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Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Miracle of Dunkirk: Bravery, Horror & Survival

The following epic poem, written by the late Richard Ball, was published in 1969 by Gazebo Books, a small publishing company that I owned back then. At that time Richard Ball was working as a Desk Sergeant in Bedminster Police Station, Bristol. We became firm friends and spent many hours in each other's company discussing poetry in particular and the world in general. This poem, which was published in a little book titled 'In Memory of Dylan Thomas, including Rearguard Action at Dunkirk,' is one born out of personal experience, for Richard Ball was himself a Dunkirk veteran. He was a brilliant wordsmith, and I considered it a great privilege to be his publisher as well as his friend. With the Dunkirk Miracle much in the news currently, I thought it would be expedient to share this work with a wider audience.

For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning, and fuel of fire. ISAIAH, IX, 5.

A battalion of the Grenadier Guards, part of the British Expeditionary Force sent to France with the 3rd British Infantry Division in September, 1939, marches towards a section of the canal defences in front of FURNES in June, 1940, where it will relieve a line of French machine-gunners, with their `mitrailleuses'. The Guards are prepared to make a last stand, in an effort to hold the line, and allow the remnants of the British Army to be evacuated from DUNKIRK. The trenches are found to be too shallow for the guardsmen, who have to commence digging to make them habitable.

Marching to the Rendezvous
Trudging their way
in lines, with heavy packs and shovels,
and rifles slung, and rounds to serve them,
they heard the siege-guns crack,
and like an old ripped sack,
a marcher lifted in the air,
and then, no more encumbered
by false hope, and fear,
lay sundered.

Around the sorry, squandered flesh
tired feet still tramped
where huddled muscles twitched and trembled,
that once had prompted thoughts
of field and river,
tasted good hours,
and rambled the roads of shires,
but now, as refuse of this war,
were wasted,
without rites of prayers,
for there was not time for burial.

It seemed like some strange astral dream
of worlds gashed wide, of voids, of spaces,
and fears of voids, and hell,
and doom,
where rocked the deadened hulks of men
on balls of feet that ached,
or spilled in spells of flame
that flared, and plied on twisted faces,
raked by the human, guided steel
that tracked them down
in the long fierce light that chases.

But these poor pawns
shrugged death
off dumbly;
long lusts of guns that ate them
with their breath,
in the stark time that saw no sleeping,
and the creeping,
scraping soles that shuffled,
made of each one a live-dead drooping thing,
that aped an outan's crouch,
and muzzled thoughts, that baffled
usage of right words to tell of pain,
had aged them
to a vagrant's slouch.

The Meeting of the Soldiers
`Voila les Anglais,
comme ils sont grands,
ils sont les Grenadiers,
allons, les Allemands
ils s'approchent'.

`Please go, allez, you squat men,
you olive men, our allies,
your mitrailleuses o'er shoulders;
dwindle away, lost in the
melee of the distance;
we wish you well, a few will remain
as Free French, some will stumble,
mortified by the singing shrapnel,
or the buzzing bee of leaden death
that lifts the layers of the
very dead to visibility.
A nod, a smile, grateful smile,
then pass into smoke you tired men,
into the endless dust of man's decadence,
where mind and soul rest in oblivion'.

The Thin, Torn Line

They worked, balanced
on rubber limbs
that limped, and sagged, and sweated,
scraped at the stone, and earth,
while across the folds of fields,
the lolling skulls that fretted,
watched for the swarms of grey.

There was a hoping, chasing
out the deeper, worrying lines,
despite great ires of guns,
that no hope stayed,
and hungers
that only a man with
loaves and fishes left for all
could hope to ease,
and ever bring them peace.

The only one who killed himself
had died when nerves could
no more hold him taut from
shafts beside him.
The order given to unfix steel from steel
had come too late,
and he would wait
for rest no longer.
His death was a mental
lurch down slopes of pain,
of which a stranger wrote ―
his note was plain,
he called it `accidental'.

No bugle calls
for these sad, blackened ears,
no cries of acclamation,
save for the call of
death's drear flaunting,
and the haunting
wail of shells, the
thrash of flesh, the splinters' fall,
as wave on wave they called
for hour on hour,
their special cry for all.

The snipers were but pests,
as of small pinging mites
that found a branch, and whined,
or creased an arm, or tore a tendon
loose from bone,
to these, no more a mishap
than ricked shanks of other follies,
on other fields of home.

And so, hours passed,
unfeelingly, they traced
their round way, unblessed
by these dumb men,
throttled in sleep,
and part collapsed,
the shades of men, as ancient portraits,
lined, and grained, and still as dust.

And now they had shot,
and killed, and stayed,
and done their work of war,
these old scarred clans,
wearing death's smudge,
scattered as blooms in winds,
and just as unremembered.

Retreat to the Sea

They were too young
for fires that seethed,
and cleft the breath,
who were resigned
that day to sacrifice ―
and they were too old with death,
and trials of the sharp steel.

They had crouched low,
the night before disaster,
where a fitful truce
of sleepless nerves
spun strange scenes slowly ―
time's muted grains moved surely,
where star shells, looping,
lit the remnants
of a human torso, lifting lamely,
as spent nerves stirred its stillness
to eternity.

The order was discreet,
and rearguards shuffled,
their ragged sleeves upon their feet
for silence;
men with fear, ingrained,
moved carefully,
mouths agape,
hearts hammering,
that in this last spun coin
they might never share again
the airs of England.

It was so quiet,
of an early hour of quiet,
the lull of disillusionment ―
spotter flares
gaped, the great guns grumbled,
and bursting shocks stunned ears
down earth that shuddered ―
men who huddled close
in hillocks hewn by impact,
crawled and prayed,
until, exhausted, and afraid,
they lay upon a beach,
and listened to the music of the sea.


Four o'clock
broke tall in rifts
of grey
that probed down lengths of sands,
where, into view, morose
small bands
of men bunched close,
as though pressed
down by death's
grave fist ―
soft wisps of breaths
rose curiously,
and silently, as skeins of men
slow-shuffled to the sea.

Boats slid away,
hull down with wounded ―
humane, unwritten laws had
claimed them,
but, as grounded
prows pushed on,
those made strange with fear
rose, and detained them.
Shots that came
told all the shame
that friend had killed a friend
that other friends would live.

the boats swept on,
where corpses floated,
and no man knew what waited ―
those that with baited
had spun the same grim coin again.
Not for them
sick tastes of women fated
for new births,
but the explosive
pulse of death.

An officer, face
maligned by fate that maims,
lurched on, the round,
revolting gouts of life
leaked out of him,
spending his veins ―
but great rough hands
of others seized
him, and as the tides
were smoothing out the sands,
closing them in, they teased
the great gaping wounds
into their place,
and as the tube that
led a slobbering life to lungs
on, the blood soaked eyes
turned from death's door,
and thanked them,
yet no-one spoke,
nor went his ways,
for all believed
that here, rough-shod,
they had re-found their God.

But words proclaimed
by distant shouts
throated to a roar ―
"Every man for himself",
storm waves that sheet the shores
stormed in them, furtive,
that made the early, crouching motive,
long dead by old wigged laws,
and time, revive.

In nightmare moments,
vials of Zeus spilled slowly ―
latent instincts
that had flamed as wounds, were wild
in flailing waters,
where great bids for life
outmoded pity.

The hulls some sought
were hewn apart
before they reached them,
explosive rage would grip them
in the thousand deaths that breached them,
and iconoclasts of men
long dead, would shift in shrouds,
that furls of flesh, rent in such scraps,
would once more float in air, or lie in dust,
on waves that later beached them.

Those few, where fortune chanced,
heard hard seas that glanced
on cliffs of speaking shores,
and as they gained
old hearths of fires
long dimmed,
the men with eyes alive to see
became true men,
© Richard Ball/Voice Publications

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Joanne Lowe's Meditations

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
1 Peter 5:7 (King James Version)

Joseph Medlicott Scriven who helped the aged members of his community wrote a beautiful song “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”. The words in this song are so true. “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer”.

I wonder how many times we try to bear our burdens and solve our problems ourselves. When we become discouraged and feel like giving up if we will go to God in prayer and give Him all of our burdens and cares, He will take the pain away and give us peace once again.

Yes, prayer is the answer to all of our problems. If you are hurting, take your cares and burdens to God in prayer. He really loves you and it hurts Him when you are hurting. He will be faithful to comfort and encourage you. Tell Him what is in your heart. He already knows but He wants you to tell Him.

Heavenly Father, how thankful we are that You are a tender loving and compassionate Father. Thank You for the privilege that we have of giving all of our burdens and cares to You. Help us to learn to come to You in prayer instead of trying to solve our problems ourselves.

Joanne Lowe

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jennifer Douglas' CDs now on iTunes

You can now download both of Jennifer Douglas' recent Hit singles from either CDBaby or iTunes, so why not seize the opportunity to download these songs onto your Ipod or MP3 player. Profits go to supporting the mission work of Voice Ministries.

Revival Meetings at Wotter, Devon

In a few weeks time I shall be leading a series of Revival Meetings at Wotter Community Chapel in Devon as part of a move to re-establish a living witness to God's plan of Redemption at the Wotter Community Church. After the Methodist Church closed the chapel a couple of years or so ago, it was purchased by a Christian family concerned that the witness to God's unconditional love was being lost to the area.

The chapel is sited in an idyllic spot on the south-western edge of Dartmoor, overlooking Plymouth Sound from the rear of the building. It has recently undergone extensive renovation and is an attractive building in which people can congregate together in fellowship, and from which they can reach out to others in the name of Jesus Christ.

I will be accompanied in this Mission by Gary Cordice, a singer of West End repute, who will be leading the congregational singing in addition to singing solos. Leading the Mission with me is Andrew Chapple who pastors the Redruth Baptist Church at Redruth, Cornwall, and Andrew will be leading a Mission Team who will maintain a prayer presence throughout the Mission week as well as visiting homes in the area to share the Gospel and invite folk to the meetings.

I pray that we shall see people led to commit their lives to the Lord and also folk who wish to take the opportunity to re-commit their lives to the Lord also.

God's Unchanging Love

He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. (Micah 7: 18 )
To be loved with the unchanging love of God is to surpass the concept of love that mere human love, even in its deepest form, could ever be capable of. In fact, so great and magnificent is the capability of God's love that we are unable to fully understand it, no matter how hard we try. God loves us at all times, even when we are disobedient to Him, even when we displease Him by our actions or our thoughts. His love is never changing, always constant. Paul writes to the Ephesians (2: 4-5): But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by Grace you have been saved). Jesus himself was Love personified. As the sacrificial Lamb of God He was the very love of God sent down to be amongst us. Such great love, and yet so much of mankind rejected Him then and continues to reject Him today and constantly question His relevance to modern times. Yet isn't God's just as relevant to the times in which we live, and even more so, if that’s possible. Are we any the less the children of God than those addressed by John when he wrote (1 John 3:1): See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. This means that to all of those who receive Him, and are thereby born of God, we can, even now, know Him as a child knows its father. Furthermore, in 1 John 4:7-8, which is regarded by many as one of John's greatest passages, he writes of love as being the supreme quality of God, making the statement that in fact God is Love. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and every one who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God reaches out to us with His love, and when it reaches down to us, covering us from head to toe, inside and out, it transforms us into new beings. We are recreated and renewed through the effect that it has on our lives. It is there for every one of us to receive, all we need to do is to hold out our hands in submission, our hearts committed to Him, and He will saturate us with His love so that we overflow with it. In such moments we experience the sound of His voice as He confides His will to us. Could ever love be so great that we could ever dream of this kind of love this side of Heaven?

The whole message of the Gospel is one of love. In that stable, 2000 years ago love was personified in God's own Son, Jesus Christ. As we follow His walk upon this earth we see the whole story revealed as one of an immensely caring ministry, a ministry that declared God's unchanging love towards His creation, constantly. Proverbs 8:17 teaches and declares that I love those who love me, and those who diligently seek me will find me. We need to constantly seek His face, seeking always to present ourselves for Him to use, in order that His love may be revealed to others through the practise of our lives. There is a constant renewing of ourselves in Jesus Christ through the unchanging nature of the eternal God. The things of this world may come and go, transient in nature and frail in construction, and yet the one thing that never changes is God. Psalm 102:27 says of the unchangeable nature of God, But Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end. Of Jesus Christ the scriptures tell us that He is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever. (Hebrews 13:8). It is this unchanging nature of God, this permanence about His relationship with His creation, that gives us the assurance of the constancy of His love. How can we even consider for one moment that we are able to forge ahead on our way through this life on our own, doing as we please, ignoring God's commands in the light of such selfless love that is heaped on such an undeserving world. Jude 21 tells us: keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.

If the infant in the stable personified Love all those years ago then we have only to look a few years down the line to see the final and greatest sacrifice that that Love could ever make. We turn our eyes towards the Cross and see, in the shadows, our Lord hanging there feeling the pain and the sorrow that He had taken upon Himself. There was no greater sacrifice that could be made, and none less that would have sufficed, for it was there at Calvary that He hung and suffered in the place of man, to pay the price for man's sinful nature. It was there that God demonstrated His all-powerful Divine love.

We can think of times in our own lives when we have been hurt by someone we love, and yet, even if we multiplied that feeling a hundred-fold it’s doubtful that we could even begin to experience the cost in pain that’s measured by the Cross. Perhaps, when if ever you are tempted to question the very existence of God then you should look to the Cross and consider Christ’s sacrifice, thinking consciously of the fact that it was made for you. Once you realise that fact then it is doubtful that you could ever consider the Cross in the same light again. I'm reminded of the words of the hymn that describes this so perfectly:

When I survey the wondrous cross,
on which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count as loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

God created us so that ultimately we might be with Him, praise Him and enjoy Him, and the pathway to redemption is the ultimate demonstration of His love. To find salvation we need to recognise our sinfulness, and it’s that recognition that leads us to a state of repentance. Without repentance there can be no salvation, and without salvation we are condemned to be apart from God for all eternity. The pathway to salvation requires faith, and just as salvation is a gift of God’s Grace, so our faith is also.

Hence we can see the pattern of the pathway to salvation and redemption:

  • God’s Love poured out on us
  • God’s Grace blessing us
  • Recognition of Sin in our lives
  • Recognition of our need for Repentance
  • Acceptance of the gift of Salvation
We cannot even begin to imagine the magnitude of God's love for us. We certainly cannot, in the light of our knowledge of ourselves, even begin to understand it, yet it’s there for all to grasp, for all to hold to themselves.

We must ensure that we never allow one precious moment of it to be wasted. Let us grasp it so firmly that it will flood through us and shining both in us and out from us, in order that we might share it with others, in the name of Jesus Christ and by God’s Grace.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Christian Community Reality

"Christian community is not an ideal we have to realise, but rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Pushmepullyou : A Mythical Political Creature

We live during a time when the nation is in a state of change as the new coalition government attempts to find the middle ground on which they can jointly rule. Each of the parties will have their own agenda which they will try to impose on the nation through mutual party negotiation, although we, the voters, will have no real say in matters.

For their emblem/mascot I award them this Pushmepullyou which I think will illustrate the manner in which they each try to get their individual political aims accepted as the rule. The two leaders have stated that they see enough common ground to enable them to rule as a coalition for the next five years. I predict that within a year there will be major fallings-out between the parties, and within two years at maximum they will have to call another election in order that the electorate can bring in a majority government.

The problem at present is that those who voted Conservative do not want the Liberals in power, and those who voted Liberal do not want the Conservatives in power. All the cosying up to each other in front of the cameras in the world will not unite the party on many basic policies, and that's where the split will start and then gradually widen into a chasm.

I guess that the answer is to watch this space, but I cannot help thinking that none of this is any good for our nation in real terms, and that we, the voters, will be the ones who suffer for it in the end.

THE PRAYER (song and lyrics)

Here's a beautiful song and video to bless your day. The Prayer, sung by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion is a beautiful song, powerfully and beautifully sung by these great singers.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Joanne Lowe's Meditations

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
John 8:36 (King James Version)

I read an article and it broke my heart because it wasn’t true. The name of the article was “America, the Land of the Free”. America is not a free land. America is in bondage to drugs, violence, television and all other things that hurt Jesus and break His heart. There is only one land that is truly free and that is Heaven. Heaven is the land of the free.

It is only when the precious redeeming blood of Jesus is applied to our hearts for the forgiveness of our sins that we are free. When Jesus sets us free, we are free indeed. Thank God for a Saviour who loves us so much that He willingly walked that long lonely road to Calvary to die for our sins.

Heaven is going to be so wonderful. There will be no more heartaches or sorrow. We won’t have to say good bye to each other any more because we will be together forever. The most wonderful and greatest thing about going to Heaven is that we will be with Jesus for all eternity. O how I long for that day!

Are you ready to go to Heaven? Have you asked Jesus to set you free from your sins through His redeeming blood? If not, don’t wait any longer. Invite the Christ of Calvary into your heart to be your personal Saviour. You will have a peace you have never known and He will never leave you, not even for a minute.

