Posts Tagged ‘David’

Love, Justice and the Cross © Image created by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 8:4-9 – INTERVIEW WITH AN ATHEIST ON PSALM 8 – Part 4 

The scene takes place on the top floor of a Skyscaper, in a luxury apartment belonging of a millionaire Atheist. From here the entire city can be viewed. It is breathtaking. The Atheist picks up a Bible and randomly turns to Psalm 8. Alarmingly, he finds King David, (author of Psalm 8) is transported to his apartment. A conversation ensues. (Disclaimer: This is my imagination and my own thoughts imposed upon the characters below as to what might have been said as I personally relate to Psalm 8. Both characters describe my own journey with seeking to understand and apply God’s Word, the Christian Bible, in the world in which I live). Continued… 

ATHEIST: You didn’t really answer my question. Do you really believe that you must turn from your sins, believe that Christ died for your sins, and that you must do this to get into some mythical realm called heaven? To me that sounds ludicrous. 

I strive to be a good person (which most atheists do). “Not believing in heaven means we want to be kind to one another to make life on earth more pleasant and not to be rewarded (or to avoid punishment) in the afterlife.” (quoted from Epi B) 

DAVID: You might be surprised to find that the Christian Bible doesn’t say that heaven is a reward for good works. Written to a Church in Ephesus, Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT) says, “God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” I am sure that many Atheists are good people. 

Yes, I do believe that God visited us personally. He gave us His Son, who came to earth. Yes, I do believe He became one of us in order to take our place on Calvary’s cross, to receive upon Himself the punishment for sin. I believe He did that because He loved us and that He was the only one who came to save us, from ourselves and from judgment. 

ATHEIST: So you believe that, even though you acknowledge that I am a good person, that I will go to hell. Who would want to believe in a God like that? This is a major inconsistency in Christianity. If I am a good person He would let me go to heaven. Afterall I’ve lived a pretty good life. I deserve it. Not that I believe in a heaven. 

DAVID: I’m sure you are an excellent driver most of the time too, but when a police officer pulls you up for speeding, and you say, But officer, I am an excellent driver most of the time”as the police officer writes you a ticket he will look at you as if you just don’t get it. 

Living a good life is not the reason for going to heaven. On judgment day you will not stand before the Lord and say “Lord, I lived a pretty good life.” How lame would it be to stand accused before any judge and say “Well judge, I’ve lived a pretty good life” and expect the real problem for you being there to be pardoned. Romans 6:23 (NLT) says “For the wages of sin is death,…”  Time off for good behaviour doesn’t count when it’s a death sentence. 

ATHEIST: So, if I make one mistake, I am bound for hell. All the good I have done in my life goes for nothing.  

DAVID: I believe that seeking to be good is a good quest in life, but it is not the basis for going to heaven. I notice that there are people mentioned in the New Testament of your Bible, here in Matthew 7:22-23 (NLT) with the same false assumptions! Jesus says “On judgment day many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your Name and cast out demons in Your Name and performed many miracles in Your Name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. ...’”  These are obviously very religious, very good people. He will probably look at them as if they just don’t get it?  

ATHEIST: So now you are confusing me. You have made mistakes too. So, according to your Bible, not mine, you are also going to hell. This is getting more ludicrous the more you quote from the Bible.  

DAVID: It’s simple really. The Bible pictures a courtroom where a verdict is pronounced on those who have made a choice not to include Christ in their lives. 

Romans 8:1 (NLT) says that “… there is NO CONDEMNATION for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”  

It’s like the law of double jeopardy. Christ paid the price for my sin so it’s been dealt with once and for all (Romans 6:10). Those who don’t know Christ, however, will be judged according to their works. It will be their works (good or otherwise) versus the work of Christ on the Cross (Revelation 20:12).  

The judgment will verify what the Bible has said all along – that human works, no matter how good, cannot satisfy the justice of God concerning our sin (Matthew 7:22-23, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23). 

Since God is totally fair then He can only be satisfied by the work of Christ on the Cross for our sins. When we trust in what Christ has done, then, and only then, can He offer us a place in heaven, not as a reward, but as a gift. Romans 6:23 (NLT) goes on to say “… but the free gift of God is eternal life THROUGH CHRIST JESUS our Lord.” 

Our good works don’t erase our sin, any more than eating lettuce will somehow counterbalance the calories you have just consumed in eating an extra large pizza. Those who insist on their own good works rather than accept the work of Christ in paying the price for those sins will be condemned.  

ATHEIST: So, your so-called just God demands that I obey Him or He’ll send me to hell?  

DAVID: Jesus says it’s not an obedience in terms of good works or being a good person, and as I said, that even those who cast out demons and perform miracles in His Name will not be accepted for doing so if they don’t know Him personally and obey Him.  

ATHEIST: OBEY WHAT?  

DAVID: 2 Thessalonians 1:8 (NLT) speaks about God’s judgment “… on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to OBEY THE GOOD NEWS OF OUR LORD JESUS.”  

ATHEIST: Obey the good news about Christ! Are you kidding? How is that good news that people are judged for not obeying Him? 

DAVID: The good news about Christ is found in John 3:16-18 (NLT). It says “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him WILL NOT PERISH but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world NOT TO JUDGE THE WORLD, but to save the world through Him. “There is NO JUDGMENT against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has ALREADY BEEN JUDGED for not believing in God’s One and only Son.”   

He’s the only One who has come to save us! We can’t save ourselves. No-one but Christ can. What are you trusting in – yourself or Christ? 

ATHEIST: So, I have no choice according to your Bible? If I choose to be an Atheist then I am lost. 

DAVID: Of course, you have a choice not to believe in the Christian message, and to ignore that there is a God or Heaven or Hell, but the invitation the Bible gives is always to know and trust in Jesus Christ. In John 10:27-29 (NLT) Jesus says “My sheep LISTEN to My voice; I KNOW THEM, and they FOLLOW ME. I give them eternal life, and they will NEVER PERISH. No one can snatch them away from Me, for My Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.”  This is why I wrote Psalm 8 so long ago and declared, “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!” 

ATHEIST:  Sheep is right. You see God in everything. I see God in nothing. So why doesn’t an excellent bolt of lightning strike me dead right now, since I choose not to believe in Christ? 

DAVID: Your Bible tells you. 1 Peter 3:9 says, The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 

Pastor Ross 

P.S. Thanks Epi B for your perspective as an Atheist. I found it helpful to include your comments in my posts. Since I am not an Atheist, I had to simply use my own journey to Christ as a basis for representing Atheism. Great to have your contribution and to read some of your posts.  

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“What are mere mortals that You should think about them, human beings that You should care for them?” Psalm 8:3 (NLT) © Image created by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 8:3-8 – INTERVIEW WITH AN ATHEIST ON PSALM 8 – Part 3 

The scene takes place on the top floor of a Skyscaperin a luxury apartment belonging of a millionaire Atheist. From here the entire city can be viewed. It is breathtaking. The Atheist picks up a Bible and randomly turns to Psalm 8. Alarmingly, he finds King David, (author of Psalm 8) is transported to his apartment. A conversation ensues. (Disclaimer: This is my imagination and my own thoughts imposed upon the characters below as to what might have been said as I personally relate to Psalm 8. Both characters describe my own journey with seeking to understand and apply God’s Word, the Christian Bible, in the world in which I live). 

DAVID: What amazes me is that the majestic, famous, omnipotent, and worthy God, whose creative fingerprint can be found in all the earth, loves me. As one of God’s creative brushstrokes, with Him I can find the greatest expression of who I am. 

(Looks out the window at the night sky and prays again) “When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that You should think about them, human beings that You should care for them? (Psalm 8:3 NLT). 

I am interested to see that in the New Testament of your Bible, that my words from Psalm 8:3 are quoted again. Hebrews 2:6-8 (NLT) says, “For in one place the Scriptures say, “What are mere mortals that You should think about them, or a son of man that You should care for him?”  

ATHEIST: Why would a God who supposedly created the universe care for human beings when all we have done is destroy His creation?  If God did exist, and He doesn’t, then He would consider us as enemies

DAVID: Enemies of God? Yes.  But for followers of Christ, it says here, in Romans 5:9-10 (NLT) “Since we have now been justified by His (Christ’s) blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, WHILE WE WERE GOD’S ENEMIES, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!” 

 We are enemies of God without Christ, but there is an invitation for friendship. God’s intention was to be friends, not that we would be opposed to Him. I wrote in Psalms 8:5-9 (NLT2) “Yet You made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor.”  

ATHEIST: You say we were created a little lower than God. I’m an evolutionist. I believe that human beings are a little higher than other animals, but only in terms of intelligence.  

DAVID: I guess this is why people over the centuries have made idols in the image of animals to represent their gods. Those who are followers of Christ believe God made us in the image of Himself so that we can represent Him. We bear the stamp of our creator.  

We are God’s representatives on earth over His creation, yet, we are lower than God.  

That’s why I wrote in the Psalm you were reading, “You (God) gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority— the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents” (Psalm 8:5-8 NLT). 

ATHEIST: Authority over all things? If that’s true He didn’t know what He was doing. The world has been messed up by human beings. We are now frantically trying to save the planet from ourselves. We bring animal species to extinction, fill the oceans with plastic and the skies with pollution, and disregard climate change. National park animal sanctuaries, battery operated cars, wind generators and solar energy solutions have all been too few and have come too late. 

DAVID: Yes, I agree. We have made a mess of our world. We are the pinnacle of God’s creation and yet we still need His help to look after the planet over which He has given us authority.  

Since we were given the ability to choose, we could either use our authority to mess things up or use our authority to clean things up. Cleaning things up is now the harder choice.  

We are slaves when we ignore the boundaries God has created in our world that greedy people cross. 

ATHEIST: Yet you are a slave. You are a slave to your Holy Book, the Bible.  

DAVID: I could equally say that you are a slave to your worldview, but I agree with you. In John 8:31-34 Jesus met some religious leaders who thought they were free of their worldviews. He said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” 

We are all slaves in one sense to something. Your Bible says in Romans 6:16-23 says, “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness … But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

I notice in your Bible that Jesus says to His disciples, “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26 NLT).  

1 Peter 2:16 encourages Christ-followers to “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” 

In Him I find freedom. It is the freedom of to whom and what I am willing to give my allegiance, having choices which bring purpose to my life. It is the freedom of new birth without abandonment, but being raised to find the security of a loving Father. It is freedom to fly, riding the banks of endless air, knowing that without the wind of the Spirit beneath my wings I would still only be wondering and amazed at the flight of the eagle from the ground.  

It is the boundaries themselves I find that have given me freedom, and without which I am truly enslaved. I like your New Testament Bible. It says here in 2 Timothy 3:16 (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.” There’s nothing wrong with boundaries. No-one escapes boundaries. It’s whose boundaries and which boundaries you choose that determine whether you are truly free.  

(to be continued) 

Pastor Ross 

Psalm 8:3 – Image Created by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 8:2 – INTERVIEW WITH AN ATHEIST ON PSALM 8 – Part 2 

The scene takes place on the top floor of a Skyscaperin a luxury apartment belonging of a millionaire Atheist. From here the entire city can be viewed. It is breathtaking. The Atheist picks up a Bible and randomly turns to Psalm 8. Alarmingly, he finds King David, (author of Psalm 8) is transported to his apartment. A conversation ensues. (Disclaimer: This is my imagination and my own thoughts imposed upon the characters below as to what might have been said as I personally relate to Psalm 8. Both characters describe my own journey with seeking to understand and apply God’s Word, the Christian Bible, in the world in which I live). 

DAVID: (picks up Bible that the Atheist has been reading and turns to the New Testament). Nothing comes close to who God is and His character. When I wrote Psalm 8, I was also talking prophetically about a coming Messiah. I notice the writers of the New Testament, written many years after my writings recognise Him to be Jesus. Jesus shares the glory of God. John 1:14 (NLT) says, “So the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”  

Colossians 1:15 (NLT) says “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,…  

ATHEIST: In our world He is mostly a swearword used on many building sites and general conversation, although I grant you that He is also recognised as an historical figure who made an impact on the world with His teachings. 

DAVID: Nothing can rob God of His glory. Not using His Name as a swearword. Carelessly profaning His name makes no difference to who His is and the impact He still makes in the earth.  Look at this. This was written to Christians in Philippi. Philippians 2:5-11 (NLT) says, “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 

ATHEIST: I have no intention in bowing down to Jesus just because your Bible, not mine, says He is God and that He existed before the world was created and is supreme over all creation. There are many Scientific explanations as to how the world came into being and none of them include God. 

DAVID: Scientific theories may exclude God but then Science is not concerned with God, only the physical world. I like what your Bible says in Romans 1:20 (NLT), “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” I remember as a child looking up to the stars and trying to fathom how they came into existance and the eternity of space, and coming to the conclusion, though I didn’t know Him then, that there must be a Creator.  

ATHEIST: A child is easily susceptible to such beliefs. And it is childish to maintain such a stance. 

DAVID: In Psalm 8:2 you noticed that I wrote as I prayed, You have taught children and infants to tell of Your strength, silencing Your enemies and all who oppose You.  

ATHEIST: What is that supposed to mean?  Your childish faith will oppress me? 

DAVID: No, not at all, but it takes a childlike, but not childish faith to believe in Christ and to trust Him in the face of opposition. 

For me the very life of a child itself is evidence of the almighty power and wonder of God. I realise that not everyone is going to be impressed by God’s strength, excellence and majesty, but they are often silenced by the simplicity and miracle of the birth of a child and the faith of a child. 

I notice that in your Bible, in the New Testament, Jesus quoted me (from Psalm 8:2) when His enemies, the religious leaders, confronted Him. The children were shouting praises when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday.  

Matthew 21:14-16 (NLT) says of Jesus, “The blind and the lame came to Him in the Temple, and He healed them. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’” 

Jesus misses out the second part of the verse I wrote in Psalm 8:2 about silencing enemies of God, however the Pharisees would have known this verse and would not have missed what Jesus was saying – that they were the enemies. 

I notice that earlier, in Matthew 18:2-3 (NLT), Jesus calls a little child to Him and puts the child among crowd. Then He says, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” 

Even at the birth of Jesus Himself, He is called Saviour. The babe in the manger became the Saviour of the world. 

ATHEIST: Childlike faith or simply foolishness? Do you really believe that you must turn from your sins, believe that Christ died for your sins, and that you must do this to get into some mythical realm called heaven? To me that sounds ludicrous. 

DAVID: I notice in your Bible in 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 that it says, “God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.” 

What amazes me is that the majestic, famous, omnipotent, and worthy God, whose creative fingerprint can be found in all the earth, loves me. As one of God’s creative brushstrokes, with Him I can find the greatest expression of who I am.  

When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that You should think about them, human beings that You should care for them? (Psalm 8:3 NLT). 

(to be continued) 

Pastor Ross  

Accused! © Ross Cochrane

PSALM 7:6-17 – WHEN YOU ARE FALSELY ACCUSED (Part 3)  

Narrator: David has been falsely accused. His reputation has been slandered.

What would it look like today? In Part 3, David is still at the Police station, sitting at a table and being questioned by a Police Officer. A Psychologist waits behind a one-way glass screen recording impressions to determine David’s state of mind.  

Police Officer: I notice that you have refused to have a lawyer present. You will need someone to represent you.   

David: I put my trust in God alone. I am asking Him to Arise, in anger! To Stand up against the fury of my enemies! To Wake up, and bring justice! The Lord judges the nations. He will declare me righteous, for I am innocent, He will end the evil of those who are wicked, and defend the righteous” (Psalm 7:6-8 NLT). 

Police Officer: That’s all well and good but you need someone to defend you?   

David: God is my defense. He looks deep within the mind and heart, and He is a righteous God. God is my shield, saving those whose hearts are true and right (Psalm 7:9-10 NLT). 

Police Officer: A Psychologist will test your mental health? Have they tested your blood yet? Perhaps a judge will give you a lighter sentence if you plead insanity or that you were on drugs.  

David (looks at the Police Officer): God is an honest judge. He is angry with the wicked every day. If a person does not repent, God will sharpen His sword; He will bend and string His bow. He will prepare His deadly weapons and shoot His flaming arrows (Psalm 7:11-13 NLT).  

Police Officer: So you are saying that your enemies are to blame, not you?  

David: By their labeling, blame, fear mongering, slander and innuendos they seek to bring me down. Their malice leaves me open to no other course but to seek God to answer their defamation of my character. The wicked conceive evil; they are pregnant with trouble and give birth to lies (Psalm 7:14 NLT).  

My actions have all had a justifiable motive and their vulgar abuse is continually insulting and defamatory. My enemies know that what they are saying is false and their statements have a reckless disregard for the truth.  

Police Officer: David, you will need a good lawyer, or your case will fall over. Without a lawyer, you are in trouble and you will dig your own grave.  

David: My enemies dig a deep pit to trap others, then fall into it themselves. The trouble they make for others backfires on them (Psalm 7:16a NLT).  

Police Officer: Very well. But if you have no lawyer, then this is on your own head.  

David: The violence they plan falls on their own heads (Psalm 7:16b NLT). 

Police Officer: Well, good luck with seeing that happen.  

Psychologist recording impressions of the interview: From a psychological point of view, the Accused holds a most disturbing belief that God will inevitably and violently judge his enemies. He seems to be a little too eager for God to usher in vengeance upon them. This sense of ultimate vindication by God may border on the fanatical.  

The Accused has an extreme view of right and wrong but, in my mind, this does not indicate irrationality. He has absolute conviction about his moral position but is also willing to be examined by God for divergent viewpoints and he wants ultimate justice, either on him or his enemies.   

Narrator: David’s prayer sounds prophetic. The Bible speaks of the Last Judgment. Firstly, it speaks of a period where God is patient for people to believe in Christ for their salvation and receive God’s forgiveness.  2 Peter 3:9 (NLT2) says, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise (of judgment), as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” The Bible is equally clear, however, that ultimately, there will come a time when it will be too late and there will be a final judgment. 

In John 5 (NLT2) Jesus says, “The Father … has given the Son absolute authority to judge, … “I tell you the truth, those who listen to My message and believe in God who sent Me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. … those who listen will live.”  

Narrator:  

Thankyou, Lord Jesus, that You died for my sins and in You, I am forgiven. Help me to be blameless in my motivations and actions. Lord, I am not always in the right and sometimes I unintentionally am guilty of wrongdoing towards others without realizing it. Help me to accept when I am wrong and make any reparation that is needed. Search my heart, Lord. 

Lord, I come to You for refuge and protection, my shelter and safe-place. I can always come to You. You are my Lord and only You have authority over my life. You are my God and thankyou that I can draw close to You as my heavenly Father 

thankyou for the Salvation I have in Christ. Only You can truly save me. I can always come to You for help when I am feeling oppressed by my circumstances. 

Lord, rescue me and others from the power of evil and at times I would appreciate it if you rescue me from myself. No matter what happens to me, help me realize that I am dependent on You. Thankyou that I find my security in You. 

But let’s get back to the Police Station. 

David: I will thank the Lord because He is just; I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High (Psalm 7:17 NLT). 

Pastor Ross 

Accused! © Ross Cochrane

PSALM 7:3-5 – WHEN YOU ARE FALSELY ACCUSED (Part 2)  

Narrator: David has been falsely accused. His reputation has been slandered. What would it look like today? In Part 2, David is still at the Police station, sitting at a table waiting to be questioned. A Psychologist waits behind a one-way glass screen recording his impressions to determine David’s state of mind.  

Police Officer enters:  David, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in court. We appointed a lawyer for you to be present at this interview but you have refused. You are being detained for questioning about some charges made against you.  

David: They are false. My accusers are liars.   

Police Officer: Sir, you haven’t heard the charges yet.  

David: I know what they are. I know what they are trying to do.  

Police Officer: And what accusations do you think you are being held for?  

David: (Looks up to the roof) If I have done wrong or am guilty of injustice, if I have betrayed a friend or plundered my enemy without cause, then let my enemies capture me. Let them trample me into the ground and drag my honor in the dust. (Psalms 7:3-5 (NLT2)  

Police Officer: Slow down a little, Sir. Let me get this straight. You are saying in effect that you did not do what has been alleged and if you did, you didn’t know, and if you did do what has been alleged, then you are willing to accept the consequences? Is that correct?  

David: Yes, this is a case of Character Assassination. My enemies are continually trying to destroy my credibility and my reputation. They continue to raise false accusations, unpleasant rumours, and manipulate information.   

Psychologist recording his thoughts about David: David once again expresses his faith.  

  • The Accused appears to be OPEN AND HONEST in his answers. There is no indication in his body language that he is deliberately lying and he is able to articulate his answers well. 
  • He does not accept the alleged charges.  
  • He feels he is ENTIRELY BLAMELESS IN HIS MOTIVES? 
  • But HE IS WILLING TO ENTERTAIN THAT HE MAY BE GUILTY OF WRONGDOING? 
  • HE IS WILLING TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY WRONGDOING? 
  • HE IS WILLING TO ACCEPT A JUST RESPONSE FOR ANY WRONGDOING ON HIS PART? 

Narrator: David is certainly standing up for himself but he is also willing for God to examine his heart. David is willing to listen to God’s examination of His heart and willing to accept any responsibility of wrongdoing should God find him guilty.  

In another Psalm, David writes, 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Psalms 139:23-24 NLT2). 

Am I willing to do the same? 

Pastor Ross  

Accused! © Ross Cochrane

PSALM 7:1-2 – WHEN YOU ARE FALSELY ACCUSED (Part 1)  

NARRATOR: Wandering and isolated, David runs from the anger and unjust persecution of his accusers, perhaps Saul or Absalom, into the arms of God. He has been falsely accused. His reputation has been slandered.  

What would it look like today? David is at the Police station, sitting at a table waiting to be questioned. A Psychologist waits behind a one-way glass screen ready to record impressions of the interview to determine David’s state of mind.  

David prays. 

DAVID: “I come to You for protection, O LORD my God. Save me from my persecutors—rescue me! “If You don’t, they will maul me like a lion, tearing me to pieces with no one to rescue me” (Psalm 7:2 NLT). 

PSYCHOLOGIST (looking through a one-way mirror at David, records some observations): “Defendant has what appears to be a deep faith in God. Talks to God as if He is in the room with him. Almost like Father and son relationship. Almost like he wants God (his Father figure) to come to pay his bail money. Observations of possible religious fanaticism… 

  • Believes he is taking STEPS TOWARDS GOD. Says – “I come to You, … O Lord” 
  • Finds his SECURITY IN TRUSTING GOD? – Says, “I come to You for protection” 
  • Uses the word “Lord” in a respectful way, somewhat like “Sir” but I think when he uses the words “O Lord,…” he is indicating that he REGARDS GOD AS HAVING AUTHORITY OVER HIS LIFE. 
  • Considers that He is CLOSE TO GOD (uses possessive pronoun – “…my God…”) 
  • ASKS FOR GOD’S HELP – “….Save me from my persecutors.” 
  • AWARE THAT OTHERS HAVE MADE ACCUSATIONS – “persecutors” 
  • ALERT TO THOSE WHO WANT TO BRING HIM DOWN – “If You don’t save me, they will maul me like a lion, tearing me to pieces…” 
  • DEPENDS ON GOD TO GET HIM OFF – “If You don’t rescue me, there will be no one to rescue me.” 

I am as yet unsure that this indicates religious fanaticism. The Accused seems to think that the accusations that have been made against him are the result of persecution. He thinks that the perceived persecutor has the intention to cause him harm. This may well be the case, but could also be a persecution complex. 

NARRATOR: David is feeling the pressure from those around him, but so far he gives us an example of how all of us can remain close to God, and trust Him when we feel under attack from our circumstances. 

Pay attention, David! “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NLT) 

In another Psalm, David writes, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him” (Psalm 91:1-2). What about me? In what or who do I place my trust?  

Pastor Ross 

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The Love, justice and grace of God © Image created by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 5:9-12 – DO I REALLY WANT JUSTICE? (An interview with King David)

ME: David says in Psalm 5:9,10 (NLT) “My enemies cannot speak a truthful word. Their deepest desire is to destroy others. O God, declare them guilty. Let them be caught in their own traps. Drive them away because of their many sins, for they have rebelled against You” (Psalm 5:10 NLT).

If I had a chance to question King David on these things, I would probably ask…

AVENGE MY ENEMIES?

ME: Should I pray for Justice on the earth; vengeance from God on those who lie about me?  Yet you, David, pray for exactly that. Isn’t this a sinful prayer?

DAVID: There is always a balance of God’s Love and Justice in the Scriptures and in this case, I am asking for Justice. Those who practice deceit inevitably fall into their own traps and I pray that they will do so. After all, such sin is rebellion against God as their King not just me as their king.

Psalm 33:5 (NLT) says “He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.” Notice, God is a God of Love, … and He loves Justice.

LOVE MY ENEMIES?

ME: But how does this line up with the words of Jesus, the Messiah, your descendant?

In Matthew 5:38-48 (NLT) Jesus gives a different perspective on how we are to regard enemies. He says “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” 

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

LOVE AND HATE 

DAVID: You say that what Jesus says is a totally different perspective, but is it? Look closely. I notice that there is a recognition that followers of Christ do have enemies. The choices we make reflect the Father’s attitude toward enemies. He also has enemies. In Psalm 5:5 (NLT), I have written part of God’s Word, saying “… for You hate all who do evil. 

Yes, let’s admit it. God hates those who do evil, but strangely provides ways for repentance for them anyway. I know this first hand. I know personally God’s justice and grace in action.

So just as I have used the word Hate in a judicial sense in my 5th Psalm, the Love Jesus speaks of is obviously given as an example of what you can actively do in order to live as a follower of Christ. Love is certainly not an emotional response to evil people. It is something you do despite your feelings about sin. Love your enemy in the sense of doing good to them, not in the sense of condoning their evil ways.

Fools do what their enemies want, and do it begrudgingly and under their authority, but free people are those who exercise purity by choice, under the authority of God, doing what we are created for and going the second mile. It provides an example of the love of God at work, which may bring our enemies to repentance. I wanted my son Absalom to come to repentance but it didn’t happen.

UNPRETENTIOUS LOVE AND HATE 

ME: But Romans 12:9ff (NLT) makes it very clear. It says, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good…. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. … Live in harmony with each other. … Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

DAVID: Again, I notice in this verse that followers of Christ don’t just pretend to love others and yet they still hate what is wrong. We do not relinquish our essential ethical stance on evil in the world for the sake of loving others. They go hand in hand.

Love, justice and grace animation © Image and Animation created by Ross Cochrane

JUSTICE AND EVIL

ME: Thanks David. In Psalm 5, I am starting to see that you do not pray sinfully or from a human perspective although I can tell you that some commentators I have read have concluded this. It is not that easy to pass over what you are saying about your enemies. I love the fact that you are being honest before God but you also acknowledge that it is only God who can take care of justice. Only He is able to do this.

This is consistent with Romans 12:17-21 (NLT) which says, “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” 

DAVID: I can see that followers of Christ recognise that there is evil in the world, but choose to conquer it, not copy it, by doing good.

