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 

December Thanks #28: Communication

2016 has been another year of my growing appreciation for WhatsApp, YouTube, Twitter, WordPress and other means of electronic communication.

They have been means by which I have been a recipient of the word and been a conveyor of the word. The word has come in greatly through those means. It has been a reminder again that the device and means itself is subject to those who use it. For as many as complain about the dross and garbage online there is available insightful, encouraging and beneficial material.

The year has been a turbulent one if you read certain sources. Celebrities dying, results going in surprising directions, etc. If you dwelt on that long enough from a certain perspective you would soon end up miserable. Thankfully there are other voices that even in their rebuke to the excesses and inhumanity prevalent, maintain a Kingdom hope and indicate towards a way of life that would be pleasing to the coming King.

It occurs to me more than ever before to be grateful for those voices effectively communicating through those means and be a part of that which seeks to shine the light in the darkness rather than just cursing it.

That occurs to me because this year has been enriched so greatly by being a recipient to such life-changing light. This light by communication has come to be something I treasure dearly in my life. It is something for which I will be forever grateful.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

December Thanks #19: Journal

This year saw the birth of Christopher Journeyman.

A big reason for that was my recognition of the importance of the journey in my life and what it was to pay more attention to that. Who set the journey, the purpose of the journey, the scenery in the journey, the stops along the journey, the deviations from the journey, exhilarating moments in the journey – all that needed to be a lot more intentional in my life rather than just taking it for granted or worse still missing the whole point of it.

What has proven to be a valuable resource in the journey has been a journal. As I have mentioned before, I am not one to diligently maintain a diary. I do however make occasional notes and records of thoughts on a variety of issues. I will be at an event and make notes on it, I will be sitting through a meeting and making notes on it, I will be inspired by something and make a note on it. It has been tremendous to be able to do that.

A mega big part of that has been down to Evernote, an application that has been so useful for me to be able to do all that. Having used it for three years now, this year has been particularly noteworthy. (Geddit?) I looked back on some of the notes I made at the start of the year and was amazed at how much has been fulfilled without me being conscious of it at this time of the year. So great to see the faithfulness of God all the way through the journey of the year. Recently I was sharing with some friends how,  often,  you would need to move to really show out all that you are. Growth rarely takes place in the comfort zone, that’s why you move into areas unknown. That is a journey and it can be great to see how far you have come in the journey through records made in the journal.

As the Bible is God’s Word in it we get to consider how God reveals Himself along the journey to Jesus and beyond. People were taking notes. People were keeping the journal for God. I am thankful that He has given me the mind to recall and record the steps I have made in life’s journey. I am so glad it has been a resource highlighting God’s greatness and as a pilgrim and sojourner, it is something for which I am forever grateful.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

A Brief Word About The Word 

Life for me is not without its struggles and challenges. I find more and more, however, that I am better equipped to engage with these realities on the basis of meditating on the Word of God. Not from a simplistic point of view that the Bible has all the answers. In fact, sometimes it deepens the original question and opens up others. There is something about the Word, however, that invites me to look at the Author and engage with Him as He reveals Himself through the episodes He shares with humanity. The more I take this invitation seriously, the more it shapes and sharpens my approach to living.

Whether you hear the Word, see the Word or read the Word, I encourage you to imbibe it all the more and delve deeply into an appreciation of the Author as He invites you to know Him through His Word.

(HT: Unsplash.com where I got the image for today’s entry. It is my intention to punctuate the writing with imagery more often and I am grateful to come across this free resource. The guy who posted this image has the moniker @aaronburden – he has a great selection of images to consider.)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

December Thanks #13: Stories

A good friend of mine took me to watch a movie recently. I have probably been to about half a dozen films at the cinema this year. The film I watched with my friend is the second best one of the year. A really good story was told.

Why I am grateful for stories is that they are a portal into aspects of life that you think you have left behind, but are an intrinsic part of you. In as much as the story told may have nothing to do with you as you listen so it draws you in and you can become vicariously invested in the story itself. Not only does it have points that draw you in, it has points that illuminates something about life that is important to you. Themes like family, trust, friendship, loyalty, perseverance, growth, overcoming, sacrifice, ingenuity, love, justice, hope and the role humour plays in all that.

Good stories do not just take you in, they leave something with you when they end. As they do that, it can effect your ongoing life story.

The thing about stories which people often overlook is that the story has truth to it. That truth is not just about facts, that truth is about what is real, what is important, what defines life and how that shapes how life can get better. People’s individual lives are stories in themselves, which are worth investing in from what they did in the day to their journey of how they got their job, why they divorced their previous partner, how their children are the centre of their lives and hey even how they watched a good movie.

If we take the time to consider carefully those stories and see the key threads in them, who is to say our lives will forever be changed for the better by those stories. My own life has been amazingly altered by the impact the story of others have had on me. I desire to live a life based on the greatest story of life that will help others follow that story and see how they help to write the next chapter in that story by getting involved in it, in partnership with the Author.

Now, I am glad for the opportunity to share in the story of others. I am thankful for the power of the story which has changed me and changes me for the good and the great. I love God for the story and for that I am forever grateful.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

December Thanks #05: Words

The very thought of living without words is weird to me.

That which I visualise and capture aurally I only know to express through the method of words. Spoken and written, read and heard, rich though the textures of life are beyond words, there is something powerful about the exercising of words.

I was sitting in a class where English was apparently being taught. The irony was in the way that the language was being abused and neglected its very expression was at the heart of it. It was amusing considering that irony only for a moment as I saw folks miss the beauty of the power there is in words.

The more I reflect on it as see in my appreciation for it in its different guises the more I am so grateful to have such a love for it. I am grateful for the power found in words. I am grateful that great truths are expressed through words. I love how words are the source of so much that helps make life worth the living. It is something I want to learn to apply all the more in my life and apply in a way that blesses those who come across it. Not for my brilliance, but for the brilliance intrinisc to the forumlation of the words themselves. I am not about impressing others with verbal dexterity. I am about the business of growing in how the word can have the power to point people to the Living Word and then become living letters themselves in a beautiful story of the amazing love of God.

Recently I heard one poet/prophet spitting some words and the power of them put together and uttered with such passion and zeal made me really think how great God was in giving us words. For that I am grateful more than words can say.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

The Kings II 22 – Torn: Look What I Found

The 26 year old monarch had established himself as a refreshingly godly kind of King. For the majority of his conscious life he ruled the kingdom of Judah and endeavoured to do so in a way like David the standard of kings.

So it was understandable that he would have a concern for the temple of the Lord. His request for the house of God to be properly maintained was very similar to the last godly king of Judah, his great grandfather Hezekiah. On this occasion, however, the extent of the disrepair of the house of the Lord and reflecting the state of the nation, the priest discovered something that had seemingly been disregarded for a long time. The book of the law – the written basis of the covenant relationship between God and His people. Not only did the priest feel it was worth his while reading it but that this young monarch should hear what it has to say.

It is the response of this young man that leaves such a strong impact on this reader. He heard the Word of God and he tore his robes. An utter and abject sense of the state of the people in such a sorry condition in comparison to the requirements of their Lord and Redeemer. The outward expression of the inner despair. This was not something to take lightly or glibly. Such was his heart to God that hearing His Word and being only too aware of the state of the people compelled him to a state of godly sorrow.

The prophetic word that followed it confirmed his reason for such anguish. Judah, like the northern kingdom of Israel, had gone too far. Their failure to worship the true and living God who had delivered them from slavery and abide by the covenant was to bring about the necessary consequences. God would render His judgment and Judah would face His anger.

And yet …

The contrite, sensitive and repentant response of King Josiah was enough to spare him from the impending judgment. The response to God’s Word enabled this young man to be found favourably in His sight and have the assurance of ending his days in peace on the throne of David.

For some this would be reason to relax, but as we will see this would be the foundation for something truly incredible. All this, however, started with a godly character concerned with the place God chooses to dwell in and a resultant sensitivity to the Word of the Lord. Such a set up are the ingredients God can use to do great things.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden