The Plant: Fragile to Flourish

There it is. The first signs of growth. Bursting through the soil reaching tentatively to the sun.

There are so many factors going against it. What if there are is an adverse climate? What if the surroundings are made hostile? Perhaps a rodent or pest may trample it down before it ever has a chance to really get to its fullness. There is no guarantee that it will survive from day to day.

Yet, somehow, despite the factors going against it, it does not just survive, it thrives. Adapting to its environment, drawing nourishment and strength from within and it’s roots, that fragile looking plant slowly but surely finds its place and flourishes. It is a beautiful sight that did not happen overnight and was not always meant to happen, but from deep down within it flourishes from the inside out and its flourishing is a blessing to those who see it for what it is and how it has got there.

It’s flourishing may last but a brief time, but the ripple effects may last way past its time on earth.

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

The Kettle: Patient Passion

The kettle.

It contains water. Water that is in the process of going from one temperature to another. The state of the water previously was not good enough for the task required. The final state of the water will reach will be perfect for the task. You just need to raise the heat over time. In the suitable container that process can take place to the benefit of those who need the hot water.

Some people like it hot. Some people need it hot. Where are the kettles who can take the heat to deliver the goods?

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

How The Story Goes

It can come across as rather presumptuous to think you know how the story goes. After all, what makes you think you know. Who are you anyway? What do you know?

So at best it’s good to just let the story tell the story and not get involved in things you know nothing about.

That’s one approach.

But consider what’s happening in the story – the mess ain’t getting any tidier for all the pleasant sentiments, for all the outrage, for all the campaigns, for all the innovations. The mess might be glorified better, it might come across as more sophisticated, it might be justified as a part of the way things are or the way things must be. All of that, however, does nothing to deal with the mess.

Some might give the impression that the mess is all there is and we just have to get accustomed to it. Make the best of the messy situation.

Ahhhh but in as much as that works for some, it is not how the story goes. Someone lived in a way that showed there’s a better story to be told.

So the mess in me, the mess in my community, the mess in the church, the mess that is the world – it does not have to be that way.

That’s not how the story goes.

There’s a better story to tell – want to hear it? Want to write the next chapter in it? I got this idea for a project and what happens is …

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Running By The Rules

There is a saying going around that says that following Jesus isn’t about rules, it’s about relationship.

I hear that. I certainly get the gist of what it looks to oppose. There is a very real legalistic streak among some of us that is so rules oriented that the purpose of living and the real spirit of life gets extinguished.

Yet can you think of a world without rules? I mean the basics. Doesn’t your body operate by rules – you know, the way it says if you drink too much of one thing you can expect a shut down soon.

And anyway, don’t even relationships operate on rules? Informal, unwritten and casual though they may be, break them and see what happens. What happens when someone trusts you with something important to them and you break their trust. Tell me it’s not about rules then.

This is why the relationship with Jesus operates by understanding His own rules. You don’t have to get hung up on the rules side of things, primarily because the relationship is about liberating you to truly become what you were created to be.

That’s why it’s certainly worth knowing, in the race of life, what the rules are. It would be a shame to run it and lose because you were disqualified. It would similarly be tragic not to finish the race because you did not make the most of the support available to run the race well. The rules gives a lot of scope for help in excelling in running. The support on your side, if you choose to rely on it, will not just see you make it across the finish line, it will allow you to do it and win the prize.

That’s all there in the rules – if you take the time to check them out. Rather than than run into a dead end.

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Affirming the Blessed

It has been a fair few centuries since He said it, but I wonder if the church He died for would recognise and affirm those He referred to as the blessed.

Those 8 characteristics are as counterintuitive and countercultural now as they were when He shared them with His disciples way back then. Sometimes in the bid to be people-pleasing and attractive to the eye, much is said to sell Christianity as something worthwhile because it’s like wish fulfillment, where all your wildest dreams come true and phrases about having the best in this life are appealing and gratifying, especially as they often coincide with what the world and the flesh suggest would be the best in this life – security, comfort, material benefits and happiness.

It’s jarring, then, to hear Him once more make the clarion cry that the blessed pursue something of far greater worth than security, comfort, material benefits and happiness. Indeed the blessed turn a lot of what others would deem that which truly makes us happy to that which ultimately makes us holy – not for our sake but for His Name’s Sake.

Yet how do we actively affirm what He referred to as the blessed?

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Moreover Blessing & Even Though Love

Moreover Blessing

It was something Authrine reminded me about. She was talking about how God responded to Solomon’s request. So I went to read 1 Kings 3 and loved how Solomon put himself at the mercy of God to just get the wisdom required to operate in his position as king. That degree of humility was something I took very seriously. No way I can carry out any of my responsibilities without that degree of humility – that knowledge that without God I am going to mess it up big time, but walking in line with Him, I can be thoroughly faithful in what He calls me to do.

God’s response to the prayer was the really exciting thing. The writer describes how Solomon’s request pleased the Lord. I love that thought. That thought that God smiled at it, as if He nodded his head because that was the kind of engagement he was looking for. Then that word in the NIV version popped up in verse 13 – Moreover. It got me excited to see God delighted to the extent that whereas Solomon asked for one thing, God gave Him so much more. That word moreover – suggesting it was time for God to show again He is a God of more than enough. As a man’s ways were pleasing to Him so He poured out a Moreover Blessing.

What I also noted carefully was how that bonus blessing was based on maintaining that humble desire to stick close to God. Things would go well for Solomon just as long as he remained committed to this relationship through obedience. It was sobering because it reminded me of that tendency to look for something from someone and as soon as the thing came the someone was either dismissed outright or became significantly less important. Yet here God emphasised how it’s all about the focus on the relationship. It’s not about the goodies we get from God – it’s about embracing the Giver as of far greater value than the gift.

The big deal was being in line with the heart of God and delighting Him to the point that we enjoy His Moreover Blessing!

Even Though Love

There’s brotherly love. It’s a great love among family, it is about those ties that boasts of a depth far deeper than casual and convenient acquaintances.

Yet, there is something about the love of God in Jesus Christ that still humbles me tremendously. What kind of love keeps trusting the people you will bring closer to you than anyone else even though they will misunderstand you, leave you in the lurch when it matters most, denies you three times and in one person’s case even betray and sell you out? What kind of love keeps going even though the wife you died for and longed to beautify time after time brings your name into disrepute?

No wonder it’s referred to as an amazing and divine love. That kind of even though love. A love that Paul evidently had in mind when referring the church in Corinth to it. This kind of even though love lifts us above the bitter resentment that lingers after hurt. This kind of even though love pours out liberating forgiving mercy and grace to others even as we are grateful recipients from an amazing Saviour who loves us even though

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Acknowledging Good Service

If you don’t get good service, you are often going to do something about it, even if it’s just grumbling to someone else. What happens, however when we benefit from outstanding service?

Authrine and I had the pleasure of her company, recently. It was great spending time with her and hearing how she was doing.

This woman had made a significant contribution to us individually and as a couple. Her greatest contribution has been her example. Never seeking the spotlight and never chasing after positions, she has effortlessly been promoted wherever she has been all because of her incredible heart for service. Sacrificial service, discreet service, the sort that’s done without need for open recognition, but with deep and lasting repercussions of blessings for those in receipt.

There is so much to be learned from her and applied in life about love, faith, practical outworking of spiritual connection and endurance under very trying circumstances.

It’s easy to complain about poor service when we receive it. It should be our delight and joy to acknowledge and celebrate good service when we receive it. Not just celebrate it, but endeavour to let it spur us on to more acts of good service.

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden