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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

My near death experience

I was twenty eight years old at the time, I was in a dental surgery having two wisdom teeth taken out with the aid of gas.  As I sat in the chair with the mask on my face, the dentist commenced to take one of  the teeth out before I was fully anaesthetized.  The pain was unbelievable and the shock of experiencing it so great that I inhaled fully and found, to my horror, that I could not exhale again.  I remember feeling very frightened and helpless for quite some time, thinking that I was certainly going to die from lack of oxygen.  I was trying to do something about the situation but it was as if there was just enough anaesthetic to keep me half dazed yet I could feel all the pain.  As I struggled to breathe the dentist had his assistant to hold me down and started to extract the other tooth.  The feeling of total agony was indescribable.  Then suddenly all the fear was gone and I was in a most beautiful place where there was green grass and beautiful flowers, and little fawns and wild animals grazing everywhere.

 I was lying on my back in a place of tremendous beauty, a beauty of such that I have never seen in all my travels in this world.  It was as if I had just awoken from a deep sleep, my twenty eight years of life was as the dream and that was reality.   I remember several people were gathered around me.  I felt a great love for these people, a love that was deeper than any I had ever known, almost as if they were a part of myself.  They were not people that I had known or seen in my lifetime, I cannot even say whether they were male or female, it did not seem to matter.  Yet I felt like I had known them for an eternity.  At that moment I knew the mystery of life.  It was as if all the questions I had ever wanted answering about life's purpose were being answered in a split second of wonderfully perfect knowledge.  I felt as if that place was reality and my whole twenty eight years of lifetime was just as fleeting and unimportant as a dream.  I remember a feeling which can only be identified with how the prodigal son must have felt on returning home to his father.

This quickly changed to a feeling of tremendous sorrow and disappointment as one of these beautiful people said ' It's not time yet, you must go back.'  I seemed to know that what was being said was said with authority and that I would very soon be leaving them.  I knew also that there was no personal decision made by these people as to whether I was to stay or not, only that this was how it had to be.  I remember saying with great sadness in my heart ' I don't want to go back.,' only to be told ' You must go back'  Then I felt as if I was spinning around in a tunnel and being drawn backwards at tremendous speed.  The speed was so great that although I knew I was spinning, I appeared to remain in an upright position, almost like the propeller of an aircraft appears to remain still,  when rotating at high speed. The next thing I knew, I was in the dentist's chair and I started to cry.  I wanted to tell them that I was in the wrong place, but I did not know how to explain.  I tried to remember what it was that I had known and understood in my moment of revelation in that beautiful place, but the knowledge had been taken away from me as suddenly as it had been given to me.

I will never forget the torment of the next three days or so, my poor husband thought I was going to have a breakdown.  For nearly a week after my experience, each morning my husband would say to me 'You was speaking in a foreign language in your sleep last night'.  I said to him the first morning 'What do you mean a foreign language,  was I muttering?'  'No' he said 'you was speaking in a foreign language'. I tried to explain my experience to him and to several people but they all put it down to the anaesthetic.  How could I convince them that this had been no dream, that it was more real than anything else I had ever experienced.  I'd had dreams before, under normal circumstances and under anaesthetic, and this was totally different.  Eventually I tucked my memories of my wonderful experience away in my heart knowing that despite other people's disbelief, I was now convinced that I had proof that there was something more than this life, and I was also convinced that it had something to do with the God of the Bible, the God that my father had believed in.  I seemed to be experiencing glimpses of His supernatural power at different times in my life, and it was making me more and more aware of Him.  I did not understand why or how this had happened to me, but I knew that it had happened, and nobody on this earth could persuade me otherwise.

