Genesis 37:1-14 DIARY OF DREAMER  

I imagine that this is the extended diary Jacob kept about the story of his son, Joseph, extrapolated from the Biblical narrative with my reflections. 

Diary of Jacob:   I am concerned about my adult sons. I was not at all happy when they said they intended to pasture the flocks near Shechem, but they insisted on going and I have not heard from them in weeks. I have sent Joseph to find out how they are going.  

Today I came across a diary that Joseph has been writing. It must have fallen from his supply pack before he went. I admit to reading part of it…  

Favouritism or Favour? 

Diary of Joseph: I am here for a higher purpose. A calling. My destiny. I had my 17th birthday yesterday but the atmosphere at the special meal that was prepared with the family was strained.  

Leadership 

My father insists on thrusting me into leadership positions with my brothers and they resent it. He presented me with a coat of many colours recently, indicating that he has chosen me to bear the family blessing before he dies. This means – a double portion of the inheritance, management of the family business and spiritual leadership in carrying forward the promises God has given our family. Quite an honour which I will carry willingly and with a sense of responsibility. 

Is this favouritism from my father or favour from God? I am the firstborn son of Rachel but not the oldest son of our family.  

My brothers say my father shows me favouritism. Does life favour those with beautiful coats? Do the sons of Rachel get an unfair advantage in life because of the family line?   

My family carries the promises of God for blessing. We are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and my father Jacob, but still we are terribly dysfunctional, stumbling over our faith and relationships with eachother, morally questionable, and in need of saving. We have no unfair advantages because of the family tree. We don’t have exclusive rights to achieving anything of worth. 

I refuse to live below my potential. My brothers may think it is because I am the favourite son but I can choose to be squashed by their negativity or stand firm on my beliefs. I choose to embrace the favour of God, even above the favour of my family. 

Contrasts 

Strange. I am loved and favoured by my father, but hated and dishonoured by my brothers to the point where of late, they refuse to even greet me. When they do speak, they remind me that I am only 17 years old. They are all adults, rough men with little faith in God and they do not respect my father for his lack of leadership back in Shechem. They are consumed with what has happened in the past. 

Shechem  

Yes, my sister was raped and my father did nothing. He even managed to entertain the idea of marrying her off to the perpetrator. Yes, my brothers stepped in and overreacted dreadfully, murdering every man in the town of Shechem, and then looting and enslaving every woman and child.  

My father was shocked and bitterly disappointed by their actions. I think they were too. They really needed and wanted some form of discipline for their criminal activity and to be encouraged to repent. Their guilt tracks them like a hungry bear and they long to get it off their trail. Their corrupted past pollutes their present and ultimately their future. 

Elusive Forgiveness 

Sin eats away at my brothers from the inside and they have not been encouraged to repent. They have become lawless with a gang mentally. I have become a target of their inward hostility. They are so continually looking for circumstances and other people to blame for life that they have no time to pursue God’s purposes. 

With my older brothers becoming too unpredictable and untrustworthy, my father insists on reports of their activities every day. No wonder I am regarded as a spy. 

My Dream 

In the middle of all this tension, during the last few nights I have had a dream from God and then another to confirm it. It was a remarkable dream: me and my brothers were out in a field binding sheaves of grain. Suddenly my sheaf stood up and the sheaves of my brothers gathered around my sheaf and bowed down to it. Then the Sun and Moon and 11 stars bowed low before me (Genesis 37:7,9). Leadership is obviously my inheritance. I claim it. I will not surrender to the negativity of my family’s dysfunctional attitudes. 

Life is not dependant on a father’s favouritism or a fancy coat but on the favour I already have with God. I will co-operate with the dreams I have from Him. Here I stand.  

Surprisingly, when I shared my dreams with my brothers, they did not see that God was speaking at all, but somehow thought I had concocted a story to rub salt into their wounds. Such bitterness. 

I expected my father to confirm my dreams speaking about leadership in the family. Instead, he rebuked me strongly, much to the delight of my brothers. This only caters to my brother’s animosity.  

Serving My Brothers

This is obviously not going to be easy. It seems that I may need to approach this in another way. I know that the greatest leaders are there not to serve themselves but to be a servant to others.  It seems that those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted (Matthew 23:11-12).  

I guess if God wants me to lead, then I will lead in His time and in His way and with a desire to serve my brothers. But I refuse to bring my belief in the favour of God down to the level of the negativity of my brothers. I choose to lift my experiences to the level of my belief in the dreams God has given to me. 

Diary of Jacob: I have pondered on Joseph’s dreams ever since he left to find my other sons. He was so willing to go to his brothers and serve them despite their dislike of him. Have I done the right thing in sending him? 

TO BE CONTINUED …

Pastor Ross  

Advertisements

16 AMAZING WAYS IN WHICH JOSEPH’S LIFE MIRRORS THE LIFE OF CHRIST 

JOSEPH JESUS 
Joseph’s birth involved the miraculous intervention of God. Rachel was barren (Genesis 30:22-24). Jesus birth involved the miraculous intervention of God. Mary was a virgin (Matthew 1:18). 
Joseph had humble beginnings as a Shepherd and servant of his brothers (Genesis 37:2).  Jesus had humble beginnings as a Carpenter’s son and servant of all. Philippians 2:6-11 (NLT) says, “… He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being …”  
Joseph was a Shepherd (Genesis 37:2).  Jesus was the Great Shepherd. In John 10:11-14 (NLT) Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep … I am the good shepherd; I know My own sheep, and they know Me”. 
Joseph was loved by his father (Genesis 37:3). Jesus was loved by His Father in heaven. At Jesus Baptism Matthew 3:17 (NLT2) says “And a voice from heaven said, “This is My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy.” 
Joseph was given a coat of many colours which set him apart for leadership. It was ripped from him and used to deceive his father (Genesis 37:23). Jesus garment was ripped from him before his crucifixion and soldiers gambled for it. John 19:23-24 (NLT2) When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided His clothes among the four of them. They also took His robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it.” 
Joseph was ridiculed when he shared his dream of rulership over his brothers (Genesis 37:8). Jesus was ridiculed when He revealed to others that He was the Messiah. When the religious leaders put Him on trial in Matthew 26:63-65 (NLT2) it says, “Then the high priest said to Him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy.”  
 
At the crucifixion of Jesus, Matthew 27:37 (NLT) says A sign was fastened to the cross above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against Him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”  
Joseph was sent by his father to his lost brothers to see how they were going but they rejected him and hated him without cause (Genesis 37:4). Jesus was sent by His Heavenly Father to His lost brothers and sisters to save them but they rejected Him and hated Him without cause (John 15:25). John 1:10-12 (NLT2) says, “He (Jesus) came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t recognize Him. He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.” 
Joseph’s brothers conspired to kill Him (Genesis 37:18) The religious leaders conspired to kill Jesus (Matthew 26:3, 4) 
Joseph was betrayed and sold for 20 pieces of silver to slave traders. Judah instigated this (Genesis 37:28)  Jesus was betrayed by Judas to the religious leaders for 30 pieces of silver. Matthew 26:14-15 (NLT2) says, “Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.”  
Joseph went on to be a saviour of families during a time of famine. Jesus went on to be the Saviour of the World  
His brothers intended harm on Joseph but God used it to save many. When Joseph assumed leadership in Egypt, he confronts and forgives his brothers. Genesis 50:18-21 (NLT2) says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”   God turned cursing to blessing at the Cross when Jesus died for our sins. In Acts 5:30-32 (NLT2) Peter and the Apostles speak to the religious leaders and the crowd. “The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed Him by hanging Him on a cross. Then God put Him in the place of honor at His right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven.”  Romans 8:28 (NLT2) says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”   
Joseph was in a prison between two criminals. Joseph foretold the deliverance of one of the criminals with him and the death of the other. (Genesis 40)  Jesus was on the cross between two criminals. Jesus foretold the deliverance of one of the criminals with Him. Luke 23:42-43 (NLT2) says that one criminal said to Him “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”  
Joseph was tempted but did not sin (Genesis 39:7)  Jesus was tempted but did not sin (Matthew 4:1). Hebrews 4:14-16 says that Jesus “… understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” 
Joseph suffered but was finally exalted to a leadership position (Genesis 41:41) Jesus suffered but was finally exalted. Philippians 2:5-11 (NLT2) says, “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  
Joseph reconciled his brothers to himself  (Genesis 45:1-15) Jesus reconciles sinners to Himself. Colossians 1:19-20 (NLT) says, “For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through Him God reconciled everything to Himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” 
Joseph forgave His brothers (Genesis 45:1-15) Jesus brings forgiveness. In Acts 13:38 Paul preaches to a Jewish audience. He says, “Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins.” 
Joseph © Image by Ross Cochrane

Genesis 37:1-13 – DIARY OF A DYSFUNCTIONAL FATHER – Part 2 

I imagine that this is the extended diary Jacob kept about the story of his son, Joseph, extrapolated from the Biblical narrative. 

Jacob: I love who Joseph is becoming. He has already grown to be a young man of bearing, wise in his decisions and honest, often blatantly honest. I can’t say that this has come from me.  

Needless to say, I have chosen this firstborn son of Rachel to lead the family business. I know that Rachel would have been proud of him. I can honour her memory in this way. He is the child Rachel and I longed for and had almost given up hoping for. He has her eyes, her poise but most of all, he honours God. 

O Lord, how I miss Rachel. I loved her so much. Leah and my other wives may not be pleased with Joseph leading the family business, but their sons are wild and undisciplined. They love me, but I fear they do not respect me.  

I know I have not been the best of Fathers. They can see how I showed very little fatherly love and protection for Dinah, my daughter. I have not held them accountable for their violence in Shechem so I can hardly reward them by giving them leadership positions. I can tell that they do not like the way I treat Joseph and resent his natural talents and his trust in God.  

Surely, I can give the first-born rights to any son I want.  Perhaps they think I am showing too much love and protection for Joseph. Joseph keeps an eye on everything that is happening with my flocks, servants and property and he reports back to me about anything that is not going well. His intuitive ability for business has made him invaluable, but his brothers think he is spying on them. They are feeding the flocks in pastures much farther away to avoid interaction with Joseph. 

Joseph says his brothers hate him. I’m sure this is an exaggeration. Hate is a strong emotion for brothers to feel. But today they refused to even greet him with the traditional greeting of blessing, “Shalom”.  

I must speak to my sons about how they are treating Joseph. Not greeting a person is not only discourteous, but it is also a sign of hostility, not only a proof that they do not wish him well, but they give the impression that if they have an opportunity, they will do him an injury. I will not tolerate such lack of good manners and implied malice to the one who will eventually take over the family business. 

I could not attend the morning meeting today, so I gave Joseph the responsibility to hand out the tasks for the day, mainly binding the corn in sheaves. I gave him a gift, the coat of many colours, the coat that signifies leadership and distinction, to make it clear that he was in charge.  

His brothers gave him a hard time. Reuben came to complain later and told me that Joseph shared a dream. Apparently Joseph had said,   

“Listen to this dream, we were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”  

His brothers responded badly to this dream, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?”  

I was a little embarrassed by this dream. Was he trying to assert his leadership ambitions? Was this dream from God? To soften the blatant message of the dream a little, the next day, I spoke to my sons of my intentions to give the firstborn rights to Joseph but that it would not happen until I died. In the meantime, he would be learning the ropes. I could tell that Joseph’s dream and my announcement did not go down all that well. 

To make things worse, Joseph blurted out another dream. I suppose he thought he was helping. He said, 

 “Listen, I have had another dreamThe sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!”  

I could see his brothers were jealous of Joseph, so I scolded him this time. “What kind of dream is that?” I said, “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?”  

His brothers were grateful for my words, but I have wondered since what these dreams mean. Strange that the dream should be about sheaves which speak of God’s promise of provision and stars when God has promised that my family will one day be numerous like the stars of heaven.  

I don’t want Joseph to think of himself more highly than he should think. It is only by grace that God gives leadership. I want him to think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of gifting and faith to each one. 

I am a bit concerned. My 11 other sons told me they would be pasturing the flocks on our land near Shechem. This doesn’t seem to be a good idea, given that our family is not well-liked in that area. They have been gone sometime now and I am sending Joseph to see how things are going and he can come back with a report. No doubt time away from him has mended their jealousy of him.  

TO BE CONTINUED 

Pastor Ross 

Hey! That’s me in that story!

Genesis 37:1-13 – DIARY OF A DYSFUNCTIONAL FATHER

I imagine that this is the extended diary Jacob kept about the story of his son, Joseph, extrapolated from the Biblical narrative. 

Jacob: We are moving back to Bethlehem, in Hebron. Abraham my grandfather lived here. This is the place where my family nurtured a relationship with God. This perhaps is where I will find peace and die. 

Will I die without seeing the promises of God fulfilled in my life? 

I am now one hundred and eight years old and God has promised me this land of Canaan, but we are still essentially squatters. How God will fulfil His promise is still a mystery to me as it has been to my grandfather and father before me. All I know is that I can trust in the promises of God. I will not let go. 

What do I know about faith? 

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. I hope that through my faith I will be a good example to my descendants. It is impossible to please God without faith.  

It was by faith that my grandfather Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did my father Isaac and now I have inherited the same promise.  

By faith, my grandfather’s wife, Sarah, was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation will come from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them. They died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it.  

How can I have faith when my family is so dysfunctional? 

I have been an absent father in many respects, uninvolved in the lives of my children. I was shocked by the events in Shechem, with the rape of my daughter, Dinah, but I was selfish and afraid and even entertained the thought I could somehow trade and intermarry my daughter with the prince of Shechem, a wicked man. My sons took control and wreaked a heavy vengeance upon the town of Shechem. I still cannot believe that they slaughtered all the men of the village of Shechem and took the women and children into captivity.  

I have lost control and respect, yet God somehow protected my dysfunctional family. Deception, vengeance and murder, slavery and adultery! Why does he continue to care about us? It seems once I expressed faith in Him, He continues to show that He is faithful to me, despite my many flaws. With such faithfulness, I can only ask Him, “What can I do to change things? 

I grew up in a dysfunctional household myself, with constant tensions between me and my twin brother, Esau. I deceived my brother into giving me his birthright and my father into giving me the family blessing.  

Is there any hope for a future? 

I have no idea of how to father my children. Out of all my sons, I see promise particularly in my firstborn from Rachel. He is not my oldest child, since I have 4 wives and children before him, but I have decided that he is the only one I can trust, apart from Benjamin, my youngest, perhaps. I have been trying my best to train up Joseph to take over the leadership of the family when I die.  

I know this creates tensions between my wives and my others sons? I fear further rebellion from my sons so I have instructed Joseph to keep a careful watch of what is happening in the family. I then discuss leadership issues with Joseph to help him. 

Joseph doesn’t have any authority as yet. He is only 17 years old and his other brothers are much older. Reuben is 29, Benjamin is 8. The others between 18-29  

I have Joseph working for his half brothers Gad, Asher, Dan and Naphtali, my sons from Bilhah and Zilpah, looking after my sheep. I could never have him work with Leah’s sons who were so ruthless in Shechem.  

Joseph seems to have a strong sense of discernment, knowing what is right and wrong. Most of all, he has a faith in God. I desire so much for him to have integrity and wisdom, characteristics I have lacked in my lifetime. Unfortunately, my mistakes are evident in the rebellious attitudes of my other sons.  

Who can I entrust my family to when I die? 

I intend to give Joseph the family blessing and double inheritance of my wealth. He is the only one who shows that he can take up the leadership and priesthood of our family. I doubt if he’ll gain their respect immediately, but I leave that in God’s hands. 

Reuben has desecrated his right to the leadership of our family business. God isn’t impressed with the firstborn sons who have no respect for marriage. He thought he could usurp my authority by sleeping with one of my concubines. My outrage is lasting. 

Just because you are born into a family whose parents have faith in God doesn’t make you automatically a believer. It requires a personal decision. What hope does my family have unless they respond to the invitation of God and have their own personal encounter with God. 

TO BE CONTINUED…

Pastor Ross

REDEEMER’S ENDGAME 

Recently I took my oldest grandson to the movies. Both of us love the Super Hero movies and so I took him to AVENGERS: ENDGAME. (If you haven’t seen the movie and intend to, then stop reading this now.)  

I realised that my Grandson has been playing Superheroes from these movies for the last 10 years, but this movie brings the Avengers team to an end. The story concludes. We have reached the ENDGAME.  

Beginning with IRON MAN in 2008, the drama has unfolded, movie by movie, to this: half a team of superheroes, fighting to save the world. Now they fight the seemingly invincible enemy, THANOS. The 22 movies have led us to a final battle.  

This series of superhero movies has been part of our lives. I remember TARZAN, SUPERMAN, PHANTOM AND BATMAN. My grandson grew up with IRONMAN, SPIDERMAN AND THE AVENGERS. A good part of his play as a child was racing around the house chasing bad guys. I was inevitably cast as the bad guy.  

Which makes one of the anticipated themes of the final chapters of ENDGAME slightly unsettling: SACRIFICE.  

As a Pastor, watching the movies; Avengers Infinity War last year and then recently Endgame, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Endgame of which the Bible speaks and how the earth will go through a time called the Great Tribulation, when a guy called the Antichrist will come with his prophet.  

THANOS  

When the Infinity Gauntlet was activated by Thanos, half the population of the world disintegrated, including half of the Avengers. That’s troubling, to say the least!  

It reminded me of another “Snap” in the Biblical narrative of End times when Christ followers will disappear from the earth “in the twinkling of an eye”, an event now called “The Rapture of the Church”, before the Second Coming of Christ. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NLT2) says, “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.”

Thanos, however, is like the Antichrist figure in the Biblical Endgame.  

Many prophesies in the Bible describe the Antichrist. Daniel 9:26 (NLT2) simply calls him, “… A RULER will arise whose armies will destroy the city (of Jerusalem)...” 

The Antichrist is a global political leader. He is called… 

“The seed of the serpent” (ie from Satan), “The Ruler who will arise,” “The man of sin,” the “son of perdition” or the “man of lawlessness” and in the book of Revelation he is called “The Antichrist.” 

The book of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NLT2) in the Bible says, “Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.” In a godless age, where Christianity is more and more reviled and persecuted around the world, it seems very plausible that such a world ruler would arise. 

Apparently, this ruler will emerge from a revived Roman Empire (from Europe). It was amusing that the Antichrist figure of Endgame, Thanos, should be dressed in armour similar to a Roman soldier though I’m sure no association with Antichrist was intended by the film-makers. 

EBONY MAW 

Also like Antichrist, Thanos has a Prophet called Ebony Maw who first appears in Avengers: Infinity Wars, who acts as Thanos’ herald. He says those under siege by Thanos are actually being saved and the citizens should “rejoice” in their deaths bringing balance to the Universe (It’s a definitely Green agenda so it must be OK). In Infinity wars, we get an insight into this False Prophet of the Endgames Antichrist by his pronouncements … 

Ebony Maw: [kneels before Thanos] My humble personage… bows before your grandeur. No other being has ever had the might, nay the nobility, to wield not one, but two Infinity Stones. The universe lies within your grasp. 

Ebony Maw: (to the people) Hear me, and rejoice. You have had the privilege of being saved by the Great Titan (Thanos) … You may think this is suffering… No. it is salvation. Universal scales tip toward balance because of your sacrifice. Smile… For even in death, you have become Children of Thanos. 

The False Prophet, the second beast of Revelation 13, will be a religious leader who will point people toward the Antichrist. The Antichrist’s focus is politics while the False Prophet’s emphasis is religion. Like Ebony Maw, the False Prophet will have great power over people.  He will be like many false prophets of our own day—enforcing their own perverted form of ethics. 

I AM 

The Antichrist of the Bible will receive a fatal wound but miraculously recover. Thanos also survives impossible odds in order to impose his rule. At one point in Infinity Wars, Thanos says, I know what it’s like to lose. To feel so desperately that you’re right… yet to fail, nonetheless. It’s frightening. Turns the legs to jelly. I ask you, to what end? Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same. And now, it’s here. Or should I say… I AM.” 

Terrifying words. When Thanos says, “I AM” I was reminded that in Genesis 3 God describes himself as the great I AM. God’s destiny for the world is very different to the world leader who is called the Antichrist, whose idea of destiny for the world is destruction rather than salvation. Moses asks God … 

 “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is His name?’ Then what should I tell them?” 

God replied to Moses, “I am who I am. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM  has sent me to you.”  

I AM in the Bible is also a description of Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords.  

In Mark 14:60-63 (NLT), the high priest takes Jesus into custody on charges of blasphemy. “Then the high priest asked Him, “Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 

Jesus said, “I AM. (In the original language a deliberate choice of words and to make it clear, He says…) And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 

In the Book of Revelation, the Antichrist tries to usurp the authority and rule of Christ. But it is a destructive power like that of Thanos.  

In Infinity Wars, various parts of the script give us the Character of Thanos. 

Bruce Banner: “Thanos. He’s a plague, Tony. He invades planets. He takes what he wants. He wipes out half the population. He sent Loki. The attack on New York. That’s him. 

Gamora: The entire time I knew Thanos, he only ever had one goal: To bring balance to the Universe by wiping out half of all life. He used to kill people planet by planet, massacre by massacre… 

(Conversation with Thanos and Gamora…) 

Gamora:  you murdered half the planet. (Her planet) 

Thanos: A small price to pay for salvation. 

Gamora: You’re insane. 

Thanos: Little one, it’s a simple calculus. This universe is finite, its resources finite. If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correction. (Sounds like a very Green agenda) 

Gamora: You don’t know that! 

Thanos: I’m the only one who knows that. At least, I’m the only one with the will to act on it. … (Not an uncommon sentence for arrogant political and social engineering leaders) 

THE PLAN 

Tony Stark is the “Christ figure” of the Avenger disciples in Endgame and the team formulates a plan to steal the Infinity Stones back from Thanos and use them to reverse his actions. All seems lost when they find Thanos and discover the Infinity Stones have been destroyed. 

However, five year later Scott Lang (Antman) escapes from the quantum realm, and it seems like 5 minutes. This experience leads to the possibility of travelling back in time. Stark eventually agrees to grapple with the possibility of building a quantum time machine and miracle of miracles, discovers that it works. The Avengers are reunited with a plan – get back the Infinity Stones. 

6 INFINITY STONES 

There are six Infinity Stones: The Space Stone (blue), the Reality Stone (red), the Power Stone (purple), the Mind Stone (yellow), the Time Stone (green) and the Soul Stone (orange). A rainbow of destructive power in the wrong hands. 

The Time Stone is in a necklace, the Mind Stone in a scepter, the Space Stone in the Tesseract, etc. Thanos needs to wear a special golden glove to hold all the stones, basically, it’s a fancy golden glove that can hold all the Infinity Stones. When all the stones are united in the Gauntlet, the wearer wields unlimited power.  

This quest for absolute power is similar to the Antichrist’s quest for a world which usurps the Sovereignty of God.  

In the Bible, the number 6 symbolizes man and human weakness, the evils of Satan and the manifestation of sin.  

Three 6’s in the book of Revelation is a very evil number and 666 is associated with the mark of the Beast used as a means of conducting business in a world which ignores the rulership of God (the Antichrists pin number). 

Revelation 13:15-18 (NLT2) says, “… He (the Antichrist) required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.  

SACRIFICE 

In Infinity War, Thanos travels with Gamora to the planet Vormir, where the Soul Stone is kept. There they encounter Red Skull, the villain from the first Captain America movie. He tried to hand the Space Stone himself and has now been doomed to guard it. Red Skull tells Thanos that he needs to sacrifice something he loves to attain the gem, and so Thanos kills Gamora, his step daughter. 

The Avengers divide to travel back in time to retrieve various stones in Endgame. Barton and Romanoff travel to Vormir to retrieve the Soul Stone. Once again the Red Skull, keeper of the Soul Stone, informs them that the stone can only be obtained by sacrificing someone they love. The two fight over who will make the sacrifice, with the Black Widow (Romanoff) ultimately “winning” (dying in sacrifice). Barton returns to Earth with the Soul Stone totally distraught.  

The theme of sacrifice and Martyrdom also play an important role in the Great Tribulation of which the Bible speaks. Such Martydom demands vindication. 

Revelation 6:9-11 says, “When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?”  Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters—their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them. 

ENDGAME BATTLE 

Thanos’ army lands on Earth and we have the Endgame battle. In the Bible, this equates with the battle of Armageddon, where it is the armies of the Antichrist who gather in a futile attempt to overthrow Christ.  

Psalms 2:1-5 (NLT2) prophesies the event. “Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against His anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” …” It’s kind of like an all-out attack on Christianity and all Christ stands for. 

The Battle of Armageddon will take place in the Valley of Jezreel, just below Mt Megiddo, North of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will fall and half the city will be taken into slavery by Gentile forces of the Valley of Jezreel. 

Similar to when the Avengers and their allies return from the past in Endgame just at the point of despair, the Second Coming of Christ occurs. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NLT2) it says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with Him the believers who have died. …”  

Revelation 19:11-16 (NLT2) speaks about Christ returning to battle with the forces at Meggido (the Battle of Armageddon), Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for He judges fairly and wages a righteous war. … He wore a robe dipped in blood, and His title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed Him on white horses. From His mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On His robe at His thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.”.  

In Endgame, all of the Avengers reappear along with other allies revived by Bruce Banner, coming through various portals before launching an assault on Thanos and his army. It’s like a second coming of Avengers. 

When Christ returns, the Bible says the Battle of Armageddon is over before it starts, but in Endgame, there is a lengthy battle during which Thanos wrestles with numerous Avengers for the Infinity Stones. Captain Marvel reappears, taking out Thanos’s ship while fighting for control of the gauntlet.  

Isaiah 14 prophesies the demise of a king who is very Thanos-like. This passage refers to Lucifer (Satan). 

“The mighty man has been destroyed. Yes, your insolence is ended. For the Lord has crushed your wicked power and broken your evil rule. You struck the people with endless blows of rage and held the nations in your angry grip with unrelenting tyranny. But finally the earth is at rest and quiet. Now it can sing again! “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’” 

Endgame © Image by Ross Cochrane

IRONMAN DIES TO SAVE THE WORLD!  

Like the Endgame movie with Thanos and Ebony Maw, in the Biblical Apocalypse, the False Prophet and the Antichrist will also ultimately perish together.

Stark maneuvers the Infinity Stones from Thanos’ hand to his own and uses them to turn Thanos and his entire army into dust, triumphantly stating “I am Iron Man.”

But there is a high price. Parker and Potts console Stark as he dies from overexposure to the Stones.  

My grandson came away from the movie in tears, saying “I don’t believe it. Ironman is dead.” He was actually feeling grief for his childhood superhero. 

We know from the news that not all good guys will make it out alive in any given wartime confrontation. But with superheroes, you just don’t expect that one must perish that others might live. They might get battered, but at the last minute it’s always the bad guys that die! How could IRONMAN DIE?  

PEACE AND SACRIFICE 

I am reminded that Peace with God does not come cheaply either, but involved a sacrifice. It cost one Warrior everything. The greatest of all Good Guys died so that we could receive peace with God. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  

The story of Christ is the story that tells of God Himself being the only one willing to battle evil itself, dying for us, paying the ultimate cost as a sacrifice for our sins. “While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6–8).  

Deep down, the theme of self-sacrifice rings true with us. The horror of death mixed with the beauty of supreme love:  At the end of the highest-grossing franchise of all time, peace is purchased through the highest love — SACRIFICE. Yet still it pales into insignificance when compared to the greatest sacrifice of all paid that we could find peace and forgiveness with God. 

In Endgame we are given a brief flashback which shows Rogers and Carter finally sharing the dance they never got to have in their living room, truly happy at last.  

Revelation 21:1-5 describes eternity for those who have believed in Christ. It says, “… I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them … And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’”   

The invitation is to receive what Christ has done on the Cross for us by placing our trust in Him. 

John 3:16-17 (NLT) says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.” 

Pastor Ross 

Anzac day approaches so closely on Easter. It inspired this poem about finding an old painting of the cross from the war years.

Words of Life

Easter and A Soldier's Cross. Photo by Ross Cochrane Easter and A Soldier’s Cross. Photo by Ross Cochrane

Easter And The Soldier’s Cross

by Ross Cochrane

I found it framed, the old painted image.

It was hidden, lost among a host

of well-read books on benches, forsaken and tossed,

Snubbed, Where dust paid tribute to it’s visage.

Antiquated icon, our heritage

Painted here with tears, and smeared with cost,

One who bears sin and cares upon a cross

Shares nail-scared hands, love’s eternal message.

This soldiers name on canvas gives a clue

Of one who knew that death has lost it’s sting,

And though he died, perhaps he always knew,

There where the cruel bullets crack and sing,

His canvas of the cross would speak anew

Of life and peace that faith in Christ can bring.

View original post

THE CHOCOLATE EASTER STORY

Posted: April 21, 2019 in Anzac Day, Easter

Resurrection Sunday! Have a great Easter Everyone. Thought you might like this take on the Easter story.

Words of Life

THE CHOCOLATE EASTER STORY

Happy easter everyone!

I was talking to my friend Bob (84 years old) the other day and he said that Easter reminded him of chocolate so that got me thinking about chocolate and Easter eggs.

Chocolate Easter eggs. Why?

The earliest Cadbury chocolate eggs were made of ‘dark’ chocolate with a plain smooth surface and were filled with sugared almonds. The earliest ‘decorated eggs’ were plain shells enhanced by chocolate piping and marzipan flowers. Like this…

So I thought we could go on a bit of an EGG HUNT to discover the meaning of Easter for us, by telling the EASTER STORY WITH CHOCOLATE AND EASTER EGGS.

Hidden in the scriptures for all to discover is the first egg.

  1. THE EGG OF HEAVEN

Egg of Heaven

Here is a chocolate egg called “HEAVEN”. It’s described as a Creamy swiss milk chocolate coating with a gorgeously soft dark hazelnut truffle center

View original post 1,867 more words

THE PARABLE OF THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Posted: April 18, 2019 in Uncategorized

Have a wonderful Easter everyone. Hope you enjoy this take on the Very Hungry Catapillar.

Words of Life

THE PARABLE OF THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR © Ross Cochrane

What a timeless classic children’s story is the Very Hungry Caterpillar written by Eric Carle, which we loved reading to our children and grandchildren.

Very Hungry Caterpillar

When thinking about my Easter message this year I thought what better illustration by way of a parable to consider the truths of God’s Word regarding Christ’s death and resurrection.

Eric Carle begins his story by saying, “In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf.” How amazing is this egg, fixed to the leaf with a very special rubbery substance which soon sets solid?

  1. GRACE

In our parable, this little egg represents you and me, and God has created and protected you and me for a purpose. We love chocolate eggs at Easter but this is not a chocolate egg, and this egg is not to be devoured and forgotten. It…

View original post 1,506 more words

Love, Justice and the Cross © Image created by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 8:4-9 – INTERVIEW WITH AN ATHEIST ON PSALM 8 – Part 4 

The scene takes place on the top floor of a Skyscaper, in a luxury apartment belonging of a millionaire Atheist. From here the entire city can be viewed. It is breathtaking. The Atheist picks up a Bible and randomly turns to Psalm 8. Alarmingly, he finds King David, (author of Psalm 8) is transported to his apartment. A conversation ensues. (Disclaimer: This is my imagination and my own thoughts imposed upon the characters below as to what might have been said as I personally relate to Psalm 8. Both characters describe my own journey with seeking to understand and apply God’s Word, the Christian Bible, in the world in which I live). Continued… 

ATHEIST: You didn’t really answer my question. Do you really believe that you must turn from your sins, believe that Christ died for your sins, and that you must do this to get into some mythical realm called heaven? To me that sounds ludicrous. 

I strive to be a good person (which most atheists do). “Not believing in heaven means we want to be kind to one another to make life on earth more pleasant and not to be rewarded (or to avoid punishment) in the afterlife.” (quoted from Epi B) 

DAVID: You might be surprised to find that the Christian Bible doesn’t say that heaven is a reward for good works. Written to a Church in Ephesus, Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT) says, “God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” I am sure that many Atheists are good people. 

Yes, I do believe that God visited us personally. He gave us His Son, who came to earth. Yes, I do believe He became one of us in order to take our place on Calvary’s cross, to receive upon Himself the punishment for sin. I believe He did that because He loved us and that He was the only one who came to save us, from ourselves and from judgment. 

ATHEIST: So you believe that, even though you acknowledge that I am a good person, that I will go to hell. Who would want to believe in a God like that? This is a major inconsistency in Christianity. If I am a good person He would let me go to heaven. Afterall I’ve lived a pretty good life. I deserve it. Not that I believe in a heaven. 

DAVID: I’m sure you are an excellent driver most of the time too, but when a police officer pulls you up for speeding, and you say, But officer, I am an excellent driver most of the time”as the police officer writes you a ticket he will look at you as if you just don’t get it. 

Living a good life is not the reason for going to heaven. On judgment day you will not stand before the Lord and say “Lord, I lived a pretty good life.” How lame would it be to stand accused before any judge and say “Well judge, I’ve lived a pretty good life” and expect the real problem for you being there to be pardoned. Romans 6:23 (NLT) says “For the wages of sin is death,…”  Time off for good behaviour doesn’t count when it’s a death sentence. 

ATHEIST: So, if I make one mistake, I am bound for hell. All the good I have done in my life goes for nothing.  

DAVID: I believe that seeking to be good is a good quest in life, but it is not the basis for going to heaven. I notice that there are people mentioned in the New Testament of your Bible, here in Matthew 7:22-23 (NLT) with the same false assumptions! Jesus says “On judgment day many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your Name and cast out demons in Your Name and performed many miracles in Your Name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. ...’”  These are obviously very religious, very good people. He will probably look at them as if they just don’t get it?  

ATHEIST: So now you are confusing me. You have made mistakes too. So, according to your Bible, not mine, you are also going to hell. This is getting more ludicrous the more you quote from the Bible.  

DAVID: It’s simple really. The Bible pictures a courtroom where a verdict is pronounced on those who have made a choice not to include Christ in their lives. 

Romans 8:1 (NLT) says that “… there is NO CONDEMNATION for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”  

It’s like the law of double jeopardy. Christ paid the price for my sin so it’s been dealt with once and for all (Romans 6:10). Those who don’t know Christ, however, will be judged according to their works. It will be their works (good or otherwise) versus the work of Christ on the Cross (Revelation 20:12).  

The judgment will verify what the Bible has said all along – that human works, no matter how good, cannot satisfy the justice of God concerning our sin (Matthew 7:22-23, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23). 

Since God is totally fair then He can only be satisfied by the work of Christ on the Cross for our sins. When we trust in what Christ has done, then, and only then, can He offer us a place in heaven, not as a reward, but as a gift. Romans 6:23 (NLT) goes on to say “… but the free gift of God is eternal life THROUGH CHRIST JESUS our Lord.” 

Our good works don’t erase our sin, any more than eating lettuce will somehow counterbalance the calories you have just consumed in eating an extra large pizza. Those who insist on their own good works rather than accept the work of Christ in paying the price for those sins will be condemned.  

ATHEIST: So, your so-called just God demands that I obey Him or He’ll send me to hell?  

DAVID: Jesus says it’s not an obedience in terms of good works or being a good person, and as I said, that even those who cast out demons and perform miracles in His Name will not be accepted for doing so if they don’t know Him personally and obey Him.  

ATHEIST: OBEY WHAT?  

DAVID: 2 Thessalonians 1:8 (NLT) speaks about God’s judgment “… on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to OBEY THE GOOD NEWS OF OUR LORD JESUS.”  

ATHEIST: Obey the good news about Christ! Are you kidding? How is that good news that people are judged for not obeying Him? 

DAVID: The good news about Christ is found in John 3:16-18 (NLT). It says “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him WILL NOT PERISH but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world NOT TO JUDGE THE WORLD, but to save the world through Him. “There is NO JUDGMENT against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has ALREADY BEEN JUDGED for not believing in God’s One and only Son.”   

He’s the only One who has come to save us! We can’t save ourselves. No-one but Christ can. What are you trusting in – yourself or Christ? 

ATHEIST: So, I have no choice according to your Bible? If I choose to be an Atheist then I am lost. 

DAVID: Of course, you have a choice not to believe in the Christian message, and to ignore that there is a God or Heaven or Hell, but the invitation the Bible gives is always to know and trust in Jesus Christ. In John 10:27-29 (NLT) Jesus says “My sheep LISTEN to My voice; I KNOW THEM, and they FOLLOW ME. I give them eternal life, and they will NEVER PERISH. No one can snatch them away from Me, for My Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.”  This is why I wrote Psalm 8 so long ago and declared, “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!” 

ATHEIST:  Sheep is right. You see God in everything. I see God in nothing. So why doesn’t an excellent bolt of lightning strike me dead right now, since I choose not to believe in Christ? 

DAVID: Your Bible tells you. 1 Peter 3:9 says, The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 

Pastor Ross 

P.S. Thanks Epi B for your perspective as an Atheist. I found it helpful to include your comments in my posts. Since I am not an Atheist, I had to simply use my own journey to Christ as a basis for representing Atheism. Great to have your contribution and to read some of your posts.  


“What are mere mortals that You should think about them, human beings that You should care for them?” Psalm 8:3 (NLT) © Image created by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 8:3-8 – INTERVIEW WITH AN ATHEIST ON PSALM 8 – Part 3 

The scene takes place on the top floor of a Skyscaperin a luxury apartment belonging of a millionaire Atheist. From here the entire city can be viewed. It is breathtaking. The Atheist picks up a Bible and randomly turns to Psalm 8. Alarmingly, he finds King David, (author of Psalm 8) is transported to his apartment. A conversation ensues. (Disclaimer: This is my imagination and my own thoughts imposed upon the characters below as to what might have been said as I personally relate to Psalm 8. Both characters describe my own journey with seeking to understand and apply God’s Word, the Christian Bible, in the world in which I live). 

DAVID: What amazes me is that the majestic, famous, omnipotent, and worthy God, whose creative fingerprint can be found in all the earth, loves me. As one of God’s creative brushstrokes, with Him I can find the greatest expression of who I am. 

(Looks out the window at the night sky and prays again) “When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that You should think about them, human beings that You should care for them? (Psalm 8:3 NLT). 

I am interested to see that in the New Testament of your Bible, that my words from Psalm 8:3 are quoted again. Hebrews 2:6-8 (NLT) says, “For in one place the Scriptures say, “What are mere mortals that You should think about them, or a son of man that You should care for him?”  

ATHEIST: Why would a God who supposedly created the universe care for human beings when all we have done is destroy His creation?  If God did exist, and He doesn’t, then He would consider us as enemies

DAVID: Enemies of God? Yes.  But for followers of Christ, it says here, in Romans 5:9-10 (NLT) “Since we have now been justified by His (Christ’s) blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, WHILE WE WERE GOD’S ENEMIES, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!” 

 We are enemies of God without Christ, but there is an invitation for friendship. God’s intention was to be friends, not that we would be opposed to Him. I wrote in Psalms 8:5-9 (NLT2) “Yet You made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor.”  

ATHEIST: You say we were created a little lower than God. I’m an evolutionist. I believe that human beings are a little higher than other animals, but only in terms of intelligence.  

DAVID: I guess this is why people over the centuries have made idols in the image of animals to represent their gods. Those who are followers of Christ believe God made us in the image of Himself so that we can represent Him. We bear the stamp of our creator.  

We are God’s representatives on earth over His creation, yet, we are lower than God.  

That’s why I wrote in the Psalm you were reading, “You (God) gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority— the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents” (Psalm 8:5-8 NLT). 

ATHEIST: Authority over all things? If that’s true He didn’t know what He was doing. The world has been messed up by human beings. We are now frantically trying to save the planet from ourselves. We bring animal species to extinction, fill the oceans with plastic and the skies with pollution, and disregard climate change. National park animal sanctuaries, battery operated cars, wind generators and solar energy solutions have all been too few and have come too late. 

DAVID: Yes, I agree. We have made a mess of our world. We are the pinnacle of God’s creation and yet we still need His help to look after the planet over which He has given us authority.  

Since we were given the ability to choose, we could either use our authority to mess things up or use our authority to clean things up. Cleaning things up is now the harder choice.  

We are slaves when we ignore the boundaries God has created in our world that greedy people cross. 

ATHEIST: Yet you are a slave. You are a slave to your Holy Book, the Bible.  

DAVID: I could equally say that you are a slave to your worldview, but I agree with you. In John 8:31-34 Jesus met some religious leaders who thought they were free of their worldviews. He said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” 

We are all slaves in one sense to something. Your Bible says in Romans 6:16-23 says, “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness … But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

I notice in your Bible that Jesus says to His disciples, “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26 NLT).  

1 Peter 2:16 encourages Christ-followers to “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” 

In Him I find freedom. It is the freedom of to whom and what I am willing to give my allegiance, having choices which bring purpose to my life. It is the freedom of new birth without abandonment, but being raised to find the security of a loving Father. It is freedom to fly, riding the banks of endless air, knowing that without the wind of the Spirit beneath my wings I would still only be wondering and amazed at the flight of the eagle from the ground.  

It is the boundaries themselves I find that have given me freedom, and without which I am truly enslaved. I like your New Testament Bible. It says here in 2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT), “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” There’s nothing wrong with boundaries. No-one escapes boundaries. It’s whose boundaries and which boundaries you choose that determine whether you are truly free.  

(to be continued) 

Pastor Ross