Saturday, 10 December 2016


I sat waiting. It had been a very long time. Too long. There was a stench of tobacco and beer that lingered in the cold night air. Yesterday's newspapers brought little warmth to the soul. There was no good news, or so it seemed.

The platform echoed of yester-year. The hard wooden benches had seen weary travelers for decades. Chocolate vending machines still adorned the walls but there was no Cadbury's fruit and nut to be had. It had been eaten long ago. The wooden bridge that allowed passengers to cross to the other side of the tracks echoed with the footsteps of many who had trodden the same path. Those who had felt the same pain of frustration. 

The lost baggage area contained an assortment of umbrellas, scarves and hats. Folk had discarded their protection from the elements. Old leather briefcases containing sandwich boxes of now rotten fruit awaited owners who never came. Mysterious packages remained unopened on the shelves. Most people however kept their own baggage close to their chest or strapped to their backs. The weight seemed more of a comfort than an inconvenience. 

How much longer? 

The night sky was lit with a thousand stars that danced and twinkled enticing the traveller to far distant shores. But no-one was going anywhere tonight. The last train had gone. We continued to wait. Ghosts of the past waited with us. Their heavy chains clanking as they shuffled along in a chain-gang of confusion. Not knowing where to go or what to do for fear of getting it wrong.
Why was I waiting? Should I just be patient or complain to the ticket man? Was my journey so far in vain? 

I made myself comfortable as best I could. I wrapped my scarf tighter around my neck and pulled up the collar on my jacket. I felt suffocated but I would survive. 

The more the clock ticked the more isolated and alone I felt. Sleep was not my friend. As dawn broke my eventual slumber was disturbed some more. As daylight flooded onto the platform I began to realize I was not alone. There were other fellow travellers caught up in the temporary derailment. As I looked and smiled at them they began to smile back. A few nodded their head in acknowledgement of a shared journey. Tentatively I opened my mouth to wish them a good morning. Soon the silence and fear of the night had vanished as we began to talk and share our stories of travel plans scuppered. 

We were all weary. We were all tired of dragging our baggage around for so long. 

I suddenly realized I wasn't alone. I wasn't the only one with tales of woe. The derailment had effected us all; in different ways perhaps, but the fatigue and pain was the same and sat etched on all our faces. 

What now? How much longer would we have to wait? 

An announcement interrupted our chatting. The next train was due shortly. In a flurry of commotion and a lifting of voices spirits began to be restored. The ghosts of the past finally put to bed. Faith sustained and now multiplied. Today was a new day. A new song would be sung. 

The journey wasn't over yet....

Monday, 8 August 2016

Love and grace

'Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage...' In the same way that love and marriage go together so do love and grace. You can't have love without grace. 

'For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it.' Eph 2:8-9

Grace is not something that we earn. It is not awarded because of something we have done. God's grace is given in mercy and not based on merit. His grace is never ending, which is just as well. We really don't deserve God's grace but that's the point. 

Grace, or being gracious is wrapped up in forgiveness. To be gracious with others we need to accept them as they are, warts and all, and to forgive their idiosyncrasies. To show love we also have to show grace and that involves acceptance and forgiveness. 

God's grace is perhaps hard for us to understand because we are so hard on other people and so hard on ourselves. We often want to beat ourselves up when we do something wrong. The bigger the mistake the bigger the stick. The bigger the stick, the less grace we show ourselves until we fail to forgive ourselves, yet alone ask God for his forgiveness. We think we are not worthy but God says, 'Yes you are, you are my child, and I love you.'

God doesn't want to beat us with a stick, he doesn't want us to feel guilty, he wants us to accept his grace, and his forgiveness and his love. Grace and forgiveness may seem alien to us if we are use to beating ourselves up, in the same way love can be alien to us if we don't actually love ourselves. It is impossible to give love unless we have experienced it for ourselves. It is impossible to behave lovingly to other people, unless we are loving towards ourselves. 

We don't have to earn God's love he bestows it upon us because of his grace. He forgives us through his grace and because of his abounding love for us. Paul's prayer for us is that we may know God's love as he knows it. 

'I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundations in love, so that together with all God's people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how heigh and deep, is Christ's love. Yes, may you come to know his love - although it can never be fully known - and so be completely filled with the very nature of God.' Eph 3:14-19

Thursday, 28 April 2016


It's not easy to see a true reflection of ourselves. Our view is distorted, the lens clouded by our own misconceptions. The anorexic see themselves as fat, when the reality is they are far too thin. The proud see themselves as always right, when clearly no one can be right all of the time. The teenager always sees their spot as enormous, when often it is just a pimple. God however, sees us as we are. He has no rose tinted glasses or distorted views. He sees the true picture and he sees our heart. We can pretend to be what we are not but there is nowhere to hide from God. Adam and Eve tried it in the garden of Eden, they were soon uncovered, in more ways than one.

Sorry to those of you following my Lent blog but I lost my way a little. Part of me got bored in blogging every day. The other part of me thought my words and photos just weren't good enough. My frame of mind clearly distorted reality. I often find myself being self critical. Perfectionism is a difficult one to master. I seem to be rather fickle when it comes to writing. I am in love with writing but the love blows hot and cold with the pressures of life. I guess that's normal but I crave the consistency and depth of the deep love affair. Love needs encouragement, it needs time to be nurtured. It needs day trips, and holidays, and nights in front of the fire. It needs passion to survive. It needs tenderness and patience.

We all have struggles, we all have distorted views of ourselves. We all need encouragement to see ourselves as a God sees us. 

I hope God has been talking to you, I'm sure he has. Stop for a moment and ask God what he sees when he looks at you. Don't be deceived by your own distorted view.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Photo every day, Lent 2016:see

Here is today's photo on the theme of 'see'. I see the sea!!! It is often the most simple things that bring us joy. This was the view from my hotel room whilst I was on retreat earlier this week. Isn't it amazing? God's creation never ceases to amaze me. 

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Photo every day, Lent 2016: joy

Today's theme is joy. I have been trying to focus on the good things in life and what brings me joy so it seems a good topic to me. I hope the photo makes you smile..

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Photo every day, Lent 2016: covenant

I have been on a ministers retreat and thinking about today's theme of 'covenant'. My covenant with God is to live out the call he has placed on my heart as well as I am able. I feel inadequate at times but it's not about me and what I do. It shouldn't be about relying on me but about relying on God. Here is a poem that materialised today...

To serve you

To serve you
Isn't easy
yet here I am 
With open heart 
and hands outstretched 
To meet you
To greet the stranger
To love the outcast
To worship you in essence.
To say here I am
Send me.

To serve you
With every ounce of me.
All that I am
And meant to be.
I listen for instruction
But sometimes you say,
'Just simply be,
Breathe deeply
Lean on me.'

To serve
I need to observe
The season of change
The call of your Word
That disturbs the tranquility
In silent humility
I offer myself
Once more to your call
I listen some more
Then you whisper to me
'Just walk through the door.'

Copyright revdjo 24/2/16

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Photo every day, Lent 2016: live

Today's photo theme is 'live'. How do you choose to live your life?

Photo every day, Lent 2016

Today's photo theme is love... This is a photo I took of the Last Supper which hangs in St George's Church, Nailsworth. I have blogged about this before.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Photo every day, Lent 2016: refuge

Today's theme is 'refuge'. God is my refuge, my hiding place. God is my defender, my shield. My hope is firmly in His word, my hope is in God.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Photo every day, Lent 2016: mighty

Today theme is 'mighty' which made me think of the ocean and this passage inIsaiah  43:16-21

This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, 
17 who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: 
18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 
20 The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21 the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. 

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Photo every day, Lent 2016: go

Today's photo theme is 'go'. I am reminded of Ruth's words, 'Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.' (Ruth 1:16) Time to light the burner and fly with God...

Monday, 15 February 2016

Photo every day, Lent 2016: settle

Today's theme is 'settle'. In order to feel settled we need to feel comfortable in out surroundings and know that we belong. Someone looks rather settled here...

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Photo every day, Lent 2016: celebrate!

Today's photo picks up the theme of 'celebrate'. Celebrating birthdays and special occasions is important. It is part of being human. It is part of showing we care. This is a photo of my mum celebrating her 82nd birthday last year. 

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Photo every day Lent 2016: injustice

I think this photo speaks for itself as far as today's topic of 'injustice' is concerned. It is 'Shot at Dawn' at The National Memorial Arboretum in Litchfield. I would encourage you to see it for yourself.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Photo every day Lent 2016: look

Today's word is 'look'. 

Why are you so anxious? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they took not, neither do they spin. Matthew 6:28

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Photo every day through Lent 2016 - voice

1“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Photo every day Lent 2016: Gather

My intention is to blog a photo every day during Lent. I may comment, I may not. There will no doubt be a poem or two. These are the words I will be using:

Today's word 'gather' brings me to these baby birds gathered in a nest all waiting for mummy bird to come back with some food. 

Psalm 91:1-4

Whoever dwells in the 
shelter of the most high,
Will rest in the shadow 
Of the almighty.
I will say of the Lord,
'He is my refuge 
And my fortress,
My God in whom
I trust.'
Surly he will save you 
From the fowlers snare
And the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
And under his wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be 
your shield and rampart...

Sunday, 24 January 2016

A little humour...

Those of you accustom to Facebook may have seen the 'Be like Me (Be like Bill) ditties that have appeared curtesy of the idea is you in put your name and gender and it comes up with a 'Be like Bill' or 'Be like [insert name]' poem. I hope you like my own version....

This is Jo
She is unique
There is no one the same
Or as madly insane
Jo likes to laugh 
And hopes you do to
Be like Jo...
No! Be like you :-)

Revdjo 24/1/2016

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The roar of the waterfall


Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    ‘Where is your God?’
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Saviour and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon – from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me –
    a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
    ‘Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?’
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    ‘Where is your God?’

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Saviour and my God.

(NIV 2011) 

There is something about the sound of water, whether it be the roar of a waterfall, a babbling brook or the waves crashing against the shore. I have been drawn to the sounds of God's creation of late, the sounds that can be so easily passed over. In the quietness of the morning the pitter patter of rain on the window pane seems to sing a different song than it does when you are running for the car on a wet afternoon. On mornings where it hasn't been raining, they have been few and far between of late in the UK, the dawn chorus breaks through the stillness as the darkness as night turns to day. A different song is sung again by the wind at night as it rustles through the trees and whistles through the valleys. Each song is beautiful in its own right. Each has its own mood as every song has, although perhaps the song we hear depends on our own mood? God speaks loud and clear in so many ways through creation and it's many songs. God continues to speak to us, and reassure us even when we fail to stop and listen. He speaks through the songs of creation even when we sleep.