Posts Tagged ‘Peter’

Matthew 17:24-27 – FISHING FOR A MIRACLE

Coin Fish. Created by Ross Cochrane.

Coin Fish. © Created by Ross Cochrane.

There will always be those who confront you with their questioning cynicism to test your faith. They will cast a baited hook of guilt into the lake of obligation. They will seek to get a bite by putting a tariff on your beliefs and haul you in to support their cause, taxing the sacred parts of your soul with their questions and political manipulation.

Somehow Jesus always anticipates them. He knows ahead of time what they are thinking and asks questions that give perspective to the real matters of the heart.

The Tax Collectors come to the door and ask Peter if Jesus intends to pay His Temple tax. They are testing Him.

Peter says spontaneously “Yes, of course” but he wonders if God is taxed! Peter goes into the house to speak to Jesus about this but before he has a chance, Jesus asks him a question which takes him by surprise. Had Jesus somehow heard the conversation at the door? Are the Tax Collectors still there, listening to His response… ?

“What do you think, Simon?” He asks. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes – from their own sons or from others?” (Matthew 17:25 NIV). What has this got to do with Kings? Why did Jesus ask this question? 

“They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replies. 

“Well, then,” Jesus says, “the sons are free!”  

Applying this argument to the Temple tax goes something like this: God is the King of the Temple. God as King doesn’t charge His Son Temple Tax? Jesus, as God’s Son, is exempt from the tax (Matthew 17:26).

That makes sense. There is no obligation for Jesus to give us anything. But Jesus wants to go an extra mile. Surprisingly, despite being the Son of the King, in grace, He offers to pay, for us. It is not because of obligation that He offers to pay, but from a place of freedom that God provides. This is the principle of grace.

“But so that we may not offend them, …” He says. Not yet anyway. Soon offence would come but not now. Romans 9:33 (NASB) says that Jesus would become “a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 

“… so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.” (Matthew 17:27 NIV). 

Is Jesus simply exaggerating a point and asking Peter to go fishing for a couple of days and pay the tax from the proceeds of the catch? I don’t think so. In an act of faith, the Temple tax was paid for the forgiveness of sins (Exodus 30:13-20), so that Israelis could enter the Temple pardoned and accepted by God; a new, fresh start. But here God pays the price for our sins.

This is a miracle from a fishing expedition that speaks of God’s grace in paying the price for our purification? The coin is a picture of what Jesus would do in dying for our sins.

Jesus tells Peter to go fishing. Strange fishing expedition. Is He serious? Go fishing? I wonder if Peter invited the tax collectors to go fishing with him. They don’t seem to be standing at the door waiting. Why go to all this trouble to get tax from a fish? A large silver coin in a fish.

Jesus said He would make them fishermen of men, not of coins to pay their tax, yet this story for Matthew, the ex-tax collector is bursting with significance. He knew the power of grace and provision from Jesus as Saviour and Lord. This story pictured once again his own journey in finding God’s grace.

Peter baits the hook, and the line is cast. With unusual patience, Peter waits. A group of tax collectors, who have curiously followed at a distance are confused and amazed, because, when the line is suddenly taut and he hauls in a fish, they can see the silver coin as the fish gasps for air.

The fish is prepared for eating, the coin is given to the astonished tax collectors and a lesson in grace is forever imprinted on Matthew’s heart as the story is recounted. Jesus pays Peter’s debt in full. He would soon pay Peter’s eternal debt on a cross.

The other disciples go fishing that day. Any excuse to go fishing. Is this an offshore tax haven? They decide to take a net. But not one coin is retrieved from any fish for a net return on the tax they had paid.  But they eat well that day and reflect on the marvelous provision and forgiveness of God. God invites you to go fishing for such a miracle as this.  

Pastor Ross

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Matthew 17:4-5 – THE RIGHT TO SPEAK AND THE CHOICE TO LISTEN 

Listening Button, by Ross Cochrane

Listening Button, by Ross Cochrane

He is always getting into trouble. He opens his mouth and it ends up being offensive and someone goes away upset or embarrassed. It’s not that he doesn’t think or listen. It’s just that he interprets things through the eyes of impetuosity, chauvinism or even racism. As a follower of Jesus he is maturing but he still has a way to go.

