Sunday, 1 December 2013

I'm just me

I'm just me
Living on the edge
Listening to the voices
Seeing all the pain
Feeling the emotions.

I'm just me
Sitting in the gutter
Close to the margins
Watching life
Whistling a tune.

I'm just me
Can't you see me?
I've been watching
Waiting for a moment
Quietly whispering.

I'm just me
Really a nobody
Gazing at the stars
Silently praying 
For you to see...

©revdjo 1/12/13

Sunday, 24 November 2013

I am a Weary Traveller


I visited a pub called 'The Weary Traveller' recently. The events of the day and subsequent weeks have culminated in this poem. I hope you enjoy it. May you travell well in your journey of faith. 

I am a weary traveller
I wander far and wide
Searching for an answer
To the pain inside.

What's this love of which you talk of                     
Can I find it in the gutter?
Is this grace really opportunity 
Or something that you mutter?

I am a weary traveller 
I've journeyed many miles
Sat beside the fireside
Reflected in the hours.

I desire to find the meaning
To the mystery that is life.
Do I surrender to God's mercy
And accept him in my life?

I am a weary traveller
Weak and on my knees
As the embers give their last glow
I hear the gentle breeze...

'You are a weary traveller but
There's no struggling required.
Relax, take off your boots
I know that you are tired.'

The travelling is over
The road no longer tread
I've finally met my maker
And I rest my weary head.

©Revdjo 24/11/13 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Today has been a blessing

Today has been a blessing 
That lights the darker times.
A glimmer of moonlight
It ignites the evening sky.

The joy of knowing Jesus
Reflected in their eyes.
Simplicity of childlike faith
Unknown to you and I.

The love that radiates
Across unknown divides.
Smiles that echo truth
Amidst the world's lies.

They may not have an answer
To the mysteries of life.
But grace and mercy meet
Inside a heartfelt rhyme.

Today has been a blessing
That lights the darker times.
Something to hold on to
In months and years gone by.

©Revdjo 21/11/13

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Seasons of the soul

Ecclesiastes 3:1 ~ For everything there is a season ~ and a time for every purpose under heaven

Seasons change as time unwinds
Leaves fall and sorrow grows
Tears flow
Loss is mourned.

Winter hits
Cold bites
What once was 
Now is ice.

Look and see
Green shoots
Flowers bloom
Spring unfolds.

The sun shines
All is well
Summer joy
Warmth and fun.

Seasons change as time unwinds
We wonder why
But life goes on...

©revdjo 6/11/13

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Chris Duffett's painting Marathan

Chris Duffett is doing a painting marathon to raise funds for The Light Project. Have a look at his blog which is fab as are his paintings. A gifted man of God.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Time, love and grace entwined

Time is precious so is love
Beating together,
Held forever,

Time ticks minute by minute
Moments inspired,
Thoughts transpired,

Love wrapped as a gift
Grace expressed,
Width, breadth,

Time and love delicately held
Past, present,

Loved memories held in time 
Encapsulated heart
Felt emotion,
Love, pain... And grace entwined.

©revdjo 27/10/13

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Purple Teddy Bear

My purple teddy bear sat in his favourite place.

 A poem for Joyce...

I have a purple teddy bear
Who sits upon my dresser.
Head to toe in big white spots
He looks like he is poorly.
I wonder what's inside of him
But that's another story.

Should I take him to the hospital?
Should I wrap him in a blanket?

Today I simply say to him,
'You're lonely not forgotten.'
I gaze upon his smiling face
Remembering his warm embrace.
I say a silent prayer for him
And remind him he is loved.

Should I try and make him laugh?
Should I talk of days gone by?

I place him by the tissues
And mop his silent tears.
Endless hours he sits and stares
Days and months and years.
He doesn't say a word to me
But I hear him and his fears.

©revdjo 15/10/13

Friday, 11 October 2013

My heart is God's

My heart is God's
My life is his.
I will follow his call 
And entry in.

Where next God?
My spirit yields.
I seek a church 
With open doors.

I see a church
Within my soul
Without a roof
Without the walls.

I long to serve
My Saviour, King
To follow his lead
And set sail with him.

Monday, 7 October 2013

I've Got to Have Faith

I have been preaching on the subject of 'faith' over the last few weeks. I opened one such service with: George Michael once sang. 'Because I've got to have faith.' The song is a classic 1980s track and I couldn't resist singing it a little. It is a song of my youth in many ways. I could say miss-spent youth but that's another story. He is talking about relationships and that you have to trust and have faith in someone for a relationship to work. Being a Christian means having a personal relationship with Jesus - accepting him as Lord and Saviour and seeking to follow him. Being a Christian means putting our trust and faith in God. When everything in life is going well faith can either be strong or neglected. Why would we want to open our Bibles and search for God's heart and a word into our situation when life is so great? When life gets tough again we can go either way we can wallow in our own self pity and focus on the storms of life or we can seek God's face. I wonder if God gives us trials in life to focus our attention on him? People seem to be more likely to pray when the proverbial hits the fan.

Today we had a theatre company come to entertain us at church this afternoon. Burton Inclusive Performing Arts (BIPA) is an inclusive group who love to entertain, many of the group have learning difficulties and special needs, none are professional singers all had a smile on their faces and a song in their heart to share today. I felt so blessed by their presence. Having promoted the event as much as I could I woke up this morning with a stinking cold and in panic mode. Will anyone come? Will it just be me and a couple I send up one of those arrow prayer - help! At 2.39pm people I've never seen before started to come in through the doors and they kept coming inthrough the   doors. God is good! I went home with a smile on my face. As I drove into my road George Michael's voice came on the radio, 'I've got to have faith...' God's humour is never lost on me. As I write this I hit the Sky Plus planner button to watch Mount Pleasant that I recorded the other evening and in the opening scene they are listening to the radio and 'Jitter bug, Jitter bug, Jitter bug, Jitter bug you but the boom boom into my heart...' God has hit me with a Wham! - HAVE FAITH.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Have you met my Saviour?

He held out his hand
And whispered my name.
He smiled 
Wide as the earth
Holding my glaze.
He looked at my heart
It flipped a beat
Held in His hands.
Dust at my feet
I felt naked once more.
Nothing can be hid 
All is revealed.
Emotions contained
Spill out of my soul.
Touching his garment 
He heals and
Love is revealed.

One question remains 
I ask you my friend,
'Have you met my Savour
Who holds out his hand
And whispers your name?'

©Revdjo 4/10/13

Saturday, 28 September 2013

My tears wash the feet

I have been away on the East Midland Baptist Association's ministers' retreat this week. We were blessed with two fantastic speakers again this year, Julie Kilpin (you can find her on twitter @julietkilpin) from Urban Expression (@urbanshalom) and Ian Stackhouse. Juliet was talking about alternative expressions of church and Ian on his book Primitive Piety. I have already blogged on Ian's book - when I eventually find the post I will post you a link! Why am I always so amazed at how much God speaks to my heart during this time?

We ended the retreat with praise and worship and Ian spoke to us on Luke 7: 36-50 - the women who anointed Jesus feet. As I reflected on the following verse and the love expressed I wrote this short poem.

'As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.' Luke 7:38

My tears wash the feet

My tears wash the feet
Of the Saviour I meet.
My scares are seen
In his hands and feet.
In the mirror,
That once was dark,
I see the light.
Reflection seen,
The picture of me
And Christ inside.

©Revdjo 27/9/13 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Mind of Christ

Baptist Church meetings are all about finding the mind of Christ. They are not a democracy where everyone votes in an expression of their opinion but rather a theocracy where we seek to find the mind of Christ and listen to what God says about any one issue. This was on my mind as I wrote this poem. Let me know if you like it. I always have difficulties in knowing if what I write is hitting the spot or not. 

The mind of Christ
Is always there.
We search in earnest
And see him there.

He's in the midst
He weeps with you.
Sorrow and pain
Are in his stare.

Look up to Jesus
Nailed to a tree.
forgiven sinner
that's you and me.

Watch, listen.
We tread the path
on solid ground.

And pray we must
to seek his face,
With bended knee

The mind of Christ
He's in the midst.
Look up to Jesus
Watch, listen
And Pray we must.

Revdjo 18/9/13

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Caught in a World

Caught in a world 
Silently trapped.
No crying heard.
No going back.

Motionless movement.
Only a stir.
No dancing jig.
No evening twirl. 

Memories vivid.
Dreaming inside.
No recompense.
No chance for regret.

