FESTIVAL OF NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS – CONT’D

INTRODUCTION

This week we continue with the story of “The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” – which recounts the story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus, told in nine short Bible readings or lessons from Genesis, the prophetic books and the Gospels, interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols, hymns and choir anthems.

6. CHRIST BORN OF MARY

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”Matthew 1:18-23.

7. THE SHEPHERDS GO TO THE MANGER

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. – Luke 2:8-16.

8. THE WISE MEN ARE LED BY THE STAR TO JESUS

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ” Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. – Matthew 2:1-11

9. ST JOHN UNFOLDS THE GREAT MYSTERY OF THE INCARNATION.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:1-14

O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL – MHB 118

2 True God of True God,

Light of Light Eternal
Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb;

Son of the Father,
Begotten, not created:
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

3. Sing, choirs of angels,

Sing in exultation;

Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!

Glory to God,

In the highest;

O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

4. Yea, Lord, we greet thee,

Born this happy morning;

Jesus, to thee be glory given.

Word of the Father,

Now in flesh appearing;

O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Anonymous, Trans. by Frederick Oakeley, (1802–1880)

Stay blessed!

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

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

FAITH IN PRACTICE

And the righteous will live by his faith – Habakkuk 2:4b


INTRODUCTION


Our whole lives depend on faith – from our rising from bed to the going back to it. We wake up, do the normal things because we believe that the earth will still rotate on its axis, that the sun will shine even through storms and rain.


• That plants, crops, trees will grow even when there is drought;
• That our vehicles and even aircraft will be able to take us to and fro. The streets will be able to hold our cars, never mind how many potholes;
• That we will be able to eat and digest our food;
• That doctors will be able to heal us;
• Teachers, lecturers will be able to teach us;
• That security agencies will be able to protect us from those who wish us harm;
We can go on and on. In fact, even right now most of us are comfortable sitting on our chairs because we have faith that they will hold our weight and keep us secure.
In fact, our whole lives revolve around things we believe in, both seen and unseen.

  1. SO, WHAT IS FAITH?

  2. a. The All Nations English Dictionary defines Faith as:
    • Strong belief, trust, confidence
    • Loyalty to one’s promises or word of honour.

b. Webster’s New World Dictionary also defines Faith as:
• Trust
• Unquestioning Belief in God
• Anything believed
• Complete trust or confidence
• Loyalty

  1. BIBLICAL DEFINATION
    We are talking about God and His Word so it’s important that we find out what God means by faith. In Hebrews 11:1, we read that Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This means that the nature of faith that is acceptable before God is a faith that is triumphant in the worst situations. In the New Testament faith conveys the idea of trust, a firm internal conviction regarding the truthfulness of someone or some claim.
    It is faith that believes in spiritual realities and leads to:
    a) Righteousness
    b) Seeking God
    c) Believing in God’s goodness
    d) Having complete confidence in God’s Word
    e) Obeying God’s command
    f) Regulating life on God’s promises
    g) Rejecting the spirit of this present evil age
    h) Seeking a Heavenly home
    i) Persevering in trials and testing
    j) Blessing the next generation
    k) Refusing sin’s pleasures
    l) Enduring persecution
    m) Performing mighty acts of righteousness
    n) Suffering for God
    A tall list but as we read in Philippians 2:13 (NLT) – “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.”; God who lives in us by His Spirit continues to work in us to give us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. He is the originator of faith and He is our Helper.
  2. In 1 Kings 18:36-39, Elijah practises his faith by courageously challenging King Ahab for his disobedience (rebuking all of Israel, confronting the 450 prophets of Baal). His faith led him to use only the weapons of prayer and faith in God. His confidence in God is indicated by the brevity and simplicity of his prayer. He didn’t need a Genesis to Revelation kind of prayer nor did he stomp and wag his fingers at God. He prayed in agreement with God’s will. Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal and then his prayer was to reveal God’s grace to His people and thus turn their hearts back to God.
  3. We too must put our faith in practice as we see so much evil and wrongdoing in our society. Instead of the daily complaining we must put our faith to work by praying in agreement with God’s will. Titus 2:14, reveals to us that Christ has redeemed for Himself, a people who are His very own and eager to do good. We must therefore use Hebrews 4:14-16 as well as 1 John 5:14-15 to pray for one another so that we will live in the power of righteousness that we have been saved to practice. We must trust God to empower us to change our generation.
  4. In Galatians 1:1-10, Paul was horrified that the Christians in Galatia were allowing the Judaizers to persuade them to abandon their faith in the gospel of salvation by faith only in the Lord Jesus Christ and to accept the false notions that they had to become Jews through circumcision and adherence to rules and regulations before they could become true Christians. It was so false that Paul virtually reined curses on those who brought this false gospel. And are we not facing the same things? Prayer camps, strange prophecies and regulated practices, rituals and dogmas.
  5. Let’s put our faith into practice and accept that Christ’s saving purpose is the deliverance of us believers from the evil that dominates this world’s societies. We must live for God and refuse to be governed by the prevailing values, wisdom, opinions, corrupt desires and selfish pleasures of the people of this world. We must despise evil and love what is righteous – this is our faith – we are a people delivered from evil and brought into God’s marvelous light as we read in 1 Peter 2:9.
    We must have our mind conformed to God’s way of thinking by reading and meditating on His Word as the Bible tells us in Psalm 119:11 & 148; John 8:31 – 32 & 15:7.
    We must have our plans and ambitions determined by heavenly and eternal fruits and not by this evil, temporal and transient age, no matter how attractive. We must avoid being so gullible and faint-hearted. We say that God is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent. Acting out our faith is what makes us witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  6. In Luke 7:1-10, the Roman Centurion heard of the God of Jews and His mighty power being displayed in Jesus and he believed in Him and actually sought His help. His faith was commended by Jesus because it surpassed anything found among the Jews. The centurion’s faith combined a long concern for another person – his servant- with great trust in Jesus. He was deemed an unbeliever by the Jews but he had all the elements of a believer in Jesus’ eyes.
    We are believers but is our faith in the Author and Perfecter of our faith in Jesus Christ evident in the things we do?
    • Do people see the power of Jesus in the way we practise our Christian faith.
    • Do we love one another us Christ has loved us?

