Plymouth

I was originally led to Plymouth in July 2009. There were several things that attracted me there:

  1. The Pilgrim Fathers left from there aboard The Mayflower on 16 September 1620:

I originally met my friend James, in Lincoln on St Botolph’s Day in 2005 (he had been born in St John’s psychiatric hospital on 16 September 1983, on the anniversary of the Pilgrim Fathers setting sail from Plymouth) I remember one of the first things James did was sing to me the song by Casting Crowns “Who Am I”?

Some of the Pilgrim Fathers were imprisoned in Boston (the name of which came from St Botolph’s Stone) in Lincolnshire before they set sail for the Americas. Before I went to Boston in 1995, soon after I was born again, and saw where they were imprisoned, I was only aware of them having set sail from Plymouth.

  1. I had found that a road number (374) linked Weybridge with Plymouth:

I first met my husband, John, at a wedding whilst I was working for British Aerospace on the B374 in Weybridge in 1987. And currently work for Compassion UK in Weybridge. In 2009, when planning to go on pilgrimage to Plymouth, I found that the A374 runs through Plymouth. Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart”.

I found it interesting that when God led me to Plymouth in July of 2009 a play about Charles Darwin the evolutionist was on at a local theatre in Plymouth, as it was the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth. I went to see it and it was very good, but wrong.

I then found the amazing truth that Plymouth’s motto is Turris fortissima est nomen Jehovah – “the name of Jehovah is the strongest tower”. This is taken from Proverbs 18, which says “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower; The righteous runneth into it, and is safe”, and that made Plymouth even more special to me.

Plymouth Guildhall

Just a week or so ago, from 19-21 May 2015, I was given the opportunity to go back to Plymouth for a GOD TV Celebration in Plymouth Guildhall (over the door to which is the motto:  Turris fortissima est nomen Jehovah – “the name of Jehovah is the strongest tower”).

Since my visit in 2009, God TV (which had its humble beginnings in Hinchley Wood – near where I was living in Kingston upon Thames – in 1995) had bought a former nightclub building in 2013 on the A374 in Plymouth to turn into a Revival Prayer Centre. It seemed to me like just the right place, since I am reminded of Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart” and prayer is about delighting yourself in the LORD.

http://www.god.tv/the-god-tv-team/video/god-tv-updates/revival-prayer-centre-vision

Revival Prayer Centre Plymouth

Whilst in Plymouth I had a look at the outside of this very run-down building in an area of Plymouth dedicated to debauchery, and was reminded that God had restored me from a decadent lifestyle. I believe He will help God TV restore this building and that it will be a place of refuge for those who come to recognise that “sex and drugs and rock and roll” is destroying them.

Smeaton's Tower

I stayed in the same guest house where I had stayed in 2009, across the road from The Hoe. Last year (2014) I had met Rebecca Smeaton when I worked at DDC in Worksop and on The Hoe stands “Smeaton’s Tower”

Plymouth 014

 

On the Magistrates Court I found a mosaic version of the Plymouth coat of arms and motto:

 

 

Plymouth 009After the final evening of the God TV Celebration in the Guildhall, where Andrew Wommack had spoken a good deal about Faith, I wandered along to the waterfront and noticed a boat with that very word on it

 

And, as I was looking at that boat I heard a young man on an “open mike” at a pub across the water singing “Hallelujah”

On returning home from Plymouth, I remembered that one of the ushers I met at the God TV Celebration in Plymouth had said she was part of Riverside or River Church and that one of my colleagues at Compassion is part of a Riverside Church in Devon.

So I looked this up and came across River Church in Plymouth and found it is led by Faye and Scott Gould. I had met Faye and her mother, Sue, on Rhodes in October 2002, when I went on my own on a Master Sun Christian holiday to celebrate my 50th birthday, believing that God would put together a special party of people He wanted to celebrate with me.

I then found that River Church meet in the Guildhall in Plymouth. WOW, that is amazing.

