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.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 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.