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.

Beyond blessed

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places

Fathers love to bless their kids, and God the Heavenly Father is no exception. In fact, He’s the example.  It’s because He’s such a loving and generous Father that we earthly parents even know what it means to bless our kids.

The Father has not only blessed us with salvation through His Son and adoption into His family as a result, but He has given us every spiritual blessing.  These are not the type of tangible things we think of when the word “blessing” leaves our lips, but they’re far greater than anything we can imagine. In fact, they’re so far from us being able to imagine them that we need the Holy Spirit to reveal them to us.

Along with the wonderful gifts He has showered on us, God gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit.  It’s the gift of himself to us. He’s Christ indwelling the believer, the hope of all glory (Colossians 1:27) and the revelation of every spiritual gift. God shows His grace to us through granting us our new identity as His own and allowing us access to everything that entails.

 

Who are you?

Ephesians 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Who were you created to be?  We’ve all been given a unique identity and a unique calling from God; so what is yours all about?  Before you answer, let’s look at the life of the Apostle Paul as an example of walking in the calling for which we’ve been set apart.

Though Paul started out as a persecutor of the saints, he went on to become one of the greatest evangelists for Christ who ever lived or ever will live.  He greets most in his letters by referring to himself as an apostle of Christ Jesus, in some cases a servant also.  Consider the fact that none can give themselves the title of apostle.  This is a title that can only be given to someone from God himself.  While you and I are not apostles in the same regard as Paul, we have been given unique ministries of our own, and the characteristics and qualifications to carry them out.  Our identities do not come from ourselves, but from Christ.

Consider next how Paul refers to those who are receiving his letter.  The “saints” are the recipients of his letter and this does not refer only to super-spiritual people.  All who follow Christ are saints.  As John Calvin has put it, “All believers are saints, and every saint is a believer.”  If you think it’s arrogant to refer to yourself as a saint, look at the opinion of Johannes Brenz, “but as names go, ‘saint’ is much less arrogant than ‘Christian.'”  If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are a saint and you have a special purpose that He’s given you.

Lastly, Paul’s greeting to his audience is something we need to take as though it were meant for us.  He refers to God our Father, and He certainly is if we’ve put our trust in Him. He’s adopted us into His own family as His children (Romans 8:16).  So saint, you are a child of God, given a purpose and a unique set of personal traits.  What will you do now?

Make a bold move in 2014

January 1, 2014 Devotions for Disciples is back!  We’re relaunching daily devotions for the new year and we’re hoping you’ll be as excited as we are to start things out right by spending time with God in His Word each day.

Here’s what you can look forward to in 2014:

  • Veteran writer and author of the Devotions for Disciples books, Matthew J. Cochran will be returning.
  • Newcomer to D4D and devoted disciple-maker, Brian Elliott will be joining the team.
  • Guest writers from various ministries will make appearances.
  • Devotions for Young Disciples will kick back off with a new series for kids ages 8-12.
  • You’ll find out more about your identity in Christ, learn to walk deeper with Him, and hopefully you’ll find it fulfilling to devote time each day to prayer and Bible study.

Hit the ground running!  Sign up now to start receiving devotions via email.

Romans: Sharing with Christ

Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

We, the adopted children of God, are now officially sons and daughters of the King of Kings.  And what does this mean beyond the fact that we are forgiven of our sins and brought into fellowship with God as part of His family?  It means we get everything.

Everything?  Yes, if we are children of God then we are heirs, just as Jesus Christ is the Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2).  What’s His is ours.  That’s…the glory and the suffering.

We’re called to more than just living a good life here and now on this earth when we enter into God’s family.  We are given incredible gifts from the Father, but there is more to this life than what we receive.  We have the privilege now of sharing with Christ in His sufferings.

Because we’re children of God, those who aren’t may take offense to our disposition and seek to harm us, whether physically or just emotionally and spiritually.  We may not always be happy all the time because in this world there is evil and injustice that will not be eradicated until Christ returns.  Oh, but when He does, we get to share in His glory.  When that time comes, everything in this life will have been worth it.

Romans: God’s kids

Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God

What a precious gift salvation is from the Lord!  Yet even in this wonderful news there is more.  Not only has God saved us and freed us from sin, but He’s adopted us!  He didn’t have to do that for His enemies, and yet He did.

But we all run the risk of falling into doubt, don’t we?  We doubt His love for us, we doubt the forgiveness we’ve received, we doubt that we’re truly His.  And it’s there that we see that the gifts just keep pouring in.  He’s done all these things for us and still there’s more.

In those times of doubt we find that we have a Comforter.  It’s the Holy Spirit who bears witness to our spirits that we are indeed children of God, adopted by the Father of Lights.  Yes, He is our loving Daddy who would spare nothing for our sake.  He never wants us to forget that or to lose sight of it.  He keeps giving by reminding us through the Holy Spirit that we are His and He is ours.  Great news.

Meditation on the Word

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

 

It’s not enough to just hear the Word.  Showing up to listen to a sermon each Sunday is only the beginning of Bible study because you can never get everything you need from a one hour (or less) message.

 

So while you listen, take notes.  Write down the things that strike you, the passages that grab your attention.  Throughout the week, take another look at what was taught.  Take the time to actually think about the Scripture and the application you can make into your own life.  How can you live out this message?

 

This is so important because merely hearing something does not mean it’s going to stick.  Understanding begins with hearing, but it’s got to be meaningful beyond the moment you hear it.  God’s Word is so powerful it’s for all times.  In any and every circumstance you face, it’s good to think about what God has to say.  Move beyond hearing and begin thinking, pondering.  Take the time to meditate on all God has revealed of himself.

 

 

 Look for this and other devotions like it in Matt’s newest Devotions for Disciples book, available soon!