Evening Thoughts: How Do You Sleep?

I can lie down and sleep soundly because you, LORD, will keep me safe (Psalms 4:8 CEV)

OK so I left it late to put up today’s post, but thanks be to God I’m doing my bit to keep up with my commitment. Tonight’s thought is more than apt considering the time it’s going up!

There was this pop group called the Beatles, you may have heard of them, they had a couple of good tunes in the 1960’s and attracted a bit of interest here and there with their pretty tunes. They were comprised of four men and the nucleus of the group was the songwriting skills of Mr. John Lennon and Mr. Paul McCartney. The group performed and recorded up until 1970 when the group was acrimoniously dissolved at a high court. Such was the acrimony particularly between Mr. Lennon and Mr. McCartney that both had little digs at each other through veiled messages (and sometimes not so veiled) in a couple of their early solo efforts. Mr. Lennon in particular was not backward in coming forward and released a tune on an album entitled How Do You Sleep? It was a biting critique of his former partner’s efforts in the music business, indeed one of the most cutting diatribes against a friend you’ll hear committed to vinyl including such a point as ‘the only thing you did was Yesterday’ with reference to a tune with which Mr. McCartney was attributed that was fairly popular at one point.

Anyhoo, as I recall Mr. Lennon asking that question, I also ask that question of many people – although not with such harsh overtones. My issue is in a culture that needs sleeping pills to get to sleep and has a number of those suffering with insomnia. And even if we make it to the land of nod it is often troubled with anxious thoughts and concerns for what will take place in the future. The land of nod can also bedevil us with thoughts of yesterday and the things we did or should have done. We’re bombarded with messages suggesting that we don’t live in a safe world anymore, and the threat of violence or harm is said to be more real than ever before. The Fear Factor is no longer just a television concept but a crippling epidemic affecting young and old.

So how do you sleep? Well for me I’m grateful that like the psalmist I can lie down and sleep soundly. It’s a really odd thing that the only thing that gets me out of sleep is the rare occasions of ill health for most of the time I get to sleep and sleep as soundly as if a nuclear disaster would be required to trouble my slumbers. I put this assurance to nothing that I’ve done or nothing I can do. I’m not in any particular way more special or unique to experience this blessing. I put it down to an innate knowing that God has me protected – and not just me, but my loved ones as well, so that as I sleep I do so in confidence of sleeping in the arms of a loving Father who guides and protect my family, friends and I.

I hope and pray that this assurance will give you a good night’s sleep.

4 His Name’s Sake
Shalom

da man cd

Morning Thought – Real Community

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42)
There are interesting images of the church from outside. Some see it as an institution, some see it as a building, some see it as a group of freaks, some see it as a team of people who do nice things but have crazy beliefs. One of the most interesting things about the perspective of the church in the early days was that it was based on something crazy – and that was a crazy desire to be with people.

What I find so inspirational about this verse is that people were committed – first to getting good teaching together, then just being together and sharing the most friendly of activities – having something to eat together – and also they were committed to seeking God together.

In a society driven by the pursuit of individualism and autonomy, where the self is king above everything this picture really provides something sharply contrasting. It provides a brief glimpse at the kind of community God is looking for. The rest of this section of scripture (Acts 2:42-47) goes on to further outline how Spirit-led people had a dramatic impact on each other and the community around them.

It’s this kind of vision of what a church is all about that should be viewed by the world around us. As Jesus Himself said the world will know that we are His disciples by the love we have for each other creating the most powerful sense of real commUNITY the world will ever know.

That’s my prayer for the church today – that we’ll be dedicated to teaching; real intimate fellowship and seeking God together to change our lives and the lives of those around for His glory.

4 His Name’s Sake
Shalom
da man cd

Blogging Bliss

Today as the start of September sees the start of my 30 days of Blogging Bliss where I endeavour to put an entry on the blog every day during the month. Something of worth, but not necessarily something overly heavy.

Just a discipline thing that I’m looking to do – I know that’s meant to be the whole point of a blog to do it kinda every day, but I don’t, and I’m looking to do so now, so there you go. That does include the morning or afternoon thoughts, but I’ll look to do a bit more than that here and there and it won’t all be heavy stuff. I mean check the Challies site today to see something really hilarious! It’s on me links list down the side of this page.

Anyhow – onwards and upwards!

4 His Name’s Sake
Shalom
da man cd

Afternoon Thought: Empathy and Sensitivity

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15)
Empathy and sensitivity. It’s amazing how in the course of a day we can experience and witness such a wide range of emotions. It’s amazing how a face can spoil or brighten someone’s day. Little is more comforting for someone than to know that someone cares enough to be with them in whatever they’re going through and whatever they’re feeling. It’s easy to be heartless, callous and insensitive – being more concerned about how we feel. It’s something even more powerful to go from how we feel to share how someone else feels to show that we care.

4 His Name’s Sake
Shalom
da man cd

Morning Thoughts – Company We Keep

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. (Proverbs 13:20 NIV)

We might think we’re not affected by people we live with but we are heavily influenced by these people. Those with us in the trials of life affect how we view those trials. If we’re with the misunderstanding, party-pooping, types then we’ll mourn the situation, seeing how bad the thing is and always wondering why it happened and the ‘if only’s’.

Whereas if we’re with encouragers we won’t ignore the circumstance, but tend to have a brighter outlook. We’ll see a bigger picture contrasting the situation with the blessings we experience chief of which is being with a God who is significantly greater than our problems, who cares for us and is with us. Be encouraged – and an encourager!

4 His Name’s Sake
Shalom

da man cd

Morning Thoughts – Marketing Jesus

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (John 12:24)

If a marketing executive was to suggest a strategy to market Jesus he would definitely promote the following:

o Jesus as Bob Geldof going out to save the starving and needy in the world
o Jesus as Bono challenging the rulers of the day to put their money where their mouth is and care for the people
o Jesus as Lenny Henry bringing cheer and life to those destitute and without hope and marginalised in society


All these images we can imagine being projected in a fast moving advert portraying Him as the man of the people, real, intimate, caring and compassionate – who just wants to be the same to you.
One thing our marketing executive would not want to promote is Jesus’ talks about sacrifice, self-denial on a consistent basis, death of self to produce life for others, giving up of rights to do the right by God. That image would be off-putting, no one wants to lose their life and such a marketing ploy would be bound for disaster – no one buys that. Yet Jesus is clear that this is a fundamental part of the package – indeed without it all the other marketing gimmicks are incomplete, shallow and deceiving.
The way to God is through obedience – and an obedience that will allow us to be like Christ in everything – and that must involve denying ourselves, dying to ourselves to follow Him.
4 His Name’s Sake
Shalom
da man cd

Morning Thoughts: Dubious Honours

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. (Proverbs 15:22 NIV)

When I was at school I had a great idea. We would run our own student newspaper! It was such a great idea and I was so excited about it and eager to see it work that I took it upon myself – without bothering to get anyone else’s opinion on it – to give it a go. I announced to people that we’ll meet together and I’ll share with everyone what my idea was and then we’ll go ahead and run the newspaper! The meeting took place and fair number of people turned up. However after a few weeks as the excitement died down … nothing happened. And so I have the dubious honour of being the editor of a student newspaper that has yet to publish an issue! The sobering lesson learnt from the experience is the importance of taking advice – whatever the idea, situation, problem or challenge maybe it pays to get good advice before making decisions. Unless of course you’re up for getting dubious honours!
4 His Name’s Sake
Shalom
da man cd