STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Has the Lord as much pleasure in your burnt offerings and sacrifices as in your obedience?  Obedience is far better than sacrifice.  He is much more interested in your listening to Him than in your offering the fat of rams to Him.  For rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshipping idols” 1 Sam. 15:22-23

We all love to be accepted by our peers and by society.  However, if we do not take care it is these very people who would lead us down the paths of destruction through numerous compromises.  In contrast to Saul’s behaviour, Daniel in the Old Testament stands out as someone who resolved to stand by his principles come what may.  God rewarded Daniel with great wisdom and spiritual insight, favour with kings and emperors, prophetic utterances, a glimpse into the plans of God and eternal life.
 
Sticking to his principles did not always make life easy for Daniel but eventually he always came out top because God honoured his obedience.  In Daniel 1:8 for example, Daniel resolves not to eat the food served from the king’s table even though to many that privilege in itself should have been enough to compromise on the Jewish principle of not eating certain types of meat (pigs and all meat sacrificed to idols).  I can well imagine the troubles he would have had from some of his peers.  They would have called him names and even accused him of “over-worshipping” God.  He however stuck to his guns and in return, he reaped the following:
 
• the guard who was supervising them, liked him enough to give him (and the 3 others what they asked for – vegetables and water – Daniel 1:12;
• God made him look healthier than those who were eating the “choice” food from the king’s table – Daniel 1:15;
• God gave him high intellectual and spiritual knowledge – Daniel 1:17;
• he was selected into the king’s high service and was found to be ten times better in every matter of wisdom and understanding than all the magicians and enchanters in the whole kingdom – Daniel 1:20.
 
Daniel made enemies by doing a good job and not compromising his principles.  Perhaps you are going through a similar situation.  At home, at work, even in the church, you are catching flak for being “too rigid.”  If being rigid means you are refusing to join the crowd in doing wrong even when it has become the norm, then praise God for your “lonely’ life.  Remember that whenever you stand for what is true and right, people will look for ways to hold you back and tear you down.  They will cheer at your slightest downfall and even hasten it.  They will try to wear you down with “emotional blackmail”.  However, if you conduct your life above reproach, like Daniel you will have nothing to hide and your enemies will have a difficult time finding legitimate charges against you.  Of course, you can rely on God to vindicate you by protecting you even from the “jaws of the lions.”

STAY BLESSED

EXPERIENCE JESUS

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “…The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” —John 6 : 63
To one of the most religious men of His day, Jesus said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). Nicodemus could not substitute his profound knowledge of religion for spiritual rebirth, and neither can we. I have read a book on water skiing, and it did not take long for me to learn that I could never learn to water ski by reading a book-I would have to experience it.
 
I have read a number of books on golf, but none of them seems to improve my game; I must get out on the golf course and play. You may study theology and religion, but there comes a time when you must experience Christ for yourself.
 
Have you experienced Christ?

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: BILLY GRAHAM DAILY DEVOTION

CHRISTIAN CONDUCT & LIFESTYLE – II

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 by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16.

INTRODUCTION

We continue this week with more teachings on Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. To receive the benefits of God’s kingdom, there are principles and standards by which God expects all Christians to live. We must be guided by God’s purposes and values and not by the ways and values of the world.

SALT OF THE EARTH

Jesus’ followers could easily relate to the properties and benefits of salt as described in Jesus’ metaphor.

1. Salt seasons and flavours food, just as Christians should enhance and favourably influence people and society around them.

2. Salt is a preservative, just as Christians and the church should resist moral corruption and decay, preserving a godly influence on the culture.

3. In addition, salt has healing properties, just as Christ’s followers must help bring healing to people who are hurting physically, emotionally and spiritually. Salt also creates thirst, just as Christians – through their good example – should create spiritual thirst or desire in others to know more about God.

Individual Christians and churches that lose these qualities will become spiritually “lukewarm” (unconcerned, unresponsive, lazy), a condition that suppresses or destroys the activity and power of the Holy Spirit. Without the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, churches will completely lose their effectiveness and will be rejected and “thrown out” by God.

As a result, these Christians who are not seasoned with salt will be “trampled by men”, which means they will end up giving in to the ways and values of an ungodly society. Taking this path will bring destruction in the end.

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE… THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD DEEDS

In Jesus’ time, people used small clay lamps that burned olive oil drawn up by a wick. As Christians, we should be like these simple lamps, providing light in the spiritually dark conditions of this present world. Our lives should stand out from other people in society in a positive and spiritually enlightening way. After all, genuine faith in Christ cannot be hidden, but will be evident to those around us, many of whom are looking for direction and hope in their lives.

As Christians, we have the privilege of lighting the way to God by reflecting the life, love and light of His Son, Jesus. This happens not only through words, but often more effectively through actions. In order to truly show people who Jesus is and what He is like, we must follow His example and be among people as ones who serve. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” – Luke 22:27.

We should actively look for ways to assist others and meet their needs at home, at school, on the job and in every aspect of life. By serving people, we reflect Christ’s humility and show His compassion. We break down barriers of resistance and opposition to the truth of God’s Word and the reality of Jesus’ life-changing power.

We can serve people through simple acts of kindness and by meeting practical needs. Of course, we must “always be prepared to give an answer” for the reason for our hope and the motivation behind our actions. But many people will not pay attention to the message unless it comes from someone who cares enough to meet their practical needs. For example, there may be times when we must give food for a person’s stomach before we can feed his or her soul. Or perhaps we need to help clean up a neighborhood before we try to help clean up the lives of the people living in that neighborhood. When you work against injustice, share food and clothes, help your family and anyone else who is oppressed, “then your light will rise in the darkness”.

Through practical service and loving interaction, we open the door to share the blood and true message of Christ. Then we will more likely be able to influence people to consider Christ’s claims, believe His Word and yield their lives to Him.

Stay blessed!

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

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

TRUTH THAT LEADS TO GODLINESS

INTRODUCTION

This week we just want to quote directly from Paul’s letter to Titus.

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and at His appointed season He has brought His word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Saviour,

To Titus, my true son in our common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.

TITUS TASK ON CRETE

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, a husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless – not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach – and that for the sake of dishonest gain. Even one of their own prophets has said: ‘Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.’This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

WHAT MUST BE TAUGHT TO VARIOUS GROUPS

You must teach what is in accord to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children,to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

DOING WHAT IS GOOD

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

FINAL REMARKS

As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there. Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need. Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.

Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith.

Grace be with you all.

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.

A NEED FOR GOD

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “…Christ in your hearts is your only hope of glory.” —Colossians 1 : 27
The age-old issue, “Can man save himself, or does he need God?” is still raging across the world as furiously as ever. As long as the world goes on, people will build towers of Babel, fashion their graven images, and invent their own ideologies. Now, as in every period of history, people think they can manage without God.
 
Economically, they may manage; intellectually, they may manage; socially, they may get by. But down underneath the surface of rational man is a vacuum-a void that can be met only through Jesus Christ. The most astounding fact of all history is that the great and almighty God of heaven can live in your heart. It makes no difference who you are.
 
Does God live in your heart? Fill the void in your life and commit yourself to Jesus.
 
PRAYER: “Dear Lord, fill the emptiness and longing of my soul. I need the presence of Your Spirit”. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: BILLY GRAHAM DAILY DEVOTION

HUMILITY

Humility
SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Pride leads to disgrace but with humility comes wisdom.  Good people are guided by their honesty; treacherous people are destroyed by their dishonesty” —Proverbs 11 : 2 -3

Humility is that moral character that is so essential in our lives as children of God.   Humility comes from the word “humble, which generally means “having or showing modest estimates of one’s own importance.”  To be humble also means not being proud, haughty or arrogant – not having an overly high opinion of ourselves and of our achievements.
 
When we are humble, it does not mean we are of no worth at all, though alas, that is what some people think.  Indeed in ancient Greece, humility was seen as a very negative characteristic.  People of substance were expected to show pride; they were to regard others as people below them.  For them, humility meant that they had abased themselves – they had brought themselves down – “lowered themselves” as we say here in Ghana.
                                                                    
As human beings, our natural instinct is to be arrogant, proud, and boastful rather than to be modest.  Do you remember the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector who went to pray in Luke 18:9-14?
 
