Tag Archive for Jesus

Fear Not I Bring The Gospel

angel Picture yourself in a field outside the small, Judean town of Bethlehem. Your job is to tend sheep. About the only excitement you ever experience is the occasional stray wolf looking for a lamb chop.

Then one night as you and your friends sit out by the fire watching for predators, something truly startling occurs. The sky begins to burn brightly as if it is on fire and then angels begin to descend. Even the best and bravest of us would be freaking out.

So what would it take to calm you down? What thing could these heavenly beings say that would put you at ease? Well, when this scene that I just described actually occurred over 2,000 years ago, the message was pretty straightforward, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

Fear not, that part seems pretty self explanatory, but what about the rest? What was this news and why was it good? To answer that question, you only need look in the mirror. Man is born with a nature that is totally corrupted by sin. We are separated from the creator who made us because we have rebelled against Him. We are lost in the darkness without any light to show us the way back home.

Then enters one man. But He is no ordinary man. He is the very Son of God, come to earth in the form of a baby. His mission is to live a sinless life, die a horrible death, and pay the sin debt that we rightly owed so that if we receive His forgiveness and claim His sacrifice by faith, then we can be welcomed into His family. We can see that light. We can find our way home.

This is what made that evening in Bethlehem so many years ago so special. The message of the angels was a message of hope. A message of deliverance. They might as well have said, Fear not, for I bring you the gospel. The word gospel means “good news” and it was indeed good news that they brought.

I hope that you will ponder this good news and receive it if you have not already. Then you like the shepherds will have the best reason to glorify and praise God.

Merry Christmas from Clapham Community!

Don’t Be The Centerpiece Of Your Life

boy in mirrorJoy Is Not Found In The Mirror

Most of my days are spent thinking about and relying on myself. It’s really one of the most natural and most depressing things I could ever do. True joy comes from have a healthy level of self-forgetfulness. This is something that it has taken me many years to realize and I still struggle at putting it into practice.

One of the first times that this wisdom hit home to me was when I began reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. In this timeless missive Lewis writes:

Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good… above all, that we are better than someone else… I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself all together or see yourself as a small, or dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether.

The subtlety of allowing yourself to become the centerpiece of your life is frightening. In my life this sin manifests itself in a number of ways such as:

1. I begin to get impatient with others when I drive

2. I begin to care more about entertaining myself than I do spending time reading and in quiet meditation and prayer.

3. I care way too much about what others think of me.

4. I become self-contained and don’t enjoy the company of others as much.

5. I get moody and tend to be less joyful.

So when I see the warning signs, I have to put on the brakes and ask the Lord to help me become small so that I can delight in how big He is. This brings joy and peace very quickly. It also restores balance to relationships. It keeps you from expecting from others or yourself what you can only get from God.

I don’t always appreciate it, but the following verse is grace unimaginable

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
– 2 Corinthians 4:7

I am free to be a clay jar because of the beautiful love of Christ that He has put in me. I can be weak and inferior because He is strong and superior and He loves me.

Lord I believe this, help my unbelief.

Who is the centerpiece of your life?

Your Personal Savior?

JesusJesus Is For You, But Not For You Alone

It is very common to hear people refer to Jesus as their personal savior. In a sense they are correct. Jesus is a pursuer of persons and he loves those who know Him in a very personal and loving way. And still it is not completely correct to say that Jesus is your personal savior. Jesus plan from before the foundation of the world was much bigger than you.

In Ephesians chapter one we read:

“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, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”
– Ephesians 1:3-6

The personal pronoun used here by the Apostle Paul is Us. This is not trivial or insignificant. God’s plan is to redeem a people, a body, a church, a family. If this is true, why do we walk with God in isolation stubbornly independent as if that was God’s desire? Why do we envision the marriage supper of the Lamb as a quiet dinner for two?

Is salvation personal? You bet it is! Did God send His son to die so that you can live life on your own apart from His family? Not on your life!

Is Jesus just your personal savior?

Receive The Grace That Is In Front of You

A hand held out to receive grace

No matter where you are grace is right in front of you.

There are days when I struggle just to acknowledge the sovereignty of God over everything. I was having one of those days a couple of weeks ago. In fact it had stretched out from being one of those days to being one of those weeks. I was spiritually coasting and I was needing to get my eyes and my heart back on Jesus. One evening later that week I was spending time with one of my brothers in the Lord and he said something that has stuck with me everyday since then. He said something to the effect of “receive the grace that is in front of you.”

Normally a comment like that would slip right by, but the Holy Spirit used the comment and the giver of the comment to teach me two very important things:

1. I need to spend time with my brothers and sisters in Christ as often as possible. This goes way beyond seeing them at a church service. I mean living life together so that I get this kind of gospel encouragement daily. This will keep me from being led away by my own deceitful heart (Hebrews 3:12-14).

2. No matter where I am and what I have done, grace is always right in front of me and it is greater than my sin. I don’t know about you but there are days at work when I have blown it. I have not used my time wisely or done my work as unto the Lord. Maybe I have had a lustful thought or just have been selfish and prideful. On days like that I just want a do-over. Instead of a do-over, Jesus is standing there holding out His arms as if to say, “If you will forsake your sin I will heal you and give you joy” (I John 1:9).

There is so much hope in knowing that Jesus will always be there for me. That He is reaching out to me through my brothers and sisters in Christ. That His grace is ever before me if I would but leave my sin behind and come to Him empty handed to be filled. That’s grace. That’s worship. That’s good.