Psalm 136 – Enduring Love 


There is a song called, Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong. The sentiments of the song may appear rather cheesy to some, but amongst those lyrics is a sense of love that has enduring power. 

That theme of enduring power in love dominates this Psalm. The love of God described here takes on epic proportions because it is a love that has last the ages. From creation to Kingdom formation, the enduring love of God – His mercies ever extended – declares His faithfulness and commitment in every circumstance. 

This enduring love restores, it overcomes, it guides and leads through the wildernesses to lands flowing in milk and honey. It sees a people revel but never loses hope. It is not a sentiment, it is not a feeling, it’s far more than a force, this enduring love expresses the character of God Himself. 

This is not a love exclusive to a people group in a given period of history. Echoes and effects of this love can be felt throughout the world through all time. Even now this enduring love transforms lives and has the greatest power in the universe. A power that lift people up to where eagles fly on to a mountain high. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 119 – Life in the Law of the Lord

Law, Word, Statutes, Precepts, Decrees, Commands and Promises. 

Seven words used often in NIV in this Psalm to express what had been stated in the first Psalm. That the man is blessed who delights in the Law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night. That blessing is expressed in suffering and hardship, that blessing is expressed against significant opposition to that delightful Law. That blessing is evident in every season of life because it is not a mere desire to be a do-gooder or to hit the right number of points. What underpins it is a desire to know and love the good Lord who has given this good Law. He has created us and in Him is everything needed to truly live not just hope to survive or blunder from one issue to the other. 

The longest Psalm in the collection merited a day and night to consider it and highlight key verses from it, which I endeavoured to do throughout the day. The main things I emerged with was just how crucial love, desire and focus is on the Word of God. And also how that love is not for text or legality but to embrace a relationship with the good God who in His goodness shows the way in His Word to enjoy life if we have the heart to turn to Him love what He loves and despise what He despises. 

That’s a lifetime commitment, but it’s also one that we see personified in the One who fulfilled the Law and the Prophets. It’s dynamic life changing encounters with the God who speaks and as we hear and respond accordingly do we too can live to praise Him and know Him more. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 45 – A Love Psalm 

It’s difficult to believe, but there was no deliberate planning for today. That remains the truth, however, that on this date we explore a Psalm that takes a different path to many of those that have been written to this point. 

Adoration and preparation seen in this Psalm of royal love. Fascinating to consider in what it says about the relationship and how it informs our approach to the most important relationship of all … 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

December Thanks #22: Intimacy 

One word of great importance that was jeopardised was the word intimacy.

So precious and meaningful is that word that it is open to misinterpretation and abuse. Thus I am particularly thankful that this concept has been emphasised in the last year.

The type of relationship God has always desired with me is an intimate one. Not just deep in a cerebral way, but a degree of holistic depth that sees me desperate to be known and to know Him. Even up to this time there’s an invitation to know God more truly and deeply in a way that I have not known Him before and in the light of that worship Him, adore Him and open myself more to being shaped by Him to reflect Him for His glory.

This desire for intimacy with God propels me to desire intimate relationships with others. I am learning the importance of that divine intimacy being the basis for human intimacy. As a result there have been incidents and insights in just how capable we are to enjoy those truly intimate relationships. Ones that see each other eager to serve the other, understand the other, give to the other from a pure heart.

This is so precious that it can be and has been disrupted,, but the divine love that is its source remains greater and stronger than those disruptions. For that I am forever grateful.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

December Thanks #03: Friends 

Everybody needs somebody.

Twenty years ago I was a student at Essex University. It was the first time I lived away from home. I was far from my family and there was no one I knew in the area. Everything was new. It was all weird for me. I had no idea what to do.

For the first year of my time at university I had little idea about much and quite often I would keep myself to myself. Thankfully, however, one of the first things that happened as I settled in my room in the halls of residence was come across Lloyd Clarke. We lived in the same floor and set of flats. He was one of the first people I met there. He was in his first year too. He did a lot to help me settle into life at the university as someone else getting used to something new. I enjoyed hanging about with Lloyd. He was a great conversationalist and very funny indeed. It was through Lloyd that I was introduced to a wider range of music and it was through Lloyd that I came across the student radio station that would be a massive part of my time at the university learning and loving broadcasting, producing, writing, editing and some of the inner workings of media. All of that was great and that was down to the friendship I developed with Lloyd Clarke. He was a very good friend.

Twenty years after our first meeting we met again. He took the time to come and visit me and it was quite something to see him and his son, Gethin. They were a blessing to my household. Lloyd is loved by everyone in my family who have come across him. My Mum won’t stop singing his praises. Even my brother remembers him, which for David is very impressive. Now my children have already grown very fond of him and his loveable son. It’s a great pleasure to be able to show my children my friend who helped me tremendously during my university years.

