JESUS IS OUR FRIEND

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Today salvation has come to this house… for the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” — Luke 19:9-10

One of the most shocking and incredible aspects of Jesus is that He is our Friend. It’s astonishing that our omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God who made everything in the universe and beyond with His own hands, who rules history and kingdoms, holds the power over every proton, neutron, and electron in every galaxy we have yet to discover… also wants to be… friends.
 
Jesus is a Friend to not just the brightest and best, the most powerful and accomplished, the prettiest and wealthiest. He is a ready Friend to anyone. Anyone! He was at ease and fully Himself among the elite (The Pharisee Nicodemus in John 3) and the most hated people in the whole culture (tax collectors in Luke 19:1-10). He was the life of the party (John 2:1-11) and the perfect Friend One-on-One (Peter in John 21:15-19).
 
Jesus shows again and again that when He came to earth, He was relatable–just like us normal people. He chose to be average. Seemingly unremarkable. Approachable. Fun and funny. Kind. He chose Capernaum as His home base, an average town like yours and mine. He made friends with Pete, Andy, Phil, Tom, Matt, Bart, and all the riff-raff. Ordinary folk. Fishermen and townsfolk. Peter’s my favorite. Bold and emotional, blundering, and passionate. He’s the guy who will step out on the water and yet inwardly roll his eyes at obeying Jesus who knows “nothing” about fishing because Peter was the pro. The fish aren’t out in the daytime. They’re not out in the deep, they’re in the shallows.
 
Jesus shows His abundance. And His friendship. He didn’t chastise Peter. He loved Him.
 
Doesn’t that give you hope? If Jesus chose to be friends with John the Wild, and Peter the Passionate, and sly Levi, and Andy the cynic, and James and John the hotheads, then you and I are welcome friends to our King, too.
 
If you’re anyone… you’re in!

PRAYER: “Jesus, we love You. Thank You for being our Friend. It’s hard to grasp Your greatness along with how personable You choose to be. You know every detail of every single thing, and yet You care about us, and love us, and are involved in our lives. How can we thank You for being such a Friend! We love You, Lord.” Amen.

STAY BLESSED

WHEN THE ODDS ARE AGAINST YOU

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “…I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites.” —Judges 7:7 (NLT)

Have you ever felt backed up against a wall with no way out? Although a situation like that is truly beyond what you can manage, it is not too big for God. In fact, if you could competently handle every difficulty that arose, then the credit would go to you and not to the Lord.  Impossible circumstances teach us an important lesson: to depend on Him and not on ourselves.  Gideon was a reluctant warrior who felt inadequate for the task God called him to do: to deliver Israel from Midianite oppression (Judg. 6:14-16). But in obedience, he had rallied 32,000 men to fight against the enemy.

However, the Lord then whittled the army down to just three hundred men. Humanly speaking, it would be impossible to defeat the enemy forces with so few. But that was precisely God’s point: He alone would achieve the victory and receive the glory.When the odds are not in your favor, that doesn’t mean God has abandoned you. Stand your ground and keep your eyes on Him. Trust your heavenly Father, and you’ll be amazed at what He will achieve. Then glorify Him, giving thanks for His faithfulness.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: IN TOUCH MINISTRIES

APPLYING GOD’S PROMISES TO OUR LIFE

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has granted us His very great and precious promises, so that by them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. — 2 Peter 1:3-4

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 1:20

INTRODUCTION

God’s promises are precious, magnificent, and have extreme value. The author of Hebrews admonishes us with these words:

Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. — Hebrews 10:35-36

Notice that he says: “When you have done the will of God.” Promises are not given without a plan that involves faith and responsibility, though many times we have to wait for them to be revealed. A biblical promise is a declaration of God’s intention to graciously bestow a gift upon an individual or a group of people. For example, Jesus said,

In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:2-3

He knows that at times we may feel tempted to wonder if He is really coming back for us, and so He gives us the promise of His sure return and also of His personal care to reassure us and calm our fears.

1. GRATITUDE

In 1 Kings, we read about Solomon his progress especially his effusive blessings of the Lord for His faithfulness. Then he makes this statement:

Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant. — 1 Kings 8:56

God did exactly what He had promised to do, and Solomon honoured the Lord by acknowledging it. He had a grateful heart, and he wanted the people to respond in gratitude also.

How many times have you prayed for something, asking God to meet a need that you have and to speak to you through His Word, and as you read the Bible, He provided assurance that He heard your prayers and will answer? This is a tremendous gift. But instead of turning to Him with a grateful heart, so often we forget to thank the One person who provides the resources we need. I believe God’s heart must hurt over our self-centered actions. We pray and trust Him and then forget to say, “Lord, thank You for answering my prayers. Thank You for being faithful to the promise You gave me in Your Word. Thank You for meeting my needs perfectly and on time.”

Even those who encountered Jesus during His time here on earth neglected to thank Him:

Now on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosymet Him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When He saw them, He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when He saw He was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw Himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and He was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? — Luke 17:11-17

Nine of these men met the Saviour-Healer, but they never thought to thank God or worship Him for His healing.

2. PROMISE KEEPING GOD

Hebrews 10:23 reminds us to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” God is not going to give us a promise and then say, “You know, maybe I didn’t mean that.” And when He does answer, He wants us to give Him glory and praise because He truly has worked on our behalf.

When God gives us a promise, we can be sure He will do what He has said.

It is a matter of demonstrating His character and nature to us. Believing God, trusting God, studying His Word, and applying it to our life are elements of the Christian faith that must work together. God is not going to operate one way one day and then another way the next. What He tells us in His Word will always line up with His nature and character. God is faithful. Therefore, His Word is trustworthy and His promises are too. He is faithful to keep everyone. Not one promise will fail — ever. People will say one thing and then go and do something else. Many will be kind and supportive in your presence but later will oppose you. But God never will. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). That is a promise you can claim!

Why does God choose to give promises to us? He wants us to learn something about His character. 

God is faithful, true, loving, patient, forgiving, kind, and so much more. He gives promises to us so that we will see His nature and learn deeper truths about His character and personal care for us.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. — Proverbs 3:5-6

Is this a promise you can claim? Absolutely. God is saying, “I’m aware of what you are facing. I know your need. Trust Me, lean on Me and not on your human knowledge, and I will provide all that you need and so much more.” Paul underscores this very thing when he writes,

My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

3. GOD IS FAITHFUL

In 1 Thessalonians, he simply tells us, Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.1 Thessalonians 5:24

God is honored and glorified when we trust Him and when we pray. There is not a time when God refuses to answer the prayers of His people. He says call to Me and I will hear your voice (Jeremiah 33:3).

He wants to give us hope.  All of us are encouraged when we know that someone is pulling for us — someone who wants us to cross the finish line victoriously. You may be able to think of a time when you did not know whether you were doing the right thing or not. Then someone you admired walked up to you and said, “God has placed you on my heart, and I want you to know that I’m praying for you.”

God cares for us, He is cheering for us, and He has a plan for our lives.Psalm 62:1–2 says,

My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

God is faithful to keep each and every promise. He is all powerful, and we can trust Him to take care of all that concerns us. The prophet Isaiah emphasizes His power and majesty:

Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing. — Isaiah 40:26

Not only does God take care of the heavens, He personally watches over you and me. Why do people doubt God’s ability? Usually we fail to trust God because we don’t want to lose control over our lives or our circumstances. This is almost laughable because the God of the universe — the same God who created you and me and who has numbered the stars in the sky and holds each one in its place — certainly has the ability to take care of my life and my problems.

In Lamentations, Jeremiah writes, This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I have hope in Him’.Lamentations 3:21-24

No matter what our circumstance, God’s Word has a promise of hope waiting for us.

