PRACTICAL CHRISTIAN LIVING

 If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings;” – 1 Peter 2:9-10 (New Living Translation)    

INTRODUCTION

As children of God, we have to know that we have been empowered to live practical, fruitful and effective lives because we have been changed from the inside out.  Apostle Peter says that God has given great and precious promises through which we are able to participate in His divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

We have indeed been given power to live practical holy, pure and righteous lives.

Enjoy it, practice it and assist others to do the same!

A LIVING SACRIFICE TO GOD

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.  In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

 Dear friends, never take revenge.  Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,  “I will take revenge;  I will pay them back,” says the Lord.  Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them.  If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” – Romans 12:1-21 (New Living Translation)

God’s goal for us is that through a personal relationship with Christ we become morally pure, spiritually whole, separated from evil and devoted to God and His purposes.  God can be trusted to do exactly what He has promised to keep His people “strong to the end” as they remain true to His call and purposes and to be in “fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

LIFE BY THE SPIRIT

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.  The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.“ Galatians 5:13-26 (NIV)

DOING GOOD TO ALL

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load. Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.  Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.   Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” Gal. 6:1-10 (NIV)

SUBMISSION TO THE AUTHORITIES

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.  Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour.

LOVE, FOR THE DAY IS NEAR

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.  And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Romans 13:1-14 (NIV)

Stay blessed!

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

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

GOD IS OUR REFUGE

The eternal God is your refuge; And underneath are the everlasting arms; I will say of the LORD, ”He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Deut. 33:27, Psalm 91:2 (NIV).

INTRODUCTION

In today’s society, a person charged with manslaughter is likely to call a lawyer to defend him so he can stay out of jail.  In ancient Israel however, such a person would flee to the nearest of six cities designated as “cities of refuge” – Num.35:11.  The cities of refuge combined issues of urban planning, justice, and religion in some interesting ways.  

God told Moses to instruct the Israelites to create cities of refuge – six in all where those who inadvertently kill someone can run and find refuge and avoid the avenger.  My imagination tells me that those who ran there would feel a deep sense of relief and gratitude.  Relief, that they will not be killed and gratitude to God who in His eternal wisdom had made such a provision.  I believe that these cities of refuge had all manner of people – those who belonged to high class, middle class and lower class of society. 

But while there, no one could really stand on ceremony and insist on social status.  All had one thing in common and that one thing was that by God’s grace they have been saved from sure and certain death.  This is the extent of God’s love – He makes provision for us to escape the certain death that comes from sin.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Rom. 6:23.

Let us spend a little time thinking about this our God who is our REFUGE – our hiding place, our fortress, our stronghold – providing a place in Him where we can come for peace, stability and calm:

  • when the enemy comes against us;
  • when life’s pressures mount, and
  • when our inner peace gets very shaky.

Legend has it that Moses penned Psalm 91 at the beginning of the wandering of Israel in the wilderness.  In this Psalm, we find assurance that if our relationship with God is intimate and very close then:

  • we will be totally be protected by Him; and
  • we will know Him as our refuge and our fortress and put our total trust in Him.

Let us ponder over these three questions. 

Question 1:  What have you actively done or are you actively doing to be in an intimate love relationship with God?  Is God number 2 or 3 or 4 in your life?  Are other things so important that you have relegated God to a place where you call on Him only when you need Him?  If that is the case then please change your mind because it is unacceptable.

God must be 1st in our hearts and in our lives.  He deserves the first place – He must be our all in all.  We must deliberately and willingly enthrone Him as our LORD.  Jesus says in Luke 14:26 that unless we “hate” mother, father, husband, wife, even our own lives we cannot be His disciples.  Jesus is love so obviously Jesus is not talking about hating our closest relations but merely emphasizing that we must love Him deeply and totally, and be willing to leave all things for His sake.

During the wilderness exile of David, when he was fleeing from King Saul, he used the imagery of REFUGE more than any other scripture writer.  Many psalms of David mention God as our refuge because David knew that his true shelter was God and not the numerous caves he found himself in.  It was Jehovah God who kept him, protected him and sustained him physically, emotionally and spiritually.  It was Jehovah God who comforted him and counselled and gave him grace to be humble.

Question 2:  How has God been your REFUGE and hiding place?  For us, we have accepted by faith God’s grace of salvation, Jesus Christ, our Refuge.  He is the Person to whom we may go to with every complaint and dilemma.  He hears us in times of trouble.  No matter what we have done we may go to Him, seek His forgiveness and find safety in Him.  No one can permanently harm us when we are in Christ and when God is our Shield.  Jesus is the defender of our lives and we need not shiver with fear before people and circumstances.  As Paul wrote in Rom.8:31 “if God is for us, who can be against us”? 

How do we make Christ our refuge?  How do we come to that place of knowing that He is responsible for keeping us safe?  Proverbs 18:10 is our answer – “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe”.  This is so because of the many names of God:

  • He is El Shaddai – the Almighty, all sufficient, all bountiful God.  He is the One who fulfils every promise of scripture – 2 Cor.1:20.  He is faithful.
  • He is El Elyon – the Most High God who rules over peoples and nations and whose strength and power no one can resist.  Christ is our impenetrable shield and our protector.
  • He is El Olam, the everlasting God, our God who is eternally consistent.  Christ is the stability of our life – when things seem to fall apart.
  • He is El Roi, the God who sees.  He watches over us, seeing and knowing all that happens in our lives.  He comes at the right time to help us.
  • He is Jehovah Jireh – the God who provides all our needs according to His unlimited bounteous resources.

We can go on and on about the names of God – all of which are reflections of His attributes and character.  That is the God to whom we may run for shelter!  He is our hiding place and our refuge.

Question 3:  From what troubles have God delivered you?  Psalm 91:3-7; 10-13 and 16.  We need to intimately know this our God and receive from Him all that He has for us so that we will experience peace, perfect peace in this dark world of sin.

Will you commit to Him today as your REFUGE?

Hymn

A Safe Stronghold our God is Still – MHB 494

1. A SAFE stronghold our God is still,

A trusty shield and weapon;  

He’ll help us clear from all the ill        

  That hath us now o’ertaken.

  The ancient Prince of Hell            

  Hath risen with purpose fell;

  Strong mail of craft and power         

  He weareth in this hour—    

  On earth is not his fellow.    

2. With force of arms we nothing can,                    

Full soon were we down-ridden;        

But for us fights the proper Man,       

Whom God himself hath bidden.       

Ask ye: Who is this same?       

Christ Jesus is his name,                  

The Lord Zebaoth’s Son           

He, and no other one,

Shall conquer in the battle.    

3. And were this world all devils o’er,

And watching to devour us,           

We lay it not to heart so sore

Not they can overpower us.   

And let the Prince of Ill            

Look grim as e’er he will,        

He harms us not a whit:                  

For why? his doom is writ

A word shall quickly slay him.

God’s word, for all their craft and force,        

One moment will not linger;  

But spite of hell shall have its course—                  

’Tis written by his finger.         

 And though they take our life,           

 Goods, honor, children, wife,             

 Yet is their profit small:          

 These things shall vanish all—                    

 The City of God remaineth.                                                                                                                      

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.

POWER OVER SATAN AND DEMONS

No one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house – Mark 3:27
The one who does what is sinful is of the devil because the devil has been sinning from the
beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. – 1 John3:8


INTRODUCTION
We at Salt and Light Ministries extend our condolence to the family of the 90-year-old woman, Akua Denteh who was accused of witchcraft and lynched at Kafaba in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region. The act was barbaric and totally ungodly.
Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan, to establish God’s kingdom and to free us, all of
humankind, from Satan’s power. One of the main themes in Mark’s Gospel is Jesus’constant
aim to defeat Satan and his demonic powers. In Mark 3:27, Jesus puts into action the principle behind this spiritual conflict with Satan and his powers in His use of phrases like “tying up the strong man” (Satan) and “robbing his house” (setting free those who are slaves to Satan or “possessed” by demonic powers and reclaiming their lives for God’s kingdom). Jesus overcomes the enemy by driving out the demons or evil spirits. “Driving out” or “casting out” means that Jesus is exercising His authority to force demonic powers to give up control of people whose lives and bodies have been in Satan’s control. Jesus did this to illustrate that evil spirits have no right to use human bodies as their abode.
SATAN AND DEMONS. Satan was once a great angel created perfect and good. He was
appointed to serve directly around God’s throne in heaven. Yet before the world began, he
became filled with pride and rebelled against God. As a result, he became God’s primary enemy and an enemy to all humanity as well. “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. – Ezekiel 28:12-15.
We must, however, keep in mind that Satan is not equal with God; he is a created being and his power must yield to the superior power of God. God is Omnipresent (Everywhere at the same time), Omnipotent (All-powerful) and Omniscient (All-knowing). But Satan has none of these characteristics; therefore, most of his activity is assigned to demons. In his rebellion against God, Satan misled a multitude of lesser angels who, after their “fall” from heaven, could likely be identified as demons or evil spirits. Satan and many of these lesser angels were exiled to the earth and the atmosphere around it. This is where they do their evil work, as God allows. Because of this constant presence of evil and its influence, all of humankind must choose whether to follow God or to follow evil.

DEMONS.

As a result of humanity’s sin and rebellion against God, the New Testament describes the world as estranged (alienated, separated) from God and seized by Satan, who now exercises a great deal of authority on the earth.

Demons are spirit beings that have personality and intelligence. As members of Satan’s
kingdom, they are part of a highly organized empire of evil that has authority over “the
kingdom of the air”. As agents for carrying out Satan’s purposes, demons are enemies of God and humans. Demon spirits are totally evil, filled with hate and under Satan’s authority. In order to overcome the schemes and temptations of Satan and his demonic forces, Christians must wage continual spiritual warfare against them.

The many accounts in the Bible, make it clear that it is common for demons to dwell in the
bodies of some people who do not have a personal relationship with God. The evil spirits make slaves of the individuals they “possess.” They use the possessed individuals’ voice to speak and can influence them toward evil, immorality, and destruction.

