Posts Tagged ‘Dependence on God’

Sword and Shield – better proportions and lighting

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The Sword Shall not Depart from your House © Ross Cochrane

 

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

The Sword Shall not depart from you – Part 3

2 Samuel reads like a Starwars prequel to Psalm 3. Luke Skywalker had some issues with his Dad, Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi. So does Absalom.

What happened to make Absalom hate his father so much?

2 Samuel tells the story of how Absalom had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar. When Amnon raped Tamar, King David did nothing. Perhaps that’s when Absalom began to hate his own father and lost his faith in God.

Absalom was not about to sit around and do nothing. Two years later, his simmering rage against Amnon had not been assuaged. So he plotted revenge.

Absalom invited Amnon to a harvest feast and then murdered him. He escaped to live with his grandfather, Talmai, King of Geshur. David does nothing to get him back or hold him to account for his crime.

Why does David let Absalom get away with murder?  

Well, perhaps David’s own conscience plays a part in his decision-making. Is he reluctant to act because of his own sin of adultery and murder?

David’s life moves from a soap opera to a murder mystery to a Starwars premake. David had slept with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba. But worse still, to cover up his sin, he had murdered her husband Uriah by putting him in the thick of battle without support. Perhaps these sins made him inept when it came to disciplining his sons.

David confesses his sins bitterly when confronted by Nathan the prophet, but Nathan prophesies that “The sword shall not depart from your house” and this prophecy was finding fulfillment in the most horrible way.

Sword2

David suspects nothing when Absalom is eventually allowed to return to Jerusalem. Instead of behaving in humility to his Father, Absalom patiently and relentlessly wins the hearts of the people (2 Samuel 15:13) and stages a rebellion.

WHY DID DAVID WRITE THIS PSALM?

With all this emotion and action spinning around in the background and threatening another episode, Psalm 3 begins to take on a new meaning. It is said that David composes this Psalm when he is forced to leave Jerusalem, fleeing from Absalom’s army, as he passes by the mount of Olives. 2 Samuel 15 recounts how he weeps, with his clothes torn, and with dust on his head as a sign of his grief and shock at such a revolt. Not only his son but many people he trusted have turned against him.

Although David grieves over his son’s rebellion, somehow David finds peace during this terrible situation. This Psalm indicates that he runs FROM Absalom but INTO the arms of God. His defense from Absalom’s huge army is this prayerful Psalm.

“How do I continue to have peace in times of pressure?” David leaves me an example when I am facing circumstances I face as a consequence of my own mistakes in life.

  1. BE HONEST WITH GOD ABOUT THE PRESSURES AND THE CHALLENGES YOU ARE FACING but also, like David
  2. MAKE A DECISION TO RECOGNISE YOUR DEPENDENCE ON GOD

Terrorists, drug lords and presidents and kings only seem to get away with their sinful behavior.

Consequences and forgiveness are different. The Bible indicates that although we often face the consequences of our own sin against others, God forgives us when we honestly confess our transgressions to Him. But let’s not pretend that this forgiveness did not come at a price. Christ paid for us the supreme cost by dying for us on the Cross. The Cross pays our debt of sin and our relationship with God is restored when we place our trust in what Christ has done.

We may face consequences and pressures that directly result from our sins yet God can give us the peace we need while He deals with the mess we make at times with living. He gives us peace when we are surrounded by circumstances that are far from friendly and absorbs the blows of the enemy. (Psalm 3 has a lot more to say about this).

Pastor Ross

Matthew 7:7-8 – SPIRITUAL CPR

Spiritual CPR. Picture created by Ross Cochrane using Paint.net.

I’ve been praying that the Lord would heal a persistent cough I have had for the last month and nothing appears to be happening? Am I to continue to pray even when I don’t see any results? Why do I pray for my friend who is dying? She is unable to move because she is so weak? Am I to persevere in asking for healing until she dies?

Matthew 7:7 (NLT) says “KEEP ON ASKING, … KEEP ON SEEKING, … KEEP ON KNOCKING, …” If God answers my prayers, what’s with the “KEEP ON” requirement? Doesn’t He hear the first time? 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT) says “NEVER STOP PRAYING.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) says “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.” PERSISTENT PRAYER breathes life back into my circumstances and revives me.

Jesus uses the ASK method of CPR to breathe life back into a dead situation. Ask, Seek, Knock. ASK – Check to see if there a spiritual PULSE? Is the situation or person spiritually dead and needing emergency attention! SEEK – Check for Spiritual BREATHING. Ask the Holy Spirit to breathe life into this situation, to give spiritual respiration. Nothing artificial about this at all. Jesus said “I am the truth and life.” KNOCK – Giving Truth Compressions. Keep speaking Words of Life to keep the spiritual BLOOD FLOW to the heart. REPEAT THE PROCESS – Matthew 7:7 (NLT) says “KEEP ON ASKING, … KEEP ON SEEKING, … KEEP ON KNOCKING, …”

Is prayer just a way to deal with the pressures of life and doesn’t really have anything to do with answers, or do I have to keep asking until I learn the difference between praying for what I WANT and praying for what I NEED before the answers come? Is PERSEVERANCE AND DILIGENCE in prayer the means of learning ENDURANCE AND DISCIPLINE in life? PERSIST. PERSEVERE in prayer. 30 spiritual heart compressions (going to Church regularly) or a life support machine (growing up in a family that follows Jesus) is not enough. I will still need the DEFIBRILLATOR of personal belief and trust in Christ.

Prayer breathes life back into dead circumstances. It shocks my heart into life so it operates as it was intended. It confronts me with the Cross and with it’s rhythmic harmonies it allows God to have His finger on the pulse of my life. It allows my heart to beat in time with His. It reminds me that I am dependent on Him, to pray often, with diligent passion and active intention. I ask with dependence, seek with drive and knock with determination on heaven’s door so that earths doors will be opened. I am born again.

What is God saying in all this? Do I keep on knocking on the same door or do I seek any door that looks like it might open? “Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door.” What about earth’s doors? It’s not always the one that opens that has the answers. What am I opening myself up to? When I knock on heaven’s door He seems to open the right earthly doors.

John 15:7 (NLT) says “But if you REMAIN IN ME AND MY WORDS REMAIN IN YOU, you may ask for ANYTHING YOU WANT, and it will be granted!” 1 John 3:21-22 (NLT) says “… we will receive from Him whatever we ask BECAUSE WE OBEY HIM AND DO THE THINGS THAT PLEASE HIM.” Matthew 6:33 (NLT) says “Seek the Kingdom of God ABOVE ALL ELSE, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you NEED.”

Spurgeon speaks of how the old doors had a NAILHEAD onto which a knocker was dropped and people would strike it so heavily that the saying arose “AS DEAD AS A DOOR-NAIL”. Jesus speaks of that kind of INTENSITY in prayer, praying so persistently that it outlives the door-nail. It may seem pointless to keep bashing on something that’s as dead-as-a-doornail, but there is LIFE on the other side of the door! CPR for the spiritual heart. That kind of prayer breathes life into dead situations.

The invitation is to pray OFTEN, with DILIGENT PASSION and with ACTIVE INTENSION. Be DEPENDENT on God, PASSIONATE about seeking Him, DETERMINED to find the solutions to life. A consistent prayerlife humbles me to receive God’s grace. “Asking” suggests DEPENDENCE; “seeking” suggests DRIVE; “knocking” suggests DETERMINATION. Prayer teaches me about FAITH to accomplish the purposes of God. SPIRITUAL CPR.

Pastor Ross