This morning, 31 May, I was looking into the origins of the Plymouth motto and found the following from the Western Morning News:

“Bracken discusses the history of the English Civil War in Plymouth and the issues around Sir Richard Grenville (also known as ‘Skellum’ Grenville) when he changed his allegiance from supporting Parliament to supporting the King. As a Parliamentarian, Grenville was given a commission in the Army and was therefore in a position to access Parliamentarian intelligence. With this knowledge he marched to Oxford and joined the Royalist troops stationed there. Grenville’s actions were seen as an act of treachery by people in Plymouth. This is because Plymouth was held for Parliament against the forces of King Charles I during the whole of the war. After changing allegiances, Grenville wrote a letter to Colonel Gould, commander of the Parliamentarian forces in Plymouth, giving his reasons for ‘his change of front, stating that he was convinced Plymouth was a lost town and without hope of relief’. Gould’s sarcastic letter in reply to Grenville included the line, “The same God is still our rock and refuge”. Hence it is said that the motto was added to the Plymouth town arms shortly after this event to commemorate Gould’s words.

I wonder if God pointed that out to Faye and Scott Gould when He showed them that they should hold church in The Guildhall.

 

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Posted in Anniversaries, Bible, Boston, Christianity, Church, Exeter, Faith, Friends, History, Lincoln, Plymouth, Prayer, Rhodes | Leave a comment

Homeless

This week I picked out “blind”, from a bag of topics, the topic Homelessness with which to lead prayers at work. Interesting, because God knows that it is a subject I learnt something about when I became a Christian in 1994.

Last weekend my sister was moved to Redhill and I was reminded that this was somewhere I had lived at the end of 1994, during a time when I was “homeless” between having to sell my home in Kingston upon Thames in the September of 1994 and buying a new home in Lincolnshire in March 1995.

I visited my sister last Sunday afternoon in Redhill and in the evening I went to a Lou Fellingham concert in Woking. I was reminded that when I was living at a friend’s home in Redhill in December 1994, as a newly born again Christian, I was invited to share Christmas lunch with Lou and her family. It was my first Christmas as a Christian and I shared it with a family of born again Christians. Perfect.

On Monday of this week it was my friend Sue Scriven’s 41st wedding anniversary.  I had been one of her bridesmaids, and it was through Sue that I had met Lou and her family and came to share that Christmas with them in 1994, because Lou’s mum was my friend Sue’s cousin.

I wanted to share a You Tube video as part of our prayer time on Monday of this week at work and we went into a meeting room to do that. The first thing was that the meeting room was very cold (I think God was reminding us that being homeless on the streets of England is very cold). The next thing was that we couldn’t get the sound on the video to work when we plugged the laptop into the video screen or the tv, so we had to watch it directly from the laptop (and of course we were reminded that there is no electricity available on the streets).

On Tuesday I was reminded of another “homeless” story to share. I had married John Wilson in Kingston upon Thames in 1988 (at which my friend Sue Scriven’s two daughters were my bridesmaids) and I became Jacqui Wilson. At that time I was told that Jackie Wilson was an American singer who had a hit with a song called “Reet Petite”. On our wedding day John chose the song “The Power of Love” by Jennifer Rush for our first dance as husband and wife.

John then left me in 1994 and that is how I became “homeless” and was squatting in a flat for 3 months. The residents of the other flats there were addicted to drugs. I then moved from there to live with my friend in Redhill and from there to Lincolnshire, where I owned my own home again.

St Swithin's Vestry Hall

In 1997 I was working in Lincoln and, because I had lived with the homeless in 1994, I wondered whether God wanted me to work with the homeless in Lincoln. I had met a man in church named Paul Reet and his wife was quite petite ! Paul volunteered in the Nomad cafe (a drop in for dropouts) and I said to God that if when I passed the Nomad cafe that lunchtime I saw Paul working in the cafe then I would know that God wanted me to offer to work there with the ”homeless”. I looked through the doorway and Paul was indeed there, so I walked in and was amazed that the song being played there at that moment was “The Power of Love” by Jennifer Rush!

St Botolph, Bargate, Lincoln

On Halloween night 1997 I did a sponsored sleep out in St Botolph’s graveyard in Lincoln, in order to raise money for Nomad and later heard that my husband had re-married on that day – that brings an ironic twist to “Until Death Do Us Part”.

So, who really is homeless – in a sense John is “homeless” as he doesn’t know Jesus and I found my home in 1994 when I was physically made “homeless” but spiritually found “home”, because home is not a place it is a person – Jesus.

The Bible says in Hebrews 13:14 (New Living Translation) “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come”

and in 1 Peter 2:11-12 (The Message) “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.”

 

Posted in Anniversaries, Bible, Christianity, Compassion UK, Friends, Jesus, Kingston, Lincoln, Love, St Botolph | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

I am a friend of God

Yesterday at the River of Life meeting in Jacobs Well our speaker was talking on the subject of Intercession and of how God wants to have an intimate relationship with us. Wikipedia defines Emotional Intimacy as “a psychological event that happens when trust levels and communication between two people are such that it fosters the mutual sharing of one another’s deepest selves.”

It is so amazing and wonderful that God, who created the whole universe and everything in it, would want to communicate with us on that level, but He does. He wants to have a deep relationship with us, not just a high days and holidays or when we can/must fit Him into our daily lives, but a DEEP relationship, deeper than we have with any human being.

I was reminded of my visit to Southport in 2001, where God told me I needed to have an intimate relationship with Him so that I wouldn’t be intimidated. But it is more than that, it is about sharing my thoughts with God and Him sharing His thoughts with me, in a way that only close friends will do.

Our speaker talked about Abraham being a Friend of God and about our being a “Friend of God” and I was reminded of attending the Kampala Pentecostal Church (now Watoto Church), Uganda one Sunday in September 2008 and how the first song we sang was “I am a Friend of God” and how I felt that God wanted me to KNOW that I was a friend of His. I then thought about how God had led me to being in that Church on that Sunday and about how God had spoken to me through his prophets in Leatherhead on 15th September (Battle of Britain Day) 2003:

“He is building in you a new level of understanding in the way He communicates. That, just as you are a networker and a communicator, so you will even network and communicate with Him, between Him and other people and you will bring people to Him through that networking and communicating gift.  And He says, work with the flow of my Spirit, come to me and learn of me, how I teach you to flow with my Spirit, come closer, come closer, for it is time to come into a deeper relationship with me.”

I’m not there yet, but I want to be and I need to be.

And how He also spoke to me through his prophets in Leatherhead on 15th September 2003 the following:

“And, as He stretches you and as He makes connections, I see you connected with Africa and I believe you are gonna go to Africa and God’s gonna bring you into a Compassion ministry in Africa and you’re going to be feeding the hungry and your gonna be feeding them physical food and spiritual food and it’s gonna be a ministry where you need to look to Him for miracles, for actual miracles and He is going to, He is going to multiply, He’s gonna multiply physically the food that you have.”

And how on 15th August 2005 I started working for Compassion UK and met Anne Nantale, a Ugandan girl working in the office, who said “When I marry you must come to my wedding”. And how that resulted in my landing at Entebbe, Uganda on 15th September 2008 to attend her wedding and to attend the Kampala Pentecostal Church on 21st September 2008 to be told by God that “I am a friend of God”.

I am not yet seeing the miracles that God promised on 15th September 2003, but I want to and we need to.

Particularly, I want to see miracles in my sister’s life. I went to visit her after the River of Life meeting yesterday and I know that it is only through an intimate relationship with God that she can be free from all that holds her back. She was OK, but she is not leading the “full life” that Jesus promised in John 10:10. I was a bit disappointed to have to leave her, but as I turned the engine on in my car, Premier Christian radio started up and Marilyn Skinner, the woman who with her husband Gary started Kampala Pentecostal Church and Watoto, was speaking. Now, I have to tell you that she is what I would call a Friend of God !

 

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Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine

Jesus Wept

Jesus Wept

I was reminded of this a few days ago when Ata, our tour guide from my first visit to Israel/Palestine in 2000, posted a photograph of the view from the window of the Dominus Flevit church on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. This is the church supposedly built on the site where Jesus looked out over Jerusalem and wept Luke 19:41-21.

As we were queuing up to visit the Dominus Flevit church in 2000, I heard the Polish tourists inside the church singing and I recognised the tune from my Sunday School days as a child, but was unable to remember the words; so had to carry the tune in my head all day until I was able to check with another member of the tour in the evening.

The song was “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine” and some of the words say “this is my story, this is my song” and indeed my BLOG is part of my story and VERY often God speaks to me through song. And, I hope that my BLOG will be part of serving my Saviour all the day long.

I once was lost, but now I am LOST IN HIS LOVE

 

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Give All

Last week one of our Compassion office volunteers came to us with a great monetary donation that she had received from her church’s Mission Sunday event.  Her church is Merland Rise Church and two of the church elders are Gary and Lec Mann, who went to the same school as me some forty-five to fifty years ago.

De Burgh Mug

I mentioned this to Sarah, our office volunteer, and she told me that she herself lives in a property built on the site where my school had been. This served to remind me of my school motto and, because I know that every day of my life has been planned in advance by God, I thought again about that school motto “Give All” and why God might have given me that school motto.

Rebecca and I have been talking recently about what “dying to self” means and it means giving “all” of ourselves to God. Here are a few scriptures that I believe illustrate “Giving All”:-

Galatians 2:20 English Standard Version (ESV) says:

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Luke 9:23 English Standard Version (ESV) says:

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Mark 8:35 English Standard Version (ESV) says:

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”

Romans 12:1 English Standard Version (ESV) says:

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 English Standard Version (ESV) says:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Colossians 3:23-24 English Standard Version (ESV) says:

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 English Standard Version (ESV) says:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

1 Corinthians 10:31 English Standard Version (ESV) says:

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Ecclesiastes 9:10 English Standard Version (ESV) says:

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.”

 

And, a scripture from last Sunday’s church meeting:-

Luke 10:27 New International Version (NIV) says:

“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ “

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Clay Jars – 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

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.

Yesterday, Saturday 15 November 2014, I was at the Premier Radio Woman to Woman Conference at Central Methodist Hall, Westminster.

I was on the Compassion stand with Laura, who is now working in the Engage Team with Rebecca at Compassion UK and who lives in Kingston. She told me that she attends a Methodist Church in Kingston on Sundays. As she described where it was, I was reminded that the building had played an important part in my testimony when I was first born again.

I had not realised that I had not already blogged about this, but I believe the Holy Spirit was reminding me so that I would relate the story.

In 1994 I had stood (completely traumatised by my marriage break up) on a green area in Kingston upon Thames known as The Fairfield and was looking at three buildings. On the left was the GP practice where I was registered, in the centre an ordinary house, and on the right the Methodist Church. I felt God say to me as I was looking at those three buildings “Where will you go for your healing – you can go to the GP and have pills and potions like your mother and sister, or you can go to the Church”.

Kingston Methodist Church

I said “No contest” – having seen the evidence presented by my mother and sister’s care under the NHS – “I choose The Church”. This was symbolic of Jesus working through members of His church in general, rather than being that actual church. And, it was at this time when my life fell apart, that I was born again.

God also told me that the part the GP practice was to play was to diagnose sickness, but the part The Church was to play was to heal people of that sickness. And this is certainly what has happened in my own life. As the Holy Spirit led me to churches that believe that God heals today, I received healing and my mind is now fully functioning again; in fact it is functioning better than it was before I was born again!

I believe God is saying that He doesn’t just want to heal me, but by the same principle He wants everyone to receive healing, by trusting in Him. He created us and He knows exactly how we should function.

In the words of the traditional wedding vows, it feels like God has promised me that He will have and hold me for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish”; but that not even death will part us. WOW. I have gone through and I will go through better and worse, riches and poverty, sickness and health, but He is with me in it all. In the words of

Philippians 4:12-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

And, back to that Methodist Church on the Fairfield in Kingston upon Thames. Before I was born again, I am reminded I had gone to the church hall there to give blood – and that is about saving our natural lives, however we will all eventually die; but now my Saviour, Jesus Christ, has saved my soul and given me real life -eternal life.

I remember that at the time of being born again the Holy Spirit spoke to me of how God had hidden great treasure in me, but that until I was broken I did not realise what treasure was hidden in this “jar of clay”.  Several years later I did actually enter the Methodist Church in Kingston and was amazed to see a banner with a picture of a Jar of Clay on it relating to the scripture at the head of this blog.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the intervening years I had been to the Methodist Church in Leatherhead a few times for prayer meetings and saw the same scripture being played out in thinking of the building as representing a jar of clay and the chairs in all their different colours representing treasure.

And, how interesting and encouraging that after Laura and I had our little chat about the Methodist Church in Kingston upon Thames we went into the Auditorium at Central Methodist Hall, Storeys Gate,  Westminster at the Woman to Woman Conference  to hear  Danielle Strickland speak of how we are warriors in a battle, but how we are carrying God’s glory and the light of the gospel in our clay jars.

Posted in Bible, Church, Father God, Healing, History, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Kingston, Leatherhead, Methodist, Saviour | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

A trip down memory lane with God

I had been looking on E-bay for a week or two, wanting to purchase an Ikea Poäng chair and footstool for the bedroom where I was staying in Guildford. I had seen that they were going for around £20 and that seemed reasonable, but I had not been able to “win” any.  On 19 August I put in a sneaky bid of £15.50 for a chair and footstool in Crawley, as I had seen someone “win” a set for £15.00. The bidding was due to end over the bank holiday weekend and I was back home in Derbyshire at that time, with no internet access. When I returned to Guildford on the Monday I found that I had “won” for £13.50. I definitely felt it was God’s provision and I drove to Crawley after work at Compassion on the following day, Tuesday 26 August (the date I think of as my “born again” day as it was on this date in 1994 that I awoke after a suicide attempt, using a load of my sister’s psychiatric pills that should have killed me).

As I drove to Crawley from Weybridge, I passed through Reigate past the buildings where my sister and my father had worked and then past the crematorium where my mother’s body had been cremated and then I drove past the area where my close school friend, Heather, had lived when she was first married. I had met her at my primary school and she had taken me to her Sunday School when they were doing a recruitment drive when I was around 7 and we had then attended the same senior school and I had lived with her and her husband and children for a month or two at the end of 1994/beginning of 1995, after I was made homeless when my estranged husband and I sold our home in Kingston upon Thames.

Finally, I turned onto Turners Hill Road, as the chair and footstool were in a house in Worth, just off Turners Hill Road. God reminded me of how I had been sent to visit Pauline and Paul and their five daughters in Turners Hill in 1985 and again in 1994. They were born again Christians who were related to my college friend, Susan, and they were God’s provision for me as I began to learn about Him in 1985 and gave my life to Him and was born again in 1994.

Ikea Chair and Footstool

The seller of the chair and footstool was a lovely lady and she helped me get the chair and footstool into my car. I then drove back through Reigate on my way back to Guildford, but not past the places my father and sister had worked; then my route took me through Dorking, the town where my sister is living. Finally, I arrived in Guildford and there was no one in to help me to get the furniture out of the car and into the house. However, again God had provided as a man and his daughter “just happened” to be walking past and offered to help me (I had not asked, he simply offered). WOW, God is so good to me. This wasn’t just a trip to get some furniture, this was a trip to remind me of how God had been with me throughout significant times in my life, even though I hadn’t known at the time that He was.

 

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