COME HOLY SPIRIT GIVE US LOVE

“If you love Me, you will obey what I command.  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever –” John 14:15 -16   “But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.  He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you.” John 16:13-14 (NIV)

INTRODUCTION

Last Sunday, 20th May, was Pentecost Sunday – the birthday of the Church. Pentecost simply means “fiftieth” and refers to the celebration that is held fifty days after first fruits. It is said to refer to the day the Israelites left Egypt after their deliverance from Egypt after the Passover.

Pentecost” also refers to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ after our deliverance from sin through His crucifixion on the cross. The Old Testament “Pentecost” marked the day the Law was given on Mount Sinai and in the New Testament, it is the day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church. Both the Law and the Holy Spirit were given at Pentecost but with completely different results. The giving of the Holy Spirit led to the salvation of 3,000 unbelievers – Acts 2:41. While the Law brought judgment, the Holy Spirit brought love and life to us.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS LOVE

The Holy Spirit continues to bring love and life to unbelievers.  The harvest that began on the day of Pentecost, more than 2,000 years ago, continues today, and will continue until the end of the Church age. The Holy Spirit is the agent of Pentecost and the revelation of the love of God. God loves so much that He will not leave us as orphans  but has sent the Holy Spirit to be always present with us – John 14:18. The Holy Spirit is a person and not a force or a thing as some believe. The Scriptures confirm this by the personal ways in which The Holy Spirit responds and the personal things He does. The Bible also makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is one with God the Father and God the Son – John 14:16.  Since God is Love the Holy Spirit is also Love.  This is seen in the attributes that are given to Him and which are without exception, the attributes of God. He is Eternal, Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient. The Holy Spirit is love and out of love gives us spiritual life so that we can relate to God. God is Spirit and the only way to relate to Him is in spirit and in truth. The proof that we belong to God is seen in our love towards one another, for God is love.

The purpose of the presence of the Holy Spirit is to confirm God’s love and His acceptance of Christ’s perfect sacrifice. The presence of the Holy Spirit is to reveal and glorify Jesus Christ and to fill us with His love. The Holy Spirit enables us to understand the revelations of Jesus perfect sacrifice. He reveals that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross has made the blessings of God available to all us. The Holy Spirit not only reveals and glorifies Jesus Christ but empowers us to love and to serve Him.

The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to give life. He gives life to those who are spiritually dead.  Christ has paid the penalty for our sin and made it possible for us to receive His life. Why do we want to wait? Let us accept Christ as Saviour and Lord so that the Holy Spirit can empower us to live the life of Christ – 2 Peter 1:3-4.

THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS US

The presence of the Holy Spirit empowers us with the grace and truth of Christ “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” – John 1:17 (NIV). It is by grace that we have been saved – Eph. 2:8-9. Grace empowers us to live the truth. Without the grace of God we could not love as God has commanded us to love and we could not manifest the truth of God’s Word in our lives. The love of God enables us to love even those who wrong us and persecute us.  Jesus died for us when we were still sinners because of His love for us. Jesus loved us to the end and prayed for us even when He hung on the cross in excruciating pain. Indeed it is by grace that we have victory in our lives. It is by grace that we are able to “…..to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy, nothing will harm you” Luke 10:19. The grace of God is sufficient for us.

When a loved one leaves us to go on a journey, we always urge him to write and inform us of his safe arrival. It is only when a letter arrives in the loved ones own handwriting, postmarked with the name of the place, that we are sure he has arrived (these days, we accept text, WhatsApp and Facebook messages).  On the day of Pentecost the disciples received a personal letter from Christ postmarked from heaven with the Holy Spirit, confirming that Christ Jesus had arrived at the seat of “all power and authority.” The evidence is so compelling that it requires far more not to believe in Christ than to believe in Him. Christ sent the Holy Spirit to lead the believer into the abundant life He promises in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  If we are not enjoying His abundant blessings in our lives then what we need to do is to accept God’s offer of salvation for grace and truth through Christ Jesus.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OUR HELP

The Holy Spirit is the greatest single help that God has provided for those who sincerely desire to enter into all the fullness of victorious and fruitful Christian living. We all need the Holy Spirit. Indeed Jesus places an obligation on all believers to seek Him when He says “If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” – Luke 11:13. Let us ask the Lord to fill us with the power of His Holy Spirit so that our lives will glorify the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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 Hymns and their Stories & every Thursdays for Bible Studies at the Salt & Light office, Abelemkpe.

 

IGNITING THE PENTECOST FIRE: NINE WAYS TO LIGHT THE SPIRITUAL FIRE IN YOUR LIFE

 

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. Acts 2: 1-3

INTRODUCTION

“Get on fire for God and men will come and see you burn”. – John Wesley

Tomorrow, Sunday 20th May, 2018 is Pentecost Sunday and I would like to invite us to allow the Holy Spirit to put us on fire.  Recently I have been thinking about what the Apostle Paul meant when He talked about being fervent in spirit in Romans 12:11 (NKJV):  ‘Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;’ The Greek word for fervent is “zeo” which means to boil with heat.  This means that we have a mandate to keep our fire for the Lord hot no matter what the spiritual climate is around us. I am sure that all of us can remember the very pointed quote about being hot or cold in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 3:15-16 – “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold.  I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”

None of us want to be distasteful to the Lord.  None of us want to make Him sick.  None of us want to be viewed as tasking like lukewarm soft drink that has lost its fizz.  So what do we do to keep the flames of fire burning in our spirit?  Here are nine ways that will help you keep those revival fires burning.

NINE WAYS TO LIGHT THE FIRE OF THE LORD IN YOUR SPIRIT 

1 Feed the Flames with the Word of God

In Matthew 4:4 Jesus said that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. What I am talking about is not dutifully doing our daily devotion with sleep filled eyes every morning.  It is not about hungrily searching the scriptures for the voice of the Lord within their pages.  Just like the disciples on the road to Emmaus who had their hearts set ablaze when the scriptures were explained to them by Jesus – Luke 24:32 we need to dig into the scriptures and allow the Lord to start explaining the scriptures to us just as He did to them.

2 Stoke the Furnace with Prayer

There are three things we need to have a blazing fire, fuel, oxygen and heat.  Prayer is the oxygen we use to stoke the flames high.  Spending time in prayer is spending time in the presence of God and the presence of God is the air that our souls need to be on fire. Oswald Chambers puts it bluntly: “Prayer is the vital breath of the Christian; not the thing that makes Him alive, but the evidence that He is alive.”  When we pray, we are breathing.  We are taking in the vital element that gives life to our soul.

3. Worship the Lord with Extravagance

One of the things that keeps fire small is containment.  We cannot have a big fire in a small metal box.  The way to break these walls of containment is to worship the Lord with extravagance.  Let us go beyond our comfort zone.  Let us offer up sacrifices of praise with our lips in greater degrees than we are comfortable with.  Let us make praise and worship a true sacrifice of ourselves conscious and self inhibitions.

Let us firmly decide that we will praise God in a more vocal, uninhibited way this year than we have ever done.  If we need help praising God, let us play a recording by a favorite Christian artist and sing along.  Let us challenge ourselves to learn how to raise our hands, bow our knees in worship, and even fall flat on our faces.  These things will break down any walls of containment where we are keeping the fire in a small metal box.

4 Allow the Holy Spirit to Move

The Apostle Paul gives us a very pointed exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 – “Do not stifle the Holy Spirit”. Is there anything in your life that is hindering the Spirit’s work?  Are you resisting doing something or giving up something that you know the Spirit is tapping you on the shoulder about?  Do you have mindsets or mentalities that are contrary to allowing the Holy Spirit to move? Some of the greatest breakthroughs I have had in my life have been when I stopped telling the Holy Spirit how He can operate.  I am very good at setting up preconditions that the Holy Spirit has to fulfill before I believe that it is Him.  I may be good at setting those preconditions up, but I have found that the Holy Spirit will not know kowtow to my whims.  Those preconditions were stifling the Holy Spirit and I learned quickly to allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in my life.

5 Do a Spring Cleaning Of Your Heart

The Bible says that in the last days the love of many will grow cold – Matthew 24:12.  Many times this is caused by unforgiveness and bitterness taking hold and growing in our heart rather than love.  Let us take time to do a spring cleaning of our heart; let go of any unforgiveness we may hold towards someone and remove any roots of bitterness that might have sprung up. Let us forgive one another as in Christ God has forgiven us Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:13. Nothing puts out the flame of God’s love faster than bitterness.  Do not let us allow unforgiveness to freeze our soul.  Let us guard our heart and deal with offenses quickly.

6 Bring Your Flame Closer To Other Flames

Those of us who have been Boy Scouts can remember having a raging fire at night during camping.  Many times in the morning there will still be some embers from the fire wood and if we need to build a new fire, the first thing we would do is gather all the smoldering firewood or charcoal together. This is why we should never live the Christian life in seclusion.  God has called us to be in community.  But let us make sure we are in a church that is on fire for God – because a dead church could put out what is left of our fire.  If our church compromises God’s Word or ignores the Great Commission, we should find a new church home.

7 Start Making Your Fire Useful

Spiritual passion is ignited when it is being used to serve others.  Start using the gifts and talents that God has given you to help others.  Every believer in Jesus has been given gifts and talents and you are no exception.  You must face your fears and stretch your faith as you begin to step out, but soon you will find there is no greater joy than being an instrument of the Holy Spirit to bless people. When you become obedient to stop burying your gifts and talents and start investing them into the lives of others, then you will be given even more to give as we read in Matthew 25:14

8 Find a Personal Firebrand

Everyone has to learn how to make fire.  We do not normally discover it naturally.  I have a friend whose dad showed her how to build a campfire.  He taught her how to light a furnace.  We need spiritual dads and moms to teach us how to light our spiritual fires.

Let us sometimes ask these firebrands to lay hands on us and pray.  We can also make appointments with them so we can glean from their wisdom and experience. It is certain that when Elisha saw Elijah go to heaven in a fiery chariot, he was affected by the heat, so let us also get as close as possible to those who are burning for God, and we will be ignited.

9 Spread the Flame

The biggest thing we can each do is to raise our spiritual temperature and light the fire of God in our life is to spread our flame.  There is nothing more exciting I can say than leading a person to faith in Christ.  Yet statistics show that 95 percent of Christians have never led one soul to salvation.  I guarantee if you step out of your timidity and share the gospel with a neighbor, a co-worker, a server at a restaurant or a stranger on the subway, your spiritual temperature will instantly rise 30 degrees – and you will want to share with someone else. Just as John Wesley said that if you light yourself on fire that men will come for miles to watch you burn.  Part of that is spreading the flame of the spectators.  Challenge yourself this year to speak of your faith, share your testimony, and pray with people who need the reality of Jesus Christ in their life.

Stay blessed!

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

Email: saltnlightministries@gmail.com
Website:
saltandlightministriesgh.org

HONOURING OUR MOTHERS (PART II)

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  – Isaiah 49:15a (NIV)

INTRODUCTION

We said in our article last week that mothers are very important that we will spend some weeks reflecting on how God sees women as our tribute to mothers in the month of May, the second Sunday of which is celebrated as Mother’s Day.

MOTHERHOOD: A TASK WORTH THE EFFORT

A mother is one who bears and/or rears children.  References to motherhood are found throughout Scripture:

  • CONCEPTION – Genesis 4:1, “Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.”
  • PREGNANCY Luke 1:24 “After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.
  • CHILDBIRTH – Isaiah 66:7-9 “Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God.”
  • BREASTFEEDING1 Samuel 1:23. “Mothers were to be respected and obeyed “– Exodus 20:12

More than a job or responsibility, mothering is a ministry.  There is no doubt, of course that it takes work!  It means sacrifice!  Children do not come off an assembly line, nor are they the by-product of an impersonal biological process; they are to be lovingly nurtured by their mothers as we read in – 2 Timothy 1:5 “I have been 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.”   Mothers divide time among their children but multiply their love for all their children.  To this they add the care of the home, often subtracting many extras in order to do so.

When Isaiah the prophet searched for an illustration of God’s constant love for His people, the best example he could find was a new baby’s mother “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? – Isa 49:15a (NIV).

 Mothers have enduring love that even the most trying circumstances or rebellious child cannot dim.  As a mother lets go of her own life for the sake of her child, she is reminded of the depth and height and breadth of God’s love for her, and a unique way she experiences the true joy of motherhood.  This is a truth that will transform any suffering or sacrifice into reward and joy. – 1 John 3:16

There are caring mothers in the Bible, for example:

  • HAGAR, wandering in the wilderness, wept for her child, and God responded to the cry of her heart by revealing a well of water nearby to quench the thirst of her and her child – Genesis 21:16,19..”…….. Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.”
  • JOCHEBED defied Pharoah in order to save the life of her son, Moses – Exodus 2:1-8
  • The mother who appealed to Solomon was willing to let another woman enjoy her child rather than see the child murdered – 1 Kings. 3:25.
  • The mother from Shunem loved her child so devotedly that she made the difficult journey to find the prophet and inspired him to come and seek life for her child so devotedly that she made the difficult journey to find the prophet and inspired him to come and seek life for her child – 2 Kings 4:22-35. 
  • HANNAH was devoted to her son, yet willingly offered him to the Lord – 1 Sam 1:27, 28.

On the other hand, there are wicked mothers such as ATHALIAH, the idolatrous mother of King Ahaziah, who guided her son into devotion to evil – 2 Kings 8:26,27.

God has a plan for mothers.  The high calling is an all-consuming task – “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up”  –  Deut 6:6-7 (NIV)

  • In the morning, you can read God’s Word to your child;
  • At mealtime you are to give attention to meeting physical needs as you are outside, you can teach your child about the beauty of creation,
  • At bedtime you can pray for your child and give assurance that God is lovingly taking care even while we are asleep. The reward is worth the effort as we read in 31:28 – “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”

Godly mothers are the nation’s greatest treasure, the Lord’s best helpers, and the most blessed among women.

 

To be continued!

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 Hymns and their Stories & every Thursdays for Bible Studies at the Salt & Light office, Abelemkpe.

MOTHERS ARE GREAT

What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? – Proverbs 31:2

Behind every great man there is a great woman. And it is not his wife. It is his mother. No woman has the influence, the opportunity, the privilege, or the reward of a mother. A mother’s love and training do more to mold character for life than ten wives. By the time a man marries, most of his character is already formed. A wife receives the man, which the mother made from scratch, by God’s grace. Here is a royal mother lovingly seeking her son’s attention, who became a king. Mothers and sons should pay attention.

It is impossible to prove the identity of King Lemuel or his mother (Pr 31:1). They could be Solomon and Bathsheba; they might not be. But you do not need their identities to profit greatly from this proverb. Here is a mother addressing her son by inspiration, so you should trust inspired wisdom elsewhere in the Bible to fill in the details of this verse.

The three repetitive questions are not significant. Lemuel may have asked for advice, which triggered them. His mother may have been searching for the finest words of wisdom to give him. She may have been admonishing him over possible weaknesses.

Every noble mother knows the words well. And their source and intent! They are passionate yearnings bursting from a mother’s heart. Let every Christian mother rekindle them. Let every Christian son hear and feel them. Here is inspired mothering.

You can be certain of the affection of the chosen words. She called him her son, which to mothers is a dear term, for joy of bringing a man into the world. It is a privilege for the weaker sex to give a man life for the greater things he can do. She said, “You are mine. God gave you to me. We are unique in the earth. No one else can be your mother. I brought you forth, and now you are a man. I have doted on you as my darling son from your very conception. You can be great. Now hear my best advice.”

She called him the son of her womb. She recalled what only mothers know – the bond of conceiving, carrying, and birthing. She felt his first movements before his first breath. She used this simple fact to describe their union, express her love, and grab his attention.

She said about him, “You are truly mine, and not another’s. You were not adopted. You were of me, in me, and by me. I rejoiced at your conception. I carried you happily, and I loved you even before birth. I nourished you in a hidden place. I felt every beat of your heart. I gladly gave you life and breath with my own labor. Now hear my best advice.”

She called him the son of her vows. Rather than marriage vows, she recalled dedicating him to the Lord, as did Hannah. She reminded him of her many prayers and promises to God to train him in the fear of the LORD. She expressed the sobriety of his conception.

She said, “You were God’s gift to me. I committed you to Jehovah and His righteousness even before birth. I willingly gave you back to Him, Who gave you to me. I have prayed for you then and today. I would not have conceived you without this godly intent. Now I appeal to you to fulfill those holy ambitions I have had for you. Hear my best advice.”

Solomon described his mother, Bathsheba, as having such affection for him. He wrote earlier, “For I was – tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother” (Pr 4:3). No matter what, his mother doted on him and loved him. He could hardly do wrong; and if he did, her love was still there for him. It is this secure affection that helps make men great. Tender mothers easily separate themselves from overbearing and/or efficient ones.

The rod and reproof truly give wisdom, and mothers deserting their use will bring shame to themselves (Pr 29:15). Her request in this proverb leads to teaching (Pr 31:1), and Lemuel’s mother quickly proceeded to reproving advice (Pr 31:3-31). But she began with the tender appeals of a mother. She prefaced her instructions and warnings based on her personal, biological, and spiritual connection to him. What conscious son could resist?

Mothers should teach sons. They should define good and evil from early days. Such lessons will remain. Many men recall later in life the precious lessons learned from their mothers. She has him for much time during his formative years, so she has a precious opportunity to make a great and godly man. Mother, do not let this privilege waste. Thank God for the time. Then use it for His glory and true virtue in the earth.

Rather than homework, which carries less value for life, good mothers will emphasize godliness and realities of life, as this mother warned about women, wine, and injustice. She then laid out the most detailed and practical description of the kind of woman he should marry. Only wise women can address these subjects to hold a young man’s attention; only such practical women will be sought out by their son.

Hannah vowed, conceived, carried, birthed, nursed, and trained one of the greatest men to ever serve the LORD. She had Samuel no longer than five years. But he worshipped the LORD at that tender age. What a glorious mother! What a great son! How? By her vows and womb and training, with God’s grace.

Lois trained a daughter, Eunice, to be a godly mother. Together they formed the young Timothy with faith and the word of God (II Tim 1:5; 3:15). So successful were they that Paul declared Timothy his most trusted minister in the New Testament.

How great was Obed, with Naomi and Ruth as nursing grandmother and mother (Ruth 4:13-17)? Who nurtured David to be the spiritual, gracious, courageous, righteous, and faithful man he became? Was it the influence of these two women, two generations later?

If there were more Hannah’s, would there not be more Samuels? If there were more Eunice’s, would there not be more Timothy’s? Could a grandmother and mother mold another David? Why has forming character become a lesser goal than school or sports?

Christian mother, if you would have a Samuel or a Timothy, you must be a Hannah or a Eunice. If you think small, mother, by feeding, dressing, and getting your son through college, you will miss these high honors. They are reserved for only great women.

Have you knelt with your little boy in prayer? Let him hear and feel you reverently and passionately address the invisible God of heaven, while mentioning him by name. Did you do this over him in the crib? When nursing? When he could kneel beside you? Before he went off to play or school? When he left with keys to drive himself to work?

Christian mother, here is your calling. What a blessed privilege to turn the curse of conception and childbirth to God’s glory and your joy. Mary did wisely with her Child. What are you doing with yours? Will your son say, “O LORD, truly I am thy servant; and the son of thine handmaid” – Ps 116:16?

You cannot find here the overbearing, nagging, and critical mother, who always has a better way for her son to do things. Who is disappointed with most of what he does. Who neglects the real thoughts and ambitions of his male mind. Who is too busy and efficient to dote and flatter. Who is too preoccupied with herself to claim his soul. Not a chance! Such an odious woman drives her son from her and her home. The woman with unruled choleric or melancholy tendencies of perfectionism, criticism, efficiency, and loud talking will lose the very man to whom she gave life. He will reject her as his heart revolts under her disapproval, harshness, questions, and fussing about unimportant things.

Many men are only a fraction of what they could have been with a mother’s full heart and sober instruction. Solomon was “tender and only beloved” in the sight of his mother (Pr 4:3). What a waste for both mother and son, when the mother is bitter, distracted, ignorant, lazy, selfish, or some combination. What a lost opportunity! What a loss!

Your son will learn the right way to do things, in time. Why not provide him the loving affection that enlarges his heart, elevates his soul, lifts his head, and spreads his wings to be a great and noble man? Fill him with confidence, faith, and power to be virtuous. Give him love no wife can replace. Build his courage and nobility like a mountain. Be the great woman behind a great man. Send forth a man child for the greater glory of Jesus Christ.

Reader, if you had a godly mother, give thanks to heaven and to her. Is her love the best you will ever know? Hardly! Listen to your blessed LORD compare His concern for His children. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?” – Isaiah 49:15a. Hardly! But they may! So the blessed LORD declared, “Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee” Isaiah 49:15b. Thank you, God!

HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY!!!

Stay blessed!

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

Email: saltnlightministries@gmail.com
Website:
saltandlightministriesgh.org

HONOURING OUR MOTHERS (PART I)

“Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” – Exodus 20:12 (NIV)

 

Introduction

As we know, the second Sunday in every May is designated as Mother’s Day.  This is not because there is a biblical direction for honouring our mothers but it has become the custom of the world.  Mothers are so important that, we are going to spend the next two weeks reflecting on how God sees women and how we, mothers, women and daughters should see ourselves.  Our prayer is that our men – boys, fathers, brothers, nephews, uncles and grandfathers will see us with the same lenses God sees us.

 

The Origin of Mother’s Day

Anna Jarvis is known as the “Mother of Mother’s Day,” for her long crusade to see the occasion adopted as such.  Her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, a campaigner and a peace activist was a Sunday school teacher who charged her Sunday school class about mothers in the Bible and spent much of her time caring for wounded soldiers on both sides of the civil war.  She organized in the late 1800s “Mothers Day Work Club” which tackled public health issues. Ann Reeves Jarvis prayer was that someone one day will find a memorial mother’s day commemorating her for the matchless service she rendered to humanity in every field of life.  After her death, her daughter, Ann Jarvis vowed to push for a national day to commemorate Mothers and arraigned for white carnations to be handed to mothers in the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia where her mother was a Sunday school teacher.  Ann Jarvis was however, a bit irked and bothered when she saw that President Woodrow Wilson had gotten the credit of establishing Mother’s Day.

Our day is often characterized among many with a glaring and obvious disrespect for age, the past, parents, and authority. We could wish Mother’s Day might be a day of real significance in learning more perfectly the will of the Lord regarding respect for parents. Proverbs 30:11 states There are those who curse their father, and do not bless their mother.” – NIV.  This could be said of many in our time too.

Influence of Women in the Bible

Mothers are very important in God’s agenda so believe it or not they are mentioned 226 times in the Bible. The first mother, Eve, was called the “mother of all living” – Gen. 3:20.  Sarah, the wife of Abraham, was called the “mother of nations” – Gen. 17:16.  Moses’ mother gave her own child away to an Egyptian princess just to spare his life.  Samuel’s mother dedicated her son to the Lord at a very young age.  King Solomon reminded young -people in Proverbs 4 not to forsake the law of their mother.  Young Timothy’s leadership was based on the prayers of his faithful mother Eunice and grandmother Lois.

 

Meaning of Honouring Mother

Honouring of motherhood is not of man, but of God. We honor mothers, not because of a Congressional resolution, but because of a divine teaching. We honour mothers, not just one day of the year, but throughout the year. In ancient times, as today, motherhood was considered a great and special blessing. God commanded through Moses, Honor thy father and thy mother….” – Exodus 20:12. The same teaching is in the New Testament in Ephesians 6:2-3 – “Honour your father and your mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Honouring our mother may include paying her a visit, giving her a gift, sending her a card, making a telephone call to her, writing her a letter, even wearing a special flower to commemorate her birthday. All these things are nice. But there are much, much more things of deeper significance. To honour means to regard and treat with great respect and esteem. The very definition includes both the heart and the manifestation of the attitude in the heart. It is a disposition toward mother that demonstrates itself in deeds.

This would include the way we speak to her and of her. While many may consider it old fashioned, but referring to mother by her first name seems to place her on the level no different from any other. But mothers are on a level that demands more consideration, special consideration, than other relationships. Our address of her should reflect this unique relationship and her rank and position. It is a serious mistake to speak of her as “the old woman” because many use that terminology to convey disrespect. There is no more warm and beautiful term than to simply call her, Mother, or similar words that denote she is in a special place in the heart and life.  Mothers are parents and they deserve recognition that they are not just another among others people.

Why Does God Want us to Honour our Mothers? 

God knows that when we honour and love our mothers, everyone wins.  God wins, our mothers win and we also win. Proverbs 10:1 teaches that when we foolishly do not honour our mothers, we bring grief to them.  Many mothers literally die of broken hearts because of the selfishness and waywardness of their adult children.  The Bible teaches that there is a spiritual law of reaping and sowing.  As the famous movie “Gone With the Wind” reminds us, the person who brings trouble on his family will only inherit the wind – Proverbs 11:29.  Honouring our mothers is in our own best interests.

It is very easy to focus on our parent’s flaws.  Proverbs 15:20 says “A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother.” Have you ever noticed the number of interesting swear-words that involve the use of the term ‘mother’?  There is so much anger and hatred in our culture towards the feminine gender.   Proverbs 30:17 symbolically says that those who dishonour their mothers will have their eyes pecked out by the ravens and vultures.  To fail to honour our mothers is to reject motherhood to go blind to the things that really matter in life.  Honouring our mothers is not a multiple-choice option.

 

To be continued!

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 Hymns and their Stories & every Thursdays for Bible Studies at the Salt & Light office, Abelemkpe.

 

 

 

HELLO GOD!

 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26

We found this on the net and find it so compelling that we are glad to share it with you.

INTRODUCTION

The story is told that the Vicar of Dibley, a UK TV sitcom featuring a woman vicar played by Dawn French, is based on the life of one of the first women vicars – Joy Carroll Wallis. A few years ago we met Joy. She told us a story about when she was an Anglican Priest in London. One of the congregation members was a very godly eighty-seven-year-old woman called Flory Shore, who underwent serious surgery. Flory had been told that her prospects of recovery were very slim. Thankfully, she survived the surgery. As she opened her eyes, one of the first things she saw was the blurred image of her doctor, dressed in his white jacket. She smiled and said, ‘Hello God! I’m Flory Shore.’Joy commented that this demonstrated two things. First, it showed Flory’s humility. She did not expect God to know who she was. Second, it showed her absolute certainty about the resurrection and where she was going. Her certainty about the resurrection was based on the cornerstone of Christianity: the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the first Easter day. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead now lives in you through the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 1:18–23). One day, you too will be raised and be able to say ‘Hello God!’

1 Life beyond the grave – Psalm 49:1-20

There is a stark contrast between life without God, and life with God.

Life without God – Those who live without God tend to end up trusting in either wealth (v.6a) or themselves (v.13a). This trust is characterised by a search for status. The wealthy may ‘boast of their great riches’ (v.6b) and use money to impress others with their possessions (v.16). They may even name lands after themselves (v.11a).

They enjoy the praise of others (v.18b) and they count ‘themselves blessed’ (v.18a). They may try to use their wealth to ‘buy off’ their own death (v.7). Yet no amount of money is ever enough (v.8). In the end, it is all futile as wealth gets left to others (v.10b). ‘So don’t be impressed with those who get rich and pile up fame and fortune. They can’t take it with them’ (vv.16–17a, MSG). What is this all worth if we ‘decay in the grave?’ (v.14).

Life with God – By contrast, if you live a life with God there is no need to search for status. This is because your status is determined not by your success in accumulating wealth, but in knowing to whom you belong and how precious you are to him.

Your ransom has been paid (v.7b) and you have been redeemed – your future is secure: ‘But me? God snatches me from the clutch of death, he reaches down and grabs me’ (v.15, MSG).

A life with God means you will ‘live on forever and not see decay’ (v.9). The psalmist says, ‘Why should I fear?’ (v.5). Fear is a natural human emotion. But, with God you can face your fears with confidence because you are able to have complete trust in God for this life and the life to come.

Here is one of the few hints in the Old Testament of life after death. The writer is confident that ‘God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself’ (v.15). Life with God does not end with death, but continues on into eternity. The psalmist was confident in this, even though he did not know how it was possible. The answer is revealed through Jesus’ resurrection.

Lord, thank you for the power of your resurrection, which now lives in me. Thank you that you will snatch me from the clutch of death and take me to yourself.

2 The dead will rise – Luke 20:27-21:4

When we start to think about the resurrection and life after death, it is hard to imagine what it will be like. What will people look like? What kind of body will you have? How will we relate to one another?

Sometimes, people use these kinds of questions to suggest that the idea of the resurrection is fanciful or even absurd. The Sadducees belonged to a ‘party that denies any possibility of resurrection’ (20:27, MSG). They came to Jesus with this kind of trick question about a woman who had had seven husbands, asking mockingly how it would all work out with the resurrection.

Jesus answered by explaining that their question is flawed because they are working with a this-worldly mind-set. The resurrection will transform all our human relationships and the need for marriage as a means of continuing a family line will be removed (vv.34–36).

Jesus answers the question, but then goes on to address the real issue. The Sadducees were unimpressed by the hints of the resurrection in the Old Testament because they placed far greater weight on the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch).

Jesus takes them on, on their own territory, by quoting from one of these books: ‘Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord “the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive’ (vv.37–38).

Jesus is absolutely clear that he believed, not only in his own resurrection, but also in a much wider ‘resurrection from the dead’ (v.35). Those who rise ‘can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection’ (v.36).

Of course, it all depends on Jesus being who he claimed to be. Jesus points out that he is not only a son of David, he is David’s Lord (vv.41–44). If Jesus is Lord, you can be confident in his assurance that ‘the dead rise’ (v.37).

If you really believe in the resurrection it changes your attitude to everything in life, including your possessions. Like the widow (21:1–4) you are challenged to give generously, hold your possessions lightly and, ultimately, to be willing to give up everything you have in this life.

Furthermore, you have a whole different perspective on this life. There is real hope in the face of the tragedy of death. This life is only the beginning.

Lord, thank you so much for dying for me and thank you for the amazing hope that I have through your resurrection. Thank you that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead will raise us also.

3 The everlasting arms – Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

If ever a person had a good end to their life it was Moses: ‘Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eyesight was sharp; he still walked with a spring in his step’ (34:7, MSG). He had lived a life of knowing the Lord ‘face to face’ (v.10).

Moses had been greatly used by God: ‘For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did’ (v.12).

One of the great challenges in life is to finish well. Part of finishing well is planning succession.

Moses finished well. He had planned for Joshua to be his successor: ‘Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord commanded Moses’ (v.9). This is one of the few examples of the anointing of God passing from one generation to the next.

Before he died, Moses blessed all the different tribes with some extraordinary words. For example, about Benjamin he said, ‘Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders’ (33:12).

As he comes to the end, having blessed each tribe, he says, ‘There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’ (vv.26–27a).

Moses perhaps realised that death was not the end. He trusted the eternal God and he knew his arms were everlasting. This does not entirely remove the pain and sadness of death. The people wept and mourned when Moses died (34:8a). It is natural and important to grieve and vital that we do so. Your emotions are God-given and should not be repressed.

However, there is a difference between grief with no hope, and the grief of the believer who has hope in the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

I have been to many funerals and memorial services over the years and often the opening words are these great, reassuring, comforting and powerful words: ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’ (Deuteronomy 33:27a).

Lord, may I, like Moses, live in a close relationship with you, and know that the eternal God is my refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Stay blessed!

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

Email: saltnlightministries@gmail.com
Website:
saltandlightministriesgh.org

 

8 WAYS TO BEAT TEMPTATION

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

INTRODUCTION

God sometimes allows us to be tested by temptation. As disciples, we should pray to be delivered from these trying times and from deliverance from Satan (“the evil one”) and His deceit. All Christians struggle with temptation. Sometimes it is so subtle that we don’t even realize what is happening to us. God has promised that He won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). Ask God to help you recognize temptation and to give you strength to overcome it and choose God’s way instead.

We all face temptations of many kinds. God wants us to beat them. We don’t have to sin, as powerful as temptations feel. Here are 8 ways to gain the victory.

1 Pray before you are tempted

Jesus instructed His disciples to ask God, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.” And as he told us to pray, “Give us THIS DAY” our daily bread,” it’s good to ask God to deliver us from temptation and evil THIS DAY. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds – James 1:2

2 Flee. A good run is better than a bad fall.

Stay as far away sin as you can. Don’t think you won’t fall. If you hired someone to transport your most valuable possessions, you wouldn’t tell them to see how close to the edge of a cliff they could drive. In Proverbs 7 a “young man lacking sense” wanders near the house of an woman at twilight, and just “happens” to run into her. She’s dressed sensually. She says her husband’s gone and describes her perfumed bed. Eventually he follows her like an ox going to slaughter. Eve got into trouble by engaging with Satan and looking at how delicious the fruit looked. Flee temptation. Be like Joseph in Potiphar’s house, flee .Stay out of the car in the park in the dark.

3 Quote Scripture

That’s how Jesus overcame the tempter. When you feel like grumbling remind yourself to “rejoice always.” When tempted to give a harsh reply think, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” When rankling against correction remind yourself, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Of course, to quote Scripture when tempted means we must know it first, which means we must regularly take it in.

4 Pray in the midst of temptation.

Draw near to the throne of grace for help in time of need. Your sympathetic high priest, who was tempted as you are yet without sin, will help you (Heb 4)

5 Get a brother or sister to pray with you.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

6 Ask someone to hold you accountable.

A friend once said to me, “Mark, when I get back from my business trip this week, can you ask me if I watched TV in the hotel room? When I’m alone on trips I can be tempted to watch bad stuff. Knowing you are going to ask me will help me fight temptation.”

7 Remember God’s faithfulness.

“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 CO 10:13). God will never let us be tempted beyond the strength he gives, and if we ask he’ll “provide the way of escape” to get us through it.

8 Remind yourself that sin has consequences.

Remember Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”

When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged for her husband’s death, God forgave him, but told him the sword would never depart from his house, that his own family members would do him great harm and the child he conceived with Bathsheba would die.

Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own. This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel. Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord. Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.” (2 Sa 12:10–14).

So here’s a quick summary:

  1. Pray before you are tempted
  2. Flee
  3. Quote Scripture
  4. Pray in the midst of temptation
  5. Get a brother or sister to pray with you 
  6. Ask someone to hold you accountable
  7. Remember God’s faithfulness
  8. Remind yourself that sin has consequences

Keep fighting the good fight!

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 Hymns and their Stories & every Thursdays for Bible Studies at the Salt & Light office, Abelemkpe.

 

How to discover and use your spiritual gifts

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 12:6-8

INTRODUCTION

Spiritual gifts are something that have fascinated me for a long time. Not only do we all have different hobbies and talents, but there are gifts that God has given each of us to help perform our God-specific assignments on this Earth. It can be easy to see someone else using their spiritual gift and wonder how we could do what they do. This is why it is so essential that we understand our own individual spiritual gifts that make us unique and help us all to work together in the body of Christ.

Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 that we each are a part of the body and hold very specific and different spiritual gifts: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”

So by now you may be wondering how to identify your spiritual gifts. These ten steps may be helpful in discovering and using your spiritual gifts for the glory of the Lord!

1. Understanding What Spiritual Gifts Are:

There are many spiritual gifts and this is a great resource to learn more about them! What do people often compliment you on? Are you easy to talk to or are the leader in your small group? If you like to pitch in behind the scenes at church without being asked you may think you are just helpful but it’s really the gift of serving that you are using! If you’d like to take a test to learn more about what gifts you have, you will find spiritual gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:27 – 31; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 4:10-11.

2. What Are Your Dreams?

I fully believe that God instills dreams and aspirations inside of us that line up with our spiritual gifts. Do you dream of starting a church or a community group? Do you think writing a book to help others go through something you’ve struggled with and have overcome sounds exciting? Right now you may think these dreams are too lofty but understand that God gives you these dreams as encouragement to keep moving forward with your gifts!

3. What Do You Enjoy Doing?

By our teenage and adult years many of us understand what our talents and personality types are. These are just a part of what makes our spiritual gifts come alive! I love to write about my faith and lessons God has taught me through situations in order to comfort or guide others. So it makes sense that my spiritual gifts include discernment and faith.

4. What Do You Not Enjoy?

If you don’t enjoy speaking in front of people or going up to strangers to evangelize, you may not be gifted in those spiritual gifts. I have tried other ministry areas through volunteering at church and quickly realized that it just wasn’t a gift of mine. Could I still stay in that ministry? Sure, but if I am not enjoying where I am in the ministry of Christ, the fervour or reach of my “work” may not be as effective. People can sense when you are joyful or are just going through the motions.

5. What Do You Take for Granted About Yourself?

For many of us, things don’t always come easy. Being a part of the church body means that we all can play a part, no matter how big or small, in leading others to Christ and encouraging our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Ask a friend what they see in you that they admire or come to you for. Maybe you’re a great listener or are always willing to give financially to missions. These answers from trusted friends and family can also help to unlock your knowledge of spiritual gifts.

6. Using Your Gifts:

At this point you may be wondering how to put your spiritual gifts in action? I think the best way to get an opportunity to use your gifts is to volunteer! Churches, schools, and organizations/conferences are often looking for volunteers. If you have the gift of hospitality, you may want to offer hosting your small group one evening. If wisdom or teaching is a gift of yours, leading Bible classes or mentoring others may be something you’d enjoy!

7. Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open:

Many times, we come across opportunities without realizing them. You may have a gift of discernment, helping, or craftsmanship and have a neighbor that needs help cleaning out their garage or putting on a garage sale. Maybe you have a family member or coworker that needs donations for a mission trip or medical need that you can use your gift of giving towards!

8. Learning When to Say Yes:

After taking a spiritual gift test, you may find that you have multiple spiritual gifts. If so, you may feel pulled in multiple directions or may even feel an urgency to say “yes” to every opportunity that may come your way. Something I had to learn was that, although I may have the opportunity, I don’t have to say yes to every opportunity. When we fill up our schedule we can quickly “burn out” and then our impact can lesson or our energy to continue may dwindle. I have found that taking seasons of volunteering in one area at a time gives me time to delve into different gifts in a spaced-out rhythm.

9. What Are You Scared of?

Maybe your gifts “scare” you a little. You may have the gift of evangelism but fear where it might lead. I believe that taking opportunities, no matter how big or small, are useful for the kingdom. I also know that the areas that make us the most nervous are the opportunities that many times will make the largest impact.

10. Take the Compliment and Send It Upward:

When you find yourself in God’s will using your gifts you will undoubtedly get compliments from others that receive the blessings! These will serve to energize your hard work and efforts and make you want to keep on the good work! Although it’s nice to receive these compliments in and of themselves, we must remember to accept and then send the praise back up to the Creator of all good things! This will bless the giver, receiver and send glory up to the Father above, the originator of all good gifts!

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 Hymns and their Stories & every Thursdays for Bible Studies at the Salt & Light office, Abelemkpe.

 

 

8 HABITS OF A HEALTHY SPIRITUAL LIFE

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. – I Timothy 4:7

We found this on the net and it is so relevant to our time that we feel led to share it with the. Please enjoy.

INTRODUCTION

Here is the question to ponder today: “how hard is it to die when you have so much wealth?” Consider this: People who lay up treasures on earth spend their life backing away from their treasures. To them, death is loss. People who lay up treasures in heaven look forward to eternity; they are moving daily toward their treasures. To them, death is gain.

Those who spend their life moving away from their treasures have more and more reasons to despair. Those who spend their life moving toward their treasures have more and more reasons to rejoice. Is the passing of time causing you and me to despair or rejoice? God’s ownership of everything is the reference point for all of us who serve the Lord.

God’s Word teaches us eight habits that can keep us spiritually healthy until death. Wouldn’t it be great to be in robust spiritual health, looking forward to Heaven? The habits recorded in Psalms 116 are not just for those who have one foot in the grave, they are actually good habits for all of our lives. Here are the simple habits that make our death precious in the sight of the Lord. These are the marks of a healthy spiritual life that takes the sting out of death.

  1. 1 Believe in Him that He is listening and watching and respond in love.
  2. 2 Cry out to Him. Get used to talking to the Lord. Pour out your heart, your fears, your woes—share them with Him.
  3. 9 Follow Him through your daily life. He is the Shepherd and we are His sheep.
  4. 13 Drink Him. He is our cup of salvation. We thirst and He alone satisfies. Let Him into your life to meet your deepest needs!
  5. 14 Obey Him. Do what He says. Give in and submit to Him.
  6. 16 Serve Him. Tell Him that, say it aloud, and offer it as an offering.
  7. 17 Thank Him. Think through all the many blessings and benefits the Lord has heaped upon you. If you have troubles, listen to some children pray. They thank the Lord for eyes to see, warm “blankies” to sleep under, food to eat, and all the other simple and sweet blessings of life.
  8. 18–19 Live for Him. From now on live for His glory, talk of His blessings, come into His presence, worship and adore Him.

Do your plans and priorities for the rest of this year mirror what the Lord desires? His desires are clearly laid out in His Word.

Our key passage, 1 Timothy 4:7, Paul says we are to discipline ourselves towards godliness. What encourages a godly life?

  1. The Discipline of Scripture.

Time alone with God in His Word, the Scriptures, is the great necessity of our spiritual lives. We need to be alone with God daily! We need to find times to get away alone.

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)

The Lord God of the Universe wants to arrange your life, and accompany your trip through life, and authorize everything needed from now on. Wow, that is the best life there is.

  1. The Discipline of Spirit-Filled Living.

Jesus explained the Holy Spirit in our lives by using the image of a strong river of water flowing out of us. On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink (present active imperative). He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37–39

Rivers of water is the way Jesus describes the normal life of believers, His children.

  1. The Discipline of Stewardship.

A life given back to God as an offering is what stewardship is all about. Stewardship is not about money; it is about life itself. Time and life are far greater treasures than money and possessions. God wants you 1st and foremost! A GODLY STEWARD KNOWS THAT GOD OWNS HIM AND EVERYTHING HE HAS.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:1–2

and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

Conclusion:

He who lays up treasures on earth spends his life backing away from his treasures. To Him, death is loss. He who lays up treasures in heaven looks forward to eternity; He’s moving daily toward His treasures. To Him, death is gain. He who spends his life moving away from His treasures has reason to despair. He who spends his life moving toward His treasures has reason to rejoice.

Is the passing of time causing you and me to despair or rejoice? God’s kingdom was the reference point for these men. They saw all else in light of the kingdom. They were compelled to live as they did not because they treasured no things, but because they treasured the right things.

We often miss something in missionary martyr Jim Elliot’s famous words, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” We focus on his willingness to go to the mission field. That willingness started when he relinquished his hold on things as MINE!

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 Hymns and their Stories & every Thursdays for Bible Studies at the Salt & Light office, Abelenkpe.

 

FORGIVE YOURSELF

Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me;  my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. – Psalm 32:1-5

INTRODUCTION

Forgiveness from Jesus Christ is like a recording of the bad stuff in our lives being wiped completely clean. Forgiveness is never easy. We all know how hard it is to forgive others. However, we often assume that forgiveness from God is almost automatic. In the passage for today we see the very high cost and huge blessing of God’s forgiveness. As P.T. Forsyth pointed out, first, you have to know the ‘despair of guilt’. Then you can appreciate ‘the breathless wonder of forgiveness’.

  1. Experience the relief of forgiveness

Do you ever find it difficult to forgive other people or even to forgive yourself for something you have done? The key to forgiving others and yourself is, knowing how much God has forgiven you. Forgiven people forgive.

As C.S. Lewis pointed out, ‘To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.’ As far as forgiving yourself is concerned, he wrote, ‘If God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than him.’

Through Jesus, God has made total forgiveness available to you and me. In this psalm, we see the huge difference that God’s forgiveness makes.

Release from the hand of judgment – David describes the spiritual agony of not being forgiven: ‘My bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer’.

Transparency with God – The route to forgiveness is simply to come to the Lord with no mask or pretence: ‘Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” – and you forgave the guilt of my sin’.

A fresh start – David describes the enormous blessing of knowing you are forgiven: ‘Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit’. Imagine that in our diaries were recorded, not just our engagements and meetings, but also all our sins. The first two verses of this psalm give us three pictures of what God does with your sins. First, ‘the Lord does not count’ your sins against you. He acts as though they do not exist.

Second, they are ‘covered’. It is as if God gets out his heavenly eraser and rubs out the sinful entries in your diary: ‘Your slate’s wiped clean’ (v.1, MSG). Third, they are ‘forgiven’ (v.1a). Literally that word means ‘removed’ or ‘taken away’. The pages relating to your sins are ripped out and destroyed. ‘You get a fresh start’.

The apostle Paul quotes this psalm as evidence that through the death of Jesus for you, God credits you with righteousness by faith and that forgiveness is not something that you can earn by good works (see Romans 4:6-8). Through the cross, God restores you to a right relationship with him. Therefore, you can pray to Him (Psalm 32:6a). He becomes your ‘hiding-place’. He protects you from trouble. He guides us and His ‘unfailing love surrounds’ us. This is not earned by good works. It comes to the person who trusts in Him by faith. A proper understanding of the Old Testament shows that the path to forgiveness is repentance and faith.

Forgiveness is not a reason to sinit is an incentive not to sin. We want to stay on God’s paths. He promises that he will guide you: ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you’. He does not want you to be difficult to guide like a horse or a mule that must be controlled by bit and bridle (v.9). He wants you to avoid the pain of resisting the Holy Spirit. Follow the promptings of God’s Spirit. He wants you to hear his voice daily, listen to his instruction, walk in his ways and trust in his love.

Lord, thank you that you died for me on the cross so that I can know the relief of forgiveness. I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life… Please forgive me.

  1. Thank Jesus for paying the price of forgiveness – Mark 15:33-47

Take time today to thank Jesus for dying for you. Jesus paid a very high price for our forgiveness. Forgiveness is not easy, but Jesus made it possible. Jesus did die on the cross for us. Sometimes people suggest that Jesus did not really die on the cross but recovered in the cool of the tomb.

However, Pilate checked that he was indeed ‘already dead’. The centurion who had overseen the crucifixion confirmed that Jesus was actually dead. Roman soldiers were experts at carrying out crucifixions. The centurion would also have faced severe punishment himself if he let a living prisoner go.

Joseph of Arimathea ‘took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock’. Joseph would have noticed if Jesus was still alive and breathing. He would not have buried a living Jesus. Jesus was ‘God-forsaken’ because of our sins. ‘… darkness came over the whole land’ (v.33). Jesus cried out, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’. Mark retains the original Aramaic words of Jesus, which mean, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’.  Jesus opened the way for forgiveness and entry into the presence of God

The curtain of the temple (see in today’s Old Testament passage, Leviticus 24:3), which was what separated people from the presence of God, was torn in two supernaturally by God from top to bottom. It was sixty feet high and at least, one inch thick. The fact that it was torn from top down (where humans could not reach it) emphasises that it was God who caused it to be torn.

This symbolised the fact that through the death of Jesus you are given access to God, because your sins are forgiven. God credits you with righteousness and allows you and me the immense privilege of an intimate relationship with him.

Lord Jesus, thank you that ‘you loved me and gave [yourself] for me’ (Galatians 2:20). Thank you that I can now enter the presence of God with boldness and confidence in your name.

  1. Understand that forgiveness is earned not by us but for us – Leviticus 23:1-24:23

We see in the Old Testament how seriously sin is taken. It is not a trivial matter. And forgiveness is not to be taken for granted. Justice required an equivalence: ‘Life for life’ (24:18); ‘fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth’ (v.20). This was never intended for personal relationships but for the law courts to prevent escalating violence. It showed the need of the appropriateness of a penalty for sin (incidentally, it was under this law of blasphemy, vv.10–16, that Jesus himself was condemned to death as we saw in Mark 14:64).

Again, we see Jesus’ death foreshadowed. Forgiveness of sins requires sacrifice, it requires a lamb. The lamb must be perfect, ‘without defect’ (Leviticus 23:12). St Paul describes Jesus as ‘our Passover lamb [who] has been sacrificed’ (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Forgiveness cannot be earned. On the Day of Atonement, ‘atonement is made for you’ (Leviticus 23:28). It is not made by you but for you. This is the radical and revolutionary teaching of the whole Bible. When you understand how forgiveness is made possible through Jesus, it takes your breath away and it totally transforms your life. And when you know that you have received total forgiveness from God, you have to forgive others and you have to forgive yourself.

Lord Jesus, thank you that you have set me free from all these Old Testament laws. Thank you that you are ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29). Thank you that you made atonement for me. Thank you for the breathless wonder of your forgiveness that transforms my life and eternity.

At such a crucial moment in history, when Jesus is defeating the powers of darkness, all his disciples and many followers deserted him. But the women were there at the cross. What bravery and loyalty! In a culture where women seemed to be almost ignored, Jesus empowered them: ‘Many other women who had come up with Him to Jerusalem were also there’ (Mark 15:41). You sense a movement!

 

Stay blessed!

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

Email: saltnlightministries@gmail.com
Website:
saltandlightministriesgh.org