I suppose to sum things up, I became a Christian shortly after realising that I wasn't a True Christian. In my student days at College studying Chemistry, I was a "Normal Anglican" who had still not found peace with God and true salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.
As the scripture in the Book of Isaiah the Prophet of the Old Testament reads:- "Look unto me (Jesus) and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else." (Isaiah 45: Verse 22). So true salvation is looking (or turning) to Jesus Christ to be truly saved.
Furthermore Jesus Christ Himself declared that unless a man is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3: Verse 3). In fact in this Gospel of John, we read that Jesus said it three times..."Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again." (John 3: verse 7)
So you see that both the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible stress the importance of true salvation in Christ Jesus.
I first came to understand the clear importance of the Gospel of Christ when I attended services on Sundays at a Church in London during my student days called the Metropolitan Tabernacle (or Tab for short).
As I continued to go to many Sunday Services at the Tab and other meetings held at the Church, I realised that I was in need of being forgiven by God for my many, many sins of thought, word and deed - I needed to repent immediately and urgently and to seek and find the Lord. Many, many agonising hours of days seeking and strivings of mind and conscience followed after this until I could finally say that I had truly "believed on the Lord Jesus Christ" and knew that I had experience true conversion to God.
So I joined that vast multitude of people that "no man could number," of all races, who had been saved in their souls! I distinctly remember the hymns in our Church hymnbook and the verses in the Bible all became much clearer to me in their meaning and understanding I was finally truly born again and on the pathway to Heaven! Praise God!
To summarise, may I quote from the Epistle of the Apostle Paul:- "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5: Verse 17).
This verse I read out at my immersion Baptism several years later at Enon Baptist Church, Chatham. Since then, I must say that my life has not been without problems, obviously, and yet in God's great mercy and providence, and help from His people, I am now settled in Berachah Reformed Baptist Church in Chatham.
Finally I would like to quote from the famous well-known hymn by Charles Wesley:- "My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth and followed Thee."
May our Gracious, Merciful God use this testimony for the furtherance of His Kingdom and the salvation of souls.
(Bible verses are from the Authorised - King James version)
We live in a day when we have everything at our fingertips. Our housework takes a fraction of the time it would have taken our grandparents. For them even some washing could take an entire day, as opposed to the time it takes us to press a button on our washing machine and let it do the work. Our cupboards can be full of all kinds of delicious food, from around the world, which we easily obtain from our endless choices of supermarkets. When feeling stressed we have a variety of entertainments and treatments to help ease our minds and muscles, all available from the touch of a button thanks to the endless opportunities of the internet and ever developing technology. We should be the happiest generation the world has ever seen and yet, statistically, depression and anxiety are higher than they have ever been and are continuing to rise. The writer of this article was someone who knew the words 'depression' and 'anxiety' all too well. They both consumed me and even though I was surrounded by a loving family, amazing and supportive husband and anything I could desire I was still so desperately unhappy.
Everyday was the same, never ending pattern. Every morning I woke feeling oddly unsettled, my heart would beat hard, fear churned my stomach for no apparent reason. I would go mechanically about my day, doing the same routine as always. An underlining anxiety was always present, as I ate food, watched a movie or listened to music. A deep dread of the doorbell ringing or even someone walking past my house would send me into a fearful frenzy. I would distract myself the best I could with all the worlds entertainments, but the deep sadness would always be in me. I would write countless diary entries all screaming for help in my own way. I was desperate for the suffocating sadness and loneliness to leave me but I would always come to the same conclusion...It will never leave me, it's in my head and you cannot escape your mind, can you? Even when I went to bed my chest would be constantly tight as I had fears troubling me and I would wake up at least once almost every night having a panic attack. Feeling like I was surely having a heart attack and gasping for air that did not seem present.
This was my life. My routine. A tight chest was ever present and dark thoughts muttering in my mind everyday. I had a true sense of pointlessness. What was the point? Get up, go to work, come home, have dinner, shower then bed only to do it all over again the following day. My life had no purpose and I could not see the point in it at all. Then covid happened and my anxiety hit a point of true desperation.
My mum has been a Christian for as long as I can remember and, as a child and young teen, I was always going to Sunday school with her and eventually the Gospel evening services at Berachah Church. I knew of God and believed in Him to a certain degree. Believing that I needed to repent and give myself entirely to Him, in order to be saved, but my hard heart did not want that. I did not want to be told what I could and couldn't do and eventually I stopped going to church. I did not want to have to let go of my music and films. I thought I would surely be miserable and could not think of anything more boring than devoting my life to God and the Bible. There was also the pride aspect which was ever so present within me. I was not that bad, was I? Sure I had been a difficult teenager, but what teenager isn't, right? It's a phase of life, notorious for behaving wrongly and learning about mistakes and from those mistakes I thought I had learnt a lot and was now a good person. Sure I would tell the odd lie or think nastily toward someone but they deserved it and I was no murderer or sneaking off behind my husband's back so why would I need to repent? I was still grasping onto my love of the world. Ironically I was thinking that knowing God would make me miserable and yet as we have already established I was deeply unhappy already. I was plagued with depression and anxiety and actually it was my knowledge of God, from those years of my mum taking me to Sunday school and church, that stopped me from ending it all. Even then God was keeping me and watching over me. In my heart I knew that a lot of my anxiety stemmed from a crippling fear of death. When covid was first announced to be in China that crippling fear tugged slightly more on my heart. After a few months when covid19 was well and truly in the UK and causing a lock-down my anxiety had become manic. I was at the point of wanting to shut myself in my room and not allow anyone else in, washing my hands an obscene amount and terrified of catching the virus which had not just effected a few countries but the entire world, something we had never seen before. To quote a passage from Peter Masters's article 'God's Love in the Pandemic',
"Mighty China shook with alarm; the grim regime of Iran was stunned; Europe was soon sent scurrying to lock-down, and the all-powerful USA was brought to cower like everyone else"
Combine the pandemic with the fires which we had already seen raging in Australia and other natural disasters which seemed to attack 2020 with a fury we have not seen before, I started feeling a desperate sense of need. I saw how utterly useless I was. How feeble and hopeless my situation was. The terrifying and humbling thought of where my soul would end up, if I was to pass from this world, became a thought I was forced to truly take seriously, as opposed to my past mild thoughts, which I would push to the back of my mind and say "I'll find out about God tomorrow, I've got time". The words from Isaiah 55 verse 6 started to become ever present in the mind, 'seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near' and the whole world seemed to be screaming to me that time was running out.
So I asked my mum about the sermons I had seen her watch over the years as she made dinner or was sitting in the front room with her bible and notes. We were in the midst of lock-down and so I could not go to church but the online sermons were a true blessing. At first I begrudgingly would watch a sermon, normally doing something else in the background and not truly taking the whole thing in. It was a chore more than anything but I thought I needed to do it. I started sermons on Genesis thinking I would work my way through the bible, but soon felt that was not right, so I asked my mum where I should begin. She told me the Gospel of John.
As the weeks went on I started to stop having the sermons on in the background and started watching them fully. A few days after I knew something was missing so I got my bible out of my drawer, (which for many years I had always kept safe and knew exactly where it was.) I started turning off all other distractions, sitting on my bed with my bible open and following the words of the pastor with a building enthusiasm. My growing need became desperate and I knew that I needed God's forgiveness. I got to the point that I did not care if I lost everything around me, all I knew was that I needed to be right with Him. I closed the door of my bedroom and prayed each day and finally, whilst going through John 3 verse 14-15,
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.", it clicked and I knew I had to look to Christ. I could do nothing on my own. I could not will myself to be heard or do anything by myself. I simply had to look to Jesus Christ, the son of God being lifted up, as the serpent in the wilderness was lifted up in the time of Moses and the people had to look and live. I repented truly and sincerely, just as I was, with no fancy wording or trying to hide certain aspects of myself. I was believing in His promises, His words and His blood on Calvary.
My mum said she first suspected I had been saved after I did something at home that I would never normally do. I had started to see a change in myself and my mum agreed that my nature had changed. I became not interested in music (something which before had been my idol) and the thing that would most excite me was the prospect of opening my bible and hearing a sermon on the word of God. I had a new control over my sins and a deeper conviction of what I did wrong. Truly understanding that although saved Christians still sin (as we are human) we certainly cannot sin comfortably and need to ask for forgiveness. We defiantly have more control over our sins by grace of God alone and not by our own efforts. I began to pray more and found I had different things on my heart that I needed to pray for. I no longer needed to pray for my salvation, I knew in my heart I had been saved, but now I had to pray for others and for my faith to be developed and to serve Him in the best way, praising Him and thanking Him. I started to look at the world differently, seeing it not as some amazing place I once did, but as the fallen and doomed world it is. One day when I was talking to my mum a thought occurred to me. One that had happened so subtly, I oddly, had not even thought of it before. My chest was not tight! My mum was elated as I said these words and the more I thought about it the more I realised how much had changed! I no longer woke up with panic attacks in the night, nor did anxiety rule my heart and mind. I had not woke up with that awful fear, that had been my companion for many years, in weeks. I then had another realisation, one that made me cry for joy, my deep sadness was gone! The depression I had had for fourteen years and anxiety I had for many years also had vanished. To this day, some 4 months after my conversion I can still honestly say it has not been back. My mum and I upon realising this, both prayed and thanked God with hearts full of gladness and joy. I now have a purpose. I am here to help spread the word of God, to speak about the Gospel and to help people who were in my position, to see that there is an answer. You do not have to be so desperately sad and tormented. There is an answer, seek The Lord Jesus Christ, call upon Him sincerely and with all your heart and He will save you.
I had tried, through my own means, for many year to combat the depression and anxiety. In fact I had tried almost everything aside from taking tablets (a personal choice since I nearly choked on a hard boiled sweet when I was younger) I had tried an endless list of changing my diet, exercise, self help books, meditation, yoga, different teas, writing things down, anything and everything Google would recommend to me, which, although some did ease my feelings, none were able to completely subdue and take away my depression and anxiety.
People have often said "how come, if there is a God, we do not see any miracles like in the Bible?" My response to this is we do see miracles. They may not be on a grand scale of turning water into wine or feeding the five thousand but individually, personally, believers see miracles everyday. This, if I may be bold enough to say it, is my miracle given by God. I did not even ask God, in prayer, to take away my sadness or deep set fear, he just took it away, once I had truly come to Him in earnest repentance and faith. I reflect on this and thank Him for it endlessly. A true believers entire nature changes, this in itself is a miracle also. Is it not a common saying, 'people don't or cannot change'? Well, again, this just shows not only the power and truth of God, but another of the miracles happening to individuals lives all over the world.
I pray this article will help someone and have prayed for guidance whilst writing it. I do not write this to seek any glory or to boast, but to glorify God and try to tell my testimony to whoever will take the time to read this. This is my witness, my story of how I went from being someone so consumed with music and the world, and was so desperately unhappy, and yet, by the grace of God was born again and saved, to be someone so full of joy and love in my heart for my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
If you would like to know more please come to Berachah Church where you will hear the true word of God or if it is too far away from where you live please click on the sermons to hear our pastor preach, or click on the link to the Tabernacle website where I first started listening to the sermons and maybe begin with the Gospel of John if you feel like you do not know where to start.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article and God bless.
(Bible verses are from the Authorised - King James version)
“You are such a calm person”, “You’re so nice and easy to talk to”, “I can’t imagine you ever getting angry”, – These were just some of the things I would hear from work colleagues, friends and family members, but the truth is, I was able to hide my anger issues/troubled mind very well. Only close family members knew just how angry I could get. For many years I had suffered with severe trust issues causing arguments with partners and ruining relationships. I would be so quick to anger that family members struggled to speak with me as they would worry how I’d react. I found it very difficult to escape the anxiety that came with these mental health issues, they had such a hold on me. It was so frustrating that I couldn’t fight them on my own and I felt so trapped within my own head!
In 2015, I met my wonderful husband and, although he helped me to start to trust again, he could not completely help or subdue my ridiculous, over-thinking, paranoid thoughts and anger issues. I honestly thought that there was no way for me to fight these battles I had within me! I went to Sunday School and Church when I was younger and even as a teenager, but as life moved on, I found myself drifting away from Church and focusing on the entertainments and pleasures of the world. Every now and then I would get a sudden urge that it was important for me to go back to Church but I would quickly dismiss this and focus back on my everyday life. In 2020, like many others, I was furloughed due to the Covid19 outbreak.