Lloyd is a great reminder that everybody needs somebody. Before Lloyd my years at school earlier had never really had me establish close and tight friendships. I envied my brother for that capacity he had to develop a deep friendship. I had people who I liked a lot and had some good conversations with people – but deep friendships were thin on the ground. Lloyd and I didn’t go profoundly deep in our friendship, but the bond was real and true. For him to still remember and regard me to choose to visit me says much about his character and the nature of the friendship.

What’s all the more remarkable is that Lloyd will do what a number of other people who have claimed to be my friend have not done. Choose to invest time in me. I am very grateful for that and it has highlighted one of the key ways in which I treasure and seek to develop friendships that have come up subsequently. Those relationships mean something because of the time invested in each other. I love finding out about people and giving them the space to express themselves whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. I appreciate their capacity to share themselves and I endeavour to reciprocate.

Twenty years after I first met Lloyd there are other friendships that I have developed. Even this year there have been several that have been started with much promise and potential in them. I am hugely grateful to God for these relationships as they do much to help me in different aspects of my life. For all of those real, deep and meaningful friendships, I will always highly regard and admire that friendship with Lloyd Clarke that started all those years ago. God has given me connections that help me learn to love and respect His brilliant creation.

Everybody needs somebody and wherever I go, God gives me somebody. For that I am forever grateful.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Exploring Ephesians: Finally … Win The Struggle

There is a war going on. There is a war to be won.

It is a war that takes place whether we believe it or not and it’s war that is happening in the unseen realm with repercussions felt in the seen realm. It’s important to see that struggle taking place in the context of what Paul has been hinting at all the way through the letter. A theme that’s been running through the writing is a contrast of what we were to what we are now we have Christ. That theme is best summarised as the light vs the dark. Paul spends the majority of time praising God for the light and what comes with the light. It’s the basis for the celebration of what God has done in Christ in the first half of the letter. We are reminded that we were in the dark but now in Christ we are in the light. It’s apparent in the first part and it’s reinforced in the second part where the practical outworking of how we live is based on us being children of the light who should walk in the light.

So it’s no surprise to come to the end of the letter and Paul urging the saints to win the struggle – the struggle against those who rule in the darkness. The struggle is not a physical one, it’s a spiritual one – it’s a struggle to stay walking in the light, it’s a warfare to continue living in the light and proclaiming the good news that the light has come. It is not a struggle on the defensive, it is a struggle towards those who are on the defensive. To win the struggle we are encouraged to put on the whole armour of God all designed to equip us, even as putting on the new clothes equipped us to continue walking in the light. Faith, righteousness, truth, salvation, readiness to share the gospel of peace and wielding the sword of the Spirit – the Word of God – are all aspects of us progressing in doing what we are called to do now that we are in the light. Look at the big picture – this great gospel – that indeed we’re encouraged to pray for at the end – this glorious news of what God has done in Christ in bringing us back to Him is to be the theme of our lives that help us to live in the light. Faith in who? The Christ who saves. Salvation? Not just about a rescue but salvaged to return to the eternal purposes of God. Righteousness? Behaviour reflecting the one who saved us and the one who raised us to sit with Him in heavenly places. Truth? Not about regular statements but about the Truth of who He is, what He has done and who we are in Him. All of that found in the Word of God, expressing it reminds us of these truths. It is the basis of our faith. It is the engine for our righteousness. It is the motivator for sharing this gospel of peace.

This spiritual warfare is real and one in which victory is not just found in ecstatic utterances and exuberant expression. It is found in the prayer-filled life committed to Christ. Committed to Christ in how we relate with others. Committed to Christ in how we engage in our marriages. Committed to Christ in how parent-child relations go on. Committed to Christ in how Master-Slave relations are conducted. Committed to Christ in how we submit to each other in love. Committed to Christ in doing and being everything pleasing to Him.

The prayers we pray keep us n connection with these factors. Every healing we see and every deliverance we witness are indicators towards the life in the light as we’re committed to Christ. Every life that responds to the good news and every argument we can appease through edifying grace-filled words are indicators towards the life in the light as we’re committed to Christ. Every hurt we forgive and every victory of faith we experience are indicators towards the life in the light as we’re committed to Christ.

God has done so much for us through Christ. Now in Christ we are made for good works that have already been prepared for us. We’re to present to these powers the manifold wisdom of God. We do that as we explore the love unfathomable that leads us to maintain the unity as we grow up into Him. We walk as children of light and encourage each other to do so in every aspect of life – as seen in the key relationships. Underpinning that is a life of prayer that commits us again and again to life in Christ.

God help us in that journey as we win the war going on.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden