H. Spurgeon and Martyn Lloyd-Jones regarded him highly.

Born in Shropshire into a somewhat poor family, he never attended a university and was always physically weak. Yet he was self-taught, acquiring great learning on his own. He became the pastor in Kidderminster, a town near Birmingham, in 1647. The people there were very wicked. The pastor he replaced was a drunkard who preached only once every three months! Hardly any of the church members were converted when he became the pastor. During his years at Kidderminster he visited all of the 800 families in his church every year, teaching each person individually. He put forth his method of ministry in his well-known book, The Reformed Pastor, the greatest book on pastoring that has ever been written.

The outstanding feature of Baxter’s preaching was his earnest zeal. In his writing and preaching he shows his belief that pastors need “the skill necessary to make plain the truth, to convince the hearers, to let in the irresistible light into their consciences, and to keep it there, and drive all home; to screw truth into their minds and work Christ into their affections.”
He had “no Calvinistic axe to grind,” and sought to mediate between Arminianism and Calvinism. He attempted to soften some points of Calvinism by advocating “free will.” Baxter’s method was a middle way, which he called “mere Christianity” (C. S. Lewis used this phrase from Baxter as the title of his famous book).

His great strength lay in his pastoral ability and in his evangelistic preaching. The main purpose of his sermons was to see the lost converted. His book, A Call to the Unconverted, is a hard-hitting plea for the lost to come to Christ.
Although he preached before the King, in Parliament, and in Westminster Abbey, his favourite pulpit was in his own church, speaking to the poor people of Kidderminster.

After the Act of Uniformity, he was put in prison in the Tower of London for eighteen months because he was unwilling to stay in the Church of England. While in prison, he was often visited by the great commentator Matthew Henry.

Written in 1657, Baxter’s Treatise on Conversion is a great book. But it is too lengthy, and the wording is too difficult, for most people today. I have condensed it and rearranged it, and have changed difficult words to simpler ones, to reach the less literate mind of modern man. I hope these sermons from Baxter are a blessing to you. They indeed correct the shallow “decisionism” of our day – which is damning millions to eternal torment.

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minute message

ernest reading pose

Rev. E. Anderson
RECOGNISING AND WALKING IN GOD’S WILL
Taken from the Word for Today

“This is God’s will for you . . .1 Thessalonians 5:18

PRAY that you may know God’s will. Strive to live in an attitude of prayer. ‘Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will…’ ( vv16-18 NIV). Rejoicing, praying continually, and giving thanks puts you in the active hub of God’s will.

If you only pray when you’re desperate for answers, your receptors will be rusty and your impressions nebulous at best. Regular communication with God sharpens your senses and fine-tunes your ability to distinguish His voice from all the rest. ‘Teach me to do Your will…my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground’ (Psalms 143:10 NIV).

Seek God, and He will smooth the path for you. Receive the counsel of others for confirmation, not necessarily direction. Paul said, ‘When God…called me…l did not consult any man’ (Galatians 1:15-16 NIV). Only embrace other people’s advice when it agrees with God’s Word and the Spirit’s promptings. Friends can be a source of confirmation, but not necessarily revelation.

Even your own experiences and impressions aren’t enough to discern God’s will unless they line up with His Word. Peter did this on Christ’s transfiguration. ‘We were there on the holy mountain with Him…We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard…The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time…’ (2 Peter 1:18-19 TM). Paul’s converts at Berea received his teachings enthusiastically, but they also checked them against the written Word of God (Acts 17:11). That’s always a good policy.

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message by rev rick warren

rick warren

Rev. Rick Warren
READY, SET – WAIT

“The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, so it is best for us to wait in patience — to wait for him to save us” – Lamentations 3:25-26.

When life seems to be falling apart, your most “spiritual” decision may be a surprise: Get alone with God, and wait.

The Bible tells us this in Lamentations 3:28, “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The ‘worst’ is never the worst” (Lamentations 3:28 MSG).

Most of us don’t know how to “enter the silence.” We’re always anxious. We don’t like to wait on God because it stresses us out. We like to be in control.
What does it mean to wait on God? You sit down, close your mouth, and just listen to God. You may read your Bible. You may pray. But most all, you’re quiet in front of God.

