Posts Tagged ‘In Christ’

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Psalm 1 Tree weathering a storm – © by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 1:1-3 – HOW CAN I WEATHER THE STORMS OF LIFE

It was just a breath but it felled the supports of her life that day, and for a moment she was a lone tree in a forest where hundreds of carefully nurtured hopes and dreams had been uprooted in the storm.

“What will I do now? We were together for 67 years”.

Alone, vulnerable but still standing, briefly she had wanted to join him and no longer feel the pain of her loss.

But as Elaine (not her real name) looked around her once more, it seemed that other parts of her world had survived the storm after all. With the Pastors words and prayers, she realized that Faith was still standing, though some of its branches and foliage were in bad repair, and there was Love’s support, strong and unmoving, reaching out with hugs and tears as family members came to her side. She glanced through a haze of grief and for just a moment saw Hope still standing wearily in the distance.

Psalm 1:3 says, “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”  

Their roots are anchors, and they are storm sturdy. They are secure in life’s ragings Ephesians 3:17-18 (NLT) says “Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.”

Colossians 2:7 (NLT) “Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Elaine gives thanks through her tears for Jim, a codebreaker in the war and a wonderful husband and father, and a man of faith.

For Elaine, this storm has made her aware of the depth of her roots in Christ and in her old age she gives witness to Psalms 92:12-14 (NLT); “…the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age, they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.”

Psalm 1:3 says “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”  

Grounded in the principles of the Scriptures her roots have gone deep to that which of eternal value, that which is unmoved in the storms of life, that which is solid and sustaining, an anchor of hope for the future.

“What will I do now?” she says again, tears coursing down her wrinkled face. She hears the words of Christ through the noise of grief. His invitation to Elaine and to us is “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. … I am the vine; you are one of My branches … Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” Hear the wind of the Spirit blowing through the trees and feel the warmth and light from above, as Christ says, “abide in Me.” (John 15:4-5 NLT).

Pastor Ross

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Genesis 25:23-34 – DOES GOD HAVE FAVOURITES?

Favouritism

From birth ESAU has thick red hair over his body. Esau means “Hairy”. His twin brother JACOB has an unfortunate name too. It means “to defraud, deceive, to displace”. His name carries the idea of displacing someone, to replace or unseat someone. As Jacob is being born he is found holding onto his brother’s heel, as if he is trying to trip him up. This is a picture of things to come.

Esau is the FAVOURITE SON of Isaac, his firstborn and tradition demands that he be groomed for family leadership, but Esau doesn’t seem to take his role as firstborn too seriously.

Jacob is Rebekah’s FAVOURITE SON. She no doubt remembers the prophecy given to her by God at his birth. Did Rebekah share with her favourite son Jacob what God had promised as he grew up, that somehow one day he would inherit the promises of God given to Abraham and pass them on to the next generation? Was it the SPIRITUAL INTEREST that Jacob showed that edged Rebekah towards favouritism?

I know that our cultural predilection is to blame our parents for our flaws, rather than take responsibility for our own thoughts, words and actions, but was it IRRESPONSIBLE for each parent to have a favourite son and did this cause unnecessary friction in the family? Perhaps Isaac and Rebekah took it too far? The Bible doesn’t tell us.

But what about GOD! Does He have FAVOURITES? In Romans 9:13 (NASB) God says “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.” Isaac and Rebekah don’t go as far as that! It doesn’t say of Isaac and Rebekah that they HATED the other son, only that they each LOVED one of them. Is this just exaggerated language to emphasise God’s CHOICE of Jacob over Esau?

Ephesians 1:3-14 (NLT) says “we are UNITED WITH CHRIST. Even before He made the world, God loved us and CHOSE US IN CHRIST to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God DECIDED IN ADVANCE TO ADOPT US into His own family by bringing us to Himself THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure…Furthermore, because we are UNITED WITH CHRIST, we have received an INHERITANCE from God, for HE CHOSE US IN ADVANCE, and He makes everything work out according to His plan.” We are PREDESTINED! CHOSEN! Did we have a choice? Does God choose to send some to hell and others to heaven? Is this what He means when He says He hates Esau and loves Jacob?

It seems to me that the words UNITED WITH CHRIST, IN CHRIST, THROUGH CHRIST are more important than we think when it comes to being CHOSEN. When I believe in Christ I APPROPRIATE His Righteousness. His Righteousness becomes mine. When I believe in Christ I appropriate ETERNAL LIFE. His life becomes mine.

It seems to me that God chose only ONE PERSON, the Lord Jesus Christ, and IN HIM I APPROPRIATE what is HIS when I believe in Him. Because HE is chosen before the foundation of the world I too am chosen. And I am chosen IN HIM to live out HIS HOLINESS. His purpose from the beginning was that when I believed I would appropriate His Holiness and live a holy life. He is set apart for the purposes of God and I am too in Him. God has only One favourite – His Son Jesus. But when I am found in Him I too am a favourite son. I put on Christ and God sees me as He sees Jesus.

Born into the family of God I have a BIRTHRIGHT. I receive all the riches of the things that God has PROMISED from the beginning of time to those who believe. It doesn’t come to me AUTOMATICALLY because I am a good person or born into a Christian family or because I go to Church or live in a “Christian” country. It comes because of the RELATIONSHIP I have with Christ and the fact that I am IN CHRIST. Because ONE person was chosen before the earth was created, many have the opportunity to believe and enter into the promises of God. I am CHOSEN IN HIM.

One of the things that A BIRTHRIGHT carries with it is the PRIESTHOOD of the family. Fathers consecrate their firstborn sons to God (Exodus 22:29). They look after the family concerning their spiritual life in serving God. The firstborn has the responsibility of building and worshiping God at the altar (Genesis 22:9; 26:25; 35:1; etc.), as well sharing God’s word and His promises to his family.

We all know the story. Esau sells his BIRTHRIGHT to Jacob because he is hungry for some stew. Red hair. Red stew. Red name. In the red regarding his BIRTHRIGHT. Edom (Red) is an appropriate name.

Hebrews 12:16 (NLT) says that Esau was “IMMORAL OR GODLESS” despite being a firstborn son. This is evident in that he “TRADED HIS BIRTHRIGHT as the firstborn son for a single meal”. I suppose when this transaction was made it was made in front of witnesses for this to be official. Stupid thing to do. “He showed CONTEMPT for his rights as the firstborn.” (Genesis 25:34 NLT) Perhaps Jacob was doing him a favour. Esau was hungry for PHYSICAL things. Jacob was hungry for SPIRITUAL things.

Have you DESPISED YOUR BIRTHRIGHT? The invitation is to believe in Christ. When I believe in Christ and what He has done for me by dying on the Cross for my sins I enter into the things that God has promised before the world was created. Chosen in Christ.

Pastor Ross