The Price is Paid © Image created by Ross Cochrane on Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

Matthew 21:12-14 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 5)

The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

I’ve already told you His first 5 mistakes…

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

3. DON’T GIVE PEOPLE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

4. SPURN POTENTIAL FINANCIAL BACKERS 

5. BE CARELESS WITH THE MESSAGE YOU CONVEY 

And now sixthly,

6. GIVE EVERYTHING AWAY FOR FREE

Jesus was much too generous but obviously did not show much business savvy. Freebie marketing is OK but He devalued His product by giving everything away for free. He had so many opportunities to Market Himself…

  • There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but Jesus fed 5000 people one time with a sea food meal without charging anything! He could have given some appetisers for free or asked people to buy one meal and get one free. He could have even turned water into wine, but for a price. This could have been the start of an incredible Loaves and Fishes restaurant franchise. 
  • On the side He could have provided a Protection scheme for farmers by stilling storms, but for a price.
  • He could have given an occasional freebie to the poor but this needs to be token support rather than targeted and needs to be covered well by the media.
  • Doctors earn a lot of money. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem in Matthew 21, what a difference He could have made if He had NOT cleansed the temple. 

Jesus missed His opportunity to set up a table with the moneychangers and for a price, heal all common colds, broken or lame legs, blindness, leprosy, cancer and Covid-19. This would have attracted more business for everyone. Win Win! 

Now if He had done all that, He would have had something to boast about, but He didn’t. He missed it.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I can’t believe you are saying this! Jesus healed those who were blind and lame. It had nothing to do with some kind of business opportunity. This is God’s compassion given freely. 

This was a place of worship. Where people gather together for worship there will be spiritual healing of hearts and He provided healing of bodies, miraculously and freely. People come to worship and pray because they realise they need spiritual healing, not to make money.

Jesus was not only concerned about cleansing the Temple of corrupt money changers but about cleansing hearts, including your heart and mine, and there is NO COST INVOLVED. Romans 6:23 (NLT) says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE GIFT of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul says to Christ followers in Ephesians 2:8-9 “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.”

We are not able to pay such a cost as He paid when He died on the Cross for our sins. The price has already been paid for us.

He even gave the Religious leaders a chance to repent and find peace and forgiveness with God. Instead they were indignant. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! That leads me to the 6th Marketing mistake, but unfortunately this is your stop so I look forward to sharing the Marketing mistakes Jesus made in WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 6)

Pastor Ross

Brood of Vipers © Image Created by Ross Cochrane on Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

Matthew 21: – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 4)

The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I’m sorry but it is you who are mistaken. Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook. Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies….

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. I’ve already told you His first 3 mistakes

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

3. DON’T GIVE PEOPLE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

And now fourthly,

4. SPURN POTENTIAL FINANCIAL BACKERS 

MARKETING MANAGER: Jesus actually discouraged those who could have helped Him financially. Think about it. Once, He even suggested to a rich young ruler who wanted to follow Him, “…go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21 NLT). This young man could have supported Him, but instead, Jesus turned Him away by asking him to do something ridiculous. You don’t do this. This shows a distinct lack of financial acumen and Marketing prowess.

But then look at Matthew 21:12 (NLT)! It says “Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves.” 

Another lost opportunity. If only He had gained favour with the small business people, He could have had financial backing for any enterprise He wanted. 

At the very peak of popularity with the people who were proclaiming Him to be the Messiah, He destroys His credibility by causing a public disturbance in the very place He needed the backing. 

All hope of financial assistance was destroyed in one foul stroke. He could have set up a Patreon funding system but once again missed His opportunity.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Jesus was not interested in their money! He walks into the outer court of the temple, a place for people of all nations to meet with God in worship, praise, and prayer. Instead He finds a commercial business centre filled with people taking advantage of one another for profit. 

The Temple was not meant to be a place of business but worship! So Jesus drove them all out, overturning their tables.  “He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”” (Matthew 21:12,13 NLT).

They were abusing the purpose of God’s Temple. They were exploiting others by their business deals and they made it impossible for people to use this place to worship God. According to historians, Annas, the former high priest, was the CEO of this lucrative business enterprise, assisted by his sons.

They really were what He called them, “A den of thieves”

MARKETING MANAGER: Which leads me to His 5th major error Jesus made in Marketing. 

5. BE CARELESS WITH THE MESSAGE YOU CONVEY. 

Calling this group of businessmen a “Den of thieves” certainly didn’t endear Himself to them in anyway. Jesus really took it too far sometimes and got Himself a bad reputation. 

On one occasion He saw some Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch Him baptize people and He denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” He exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath?” (Matthew 3:7, 12:34).

It’s not a good impression to make, calling leaders of His community a brood of snakes and telling them they will go to hell, even if you know this to be true. Israel Filau made the same mistake and was crucified for his remarks as well. 

On another occasion Jesus embarrassed more community leaders saying, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity” (Matthew 23:27 NLT). This didn’t help to market His brand. It isolated Him from the very people that could have helped His cause.

Every single sentence you speak and every action communicates a message to the world. If you are going to protect your brand, you need to protect your reputation. You can’t go around saying and doing what you think is right all the time. You’ll have the city in uproar (Matthew 21:10). Just as a good organization protects its brand, protect your reputation by being intentional and circumspect about the words you speak and the actions you perform. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Jesus is not afraid to tell the truth about corrupt business people and spiritually impoverished religious leaders of Jerusalem.  

You can see His heart in what happened next. After He restored the outer temple to be a place of prayer and worship, He was able to make it a place of ministry.  Matthew 21:14 (NLT) says “The blind and the lame came to Him in the Temple, and He healed them.” 

MARKETING MANAGER: Another mistake. His 6th major error in Marketing. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: We will have to continue this conversation again tomorrow. This is my stop.

MARKETING MANAGER: I am so pleased you would like to continue learning about WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 5). 

Pastor Ross

Hope like an Anchor © Image created by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

Matthew 21:9 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 3)

On the train the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously…

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I’m sorry but it is you who are mistaken. Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook. Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies….

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. I’ve already told you His first 2 mistakes

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

And now thirdly

3. DON’T GIVE PEOPLE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

In Luke 19:41-44 (NLT) it says that  “… as they came closer to Jerusalem and Jesus saw the city ahead, He began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.”

Luke 19 just proves my point. You don’t send out a tweet like that if you want to market yourself. You don’t tell people that it’s too late for them. Jesus obviously didn’t believe in Jerusalem. How could Jerusalem believe in Him? He thought there was no hope for them.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Now wait a minute. Jesus was their only hope and they missed it! So have you. Magnificent Jerusalem! Beautiful to behold as a city of spires was spiritually falling apart as if moved by an unseen earthquake of souls. 

When even God weeps over a city… what hope is left but Christ Himself? What dissonance existed between such an outward wonder of the world that was Jerusalem and the corrupted, crumbling hearts of people. 

Within 50 years this outward magnificence would be razed to the ground and reflect more accurately the bereft state of its people. And by then the spiritual hope of a nation depended not on city spires or a temple or even a Roman emperor but upon a simple faith in what Christ, the King of kings had accomplished on the Cross. The true rebuilding of a city could only take place spiritually and by personal choice to find their hope in Christ.

MARKETING MANAGER: There. Now we are getting somewhere! People need to know that angle about Jesus being their hope. That’s a nice catch-phrase by the way, “Jesus, the hope of humanity”. But to get it across involves marketing yourself! And that’s what He failed to do. You need a niche market, which He had with His miracles and an audience to gain popularity, even celebrity status.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after 3 days in a tomb. You don’t do that without gaining celebrity status and people came out of the woodwork to see Him and Lazarus, (John 12:9). Due to the Sabbath (Saturday) they gathered either that evening or the next morning. 

Not only that but there were already about 2.5 million people in Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover (Josephus). That’s when Jesus acquires a donkey on which He rides into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Matthew 21:9 (NLT) says, “Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around Him were shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!” 

Many people recognised Jesus as the promised Messiah and King. That’s why they stripped off their cloaks and spread palm branches out on the roadway before Him. This was how you honoured a king. . 

Crowds of people shouted out “Hosanna” which means save now, or save, we pray. They shouted that He was “the Son of David” which was the title for the Messiah. But they, like you, missed the point of what Jesus came to do.

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! They missed the point. You see? He had it all and because He failed to Market Himself well, within a week, He lost it all. In fact by the end of this week, because of His failure in Marketing Himself, He lost His life. Such a tumultuous mix of praise at the beginning of that week gave way to abuse from the crowd at it’s end. The praises of Hosanah! (Save now!) would soon give way to Crucify Him! … I could have saved Him. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: (Shakes head with a look of frustration and pity) You could not have saved Him. Don’t you understand, He came to save you, spiritually, when you place your trust in Him. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Which leads me to His 4th Mistake… 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I’m sorry. This is my stop. We will have to resume this conversation at a later time.

MARKETING MANAGER: I will look forward to sharing more about what Jesus teaches us in  WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 4). 

Pastor Ross

Matthew 21:7-11 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 2)

Last time…

MARKETING MANAGER: You want to mess up everything you’ve worked so hard for? You want to position yourself to lose your credibility? Here are proven strategies from Jesus in the Bible for WHAT NOT TO DO if you want to market yourself successfully and effectively:

Think about it. Jesus certainly didn’t Market His brand well.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: But Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook. Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies….

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. I’ve already told you His first mistake

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

Let me tell you the second mistake He made…

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

Having a platform is important so when the opportunity comes, take advantage of the moment. In Matthew 21:7-11, in the middle of a huge crowd who were in Jerusalem, where He could have gained many followers, Jesus rides in on a humble donkey and misses His opportunity to Market Himself again. 

Yes, some of the crowd respond to Him, mostly children it seems, but He could have made a huge entrance and touched the lives of everyone in Jerusalem that day, if He had only chosen a huge white horse and perhaps even a chariot instead of a donkey. The horse and the chariot were suggestive of power and influence, but the donkey is a pathetic way to ride into town. This is not a triumphal entry. It is a triumphal failure to market yourself well. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Now wait a minute. Let’s get the story straight. It wasn’t a pathetic way to enter Jerusalem, but a humble way to ride into town. The donkey was regarded as a symbol of peace. Jesus is called the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6). He came to bring Peace with God and peace with our neighbours. 

Romans 5:1 (NLT) says, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”

If Jesus rode in on a white war horse it would be a deliberate and antagonistic sign of rebellion against Caesar and the Romans would have arrested Him immediately. 

500 years before this event, Zechariah the prophet declared that God would one day send His King. Zechariah 9:9 (NLT) says, “Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet He is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.” The Jews regarded the passage as Messianic (Edersheim). 

Perhaps the most honoured that day was the donkey. The unbroken donkey. Somehow the touch of the Masters hand enables that which is unbroken to be at peace. Jesus has the ability to bring peace to the wildness of an unridden donkey and to give purpose and direction to untamed hearts.

The greatest triumph of aggressive warfare is insignificant compared to the grace and peace that rode in on a donkey that day. He had all the authority of the King of kings but had the heart of the Prince of Peace. He had a servant heart. He was a true king – a Shepherd of the people. 

MARKETING MANAGER: That may be true but let me tell you about His third mistake…. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: This conversation will have to resume later. I have to go.

MARKETING MANAGER: I look forward to part 3 of our conversation about WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 3)

Pastor Ross

Marketing Graph © Image by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 1)

MARKETING MANAGER: You want to mess up everything you’ve worked so hard for? You want to position yourself to lose your credibility? Here are proven strategies from Jesus in the Bible for WHAT NOT TO DO if you want to market yourself successfully and effectively:

Think about it. Jesus certainly didn’t Market His brand well. Once, He even suggested to a rich young ruler who wanted to follow Him, “…go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21 NLT).

He mixed with the “wrong” people – beggars, and sick people and even prostitutes. Yes, you need to help these people, but you don’t get a good reputation for your business by making them your target group.  

And Jesus was effectively homeless. One time when someone wanted to be His follower, He said “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20 (NLT2). 

He could have started a big medical business but didn’t. Yes, He spoke to and catered for some big crowds but had rather radical ideas. He got leaders in the community off-side with Him. He spoke in obscure riddles and often refused to explain Himself.

Yes, His name is a household word today, Christian or not, but He could be so much more popular today if He had been wiser with His marketing strategy. Jesus made some big mistakes in Marketing. 

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: But Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook.

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly my point! Jesus has much to teach us about what not to do if you want to Market yourself. He would be crucified in the business world today.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: That’s not funny! Jesus was crucified literally. He died for our sins and…

MARKETING MANAGER: Yes, yes. And if He had taken more interest in Marketing Himself He could have avoided all that, and would still be popular today. Let’s face it, He made some big mistakes.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: Mistakes? What mistakes? Jesus doesn’t make mistakes!

MARKETING MANAGER: Well, let’s start with a key mistake. Here’s what NOT TO DO in Marketing yourself.

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

Jesus did miracles. That’s got to be His key niche marketing tool to identify Him as exercising the power of God, as the Messiah. But Jesus constantly messed up His opportunities. 

He often did miracles simply because He had compassion on people and asked them not to tell people about what happened. When a little girl was healed (literally raised from the dead) in Luke 8:56 (NLT) “her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened”.

You want to mess up big time in marketing? – Don’t let people know your talents and passions. Don’t let people know about your interests and the creative and unique things you do. 

Jesus instructed several people whom He had healed to “tell no-one what was done to you”. He missed the opportunity for His niche market. He refused to grow His reputation. Marketing the Messiah was obviously something He knew nothing about. 

If only I had been one of His disciples, I could have saved Him.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: You really don’t get it, do you? You couldn’t save Him. He came to save you. Miracles were not Jesus’ key niche marketing tool. Unfortunately, sometimes His miracles interfered with proclaiming the good news that you can be forgiven of your sins and born again spiritually.  Once, when He healed a man with leprosy, Jesus told Him not to tell others. In Mark 1:40-45 (NLT2) it says “But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and He couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to Him.” Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies.

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. Let me tell you the second mistake He made…

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: I’m sorry, but we’ll have to continue this conversation later. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Good. I am so pleased you want to continue our conversation. I will look forward to Part 2 of WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF

Pastor Ross

Before the Doors and Wheels Fall off © created by Ross Cochrane as a 3d computer image using Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

Psalm 10 – Psalm 10:4-6 – HUMAN HUNTING – Before the Doors and the Wheels fall off? – Part 4

Introduction: Australia burns. My heart is breaking for the country and the people I love.

In Psalm 10, David speaks of the spiritual fires of destruction that can also devastate a society. Although this is a sobering picture (Psalm 10 paints a gloomy picture), you will also find David holds on to something positive to offer us also by way of hope. I have sought to grapple with my own thoughts on how to apply this part of the Bible.

The Newspapers today reflect Psalm 10. 

  • Terrorists killing innocent people. 
  • A Politician doing the wrong thing gets away with it on a technicality, 
  • Teenagers at a train station beat up an old man. 
  • In the middle of huge bushfires, a man is accused of lighting a fire deliberately. It is believed many others are also lighting fires deliberately. Others are looting. 
  • Designer drugs at concerts are so commonplace there are more lenient laws introduced in the hope to regulate too many deaths. 
  • A young truck driver is arrested recently for human trafficking. 
  • Ivan Milat a mass murderer, goes to his grave recently but refuses even on his deathbed to let families know of where the bodies are. He is defiant until death, glorying in the power he has to withhold this information and unwilling to be constrained by authority. 
  • Governments make bad decisions, and protesters turn into lawless mobs who loot shops and other businesses, and destroy property. 
  • A Football player loses his career for quoting a verse in the Bible that speaks about being accountable to God. An article declares how Christians utter hate speech by expressing anything from the Bible that is confronting. 

HOW THEN WILL I LIVE AS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST?

How then will I live as a follower of Christ? Like David, I find myself praying for God’s protection (Psalm 10:12). Like David, I know that God thinks that we matter (Psalm 10:14). I’m probably a little less passionate in describing how I would like God to deal with arrogant people who go out of their way to ridicule belief in God or with those who lack common decency in the way Christ followers are treated, or with those who are just plain wicked in their dealings with others in our world, but I do pray for God’s justice in our wayward world, (Psalm 10:15) and I do call upon God to intervene. 

I will continue to question God but hopefully it will be like David, without the pride of thinking I could do better or know all the answers. God is not accountable to me. He is not obliged to answer my prayers in my way. He does promise justice in His time, not mine. 

THE LOVE OF CHRIST

I am called to be an instrument of His love in an unloving world, not just someone who gripes about the world. Loving your enemies is not agreeing with their behaviour. Turning the other cheek is not being a doormat but taking a choice not to allow evil to think that it is winning. How do I intervene with God’s love in an evil world?

Psalm 10:3-4 (NLT) says, “For they brag about their evil desires; they praise the greedy and curse the Lord. The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead.”

Is it pride and independence from God that feed evil desires? Why would you be too proud to even seek God? One man recently said to me, “I don’t need some divine spirit telling me what to do.” This, of course, is his choice. A commentary sums up this sentiment, however. “Pride says, “I don’t need God or anyone else. I know it all. I have arrived. Pride is impatient with a rival. It hates a superior and cannot endure a master. Pride spurns law and authority and seeks “self-authority.”” Accountability is a questionable concept apparently.

Isaiah 53:6 (NLT2) says, “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him (Jesus) the sins of us all.”

For David, there is a lawlessness in his society where open violence, robbery, and murder are all too common. Self-authority taken to its logical conclusion. David doesn’t over or under expose the photograph of his culture. Strange how it still looks so much like ours. 

Who are the victims? “the innocent”; “the helpless”; “the poor” (Psalm 10:2, 8 NLT). Certainly not the Wicked. David is all for breaking the arms of the wicked (Psalm 10:15). This of course is poetic language. He doesn’t ask the Lord to kill them, but he does want God to break their arms ie to render them powerless in carrying out their evil desires.

David says, “Let them be caught in their own traps” (Psalm 10:2 NLT). There are examples of this in the Bible. Haman tried to hang Mordecai on a gallows and Haman ended up being hung upon it. Those who  tried to destroy Daniel in the lion’s den ended up being thrown in the lion’s den themselves. 

HOW DOES EVIL PERPETRATE A SOCIETY.

It starts off as an evil desire, divorced from any authority but its own. Such desires once brought the judgment of God in the form of a world-wide Flood. Genesis 6:5-6 (NLT2) says, “The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and He saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry He had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke His heart.” This verse helps us with anthropopathisms (ascribing human emotions to God) in order to understand as best we can about God’s response to wickedness. Notice that the best way to describe God’s response in human terms is a regret and a broken heart. But even a world-wide flood won’t do it. It merely stays the hand of God for another time when He came into the world as a human being to deal once and for all with our sin.

Romans chapter 1 speaks of the road to wickedness and once again God’s response:

… because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, … 

Does God get His revenge? Does God immediately judge? No. God still allows us to choose and to go our own way to give us time to repent. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” 

It’s easy to ascribe these characteristics to other countries but aren’t all these characteristics readily apparent in our own society where-ever you go, from domestic violence in the home, to abuse on the internet, to the glorification of human hunting in the movie theatres, to the millions of abortions in our world each year, people choosing who is qualified to live? 

A PERSON, NOT A SET OF RULES

All of this is very easily justified, but without an absolute gauge there is only Nihilism.  For a Christ follower the gauge is not a set of rules and regulations either, but a person. Jesus Christ.

David describes the wicked as predators; human hunters (Psalm 10:2). He speaks about how God’s warnings of judgment are ridiculed (Psalm 10:5-6, 11, 13,). How do I live as a Christian? Not sit around while the doors and wheels fall off? I can let God examine my own life for egotism and arrogance and conceit, pretentiousness, smugness and pride, insincerity, and deception. These things are not part of my relationship with Christ. They are throwbacks to “self-authority” that no longer has a place in my life. This year, this decade (2020) all I know is that I can trust God to work out His purposes in a sin-torn world, and the closer I am to Him, the more my life will align with His purposes for me and I will make a difference for Him, before the wheels fall off.

Philippians 1:20-26 (NLT) expresses it well for me. “For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better.” 

Pastor Ross

Living on Empty © Image created by Ross Cochrane with Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

Psalm 10:4-6 – HUMAN HUNTING – God Hunting – Part 3

Introduction: I looked at Australia burning on the News the other day. So many lives and such devastation. My heart is breaking for the country and the people I love.

In Psalm 10, David speaks of the spiritual fires of destruction that can also devastate a society. Although this is a sobering picture (Psalm 10 paints a gloomy picture), you will also find David holds on to something positive to offer us also by way of hope. I have sought to grapple with my own thoughts on how to apply this part of the Bible. It is in several parts.

David, in Psalm 10 says in effect that evil people are a law unto themselves, accept no boundaries, especially anything that speaks of coming under the authority of God or the principles of the Bible. He says,…

4 The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead.

Psalm 10 reminded me of Nietzche and Nihilism. I wondered what David would say if he were speaking to a modern day Nihilist. Perhaps the conversation would go something like this…

NIHILIST: God is dead!

DAVID: Is He dead or are you too proud to seek God?

NIHILIST: Modern science has effectively killed your God. We are a secular society today and we don’t find the basis for meaning and value in the West in your God. 

DAVID: Then where do you find the basis for meaning and value?

NIHILIST: That’s just it. Nothing has any inherent importance and there is no purpose, meaning or value in life. Your belief in God just provides you with a sense of value and purpose and you seek to anchor yourself to a set of rules to orient yourself to the world. But you have invented these rules and they only serve to control you.

DAVID: So let me get this straight. You don’t believe in any guiding principles? You don’t believe in morals or meaning or absolute truth? That sounds like a crisis waiting to happen. 

NIHILIST: Yes, it is a crisis and I am the master of my crisis. Morals are constantly being invented like all the other rules of society. But there is no evil or good. That died with God. Western society now makes it up as they go along. Nihilism destroys all such myths in order to find freedom from the oppression of any outward authority. 

DAVID: It would seem to me that you do not value life itself. By disrespecting those in authority, you will end up hurting those who need help the most. 

NIHILIST: Life has no meaning. You followers of God and the Bible go on about being created in God’s image. You rail against abortion and euthenasia and assisted suicide but anarchy and death are with us. 

You say we have an obligation to look after the poor but so what if people die in poverty. Life is meaningless. Our Nihilist society will continue to challenge your beliefs. Society has already dismantled your beliefs of traditional marriage and even your understanding of gender. It will destabilise your authority to make pronouncements on morality. I will continue to curse your God and your fanciful faith. Nilihism is very much part of our society. We will destroy these fancifully invented boundaries.

DAVID: So your guiding principle is destruction? 

NIHILIST: Yes to destruction, but there is no guiding principle, just power and freedom necessitated by destruction. My power, your weakness.

DAVID:  You “brag about your evil desires;… and curse the Lord.

Is it merely arrogance and pride that feeds your evil desires? Why do you want to curse the Lord?

NIHILIST: I advocate a social arrangement based on power and materialism with individual freedom as the highest goal. I denounce your God and the religious authority you have had because it is antithetical to freedom. Nothing is certain and I denounce all traditional truths as unjustifiable opinions.

We will destroy all existing political, social, and religious order because it is a prerequisite for any future improvement. I reject the possibility of absolute moral or ethical values. Good and evil don’t exist. Life has no intrinsic meaning or value. Achieving individual freedom is my only law, and the state, which necessarily imperils my freedom, must be destroyed. 

DAVID: Such attitudes make you a mere terrorist with no regard for human life.

NIHILIST: Every belief, everything you consider to be true is baseless. There is simply no truth in the world and because of this I repudiate all God’s imposed values and meaning. All of that deserves to perish and so I will be involved in destroying it. I will ridicule all your cherished beliefs and sacrosanct truths because they are symptoms of your defective myths about meaning and relevance and purpose. If that makes me a terrorist, so be it.  

DAVID:You succeed in everything you do for the moment. You do not see Your punishment awaiting You. Such arrogance and disregard of God and others has consequences. 

NIHILIST: I sneer at all my enemies, including God. And now you bring up the myth of a promise of divine punishment. Nothing bad will ever happen to me! There is no bad or good, only struggle against these myths. I am free and I will remain free of trouble forever!” 

DAVID: Your so called “trouble-free” living only causes trouble to everyone else. If you prove to be victorious (and you won’t), our world would become “a cold, inhuman world” where “nothingness, incoherence, and absurdity” would triumph.

NIHILIST: It already is. In our absurd world there are absolutely no guidelines, and any course of action, I admit, is problematic. 

DAVID: I pity you. Choosing to believe in Nothingness involves a high price and it’s result is certainly not freedom. I have found that the boundaries of my Maker give me more freedom than I imagined, real freedom. You are ever fighting against boundaries and in effect continue to create your own, in an ongoing battle. You accept life but say No to the Creator of life. Beyond your Nothingness and emptiness, there is still One greater than your philosophy. In imagining that life is meaningless and that God is dead, you have nothing but an empty lie. But God is patient, even with you, giving you time to repent and believe.

Acts 17:24-28 (NLT2) says, “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. …He Himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need. … “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him—though He is not far from any one of us. 28 For in Him we live and move and exist. …”

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 (2 Peter 3:9 NLT). 

To be continued…

Pastor Ross

Who’s Steering the Ship © Image created by Ross Cochrane with Blender 2.81 and GetPaint.net

Psalm 10:3-4 – HUMAN HUNTING – Control Issues – Part 2

David has no trouble identifying evil people in Psalm 10. They seem to enjoy terrorising those who are deemed as devalued. There is an arrogant power game enacted. They are an authority unto themselves and anyone challenging that kind of authority are seen as threats, including God. Evil people have control issues. It’s about who’s steering the ship.

For they brag about their evil desires; they praise the greedy and curse the Lord.

Evil people brag about their evil desires, and in doing so, ridicule anyone who disagrees. David says in effect that we can’t expect an evil person to have a conscience or to apologise for their actions. They feel no remorse and admit no wrong. They brag about their evil. They do not take responsibility for their cruelty. They have no moral standards by which to live but their own, and even those change as is deemed necessary.

HATE SPEECH OR GOOD NEWS?

I notice those who seek to live in relationship with Christ and uphold what the Bible teaches are increasingly silenced, ridiculed and excluded. Recently, one prominent community leader defined the Bible as “hate speech”. (Rugby chief suggests quoting Bible is hate speech.) 

Is the trend now that Christians have once again become the hunted, the bigots, bearers of hate. Are they the ones deemed as cruel and wicked? How did the gospel; the good news about God’s love, justice, peace with God, love for your neighbour and salvation from spiritual death, become bad news? 

At one point, Jesus called out people who sought to ridicule and malign His name. In Matthew 12:34, Jesus addressed the Pharisees. He said, You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say”. Is this hate speech or has He got a point?

One popular columnist and self-professed atheist in Australia uses language to describe Christianity as “absurd,” “brainless,” “infantile,” “embarrassing,” “transparent nonsense,” “deserving of simple mockery.” 

This atheist and others like to use the ridicule tactic. He uses a common atheist quote about Christ being “… a cosmic Jewish zombie…” which ends with “… eating fruit from a magical tree by a talking snake.” On first reading it seemed obvious to me who is the talking snake. Apparently, we are meant to immediately believe what he pontificates about Jesus, while accepting him as our guru on everything spiritual, so that he can remove the evil of believing in Christ from our souls. In Matthew 12:34 (NLT) Peter FitzSimons ridicules Christians in the name of inclusiveness and tolerance

I admit, the Atheist’s ridiculous article annoyed me. I acknowledge the creative cynicism and invective. Very clever. He has gone out of his way to deliberately misrepresent the Biblical narrative of Christ. It is such a sad commentary on the delusion and arrogance of this Atheist and others who use their obvious talents to try to discredit Jesus. Yet Jesus changed the world and continues to do so. 

With the devout fervour of their diatribe, many people today seek to denounce and silence those who believe in Christ, but Christ and His followers will not go away. 

David, in Psalm 10 says in effect that evil people are a law unto themselves, accept no boundaries, especially anything that speaks of coming under the authority of God or the principles of the Bible. He says,…

4 The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead.

The Atheist celebrity in the article mentioned above, believes anyone, especially Christians it seems, have a right to hold religious views, but they must not express them in public. Why? Because it “hurts” the current views of our society. 

Of course, in his mind, all those Australians who disagree with his illogical point of view must not challenge him. He is saying, “Stop sharing your message of faith but don’t stop listening to my message of “unbiased” reason.” ??? Is this arrogance at its ugliest? Is he the norm or the exception? Unfortunately, there are all too many who agree with his approach. 

At its worst, this kind of social engineering was Hitler’s approach – to dictate what was good for society? Silence the dissenting voices? In contrast, Jesus certainly gave people a choice to believe or not. Thousands responded positively and millions still do.

David has his gripe to God about those who seemingly get away with evil. I guess I have done this also in this article in seeking to relate this scripture to our times and to my life personally. But David’s Psalm goes well beyond griping about the world He lives in. 

I love the quote by Jack Kerouac. He’s not specifically speaking of Christians in our era, but they too are now labelled as crazy, misfits, rebels, troublemakers, not fond of the new rules of society. He says, 

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers. The rounds pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do, is ignore them, because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” 

Jesus fits this quote well. He was and is a misfit, a rebel and troubled a lot of people. Still does. He didn’t automatically go along with the social engineers and leaders of his day. He was disbelieved and vilified, and eventually crucified, but He is still changing the world, still transforming lives, still making a difference, still bringing spiritual healing to a wounded world. 

How should I respond? For me, my choice is a relationship with Christ every-time, letting Him steer the course, and I have much to learn about discerning and responding to the spirit of this age. I do note however that Romans 12:2 (NLT) in the Bible, encourages me. It says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” 

To be continued…

Pastor Ross

Psalm 10:1-2 – HUMAN HUNTING – Qualified to Live? – Part 1

Human Hunting © 3D Image created by Ross Cochrane on Blender 2.81 and GetPaint.net

Psalm 10:1 (NLT) says, O Lord, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I am in trouble?

David is a journalist, watching what is happening in the society in which he lives and writing a controversial column in the “The Spirit of the Age”. In effect, he is saying, “There is evil being done in our community and people are getting away with murder. Only God can help us now”.

2 The wicked arrogantly hunt down the poor.

How interesting and disturbing that King David should speak of Human hunting. Human hunting refers to people being hunted and killed by other people for revenge or even entertainment or sports, and it’s usually the helpless ones. 

In a 2016 report, Daniel Wright, senior lecturer in tourism at the University of Central Lancashire, predicts the hunting of the poor will become a hobby of the super-rich in a future plagued by economic and ecological disasters and overpopulation (Human hunting).

POPULATION REDUCTION

Recently 11,000 climate change scientists published a warning about the climate emergency (This got my attention, but apparently they are not all scientists but simply people from all walks of life interested in Climate Change who had signed a petition in agreement with a much smaller number of scientists. Such names as Professors Dumbledore and Mickey Mouse were included in the list. This did not help the credibility of the document). The document went viral anyway, picked up by media outlets everywhere. The public warning, although not a scientific paper but an opinion piece, argued that the global population  “must be stabilized—and, ideally, gradually reduced—within a framework that ensures social integrity”. How will this be done? With “bold and drastic . . . population policies,” including the use of “family-planning services”… “the world population must be stabilized” World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency | BioScience

Are they talking about abortion and euthenasia? Maybe a one baby policy like they had in China? Only keep those people who can contribute to society and not those who are a “drain” on society like the disabled or aged or the poor or the displaced? Are 11,000 people really seeking to save the world through more human hunting

Victor Frankl said, “But today’s society … blurs the decisive difference between being valuable in the sense of dignity and being valuable in the sense of usefulness. If one is not cognizant of this difference and holds that an individual’s value stems only from his present usefulness, then, believe me, one owes it only to personal inconsistency not to plead for euthanasia along the lines of Hitler’s program, that is to say, ‘mercy’ killing of all those who have lost their social usefulness, be it because of old age, incurable illness, mental deterioration, or whatever handicap they may suffer. Confounding the dignity of man with mere usefulness arises from conceptual confusion that in turn may be traced back to the contemporary nihilism transmitted on many an academic campus and many an analytical couch.”

― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

What is disturbing about the first few verses in Psalm 10, where “the wicked arrogantly hunt down the poor”, is that it resonates with many of the social attitudes today in our world that regard certain people as less valuable than others. It is the wicked in Psalm 10, who with a smug sense of superiority, arrogantly choose who will live and who will be hunted down. 

ACTION MOVIES AND REALITY

Our society is fascinated by direct and blatant forms of Human Hunting given the number of movies and computer games that depict people hunting people. Do the wicked see the death of the poor as a form of entertainment? I find the focus towards human hunting of those who are devalued in our society disturbing.

I like action movies, too, I admit it.  But it is the real life scenarios enacted around our world that I don’t like. For example, according to Open Doors, a major advocate organisation for persecuted Christians (2019 World Watch List), between November 1, 2017-October 31, 2018, there were:

  • Over 245 million Christians living in places where they experience high levels of persecution
  • 4,305 Christians killed for their faith
  • 1,847 churches and other Christian buildings attacked.
  • 3,150 believers detained without trial, arrested, sentenced or imprisoned

Also, according to the United States Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ. In Australia, we rarely see anything about these events on the news.

SOWING AND REAPING

The Bible speaks of reaping what you sow. David prays that the plans of the wicked will be thwarted by this principle of sowing and reaping …

Let them be caught in the evil they plan for others.

An evil person is someone who engages in deliberately wicked behaviors. The trouble is – today, wickedness is almost impossible to define because we have blurred and sometimes outwardly changed the distinctions of what is and is not evil. Our measure is more to do with social norms which change each decade.

CONFORM OR TRANSFORM?

For Christian Churches, you would think that the distinctions are less blurred as they supposedly have a standard of morality based on their relationship with Christ and the Bible, but this is no longer a given. As Biblical literacy diminishes and the Bible is regarded as a book we can update, are we saying we don’t need the perspectives God gives concerning the World we live in? Romans 12 still urges Christians not to conform to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 

What gives me hope is when I hear about another person giving their life to Christ; living a life based on a relationship with Christ. It is only then, the Bible says, that we have any chance to live as God intends and only then do the principles taught in the Bible come alive for us, and that is life-transforming. 

To be continued…

Pastor Ross

THE REAL TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS © by Ross Cochrane

MARCELLE: Let’s all sing the Twelve Days of Christmas for the Christmas service.

ROSS: I’ve been looking at The Twelve Days of Christmas song and it doesn’t really relate very well to the Christmas story except with the idea of giving gifts. And it didn’t happen over 12 days.

LYN: I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we change the words to fit in with the Christmas story. Let’s keep the same rhythm and rhyme but change the words. The 12 days can represent 12 important aspects of Christmas.

