HOPE FOR THE FUTURE.

Scripture:

“Has He not made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part?” – 2 Samuel 23:5

Message:
Many people look to the future with deep anxiety because they are carrying the heavy burden of their daily responsibilities alone. Unless you have strong faith, this could have far-reaching effects on your physical, emotional and mental well-being.
The Son of the Most High God died and rose from this burden of worry. God loved you so much that Jesus Christ gave His life to redeem you from the terrible burden of anxious worries. Unlike those who have no hope, you are blessed with the assurance that the Savior died in order that you may live. Regardless of the circumstances you’re in, this assurance should be a great comfort and encouragement.

Prayer:
I thank you Lord, that in spite of my circumstances I can praise you, for you are in control and you are ever-faithful. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace for Each Moment Devotionals.

A NEW HOPE.

Scripture:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Message:
The decisions you make on a daily basis could have far-reaching consequences for your life. Spend some time in God’s presence today and seek His will. This will lay a solid foundation for a life built on trust in the living Christ.

God will never disappoint you. Through the Holy Spirit, He will open up new horizons of what life can offer. Your values will change as you start looking at life through His eyes.
The more closely you walk with Him, the more clearly you will understand all that He can do in and through your life. Resolve to strengthen and enrich your relationship with Christ so that you can blossom and be as fruitful as He desires you to be.

Prayer:
Loving Lord, I come before you in earnest prayer, asking that my imperfect life might reflect something of your holiness. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace for Each Moment Devotionals.

THE MORE GRATEFUL YOU ARE, THE HAPPIER YOU ARE.

Scripture:
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God” – Philippians 1:3 (NLT)

Message:
If you want to have healthy relationships, start with an attitude of gratitude. You will be far happier and enjoy your relationships more if you develop the habit of being grateful for the people in your life.
Philippians 1:3 says, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God” (NLT).

That simple truth is the foundation of good relationships.

When you think of the people in your life, is your first feeling gratitude? Or are you more likely to ask, “What do they need to do for me? What are our problems? What do we have to get done?” Your first thought may not be gratitude. But Paul’s first thought for his friends was one of gratitude, and it is the model we should follow if we want our relationships to last.

Here’s the problem: The longer you know someone, the more likely you take that person for granted. Isn’t that true? With the passage of time, it becomes easier to focus on that person’s faults and the bad times instead of the happy times.

That’s why it takes effort on our part to choose to have an attitude of gratitude for the people in our lives. The longer our relationships have lasted, the harder it may be to remember. But we experience an eternal impact on our relationships when we develop the habit of giving thanks to God when we think of our spouses, children, parents, siblings, neighbors, coworkers, and small group members.

Talk It Over
What negative thoughts do you need to replace with words of gratitude?
For whom in your life are you thankful? Have you told God? Have you told those people?
Why might God want us to thank him for the people he has placed in our lives?

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Pastor Rick Warren.

HOW MANY FRIENDS IS TOO MANY?

Scripture:
Greater love has no-one than this: that He lay down His life for His friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. – John 15:13-15

INTRODUCTION
Before Facebook, we would have had to make several phone calls or send dozens of texts to figure out what all our friends were up to. Social media platforms such as Facebook listed all those updates in one seamless news feed where we know what’s going on with our friends in just a few minutes. It was a new world. Now, we could make new friends and keep up with the old.
But now, I’m not so sure. Now that we have lived with nearly a decade and a half of social media, can we say that our friendships better off? Have we gained more than we’ve lost? While I see nothing wrong with social media, the advent of this technology forces us to work harder at forming healthy habits in friendship.
Let me explain what I mean. If we aren’t careful, we will stretch ourselves too thin, trying to have 100 deep friendships when we are only capable of a few. If we aren’t careful, we’ll end up with many long-distance friendships but no one physically present in our day to day lives to be there for us. If we aren’t careful, we may lose the ability to enjoy and cultivate seasonal friendships and begin demanding that every friendship be a forever one.
So what wisdom does the Bible offer as we seek to build healthy, stable, and satisfying friendships in the age of social media? While there’s much to say, let me share three principles that are helping me
1. Embrace your limits,
2. Have an eternal perspective,
3. Remember your mission.

1. EMBRACE YOUR LIMITS
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. — Proverbs 18:24
Contrary to the message our social media accounts preach, it is not possible to have hundreds of friends. We just don’t have the capacity. We are limited people with a limited amount of relational bandwidth. Even Jesus accepted this human limitation in His time on earth, choosing only twelve apostles and within that twelve only three — Peter, James, and John — who He regularly brought in to His most intimate moments.
What makes us think we can manage more than that?
Before all this technology, most people were forced to embrace the limits that jobs, moves, and children placed on them. The challenge now is that we are no longer forced into limitation, we must choose to limit ourselves. And that’s far more difficult. It takes a lot of self-control and intentionality to build local friendships after you move rather than just keep up with your friends back home via facetime. But if we don’t make these decisions, we’ll miss the real joys and benefits that flesh-and-blood friendships have for us.

2. HAVE AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. — Colossians 3:2
Unlike the world around us, we don’t have to live as if this life is all there is. Jesus has purchased for us a reality of unending fellowship with Himself and with one another. The future of our friendships with all who trust in Christ are secure! There is no more fear of missing out when you keep eternity in mind.
In my own case considering eternity has freed me to allow for seasonal friendships. I have friends from secondary school and university that are precious friends, people who I dearly love! But I no longer keep up with them because I can’t, I don’t have the capacity right now. But I know one day, because of our mutual faith in Jesus, we will be able to sit across the table from one another in the new heavens and new earth and catch up on all we missed in this life! I have eternity with those friends! So even if it is goodbye for now, I know I’m not really losing anything.

3. REMEMBER YOUR MISSION
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. – 2 Corinthians 5:20
Social media can quickly convince you that keeping up with everyone is priority number one. It can create anxiety in us when we aren’t doing a good job managing our many relationships in person and online. But is this our goal in life? To keep up with our social networks? No way! As Christians, we have something so much bigger to live for!
We are ambassadors for Christ, carrying the hope of the Gospel to a lost and dying world.
Please don’t misunderstand me here, I think friendships are of paramount importance! But when we try to have too many friends, we end up running around from one leisure meeting to another and can lose the ability to see the lonely neighbour in the house next door or the struggling single mother at the market or shopping mall. And they may be in desperate need of the hope that we have.

CONCLUSION
So as you interact with your many online and in person – connections, keep these truths in mind. Humbly embrace the limitations in your life and be content with fewer friends. Choose to remain uninformed about all those online friends every now and then so that you have space to notice the people God has placed right in front of you. Set your mind on eternity and remember you have a mission, and it’s something so much bigger than socializing. You are an ambassador carrying the great news that there is a good God who has befriended sinners through the life, death, and resurrection of His son, Jesus! Living for this will not take away from our friendships but will infuse them with more meaning and joy than we thought possible!

TO PONDER
Do your friendships bring you joy? Or are you spread too thin with too much time spent on social media? Maybe it’s time to take a break and get with a real-life friend. Maybe it is time to disconnect online and connect with a neighbour, a widow from church, or a brand new friend. Let’s ask ourselves who could use the love of Jesus through your phone call or a face to face meeting?
This article was inspired by a devotional message from a friend.

Stay Blessed!

For further inquiries please contact us on Tel Nos. 0302-772013 or 0268130615
Email: saltnlightministries@gmail.com
Website: saltandlightgh.org

WHO IS A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST?

Scripture:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19 – 20.

