Over a Drink

Some people nurse their glass or their cup. It’s as though as they care for the circumference of the vessel as a reflection of the care they want to be held in concerning key issues in their lives.

Maybe if the conversation is nurtured as much as the glass or the cup, who knows what will flow as a result …

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Advertisements

Stop, Look and Listen

When I was just a little boy there was a campaign to promote safety for pedestrians crossing the road and it had a jingle that mentioned the three ways in the blog title. I remember the jingle, so I remember the phrase. I even remember what the drive of the campaign.

It’s good to know a few years later that the advice is just as necessary now as it was then and not just before crossing a road safely.

Not only is there a rush to get this, that and the other done. There is a relentless drive of routine and ritual. It must be done, but never questioned. It just must be done. It has always been done, there is safety in the regularity of it being done as opposed to the threat of the unknown when doing something different.

We get sucked in and before long it’s just the norm. It’s just what we do. There is little thought about alternatives. We just keep on going and keep on doing what has always been done.

Thankfully the grace of God will invite us to stop. There’s a day in the week given to stop. There are times in the day given to stop (not just sleep). That invitation to stop is a great mercy when we take advantage to do just that.

As we stop, the next invitation is to look. What a wonderful invitation – look back on what has been done even as the creation narrative shows God often looking at what was done. As we stop we can review, reflect and be refreshed by what has taken place. But not just look back, but look around. Take in the now. Observe the present. Behold the current surroundings. Not just drink all that in, but then look ahead at what things might be, what path is ahead even for the next step. All this observing is done after we stop. There’s no need to be active doing all the time. Creation is around to observe and joining God on His mission has opportunities to look as well.

Yet in all the observations having stopped, there is also a chance to listen. It is so difficult to truly listen because it is not about the self, it is about what is beyond the self. If we were to submit to truly listening there is much that could be really helpful for us and others. If we pay attention and listen, there is a voice calling. There is a voice engaging and inviting us to deeper relationships, deeper intimacy, deeper joy in knowing and that being the spring from which all other action can take place.

This isn’t about navel gazing and being introspective for the sake of being deep, profound but ultimately pointless. This is wisdom to see how love in doing is connected in love in being that is defined by a relationship with God that often sees Him invites you to stop, look and listen to His heart to hear what He’s saying.

Following what He says in those moments can allow us to enjoy the fullness of life found only in Him.

(Photos: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Walking With …

That’s quite a trek.

Plenty of twists and turns on the path and it doesn’t look like there is any safety on either side of the path. One false step could lead to harm or worse.

So for a journey like this it’s good to know it doesn’t need to be done alone. When that is said, some refer to the fact that at least the Way is with them highlighting the Truth in terms of the steps to take to Life.

This is a reassuring reality. Yet there is also the opportunity to travel with others. Like-minded pilgrims who appreciate that this journey cannot be accomplished alone. Like-minded travellers who have progressed because they realise the key is to make it together. They realise that if one should slip, another will be there to keep them from falling. The other will be there to restore and refresh. Together they can challenge each other to progress and keep going even when fatigue sets in, even when others give up.

It’s good to know it will be a case of walking with …

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Celebrating the Gospel

The birth of a new born baby, a wedding, a wedding anniversary, a significant birthday, passing a big test, winning, achieving, being honoured and of course Thursdays – all valid reasons to celebrate.

Lately, however, I found myself singing even more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. What happened at Calvary. What God achieved in the life, death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah. The more I sung, the more it became so moving to reflect on what was achieved in the good news. It is something worth sharing and celebrating. Just a note on a few things I found worth celebrating in the gospel.

  • Jesus is Lord
  • Sins have been forgiven
  • Mercy is expressed at its greatest
  • Grace is revealed in its most profound
  • Right relationship is restored directly between man and God through the Son
  • Death is defeated
  • Hope is extended to the hopeless
  • The lonely are given the great invitation to belong to the family of God
  • The poor receive an everlasting Kingdom
  • The wicked are dealt with
  • The King rules in righteousness, peace, love and joy
  • Any misery and suffering experienced now is not the end of the story at worst it is a comma in a sentence that goes on to a grand crescendo that makes everything before the comma insignificant in comparison.
  • New life is offered to those who believe and embrace the news that the old has past with the hang-ups, addictions, crippling mindsets and devastating lies that were the crutches of life for so long.
  • One day the rule will completely take over and for eternity …

I was going to finish that statement but got too happy. Tears of joy got too much for me to keep writing. It’s one thing to celebrate the birth of a beautiful baby, it’s profound to celebrate marrying the love of your life, it’s mind blowing to celebrate 50 years of marital unity. They are all amazing and worth the celebration.

But seriously to me, writing just a snapshot of the reasons to celebrate the gospel of Jesus Christ, nothing else compares to it. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I am grateful for the love of the Father to send His Son so that by the power of the Spirit the victory would be won. Jesus is Lord – He rules over all – all authority in heaven and earth is given to Him. He rules in righteousness. He rules for real peace to spread around all His creation. Grace and mercy flow like an ever gushing river.

I could go on and on and on. Oh how marvellous, oh how wonderful, is my Saviour’s love for humanity.

That good news is definitely worth celebrating!

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

I Have Decided … And Keep Deciding

I have decided to follow Jesus

I have decided to follow Jesus

I have decided to follow Jesus

No turning back, no turning back

When I was a lot younger I heard gatherings of saints belt these words out with gusto. There were other words to the song declaring sole allegiance to Jesus against all opposition both from without and from within. As commitment goes it was a very strong proclamation.

What I went on to witness when the singing stopped, though, was people following many things but not Jesus. Tragically I also witnessed those who sang no turning back one minute, before turning back the next.

There were times when I thought I wouldn’t turn back either. I felt the swell in the heart that meant the song with every fibre of my being. Caught in the moment of overwhelming gratitude for all Jesus did for me, I was sure that I would stick to my decision. Life subsequently taught me that it was never designed to be a one off decision. It is an ongoing decision. It is a daily deciding. It is a commitment made by faith. It’s also a decision I make knowing that even when I am faithless, He remains faithful.

It is about following Him. Often that is put to the test. Often it is a matter of who it is I am really following. Often there is a draw to follow well meaning attractions and projects. Often there are those who give the impression that they have the monopoly on Jesus and following anything else is to stop following Him.

Yet I have decided to follow Jesus. That decision is one I make again and again. It is the best decision I have ever made and will continue to be so as I keep making it and as He keeps leading.

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Reflections On Three People Making A Difference In My Life

Over the past ten days three very special people in my life celebrated their birthdays. Two of them usually get a mention on here and the third is new to this in terms of me saying something. As I had the opportunity to sit back and consider them, I was moved to write something about them as people making a difference in my life.

Ruth

My sister is no stranger to being mentioned on this blog. Yet as another year passes in her life I still have reason to give God thanks for her. First of all, I applaud her as a mother. When I see how her children respect her and their interactions I am so delighted to see it in action. The love she has for her children is unmistakable and as usual when it comes to my sister, there is much I can learn from her in this aspect of her life.

Ruth is more than that to me, though and I love her because in as much as she has matured, she has not forgotten or neglected the importance of humour in life. She can still crack me up with her dry humour and extended irony and sarcasm. She knows that right balance of taking things seriously, but not overly serious to the point of getting morose.

I am very grateful that my own daughters have a great model of what it is to be female in their mother, but it’s even better to know that they have an Aunt who is also a brilliant example of being resourceful, generous, trustworthy, wise and brilliant. Acknowledging another year of faithfulness in her life is celebrating how blessed I am to have her looking out for me and being a presence for the positive in my life.

Dad

I was sharing with a good friend just how important my Dad is to me. He was my first model of manhood. I subsequently had other models presented to me and I followed some of them. In honesty I followed the others because I found my Dad’s model to be lacking. Yet experience only went to show that the other models only highlighted how exemplary my Dad’s model was. In faithfulness, in consistency, in wisdom, in being timely, in humility, in service, in being submissive, in exercising tremendous self-control, in displaying a commitment against all odds and in doing things without looking for praise or attention, I don’t think I came across a better model than him. My brother is a great man, but it would never have happened if it wasn’t for my Dad.

As my Dad gets older there should be something in me that gets concerned about him and his health, etc. Yet for a number of years my Dad has assured me greatly, not out of a sense of invincibility as though nothing will phase him. The assurance I got was very similar to the Apostle Paul talking to saints about living is Christ and dying is gain. That assurance was about knowing that my Dad’s life is hidden in Christ and if there is a legacy he would leave it would be about living for Christ and helping others to do the same.

My Dad won’t necessarily draw plaudits and acclaim from widespread masses, but every time I see a life affected for the better because of my brother, my sister or even me, it is another mark of how well he did as a man, a servant of God and a father.

Chola

Here is the odd one out. This time last year I had little idea who this geezer was. I had come across him once or twice, but that was about it. One year later and I have no qualms at all in saying he is one of the dearest people in my life.

What could bring about such a change? Conversation, commitment and a cultivated companionship based on shared interests pivotal in it all being our shared love for Jesus.

Getting to know more about Chola in this past nine months and so has been one of the highlights of the year and my life for a long time. He has given me room to be myself without withdrawing into himself and he has given me access to know him and together sharing life has been a joy. Coming across someone with such a desire to know Jesus more has been a terrific spur to get me on with growing in knowing Him myself. Exchanging our findings about Jesus on His Word has epitomised what it is for iron to sharpen iron.

There is so much that has impressed me so far in Chola in terms of his humble character. Someone hungry to learn and grow in experiencing Jesus applied in all facets of life, he is a great example for folks who just want to get on with following Jesus. It’s an honour of mine to call him brother and friend. My desire is that he will go on and really blossom as he acknowledges what God wants in his life.

Three people making a positive difference in my life and the lives of others. As they grow another year older, may that be something they will always be known for.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Guitars or Keyboards: Creating the Environment for …

Pianists and guitarists have my unswerving admiration. Both musicians have a gift for creating soundscapes that few other instrumentalists can manage.

There’s always been something I found interesting between the guitar and the keyboard. That large piece of equipment in the keyboard always appeared to require a lot to it. Whereas the guitar was a lot more portable and able to create the sound whenever and wherever, especially the acoustic guitar.

Both instruments are great, but one seems more capable of creating the environment wherever and whenever than the other.

Something I have admired about certain people for quite a long time is a particular type of life guitarist. The person makes you feel comfortable, they make you feel right at home. Their focus is on you, but they don’t make you feel under scrutiny.

They don’t hog the conversation by talking about themselves and they’re not intrusive by asking nosey questions from you. Them being at ease makes it easier for you to feel the same. Before you know it you are hearing funny things and profound things and you’re paying no attention to time. You’re sharing things that were deep in your heart and you have found a way to say it without fear of judgement or retribution.

All because of the space prepared for you. All because that person or those people didn’t need the full keyboard, they could bring their acoustic guitars and make a melody that would make your heart soften and open for the healing you never even knew was available.

Following Jesus makes me want to be that kind of guitarist.

(Photos: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden