Journeyman Journal: Pursuing in Prayer Together

Recently I reflected on the role of walking with my Dad. In it I referred to how my brother and I would often walk with him when he went for his walks.

Looking on that in the light of life today got me thinking about the beauty of praying together. It never fails to amaze me what can happen when people following the Saviour get together and devote themselves to seeking His will and making their requests known together. There is something that develops in that sort of camaraderie. It’s like being on the walk and get instructions to make a certain turn in a direction and be prepared to engage in something exciting and challenging.

From reading in scripture about the birth of the church and its expansion emerging from prayers of people together, to reading in history of significant movements and projects that came about because people were praying together. It’s so inspiring and encouraging to know that our prayers can connect us to the walk God wants us to be on together. It’s all of those things and it stands as a challenge. Are prayers merely putting wishlists to God to grant, or whether can we appreciate that there’s a conversation God invites us to. That conversation, in the hurts and pains we go through, is to seek for His Kingdom to come and will done. Not just praying for it, but seeking it together and getting to practice it together.

The point of the Journeyman is not for solo wanderings. In  prayer, it is about what can be achieved in concert with others on the journey.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Journeyman Journal: Dad and the Walks

Dad did a lot of good things for me. A lot.

One of the best things, though, was to get me into enjoying walking. No not the rambling kind of taking a stick and needing hiking boots to walk up and down the mountain. Nah, not that kind of thing, just taking a stroll through the area we lived. If it was up to him he would walk everywhere. Having the car was a necessary inconvenience. He would walk it if he could and he loved the walking. It was among the best experiences of my life on a summer Saturday afternoon just spending time walking with my Dad.

Walks didn’t always mean talks. It could just be walking. The walking was something that Dad knew about, roughly, but I had no idea. I didn’t know where he was going and when we took certain directions I recall having looks of confusion and  being bemused. So I would ask Dad where we were going and he would feel under no obligation at all to inform me. He would just tell me to keep following him and the destination would be clear in the fullness of time. Those walks would involve a variety of terrain even if it wasn’t mountain hiking. Different scenery would bless the walks. Sometimes urban, sometimes countryside. Passing other walkers, or just us on the path. He was not in a rush. He wasn’t in a race. If it was done for health reasons it wasn’t about fitness more than it was about the health in enjoying God’s planet.

Walks could however include the occasional talk. Ahhhh those walks with conversations. Those conversations that would sometimes be as winding as the walks themselves. Topics wide and diverse. Dad wouldn’t be waxing lyrical putting the world to rights, but he would contribute, make the passing comment, asking the incisive question. It wasn’t just the two of us on the walk. Sometimes my brother and even on the rare occasion my Mum and sister would join us for the walk. If it was just us males out on the walk Dad could set up something that would get my brother and I talking and rambling around in conversation almost oblivious to where Dad was taking us.

In it there was something that Dad knew about the journeys we were taking. He was assured about them without having to spell out what what was going on and those journeys would take us on so many interesting paths. I am so grateful for my Dad setting me up for life in appreciating it’s all about following the Father along paths of righteousness that He takes me on.

Reflecting on those walks and considering where I am now, I appreciate how important it is to trust that the Father knows where He’s leading us. The paths of righteousness are not supposed to be smooth – they take us through some really rough and trying places. We’re going through those places for a reason – one particular one being that it was here that the Father found us and so we can see others who need to get on this path as opposed to ones they’ve been travelling before. The variety of paths He leads us along also reflects how multi-faceted His creation is – appreciating that is appreciating Him.

Where I am at on the journey is not quite a desperately pivotal crossroads, but it is at a stage where a change of terrain is up ahead. No, that’s nothing to fear in itself, it is something to get very excited about, but it’s something to be all the more careful to follow in the footsteps of the One who leads, so I don’t stray off the path.

The Journeyman’s trails continues … Thanks Dad.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

About Blaming Circumstances 

Words. 

They open and they close. They illuminate and they conceal. They console and they provoke. Their effect on the attitudes,  behaviour and condition of people cannot be underestimated. 

Something happens. The words we use describe a picture and a narrative that we buy into. That narrative can do much to see how we will respond to what happened. We arrive at the things that happen with a narrative already running in our head. The words we buy into either reinforces that narrative or changes it in subtle or dramatic ways. 

The words that should really matter are the words from God that can help in the shaping of the narrative we should be buying into. However, there are plenty of other options available – and we are only too happy to explore those other options rather than give the truth a chance. Nevertheless, it is what we do and as a result we veer away from what would lead to peace in the light of what happened. 

There is something about what leads to peace that should appeal to us, especially if words we hear can drastically change our approach to what is and leads us to realise what can be, if we pay attention. 

There are those days when I just want to complain. True story. I can talk about what could have been. I can wish things were better for me and my family. I can mope and grumble. That is well within my locker. Recently, however, I was challenged again with this question: who is really writing this story that is my life? If I am the main writer, then no wonder it’s never good enough, no wonder I can’t see right for all the wrong. If it’s all down to my words, I am in a whole lot of trouble. 

What if I acknowledge there’s a better writer. What if I acknowledge He has a narrative that is as much about what He reveals about who I am now as what there is to be later? Trusting life in the hands of the Word is a good way to allow my perspective on my circumstances to be one that leads to peace is a better way of living. 

In the meantime, enjoy some good … 

Words. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

A Place for Grace 

It is only when I think of the grace extended to me that I begin to recognise just how crucial grace is for life. 

There are times when people do some things and they are well up for the lambasting. Their behaviour was wrong, their attitude stank out the place, they should have had the book thrown at them twice. Forget being read the riot act, some of these people should have been tuned into Riot Act Reading on a 24 hour loop for a year! Rather than that being their portion, however, grace was extended to them to have the opportunity to carry on with the access to resources to carry on their efforts. 

Sometimes it feels as though it’s not fair, until the spotlight is turned on my life and the episodes where great kindness was shown in my life. That kindness wasn’t shown because I deserved it. That kindness was shown as ongoing expression of how grace operates. It’s times like that where I am grateful that His love is not dependent on my actions. Despite how we often work on  that premise, it is the challenge of holiness to act in the same grace that God shows to us. 

There is still a place for grace. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Journeyman Journal: God and His Works of Art

Relationships matter. People are a great way that God shows His love and goodness. They’re an insight into how creation really is a work of art as well as a work from the heart. 

I was having a conversation with a dear friend of mine. She shared her heart to be responsive to God in contributing to the Kingdom cause. It was inspiring hear her heart to bless individuals and also make an impact on the larger picture in which people find themselves. It evoked in me the image that you can fish, you can hire fishermen to fish or you can own the sea. Obviously by owning the sea, I am not suggesting you can ease the Almighty from his ownership of the waters. It is about being significant in the infrastructure to the degree that you make a positive change to how the whole thing works. 

That is about pictures you have. It’s not for everyone to see the same picture, but influential individuals can bring the pictures to the hearts and minds of people to engage them in a way far beyond the humdrum approach of getting money to make a living. It helps people to see that if they fish they play a vital role in the existence of man. If they employ people to fish, they are not masters over servants, they are enablers who serve those who play a vital role in the existence of man. 

The beauty of the Kingdom of God as presented throughout scripture is how it impacts all the pictures of life, if we have but the heart to feel this new rule of Christ. 

From that awe inspiring conversation with that woman of God, I had the great pleasure of returning to a former love of mine. That love is the love of chess. For a season in my life, I absolutely adored the game. Was a part of the school chess club, even went and did work experience at my junior school and helped run the chess club there too. Man, it was a lifetime and a half ago, but a good memory. Another dear friend of mine is also a chess aficionado and when I discovered that, I was keen to connect with him on that score. So after years of waiting, we finally got to sit down and have a game. Doing so reminded me of why the game fascinated me so much. Here is a game based on conflict, a conflict that involves the pictures you have of how you can best progress to your desired outcome. It’s a responsive game based on strategy and tactics. The ability to enact both and knowing how to apply the latter to serve the former is the key to progress. Being flexible to changing circumstances is so useful as well. Those kinds of experiences spoke a great deal to me especially regarding a number of frustrations and challenges I am engaged in even now. It was great to be reminded of the game again and to play it with such a humble, kind and meek friend. Those kind of experiences are ones I am privileged to note, grateful for the way in which these relationships and experiences bless me tremendously. 

The challenge now, however, is to be faithful to what these words from God say to shape and direct me in this particular season of my life. It is the word of God that makes the difference to enable me to see the picture I need to see and work towards. In doing so I also appreciate I need to be aware of the conflict ongoing between the forces of darkness and the Kingdom of Light. That conflict is one I can witness victory in as I follow the true Grandmaster, in the moves He makes and the steps He directs me to take. 

Meanwhile I am forever grateful to Him for the pictures in which I find myself. I am grateful that His pictures continue to be glorious works of art. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden