Hidden Treasure of Shirebrook

“For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:6-9, NLT

As I was walking along the unmade up road to see Natalie on 7 June 2010, I noticed some broken pieces of china, pottery and glass half hidden in the mud (hidden treasure) and picked them up as I thought I could use them in a mosaic. We then went to see Natalie’s mum, Caroline, and I walked back from there to my home. On later looking on a map, I saw there was a path between Caroline’s home and mine (known as the “black pad”). On 9 June, I walked the length of the “black pad” collecting broken pieces of pottery and china from the track. I cleaned them up and laid them out on a place mat to see how much space they would need. On 11 June, I went to see Natalie and Clarck and took a large piece of MDF that I needed “jigsawed” into smaller pieces. Clarck duly jigsawed this for me. On 12 June Amanda came to visit and suggested I could form the broken pieces into a pot shape mosaic, signifying “the church” – Jesus’ vessel to be used by Him for His purposes. Kirsty drew a pot shape onto the MDF and I spent the evening doing the mosaic, that I believed God wanted me to entitle “Hidden Treasure of Shirebrook”.

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On 13 June I received a “Seeds of the Kingdom” devotional from Ellel Ministries in Lancaster, written by the founder, Peter Horrobin. His devotional for that day spoke of Jesus being the only foundation that is sufficient to withstand all the pressures and storms of life and that our lives need to be built on the Rock of Jesus Christ. The devotional was entitled “Hidden Treasure” and included the following scripture:

“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Colossians 2:3, NIV

As I meditate on this mosaic, I can see how each broken piece represents a broken life that Jesus has tenderly picked up from the side of the road and put on his donkey (representing each of us Christians as His servants) and brought into fellowship in His church (as in the parable of the Good Samaritan – Luke 10:25-37), because He sees each one of us as His treasure. There is one piece in the pot that is loose because I did not put enough “glue” on it, but even that is significant. It represents those that have fallen away; the pot is not complete without the missing piece – there is a place in the pot that was designed for that piece to fit.

I am reminded also of the story of the Potter and the Clay (Jeremiah 18). If only we had allowed ourselves to be formed whilst we were still soft clay by the master potter (Father God) into a vessel worthy of being used for great purposes. But we come to Him as broken vessels, crushed but not abandoned. He is there, as He always has been, to pick us up, clean us up and form us into a vessel fit for His purpose (to carry the Glory of God?).

Have a look and see where you think you fit – are you a big piece or a small piece? All are necessary. Big pieces need more room, little pieces can fit into small spaces.

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The Carpenter’s Arms – 31st December 2017

WOW. God is so amazing and delights in surprising us! I awoke in tears again this morning due to my sister, Suzanne’s plight – stuck in a psychiatric ward in Surrey with a miracle needed to release her.

Lynne, my friend from Mansfield Beacon Homeless Project texted me at 8:25 a.m. to say she was going to Trent Vineyard in Nottingham this morning.

When I looked at Romans 8:25 it read But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. It seemed to be a message from God that I needed to continue to be patient about Suzanne’s release from all that is holding her back.

Because Trent Vineyard is a large and lively church and there was no service in Mansfield Vineyard this morning, I asked Lynne if I could go with her. She responded Yes, and told me that we would be travelling there with a couple who live close to me.

The couple’s house number is 103 and that reminds me of Psalm 103

1Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

This also encourages me that God has a good plan for Suzanne.

The couple we travelled with are called Jon and Sue. Lynne told me that they were running the Beacon Project at the beginning many years ago and they told me that they also went in to visit men in the prisons, as I have been doing recently.

They had been in Surrey recently, visiting Jon’s daughter near Leatherhead, so they knew where I was coming from – having also been to Kingston upon Thames on their visit.

When we arrived at Trent Vineyard, Lynne sat on the left of me and Jon on the right. I was reminded that Lynne sounds like the final part of my name (Jacqui Lynne or Jacqueline) and that she shares her birthday with my ex-husband and that John is the name of my ex-husband. I felt a huge sense of God directing my path. I felt safe and I was looking for God to show me more. Then I saw that Larry (also a helper at Beacon Project) was seated in the row in front of us. It seemed to be a “Beacon Project” outing to Trent Vineyard this morning.

The first song we sang this morning was The Lion and the Lamb

An encouragement that God is fighting our battles and every knee will bow to Him.

I was reminded that was the first song I had sung at Hope Church in St Luke’s (I was born on St Luke’s Day) on 9 October 2016 (my ex-husband’s 56th birthday). At that time I was visiting my friends Sue and Graham Scriven and had gone to Hope Church in St Luke’s for their Sunday service on my way to see Sue and Graham.

I was one of the Scrivens’ bridesmaids on the day that they married and their two daughters were two of our bridesmaids when I married John.

I was reminded that the word Beacon is a word that features in my upbringing in Banstead in Surrey. In ancient times there were beacons across England, which were lit to warn of invaders. Banstead was one of the places that had a beacon.

It was the name of my primary school magazine and also the name of the secondary school that was formed from my school (De Burgh) and my sister’s (Nork Park) merging.

Here in Mansfield the Beacon Project is a refuge from the storms of life and provides food and shelter three times a week for homeless and disadvantaged.

Dave Ellis, who works at the Carpenter’s Arms in Loughborough (a Christian drug and alcohol rehab for men) was our speaker at Trent Vineyard this morning

He reminded us that we each of us have a race to run. That we need to “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) and run our own race. Our individual races will not be the same as each other’s and comparison is the thief of Joy.

He reminded us to run the race with Perseverance Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” (Hebrews 12:1).

I was reminded of 6 March 2016 when my friend James and I went to Sherwood Pines with his two daughters and found that there was an Endurance Cross Country race about to happen. James asked me to go back to the flat to get his running shoes and track suit so that he could take part. I did so and he ran the race, but what he didn’t know was that it was an obstacle course and he came back covered in mud and soap suds. This is so like the Christian race. We may think that it is simply a race (and that is hard enough) but in fact it is an obstacle race!

I was reminded that Jesus is Home and without a relationship with Jesus we are all homeless and imprisoned, but that Jesus has come to set the prisoners free and enable them to run their races. The Beacon in Mansfield is a Christian project and everyone who enters it has an opportunity to meet with Jesus there.

I was reminded that each of us as Christians is to be a light in the darkness where we live. We are “plantings of the Lord, for the display of His splendour” (Isaiah 61:3).

And, finally, a song came to my mind

Great are you Lord!

I don’t know how God will do it, but one day He will set my sister free and she will be able to partake in the Abundant Life that Jesus promised in John 10:10. God, I hope it is soon. But I know that we are both safe in The Carpenter (Jesus)’s Arms.

 

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Smith Street

A friend from church, Rachel, came to visit me today. She told me that she lives on Smith Street in Mansfield and the Holy Spirit brought to mind another story from my life; it is one that follows on from yesterday’s blog post.

When my husband left me in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey in June 1994, he first set up home with his new woman in a rented house on Racecourse Road in Mansfield, Notts. The street parallel to Racecourse Road is Maltby Road (and our next door neighbour in Kingston upon Thames had the surname Maltby). The next parallel road in Mansfield is Smith Street (and Smith is my maiden name).

So, although there are 160 miles between Kingston upon Thames and Mansfield, the same picture of neighbours is symbolised. Mr Maltby living next to Miss Smith in Kingston upon Thames and Maltby Road next to Smith Street in Mansfield.

Although my husband moved 160 miles away from me, it was as if he had moved into the next street 🙂

Please don’t try to tell me that there is not a loving Father God who is overseeing our mixed up lives.

 

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What Halloween means to me

20 years ago tonight I was sleeping in St Botolph’s graveyard in Lincoln, opposite the Golden Eagle pub, doing a sponsored sleepout for a local homeless charity, Nomad.

There was a blanket of fog reminding me of Great Expectations. Better to have fog rather than a clear sky – it’s warmer. I remember that a few days earlier Chris Bowater had given me a prophetic word that God was in the fog – it seemed that this was the night for that prophetic word.

It brought a different perspective to “Until Death Do Us Part”, since I learned a few days later that my husband had remarried on 31st October 1997.

As I write this, I am reminded that God had led me to be a Saturday volunteer in the Nomad Café in Lincoln (held in a former mortuary) a few months earlier.

On the day in 1997 that I walked into the café to volunteer a song was playing – The Power of Love by Jennifer Rush. That was the song my husband had chosen for our first dance together as man and wife in Hampton Court, London in 1988. It has a line in it that says “I’m heading for somewhere, somewhere I’ve never been, sometimes I’m frightened but I’m ready to learn about the Power of Love”.

I am now volunteering with another homeless charity, in Mansfield, and we are having our Christmas lunch in another Golden Eagle, The Golden Eagle in Mansfield. This pub is situated just off the A617 and St Botolph’s day is June 17th.

My husband actually ran off to live just off the A617 in Mansfield when he left me and Kingston upon Thames in June 1994.

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Darkness to Light – Colossians 1:13

My first dance with John Wilson (when I met him at my cousin John Jeffers’ wedding on 10th January 1987) was to “New York, New York”.

On September 11th 1999 my mother died.

On September 10th 2001 (my wedding anniversary) I was at a church catering committee meeting at the Lincoln home of Paul and Mary Reet (when I married in Kingston upon Thames in 1988 I had become Jacqui Wilson and was told that Jackie Wilson had sung a song called “Reet Petit”) .

As I entered Paul and Mary’s living room I saw a book on the coffee table about the North American Indians (whom the Pilgrim Fathers met when they arrived in the Americas I believe). We had the catering meeting and, as we were leaving, someone noticed an American calendar on the Reet’s hallway wall. The photograph for September 2001 was a night-time photograph of New York.

Mary Reet (who is quite petite) then flipped over the pages and showed us a photograph of St Lucia (a Caribbean island where Dawn, my Guildford landlady of 2008-2010, grew up). I now know that in Sweden St Lucia/St Lucy is celebrated and they have a Festival of Light on 13 December each year. The story is that St Lucy lost her eyesight and God miraculously healed her.

The following day, September 11th 2001, I had the day off from my job to await the delivery from Wickes (interesting how even here God is speaking of light – as in wicks of candles) of the parts to make a built in wardrobe. These arrived at 10:10 a.m (it was around this time on September 11th in 1999 that I had been informed by staff at East Surrey Hospital that my mother had died, as I was driving to collect my sister, Suzanne, to go to the hospital to visit our mother). Remember John 10:10.

With me in Lincoln on September 11th in 2001 was Martin Joy (who was born on St Botolph’s Day) and a young lady called Samantha (who had moved in to lodge with me on the previous day – my wedding anniversary). At precisely 1:50 p.m. Samantha’s mother (who “happens” to be Swedish) arrived and I was led to read Psalm 150 from my Bible. This would have been at the time between each of the two planes hitting the Twin Towers in New York, and before we were aware of anything happening in New York. The planes had taken off from Boston Mass, the name of which comes from Boston in Lincolnshire UK. The name Boston comes from St Botolph’s Stone.

Using the photographs on the Reet’s American Calendar – it was as if God was saying that light would come out of darkness, as indeed it did when I became born again as a result of John leaving me in June 1994 – Colossians 1:13. Using the planes hitting the Twin Towers – it was as if the Twin Towers were John and myself and that our marriage fell as a result of an enemy attack from the devil using human beings, just as those Twin Towers fell as a result of an enemy attack from the devil using human beings, but that the most important thing is “eternal life” rather than this life we lead on earth and that the end of the story is and will be “Let Everything that has Breath Praise the Lord” (Psalm 150).

My life has been so “rich” spiritually since 1994. It has not been without challenges, since bearing the name Christian means that the devil is out to get you even more, but to know Almighty Father God, who sent His son Jesus to die on the cross to bring reconciliation and who then left the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and Counsellor, is amazing.

Colossians 1:9-14

9…….. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,  10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

 

 

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The Writing is on the Wall

1 Kings 8.27, 1 Corinthians 6.19

The Cross is in the Field

In November 2004 I was living in Leatherhead and signed on with Adecco agency in Leatherhead as a temp (my temp controller was Tristan Hope, a Christian who attended a church that met in a school in Wallington). Tristan’s name reminded me that I needed to “Trust and Hope” in God for employment.

On 6 December (St Nicholas – from whom comes Santa Claus – Day) 2004, my usual temp agency (Recruit in Dorking) sent me to work as a temporary administrator at Priory Healthcare at the “Coach House” (what in biblical days would perhaps have been called a “stable”?) in Salfords, Redhill. Coach House was a rehabilitation place for people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Interestingly, there were around 11 residents, one of whom was called “Wes” and another “Lee”.

John “Wesley” started the Methodist movement; he was born on St Botolph’s Day (17 June) 1703 and his last public…

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I Was a Wandering Sheep

In 1994 I was born again and the Holy Spirit led me to this hymn in the book of common prayer my dad gave me 30 years earlier at my confirmation. It tells my story:

Live Life! God's way

Today’s Hymn (#105) from The Believers’ Hymn Book is entitled “I Was A Wandering Sheep.”

I was a wandering sheep, I did not love the fold;
I did not love my Shepherd’s voice, I would not be controlled.
I was a wayward child, I did not love my home;
I did not love my Father’s voice, I loved afar to roam.

The Shepherd sought His sheep, The Father sought His child;
They followed me o’er vale and hill, O’er deserts waste and wild;
They found me nigh to death, Famished and faint and lone;
They bound me with the bands of love, They saved the wand’ring one.

They spoke in tender love, They raised my drooping head,
They gently closed my bleeding wounds, My fainting soul they fed;
They washed my filth away, They made me clean and fair;
They brought me to my home in peace, The long sought…

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