Archive for November, 2012

Genesis 27:30-38 – WHAT ABOUT ME?

What About Me?

What About Me?

No presents were opened until my father-in-law came to the tree. He was the revered head of the family and it was his responsibility to cut the meat, say grace at meals, and hand out the presents on Christmas day. The anticipation for the kids was enormous. Everyone received a gift. The atmosphere of family was palpable.

To continue with the Christmas analogy, it’s as if Isaac decides that Esau would be the only one to receive a gift that year. It’s as if Esau says “I’ve been nice. I’ve prepared the Christmas dinner. Now give me my present, Santa.” In Genesis 27:31 (NLT) Esau’s approach to his father is self-interested and direct. “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.”” 

Esau has already given away his birthright but he was desperate to receive his father’s blessing. As binding as a legal document, it will activate and bestow leadership, a double portion of the inheritance and spiritual responsibility upon his son. Financially the best Christmas present he could ask for.

Isaac says “Then who just served me wild game? I have already eaten it, and I blessed him just before you came. And yes, that blessing must stand!”” (Genesis 27:33 NLT). The question is rhetorical. Intuitively, both of them know who has received the blessing. Both of them know for whom it was intended, but when it dawns on Isaac that he has been tricked, he’s so shocked by the implications that he trembles uncontrollably. He can’t take back the blessing

It all makes sense to Isaac now. His suspicions have now been verified too late. “Your brother was here, and he tricked me. He has taken away your blessing”” (Genesis 27:35 NLT). It was never really Esau’s gift to have anyway. Esau is devastated. Genesis 27:34 (NLT) says “When Esau heard his father’s words, he let out a loud and bitter cry. “Oh my father, what about me? Bless me, too!” he begged.”

“What about me?” The cry of one who sold his birthright and forfeited the blessing that was passed down from Abraham. The cry of many who want God to answer their prayers but don’t want to come under His authority in any way. In Genesis 27:36 (NLT) Esau exclaims, “No wonder his name is Jacob, for now he has cheated me twice. First he took my rights as the firstborn, and now he has stolen my blessing. Oh, haven’t you saved even one blessing for me?” The “CHEAT” and the “VICTIM” (“Jacob” means “Cheat”. Who names their son “Cheat”??)

Isaac realises that the blessing he has given is fairly comprehensive. In Genesis 27:37 (NLT) Isaac says “I have made Jacob your master and have declared that all his brothers will be his servants. I have guaranteed him an abundance of grain and wine—what is left for me to give you, my son?”

That’s when the big man breaks down and cries. This was something he had really wanted from his father, even if he didn’t really include God in his life. Genesis 27:38 (NLT) says “Esau pleaded, “But do you have only one blessing? Oh my father, bless me, too!” Then Esau broke down and wept” (See Hebrews 12:14-17).

Like the rest of his family, Esau wants to divert or change God’s purposes. He wants God’s blessing but wants to do as he pleases. (Gal. 5:16-24). What stops Isaac from taking back this blessing when he discovers the deception? Why is this blessing not pronounced null and void? It seems that Isaac finally realises that his desire to bless Esau instead of Jacob is wrong (Genesis 27:33f). Abraham’s blessing is not withdrawn but endorsed.

It was wrong for Isaac to secretly seek to bless Esau with the blessing God intended for Jacob. It was wrong for Rebecca to seek to bring about God’s will by deceptive means. It was wrong for Jacob to seek to impersonate someone else and expect to be blessed. It is wrong for Esau to try to change God’s purposes. Let’s face it, we are all dysfunctional because of our sin, but God turns cursing to blessing. Fortunately Christ came to die for our sin. All of us have the opportunity to have peace with God and live under His promises. All of us have the opportunity today to receive forgiveness and the gift of eternal life this Christmas by believing in Christ. It’s interesting to think that God’s promises are offered in the midst of our sin to bring us forgiveness and reconciliation to God. The Abrahamic blessing is designed to bring a Saviour into the world through whom the world would be blessed. He was born into our dysfunctional world and we celebrate His birthday this Christmas. Happy Christmas!

Pastor Ross

Genesis 27:1-27 – RIGHT PRESENT, WRONG SON

TO ESAU?

To make a Christmas analogy, it was as if Isaac was wrapping up a Christmas present and giving it to the wrong family member. It was as if Rebekah was shoplifting to try to bless her son. It was as if Jacob was impersonating Santa Claus to be liked.

It is wrong for Isaac to secretly seek to bless Esau with the blessing God intends for Jacob. It is wrong for Rebecca to seek to bring about God’s will by deceptive means. It is wrong for Jacob to seek to impersonate someone else and expect to be blessed. Such mistakes will have serious consequences for this dysfunctional family in the future, but God still has a way of turning cursing to blessing.

If he was able to discern the voice of God Isaac would not forge ahead to bless Esau in the first place but now he blunders onto the set where he becomes the unknowing, though not innocent, performer in the first act of Jacob’s starring role as Esau. Although he is physically and spiritually blind, he suspects that he is not speaking with Esau, and he is left to initiate his own process of verification, based entirely upon his own reasoning and his other senses. Without God’s help all that is left is crude science.

QUESTIONS

Twice Isaac asks directly who it is. Jacob, prodded to deception by his mother, replies,“It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing” (Genesis 27:19, 24 NLT).

REASONING

Not entirely convinced, Isaac asks, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” Jacob is quick, “The Lord your God put it in my path!” (Genesis 27:20 NLT). Who can question the Lord? But Isaac is no fool. Perhaps he knows Esau would not give an answer that involves God. Esau seems to have left God out of his life. Why would he even mention God?

THE SENSES

Being blind he employs other available senses and says “Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau” (Genesis 27:21 NLT). Jacob comes closer to his father, and Isaac touches him. “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s,” Isaac says (Genesis 27:22 NLT). Goat skin has been freshly stretched upon Jacob’s neck and arms. Isaac believes the hairy arms and hands of the goat deception, despite the dissonant chords of Jacob’s voice.

Over the meal, Isaac thinks of one more test. He says “Please come a little closer and kiss me, my son” (Genesis 27:26 NLT). So Jacob comes over and kisses his Dad. And when Isaac catches the smell of his clothes, he is finally convinced, and is willing to give his blessing. Isaac says, “Ah! The smell of my son is like the smell of the outdoors, which the Lord has blessed!” (Genesis 27:27 NLT). Jacob foresaw the need to wear Esau’s clothes (If Hugo Boss had been around he would have made a new men’s fragrance called “Fresh Air The smell of the great outdoors. Receive the Blessing” – expensive and deceptively alluring).

ANALYSIS

Jacob and Rebekah teach me that Deception cannot procure God’s spiritual blessings and purposes. Isaac teaches me that when I seek to defy God’s purposes then I am limited to my own resources, to my own reasoning and the senses. The senses will never plumb the depths of spiritual truth. The senses don’t make sense when faith and obedience are required.

God invites me to “…live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV). He wants me to (excuse the sensory analogy) hear His voice, smell the fragrance of His Presence, touch the Hem of His garment, taste the very bread of life, see with the eyes of faith, perceive and receive His blessings for my life and for my family this Christmas.

Pastor Ross

In the past I have made judgments about Tattoos and associated those who have made choices to permanently mark their skin as those who don’t really care about themselves. I have discovered, of course, that this is not always true and that some tattoos depict deep care. Certainly Isaiah 49:16 is one such case where God is pictured as wearing a tattoo.

Isaiah 49:15-16 assures me that I am not alone, lost or forgotten. I have not been abandoned by God, no matter how difficult the circumstances I face may be. Jesus reaches out to me in love, to encourage and reassure me with nail-pierced hands. When I think of Christ who bears the marks of the Cross even in His resurrection body, I am drawn to the fact that it was my sin that nailed Him there and because He died for my sin it is my name God engraves, tattooed, permanently inscribed, like nail piercings, on the palms of His hands. What a beautiful, yet sobering picture, when I think of the sacrifice that love bore for me, so that I could be found in the palm of His hand.

God says in Isaiah 49:15-16 (NIV) “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; …”   

ISAIAH 49:15-16 – LOVE’S TATTOO 

© By Ross Cochrane

They fit on arms of those who care not,
Where they stand out, charmless on harmed flesh.
They threaten to bring painful protests, excess stress,
flayed fresh wounds. You bear them without a thought
and declare other views. You have not sought
to carelessly align with lawlessness,
or wear scars to share as marks of madness,
but bear the healing grace that You profess,

And with all this purpose made permanent,
A name, not picture, is displayed,
And love, not loss, is cut with firm intent,
Inscribed in ink that now will never fade
Upon Your Holy palms with full consent,
And it declares the price that You have paid.

LOVE’S TATTOO

MY WIFE’S TATTOO

Posted: November 17, 2012 in Tattoo
Tags: , , , ,

THE TATTOO

© By Ross Cochrane

FAMILY

Tattoos on an arm are painful things,
Are they a lasting label of an impulse, meant
for those souls who are troubled, trying to fit in?
She seeks not to soar with rebels wings!
Fluid, flowing pierced lines, have much more intent
as cut curves trace a word upon her skin.

