Saturday, July 29, 2006

Do Your Will

Following the brilliant devotional from Friday I also came across this one by George Morrison. What was so appealing about it was the address to the age old issue of feelings versus reasoning. A debate I’ve been contemplating for a number of years now, particularly as I get deeper into what this Christian business is all about. One thing that’s definitely been outstanding in these contemplations has been the role of the will, and Morrison’s contribution definitely highlights some issues that are important to consider when looking at this very important topic. Check it for yourself.

And remember if you’re blessed by this, then you can get access to it for FREE (the kind of price that fits my budget) with the brilliant e-sword program.

4 His Name’s Sake
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July 28 – Devotional Sermons by George H. Morrison

The Dedication of the Will

My meat is to do the will of him that sent me— Joh_4:34

Is Religion Based on Reason or Feeling,'

It has been a matter of controversy time and again which is the true wellspring of religion; and to this question, which is fresh in every age, there are two answers which demand attention.

On the one hand there are many reverent thinkers who trace the roots of religion to the reason. It is because we are reasonable beings that we know the infinite reason, which is God. A dumb beast is not endowed with reason though it has instinct. It is man alone, lifting his forehead heavenward, who is a truly reasonable creature; and in man alone, because he is so gifted, is there the craving for the eternal Being, and the assurance, at the back of all things visible, of a hand that guides and of a heart that plans. Thought is the lattice through which the human spirit peers forth upon the vista of eternity. Thought is the mystical ladder that goes heavenward and lifts itself through the silence to the throne. And if the angels, clad in their garb of ministry, move up and down upon its steps of radiance, it is because the head that lies upon the pillow is that of a reasonable man.

On the other hand, there have been many thinkers who have denied this primary place to thought. It is not from reason that religion springs, they tell us; it is from the deeper region of the feelings. How can the fragmentary thought of man reach forth to the perfect thought of the Almighty? Can any by intellectual searching find Him out, and are not His thoughts different from out thoughts? Do we not know, too, that an age of so-called reason is never a time when eternal things are clear, but always a time when voices are but faint that come with the music of the faraway? On these grounds there has been raised a protest against reason as the wellspring of religion. Not upon reason is religion based; it sinks its shaft into the depth of feeling. It is born in the longing you cannot analyze; in the emotion that is prior to all thought; in the craving for God that rests upon no proof, and stirs in a depth below the reach of argument.

The Wellspring of Personal Religion Is the Will

But when we turn to the word of Jesus Christ and to its translation in apostolic doctrine, we discover that neither thought nor feeling is laid at the foundation of religion. Christ had no quarrel with the human intellect. He recognized its wonder and its power. His own intellectual life was far too rich for Him to be a traitor to the brain. Nor was Christ the enemy of human feelings. He never made light of tenderest emotion. He who wept beside the grave of Lazarus could never be the antagonist of tears. But in the teaching of Christ, it is not thought nor feeling that is the wellspring of personal religion. "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me"; the wellspring is in the region of the will. It is there that a man must pass from death to life. It is there that the path of piety begins—not in the loftiest and holiest thought nor in the rapture of excited feeling. The first thing is the dedication of the will; the response of a free man to a great God; the yielding of self to that imperious claim which is made by the loving Father in the heavens. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness"—"Let the dead bury their dead, follow thou me"—such are the words in which our Lord describes the primary and determinative action. A man may cherish the most reverent thought or may luxuriate in tenderest feeling, yet if he harbor an unsurrendered will, he knows not yet the meaning of religion.

Yield Your Will to Christ

It is thus that we begin to understand the condemnation of Christ on indecision. "He that is not with me, is against me"—"No man can serve two masters." No matter how ignorant a man might be, Christ never was without hope for him. No matter how depraved he was, there was a spark within him that might be fanned to flame. But of all men the most hopeless in Christ's sight was the irresolute and undecided person, the man who refused to take a spiritual stand and who was contented to drift aimlessly. It is very probable that Judas Iscariot was a man of such irresolution. It had been growing increasingly clear to him, as months went by, that he was hopelessly out of sympathy with Jesus. But instead of arising in some great decision that might have closed that mockery of following, he drifted, amid ever quickening waters, till suddenly the whirlpool and the cry. The man who hesitates, we say, is lost—but Christ has come to seek and save the lost. Am I speaking to any waverer, to any hesitating, undecided person? Till the will is right, nothing is right. No man is Christ's until the will has been yielded. "Our wills are ours, we know not how; Our wills are ours to make them Thine."

