Posts Tagged ‘Saviour’

 

 

windowwith-light-02

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

Psalms 24:3-6 – HOW TO CLIMB AND MOVE MOUNTAINS

How to Climb and Move Mountains

I came to know this quiet, intelligent, humble man named TARAKSH. A NAME gives you a specific, unique, personal identity, but in his case it was more than merely a means of addressing him, more than a title, tag, or label. it was something that inspired him to be the person he was to become.

I remember the discussion that I had about his name. I was learning how to pronounce TARAKSH and I asked him if his name had a meaning. I think we might have been discussing how in the Christian Bible the names of various people given at birth reflect something of significance or describe the course of their lives. For example, ADAM is named after the “EARTH” from which he was created. (Genesis 2). ABRAHAM means father of many nations which was to be his destiny. JESUS means “THE LORD IS SAVIOUR” because He came to save us from our sins.

A name often describes the CHARACTER or a PARTICULAR HOPE that the parents have for their child. But Taraksh told me that in India sometimes parents can take years before their children are named and this was true for him for many years.

He described to me a family PILGRIMAGE TO A MOUNTAIN. Apparently thousands of people from India have made that same pilgrimage, following a tradition going back thousands of years.

The mountain was Mt TARAKSH and it was at the base of that mountain that he decided that TARAKSH would be a good name for him to take. So TARAKSH named HIMSELF after that mountain. (Note – “Taraksh” is not his real name but in the interest of confidentiality I have used that name because it is an Indian name meaning “mountain”.)

I was so intrigued by the fact that he had GIVEN HIMSELF HIS OWN NAME that I found an article on the internet about that mountain. MT TARAKSH means GREAT ONE. And in keeping with his name, TARAKSH wanted to achieve great things. He became a THEORETICAL SCIENTIST and also a GREAT FATHER to his children.

So perhaps the legacy that Taraksh leaves is the legacy of the mountain. Mountains are often symbols of our lives. Mountains inspire us and demand respect, test our strength and expose our weaknesses. They humble us. They can symbolise stability and inward strength. They encourage us to rise beyond the mundane and to achieve our goals and dreams. They remind us that life’s journey requires perseverance and faith. They call us to reflection and encourage us to look beyond ourselves.

Mountains often have that SACRED ASPECT of contemplation and SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE. A place where we get PERSPECTIVE for life. Taraksh attended many of my talks and we enjoyed discussions on matters concerning what it means to be a follower of Christ. I appreciated his friendship and openness to discuss spiritual things.

Mountains also CHALLENGE us to OVERCOME OBSTACLES and move mountains, but on Tuesday 30th August at about 1.45am Taraksh faced an INSURMOUNTABLE OBSTACLE that one day all of us will face. In the presence of those who loved him, he died.

Psalms 121:1-2 (NLT) says “I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” Jesus is our Lord, our Mountain, our Rock, our Refuge, our Foundation, our Strength and Stability, the One from whom we gain perspective for our lives, the One who overcomes the obstacles of sin and death.   

I’m not sure whether Taraksh responded with faith in Christ. What about you? In the end what will you rely on? Will you rely on the mountain of your achievements or the solid Rock of faith in Christ.

It’s wonderful to have great accomplishments to look back on but in the end it will be what Christ has accomplished on the Cross for us that counts. He died for our sins and defeated death, so that we could be forgiven and stand before God without any obstacles getting in the way of us going to heaven.

Psalms 24:3-6 (NLT) says “Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? (or in other words Who can have a relationship with God?) Who may stand in His holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, (or in other words Only those who have been forgivenwho do not worship idols (that is Those who don’t worship, trust and rely anything other than God. We can make a god out of achievement or success or money) and never tell lies (that is Those who are honest with God). They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their Saviour (The name Jesus meansThe Lord is Saviour, because He died to save us from our sins). Such people may seek You and worship in Your presence, O God of Jacob. …” 

Pastor Ross

John 3:16 –  PARABLE OF THE LOST MINERS

Parable of the Lost Miners

The world watched as 33 Chilean miners TRAPPED underground for 69 days were rescued. The last miner was rescued on Thursay October 14, 2010, a day marked with celebration and joy all around the world. The President of Chile said that Chile will never be the same.

One of the rescued men, Mario Sepulveda, said “I was with God and I was with the devil. They fought and God won the battle. I reached out and took hold of God’s hand. I never doubted that I would be rescued.” According to one article a number of men and their loved ones gave their lives to Christ during the ordeal as they prayed and reached out for God’s help.

Scientists and engineers WORKED day and night to design and drill an ESCAPE hole half a mile down to the trapped miners. 69 days later, they lowered a capsule from CAMP HOPE down to the men. It took 50 minutes to rescue each man. One newspaper headline read “FREED FROM HELL TO HOPE”. As the steel caged capsule surfaced it was as if each man was given NEW LIFE, SAVED, DELIVERED, REBORN.

It got me thinking about what this story would look like if Jesus told it as a parable. I’m sure it would go something like this.

“Once there was a wise, good and powerful King. His kingdom was known as the kingdom of Hope and it was the richest kingdom in the world. He ruled his people with love and justice. The kingdom of Hope was known throughout the world and other kings would seek to emulate the leadership of the great King. His writings and pronouncements were valued. For countless generations his family had ruled the land which was rich in beauty and mineral wealth. His people worked the land and as they ploughed the fields they would find diamonds and gold. As they ate the fruit of the orchards they would find health and strength. As they obeyed their king they prospered and he encouraged his people to share the wealth of the land with their families and with others all around the world. His exports were prized by many people – gold, silver, precious stones, fruit from his orchards and many other riches.

Not satisfied with working the land and planting orchards for food, the people became greedy and decided to find more efficient ways to extract the mineral wealth of the land. They dug a huge mine miles into the earth and worked night and day. Their families suffered as sons and daughters were without their fathers for many days on end. They became very rich from the resources they unearthed, but careless in their work practises and in their family relationships.

The wise king established safety precautions for them to follow but they were largely ignored so it was not surprising that there were many serious accidents and sure enough one day the mine collapsed. Many of the men from the kingdom became trapped in the bowels of the earth. As earth showered down upon them they stopped digging, left their tools and ran for their lives to a section of the mine that remained intact. Some men were wounded and had to be carried to safety. For a while they were stunned at the situation they found themselves in. They cried out in anguish and fear. But then many of them began to blame eachother. Fights began to break out. Then their anger turned towards the king. It was his fault that the safety precautions were not enforced! Soon a number of the men began shouting their abuse and slandering the name of the king.

Others began examining the instructions in the safety manual that the king had written to see if there was something they could do. They found a procedure which would let the king and those on the surface know that they were alive, so that the king could find a way to get them out. They knew the king would know where they were and that they were alive, but they cried out to him and made as much noise as they could. Others told them to be quiet and that the king didn’t care.

From Camp Hope the king soon drilled a small shaft down to the men. He said that the small shaft was just a promise of things to come when a larger hole would be drilled. The miners sent a note up to tell him that they were alive. Food and air was provided by the king along with an assurance that he would provide the way out. Some of the men continued to slander the name of the king, convinced that he intended to kill them.

Days and months went by. Periodically a note would come down the small shaft with a message from the king saying that a hole was being drilled and that someone was coming to save them. A physician would come down through a shaft to the men and examine them. He would give medical assistance and then bring each of them to safety. Many of the men did not believe. They saw no evidence of escape or the help that the king was providing them from above. They decided to make the best of it and ignore the messages and simply receive the provision from above that came through the smaller shaft.

Nevertheless the king continued to drill down to the men, day by day, and continued to send reassuring messages down through the small shaft.

The day finally came when the escape hole was nearly finished. The king sent final instructions through to the men to prepare the way as he drilled through the final few feet to the roof of their prison.

The king was so excited! He had done everything possible to provide a way to rescue the men. In camp Hope their was great celebration that the men would finally be rescued. The king decided to send his own son who was the best physician in the land down in an escape capsule from camp Hope to the trapped men. He was surprised that when he arrived far below that their were few men who welcomed him. He began to bring healing to the wounded men and gave instructions for each person to be rescued.

Some of the miners, after all the work that had been done for them, decided they DIDN’T WANT TO BE RESCUED and walked back into the darkness of the mineshaft, away from the capsule which had been made to bring them to safety and celebration on the surface? They refused to be saved and decided to stay behind? They tried to KILL THE PHYSICIAN who came to examine them, SLANDERED his name, the capsule, the king, the citizens of the kingdom of Hope and they stayed behind. They didn’t want to be hugged by the king of Hope! They didn’t want their lives changed forever? They said to the kings son, “I REJECT ALL YOUR WORK to save me. I DON’T WANT TO BE RESCUED!””

What is the meaning of this parable? John 3:16-18 (NLT) 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.” Jesus has done everything He could do to save me from the penalty of my sin. There is nothing left for Him to do, but I am left with a choice as to whether or not I respond to the conviction in my heart and receive Christ as my Saviour.

Like the miners who agreed to be rescued I stepped into the very love of God and received new life and hope for the future. As I emerged the King of kings wrapped His arms around me to the applause of heaven. My life will never be the same.

Pastor Ross