It brings honour, celebration, love’s praise,
Devotion so special, heaven’s own consent
A soft, sweet song, a tattoed hymn
Her beauty bows, the Father now engraves
His Name upon her skin.

 

– PROVIDENCE AND T.W.MOUNTAIN – LEST WE FORGET

Remembrance Day at the Shalom Centre, Sydney

He has now finished his thesis for his 2nd masters degree in Theology, but Bob Creelman is more excited about running a men’s group at the Shalom Centre, the Aged Care Facility where I am the Chaplain. He has been in Israel recently and now my Geologist/Theologian friend was having lunch with me telling me about being in Beersheba and the history about Remembrance Day. Bob loves history, especially the history of war.

The discussion includes the Australian Light Horse Brigade who served at the Battle of Beersheba and how they made their famous cavalry charge on 31 October 1917, during the advance on Damascus. Bob told me he had found the gravestones of some of these brave men and had taken some photos. I said that I would be interested in displaying the photos as part of a PowerPoint presentation I was doing for the Remembrance Day Service (Shalom had the service on Friday 9th this year).

I notice that Douglas Mountain is sitting at the next table. I can see he is interested in our conversation when we spoke of Beersheba and the Light Horse, so I invite him over. I have already asked Douglas, a returned serviceman himself, to participate in the Remembrance Day service the next day.

Just yesterday I had a conversation with Douglas and I know Bob will be interested. Douglas is wearing an Australian Remembrance ring. When he bought it a few years ago he was encouraged to have it engraved with the name of a member of the family who had been to war. He engraved the name of his uncle, T.W.Mountain who was wounded in the charge of the Light Horse Brigade in Beersheba and died 3 days later way back in 1917. We are enthralled by the conversation.

Bob is even more excited when he rings me in the afternoon. Of the six photos he had taken when he had visited the gravestones in Beersheba, one of them included the name of T.W.Mountain, 1st Australian Light Horse, 3rd November, 1917, Age 27. It was Douglas Mountain’s uncle! How amazing is that!

At our Remembrance Day service, after Douglas Mountain reads a poem, I get him to stay at the microphone and ask him about the ring he wears, it’s inscription and the story of his uncle. He shows everyone the medals of his uncle which he is wearing alongside his own. He is completely surprised when Bob Creelman comes to the front and presents him with a beautiful remembrance booklet with the photo of his uncle’s grave and I display the picture of the gravestone on the screen. A moving moment.

Douglas Mountain receives a Remembrance Book from Bob Creelman

Douglas comes to us after the service and tells how all through his life, he has rarely received any affirmation or encouragement for any of his achievements or the achievements of his family during times of war. Sometimes something special happens and he treasures such moments. This is one occasion he will treasure.

Just a chance conversation at a lunch table? Not at all. Bob told me later that on the day he took the photographs in Beersheba, he had a friendly debate with his Jewish friend about Providence. He will write to him about Remembrance Day and about a God moment where we had an opportunity to honour and remember a brave man who gave his life in a decisive battle during World War 1. Douglas Mountain’s gravestone reads “Greater is no man than he who lays down his life for his country.” These words echo the words of (NKJV) which says “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for His friends.” This speaks ofwhat Christ has done for us when He died for our sins on the Cross and won the victory at another decisive battle. 

Pastor Ross

F-0000000599&e=fa4951147c8be03849ebd2dc83972c77″ target=”_blank”>Remembrance Day: Who are you remembering? (cbc.ca)

THE LORD’S REMEMBRANCE DAY PRAYER – POEM

 © By Ross Cochrane

REMEMRANCE DAY AT SHALOM AGED CARE

 “Our Father…” In war many people lose their fathers in distress,

And yet you say You are a Father to the fatherless.

“Our Father, who art in heaven,…”

It is to heaven many servicemen and women send their prayers,

And there they grapple for answers that earth cannot provide

For cares in the midst of battle.

It is for heaven’s victories they lay claim.

“…hallowed be Thy Name…”

Hallowed means “Worthy of honour” or “Set apart”,

We commemorate today those on our heart,

Those who have not returned.

Set apart for war they earned our freedom.

Yet in this prayer we honour God in how we live,

To give respect for His Word and Ways,

To give Him praise that we are free to live our faith,

Without shame, unhindered by the shackles of oppression,

Yes, hallowed be Thy Name.

“Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Wars are about kingdoms – worth the taking or defending.

Oh to understand God’s kingdom view

And pray for what is right and true,

Contending for God’s rulership,

His Kingdom, and within His grip we find our worth,

Heaven’s perspective here on earth,

Only then we fear no dread.