ME: Yes and Galatians 6:7-9 (NLT) says, “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” 

Jesus didn’t wipe out the Sanhedrin when He was so unjustly treated. He didn’t strike back. Evil people will have their day in God’s courtroom or even experience God’s discipline while they are on earth in all kinds of ways in order to bring them to repentance and faith in Christ.

THE HEART AND HATE

DAVID: I notice that many people want to quote me in Psalm 139:23 (NLT) which says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

But the verse I wrote before this beautiful verse speaks about what I hate.  Few people want to quote my heart in Psalm 139:21-22 (NLT). It says, Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate You? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose You? Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for Your enemies are my enemies.” 

If you remember, I already said in Psalm 5 that God hates them too. I am only agreeing with God.

I would hope that those who follow Christ recognise evil for what it is, recognise enemies for who they are, and Satan for who He is. We choose to hate what is wrong and hold tightly to what is good. We hate what God hates and love what God loves.

CURSING AND BLESSING

God promised Abraham that He would bless those who blessed Israel and curse those who cursed them (Genesis 12:1-3). Let’s not water it down. God has a judicial hatred of sin and those who sin. We are not called to be neutral but to stand for what is right and most importantly live as people who do what is right.

With regards to those who exclude God from their lives, my Psalm calls them rebellious (Psalm 5:10), not only against God but also His anointed king.

ME: Well, Followers of Christ pray the Lord’s prayer, that His kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. That will involve the destruction of sin, rebellion and wickedness of all kinds, but that’s in the hands of a just and loving God.

DAVID: Are you reviled by God who hates sin and sinful people?

ME: In my culture I find the concepts difficult. Nevertheless, the invitation of the Bible is for me to regard sin through the eyes of God.

REDEMPTIVE POTENTIAL

The injunctive we have from God as believers is that we see people from the standpoint of the Cross. We see their redemptive potential. We co-operate with God, who sees His enemies as those with a capacity to repent, just as you, David, repented. We co-operate with God who loves His enemies in the sense that He offers them a way to be forgiven, not that He loves them for their defiled lifestyle.

DAVID: I know firsthand what forgiveness from God is. And despite Absalom’s attempt to overthrow me, I sought to show mercy. I didn’t want to see him die in battle.

In Psalm 5:11 (NLT), I wrote But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread Your protection over them, that all who love Your Name may be filled with joy.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not joyful about people lying about me or happy about people trying to murder me. I’m not condoning their sin by ignoring it or trying to see their point of view. I am joyful because I feel safe in the refuge of the Rock of Ages. I recognised that some of those who had a genuine relationship with God were misled and even for them I ask for God to protect them and give them joy.

A SHIELD OF LOVE 

“For You bless the Godly, O Lord; You surround them with Your shield of love” (Psalm 5:12 NLT).

ME: What I get from your Psalm is that when I am dislocated from a relationship with God, I am exposed to attack from the circumstances of life. The invitation of Psalm 5 is to take cover by finding security through genuine trust in God.

DAVID: Yes, the shield I refer to in my Psalm is a large shield which covers the whole body. God’s love is such a shield. The only thing my enemies can see is God’s love for me. This shield of love absorbs all that my enemy’s hate can throw against me.

ME: Thankyou David. The invitation of Psalm 5 surely leads me to stand for the Truth, to see evil for what it is, to leave justice to God and to show an active love for my enemiesThis willingness to conquer evil with good provides an example which may bring my enemies to repentance as they see the active nature of the love of God. 

Pastor Ross

Mountain Island in mist Final

Peace © Image created by Ross Cochrane using Blender

Psalm 4:6-8 – CAN ANYTHING GOOD COME OUT OF THIS?

“Many people say, “Who will show us better times?” Let your face smile on us, Lord. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.” (Psalm 4:6-7 NLT)

The everyday person today is asking the same question that is asked in this Psalm “Can anything good come out of this? We want something better than this. Who will show us better times?” We ask it of Politicians, Educators and the Social Engineers and so often the decisions they make are not satisfying and at times disturbing. It is a question born out of discouragement with what we see happening in our world. It’s not asking for the good old days. The good old days are so often fuelled by a bad memory and a good imagination. No, it’s not living in the past. It’s asking for better times, here and now, but not based on imposed popularist worldviews or socially engineered political agendas, but on something far more secure.

Someone said, “When the grass seems greener on the other side of the fence, water the grass on your side.” That seems like good advice, but David’s choice for better times is not fed by comparison. David is praying that he will live in such a way as to make God smile, no matter what the grass is like on his side of the fence. Having better times independent of God’s favor is meaningless to David. Better times and indifference to God’s purposes would be absurd in his thinking.

I read an article a friend sent to me recently written by Greg Sheriton in The Australian newspaper, entitled, “Is God dead? The West has much to lose in banishing Christianity.”

He quotes George Orwell, 1944 “One cannot have any worthwhile picture of the future unless one realizes how much we have lost by the decay of Christianity.”

Sheridon says, “In abandoning God, we are about to embark on one of the most radical social experiments in Western history. It is nothing short of the reordering of human nature. Short of war, nothing is as consequential.”

JOY

Sheridon quotes A.N. Wilson The Book of the People, 2016, “Materialism, the most boring as well as the least accurate way of experiencing the world and recording experience, is the dominant mindset of the Western intelligentsia in our day.”

Things haven’t changed since the times of King David. Many people were satisfied with the joy of good harvests and plenty of livestock, but David understood that Joy is not the product of an abundant harvest. Joy is the harvest of God’s abundant favor. The wind rippling its way through a wheat field ready for harvesting does not compare to the wind of the spirit rippling with joy through the soul.

