PLEASE, FORGIVE ME: LET’S CONFESS TO ONE ANOTHER

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “First go and be reconciled with your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
– Matthew 5:24

At a church potluck awhile ago, older parishioners were asked to share childhood memories to help us younger parents strengthen our families. An elderly Greek lady, Helen, told us that every Saturday evening her family had prayed special prayers ending the week and starting the new one. Most importantly, they asked forgiveness of each other and their Father. “Only then did I feel ready to go to church the next day,” Helen said.

Their Saturday ritual seemed only an interesting old custom until a few weeks later, when our family attended the Liturgy at a Romanian Orthodox monastery in southern Michigan. During the Liturgy, the clergy embrace and ask forgiveness of each other, then bow to the congregation, asking the people to forgive them. When they had finished doing this, the woman in front of me turned to the lady next to her and whispered, “Forgive me, Mom.” Her mom asked her for forgiveness in turn, and they hugged each other. Then, before receiving Holy Communion, I noticed each nun go to the abbess, bow and ask forgiveness, then turn and bow to all the other nuns.

Looking at my husband Alex across the heads of our children, I mouthed the words, “Forgive me.” “I do. Forgive me, too,” he whispered.

We reached behind the kids and gave each other’s hand a squeeze. Now, before our family receives Communion each Sunday, we ask each other’s forgiveness. Sometimes we think of specifics, such as “Forgive me for losing my temper and shouting at you,” or “Forgive me for not doing what you asked right away.” At other times, nothing definite comes to mind, but we ask pardon for any ways we’ve wronged or failed each other, knowingly or unknowingly, and seal our reconciliation with a big hug. Cleansed of the past week’s failures or irritations, we are renewed to start fresh another week, “fighting the good fight of the faith.”

Prayer Thought: “Father, before I worship You today, help me be at peace with everyone”. Amen

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from DEVOTIONALS DAILY.

GOOD CHRISTIAN CITIZENS

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. – Romans 12:3-8
INTRODUCTION
When someone is born again, he or she is born into a family of faith for all eternity. This family, God’s people, is the church. Unlike any other earthly, entity, the church is not divided according to physical boundary, race, culture, education or any other reality. Instead, the church is unified because of its member’s common experience with the grace of Jesus Christ.
Unity, however, does not mean uniformity or a lack of diversity. Indeed, the great diversity of the church’s members is one of its unique aspects. Though each member is gifted differently, every member comes together to form the whole church. Furthermore, because of the variety of gifts possessed, every member is integral to the church’s healthy functioning. There is, then, no member greater than another, just as there is no part of the body that would boast over its position. The proper response if the Christian is to love and value the other members of the church because of their essential contributions to the health and well-being of the church worldwide.
Please enjoy these portions of scripture that speak to us directly about being good Christian citizens.
A LIVING SACRIFICE
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:1-2
HUMBLE SERVICE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. – Romans 12:3-8.
LOVE IN ACTION
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:9-21
SUBMISSION TO GOVERNING AUTHORITIES
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour. -Romans 13:1-7

 

LOVE FULFILLS THE LAW
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10
THE DAY IS NEAR
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. – Romans 13:11-14
Stay Blessed!

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

NEED HELP? GOD IS WAITING FOR YOU TO ASK

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” – Matthew 7:7 (NIV)

MESSAGE

God never closes his storehouse until you close your mouth and stop asking.

God wants to help you, but if you don’t ever ask, that’s a problem. The last time you needed a car, did you ask God for it, or did you just go out and buy it? Before you decided on the best way to do something, did you ask God for wisdom? When you needed help in a relationship, did you pray about it first?
Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” -Matthew 7:7 (NIV).

When you need God’s help, remember to ASK: ask, seek, knock. God spells it out in this verse three ways so that you will get the message. Maybe you never see miracles in your life because you never ask for them. If you want to see God work in your life more, start asking!

One of God’s principles for your finances is that before you pay for it, pray for it. Stop and ask God. Give God a chance to give it to you before you go out and charge it. If you depend more on your credit card than on Jesus Christ, then you’re not going to get God’s blessing on your finances. He wants you to pray about it before you pay for it so that you will have his wisdom and make a decision that pleases him.
God wants you to ask for things in prayer because he’s a loving Father. Like any father who loves to give his kids good things, God loves to bestow gifts on his children. He’s just waiting for you to ask.
“You have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy” -John 16:24 (NCV).

God wants you to ask so he can give. He wants to give so you can receive. He wants you to receive so you’ll be full of joy. He wants you to be full of joy because it’s a great advertisement for Jesus Christ. Joyful Christians show the world that following Jesus and doing what he commands brings joy, not dread.

Stop worrying about your finances. Start praying about them! When you do, you’ll have a lot less worry and a lot more joy.

Talk About It

What is the biggest thing that you need help with right now? Have you prayed about it?

What people in your life will pray with you about something that you would otherwise worry about? What difference do their prayers make in your life?

How can you still be full of joy when God doesn’t answer your prayers the way you want or expect him to?

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from DAILY HOPE BY PASTOR RICK.

“DEVOTIONS FOR A DEEPER LIFE”

SUGGESTED READING: ACTS 17:22-31

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “God… commandeth all men everywhere to repent” – Acts 17:30b

True repentance is keenly painful, but very beneficial in its results. Some people easily forget their period of repentance; others never do. I am referring to the period when a person fully feels what one has been. I do not believe the Spirit of God allows Christians to lose all memory of the horrible pit and miry clay of sins out of which God has delivered them. The apostle Paul never forgot what he was; and that memory reminded him that he became what he “now is” by the marvelous grace of God.

Repentance does not mean that you will never commit those sins again. It means that you have, by God’s grace, reached a place where you do positively the other things. The only truly repentant person, in the fullest analysis, is the person who allows God to deal with what was wrong – sin.

Set your heart and mind toward God and let the Holy light of Jesus Christ search through every crook and cranny. The result will be a marvelous readjustment of your whole life.

PRAYER THOUGHT: “Search me, Lord. Enable me to forsake all sin and live for you”. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from DEVOTIONS FOR DEEPER LIFE BY OSWALD CHAMBERS.

“DEVOTIONS FOR A DEEPER LIFE”

SUGGESTED READING: HEBREWS 2

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be merciful and faithful high priest in thins pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people”- Hebrews 2:17

The greatest work in the world is the work of Christ’s reconciliation of mankind with God. Sin put each one of us at enmity with God and God at enmity with us.

We have too often forgotten God’s hatred for sin. The consequence is that our sense of salvation becomes merely sentiment; we presume that God,being love, will forgive any sinner at any time. But if we teach that people are saved by “simply looking to Jesus”, we are quite mistaken – unless we understand what the Bible mean by looking to Jesus. If we declare that “there is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved,” all well and good; but if by that we mean looking to Jesus as a representative of God, if we are “lost in wonder, love, and praise” as we meditate upon that fact, and if we accept that sense of wonder as a sign of our salvation – then we are deceived.

Beware of any teaching that says “loving Jesus” means that your soul is saved. This simply is not true, either in Scripture or in the common experience of life. There are scores of men and women who love Jesus, but who loathe the doctrine of forgiveness of sins by shed blood of Jesus.

PRAYER THOUGHT: “Gracious Lord, the love You expressed toward us through Your death and resurrection gives me hope. I praise You for it”. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from DEVOTIONS FOR DEEPER LIFE BY OSWALD CHAMBERS.

“DEVOTIONS FOR A DEEPER LIFE”.

SUGGESTED READING: LUKE 15:11-32

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, father, I have sinned against Heaven and before thee”- Luke 15:18

The word repentance is often misunderstood. This  word, as we know it in the English language, does not fully convey the idea that God wants us to understand.

Repentance does not simply mean sorrow for sin. No! The prodigal son had remorse and sorrow while he fed pigs. In despair, he said, “how many hired servants of my father have brad enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” (Luke 15:17). But was that repentance? Obviously not. The prodigal left the pigs and husks, and went back to his father. He said, “I will say unto him, father, I have sinned against Heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy  son: make me as one of thy hired servants” (Luke 15:18-19). Almost before he realized it, two strong arms of love embraced him, and the father clasped him to his bosom. That is repentance! The new testament meaning of repentance is “going back.”

Have you gone back? Have you returned to your Heavenly Father? Remorse is not complete repentance. Returning to God is repentance!

PRAYER THOUGHT: “Thank You, Heavenly Father, for outstretched arms of mercy as You 

DEVOTIONS FOR A DEEPER LIFE”.

SUGGESTED READING: ISAIAH 53

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows”- Isaiah 53:4a

Beware of any teaching that makes repentance the ransom that persuades God to forgive sin. Repentance is only the avenue whereby God enables us to see that our sinful condition is hopeless unless God does a remarkable work of grace and redemption in our lives.

Just as I am without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
Oh, Lamb of God I come, I come.

Isaiah reminds us that Jesus was “wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and His stripes we are healed”(53:5). This is the only scriptural understanding of how our sin can be forgiven. It is the only way that God’s character is clearly vindicated and His utterly love exhibited: by making His only-begotten Son the scapegoat for every man, woman, and child.

PRAYER THOUGHT: “Lord of mercy, I bow humbly, confessing my personal need of Your grace and redemption”. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from DEVOTIONS FOR DEEPER LIFE BY OSWALD CHAMBERS.

DEVOTIONS FOR A DEEPER LIFE

SUGGESTED READING: JOHN 1:6-14
SCRIPTURE TEXT: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name”- John  1:12
MESSAGE

Our Lord Jesus Christ did not come into this world to do the work of a social reformer, a political administrator, a judge, or simply a ruler in the affairs of men and women. Jesus came as the light of the world, to perform a work of grace in the hearts of individuals that will impart a new disposition of righteousness. This heartfelt transformation will make God real in our lives.

Jesus Christ is a Savior who saves, not by impressions we derive from a study of Hos character, but through the work He did by the shedding of His blood on the cross. Jesus Christ is a Sanctifier, who sanctifies, not by our sympathetic imitation of Him, but by the fact of what He works in us.

Our Lord was not only without sin, but He also provides a work of grace whereby you and I might be without sin. Our Lord not only obeyed the good and perfect will of God perfectly, but He  also makes it possible for us to fully obey God’s perfect will. Our Lord Jesus Christ was our personal substitute on the cross, and our participation in His salvation depends on our knowledge of this glorious deed in our behalf.

PRAYER THOUGHT: “Father, I acknowledge my salvation through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross”. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from DEVOTIONS FOR DEEPER LIFE BY OSWALD CHAMBERS.

PEACE

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” – John 14:27
MESSAGE

What is peace? You have seen a water puddle in the road, I’m sure. It is peaceful. There is not the slightest stirring in it. The water is smooth and unruffled. The colors of nature are reflected in it. That is not peace, but stagnant death!

Have you ever seen a child spinning a top? When the top is going its fastest, it is at perfect rest. The peace of God is perfection of energy; it is a healthy vigor of the soul.

The peace of God is not the peace of stoicism or passivity. It is the most intense activity. Some people say that they are tired of life; they mean to say that they are tired of dying. They are tired of spiritual death that stops activity. They are tired of life getting so sluggish.

What does Jesus say? “I have come that ye might have life and that ye might have it more abundantly; but ye will not come to Me that ye might have it” Everything in this natural world is pitted against you, unless you have His life you will never have real peace.

PRAYER THOUGHT: “Lord, thank You for inner peace in the midst of a troubled world. Amen”

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from OSWALD CHAMBERS’ DEVOTIONS FOR A DEEPER.

LET’S TAKE OFF THIS LABEL

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world” – Corinthians 7:23
MESSAGE

Have people ever stuck a label on you based on your name, origins, family, or level of education? Sometimes, just being different from others can have an enormous impact on our lives.
So, we may pretend, like others, to be useless or good for nothing…In those areas where some may disregard you, you put yourself down…
If you’re a victim of labeling, I’d like to encourage you with these thoughts. I pray that they change your life and help you put on your true identity from today forward!
Hold onto these 3 truths:

You are not what others say you are. If you’re a child of God, you are also His heir, and you’re a co-heir with Christ. “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”   – Romans 8:17(NLT)

You have inestimable value. “God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world.” (Read 1 Corinthians 7:23) God redeemed you at a very high price: the life of His only Son, Jesus! You are precious in His eyes!

Your past does not determine your future. God has delivered you from your old life. (Read 2 Corinthians 5:17) And He’s inviting you now to do the good works that He prepared in advance for you.                                                                                                                                                                             I encourage you now to tear this false label from your forehead and allow God to put His seal there. You’re a child   …declare it! He loves you! 

Prayer Thought: … “Lord, I ask You to forgive me for letting others condemn me when You redeemed me at such a great price, the price of Your Son’s life, and for believing lies like these. Thank You for making me Your heir and for preparing a future full of hope for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen”.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from JESUS.NET.