Because he thinks that he has something worthwhile to contribute he blurts out ideas and suggestions and that’s what usually gets him into trouble. I shouldn’t talk. Most of the time I am thinking the same thing, but don’t say anything.

I learn a lot from Peter’s impulsiveness although he embarrasses me and himself in the process. He speaks openly when he should listen. He is insensitive and tactless and later regrets saying anything at all. He is spontaneous but borders on recklessness. It’s not as if he doesn’t know others are listening. Classic foot-in-mouth. Unprompted theatre.

Benjamin Franklin said “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” Peter maybe impetuous but his suggestion in this case is not stupid, just wrong. He may misunderstand the significance of what is happening but he is actively seeking to piece it all together. He will always remember that although he had the right to speak, he also had the choice to listen.

Having little experience of Jewish culture Peter’s suggestion seems odd to me, but apparently far away in Jerusalem there are many at present who are commemorating the Feast of Tabernacles. They build and live in make-shift shelters for a week to remember the Exodus when Moses led the Hebrews from Egypt; camping out in the wilderness before entering the promised land.

Shelters in the Exodus of Moses were necessary because although Israel was free from oppression, they were not free from their sin. They wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before they entered into the promised land because of their disobedience; their mistrust of God’s appointed leaders and their lack of trust in God’s provision. Their make-shift shelters spoke of their sin. 

Peter blurts out, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Matthew 17:4 NLT). But associating Jesus and these returned saints with Israel’s sin isn’t a good idea. On the contrary, Jesus death will lead people directly into the freedom of forgiveness and the promises of God. Milk, honey and grapes would have been better memorial symbols. 

“But even as Peter spoke, a bright cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy. Listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5 NLT).

Sometimes my words are the sound of a broken window and unfamiliar footsteps creeping through God’s truth like unwelcome guests. When such words presumptuously seek to break and enter into God’s territory, then He invites me to listen and obey Jesus. I have the right to speak but more importantly the choice to listen to His voice. I can receive the light of forgiveness rather than dwell in the shadows of the make-shift shelters of my sin. I can give voice to my shame and regrets, or choose to listen to the voice of His mercy. Lord, I’m listening. 

Pastor Ross

Matthew 17:1-5 – WHEN LISTENING FINDS THE RIGHT VOICE 

Listening. © Image by Ross Cochrane using Paint.net and FilterForge.org

Listening. © Image by Ross Cochrane using Paint.net and FilterForge.org

When Listening walks with a friend in the park or offers them a cup of coffee in a quiet bay window overlooking her garden she happens upon the most amazing stories. People are always willing to open up to Listening. She mirrors your movements as you speak to her and hears your heart. She doesn’t interrupt or tell you what you should do, but somehow at the end of the conversation you discover for yourself a pathway ahead. 

Listening has a twin sister called Hearing. Although they bear a strong family resemblance to each other, they are quite different. Hearing is distracted easily. She watches the News at night on TV but could not tell you what was said. She is more interested in the sound of your voice than in the conversation. She can sit with you but the sounds float around her head and she gets lost in the domain of imagination or in the pressing things she is yet to act upon. 

It is when Hearing becomes too emotional that she least resembles Listening. She parks in clearways and blocks the traffic with conversational narcissism; showing no interest in what you are saying. In her childhood she had trouble remembering and paying attention to what she was told. As a result her grades suffered and she developed behaviour problems. 

Being a child of Nurture, Listening makes her living as a Nanny. She takes hold of the sounds born into the world from anothers thoughts, and cradles them in nurturing arms, raising them into responsible maturity, and returns them to the conversations of life with Understanding. 

I found Listening at the beach when I wanted to give voice to my questions. She was gazing at the ocean waves rolling in. “Conversations are like the ocean” she said. She taught me how to surf, riding the noisy waves on a board called Perspective, deftly and sensitively responding to each rise and fall as the crests curled around us. My questions became less insistent as we made our way to the shore and by the time we had reached the sand the world once again almost made sense. 