Demons can cause physical diseases and illness in the human body. This does not mean,
however, that all sickness and disease are the results of evil spirits.

Demons are the real power behind the “gods” and “idols” of false religions. This means that
worshipping false gods is basically the same as worshipping demons.

Those involved in spiritism (the attempt to communicate with the dead) and sorcery (the
supposed use of magic) are dealing with evil spirits. Such activity can easily lead to a person coming under demonic control.

Evil spirits will be especially active in the end times, leading people to take part in the occult
(witchcraft and satanism), sexual immorality, violence, cruelty, and mass deception. They will attack and attempt to discredit God’s Word, steering people away from correct teaching and truth. The fullest display of demonic activity will be through the antichrist and his followers
JESUS AND DEMONS
1) The New Testament frequently describes individuals who are suffering from Satan’s
oppression and influence due to evil spirits that take up residence in their bodies and gain
control of their lives. Throughout the Gospels (the narrative accounts of the “good news” and the true story of Jesus Christ), Jesus shows His power and authority to free people from this spiritual slavery. The Gospel of Mark describes many times in which Jesus comes in contact with and stands against demons with the power of God: “ That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.    The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.” Mark 1:32-34.
“Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out,  24  “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. – Mark 1:23-26.

In His miracles, Jesus often attacks the power of Satan and demonic forces. Jesus states clearly that one of His purposes in coming to earth was to destroy the works of Satan and to set free those the devil holds as slaves.

One way Jesus binds and destroys Satan’s power is by driving out demons (by His authority

forcing them to leave the person’s body and give up control of the individual’s life). But he paid the penalty for our sin. This victory shattered the power of Satan’s kingdom and restored the power of God’s kingdom in people’s lives. Jesus’ work and personal sacrifice made Satan’s defeat certainly and gained God’s victory over him.

Hell, the place of eternal punishment, torment, and separation from God, has been prepared by God for the devil and his demons. “Then He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41

BELIEVERS AND DEMONS

  1. God’s Word teaches that because God’s Holy Spirit lives within each true follower of Christ, a Christian cannot be demon-possessed. God’s Spirit and demons can never live in the same body. Demons may, however, influence the thoughts, emotions, and actions of Christians who fail to follow and respond to the leading of the Spirit.
  2. Jesus promised His followers that they would have authority over the power of Satan and
    demons. As we confront them, we must rely on Jesus and use His authority to break the power that demonic forces want to force upon us and others. This means we must wage intense spiritual warfare through the power of the Holy Spirit. The power of God is the only source that frees us from the power and influence of the devil’s darkness and brings us into God’s spiritual light with a victory.
  3. According to the parable in Mark 3:27 – “In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house
    without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house.”, spiritual conflict
    against Satan and his demonic forces involves three stages of spiritual battle:
    a) Declare war against Satan according to God’s purpose.
    b) Enter Satan’s territory (any area of life where he has a “stronghold” or has strongly forced
    his evil control), then attack and overpower him through prayer and God’s Word. By doing this, God will destroy the devil’s weapons of deception and temptation.
    c) Take what the devil possesses. This means helping to liberate those who have been enslaved by Satan’s power and helping to restore them to God so that they may receive forgiveness and new life through faith in Christ.
  4. As we boldly embrace the authority and power of God, we should take the following steps in our spiritual battle:

Spectator – Saturday 8 th August, 2020
a) Recognize that we are not in a conflict against flesh and blood (human persons, powers and
purposes). Rather, we are fighting against spiritual forces and powers of evil.
b) Reman deeply committed to God’s truth and to living by the standards of His Word.
c) Have faith that Satan’s power can be broken in any specific area where he might have
control. We must also realize that God has given Christ’s followers powerful spiritual weapons
for the destruction of Satan’s strongholds.
d) Boldly proclaim the message of Christ and His kingdom (His highest power, authority,
purposes and way of life) through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
e) Challenge Satan and his power directly by relying completely on Jesus and taking authority in
his name, using God’s Word, praying in the Spirit, fasting and driving out demons.
f) Praying particularly that the Holy Spirit would work in the consciences of people who are
spiritually lost (who have not accepted forgiveness from Christ and do not have a personal
relationship with God). Only the Holy Spirit can truly convince them of their sin, the truth of
God’s Word and the fact that they will be judged by God’s standards.
g) Desire, pray for and expect the Holy Spirit to be active in your life, your ministry and your
church through His spiritual gifts (special abilities and empowerment He gives for the purpose
of building Christ’s church and encouraging those who are a part of it). Among these gifts are
healing, prophecy, tongues, miracles, signs and wonders.
CONCLUSION
It cannot be emphasized enough that we must be in a right relationship with God and fully
equipped to do spiritual battle by spending time in prayer and God’s Word. We must have a
deep understanding of God and His Word, and we must be actively growing in all spiritual areas
of our Christian life. Doing this is important because we are no match for Satan’s powers on our
own. Christ’s followers must pray constantly and remain spiritually alert, relying on God’s
strength and resources to recognize and conquer Satan’s evil schemes and to maintain a strong
faith. They must also rely on God so that when they do come face to face with demonic powers,
they will be able to fearlessly exercise Jesus’ authority over them.
This article is culled from the FIRE BIBLE: Global Study Edition.

