All my inmost being

I know this blog is really about discovering what it means to really love my wife, but somehow I am stuck in what it means to really love God. My hope is that one flows out of the other, as I understand that His love is pretty much the model that I am working from…

So, flash back about 20 years, BBC2, Friday evenings – The Fast Show

This week I have been mostly reading the Hallel Psalms
(And the few before them)

“Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

What does that mean? All that is within me?

Is that something we just sing/say/pray? Does all that is within me truly bless the Lord? Does every breath I take go towards Him as worship? Every action? Every thought?

What kind of a God is even worthy of that level of worship?

If I extrapolate this to my marriage – could I be the kind of husband that invokes something even close to that level of response from my wife?

If I truly believe that every action of God speaks of his incredible, covenant-keeping, faithful, steadfast, death-defying, life-creating, awe-inspiring, forgiving, merciful, compassionate, righteous, just, honourable, glorious, awesome love – even in his justice & discipline, then can I capture even a fraction of this in the way I treat S.?

Can I aim to pour out and show love to her with every action I take? Can I seek to serve her daily? To be slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love?

To ensure that she knows that she is truly loved from the “depth of her being”, so that “all that is within her” has to acknowledge that love, just like David did? And if my love is only a picture of God’s love (however limited a picture that may be, of course), could I seek to love my wife in a way that leads her to praise her heavenly father even more, as she catches glimpses of His love in mine?

May be a bold prayer – but nothing like going large!

The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him
Psalm 103

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever
Psalm 111

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I will…

Need I write any more?

Psalms 101:1-4Psalm 101

I Will Walk with Integrity A Psalm of David. 

I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
to you, O Lord, I will make music.

I will
ponder the way that is blameless.
Oh when will you come to me?

I will
walk with integrity of heart within my house;

I will
not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
it shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall be far from me;

I will
know nothing of evil.

So… God’s told me we’re having another baby…

Today’s topic is one that is close to my heart… Babies. 
They are great! But HARD HARD work… A joy to conceive, an endurance to cook (in the metaphorical oven, of course), a pleasure, joy & trial to raise… We have 3 beautiful children, and haven’t been planning for any more.

Now, S. has yet to read or hear about this latest topic, so I can hear her quivering in her boots (or flip-flops) as she will eventually read this…

I’ll set minds at ease, all is not as it may seem from the title.

Before I begin, the backdrop is quite simple:

Another baby she does not wish for. Unequivocally.

I am personally less worried about the whole thing, but that’s beside the point for now. More importantly, something odd started in me a few months ago.

It started with a rough patch with the kids and especially my patience, which forced me to begin praying for more grace for myself and for grace to fill our home. 

I started praying for abundant grace to be the testimony and story of our home life. 

I started praying that as a couple we would show grace to one another and for that to overflow and pour out over our kids. 

I started praying that through the grace we have for one another at home, they would start showing  grace to other friends and living out grace in their daily lives, at school and beyond, to the point that one day they would eventually set up their own homes filled with grace, and live out callings in whatever sphere of life they are called to be, pouring out God’s grace to whoever they meet…

Sound exciting? I thought so…

But then one day the picture changed. I got a picture in my head. A baby daughter. And her name was Grace.

What do you do with that?

I’ve been brought up in the school of ‘never prophesy about births, deaths or marriages’ – and here I am feeling like I need to be praying for something that if I really loved my wife I wouldn’t ask for in 100 years!

I love kids, and if I am perfectly honest (and decided to completely ignore the practicalities of our current callings and ministries) would love to have more, but I am also fully aware of the limitations of our humanity, and that child-bearing is not really on the agenda at the moment.

I’m also not sure that S. would appreciate the ‘manipulation’ that would come with any prophetic statement that involves bear another child!

So what is this all about? 
Every pause and lull I have had in the last week or two has left me praying for something that is physically and practically impossible at the moment, certainly not in our human thinking, and something that doesn’t seem a wise choice at this juncture at all.

So, I’ve been grappling silently with this all until today in prayer I had a mini-epiphany.

The truth is I am praying for a baby to be born, but it may never actually be born in the flesh. I believe that I have been asked to nurture and labour for a different kind of baby…

As far as I can tell, I have been asked to pray abundant grace into being in our home life. I need grace for S, I need to be speaking grace over her. I need grace for my kids and to be speaking grace in every conversation.

I desire to live in a home that is oozing with fresh and living grace everywhere you look or sit, everything you touch.

Grace needs to be flowing from my home and out into the streets; into the hearts of my kids and into the lives of their friends; into our places of work and beyond through our various ministries.

Simply put, God’s grace needs to invade and change our lives and the lives of those around us.

So it appears that for the first time in our marriage, it is my job to carry a baby, to nurture it, feed it day in and day out, consciously and subconsciously until it one day will be born and released into the world.

I read this today:

Jeremiah 31:2-3

Thus says the Lord:

“The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

Even in the wilderness, God’s grace flows freely -directly out of His love – and His love is incredible. 

He loves us just as we are – with a covenantal, faithful, merciful love that endures forever, that is not phased by mistakes, that sees beyond actions and to the very core of our being. His love doesn’t change because we mess up, if anything it shows its strength in our weakness. His grace comes out of THIS love.

By this love the universe hangs together. Do I allow the father’s love to hold my universe together?

Could I learn to love others like that?

Perhaps, if I am going to see this kind of grace born into my home I should start by receiving His grace through this incomparable love for myself…

Wake up call

So I was woken up at 4.30am today.

Great, thanks God. Appreciate that.

But instead of the usual lazy social media surfing that I might do in the warmth of my bed, the voice was clear…

Get up! Fight for your family!

Do I have to?

Well, actually, I guess I don’t have to. But if that’s what God wants, then it’s what I want too…

Read this post (in my few mins scanning social media before I obeyed…)

Powerful stuff!!

I guess if that’s my job as a husband & father, and that’s how I’ve got to start my week well… Give me more wake up calls!!

Now I guess I better stop procrastinating and actually get on with some praying…