He wants to develop our faith in Him. When we begin to trust God for simple answers to prayer, our faith increases. The more we read and study His Word, the more aware we become of His ability. One lesson learned at the feet of God builds on another until we have come to a point where we are talking through every decision we need to make with Him. We also discover that if we ask Him to show us what we should do, He does it! He speaks to us through His Word. Then, when we meditate on Scripture, we begin to internalize His truth in our hearts. From this point, we express our needs and God responds by giving us insight and wisdom. He also promises to move in certain ways and provide for the needs we have.

Whatever God calls us to do, He will confirm it in His Word and He also will provide all that we need to accomplish the task. This is how our faith is built. He opens a door and we step through it. He opens another one, and once again we trust Him because we have learned that He is faithful, not some of the time, but all of the time!

Stay Blessed!

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

Email:  saltnlightministries@gmail.com

Website: saltandlightministriesgh.org

IF YOU ARE BREATHING, YOU HAVE A PURPOSE

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” —Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

God didn’t create anything without a purpose. If you’re breathing, you have a purpose. In Christ, you have something to offer the world.
When God made you, He wired you in a certain way and uniquely shaped you for a contribution. Nobody has been you in the past or will be you in the future. God doesn’t create clones or copies. Even identical twins are different in thousands of ways. Your thumbprint, voice, footprint, heartbeat, and eyes are unique. You’re not one in a million. You’re one in trillions. God custom-made you. And he wants you to be you. You may have heard all your life, “Why can’t you be more like [your brother or sister or friend]?” 

But if God hadn’t wanted you to be you, then you wouldn’t exist. And, yet, you may spend your life trying to be somebody you’re not. When you do that, you miss your whole purpose.

God did not make you and put you here on this planet just to breathe air, take up space, and die. If you’re here, there’s a contribution that only you can make.“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT). You are God’s masterpiece. Before you were born, God planned the good things He wanted you to do with your life. In other words, He gave you a ministry. Everybody has a ministry. You can find your ministry by looking at how God shaped you. He gave you unique spiritual gifts, abilities, and experiences to help other people.

When you see how you are shaped and use that shape to bless others, then you will find your ministry. And you will find your purpose.

Talk It Over

What do you think happens if you don’t fulfil your purpose? How does fulfilling your purpose or ministry affect the church? Think about how God has uniquely shaped you. Make a list of your spiritual gifts, abilities, personality, and experiences. How might God want you to use them for ministry?

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: DAILY HOPE

OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE – PART 2

Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. – 1 Samuel 15:22

MEANING OF OBEDIENCE

Last week we explained that obedience is the act of submitting (obeying) to the commands (laws) of God, the highest authority, creator, and Father of mankind. If we have faith in God and believe Christianity is the truth, obedience is the practice of living by faith, obeying the teachings of the Bible.

A sacrifice is a ritual transaction between a person and God that physically demonstrates a relationship between them. But if the person’s heart is not truly repentant or if he does not truly love God, the sacrifice is a hollow ritual.

1. WHY DO WE OBEY GOD?

We do not obey God because of fear, guilt, or a sense of duty. We obey God because of His love to us, because He loved us and saved us. Obedience to God is not a feeling, not knowledge, but rather, it is a choice and a decision.

SCRIPTURES ON OBEDIENCE

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. – James 1:22-25

It is important to listen to what God’s Word says, but it is much more important to obey it and to do what it says. We can measure the effectiveness of our Bible study time by the effect it has on our behaviour and attitudes.

As Christians, we are saved by God’s grace, and salvation frees from sin’s control. As believers, we are free to live as God created us to live. Of course, this does not mean that we are free to do as we please.  “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” – 1 Peter 2:16. We are now free to obey God.

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around Him was so large that He got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in His teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow His seed. As He was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” – Mark 4:1-9

The hearing Jesus wants from us is not the kind we use when we listen to background music or when someone starts to recount a long story we have already heard. To truly “hear” Jesus’ words is to believe them, to use them immediately in decisions and attitudes, and to base life on them – our recreation and work, family plans and money matters, praying and singing. To hear Jesus’ words is to make Jesus your true Lord.

Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” – Mark 4:13-20.

Jesus is talking about receiving His word and obeying it. We are like the seed that fell on fertile soil because it is reproductive.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” – John 14:15

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. – 1 Peter 1:14

2. BENEFITS OF OBEDIENCE

As human beings we always think of what is in for us when we do something for others. Of course, we should never think of a quid pro quo with God! Nevertheless, God shows His faithfulness by rewarding us for our faithfulness. These are rewards for obedience:

  1. We become a friend of God. “You are my friends if you do what I command.” – John 15:14.
  2. We become holy as God. “And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.” – Deuteronomy 6:25
  3. We receive earthly blessings. “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land” – Isaiah 1:19
  4. We have the assurance of salvation. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” – Ephesians 6:13
  5. We receive answers to our prayers. “and receive from Him anything we ask, because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him.” – 1 John 3:22
  1. We are assured of the blessings, example Abraham. “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God” – Deuteronomy 28:1-2
  2. We avoid punishment. “Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” – Romans 13:2

CONCLUSION

The reality of this new covenant was portrayed in Jesus’ supreme example of obedience to the heavenly Father, when He gave Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for atonement of sin.

Jesus’ emphasis on being born again underscores the need of atonement for effecting forgiveness of sins. Jesus talks to Nicodemus about being born again or “from above” as the requirement for entering the kingdom of God (John 3:3-6). The way of death would be thus changed to the way of life.

Jesus prayed that His disciples would be sanctified, be made inwardly holy, and thereby be enabled to live a holy life outwardly (John 17:6-19). Provision for this inner holiness and cleansing requisite for true obedience was effected by His atoning sacrifice on the cross.

The Holy Spirit is provided to all who believe in Jesus. The Spirit’s abiding presence enables all God’s people to carry out God’s will and to live obediently before Him.

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.

IS SOCIAL MEDIA A HELPFUL TOOL OR A CRUTCH?

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Don’t pay attention to everything people say.” —Ecclesiastes 7:21 (GNT)

What makes social media so addictive? Why do you have to go back and check a picture 50 times after you post? Why are you constantly checking your phone?

Everybody wants the approval of others. People desperately need to be liked! When you hear the “ding” of a notification, dopamine is released in your brain, and it’s extremely satisfying. Every “ding” feeds your need for approval, and it feels like you can’t get enough.

But the Bible says, “Dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith” (James 2:1 The Message).The truth is that public opinion doesn’t have anything to do with your faith. So don’t let public opinion decide what you believe, feel, or do. It will never lead you in the direction of Jesus Christ.The Bible also says in Ecclesiastes 7:21, “Don’t pay attention to everything people say” (GNT).Even when you make the wisest, happiest, most encouraging social media post, some people still will post comments that will not meet your expectations or may just be downright mean. If you make the post because you need a certain number of likes to feel better about yourself, then you are going to be disappointed.When you’re not living for the approval of others, though, what one person says on social media is not going to make or break you. Everyone wants the approval of others. But living for the approval of One will help you use social media as a useful tool and not a crutch.

Talk It OverWhat is your motivation when you post on social media?How does the amount of time you spend on your phone reflect whose approval you’re living for?In what ways have you let public opinion dictate what you believe or how you act?

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: DAILY HOPE

CHOOSE FAITH OVER FEAR

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “By faith [Moses] left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27

Either we live by faith or we live by fear. The Bible says of Moses in Hebrews 11:27, “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (NIV). Moses teaches us that living by faith rather than by fear is a choice. He went to the most powerful man in the world and said, “You know those slaves that are building all your pyramids? I’m taking them, and we’re all leaving. You’re not going to have slave labour anymore.

Let my people go.”Moses had every reason to be afraid. He was going up against a powerful man who was considered a god, and whatever Pharaoh said, you had to do. What he said was the law. And here came Moses and declared, “We aren’t going to do what you say anymore. I’m not afraid of you because I report to a higher authority.” That took some guts! Do you want that same kind of faith in your life so you can overcome your fear?


The closer you get to God, the more you’re going to be filled with faith. The further away you get from God, the more you’re going to be filled with fear.I cannot overemphasize the importance of faith for the rest of your life. The Bible says that whatever is not of faith is sin. How many times did you sin this week? A lot. So did I. Because anything I did that wasn’t done in faith but was done in doubt was a sin. The Bible also says that without faith it is impossible to please God. How many times did you please God this week?

Do you want something to change in your life? Instead of complaining, start believing. God is not moved by complaints. God is moved by faith, a truth we see in these words of Jesus: “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29 NIV). You get to choose what he does in your life.
Here’s the key: What matters is not the size of your faith but the size of the God you put it in. A little faith in a big God gets big results!

Talk It Over

What do you need to do to get closer to God so that you can be filled with faith?How has fear kept you from achieving God’s best for you?What is the outward evidence that someone is a faith-filled person?

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: DAILY HOPE

YOU ARE SALT OF THE EARTH

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matthew 5:13

Knowing that His listeners were all familiar with these properties of salt, Jesus Christ looked at them and pronounced what floats to us Christians in this age with increased intensity: “you are the salt of the earth.”
 
All around us, the world shows signs of bitterness and decay. Whether it is in conflicts, or starvation, or natural disasters, or sickness, or death, there is very little that is savoury or hopeful anywhere these days.
 
Like a soup in need of seasoning or a soup gone bad, the earth groans for salt. It longs to have it poured out in appropriate measure to season, to cleanse, to heal, and to preserve. 
 
Job asked the poignant question: Is tasteless food eaten without salt?”- Job 6:6.  Of course not! Many of us will rather sprinkle salt on already-cooked food served before us, than eat it in a tasteless state. We know that there is a better way, and we simply will not settle for what is before us, when we know what can be with the addition of salt. So also has the world seen how Christians can be a difference to the growing decay. Either through reading or observing the lives of Christ and genuine Christians, the world knows, and has a right to expect savour and healing from those who profess Christ. The world awaits the salt that is those called by Christ.

When Jesus declared us the salt of the earth,” it is so that the world can be helped by our saltiness. By the declaration, He called our attention to that which we are; not what we can be, or ought to be; but what we should be on earth.
 
It does not therefore matter where we are—salt is needed everywhere regardless of time, space, race, or class. The rich, the poor, the literate, illiterate, old, young, all need salt in measured proportions, hence our influence is needed to season and preserve. Whether at home, at work, church, anywhere, we only need to look around us to see how easily things slide into decay and prevent this, or preserve whatever is left of the decay. Our presence is meant to enrich and cleanse.
                                                  
One critical part of Christ’s declaration on the mount is that all who are called by His name, that is, all Christians are automatically the salt of the earth.
 

Stay Blessed

THE WILL OF GOD

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

INTRODUCTION

God has good, pleasing and perfect plans for His children. He wants us to be transformed people with renewed minds, living to honour and obey Him. Because He wants only what is best for us, and because He gave His Son to make our new life possible, we should joyfully give ourselves as living sacrifices for His service.

THE WILL OF GOD

The term “the will of God” has at least two and possibly three biblical meanings. 

First, there is the sovereign will of God, that always comes to pass without fail. 

Second, there is the revealed will of God in the Bible — do not steal, do not lie, do not kill, do not covet — and this will of God often does not come to pass.

And third, there is the path of wisdom and spontaneous godliness — wisdom where we consciously apply the word of God with our renewed minds to complex moral circumstances, and spontaneous godliness where we live most of our lives without conscious reflection on the hundreds of things we say and do all day.

RENEWAL AS AN ESSENTIAL MEANS OF TRANSFORMATION

And in Romans 12:2, Paul now focuses on one essential means of transformation — “the renewal of your mind.”

  1. If you long to break loose from conformity to the world,
  2. If you long to be transformed and new from the inside out,
  3. If you long to be free from mere duty-driven Christianity and do what you love to do because what you love to do is what you ought to do,
  4. If you long to offer up your body as a living sacrifice so that your whole life becomes a spiritual act of worship and displays the worth of Christ above the worth of the world,

Let us give ourselves with all our might to pursuing this — the renewal of our minds because this is the key to transformation.

This brings us finally to the remedy and how we obey. First, before we can do anything, the Holy Spirit is required.

Our refusal to conform to this world’s values, however, must go even deeper than just behaviour and customs; it must be firmly planted in our mind. We are transformed by changing the way we think. It is possible to avoid most worldly customs and still be proud, covetous, selfish, stubborn and arrogant. Only when the Holy Spirit renews, re-educates and redirects our mind are we truly conformed.

WHAT THEN SHALL WE DO?

What then do we do in obedience to Romans 12:2, “Be transformed in the renewal of your mind”?

  1. We join the Holy Spirit in His precious and all-important work.
  2. We pursue Christ-exalting truth and we pray for truth-embracing humility.
  3. Listen to rich expositions of the “gospel of the glory of Christ.”
  4. Read and ponder the Bible-saturated from cover to cover always in search of the revelation of the glory of Christ.
  5. Meditating on the perfections of Christ.
  6. And in it all pray, pray, pray that the Holy Spirit will renew your mind, that you may desire and approve the will of God, so that all of life will become worship to the glory of Christ.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; – 2 Peter 1:3-5.

GROWING IN FAITH

The power to lead a godly life comes from God. Because we don’t have the resources to be truly godly, God allows us to “share His divine nature” in order to keep us from sin and help us live for Him. When we are born again, God, by His Spirit, empowers us with His own goodness.

Faith must be more than belief, it must result in action, growth in Christian character and the practice of moral discipline or it will die away.

Learning to know God better, developing perseverance, doing God’s will, loving others do not come automatically; they require hard work. They are not optional but must be a continual part of a Christian life. We work on them all together. God empowers us and enables us, but He also gives us the responsibility to learn and to grow.

Hebrews 12:5-10

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone he accepts as His son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness.

GOD’S DISCIPLINE PROVES HIS LOVE

Who loves his child more – the father who allows the child to do what will harm him, or the one who corrects, trains and even punishes the child to help him learn what is right?

It is never pleasant to be corrected and disciplined by God, but His discipline is a sign of His deep love for us. When God corrects us, we should see it as a proof of His love or accept is gratefully as the appropriate response we owe a loving Father.

God lovingly disciplines His children to train them to become spiritual champions. It is a spiritual maturing process that God allows us to experience to become like Christ.

God is not only a disciplining parent but also a demanding coach who pushes us to our limits and requires our lives to be disciplined.

Although we may not feel strong enough to push on to victory, we will be able to accomplish it as we follow Christ and draw to His strength. Then we can use our growing strength to help those around us who are weak and struggling.

Endnote

Join me to sing or pray the timely words of this hymn authored by Charles Wesley (1707 – 1788) MHB 626:

1. I want a principle within

Of jealous, godly fear,

A sensibility of sin,

A pain to feel it near.

2. I want the first approach to feel

Of pride or fond desire,

To catch the wandering of my will,

And quench the kindling fire.

3. That I from thee no more may part,

No more thy goodness grieve,

The filial awe, the fleshly heart,

The tender conscience, give.

4. Quick as the apple of an eye,

O God, my conscience make;

Awake my soul when sin is nigh,

And keep it still awake.

5. O may the least omission pain,

My well instructed soul;

And drive me to the blood again,

Which makes the wounded whole.