Jesus Never Overpowered the Will

It is further notable in this connection that Jesus never over powered the will. It was His glory to empower it, but to overpower it He scorned. "Come unto me, and I will give you rest"—a man must come; no hand from heaven will drag him. No irresistible and irrational constraint will force him into the presence of the Savior. A man is something better than a beast—he is but a little lower than the angels—and as a man, or not at all, Christ will have the allegiance of the will. "Ye will not come to me that ye might have life" —there is the ring of an infinite pity about that; but the other side of that so baffled yearning, reveals the very grandeur of humanity. For it tells of a being whose heritage is freedom—not to be overborne by God Himself—of one who must come with a freely yielded will, or else not come at all. With Mohammed it was the Koran or the sword, and that compulsion was a degradation. Hence never, under Mohammedan dominion, has manhood risen to its highest splendor. But with Christ there was no compulsion of the will, save the compulsion of overmastering love, and that great recognition of our freedom has blossomed into the flower of Christian manhood. Do not wait, then, I would beg of you, as if a day were coming when you must be good. Do not think that the hour will ever strike when you will be swept irresistibly into the kingdom. At the last it is a matter of decision, and in all the changes of the coming years, never will it be easier for you to make the great decision than now.

Christ's Emphasis on the Motive

We might further illustrate Christ's emphasis on will by some of the relationships in which He sets it. Think first of its relationship to action. It is not the action in itself that Jesus looks at; He has a gaze that pierces deeper than the action. He sees at the back of every deed, its motive, and that is the measure of value in His sight. Viewed from the standpoint of the day's collection there was no great value in the widow's mite. One coin out of the pocket of the rich was worth a hundred such in some eyes. But there is a certain kind of calculation that is intolerant of all arithmetic, and it was always on that basis Christ computed. Was there no sacrifice behind that little gift which was dropped so quietly into the temple treasury? Was there no will so bent upon obedience that it must pour its all into the offering? What Jesus saw was not the mite; it was the dedicated will behind the mite. An action had no value in Christ's eyes unless at the back of it there was the willing mind. Deep down, in the unseen springs of a man's being, lay that which determined the value of his conduct. And that is the reason why Christ appraises action in a way that is sublimely careless of the common standards by which the world distributes applause.

To Know, You Must Will

Or think of the relationship of will to knowledge if you want to know how Christ regarded will. "If any man will to do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." If any man willeth to do His will—then at the back of true knowledge is obedience, and what we know of the highest and the best ultimately depends upon the will. Let a man refuse to submit his will to God, and the gateway of truth is closed to him forever. No daring of intellect will pierce its deeps, nor will any imagination see its beauty. Truth at the heart of it is always ethical, kindred in being to man's moral nature; and if that nature be choiceless and disordered, the power and majesty of truth are never known. That is the reason why the simplest duty has always an illuminative power. Do the next thing, and do it heartily, and the very brain will grow a little clearer. For the Word of God is a lamp unto our feet, and only when our feet go forward bravely will the circle of light advance upon the dark and reveal what is always shadowed to the stationary. It is not merely by His depth of thought that Christ has kindled the best thought of Christendom. It is by His urgent and passionate insistence upon the dedication of the will. And men have obeyed Him, and taken up their cross, and followed bravely when all in front was shrouded, to find that they were moving into a larger world and under a brighter heaven.

Fellowship Rests on the Will

Or think of the relationship of will to fellowship—man's spiritual fellowship with his Redeemer. That friendship is not based on kindred-feeling; it is based, according to Christ, on kindred-will. "Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee"; and Jesus answered, "Who is my brother? He that doeth the will of my Father in heaven, the same is my mother, my brother, and my sister." It is not a question, then, of what you know, if you are to be a brother or sister of the Lord. It is not a matter of excited feeling nor of any glowing or ecstatic rapture. He that doeth the will—though it be often sore and though the way be dark and though the wind be chill—he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My sister and My brother. That means that all fellowship with Jesus Christ depends on dedication of the will We must say, "Take my will, and make it Thine," if we are to be numbered in His company. And if fellowship with Him be true religion—the truest and purest the world has ever known—you see how it does not rest on thought or feeling, but has its wellspring in the surrendered will.