The lesson is clear – God is more pleased with humility than with pride.  We ought to see humility as very important in one Christian walk.  It is a virtue – a highly regarded aspect of good character.
 
In both the Old and New Testament, we read that God exalts or lifts up those who are humble or who have a modest opinion of themselves.
 
Humility means that we should selflessly use what God has given us to the benefit of others. Unfortunately, many of us do not do that.  We boast with our talents, skills and spiritual gifts rather than using them for the benefit of others.  God gives us gifts so that we will be a blessing to others. We must therefore watch our ways so that we do not peddle our gifts for money or for fame.  If there is any boasting that we should do, we should boast in the Lord, knowing that whatever we have has been freely given by Him.

STAY BLESSED

MINISTERS OF COMFORT



SCRIPTURE TEXT: “He will rescue the poor when they cry to Him; He will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and He will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to Him” —Psalm 72: 12 -14

During hard seasons or times of disaster—whether natural or man-made, national or local—we are called to show kindness. True compassion tries to understand people’s pain, but it also provides practical help. So, how can we express care and concern for others? First, remember we have the wonderful privilege of prayer anytime, anywhere. As soon as word of a tragedy reaches you, lift up the victims, rescue workers, and others involved. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in petitioning God for protection, provision, comfort, awareness of His presence, and whatever else He deems fitting (Rom. 8:26).

Second, labour and donations of money, food, clothing, or household goods are usually a high priority. So donations of time and resources are helpful (after wisely consulting trusted sources about what’s needed). You also can express compassion with words of comfort, a warm embrace, or a listening ear. Through this kind of love, the world will recognize the true Light—Jesus Christ, who brings good news, binds up the brokenhearted and comforts all who mourn (Isa. 61:1-2). We should notice the needs around us and reach out with Christ’s love. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal ways to pray for those around you. Your concern can have a profound impact.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: IN TOUCH.ORG 


YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO GIVE

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “As the Scripture says, “Godly people give generously to the poor.  Their good deeds will never be forgotten.”  For God is the One Who gives seed to the farmer and then breads to eat.  In the same way, he will give you any bread to eat.  In the same way, he will give you many opportunities to do good, and he will produce a great harvest of generosity in you.  Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously.  And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God.” —2 Corinthians 9: 9 -11

Perhaps you feel you do not have anything to give.  But generosity is a response to the greatness of God’s power – the widow’s mite.  All resources ultimately come from God and He can increase these resources to give – Exodus 35– we give what we have – it should not be related or compared to what others have.  It is the sincerity of the heart- the expression of gratitude, not the size or worth of what is given.
 
Let us start our giving first with forgiveness of those who have wronged us – take away the bitterness, cease from judgment and condemnation. Think of the love of God – we always go to Him for forgiveness.  Let us also forgive those who have wronged us. Let us give ourselves- our bodies as living sacrifices – worshipping God with our all because we know that He has done so much for us. Let us give God our time and talents and finances – a sign of obedience that comes from our love for Him.
 
God has put us on earth and given us everything.  He is now depending on us to allow Him to use us to give to the extension and expansion of His kingdom – to provide for His temple, priests; the needy etc.  Results – joyful abundant rewards – Luke 6:30.
 
The liberal, generous giver needs not to give in fear and destitution – such a giver receives in return gifts out of the abundance of God’s generosity – Prov. 22:9

TO PONDER
God is honoured by our gifts – Exodus 35:22
Generous giving honours God- Ezra 2:68-69
God will reward us for giving to others – Mark 9:4.
Giving helps others live – Acts 2:44-45.
We should support Christian workers – Acts 28:10

STAY BLESSED

GODLESSNESS IN THE LAST DAYS

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. – 2 Timothy 3:1-5

INTRODUCTION

The last days here is not referring to a brief period of time before Christ’s return. In a very broad and general sense, the “last days” can include the entire era between Christ’s first coming, by birth and His literal second coming at the end of the tribulation period. In this passage, Paul may be referring more specifically to the period beginning with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the united believers in Jerusalem, which was the start of the Church (following Christ’s resurrection and ascension back to heaven – Pentecost and concluding with Christ’s return to earth). Through Paul’s prophecy here, the ungodly and immoral behaviour in society will accelerate as the end approaches.