Stay blessed!

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

6 WAYS TO FIND PEACE IN A DIFFICULT SITUATION

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have
trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33


INTRODUCTION
Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul.” There was
something about those lyrics that brought a sense of peace whenever I sang them: “When
peace like a river, attendeth my way… It is well, it is well, with my soul.” Horatio G. Spafford, the man who penned that hymn, experienced profound tragedy with the death of his son to sickness, the loss of most of his real estate investments in the Great Chicago Fire, and then later the news that all four of his daughters had perished at sea in a shipwreck.
How did Horatio find peace in the face of so much tragedy? He was rooted in his faith and he understood peace in his soul. I only began to understand this in the midst of my own tragedy in 2002 when my marriage fell apart. Though I was devastated because it was my second marriage and I really wanted to make it work, God continued to give me surprising peace in the midst of my storm. Peace is certainly not a formula or a 5-step process, but here are some specific ways we found peace in our situation:

  1. START BY DEFINING PEACE.
    We often think of the word peace as the absence of fighting and chaos. Jesus gave peace as a gift to us in the midst of turbulent situations. His definition of peace was different from world peace. He cared most deeply about peace in our hearts.
    Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world
    gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.” – 14:27
    In this chapter, Jesus was talking about the gift of the Holy Spirit. He explained that He would be going away to heaven, but he was leaving the Holy Spirit to personally guide and give us peace.
  2. SEPARATE LIES FROM THE TRUTH.
    When we are facing trials, we often let our minds wander to the worst-case scenario. We
    entertain our fears and let them rule our hearts. The Psalmist warns us:
    “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” – Psalm 34:14
    We actually have to pivot from the lies of the enemy and bask in God’s truth. We have to
    intentionally seek peace by separating lies from the truth. For example, when my marriage fell apart, I was fraught with fear. I feared being alone. Yet, all throughout scripture, God promises to be with me and never leave me alone. I had to cling to that truth and turn away from my fears.  
  1. SURRENDER CONTROL TO THE ONE WHO CONTROLS IT ALL.
    Oftentimes we do not feel peace because we are trying too hard to control a situation. The
    reality is we are never in control. The peace only comes when we are able to surrender control to God and trust Him for the outcome.
    This verse reminds me that God’s peace surpasses understanding and control of all the details: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7 (CSB)
  2. MEDITATE ON SCRIPTURE TO ENCOURAGE YOUR HEART.
    One practical way I learned to find peace is by writing out and reciting scripture. Develop a
    scripture notebook and in each season, write out verses that encourage and bring you hope. When we focus our minds on the truth in scripture, we do not have space for stress and worry.
  3. LISTEN TO WORSHIP MUSIC.
    Music is another way to fix our minds on God’s truth and to calm our fears. I love the story in 1Samuel 16 when David played the lyre for Saul who was being attacked by a harmful spirit.
    The music calmed and refreshed him. Music helps us fix our minds on the truth and calms our souls like Saul. It’s difficult to worry and worship at the same time. 
  4. DISCOVER HIS GLORY THROUGH CREATION.
    God frequently brings us peace through nature. The petals of a perennial freesia pushing
    through hard earth, ocean waves crashing, a pine tree pointing toward the heavens – all of
    these remind us that God is in control and He is in the business of bringing beauty from ashes. Beloved, remember we are not alone. We all face unexpected trials. God promises to offer peace and comfort if we continually seek Him.
    END NOTE:
    Write out the following scripture and pray for peace in your present situation:
    “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be
    with all of you.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Stay Blessed!

THE POWER OF PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him,
and bless His name.” – Psalm 100:4 (NKJV)


INTRODUCTION
Praise and thanksgiving are vital steps toward entering the presence of God. Thanksgiving gets
us through the gates, and praise brings us into the courtroom of the King of Kings. Without
taking these steps, we remain outside of the courts of God.
Unfortunately, many Christian pray that way. We stand outside of the gates crying out for God
to help us or to heal us. Sometimes we ask others to pray for us, but we never go inside
ourselves. We don’t enter into His presence, because we fail to apply these two simple
principles from the Word of God. We don’t enter into His gates with thanksgiving and enter
into His courts with praise.
Ten lepers also stood at a distance, crying out for Jesus to heal them, and He did – but only one
returned to give thanks. All ten were healed physically, but only one entered His presence of
God and was also healed spiritually. Thanksgiving is an amazing thing; it grants us access into
the very presence of God! Praise and thanksgiving take effort, just like returning to thank
Jesus…

  1. PRAISE IS VOCAL; it is uttered. It is the act of proclaiming the greatness of God, extolling
    Him for who He is. Hebrews 13:15 says, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the
    sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” We
    are to continually offer up the sacrifice of praise (whether we feel like it or not), the fruit
    of our lips. And oh, by the way, you cannot praise God with your mouth shut. You might
    think you can but you can’t. Praise has to be proclaimed – and when it is, when we
    praise God with all that is within us – our spirit is elevated into His presence. Praising
    God is never a waste of time. In fact, it’s one of the most important things we can do.

  1. THANKSGIVING IS LIKEWISE VOCAL. We praise God for who He is, and we thank Him for
    what He has done. Thanksgiving is the act of expressing gratitude for all that He has
    done. When we go to God without a heart of thanksgiving, we treat Him like a vending
    machine. If you have children, you know the difference between a demanding child and
    a grateful one.
    Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and
    supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Paul tells us this,
    because we can become anxious. Instead, God wants us to bring our concerns to Him in prayer and never be so focused on our needs that we neglect the giving of thanks. Prayer and supplication needs to flow from the lips of a thankful heart. When we come to God with a heart of thanksgiving, the gates of heaven swing wide open.
    God’s Word is real; it’s true, and it’s forever settled in the heaven. Praise and thanksgiving
    usher us into His presence. He is just waiting for us to believe it and actually do it.

CONCLUSION
God alone is worthy of being worshipped. What is your attitude toward worship? Do we willingly and joyfully come into God’s presence, or are we just going through the motions, reluctantly going to church? This psalm tells us to remember God’s goodness and dependability, and then to worship with thanksgiving and praise!

WORSHIP, AND THANKS, AND BLESSING – MHB 412
1 Worship, and thanks, and blessing,
And strength ascribe to Jesus!
Jesus alone defends His own,
When earth and hell oppress us.
Jesus with joy we witness
Almighty to deliver;
Our seals set to, that God is true,
And reigns a King for ever.
2 Omnipotent Redeemer,
Our ransomed souls adore Thee;
Our Saviour Thou, we find it now,
And give Thee all the glory.
We sing Thine arm unshortened,
Brought through our sore temptation;
With heart and voice in Thee rejoice,
The God of our salvation.
3 Thine arm hath safely brought us
A way no more expected,
Than when Thy sheep passed through the deep,
By crystal walls protected.
Thy glory was our rear-ward,
Thy hand our lives did cover,
And we, even we, have passed the sea,
And marched triumphant over.
4 The world’s and Satan’s malice
Thou, Jesus, hast confounded;
And, by Thy grace, with songs of praise
Our happy souls resounded.
Accepting our deliverance,
We triumph in Thy favour,
And for the love which now we prove,
Shall praise Thy name for ever.

Stay Blessed!
Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sunday 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am;
and Uniiq 95.7 FM – Saturdays 7:30 pm, YFM 107.9 – Sundays 6.30am; for our Radio Bible Study as
well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

RENEWING OUR MINDS


“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — 
His good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2

INTRODUCTION

When someone accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17. That is why Apostle Paul advises us in Romans 12:2 (our key text) do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.”  But it doesn’t end there. 

Nature abhors vacuums so when something is taken away from a space and that space is not quickly refilled, other things will start creeping in to fill up the space. The Bible gives an illustration of what happens when a vacuum is created in the life of a believer: When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, `I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”– Matthew 12:43-45.

A believer’s Christian experience is supposed to move from the initial phase of justification by faith in Christ, to daily sanctification for holy living, to glorification at Jesus’ second coming, and to eventual restoration to the pre-Fall harmony between God and man. Knowing that the heart of a believer cannot be left empty after clearing it of the worldly things, Paul gives the prescription for daily sanctification with which to fill the vacuum: be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

WHAT KIND OF TRANSFORMATION?

Transformation is defined as a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance or a metamorphosis during the life cycle of an animal.” We find these kinds of transformation happening all the time around us. Examples include a baby that we see twenty years later as an adult, a cancer survivor who has regained lost weight, a new mother we saw last when she was eight months pregnant.  

I have seen many actors and actresses in real life whose faces do not look as flawless at close range as they do on TV.  I now know that the credit for their on-screen transformation often belongs to makeup. Similarly, a smelly room can be transformed with air freshener, people with the right clothing, and a gloomy room with the right colours and objects. 

No doubt all of these examples of transformation look good, but they are all external and non-lasting forms of transformation. They are definitely not the kind of transformation Paul has in mind as capable of filling the vacuum left by non-conformity with the world’s pattern. He says, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The right kind of transformation that he’s talking about here is not the one that comes from make-up slathered on, or having a particular dress on, or the right colors thrown here and there. It is the kind that comes by the renewing of the mind.”  What then is the state of the human mind that it needs to be thus renewed?  

RENEWING THE MIND

The Bible is clear on what the mind of every man born into this sinful world is like. The psalmist describes it well: Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51:5. Such a mind acquires the sinful thoughts and feelings of the world into which it is born and also ends up being nothing but a sinful mind, which as stated clearly, the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” – Romans 8:7

By default, every one of us is wired to follow the world’s pattern, and none of us can on the basis of good intentions alone to have a godly mind and succeed on our own. Paul had earlier cried out his frustration: I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing… What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” – Rom. 7:18-24.

Paul finds an answer in the same passage when he says “Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord” – Romans 7:25.Through our union with Christ, we become transformed by the renewing of the mind” – Romans 12:2b .

PRACTICAL WAYS TO RENEW THE MIND

Paul’s counsel is clear, “do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, for those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” Romans 8:5. Therefore, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Some Biblical guidelines that are of immense benefit to those eager to guard the avenues of their minds and constantly renew are:   I. GUARD YOUR EYES: “I will set before my eyes no vile thing…. I will have nothing to do with evil… My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me.” – Psalm 101:3, 6.II. PROTECT YOUR EARS: “Whoever slanders his neighbour in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure…. No-one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no-one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.” – Psalm 101:5, 7.III. WATCH YOUR MOUTH: “I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.” Psalm 101:1. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour. Exodus 20:16.IV. NURTURE YOUR HEART: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:11. “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” – Joshua 1:8

We need to be patient though because transformation into Godlikeness is a long process, and not a one-time act. It will come gradually and visibly as our mind is being renewed daily. It won’t be hidden, for when our minds start getting renewed, it will reflect in our speech and actions. People will see and note the change. They will see a drift away from the pattern of the world that we used to be in conformity with, and realize that a metamorphosis is taking place. 

END NOTE

In conclusion, Paul says: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8.

To Ponder: Frances Havergal, the writer of the hymn, “Live out Thy Life Within Me” penned the following words as part of the song: “Live out Thy life within me, in all things have Thy way! I, the transparent medium, Thy glory to display.” Is your mind being renewed daily, and can the world see through you to the display of God’s glory in you as you get transformed?

We trust that the Holy Spirit will cause you to be touched by its contents.

Stay Blessed!

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

Email:  saltnlightministries@gmail.com

Website:  saltandlightgh.org  

STUBBORNNESS

“Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in Him.” – John 12:37 (NIV)

INTRODUCTION

It is one thing not to believe in God; it is another to be so set in one’s unbelief that one is not set even open to anything that might change one’s mind.  The Bible holds out God’s wish that all people will turn to Him – 2 Peter 3:9, but it also recognizes that some – the “stubborn,” – never will.  How are people stubborn toward God?  What does God do about it?  What does this tell us about our relationship with God?

EXAMPLES OF STUBBORN PEOPLE IN THE BIBLE

Many individuals and people in the Bible are described as “stubborn,” but three in particular stand out: 

(1) the king of Egypt during the Exodus; 

(2) the people of Israel throughout their history; and 

(3) the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.  

Each, because of impenitence and hardened hearts, bitterly rejected the constant appeals from God to alter their lives’ paths.

The stubborn have always manifested the same characteristics throughout the ages.  When engaged in evil, they persist in it, refusing to change.  Isaiah tells of their rigidity: “Your neck was like an iron muscle and your head was like bronze” – Isaiah 48:4. Jeremiah condemns their unchangeability this way: Can a leopard change his spots? In the same way, Jerusalem, you cannot change and do good, because you are accustomed to do evil” – 13:23.  The Bible warns us against becoming “hardened” like the stubborn – Hebrews 3:8-15.  The King of Egypt consistently refused to let the people of Israel go – Exodus 4:21. Even when he gave in because of the troubling plagues, he would change his mind and deny their freedom as soon as the plague was lifted – (Exodus 8:15, 32; 9:35; 10:20, 27).  Ironically, the people of Israel, in a similar way, would routinely fall into evil once God gave them rest from their enemies – Judges 2:19.  The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were no different, stubbornly refusing at all costs to believe in Jesus – John 5:39-40, insisting that others disbelieve Him, too – John 9:24.  I dare say we too are not different.  How often do we knowingly persist in doing things we know God does not like?

IGNORING THE VOICE OF GOD

The stubborn also routinely ignore the voice of God.  “They tell seers, ‘Don’t see any more visions!  They say to the prophets, ‘Don’t tell us the truth!  Say things that will make us feel good…. Stop telling us about God, the Holy One of Israel’” – Isaiah 30:10-11.   They have a spiritual dullness to them: “They have eyes to see, but they do not see, and they have ears to hear, but they do not hear, because they are a people who refuse to obey” – Ezekiel 12:2 see Matthew 13:13-15.  Not surprisingly, God’s attempts to discipline and correct such people are fruitless – Proverbs 1:22-32; Jeremiah 17:23; Amos 4:6-11.

Amazingly, the stubborn continue in their unbelief even when confronted by displays of God’s power.  Miraculous signs can encourage the small in faith – Genesis 15:8-17; Judges 6:17-24, but they do nothing for the stubborn – Matthew 12:20-24.  It is for this reason that Jesus refused to perform token miracles to satisfy their skepticism – Matthew 12:38; 16:4; see 27:42. The miracles of the Exodus apparently made no long-lasting impact on either the king of Egypt – Exodus 7:3; 10:1; 11:10 or the people of Israel – Nehemiah 9:16-17.  The Pharisees saw the miracles that Jesus performed – John 10:25-26; 12:37, but were so committed to opposing Him that they blasphemously attributed the Holy Spirit’s power to Satan – Mark 3:30.

GOD AND HARDENED UNBELIEF

How does God respond to hardened unbelief?  The Bible presents a multifaceted picture.  • Sometimes it emphasizes God’s anger – Deuteronomy 9:7; Zechariah 7:12; • Sometimes His sadness and compassion – Nehemiah 9:17, 28; Romans 2:4.  • Interestingly, in Jesus, we see both anger and sadness – Matthew 12:39, Mark 3:5; Luke 13:34.  • Sometimes God simply allows the stubborn to take their own course – Romans 1:24; 11:32; • At other times, He intervenes and renews stubborn hearts – Ezekiel 11:9; 36:26-27.  • Sometimes His punishment is for discipline and correction – Nehemiah 9:29-31; Proverbs 1:29-33; • At other times, it is final – Psalm 95:10; 2 Kings 17:14-18; Jeremiah 19:15; Romans 2:5.

In short, God’s response depends on what His purposes are.  It is important to remember that, while humans are responsible and blameworthy for their own stubbornness, God is still in control of their hearts.  He is able to use their unbelief for His own good purposes – Romans 9:18. God’s control over human stubbornness means that we may trust that God can always bring good out of the impenitence of the stubborn.  It also means we may take comfort that there is always hope, as we pray often, that God can change unyielding hearts.

What is your heart like?  Hard or Soft?  Accept God’s offer in Ezekiel 36:26 -27 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. “

NEARER MY GOD TO THEE – MHB 468

1 Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee! 

E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me, 

Till all my song shall be, 

Nearer, my God, to thee; 

Nearer to thee! 

2 Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down, 

Darkness be over me, my rest a stone; 

Yet in my dreams I’d be 

Nearer, my God, to thee; 

Nearer to thee! 

3 There let the way appear, steps unto heaven; 

All that thou sendest me, in mercy given; 

Angels to beckon me 

Nearer, my God, to thee; 

Nearer to thee! 

4 Then, with my waking thoughts bright with thy praise, 

Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise; 

So by my woes to be 

Nearer, my God, to thee; 

Nearer to thee!

Sarah Flower Adams, 1805 – 1848

Stay Blessed!

Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sunday 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and Uniiq 95.7 FM – Saturdays 7:30 pm, YFM 107.9 – Sundays 6.30am; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

ENCOURAGING PSALMS TO PRAY FOR GOD’S PROTECTION

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. – Psalm 23:1-7

INTRODUCTION

When times are tough, personally or globally, where can we turn? Especially when things seem out of our control, and we don’t know whether we’ll be safe—or even maybe if we’ll see tomorrow—it’s good to know there is only One who has control over everything.

Luckily, that One, God, did not leave us alone. We can find His words to us in the Bible. One of the best places to turn when we seek protection is to the Psalms.

WHAT ARE THE PSALMS IN THE BIBLE?

The psalms are a collection of poems, or songs. The book was originally titled “Tehillim,” which means “praise songs” in Hebrew. Our modern word “Psalms” comes from the Greek “Psalmoi,” also meaning “songs of praise.” Each of the psalms is an individual song or poem, much like a hymn. They were written by multiple authors, including Moses, Solomon, and David. These were used to worship God in the tabernacle and temple, with different kinds of psalms for all different situations. There are 150 psalms in the Bible.

GOOD REASON TO TURN TO THE PSALMS FOR PROTECTION

The psalms are prayers to God. Often, it can be difficult to express what we’re feeling or thinking to God. However, the psalms are there to guide us. This doesn’t mean we have to follow the psalms exactly, but it can be comforting to know that others have felt the same way for thousands of years, and they can help us pray and put our thoughts and concerns into words.

10 PSALMS TO REMIND US OF GOD’S PROTECTION

1. Psalm 18:2-3

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.

2. Psalm 18:16-19

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

3. Psalm 23:1-4

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

4. Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.

5. Psalm 46:1-2

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.

6. Psalm 55:16-17

As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.

7Psalm 91:4

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

8. Psalm 116:3-9

The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘Lord, save me!’ The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

9. Psalm 121:1-8

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

10. Psalm 138:3Psalm 138:7

When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me…Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.

3 PSALMS THAT ASK FOR GOD’S PROTECTION

When we have trouble putting our petitions into words, the psalms can help us.

1Psalm 16:1

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.

2. Psalm 25:20-21

Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.

3. Psalm 31:1-5

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

END NOTE

In these psalms, and many more like them, the psalmist asks for God’s protection not because of his own goodness or merit, but “for the sake of your name” (Psalm 31:3) and “in [His] righteousness” (Psalm 31:1). The Lord protects us not because we deserve it, but because of who He is—a good, powerful, and loving God.

When we pray for protection, we must put our trust in God, not in our situation. No matter how dark things may seem, we must remember that God is indeed in control and has a plan greater than we could fathom.

Stay Blessed!

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

Email:  saltnlightministries@gmail.comWebsite:  saltandlightgh.org  

WHAT CAN ONE PERSON DO?

The world’s problems look so big that sometimes we aretempted to say, What can one insignificant person do to help solve them? This is really a self-centered thing to say. It is not rooted in good theology. Actually there are no insignificant persons. Even though there are billions of people living right now and billions of others who have gone before, each of us still matter to God. If we were the only person who needed Jesus, He still would have died on the cross. I are redeemed by a personalSaviour who does not think we are insignificant.

Jesus taught thousand of people at times, but at other times He had wonderful dialogues with individuals – the woman at the well, Nicodemus, the man born blind, the thief on the cross, and many others. He didn’t just talk with them at one time, He saw them one at a time too. We also have to do this if we’re going to be significant in His service.

There are so many problems in this world that it can be hard to decide which ones to tackle. Here are my criteria:

1. First, let’s consider PROXIMITY. Which problems are closest to me geographically? Which do I have to walk around every day? It is possible to go to a missions seminar and become deeply concerned about people halfway around the world. Then we may leave the church and drive through a needy neighbourhood in our own city, still thinking about these people on the other side of the globe. Such hypocrisy is unacceptable. We must understand that God calls us to minister wherever we are.

The story is told of an evangelist who was serving in a church in one of the big cities. This church, he said, had compassion. They were always witnessing to people in the city slum districts. One day after the service, this evangelist walked out into the street in front of this elegant church and began to share Christ with people right there. After all, they were close to the church. It was their neighbourhood. And even though the people didn’t look like they needed the Lord, they turned out to be as needy as anyone. We should begin to serve right where we are.

2. Another criterion for deciding which problem to tackle is RELATIONSHIP. If we have a relative or a very close friend who has a problem, that’s the place to start helping. As Paulwrote, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” – 1 Timothy 5:8

3. Moving out just a little, another criterion is IDENTITY. We can help people best if we can identify with them – people who talk our language, who live in our neighbourhood, who have jobs like ours, who like to talk about the things that interest us. We can tackle problems better with people who understand us. Once sociological barriers come between us and others, it gets harder to minister to them.

4. And finally, we can most effectively minister to people who ESTEEM us. If they respect us, they will listen and they will open up to Christ words. If they don’t already respect us, we will have to earn their esteem before we can effectively minister to them. So if we see problems among people who already hold us in high esteem, we can confidently and more immediately offer our help. 

What I’m saying is that we do not need to look halfway around the world to find people to help. We don’t need to seek out strange and exotic people. If we look in our way own neighbourhoods, in our own families, among people very much like we are, who already like and respect us, we can find plenty of opportunity to help. So proximityrelationshipidentity, and esteem are good criteria for helping us decide how and where to start changing our world. If God wants us to serve in some more distant place, He will make this very clear to us, but only after we have had compassion for those ills near at hand.

END NOTE

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” – Ezekiel 22:30

Corruption among the leaders and the people was so widespread in Judah that God could not find even one person (outside of His prophet, Jeremiah, who had desperately tried to warn the people) who was willing to stand against evil and attempt to lead the people back to God. It is a tragedy when God’s people are so caught up in worldliness and spiritual compromise that He can find no one among them to intercede (i.e., to plead a case for others, to pray for their situations and needs) for spiritually lost and rebellious people. Such compassion and selflessness might have built a wall of mercy and protection around the people, shielding them from sure destruction. But no one would “stand in the gap” between God and the people, crying out against sin and leading the way in humble prayer, true repentance and a desperate plea for spiritual revival. Because good people often remain silent because of fear or compromise, they often miss the opportunity to inspire true revival and help people escape God’s judgement.

Stay Blessed!

Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sunday 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and Uniiq 95.7 FM – Saturdays 7:30 pm, YFM 107.9 – Sundays 6.30am; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

KEEPING COMMANDS

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to help you. . .” — John 14:15-16

Keeping Jesus’ commands means obeying what Jesus tells us to do. That’s simple to understand. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to do.
 
The main command Jesus has in mind here is “Love one another” (John 13:34). That’s a great-sounding command, and I really want to keep it. I think of myself as a loving person. But then I hear or read the daily news about all kinds of crimes and war and people’s abuses of one another. Suddenly I’m struggling to love. How do we love criminals? How do we love oppressors? How do we even love people who simply disagree with us?
 
We also realize there is more to keeping Jesus’ commands than simply obeying. Part of keeping commands means that we hold on to a command even when we have recently broken it. It means that we should try again. And again. And again. Because of God’s forgiveness, we’re not lost forever when we fail. But we must also keep trying.
 
Thankfully, Jesus provides us with the help we need. Jesus promised an Advocate—an Encourager. Someone who will put His arm around us when we need comfort, and Someone who will spur us on when we need to try again and keep trying. The Advocate is the Holy Spirit. Jesus sent Him to live in us so that we will ­never be alone in trying to keep Jesus’ commands.

 
PRAYER: “Dear Jesus, with your Spirit in me, help me to sense Your grace over my failures and Your power to help me obey.” Amen. 

STAY BLESSED