Once, when I was walking through the city, crowded in by voices and traffic noise; just an anonymous face in a crowd, somehow Listening recognised me from afar, smiled and waved. She knew a quiet café to sit and talk. 

Sometimes it seems that Listening waits at the door for me to return home, and hearing the keys jingling as the door opens, anticipates my presence by being fully engaged and ready to hear how my day has gone. Listening looks me in the eye but sees beyond my words. 

Listening loves me. I see her often personified in the eyes of my wife as she greets me after a long day or in the mischievous smile of a grandchild who finds me in my study, gives me a hug, asks me a question and waits patiently with big eyes for my response. She is defined by relationship; family, friends and innumerable encounters, and she is nurtured with Prayer when my words remain unspoken and I begin to be attentive to the whispers of God. 

Prayer and Listening are mountain climbers. On a mountain they can stir my imagination, inform my opinions, hold me enthralled by exposing me to my deepest creative self, open me to new ideas, and make me expect more, reach for more and motivate my very being with appreciation or inspiration or worship. 

I was not surprised to find Listening climbing the mountain with Jesus and the disciples. When she saw Jesus shine like the sun and heard Moses and Elijah talking with Him about His exodus, she tried to help Peter interpret what was going on. But Peter had been asleep, and Prayer had remained with Jesus. It was only on waking that Peter learned that some conversations cannot be interpreted without Prayer’s access to heaven’s perspective. Without Prayer even Listening was unable to help. 

When Listening is directed to the voices of our experience, voices of our emotions, voices of our expertise or voices of our senses, despite her insights, she is still not suitable to interpret miracles or spiritual truth. 

On this mountain Listening is directed to a Person, the only One able to interpret the past, give voice to the present and fulfil the future. God’s voice whispers from the cloud, “This is My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy. Listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5 NLT). 

Pastor Ross

Matthew 16:19 – Part 2 – HOW TO UNLOCK THE DOORS TO UNLIMITED RESOURCES

Key to Truth (Photo and image by Ross Cochrane using Paint.net and PhotoForge) Key in bottom corner - Cross = Love

Key to Truth (Photo and image by Ross Cochrane using Paint.net and PhotoForge) Key in bottom corner – Cross = Love

The morning looks sleepily into the mirror, wipes away the mist so the boats on the other side of the Bay are vaguely visible, stretches it’s shadowy arms across the beach and offers me a cup of coffee as I prepare to face the day. Holidays. Glorious holidays! Bateman’s Bay and an apartment on the beach. Beautiful.

They looked so insignificant when we received them from the owner, but her keys supplied us with the authority of her house and to the view from the full length windows leading onto the beach, of beautiful rock features nearby stretching out into the water; the resources of heavens bounty.

Matthew 16:19 (NLT) says “And I will give you (Peter) the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” 

Jesus, owner of heaven and earth, speaks of the Keys of the Kingdom. Keys to open doors of faith? Yes. But there is a wider vista. “…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 KJV). Jesus said “Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old” (Matthew 13:51-52 NLT).

2. KEYS TO OPEN UP TRUTH

Jesus gives Peter the authority of a homeowner with a storeroom full of treasures. Only an entrusted servant can hold the keys to a house bearing the treasures of God’s purposes on earth. What an incredible honour to be entrusted with such keys. It is a sign of authority to bring “new gems of truth as well as old” from the room of His riches.

Peter was the first man who had the insight of heaven concerning the New Covenant, a new gem of truth. Jesus said “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because My Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being” (Matthew 16:17 NLT).

The keys committed to Peter are not the keys of earth, but the keys of heaven. Peter demonstrates that new treasures of truth from the storeroom of God’s kingdom can be shared. Peter is to transcribe heaven’s perspective on earth; the legacy of love, to reveal it’s gems to us. He is used by God to unlock the doors through inspired teachings, some of which are included in the New Testament. Peter becomes a scribe instructed by the authority of heaven.

When we declare the purposes of God and live according to God’s truth, we are also bearers of the keys. The Spirit of Truth enables our decisions on earth to correspond with the decisions of heaven. “Whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19 NLT). Our discernment of good and evil is no longer based on law but on relationship with Jesus, the Messiah, Son of the Living God. He gives us a moral compass and standard for living which cuts across all other standards. When God’s Word declares it, it is no longer in dispute.

The invitation is to find God’s truth and live it out, to help others understand God’s purposes, to interpret His will in everyday living, to allow God to be our counsellor, our teacher, to be loosed by a law of love to serve God, not bound by our culture or whatever is most popular. 

We have authority through our relationship with Christ to be loosed from any captivity of our past, or slavery of our wills in the present, or any despotic imposition that would cause our hearts and minds to miss the mark in the future. 

The invitation is to trust in Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Once and for all the key slides into the deadbolt across the corrugations of metal and is turned. Can you hear the soft click of metal as it aligns itself with perfect precision? Can you feel the bolt slide smoothly until the door is released? The storeroom of truth is opened to those who accept the keys. 

They look so insignificant when we receive them from the owner, but His keys supply us with the authority of His house and to the view from the full length windows leading into His purposes, and the magnificent expanses of His truth available to us from His Word; the resources of heavens bounty. 

Pastor Ross

Matthew 16:19 – Part 1 – HOW TO UN-IMMOBILIZE THE IGNITION OF YOUR FAITH 

Key of Life - Image Created by Ross Cochrane

Key of Life – Image Created by Ross Cochrane

Such a small and frustrating device! How can my day be determined by something so insignificant? Yet when it has no life, I am stranded! I discovered this yesterday, and also that the shop over the road does not stock the tiny battery that would give power to UN-isolate the ignition of my car and get me to work on time.

The idea is that this device I am holding, by isolating the ignition, will protect my car from being stolen. No-one has stolen my car so far, so it must work. But not even my key can start my own car when this immobilizing monster holds me to ransom!

Theoretically, in my hands I have the power I need to engage the engine, but of course, theoretical power won’t start my car any more than a flat battery will – not today – not ever! The authority of my keys are useless without a battery tinier than my little fingernail. Mustard seed batteries.

In Matthew 16:19 Jesus has a set of KEYS and He says He will hand them over to Peter. Jesus has all the power of God at His disposal to give the bearer of these keys the authority of highest heaven to unlock and lock, open or close, bind or loose, forbid or permit heaven’s power to change earth.

Matthew 16:19 (NLT) says “And I will give you (Peter) the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” 

What is Jesus talking about here when He speaks of the Keys of the Kingdom? Why would He give them to Peter? Acts 2:14-41 partly answers these questions.

1. KEYS TO OPEN THE DOORS OF FAITH

Peter opens “the door of faith” at Pentecost and the life of eternity rushes through the veins of the Church. Shocking, shameless freedom surges like a tidal flow into its soul. For a while it is left drowning in the wake only to come up from the depths with a sudden intake of breath and every fibre of its being responding with surprise and delight. The Church is born.

Keys of the kingdom of Heaven, activated by the power of the Spirit, give us the opportunity to respond in faith to Christ and what He has done for us. In this way Peter opens the gates of heaven to 3000 people on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41). 

The key slides into the deadbolt across the corrugations of metal and is turned. I can hear the soft click of metal as it aligns itself with perfect precision and feel the bolt slide smoothly until the door is released. These gates, says Warren Wiersbe, “have been opened to those who believe ever since.” 

The doors of heaven are unlocked! Correspondingly, the gates of hell have not been able to withstand the onslaught of God’s kingdom advancing and setting prisoners free. Those who are condemned already can now be pardoned. Escape from hell and entrance to heaven doesn’t occur at the pearly gates when I die, but at faith’s gates when I believe in Christ.

I had been BOUND in my sin, battery flat and no authority or power to do anything about it. Condemned! When I trusted in Christ I was LOOSED from my sin and ran through the open door toward freedom in Him. What incredible opportunities and possibilities have been unlocked in my life by the power and authority of these keys! 

There is nothing like an open door to stir your curiosity as to what adventures may lie beyond it’s threshold. Before you stands such a door. 

Pastor Ross

Matthew 16:16-18 – WHEN RUINS COME TO LIFE

Cornerstone - Image by Ross Cochrane

Cornerstone – Image by Ross Cochrane

I regret not taking one of the bricks that day. My overwhelming sense of loss wanted to restore the scattered remnants of lost history. Somewhere deep inside was a sob for a dog and butterflies in spring, scented bushes and silkworms, an old copper full of hot water for the bath, a clothesline and a rusting corrugated iron toolshed, but most of all for the old cottage that held such memories in context. They were all cleared away the next time I came, as if it had all meant nothing, and an apartment block stood in the place of my childhood home. It was time for my life to be built on surer things, for my identity to be found upon a more stable foundation. Time for dreams to mature into destiny.

It is as if my life was one of the lost stones, scattered across the earth, not knowing my purpose in the scheme of things, until Christ began looking through the rubble.

It is the declaration Peter makes about who Jesus is (“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”) upon which Christ begins to construct His Church. But it is also the declaration Jesus makes of who Peter is (“…you are Peter, which means ‘rock’”), upon which He will build. Peter found his own identity that day in words that have reverberated from the pages of the Bible ever since. “Upon this rock I will build my Church.” (Matthew 16:16-18).

Ephesians 2:19-22 (NLT) says “Together, we are His house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus Himself. We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through Him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by His Spirit.” 

Peter the Apostle, squaring his life to Christ, was a stone in the foundations of the Church at Pentecost. Peter’s teaching and preaching of the Truth of God’s Word and the miraculous signs and wonders that followed his ministry were building blocks. In Acts 2:42-43 (NLT) it says “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.” Peter was an instrument through whom Christ was revealing His truth, and building His Church.

Years passed and somewhere in the scattered ruins of a world gone wrong Christ reached down to touch a peculiar shaped stone from some forgotten, bulldozed cottage. That day He chose me and I found my identity in Him. All followers of Christ are picked from the broken bricks of abandoned sites and mosaic-like arranged to fit; chosen in Christ to reflect something of the architectural beauty of His life; a magnificent expression of faith. Peter himself declares this in 1 Peter 2:5-8 (NLT) when he says “… you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple …” 

The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:9-17 (NLT) echoes these thoughts “… You are God’s building.   Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful.   For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ … Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?   God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

The invitation is for our lives to be built on surer things; for our identity to be found upon a more stable foundation; for dreams to mature into destiny; for scattered ruins to be restored in Christ, touched with eternity, infused with His life and divine intention, a magnificent expression of faith. 

Pastor Ross

Matthew 16:13-20 – THE ROCK WITH A HEARTBEAT

ROCK WITH A HEARTBEAT - Image created by Ross Cochrane

ROCK WITH A HEARTBEAT – Image created by Ross Cochrane

My Dad’s nickname for me was Rock. I don’t know why. Rocky Balboa? Rocks in my head? Rock-n-Roll? Rock of Gibraltar? Alcatraz? Just a term of affection? Perhaps it was because I collected interesting looking rocks, old keys and other objects of interest and put them in my desk drawer? It weighed a ton. I didn’t like the name Rock much, but it was his name for me and I had to live with it. 

If Jesus had said to me, like once He said to Peter, “You are Peter (which means Rock) and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven” I would have been more interested and my curiosity for old keys might have taken on a new dimension (Matthew 16:18-19).

What did Jesus mean that His Church would be built on this rock, set up in a hostile environment to prevail against the gates of hell?

Jesus is normally spoken of as the cornerstone, the rock of ages, the stone that the builders rejected, but not in Matthew 16:18. Here, He is the BUILDER. Jesus, son of a carpenter, still wants to build something incredibly creative and innovative but now from people’s lives. Peter calls Him the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Life is found in His Name. Reliable, strong, dependable, solid, yet with the heartbeat of God. Living stones.

Peter is the GATEKEEPER and he is given the KEYS of the Kingdom of Heaven. He is able to lock or open the door in terms of heaven’s authority on earth. Keys are a symbol of that authority. Peter will go on to release heaven’s authority on earth through his teaching about who Christ is, especially on the day of Pentecost. He is also used to write some of the divinely inspired scriptures called the New Testament and exercise the authority of heaven through his gift of healing. Jesus says his name means stone (Petros) but the structure upon which Christ will build is a large solid shelf of rock (Petra). A stone is only a tiny reflection of such a rock.

Peter has just made the strong confession; “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (Matthew 16:16). Our words about who Christ is are the foundational superstructure of solid rock on which the organic architecture and landscape of the Church are built. For those who know Christ, such words are our motto; our rallying cry; our declaration of faith, our foundation rock shelf. Peter’s name reflects his confession of Christ. I’m warming up to Dad’s nickname.

Many today still make the same definitive, unequivocal declaration of who Christ is that Peter made so long ago. The Church refers to followers of Christ; explorers of the extraordinary; adventurers into mysteries. Literally it means “Called out ones” (Ekklesia). Called out for the greatest purpose on earth.

The declaration of Christ is that the gates of hell (Hades, death) that have held you back from giving your life to Christ will be battered down as you acknowledge Christ as the Son of the Living God and allow Him to breathe life into your soul. Like Peter, you become a living stone, a stepping stone of life, called out to be placed upon the foundation of the life-giving Christ and used to build the masterpiece of God, His prevailing Church. 

This organic, sculptural, architectural creation called His Church is Christ’s magnum opus, and somewhere among the millions of living stones that He has collected to form such a masterwork as this is me! How amazing is that! Perhaps my Dad was right, afterall. 

Pastor Ross

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Matthew 16:13-20 – THE DNA PROFILE OF JESUS 

The DNA OF JESUS - Image Created by Ross Cochrane

The DNA OF JESUS – Image Created by Ross Cochrane

A work colleague I was speaking with yesterday is an African-American. She has been trying to trace her family history to see if her ancestors were slaves? DNA confirms that her lineage extends back to West Africa where many Africans were taken. Somewhere down the line she has been given a European name. When she discovers the roots of her family tree she will change her name to more accurately reflect who she is.

DNA PROFILING is a scientific “genetic fingerprinting” technique used to help identify people by their DNA. Human DNA sequences distinguish one person from another, but are very similar if you are related to someone.

Peter gives us the DNA profiling results of Jesus. “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”; the Anointed One; the promised Messiah; Prophet, Priest, and King, who is of the same essence and nature with God Himself. It is the DNA profile of Jesus that led to His arrest and conviction. It is His DNA that ultimately led to a death sentence on the Cross. All over the world those related to Jesus bear His DNA because His Church bears His identity.

A BIRTHDAY CARD TO MY DAUGHTER

“Dear Rachel, 

… So who are you? What is your identity. To have Jesus reveal to us who we are in Him is often a quest for life. We see it come together – a daughter, a wife, a mother, artist, photographer, graphic designer, entrepreneur, but Jesus sees you as one who has responded personally to who He is and what He has done for you and through you. 

We love what we see God doing in your life. Your creativity, your willingness to try anything, no matter how impossible or overwhelming it may be, and most of all we love who you are in Christ, the person you are, the one who listens to His voice and gains her identity from Him as she stands in that still place, there in that place from which His Church is built, that stable place of rest where all our senses are alert to what He says and does. 

And we pray this birthday will be another one of those defining moments where you have opportunity to spend time in Gods’ presence and let Him speak more to you about who you are, who you were uniquely created to be. We love you. We are so proud of you. 

Love Mum and Dad XXXOOO”

The invitation He gives is to trust Jesus as the Christ, Son of the Living God. As I do this I see who God intends me to be. I can only “do all things through Christ who strengthens me” when I have identified Him as the Christ, Son of the living God. It is in Him that I find my being. It is who He is that determines who I am in Him. John 20:31 (NLT) says of the Bible “…these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him you will have life by the power of His name.” As I trust Him to be who He says He is, I am entrusted by Him to be all that He intends me to be. My DNA shows that I am related. I was once a slave but I have a new name that reflects that I belong to a new family entirely. 1 John 5:1 (NLT) says “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God.”

Pastor Ross