Psalm 106 – What Have We Done For God Lately?  

This Psalm plays like a complimentary piece to the previous Psalm. 

That previous Psalm gave us plenty of reasons to remember what God has done. This Psalm gives plenty of reasons to remember how we are likely to respond to what God has done and it’s not pretty. 

It would be comforting to think that the way God’s people responded back in the day was unique to them. Ah but in it we see reflections of the human condition and it’s not pretty. It is ugly. It is filthy. It is disgusting. 

How quickly we forget God’s goodness in the slightest sign of discomfort. How easy we disregard the great works of God as soon as we are comfortable and given other gods to play with. How simple it is to break our word with the God who keeps His Word. How seemingly natural it is for us to rebel against the One who has shown great kindness towards us. 

This Psalm shines a light on what we have done for God lately, and it is not pretty. 

At the same time when we are stuck or get in trouble what do we do? Go running back to Him, crying out to Him, pleading for help. Were some of us in God’s position, after a while we would be sick of the constant cycle of rebellion and repentance. We would become hardened to the desperately wicked and fickle heart of humanity. Yet this great and glorious God expresses that greatness and glory through patiently and consistently listening to the cries of His people and coming to their rescue. 

Reading a Psalm like this is all the more reason for us to respond in heart-felt gratitude and humble contrition. Reading of our God in these verses should give us cause for reflection and further repentance in the desire to cling on to Him and receive His help on the inside to reject that rebellious nature. Break the cycle of sin and live for this merciful and compassionate God, who time and again extends the invitation to know Him and be known by Him. This Psalm is another invitation to love Him who first loved you and still loves you even though what you have done for Him lately isn’t pretty.  

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 105 – What Has God Done For Me Lately? 

What things is it good to know about God? If I was introducing someone who was interested to find out more about God, I would point out that among the great things about Him is that He is good and He keeps His promises. 

This Psalm looks long at first, but when you consider it as an overview, it’s not that long. In fact, seeing it for what it presents itself to be it’s over too soon. In it, however, we are given the privilege of the overview of the history of a people. That history is one of a relationship from God to a man. How that relationship extends to a people. How that relationship establishes a people in a land. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Perils Of Forgetting History

I spent a lot of my childhood reading.

Yeah I spent a lot of it watching television as well. Probably too much television as I get the impression every time I am in a tight situation and suddenly recall the theme tune to Thundercats or the opening monologue of Adam, Prince of Eternia from He-Man.

I spent a lot time reading, though. I wouldn’t class myself as a major academic historian at all, but I found myself interested in the lives of personalities and events from the past. My big interest was football and as someone fascinated with football, I enjoyed reading about the history of the game in modern times. I also had a little interest in politics both in America and in Britain.

As I took Christianity a little bit more seriously I was also interested a little in how the church got growing and the different streams that developed over the millennia. As a result it’s intriguing watching people come up with ideas about how to sort out certain issues in football, in politics and in the church.

What’s intriguing about it, is how people evidently don’t bother paying too much attention to history and plough head long into decisions. Decisions that have been made before. Decisions that have the best of intentions and dire consequences.

It’s not about living in the past. On the contrary, it’s about learning from the past to not have to repeat the failings found there.

These kind of issues also play a part in how I know I’ve got to be careful with my own decisions. Keep praying that I can learn from the past to make wise decisions in the present that will leave a good history to read in the future.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

No Turning Back

It is out in the open then.  Once again the Drydens are on the move.

This blog started in 2005 back on Blogger and in the seven years since it’s begun I have lived in five different houses!  Five!  In the first 18 years of my life I lived in just two properties.

Times have certainly changed.

With those changing times there might come a hankering for certain the grand old days.  It is good to reflect on good times and there are good people in those good times that should never be forgotten.  There is so much both good and bad to take on that is beneficial to consider for wise moves in the present.

In all that, however, there is much to be said in living in the present and ever looking to God for the next step.  I’m not talking about a fashion trend things where you’re all about being on the cutting edge of the next big thing.  I am talking about embracing God’s new mercies for what they are.

I have found that I am not of the mind to dwell on the past or stay in hankering for what has happened before.  I’m as nostalgic as the next guy and appreciate history, but it is instrumental.  It is purposeful – it is serving the needs of the now in seeking and pursuing what God would have me to do now  and in preparation for what He wants me to do.

Reminded of the story of Lot and his family when they’re told to leg it from Sodom and don’t turn back. Can you imagine being told to do such a thing?  Can you imagine not turning back to everything you’ve known about?  Can you imagine turning your back and what was the norm and what you were comfortable with?  Yet what happened to Lot’s wife, when she did that?

I am not suggesting that we’ll be used alongside vinegar if we spend out time in the past.  I am seeing that when it comes to following Christ it is always onwards.

No turning back.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

dmcd

Learning From History: We Want One To Rule Over Us (But Not That One)

My introduction to the Bible was through the Old Testament.

When I was a child I read aspects of the Old Testament like a story.  I never understood some of the prophetic books.  I enjoyed the first bit of Daniel and gave the other bits a miss.  Of the first five books, I obviously didn’t bother too much about Leviticus, but was engrossed with Genesis, Exodus and Deuteronomy.

The real gold mine of quality narrative material would be found in the books from Judges to 2 Chronicles.  Story after story of power, family feuds, national warfare and all that kind of stuff was good for someone like me.  When people dismiss the Bible, they really miss out on quality stories.  They really do.

One of the stories I remember sticking with me strongly was the story of the end of Samuel and the beginning of King Saul. (Worth reading 1 Samuel 8, but also worth reading that and all the chapters up to 13.)  Reading it, I remember the heartbreak that Samuel had over the people desiring a king to rule over them like the other countries.  I also remember God helping Sam out by telling him that the people were rejecting Him and not the prophet.

The decision of the tribes of Israel to plump for a new system of rule was an outright rejection for the rule of God.  They didn’t want it, and to be fair, it’s not the first time they rejected the direct rule of God.  You’ll recall despite Moses’ encouragement, when God appeared to the people after the Red Sea episode they preferred Moses to talk on His behalf, because they were too afraid to deal with Him.

In fact the very act of sin is a rejection of the direct rule of God, preferring something or someone else instead.  So this was fairly typical human behaviour.

I was reflecting on that when considering the life of the church in the light of Jesus Christ.  In His earthly ministry, He warned us not to go about giving each other titles and lording it over others as was the custom of the Gentiles.  He expected us to relate to each other as brothers and sisters.  He expected us to relate to each other as children of God, with the only authority being our Father.

He expected us to realise that with His mission, He was repairing the breach and opening access so that men and women could directly engage with their Heavenly Father and the only Mediator required would be Him.  This was a great equaliser – this created the proverbial level playing field.  The new-believer had just as much access as the veteran.  There was no hierarchy established on earth, the only positions that mattered was The Father, The Son and the children of God who were all now part of the royal priesthood.

Over 2000 years later, have we taken on board that lesson?  Over 3000 years after the whole Saul and Samuel issue, have we really learnt from the rejection of the direct rule of God?

If we have, why is there such a reliance on a one-pastor-lead system of church?  Why is there such a big deal about titles and managerial/leadership hierarchies prevalent in a lot of the expressions of church?

If we have, why is there still a clergy/laity mentality prevailing even in some church sections which would never suggest there is such a mentality in existence?

If we have, why are the Body of Christ seemingly not enabled to see all-member ministry in operation in the life of the church?

If we have, why is there an expectation that 80% of church work is conducted by 20% of its membership?

If we have, why is the concept of a genuinely Spirit-led experience of church life so rare? Worse still, why do some equate Spirit-led to things being done the same way as it’s always been done which is a virtually a spectator approach to church gatherings?

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

dmcd

MTP30 – Valuing Heritage

The eye that mocks a father, that scorns an aged mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures. (Proverbs 30:17)

Respecting our parents is the first command with promise, outside of commands relating to our relationship with God, this is the first issue that God gives us.  Parents are crucial.  Our whole existence and identity is dependent on them and how we treat our elders is indicative of our we treat other authority figures ending with the Creator Himself.  This is not just a warning of the dire consequences of mistreating our parents, this is a fact of the outcome of not respecting where we are coming from.  Celebrate human heritage today.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

dmcd

Happy 5th Blog Birthday

As I mentioned at the start of the month there are a number of significant events and milestones that take place over this month. A dear family friend will be celebrating her birthday with us, hopefully. This week also sees the first year anniversary of our departure from living in Stoke-on-Trent. The most important event for my personal reasons is the 6th birthday of my firstborn child.

In as much as Deborah’s birthday is no doubt the most important event this month, one that is not so far away from it in terms of importance is that this here blog celebrates 5 years of existence.

It was 14th December when I first had a go at this blogging business. I had no idea how things would pan out. I never had a game plan or strategy for the development of it in those early days. I just found it rather novel to be able to write and post things up online.

Five years on, though and things have changed a lot. In those days I was still getting used to how to format an entry and having difficulty making it ‘look’ presentable. Also back in the day I wasn’t so fussed about frequency. In fact it’s only been in the last year or two that I’ve picked up the regularity of the blogging and it’s proven to be a great discipline as well as method of expression.

Where back in the day I would post a few entries a month over the one blog, now it’s not uncommon to see me post a few entries a day over the two blogs. That has nothing to do with brilliance, and more about what I do with my time and how I make the most of particularly rich veins of form, when I can knock out a few blog ideas and save myself the hassle of being ‘fresh’ on the day or at the time of the scheduled post.

Having the two blogs is actually a great help to me knowing that certain material will fit comfortably over at the Other Place and leaving everything to this here place.

I believe the quality of the writing has improved since I was writing in 2005 – that has a lot to do with getting into the rhythm of writing and also getting to read a wide range of other bloggers and the disciplines they followed or the creativity they showed. This year in particular I was pleased to put out so much and develop a number of themes that had been swimming in the ether of my mind for quite some time. September and October were hard months, but overall I am really happy with the thought that I can keep blogging and keep sharing and more importantly still keeping a record to see what steps along the journey I’ve made.

If God would allow, I’d love to carry on blogging for as long as I can. I know some people quit blogging for various reasons and it must be made clear – blogging is not my life. I don’t live to blog, there are other far more important passions that I pursue, so if the occasion came where I had to give up something, I’m fairly sure I would relinquish this responsibility. Yet I know I would do so with reluctance and a heavy heart, because I do enjoy it so much. Primarily I love it as an outlet for the gift I believe I have in terms of communicating. I’ve loved words for as long as I can remember and reading and writing come to me almost as naturally as water comes to a fish, so this outlet is brilliant for that. There is also the feedback and conversations that come from the entries and how people take it or not. That is worth its weight in gold.

There is a reason, though, for the way that each entry for most of the five years has ended. My desire is to write all for His Name’s Sake. That doesn’t mean everything needs to have a scripture reference and sound austere and sombre with a touch of reverence. It is to say that I write for Him really. I write to share what’s going on in me life and how He influences it from the marvellous to the mundane.

By all means go through the archives and see how things have changed here in the five years and over the coming weeks I’ll be pointing you to posts I’ve written over that time that should make for good reading.

Thank you so much for reading – even if this is the only entry you will read. I appreciate you taking the time to read it and ask you to give it another go as the days and entries go by. The aim and desire is to continue to progress in this writing business – I want to improve and there is so much room to do that. I want to put on book reviews of the material that won’t always fit the other place. I want to become more effective in what I produce. There is so much of my life and the things around that make for fascinating reading and I want to be a diligent and creative chronicler who can make sure you the reader will receive it as a patron in a restaurant receives a well made meal.

In the meantime continue to feel free to leave comments here on the blog or email me your thoughts on the address given in the details section.

Thanks again – and here’s hoping for more years of even better blogging.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

dmcd