Archive for November, 2017

flower-from-rockMatthew 19:13-15 – WHY SEEK GOD’S BLESSING IN THE DIFFICULTIES OF LIFE?

“One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so He could lay His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering Him.

But Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And He placed His hands on their heads and blessed them before He left” (Matthew 19:13-15 NLT).

These parents were intent on having Jesus bless their children. They lived in difficult times. Why do we seek God’s blessing for our children? Does it make a difference? Will they be protected from life’s challenges? Will they avoid the pitfalls we encountered? What difference will it make? Will it change them or change us and our attitudes?

  1. A BLESSING SEEKS GOD’S HIGHEST INTENTIONS

Luke 2:27-35 (NLT) speaks about the day when Jesus Himself, as a baby, was blessed by Simeon. “That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there.

He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and He is the glory of your people Israel!”

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but He will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”  

Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to be dedicated to God at the Temple where this blessing was made. In the light of these prophetic words of blessing concerning Jesus, is it surprising then that parents devoted to Jesus will always seek to bring their children to Him? They too seek God’s highest intentions for their children.

This blessing does not mean Jesus will by-pass the difficulties of life. Blessings don’t always mean that life will be easy. The blessing Simeon gave made it clear that Jesus’ life would have challenges, more than any of us will face. Many would oppose Jesus and Mary would end up having her heart broken.

I would rather go through life with Christ’s blessing than without it, so that I can face the difficulties and opposition I may encounter with His help. I need His strength and victory in my life.

  1. JESUS RECEIVES THOSE LIKE CHILDREN

Jesus receives children on one hand, and then Jesus rejects both the religious leaders and a rich man. The disciples were confused. In their minds, Jesus receives those whom He should reject, and He rejects those He should receive. He receives the humble and rejects the arrogant and proud.

Humility was not highly regarded as a virtue in those times, nor is it in ours.  Neither are women children given any real respect in many parts of our world. Human slavery is still a reality in our world. Christianity declares humility a virtue and not a weakness and has given women and children value. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to Christ.

Proverbs 22:6 (NLT) instructs parents about raising children. “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

  1. JESUS LOVES ALL WHO COME TO HIM

It is interesting to note that Jesus rebukes those who disregard or disrespect children (Matthew 19:14-15), even His own disciples. Previously He refutes those who disrespect the marriage relationship, even the religious and governing authorities in Jewish society. He has not changed His views.

If Jesus blessed little children then we also can pray for them with hope and expectation that they too will one day follow Him and find His strength for life’s challenges.

Jesus loves all those who come to Him, of any age. He rebuked His own disciples when they tried to decide who should and should not come to Him.

John 1:12-13 (NLT) says, “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.”

These verses speak of being open to Jesus, so let’s not seek to read infant Baptism into its meaning. Jesus uses the blessing as a symbol of being open to Christ and coming to Him in submission and trust for your life and for the future. It isn’t dependent on how capable you are or how much you lack. It depends on Him and He is willing to receive us and to give us His blessing.

The invitation of Matthew 19:13-15 is for us all to come to Him as dependent children, admitting that we need His blessing to be all He has intended for us to be as we face life’s challenges.

Pastor Ross

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Social Engineer (as used in Political Science) © Image by Ross Cochrane using Paint.net and Morguefile.org

Matthew 19 – SOCIAL ENGINEERING (term as used in Political Science) IS NOW PREVALENT IN AUSTRALIAN CULTURE

The arrogant efforts to influence particular attitudes and social behaviors on a large scale, whether by government educational programmes, media or social activist groups (the Pharisees of our day), in order to produce desired characteristics in a target population can be quite contrary to the original intentions of God. In political science, it is called Social Engineering. In the Bible, it is called following people instead of God.

Followers of Christ invite others to respond to the gospel of Christ. Manipulating the social climate, Social Engineers, however, can use deceptive political agendas and critically vilify those with different values as bigots.

  1. DISTORTED VIEWS ABOUT MARRIAGE

In Matthew 19, The Pharisees, the Social Engineers of Jewish culture, were seeking to argue with Jesus over divorcing their wives. Strangely, married parents were determined to come to Jesus for their children to be blessed.

In the midst of distorted views of marriage which the Pharisees were seeking to promote, Jesus gives us the original intentions of God for marriage. And children, a picture of the oneness we share in marriage, born of the union of a man and woman, are embraced and blessed.

It’s difficult today to be accepted if you hold to the views of Jesus concerning marriage being between a man and a woman, and children being raised with the values of the Bible. Christian values and beliefs are no longer taught and in fact, discouraged in the classroom.

  1. DISTORTED VIEWS ABOUT TRAINING CHILDREN

Over the years, I have watched in Australia the Government taking more and more of the responsibilities away from parents, particularly, it seems, parents who believe and follow Christ. This is disconcerting because, according to the Bible, the Government is not responsible for raising Children or shaping their values, but parents are, as they humbly submit themselves to God and His Word.

Recently the Social Engineering programme has culminated in introducing laws which will eventually be used to train up children to accept that marriage is not only between a man and women, and that fluidity of gender is to be accepted and embraced, with no regard, and indeed contempt, for any parents who think otherwise.

  1. FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST RESPOND WITH SECURE TRUST IN CHRIST AND HIS WORD

Loving our neighbors but not necessarily their choices, attitudes, values or lifestyles, some followers of Christ are paying the price for their beliefs. They stand firm with a secure trust in Christ and the truth of God’s unchanging Word.

1 Corinthians 1:20 says “Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

Romans 12:1-3 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.”

Those who follow Christ respect Government authorities and pray for them to have wisdom in their decisions. When these decisions are contrary to the Bible, Christians continue to believe the Bible and continue to make a difference in the world by sharing the life-changing values of the gospel of Christ and inviting others to respond, not manipulating and imposing their views through name-calling and negative media saturation.

Unlike the Social Engineers of our time, Christ invites us to be like little children, coming in humility to admit that we need His help to live the life for which we were created. We are invited, not forced, to find perspective through the plethora of distorted thinking today, by applying His absolute Truth to our lives. 

Pastor Ross

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https://godinterest.com/2017/12/07/24-lecrae-quotes-that-will-challenge-how-you-practice-faith/

Adult and child

MATTHEW 19:13 – WHY WE BROUGHT OUR CHILDREN TO CHRIST TO BE BLESSED

As Christian parents, Julie and I decided to bring our children to Christ to be blessed moments after they were born. I remember clearly in that miracle moment following the births of our children, lifting them up to Christ for His blessing. We still bring our children to be blessed in prayer.

Matthew 19:13 says, “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so He could lay His hands on them and pray for them.”

What I love is that children were received by Jesus. He was more than willing to take time and pray for them.

At the very beginning of their lives, the spiritual prayers of righteous people are important for their lives. James 5:16 (NLT) says “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

Laying His hands on these children was a way of identifying with them in order to symbolize the bestowal of blessing from God and dedication to God (Genesis 48:14; Numbers 27:23).

As I was reading the POSB commentary recently on this passage, I was prompted to think of the reasons why we bring our children to Christ to be blessed.These six reasons express the deepest prayers I have for my own children, even though they are now adults with children of their own.

 

  1. WE BRING OUR CHILDREN TO CHRIST BECAUSE WE BELIEVE THAT CHRIST IS THE ONLY SAVIOUR OF THIS WORLD, not science or technology or medicines as wonderful as they may be.We believe that their only hope in this world is through relationship with Christ. Jesus made it clear. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but through Me” (John14:6).

1 Timothy 2:5 says “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”

We bring our children to Christ because we have personally experienced what it means to become born again into the family of God ourselves and know the reality of Salvation and new life in Him. We want them to be blessed with new life in Christ.

 

  1. WE BRING OUR CHILDREN TO CHRIST BECAUSE HE WANTS TO BLESS THEM, then and now. In Matthew 19:14, Jesus says, “Let the children come to Me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

 

We refuse to allow them to grow up neglected, ignored, by-passed, and pushed aside, given no direction and left to fend for themselves. We care enough to want the best for them, too.

We want them trained up in the ways of God, not squashed by the world’s values by being left unrestrained to express whatever sinful desires they like and indulged to the point of being totally selfish.

Because they belong to God, He wants the best for them. I want so much for them to look outside themselves and acknowledge that they need the help of God for the challenges they face in life. He wants to bless them with guidance.

 

  1. WE BRING OUR CHILDREN TO CHRIST SO THAT THEY WILL HAVE GOD’S PERSPECTIVE CONCERNING THEIR IDENTITY AND FUTURE. He knows them better than they know themselves. They are unique and God has a unique destiny and purpose for them. We want them to learn that they are created by God for a purpose and that they make a difference in the world for Christ.

 

  1. WE BRING OUR CHILDREN TO CHRIST SO THEY LEARN TO BE PEOPLE OF FAITH IN GOD AND BELIEVE IN HIS WORD, not simply look towards the popular opinions of the media. I don’t want the world and its influences to shape their thinking.

 

The TV and social media might be useful in their lives but I don’t bring them to the TV or computer to be blessed. I believe in helping them to shape their spiritual values and beliefs on what the Bible says. And this will be a blessing.

We want them to grow up with discernment about what is sin and not simply embrace the world’s popular values. We refuse to contribute to them becoming weak spiritually and feeling as if they have to accept anything and everything the world offers. We don’t want to leave them struggling to swim and sink in the cultural assault of a valueless society.

We are not so preoccupied with life that we don’t see our responsibility and the importance of raising our children in the ways of the Lord.

 

  1. WE BRING OUR CHILDREN TO CHRIST TO BE BLESSED WITH HIS LOVE: that they know God’s love and learn to love others, which incidentally, is not necessarily accepting the lifestyle choices of others.

 

  1. WE BRING OUR CHILDREN TO CHRIST BECAUSE THEY BELONG TO GOD and although He entrusted them to us, we want to acknowledge that they are His, which is why we raise them according to the principles of the Bible.

 

In Isaiah 64:8 (NLT), Isaiah sees a people that have deliberately chosen to be shaped by the world’s values, and he says “Yet You, Lord, are our Father.We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand.”

The invitation is that we might bring our children to Christ that they may be crafted with a distinctive identity and future, not in our image but in the design and purpose of God for their lives.May the blessing of the Master Potter uniquely shape the lives of our children with His blessing, to be all they were intended to be.

Pastor Ross

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“WE’RE ALL AUSTRALIANS NOW” 

In 1915 Banjo Paterson wrote, as an open letter to the troops, a poem he titled “We’re All Australians Now”. In 54-55 A.D. the Apostle, Paul wrote an open letter to Christians called 1 Corinthians. I have taken some of the verses from Chapter 12-13 and made them into a poem entitled “We’re All One Body Now” as an addition to Banjo Patterson’s poem, “We’re All Australians Now”.

Australia takes her pen in hand

To write a line to you,

To let you fellows understand

How proud we are of you.

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From shearing shed and cattle run,

From Broome to Hobson’s Bay,

Each native-born Australian son

Stands straighter up today.

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The swagman from the bush has come

From far-out Queensland runs,

He’s fighting side by side with some

Tasmanian farmer’s sons

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The fisher-boys dropped sail and oar

To grimly stand the test,

Along that storm-swept Turkish shore,

With miners from the west.

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The old state jealousies of yore

Are dead as Pharaoh’s sow,

We’re not State children anymore —

We’re all Australians now!

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Our six-starred flag that used to fly

Half-shyly to the breeze,

Unknown where older nations ply

Their trade on foreign seas,

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Flies out to meet the morning blue

With Vict’ry at the prow;

For that’s the flag the Sydney flew,

The wide seas know it now!

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The mettle that a race can show

Is proved with shot and steel,

And now we know what nations know

And feel what nations feel.

 

The honored graves beneath the crest

Of GabaTepe hill

May hold our bravest and our best,

But we have brave men still.

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With all our petty quarrels done,

Dissensions overthrown,

We have, through what you boys have done,

A history of our own.

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Our old world diff’rences are dead,

Like weeds beneath the plow,

From many countries, foreign-bred,

They’re all Australians now!

 

So now we’ll toast the Third Brigade

That led Australia’s van,

For never shall their glory fade

In minds Australian.

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Fight on, fight on, unflinchingly,

Till right and justice reign.

Fight on, fight on, till Victory

Shall send you home again.

 

And with Australia’s flag shall fly

A spray of wattle-bough

To symbolize our unity —

We’re all Australians now.

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WE’RE ALL ONE BODY NOW

© Ross Cochrane

In 54-55 A.D. Apostle, Paul wrote an open letter to Christians called 1 Corinthians. I have taken some of the verses from Chapter 12-13 and made them into a poem entitled “We’re All One Body Now” as an addition to Banjo Patterson’s poem, “We’re All Australians Now”.

The Bible takes it further

When faith is in our hearts

It says we are one body,

With many different parts

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Some are Jews, some Gentiles,

Some are slaves, some free

Baptised into one body,

No longer “I”, but “we”

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If the foot says to the hand

I am not at all like you

It is no less of the body

Diff’rent roles and jobs to do

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If an ear says to the eye

I don’t look the same as you

It’s still part of the body

Diff’rent purpose, just as true

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And we all need one another

And united we are led

Each with dignity and honor

By Christ, the living head

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When one suffers all will suffer

When honored all are pleased

All of us together

If in Christ we have believed

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Some are gifted teachers

And some have gifts to heal

Some are leaders, some are preachers,

Together strong as steel,

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Not all can teach or heal or lead

But each one has a place

And all can share the gift of love

And all can have God’s grace

 

If I could speak all languages

Of earth and those above

I’d only be a noisy gong

Without the gift of love

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And if I had the strongest faith

To move a mountain to the sea

But didn’t have the gift of love

How useless that would be

 

Love is patient, love is kind

Is not jealous, and does not boast

Love is never proud or rude

Won’t selfishly demand the most

 

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And love is not bad-tempered

Does not rejoice with things unjust

keeps no record when it’s wronged

But celebrates with truth and trust

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Three things last forever

Three things from above

Love combines with faith and hope

But the greatest gift is love

 

Love bids the petty quarrels gone,

Like weeds beneath the plow,

And through what Christ alone has done,

We’re all one body now.

Christ