Jerusalem by CityAlight

Hey!

So the song Jerusalem is free from CityAlight at the moment. It’s a good song musically, and far better than that, the Lyrics are pretty good.

You can download it from their website here.

Also, if you are looking for more fantastic music, check out the Sons of Korah. They sing the Psalms. Fantastic.

Short post today,

God bless!

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There’s nothing like being with Christians.

“For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:18, 19 ESV).

Over the last weekend I’ve been away on a Christian youth camp called KYCK. It was excellent. I went 2 weeks ago and got the chance to hear the talks, which were really good (it’s always good to hear the gospel preached, but especially when it’s preached to 2000 youth). But this weekend I went to volunteer.

The thing that struck me the most was that even though I had never met the guys I was working with, because of our trust in Jesus it didn’t take us long to become quite close. Paul says in the passage above that because of Jesus, all Christians have access to God. He then goes on to say that we are no longer strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens – God’s family.

I experienced that reality over the weekend, and as we drove home I read that verse and it struck me as deeply true. When we become Christians we really do move from being enemies of God into being his children. And as part of that we are automatically part of a massive family. Here are some reasons that being with other like-minded Christians is so encouraging:

  • You can rejoice together about the salvation that is in Jesus. It is the centre-piece, the reason that we can come together as family instead of strangers.
  • You can discuss God’s word with them – learning from their knowledge and encouraging them also.
  • You can know that the relationships you have will last for eternity.
  • There’s an automatic understanding of one another – you can understand each other’s ideas and world-views, you have heaps to talk about straight away and there’s a type of trust that flows from that very quickly

Of course there are Christians who you will meet who you don’t get on with. There will be things you disagree on. But spending time with like-minded Christians who you’ve just met is super-encouraging, and what struck me most was the simple honesty that we could have with one another as we worked to serve God together and learn about him.

Over the weekend I got a glimpse of the truth expressed by Paul in the verse above. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, like being with fellow Christians – because if you and they are both seeking to know God better and to learn, then there should be nothing but mutual encouragement between you. Obviously this should be true of our relationships at church, but also in our relationships with other Christians. Is it true for you? Have you experienced this fellowship?

We still live in a fallen world. A world full of disagreements and goodbyes. But the reality is that because of Jesus we are entirely forgiven, and we can look forward to the reality of heaven, where there will be no sin or suffering or hardships. Where we will be in perfect, selfless fellowship with other Christians in the presence of our God and glorifying him together.

What a wonderful thing that is. Are we looking forward to it?

Lots of New Readers is exciting, But…

Hey!

Over the last week or so there’s been an explosion of the people looking at my blog. Thats super encouraging, and thanks to everyone who’s taken an interest, but theres also a bit temptation for me there: Pride.

Isaiah 2:11 – “The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.”

Pride is one of those issues I’ll probably talk a lot about, because its one of the ones which I fall into so easily and can never seem to get out of. The fact is, it’s only by God’s grace that I am even alive. Only by his grace that I am saved, and only by his grace that I can write about his word on this blog.

BUT yet I still start to take that glory for myself. I start to think about what will please people and make me look good, instead of looking at what the bible says. I turn a good thing into a ‘god’ thing. That is me putting myself before God. That is sin.

And yet there is complete and utter forgiveness in Christ. I am saved, forgiven, made righteous through him and his actions alone.

So, action for me: Pray hard about being humble and wanting to only glorify God, not myself.

Action for you: If you guys could be praying for me with this, then that’d be great. Pray that I will know how to serve God best, that I will love him more and more (especially that I will love him far more than myself or the praise of people) and that I will be truly humble (not proud about by “humility”)

Also, if you’ve got any helpful advice then I’m more than happy to listen!

Thanks guys!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Nat.

 

The Sites to See

Are you Righteous? – This post is by one of my friends, but that’s not why I’ve provided a link. Take a look – by God’s standard are you righteous? The answer will be no, so the question becomes have you put your faith in Jesus as the only saviour and repented of your sins?

I want Every Young Person to Read This – Sam Kee gives a good challenge against the conformity our society encourages and how we should be living in light of the truth.

Christ as Radiance – “He is the Lion and the Lamb. He is the Lamb and the Shepherd. He is the Shepherd and the Warrior. He is the Warrior and the Priest. He is the Priest and the Sacrifice. He is the Sacrifice and the Victor. He is the Victor and the Servant. He is the Servant and the King. He is the King and the Convicted. He is the Convicted and the Judge. He is the Judge and the Advocate. Diverse excellencies, each pair juxtaposed yet complementary, finding their admirable conjunction in him.”

Open Letter to Pastors – in this post Anna Wood talks about what pastors should be teaching. Is this what we’re learning and eager to learn at church? If not then there’s a problem.

Eternity – I really enjoy Adam Ford’s cartoons – this one’s about keeping an eternal perspective. Take a look, it won’t take you long.

 

Soli Deo Gloria!

Nat.

Standing Together: The perfect Example of Humility – Jesus.

In my last post we looked at pride as one of the biggest enemies of unity between Christians (You can see that post here). Because of this, Paul continues on this theme, giving us the perfect example of someone who was humble – Jesus.

Philippians 2:5-11 – Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is God. He is the creator of the universe. He was enthroned in heaven, in perfect relationship with the other 2 members of the trinity from eternity past. He deserves all glory and honour, all praise. He placed the stars into space with his words. He created life by speaking.

And yet, instead of claiming that praise and honour, he willingly became a man. He was born in a stable – his creation didn’t even make room for him at his birth. He took the form of a “servant” – in the original language (as far as I know) this is better translated as a slave. But Jesus didn’t only do that. He humbled himself further – he willingly died one of the most shameful deaths that there was for us. The creator of the universe, the one who sustains us every second of the day, was beaten, mocked, spat on and then hung up on a tree to die.

Why did he do that? So he could save us. We are sinners. We have disobeyed God’s perfect law, and as a result we deserve his punishment (hell). Nothing we can do can save us from that – we’ve already stuffed it up. But Jesus didn’t sin. He was God and he was man at the same time, so he took our sin and he took God’s punishment for that sin on the cross. He died in our place – in the place of those who had rebelled against him, who hated him, who were his enemies, so we could be forgiven and to show forth God’s character – his justice and perfection along with his mercy and grace and love.

But that doesn’t automatically make us saved. No, God calls us to respond to this free gift – to put our trust in Jesus as the only saviour and to repent of our sins.

Jesus humbled himself completely for God’s glory. In the same way we should be willing to give up our wants for the sake of those around us. We will never be able to meet what Jesus did for us (and that’s not the aim) – so we have no excuse to be proud and selfish. We need to be ready to even suffer for fellow Christians in order to help them. Humility hurts. It’s not an easy thing we’ve been called to. But it is glorious, and it is far better than pride because it glorifies our Father in heaven instead of ourselves.

Jesus is the perfect example of humility. Will I follow that example even when it hurts? Will you?

God Bless!

Nat.

 

It Is Finished

Redbird's Roost

cross2
“Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” John 19:30 (NASB)

Comparing the Gospels, we discover that these words, “It is finished,” were said “with a loud voice.” It was the shout of a conqueror, who has fought through a long and terrible day, but greets victory as evening closes in.
FINISHED, THE LONG LINE OF SACRIFICIAL RITE. From the gates of Eden the blood of sacrifice had begun to flow, augmented by the confluent streams of the years. From that moment, however, not another drop need be shed. The types were finished now that the Antitype had been realized.
FINISHED, THE FULFILMENT OF PROPHECY. How contradictory some had seemed! Ancient of Days, yet a babe; the Mighty God, yet marred of visage, and led to the slaughter; Son of God, yet scion of David’s…

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Standing Together: Enemy #1 – Pride.

Have you ever tried to work with someone who’s completely arrogant? I don’t mean just a little up themselves, I mean so self-absorbed that it’s just impossible to do anything worthwhile with them. Someone who does all they can to get whats best for themselves, without caring what effect it has on you?

Well the truth is we’re all proud. We’re all arrogant, doing things for our own gain instead of others. Some are openly arrogant. Others seem less so. Others hide it behind a crafty veneer of humility or self-righteousness (that’s usually the category I fit into). But we’re all proud. And pride is one of the biggest things that keep us from working well together as Christians – thats why Paul talks about it in Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Basically, as I’ve already kind of mentioned, Pride is looking at ourselves instead of others. That can be us thinking we are better than others, but it can also be by looking at ourselves and thinking how bad we are – pride is all about comparing ourselves to others.

Instead of focussing on ourselves out focus should be on others, for God’s glory. Instead of focussing on what we want and on bettering things for ourselves, we should be looking at others, seeing what they need and how we can help them. And we should do that so that God will be glorified – so we can encourage fellow Christians and help them come closer to God.

But note: Paul doesn’t say that we can never do what we want to do. No, we need to “also” look at the interests of others. It isn’t wrong to realise we want something and to achieve it. But out priority needs to be to serve and glorify God, even if that means giving up what we want for the sake of someone else getting what they want.

If this happened perfectly then our own needs would get catered for as well, because others would be looking after us. But that rarely happens in the world – people fail, we fail. Does that mean that we shouldn’t live this way? No, of course not! Just because it doesn’t work out how it should (for our benefit and for the benefit of others) doesn’t mean we don’t keep obeying God. We need to obey him to glorify him – not so that others will meet our needs, and we trust him that he will provide what we need – even if he chooses not to provide what we want.

Paul gives us an example of this with the Corinthians. He freely taught them the gospel and worked hard so that they wouldn’t have to support him with money. And even when they questioned his motives and claimed he was just trying to get personal gain he kept teaching them freely – because he wanted to teach them the truth, not get his own way.

As Christians we need to work together so that we can serve God effectively. That will only happen if we look after each other. We can’t just act like islands, seeking our own benefit. We need to be looking at the needs of others and helping them as best as we can – and if all Christians did that then our own needs would be catered for as well.

So how are you doing in the area of Pride? It’s one of the things I struggle with heaps. Are you looking at the Christians around you and asking what you can do for them? Or what they can do for you? Are you seeking God’s glory or your own?