1. The last days will be marked by a widespread collapse of the moral structure of the family and of society in general as people are arrogant “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”. Even in churches, unfaithfulness to God and disloyalty to His truth will increase. These times will be especially difficult and disheartening for God’s true servants.

2. Paul warns that within organized Christianity many will have “a form of godliness” (insincere, hypocritical religion) and will appear to do the right things outwardly; but they will lack the authentic power that comes from a right relationship with God. Such people deny the true power of Christ’s message that produces genuine life transformation and godly character. Paul adds: “I have nothing to do with them”.

The full benefits of spiritual salvation and the mighty end-time outpouring and activity of the Holy Spirit will occur through churches that are truly passionate for Jesus, actively serving His purpose and anticipating His coming. Followers of Christ who remain true to God and His Word will experience greater favour and empowerment from God than they have ever known.

LOVERS OF THEMSELVES

Paul gives a list of sins that all have their root in a love of self:

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – 2 Timothy 3:2-4

Many people today teach that a lack of love for oneself is the root of destructive behaviour and petrsonality disorders. However, God’s Word reveals that the problem lies in a self-centeredness that has no concern for God or others.

WITHOUT LOVE

In the last days, God’s people must be prepared to face an over-whelming rise in ungodliness as history enters its final stages. Paul prophesies that Satan will bring great destruction on the family. Children will be “disobedient to their parents”, and men and women will be “without love”. This can be translated “without family affection” and refers to a lack of natural tenderness and love, as shown by a mother who rejects her children or kills her baby, a father who abandons his family or children who neglect their aging parents.

Men and women will become lovers of money and pleasure and will pursue their own selfish desires with no thought or concern for God or others. Many will consider parenthood, with its demands for sacrificial love and nurture, an unworthy or undignified task. Parents with true love for their children will be rare; they will be replaced more and more by those who are selfish and brutal and who abandon their children, emotionally and physically.

If Christian parents are to safeguard their families in the difficult times of the last days, they must protect them from evil influences and teach them to reject the corrupt values of the society in which they live.

HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS

Paul is referring to those who claim to be Christians, appear to be religious and seem to do the right things, but who do not have an authentic personal relationship with Jesus. Their lives are not characterized by the spiritual power that frees people from sin (their own God-defying ways), selfishness and ungodly behaviour. Such people tolerate immoral behaviours and lifestyles in their churches and among those who claim to know God. They even teach that a person may practice the sins listed and yet still be spiritually saved and have a part in God’s kingdom. While Christians need to reach out and maintain positive relationships and influence with people who do not know Christ, they are to “having nothing to do with” hypocritical people who pretend to follow Christ but are simply trying to fool God and others. Such people tend to distort Christ’s message, mislead others spiritually and cause divisions in the church.

WHO IS ON THE LORD’S SIDE – MHB 820

Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will serve the King?

Who will be His helpers, other lives to bring?

Who will leave the world’s side? Who will face the foe?

Who is on the Lord’s side? Who for Him will go?

By Thy call of mercy, by Thy grace divine,

We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

Jesus, Thou hast bought us, not with gold or gem,

But with Thine own lifeblood, for Thy diadem;

With Thy blessing filling each who comes to Thee,

Thou hast made us willing, Thou hast made us free.

By Thy grand redemption, by Thy grace divine,

We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

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 6.30 am; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories

OUR RESPONSE TO THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

The Bible describes in clear and unmistakable language how we should respond to the Word of God in all its different forms. We must hear and receive God’s Word eagerly and depend on God to help us understand it. We must praise and honor God’s Word, love it and let it be our joy and delight. We must accept what the Word of God says, letting it get deep into our hearts. We are to trust it and put our hope in its promises. Above all, we must apply it directly to our daily lives. 

That means we must obey what it commands and live by its principles, instructions and guidelines. God requires those who minister and teach the Word to handle it correctly and to preach it faithfully. In fact, all followers of Jesus are called to proclaim God’s Word – to spread His message of hope, forgiveness and new life – wherever they go.

STAY BLESSED