BLESSED WITH THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST

 

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. – Romans 8:9-10.

 

INTRODUCTION

Lent started on Wednesday 6th March, 2019 and is a period 40 days (excluding Sundays) that precedes the celebration of Easter and continues through Holy Thursday (April 18, 2019). Romans Chapter 8 gives a good understanding of what our new life in Christ entails. Enjoy it and share it with family and friends!

 

Life Through the Spirit

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.

 

Present Suffering and Future Glory

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.

 

More Than Conquerors

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Stay blessed!

Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sundays 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and Uniiq 95.7 Fm – Saturdays 7:30 pm; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

 

 

BEYOND GHANA @ 62

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; – Acts 17:26-27

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”John 8:36 (NKJV)

 

INTRODUCTION

The drums of March 6, 1957, have faded away into distant memories and dusty archives. And even the more recent beats of Ghana @ 60 fail to coax dance steps from people today. It is inevitable that the strains of festival music must fade out. But is we have experienced true independence, our hearts will quicken our feet to move in sync with the practical demonstrations of that freedom.

 

If there are more Christians in this country than those of other religions, as the figures show, why then does our beloved country still struggle to enjoy and manifest the fruits of true independence? Why do we still act as though we are a heathen nation?

We go back to our text, John 8:36. It is only if the Son of God makes us free that we can be free indeed. All other forms of freedom pale in comparison and none can stand complete outside it. And this is the freedom that the Lord Jesus Himself has called us out to. Not freedom from the colonial rule of man’s administration, but something higher and deeper. Then we will be different from other nations and reflect more correctly the God that we claim to serve.

This article is from the book “The Transformed Mind”, co-authored by Dr. Samuel Koranteng-Pipim and I. I pray that you will consider rethinking your role as a child of God in the development of our dear country Ghana.

Towards True Independence

In the words of a contemporary son of the nation, true independence calls for “mind liberation.” Dr. Pipim argues that despite our liberation from the “metal chains” of colonization, “mental chains” still bind us as Africans. He perceptively observes that “the heart of the African problem is the African heart.” Therefore he argues that what Africa needs is not simply more educated minds, but more transformed minds—“not merely mind improvement, but mind replacement.” Such a “mind replacement” or “mind liberation,” according to Dr. Pipim can only be effected by the Lord Jesus Christ.

In other words, more tact will not get us that freedom; more learning will fail us. It is not more words that we need, nor seminars and workshops about new advances, but first and foremost the true spirit of liberty that is found only in Jesus Christ. He alone can give that true freedom that we need, because He alone has it. He says: “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36)

Stated differently, Christianity presents what true independence really is: It is the transformation of the human heart. It is freedom from the slavery of sin. It is being set free from our warped mind sets and selfish hearts. It is, what our Lord Jesus refers to as, being “born again” by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8). This work of the Spirit in transforming our hearts starts from within and it becomes evident on the outside (Titus 3:3-5; Romans 12:2). That is, transformation or heart renewal is primarily internal, but it always shows on the outside.

The Word of God says: ‘But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.’ 1Peter 2:9

And not just that, for our independence is not merely political, but far stronger. As the Lord said to Israel of old, so He says to Ghana today: “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.  Deuteronomy 7:6

The Lord further affirms in His Word that all that we seek as a nation, He will grant unto us. The true independence that we are yet to enjoy fully, He will make possible. He leaves us with this two-fold promise and command: “The Lord has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands. And if you do, he will set you high above all the other nation she has made. Then you will receive praise, honour, and renown. You will be a nation that is holy to the Lord your God, just as he promised.” – Deuteronomy 26:18,19.

And after that has happened, Apostle Paul reminds us to “Standfast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” – Galatians 5:1

When you really think about it, nothing else beats these promises and assurances. Our diplomats, politicians, professors, businessmen, ministers, and the best of our young and old cannot make our nation truly independent. Wrapped up in this week’s text, only the Son of God can make us truly free, completely independent.

When we become truly independent, it will be evident in more love in our interaction with one another, more compassion, more honesty, better consideration for others, increased loyalty to the cause of our nation and improved services for others.  We will no longer act as slaves to sin, but as children of light and the light we radiate will brighten the path of our country.

The Need for Salt & Light

If the words of Christ have any relevance, then the time has come for those of us who claim to be Christians to begin playing our roles in society as salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). It is not enough to go church every week or preach about miracles when we have not experienced the greatest miracle of all—the change of our hearts.

One 19th-century Christian devotional author said it best: “a profession of godliness without the living principle is as utterly valueless as salt without its saving properties. An unprincipled professed Christian is a byword, a reproach to Christ, a dishonour to His name.”

The same author argues that: “The greatest want of the world is the want of men [and women]—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. But such a character is not the result of accident; it is not due to special favours or endowments of Providence. A noble character is the result of self-discipline, of the subjection of the lower to the higher nature—the surrender of self for the service of love to God and man” (Education, p. 57).

The Lord is waiting to make us a nation that will be high above all other nations that He has made. What then do we stand to lose by taking Him up on His beautiful offer to grant us true freedom? Not merely freedom from man’s rule but freedom from the yoke and bondage of sin. From Satan’s tyrannical rule that makes beasts of men and demons of the best of us.  Why not let Him now?

An ancient hymn captures the sentiments of our hearts as a nation at this anniversary period. We know we’re not where we should be yet, but we have hope in the One that can lead us there. Known over the centuries of our nation’s history by different names, we call upon the One true God, the God of our fathers, the Almighty God of heaven and earth to help us at this time.  Without Him we are finished, and we seek for His guidance and leading to grant us true independence for our sin-yoked hearts, individually, and as a nation.

Join me to sing or pray the timely words of this ancient hymn authored by Daniel C. Roberts (1841 – 1907):

God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies,
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

 

Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast;
Be Thou our ruler, guardian, guide and stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

 

From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

 

Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never-ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.

Stay Blessed!

 

For further inquiries please contact us on Tel Nos. 0302-772013 or 0268130615

Email:  saltnlightministries@gmail.com

Website:  saltandlightgh.org 

 

 

 

THE BEATITUDES

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.  Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:3-12

 

INTRODUCTION

“The Sermon on the Mount” found in Matthew 5, 6 and 7 as well as “Sermon on the Plain” in Luke 6:20–23, and commonly called Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, contain a powerful yet practical revelation of the principles and standards by which God expects all Christians to live. Of course, living up to these standards is possible only through faith in Jesus, the Son of God, and through the power of the Holy Spirit. In this message, Jesus teaches a large group of potential followers what it really means to follow Him and be part of God’s kingdom. All who belong to the kingdom are to demonstrate godly character and have an intense hunger and thirst for righteousness (i.e., to do what is right and maintain a right relationship with God. We begin today with what is called the Beatitudes – Be – Attitude.

Each attitude starts with “Blessed”…. The word “blessed” refers to the well-being and joy of those who, because of their relationship to Christ and His Word, find their place in God’s kingdom. The benefits of that “membership” include God’s constant love, care, presence and spiritual salvation. There are certain character requirements if we wish to receive the benefits of God’s kingdom; we must be guided by God’s purposes and values and not by the ways and values of the world.

  1. Blessed…Poor in Spirit.

The first of these requirements is to be “poor in spirit” – not arrogant or self-reliant. We must humbly recognize that we are not spiritually self-sufficient. That means that we cannot earn a place in God’s kingdom; we need the Holy Spirit’s life, power and grace (i.e., undeserved favour, love, enablement) in order to receive the benefits of spiritual salvation.

 

  1. Those Who Mourn.

To “mourn” is to recognize and feel sorrow over our own weakness in relation to God’s perfect standards and ultimate power. It also means grieving over the things that grieve God, such as the unfaithfulness, immorality and cruelty that are rampant in the world. Those who mourn over sin and its effect on people’s lives – and commit themselves to helping rescue people from evil – are comforted by receiving from God’s “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”.

 

  1. The Meek.

This does not simply suggest a modest attitude toward other people. The “meek” are those who are humble and submissive to God. They depend on nothing but Him for security in life and refuge from trouble. They commit themselves and the direction of their lives entirely to Him. They are more concerned about God’s work and God’s people than about what might happen to them personally. The meek, rather than those who aggressively pursue their own ways, ultimately will inherit God’s benefits and reign with Him in the end.

 

  1. Hunger and Thirst For Righteousness

This is one of the most important verses in the Sermon on the Mount. Without this intense desire for righteousness, a person will not pursue a deeper relationship with God or try to develop the rest of the character traits Jesus describes.

  1. The foundational requirement for all godly living is to “hunger and thirst for righteousness”. Such hunger is seen in Moses , the psalm writer and the great missionary, Paul. The spiritual condition of Christians all throughout their lives will depend on their hunger and thirst for: the presence of God, the Word of God, the interaction and friendship of Christ, the companionship, guidance and influence of the Holy Spirit; righteousness, God’s power and the return of the Christ.
  2. The Christian’s hunger for God and His purposes is hindered – and even destroyed – by the worries of life, deceitfulness of wealth, desire for temporal things, lust for life’s pleasures and failure to trust Christ and remain in a right relationship with Him. When a Christian loses his or her hunger for God and his standards, he or she will begin to die spiritually. For this reason, it is essential that we be sensitive and responsive to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives and consciences, keeping us away from evil and drawing us closer to God.
  3. The Merciful

The merciful are full of sympathy and compassion toward those who are suffering either from sin or sorrow.  The merciful sincerely want to help ease and eliminate such suffering by influencing people to depend on God for help and to entrust their lives to Jesus Christ. Merciful people also get actively involved in meeting people’s need. By showing mercy to others, we “will be shown mercy”

 

  1. The Pure in Heart

The “pure in heart” are those who have devoted themselves to God and have been freed from sin power by God’s grace (i.e., his undeserved favour, love, help and enablement). That grace now enables them to please God and bring honour to Him by the way they live. They seek to have the same attitude that God has – a love for what is true and right and hatred of evil. Their heart (which includes mind, will and emotions;). This means that their thoughts and desires are pure according to His standards of holiness (i.e., moral purity, spiritual integrity, separation from evil and dedication to God). God requires holiness in His followers because He is holy and because only the pure in heart “will see God”. To see God means to be His child and experience a close personal relationship with Him, both now and in His future eternal kingdom.

 

  1. The Peacemakers.

The “peacemakers” are those who have been reconciled to God (i.e., restored to a right relationship with Him). Peace with God is available to anyone who accepts the sacrifice Jesus made for their sins by His death on the cross. Those who truly have peace with God will make every effort to show that peace to others – including their enemies – and to bring others into a relationship of peace with God.

 

  1. Persecuted because of Righteousness. People who follow Christ and live according to the principles of God’s Word will face opposition and rejection. Those who uphold God’s standards of truth, justice and purity, refusing to follow and walk in the ungodly lifestyles of society, will be unpopular. They will receive criticism and opposition from the world; and at times from those within the church. The Bible teaches that this is a time to rejoice because God reserves a special blessing for those who suffer for His sake. Christians must beware of the temptation to compromise their faithfulness to God’s purposes in order to avoid shame, embarrassment or loss. The principles of God’s kingdom never change: “…everyone who wants to live godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”. Yet those who suffer and endure persecution because of their devotion and commitment to God are promised a place of honour and reward in God’s heavenly kingdom.

Stay blessed!

Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sundays 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and Uniiq 95.7 Fm – Saturdays 7:30 pm; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

 

PREJUDICE

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. – 1 Corinthians 12:13 (NIV)

INTRODUCTION

Prejudice is forming negative opinion about someone without adequate basis. In a very real sense, it is judging someone without all the facts, condemning them in the court of personal opinion. Prejudice can be formed against a person or an entire race of people. The Bible speaks out clearly against prejudice. God created all people equally; all humans are unique and special creations formed by the Lord Himself. We are not to be judgmental, but loving. We are not to be suspicious, but inviting.

  • Don’t be prejudiced for or against a person because of appearance.

Stereotypes abound – prejudice against fat people, short people, skinny people, ugly people, black people, white people, yellow people, people with skin defects, bald people – the list goes on. But the real person is inside; the body is only the shell, the temporary housing. It is wrong to judge a person by the temporary house he or she is in. The real person inside may be a person of incredible beauty.

1 Samuel 16:7 – …Don’t judge by his appearance or height…The LORD doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.

Isaiah 53:2 – My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.

  • Don’t be prejudiced for or against a group because of one person in the group.

We often form an opinion about an entire group of people (nationality, church denomination, local club) based on the actions of one individual.

Esther 3:5-6. – [Haman] was filled with rage. So he decided it was not enough to lay hands on Mordecai alone.. he decided to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire.

  • Don’t be prejudiced because of a person’s financial state.

A wealthy person and a poor person came to church. Which is welcomed more? A wealthy person and a poor person speak up in a church committee meeting. Which one do you listen to more carefully?

Proverbs 14:20-21 – The poor are despised even by their neighbours, while the rich have many “friends”. It is sin to despise one’s neighbours; blessed are those who help the poor.

Proverbs 14:31 – Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who help the poor honour Him.

James 2:1-9 -…But if you pay special attention to the rich, you are committing a sin…

  • Don’t be prejudiced because of youth or old age.

How often have you heard the word “They are just children”? We don’t have time for children. We don’t listen to them as much as we would to an adult. In fact, children are the true VIPs of the world, for in their hands rests the future. To youth belongs the future, to old age belongs the honour of bringing us all to this point. Youth has the opportunity to win the world. Old age has the experience of victory. We should honour each for its contributions.

Matthew 18:10 – Beware that you don’t despise a single one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.

1 Timothy 4:12 – Don’t let anyone think little of you because you are young.

1 Timothy 5:1 – Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as though he were your own father. Talk to the younger men as you would to your own brothers.

  • Don’t be prejudiced because of a person’s occupation.

God does not write off families or occupations, and perhaps that is why Jesus chose to come to the family of a carpenter rather than the family of a king. God loves each person regardless of occupation.

Mark 6:2-3 – “Where did he get all his wisdom and the power to perform such miracles? He’s just the carpenter, the son of Mary…”.

  • Don’t be prejudiced because a person is a family member or a “hometown” person.

Familiarity breeds contempt. We know someone well, so we don’t respect that person. Actually, when we know someone well, and if that person has integrity, we should honour that person even more. These people had God’s Son in their midst but couldn’t recognize Him because of his family and address.

Mark 6:4 – Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honoured everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.”

 

  • Don’t be prejudiced because of ethnic or racial differences.

In heaven there are no ethnic groups, no races, no distinctions such as these, so why should they be important now?

Luke 10:33 – Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt deep pity.

John 4:9 – The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.

Acts 10:28 – Peter told them, “You know it is against the Jewish laws for me to come into a Gentile home like this. But God has shown me that I should never think of anyone has impure”.

Acts 10:34-35 – Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God doesn’t show partiality. In every nation He accepts those who fear Him and do what is right.”

 

  • Don’t be prejudiced against a person because of the place he or she grew up or now lives.

The other side of the tracks is often viewed as less than this side, but God lives on both sides of the tracks.

John 1:46 – “Nazareth exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from there?”

 

  • Don’t jump to conclusions about someone before you get all the facts.

The western tribes heard that the eastern tribes had built an altar. Immediately they jumped to the wrong conclusion – that the altar was built to rebel against God. In fact, it was built to honour God. Had they not sent a delegation to inquire, war would have broken out. Based on a single act, the western tribes developed a prejudice that could have been terribly destructive.

Joshua 22:10-34…- When the rest of Israel heard they had built the altar…the whole assembly gathered at Shiloh and prepared to go to war against their brother tribes…

 

  • The world is prejudiced against Christ followers.

When a person enjoys sin and wants to keep it, it’s natural to develop a hatred for Christ and His followers.

John 15:19 – The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don’t. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you.

  • Christians must be careful not to be prejudiced against other Christians, for whatever reason.

Romans 14:10 – Why do you look down on another Christian? Remember each of us will stand personally before the judgement seat of God.

Galatians 3:28 – There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female…you are one in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:14 – And the most important clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.

Stay Blessed!

 

For further inquiries please contact us on Tel Nos. 0302-772013 or 0268130615

Email:  saltnlightministries@gmail.com

Website:  saltandlightgh.org 

 

GODLY INSTRUCTION

Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. – Proverbs 23:12

Introduction
According to the Baker Illustrated Bible, the biblical book that bills itself as the instruction manual is Proverbs, which is presented in the form of parental instruction to a child. God offers everyone knowledge to guide how one should live, but if spurned, the offer may be withdrawn.

The people most likely to gain knowledge are those who are willing to listen. It is a sign of strength, not weakness, to pay attention to what others have to say. People who are eager to listen continue to learn and grow throughout their lives. If we refuse to become set in our ways, we can always expand the limits of our knowledge.

1. Pay attention! This is not a boring proverb. Get your heart and ears into it. The desire for instruction and the willingness to hear correction are marks of greatness and virtue. Very few apply themselves to learn knowledge and wisdom. They are more interested in entertainment and fun. Study sounds far too much like work.

2. There are great differences among men. Some are winners; some are losers. Some are wise; some are foolish. Men make choices that either cost them wisdom or gain them wisdom. A noble and virtuous man will sacrifice other things in life in order to pursue wisdom, but a fool would rather hear himself talk. “The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.” – Proverbs 15:14; “Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” – Proverbs 17:24.

3. The man who seeks wisdom will have a happy and successful life, for he rightly understands the world, makes profitable decisions, and avoids pain and trouble. But the fool or scorner, arrogant in his own ignorance, goes on and is punished by his confused thinking and horrible decision-making. “Those who bring trouble on their families inherit the wind. The fool will be a servant to the wise.” – Proverbs 11:29; “A person with good sense is respected; a treacherous person is headed for destruction.” – Proverbs 13:15.

4. There are 1,440 minutes in every day. How many do you seek wisdom? How many do you pursue instruction? The average Ghanaian watches television 3-4 hours, or about 210 minutes, every day – and not a single minute of it teaches wisdom.

But television is not the only culprit in a pleasure-mad generation (II Tim 3:1-4). What about idle posting on social media, texting, tweeting, movies, magazines, music, sports, hobbies, lawn care, concerts, video games, and Internet surfing, among many more? When a person chooses to exalt these activities, he forfeits the advice given by Solomon in this proverb, for the 1,440 minutes in a day quickly rush down the drain and are lost.

5. Only a few great men and women will apply themselves to the pursuit of wisdom and reap the wonderful results. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14.

  • Can you focus on the goal and put forth the effort to learn true wisdom each day? Do you read your Bible daily?
  • Do you attend a Bible-preaching church as often as possible?
  • Do you seek advice from wise and sober counselors before making major decisions? “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” – Proverbs 11:14. Pay attention to this proverb!

6. Solomon described a man committed to wisdom. He applies himself in various ways to the goal, and he achieves his objective. But the fool’s mind is always wandering all over the place in its imaginations, even though wisdom is right before him. “Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.” – Proverbs 18:2. So Solomon emphasized the necessity of applying yourself to obtain wisdom. “My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.” – Proverbs 5:1-2; “Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path” – Proverbs 23:19,23.

End Note
How attentive are your heart and ears after hearing the instruction and knowledge of this proverb? What changes will you make today? Have you read God’s word for it to instruct you and increase your knowledge? Have you asked your parents’ for advice in a matter bothering you? Can you remember what was preached last Sunday? Instruction and knowledge are precious gifts; make good use of them, for life without them is painful.

I Want A Principle Within – MHB 626
1 I want a principle within
Of watchful, godly fear,
A sensibility of sin,
A pain to feel it near

2 I want the first approach to feel
Of pride or wrong desire,
To catch the wandering of my will,
And quench the kindling fire.

3 That I from Thee no more may part
No more Thy goodness grieve,
The filial awe, the fleshly heart,
The tender conscience give.

4 Quick as the apple of an eye
O God, my conscience make;
Awake my soul when sin is nigh,
And keep it still awake.

5 O may the least omission pain
My well instructed soul,
And drive me to the blood again
Which makes the wounded whole.
Charles Wesley, 1707 – 1788.

Stay blessed!
Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sundays 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and Uniiq 95.7 Fm – Saturdays 7:30 pm; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

 

THE SEVEN C’S OF SOUL WINNING

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” – Mark 16:15

INTRODUCTION
I found this on the net and thought it very relevant for our time because the article talks about the number one business of the Church: the business of winning souls. It is what I call “The Seven Cs of Soul Winning.”

1. Commission
God wants us to take the Gospel to Others. We need to get out into the world! Jesus was not crucified between two candles on a church altar. He was crucified out in the byways and highways of humanity, and that is where we must take the message.

Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” That is a promise. But you know what? You have to get to the water if you are going to catch fish. You have to get out of the four church walls, out to where hurting humanity is, and engage them with the gospel.

No one could catch a fish sitting in camp. A lot of Christians just hang around the camp. They form fishing clubs and talk about how important it is to fish. But they don’t fish. God wants us to go fish!

2. Compassion for the Lost
In Mark 16:16 Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

This means eternally separated from God with no opportunity of rescue or retrieval. Forever lost. Think about it! Do you recall the story Jesus told of the rich man who died? It ought to send a shudder through the heart of even the most brazen sinner. Jesus tells us that the rich man died and was in torment, in flame.

Jesus goes on to say that the rich man lifted up his eyes, and begged for mercy. But no mercy came, even as it says in Revelation 14:11, “The smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever.” I know it is not a popular subject in the Church to talk about hell, but Jesus talked more about hell than He did about heaven. It is a very real place.

If we would consider just for a moment the end of the man or woman who rejects Christ, it ought to cause our hearts to be stirred with compassion. Our compassion for the lost ought to move us to do all we can to share Christ with them!

3. Common Ground
We need to endeavour to find common ground with people. In 1 Corinthians 9:19-24, Paul says, For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

In this passage, Paul is talking about the way he ran—the method he used—to reach people for Christ. Verse 22 in The Living Bible puts it this way: “Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone so that I might bring them to Christ.” Paul didn’t run aimlessly. And like Paul, we have to find a point to relate to people so that you can build a bridge over which the gospel can come.
I encourage you today to find a common area of interest, a common ground, to relate to people in order to share Christ with them.

4. Character Counts
1 Corinthians 9:24-27, particularly verse 27, tells us the importance of character in witnessing to others, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
Paul said he was temperate in all things, that he disciplined his body. He would bring it into subjection, meaning he had problems keeping his body in subjection, just like you and I do.

Every one of us has a propensity toward certain sins. It is important, though, that we rein in our flesh and that we are temperate in all things because our lifestyle affects our message.
If your character is out of whack, people are going to have a hard time hearing what you have to say. Character counts!

5. The Comforter
Many times when Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit, He referred to Him as the Comforter. In Acts 1:4-5, after the resurrection, Jesus said something to the disciples that was very intriguing, “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

He had already told them to go into all the world, but then He said, “Hey, you need to wait for something. There’s some equipment you need before you go. Don’t go start a Bible study, don’t go pass out a tract, don’t do anything. You need something first. You need to be baptized with the Spirit.” Then look at what He said in verse 8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The Holy Spirit gives us power to be a witness. There is something beyond even living a life of integrity. There is a supernatural, captivating element when a person is filled with the Holy Spirit that makes the witness of the gospel even more inescapable. Jesus was so strong on it He said, “Look, don’t leave Jerusalem without it.” God has given us His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to empower us to reach our generation for Christ.

6. Convicting and Convincing
John 16:7-9 helps us understand Jesus’ role clearly. Here Jesus is talking to the disciples about the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me.”

Jesus is not telling us that we need to pray, “Holy Spirit, go convict this person.” Rather, the foundation from which He is speaking is found in John 14. In that passage He says, “When the Holy Spirit comes, He will no longer just be with you, but He will be in you.” In the following verses, He then talks about all the things the Holy Spirit does within us. And here, when He talks about the Holy Spirit convicting people of sin, He does that work when we engage them with the gospel.
When we talk to people about Christ, the Holy Spirit then goes to work.

7. Wise Counsel
It’s important we learn to share the Word with people. Our testimony is powerful and should be shared. But even though that may move people and influence people, they need to know they are anchoring their trust in the promises of God. Not just in a feeling they have gotten, not just because they feel influenced and moved—even if that is by the Holy Spirit.

Why? Because feelings change. Our feelings can go up and down like a rollercoaster. God’s Word makes it clear that He never leaves us nor forsakes us. When a person is saved, they need to be anchoring their faith on the promises of God, not on their feelings.

Promises like Romans 10:9-10, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
So when we witness to people, we need to give them the counsel, the promises of the Word of God.

8. The Coming Reward
Daniel 12:3, which says, “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”

There is a coming reward for those who turn people to righteousness. The dearest thing to God’s heart is winning humanity and bringing them into His family. Nothing is more important to God. He bankrupted heaven and gave His only begotten Son to save humanity. The Bible teaches us that there will be a reward, my friend: authority in heaven, a place in heaven, honor in heaven.

In addition to that, I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Someday there is going to be a joy and a fullness in heaven, but there are some who will not experience that level of joy.
I think there is going to be something about being in heaven and seeing your fingerprints on people who are there because you shared, because you gave, and because you prayed. I believe there is going to be a greater joy for some because they did more for heaven while on earth than others.

Source: Answers with Bayless Conley.
Stay Blessed!

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

NURTURING THE YOUNG GENERATION, THE BIBLE WAY – PART 1

PREFACE
Every year The Bible Society of Ghana chooses a theme for the celebration of Bible week. During this week all churches focus on the theme and on the chosen scriptures to confirm that the Bible is indeed useful for “teaching… The week is also set aside to confirm the value of the Bible for everyday living. Last year’s theme was “The Bible and Our Civic Responsibility.”
This year’s theme is “Nurturing the Young Generation, The Bible Way”. It is our pleasure to bring you all the scriptures chosen to draw our attention to what the Bible says about how we can nurture the young generation using God’s Word and His principles for living Please let’s enjoy this article and allow it to impact our daily living.

INTRODUCTION
‘It’s great to be young’ is a well-known adage that carries both positive and negative connotations. Positively, it affirms the vibrancy, excitement and adventure which young people experience in their heydays. But it also points to the inexperience that quite often characterizes the youthful phase of life. Whichever way we look at, one thing remains clear: the young generation needs to be guided and nurtured into maturity so that as responsible citizens, they can build on the foundations laid by the older generation. This calls for careful mentoring in order to help them realize their full potentials. The onus, therefore, lies on the adult community to instil positive values in their young ones, serving as their role models in both attitude and conduct. But the young generation must also respond in humility and obedience, allowing themselves to be shaped as well as transformed into a great nation- builders. The Bible places a high premium on the Young Generation. It offers numerous guidelines regarding how they should be nurtured. It lays particular emphasis on the role parents ought to play in helping to shape tomorrow’s leaders. It also affirms that God can choose young people to carry out important responsibilities in the family, community, nation and the wider world.

1. Bringing the young generation into being through procreation has been an integral part of God’s purpose since the beginning of human existence.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God, He created them; male and female He created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful an increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. – Genesis 1:26-28a
The young are a priceless legacy to every community and they are precious in God’s sight.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court. – Psalm 127:3-5.

People were bringing little children for Jesus to place His hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone, who will not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them. – Mark 10:13-16.

2. Every child is born into a particular family or community. Genealogies, Families and Communities are thus important identity markers for the young generation.

“This, then, is the family line of Perez:
Perez was the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
Boaz the father of Obed,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of David.” – Ruth 4:18-22 (See also Matthew 1:1-17)

3. Community involvement in child outdooring is a vital socialization process or i=rite of passage for our young ones.
When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hands was with him. – Luke 1:57 -60 & 66.

4. Careful child weaning is an important nurturing ministry that should not be taken for granted.
Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. – Genesis 21:1-8.

When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfil his vow, Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.” “Do what seems best to you,” her husband Elkanah told her. “Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the Lord make good his[b] word.” So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him. – 1 Samuel 1:21-23.

5. Parents/ Guardians and the older generation ought to provide a conducive environment for children to develop holistically.
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on Him. Then He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. – Luke 2:29-40& 51-52.

1 Corinthians 13:11 This includes nurturing them in the Christian faith

“I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” – 2 Timothy 1:3-5. ( See also Proverbs 22:6).

Our young ones need to be nurtured and encouraged to constantly reconnect in a godly manner with their roots, culture or place of upbringing.

“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day, he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you today.” – Acts 22:3.

6. The family connections of Jesus, as visiting young prophet-teacher-evangelist, was well known in His Nazareth community.
Jesus left there and went to His hometown, accompanied by His disciples. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard Him were amazed.
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given Him? What are these remarkable miracles He is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offence at Him. – Mark 6:1-3

To be continued!

Stay Blessed!

For further inquiries please contact us on Tel Nos. 0302-772013 or 0268130615

Email:  saltnlightministries@gmail.com

Website:  saltandlightgh.org 

WHERE THERE IS NO LAW – LAWLESSNESS WILL ABOUND.

They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. – Proverbs 28:4

This proverb contrasts those who break the law and those who obey the law. The Law to which Solomon refers is the Law of Moses… which is also God’s Word. The Law of Moses was given for the good of the people of Israel. The commandments we are told to obey are those found in God’s Word, such as the Ten Commandments and other passages of instruction. To obey what God teaches in the Bible is self-preserving. To disobey is self-destructive.

  • The best way to oppose the wicked philosophies and lifestyles of this generation is a righteous life. You can make a strong statement and powerful illustration for truth and wisdom by your actions. You need not even open your mouth to argue for godliness.
  • If you compromise God’s commandments in your life, you commend and endorse the wicked by agreeing with them against God. Instead of commending the wicked by folly yourself, exalt righteousness and condemn sinners by showing the virtues of godliness.
  • It is easy to criticize the profane opinions and conduct of a God-hating society. The folly of sinners is visible everywhere. But words are cheap, and words are also very hollow if you compromise truth in your own life. Can you identify this partiality as hypocrisy?
  • Many sinners justify their disregard for God, religion, or righteousness by the hypocrisy of others. While this excuse will be rejected by Jesus Christ in the great Day of Judgment, nonetheless it points out the damage and danger of believers living carnal lives.
  • If wicked persons see compromise or inconsistency in your life, they will be strengthened in their folly and rebellion. They will be comforted that you are not much different from them, so they will continue on in their evil course without any check of conscience.
  • True Christians are a very small minority, so Jesus called them the salt of the earth and light of the world. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16. If you compromise, you lose your saltiness and are good for nothing. If your light does not shine brightly, you contribute to the world’s darkness.
  • Sin is sin. Breaking one command is to be guilty of all. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it”. – James 2:10. If you ridicule sodomy, but fantasize about adultery or defraud your spouse of frequent sex, you are as wicked as the sodomite, and you are a hypocrite. “For He who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment”. – James 2:11-13. God will judge such hypocrisy.
  • Keeping the law contends with the wicked – it fights and opposes them. But forsaking the law praises the wicked. If you cheat and compromise God’s holy standard of righteousness, you praise sinners by your choice to break God’s law just like they do.
  • Rather than picketing an abortion clinic, love and train your children by God’s Word. A loving family with godly and obedient children in public will say more against abortion than any discussion with the mindless murderers entering the baby-killing facility.
  • Upset about the high divorce rate? Then keep a perfect marriage. Divorce is just one aspect of a dysfunctional marriage; there are many more. Where are you compromising in your marriage? Have you examined it by the light of Holy Scripture?
  • Angry about the rebellious youth today? Make sure you drive the speed limit to respect civil authority, outwork your colleagues to respect business authority, submit to your husband to respect marital authority, and obey your pastor to respect religious authority.
  • Sick of hearing about evolution? Live like you know the Creator! Live like you were made for His glory, and He has the right to dictate the terms of your life. Glorify Him in all you do, and speak of Him as your Maker. You can condemn evolution this easy way.
  • Carnal Christianity is the norm today. It is loving pleasure more than God and having a form of godliness without any authority. Condemn these compromises by loving God more than pleasure and exalting His authority in your life more than church services.
  • Christian reader, godly living in every part of your life beautifies the gospel. “You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” – Titus 2:1,10 and protects it from the accusations of the wicked. “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbours. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honourable behaviour, and they will give honour to God when He judges the world.” – I Peter 2:12. Your goal is to be a blameless and harmless son of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation and to be a light in the world for the glory of God. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. – Matthew 5:16.

Source: From a devotional on Proverbs I receive from time to time.

Stay blessed!

Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sundays 5.30 am.,
Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and
Uniiq 95.7 Fm – Saturdays 7:30 pm;
For our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm.
For Hymn and their Stories.

SUCCESS

He must increase, but I must decrease” – John 3:30.

INTRODUCTION

To what extent should Christ’s followers today pursue success? John’s declaration that “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30) seems to repudiate the idea of personal achievement, recognition, or material gain – common measures of success in our society. Indeed, John himself showed none of the outward trappings of a successful ministry

So should believers avoid success as the world defines it? Can people be successful in their careers as well as their spiritual lives, or are the two mutually exclusive? Some Christians say that success on the job creates credibility for them to talk about Christ with coworkers. Others, however, claim that they no interest in being successful. But is that a genuine conviction, or are they merely avoiding the rough-and-tumble of a competitive marketplace? Would God prefer that His people be failures on the job, in society, or in life?

Questions like these barely scratch the surface of the complex, emotional issue of success. The people of Jesus’ day were no less interested in prospering than we are, even if they defined success in slightly different terms. So it’s not surprising that Scripture speaks to human ambition and achievement. It seems to affirm at least three important principles, as illustrated by John the Baptist:

1) Success is always measured by a set of standards established by some person or group. Many people of John’s day felt that they were assured of the blessing they were descendants of Abraham. Their religious leaders aggressively promoted and reinforced that idea (Matthew 3:7-9; Luke 3:8; John 8:39). John challenged them to reconsider that way of thinking. What mattered, he said, was faith in Jesus. That was the ultimate criterion by which God would measure people’s lives. Thus, unbelief would result in the ultimate failure – eternal death.

2)Why and how we pursue success is just as important as whether or not we achieve it. John’s listeners were ordinary people caught up in the everyday scramble to get ahead. But in their pursuit of gain they tended to ignore the needs of others and to take unethical shortcuts. John challenged them to make internal changes (that is, to repent) and to demonstrate those changes in their day-to-day responsibilities through charity, honesty, and justice (Luke 3:8, 10-14).

John himself was able to carry out his ministry because he had the right perspective on the assignment that God had given him. He recognized that he was merely a forerunner.

God would measure people’s lives. Thus, unbelief would result in the ultimate failure – eternal death.

3)Why and how we pursue success is just as important as whether or not we achieve it. John’s listeners were ordinary people caught up in the everyday scramble to get ahead. But in their pursuit of gain they tended to ignore the needs of others and to take unethical shortcuts. John challenged them to make internal changes (that is, to repent) and to demonstrate those changes in their day-to-day responsibilities through charity, honesty, and justice (Luke 3:8, 10-14).

John himself was able to carry out his ministry because he had the right perspective on the assignment that God had given him. He recognized that he was merely a forerunner to the Christ, not the Christ Himself (John 3:28-29). He knew that Jesus’ ministry was going to grow and expand, slowly eliminating the need for John – hence his statement that “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

God would measure people’s lives. Thus, unbelief would result in the ultimate failure – eternal death.

4)Why and how we pursue success is just as important as whether or not we achieve it. John’s listeners were ordinary people caught up in the everyday scramble to get ahead. But in their pursuit of gain they tended to ignore the needs of others and to take unethical shortcuts. John challenged them to make internal changes (that is, to repent) and to demonstrate those changes in their day-to-day responsibilities through charity, honesty, and justice (Luke 3:8, 10-14).

John himself was able to carry out his ministry because he had the right perspective on the assignment that God had given him. He recognized that he was merely a forerunner to the Christ, not the Christ Himself (John 3:28-29). He knew that Jesus’ ministry was going to grow and expand, slowly eliminating the need for John – hence his statement that “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

5) Obtaining success always carries a cost. John warned the people of God’s judgement using a simple, well-known image: “Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree which does not bear fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3:9). Just as lumberjack would lay his ax at the foot of a tree while he decided which trees in a forest to cut, so God had sent John and Jesus as His final messengers before letting His judgement fall.

The people could choose what they wanted to do – whether to continue in their self-satisfied ways of unbelief, or turn toward God in repentance and obedience. Either way, there would be a cost involved. Unfortunately, most of them chose to reject John’s message and later Jesus’ message, with tragic results (see “Jerusalem Surrounded” at Luke 21:20).

For John, the cost of faithfully proclaiming his message was imprisonment and, eventually, execution (Matthew 14:1-12). Yet he gained a treasure all out of proportion to the price of martyrdom – the praise of Christ (11:7-11).

So should believers pursue success? Judging from the experience of John the Baptist and the people who followed him, the issue seems to be not so much whether we should pursue it, but how. In light of John’s message, it’s worth considering three crucial questions:

  • Who sets the standards by which I measure success?
  • What are my motives and behavior in pursuing success?
  • What price am I willing to pay to achieve success?

Solomon is a case study in how a person can be successful in terms of power, wealth, and prestige, yet lack the true success that comes from knowing and honouring God the way someone should. See “Solomon: Successful but Not Satisfied” at 2 Chronicles 1:1.

Jesus told a parable in which He showed that “True Success Means Faithfulness.” (Matthew 25:14-30)

Culled from The Word in Life Study Bible.

A Hymn A Day:

I Want A Principle Within – MHB 626

  1. I want a principle within
    Of jealous, godly fear,
    A sensibility of sin,
    A pain to feel it near.
  2. I want the first approach to feel
    Of pride or fond desire,
    To catch the wandering of my will,
    And quench the kindling fire.
  3. That I from Thee no more may part,
    No more thy goodness grieve,
    The filial awe, the fleshly heart
    The tender conscience give.
  4. Quick as the apple of an eye,
    O God, my conscience make;
    Awake my soul when sin is nigh,
    And keep it still awake.
  5. O may the least omission pain
    My well instructed soul,
    And drive me to that blood again,
    Which makes the wounded whole.

Charles Wesley, 1707-88 

Stay blessed!
Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sundays 5.30 am.,
Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and
Uniiq 95.7 Fm – Saturdays 7:30 pm; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

5 BIRTHMARKS OF THE BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN

For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
While the entire Bible stresses certainty and assurance for Christians who are born-again, there’s one section of Scripture that stakes out this theme as its central focus—the letter of 1 John.

As we carefully read through 1 John, we notice a five-fold argument for the assurance of salvation—five of the birthmarks of the Christian. These are characteristics and traits of someone who is born again through faith in Jesus Christ.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” 1 John 1:1-4 (NIV)

Let’s take a look at the 5 signs of those who are born again Christians
1. The Birthmark of Confession
The first is the birthmark of confession, described in 1 John 5:1: “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” (NASB) Before you can have assurance of salvation, you have to believe and be saved. You have to confess Jesus Christ as Lord. Some people assume they are saved because they grew up in a Christian culture, or they have gone to church all their lives, or they have been baptized, or they have tried to live a good life. Yet they’ve never distinctly and personally confessed Jesus Christ as their SavioUr and Lord.
The Bible teaches that we are sinners, separated from God by a sinful nature. We can never earn, buy, or climb our way into heaven. By our own efforts or goodness, we can never be saved. That’s why God became a man who lived a wholly righteous life, died on the cross, shed His blood for us, and rose from the dead. He paid our penalty, took our judgment upon Himself, and He offers us the opportunity to be born again.

2. The Birthmark of Change
If the first birthmark is our confession of Christ as our Saviour and Lord, the second is a changed life, as we see in 1 John 2:29: “Everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.” When Jesus truly saves us, it makes a difference in how we think, act, speak, and conduct ourselves. The Bible says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” – 2 Corinthians 5:17.
As we begin learning to practice righteousness, our habits change. We will not be sinlessly perfect while we’re on this planet; but if we’re Christians, we need to behave like Christians. If we say we’re saved but nothing has changed about us, something is wrong. We are not saved by good works, but we are saved for good works, and the Gospel is a transforming agent in our lives. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10.

3. The Birthmark of Compassion
Those who are truly saved also bear the birthmark of compassion. How can you know that you are a Christian? By what you believe, by how you live, and by whom you love. Love is a recurring theme in 1 John, and the apostle leaves no doubt about how it permeates the lives of true Christians. “Beloved,” he wrote, “let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. . . . We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren” – 1 John 4:7; 3:14.
Do you love your brothers and sisters in the family of God? Those who are truly saved are those who enjoy and bless the household of faith, the family of God.

4. The Birthmark of Conflict
A fourth sign of being truly saved is conflict. According to 1 John 5:4, “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” The word overcome implies a struggle. We’re faced with an adversary whom we must overcome. Our adversary is identified in 1 John 2:14 as the wicked one: “I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.” John went on in the next verses to say: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. . . . For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” – 1 John 2:15-17.

When you’re genuinely born of God, you’ll be growing to be an overcomer as you deal with the temptations around you—the world, the flesh, and the devil. You may not be victorious over every temptation every time, but you’ll make progress in gaining more victories and losing less battles as you grow stronger in Christ and in the power of the abiding Word of God.

5. The Birthmark of Conduct
That leads to the final point I want to make: We can see evidence for the validity of salvation in our desire to conduct ourselves in a way that pleases God. According to 1 John 3:9, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”
If we’re not careful, we might interpret this verse to teach that anyone who is born of God never sins. That would conflict with other passages in the Bible that describe us as fallible and often failing.

In 1 John 3:9, the word for sin is a present active infinitive and it describes a continuous action. John is not saying that whoever sins once is not born of God. That would disqualify all of us. It would certainly disqualify me. But John is saying, in effect, “Whoever keeps on willfully sinning, violating God’s law with stubborn disregard and ongoing wickedness, cannot have assurance of salvation.”

If we are truly saved, we will grieve over our sins, confess them, and seek God’s grace to do better.
You can have assurance of salvation today.
His grace is inexhaustible and His salvation is irreversible. Make sure you have confessed Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and then trust Him with your eternal future. He will never leave you or forsake you. His Word was given that you might know Jesus Christ as your Savior and that you might know that you have eternal life.

Stay Blessed!

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