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Life is a journey

Journey on a footpathWhether we like it or not, our life is a journey.

Even if we haven’t got a destination in view, we are still walking along a spiritual pathway.
And the pathway of our life can be rough at times – it can be difficult to keep on the best track.

Once Jesus was telling the disciples about heaven and Thomas said to Him:

” ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’
Jesus answered; ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through Me.’ ” John 14:6

On another occasion Jesus said:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13

Yes, our life is a journey and there is only one narrow way to heaven, to everlasting life.
Where do all the other routes lead to?
They all end in the same place. Where’s that?
“Destruction” ….hell! We can’t fudge this one!

If we want to get to heaven we need to listen to what Jesus is telling us.
A Christian should have heaven as their destination.
They shouldn’t get too settled in this world, because heaven is to be their eternal home.

Life is a journey, but do you know where you are going?

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What is the Truth?

An open newspaper on a tableAs we go about our daily lives we get showered with other people’s opinions, which includes good and bad advice.
‘Experts’ tell us:

  • what we should do,
  • what we must avoid,
  • and what is wrong and right.

By sifting through all these things, we formulate our own opinions, and we give these different sources a certain amount of authority.
For example, we may have an elderly neighbour who is well travelled, and they seem to have wise words to say on many things, so we take a lot of notice of what they think.

To make the right choices in our lives, we need to know that the information we are told is accurate, and that it is the truth.
If the information we are told isn’t reliable, then how can we make the right choice?

Let’s look at three areas which can have a big influence on how we live out our lives:

Education:

University graduationWhat about everything we have learned in our centres of education?
In 1978 I was at COLLEGE listening to a botany lecture.
The lady lecturer had just finished explaining about an experiment which proved a certain theory on how plants worked.
Then one of the students said that an experiment disproved what she had just said. (He did give more details).
Her answer was very interesting!
She said : “At this level, this particular experiment is taught as fact, but if you take a degree course then it won’t be taught as fact.”

So beware, not everything that we are taught is the truth!

Television, radio and the Internet:

TV on a tableYou can trust the TV can’t you?
What you hear is the truth, isn’t it?

In 2002, I was watching a HISTORY programme about the Philistines.

The ‘expert’ said that the Philistines originally came from Greece, or somewhere like that, because they wore metal shin guards and because of the shape of their helmets.
So far, so good.
But then he said that the Bible tells us that the Philistines have always lived ‘here’, (he was standing to the west of Israel).
So he was telling us that the Bible was wrong and what he was telling us was the truth.
He very effectively cast doubt on the Bible.

But in fact the Bible tells us that the Philistines came from Crete!

In Amos 9:7 it tells us that God said:

“Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor ….” (Caphtor is Crete)

So the expert had said that the Philistines had come from Greece or somewhere like that, which was true, Crete is about 50 miles below Greece, but his problem was telling us that the Bible had got it wrong!
How many people would have seen that programme and would have believed that the Bible was wrong?

Newspapers and magazines:

How much truth is there in a newspaper?
About 20 years ago the newspapers were saying:

“Children dive for cover under their desks, as RAF plane crashes next to an infant School. The children had to be comforted by their form teacher after this traumatic incident. Parents were furious that RAF planes are allowed to fly so dangerously close to the school.”

Is this the TRUTH?
I happened to know two of the mothers who had children at that school, and this is what really happened:
The mothers, and some fathers, picked their children up from school as normal.
A mother of two children asked them about their day: “Neil got sent home from school for being naughty,… and we saw a plane go over, and two white mushrooms came out of it.”
The mother asked if anything else had happened, and they replied no.
The next day the newspaper reporters were waiting outside the school and they immediately bombarded the parents with questions: “Don’t you think it is terrible how low these RAF planes fly? Isn’t it dangerous having RAF jets flying so close to the school? Aren’t you scared for your children’s safety?”
But the reporters were ignoring the parents who were saying: “NO the plane crashed a long way away.”
The reporters just weren’t interested in what they had to say.
They only wanted to find the parents who would agree to their particular slant!

So how much TRUTH is there in newspapers, and magazines?
It will be based on facts, but they can get distorted.

The Bible is the Truth and it is totally trustworthy.

An open BibleWhen Jesus was praying to God the Father, He said:

“Your Word is Truth.” [1]

That means the Bible, God’s Word, is Truth, is the Truth.
On another occasion Jesus said:

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples (followers).
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [2]

Can you imagine what those people listening said?
It’s the same response as what we would say now.

“We’ve never been slaves to anyone! How can you say that we shall be set free?”

And that’s what we would say, isn’t it?
But Jesus’ answer is very interesting: He said:

“I tell you the Truth.” (It’s that word again!) “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”

We are all slaves to sin!
What is sin? It’s all those things we

  • shouldn’t have done to other people: Cruel thoughts, telling lies, hurting people, etc.
  • should have done: A helping hand, sharing things, encouraging rather than criticising, etc.

But that is not all:

  • It’s when we ignore God and go our own way.

Most things we hear on the T.V. or what we read in newspapers, etc, is a mixture of truth and error.
But the Bible is pure, unmixed Truth.
So when we read the Bible, we see how pure, and holy God is, and how twisted our own lives are!

But the Truth doesn’t just stop there:

It shows us how to escape our slavery to sin – to be set free!
In fact, a word used in the Bible to describe this escape is ‘redeem’ which means to ‘buy up’ (from the slave market).
It was Jesus Christ who paid the price to release us from our slavery to sin.

“..the Son of Man (Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” [3]

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all…” [4]

Are we willing to face the Truth?

“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” [5]

[1] John 17:17
[2] John 8:31-32 (NIV)
[3] Matthew 20:28 (NIV)
[4] 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NIV)
[5] John 20:30-31 (NIV)

Education image: thanks to Serif ARTGallery CD

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A testing situation

A Kayak in heavy seasMany years ago I was kayaking (canoeing), 5 miles out from Clacton in the North Sea.
A gale was blowing, and the sea was wild.
All the waves had ‘white horses’ on them and that made my slalom canoe terribly difficult to control and keep upright.

We had decided to keep together as a pack of canoes, then, if one of us got into trouble the others could help.
But one person decided to go on ahead of us and slightly off to one side.
He reckoned he would be alright on his own and very quickly we lost sight of him in the huge waves.

I couldn’t look round much because all of my attention was taken up in combating the violent wind and waves.
After a while we saw a small lifeboat coming from the shore.
It came straight by us and picked up the canoeist from our group who had gone on ahead of us!

We later found out that he had fallen out of his canoe and we had paddled right past him, totally unaware of him being there!
The huge waves and spray had prevented us from seeing him, but the coastguard had been watching us from the shore and they had seen the danger.

When we got back to the shore, there he was wrapped up in a blanket, shaking violently from the cold and a little disturbed from his mishap!
We were experienced canoeists, but that chap had got too much self confidence and he had put himself in a situation which was too difficult for him to cope with.

Let’s now look at a time when Jesus Christ put His disciples into a situation, which He knew was going to be extremely tough for them.

You can read the story here:

“That day when evening came Jesus said to His disciples;
‘Let us go over to the other side.’
Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, just as He was, in the boat.
There were also other boats with Him.
A furious squall came up and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.
Jesus was in the stern sleeping on a cushion.
The disciples woke Him and said to Him;
‘Teacher! Don’t You care if we drown?’
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves; ‘Quiet! Be still!’
Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to His disciples;
‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’
They were terrified and asked each other;
‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!’ “

A little fishing boat on Lake GalileeJesus putting them in that situation was a bit like the leader of our canoeing group saying to me in that gale on the North Sea; ‘I want you to go on ahead of us, so that we can’t see you!’

Why would Jesus Christ, the Son of God, want to do that?
He wanted to test them, to see whether they trusted Him, or not.
That was no trivial storm.
Those fishermen were accustomed to dangerous seas and yet they were petrified!

So this was a real difficult test, in an extremely tough situation.
How did the disciples cope with their test?

  • They were terrified
  • The situation was beyond them
  • They thought they trusted Him.
  • They were certainly following Him, but when the crunch came where was their trust?

What about us?

Life can be unpredictable.
When everything is going well, there is no problem is there?

But suddenly a bad illness hits us, or someone loses their job, and the money becomes very short, which causes arguments, shouting, and bad feelings, etc.

We may attend a church, and think that we trust the Lord.
But God may test us.
The problem suddenly pushes us beyond our level of skill, or patience, and we feel very alone and exposed.
Do we put our trust in our own strength?
Or do we hear the voice of Jesus saying: ‘Trust Me. I am God. I see all things, I know all things. I am all powerful and nothing is too hard for Me. Trust Me.’

When Jesus performed His miracles, they were SIGNS.

When He calmed the storm, what do you think the sign for that miracle was saying?

  • Jesus has power over nature.
  • Look, listen and take notice!
  • Jesus is the One who created the world, so it is an easy thing for Him to calm this storm!’

It is easy to be tempted that this is a made-up story.
But it is true, it happened.

Sailing boat image: thanks to ‘The Pictorial Dictionary’
published by The Educational Book Company, London

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[6] The Holy Spirit and living a godly, pure life

The older, more technical term for living a godly, holy, pure life is sanctification.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit does help to promote a godly life, but it is not ‘sanctification’ itself …  Continue Reading »

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[4] Potential problems with the things of the Spirit

A touching something hotWhen we realise that God is all-powerful and anything is possible we move into the area which has some potential pot holes and traps.
I want to explore this subject leaning heavily on the teachings of  Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who had a lot more experience and authority than myself! …  Continue Reading »

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[1] End of the world – A sobering thought

Railway lines disappearing into the distanceJust prior to Jesus giving a detailed teaching on the end of the world, the religious Institution of that day refused to respect his authority. Wise move or not? … Continue Reading »

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Gospels written too long after Jesus?

There have been several people who have said that the time between Jesus′ death and resurrection, and when the New Testament was written is a long time.
But Donald Campbell’s story is a contemporary illustration …  Continue Reading »

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Did God warn Adolf Hitler not to start a war?

It would appear that God did draw a line in the sand and Hitler made a conscious decision to proceed with his plans.

The facts come from a documentary “The Nazis: A Warning From History – Hitler’s Path To War” [1] The programme factually showed personal situations and world events leading up to the second world war – it made no inference to God’s involvement.

This is how it happened:

In late summer, 1939, Adolf Hitler withdrew to the Berghof in the Obersalzberg – in the Bavarian Alps near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, Germany.

Mountains in Austria

He was trying to weigh up all the possible outcomes if he gave the order to attack Poland – how would Britain, France and Russia react?

He and his group of friends were on the large open air terrace when a menacing cloud formation began to approach them.
Tension within the group began to escalate and they became fearful.
When the unnatural cloud was at it’s closest, a Hungarian lady within the group suddenly proclaimed:

“Adolf, this augers a warning. There will be blood. Blood, blood, blood and more blood. There will be terrible destruction and suffering!”

Adolf Hitler looked shocked and said:

“If that’s the way its got to be, then so be it.”

Then he left rapidly to his room very shaken up.

Did God warn Adolf Hitler?

My thoughts are:

  • If it was just a storm, why did the group become fearful? They could easily have walked inside to get away from it.
    Was it because it was unnatural, even supernatural, to get their attention?
  • When the lady made her proclamation, in a normal situation the group would probably have laughed at such an outburst.
    Was it because the group knew it wasn’t her speaking her thoughts?
    Perhaps the group knew God was speaking?
  • Why was Hitler so shaken by it? If he thought it was just the woman speaking he would have brushed it aside.
    Did he believe that a Superior Being was speaking at that point and personally challenging him?
    It was as if a line was being drawn and Hitler seemed to know that if he crossed that line, then there would be a huge loss of life.
  • Why didn’t Hitler just laugh it off – why did he have to withdraw to his room?
    Did he feel personally challenged?
    If he felt challenged by any human being he would have flattened them under his foot, but did he feel that God was confronting him?

Soon after this event, Hitler gave the order to attack and on the 1st September 1939 Germany invaded Poland and the bloodshed started.

Reference:
[1] Programme shown on the Yesterday channel on Thursday 12th February 2015 between 11pm and midnight.

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Creation or Evolution – does it really matter?

Bonkers to believe in the Creation story:

Monkey's faceI heard a young person say the other day that if anybody didn’t believe that Evolution was right must be bonkers.

Do we believe that God made mankind and the animals as separate, individual species, or do we believe that everything came from single celled organisms?
Does it matter?

If the first chapter or so in Genesis was a nice story and not true, why would God want to start His ‘God breathed’ [1] book with that?
Surely if everything evolved into more and more complex creatures, then He would want to say that.
Why would He describe in detail something that was not true – Him creating things instantaneously out of nothing.
Why would He reinforce the notion that each section was a day? And He elaborates the meaning of the days:

“God called the light ‘day’, and the darkness he called ‘night’. And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day….”
v8: “And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day….”
v13 “And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day….” etc. [2]

Is the Creation story in Genesis a parable?

Some people say that this is like a parable, but the wording sounds too definite – as if it is describing something that really happened.
Parables tell a story about something which is fundamentally true – it is not based on anything which is untrue.
If the Creation story in Genesis was a parable, then it would be fundamentally untrue if humans had evolved.

There is so much evidence for Evolution:

Christians are getting less and less confident with the Creation story, almost on a weekly basis we are told on TV programmes that such and such is millions of years old and this is a constant voice that tells us that the Bible is not reliable.

But there are many scientific facts that support a young earth.
Also there are many flaws in the Evolution theory. Many people don’t realize that Evolution is a theory – it is not rock solid fact (excuse the pun!)

Robbing God:

When people marvel at Evolution they are not giving praise to God. Creation is part of the glory of God.
By explaining that all of this world evolved we remove giant Evangelists for God. What do I mean?
These Evangelists speak every language in the world, they speak about God day and night and are in every country and sea.
They are described here:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” [3]

Yes, God’s created heavens and skies (and the whole of creation) speak about God – they are His Evangelists, but unfortunately their voices have been rendered almost obsolete by the voices of Evolution.

 

Here is an expanding list of further articles:

  1. (This article) Creation or Evolution – does it really matter?
  2. Humans and dinosaur’s together? Part 1 Did the dinosaurs really become extinct 65 million years ago? See some evidence that suggests; ‘No!’
  3. Humans and dinosaurs together? Part 2
  4. Are dragons real creatures?
  5. Understanding fossils: Are fossils as old as evolutionists claim them to be? How easy is it to investigate the bones, & what did dinosaurs look like?
  6. Accuracy of Fossil Dating Methods Part 1. What is Radiometric Dating? Are dates manipulated?
  7. Accuracy of Fossil Dating Methods Part 2. Wrong dates for a known age of rock. Is the Isochron dating technique “foolproof”?
    Do all the different dating methods agree? How carbon 14 creates a problem for evolutionists.
  8. The Standard Geological Column: That everyone can agree on.
  9. How quickly do rock layers form? Answer: A lot quicker than we are led to believe. Are there transitional fossils?
  10. The earth’s catastrophic history: Very rapid, deep burial of fossils. A widespread erosion surface: The Great unconformity. Eustatic sea levels.
  11. Millions of years gaps: Paraconformities. Colonized sea-floors (hardgrounds).
  12. Fossil tracks, dinosaur eggs and nests. What are the first tracks to be found in the fossil record and why?
  13. Explaining the fossil record. Why that particular order of fossils? Imagine this scenario….
  14. Fossil Chart to accompany the article above ‘Imagine this scenario’
  15. The horror of the flood as recorded in the Bible.
  16. Some facts & figures about Noah’s Ark. Would the ark have been sea worthy?
  17. Could Noah have built such a huge ship?
  18. Other Flood stories from around the world.
  19. Could the earth be 1000’s of years old, and not billions of years?

 

References:
[1] 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
[2] Genesis 1:5-13
[3] Psalms 19:1-4

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Thoughts on worship in church – part 1

Here we look at the use of songs in churches, bringing in the Presence of God, anointed songs and worship that is real.

Bringing in God’s Presence:

Worshippers at Kingdom Life 1978

Worshippers at Kingdom Life 1978

How do we bring in God’s Presence?
Well some may say that He is everywhere so how can we do such a thing?
But in the Bible there are examples of where God manifested a greater Presence, for example to Moses:

“And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.”” [1]

This is something we cannot manufacture, but we can energize peoples faith so that they are more aware of His Presence.
How can we ignite peoples faith? There is no better way than by Scripture (the Bible):

“…how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” [2]

The Bible is God breathed – it is the Word of God and it lifts and feeds people like nothing else!
Bible verses can be used very powerfully within church worship to lift the congregation.

Songs that touch our beings:

Some songs speak to us in a very powerful way, they seem to be ‘anointed’ by God, but they are just for a season.
So instead of trying to find more and more new songs, why not use them every week and get all that goodness out of them that God wants to feed us with?
Repeating good things is not bad – Peter’s way was to keep reminding them of gospel truths:

“Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.” [3]

Aiming for reality – we want joyful worship!

I expect we have all been in a church situation where everyone is expected to bounce around on a Pogo stick – regardless of where people are at and then some will feel guilty for being sad.
Remember what Paul says:

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” [4]

That doesn’t mean chucking out all the bouncy songs!
But whatever we do, it must be real. Look at Naomi, she had lost her husband and then her only two sons. Did she pretend everything was great, no she was honest and real:

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.” [5]

Did that mean that she lost her faith? No! Ruth was not an Israelite but she was able to see the light of God within Naomi and was willing to give up her own country and friends to be with her. She was in a hard place and she had to work through it, but she didn’t step into unreality.

In our church worship, we need to draw people into God’s Presence and then whatever their reaction, it is likely to be genuine.
We need to hold onto God’s promise:

“The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” [6]

Aiming for reality – we want ordered worship!

In very formal services you could be bursting with a passion for Jesus, but there is no outlet – it seems that all emotion is not spiritual.
In the last Psalm in the Bible, you don’t get a feeling of cold formality, there is dancing and clashing cymbals, etc:

“…praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” [7]

Non-stop songs in church:

In many of the less formal church services, there can be solid blocks of songs.
It can be good, but it can feel quite claustrophobic – our senses are bombarded.
Sometimes it would be good to stop and think about what we have just sung.
Could God be saying to us:

“Be still, and know that I am God…” [8]

Noise can shut out His voice and sometimes it is good to wait and look for Him:

“The eyes of all wait for You [looking, watching, and expecting] and You give them their food in due season.” [9]

 

References:
[1] Exodus 33:19 (ANIV)
[2] 2 Timothy 3:15-16 (ANIV)
[3] 2 Peter 1:12 (NLT)
[4] Romans 12:15 (ANIV)
[5] Ruth 1:20 (ANIV)
[6] Psalms 145:14 (ANIV)
[7] Psalms 150:4-6 (ANIV)
[8] Psalms 46:10 (ANIV)
[9] Psalms 145:15 (AMP)

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[21] John (Jack) Wales: War years 1941 – June 1943

Even at this early age, he and all his mates, wanted to get into the action.
So at 16 (1941) he joined the local Earith Home Guard, which at that time had about 40 members, with a great mix of First World War veterans and keen local lads.

Earith, Colne and Bluntisham Homeguard formal photo

Earith, Colne and Bluntisham Homeguard

Within a year he was a corporal, and his intense training, proved to be invaluable later on as a regular.

He was also a member of the local Commando unit, set up to counteract any airborne invasion, but when he was the regulation 17 and a quarter, he only wanted to join his heroes – The Black Watch, because they were the toughest!
However, because he was a farm worker, he was rejected because it was a reserved occupation.

So he left farming, to become a coalman in a desperate bid to get into the army.
Jack eventually had to appear in front of 12 people of the War Agriculture Committee in Huntingdon, before he got his wish and signed up for 7 & 5, (7 years regular, 5 years reserve).
He was straight up to Glasgow, and into the Maryhill Barracks, for his preliminary training with the Black Watch, it was now 1943.

Many people still can’t understand why an Englishman with the name of Wales, would want to join a Scottish Regiment!

(Extract from ‘One Man’s Story: John Wales’ by Dave Brown)

See all of John Wales‘ blog posts.

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The valley of the Shadow of Death

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” [1]

JOE’S JOURNAL Tanganyika March 21st, 1962

A flash of lightning

A flash of lightning

Evening just departing, big game photography; Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti and Lake Manyara. (You’ve seen it all on the Telly!)

Now on to the “main road” – dirt and mud, 250 miles to go, most of it overnight, 45 m.p.h. absolute maximum.

A youth and rucksack begged a lift.
German, perfect English and manners;- gap year methinks.
The sky threatens.
“It could be a rough trip but jump in; and be prepared to help”
He realised a battered old Land Rover trumps a smart saloon on these ‘roads’.

Onwards and upwards, no top gear work; -darkness.
Bearded moss on overhanging branches, so altitude now above 5000 feet.
The first few drops were ominous; rattled the canvas roof and bounced off the bonnet like marbles.
Engage four wheel drive BEFORE it became sheets, with just four foot visibility.
Lightning now frequent and close – hardly need the headlights!

Down into THE valley; a lightning trap.
Just once, my passenger reached towards the crash bar.
The vertical rock face is a reassuring milestone, but then a direct hit floodlights the scene.
Under the bonnet of a popular problem car, he is clearly trouble shooting, but we cannot stop. – you learn the hard way – keep moving; once stopped you are well and truly stuck.
This picture was ‘shadowed’ on to the rock ‘screen’, meanwhile press on!

Less lightning, rain steady, going easier, but now a smell of burnt insulation and battery not charging.
Off headlights, two wheel drive, ‘proceed economically’, 50 miles more, no use, pull over and stop.
Share my snack and flask of coffee, sit back and relax.
Rain dripping on our heads is deflected by bodging.
We settle down for the night in very hard backed seats.

Sun well up when we ‘awoke’, road fairly dry.
Cross fingers and press to start; – Away! and the battery lasted for the remaining 100 odd miles. (‘Export’ models have bigger batteries).
I don’t remember the students name, but he performed well for a ‘Greenhorn’.

Conscience to settle, I queried the fate of the stranded driver, (why didn’t he wave?)
“He was struck dead two hours before we passed!”

I then thought about us in the Land Rover and the rest of the verse in Psalm 23:

“For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.”

Joe Lucas July 2006

Reference:
[1] Psalm 23:4

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[13] Christine Reason: My story, the years 1949 to 1951

My second boy friend, Keith Seeney, was younger, and was in the Boys’ Brigade at Avenue Road Baptist Church where, I was a member.
We used to see each other, as Friday night was the choir practice night, and the Boys’ Brigade used to meet on that evening as well.

The first time he asked me to go with him to a birthday celebration at one of his friend’s house.
When we arrived, we realised that the parents were not there, and there was a group of boys and girls drinking and kissing.
We stayed for a little while, but then Keith suggested that we left and had a walk by the sea.

We used to go to Southend on my days off, and one Good Friday morning, I was in a church service at the Presbyterian Church, and I realised that he had slipped into the back row during the first hymn.
Soon after this, he was doing his exams prior to going to University, and so we decided, as he was to be away for three years, to split up amicably, and see what would happen in the future. I wonder what became of him?

The third boy friend was older, in his mid-twenties, named Stanley Hamilton, and he worked as an architect in Southend District Council Offices.
He was introduced to me by a fellow member of the church choir who worked with him. I forget his name, but he was married, and also owned a motor car. He was always teasing me about Stanley, who had then started to attend church services as well!
He also kept coming into the Library while I was working, and I used to be filling the shelves up with returned books, and he used to pop his head round the corner of the bookcases!
Eventually, this wore me down so I agreed to go out with him.
He took me into the Drawing Office where he worked, and we used to go to the cinema and concerts.

Christine in 1951 at Alum Bay

Christine in 1951 at Alum Bay

At around this time, my Father wanted to move to the countryside and get a larger garden.

We sold the house in Leigh-on-Sea, but had not found anywhere to buy in rural Essex, so we stayed as paying guests in a fisherman’s house in Old Leigh.
The landlord used to cook us an evening meal, and he used to come into the dining room wearing Wellington boots and an old navy-blue fisherman’s jumper, so he was quite a character.

After we had a date for moving to “Marchants”, Gambles Green, Terling, Essex, I wanted to break off the friendship with Stanley, but he and his friend came over one summer in the late afternoon, and we drove back down to Southend to see the illuminations, which were always spectacular.
I am sure that the Lord had His hand on my life as, of course, it was at Terling that I met and later married Roy Reason, the love of my life, and this is how it came about…

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[20] John (Jack) Wales: Jack takes control of Huntingdon Grammar school

Lad ringing the school bell

Ringing the school bell

John continues his story 1936 – 1940…..

In the first year every new boy went through an initiation of being thrown into a very large prickly bush (a Pyracantha)!
Wooden huts on the side of the playing field, left over from the first World War, housed forms 1A, B and C.
Across one end was the woodwork room under Mr Everitt, and at the other end the Physics lab under Mr Bill Barbanel(?).
When I first went there Mr Everitt and senior boys were building a Flying Flea aeroplane and the girls were sewing the canvas on the wings.
I remember it being pushed across the playing field, but the war came and it was never finished.
In the ‘Ones’ we did more advanced lessons than at the village school, like History, Geography and Biology.
We also collected frogspawn from a pond on the golf course and bred silkworms.
Margaret Knowles from Brampton, the daughter of Archdeacon Knowles, brought mulberry leaves to feed them on.

At twelve years old, after two years in forms 1A and 1B, I moved up to form 2B in the main school building.
On the first morning of the new term the headmaster Mr Norman Armstrong came into our room and asked all boys that had a watch to put up their hands.
Only about four of us did, as there were few watches about in those days, but I had my father’s large silver Ingersoll pocket watch on a long gold chain.

The old school bell

The old school bell

The headmaster said, ‘Right, Wales, you will be the bell-ringer for the year, here is a list of the period times’.
The bell was large, like a church bell mounted on a scaffold with a long rope attached, situated in a corner of the playing field in front of the main building.
So at twelve years old I controlled the running of the school of some 400 pupils!
I started them off at nine o’clock in the morning and signaled the end of every period through lunchtime until the last bell at four in the afternoon.
I had to pull it very hard so that it was heard from right up at the main street down through the many classrooms right through to the brook at the bottom of the playing field.
I broke the rope twice!
Later on, when the school moved to Brampton Road, electric bells were installed in all the classrooms and rung by the school secretary from her office.

On the opposite side of the playing field from the first year huts were three similar wooden huts housing the tuck shop run by Mr Jessop, a sports changing room and a small dining room.
Only about half-a-dozen or so pupils and some of the teachers had a hot dinner supplied by Mrs Jessop, the majority of us brought sandwiches.
Mine were always fried bacon in the winter months and cucumber in summer.
They were eaten out on the playing field with different groups having their own particular spot.
Only if it rained particularly hard were we allowed into a classroom to eat.

See all of John Wales‘ blog posts.