== Love God == Delight in Light ==

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Feeding the 5000 - Video

The feeding the five thousand video is now online on YouTube:

I hope you enjoy/enjoyed the video, and that you are encouraged to see if you can find ways to use your own gifts to serve God - even if your gifts seem "small" to you. Remember that a gift doesn't need to be something that people would consider special or unusual for God to use it.

If you enjoy colouring, you can download a printable Feeding the 5000 colouring page.

You can find the accounts of this even in the Bible in the following places: Matt 14:14-22, Mark 6:34-44, Luke 9:11-17 and John 6:1-13 - it would be great for you to look those up so you can read about it for yourself.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Why Are You Struggling There? (Ocean of Love)

Ages ago I wrote this song. It's called "Why Are You Struggling There?" (or alternatively, as my wife prefers, "Ocean of Love"). It's inspired by various personal thoughts and Bible passages regarding the love and salvation that we get when we turn to God.

I wrote the music using an application called "Melody Assistant" but never seemed to quite get around to recording the singing... However, earlier this year my wife and I had a (rare!) spare afternoon alone, so we grabbed the opportunity to record it at last. It's not a perfect rendition, but hopefully good enough for you to enjoy :)

Having recorded it, the next step was to bundle it into a video for YouTube - I considered various options for the accompanying visuals, and in the end decided that it would be fun show the music score as it is being played by Melody Assistant. There are quite a few staves in the music, so you really need to watch it in HD on a reasonably large screen if you actually want to be able to see the notes (and even then it may be a bit of a struggle!). By the way, I can't actually play any of the instruments involved - I just chose ones that sounded nice in Melody Assistant :) - I have no idea if it would be actually possible to play the various parts on real instruments (I suspect not in some cases!).

Anyway, enough waffle - here's the video...

... and here are the lyrics:

My feet were all blistered with hot baking sand,
I struggled on forward through parched, barren land,
I’d used my last strength to press on to the prize,
The fruit of seduction on palm trees of lies.
My journey planned,
Seeking a far, distant land,
Hoping to win the prize,
Aiming for highest skies.
But as I drew near it began to unfold,
That all of the fruit that I once could behold,
Were shimmering mists that had vanished away,
No lakes of refreshment just, dry beds of clay.
But dreams grow cold,
Rainbows just don’t lead to gold,
Hopes dreamed along the way,
Seem to all fade away.
But then, in the midst of my deepest despair,
A voice strong as thunder yet gentle with care,
Swept over my shoulder and sung 'round my head,
It tugged on my heart and my soul as it said:
A lonely tear,
Head hung in weary despair,
That’s where my journey led,
Until a calm voice said:
"Why are you struggling there?
Come – I bring joy, not despair.
Come to my family above,
Come to my ocean of love."
I turned slowly round and I saw standing there,
With face like the sun and with flowing white hair,
The Almighty God; the Magnificent King,
The Ruler of Heaven and Everything.
I turned around to see
The Lamb of Calvary,
The Prince of Eternity,
The King of Kings, the Almighty.
The fire in His eyes and His sword wielding hand,
They filled me with dread and I fell to the sand,
But then on my shoulder His hand gently pressed,
And wonderful calmness and warmth filled my chest:
But when I saw His might,
His dazzling face of light,
I fell to my knees in dread,
But He reached down and tenderly said:
"Stand up there’s no need to fear,
Rise and let Me draw you near,
Sing, your salvation is here,
Dance with the joy that we’ll share."
He lifted me out of that miserable place,
With ruby-red blood He cleansed all my disgrace,
Poured open His heart so that I could be free,
And carried me home to His land ‘cross the sea.
Now free from the desert of endless defeat,
I'm walking in sunlight, but not burning heat,
For gushing and bubbling around at my feet,
Are rivers of love that flow down from His seat.
So friend if your soul longs for meaning and light,
Your heart wants to sing and to dance with delight,
If you’ll stop and listen, if you’ll turn to see,
You’ll hear the same words that He once said to me:
"Why are you struggling there?
Come – I bring joy, not despair.
Come to my family above,
Come to my ocean of love."
"Stand up there’s no need to fear,
Rise and let Me draw you near,
Sing, your salvation is here,
Dance with the joy that we’ll share."
“Come to my family above,
Come to my ocean of love."


Saturday, March 02, 2013

On Psalm 23 and Being a Sheep - Video

Some time ago I wrote a poem based on Psalm 23 called On Psalm 23 and Being a Sheep... Well, I'm now excited to say that I have created a video version of that poem!

This is the first video of this kind that I've made, so I'd love any feedback on it - it has certainly taken quite some time to do, particularly as I have a full time "normal" job and a family, so finding time to work on it hasn't always been easy.

As well as just watching the video, here are some suggestions for some fun activities that you may like to try...

  • Read Psalm 23 - The poem and video are, obviously, based on imagining what someone may have been thinking about that psalm, and, after all, he was a little confused about some things, at least at first. So why not look up Psalm 23 in your own Bible and read it for yourself?
  • Colouring page - (or "coloring" page, if you're American!) - I've created a colouring page that you can print out and colour in - then, if you like, you can pin the picture up somewhere so you have a regular reminder of your Shepherd :)
  • Draw your on picture - Rather than (or as well as) printing out my picture, why not draw your own picture of the Good Shepherd?
  • Hide and seek - I've created a little hide and seek game based on the video - there are ten things for you to try to find that appear somewhere in the video. There is also a document with the answers.
  • Hold your own show - Of course, you can share the video with your friends, etc. if you want to, or watch it with them, but why not see if you can hold your own show? You could make some characters and use them to act the story just like I did in the video - as you can see, it doesn't even matter if people can see your hands holding the characters. You could base your show on my poem (like in the video), or you could base it on the actual psalm, or you could make up your own words.

Thanks for watching and God bless :)

p.s. You may also like to read some of my other poems...

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Two Things For Christians To Be Sure Of

It seems to me that Christianity is becoming more and more marginalised in Western culture. This means that we are more and more likely to be the target of opposition and/or persecution.

One result of this is that people who see themselves as Christians, but are "nominal" or "half-hearted" about it, are more likely to be forced to make a decision one way or the other - will I stand up for Jesus in spite of opposition, or will I just follow whatever happens to be popular at the moment?

One possible way to "test" whether I am "nominal" or not is to consider two key things:
  1. Do I really believe in God?
  2. Do I have a genuine love for God?
To answer the first of these, think about this: when someone challenges your belief, or presents something that could be considered to be contrary evidence, how do you react? If you react defensively or emotionally, then you should check whether your belief is really founded on a "wish" rather than on solid evidence. Are you genuinely interested in seeking truth, or are you just wanting to protect your belief?

I recommend that you embrace your doubts, investigate other points of view and face the possibility that your cherished beliefs may be wrong. Then you can come out the other side with a much stronger belief that is based on fact rather than on wishing.

To answer the second, consider your attitude towards chocolate (or, if you are one or the few people who doesn't like chocolate, something else that you do like/love). How often do you make excuses to avoid "having to" eat a piece of chocolate? Or do you rather (since chocolate is not really that good for you) make excuses or rationalisations that allow you to eat more of it? Similarly, if there is someone that you really like and love, do you make excuses so you can avoid spending time with them? Or do you look forward to, and seek out, opportunities to be with them?

What about your relationship with God - do you make excuses to avoid interacting with Him? Are you thankful if something comes up that prevents you from attending church meetings?

If so, maybe you don't really love God. If that is the case, then I recommend that you prayerfully focus on learning how to develop a love relationship with Him (rather than one that is based on a sense of duty or guilt). This book that I wrote a while back has some ideas for how to develop a relationship with God that is based on love: Would You Like To Sin More And Still Get To Heaven - but there are also many other resources and people around who will be able to help you develop that kind of relationship with Him.

So in summary, look at yourself and consider the strength of your belief in, and love for, God. If both are strong, you will have a strong foundation on, and connection to, the One who can carry you through any opposition that may come your way. If they are weak, then maybe you should ask God to help you do something about them - after all, failure to do so could have eternal consequences.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

@delightinlight - Getting Into Twitter

According to http://www.whendidyoujointwitter.com I joined Twitter on 1 April 2011 (hmm - April fool's day - maybe I should have waited a day!). However, until recently, it's not been something that I've really used very much - there were just a couple of users that I followed, and occasionally I would post a "tweet" that would be read by, I suspect, exactly nobody. I had, I think, 2 "followers".

However, about a week ago, I decided to really start actually, you know, using Twitter (and I already can't remember what prompted that!). So I started looking for interesting people to follow and started posting more tweets.

Here's some things that I personally have found in that week (i.e. the experience of someone who is, in effect, a newbie):

  1. I've really enjoyed it. Actually, I think may be getting hooked! It's great to have a constant stream of encouraging and challenging thoughts to keep me focused on God and His purpose for my life.
  2. #1 above, of course, depends on following the right people. However, it has been really easy to find great people to follow. If you do happen to follow someone who turns out to be inappropriate, then it's very easy to "unfollow" them.
  3. There's a great, overriding temptation on Twitter (to add to all life's other temptations) -- joining the "number of followers" race. Seriously, it's not about how many followers you have. Really. I have to keep reminding myself of that, because it really does seem to lure one in! Actually, I think I should write a blog post with more thoughts on that subject at some point... I may need to continue to be reminded ;-)
  4. Many of the people that I follow have points of view on various theological points that I don't necessarily 100% agree with. That feels really quite irrelevant. Because what I notice more is that they seem to, first and foremost, reflect God's love. So I can listen to the occasional bits that I disagree with and feel encouraged to challenge my own position without jumping to the defensive. That feels to me like the kind of unity that Jesus would like to see in His family.

Now, I'm sure that, as time progresses, unpleasantness will pop up from one corner or another (this is the web, after all). But it looks like it will be a place where I will be able to continue to get that encouragement and challenge.

If you are not a Twitter user, then I suggest you give it a try. Find some great Christians to "follow" and enjoy the spiritual feeding that they willingly and continuously send your way :)

As a suggestion of where to start, here's a list of some people who not only have had great things to say over the past week, but have also taken the time to interact with me on Twitter in some Twitterish kind of way - in spite of me being a "nobody" in Twitter terms (i.e. "a person with few followers"). That means that we can be reasonably sure that they are genuinely interested in encouraging and helping rather than just being in it to promote themselves. Here's their usernames and current profile comment:

  • Michelle Castillo - @mishiroo - "In the comfort of His love"
  • Kelli Trujillo - @kbtrujillo - "Author, editor. Into Christian spirituality, environment, justice. Busy mom of 3. Foodie, book-lover, indie music fan, film watcher, poet, gardener, journaler."
  • Greg Holt - @writinggomer - "Love God, inspirational writer and tweeter. Need encouragement and positive change? Follow me!"
  • Tiffany Barkley - @TiffanyBarkley - "I love family, diversity, missions, orphans, scenery, music, art, tattoos, holidays, Jesus & I live to make Him known--Check out my Non-Profit! @GivingOthrsHope"
  • Jarrid Wilson - @JarridWilson - "Pastor, Author, Blogger. A Gospel Sharing Misfit. I yearn to share Jesus to the world. New book, 30 WORDS is NOW AVAILABLE. http://30WordsBook.com"
  • Rebekah - @rebekahlynn - "If you're a southpaw and you can quote Big Daddy then I'll probably love you. COWBOYS.CUBS.MARCHMADNESS. Matthew 6:33 | thubby: @_jacobself"
  • Kari Maidment - @Karimaidreal - "i love Jesus."
  • Kim Montepara - @kimontepara - "A Beloved daughter of God. Have a heart for my family & friends, people, stories, children, youth & animals"

...why not stop by each of them, say "hi" and see if you would also like to follow them...?

Monday, January 23, 2012

The End of the Film

Conversation with Lucia (aged 5) after she had finished watching a film (Dad had watched most of it with her, but had had to go and do something else before it finished):
Dad: "So, Lucia - what happened at the end of the film?"
Lucia: "Well, um, it finished."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Little Paper Aeroplane

My Little Paper Aeroplane
Whilst in my hands I pray for help to shape your wings just right;
'Cause one day soon the time will come to launch you into flight.
I pray God then will bear those wings upon His winds of love,
And carry you along His paths till you alight above.

- Mark H (DelightInLight.com)

Note: This is one of a number of poems for Christian children that I have posted on this blog. If you want to see more of them, please have a look at this post: "Fun Poems for Kids"

You can also share this post by clicking icons below...