Archive for January, 2017

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The Dive © Picture created by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 1:1-2 – DIVING TO SAVE OUR PLANET

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2 NLT)

  1. OBEY THE DIVING INSTRUCTIONS

There is a strange compulsion and delight in reading and meditating on God’s Word. It hasn’t always been that way for me. Once it was simply an optional interest to spend some time each day getting to know what was in the Bible. Over the years it has become a compulsive habit, a delightful pursuit of discovery in knowing God. It has led to some changes in my life that haven’t always been easy.

I have discovered the truth of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT): “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.”

Like the Psalmist I find joy when I am in tune with what God has to say in His Word. “I take joy in doing Your will, my God, for Your instructions are written on my heart” (Psalms 40:8 NLT).

Jeremiah expresses it well when he says, “When I discovered Your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear Your name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies” (Jeremiah 15:16 NLT). Delight, not obligation or duty. Not a drudgery or a burden, but a heartbeat. Romans 7:22 (NLT) says “I love God’s law with all my heart.” 

1 John 2:14 speaks of God’s Word living in our hearts. It’s alive and powerful, meant to be lived, not just memorized and certainly not ignored. “Meditation” is speaking more of a way of life, of constant, consistent, continuous application of God’s Word. I am not just an auditor, reading the gauges, but an applier of God’s Word. I live and breathe His truth.

James 1:22-25 (NLT) says “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”

  1. FOLLOW THE DIVING INSTRUCTOR

1 John 5:1-5 (NLT) says “We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey His commandments. Loving God means keeping His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Jesus is described as the Word of God in human form (John 1:1, 14). There is an ongoing adjustment that He makes in my life. He accepts me as I am but I was never intended to stay as He found me, flailing at the bottom of the ocean. Only with the help of Christ can I pull away from the self-seeking influences of my sinful habits and negative attitudes and rise to the destiny designed for me. I can do this because of what He has accomplished on the Cross. He is my diving instructor, dive master, and dive guide.

Philippians 1:21 (NLT) says “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” 

Galatians 2:20 (NLT) say “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

  1. OBSERVE THE SAFETY REGULATIONS

The environment into which I dive each day is hazardous, even though it is all too familiar to me. Survival depends on diver safety.

Psalms 119:91-93 (NLT) says “Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves Your plans. If Your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. I will never forget Your commandments, for by them You give me life.” 

“The law of the Lord” (Psalm 1:2), the Word of God, the Scriptures, the Holy Bible. I love its simplicity, it’s absolutes, it’s invitation to make responsible choices for life. Jesus says “Follow, Obey”. Simple, necessary procedures for the dive. 2 Timothy 2:15 (NLT) says to “…Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.”

After all this time I am pleased that many of the procedures are becoming second nature, but I continue to learn and practice; to “meditate” so that my habits become automatic and faultless, a lifestyle aligned with God’s purposes.

Meditation is not emptying my mind but gaining perspective on how I can breathe in this oxygen-depleted world. It gives me discernment for what I am to reject in life and what I am to accept, what to avoid and what to embrace.

  1. AVOID THE DIVING HAZARDS

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers” (Psalm 1:1 NLT).

I am to stay away from creatures whose habits cause damage, those who have sharp hardened shells around their lives which lacerate and contaminate a diver with their poison.

Their stinging tongues, and venom cause pain and they can be dangerous when they are threatened by those who follow Christ in the dive.

Yes, I am not alone in the dive. God Himself is an experienced diving marine biologist/conservationist too, coming from heaven’s pure atmosphere into our environment to save our species, paying the price of our sin to save our planet, to save me.

He faced the sharks, the Lionfish, stonefish, crown of thorns starfish, and the Blue-ringed octopus, the mockers, sinners and the wicked who have the capacity to produce serious wounds; their venomous injections; toxic and dangerous. And He conquered the suffocating, air depriving dive of death so that I might breathe again.

I have come to understand that God loves me. He does not desire that I drown or get lost or become injured, and He has given specific procedures to minimize the risk as I follow Christ in the dive.

2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

  1. CARRY AND USE YOUR DIVING KNIFE.

Hebrews 4:12 (NLT) says “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

I need the “… sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17 NLT) to cut myself loose from the entanglements of nets and lines that would seek to hinder my progress.

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) says, “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.”

Psalms 18:4-6 (NLT) says, “The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from His sanctuary; my cry to Him reached His ears.”

  1. REMEMBER YOUR DIVING REGULATOR

“Meditate”. Taking it in slowly. Not rushing. Allowing it to infiltrate and oxygenate my life. Day and night. Meditation carries the oxygen to my soul.

Psalms 119:11 (NLT) is my prayer. “I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” 

Can’t simply slip back into default mode. Default mode is falling back on something less than intended. Default mode is reverting to an older version of me motivated with habits and heart attitudes that are based on the lowest common denominator, not the highest possible purposes. I choose not to default on my faith and I am intentional in moving away from other lifestyles and towards obedience to God’s Word. And it is delightful, not debilitating.

Romans 12:2 (NIV) says “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

The Word of God will safely support me. I monitor my time and the pressures of the world inform me over and over again that I cannot afford to stay any longer in the environment I am in without replenishment from above.

  1. WEAR THE RIGHT DIVING GEAR

As I dive, I must keep in mind that I am alive because of my equipment, an environmentalist, seeking to make a difference in another world, full of wonder but also aware of danger. I am in the water but the water is not in me; a diver, who cannot breathe without help in the world I want to see saved.

  1. ACCOMPLISH THE DIVING MISSION

I can spend my time diving for recreational enjoyment in this new world, taking photos and video’s and documenting my environment or I can make a difference to save our species by innovative direct-action tactics, and by reconciling the world to Christ. In Matthew 4:19 (NLT) Jesus calls me. He says, “Come, follow Me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 

Mark 16:15-16 (NLT) says “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.” We live in a drowning world.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NLT) speaks of our mission. “…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”  

Pastor Ross

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“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” (Psalm 2:1-2 NLT) 

SKY PILOT

Your voice alights, remembered, sings.

Your Words; Love’s labor.

Not the mocking tenor of the time.

Not the wicked void of Godless quests;

Diverging paths, divested of purpose.

Today my heart in harmony delights in Yours.

In perfect rhythm with Your soul it soars

with Spirit and with truth

above the clamorous calls of earth

to hear the voice of God.

© Ross Cochrane 12-1-17

 

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Psalms 1:1 – UNFRIENDING

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.” 

1. GO TO THAT PERSON’S PROFILE

If David was on facebook he would have unfriended them. Brothers Abishai and Joab are as wicked as they come. King David battled with their dispositions as well as their actions. After Joab killed Abner, David said, “And even though I am the anointed king, these two sons of Zeruiah—Joab and Abishai—are too strong for me to control. So may the Lord repay these evil men for their evil deeds.” (2 Samuel 3:39 NLT)

When David speaks of the wicked (or ungodly), the sinners and the mockers in Psalm 1, was he thinking of unfriending Zeruiah’s sons?

Or was David talking about others who were following him? He regretted Saul following him, who tried to murder him on several occasions, and Amnon who raped his daughter, Tamar. Perhaps he was looking at Absalom’s profile, his handsome, power hungry son who waited years to kill Amnon and then conspired on his timeline against David, causing a civil war? Is he talking about Ahithophel, his trusted follower and advisor who unfriended him by becoming a traitor?

Perhaps he is talking about unfriending bullies like Goliath and other Philistine enemies who served false gods and threatened his life? Is David talking about Shimei who threw stones and abuse at David, or perhaps Sheba and Adonijah who rebelled against David’s leadership?

Or was he simply thinking of unfriending me or people with whom I keep company every day? People like us. Oh, maybe we have not killed or threatened to kill anyone, conspired to create war, abused or rebelled or expressed traitorous intent to anyone, but surprisingly, the wicked are not always those who commit outwardly sinful acts. They are not always outwardly immoral or evil, not just the mass murderers or those involved in bikie wars, terrorist bombings, stabbings, drive-by shootings or any overt criminal behavior.

In the Bible, the wicked, sinners and mockers can be simply those who have unfriended God; forsaken God’s counsel, advice, guidance, purposes, plans and desires. It refers to anyone, overtly criminal in behavior or not in our eyes, who has blocked and discarded the purposes for which they were created and thus live in opposition to any intervention of God into their lives. Forsaking God can lead us in many directions, and not simply those we consider as being outwardly wicked. Conversely, people we consider befriending because we consider having acceptable behavior may well be wicked in God’s eyes.

2. SELECT UNFRIEND

“Walking in the counsel of the Ungodly” is following advice or guidance and making plans for our behavior in everyday life which is in keeping with those who have cut themselves off from God (un-Godly), those who have no inclination to follow, acknowledge or heed God’s Word. Determine to block their messages of potential-limiting advice. Refuse their News Feed, don’t go to their homepage. Turn off notifications to their updates.

Mocking God has joyless consequences.

Proverbs 13:19-21 (NLT) says “It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them. Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. Trouble chases sinners, while blessings reward the righteous.”  

1 Corinthians 15:33 (NLT) says “…bad company corrupts good character.”

With all the supposed social networks that we have in our world today, all the news feed of biased social media and those self-appointed experts on morality, justice and social norms, the Bible says there is still only one pathway for us to God. Through following Christ.

3. NEW FRIEND REQUEST

Perhaps that is why some have looked at this Psalm as a reference to the One who was the descendant of the author; the Lord Jesus Christ; One who never listened to the counsel of the wicked, never followed them, One who was free of sin and One who never regarded God’s will with cynicism or scorn. Son of David, Son of God.

God became man. There’s a message in your news feed. Top story. Trending, “good news of great joy”. Jesus goes to sinners to save them not conform Himself to their lifestyle. His perfect life opens the door to the Psalms as an example of his intentions for us. 1 Peter 2:21 (NLT) says, “…He is your example, and you must follow in His steps.” The Search tool is the Bible where you will find Him, His posts, apps, and events of His life, His viral reach. Become an engaged user.

Jesus is the only man who has completely lived a life which does not conform to the world around Him. Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) says that Jesus is able to sympathize with our weaknesses as “… One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.” Jesus, in John 17:15-16 (NLT) prays for believers. “I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.”

4. POKE

God is trying to get your attention. His invitation is to experience Joy and Blessing in life. The word “joys” as used in Psalm 1 is a plural word giving the idea of multiplied happiness, experiencing the full measure of joy with nothing withheld, contentment, ongoing peace, satisfaction, fulfillment, protection, assurance, provision and prosperity. It is a joy, peace, and assurance that transcends circumstances even when we encounter suffering.

5. LIKE

This joyful blessing is a gift from God. It results from His approval, His acceptance and favor. His likes are heart-shaped. His love is unconditional. But your Joy IS conditional on who you follow. Joyfulness is not simply a spontaneous response to circumstances but arises from an intentional choice to separate from those who extrude our enjoyment of life because they exclude the Way, the Truth and the Life. Two ways to live, two kinds of people, two roads, two destinies.

The invitation of the Bible is not to WALK in their way, STAND in their influence, SIT in their lifestyle, but to SIT in heavenly places in Christ, STAND firm in the faith and WALK with wisdom,…

“…for He raised us from the dead along with Christ and SEATED us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6 NLT), so “STAND firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT), and “be careful how you WALK, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17 NASB).

Romans 12:2 (NLT) 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.” Now that’s a milestone worth reviewing.

Pastor Ross

Related Article

https://davidkitz.wordpress.com/category/psalms/psalm-1/