Posts Tagged ‘Spirituality’

Spiritual Climate Change © Image created by Ross Cochrane

SPIRITUAL CLIMATE CHANGE – PART 1 – INTRODUCTION

Much emphasis is placed on Climate change in a desire, albeit an unwitting desire, to take up the mandate God has given to us to rule over the earth well. Little emphasis is given to Spiritual Climate Change. 

Spiritual Climate Change occurs when new socially engineered patterns, political or legal decisions that can last for at least a few decades, and sometimes generations, depending on the fads, either enhance or destroy our spiritual and social world. The susceptibility to exercise lack of discernment and rejection of the Christian Bible’s principles has existed since creation itself. 

It seems that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil has poisoned the human race with the ability to choose their own kind of right and wrong without reference to God, and we have failed to maintain spiritual balance.

Isaiah 53 says “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.”

The spiritual climate system is comprised of five interacting parts,

1.GOD’S CREATION – THE SPIRITUAL LITHOSPHERE (earth’s crust and upper mantle, God’s creation specifically designed for humanity to live out God’s purposes. In the future, the Bible speaks of a new heaven and new earth).

Genesis 1:1 (NLT) “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

2. HUMANITY – THE SPIRITUAL BIOSPHERE (living things created in the image of god),  

Genesis 1:26 (NLT) says, “Then God said, “Let Us make human beings in Our image, to be like Us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” 

Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.

Then God looked over all He had made, and He saw that it was very good!

3. SIN – THE SPIRITUAL CRYOSPHERE (Ice and Permafrost. When people go cold towards God), 

Romans 3:23 (NLT) “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”

4. CHRIST – THE SPIRITUAL HYDROSPHERE (water of spiritual life), 

In John 4:13-14 (NLT) Jesus spoke to a woman at a well about living water. “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

John 7:37-38 (NLT) says “Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to Me! Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

5. FAITH – THE SPIRITUAL ATMOSPHERE (the air of spiritual life),

Job 32,33:4 (NLT) says “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” … 

Romans 1:17 (NLT) says “This Good News (the Gospel message about believing in Christ) tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

Romans 10:16-18 (NLT) says, “faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” 

Romans 3:27 (NLT) says, “Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No…. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.”

SPIRITUAL ENERGY BUDGET

The Spiritual Climate System receives all of its spiritual power from Christ and reflected power indirectly through His followers. This is not to say that Christ is simply a force or influence. Christ is a person with whom the human race can interact, not only in history but today, through faith. The Spiritual Energy, therefore, is the power of the Gospel.

The passage of spiritual energy (the Gospel’s power to change lives) through the Spiritual Climate system, determines the World’s Spiritual Energy Budget. 

Global Warming © Image created by Ross Cochrane

SPIRITUAL GLOBAL WARMING

As our society receives the spiritual energy of the Gospel, it is distributed throughout the world and gives spiritual balance. However, the wide-spread rejection of the principles of God’s Word increasingly indicate that we are moving towards a time of Judgment and already the spiritual temperature is dangerously high.

1 Corinthians 3:13 (NLT) “But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.”

Isaiah 2:11 says, “Human pride will be brought down, and human arrogance will be humbled. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment.”

SPIRITUAL INTERNAL VARIABILITY

Changes can occur as a result of “Spiritual internal variability”, such as when our inherent sinful actions alter the World’s Spiritual Energy budget. 

SPIRITUAL EL NINO

Spiritual El Nino effects can occur. El Nino is Spanish and literally means “the (Christ) child”. Christ came into the world to bring positive spiritual internal variability, but to reject Him will bring a reversal of spiritually positive patterns – for example – the spiritual drought in Australia in the December of our history.

Love, Judgement and the Cross © Image by Ross Cochrane

John 3:16-21 says, “For this is how God loved the world: 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. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

The Bible indicates that Humanity cannot save themselves from the effects of Spiritual Climate Change and the only person who can is Christ. He is the only one who has come to save us from ourselves and offers us a chance for the next generation to live life to the full. In order to appropriate a way forward we have a considered choice to make to believe in the message of Positive Spiritual Change (the Gospel) and trust in Him.

Pastor Ross

SPIRITUAL CLIMATE CHANGE – Part 2 – THOUGHTS AND CONCLUSION

SPIRITUAL ANTHROPOGENIC CLIMATE CHANGE

Human activities (Spiritual Anthropogenic Forced Change) drive the world’s spiritual climate. It presently drives spiritual climate change, and we move ever closer towards God’s final judgment, a global warming none of us would want to experience without Christ in our lives.

Anthropogenic spiritual climate change is caused by human activity moving closer or further away from the principles of God’s Word.

James 1:21-25 (NLT) even warns Christ followers, “So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says.”

1 Peter 2:8 (NLT) speaks of those who don’t believe in Christ. He says, “They stumble (over believing in Christ) because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.”

1 John 2:5 (NLT) says, “But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love Him. That is how we know we are living in Him.”

SPIRITUAL CLIMATE FORCINGS

Factors that can shape the spiritual climate could be called spiritual climate forcings or “spiritual forcing mechanisms”. 

In recent years these spiritual climate forcings have accelerated eg changes to laws and accepted norms on issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion, and euthenasia. We have entered a period of massive social and spiritual change on many fronts, challenging long held Biblical values.

Isaiah 5:18- “What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart! They even mock God and say, “Hurry up and do something! We want to see what You can do. Let the Holy One of Israel carry out His plan, for we want to know what it is.” What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.”

It is therefore increasingly difficult for Christians to have a voice concerning these spiritual forcing mechanisms at work in our society. Romans 12:2 warns “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.”

SPIRITUAL TOLERANCE AND ACCEPTANCE

The social and spiritual agenda has moved toward a strange new kind of tolerance and acceptance which sounds like a good thing. This tolerance and acceptance however, extends only to those who agree with the more liberal and popular new views of our society, and importance is placed on being increasingly politically correct (This can mean gagging any debate of these new values since it is viewed as offensive and for those who give voice to other views it has meant risking reputation and career). 

SPIRITUALITY AND SOCIAL ENGINEERING 

New laws reinforce these socially engineered agendas and move us further and further away from a heritage based on the principles of the Christian Bible and Judeo/Christian values.

SPIRITUAL VARIATIONS

These include variations in acceptance of Christian Biblical truth even among those who would call themselves Christians. The world’s key spiritual orbit has changed and the spiritual Albedo effect means we no longer reflect Biblical Truths, except those that fit in what is deemed acceptable, and instead there are a 101 variations of religiously fervent agendas. Christian views are often driven underground.

SPIRITUAL CONTINENTAL DRIFT

The world is experiencing a continental spiritual drift, away from the principles of God’s Word and towards a mountain building pride that rejects God and faith from being discussed, let alone believed in. 

SPIRITUAL DEFORESTATION

The vast majority of anthropogenic spiritual carbon dioxide emissions come from throwing the age-old Biblical truths into the fires of social norms (combustion of what is regarded as fossil fuels), with additional contributions coming from the erosion of good soil, and the deforestation of Biblical principles which have guided our world for centuries. 

Psalm 1 (NLT) speaks of those trees. It says “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly. For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.”

The Bible speaks of the importance of having seeds of God’s Word falling on good soil but erosion leaves those seeds falling on the footpath and rocky ground.

Mark 4:20 (NLT) says, “And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

Matthew 13:18-21 (NLT) says, “Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.”

SPIRITUALLY DANGEROUS LIVESTOCK

Even spiritually faithful livestock today are considered dangerous. The sheep of the good shepherd are under scrutiny. Jesus spoke of a day coming when followers of Christ would be considered dangerous for their views. He said in Matthew 24:11-14 (NLT) “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are My followers. And many will turn away from Me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.”

SPIRITUAL CLIMATE CHANGE EMERGENCY

Such a Spiritual Climate Change Emergency, if it continues could cause the World’s Spiritual surface temperature to exceed historical values with harmful effects on the 5 spiritual ecosystems, spiritual biodiversity and human well-being generally. It is already at a dangerous level.

The Bible indicates that Humanity cannot save themselves from the effects of Spiritual Climate Change and the only person who can is Christ. He is the only one who has come to save us from ourselves and offers us a chance for the next generation to live life to the full. In order to appropriate a way forward we have a considered choice to make to believe in the message of Positive Spiritual Change (the Gospel) and trust in Him. There is no other way. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No-one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Pastor Ross

Matthew 18:11 – THE LOST THING

Animated Film by Shaun Tan

Matthew 18:11 – THE LOST THING

Sometimes we discover that not everything fits into the secure boxes in which our perspectives are housed. Our curiosity is not simply drawn to those things that are easily explained but mostly to those things that defy conformity.

The dull colour palette of our everyday existence with signs that seek to direct us away from exploring anything that doesn’t line up, go on the rails, or that challenges the design is different to the unboxed, unfettered and unexplainable world around us, waiting to be explored by those fearless enough to take a step of faith.

In a city signposted, clear and functional, all meaning is predefined and presumed. What if we know we just don’t fit into this world of predetermined answers?

The story of The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan, explores our inner world and is an invitation not to lose that which is extraordinary, creative and fun-loving, that which is beyond explanation. It is an invitation to find a place for the expression and fulfilment of our human spirit, to discover our inner journey. So here are just a few random thoughts on this brilliant story…

YOU WILL NEED THE EYES OF A CHILD TO SEE THE LOST THING

You will need the eyes of a child to see the Lost Thing; to see that part of you that does not belong, does not conform, does not feel at ease or fit in with the surroundings of a world which concerns itself with other matters of limited importance, because it is the trust of a little child that truly understands how to give full expression to your purpose. Only the eyes of a little child can see the Lost Thing.

THE LOST PART OF US NEEDS A PLACE TO BELONG

The Lost thing has tentacles and an iron shell for protection, drawers and doors that contain secrets and at the end of the day, after playful interaction and masterfully innovative projects, it is still there, asking without words, “Where do I really belong?”

THE LOST PART OF YOU CAN NOT BE EXPLAINED

Along the way we try to find people who might know something about our plight, to explain this odd nowhereness feeling we have that no-one really notices. It’s big to us and sometimes friends will try to find the exact answer from a psychological, scientific point of view, identifying the lost part of our life from empirical evidence and careful observation and experimentation, as if there is something wrong with us, but in the end the textbook doesn’t help and they encourage us not to think about it. “Some things are like that,” they say. “You just have to live with it,” and so we don’t mention it again and take our Lostness home with us.

YOU’RE LOSTNESS CAN NOT BE CONTAINED

But it gets in the way at home and so you have to hide your Lostness in the back shed where you go to be alone and feed your thoughts. It’s better when you don’t share this Lost Thing you feel with anyone else. You are kind of happier keeping it to yourself but you know you can’t keep it in the shed forever. It’s too big for the shed. This isn’t the right place for it to find it’s true potential. It really is a dilemma.

It doesn’t belong at home or in the emptiness of beurocracy or places devoid of imagination where people sit in the darkness of disinterest or in the rush of things to do.

THERE IS HOPE

Then comes a still, small voice and you are given a sign of hope. It points you to a long and narrow way through the city to a place you would never know existed unless you are actually looking for it.

You find a door, reach out in faith and turn the key and it whirs and eventually someone opens it up to a wide world that you knew somehow, even with your Lostness, must exist. There is colour. There is creativity and you are in awe. You have found the purpose of the Lost Thing and it belongs here, where you are free to express who you really are. Your life has meaning and purpose. What was lost has been found.

Oh, you can’t enter fully into that place of belonging yet, but that “Found Thing” can. That inner part of you that was lost has finally found a home, a place to express the full realisation of your potential.

And somehow I hear the voice of Jesus gently saying “Don’t ever lose the childlike humility of responding to Me and My purposes for you. I came to give you life and life to the full. The Son of Man came to save that which was lost”

Pastor Ross

Doorway Face in doorway.jpg

 

Part 3 – Matthew 12:9-14 -DEFORMITIES OF THE HEART AND HAND

Gnarled Root System

Yesterday, with the encouragement of my wife, I got rid of some THORNY WEEDS growing like trees in the back garden. The thorns were now like razor sharp nails and so it was difficult to get to the roots without punctures, scratches and a bad attitude. I knew that if I didn’t get to the roots, they would just grow again so I used the MATTOCK. A mattock is a hand tool similar to a pickaxe, particularly suited for digging. Unfortunately, I am not! It took forever to dig around the roots and pull out the bulbous, deformed hand of the root system with it’s disfigured fingers reaching out insidiously in all directions.

Hebrews 12:15 (NLT) warns us “…Watch out that no POISONOUS ROOT OF BITTERNESS grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” There are some poisonous thorny people Jesus has to deal with in Matthew 12:9. RAZOR SHARP in their responses to Jesus and just as destructive. The CLAWED FINGERS of their law system are DISTORTED AND MALFORMED and particularly difficult to uproot. It is not at all surprising that Jesus uses a man with a DEFORMED HAND to illustrate what needs to be done if ever they are to be healed of their DEFORMED HEART.

I notice in Matthew 12:9-10 (NLT) that it says that “Jesus went over to THEIR synagogue, where He noticed a man with a deformed hand. “THEIR synagogue”. Nice point, Matthew. Not the place where God chose to reveal Himself, but where THEY chose to do THEIR religious rituals and make THEIR rules and regulations.

But this verse also says something about Jesus. He didn’t back away from weeding God’s garden. He meets me on my turf. He confronts me about my LEGALISM in the place where I am more DEFORMED ON THE INSIDE than this man’s withered hand, in the synagogue of my own making (Sorry but I couldn’t help but make the analogy).

The man with the deformed hand is probably not allowed to enter the synagogue because of his disfigurement, yet the fact that he is here perhaps gives me the clue that he is in some way looking to God for help. He happens to be in the place where Jesus is – a good place to be if you are looking for healing. Nevertheless healing is often appropriated in the midst of a SPIRITUAL BATTLE.

The Pharisees could see that Jesus noticed this man and so with their THORNS BRISTLING they ask Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping He would say yes, so they could bring charges against Him.) 

There’s all sorts of reasons that I can raise as to why Jesus can’t heal me when I am DEFORMED on the inside, as these Pharisees were. I can be so concerned with maintaining my RELIGIOUS APPEARANCE that I miss the fact that I need healing of my SPIRITUAL DISFIGUREMENTS. When I am so wrapped up in myself and my legalism, and I don’t even notice the needs of others, that’s when Jesus confronts me with a question to counter my MISSHAPEN AND MALFORMED thinking.

In Matthew 12:11-12 (NLT) Jesus says, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.” 

Later on Jesus encapsulated the essence of the commandments of the law by saying, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.'” (Matthew 22:37-39 NLT)

What He says to me is “Do you value your religious rituals more than you value people?” Do I put some of my TWISTED AND WARPED ways of thinking in the way of showing COMPASSION to others? What are my PRIORITIES?

You can determine what kind of person I am by my PRIORITIES and by what I do with the OPPORTUNITIES I have to show compassion. I can equally see what kind of person you are by your priorities and the opportunities you use to show compassion. That day Jesus is not only wanting to heal a deformed hand but SPIRITUALLY DISFIGURED HEARTS. Instead the Pharisees look for opportunities to kill Him (Matthew 12:14).

In Matthew 12:13 (NLT) Jesus says, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was RESTORED, just like the other one!” Jesus doesn’t just give me perspective by His WORDS but also by His ACTIONS. He demonstrates the truth of loving God and loving people. He encourages me to reach out to Him and in that very act I am HEALED AND RESTORED.

God bless you Church as you reach out to Jesus and as He brings healing to the DEFORMITIES of our hearts and enables us in turn to reach out with our hands to others with a compassion that makes a difference.

Pastor Ross