All posts by Matthew J. Cochran

Matt Cochran's passion is seeing people's lives transformed by a relationship with Jesus Christ. Having served in the Marine Corps in locations all over the world, Matt easily connects with people. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Christian Studies and a Master's Degree in Discipleship Ministries. Above all else, Matt loves being a dad to Colin, Hank and Amelie.

Resolved: To live with all my might

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

I’m guilty of forgetting. I’m guilty of forgetting that if God is by my side I have nothing to be afraid of. I’m guilty of being afraid when I know better. I fail to step out in obedience when things seem scary because I forget that I have nothing to fear.

Living in fear isn’t really living life. It’s certainly not living the life God has called me to. Where in His Word can we ever find the Lord telling us to be afraid of anything in this world? There’s lots of places that we find encouragement to trust in Him and to not be afraid, but no, no instructions to be timid and hold back because something is scary.

Is there any area of your life where you’re dealing with this? Are you really living life as its meant to be lived and carrying out the calling God has on your life? Or are you waiting for things to settle down before making a move? There’s a time to wait. There are specific times when we’re meant to slow down and wait on God’s timing. I’m not talking about those times, though. I’m talking about times when you know exactly what He wants you to do and you’re afraid to do it.

I’m resolving this year to listen to the voice of God and follow Him, even when it may be hard to do so because of fear. We have a limited time on this earth. It’s time to start living.

Resolved: To make the most of my time

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

Time is a limited resource. We only have so many minutes, and we don’t know how many that will be in the end. We have to do what we can with what we have. Carpe diem. It’s easier said than done, though.

The Psalmist declares, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12), which many of us take to mean that we should live life to the fullest and get everything out of it that we can. If we read the entire Psalm in context we something different though. There’s a lot in there about God’s wrath and about affliction. The author even says at one point, “Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.” (Psalm 90:15)

Even in the times when we’re suffering, we can bring God glory. Even when life hurts, we can make the most of it by living for Him. Asking the Lord to help us number our days is about Him helping us to see how we can serve Him no matter where we find ourselves.

If we resolve never to lose one minute of time, but even in the hardest moments look to the Creator of time, we will live worthy of His calling. That’s what I want to aim for this year. Will you too?

Resolved: To innovate for God’s glory

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things. -Jonathan Edwards

Romans 12:6-8 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

We’ve all been given gifts to use for the glory of God. What are yours? Better question: what are you using those talents to accomplish for the Kingdom of God? Sometimes we think we’re just supposed to go along doing the status quo, not really trying to think deeper or go farther.

But what if the Lord blessed us with gifts, not just to do what seems easy or comes naturally, but to do hard things and step out into the unknown at times? What if we used what we’ve been given to innovate for His glory?

I spent a good portion of my life trying to fit in and do what was expected of me. Maybe part of that is having been in the military, where expectations were largely that I comply and obey. I don’t know if that’s it, but whatever the cause, I felt I was supposed to do what people expected of me and it made me afraid to move on new ideas or do anything uncomfortably different from the norm.

Then I realized it didn’t matter what people thought or wanted. I started asking what God wanted. When I began acting for His glory, using the gifts He gave me, whether or not the stuff I was doing made sense to other people, it gave me a satisfaction of knowing that I was living out my calling.

We’ve got a new year ahead of us, and the thing is, it’s never too late to start living for God’s glory. How will you use your talents and gifts to do that?

Resolved: To seek God’s glory

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever. - Jonathan Edwards

Who are you living for – yourself or the Lord? If I’m honest, I have to admit that I spend a lot more time looking after what I want than I do what He wants. But I know what I’m supposed to do. Why is it so hard?

The thing is, Christianity isn’t about a list of things to do. It’s not about serving God because we’re supposed to. We humans are awfully good at taking just about anything and making it into a to-do list. We look at sections of the Bible that speak on how to live, such as Romans 12, and we think it’s a list of things to attain.

Romans 12:9-21 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

It is how a Christian should live, but we can’t miss the point that it’s through God’s empowerment and for His glory that we live this life. It’s not to achieve His approval or check some stuff off a list. We respond to what God has already done for us in Jesus Christ by living for Him, giving ourselves to Him fully.

So let’s start out this year right. Let’s resolve to live for Him in every choice we make, with every plan, with every move. When we trade what we want for what He wants, we’ll prosper like never before.

Resolved

What’s your New Year’s resolution? For the past few years, I’ve resolved not to make resolutions. The thing is, they don’t work. At least not for me. I get this idea in my head of a goal I’d like to achieve, and before March hits, I’ve already either failed, forgotten, or given up.

But someone who did have some pretty great resolutions was the great minister of old, Jonathan Edwards. I don’t know if you’ve ever read through his, but they’re God-glorifying, others-focused, spiritual growth-producing things that we should all consider.

So, for the next few weeks that’s what we’ll be looking at. These devotions may look different from what you’ve seen in the past because I won’t be starting out with one particular Bible verse. Rest assured, though, the content will be biblical and Scripture will be presented within.

Are you ready to take this journey with me? Let’s dig down into what Jonathan Edwards set out to accomplish with new resolve. Let’s keep in mind that to really succeed we have to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), not looking after our own pursuits.

Everlasting to Everlasting

Psalm 90:2  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Our God is eternal.  He has existed from before time and will continue in existence for all eternity.  From everlasting to everlasting He is God.  You’ve probably heard this truth before, but have you taken the time to meditate on it?

There’s assurance in the fact that the God to whom we belong has always been and will always be.  He knew you before there was a you.  He’s aware of your every struggle and He cares about your every pain.

Unlike the false gods of this world, our God lives and cannot die.  He is present in your life and seeks a deeper relationship with you, His child.  Take comfort in knowing that the Creator of all things has everything under His control.  He is capable of being our dwelling place because He is eternal and unchanging.  Abide in Him.

Continue reading Everlasting to Everlasting

The Rock

1 Corinthians 10:4  and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

Every bit of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, points us to Jesus.  The foreshadowing given, the pictures painted, all are for the glory of God and to teach us about His character. The Old Testament and the Law set up the coming Christ and His fulfillment of the Law.  Study of God’s Word can teach us lessons we never realized could be learned from these stories.

Paul shows us, in His letter to the church in Corinth, that the story of Moses in the wilderness with the children of Israel is more than just a story.  The rock that Moses struck (Exodus 17:6) was more than just a rock, and this was more than just God showing His power.  This, like so many other biblical illustrations, points us to Jesus, who is The Rock.  In Him we find living water, water better than that which flowed to the thirsty people of Israel.

But this is also an illustration of what happens when we corrupt what is of God and celebrate it as man’s own (Numbers 20:10-11). The story of Moses striking the rock when God told him only to speak to it is a look at how we can be so quick to disobey God and make an idol out of our own achievements.  Moses knew that once he had make water come from a rock by striking it with his stick, so when God told him to speak to the rock, Moses disobeyed and tried to repeat his previous feat.  Moses took what was good and corrupted it.  You know the rest of the story, he didn’t get to enter into the promised land with his people.  Even with a great man like Moses, God didn’t tolerate idolatry.

Jesus is the true Rock, He is the source of all things good.  Because we’ve experienced His goodness in the past, we can be too quick to assume that we had something to do with the blessings and try to get the same results in our own strength.  This is idolatry, making ourselves into our own gods.  There is only one Rock that has the water of life, and it’s Jesus.

 

Amazed at Him

Luke 2:47  And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Even at a very young age, Jesus had a way about Him that amazed those with whom He had interactions.  There was just something about Him.  One can only guess what it would have been like to live around Him when He was only a child, but the Word tells us that even back then He was something else.

As Jesus visited the temple as a child, He asked questions of the experts and discussed heavy theological matters with them.  The people in that temple probably would have been impressed with an adult that had the knowledge and wisdom that Jesus displayed, but for it to be coming from a child… They’d never seen such a thing!  There they were discussing God with God face-to-face, and they didn’t even know it.

To experience Jesus is to be amazed by Him.  It’s impossible to encounter Him and keep going along without any change, without even blinking.  It’s impossible.  To be with Jesus elicits awe and amazement.  It makes one want to worship Him, not just carry on as usual.  He’s the manifestation of God, the Lord’s revelation of Himself to man.  How can we not be amazed when we see Him?

Seeing salvation

Luke 2:30-31 for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples

What must it have been like to wait for years and years with the promise of a Messiah to come, never knowing quite when He would arrive?  Oh the faith of Simeon, to keep believing even into old age that God would keep His promise.  Simeon is a good example of faith rewarded.  He waited and he waited for the Promised One and then a day came when God allowed him to see Him with his own eyes.  What a day that must have been for Simeon.

We know that he rejoiced and gave praise to God over the joyous occasion, but he also revealed that at this moment his life was complete.  He had been promised that he would not see death until the Lord’s Christ had been born and there He was in front of Simeon, being presented at the temple.  Simeon could die in peace.  Are you so content with encountering Christ that you’d say you can die in peace right now because you’ve seen Him?

It’s a great occasion any time we get a taste of the Lord’s goodness.  His salvation is a free gift that we can never earn and it comes only from Jesus Christ, and to experience this is something to sing about, to make a fuss over.  But do we look at this as enough?  Is your life complete now that you’ve seen the Lord’s salvation?  For Simeon it was enough.  There was nothing more that the world had to offer him that could even come close to meeting Jesus face to face.  Somehow for us there is still a lot competing for our affections in this world, but the reality is that Jesus is enough and we should be content with Him.  He’s all that we need.

Wise men seek Him and worship

Matthew 2:11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Long before Jesus was born, there was a group of people who studied the prophesies of the coming Messiah, hoping that one day they would be among those who would crown Him as king.  The Magi were men of the east who had been watching for the Promised One for many years, each generation passing along the information to the next.  Imagine being among those who finally got to see the Christ face to face.  Imagine how that would make you feel.  It would make you want to worship.

And so the wise men, as we call them, set out to find the child, for that very purpose.  They longed to see Him and worship Him, bringing gifts with great significance.  Because He was a King, they brought Him gold, because He was the great Healer, they brought Him frankincense, and because He would die for the sins of mankind, they brought Him myrrh.  These were thoughtful gifts, they showed what the Magi thought of Jesus. They were not arbitrary.

So what will you bring before the King to lay down at His feet?  What will you offer Him in worship?