Romans 15:13 (NLT) says “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

PEACE

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, will keep me safe” (Psalm 4:8 NLT).

Surrounded by the danger of a rebel army led by his own son, Absalom, you would expect David to experience some anxiety. Yet David is obviously inwardly secure and he expresses trust in God for each day. The battle is not yet won, but spiritually David has victory.

Warren Wiersbe says, “The Hebrew word for “peace” (shalom) means much more than the absence of conflict. It carries with it the ideas of adequacy for life, confidence and fullness of life.” (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) declares in prayer, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!”

The invitation of Psalm 4 is to experience incredible joy and peace even in the midst of trouble. It is as if David is speaking in harmony with Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT), “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

When Nathanael heard that Jesus came from Nazareth, he asked, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip simply said, “Come and see for yourself” (John 1:46).

What good can come from all of this? What good can come from what this world offers? Philip invites us to find a deep and satisfying peace with God through trust in Christ instead of trusting in a Godless materialism. Come and see for yourself.

Psalm 4 reminds me of the blessing in Numbers 6:24-26 (NLT) which I pass on to you today, “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.”  

Pastor Ross

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Dispatch bag – adjusted by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 4:2 – I ADVISE YOUR UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER

The High Commander dictated the letter for immediate despatch. Not wanting to be misunderstood, his words were measured and strong.

To The Commanding General of the Opposing Army

Based on the spirit of grace, I have the authority to present this note to you advising you to surrender unconditionally.

My concern is for your Army, which now stands isolated from any reinforcements, and remains therefore unaided.

You have many fierce and gallant men and officers; all fine warriors in their own right. It would be of no benefit to continue plying them with false hopes of victory or seeking to undermine our reputation as a worthy enemy. How long can you continue?

The implementation of our strategies in this war has already sealed the fate of your forces, and a continuation of hostilities would only serve to decimate your Army.

I expect that you, accepting my advice, will give up this meaningless and desperate attempt to gain victory and promptly order the entire front to cease hostilities.

If on the contrary you should reject my advice and present an escalation of hostilities I shall be obliged, though reluctantly, to order my army to attack and defeat your forces with no quarter given.

Expecting your reply within the hour

Signing and sealing the letter, he placed it carefully in a leather dispatch bag and after signaling for safe passage for the messenger across enemy lines, it was transported to the general of the opposing forces.

The purpose of a letter of surrender?

TO OFFER TIME TO RECONSIDER

Obviously, David has enemies. His own son, Absalom, has turned once trusted associates against him. This is a time of rebellion against him and against God.

This Psalm could virtually be used as a message to the opposing army advising them to reconsider the serious nature of what they were doing. David is giving Absalom and his henchmen time to reassess their position and repent.

“How long will you people ruin my reputation? How long will you make groundless accusations? How long will you continue your lies? Interlude” (Psalm 4:2 NLT)

When first I read this verse from Psalm 4:2, I wondered who was speaking. Was it David or God? As God declares David innocent (Psalm 4:1), David declares his opposition guilty.

It seems David and God speak in unison.

Reading the newspaper today reminds me that there are many in the world who oppose Biblical standards and the values of Jesus. I find myself asking, “Do I have a reputation for being someone who honors God and His Word? Is it confronting to those in this generation, enough for them to pay attention? Does what I stand for matter to anyone particularly? Does the impact of my reputation and influence make a difference in the world?”

The Answer is “Yes”. Imperceptible in the scheme of things, maybe. It may not survive to be written in books or make front-page news, perhaps. But it makes a difference because it reflects God’s purposes. It is stamped with God’s character in light, and so it will only add to the godly glow of generations of believers gone before and hopefully provide a well-lit path for those to come.

It occurs to me that David mirrors the sentiments of his descendant, Jesus. Such words could easily have been spoken to the religious leaders; the High Priest or the Sanhedrin. How long do you think you will be able to continue with such wickedness?

And I believe God is asking this question to this generation; to those who don’t follow Christ, but unfortunately also to many who do. How long will you continue …?

It continues to amaze me how many people who claim to be followers of Christ are willing to abandon or ignore Biblical principles and values. God is asking educators and politicians and religious leaders who inflict their distorted values upon others .., “How long will you people ruin My reputation? How long will you make groundless accusations? How long will you continue your lies?”

I find myself translating David’s words into our culture. David writes words to his own son and to any who are willing to ask, “How long will I continue to speak with amoral deceitfulness, an anesthetized conscience, and ill-considered agendas? How long will I continue to destroy the reputation of those who seek the absolutes of God’s Word with my ridicule, accusations, and lies? How long will I continue to be unwilling to reconsider what I am doing and look beyond my own selfish ambitions and schemes?”

Hebrews 6:4-6 (NLT) speaks of those who have tasted the goodness of Christ but in the end have denied him authority in their lives and … “by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing Him to the cross once again and holding Him up to public shame.” How long?

After opening the dispatch and reading the letter, the Commanding General breathed a sigh of relief and wrote back …

To the High Commander

Having reconsidered my position and the precarious nature of my circumstances, I am proposing the capitulation and submission of my forces. I am willing to enter into terms of unconditional surrender if such can still be attained.

I thankyou for the grace with which you have offered this course of action to me. I propose an immediate cessation of hostilities for the purpose of discussing how best to proceed.

Signed by the Commanding General

Christ has written a letter asking for unconditional surrender. The question remains, “How long?” How long will it take for a world gone crazy to respond to His gracious invitation, to reconsider their precarious position and surrender their lives to Christ?

How long will it take for you to accept such an invitation, to acknowledge and build your life on the Way, the Truth and the Life and the absolutes of His Word?

Pastor Ross

Identity Theft - Photo by Rachel Bennett and Ross Cochrane

IDENTITY THEFT – Photo by Rachel Bennett and adjusted by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 3 – HOW CAN I EXPERIENCE PEACE IN TIMES OF PRESSURE? – Part 5

Identity Shield

He needs an Identity Shield, a service that will provide him with total protection to keep his name and identity safe. He needs lost wallet protection and a $1 million plus insurance policy to cover costs incurred due to loss. For David, it needs to be a mobile service because he is presently on the run. Well, maybe David doesn’t need all those optional extra’s but his identity is certainly being threatened by a malicious source.

Well, maybe King David in Psalm 3 doesn’t need all those optional extra’s but his identity is certainly being threatened by a malicious source.

Absalom, David’s own son, is wanting to take over his father’s identity as King; the lot. If he lived today he’d want his private phone number, social security number, address and credit card information, bank account information and medical insurance. He wants to be King, live in the palace, change the photograph and signature on the official passport and have it all; a whole kingdom; wine, women, wealth and worth.

Absalom’s scam was subtle but effective. He began Phishing for information about David’s kingdom, winning people’s hearts and allegiance. He Shoulder Surfed the crowd with deceitful charm, looking to undermine David’s security codes and Skimmed for information useful in orchestrating a successful rebellion and takeover.

Is David grieving over identity theft when He writes Psalm 3?

In Psalm 3:3 (NLT) David He prays and says to God, “You are my glory, the One who holds my head high.” The glory of being King of Israel had been ripped away from David when he fled from Jerusalem. His cultural identity had been questioned big time. He feels the grief of his loss deeply.

2 Samuel 15:30 (NLT) says “David walked up the road to the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. His head was covered and his feet were bare as a sign of mourning. And the people who were with him covered their heads and wept as they climbed the hill.” 

That doesn’t seem to be much hope. How can he be grieving and then say, “But You, O Lord, are my shield; You are my glory, the One who holds my head high”? (Psalm 3:3).

How can you have peace in times of pressure? 

It seems David has peace despite the loss of the trappings of power and the discouragement of having to leave Jerusalem.

3. REMIND YOURSELF OF WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT GOD

It seems that God is all the glory David needs. There is a spiritual battle to be won and God is his shield. He worships the King of glory and he will reign as King by allowing that glory to flow through him, despite his circumstances. It is enough to have Him in his life. His spiritual identity is untouched.

a. God Is My Shield – He takes the blows in the midst of my spiritual battles.

b. God Is My Identity – I find my identity in Christ. He lifts up my head when I lose perspective.

Absalom may look like him, talk like him and masquerade as him but he does not have the identity found in God of a king; the calling of a king, the anointing of a king, the heart of a king. His own identity is blurred and marred by his sin. God lifts David’s head up high when all seems lost outwardly.

When I am cowered by my regrets, worries, difficult circumstances, opposing voices of culture and individuals who seek to devalue my faith in Christ, I remind myself that God lifts up my head. He not only encourages me but He personifies encouragement in me. He not only forgives me. He is my forgiveness. He not only identifies with me. He is my identity.

Absalom tries to masquerade with David’s identity. David may have temporarily been dethroned but God is still on the throne and sovereign. While God is still on the throne then David is still King. While God is still on the throne of my life, then my identity is found in Him.

When I face the pressures of life and my identity is threatened, the invitation of Psalm 3 is to allow God to be the lifter of my head and I am reminded that He knows who I am better than I know myself. Since my identity is found in Christ I can be at peace.

Pastor Ross

P.S By the way, speaking of identity theft, I’ve said before that I’ve been searching through Christ’s mail to source His ID; His statements, offers, distinguishing bits of information, etc. It’s there for all to see. After reading what He posts, I am able to get His personal data. It’s quite a revelation.

I remember that time in my own life when I first came to a knowledge of who Jesus was. I didn’t have to search through His trash. He had none, but I did have to search through mine. In doing so I found out about my own shortcomings and longed to change my identity. It happened on a Christmas day. It was an “Ah Ha!” moment. I discovered identifying evidence of who Jesus is. That revelation changed my life forever. Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT) says “If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me.”

An exchange took place that day as I surrendered my old life to Him. I was born again and I took on a new identity. I exchanged my sin for His righteousness. I didn’t work for it, earn it or deserve it in any way. But it was credited to my account. I was living on His credit card.

My malicious software (sin) stole His life when He died on the Cross and grace gave me mine. He paid the price for me. He picked up the tab at the Cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) says “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Galatians 2:20 (NLT) says “… 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.” “… the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17 NLT).

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) says “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has CREATED US ANEW in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”  1 John 5:11 (NLT) says “… this life is in His Son.” 2 Corinthians 5:13-15 (NLT) says“…He died for everyone so that those who receive HIS NEW LIFE will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.” 

Barabbas wasn’t the only one who was exchanged for Jesus on the day of His crucifixion. I was too! Jesus paid the punishment for my sin. The innocent Son of God was indicted on my behalf. Jesus died but the exciting thing is that He invites us to exchange His righteousness for our sin. He has given us freely His identity and we have the resources of heaven at our disposal. Ephesians 1:3-5 (NLT) says that God “…has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are UNITED WITH CHRIST.” Philippians 1:20-21 (NIV) says “… For to me, TO LIVE IS CHRIST and to die is gain.” IDENTITY THEFT? Not really. Identity exchange. He freely offers us the identity for which we are created. 

Pastor Ross