Some years later three separate incidents in my life were to strengthen this conviction.  I read that the actor, Peter Sellers had also had a 'near death experience' and he too was told that he had to come back as his time here was not finished, and  I came to live next door but one to a girl who had exactly the same experience as myself, also in a dental surgery, with the very same words spoken to her.  Seven years later I became born again of God's Holy Spirit, receiving the gift of tongues, a language I had never learnt, after being baptized in water and suddenly I felt a connection with my experience seven years previous.  Then I read two passages in the Bible.  One which spoke of a person experiencing a similar incident, also being told things that they were not permitted to speak about:-  ' I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—  how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.' (2 Corinthians ch. 12 vs. 2,3 and 4. } Here the place 'paradise' is also called the 'third heaven' a few verses down.

The other passage was  Jeremiah ch. 1 v. 5 , where God says to Jeremiah 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.'

These scriptures were the greatest comfort to me, and verified what had happened to me and where I had been taken to seven years previous.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

World Peace

World Peace

I am the ruling authority in the world, and I have the power to change the world, to create war or to create peace.
' She's mad', some would say, on hearing me make this statement.  Others would say nothing, would just avoid me, thinking 'She's mad'.
Yet whether I speak these words or merely think them, I will maintain that I am the ruling authority in the world and I have the power to change the world, to create war or create peace.
the reason I can be so certain of this fact is that the world that I speak of is 'my world'.  I have no authority over your world.  I may have some influence, but I have no authority.  'My world' consists of 'myself and others', and the 'power to change my world' depends on my relationship with others, with action, reaction and interaction being the tools that I use, and choice being the hand that uses them.
The Jews have a saying, 'To save one person is to save the world'.  The Muslims have a saying, 'To kill one person is to kill mankind'.  Though the Jew speaks of saving, and the Muslim speaks of killing, they carry the same message, the power to promote war or peace, one through an exhortation, the other through a warning.
These sayings have no authority in my world.  They may have influence, but they have no authority.  Always the power to choose what I promote remains with me.  I can blow on a spark or spit on it.  Whatever I choose to do with the spark will also determine what the spark itself will do.  Herein lies influence.
There is an ancient Chinese proverb which says, 'If there be righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character.  If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.  If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.  When there is order in each nation, there will be peace in the world.'
This proverb also carries a message, the influence of righteousness.  This proverb also has no authority in my world.  It may have influence, but it has no authority.  Always the power to choose what I have in my heart remains with me.
So now you see that I am the ruling authority of the world, and I have the power to change the world, to create war or to create peace, ..... my world that is, I can only try to influence yours.

Peace that passes understanding

There is a peace within my soul
no riches could have bought it
I found it not in wealth or fame
in wretchedness I sought it
This peace that passes understanding
peace that I can call my own
can not be found in all the world
It's found in Jesus Christ alone
Good or evil

Is it by choice , or predestined, that we do good or do evil?  Where is the plumbline?   Is my evil somebody else's good, is my good somebody else's evil?  To whom somebody else's evil is good, then it is good.  To whom somebody else's good is evil, then it is evil.  To establish a common good, or a common evil, there must be a plumbline.  Without a plumbline there is no such thing as evil or good - only chaos.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Reason for my blog name

My conversion to Christianity had been dramatic.  I had been very  ' worldly ' previous to my conversion, but had also experienced the supernatural presence of God through a healing when I was a child and a near death experience during my adult life.   When I was about seven years of age, I was brought home from school because I was ill.  As I lay in pain on the sofa in our living room that late afternoon my father, who was a Christian, prayed for me to be made well.  I remember all the room appearing to turn blue and my pain disappeared.  My father had been a lovely person who often, when we children had arguements, would say ' Let's see what the Lord says ', and would find a verse in his Bible that would always settle the arguement and bring peace amongst us.  He was quite a bit older than my mother, and died when I was eleven years of age.  I was actually in the room at his passing.  It left a great void in my life

' Father - where are you? ' said the child in despair
' Father where are you? ' she cried
But in the darkened room there was nobody there
For the father she loved had just died

When I was thirty five I became a Christian and was baptized in water and the baptism of the Holy Spirit followed, with the gift of speaking in tongues enabling me to pray according to the will of God. 