Messsage:
The Greek term for “disciple” in the New Testament is mathetes, which means more than just “student” or “learner.” A disciple is a “follower,” someone who adheres completely to the teachings of another, making them his rule of life and conduct. The Pharisees prided themselves in being disciples of Moses – John 9:28. Jesus’ followers were called “disciples” long before they were ever called “Christians.” Their discipleship began with Jesus’ call and required them to exercise their will to follow Him -Matthew 9:9.
Jesus was quite explicit about the cost of following Him. Discipleship requires a totally committed life: “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” – Luke 14:33. Sacrifice is expected: “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’” -Matthew 16:24.
Not all of Jesus’ followers were able to make such a commitment. There were many who left Jesus after a while. “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:66).
Biblically speaking, a Christian is a disciple of Christ. A Christian is someone who has placed his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ -John 1:12. A Christian has been born again by the power of the Holy Spirit -John 3:3. A Christian “belongs to Christ” and is daily being transformed into the likeness of Christ – 2 Corinthians 3:18.
A true Christian (and not one in name only) will have to be a disciple of Christ as well. That is, he is someone who has counted the cost and has totally committed his life to following Jesus. He accepts the call to sacrifice and follows wherever the Lord leads. The Christian disciple completely adheres to the teaching of Jesus, makes Christ his number-one priority, and lives accordingly. He is actively involved in making other Christian disciples.
A true Christian disciple is a believer in Christ and possesses new life through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Because he loves Christ, a Christian will also be an obedient disciple (John 14:15). Paul describes the reality of being a Christian disciple: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
GO…MAKE DISCIPLES…BAPTIZING.
These words are referred to as Christ’s Great Commission (i.e., His primary command, instruction and task – along with the authority to carry it out). This command applies to all His followers of every generation. Christ states the goal and responsibility of His church. We are to take His message to people of all nations and cultures. Thus spread the message of Christ as revealed in His own teaching and through the teaching of His apostles.
The primary purpose of Christ’s commission was to make disciples – disciplined “learners” and followers of Jesus who live by His commands and are continually growing in their relationship with Him. To make disciples is the only direct command in this passage.
Christ’s words are really a commission to the deeper aspect of discipleship – which goes beyond evangelism and on to solid teaching and continual spiritual nurturing that produces growth and progress. We should not intend make converts to Christianity but train and mentor (train by teaching and example) other people who will faithfully follow Christ and lead other to Him as well. A church’s spiritual energies and efforts must not be focused merely on enlarging church membership, but in making true disciples – life long followers of Christ who avoid evil, follow Christ’s commands and pursue His purposes with all their heart, mind and will.
Those who believe in Christ – who accept His message by faith and actively yield their lives to Him – are to be “baptized” (being immersed or put completely under water.) It represents a person’s spiritual pledge to turn away from sin and immorality, to die to one’s on sinful nature and, with God’s help, to be raised up to live a new life. In this new life we are completely committed to Christ and His purposes, and through the presence of the Holy Spirit we will be able to fulfill the task to take Christ’s message wherever we go.
It has always been God’s desire to reach the whole world and so we should be under no assumption that this command is something new. God, in the very beginning intended to bring mankind into fellowship and relationship with Himself. It has always been God’s desire to reach the world of lost people and bring them to fellowship with Himself. In 1 Timothy 2:3 – 4 we read, “God our Saviour who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Knowing who a disciple is, a simple definition in Pastor Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life which I find useful says:” A life of discipleship is understood in terms of living out the five purposes. A disciple is one who:
1. Is pleasing God every day, this is true Worship.
2. Is an active member of a local body of believers, which is Fellowship.
3. Is learning to be more Christ-like in their behaviour every day, which is Discipleship.
4. Is serving sacrificially within the local body of believers, which is Ministry.
5. Is sharing God’s love, forgiveness and hope with people who do not know Christ, which is Mission.
To Ponder:
SAVIOUR WHILE MY HEART IS TENDER – MHB 395

1 Savior, while my heart is tender,
I would yield that heart to Thee;
All my powers to Thee surrender,
Thine and only Thine to be.

2 Take me now, Lord Jesus, take me;
Let my youthful heart be Thine;
Thy devoted servant make me;
Fill my soul with love divine.

3 Send me, Lord, where Thou wilt send me,
Only do Thou guide my way;
May Thy grace through life attend me,
Gladly then shall I obey.

4 Let me do Thy will or bear it;
I would know no will but Thine;
Shouldst Thou take my life or spare it,
I that life to Thee resign.

5 Thine I am, O Lord, for ever
To Thy service set apart;
Suffer me to leave Thee never,
Seal Thine image on my heart.

Remain Blessed!
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FEAST OF PEACE.

Scripture:
“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid “. – John 14:27 (NLT)

Message:
In a world that is so chaotic and conflicted, it seems naively idealistic to talk about peace. But peace is one of the gifts that God offers us through Jesus Christ. It is an eternal truth that all who love and serve God will experience His peace in their personal lives.

For those who have God’s peace, it does not mean that they will escape the problems and sorrows of life, it means that they possess something more precious than the spirit of the times in which we live.
Christ’s peace is not a passive quality that shuts our eyes to the harsh reality, but creates a positive approach to life, based on the belief in the trustworthiness of God.

Prayer:
Praise the Lord Jesus, You came to bring peace. Thank You for the peace of this glorious truth ruling in my own heart. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace for Each Moment Devotional.

SHELTER FROM THE STORM.

Scripture:
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust”. – Psalm 91:1-2

Message:
Our lives can only be safe if we trust in the Most High. His protection is not limited to certain times of the day; rather we are under God’s protection every moment of the night and day.