Although I was kept busy with my hobby of painting Pet Portraits, I couldn’t help getting worried about the worldwide pandemic. I was bought up believing that one day there will be a day of judgment and that signs that this was getting closer included an increase in natural disasters (we had not long had a massive outbreak of bush fires in Australia!) and that there would be more severe illnesses etc. – well when it comes to severe illnesses – a worldwide pandemic is exactly that! It made me very uneasy and I felt I must ask my mum about getting hold of some of the sermons from Church, so I could start listening to them at home, until Churches were able to open again. This thought, of needing to listen to the sermons again, kept niggling at the back of my mind for some time; I kept thinking I must ask mum today about them, but I would then forget again.
Then one day in June my sister came into my room whilst I was painting and said she had been watching these lovely videos on the Metropolitan Tabernacle’s website, called “Interested in the Christian Faith: Answers & Questions” which answer questions people may be thinking of about God. She showed me the website and added the link to my phone so I could listen to them whenever I got a chance. I couldn’t help but think that even this was more than just a coincidence; I was trying to speak with my mum about getting some sermons to listen to, and then out of nowhere, there was my sister showing me some links to sermons!
I started to listen to them as I painted or ironed or tidied my room. Once I had finished these I asked my sister which sermons she listened to, that helped her – she said the Peter Master’s sermons on the Gospel of John were where mum had suggested she start. I began to listen to these regularly whilst doing everyday chores i.e. ironing or whilst I painted. As I listened to them, I started to feel a need to seek the Lord and I had a strong desire to be a saved Christian. I listened to more and more sermons, I found that I needed to put all my concentration on the sermons, rather than half-heartedly, and so I stopped doing work/chores and got my Bible out and listened and followed along with the sermons more thoroughly.
I got to a stage where nothing else mattered but seeking the Lord (even if it meant losing those who I loved around me); I simply had to find the Lord and know that my sins were forgiven and that I was right with God. I was still very scared of the end of the world and the thought of dying. I knew that there was nothing else that was more important, than to seek the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart. I had prayed a few times asking for forgiveness of my sins and asking him to save my helpless soul but I was trying to be saved by being a better person and willing myself to be saved, which just won’t work. I would be in tears to my mum and sister (who was recently converted) asking them why He wasn’t hearing me. But they said to keep persisting as “those who seek, WILL find”. It wasn’t until I listened to a sermon by Peter Masters where he said that there is NOTHING we can do or bring to the Lord to be saved, only He can save us, and I realised there and then that I cannot do anything myself. It is impossible for us, as sinful humans, to be better or do anything worthy to be saved ourselves, I simply came to Him in prayer with a sincere and repenting heart, asking the Lord Jesus Christ to save me, as he died for sinners, and I AM a sinner. I felt that He heard my cry that night and it was a few days later on Sunday 26th July 2020, that I was speaking to my mum and sister and they said that they think I have been heard and am SAVED.
Although, at first, I struggled with my assurance, I cannot explain the joy I now have, knowing my sins have been forgiven. I do not worry about my soul when I die now and that is a truly amazing feeling. I remember shortly after being saved a situation came up where I would normally feel true worry and anxiety and would have got stressed and angry, which would have caused an argument with my husband. This time, I prayed as soon as I felt the stress/untrusting thoughts starting to enter my head, asking for Him to help me fight these thoughts and my anxiety went away. It just left me. My churned-up stomach just stopped and my stress went – this was a TRUE miracle as I have never been able to fight this myself, ever before! I know that without the Lord’s help I would have got more and more stressed and my horrible thoughts would have taken over and caused an argument. Since this time, I have been so much calmer and my anger has subsided greatly, even my husband has said he has seen a change in me. I do still pray for help with my anger as this is a very strong part of the old sinner in me but I hope this helps you to see that even the most horrific side of you can be softened and changed when you are truly saved. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I pray you will feel your need to seek the Lord who died on the cross at Calvary to save sinners like us.
(Bible verses are from the Authorised - King James version)
You are warmly invited to our Christmas Carol Service which will be followed by refreshments on Sunday 17th December at 6.30pm.
Welcome to Berachah Church's website. Please feel free to look around our website where you can find more information about our services and listen to previous sermons.
We would like to warmly invite you to our Services:
Teaching Service at 11.00am
Gospel Service at 6.30pm
Prayer meeting & Bible Study at 7.45pm