Saved Only Through Jesus

Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice [Psalm 49:7-8 ESV]

By what can we save ourselves? This is the question that quite possibly troubles many people. We do our very best, we work hard, we accumulate stuff, we may even spend time and ponder the great mysteries of the world, yet none of these can save us. How much would we need to bring to God as a ransom, as a payment to make things right between ourselves and Him?

To walk with God is to realise we are not saved by ourselves. We  cannot be saved through our own best efforts or those of other people. We cannot buy our salvation either. Nothing is worth enough from our own riches to match the price which needs to be paid.

Truly no man can save another.

Redemption does not come through wealth and riches and all that we have gained. It comes only in one perfect way. Matthew Henry in his commentary says it like this ‘Everlasting life is a jewel of too great a value to be purchased by the wealth of this world’.

ONLY JESUS.

For someone who has been a Christian for a long time I can forget how difficult this idea can be to grasp. It doesn’t make sense, it seems a little weird but when you know that in reality ‘something’ is missing then you begin to understand that all those things you have tried to fill it with never really satisfy. Nothing quite hits the mark.

ONLY JESUS.

As I walk with God, I am, at times, overwhelmed by all that God has done for me. ‘Thank you’ seems insignificant. Yet I must say it. I must be disciplined in my desire to seek Him first. I must live a life that displays Him as Lord of my life, so others can see the difference having Jesus in my life has made, so that by my actions, on behalf of God, some may also be saved.

I cannot pay the price myself, I cannot fill the gap in another persons life, but I can introduce them to the one can, who has, who will.

Today Lord, I pray, help me to live a life that honours You, displays the best of You, that through the way I live for You, others may come to see that knowing You is the best and only way to save themselves. Amen

Today’s Leadership Reminders

Reading feedback today from our first Growth Track session last night and I am reminded of some important leadership principles…

Be willing to listen to other peoples opinions. It can make for uncomfortable reading but by involving others you have the potential to take something which is good and make it so much better. This is why I love that we are doing a ‘pilot run’ of the Growth Track, for such a reason and some of the comments are great.

Be willing to admit when it wasn’t quite right. All the planning in the world doesn’t make up for actually going through something with a bunch of people. The feedback just reminded me of things I had meant to say, they were in my notes but I just forgot.

Be willing to work hard at making necessary changes. Some of these on me to do and then getting others to help with the rest. It’s no good listening to comments to ignore them. Leaders execute stuff, they get stuff done and work hard to make things better.

Team is always best. This for me is an example of Team Xcel at it’s very best, collaborating on what we all agree will be a great success and help many people in their journey with God. Team can also help in making the suggestions happen too.

It’s all about helping people move one step with God. It’s why I am excited about the Growth Track and what it can mean for people and their connection with God, with others, with their purpose and with the church family.

What have your leadership reminders been today?

 

Be in the House of God

“We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭48:9‬ ‭ESV

It’s by being in Gods House where some things often happen. 

As we gather together as a body of believers, with our focus not on ourselves but on the one who created us, some things often happen.  

Making the decision to be planted in a healthy, thriving local church is the cause for some things to happen in our lives. 

In Gods House we remember, we praise, we worship, we lift up our eyes, we focus on God. 

In Gods House we place our thoughts on His steadfast love, His faithfulness, His loving kindness and who we are becoming because of all He has done for us. 

In Gods House, in those moments I am reminded to keep making it less about me and more about God.

Today in Your presence I think on Your steadfast love and I smile to myself and I am happy, thankful and energised by the knowing all that You are to me. 

Clap & Shout

“Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭47:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This is no mild suggestion but more of an instruction. Something we should do because it is good to do. 

Clap your hands ~ everyone!!

To clap is to appreciate, to encourage, to celebrate, to honour. To clap hands to God is to therefore do all of those for Him. 

As our hearts are filled with gratitude for all the good and great things He has accomplished for us, we clap. 

Not a polite clap, instead an excited, energetic clap that demonstrates the full of our thankfulness. 

Shout to God ~ with loud songs!!

We just recorded a new live praise and worship album at Xcel Church. We sang our hearts out and yes, it was loud too. 

To shout is to exclaim, to make a point, to be overwhelmed in a moment of joy or a moment of anger & frustration. 

To shout to God is to make know His greatness so others will hear and my want to join in. It is to be unashamed of the good news of Jesus and what He means to us every day. 

So today lets take some time – let’s clap our hands and shout God. Spend time appreciating all God has done, is doing and will do IN you and THROUGH you. 

By the way ~ what’s your favourite song to clap and shout to God to?

4 Reasons to Make Time & Be Still

“”Be still, and know that I am God. ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Life is such a rush these days, we are always on the move, time is passing so quickly, it’s all ‘now, now, now’. 

Due to the way of the world this idea of ‘being still’ takes on even greater significance. 

To pause. To reflect. To think. To spend deliberate, uninterrupted time with our God. 

Why? 

To counter the speed of all that’s going on around us in our life. 

To remember, like I mentioned yesterday, that He is God and we are not.

To thank God for all the good things He has done for us, is doing and will do. 

To pray and to ask God for the help we need. 

Psalm 46 is full of reasons to ‘be still’…

  • He is our refuge
  • He is our strength
  • He is our help
  • He takes away our fear
  • He is with us
  • He is on His throne 
  • His works in the world and in our individual lives are amazing

From personal experience, it is a good thing at the beginning of each day for me to take a few minutes and think about God. To be still. To read His word. To reflect. To pray. 

How do you make time for God, to reflect on His greatness and to be still in His presence?

Your Throne

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭45:6‬ ‭ESV

I read this verse and it caught my attention. 

Some days it’s good to remember who God is and who we are in comparison. Or to put it more bluntly, to remember that God is God and we are not. 

God is on the throne. 

God is on the  throne for eternity, forever and ever. 

God is on the throne and has authority. 

God is on the throne looking for those who are upright. Not to punish but to bless. 

This is why it’s important to remember God wants to be given first place. We have to give Him control, permission to sit on  the throne of our own lives.

When we do this we align our lives with all that God is and we position ourselves for blessing. We don’t need to be afraid as all the judgement for our messing up has been put on Jesus.

In Him we are upright. Amazingly this means we can then come boldly to His throne and ask for help in times of need. 

God is a good God. He loves us so much. Why not take a moment today and thank Him for He has done in your life. 

It’s Not All About Me

“In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah”‭‭ [Psalms‬ ‭44:8‬ ESV]

How great ‘I am’ might be considered the cultural message of the day by some. Let’s be honest, we do love to tell stories about ourselves. 

  • Of our wonderful victories. 
  • Of our sad failures. 
  • Of the trials we are facing. 
  • Of how others have lifted us or pushed us down.
  • Of how much or how little we have

Too many of us just can’t stop boasting about our own accomplishments. 

Yet without God we are without. We are nothing. We can do nothing if He does not first provide the opportunity. Everything good comes from God.

I may think it is all me but it is not. It is all God. He won the victory. By His mighty hand I am saved. I am established because of all that He has done for me. 

When I make it all about me I embarrass myself not You God. I am ashamed how with my mouth I celebrate me over You. I limit me to my own ability when I forget the influence and impact You have had throughout my life. 

Instead I must make my boast about You. I must praise Your name above all others especially my own. I should give thanks for You forever. I choose to do this above either praising myself or wallowing in my  own pity. 

You are my God. In You I boast. To You I give all the praise and glory and honour. Amen!

He Leads Me

“Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.” [‭‭Psalms‬ ‭43:3-4‬ ESV] 

Knowing God has to be more than just knowing about Him. There has to be a willingness to follow, a desire to learn and to want to grow as a disciple. 

When we place our lives in Gods hands there is some faith involved, after all, we can’t see God. An exchange takes place:

  • We draw near to God and He draws near to us. 
  • We choose to walk with Him, He never leaves us and is always with us. 
  • We give up leading ourselves and instead give permission to God through His Holy Spirit to lead us. 

I make it sound easy but I know it is not. Stuff distracts us and gets in the way. Yet we must remember, in letting Him lead us we are in the best and safest hands. 

His light guides our path. 

His truth speaks to our hearts with direction. 

His presence and our opportunity to praise Him awaits. 

May today be one of those ‘He leads me’ days. May we be aware of His presence and give thanks for knowing Him and for all He has led us through. Amen