You need not fear anything – not the dangers of night or the attacks of day, not illness and plague, nor war and fighting. God is with us everywhere – at home, on the roads, even in the workplace. With His protection and presence you will be able to conquer all dangers.

Take shelter under God’s wings and be assured that you have a safe refuge where true peace and safety can be found.

Prayer:
God of Ages, Your children have always found shelter and protection in you. Thank You that I know for certain that I will also find it when I come to you. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace for Each Moment Devotional.

THE GIFT OF PEACE.

Scripture:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you”. – John 14:27 (NKJV)

Message:
Jesus promises peace to His followers. Often God’s blessings and peace are all that we desire here on earth to help us in our everyday lives.

The Lord does not want us to worry or lose hope because of things that are happening around us. That is why He promises to “bless His people with peace” – Psalm 29:11.

The Lord does not force His gifts upon us, but He is always ready to grant them when we are ready to receive them. If we ask for peace in prayer, then the Lord will bless us with His peace in our innermost being so that we may experience His peace here on earth.

Prayer:
Savior and Prince of Peace, thank You that I know for certain that You have not only redeemed me but that You have also granted me Your heavenly peace.. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace for Each Moment Devotional.

THE LORD GUIDES US

Scripture
“Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!””. – John 21:7

Message

When the disciple beached at dawn following a night of fishing, they recognized Jesus on the shore. He had prepared a meal for them. This tells us of the Lord’s care – even after His resurrection He stayed close to His children.

We will get rid of a multitude of anxieties and confusions if we only recognize the Lord’s hand in our lives and know for certain that He is by our side in every situation.

We know that He guides us on the path that is best for us. If we meet Jesus with unfailing certainty every day on our path through life, then we are amongst the most fortunate of all people on earth.

Prayer
I praise and glorify You, Lord Jesus, because I see Your hand in every situation in my life and I know for certain that You will never forsake me. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace for Each Moment Devotional.

LYING LEADS TO TROUBLE.

Scripture:
Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘You must die. Your life will end this very year because you have rebelled against the Lord.’” Two months later the prophet Hananiah died. – Jeremiah 28:15-17.

INTRODUCTION
Is honesty always the best policy? Or are there times when it may be best to lie? Ethicists may debate whether certain circumstances justify deception, but Scripture seems clear that lying leads to trouble. Deceit turns on its source, exacting a high price in the long run.
For example, Hananiah the prophet misled the people of Judah by denouncing Jeremiah’s prophecy and then giving a prophecy of his own, preceded by the words, “Thus says the Lord.” But in fact, the Lord had not spoken to him. That kind of false prophecy was a grievous sin, punishable by death – Deuteronomy 13:1-5; “Suppose there are prophets among you or those who dream dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles occur. If they then say, ‘Come, let us worship other gods’—gods you have not known before— do not listen to them. The Lord your God is testing you to see if you truly love Him with all your heart and soul. Serve only the Lord your God and fear Him alone. Obey His commands, listen to His voice, and cling to Him. The false prophets or visionaries who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the Lord your God, who redeemed you from slavery and brought you out of the land of Egypt. Since they try to lead you astray from the way the Lord your God commanded you to live, you must put them to death. In this way you will purge the evil from among you.” Not surprisingly, the Lord called Hananiah to pay for his deception with his life as we read in Jeremiah 28:15-17.
THE WORD OF GOD LYING
A. The Bible gives numerous other examples to show that “A false witness will not go unpunished, and a liar will be destroyed.” – Proverbs 19:9, and that the Lord hates dishonesty; “There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things He detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent”– Proverbs 6:16-17:
1. Sin and death were introduced into the world because a lie was told and believed – Genesis 3:1-7; Timothy 2:14.
2. Cain tried to lie his way out of accountability for killing hos brother Abel. The result was a lifetime of running from others – Genesis 4:1-16.
3. Rebekah engineered a lie for her son Jacob to tell his father Isaac in order to gain the family blessing. The result was estrangement in the family and generations of hostility between the offspring of the two brothers.
4. Joseph’s brother’s lied to their father about selling the boy to slave traders, resulting in profound heartache for their father – Genesis 37:28-35.
5. Potiphar’s wife crafted a lie to frame Joseph with attempted rape, resulting in an unjust prison sentence – Genesis 39:7-20.
6. David practiced a gruesome form of deception by arranging for the murder of Uriah to cover up his affair with Bathsheba. Through Nathan the prophet the lie was exposed. Bathsheba’s child died, and a lifetime of painful relationships ensued in David’s family – 2 Samuel 11-12.
7. Peter denied that he even knew the Lord when asked by several bystanders in the courtyard of Caiaphas’s house, resulting in great shame and sorrow. – Matthew 26:69-74.
8. Ananias and Sapphira lied to the early church and the Holy Spirit about a financial gift, which brought about their untimely deaths – Acts 5:1-11.
Jesus spoke clearly about the nature of lying when He declared that lies are of the devil – John 8:44. By contrast, Jesus is the source of all truth, and those who speak and practice the truth show that they belong to Him. Are you a person of truth and integrity, or is lying a way of life with you?
B. Proverbs 26:28 says, “A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.”
a) Good words do not prove good intentions. Liars and flatterers are out to destroy you, no matter how good their words sound, no matter their excuses – Proverbs 26:24-25. A wise man rejects both kinds of men, just as David did – Psalm 101:3-8. If you tolerate these deceitful people in your life, they will take you down – Proverbs 20:19; 29:5. They are hiding hatred and destruction behind their lying words, and noble and prudent men will stay far from them.
b) A man lies for advantage or to protect himself. He is selfish and wicked, so he feels no guilt about deceiving you in order to advance himself. It does not matter what his relationship is to you or how kindly he speaks at other times. If he has lied to you, then you should run far from him, whether it is a slander about you or a lie to your face. His deceit proves that he hates you. He is out to hurt you or use you. True friends never lie.
c) Flattery is praise designed to deceive you into doing what the flatterer wants you to do. It is a form of lying, but it is harder to detect and resist. Men love praise, so they are easily lulled to sleep by flattery. It is poison in a spoonful of honey. A flatterer is more dangerous than a slanderer, for he is crafty, friendly, and subtle in working his deceit, while liars are more easily detected by their open malice and wickedness.
d) Are you vigilant and intolerant against deceivers? Aggressive salesmen may lie or flatter to sell an inferior product. Many girls have lost their virginity or women their marital fidelity to lying flattery of whoremongers – II Samuel 13:1-13. Many men have been led to hell by flattering lies of whorish women – Proverbs 2:16-18; 5:3; 6:24-26; 7:5,21-23. Many citizens have voted for corrupt politicians due to flattery and false promises, for the election process in most nations is based on words rather than character or performance.
e) Parent, you must punish lying and flattery, and you must teach children to reject liars and flatterers – Job 32:21-22. Teach them that God hates liars, He will judge them, and liars are going to hell – Proverbs 6:16-19; Job 17:5; Ps 12:2-3; Rev 21:8. Teach them that friends who tell the truth even when it hurts are better than kisses from an enemy – Proverbs 27:5-6. Teach them that men should be judged by their actions and lives, not words – Proverbs 20:11.
f) Religion has many lies and flattery, for the devil has used it since Eden – Genesis 3:1-13; John 8:44. The Jews flattered and lied to Jesus to trap Him – Luke 20:20-21. False teachers use good words and fair speeches to deceive simple hearers – Romans 16:17-18. Rome tells the lies of abstaining from meat and marriage – I Timothy 4:1-3. But God’s faithful pastors and teachers never use flattering speech or lies – II Corinthians 2:17; 4:2; I Thessalonians 2:3-6.
Jehovah is God of truth, and so is His Son Jesus Christ, Who is Faithful and True – Revelation 19:11. He expects honesty and truthfulness from His children, and He punishes all liars and flatterers. All who take His name must make sure their every word is honest, sincere, and true – and obviously so in the ears of all others – Deuteronomy 32:4; Romans 12:17; I Peter 2:12.
TO PONDER:
John 8:44 – You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Lying is specifically mentioned as a characteristic of the devil; he is the source of dishonesty and deceit – Genesis 3:1-6; Acts 5:3; Revelation 12:9. This means that lying, cheating and other forms of dishonesty are totally opposed to the mind and nature of God, who is truth – Revelation 19:11. An unconcerned attitude about the sin of lying is one of the unmistakable symptoms of an ungodly condition. It is sign that the person is not “born of the Spirit” but is under the influence of Satan. Where do you stand?
Stay Blessed!

For further inquiries please contact us on Tel Nos. 0302-772013 or 0268130615
Email: saltnlightministries@gmail.com
Website: saltandlightgh.org