' Father - where are You? ' said the child once again
' Father where are You? ' she cried
But this time it was not as it had been then
For now God was the Father on whom she relied

Through her deepest emotions - love, anger and shame
When her heart was in turmoil You was calling her name
When the hurt that she carried was too much to bear
If it wasn't for You Lord there'd be nobody there

You are always there Jesus though we don't always see
You revealing God's love to the world ....... and to me

 I immedeately began to feel a deep desire to tell others about Jesus and the need for salvation.  I remember once being on a railway station looking into the restaurant at all the people sat in there.  I wondered how many of them knew that we all have to be born again of God's Holy Spirit in order to enter the kingdom of God, and that Jesus is the only name under Heaven by which we might get saved and be reconciled back to God.  It made me want to cry, and there on that railway station I prayed for the people that I saw in the restaurant and all those who did not know about salvation through Jesus.
We were living in a flat in Adelaide, South Australia, at the time.  We had sold our bungalow and were in the process of trying to decide whether we should return to the U.K or move to another state.  That afternoon, after the experience on the railway station, I returned to our flat with this burden for people heavily on my mind.  I entered the flat and went straight to the bathroom.  A soon as I entered the bathroom I was aware of something deeply spiritual.  The whole room suddenly began to change until I was aware that I was standing inside a lighthouse.  I was looking out through a door and could see little boats on a very rough sea.  Each little boat was occupied by just one person, and I was aware that these boats were drifting out on the ocean, that the people had no control over them amd were in danger of drowning.  Then, just as suddenly, I was back in my bathroom, amazed at what I had just experienced.
Shortly after, we returned to the U.K to live in Lancashire,  We stayed with my brother and his family for six weeks and then were given a council house.  Within a short time the Lord led me to some other Christians and added to us until eventually a church became established.  We used to pray and intercede for the area constantly and the Lord continued to add to us.  At that time I suddenly started to write poetry and songs, some which seemed to minister to people and some which were my own personal prayers, which the Lord sometimes answered within the poem itself.  I still had this burden for outsiders which had become even stronger.  I felt like I wanted to stand outside in the street and tell everyone about Jesus but did not know how to.  I prayed to the Lord and felt that all my frustrations, and the answer to them, came out in this poem.

No need to tell You Father what joy is in my heart
No need to tell this family of which I'm now a part
But when I try to tell the world about the way I feel
My words do not express Lord Yourlove which is so real
'Just put your trust in Me child'  You always seem to say
'Be gentle and forgiving - Jesus shows the way'
I call the world through Jesus, this you know is so
For when you first sought Me child I said 'To Him you go'
So do not worry for the world, for he who seeks will find
Just rest, surrounded by my love - life's chains no longer bind
And when you've learnt your Father's ways, each day to you revealed
Then you too will show the world just how my love is sealed

This settled my heart to know that I did not have to worry about other people being visited with salvation, that God was in control, but I also felt that He was going to lead me into evangelism.
The area that we were living in, like most areas, housed some drug addicts and heavy drinkers, and a lot of my prayers were out of concern for them.  One day I read in a newspaper how a nightclub called 'The Lighthouse' had been burned down and people had died in the fire.  I cried bitterly as I recalled my vision and related the loneliness and despair of the people in their little boats on the ocean in my vision to the loneliness and despair that I knew existed in the world of club night life and its so called 'joys'.  I cried for the people who had died in their 'Lighthouse'without maybe ever having experiencing the joys of knowing the Lord.  This anguish also came out in the form of a poem, which I called ......

The Lighthouse

Father I'm in the lighthouse, I'm in Your sanctuary
Saved from the perils of the world - plucked from the stormy sea
No longer in life's darkness, a light was shone for me
And not because I was righteous, but because I needed to be
Father I see many people outside upon the waves
Tossed about in their boats of fear, seeking the hand that saves
They're drowning in the ocean of misery and pain
Striving to keep feom sinking - but labouring in vain
Father send them Jesus, just like You did with me
Shine the light towards them and change their destiny
Cause them to see their Saviour, Your wonderful, precious Son
Bring them into Your kingdom, and let Your will be done
Father how I love You, and want to praise Your name
I'll bless the name of Jesus ...... and thank my God He came

The Lord started to bring people from the area I was living in across my path, and some of these people woould come to my home for prayer meetings, and would come to church.  Meanwhile I would discuss my desires with a lady friend at church who spoke about maybe the two of us opening a coffee shop called 'The Lighthouse', but nothing came of it.
After living in Lancashire for two years we returned to Bridgend to live and I started attending church where I met my friend, Paula.  We started meeting together regularly for prayer and realized that we were united in the Spirit as far as the burden for the unsaved was concerned.  Paula started writing poetry and songs, and we realized much of our poems appeared to be evangelistic in nature.  We sought the Lord over them and felt we were instructed by Him to put these poems into leaflet form, with corresponding scriptures, and go out into the 'highways and the byways' with them.  This we did and still do.
Soon after, we felt the Lord directing us to Cardiff prison with out poetry and songs, with the Lord telling us that He had 'set before us an open door'.  We went to Cardiff and on the way to the prison we called at the ladies toilet in the market.  I went to put money in a door with 'vacant' on it, and a lady stood at the sink said 'That one's not working, someone just put money in and it would not open'.  I had already dropped the coin into the slot, so I tried to slide the catch across, and the door opened.  'That's strange' the lady said, it would not open just now'.  When I came out of the cubicle someone else put money into the slot and the door would not open.  Both Paula and myself felt that this was a sign going together with the scripture the Lord had given us concerning an open door to us going into the prison.  We went to the prison only to be told that the chaplain was the one we should speak to and that he was not there that day.  I immediately wrote a note telling him what we felt to do and left some of our leaflets to be given to him.  He contacted us on the following Wednesday and, after an arranged meeting, invited us to be prison visitors.  This we did for eighteen months, and during that time were allowed to evangelise to the prisoners, freely sharing our poetry and songs whilst doing so.  We both felt this was our calling from God, to evangelise to those in despair.  I had already shared the story of my vision with Paula, we started to pray to the Lord for 'The Lighthouse', a place where people could come to have a cup of coffee and the gospel, people who may not initially come into the established church buildings.  The Lord had for some time been telling us that we would be a light to the gentiles, and to set the prisoners free, and giving us the ministry to do it through our poetry and songs as well as verbal witnessing.  He was opening doors for us to do this constantly.
One night a friend left a book she was reading in my car after I had dropped her off.  The next morning I read the book.  It was about a man who had also felt a burden for the lost and a desire to have a similar kind of place.  The Lord had provided this place and also the money to purchase it.  I felt that the Lord could be confirming to me through this book that there woould be a place called 'The Lighthouse'. 
That afternoon I had invited my sister and brother in law to my house and also invited Paula.  I was so excited about what I felt was happening that I determined to tell Paula when I saw her that I believed the Lord was speaking about 'The Lighthouse'.  As Paula came through my back garden gate that afternoon I said 'Paula, I think the Lord is speaking about the Lighthouse.'  She was amazed.  She said that she had been waiting for the bus to come up to my house.  She had to go to the bus stop in Market Street in Bridgend because the bus station was closed.  As she sat on the bus she noticed a property for sale across the road, a business property which had been used as a video shop.  She did not think anything of it until the bus went around the town in a full circle coming back to the same place and she was once more right opposite this shop.  Now she felt that her attention was being brought to this property, and she thought about 'The Lighthouse.  'Lord', she said, 'If You are pointing this property out as the future Lighthouse then have Brenda say to me when I see her, 'I think the Lord is talking about 'The Lighthouse'.
We decided to go to enquire about the property.  Shortly after, I had a dream in which someone was saying to me 'You have to move into number thirty five'  I told them 'I don't want to move into thirty five, it hasn't got a garden'.  When we were shown around the property we were told it was number thirty five, and it was up for sale for thirty five thousand pounds.  We didn't have the money and someone else bought it, an Indian man.  We prayed about this and still we felt that the Lord was speaking about 'The Lighthouse', telling us through Joshua ch.1 that we would go in and possess the land, and through Esther ch.4 that we had come for such a time as this.  Paula actually went to work for the man who had bought the property.  He owned bed sits in another part of town as well, and she went to clean them.  I used to go with her sometimes and the Lord gave us many opportunities to witness to the tenants, who were mostly young males.  At one time Paula thought she might sell her house and try to buy the property in Market Street, it had a flat upstairs, but she did not have enough money to do so.  Several times we were offered the chance of renting the property, but we did not have enough money and planning permission was refused for a cafe at that time because of the fact that there was no pavement fronting it.
