Seasons for the Soul

What a difference a week makes. The seasons don’t wait. They come and go by divine passage. Never lingering long enough for complacency to take root. The seasons of the Lord are much the same. Our lives ever changing and evolving as we walk this road he has placed us on. Spiritual winter is hard but essential to let the dead things go. Today is the sign in the heavens that a time for hunkering down into the warmth of his embrace has come. Rest in his presence as you hide in the shadow of his wings. Safe in the knowledge that Spring is ahead and a time for regrowth. Let our seasons be rooted in the Lord and not in the fickle ways of man. The Father never gives up on his children so even if your Winter of the soul looks bleak please remember the saviour has gone ahead of you and stands in the fields of Spring beckoning you forward with an outstretched arm. Winter passes like the clouds on a windy day. The Lords love endures forever ❤️


A Building in Process

One of the very exciting experiences for me over the years was to watch Bridge of Don church rise from a rough grass mound to a beautiful, warm, inviting building. There was lots of mess and digging to lay the foundations, then the basic formations themselves were neatly mapped out, and only then was the superstructure put in place piece by piece by piece. During this period the workmen must have been fed up of me coming every day to see what progress had been made, out of sheer excitement. It took quite a while but eventually we had the finished article, yet still with room for development.

This process corresponds to what God is doing with His church which is often referred to in the New Testiment as a building. The foundation, or cornerstone, is Christ and the apostles. The church is the superstructure, which is like its physical counterpart, attractive, warm and welcoming and with open hearts and doors to all. Paul says in 1 Cor 3:9 “You are God’s building” and in verse 16, “You are the temple of God and the Spirit of God lives in you.”

The fledgling fellowship at Portlethen is in the process of becoming what God wants it to be. The foundations are being laid and the superstructure and shape are slowly becoming something like God has in mind. The foundation is Jesus Christ, and the building is developed with faith, love and prayer. The worship services are encouraging and inspiring, there is openness of heart and hand to each other, and active prayer is uniting it all together. The Home group is gelling well, with broad participation, and warm concern for one another. It is still a building site but the building is, and will be, emerging.

God has a plan for His church here and we are privileged to be part of it. We see only the beginnings yet and not the whole structure but we have a vision of God’s “grand design” emerging in the future, which will draw and attract many to its builder, Jesus Christ Himself. We must have the same eagerness to see the finished article that I had, but we need also the patience to wait for God that I did not have!!!

An Ocean of Ink

Its 4am and I can’t sleep. I have a hymn on my brain, thats worked its way into my head on repeat. A bit like that radio jingle, written in the darkest depths on earth, composed on a cursed keyboard, designed to inflict torture on all whom hear it and eat away at their very soul like a worm. You know the one about windows 0800ABERDEEN or something like that. However this hymn is much more welcomed in my head.

I first heard the hymn this week and what struck me was the first impression I got. It wasn’t that it was well composed, or that it had a lovely tune. But that that it was well written, it described what I have read in the bible. I almost wanted to say aloud “Yes! That’s what the bible has told me!” and for me that’s what makes a good worship song. Not romantic lyrics, not great poetry, not even a tune that you can hit all the high notes in, though all these things are important. But when a song makes me think about the truth I have read of God.

The hymn begins with these words:
“The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin.”

My daughters just turned one and for the most part her Mum and her Dad (and perhaps the Dog) are her whole world. There are friends that pop in and out from time to time but for the most part they don’t stick in the memory so well. I can see her starting to understand what I say to her more and more, particularly the word “No” and “Don’t you dare eat that!” albeit understanding and ignoring. But I try to tell her I love her, and I try to tell her how much, and I find myself holding out my arms as wide as they will go and I point outwards and I say “I love you thiiiiiiiiiiis much!” and I strain the “I” until I cough and need a drink. The truth is I love her much more than that, in fact arm spans is an incredibly poor and unfit measure of a fathers love for his daughter. But it’s what she understands, and her little face smiles, perhaps because daddy looks silly, but I like to think some of what I’m trying to communicate goes in.

The bible tells me the love of God is steadfast and without end, and His mercy is new every morning (Lam 3:22-23), that His love endures forever (Psalm 136:26). It’s says the love of God for you does not have an end, it does not begin at one of his fingers and end at the other. He is not saying “thiiiiiiiiis much” for a short time, he’s not even saying it for a long time, he just doesn’t stop saying it.

When I look at my daughter I’m reminded that most of the time when your just a kid you think you comprehended just how much Mum and Dad care, but a fair few years down the line you get kids of your own and all of a sudden you realise what is meant by parental love.  You get this deep ache in your chest that you just can’t express and you wish this tiny little blob could understand what you feel for her, but all she can do is hiccup and burp and smile and you just settle for the fact she’s happy, all the while this love is burning in your chest and you finally feel the limits of human language. It think there’s a reason why God calls himself our Father, there is a reason he describes his love as a parents. It helps us grasp the inadequacy of language to describe it.

But that’s as far as my analogy can go.  See the bible tells me that in His love for us God forsook the love of a parent, He sent his only Son to die that we might be restored to Him. This is where a parent’s love becomes so much more inadequate a description. By dying that we may live, and sending his only Son to die for our Sins, the space between Gods finger tips and the length of that breath going “thiiiiiiis much” stops hurting our heads and just never enters our heads in the first place. Now that I’m older I think I can comprehend the love of a Father, but no. I can comprehend the love of an earthly fleshy human Father. What I can’t comprehend is the love of my heavenly Father for me, for you. All I can do is hiccup, and burp, and smile and enjoy what little of it I can understand.

The hymn goes on to say:
“Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.”

For me these words summarise quite well what I see written from the first pages of the bible to the last. That God loves me, and that Gods love for me has no end, its steadfast. I guess the point of this devotional is a simple one, it’s not some deep profound unfolding of the scripture, not that it ever could be, but it’s that God loves you. You may be sat their thinking, “Is that all I read all this for?” And all I could say is, Yes! God has written us 1189s chapters in the bible telling us how much he loves us, and we come away from it learning that His love goes even further than we can be told. In 2 Thessalonians 3:5 Paul prays “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” I think its important sometimes to pause, pray and meditate on His word. To remove the love of God from clinical dry academic thought; remove it from airy fairy romantic gestures, stop and ask God to redirect our hearts to his love. Compare it to the greatest love we ourselves have ever felt and say to ourselves “The love of God is greater far”.