I lift up my eye’s to the hills

Psalm 121:1

Today , after a few days back in Rochdale to tie up some loose ends and do a few necessary alterations to the motor home, I felt a pull up towards the hills, a longing to be seeking the Lord without distraction or disturbance, where one can sit , be still and let the peace of God consume and overtake you.  

But first, I had to do a couple of other things, like go to Rochdale Town centre. Rochdale, if you don’t know it , is a medium sized town, population of approximately 100,000, about 15 miles northeast of Manchester on the western edge of the Pennines. An old cotton industry town most notably famous for it’s pioneers, the birthplace of cooperation, Christians came together in unity to formulate the very first shop on toad lane.

Today is a different matter , not one of unity and cooperation. Only 200 yards from the museum on toad lane, the  POLICE LINE. DO NOT CROSS barrier tape rattled in the wind, flanked by Police vehicle’s. The forensics tent stood in the middle, as vital evidence of a brutal attack on a male outside a takeaway, whose life was in a critical condition .

Oh Lord, protect me from this evil generation. We are to be in the world, but not of it.

I , by chance spy the town centre manager and approach him. Reintroduce myself, we have met before at council planning meetings. I want to tentatively enquire of the apparently new plans to “ control” evangelism in Rochdale.

There are differing rumours that it is to be banned from the high street and only allowed at the extremities of town. There are already “ council enforcement officers “patrolling the area that have moved people on from handing out gospel tracts. I have been looking for answers of, what is being/ going to be enforced, when and by what authority or law ? Can we still preach the gospel?  

Jesus’s heartbreaking prayer in John 17, is about unity and protection for believers “ Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me , that they may be one as We are.”

Later , I met some old friends, whose habits I once shared, out drinking, feeling good about yourself , new clothes on, we chatted for a short while, they about working hard and playing hard, I was once part of that (all old news) , my talk was about Jesus, new creation, (all good news ). They didn’t want to change their ways and follow Jesus today, for me, there is NO turning back! The cross before me, the world behind me, NO turning back.

A short while after I was near the new bridge opening in town. My old friends marched past, with secret stashes of weekend class A`s in their suit pockets, looking sneeringly down on the group of homeless alcoholics I was talking to as one of their limp body was lifted onto the paramedics stretcher , barely breathing. Overdosed on the street’s latest killer demonic craze, spice.

One set thinks the drug they take is fine and the others are at the other end of the scale.

Truth is, the devil has them all trapped and both sets are closer to the grave and hell.

Truth is, God loves them all the same, all have sinned, but God by His grace, sent His only Son to be the propitiation for ALL our sins.

Truth is, they don’t know it, and WE, gotta tell em .

I have lived for 52 years in Rochdale, started as an orphan, beaten black and blue, I have here, been married and divorced,  been in trouble here, but God in His mercy has blessed me and guided me safely through it all. Though to my shame I never knew that He was there all along.

So, I have now come up to the hills, ”I lift up my eye’s to the hills, from whence comes my help, My help comes from the Lord,  who made heaven and earth. ”To seek His guidance, His direction, His peace, His love, His forgiveness, His help.

 God bless.


  1. Fran Strandholt

    This is your most powerful blog to date.i cried and smiled because I know that journey too of many years ago. And God has so blessed you.i pray for strength courage and fearlessness for you.

  2. Jen Kilmury

    I cried too, like mother like daughter. Sitting on the bus, on my way home to see my kids – and I am truly blessed to be where I am today. By the Grace of God.

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