Surrender of the Will

And in the life of Christ this is the crowning glory—a will in perfect conformity with God's. He is our Savior and our great exam-pie because of that unfailing dedication. Look at Him as He is tempted in the wilderness—is there not there a terrible reality of choice? Does there not rise before Him the alternative of self, to be instantly and magnificently spurned? And ever through the progress of His years, His meat is to do the will of God who sent Him; until at last, upon the cross of Calvary, the dedication is perfected and crowned. I want you then ever to remember that the will is the very citadel of manhood. To be a Christian that must be yielded up. Everything else without it is in vain. Religion founded on feeling is unstable. A religion of intellect is cold and hard. Total surrender is what Christ demands, and in it lies the secret of all peace.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Opportunity Knocks

It’s been a while since I put up something from the daily devotionals I get from the brilliant e-sword program that I have on me computer. If you haven’t got it and you’re interested just click the link and follow instructions. It has been such a tremendous help to me over the time that I’ve had it, and allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of the Word.

Anyhow, I was set up to do some more study and research and before embarking on it I checked out the devotional and the one that came up was particularly jarring and thought-provoking. One of those ones that make you reflect a bit more carefully on things. So for today’s entry check this for yourself.

4 His Name’s Sake
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July 28 - Our Daily Walk by F.B. Meyer


"He found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."-- Heb_12:17.

"O Jerusalem .... how often would I have gathered thy children together .... and ye would not!"-- Mat_23:37.

THE GREEKS represented Opportunity as bald, with no lock of hair by which she could be laid hold of as she turned away and fled. Every one has opportunity, but there is often no symptom of its approach, no sign of its departure; when once it is missed, it rarely comes again! It is said that Queen Victoria once gave a comparatively unknown painter the opportunity of a private sitting. She came at the exact time that was arranged, but he was five minutes late, and he lost his opportunity!

Esau bartered his birthright! What cared he for the spiritual prerogative of the first-born to act as the priest of the clan, and to stand in the possible lineal descent of the Messiah. He craved what would satisfy and please his senses. But when he had sold his birthright, he was held to the transaction. "He found no place of repentance" does not mean that he wished to and could not, but that the die was cast, the decision was deemed final. It is within the range of every one to do an act, to make a choice, to barter away the spiritual for the material so absolutely, that the decision is held irrevocable. Let us take care lest we be betrayed by passion into an act which may affect our entire destiny.
The outstretched wing of God's love would have sheltered Jerusalem from its impending fate, but she refused Him in His servants and His Son, and her day of opportunity passed!
Even so, salvation waits for us all, and there is hope and opportunity for us to repent as long as the day of grace is not closed, but let us not forget, as McCheyne said, that Christ gives last knocks. The present is your time of hope, of a fresh beginning, of a new opportunity. Open the door of your life to Christ and make Him King. He offers you your chance, rise to it; do your very best, find your niche of service in His Kingdom, and set yourself to follow Him with all your heart, and mind, and strength.

O Lord, let us not serve Thee with the spirit of bondage as slaves, but with the cheerfulness and gladness of children, delighting ourselves in Thee and rejoicing in Thy work. AMEN.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Authrine's Moving On

Get this - my wife, my two daughters and another man? What's this all about? More will be revealed very soon.

4 His Name’s Sake

Cilla Moments - The Pictorial

It sux sometimes to have the patience to work out how to get a picture inserted into the text that I'm writing, and after the Cilla Moment business I got all nostalgic for those great programmes of the past. I tried to put them ever so neatly alongside the text as is my custom. Sadly the darn thing wasn't working for some reason, and eager to publish the fruit of my literary labours I published the thing anyway. Now I've been able somehow to work out how to insert pictures so now you can get where I was coming from before with the memories of all those programmes that raised me up as a child.

Over the coming days/weeks/months/years/decades I'd like to revisit some of them ... and of course there are some that I'd rather forget, but there you have it.

Just to help you out - the one with the guy, the girl and the hawk is of course MANIMAL - quality tacky American cop-show with a twist. I gotta go into that with you at some other time. Of course we have Street Hawk, Transformers (more than meets the eyes apparently), Captain Bucky O'Haire, Pigeon Street and of course He-Man, without whom I would never have a living reciting the opening words of Adam, Prince of Eternia at university radio stations. So indeed I have much to be grateful for.

Yet the past is only the foundation to build the future in the present and so I endeavour to do so with great memories to allow my daughters to grow up in a world where cartoons and programmes don't have to be explicit or spooky to be real, but can be cheesy and crazy and full of laughs that later in life will be more ironic than playful.

4 His Name’s Sake
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Cilla Moments Part One

What is a Cilla moment (CM), I hear you ask metaphorically. Well back in the day, and by day I mean an era nostalgic and romantic to me as relatively carefree, in that day I was brought up by two loving parents and one loving television. Being a child of the television culture most of my memories are linked with the theme tunes to such family favourites as Knight Rider, Street Hawk, Sesame Street, Pigeon Street, Transformers, Captain Bucky O’Hare, He-Man and Manimal to name a random few.

Now although I was big into watching television, my dad wasn’t. Indeed it was a rarity for my time to see him spend any extended time in front of the tube. So when he watched something you must know it would be worth watching. Which made it all the more tragic that he joined my mother and sister in actually tolerating Blind Date! Yes, if Cilla Black is famous for one thing on TV it is the monstrosity of a programme that ran for 18 years based on the spurious notion of matching potential partners together through the rigorous method of asking banal, inane, ‘humorous’ (although that’s a stretch) questions to three potentials who would spout out even worse witticisms for audience appeal and hopefully a chance to spend a few days in some exotic location (‘You lucky pair will be spending a glorious weekend in Norway!)

At the end of the day I cannot deny success. The programme was a ratings winner for most of its 18 years run. Saturday nights would have to include watching this show – and that was the family staple in our household despite the fact that I was the only telly addict! And so in a move to shock and surprise no one, a CM has nothing to do with Blind Date (or ‘Blind d-d-d Date’ as it was often exclaimed by ‘our lovely Graham’ the announcer at the start of the show). I just thought I’d give this context to launch my usual tirade against this shocking travesty of a waste of commercial expenses.

No the CM refers to Cilla’s second most popular TV programme which was called Surprise, Surprise. This show was really all about … get this … surprising people! What a great gimmick. It was actually also on air for 18 years, but it was not as big as Blind Date and later on was just shown on sporadic occasions. People who hadn’t seen people in ages were reunited and Cilla wasn’t as annoying as she was on Blind d-d-d Date which was nice. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t awesome television, but it was cool to see two friends who had never seen each other since being separated at the Second World War finally reunited almost 50 years later, or siblings separated by adoption in their childhood now finally back together in their old age after thinking each other dead. And hey, at least these were natural bringing together of people, not the artificial claptrap that was the other show. So the CD summary of a CM is a nostalgic reunion with a memory, person or thing of the past that comes back to you after being away for a while.

It just appears lately that I’ve been coming across a number of CM. I attended an induction session a while ago and when I turned up I came across an old friend that I hadn’t seen in years and linking up again was great. Catching up and sharing. What’s cool about the scenario as well was that the person was someone I liked. There’s nothing like bumping into someone you like – cos there’s nothing more awkward then coming across someone who you hoped you’d never see again. So anyway, not only was there that person, but another dude that I used to work with when I helped people get into work or training. He was a success story – really took his life seriously and pursued his ambitions well, so it was a pleasant CM bumping into him again.

That’s not the only CM I’ve had recently and I’ll share some more in future entries.

4 His Name’s Sake
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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Another CD Teaser

Trust me, things are bubbling on nicely behind the scenes. Here are some things to look forward to over the coming blog entries
  • Cilla Moments
  • Thank God For ...
  • CD Book Reviews
  • The Late, Late, Late World Cup Review
  • A Special Little Treat for fans of my brother
  • What Job?
  • ... and much more (as they say in other promo packages to cover whatever else comes on this blog)

Yeah, so there be lots to look forward to. There are some annoying little issues with my home computer that allows it to act as erratically as your dotty old auntie who had one cup of coffee too many, but I be sorting those problems out and hope to be able to get things rolling soon!

In the meantime, remember when you're having one of those days that just don't appear to be going your way - we need these days to appreciate life all the more!

4 His Name's Sake


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Monday, July 24, 2006

To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice

Coming soon on the blog will be a book review on Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey (hombre to the left). In short it’s well worth reading. And also worth checking up a bit bout the hombre either googling him or on this site. More on the book review in a later entry.

One of the things that came out of the experience was a desire to record the key points in my own spiritual development. This is ironic as I’ve been on a buzz about journeys of faith and a teaching series on it is in the gestation stages of my mind at present. So with all this in mind, I present Keith Green (photo above). Check this site to find a bit more about him, read this to see how the brother conveys his beliefs and especially see if you can get his biography. I’ll also note down how he’s been such a key influence on my life in a future blog.

The deal is though that I’ve been so taken with one of his songs lately that I thought I’d just reprint the lyrics on this blog for you to contemplate and consider. It gives a good idea how the man’s been an inspiration, but I don’t want to spoil the series to come!

Look out also for more in the Thank God for … series among other stuff.

4 His Name’s Sake
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To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice
Written by Keith Green

(1 Sam 15:22; Matt 10:24, 25; Luke 14:26- 33; Romans 12:1, 2 – CD Script Refs)
To obey is better than sacrifice,
I don't need your money, I want your life.
And I hear you say that I'm coming back soon,
But you act like I'll never return.

Well you speak of grace and my love so sweet,
How you thrive on milk, but reject my meat,
And I can't help weeping of how it will be,
If you keep on ignoring my words.

Well you pray to prosper and succeed,
But your flesh is something I just can't feed.

To obey is better than sacrifice.
I want more than Sunday and Wednesday nights,
Cause if you can't come to me every day,
Then don't bother coming at all.

To obey is better than sacrifice.
I want hearts of fire, not your prayers of ice.
And I'm coming quickly, to give back to you,
According to what you have done,
According to what you have done,
According to what you have done.

© Copyright of the song and lyrics belong to the Sparrow Corporation

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Some Like It Hot .. Not Me Though

Apparently today's meant to be one of the hottest days in UK history. OK. I'm not the biggest fan of summer as it kinda forces you to at least open the windows and let the outside in, and then you have to consider spending time outside yourself and that's too much energy for an indoors kinda hombre that I am. Anyhow, I'm grateful for everyday I'm alive and so enacting the sacred aspect of the Dryden Family Motto I'll 'Get Over It'.

If you have the browsing time, I suggest you check out my friend's blog, on the links, his name is Charles Bury, but don't let that put you off. He's decided to go on a voyage of discovery to the Far East and he's had the mind to record his movements. Now not everything is palatable for everyone, and I don't necessarily subscribe to everything the brother carries on with, but be in no doubt, this hombre is the real deal when it comes to recording his thoughts, and I like it, so I recommend it.

I'm hoping to introduce a few new features onto this blog soon. Sure I keep on promising it, but I'm working on it folks, so just gimme some more time and then the fruits will emerge. One of them is an exciting series of commentaries for those interested in getting a fresh look at an old book, but I'll save that for later.

One of the things that sucks about summer is the lack of football, so I'm glad that I only have a month to wait until the Premiership kicks off again. I'll have a World Cup review posted here soon, but needless to say overall I was disappointed.

As for the family - Abigail is approaching 8 weeks and is taking her feed like the Dryden trooper that she is, guzzling it down and putting on the weight proper-stylie! Deborah is really gaining points with her ability to bring joy to my life - she's a phone maniac just waiting for the chance to say her piece even if it is still unintelligible ramblings. Kevaughn got his school report ... and he's still alright, so that says something. And the wife, now no longer burdened with a big ol' belly is going DIY crazy - as Stevie sung it, Heaven Help Us All.

Right, that be your lot for the time being, enjoy the weather if you're in England, and even if you're not, enjoy the day or the night.

4 His Name's Sake

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thank God For ... YouTube

Sometimes I don't know why I bother watching TV when there's enough to keep me interested online. And I'm kicking off a new sporadic, occasional series called Thank God For ... where in a move that will shock and stun you I send gratitude to the Almighty for something, and what better way to start the series than by sending thanks to this really great site

Dude, I'd been referred to it before from the Stevie Wonder listserve that I'm on, and my brother recommended it to me a couple of weeks ago, but it was only recently after a friend sent a link to Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street that I really fell hook, line and sinker for this video site. First up seeing Stevie on Sesame Street with his 'voice bag' doing his own version of a Sesame Street song had me blissed out. Then seeing links to other stuff he did on the show and other stuff he's done that I'd never otherwise be able to access without the forsaking of finances had me really jumping for joy, and there's a whole heap of stuff to get through.

Now sure, like MySpace there are some kooks and weird people to be aware of and parental consent will be necessary before letting minors loose on the site. But that's the beauty of the Internet in the sense that you can control to a large extent the content you want to watch, and for me of course it has to be the good stuff!!

So for taking me down memory lane with Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Fred Hammond, Yolanda Adams and the Winans Family ... so far, I say thank God for

4 His Name's Sake
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