Psalm 46 – Who Rules The World 

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. (Psalms 46:9 ESV) 

Some think it’s money, some think it’s girls, some believe it belongs to the man. It’s thinking like that which gets folks up in arms looking to get their side to dominate. 

A reading of history is about the rise and fall of efforts to run  the joint. All in their own way a rejection of the true Sovereign  of the universe. In their own way it is their way of suggesting they should be in complete control. Efforts leading to skirmishes, turmoil and disarray. 

For those who know who the true Sovereign is, there is a hiding place, there is a city that won’t crumble as others go by the wayside. This place of safety is not a cocoon that leaves us unfeeling to what else is going on. It is a place to appreciate God for who He is and what He ushers in as we follow Him. Namely a rule where we will study war no more. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 23 – Green Pastures 

The 23rd Psalm is arguably the most well-known. 

You talk of scriptures to memorise and this one is right up there. So familiar is it that sometimes we can take it for granted and think we know it when there may be more to it than that. 

This is why it remains worthwhile reflecting and meditating on it. The imagery of the shepherd and the sheep. Nurtured, fed, rested and led is an evocative one. From being beside still waters to a table prepared before the enemy there is so much rich visuals that pop up when you consider the Psalm. 

As you might have gathered, the aspect of the Psalm that grabs my attention presently is that of the green pastures. Very simple image. Being made to lie down in them suggests the best place for them to rest. The best place for them to be restored. Sometimes the imagery to me is one of tranquillity, but either way it is one of safety. It’s a safe place for restoration. It’s safe because it’s space the shepherd has deliberately chosen for rest for the sheep. It’s safe because he has made it so. 

We don’t have to worry or fret because the shepherd has ensured this is safe space. There in the wide open we are able to relax and enjoy the environment and be served right there. 

As I dwell on that image I also recognise that now the promise of green pastures is not primarily about a physical location, helpful though that can be. The promise is relational even as another shepherd invites us to come to Him if we are weary and heavy laden to find rest in Him. His presence within us as we find ourselves in Him can usher in that safety to be and rest in Him. 

This quality is so crucial in a day and age where finding that rest appears so distant. It is a quality, however, that is available if we just believe in the good shepherd who cares for His sheep. 

Not only that, but those of us who have found rest in Him get to share with others the good news of the peace and rest to be found in this good shepherd. Not only sharing the good news, but demonstrating it as the peacemakers He calls us to be. Through our Christ-centred character we too can be ambassadors of this Kingdom of Peace where there are plenty of green pastures in which people can find rest. 

Thank God for the good shepherd who makes us lie down in green Pastures. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

December Thanks #06: Destination

There is much to be grateful for in regard to journey mercies. Things that could have gone wrong that didn’t, things that could have been good and turned out great. It’s something I appreciate especially as I am still on the journey.

When I think about peace, however, I think not just about the journey, I think about the destination. I see injustice and I am grateful that we are working towards justice. It is reassuring to know that there is something worth working towards. I see pain and I am grateful that the mission was to see healing in all aspects oflife. It is reassuring to know that there is something worth working towards.

It is something that I truly appreciate that there is a destination worth working towards. This existence is not hopeless. There is a destination in heaven’s mind.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Fruit of the Spirit: Peace (The Fruit Series 22)

jn1427A great benefit of singing certain songs is that there is within them fundamental truths that can resonate in a way that reading them may not impact.

There’s a line in one song that in particular is appropriate for the reflection on peace. That lyric simply states: the world didn’t give it, the world can’t take it away. The truth in that is massive as we contemplate that when it comes to the peace of God.

Jesus makes it quite clear that this aspect of the fruit of the Spirit is something that the world has its own copy of. But it is that – just a copy. Not a quality one either. On initial glance it might appear desirable, but over time it becomes more than apparent that it is at best a sticking plaster that seeks to heal and broken heart. Good though sticking plasters are for small scratches and minor cuts, their track record on a shattered heart does not endear itself as the right thing that’s needed for the problem.

It is certainly fitting that when Jesus was having His final dialogue with His disciples before heading to the Christ He instructed them to love each other as He loved them and in doing so He would give them His joy so that theirs would be complete and He gave them His peace. That hattrick of heavenly helps is invaluable to those who follow Jesus. Love as a propelling active force, joy as a beaming benevolent force and peace.

Peace as the ultimate stabiliser, peace as the ultimate grounding and basis of solidity. This peace that Jesus leaves to His disciples is the ultimate expression of the shalom that had been the premise of the people of Israel since their inception as a hark back to the sort of whole arrangement perceived in Eden. Here is a state of being in which everything was in its rightful place, functioning as it should, harmonising with everything around it, contributing to a wholeness of life that is invigorating, fruitful, fulfilling, refreshing with no sign of dissension or deterioration, disease or death. This peace can be guaranteed by Jesus because He was in on the act in the beginning – He is the author of such peace. His very presence meant that death, sickness, loneliness and despair had to replaced with life, health, family and joy.

The peace Jesus offers is not just to relieve the troubled mind, it is centre that mind back on the reality of His mandate in the first place. That mandate was a redemptive one for humanity and all of creation. Looking at life in this perspective makes a radical difference to how we are within and what we exude without.

This is a great tonic for a broken heart, it’s an even greater balm for a broken humanity. This is nothing that the world can give you – it’s just not within their scope and capacity, it is beyond the world. Neither is this something that the world can take away, they don’t have the power to extract it. If anything, those who have this peace can choose to give it up, can choose to revert to anxiety-ridden, fearful, suspicious, distrustful and a worryingly unsettled state. That’s the trap that is set when troubling circumstances arise. It is not for the world to take it away, it is for us to give it up.

Thank God, however, that the same source that gives us this peace supports us in retaining this peace and invites us to keep our focus on Him who is the Prince of Peace. Dwelling on the reality of this truth can make all the difference as we face the various challenges and distractions of the day.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Sam’s 2nd Epic 19 – A Conciliatory Return

He won over the hearts of the men of Judah so that they were all of one mind. They sent word to the king, “Return, you and all your men.” (2 Samuel 19:14 NIV)

The recent exploits of Absalom threatened to tear the Kingdom of Israel apart. When he died, there was no guarantee that David could regain the throne easily. The nineteenth chapter of 2 Samuel shows a king behaving in a magnanimous and conciliatory mood. He does not seize power with a show of aggressive and vengeful force.

When he is approached by Shimei, rather than enacting immediate revenge for the verbal and physical abuse he received, he extends mercy and a promise not to kill him. That does not mean he has forgotten … But it does display a conciliatory approach.

When he is approached by Mephibosheth, he hears the reasons for the lack of support. He does not get caught up in the hearsay argumentation. He considers the matter and rules in fairness. That displays a conciliatory approach.

When he appeals to the country, his words look to heal the nation. He looks to bring them back together in an understanding way, not holding grudges, indeed highlighting that by appointing Amasa, the general of Absalom’s troops, as the new general of the troops in place of Joab. That was a remarkable act of an olive branch of union. That displays a conciliatory approach.

David recognises kindness extended to him by the goodness of Barzillai by allowing him to retire to his own land. Not only that but he blesses his household by following whatever he requests. This magnanimous act reinforces the conciliatory approach of a king more mindful of what will make for peace for his kingdom.

Despite his efforts, there is still an issue between Judah and Israel, which goes to show it is not always possible to bring contentment, but it still pays to have a conciliatory approach.

For His Name’s Sake
Shalom
C. L. J. Dryden

What To Do About Corruption

Yeah, this is the entry you have been waiting for.

I am sick and tired of the rampant corruption manifesting in so many different areas of society. Easy to point to the political realm. Easy to refer to those countries with corruption rife. Yet corruption is very much evident here and now in the West. For every scandal that highlights it as being institutional in certain sectors, there are others accepted as the norm.

To get rid of it though, is very tricky, because the first place to get rid of it is in the self. Those aspects of the self that settles for anything other than the right thing and goes beyond self-interest have to be the bedrock of removing corruption. Pure, simple, sacrificial, serving, peacemaking living is countercultutal.

Living this lifestyle in itself challenges corruption, because by necessity it is shining a light to the discrepancies seen in the status quo and it shines a light on the benefits of an alternative that seeks for those righteous values and standards that gives the best for all. The life of Jesus angered the darkness of corruption because His deeds were light and exposed everything in that light. Similar light is needed personally, relationallly and socially.

It gets really galling seeing such corruption infiltrate and corrode life. It does not have to be that way.

For His Name’s Sake
Shalom
C. L. J. Dryden

For His Name’s Sake
Shalom
C. L. J. Dryden