For example Instead of On the first day of Christmas my true-love sent to me, we could start our version by singing about God’s true love for me given to us at Christmas time.

On the first day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me

Not a partridge in a pear tree, but …

A HEART RICH IN CARE FOR ME

After all John 3:16 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.”

1 John 4:8 says, “He who does not love does not know God, for GOD IS LOVE.”

ROSS: OK let’s sing. You start.

LYN: On the first day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me

A HEART RICH IN CARE FOR ME

ROSS: On the second day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me

Two turtle doves, … White Doves represent peace I suppose, but Turtle Doves are not white. Not Two Turtle doves,… but what about…

TRUTH FROM ABOVE

The Truth about Jesus is important at Christmas. John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and TRUTH.” So TRUTH FROM ABOVE.

MARCELLE:Yes, and Jesus said “I am the way, THE TRUTH and the life”

ROSS: OK, So On the second day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me

TRUTH FROM ABOVE

LYN: And A HEART RICH IN CARE FOR ME

MARCELLE: On the third day of Christmas God’s true love sent to me

Three French hens. No not Three French Hens. Mary and Joseph did have some foreign visitors however. Not 3 French Hens but what about…

3 WISE MEN

There were at least 3. Matthew 2:1 says, “Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some WISE MEN from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw His star as it rose, and we have come to worship Him.”

King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship Him, too!”

9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

So On the third day of Christmas God’s true love sent to me

3 WISE MEN

ROSS: TRUTH FROM ABOVE

LYN: And A HEART RICH IN CARE FOR ME

On the 4th Day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me…

4 calling birds, No. Not 4 CALLING BIRDS. What about…

MORE RESTORING WORDS

I know that Zechariah’s Prophecy at the birth of Christ in Luke 1:68 says, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,     because He has visited and redeemed His people. Jesus brings spiritual restoration to people’s lives.

ROSS: He even brought physical restoration. Do you remember how Jesus RESTORED THE SIGHT TO THE BLIND and healed the sick.

LYN: Yes, and I think most importantly,Jesus came to restore our broken relationship with God.

Romans 5:10 says FOR SINCE OUR FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD WAS RESTORED by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son.

So On the 4th Day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me…

MORE RESTORING WORDS

MARCELLE: 3 WISE MEN

ROSS: TRUTH FROM ABOVE

LYN: And A HEART RICH IN CARE FOR ME

ROSS: On the 5th Day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me…

5 gold rings. I suppose one of the gifts from the wise men was Gold but not five gold rings. What about…

5 FORETOLD THINGS

I know that when the Angel appeared to Mary he foretold 5 very specific things about Jesus. He said,

  1. You will conceive and give birth to a son
  2. You will name Him Jesus
  3. He will be very great
  4. He will be called the Son of the Most High
  5. The Lord will give Him the throne of His ancestor David and …His kingdom will never end.

MARCELLE: Yes. Zechariah recognised that Jesus birth had been foretold. He saidGod … has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of His servant David,  just as He promised through His holy prophets long ago….

There are so many prophecies about the coming of Christ in the Bible. Micah 5:2 foretold that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem and would be a great king“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.” Micah lived in the 8th century BC so how could he know?

LYN:Yes and Isaiah 7:14 foretold that Jesus would be conceived by a virgin. He says – “…the Lord Himself will choose the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel – ‘God is with us.’”

ROSS: So many prophets foretold the birth of Christ. Isaiah 9:6-7 also foretold things about Jesus. It says,

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on His shoulders. These will be His royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!”

The prophet Isaiah lived in Jerusalem in the eighth century B.C. so how could he have known, except that God told him.

So On the 5th Day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me…

5 FORETOLD THINGS

LYN: MORE RESTORING WORDS

MARCELLE: 3 WISE MEN

ROSS: TRUTH FROM ABOVE

LYN: And A HEART RICH IN CARE FOR ME

MARCELLE: On the 6th Day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me…

6 geese a-laying, No. There were no geese in the stable laying eggs. Can you imagine the noise. No there was quiet on that Holy night. Not 6 GEESE A LAYING. What about ….

HIS PEACE DISPLAYING

In Luke 1:78, Zechariah says, “Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and TO GUIDE US TO THE PATH OF PEACE.”

ROSS: Yes HIS PEACE DISPLAYING In Luke 2:14 the angels from Heaven say, “Glory to God in highest heaven, AND PEACE ON EARTH to those with whom God is pleased.”

LYN: And Jesus is called the PRINCE OF PEACE

MARCELLE: So, On the 6th Day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me…

HIS PEACE DISPLAYING

ROSS: 5 FORETOLD THINGS

LYN: MORE RESTORING WORDS

MARCELLE: 3 WISE MEN

ROSS: TRUTH FROM ABOVE

LYN: And A HEART RICH IN CARE FOR ME

On the seventh day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me

7 swans a-swimming No. There were no swans in the stable swimming in the water trough. Not 7 SWANS A-SWIMMING. What about….

HEAVENS SONGS A-SINGING

There was a lot of praise happening on that night out in the fields. In Luke 2:8 it says, That night, just after the birth of Christ, there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 SUDDENLY, THE ANGEL WAS JOINED BY A VAST HOST OF OTHERS—THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN—PRAISING GOD AND SAYING,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” HEAVENS SONGS A-SINGING!

So On the seventh day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me

HEAVENS SONGS A SINGING

MARCELLE: HIS PEACE DISPLAYING

ROSS: 5 FORETOLD THINGS

LYN: MORE RESTORING WORDS

MARCELLE: 3 WISE MEN

ROSS: TRUTH FROM ABOVE

LYN: And A HEART RICH IN CARE FOR ME

ROSS: On the 8th day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me

8 maids a-milking…There were probably Cows in the Stable but Not 8 maids milking them. MAID rymes with PAID. What about…

GRACE PAID MY RANSOM

Mark 10:45  (NLT) says, “For even the Son of Man (JESUS) came not to be served but to serve others and to GIVE HIS LIFE AS A RANSOM FOR MANY.” Spiritually speaking I was a hostage in the slave market of sin but Jesus paid the ransom price. His sacrifice was the key.

So On the 8th day of Christmas God’s true love HELD THE KEY, and

GRACE PAID MY RANSOM

LYN: HEAVENS SONGS A-SINGING

MARCELLE: HIS PEACE DISPLAYING

ROSS: 5 FORETOLD THINGS

LYN: MORE RESTORING WORDS

MARCELLE: 3 WISE MEN

ROSS: TRUTH FROM ABOVE

LYN: And A HEART RICH IN CARE FOR ME

MARCELLE: On the 9th Day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me

9 ladies dancing No, no. There was only ONE Lady in the stable and that was Mary. Not Nine Ladies Dancing. What rhymes with Nine. I know. What about

DIVINE BABY LYING

Jesus was found lying in a manger.

Luke 2:15 says, “When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. AND THERE WAS THE BABY, LYING IN THE MANGER.”

DIVINE BABY, LYING IN A MANGER.

17 After seeing Him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

So On the 9th Day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me

DIVINE BABY LYING

ROSS: GRACE PAID MY RANSOM

LYN: HEAVENS SONGS A SINGING

MARCELLE: HIS PEACE DISPLAYING

ROSS: 5 FORETOLD THINGS

LYN: MORE RESTORING WORDS

MARCELLE: 3 WISE MEN

ROSS: TRUTH FROM ABOVE

LYN: And A HEART RICH IN CARE FOR ME

On the 10th Day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me…

10 lords a-leaping. No, not 10 LORDS. There was only ONE LORD in the stable and that was Jesus. LORDS. What does that Ryme with? WHAT ABOUT CORDS.

SIN’S CORDS ARE SEVERED

Matthew 1:20 says, “an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.”

SIN’S CORDS ARE SEVERED!

So On the 10th Day of Christmas God’s true love SET ME FREE…

SIN’S CORDS ARE SEVERED

MARCELLE: DIVINE BABY LYING

ROSS: GRACE PAID MY RANSOM

LYN: HEAVENS SONGS A SINGING

MARCELLE: HIS PEACE DISPLAYING

ROSS: 5 FORETOLD THINGS

LYN: MORE RESTORING WORDS

MARCELLE: 3 WISE MEN

ROSS: TRUTH FROM ABOVE

LYN: And A HEART RICH IN CARE FOR ME

ROSS: On the 11th Day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me

Not 11 pipers piping, There aren’t any Pipes in the story about Christ. No PIPES. But PIPES rhymes with STRIPES. What about  ….

HIS STRIPES FOR HEALING

You see, Jesus came into the world to save us from our sin and one day that would mean that He would die on a Cross.

Isaiah prophecied a long time before Jesus was even born

In Isaiah 53:3-6  (NIV) he spoke about Jesus. He said “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
AND BY HIS STRIPES (OR WOUNDS) WE ARE HEALED.

HIS STRIPES FOR HEALING.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has LAID ON HIM THE INIQUITY OF US ALL.”

JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO DIE FOR OUR SINS. When we believe in Him, we are healed spiritually, forgiven and restored. HIS STRIPES FOR OUR HEALING.

So On the 11th Day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me

HIS STRIPES FOR HEALING

LYN: SIN’S CORDS ARE SEVERED

MARCELLE: DIVINE BABY LYING

ROSS: GRACE PAID MY RANSOM

LYN: HEAVENS SONGS A SINGING

MARCELLE: HIS PEACE DISPLAYING

ROSS: 5 FORETOLD THINGS

LYN: MORE RESTORING WORDS

MARCELLE: 3 WISE MEN

ROSS: TRUTH FROM ABOVE

LYN: And A HEART RICH IN CARE FOR ME

MARCELLE: On the Twelfth day of Christmas God’s true love gave to me

12 drummers drumming. No, the stable was a quiet and humble place. There was no great drumroll to announce Jesus birth. Not even a drummer boy. No, not DRUM. What about AMONG. ….

HE WHO DWELLS AMONG US

It says in John 1:1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
So Jesus is called The Word.

10 He came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t recognize Him. 11 He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. 12 But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

14 SO THE WORD BECAME HUMAN AND DWELLED AMONG US OR MADE HIS HOME AMONG US.

HE DWELLS AMONG US

He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

 17 … God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But (Jesus), the unique One, who is Himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.”

ROSS: Jesus is also called Emmanuel which literally means God with us.

MARCELLE: So, I think we’ve done it. Come on, let’s all sing the REAL 12 Days of Christmas ….

On the Twelfth day of Christmas God’s true love CAME to me.

HE DWELLS AMONG US

ROSS: HIS STRIPES FOR HEALING

LYN: SIN’S CORDS ARE SEVERED

MARCELLE: DIVINE BABY LYING

ROSS: GRACE PAID MY RANSOM

LYN: HEAVENS SONGS A SINGING

MARCELLE: HIS PEACE DISPLAYING

ROSS: 5 FORETOLD THINGS

LYN: MORE RESTORING WORDS

MARCELLE: 3 WISE MEN

ROSS: TRUTH FROM ABOVE

TOGETHER: And… A… HEART… RICH… IN… CARE… FOR… ME

ROSS: The message of Christmas is that God loves you. He loved you so much, He became flesh and dwelled among us, totally human and yet totally God. He came to pay the price for your sin and mine. You and I are healed spiritually when we place our trust in Christ and come under His authority for our lives. Heaven celebrated the possibility of humanity experiencing inward peace with God. Wise men still seek Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life.

Do you know Jesus? Personally? Do you know that you can have peace with God by giving your life to Him this Christmas?

If you would like to receive Christ right now, pray and ask Him to be a part of your life, maybe a prayer like this one…

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for loving me enough to come to save me from my sins. Thankyou for paying the ransom price by dying for me on the Cross. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thankyou for the inward peace you provide as I trust in You. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen