Posts Tagged ‘Joy’

Breaking and Smashing © Animation created by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 2:11 – BREAKING AND SMASHING AT EASTER – Part 3

MAKE A CHOICE

I am surprised how many people think of Christianity as just another way to heaven, all religions are the same and we are all basically good people. This notion has already been challenged on the world scene. But it has always been challenged in the Bible. Psalm 2 makes it clear that not all religions are the same and that one day, there will be a time of reckoning. The New Testament in the Bible associates this Psalm ultimately to Christ and His Second Coming as a conquering King.

Notice that king David, the writer of this Psalm, is not saying that all religions lead to heaven. He is not saying that all religions have basically the same message. He is saying just the opposite. He is saying “Make a choice who you will serve. I am your only hope and I have come to save you. When you serve me, you will also serve God, who appointed me as your king.”

“Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:11 NLT).

David says “Serve the Lord.” That’s all there is to it and the alternative is unthinkable. Either serve the Lord with reverent fear or be smashed and broken (see Parts 1-2).

FEAR AND JOY

Serve with reverence. Rejoice with trembling. Seems opposites. Seems very oppressive. But there is no room for sentiment here where rebellion is concerned with David.

He leaves room for a heart attitude change, but when it all comes down to it, this is an act of will rather than some emotional decision. There will come a time when it will be forced on them. Their choices are die or serve the Lord. Submit to David as king or be crushed.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FEAR THE LORD?

The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is a deep sense of awe, respect, and reverence toward Him; submission and obedience to Him. It’s recognising that He has all authority and we do not. The New Testament indicates that it is a recognition of what Christ has done for us in love when He died on a Cross for our sins, and responding to that love. There is no other way for us to be saved.

Joy comes with a sense of relief from not having to face judgment. 1 John 4:17-19 (NLT) says, “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.” The opposite to experiencing the love of Christ is experiencing the fear of judgment.

The invitation of Psalm 2 is to welcome Jesus and submit to Him. That’s wise. Make a decision to rejoice in what He rejoices in. Love Him and serve Him above all else. The only unforgiveable sin is our unbelief. Hebrews 2:3 (NLT) says “So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus Himself and then delivered to us by those who heard Him speak?” Christ is the only way. He is the only One who loved us enough to save us.

Proverbs 9:10 (NLT) says “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.”

Pastor Ross

 

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Psalms 1:1 – UNFRIENDING

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.” 

1. GO TO THAT PERSON’S PROFILE

If David was on facebook he would have unfriended them. Brothers Abishai and Joab are as wicked as they come. King David battled with their dispositions as well as their actions. After Joab killed Abner, David said, “And even though I am the anointed king, these two sons of Zeruiah—Joab and Abishai—are too strong for me to control. So may the Lord repay these evil men for their evil deeds.” (2 Samuel 3:39 NLT)

When David speaks of the wicked (or ungodly), the sinners and the mockers in Psalm 1, was he thinking of unfriending Zeruiah’s sons?

Or was David talking about others who were following him? He regretted Saul following him, who tried to murder him on several occasions, and Amnon who raped his daughter, Tamar. Perhaps he was looking at Absalom’s profile, his handsome, power hungry son who waited years to kill Amnon and then conspired on his timeline against David, causing a civil war? Is he talking about Ahithophel, his trusted follower and advisor who unfriended him by becoming a traitor?

Perhaps he is talking about unfriending bullies like Goliath and other Philistine enemies who served false gods and threatened his life? Is David talking about Shimei who threw stones and abuse at David, or perhaps Sheba and Adonijah who rebelled against David’s leadership?

Or was he simply thinking of unfriending me or people with whom I keep company every day? People like us. Oh, maybe we have not killed or threatened to kill anyone, conspired to create war, abused or rebelled or expressed traitorous intent to anyone, but surprisingly, the wicked are not always those who commit outwardly sinful acts. They are not always outwardly immoral or evil, not just the mass murderers or those involved in bikie wars, terrorist bombings, stabbings, drive-by shootings or any overt criminal behavior.

In the Bible, the wicked, sinners and mockers can be simply those who have unfriended God; forsaken God’s counsel, advice, guidance, purposes, plans and desires. It refers to anyone, overtly criminal in behavior or not in our eyes, who has blocked and discarded the purposes for which they were created and thus live in opposition to any intervention of God into their lives. Forsaking God can lead us in many directions, and not simply those we consider as being outwardly wicked. Conversely, people we consider befriending because we consider having acceptable behavior may well be wicked in God’s eyes.

