Posts Tagged ‘Word of God’

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The Dive © Picture created by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 1:1-2 – DIVING TO SAVE OUR PLANET

“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.” (Psalm 1:1-2 NLT)

  1. OBEY THE DIVING INSTRUCTIONS

There is a strange compulsion and delight in reading and meditating on God’s Word. It hasn’t always been that way for me. Once it was simply an optional interest to spend some time each day getting to know what was in the Bible. Over the years it has become a compulsive habit, a delightful pursuit of discovery in knowing God. It has led to some changes in my life that haven’t always been easy.

I have discovered the truth of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT): “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.”

Like the Psalmist I find joy when I am in tune with what God has to say in His Word. “I take joy in doing Your will, my God, for Your instructions are written on my heart” (Psalms 40:8 NLT).

Jeremiah expresses it well when he says, “When I discovered Your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear Your name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies” (Jeremiah 15:16 NLT). Delight, not obligation or duty. Not a drudgery or a burden, but a heartbeat. Romans 7:22 (NLT) says “I love God’s law with all my heart.” 

1 John 2:14 speaks of God’s Word living in our hearts. It’s alive and powerful, meant to be lived, not just memorized and certainly not ignored. “Meditation” is speaking more of a way of life, of constant, consistent, continuous application of God’s Word. I am not just an auditor, reading the gauges, but an applier of God’s Word. I live and breathe His truth.

James 1:22-25 (NLT) says “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”

  1. FOLLOW THE DIVING INSTRUCTOR

1 John 5:1-5 (NLT) says “We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey His commandments. Loving God means keeping His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Jesus is described as the Word of God in human form (John 1:1, 14). There is an ongoing adjustment that He makes in my life. He accepts me as I am but I was never intended to stay as He found me, flailing at the bottom of the ocean. Only with the help of Christ can I pull away from the self-seeking influences of my sinful habits and negative attitudes and rise to the destiny designed for me. I can do this because of what He has accomplished on the Cross. He is my diving instructor, dive master, and dive guide.

Philippians 1:21 (NLT) says “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” 

Galatians 2:20 (NLT) say “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

  1. OBSERVE THE SAFETY REGULATIONS

The environment into which I dive each day is hazardous, even though it is all too familiar to me. Survival depends on diver safety.

Psalms 119:91-93 (NLT) says “Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves Your plans. If Your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. I will never forget Your commandments, for by them You give me life.” 

“The law of the Lord” (Psalm 1:2), the Word of God, the Scriptures, the Holy Bible. I love its simplicity, it’s absolutes, it’s invitation to make responsible choices for life. Jesus says “Follow, Obey”. Simple, necessary procedures for the dive. 2 Timothy 2:15 (NLT) says to “…Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.”

After all this time I am pleased that many of the procedures are becoming second nature, but I continue to learn and practice; to “meditate” so that my habits become automatic and faultless, a lifestyle aligned with God’s purposes.

Meditation is not emptying my mind but gaining perspective on how I can breathe in this oxygen-depleted world. It gives me discernment for what I am to reject in life and what I am to accept, what to avoid and what to embrace.

  1. AVOID THE DIVING HAZARDS

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers” (Psalm 1:1 NLT).

I am to stay away from creatures whose habits cause damage, those who have sharp hardened shells around their lives which lacerate and contaminate a diver with their poison.

Their stinging tongues, and venom cause pain and they can be dangerous when they are threatened by those who follow Christ in the dive.

Yes, I am not alone in the dive. God Himself is an experienced diving marine biologist/conservationist too, coming from heaven’s pure atmosphere into our environment to save our species, paying the price of our sin to save our planet, to save me.

He faced the sharks, the Lionfish, stonefish, crown of thorns starfish, and the Blue-ringed octopus, the mockers, sinners and the wicked who have the capacity to produce serious wounds; their venomous injections; toxic and dangerous. And He conquered the suffocating, air depriving dive of death so that I might breathe again.

I have come to understand that God loves me. He does not desire that I drown or get lost or become injured, and He has given specific procedures to minimize the risk as I follow Christ in the dive.

2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

  1. CARRY AND USE YOUR DIVING KNIFE.

Hebrews 4:12 (NLT) says “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

I need the “… sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17 NLT) to cut myself loose from the entanglements of nets and lines that would seek to hinder my progress.

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) says, “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.”

Psalms 18:4-6 (NLT) says, “The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from His sanctuary; my cry to Him reached His ears.”

  1. REMEMBER YOUR DIVING REGULATOR

“Meditate”. Taking it in slowly. Not rushing. Allowing it to infiltrate and oxygenate my life. Day and night. Meditation carries the oxygen to my soul.

Psalms 119:11 (NLT) is my prayer. “I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” 

Can’t simply slip back into default mode. Default mode is falling back on something less than intended. Default mode is reverting to an older version of me motivated with habits and heart attitudes that are based on the lowest common denominator, not the highest possible purposes. I choose not to default on my faith and I am intentional in moving away from other lifestyles and towards obedience to God’s Word. And it is delightful, not debilitating.

Romans 12:2 (NIV) says “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

The Word of God will safely support me. I monitor my time and the pressures of the world inform me over and over again that I cannot afford to stay any longer in the environment I am in without replenishment from above.

  1. WEAR THE RIGHT DIVING GEAR

As I dive, I must keep in mind that I am alive because of my equipment, an environmentalist, seeking to make a difference in another world, full of wonder but also aware of danger. I am in the water but the water is not in me; a diver, who cannot breathe without help in the world I want to see saved.

  1. ACCOMPLISH THE DIVING MISSION

I can spend my time diving for recreational enjoyment in this new world, taking photos and video’s and documenting my environment or I can make a difference to save our species by innovative direct-action tactics, and by reconciling the world to Christ. In Matthew 4:19 (NLT) Jesus calls me. He says, “Come, follow Me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 

Mark 16:15-16 (NLT) says “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.” We live in a drowning world.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NLT) speaks of our mission. “…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”  

Pastor Ross

Matthew 13:51 – UNDERSTAND?! – Part 19

Understand?!

Why is He asking me this question? Yes, I understand! Well, not everything but I get most of what He is trying to tell me! Actually I miss quite a lot of what He is saying. OK, OK. I admit it. At times I so don’t get it.

My teacher in primary school slammed his cane down on my desk and said “Do you understand?”

My Mum scolded me with the rules of the house numerous times with “Do you understand?”

The Commanding Officer sharing with His Senior ranking Officers about the strategies of a major battle with the enemy says “Do you understand?” UNDERSTANDING is essential, especially when other lives are at stake!

If the preacher on Sunday morning asked me directly after the service “Do you understand these things” I’d have to say “Um.. which part?” but I must admit that it would FOCUS my mind the next time he spoke.

Jesus asks me that question right now and I have to say “No Lord. I don’t understand. Please teach me more so that I can understand.” He looks at me with eyes that pierce through to the heart and says “To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge…” (Matthew 13:12 NLT). There is no rebuke or condemnation in His voice, but the importance of His words cuts deep into my soul.

Jesus repeats that idea of understanding in Matthew 13 quite a bit. He says “Anyone with ears to hear should LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND(Matthew 13:9, and 43). At least five times He speaks about the importance of UNDERSTANDING in Matthew 13:9,11,12,23,43. He doesn’t want me simply to hear what He teaches me. He wants me to GET IT! He wants me to listen carefully and comprehend His Word. Not only for my sake, but for the sake of others who come under the sphere of my influence. My understanding of His Truth will have an impact on those around me and in some way the world will change. Yes, I know, maybe the impact will be small, but the world has changed each time I get it right and share His Truth.

I notice that even the Disciples don’t understand all the time. They ask Jesus a lot of questions. Listening, being honest and asking questions is OK with Jesus. He seems to like the Berean heart. They “searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth” (Acts 17:11 NLT). I can’t live it and share His Truth if I don’t have some kind of understanding of it.

I just praise God that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT).

When I’m not on track I just have to ask for wisdom (James 1:5) and the Holy Spirit “leads into all truth” (John 14:17). 1 Corinthians 2:16 assures me that I have access to “the mind of Christ”. He’s in charge of even my understanding when I come under His authority and get to know Him better. That means that I don’t have to be some kind of GENIUS when it comes to understanding my Bible.

Jesus said that He IS the Truth (John 14:6). Fear of the Lord (reverence for Him as King and ruler of my life) is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey His commandments will grow in wisdom” (Psalms 111:10 NLT).

Jesus says in John 5:39-40 (NLT) “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to ME! Yet you refuse to come to Me to receive this life.”

Jesus looks at me and you today and says “Do you understand these things?” These parables of life and faith. If I am honest I will reply “Not always.” The redeeming factor is that I have a relationship with the One who does. That makes all the difference. Every day.

Is it “what you know or who you know”? Or is it that “what you know helps you know He who knows you better than you know yourself”. Understanding = putting it all together about Christ.

The invitation to understand this morning is the invitation to come under the sphere of His influence for the answers you need in life by coming under His authority and giving your life to Him. God bless you with understanding as you take that incredibly important step today.

Pastor Ross