Remarkably Resourceful

It was one of those days.

One friend had the link to help with starting projects. Later on another friend supplied some outlines that I could follow to succeed in the project. Hours elapsed and another friend offered outstanding insight on equipment that could be used to deliver on the project. Then as if that wasn’t enough yer another friend gave some good counsel on how to just take time with everything. Take things in stages. Don’t get in a rush. Just do what I can.

Without all of this, I would not even be able to start, let alone have good guidance on how to progress with the project.

What’s the project?

Well ….

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Run to Win but not be Disqualified

Athletics? Nah.

I used to run a bit at school, but in my younger years. Then I got to the stage where I didn’t like running so much. I much prefer walking.

As for watching athletics, it was one of the few things my Dad would watch on TV. So I watched races and was duly intrigued by some of the stories in the races and behind the races. I remember 1988 and the furore behind the 100m final.

There was Carl Lewis, the great hope of America, up against Linford Christie, the great hope of Britain and against Ben Johnson, the great hope for Canada. Johnson won the race, claimed the gold and the adulation of his nation. Then subsequent tests showed that Johnson had ingested illegal performance enhancing drugs and in shame and scandal he had to relinquish his gold medal. He had been disqualified.

Almost 30 years later, there is still a strong degree of disgust at using performance enhancing drugs to gain an unfair advantage in the sport. Some competitors insist drug cheats should never be allowed back in the sport again. The degree to which mercy, forgiveness and restoration is lacking in this particular area is telling in the sport. Cheating spoils it for others who work hard, train diligently and apply themselves to run to win within the rules.

And that’s for a medal and a title that is temporary. The gold medal winner in 1988 is not the winner in 2008 or 2028. Time moves on, Lewis last week, becomes Michael Johnson yesterday, becomes Usain Bolt today and becomes another sporting great tomorrow.

Meanwhile there is another race the Apostle Paul referred to – a race to gain a crown that never perishes. Paul takes this race so seriously that he dare not do anything to see himself disqualified and he will get his body under control so he can be in it to win it.

That desire to be so careful in the race reminds me of the sobering words of Jesus that many will claim him as Lord, but be disqualified because He does not know them for being anything other than workers of lawlessness. They can boast all they want of the accomplishments they have racked up ‘in his name’ and still be disqualified for something a whole lot worse than using performance enhancing drugs.

I recognise how easy it is to encourage others to be faithful while I am being faithless. Talking a great talk, whipping up an enthusiasm for godly pursuits, while I am slowly sinking into a prideful selfish abyss of delusional and deceptive decay. The mercy of God has been rich in my life to wake me up to the futility and folly of the hypocrisy. To the point that when I recognise the symptoms beginning to sprout in my mind not only do I desperately pray, but I know that I need the help of my brothers in Christ to hold me up and restore me to right paths. I appreciate the support from within and without. Left to myself, I know that I wouldn’t be around and aware enough to write these words. God in His grace extends opportunity after opportunity to get on with the race and run to win.

That same grace propels me to encourage others in doing whatever it takes to focus on the only race that matters. Get ready for it. Train for it. Go for it. Do it in such a way that after you encourage others, you won’t be disqualified.

I would certainly prefer that race than athletics.

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

A Flowing Conversation

There was this interview that just felt flat.

One of the key reasons why it felt so flat was that as engaging as the subject of the interview was, the person asking the questions sounded so dry, stilted and stale. It was great credit to the person being asked that the answers given were so engaging. Indeed if I only heard the responses it would have come across as far more interesting.

Life, however, is not a monologue. In as much as I live it through my eyes, even those are engaging in something beyond me that I respond to. It’s a riveting conversation because of how I view and hear that which I engage with beyond me.

What particularly makes for a flowing conversation is engaging with people who refuse to see their role as presenting challenges in a dry, stilted and stale way. They see their part in life as using whatever they have been given to stimulate whatever is around them pursuing a better way of living.

I find those kind of people inspirational. They incite me to look to live the same way, even as we know a very good example of someone who lived that way and though he died, he rose again from the dead to offer the way to eternal life experienced by never being dry, stale or stilted. Rather this life would be enriching, engaging and ever flowing.

Like a good flowing conversation.

(This blog is written with special affection for my good friend AJ – The Praying Poet. You keep the conversation flowing my brother. Keep growing and keep flowing.)

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

In Training

I look at myself sometimes and think what a lethargic, lazy slob I am. I quickly shake myself from that and get to the meat of the matter of how I am to be.

This week in particular, scriptures about training have come up big time. Like this one.

I read this and in line with the physical training I have embarked on lately, it is a reminder that life can be something you train for. Learning, developing, honing and perfecting. It just so happens that the training is life. Training for godliness is not something done primarily in an academic setting. It’s done in daily interactions and activities.

It’s invigorating to think that this is something that can be done as an alternative to just picking up and dwelling on myths. Paul had something in mind when he wrote to Timothy about avoiding that. There is still so much of that myth promoting doing the rounds in church circles, it’s just that they’re given the respectability of something important we need to be talking about, though it doesn’t take much to see those kind of conversations as rubbish.

This training encourages ongoing focus on the God we want to be like. Looking at Jesus and living the life He calls for by His Spirit. Making that the key focus in life and working towards that is channeling what we might give to other pursuits to God. Some of those pursuits appear harmless, but they can also be used to distract us from the things that matter. Hence the encouragement for training. Ongoing and diligent attention to ensure all we’re doing is in line with that desire to be godly.