Conclusion
Christ Jesus says He has overcome the world and indeed He has by His death and resurrection. His love is abundant – we know it and experience it daily. His grace is divine – we experience that too daily. By our actions let’s bring glory to God and enjoy the freedom and power that our faith brings us.
Let’s dedicate our lives to God and ask Him to increase our faith.

Stay Blessed!

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

EXCELLENCE IN OUR WORKPLACES

Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as (something done) for the Lord
and not for men, knowing (with all certainty) that it is from the Lord (and not from men) that you
will receive the inheritance which is your (real) reward. (The One Whom) you are actually serving
is) the Lord Christ, the Messiah Col. 3:23-24 Amplified Version).
THE VALUE OF EXCELLENCE
There is no doubt that a high premium is placed on the value of quality and excellence in the
workplace. So many books have been and are still being written extolling the virtues of good quality
work. Studies conducted so far have revealed that quality and excellence in the workplace do not
just lead to higher profits – they are vital to sustaining business. This has led to managers and
employees in corporate organizations embracing a new workstyle that is premised on quality and
excellence.
And yet the theme of excellence in the way we work is something God treasures and is therefore
firmly established in His written Word, the Bible as we read in Prov. 22:29: Do you know a hard-
working man? He shall be successful and stand before kings!
BIBLICAL VIEW OF WORK
The Bible teaches us a few things about work, which we need to use as principles for our own work
 God, who Himself is a worker, does His work with excellence – Gen. 1:31.
 God equips people with specific skills and abilities that fit them for certain kinds of work -Ex. 31:1-
11; Ps. 33:15. We are expected to use our skills for their intended purposes and by so doing
serve God with all our strength and all our might.
 We should work with the understanding that we are accountable to God and that He is daily
evaluating the quality of our work – Eph. 6:5-8.
 We are to be conscientious, diligent, loyal, respectful and peaceable in our workstyle, thereby
making the gospel of Christ attractive to co-workers, clients and customers – Titus 2:9-10.
SOME WORK – WORLD CODES
As believers we should know that all legitimate work matters to God and in that respect He does not
consider some jobs more important than others. Managers and those in authority are as much
accountable to God for the work they do as all workers and those under authority. Both categories of
people have to display good character and conduct and make choices in the workplace that honour
Christ in difficult workplace environments. The following will help us to do just that.
GUIDELINES FOR MANAGERS AND OTHERS IN AUTHORITY

  1. FINANCE
     Workers must give their due payment for their work – 1 Cor. 9:7-14.
     There must be fair employee compensation – Col. 4:1.

Spectator – Saturday 31 st October, 2020
 Due care and circumspection must be applied to the way wealth is handled – 1Tim. 6:9-10;
17-18. Misapplication and misappropriation of funds are a poor reflection of our faith.

  1. WORK RELATIONS
     Business relationships must reflect our transformed Christlike lives – 2 Cor. 7:1.
     God values people and so we must value them and treat them with dignity – Gal. 5:14-15;
    Eph. 4:31-32.
     Workers must be treated with respect and not with intimidation and threats – Eph. 6:59.
     We must be honest in our estimation of ourselves – humility must be our hallmark – Rom.
    12:3.
  2. COMMUNICATION – Let us:
     verify accusations before acting – Matt. 18:15-35; 2 Cor. 13:1; 1 Tim. 5:19.
     be gracious and truthful in all your communications – Col. 4:6. It pays to be courteous and
    respectful
  3. RESPONSIBILITY – Let us:
     fulfill our commitments – Rom. 13:6-8. Being the leader does not mean abdicating our
    responsibilities.
     not forget that we are accountable to God and to our workers – 1 Cor. 3:9-15.
     be kind to the disadvantaged – Rom. 12:13; Gal. 2:10.
     handle our times of bounty and our times of leanness prudently – Phil. 4:12.
     give glory to Christ for our successes – Col. 1:17-18.
     remember to care for our own family – 1 Tim. 5:8.
     be sensitive to people’s needs and meet them whenever we can – Titus 3:14.
  4. MANAGEMENT
     The decisions we take must be rooted in God’s perspective about time and eternity – 2
    Cor. 4:16-18; 2 Pet. 3:8-13
     Let us nurture, mentor, encourage and equip employees to be the best – 1 Thess. 5:14-15.
     Let us be flexible with our options – 2 Cor. 5:16-17; Phil. 10:14.
    GUIDELINES FOR WORKERS AND THOSE UNDER AUTHORITY
  5. DUTIES – Let us:

Spectator – Saturday 31 st October, 2020
 not be too quick to get out of your current situation – 1 Cor. 7:17-24. God has a reason for
keeping us where we are.
 have the right perspectives about stress and trouble – 2 Cor. 4:7-18.

  1. SUPERVISORS – Let us:
     develop a healthy respect for authority – Rom. 13:1-8.
     work wholeheartedly and respectfully – Eph. 6:5-8; 1 Thess. 5:12-15.
     do our work with diligence, obeying the rules of the job – 1 Thess. 4:11-12.
     respect and honour your bosses whether they are believers or not – 1 Tim. 6:1-2
  2. CO-WORKERS – Let us:
     develop a sober and honest estimation of ourselves – Rom. 12:3
     acknowledge that differences are natural and inevitable and learn to accept the
    contributions of others – 1Cor. 12:1-8.
     help others to be productive without neglecting to do our assigned job well – Gal. 6:1-5.
     be sensitive and courteous in the way we speak to others – Col. 4:6.
     show understanding for others and treat them with respect – 1 Tim. 5:1-3.
     build a reputation for good relationships – Titus 3:1-2.
  3. RESPONSIBILITY – Let us:
     give ourselves totally to God – Rom. 12:1;
     be wise and discerning so that you can make use of all the opportunities God gives you –
    Eph. 5:15-18;
     remember that you are working for God and be diligent about it – 1 Cor. 3:13; Col. 3:17;
     not let our responsibilities weigh us down with anxiety – Phil. 4:6;
     live responsibly, pursuing a godly life – 1 Thess. 4:11-12; 2 Thess. 3:8-9;
     develop a godly workstyle – Titus 2:9-10;
  4. FINANCES – Let us:
     not steal, nor embezzle but rather learn to live within our means – Eph. 4:28;
     be responsible for the needs of our family – 1 Time 5:8;
    TO PONDER
  5. How much quality and excellence are we putting in our work?
  6. Would God be pleased with the way we do our work?
  7. Are we proud of the way we do our work and do we think God will be pleased with the
    end product or service?

Spectator – Saturday 31 st October, 2020

If not, then let us use the guidelines and principles in this article to make improvements so
that we will indeed be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world.

Stay Blessed!

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

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!

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