Anxiety comes when we’re not “waiting for hope to appear,” as Jeremiah tells us. God wants to talk to us. He wants to give us the hope we crave. But we’re way too busy. All of our circuits are busy! When he calls, we’re on a different line.

If we want to listen to God and experience the hope he has for us, we have to get alone with him. We must “enter the silence” and be ready to hear him.
Jesus also said this in Matthew 6:6: “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” (MSG).

Get honest with God, and your focus will shift from just seeing your problems — no matter how overwhelming they seem — to the grace of God. Lamentations 3:25-26 says, “The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, so it is best for us to wait in patience — to wait for him to save us” (GNT).

Before you go out and try to solve your problem on your own, let God save you. It’s like in those war movies when the enemy is marching toward the hero’s army — which is usually an inferior, ragtag group. The hero tells his men to wait until he gives the order to shoot. Then, at the last possible moment, he yells, “Shoot!” Firing at the right moment means success.

The same is true for us. No matter what obstacle you’re facing, you’ve got to wait for God’s timing. He’ll time your next move perfectly.
So wait and listen.

TALK IT OVER

Can you think of a time in your life when acting too quickly led to a disastrous outcome?

Why is it difficult to wait for God when you’re struggling through difficult times?

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messages of note

karlbeech

Karl Beech
MAN’S WORLD
WHO ARE YOU WHEN YOU ARE ALONE?

Because a fair amount of the time I’m speaking at different events, people only see me at a distance or I might only have a brief moment to chat with them. This leads to a phenomenon called ‘stereotyping’.
Let me explain… I speak with a Rom- ford/East End London accent. You know the score. Refined, well pronounced words etc. The more excited I get, the more Essex I become.

Further to this I have a physical build that resembles an Electrolux Fridge. In other words, I’m shaped like a rectangular box. Additionally, I have a naturally grumpy face. I’m filled with inner joy but outwardly I look like someone who is about to commit either a random act of unnecessary aggression or is just totally and utterly fed up with life, the universe and everything.

You could easily therefore assume, after just a fleeting glimpse in my direction, that I’ve stepped straight off the set of a Guy Ritchie gangster flick. However, that would be a mistake. While I do enjoy many typically masculine pursuits (I like weightlifting, motorbikes and bonfires amongst other things) I also enjoy things like history books, art, playing the piano, chess and vegetarian food.

I was pondering all this while fishing for tench on a hidden pond/lake near where I live. Situated in between a bunch of factories, you would never guess that it’s there. The first time I visited, I was astonished. You literally turn off the road, walk down a little path and there it is — a hidden beauty spot in the middle of a heavily industrial area. Surrounded by trees, it’s a beautiful 3.5 acre lake complete with swans and stuff (stuff being a technical term for a multitude of wildlife).

In many ways, the secret lake is a bit like me and so many of us blokes — hidden away from people who casually walk past us. l think this can lead to a lot of angst.

So this poses some questions: who are you really? Who are you when nobody is looking? Who are you when you’re alone with your thoughts? ls the real you the bloke people see when you’re down the pub or hanging out in the gym? And then, of course, there’s an even deeper question. Are you really — deep down — the man you know you ought to be? Only you know the answer to these questions, but let me tell you something I do know. If you don’t ask them you are in danger of either having a catastrophic crash or going through life disappointed. I’m happy for you to know the complexity in my life because I don’t feel a need to fulfil a stereotype. These days I’m mostly a man at peace.

The one thing that helped me to start to become the man I know I ought to be
and helped me to be almost consistently the same bloke when people see me or when people aren’t looking is my faith in Jesus Christ.

I’m not alone. I was talking recently to a former world champion power lifter. At one time he was a full-on steroid user. He took them in the belief that he needed to be a certain type of bloke and that with- out them he would be less strong and maybe even less of a man. They nearly cost him everything.

After meeting Jesus Christ he ditched the drugs and competed clean. Guess what? He still became a world champion, drug free, conscience clean and at peace with himself and his family (after nearly ending up divorced and bankrupt). Jesus made him a real man.

Have you got the guts to look in a mirror and ask the tough questions, or will
you stay hidden away? Take some time out and ask the questions… if anything it’s a good excuse to go fishing.

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