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SUFFERING AS A CHRISTIAN

SCRIPTURE TEXT: Blessed is the man whom [the Lord] chasteneth . . .” Psalm 94:12

God sometimes allows Christians to suffer, in order that they might learn the secret of obedience. The Psalmist said, “Before I was afflicted, I went astray; but now have I kept thy word” (Psalm 119:67). It was not until after great sorrow and much affliction that David learned obedience to God.My dear Christian friend, if you are today suffering at the hand of God and you have asked a thousand times, “Why?” I beg of you to be patient and quiet before God, and listen to the still, small voice. Bow under His loving hand and recognize that above the clouds the sun is shining. God has a purpose and design for your life, and what is happening to you is for your good.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY: The human in me says, “Why, Lord?” whenever I have to bear suffering—but the Spirit-filled me that was born again says, “I trust You, Father.”

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: BY BILLY GRAHAM

OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE

Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. – 1 Samuel 15:22

INTRODUCTION

A. Let’s clarify what we mean by OBEDIENCE and SACRIFICE.

  • Obedience is doing the will and seeking to please someone in authority over you.
  • Sacrifice is seeking to appease or cool off the anger of an authority you have disobeyed.

A sacrifice is a ritual transaction between a person and God that physically demonstrates a relationship between them. But if the person’s heart is not truly repentant or if he does not truly love God, the sacrifice is a hollow ritual. Religious ceremonies or rituals are empty unless they are performed with an attitude of love and obedience. “Being religious” (going to church, serving on a committee, giving to charity) is not enough if we do not act out of devotion and obedience to God.

DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 7:21

Jesus emphatically teaches that carrying out God’s purposes and desires is a condition for entering the kingdom of heaven. This certainly does not mean that we can earn spiritual salvation by our own efforts or works. This is true for the following reasons:

1. God’s forgiveness comes to us through faith and repentance (admitting our sin, turning from our own way. Submitting to God and following His purposes). It is made possible by the grace and sacrificial death of Christ, who gave His perfect life to pay the ultimate penalty for our sins.

2. The Obedience to God’s will demanded by Christ is an ongoing condition for salvation; it does not save us, but is a response and a result of true salvation. Yet, it is still God’s power and grace (undeserved favour, love and help) that enable us to live by His standards. This means that we must continually pray for that grace, receive it and put it into action by true faith and devotion to Christ.

3. Because of the gift of God’s power and grace, we are capable of doing God’s will and living right as we follow Christ with all of our heart. God’s Word says that “by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

4. God always give us the strength and ability to obey Him and overcome sin. That is part of the full salvation He works out through those who have entrusted their lives to Him and have been restored to a personal relationship with Jesus. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” – Philippians 2:13

Yet God’s gift of grace – His favour, help and mercy that wedo not deserve – does not cancel the need for action on our part. We must respond positively to God’s gift of obedience. “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” – Philippians 2:12

We always free to reject God’s grace, refuse to depend on Christ and refuse to pray for and accept the life of obedience.

WHEN WE WALK WITH THE LORD – MHB 516

1When we walk with the Lord

In the light of His Word,

What a glory He sheds on our way;

While we do His good will,

 He abides with us still,

 And with all who will trust and obey.

 Trust and obey,

For there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus,

But to trust and obey.

2 Not a shadow can rise,

Not a cloud in the skies,

But His smile quickly drives it away;

Not a doubt or a fear,

Not a sigh or a tear,

Can abide while we trust and obey.

3 Not a burden we bear,

Not a sorrow we share,

But our toil He doth richly repay;

Not a grief or a loss,

Not a frown or a cross,

But is blest if we trust and obey.

4 But we never can prove

The delights of His love,

Until all on the altar we lay;

For the favor He shows,

And the joy He bestows,

Are for them who will trust and obey.

5 Then in fellowship sweet

We will sit at His feet,

Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;

What He says we will do;

Where He sends, we will go,

Never fear, only trust and obey.

John Henry Sammis (1846-1919)

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.