2. SELECT UNFRIEND

“Walking in the counsel of the Ungodly” is following advice or guidance and making plans for our behavior in everyday life which is in keeping with those who have cut themselves off from God (un-Godly), those who have no inclination to follow, acknowledge or heed God’s Word. Determine to block their messages of potential-limiting advice. Refuse their News Feed, don’t go to their homepage. Turn off notifications to their updates.

Mocking God has joyless consequences.

Proverbs 13:19-21 (NLT) says “It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them. Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. Trouble chases sinners, while blessings reward the righteous.”  

1 Corinthians 15:33 (NLT) says “…bad company corrupts good character.”

With all the supposed social networks that we have in our world today, all the news feed of biased social media and those self-appointed experts on morality, justice and social norms, the Bible says there is still only one pathway for us to God. Through following Christ.

3. NEW FRIEND REQUEST

Perhaps that is why some have looked at this Psalm as a reference to the One who was the descendant of the author; the Lord Jesus Christ; One who never listened to the counsel of the wicked, never followed them, One who was free of sin and One who never regarded God’s will with cynicism or scorn. Son of David, Son of God.

God became man. There’s a message in your news feed. Top story. Trending, “good news of great joy”. Jesus goes to sinners to save them not conform Himself to their lifestyle. His perfect life opens the door to the Psalms as an example of his intentions for us. 1 Peter 2:21 (NLT) says, “…He is your example, and you must follow in His steps.” The Search tool is the Bible where you will find Him, His posts, apps, and events of His life, His viral reach. Become an engaged user.

Jesus is the only man who has completely lived a life which does not conform to the world around Him. Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) says that Jesus is able to sympathize with our weaknesses as “… One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.” Jesus, in John 17:15-16 (NLT) prays for believers. “I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.”

4. POKE

God is trying to get your attention. His invitation is to experience Joy and Blessing in life. The word “joys” as used in Psalm 1 is a plural word giving the idea of multiplied happiness, experiencing the full measure of joy with nothing withheld, contentment, ongoing peace, satisfaction, fulfillment, protection, assurance, provision and prosperity. It is a joy, peace, and assurance that transcends circumstances even when we encounter suffering.

5. LIKE

This joyful blessing is a gift from God. It results from His approval, His acceptance and favor. His likes are heart-shaped. His love is unconditional. But your Joy IS conditional on who you follow. Joyfulness is not simply a spontaneous response to circumstances but arises from an intentional choice to separate from those who extrude our enjoyment of life because they exclude the Way, the Truth and the Life. Two ways to live, two kinds of people, two roads, two destinies.

The invitation of the Bible is not to WALK in their way, STAND in their influence, SIT in their lifestyle, but to SIT in heavenly places in Christ, STAND firm in the faith and WALK with wisdom,…

“…for He raised us from the dead along with Christ and SEATED us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6 NLT), so “STAND firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT), and “be careful how you WALK, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17 NASB).

Romans 12:2 (NLT) 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.” Now that’s a milestone worth reviewing.

Pastor Ross

Related Article

https://davidkitz.wordpress.com/category/psalms/psalm-1/

 

 

 

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The Window © Ross Cochrane

THE STORY, THE WINDOW AND THE DANCE OF CHRISTMAS (Edit)

Matthew 2, Luke 2

A window frames our lives, gives us boundaries and is a place from which to explore our perspective of the world. It is a place to which our inquisitiveness comes, an interface from which we can safely navigate our domain. From here we experience light which shapes what we see, and interacts with the unknown beyond the window and walls.

A window is a time-frame of opportunity, to launch words and actions and intentions. Christmas is such a window. There is no shutter on this window. It is open for the world to look in and out from and glimpse a moment in time in all its raw honesty, the star, the manger, the stable where Jesus was born.

This window is not contained within a wall, but within the intentions of God. The Word of God in human form, a window to the universe from which we explore our faith, our heritage, our decisions, our legacy, our destiny, allowing us to explain the unknown by what is known, our window into the future, perspective from God’s Word in such beautiful language, simplicity and candid expressions of life.

They give gifts to the King, Saviour of the world. Here is the basis for my worship, the carols of life. Here is the theology of the heart, colliding with the theology of the spirit and offering practical rejoinders to the sinfulness of my humanity. Here is a window to the soul and an invitation to live an authentic life.

Joy to the world. Joyfulness is always the intention of God towards those attuned to His Spirit. But joyfulness has a prerequisite in the Bible which continues to shape it’s disposition; a dance of choices.

The angelic host calls me to Peace and Joy and this means I must choose to refuse to dance with those whose advice is disabled by their negativity and scorn, the media-driven voices of self-proclaimed authorities. Their only charm is a bitter tongue and a contemptuous spirit. I cannot keep in step with such awkward disregard for the dance.

I dance with joyfulness, musing on news of the new-born King in slow waltzing strides and an open contemplative heart to what the Spirit of God is saying.

Like the Magi, only without a star, I must leave the window and find my way through the traffic, but I have paused at the window of the story of the Christ-child, bathed in His light and warmth and my heart has begun to dance in perfect timing with the music of His voice.

Happy Christmas!

Pastor Ross

LUKE 2:9 – MARY DID YOU KNOW? Poem

PIETA BY MICHELANGELO

PIETA BY MICHELANGELO

Mary, did you know? – the poem © by Ross Cochrane

Had Mary known the pain that He would bear
When in her arms this baby Jesus lay,
Would she have wanted Him to stay
to face a Cross, and give His very life?
Had Mary known the ugliness of strife
would she have held tiny hands tighter still
while thinking of them nail pierced on deaths hill?

Had Mary known that in this manger lay
the One whose head would lay within a tomb,
would she have gasped each time she came to pray
and sung with tears a lullaby each night
And mourned the seed that issued from her womb?

No! Mary would have only known the joy
Of heavens love within a baby boy.

And if we knew of God’s elusive plan
With eyes to see the pain that we would bear,
Would we have tried to run from grace and prayer
instead of face the cross He bids us take?
Without sufficient strength our pride to break
would we avoid the shaping hands of God,
the disciplines that issue from His rod?

Would we receive the testing desert sun
along with times of joy and hope and light?
Or shape a “painless” destiny and run
with such swift feet away from heaven’s tears
and any preparation for the fight?

No! From the future He has spared us much
That we might know His patient, perfect touch.

Part 1 – Genesis 21:1-7 – LAUGHING AT GOD!

Laughing at God!

As he was born my heart was bursting with JOY. I held my son Ben up to the Lord and dedicated him then and there. I was so grateful for the gift of a child. I remember driving home at the beginning of that day laughing and honking the horn so everyone could SHARE THE JOY I had, though on reflection they may not have appreciated it fully.

Abraham and Sarah would always remember how they laughed at the promise of a son in their old age. It seems Isaac was laughed at in one way or another all his life. Isaac means “laughter”. What an appropriate name. A river of LAUGHTER runs through the entire story of the birth of Isaac.

Abraham laughed in BEWILDERED AMAZEMENT in Genesis 17:17 and Sarah mirrored his response in DISBELIEVING DOUBT in Genesis 18:12 until she too was able to believe. 25 years later they laughed in DELIGHT AND FAITH and in the SHEER JOY of finally realizing the promise of having a son in Genesis 21:6. Sarah indicates that people will laugh and celebrate in WONDER AND AMAZEMENT at what God had done in their old age. God has a sense of humour.

25 YEARS! Lord, You take a while to come through with your promises. Genesis 21:1-2 almost downplays the momentous event of Isaac’s birth by simply saying, “The Lord kept His word and did for Sarah exactly what He had promised. She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would.” But of course what You say You always do, in Your time not mine.

Why do You delay Your promises? 25 years seems an awful long time. I guess it’s what everyone says – You want my faith to grow, for me to learn what perseverance and trust and earnest prayer is all about. You teach me to have a CONFIDENT HOPE, instead of an INDECISIVE WISH.

Hebrews 10:23 (NLT) says “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the HOPE we affirm, for God can be TRUSTED to keep his promise.” 

Hebrews 10:36 (NLT) says “PATIENT ENDURANCE is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. THEN you will receive all that He has promised.”  

Romans 4:20-21 (NLT) says “Abraham NEVER WAVERED in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises.” 

Genesis 21:5 (NLT) says “Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born” Sarah said “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age!” She should talk! She’s no spring chicken either. Sarah is 90. 

Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) says “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” 

INFINITELY MORE! In fact JESUS would be one of the DESCENDENTS of Isaac. Sarah doesn’t know it but Isaac’s birth points towards the BIRTH OF THE SAVIOUR, through whom all the nations of the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:3) as promised to Abraham.

JESUS AND ISAAC. Both births were PROMISED an outrageously long time before fulfillment. Both births were MIRACULOUS both HUMANLY IMPOSSIBLE, and both birth’s brought INDESCRIBABLE JOY.

MARY’S JOY MIRRORS SARAH’S JOY. In Luke 1:46-47 (NLT) it speaks about Mary’s response to the promise of Jesus’ birth. “Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour!..” 

Some laugh at the idea of God. God bless you Church as you LAUGH AT WHAT GOD IS DOING, not because you mock Him, but because you know the incredible Joy that the Holy Spirit brings as our lives collide with the promises of God and connect with Jesus, our Saviour and Lord.

Pastor Ross