Archive for April, 2014

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.

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Genesis 30:1-2 – JEALOUSY IS A TERRIBLE COUNSELOR

Jealousy Is A Terrible Counselor - Image created by Ross Cochrane

Jealousy Is A Terrible Counselor – Image created by Ross Cochrane

Envy © by Ross Cochrane

Envy sees a world of better things
She vies against a sister with protracted claws
And leaves her grieving, graceless, loveless, insecure.
Self flaying tail of pain, flings it’s stings.
Hateful, harmful hooks take hold and cling. Her jaws
Will maul trust and make truth a prisoner.

Poor in counsel, jealousy lays blame,
Inciting Cain to kill, closing heavens doors,
Her sick soul still seeks a shameful cure.
Yet victory for her will still remain
Unsure.

Jealousy is a terrible counselor. She leaves you feeling isolated, insecure and grieving over your loss. You are incited to inflict damage on those you love. Jealousy turns you against Trust; a gracious and truthful friend who helps you understand your attitudes. Trust helps you to see your blessings and celebrate the success of others and helps you believe for the best. She is the mother of Patience.

 

Is she planning to commit suicide or is she simply expressing that her sole motivation in life is to have children? Rachel sees her sister and pleads with Jacob, “Give me children or I’ll die” (Genesis 30:1). She doesn’t plead with God and so far there is no mention that Rachel places any trust in the promises God has made to her husband. Is God providing her an opportunity to trust Him by keeping her childless?

Jacob has grown up in a competitive environment with his brother Esau, so he understands the dynamic of sibling rivalry. Now, through his bigamy, he creates an even greater environment for competition between his wives. Jealousy turns up because she is invited and Jacob acts as if she is an unexpected gate-crasher. Jealousy whispers lies about Leah and introduces Rachel to Blame. Jealousy and Blame test Jacob’s conflict management skills to the max.

Proverbs 14:30 (NLT) says “… jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” Proverbs 27:4 (NLT) says “Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.” 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NLT) says “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud.” Far from being happy and proud for her sister and the blessing of children, she creates a catfight. Rachel’s motive for intimacy with Jacob is not intended to develop her love for him, but to feed her jealous battle with her sister.

Jealousy and Rage have an infamous history. Jealousy incited Cain to kill his brother Abel in Genesis 4. Jealousy embittered Sarai against her servant Hagar (Genesis 16) so much so that she sent her into the wilderness to die with her child. Jealousy encouraged Lot to move away from Abraham (Genesis 26) choosing the plains of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot almost lost his life. Jealousy fed king Saul’s obsessions and insecurity against David. He tried to kill David (1 Samuel 18). Jealousy builds a gallows for Haman who attempts to use it to murder Mordecai (Esther 5:13). Government officials swayed by Jealousy throw Daniel into the lion’s den (Daniel 6). Jewish leaders provoked by Jealousy (Acts 13 and 17) force Paul to leave town. The religious leaders prejudiced by Jealousy’s deceit crucify Jesus (Matthew 27:18). Jesus is well acquainted with Jealousy’s snares. Jealousy and Rage have an unpleasant association with Death rather than new life.

Rachel listens to the whispers of Jealousy. She wants the status of motherhood and Jealousy has told her that it is a stigma to have no children. Jealousy has made her more concerned with what others think of her than what God thinks of her. If Hannah, who lived many years hence, could have counselled Rachel perhaps the outcome may have been different (1 Samuel 1:11), but instead, a family of children, born in the midst of Jealousy and tension, grow up with distorted values? One day Jacob’s sons, intoxicated with Jealousy’s wine, will sell their brother Joseph into slavery. Jacob’s bigamous relationship was destined for such grief.

“Then Jacob becomes furious with Rachel. “Am I God?” he asks. “He’s the one who has kept you from having children!” (Genesis 30:2 NLT).  

This is their first recorded fight and Jacob is furious with Rachel, as if his fury can quench Jealousy’s influence. “Am I God?” he shouts. At least he realises his limitations. He realises that children are a gift from God. Does he also realise that God has deliberately withheld children from Rachel (Genesis 29:31)? He implies as much. “He’s the one who has kept you from having children!” acknowledging God’s part in all this. Is he implying that God is judging her? Is it just that he wants to blame God when backed into a corner like so many people do?

Perhaps Jacob is seeking to bring Rachel abruptly to her senses, making her aware that God gives life and that she should stop associating with Jealousy and take counsel from Him. Is he furious because the wife he supposedly loves does not have faith in God? Not that he should talk. He doesn’t pray either, so is his faith also waning? Since Rachel has succumbed to Jealousy’s irrationality, a lecture on theology isn’t going to help. If only both of them got down on their knees and prayed, it might help quell Jealousy’s fire and assuage Jacob’s Rage.

The invitation that God gives to me is to take counsel from Trust, to make choices of life rather than death, to allow the Cross to deal with Rage and Jealousy. Lord, bring Your perspective to my attitudes. Trust invites me to see my blessings and celebrate the success of others. Trust helps me believe for the best and develop patience. 

Pastor Ross

EASTER AND THE ANZAC ON THE WALL 

Easter and Gallipoli

Easter and Gallipoli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Brown wrote a wonderful poem called “The Anzac on the Wall” (http://iwvpa.net/brownj/the_anzac_s.php) and inspired me to write these verses relating Anzac Day to the Easter Story. 

I bought another picture in the Antique shop that day

Behind the books and chairs, with a mirror in the way

A painting of the Christ upon the cross, and on the back

It said that it was painted by a man whose name was Jack

Do you know this name? I asked. The old man answered “No…

Just more unwanted junk from a sale so long ago.”

 

On the frame was written “To Mum with love”, and more,

It said it was a gift to her before he went to war.

Jack Matthew Thomas Kelly who suffered such great loss

Had painted her this picture of Christ upon the Cross

 

Perhaps he knew that he would fall, that day at Galipoli,

And wanted to remind his mum Christ died to set us free

On Anzac day Jack fought a fight that he could never win

But Easter tells the Victory of Jesus over sin

 

On Anzac day the Last Post plays a song “Lest we forget”

At Easter we Remember Jesus dying for our debt

On Anzac day Jack died so our country could be free

At Easter Jesus died to save us all eternally

 

Anzac day reminds us death is certain, life is brief

On Easter Sunday Christ conquered death and now instead of grief

Jack Kelly’s mum would know of life and peace with God through grace.

When we place our faith in Christ our world becomes a better place.

 

A photo and the painting Jack’s mum had on the wall

Reminds us of the sacrifice when Christ died for us all

Where Christ cried “It is finished” and a curtain tore asunder

Where hammered nails accompanied the rolling waves of thunder

Where cruel blows crack like 303’s and ricochet again

Where on this hill the gusts of wind sound just like dying men

 

While on that beach so far from home – so many lives were lost,

Jack’s photo hung upon the wall, with his painting of the Cross.

When some would pass and ponder at the words upon the frame

She’d point towards her photograph of Jack and then explain

He knew the pain of sacrifice – her Anzac on the Wall

But also knew that Peace with God is the greatest gift of all.

Oil Painting of Colin Malcolm Shedden by Ross Cochrane

Oil Painting of Colin Malcolm Shedden by Ross Cochrane

 

Photo on left - oil painting on right.

Photo on left – oil painting on right.

Oil Painting on Easel