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

The ravages of war leaves those who live as refugees

To have no food,

Subdued into submission, many go without,

Yet I cry out for just enough for me and mine,

When I should ask for bread enough for thee and thine

For those whose needs cry out above my own

And fight unknown battles just to live

“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Once driven by our sin and by regret,

Yet we are now forgiven as we trust in Christ,

And though atrocities have taken place in times of war,

We must forgive and open up the door to live again,

And only then will we remember the past and not be defeated,

To learn from the past so it is not repeated,

To remember those who died and not be hardened by our loss,

To forgive as Christ did on the Cross.

“Deliver us from evil…”

Lest we forget the debt of gratitude we owe

And the debt You paid for sin.

Deliver us from the evils of war,

Let us begin to live free from the things that bring oppression.

Let our confession be to live life free of turmoil and regret,

And as we pray this prayer we need His help,

LEST WE FORGET.

Pastor Ross

Genesis 27:1-27 – WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

Celebrities trace their family history and tell such interesting stories about their ancestors in the classic series “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” They find those who fought in major battles, accomplished heroic deeds, overcame insurmountable circumstances. Some lived infamous and tragic lives. All lived extraordinarily unique lives and their loves and hardships tell a moving story that inevitably brings tears to the eyes of their descendants who, in uncovering their past, layer by layer, are discovering more of who they are.

To trace Jesus family tree ancestry.com would take us back to Genesis 27 where Isaac wants to give his son ESAU the generational blessing handed down from father to son from the time of Abraham, even though God has promised that it will be his other son Jacob who leads the family (Genesis 25:23, Romans 9:10-13), not Esau.

Obviously not an identical twin, ESAU is the Bear Grylls of the Old Testament, only with body hair.Rugged, unkempt and lion-like, he is more Hagar the Horrible than Brad Pit, more caveman than business-man. He is a great hunter, sportsman, an outdoors man. And he has rejected God in his life.

Much less adventurous than his brother, JACOB stays around home. He’s the Master Chef of the family, especially good at making stew (Jacob has already used his cooking skills to entice his brother into giving up his Birthright – Genesis 25).

Rebekah, their mother, will go to any length to see Jacob, not Esau, receive the Father’s blessing for the firstborn. Whatever it takes! Even if it means deceiving her blind husband! Lying comes easy to this family.

Not really knowing who he is, and easily led by his Mum, Jacob seeks to accomplish God’s will by IMPERSONATING ESAU. With a family history riddled with such ruse, now it’s his turn to play a leading role. Records show that Sarah acted the role of Abraham’s sister (Genesis 20:2). Rebekah played the role of Isaac’s sister (Genesis 26:7). I’ve done it too. I admit it. (no, not played the role of my sister! What I mean is that I’ve tried to imitate others.) I’ve tried to look like, act like, preach like famous preachers in the hope I might receive their blessings, instead of simply being myself and allowing God to fulfil the promises for my life in His way. What about you? WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

With goat’s skin stretched onto his arms and neck and wearing Esau’s clothes, Jacob impersonates Esau. He lies to his blind Dad, saying “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.Isaac asks, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” “The Lord your God put it in my path!” Jacob replies. He blasphemes God by saying that GOD gave him success in finding the game so soon, but notice he says “The Lord YOUR God” helped me to hunt (Genesis 27:20), and not “the Lord MY God” because he knows that this is what Esau would say.Esau has no faith of his own.

God wants me to be myself, yet the Bible speaks of imitating Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Does it mean that I lose my personality in order to receive God’s blessing? Do I have to live a lie? Followers of Christ often say “More of Him, less of me” but does God want me to be LESS of who I really am? John the Baptist declares in John 3:30 (NLT) “He (Christ) must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” but what does he mean? Did God want him to be less of himself? In Mark 8:33-38 (NLT) Jesus says “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?”

Only by knowing and loving Christ can I truly understand who I am. Jesus wants those who have a relationship with Him to live life to the full (John 10:10). John the Baptist was preparing the way for Christ to fulfil His destiny in dying for our sins, so that we could receive the gift of eternal life and live our lives under His blessing. We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so we can be all God intends us to be, not emptied of ourselves, but fully alive in Him. Not less of myself but certainly less selfish! Not sinless but sinning less. I don’t have to live a lie, but be honest to God.

The question is not so much “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” based on your family tree, but “WHO HAS GOD CREATED YOU TO BE?” based on being in the family of God. As His children, we live the life He intended for us to live in all it’s fullness, …and pass on to our children the generational blessing found in knowing Christ.

Pastor Ross