Posts Tagged ‘Challenges’

The Prison Within. By Ross Cochrane using MorgueFiles.com, FilterForge.organd Paint.net.

The Prison Within. © By Ross Cochrane using MorgueFiles.com, FilterForge.organd Paint.net.

Psalm 3:1 – HOW CAN I EXPERIENCE PEACE IN TIMES OF PRESSURE? Part 1

The door looked like a safe door and we were told to leave it locked all the time we were in our rented unit in Kiev. We don’t have to do that in Australia.

When we were visited by a man from the Ukrainian Mafia and his henchmen dressed as police we should not have opened the door. I admit that I felt a little afraid, but he was not really interested in us. He was the son of the person from whom we had rented and fortunately he was more intent on retrieving a jacket he had left in the house.

A friend once told us of the walls, barbed wire and alarms they had installed around their house in South Africa to remain safe. Even then they kept a gun under the pillow.

I don’t wake up thinking about my enemies. I don’t fear the intrusion of insurgent soldiers bashing down the door and firing their weapons indiscriminately at my family. I don’t know the horror of bombs and terrorism.

Christians can openly worship in Australia without fear of being ridiculed or persecuted. The pressures I face in life have not involved fighting for my life. I have no experience of the kind David faces in this Psalm. I don’t pretend to know how he feels. I hope never to experience such things and I pray for protection for those who do.

Nevertheless, I have a healthy reverence for God and a knowledge that I am in His hands. He is my faithful friend, and what I lack in experience of facing enemies, David has faced head on and can certainly answer the question better than most of us, “How do I continue to have peace in times of pressure?”

It is obvious that the Lord is also a friend to whom David can come when he feels the pressure of those around him who want him defeated and dethroned. Psalm 3 invites us with David to …

  1. BE HONEST WITH GOD ABOUT THE PRESSURES AND THE CHALLENGES YOU ARE FACING

“O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. So many are saying, “God will never rescue him!” Interlude” (Psalm 3:1-2 NLT).

He doesn’t ask “Why, Lord?” He just lays out the facts. It’s good to verbalize what is happening in our lives to God.

Sometimes I meet someone who sees themselves as an atheist, those who don’t believe in God yet when I ask if I can pray for them after my visits they say, “Yes, please do.” I encourage those who feel they have no faith to simply keep the communication lines open with God.

Psalm 3 is mirrored in the New Testament in Hebrews 4:15-16 (NLT) which says that Christ understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. He, of all people, knows what it means to face the enemy, even to the point of death. It says “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” David told God about his situation and was honest with God. I encourage you to do the same.

Pastor Ross

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GENESIS 29:1 – A FRESH NEW BLANK CANVAS

New Fresh Canvas

New Fresh Canvas

The sun lifts the vibrance of the earth after the rain as the palette is prepared afresh. The old, muddied colours are discarded, scraped off and replaced by a spectrum of blues; sapphire, indigo and azure and brilliant reds, yellow ochres, whites and graded skin tones. Once more the canvas is placed on the wooden supports of the easel. What will emerge?

The descriptive strokes begin, rich with latent possibilities, warm and intense. There is no agreement as to which colour must be used. The variations are endless. The music of light is not restricted by set measures and an infinite spectrum of miscible timbres can be created; dynamic descants conducted by the skill of the artist. A rhythm begins as each stroke forms melodic harmonies, silent sequences, impressions only perceived and interpreted by the eyes and heart.

For Jacob, life becomes a canvas, paintbrush, palette and a set of imaginative possibilities which must be explored with brilliant strokes of colour. The raw ingredients of creativity bring “what could be” into existence and somehow eject doubt and any unrealised intentions of the past. A creative space on which to paint something innovative, fresh and original is an exceptionally satisfying prospect. He mixes the palette with renewed purpose and anticipation. Jacob’s deception with his brother and father has muddied his thinking, but God steps in to give clarity and instead of running away from his problems Jacob begins to run towards his destiny. The portrait is yet to emerge.

He leaves his home in Beersheba in disgrace yet his steps are now buoyed with blessing. He had tried to use deception to obtain God’s promise but in the process stains his family relationships. His brother hates him and wants him dead. His father sends him to Haran to escape Esau’s wrath with the excuse of finding a wife, and in doing so he retraces the steps of Abraham of old. He is yet to learn the important lessons in integrity along the way.

Jacob now stands where Abraham had once entered the land and where Lot and Abraham had separated. He is still far from Haran yet his dream of a stairway to heaven and the promises of God have revived him for the journey ahead. Fresh new colours on his palette.

He had better hurry since he is around 75 years old and still has about a 600 km journey ahead. When Abraham’s servant sought a wife for Isaac in Haran, he prayed and was led clearly to Rebekah (Genesis 24:10-67). No doubt Jacob, spending so much time with his mother had heard the story many times, but nowhere are we told that Jacob prays about the outcome of his journey even though this is one of the most important decisions of his life.

As the portrait is painted, what shades and hues will be used to represent his life? Jacob’s stumbling steps toward faith invite me to ask “What is it that needs to change in my life to enable me to be true to the calling of God on my life, to be aligned with all I am created to be, to be more authentic, focused and clear about the challenges of the next step? What image will emerge from the canvas?” 

Pastor Ross