Psalm 23: Fear will never conquer me

Lord, even when your path takes me through
    the valley of deepest darkness,
    fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
    You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
    Your authority is my strength and my peace.
    The comfort of your love takes away my fear.
    I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.

Psalm 23:4, The Passion Translation

Danny Silk: I choose you

From Danny Silk, Keep Your Light On:

“I choose you.” This is the foundation of true, lasting relationships. It is the foundation for God’s relationship with you. As Jesus declared to His disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…”  Jesus chose you in the most difficult of circumstances. He chose you while you were in sin, while you were His enemy. You can be sure that His end of relationship with you does not depend upon your choice, but entirely upon His choice. The question is whether or not you will learn to build your relationships with Him and others upon the foundation of your choice.

Unfortunately, most people haven’t learned to build their relationships on the premise, “I choose you.” Their premise for relationship is, “You chose me.” Take the typical secondary school canteen at lunchtime:  On the first day of school, everyone enters the
lunchroom with their lunch boxes and the weighty knowledge that their entire social status for the year is about to be determined by what happens in the next half hour. They
scan the room, identify each group of people, and wonder which one they should join.

This inner debate continues until someone calls out, “Hey you! Yes, you. Do you want to sit with us?” Relieved that someone is choosing them, they shut their brain off and wander over to the table where they will probably sit for the rest of the year.

It’s simply our natural instinct to like people who like us and to choose people who choose us. This instinct even extends to non-humans. When a dog licks the face of its owner, the owner smiles and thinks, “I love this dog! Look at how much this dog loves me.” His friends might think it is disgusting, but the dog owner enjoys being liked, even if he gets slobbered on.

However, if all our relationships are based solely on our natural impulse to return liking for liking, then we’re going to have problems. Liking is a conditional state—it changes.
Making “you chose me” the foundation of a relationship dooms it to change, and probably collapse, the minute one person’s liking happens to turn sour. I can see disaster
coming from miles away when I meet with couples for pre-marriage counselling, ask the man to describe his bride-to-be, and hear something like this:

“Uh, she’s hot. She loves me. I really love that she loves me. That is my favourite thing about her. She could have had any guy, but she chose me. I am so lucky.”

I wish I could say such a response isn’t common, but I can’t. When nothing I hear tells me that a man is choosing a bride for her own sake, because she is the one he wants, I can
say with a great deal of certainty that the relationship is fragile. What will happen when his wife stops showing him the same degree of affection she did when he was engaged? What happens if someone “hotter” comes along and decides to choose him?

A healthy, lasting relationship can only be built between two people who choose one another and take full responsibility for that choice. This choice must be based on
who they are, what they want, and what they are committed to doing as individuals. Traditional marriage vows express the nature of this choice beautifully. The two people standing at the altar do not say, “You will. You will love me and cherish me in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” And they don’t say, “I will love you as long as you love me. I will be faithful to you as long as you are faithful to me.” Their vows are all about what they are going to do. “I will love you. I will protect you. I will serve you. I will be faithful to you, no matter what.”

Continue reading “Danny Silk: I choose you”

The Breakup Song

Sick and tired of being sick and tired
Had of much of you as I can take
I’m so done, so over being afraid

I’ve gone through the motions
I’ve been back and forth
I know that you’re thinking you’ve heard this before
I don’t know how to say it
So I’m just gonna say it

Fear, you don’t own me
There ain’t no room in this story
And I ain’t got time for you
Telling me what I’m not
Like you know me well guess what?
I know who I am
I know I’m strong
And I am free
Got my own identity
So fear, you will never be welcome here

Martin Smith – Give Thanks for a Broken Heart

Here’s Martin Smith singing a new song with a Salvation Army Brass Band! It’s written by Martin, Chris Tomlin, Bo Rinehart and Jake Isaac. Here is a both a lyric video and a live version.

Martin Smith, Give Thanks for a Broken Heart, Lyric video

What I thought would take me under

Has led me back to You

Martin Smith, Give Thanks for a Broken Heart
Martin Smith, Give Thanks for a Broken Heart, Live performance

The full words are:

You see the scars I try to hide
Every wound a story I have cried
You always love me; it never ends
‘Cos You are not an ordinary friend
What I thought would take me under
Has led me back to You
Every time that I feel I’m falling apart
I give thanks for a broken heart

You never weary, of my complaints
Believing me when I am losing faith
And what is shattered, You will mend
‘Cos You are not an ordinary friend
Every battle leaves us fragile
And fear comes in the night
Though the weight of this suffering may never depart
I give thanks for a broken heart

Tomorrow at Explore: Word and Spirit

What does it mean that Explore places a high value on the Bible and also on the Holy Spirit? 

Today Annette continues our six week mini-series that looks at Explore’s vision and values.  Steve will be with us and leading us in Communion. 11.15am, Ottery St Mary Parish Church.  

Instead of our usual Lunch after the service in the Church building, there’ll be an extended Bring and Share Lunch at Colin and Annette’s house.  You are very welcome to bring family members who don’t normally come.  

Acts 16: Live as you were meant to live

The jailer got a torch and ran inside. Badly shaken, he collapsed in front of Paul and Silas. He led them out of the jail and asked, “Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved, to really live?” They said, “Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus. Then you’ll live as you were meant to live—and everyone in your house included!”

Acts 16:31, The Message