A Brief Word On A Big Book 

There is no Psalm 151.

Unlike the continuation of the book of Acts where the good news is still being shared around the globe, there isn’t the same thing with the collection of Psalms. The collection ends at 150. That’s not to say there are no other great works written and included in this collection. There’s no room for more either. That collection is sound as a set. 

It has been an incredible journey through the collection over the previous 150 days. I know I haven’t done justice to some of them in blogging about them. With others, I like to think I left a decent reflection on what I read and what read me. Overall, I have loved this journey and my appreciation for the collection has gone up considerably. The amount of Psalms I just plain never read and were powerful highlighted just how wonderful this experience has been. It’s worth appreciating all that God has laid out for us in the collection. 

Thank you for following me on the journey. I trust your love for the book has likewise increased. Special thanks to Authrine, Rae, Gyaps, and so many others for the likes and words of encouragement.

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden

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Psalm 124 – If It Had Not Been … 

This Psalm right here is a great song to remember that you are not as self-reliant, independent, self-sufficient and all that which you like to believe from time to time. 

Indeed this Psalm right here blatantly acknowledges that bad though things might appear, not only could it be a lot worse but it would have and in some cases should have. The worse didn’t happen. That wasn’t down to human ingenuity. That was because of a Father who cares. That was because of the Lord of hosts who rescues His own. That was because of the great and holy God who shows mercy on those to whom He will show mercy. 

I could reel out quite a long list of episodes and unfavourable outcomes that would have been on my record book had it not been for the Lord. It’s not something to boast about in and of myself as though I am anything. It is something to point to the Lord and magnify His name for His goodness. 

So just when you think it’s safe to look at the stuff around you and feel a little smug and satisfied, it’s worth taking a short trip down memory lane and see His hand of protection, of deliverance, of mercy, of favour on your life. Look it over, give Him thanks. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 116 – A Very Good Reason to Love Him

It is very difficult for me to read this Psalm. Very difficult. 

It’s difficult because to read of someone who knows what it is to be rescued and so express this great love for God reminds me of what God has rescued me from. The darkness of depression, the despair of feeling worthless, the delusion of thinking I can stumble from one crash to another and make it without help. He rescued me from a pit. He rescued me. 

I too can lift up the cup of salvation because of His goodness towards me. If that is all I can offer, I offer it wholeheartedly. As I too can live a life returning thanks to Him, as that is all I can do. I know there is nothing I could ever do to repay Him. He is not even asking for payment. A response of dedicated thanksgiving, a sacrifice of my life to that extent is more than reasonable.  

This is a profound Psalm to consider at whatever season you find yourself in. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 107 – Stories of the Redeemed

My friend asked me if I was going to say anything, I shook my head. Eventually he got up and shared an aspect of his testimony and he simply gave thanks for being redeemed. It had a powerful impact on the listeners. It had a powerful impact on me. He knew where he had been and how bad things were and how amazing it was for God to redeem Him from that by His love. He knew God for himself, he had a story of the Redeemed. 

This Psalm shares four other stories of the Redeemed. Whether wanderers looking for a city to settle in, or those whose decisions actively placed them in darkness, or those foolish and sickened by their rebellion or those on the season about to be overwhelmed by the storms of their voyage – these all knew what it was to be in peril, what it was to cry out to God and what it was for God to hear and rescue them. 

These stories are to inspire us to know we have a story to share. How we were sinking in sin, far from the peaceful shore. How our active rebellion left us in a spiralling cycle of addiction and pain. How we were looking for something to satisfy in so many different areas and things and came up short in all of them. In those situations, some cataclysmic, some internal as we die in quiet agony. Whatever the situation, we have a story to share – a real story – of God showing up and showing out reversing the fortunes of the afflicted and shutting up the wicked. 

We have a story to share in word or song. In conversation and in life. A story of giving thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Psalm 103 – Don’t Forget All His Benefits

The Psalmist knows the Lord is good. You don’t have to tell him twice. In fact he will help you out with one or two (or twenty) benefits we get from the character and actions of the Lord. 

Check those benefits from verse 3 to 19. You can write a book on each individual benefit and still not do justice to the wonder that is our God. Whether it is His outstanding steadfast love, His righteousness, His mercy, His forgiveness, His compassion, His self-revelation, healing our diseases, redeeming us from the pit … 

Books and books could be written on each of them, but saving us the hassle, the Psalmist suggests we bless the Lord with all our being. In the light of the benefits we receive, it’s a reasonable response. Even as those benefits are not one offs, but reflect His character ongoing, so our expression of gratitude is an invitation to declare that with our entire being for as long as we live. 

That’s a reasonable request when we take a little time to look and reflect on just how good our God is. Just when you think He’s good, He shows He is even better than that. 

Think on these things. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Why Zoë Dryden Matters

On Monday 10th April 2010, Authrine, Deborah, Abigail and I welcomed the final birth member of the family – Zoë Anya Cheryse Dryden. 

For Authrine and I all of our children (Hey yo Kevaughn!) are precious. Vitality, uniqueness, brilliance and wonder are a few words that begin to explain why they are all beyond value to us. There are essential stories about each one that I could wax lyrical about for days. I look on each one and as I behold them as an individual I sometimes think they are the only human being that matters for those moments. Then God reminds me that there are others and I am overwhelmed by His great kindness to me. 

This is about Zoë, though. When she emerged from the womb of her mother right in the nick of time (ahhhh the story of her timing is a good one), I was assured in my inmost being that my wife would never give birth like that again. And by ‘assured’ I don’t mean relieved as if Authrine and I didn’t want more children. I mean assured because God knows what is best for us as a family and Zoë would be a fitting end to the fruitfulness of my wife’s physical womb blessing planet earth with progeny. 

The naming of our dear third daughter was the most deliberate and collaborative of all our children. Authrine and I had never been so united as we were in the season of the conception and birth of this beautiful girl. We had undergone some significant challenges in our lives together, but through it all God was with us and for us to allow us to open a great new chapter together. A better chapter, in a better place to gain a better understanding of ourselves and more importantly a better love for God. It was from the old website were travelling to the new and it was right that our daughter should signify that. 

Seven years on and as we celebrate the completion of an entire cycle of years for Zoë, it is happening again to us as a family. As that baby now secures herself in her childhood with brave new steps in development so the family also takes strides to travel from the old to the new. To grow from what was to what God is doing in our lives. To stretch from the comfort of an old cocoon to burst into maturing and beautifying early stages of fresh flight. 

Zoë matters because she is the reminder that in Christ there is new life. Zoë matters because she is a living embodiment of the life of Christ that is ours by faith. Zoë matters because she is a sign that whatever blemishes there were of the past are erased in this new life and there is no need to go live back in it. Zoë matters because her enthusiastic, beaming, bright, exuberant embrace of all around her let’s her siblings and parents know joy is real and is as refreshing as a clear glass of pristine water renovating the inner being with purity. 

I am grateful to God to be so richly blessed by a strong and fertile wife. I am thankful that He should let us have children of such great wonder. My desire is to ever cherish, value, nurture and soberly nourish these evidences of increase. My desire is to consider this girl Zoë Anya Cheryse Dryden and hear God say again there is New Life in Him. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Farewell February, Marching On

Looking back on February, it was a very good month indeed. 

One weekend I spent it with three brothers I don’t see that regularly at all. We met in Stratford-upon-Avon, where William Shakespeare was born … Shakespeare apparently wrote a couple of decent plays back in the day. He wasn’t there when we met, though, they tell me he’s been dead for a few centuries now. In any case, like the bard, the brothers and I exchanged some epics. In our case it was epic conversations about life, faith and church. It was a brilliant weekend. 

The following week I was with another band of brothers and we travelled to see even more brothers in Stafford. I have nothing to offer in reference to Stafford as a town in England, but we were there, so that’s a good reason for its popularity. What I love about being with a band of brothers on a journey is the journey. I get to learn so much from these kinds of journeys. The conversations, what’s inside me that comes out and what emerges from others. It was great being with this band of brothers who I can see more regularly. 

There’s been a birthday party that I had the genuine honour of attending. This is something significant for me to admit because I am not usually one for parties at all. Yet this one was fun and was spent with some beautiful people. It was a time to appreciate good relationships. That theme was apparent throughout the month and I am grateful for those relationships that made the month a good one especially considering other challenging circumstances. 

The month saw the launch of a a relationship initiative in our area and those initial weeks of the initiative were a good foundation. Just to learn how to do life together. Learn each other. Pray together. Explore together. That has been great. I hope it will continue in the same vein in the coming weeks and months and years. 

February has plenty for me to offer thanks to God for His goodness to me. Here’s March, though, and my prayer is that it will go even better than February. Relationship will be fundamental to that – especially the deepening relationship with God. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden