King David – The Imperfect.

Sin sin sin, it provides the backdrop to every broken man, every torn woman. It Is the silent tear in each eye, and the heaviness in each conscience and the beginning of everything that is not right with this place.
David is a huge character in our scriptures, more narrative space is given to David than any other character in the Bible and not only do we have his documented life in detail but also a huge catalogue of his inner thoughts and prayers in the Psalms. Yet with all this space, not even the slightest effort is made to present him as admirable in any sense. The man after God’s own heart, is yet far from perfect. The man who didn’t kill Saul when being pursued by him, also murdered Uriah.
As Jesus followers we must run from 2 things, we must run from Sin and Perfectionism both are soul-wrecking germs which will work their way to hardening our hearts.
As we pray in the company of David’s psalms and live in the company of his story we begin to notice that sin is not ours to address, none of the psalms pray to sin asking it to go away, and in none do we hear the phrase ‘I’ll never do that again’.
We begin to learn the we do not deal with sin on our own, we deal with God and he deals with our sin.  The way he does this is to forgive.  He calls it Grace.
God’s business is to deal with sin, so our business is to deal with God as he continually does His work in and with us.
Our praying and God following companion (King David) keeps us mindful that it is God who does His perfect work through us, not us perfecting ourselves.
Do not fall for the lie that we can deal with sin on our own that’s perfectionist talk, not the talk of a forgiven Grace filled follower.
Sin is God’s business, let Him deal with it.

Standing on Grace
david

Grieve Well, With Hope. (for those who mourn Leah Whyte)

Leah Whyte.  I was not close to her, but some of my closest friends were some of her closest friends and family.
Words; people say there’s nothing can be said, and though there are times and places where nothing should be said, (and there will be many of those over the next few weeks), words have power.  Having decided not to, I’ve now decided to carefully and with tears write a blog for those who loved Leah not as a tribute but hopefully as a help and to let you know that many are mourning your lost with you.  

In the words of her mum ‘Leah was ready to die, we were not ready to say goodbye.’  
Though we can barely believe it we must hold on to the truth that God is faithful. By God is faithful we mean that His faithfulness can be depended on.  We can trust in it fully.
God’s is faithful.  Truth is these words go deep, much deeper than we sometimes give them credit for.  This depth is truly realised when death comes and unapologetically interrupts our lives. 

Death is sad, no matter how ready someone is or how ready we know they are, it’s sad.  Friends please grieve, mourn and grieve because this is not the way it should be. 
God can and does work for the good and bring good out of evil.  But God is the one who gives life and it is this fallen world and the enemy who takes it away…
We do great damage to ourselves and our thoughts about God when we look at something wrong/evil and try to call it good. 
As those who mourn we need to be able to say:
“This is not good:
This is not the way it should be
This is a tear in the fabric of God’s good creation
And God weeps over it and rages against it
And one day will defeat this enemy for good and restore all the goodness”

And that’s the thing, this is not good, but we have a good God.  ‘And what then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us.’  Not even death can stand against us.
For like Jesus when faced with Jairus’ daughter or standing at the tomb of His friend Lazarus, He wept.  It was not good yet he did not finish with weeping.  Like Jesus we too can mock the clutch of death and call it sleep.  For we know and we trust that the same man who raised Lazarus has been to the cross, has defeated that final enemy and has rose victorious. CHRIST HAS RISEN, CHRIST HAS RISEN INDEED. 
And it is Him, who now says to Horace’s daughter as He did to Jairus’ daughter ‘young girl, its time to wake up’, let me show you heaven for great is your inheritance here. 
And Leah will do what she loved to do…
Worship. 
She is with her Lord, where those of us who’ve trusted Jesus are going too.
So I ask you to:
Grieve well, but with hope.

This is how the story will end. These words have power, not simply because of how beautiful they are, but because they are a promise from our faithful Father.
Revelation 21:3-5a
“I heard a loud voice from the throne saying. ‘Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said ‘I am making everything new’.”

As those who mourn we’ve a few important choices to make for ourselves…

  • Choose to be better not bitter.
  • Choose to believe the truth not the lies.
  • Choose to rise to Hope not fall to despair.
  • Choose to focus on eternity not the temporary.
  • Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and your heart in eternity.

Leah is alive, in-fact she is happy.  I know this because we can depend on God’s faithfulness.  God is faithful.  Death is no-longer the final enemy but marks the start of eternity an eternity where we will meet Leah and together with everyone praise the God who is good who gives life.  For he has promised; and he is faithful.

Where O death is your victory. 
Grieve well, with hope…

Standing on Grace, Andrew.

 

Jairus daughter story is in Mark 5:21-43

Leah

Debbie’s diary entry 2013

A lot happened in 2013..
What a start to the year as we found out I was expecting and Andrew made the big announcement! We celebrated birthdays, hen parties, baby showers, anniversaries, holidays, the city of culture, engagements and weddings. The joy of new arrivals, the loss of loved ones. New friendships formed, new roles in life for many of us. 
We lived in four different houses and finally settled in our new home! We watched the seasons change and enjoyed the weather of a real summer! We became parents, as Andrew and I were blessed with our little boy and have shared together, with our family, friends and church so many of Peter’s ‘first moments’ and our First Christmas together as a family (great being on maternity leave!).
As one year ends and another begins, we have a lot to give thanks for and a lot to look forward to in the year ahead! Many memories have been made, alot of laughter had and shared, many a tear shed, lessons learned and much still to learn..
Personally I have learned that you can’t ‘do’ life on your own strength. In particular I was reminded of this after Peter was born and I was quite unwell. The care, attention, love and dependance I had on God, Andrew, my family, friends, and hospital staff was felt most at this time. I am constantly reminded of that every day when I look at Peter.
Sharing life with Andrew, has been a real joy and a real journey. Each day may we continue to Stand on God’s grace and strive to walk in His ways. To live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
With full hearts and ready hands, Andrew and I step into 2014 and pray that God would pour into it, as we will..

Ready!
Eph 3:19

In love, and the ‘in’ has been strengthened

I love Debbie, I did before but there’s a new level now. A more complex, diverse, intentional and dependable level of love.  Peter is here.  Peter is here!  I could write for a thousand pages and not find a language deep enough for the expression of pride and love I have for my son and my wife.  Oh how it is deep.  I thank God for them. I will, for them?… anything. 

Complex.
Our love is complex now, not just a two way show, we have no.3 in this double act.  This third member has not been invited from the outside but created inside the love.“Forged in the fires of human passion”1, “made from love”2. With this third member we are stronger but not as simple, and this is no bad thing. A simple love is easy to extinguish and complex love keeps you tangled and I’m glad our love is more complex.

Diverse.
Over the past 2 week I have showed Debbie, more than ever I’d say, how much I love her.  Isn’t that romance, the ability to show that you love someone.  Yet not one flower, present, chocolate, or meal was bought.  (I would love to resurrect the word romance from the pansy, upper class French image that it places in our minds, to the ability to show one that they are loved, not just liked, not just thought pretty, but to show that they are completely, wholly adored.) The things that I have don’t for Debbie have not been day time TV, and the way that I’ve be romantic toward Debbie will continue to diversify now that we enter the fullness of the word family. Love will look different and I’m glad our love is now more diverse.

Intentional and Dependable.
Those of you who know me know that I can’t talk to long in a teaching capacity without saying the word ‘intentional’.  I now love Debbie on purpose, it’s intentional and from her side it’s dependable. This is where the promise of love is worked, and realised.  Debbie not only needs me but she needs me to love her, and just as much, if not more, Peter needs me to love Debbie.  How else could I teach my son how to love and be a husband if not by showing him? Peter needs parents who are in love and I’m glad our love is more intentional and dependable.

Love is a want and I want to love Debbie but now there’s a more realised responsibility of love, ‘I don’t have a choice but I still choose you’3.  Though there is 1000 more things I could say, I’ll just finish with my prayer/hope.
“As Peter grows up may he know and understand the Fathers love for him by the way I love him and may he know and understand Christ’s love for His church by the way I love Debbie, and my he show the world what God is like by loving others more than himself.”
I’m in love with Debbie, and the ‘in’ has been strengthened.

Ps. I would love to be able to write a blog about meeting Peter for the first time but I can’t find the words but here’s some photo’s of him and his parents! Come visit! 

 

1 – Rich Mullins in song ‘We are not as string as we think we are’
2 – Stevie Wonder in ‘Isn’t she lovely’
3 – The Civil Wars in a complex song about tough marriage called ‘poison and wine’

WAITING AND CREATING …diary of pregnant dad-3

It’s a bit of a wait to be honest.  I mean I’ve been married to a pregnant woman now for seven and a half months, that’s long time to be a pregnant woman’s husband. 
Never mind me it’s been a long time for Debbie to carry this bump and to be married to a hyper-active pregnant dad.
Why the big wait?
I’ve been reading Genesis 1 over and over again, trying to pick up it’s rhythms and hip-pop style lyrics.  It’s a bouncing passage this creation text, with it’s repetitive yet action packed schedule. 
Right, here’s the thing, God could have created the whole cosmos in a flash. He didn’t. He took a whole week.  The workings of this week are not rushed everything has it’s own place and time, God has a chance to see the morning and evening everyday and enjoy a full Sabbath.  And neither are the workings of this week lazy, each day has a good amount of action and reflection. 
Safe to say, Genesis 1 does not procrastinate nor is it in a rush. 
Now if God can make a whole cosmos in 7 days with time to marvel and what He has done, what could He not create in 9 months!
Gods not rushing the creating of my child but neither is He being lazy, He is knitting my child together with passions, making arms, legs, beauty, senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, abilities to love, show mercy and have compassion, knitting all this and more into my child.  But most of all, and this is what excites and scares me most about this whole thing. God is creating a home for Himself inside my child’s heart. A home with a door, a door only my child can open to let God in to make His home there.  My child will be God’s image bearer, for sure, but it will be his/her choice to become in-dwelt by God Himself.  And I pray with my whole being, and will do, think and say everything and anything within my wisdom and power so that they understand that they have been created to be a ‘home for God’ to be in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit because it’s only then they will become who they really are, and it’s only then I will be fully blessed knowing that I will be with my child forever in God’s sustaining eternal life.
I wonder what s/he will look like, will Debbie’s mangled toes get a tribute in God’s creating, will my love for music, will my asthma, what about Debbie’s love for family? I can’t wait to see what God will create for us, but I can wait, because He still has creating to do; hey, sure He’s still creating me.
Standing on Grace

time on hands

MOUNTAINS ARE DANCING …diary of a pregnant dad-2

There is nothing really happening!
I mean Debbie is just getting a big tummy, or so it looks, to the untrained eye.  We’re all trained to notice pregnancy. We’re quite literally brought up with it, and we know the implications it has, it means a child is about to be born, and subsequently parents are also about to be born.  God is at work and yet, we don’t get to see his creative craftsmanship in any great detail, just a growing bump and an ultra-sound picture.  Yet we know He is very much at work. I had this thought a few weeks back when down at the sea with Debz, thinking on how there’s so much marine life in the ocean though we can hardly see it’s movement.  Then knowing that God is knitting a personality, gifts, muscles, eyes, soul etc in my child and yet everything looks so still.  The untrained eye could even say that God was doing nothing. 
I mean what if, with our seemingly still, slow church God is busy at work birthing something of abundant life and I have found that often it’s in the stillest, quietest part of the day that God does the most speaking.  Who knows what else in our lives looks still to us and yet God is working His will out through it.  Like the time at the end of winter, we think everything quit, we think nothing is happening, and then snowdrops, daffodils, primroses and the life of spring show us the life that was waiting to birth underground.  hey maybe even those mountains are dancing.

I went home with that thought in my mind and wrote this wee song.
Mountains are Dancing
Is there anyone who couldn’t be in love tonight

With the magic of the full moon that’s shining bright
There must be a billion and one stars God has set alight 
And the mountains go dancing on the skyline 

And the Girl that I’ve given my heart to
Seems quite like she’s thinking the whole thing through (might need to work on this line!)
I press my lips agains her hair and say ‘I, love you’
And the mountains go dancing on the skyline
Yeah those mountains go dancing on the skyline

Chorus:
God is creating us
God is creating a new heart in us
God is creating us
He’s creating a new life with us

You see God is at work in her womb tonight
Knitting together a brand new life
He’s planting a heart and a soul in behind my child’s eyes
And the mountains go dancing on the skyline
Yeah those mountains go dancing on the skyline

Chorus again.

The ocean looks so still
With the moonlight resting on it’s ripples
But there’s so much life beneath those watery shadows
And the mountains go dancing on the skyline
Oh even mountains can dance with the skyline

here’s a wee picture of our baby, and the shore out front of house.
standing on Grace.

IMG_0547 DSCF1932

GIRL or BOY …diary of a pregnant dad-1

Today we had a scan, like 22 weeks or something, baby looking a healthy wee thing with long legs!
Here’s the deal right, I don’t like keeping secrets from anyone, Jesus asked us to live in the light, not to hide in darkness or to keep parts of our lives hidden.  So, I don’t delete my browsing history, I don’t hide anything, open living.  Anyway.  At this scan you can find out if your baby is a girl or boy.  I wanted to, but Debbie says if we find out then we’d have to keep it a ‘secret’ (bad word for Andrew), so we decided not to find out… As the nurse put the gel and camera around Debbie’s tummy, and commented on the heart, lungs, brain I was on a mission, I was searching hard for a willy!  Thought I saw one at one point, but it turned out to be the umbilical cord! It did look a little oversized. 

Why do I want to find out? Well I’m a day dreamer, and a visionary, I dream of the ideal before looking at where we are. 

If it’s a boy, I dream of introducing my son to the world, telling him that beautiful and terrible things will happen.  That you can’t trust everybody but must always trust Jesus and choose to trust those close to you.  Showing him a way of life that honors God, relys on the spirit and focuses on Jesus.  I dream of him making me proud with his passion, I dream of Him following Jesus.  

If it’s a girl, I dream of protecting her from the world, showing her how beautiful she is. Teaching her to trust Jesus always but to only trust the most very very excellent and Jesus focused of men with her heart.  I dream of Debbie showing her a way of life that honers God, relys on the spirit and focuses on Jesus.  I dream of her making me proud with her compassion, I dream of her being in love with Jesus.

What do these differences tell me? The natural God made difference between male and female, or the cultural context that I’ve somehow dragged into my faith, I don’t know, bit of both maybe.
I do know something…  …I didn’t see a willy!

standing on Grace

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: