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

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Talk About The Committed Few

I salute and applaud the committed few.

When certain initiatives begin with the hype and excitement it can draw a crowd. People get caught up with promises of great benefits if they subscribe, participate and contribute. That all sounds good at the start. There’s also the appeal because there’s a crowd, so it must be popular.

Then of course the shiny new thing becomes worn and it’s harder to pluck up the motivation to get excited about it. Then as you see others dropping off from it, you feel like you might as well join them, especially as there’s this really exciting new thing that has just dropped on the scene. So the cycle of disappointment continues.

This is why I salute and applaud the committed few.

They see the benefit of keeping on keeping on whether there’s a crowd, a crew or just the core. They are not blindly following a routine for the sake of it, they see something of far greater worth, being faithful in the endeavour for the season God calls them to the task. Indeed the only eyes that matter to them is the pair from the heavenly Father delighted again seeing His son and daughter delighting themselves in Him, following in the way of the Master.

They just love spending time with Him, doing His business even as others go onto something else. They love moving when He moves, even if it means leaving the lucrative, the secure and the highly regarded. Remaining committed and faithful to what He has started is a lot more important than the crowd excitement that is here today and gone tomorrow.

I salute and applaud the committed few.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Psalm 146 – Praise the Trustworthy Godย 


This is something I maintain vigorously: It is easier to say, “I love you,” than “I trust you.” 

I am not saying trust is better than love. I am saying that there’s no more significant expression of love than trust. That takes a lot especially as we get older and some become more wary and less trusting. Yet even for the most cynical there is a propensity to place trust in someone and/or something. Twenty years ago there was a wave of euphoria and optimism at a new government leading the UK. The US was captured by a similar hope and optimism when a President was elected on a crest of a wave of hope of a bright future, almost ten  years ago. In both cases the hopes and dreams of many were dampened by decisions that affected their administrations. 

People place trust in celebrities, inspirational leaders in finance, self-development, education, medicine and other exploits of human endeavour. Their hopes ever dependent on the progress individuals make. Sports fans get engrossed, intoxicated and almost attached in a deep and spiritual way to the men or women who represent their desire for success. So much faith and trust is invested in these people that the crash that results from failure or disappointment of a significant kind can cause them to spiral out of control. Closer to home and a husband or wife can be so consumed with the other that it’s stifling, placing unrealistic demands from people who share two common experiences in life: being let down by others and letting down others. Children idolise their parents and when they notice chinks in the armour of perfection, such can be the setback that the trust may never return. 

In all this, the words of the Psalmist should prove to be wise words to heed. That value commodity of trust should not be conserved for risk of hurt and disappointment. Neither should it be frittered away on even the most attractive of leading figures. Rather that trust should be invested in the ever trustworthy, ever faithful, ever reliable Creator of the Universe. His track record is ever on show of being there for people at their lowest ebb. He is ever sustaining, feeding, rescuing, healing, comforting, nurturing and truly providing salvation for those who put their trust in Him. 

I love how He lifts, loves and liberates His people – it’s something He can be trusted to do. That’s why it makes sense to put your trust in Him and follow His lead in every aspect of life. It’s also a very good reason to praise Him because He is so trustworthy and what we can trust Him for is so amazing. 

It’s much better to trust Him than anyone or anything else. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Journeyman Journal – Faithful

One of the best examples of being faithful comes back to remind me about key things about what that concept is and what it is not.

Being faithful is not blind complicity and subsequent conformity. She was getting victimised and bullied in church. This woman, still married and with her brood of children was being systematically picked on by the church leadership with no effective accountability to address the matter. Though her friends from outside the local church sympathised with her plight, their advice and action was tepid. She suffered much and in this time her husband was stuck between his own commitment to the local church and his devotion to his wife. Struggling between the two, he did not stop her expressing her pain and woe at what she endured. He saw the best way for her to work things out was to go outside that local church and experience healing and inspiration from Christians outside that stream.

She went on to have a life changing experience that released her from the expectations of that local church and allowed her to explore more of where God wanted her to be and what He enabled to do. She discovered great blessing serving people beyond her wildest imagination with the gifts she practised and developed. Her horizons broadened. She didn’t even have the capacity to be bitter towards those who had mistreated her. She found release by focusing on the blessings she experienced pursuing God’s will for her life.

Meanwhile her husband, not being cowed by the growing success of his wife, rather encouraged and supported her. He saw his wife blossoming and sacrificed his own agenda to ensure she could pursue hers. This they did at no deficit to the children, only the benefit of a happier woman, making a happier wife, making a happier mother and thus a happier household.

The faithfulness of the woman was to God, who steered her through troubled waters. Meanwhile the faithfulness of her husband remained with her even as they traversed a trying time with that specific local church.

It was my privilege to be given insight into that situation at close quarters and learn so much about the patient and enduring nature of faithfulness. Seeing this between a man and woman, where the issue of infidelity is not about other sexual partners. But where faithfulness believes in the other person against all odds and when forces look to prevent that from happening.

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

Solid September Signing: Faithful To Christ At All Times

There are forces that seek to distract and confuse.

Pressure comes from different sides to suggest your allegiance should be to an individual in charge of an organisation. Some say you should stick to an organisation above all things.

Those in relationships feel under pressure to commit all to the other in their demands.

It can get a much at times. This is why having an intimate walk with Jesus by His Spirit through His Word and conscious awareness of His presence is so crucial. Staying faithful to Him through all costs, but it’s worth the peace of mind He offers when the heart and soul are devoted to Him.

That is the allegiance that matters above all others.

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

Solid September Signing: The Faithfulness Of A Good Man

Even after all these years, he remains a key influence.

He never drew attention to himself. He lived in an understated way. He found contentment doing what he needed to do and then returning to the comfort of his home and the reassurance of his allotment. His consistency and diligence becomes all the more remarkable as I grow older with my family.

How he coped as his little children became irksome adolescents, how he managed when growing chasm of dissent between two of his closest friends, how he worked hard for over two decades while finances remained precarious and maintained an equilibrium through it all, is an example. An outstanding example of how faith in Christ enabled him to be a faithful man. He never had to say it in words, his actions did all the talking for him.

I am not deifying him. He had faults, he never asked to be anyone’s hero. He probably had his reasons. Nevertheless there was his son looking on as a child and having a template when he entered adulthood. When I got married his example wasn’t a shadow that hung over me. It was a presence that reminded me that to get this marriage and fatherhood thing right, I had to look to the example of the Faithful One.

Today he celebrates another remarkable birthday. I am so grateful to God for giving me such a role model. I hope He will sustain him and his legacy for generations to come.

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

Gaining Great Wisdom From Flawed Father Figures

Recently a few of us were reflecting on God as Father.

It was stunning to read Genesis 1 and Luke 3 noticing that in as much as to the rest of creation God is Creator, when God made Adam His relationship to Him was that of a loving Father.

It is unfortunate that there are many examples of failed fatherhood that we can point to. Some in scripture, some in history of a variety of cultures and of course some today in our culture, in our lifetime.

I used to get a bit despondent about that. Just when you thought it was safe to believe a guy can be a role model they go letting you down, missing a beat and messing about. Some people just advised me not to bother, because God alone should be sufficient.

God alone should indeed be sufficient. Father figures should not take the place of God and there can be a serious issue of unrealistic expectations of human beings.

It’s a mistake, however, to write off as hopeless the cause of father figures. Reading the story of Abram who eventually became Father Abraham is a good reason to maintain hope in the positive influence of father figures.

You can imagine the stories he has to tell Isaac about his journey with God. There is of course the highlight of that when Abraham’s faith is tested with his promised son. In all that, however, Isaac has sufficient to carry on the journey his father started. This is to such a degree that even in his flawed relationships with his twin sons, the chosen son can carry on their Grandpa’s legacy.

Looking at my own upbringing and the key father figures in it I recognise  how helpful they have been demonstrating aspects of the Father’s character. Their flaws actually give me hope to know the example I set has to be real and transparent. It must point people to the Father’s love in me, not just me. That way they can carry on the Father’s legacy.

The beauty of being a father figure is that it’s not just about biological children. The community of grace does well to encourage and reinforce the critical relationships that take place between generations. The sons of today are tomorrow’s fathers, and faithful role models can do the world of good living for our heavenly Father.

As long as we maintain the ultimate connection to God as our Father, father figures are valued and needed for the good of all.

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