Joanne Lowe

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Inspirational Pictures to Meditate Upon

Here are a few inspirational pictures to meditate upon and consider the glory of God and His overwhelming goodness towards us.

Funeral in Tennessee

The following came to me via email from a friend in Tallahassee, and I felt it was something that deserved to be shared on a much wider scale. This blog is currently read in around forty countries, and so I guess that it can definitely be considered 'on a wider scale'.

In Tennessee we really do pull off the road and stop for funerals ... nobody moves until the last car has gone by.

What follows is a message from Vicki Pierce about her nephew James' funeral, who was killed while serving his country in Iraq! However, the most incredible thing was what happened following the service on the way to the cemetery. We went to our cars and drove to the cemetery escorted by at least 10 police cars with lights flashing, and some other emergency
vehicles, with Tennessee police handling traffic.

Everyone on the road who was not in the procession, pulled over, got out of their cars, and stood silently and respectfully. Some put their hands over their hearts.

When we turned off the highway suddenly there were teenage boys along both sides of the street
about every 20 feet or so, all holding large American flags on long flag poles, and again with their hands on their hearts. We thought at first it was the Boy Scouts or 4H club or something, but it continued for two and a half miles. Hundreds of young people, standing silently on the side of the road with flags. At one point we passed an elementary school, and all the children were outside, shoulder to shoulder holding flags --- kindergartners, handicapped, teachers, staff, everyone. Some held signs of love and support. Then came teenage girls and younger boys, all holding flags. Then adults; then families; all standing silently on the side of the road. No one spoke, not even the very young children.

The military presence: at least two generals, a fist full of colonels, and representatives from every branch of the service, plus the color guard who attended James, and some who served with him, was very impressive and respectful, but the love and pride from this community
who had lost one of their own was the most amazing thing I've ever been privileged to witness!

I've attached some pictures, some are blurry (we were moving), but you can get a small idea of what this was like.

These photos are awesome!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Saving Buildings or Saving Souls?

Read: Deuteronomy 12

Hundreds of holy cows used to wander the villages of India, devouring the food of hungry peasants, yet they were defended with fervour. The thought of butchering them to provide food for the hungry was as appalling as the burden of maintaining them, so they lumbered through the land, dominating the scene by their enormous intrusive presence.

Christians often fill their heads with holy cows. Herds of pseudo-sacred notions lumber through their thought processes and tear away at their resources. They command such a strange superstitious awe that people fail to chase them away, trying to pretend that they never notice them. But cows are hard to hide - even holy ones - unless you are actually looking for them. Then you find that they have the peculiar property of vanishing from view

A few years ago, whilst attending a meeting in Shrewsbury, one of the items that came up was regarding a church in South Wales that wanted to modernise their buildings, and would be asking their Denomination's Head Office for half a million pounds to enable them to carry out their plans. It’s probable that this money would be used, if it should be approved, to enable a building no longer suited for its purpose to become more efficient. However, what it will most probably fail to do is create a new environment that will adequately fulfil the task that it should be doing.

Like many congregations today, I'm sure that the congregation of this particular church sees it as their primary duty to ensure the salvation of their building for eternity ¯ or at least for another hundred years or more! This is commendable in a museum. Indeed the Tate Modern Gallery was constructed within the shell of a disused power station at a cost of some £134 million. Yet the purpose of the church is to declare a concern for the salvation of souls, not buildings.

Buildings, however beautiful they might be, are little more than places where God's people can congregate for worship and fellowship, and move out from to fulfil the Great Commission of spreading Christ’s message of salvation. To put the building first denies the essence of Christ's headship. The building becomes, in effect, a holy cow.

All too often the significance and relevance of Jesus Christ is hindered in today's world because of the religious restraints that many people try to contain Him within. We live in an age of instant wealth for many. Millionaires are made on television quiz shows, and weekly during the lottery draws. Banks turn people into multi-millionaires on the basis of profits that disgust most people; those in positions of power have been corrupted by the lust for more and more wealth no matter how they achieve it. Yet still we hear, see or read the news reports of mass poverty and deprivation in many parts of the world. ‘The poor will always be with us,’ Jesus said, but today's Society has turned them into holy cows too.

People have become so used to the poor being there that they have learned to ignore them, or at least to enjoy their wealth despite them. There are huge food shortages in some parts of the world, and huge surpluses in others If only it was possible to milk the holy cows of their religious status. Then finally we would be able to use them to feed the hungry souls with the real food of righteousness; the real message of salvation; the message that Christ brought to the world. Beautifully simple, ‘Repent of your sins, believe in Me as the Son of God, sacrificed for you, and you will see salvation.’

Think about it and live it every day.

Joanne Lowe's Meditations

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:58 (King James Version)

There are times when satan attacks us with so much discouragement, criticism and ridicule that we are tempted to stop serving Jesus. However, we must not let satan defeat us because we have work to do. Anna Louisa Walker Coghill wrote a song when she was only eighteen years old that should encourage us to keep serving Jesus even in the midst of adversity “Work, for the Night is Coming”.

These words should not only encourage us, they should also challenge us to keep working. “Work, for the night is coming, Work through the sunny noon; Fill brightest hours with labor, Rest comes sure and soon. Give every flying minute, Something to keep in store; Work, for the Night Is Coming, When man works no more.”

The time is short. Jesus could come back for us even as I type this devotion. Not only do we need to be ready to meet Him, we must also be sure that our families and loved ones are ready to meet Him. Unless they see Jesus in our actions and hear Him in our words, they are not going to accept Him as their personal Saviour.

We need to love our families unconditionally and forgive them when they hurt us. How terrible and heartbreaking it would be when we stand before God on the judgment day that He would have to ask us “Why didn’t you love your family unconditionally as I love you”? Are you working for Jesus or are you watching television all day?

Joanne Lowe

The Last Day: Answering before God

Sunday, May 16, 2010

'Heal Our Land' launch in Liverpool

Last Monday, 10th May, we went to the launch of the Heal Our Land in Liverpool Cathedral. This is a great new interactive musical event scripted by Jimmy and Carol Owens, and adapted by British artists for the challenges of the UK today. If you get a chance make sure that you go to see and experience it for yourself when it comes to a venue near you.

In case you don't get the chance, here's a video of the event as it unfolded in Liverpool.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pathway to Destruction When God is Rejected

We live in a land where people have not only turned their back on God, but they mock the way of life created by Him as well. Whether or not an individual chooses to believe in God or not is a matter of personal choice for them, and although it saddens me when people make an active choice to reject God's existence, nevertheless I respect that they have exercised their freedom of choice. However, when individuals choose to reject God and actively reject God's teaching, then it's a different matter altogether.

Over the past decade in particular, more and more laws have been passed that serve to marginalise Christianity in this country. At first it was in blatantly idiotic ways that were passed off as the ramblings of the so-called 'loony left'. Christmas came under attack in particular, and, as the moves towards 'political correctness' increased so the demands raced to keep up with them. Stories started to appear in the daily Press about Councils who wanted to refer to 'Winter Festival' rather than Christmas, claiming that it was out of consideration for people of other faiths than Christianity, and this despite the fact that the leaders of these other faiths joined Christians in condemning the idiocy of it all. Many shops, even Charity shops, declined to sell Christmas Cards that depicted anything associated with the Christian celebration of Christmas.

Gradually the rot set in further and further, until we started to read about matters concerning Christians in the workplace that amounted to persecution of the individual because of their faith. It's interesting to note that these matters do not appear in the Press with regard to people of any other faith.

The die has been cast. From the leaders in national government and local government to the hierarchies of various organisations and quasi governmental bodies, the direction has been to make demands on people that compromise their Christian faith to the point that religious freedom now wears shackles.

So much is now wrong with our society that it needs God's intervention to put it right.
  • In this land babies are murdered in the womb every day, and the majority of people turn a blind eye to it because the government have sanctioned it.
  • In this land same-sex couples live as 'married couples', despite the fact that it goes against God's laws to do so.
  • In this land greed and corruption have become a byword for the day, starting with those appointed to serve the people and continuing to the very roots of society.
  • In this land respect is something which people recall once existed, yet which was lost long ago as a result of people exercising what they perceived to be their 'human rights'.
  • In this land many of those who attend church services have more commitment to the buildings than to the Gospel.
  • In this land there are countless churches where the true Gospel is never preached at all, and where 'liberal theology' is the order of the day.
Over the past couple of years corruption amongst MPs in the matter of falsified expense claims and greedy money-grabbing, and amongst those in the Banking sector who demand --- and get --- obscene amounts of cash in bonuses, has disgusted the public in general, yet still nothing concrete has been done about it. I have no doubt that we will continue to read about massive bonus payments being paid to individuals as well as stories about the greed of many MPs in the manner in which their expenses are claimed.

This land is a broken land. It can be fixed, but it will hurt. However, whatever is done to try and fix things it needs to be done in a manner that is right with God. It's time for the tide to turn. It's time for people to turn back to God and commit themselves to working according to His direction and His ways.

Only then will we see things improve.

Hayley Oliver sings with Danna Moore

Here's a video of my friend Hayley Oliver singing a duet with US singer, Danna Moore. The song is Friend Across the Sea, and is beautifully sung by these well-matched voices as they harmonise together in a way that reaches right down into your soul. This is one of those songs that you can listen to over and over again, enjoying it anew every time that you hear it.

What a great talent Hayley has. Whilst I know that she has many fans, I hope that she gets the full international recognition that she so richly deserves before much longer.

Joanne Lowe's Meditations

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
John 8:12 (King James Version)

One morning as I looked up from my computer in my office and glanced through the slats in the Venetian blinds, I saw it was beginning to get light outside. I thought how true that is in our hearts and lives.

We can be going through some very dark valleys. It feels like there is complete darkness in our hearts and lives but the Son is still there. There is nothing or nobody who can extinguish the light of Jesus in our hearts.

It is true that circumstances, heartaches and grief can make us feel like we in darkness, but the light of Jesus is still in our hearts and will always be there. We need to let His light shine in our hearts and lives.

Harry Dixon Loes who served on the music faculty of the Moody Bible Institute wrote a song that should challenge every Christian “Shine For Jesus Where You Are”. As you read these words of the song, allow them to penetrate and challenge your heart.

“Be a faithful witness for the Lord, Shine for Jesus where you are; You cannot an idle hour afford, Just shine for Jesus where you are”. Are you being a faithful witness for Jesus? Yes, the Son is still in our hearts and lives even when all we can see is darkness.

Joanne Lowe

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pianist/Keyboard Player wanted!

I will be leading a Revival Mission at Wotter Chapel, set in the idyllic natural surroundings of Dartmoor, from Tuesday June 22nd to Sunday June 27th.

We urgently need the services of a gifted pianist/organist/keyboard player for the duration of the Mission to accompany the soloist, Gary Cordice, and congregational singing. Wotter is situated on the south-western corner of Dartmoor, overlooking Plymouth Sound, and if you live in the area and can help me out I'd love to hear from you. You can email me with your contact details at and I'll get back to you.

Newsham Park Extravaganza

This is a great family event to go along to if you live in the Merseyside area of the UK. Supported by TFH, Heal Our Land and YFC, the event brings together music and dance from many nations. There's lots to do for kids of all ages!

A broken Nation: Time to repent and turn back to God!

This Nation is broken! Years of governmental mismanagement and self-seeking politicians has led to a nation where greed and corruption are rife, where respect is minimal at best and mostly totally absent, and where violent crime and murder have become daily occurrences. The results of the recent General Election prove the distrust that the electorate have in the political leadership.

For a long time the leaders of this Nation have rejected God's ways and as a result we have become a land where spiritual anarchy rules. For political parties, with their differing agendas, to climb into bed together will not heal our land. The only thing that will do that is when all people, from the leaders down, turn to God in repentance and seek to honour Him by leading and living as He teaches.

It may be a broken Nation now, but it can get much worse if it continues on the downward path that it persists with.

The good news is that it's not too late! God says: 'If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.' (2 Chronicles 7:14)

If every person in the land who professes to be a Christian became a committed professing Christian, then they would be beacons of light in this spiritual darkness that would shine out and cause change.

Make your voice heard and the presence of the Lord in your life seen and felt, and help to heal this nation.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Joanne Lowe's Meditations

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
1 John 1:7 (King James Version)

Yesterday, I watched one of the Gaither Homecoming shows on television. They were singing one of my favorite songs, a song that Gloria and Bill Gaither wrote, “Getting Used To The Family Of God”.

I love these words “Climbing the mountains, crossing the plains, Fording the rivers, sharing the pains; Sometimes the losses and sometimes the gains, getting used to the family of God”.

There is no greater family than the family of God because every person in the family of God has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus and we are united by His precious blood.

How it thrills my heart to know that not only will I have the privilege to spend all eternity with my precious Saviour; also all of my friends on my mailing list who I love dearly will be there with me because they are part of the family of God.

Are you part of the family of God? Has the cleansing blood of Jesus been applied to your heart for the forgiveness of your sins? Have you humbled yourself and admitted that you are a sinner and you need a Saviour? If not, I urge you; I plead with you to give your heart and life to Jesus today!

Joanne Lowe

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Jennifer Douglas is at Number 3!

This morning I woke up to some really exciting news. Amongst my emails I received the latest NCM Christian Chart news, and Jennifer Douglas has moved up to number THREE in the UK charts and number FIVE in the Euro Top 40!

Jennifer's voice is truly amazing, and in combination with Greg Scheer's fantastic talent as a composer and my gift of lyric-writing, it seems to be a winning formula. The comments coming in from across the world have been tremendously encouraging, and the hope is to get this song up to the Number ONE position.

If you haven't yet watched it on YouTube then why waste any more time --- go and take a look right now and experience Jennifer's fabulous singing for yourself. I'm sure that you'll agree that she deserves it to be the smash hit that it is. If you want to buy it you can purchase the single from the Sheer Joy Music on-line shop or download the track on either iTunes or CD Baby.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Hayley Oliver Band - Tell Me Why

Regular visitors to this blog will know that my favourite Country singer is the UK's Queen of Country Music, Hayley Oliver. What a fabulous voice she has. For my money she ranks up there with the greats of Country Music, and it can only be a matter of time before the rest of the world discovers her as well!

I guess one of these days she will have made enough impact to become an 'overnight success', which just means that someone in the music business will have discovered just how great this gal is. Well, I discovered it a while ago now and am also privileged to count Hayley amongst my friends.

Here's a video of Hayley and her band in action, singing the song Tell Me Why which is on their album entitled 'Naturally'. Have a look and listen for yourself.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Joanne Lowe's Meditations

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8, 9 (King James Version)

Have you ever wanted to see a special event but didn’t have enough money to buy a ticket? I have good news for you. There is coming a day when a very special event will take place. One day, the trumpet will sound and Jesus will come back for us to take us to Heaven.

This special event won’t cost us anything. It is free admission for the event. However, Jesus paid the most expensive price that was ever paid for this event. Our precious Saviour was crucified on a cross of horror and excruciating pain for us so that we would have free admission to Heaven.

Jesus has already paid the price for your admission to Heaven. Our salvation is a free gift to us from the compassionate and loving heart of Jesus. He is waiting for you to invite Him into your heart. Will you invite the Christ of Calvary into your heart today?

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for the precious gift of Your beloved Son. Jesus, thank You for paying the price for our sins so we may be saved and have the privilege of spending eternity with You in Heaven. We love You and we appreciate all that You do for us. Amen.

Joanne Lowe

Tabernacle Chapel, Arddleen CD, 'Let's Sing our Praises Loud!'

At the end of 2007, Tabernacle Chapel ecumenical choir, meeting under the soubriquet of 'Come & Sing' at the Chapel in Arddleen, Powys, celebrated an evening of my hymns which was captured on disc. You can download the whole album here at iTunes and here at CD Baby.

Cantoris --- A great Choral Ensemble from Cheshire

There are plans for a new CD of my worship songs by the Cheshire-based choral ensemble, Cantoris, a highly professional group of singers under the talented musical direction of Ken Fayle and Cath Shaw. Their first recording with Sheer Joy Music was There is Joy, released at the end of 2007, and this was followed the following year with Motets & Madrigals. Both CDs are now available on CD Baby as digital downloads, either for the whole CD or individual tracks. Why not check them out and listen to some sample tracks at CD Baby.

LYRA and a 'Beautiful Sound'

LYRA are a fantastic group of singers, and this CD, which is called 'Beautiful Sound', showcases four of the best singers in the whole choral group. I recently received an email from Andrey Sysoev, the Director of music, in which he said that he thought the song Benediction, in which my words are set to music composed by Greg Scheer, could become the "World hymn of the Church"

You can now download Beautiful Sound from CD Baby, either as a complete album or individual tracks. Why not check it out, listen to some samples, and then make a purchase! Alternatively, you can purchase the CD by going to the Sheer Joy Music on-line shop.

Below, the singers gather for a recording session at the studio in St Petersburg.