27 March 2009

I Still Haven't Found What I've Looking For

I have climbed the highest mountain
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you
I have run, I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing in her fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire
I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

I believe in the kingdom come
Then all the colours will bleed into one
Bleed into one
Well yes I'm still running
You broke the bonds and you
Loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
Of my shame
You know I believe it

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for...

26 March 2009

God's Telephone Number

One of the drawbacks (if that's the right word for it) of searching for God's will in your life is that it can be very difficult to determine exactly what that might be. There's often a cacophony of voices in your daily life, and it's very difficult to isolate that 'still, small voice' from the many and varied ones that we hear from day to day. When I went to DFL I was rather disappointed when I was told that God's plan for my life wasn't going to be emailed to me over the weekend. I understood why, but I was still disappointed.

One of the things I have managed to get hold of recently is God's Telephone Number. What a find! Every time I need to talk to my heavenly Father, I can give Him a call and have a chat through my problems. It's a local call. Lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If it's just a regular chat or an emergency call, the availability is still the same - no operator assistance is necessary. And the number's easy - it's Jeremiah 333.

Jeremiah 33:3 (New International Version)
'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'
I'm on the phone right now. He's promised me a call back very soon.

23 March 2009

More from the Psalms

Psalm 84:10 (NIV)
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

21 March 2009

Never Be The Same Again!

It's been quite interesting looking back this week on the various topics that people have been talking or blogging about this week. All are to do with change, and people's positive or negative reactions to it. Just think of the following:
  • The introduction of new Facebook profiles
  • The introduction of Google's new StreetView image service
  • All the discussion over new scoring in this year's Formula One championship
You can probably add to this list. It seems there are some who like changes, who quickly adapt. Then there are those who don't, who struggle with new systems and methods, who voice their concerns and opinions widely.
Change, however, is an essential part of life and one that we need to embrace. One of my favourite songs is Mel C's 'Never Be The Same Again', a love song speaking of taking the next step in a relationship. It's a bold change, involving stepping out of your comfort zone, possibly into an uncertain future.
"When I came to him Christ came to me,
Showed me what he planned that I should be;
I was liberated there and then,
O I’ll never be the same again!"
SASB 376 - John Gowans

19 March 2009

Give It Away

Luke 6:37-38 (The Message)

"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticise their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don't condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."

16 March 2009

Words Of Life!

Sing them over again to me,
Wonderful words of life;
Let me more of their beauty see,
Wonderful words of life.
Words of life and beauty,
Teach me faith and duty.
Beautiful words! Wonderful words!
Wonderful words of life!

SASB 258 (Philip Paul Bliss)

12 March 2009

Just Before The Dawn

Psalm 112 (NIV)
1 Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.
2 His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.
4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.
5 Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.
6 Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.
7 He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
8 His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.
9 He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honour.
10 The wicked man will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

Interesting, this psalm. It's an acrostic poem, where each verse begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Acrostics can be used as a memory-joggers, like Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain helps us to remember the colours of the rainbow.

I am growing very fond of the Psalms - they help me when I lack the words to express my emotions at the moment. They help to jog my memory as to the right things to say, to do, to think. Like today - which proved to be a very dark day, one certainly to forget. I'm encouraged by this psalm to look for the dawn, to seek the light in the darkness. I'm eagerly awaiting the dawn - but am quick to realise that it can get pretty dark before it gets light again.

10 March 2009

Hold On Tight!

I've had one of those days today. You know what I mean. I can only describe it as 'hopeless' - in the sense that I was unable to find any aspect of my working day when I could find any hope. Having been strangely calm and positive for a few days, I was quite taken aback with such a change today. Taking stock of my working hours on the way home, I often spend some time to be quiet and share time with God. Tonight, He spoke to me - through the words of ELO's song, played on Radio 2 when I got off the train tonight.

Hold on tight to your dream
Hold on tight to your dream
When you see your ship go sailing
When you feel your heart is breaking
Hold tight to your dream.

When you get so down that you can't get up
And you want so much but you're all out of luck
When you're so downhearted and misunderstood
Just over & over & over you could

Hold on tight to your dream
Hold on tight to your dream
When you see the shadows falling
When you hear that cold wind calling
Hold on tight to your dream.

Click here for full lyrics

John 15:7 (NIV)
"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you."

I'm holding on to my dream. Thank you Lord!

7 March 2009

Who Watches The Watchmen?

This weekend sees the premiere of one of the most eagerly-awaited comic book adaptations into a Hollywood blockbuster. And it's definitely not for kids. 'Watchmen' is a twelve-issue comic book limited series created by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colourist John Higgins. Originally published by DC Comics during 1986-87, it has achieved more lasting fame subsequently as a graphic novel. The story takes place in the Eighties, but this is a world where President Nixon has been in office for multiple terms; where the United States are on the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union; where costumed vigilantes exist but have been outlawed. Most of these 'superheroes' are either in retirement or working for the government. The murder of one of these 'heroes' sparks off our story...

The graphic novel has become highly acclaimed by both comics fans and mainstream SF followers alike. The story was thought by many to be 'unfilmable' for over a decade, however Zack Snyder's movie version seems to be getting pretty good reviews so far, remaining true to the original material. It's violent and not an easy story to follow... but it's certainly thought-provoking.

Most modern film versions of the superhero genre set out to explore their source material whilst aiming to depict what life as a hero would be like 'in the real world'. It's not necessary to adapt 'Watchmen' - it's all here. In essence, Moore's original story is about power and its potential for abuse. The title of the series refers to the phrase "Who watches the watchmen?", the English translation of "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?", the question posed by the Roman satirist Juvenal. The so-called heroes in this story are unpleasant, racist, out of control. They are without compassion, without an accurate 'moral compass'.

A good conversation-starter, this one.

5 March 2009

St Teresa

Let nothing disturb thee,
Nothing affright thee
All things are passing;
God never changeth;
Patient endurance
Attaineth to all things;
Who God possesseth
In nothing is wanting;
Alone God sufficeth.
Saint Teresa (1515-1582), translated by H. W. Longfellow

This little verse, often used at our Corps as a benediction, speaks volumes to me at the moment. I've decided that I need to read up about St Teresa; what I've just read about her in Wikipedia has just peaked my interest.

2 March 2009

If you want to get ahead in the workplace... get angry

An interesting follow-up to my blog from last week on employment came from a report in the Daily Mail today. The article stated that those employees who let their anger out rather than bottling it up can actually help advance their career. Psychiatrists at Harvard Medical School in the States measured how the careers of 824 individuals had progressed over the past 44 years, while assessing their personalities and coping tactics. Those who tended to repress their frustrations were at least three times more likely to admit they had hit a glass ceiling in their careers. They also admitted to having more disappointing personal lives.

Professor George Vaillant said "People think of anger as a terribly dangerous emotion and are encouraged to practise 'positive thinking', but we find that approach is self-defeating and ultimately a damaging denial of dreadful reality. We all feel anger, but individuals who learn how to express their anger while avoiding the explosive and self-destructive consequences of unbridled fury have achieved something incredibly powerful in terms of overall emotional growth and mental health."

Dr Howard Kassinove wrote a study which concluded that over 55% of subjects said that an angry episode produced a positive outcome. "People who are targets of anger in these studies will say things like 'I really understand the other person much better now - I guess I wasn't listening before'," he said. "While assertive expression is always preferable to angry expression, anger may serve an important alerting function that leads to deeper understanding of the other person and the problem."
Having blogged on Bitterness for a while last year, I get warning bells in the back of my head when I read this. How can any good come from such a dangerously negative emotion like anger? Trust me from one who knows - anger shouldn't be expressed or repressed - it needs to be dealt with.