About this time I started creating laminated poetry wall hangings, little cards, painted picture poems and other little Christian crafts, and Paula started making crocheted shawls, bags and other  crafts, these  increased and we often thought they would be suitable for selling and displaying in 'The Lighthouse'.  The property in Market street was let to several people but never for any length of time until, I believe, it became a hairdressers several years ago.
I had stopped thinking about the property becoming 'The Lighthouse', then something happened.  I had been to Neath with my husband and while there a lady came into my mind whom I had not seen or thought of for some years.  The next day I saw her in Bridgend and she had a young man with her who was concerned about something that had happened to him that he felt he had no control over and did not understand.  I gave him one of my Christian leaflets that I felt would speak directly into his situation, and he asked if I would come to the lady's house soon to speak with him.  The lady also invited me to her house, and asked me to pray for her, that she had to go into hospital becaus she had cancer.  She told me that the last time I had seen her I had given her a poem because she was upset about something, that it had helped her and that she had also passed it on to a man who had lost his sixteen year old son.  She then asked if I would write her another poem because she was sick.  I told her that I had a poem which I believed would speak to her, and that I would bring it with me to her house.  I asked if I could bring a friend with me and she said I could.  Paula said she would come with me and I rang up a couple of days later, when this lady told me of a friend who had tried to kill herself.  I arranged for us to go that afternoon, and took with me another poem and scripture for the friend.  During the couple of hours we spent there, several peoples' lives were shown to be in such darkness, and yet I could see the Lord's purpose in our visit.  the lady we were visiting had previously had an experience where she believed that God had brought a friend out of a coma as a result of her seeking Him.When I came home I started to think about the need for the Lord to be in everyone's life and over the next few days I felt the need to pray and to intercede, crying for these people.  One evening shortly after, I was tidying up my files on my computer when I came across something I had not seen for years, I had forgotten that it was on my computer.  It was a letter to the owner of the shop in Market Street, asking him if he would let Paula and myself rent the premises.  The letter was dated November 26th 1998.  As I read the letter on my computer screen I realized that the date that day was also November 26th, nine years later.  I had to ask myself, 'Is the Lord in this?'
Some strange things happened during the next couple of weeks.  I was putting a little booklet together called 'The world lies in dardness'  The church that I was attending was open at night on weekends to allow people who might need help to come in.  There are many pubs and clubs open in the town and people sometimes get injured in fights or become distressed, and pastors from the town's churches patrol the area.  It came into my mind that it might be nice to leave the booklet around for them to read if they wished.  I thought I might take it to the pastor of the church.  I took it down on the Tuesday ladies' meeting and he was there preaching about being a light to the gentiles.  I had given him the book when I walked in and could not help but notice that so many things that he preached were similar to what was in the booklet.  I also thought about the Lighthouse poem being in the front of the booklet and wondered, once again, if the Lighthouse cafe might come into being.
Shortly after, we were in the process of moving to Llandybie, near Ammanford in West Wales, and I thought 'What about the Lighthouse?' Then the banker made a mistake twice in my name, calling me Sandra, and printing out insurance cover twice with that name on it.  I thought about how the building we wanted for the Lighthouse used to be called 'Sandra's'.  Sandra means 'one who helps men' or exciter of love', and that is part of the work of the Holy Spirit in us.  Since coming to our new home my prayers for what I am to do with all that I feel I have been brought to write have increased passionately, and recently I have been brought through several events to find myself sat in front of a computer feeling very strongly that I should set up this blog.