Patiently waiting.
Wanting to hear.
The voice of the maker
Say I'm over here.

©Revdjo 15/9/13

Thursday, 12 September 2013

No words can express

In the silence of night,
And cool autumn breeze,
My wandering mind
It falls to its knees.

Struggling to think,
Spiralling pain,
Empty inside
I call on your name.

No words can express,
I struggle to say,
As I pour out my soul 
Transformed by your Spirit.

Memories fixed,
Won't be forgotten,
Forgiveness and love
Grace reconciled.

Justice for all,
Or only the righteous?
These are the questions 
Please answer them Lord.

©Revdjo 11/9/13

Monday, 26 August 2013

There is a cost

There is a cost
That God requires
My heart,
My mind,
My soul.

There is a cost 
To follow Him

There is a cost
To living faith
And shout

There is a cost
Already paid by
Our Lord,

This is our prize
Now shout it out
Set free,

Know the Saviour's
Love today
By grace
You are

©Revdjo 26/8/13

The tune of the hymn by Horatius Bonar that was going through my head when I write the above.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down
Thy head upon My breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place,
And He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one,
Stoop down, and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise,
And all thy day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I’ll walk,
Till trav’ling days are done.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“My Father’s house above
Has many mansions; I’ve a place
Prepared for you in love.”
I trust in Jesus—in that house,
According to His word,
Redeemed by grace, my soul shall live
Forever with the Lord.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013


It's a calling
Ingrained in the heart,
No going back
God's love to impart.

It's a calling
Full of God's hope,
Ministering the Word
God's love to impart.

It's a calling
Bubbling with joy,
His Spirit's anointing
God's love to impart.

It's a calling
Faith - if you will,
Trust and devotion
God's love to impart.

It's a calling
A challenge, a way,
Take it or leave it
God's love to impart.

It's a calling
Will you stop praying,
And tell me
What do you say?

©Revdjo 20/8/2013

Wednesday, 7 August 2013


I've been cleaning the house tonight. Here's a poem that arrived as I soaked awake my aches in the bath - one of my places of inspiration. I hope to like it.

'Throw out the rubbish'
I heard you say.
I emptied the bins,
for the sake of my sins.

'What about those spots?'
I looked around..
And scrubbed and cleaned,
I washed the pots.

'The dust in the corner.'
'The speck over there?'
I hovered the rug
And under the chair.

I listen for your voice.
I hear only a din.
The music next door.
I open the gin.

Drowning my sorrows
I put up my feet.
It's comfy here.
I fall asleep.

'What about your hands?
And the state of your heart?'
I open my eyes.
You gave me a start!

©Revdjo 7/8/13

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Sharing the shame

Lost in my body
My soul escapes.
It ventures the road 
others won't take.

Tears lost inside
Pain is my name.
Shouting at me
Sharing my shame.

If only you saw 
The man at the door.
Watching with me
As I look at the floor.

They use me 
And abuse me.
They look
And they prod.

Day after day,
Hour after hour,
Minute by minute
I look at the clock.

I wonder if I 
Will ever remember,
Sunshine and freedom
The rain in September?

©Revdjo 21/7/13

Today we had a speaker, Andrew Wrath, from Hope for Justice. When will human trafficking end? We commemorate the abolishing of the slave trade but yet it still continues. Human trafficking is the slave trade of this century. It needs to stop; until then we share the shame. Please Lord let it end.

Friday, 19 July 2013

What helps you to pray?

I like things around me to make me think and, in turn, to pray. The above photo, and the one bellow, were taken in my study. So, what inspires you? What helps you to imagine and dream of possibilities yet to be? What helps you to pray?

I like to laugh as often as I can. Life really is too short to be grumpy, besides we use less muscles to smile then we do to frown. So sit for a moment, have a cup of tea, and think of the things that make you laugh. They are usually free! Perhaps its as simple as chatting with a friend?

Maybe it's nature that inspires you, maybe it's words, maybe you dream of possibilities when you sleep? I have said before, I am at my most creative late at night, normally before I drift off to sleep. This is also the time I am most relaxed and most receptive to God's voice. Yes, there are other times and in my quest to seek God's face I have found solace in quiet days (retreats from the outside world), and alone pottering in the garden, and just recently in the middle of the swimming pool where I felt God's still small voice says to me, 'I'm here.' God is all around us. It's a question of us connecting with him. So how do we do it? 

As I reflect on my sign that says 'sit long, talk much, laugh often' I wonder can I apply this to my prayer life? Have you tried pouring your heart out to God recently? Try it. Go on give it a go... Shout at him. Scream at him. Tell him how you feel. Jump up and down. Cry, laugh, but be honest, honest with your emotions. There is nothing like a heart wrenching prayer. God hears the cry of our heart. He is there, talk to him, he's waiting for that long chat and for you to tell him how you feel. And then listen... wait for him to respond. Feel his peace, the peace that passes all understanding.

Luke 12:22-31 NRSV

22 He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Saturday, 13 July 2013


Words matter let then flow
On a page,
On a wall.
Words matter let them flow
From within,
From your soul.
Words matter let them flow
Words matter let them flow
Speak them out,
Let them show.
Words matter let them flow

copyright Revdjo 13/7/13

Friday, 12 July 2013

What is this mystery you keep?

I've taken lots of photos 
As I gazed upon your beauty.
I've wondered at your elegance
And tried to understand
Why you're so cold 
When its warm outside.
How you're so silent
When your bells are tolled.
What is this mystery you keep?
Sealed in a book that's centuries old.
Your perfume it haunts me
And follows me home.
What is it you desire of me?
As you beckon
And annoy.
You call my name 
I'll not be shamed.
I won't ignore.
I will explore.
New day.
New start.
New open door. 
I'm here again once more.

©Revdjo 12/7/13

Rev 3:20 'Here I am! Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.

Sometimes things are difficult to work out exactly what they are until you step back to see it really is the obvious.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Hot chocolate pleasure

I sit and stare 
at my hot chocolate
Looking at me 
with his creamy whips.
He acts all cool 
but he's hot, hot, hot,
With his marshmallow drops
And mysterious looks.
'Drink me!' He cries
I almost die.
He's heaven bent 
with angel eyes.
He's looking at me 
I'm drowning inside.
We touch at last
But then he's gone.
A fleeting moment
Of warm embrace.
A guilty pleasure
Repent at haste.

© Revdjo 2/7/13

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Is it time for a rest?

I have recently come back from a long awaited holiday in Corfu. The area my husband and I stayed at was called Canal D'Amour, Sadari, it was indeed love at first sight. Such a beautiful place to be. Having been to Corfu before and driven around the island (including three laps of a round-about in Corfu town) we decided just to chill by the swimming pool all week. It was as they say a dogs life. This little friend joined me one morning and then scampered away again following the crowd. It is so easy to follow the crowd and get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget to stop and listen to God. Even God rested on the seventh day and if he needs a rest so do we (Gen 2:2).

I like to read but of late have struggled to find the time to read just for me rather than books I have to read to complete an essay. It's been nice to be able to relax and read what I want. Two of the books I enjoyed, I read more, were David Walliam's Camp David and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. Walliam's autobiography is a very honest account of his life and things that have made him who he is today. We are all molded by our past but not many of us would want to put those painful moments in black and white and share them with the world. But perhaps we should be willing to share more of the things that make us who we are? Perhaps we should be more willing to share how the Spirit of God has changed our lives with those that don't know God?

Joyce's book is a fantastic read. Harold goes to post a letter to a friend but ends up going past the post box to the next one. Having got to the next post box he decided to continue walking... I won't spoil the plot for you by telling you what happens. Walking is good, resting is essential. God calls us to follow him. To walk with him in faith. To journey with him. He also invites us to rest with him (Ex 34:21, 35:2). 

Jesus said, 'Take my yolk upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls 
(Matt 11:29).      

Is it time for a rest?

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Alone with my thoughts

Alone with my thoughts
I wonder what ought.
I lie in my bed
And wish I was dead.

I toss and I turn
My memories yearn
For sunshine not rain
And no more of this pain.

Distant echoes descend 
Of my long lost friend.
Shared dreams and vision
Was our heavenly mission.

To dance at the ball
The thrill of it all.
To sidestep once more
And tango till dawn.

Your grace abounds
It brightens my frown.
You held me once more
When I opened the door.

You poured out the wine
We ate bread at mine.
Your love lasts forever
Even though I said never.

Alone with my thoughts
I wonder what ought.
I awake from my pain
And call out your name.

© Revdjo 30/6/13

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Insomnia and poetry

When I can't sleep I tend to write. I am naturally a night owl and feel more creative at night. Having recently come back from a holiday in Corfu full of late nights my body clock is completely out of sync. Tonight I watched the film insomnia with Al Pacino and Robin Williams. Pacino's character is a cop tying to solve a murder investigation that takes him to Alaska. Alaska has long daylight hours in the summer that extend into the night making sleep difficult. Pacino's character can't cope with this and goes around in a daze because of lack of sleep from insomnia. I go through stages of having difficulty sleeping. It's fine when I get there but drifting off is not always easy. I can't sleep without blackout blinds and complete silence. Ticking clocks are banned, snoring husbands are often jabbed in the side, and noisy neighbours exterminated. OK, well maybe not the last one but you get the drift. I call my preferred sleep pattern 'Jo time' which means sleeping about 2.00am and waking about 9.00am. I have been on extended Jo time which is fine for holidays and essay writing (I finished my last essay required for my Baptist minister accreditation recently) but not good now that I am back at work. Last night was my worse night sleep, if you can call it that, for a long time. When I was at college facing an essay deadline I would stay up all night writing, I wrote better and faster at night than in the morning, it made good sense to me. My husband is a lark and goes to work very early. He would be going to work and I would just be going to bed about 5.00am. We still laugh about that. This morning he was surprised to find me wide awake at 4.30am when he was leaving for working. Somewhat dazed from lack of sleep and extremely overtired but happily writing silly poems. 

I like the quietness and solitude I find at night when the rest of the world is still. The only sound being the neighbours cats bounding through the cat-flap to steal my cats' food. I feel closest to God during that time. This is often when he speaks to me, or at least this is when I hear his voice more clearly. 

Here are my silly poems written in the wee small hours, just for your amusement.


The arch of the back.
The curve of spine.
She stretches her paws,
Her claws open wide

The roar of the fire.
The spitting of logs.
She opens her eyes,
Her body unties.

The sound of the can.
The smell of sardines.
She yawns and blinks,
Her nose twitches quick.

The call of her name.
The reality dawns.
She pounces once more,
Her tail leaves through the door.

The purr from the floor.
The look of delight.
She eats and eats,
Her yearning now ceased.

The head lifted high.

The cleaning of fur.
She returns to her seat,
Her home by my feet.

© revdjo 19/6/13

Sleep is elusive
Sleep is elusive
She hides in the night.
Is she under the bed covers
When I turned out the light?
I saw her at lunch time
About 2 o'clock.
She called out my name
But I couldn't stop.

Sleep is elusive
She hides in the night.
Is she under the pillow
When I ponder at night?
I caught a glimpse
But only a fraction.
I held out my hand
It was just a distraction.

Sleep is elusive
She hides in the night.
Is she laughing at me
When I try to unwind?
I poured her warm milk
I offered her wine.
I ran her a bath
But still she declined.

Sleep is elusive
She hides in the night.
Is she sleeping at your house
And playing around?
I gave her my heart
And my soul, my mind.
I offered her cream cakes
And toad in the hole.

I know that I'm desperate
And clutching at straws
But it's almost tomorrow
The birds beckon dawn.
She's all that I have,
She's all that I dream for.
Tell her I love her
I forgive her once more...

As long as she promises
To knock at my door.

Sleep is elusive
She hides in the night.
She's fickle that women
Who runs in the night.

© revdjo 19/6/13

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Saying Goodbye to a Friend: Ruth Doreen Bailes


My Jesus walks beside me death is defeated by His name


Words paint pictures
Wrestling on a page.
My Jesus walks beside me 
Death is defeated by His name.

Thoughts seem to bubble
Theology unfolds.
My Jesus walks beside me
     Death is defeated by His name.       

Tears tell of sorrow
Truth wrapped up in pain.
My Jesus walks beside me
Death is defeated by His name.

Memories are history
Moments set in time.
My Jesus walks beside me
Death is defeated by His name.  

Eternity lasts forever
Eventualities arise.
My Jesus walks beside me
Death is defeated by His name.

Pain is for a moment
Perhaps it's just as well.
My Jesus walks beside me
Death is defeated by His name.

Soon we will be together
Side by side again.
My Jesus walks beside me
Death is defeated by His name.

In memory of Ruth
copyright Revdjo 21/5/2013

 Ruth Doreen Bailes (7/11/29-28/4/13)

I have known Ruth since I was a teenager but it was not until the last ten years, or so, that I really got to know her well. She was one of my most trusted friends. Last year she made the journey from Stroud to Burton on the train to see me, not many 82 year-old ladies would attempt that! On learning of her sudden death my immediate reaction was at least she didn't suffer that much and stayed in her own home, continuing to do the Lord's work right up until the last minute. I was surprised by the depth of my feelings just prior to her funeral as it dawned on me just how good a friend she was and how much I would miss her. God seemed to remind me of that in the voice of Elizabeth, who I don't know very well, as she sat next to me with the words, 'Can I sit next to you and be your friend.' Just in case I needed any more reinforcement, a reminder from God via Ruth's hymn choice, What a friend we have in Jesus. 

Ruth was forever the student of the Gospel and forever the teacher. She had taught both secondary and infant school children in her day. Her zeal for the doing God's work amazed me. If you want to have a look it can be found here: 

I will miss my praying friend and her humorous ways; it always took Ruth an age to make the tea and offer you a biscuit that you weren't allowed to take a bite of until she had said grace. At her funeral I was struck by the last verses of the hymns she chose. I have listed them in order bellow. Ruth had no doubt she was going to meet her Lord. Even after her death she continues to remind firstly, where she was going and secondly, for us to take our burdens and prayers to God.  The God who continues to walk with us in the valleys when we are sad as much as he walks with us when we are feeling joyful and on top of the world.

Great things He hath taught us, 
great things He hath done,
and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son:
but purer and higher and greater will be
our wonder, our worship, when Jesus we see!

To God be the glory! by F J Crosby and W H Doane  

 When I stand in glory
I will see your face.
And there I'll serve my King forever,
on that Holy Place

There is a Redeemer by Keith Green

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Saviour, still our refuge,
take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He'll take and shield thee,
thou wilt find a solace there.

What a Friend we have in Jesus by J M Scriven 

Green pastures are before me,
which I have not seen;
bright skies will soon be o'er me,
where darkness clouds have been;
my hope I cannot measure,
my path to life is free;
My Saviour has my treasure,
and He will walk with me.

In Heavenly Love Abiding by A L Waring     

Thursday, 16 May 2013

In the cool night breeze

Your voice echoes in the cool night breeze, gently guiding, enveloping me.
I hear you in the dead of night
amongst the clutter of my mind.
The aroma of your love is strong.
Your dreams fills me with hope.
As I stumble through the darkness you place your hand in mine.
As I journey through the wilderness you water what was dry.
I sit by the stream of quietness and listen one last time.
'Come rest.' You say, 'And follow me.'
Your voice echoes in the cool night breeze, gently guiding, enveloping me.

Copyright Revdjo 16 may 2013

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


I sit,
I stand,
I wonder how?
I think,
I pray,
I need to know!

You wait,
You smile,
You ask me why?
You see,
You know,
You seem to laugh.

I cry,
I sigh,
I stamp my feet!
I walk,
I jump,
I try to fly.

You look at me
with rounded eyes.
You see the dirt,
The gunk,
The grime.
You know my crime.

I see,
I feel,
I realise
The love,
The care,
The tears you shed.

My mind made up I go to bed...

Monday, 6 May 2013

Finding Voice

Everyone has a voice yet not everyone is heard.
Some sit in silence
Others fight for what they deserve.

Everyone has a voice yet not everyone is heard.
The boy tries to tell the world.
He tries to fight his case.
Of abuse and neglect.
His whisper goes unheard.

Everyone has a voice not everyone is heard.
Her tears well up.
Her body shakes.
Her memories echo a distant place.

Everyone has a voice not everyone is heard.
They shout!
They cry!
Will anybody listen?
Does anybody care?
Where is the grace, the love, the warm embrace?

Everyone has a voice not everyone is heard.
The passion that once lived has headed out the door.
The distant eyes.
The lack of smile.
The bitter taste of days once lived.

Everyone has a voice not everyone is heard.
There is something you can do.
There is someone who needs you.
To listen for a moment to the cry from the corner.
To put yourself in their shoes.
To walk a little way.
To feel what it is like when no-one knows your name.
To feel what it is like bound up in pain and shame.

Everyone has a voice not everyone is heard.
Will you speak for me?
Will you change the world?

 copyright Revd Jo  (6 May 2013)


The above poem that was a flash of inspiration tonight. I have recently came back from The Baptist Union of Great Britain Assembly during which time I wrote an article for the Baptist Times on finding my voice as a preacher. You can find the article on the Baptist Times Website here.


Friday, 26 April 2013

Who Am I? The spiritual search continues

Wednesday was a busy day for me. In the morning I went to Billesdon in Leicester for some newly qualified minister (NAM) training arranged by the East Midlands Association. Then it was back home to put together a Bible study on Women in the Bible, vacuum the lounge (a must with two cats), eat tea, and lead the house-group. I think working a 13 hour day was a bit of a mistake but nevertheless an enjoyable one. 

The house-group is newly formed and has been, until now, an all female affair. It was perhaps ironic that we welcomed our first man to the group given our study topic. I shared some of my experience of what it was to be a female minister and the gender inequality that existed in the church as well as reflecting on why we don't hear so much about the women in the Bible. 

Who am I? is a good question to ask. I am no-one special really, just me, but I am a women with a call to ministry ingrained on my heart. Sometimes I would like to escape that, and indeed I have tried to deny the calling, run away from it (for over 10 years), given it back to God, fought it, and eventually given in and followed that calling. It has not been, and isn't easy but this is part of who I am.

Earlier in the day at the NAMs training we looked at the subject of spirituality, a topic close to my heart. The sessions were taken my Revd Dr Tim Mountain who has just been appointed as a tutor at Northern Baptist Community. His teaching was excellent and I am sure he will be a great blessing to the college.

After spending time in worship we looked at some definitions of spirituality, such as that from Alistair McGrath (Christian Spirituality, Blackwell, 1999).

Christian spirituality concerns the quest for a fulfilled and authentic Christian existence, involving the bringing together of the fundamental ideas of Christianity and the whole experience of living on the basis of and within the scope of the Christian faith.

For me spirituality is about the way in which I connect and engage with the living God, be it in the still small voice that makes the hair on my arms stand on end, or the vastness of the Grand Canyon that reminds me of how awesome God is. God speaks to us in lots of different ways but we have to take time to listen to and experience God for ourselves. 

We looked at the criteria for Christian spirituality, such as, our core beliefs about who God is, and our 'rule of life' (our regular routines that maintain our relationship with God), and the different ways that we engage with God noting that whilst we may do that in many different ways we all have a preferred method. For me connecting with God comes most naturally through nature, normally pottering around in the garden. Even today's half an hour of pulling up weeds helped me to pray and to focus better on God and what really mattered. I think I might do this every Friday when I am trying to write my Sunday sermon!

After a little discussion on spiritual direction and whether we have a spiritual director (I do), we were invited to take part in several spiritual exercises. It was good to have some time to spend alone with God. For me the following exercise entitled 'Who am I?' was the highlight of the day, although the worship was pretty fantastic.

  • Choose an object that suggests something of who you are and the journey you are on.
  • Reflect on the reasons you have chosen it.
  • Do you think you would have chosen it a few years ago? Why?
  • Express your thoughts and feelings to God in prayer - perhaps silently or by writing them down.
           (The purpose of the exercise is to reflect on the person God is at work on.)

This is a picture of my choice of objects, well some of them. There were also an onion I was tempted by but here is my choice. I later found found Tim had chosen the same object when he had done the exercise a few years ago. 

So who am I? What are the similarities between what I chose and who I am and the spiritual journey I find myself? 
  • It is bright, cheerful, and fun. So am I, most of the time.
  • It has an empty space needing to be filled. I have a need to be constantly filled with the Holly Spirit.
  • It has a wiggly line around it. Life and my walk with God is full of highs and lows or as I like to refer to them as hills and valleys.
  • It has a bit of a chip. Like me it is not perfect.
  • There is a red line around it which reminds me of the blood of Christ and the healing that he brings me.
  • There is a green line around it - my mind turned to being sea sick for some reason. Life can be so hectic. It makes me dizzy and a little sea sick at times. I guess I am also a little green behind the ears as a NAM.
  • There is a brown colour at the bottom of the mug which reminds me of the earth. I am earthed and rooted in Christ who is my foundation. 
  • The cup reminded me of the women at the well (I preached on this last week). Jesus asked for a drink but he had no bucket or cup to put the water in. After meeting Jesus she went into the town and said, 'Jesus knew everything about me.' God knows everything about me.
  • As I selected the mug one of my friends laughed. I asked them why and they said because of the obvious. I wonder if people do think i am a mug sometimes, perhaps I am for following this calling. Others may think I am a mug but actually I am the carrier of the cup of the Lord, offering others a drink of living water.  

Would I have chosen this a few years ago? No, probably not. In my other life (pre-ministry training) I was a financial adviser so I would probably have chosen a calculator or something similar. Have a look at the photo above, or around your home, pick something to represent you and do the above exercise. There are no right or wrong answers just be open and engage with God. Feel free to post your comments and let me know how you get on.  

Who am I? The spiritual search continues. I like to think I am very self-aware but there is always something new to discover about what makes me the person I am and indeed who I am in Christ.   


Friday, 19 April 2013

Dear God

I came across this today written in my first year of training for ministry as we looked at the subject of worship. Previous to that I was working at a drop-in for young people which you can probably tell by some of the language I used to express myself. I can't say this is the best thing I have ever written but it made me smile so thought I would share it, well for a short time anyway!

Dear God

I love you.
I worship you.
I adore you.
I know you but I long to know you more.
Holiness is you, make me holy, make me more like you.
The world seems so full of sin,
It's difficult to know where to begin.
What do I want?
What do I need?
Do you agree or do I need to change my mind?
Forgive me for the times I moan.
Forgive me when I make you groan.
Build a hedge around you and I.
Keep me safe and free from sin.
Help me to walk close by your side
Closely with our hands entwined.

God your cool, your massive, your mine.
My Lord divine.

Friday, 5 April 2013

The tale of the little black cat

A poem by Thomas Hardy: Snow in the Suburbs


Every branch big with it,
Bent every twig with it;
Every fork like a white web-foot;
Every street and pavement mute:
Some flakes have lost their way, and grope back upward when
Meeting those meandering down they turn and descend again.
The palings are glued together like a wall,
And there is no waft of wind with the fleecy fall.

A sparrow enters the tree,
Whereon immediately
A snow-lump thrice his own slight size
Descends on him and showers his head and eye
And overturns him,
And near inurns him,
And lights on a nether twig, when its brush
Starts off a volley of other lodging lumps with a rush.

The steps are a blanched slope,
Up which, with feeble hope,
A black cat comes, wide-eyed and thin;
And we take him in.

I came across this poem the other day. I have loved Thomas Hardy's work since I was a teenager. It is so descriptive. I love the way he entices you into the story and paints pictures. There is a little black cat that visits and seems to want to adopt us. I often hear it coming through the cap flap at night and then going back out again when it hears me get up. I managed to catch it the other day. I am a little concerned as to whether it is OK and wonder if it is a stray or not. It looked well fed, but then it has been feasting on the food left for my two cats. It seemed well although its heart beat was going ten to the dozen but then it didn't expect me to pick it up. I normally give it a shoo. I asked it where it lived but got no reply only a wide eyed look. We have had such bad weather recently I have been worried it was OK. A few days ago when we had some snow, after chasing out the cat flap, it looked up at me through the kitchen window and meowed. It captured a bit of my heart that day. Who does it belong to Lord? I asked.
Yesterday evening a sign went up outside the house opposite with a photo of a cat on it. I went out to investigate. It read 'Missing for 2 weeks' and there was a photo of the little black cat. I knocked on the door. It seems the owner inadvertently frightened the cat after telling it for peeing where it shouldn't and it disappeared. Was this the same little black cat? I think so.

We all need somewhere to call home. I am reminded of the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-31) who spends his inheritance living the high life and, when the cash runs out, returns to the family home with his tail between his legs. Not knowing what to expect hoping only to be treated as a servant. The father welcomes him home with open arms. 

I hope the little black cat finds the love he needs and finds his way home. I hope I can encourage it to do so. We all need love and acceptance. Things go wrong, relationships break down and misunderstandings and fear get in the way of restoration. The little black cat's owner is waiting to welcome him home. In the same way God is always waiting with open arms to welcome us back even when we make big mistakes.



This is my cat Holy helping me with a jigsaw. The photo about is of Buddy hiding in my wardrobe.