Those training themes in scriptures will not be left dormant with me. I have an idea …

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Sharing A Moment With Deborah

It’s worth just sharing this for the record. 😏

Connecting with people really, truly and deeply never ceases to be an invigorating experience.

I love being with my wife and we converse in such a way that shares an understanding of what we’re going through. I love it when we support each other in connecting like that and I am learning to value it – learning not to take it for granted, learning to celebrate it for what it is.

There are also my children and they remain fascinating creatures to engage with. The oldest, Deborah, will be hitting her teens with a vengeance this year. In some ways she’s mature and in others … In any case, as my firstborn I am often transfixed by her development and recently we shared a moment.

We connect fairly well most of the time, but there are priceless times when we share moments that go deeper than connections. I treasure those moments. We had one recently that revolved around music. On the one hand, I don’t force my music tastes down their throats. They are all at the stage where they clearly have their tastes and are exploring those further. Unsurprisingly, Deborah’s exploration leads to her having her styles of music she loves and I admire her as she crafts her own tastes where those are concerned. In doing so, it can feel like our differences become more stark. Yet we shared a moment. She spoke of a song she really enjoyed. It turned out to be a song I enjoyed too. Now sure two people can like the same song, but with Deborah her approach to the song was through a cover version and then finding the original.

We listened to both together and shared the effect both versions had on us. It was beautiful seeing her share what the song meant to her and how it evoked emotions in her. I felt honoured to partake in the conversation with her where we established more than an understanding, something far greater than a connection. Something we shared at the core of who we are as people and it drew me closer to her.

The experience reminded me that life is enriched through the moments we share with others where we can go further than a connection. Especially when that reflects our desire for rich and deep relationships with others based on our ever deepening relationship with the Father who delights in sharing those moments with us as we intentionally engage with Him.

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

A Word On Headphones

Some people prefer earphones to headphones. They like the way it can fit snugly and provide the quality soundscape they are looking for.

I don’t mind earphones, but I prefer headphones. They make a statement and create an atmosphere far beyond the desire for more bass.

A statement headphones often make is that you may be in the world, but you’re not necessarily of this world. For in as much as you are visually attuned to your surroundings, you have bathed your hearing in something else. Sometimes that something else compliments what the visuals portray, but often it does something different. Whether music or spoken word those headphones declare you have cut yourself off to tune your head space in something else. What that head space is tuned into can affect your perspective radically.

That head space is cocooned while the body looks free. Yet that cocoon is not limitation or restriction. It can be therapy or the genesis of something. It can be a refuge or a delight. It speaks volumes far greater than the earphones.

To observers it might appear off-putting or anti-social. It may appear to isolate rather than integrate. It might appear like the loner’s dream come true. This, however, is not always the case. Within that head space may be percolating something that embraces rather than rejects. Within that head space could be the thing that individual needs to get on better in the world.

That’s why I prefer headphones. That’s why I love headphones. Sometimes we just need to spend time being in the world, but because of our head space, we are not of it.

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Can You Not See? 

His tone was deliberately provocative and accusatory. He was talking about wider issues, but he was still talking to me. 

“Can you not see?” 

People are there who are more than capable of helping in the situation. Opportunities are wide open for exploring and maximising. Relationships were there to be developed and invested in. The needs were more than evident. 

“Can you not see?” 

The load was never designed to be carried alone. The mission was never given to be done solo. The journey was never for the single. The assignment could never be completed by one person on their own. 

“Can you not see?” 

Hungry souls and broken hearts, crippled minds and beat up bodies all needing a response that went beyond saccharine sentiments and cheap quips. Young people patronised waiting to be truly appreciated. Lonely people neglected waiting to be truly embraced and understood in community. 

“Can you not see?” 

His eyes ablaze and yet filled with tears of anguish at how oblivious people appeared to be to that which was blindingly obvious. Anger and sorrow met in the pregnant pause. The fiery eyes burned within seeking the dross of apathy to quench it completely. Its glare highlighted every dark area of mediocre excuses and rationalisations. 

“Can you not see?” 

Your conventions and your camps. Your summits and your convocations. Your large gatherings and your small groups. Your shouting and your hollering. Your loud music and your loud preaching. Your convenient and selective rule keeping. Your committees and your boards. Your schemes and your visions. Your fasting and your Bible studies. All your activities and your busyness. All in vain. All because of your blindness to what matters first and foremost. 

“Can you not see?”  

The truth is that we see only too well. We see and hear and have become so accustomed to it that it has become acceptable. It is the norm. It is what it is. Resigned, world weary shrugging of shoulders have accepted this as our lot. So. It is best not to kick up a fuss. Not to rock the boat. Sure moan about it and grumble every now and then, but what can be done about it. That’s the way of the world, we console ourselves by saying. Best not to do anything other than carry on with the activities and busyness that marks out our existence until we shuffle off this mortal coil. Our eyes becoming dimmed with every concession and compromise. Our ears filling up with the wax of hopelessness and defeat. 

Yet the prophetic voice will not be quieted. 

“Can you not see?” 

The voice calls us back to the One who gives us sight. The voice calls us to repentance – not in sackcloth and ashes but renewed by the Spirit of God to see – see with compassion and move to actively meet the needs – not alone, but in relationship, in community, in harmony, in camaraderie, in the beauty of a unity that doesn’t demand uniformity and conformity to the traditions of men, but in the call of Christ to display the multi-faceted wisdom of God through what He has given each of us. 

He that has eyes to see will see what the Spirit is showing the church. He that has ears will hear and in concert with God will move as He moves. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden