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

FREE FROM THE LAW

Now, dear brothers and sisters—you who are familiar with the law—don’t you know that the law applies only while a person is living? For example, when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her. So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and does not commit adultery when she remarries. – Romans 7:1-3.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set youfree from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:1-2

INTRODUCTION

Paul used marriage as an illustration of being dead to sin and free from the law’s condemning power. Christians can serve God freely by His Spirit. Still, the law makes us aware of our sinfulness and guides us to Christ. Paul concluding by focusing on the power and presence of Jesus Christ in his life in contrast to his own struggle with sin. Through Christ, the Spirit’s power enables us to live in ways that honour God. The Spirit helps us resist sin and provides guidance in making decisions.

Furthermore, the Spirit confirms that we are God’s children. We are adopted into God’s family and can go to God as Father. Because of this, nothing we face can be compared to the glory the awaits us. Our hope in Christ is certain. Though we often feel discouraged, we have a limitless source of hope. Our challenge is to patiently persevere in the face of any present difficulty.

Paul closed Romans 8 by affirming God is at work in all things.

SIN

Sin is more than an act. It is a power that controls us and leads us to death. We learn to sin when we rebel against God’s laws that set limits for our lives. The limits are good and necessary for us. Without them society could not exist.

God’s laws shows the limits people are to accept to be His people. We do not receive the law that way. We rebel against limits. We reverse the laws purpose. Instead of letting law lead us to life with God and away from the danger zone of death, we let law rouse our selfishness and jealousy. We do exactly what the law forbids. We sin in not trusting God to show us the nature of true life. We sin in doing what God forbids. We sin in letting sin control life rather than God. We cannot blame God for giving us the lawyer, nor can we blame the law. God was good to show us the nature of true life.

The law is good in outlining for us the proper limits to life. Sin as a power ruling over our lives turns the good law into an instrument to serve evil purposes by using it to arouse our selfish desires to be god.

We cannot overcome the power of sin. Rather we serve sin, letting it be our Master. Even though we know what is right, we do not have the power in ourselves to do it. Life is a war between our desires to do good and our enslavement to sin, with sin more powerful and winning the war. The outlook brings total despair until we turn to Jesus. He has won the victory over sin. His Spirit gives us power to defeat sin and serve Christ. Life is meant to be lived in the freedom of the Spirit, not in legalism under the law and sin.

HOLY SPIRIT

Obeying God is not a dreaded, impossible duty but a natural result of the Spirit in us. The Spirit is actively at work in all believers to transform us into the kind of person God wants us to be. The Spirit is not given for our enjoyment but to change us so we will be of service to Christ.

The Holy Spirit is not a possession we hold on to but a person we love and obey. We must choose between the way of the flesh or sinful nature and the way of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit assures us that we are in fact God’s children, and that, even though we pass through much suffering, we will eventually share in the glory of Christ. We must choose to follow the Spirit, to live according to the Spirit, to set our minds on what the Spirit desires, to be controlled by the Spirit, to put the old way of life, and to be led by the Spirit.

Obeying the Holy Spirit means a personal loyalty and obedience to Christ that expresses itself by following the leadership of the Spirit in all life’s decisions.

CONCLUSION

Life is dominated either by sin or by God’s Spirit. Christ gave the death sentence to sin, which had given us the death sentence. He gave us a choice. Center life on Him or no sin. Choose life or death. Be at peace with God or at war with Him. Live in the Spirit to please God, or live in sin to please death.

I HEAR THY WELCOME VOICE – MHB 351

1 I hear Thy welcome voice,

That calls me, Lord, to Thee

For cleansing in Thy precious blood

That flowed on Calvary.

Refrain:

I am coming, Lord!

Coming now to Thee!

Wash me, cleanse me in the blood

That flowed on Calvary.

2 Though coming weak and vile,

Thou dost my strength assure;

Thou dost my vileness fully cleanse,

Till spotless all and pure.

3 ‘Tis Jesus calls me on

To perfect faith and love,

To perfect hope, and peace, and trust,

For earth and heaven above.

4 ‘Tis Jesus who confirms

The blessèd work within,

By adding grace to welcomed grace,

Where reigned the power of sin.

5 All hail! atoning blood!
All hail! redeeming grace!
All hail! the gift of Christ our Lord,
Our Strength and Righteousness.

Lewis Hartsough (1828-1919)

Remain Blessed!

Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sundays 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and 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.

God’s Grace Is A Gift

When we embrace the grace that comes only from Jesus, it changes the game! In that surrender, we stop trying to earn God’s love and instead respond to His grace with a life of worship. It’s then that we see His grace cover our entire lives.

I love the lyrics in the bridge of our song Grace Upon Grace. It says:
Grace in the driest desert
Grace when I’m feeling worn
Grace when I don’t believe it
Grace found at every turn
Grace in the deepest valley
Grace when the night is long
Grace found in every season
Grace has the final word
Grace breaks the power of darkness
Grace mends the wounded soul
Grace moving every mountain
Grace fills the deepest void
Grace overtakes my battles
Grace resurrects these bones
Grace lifts me from the ashes
Grace is my victory song
Every single one of us can connect to at least one or two of those lines. No matter what we’re facing, what we’re walking in, what is difficult or hard around us, God’s grace covers it! It’s simply up to us to surrender to Him and receive His grace!
Challenge
Today, grab a journal, listen to our song Grace Upon Grace, and reflect on the words. Think about the times God’s grace has shown up in your life. Write them down and thank God for the unmerited favor He has shown you.

—Life.Church Worship Pastor Adam Washburn
Worship with the song Grace Upon Grace.

STAY BLESSED.
Rev. Dr. Joyce R. Aryee
(Executive Director, Salt and Light Ministries)Salt and Light Ministries
P.O.Box AN 15007, Accra North
Contact: 0302 772013,026 8130 615/0243588467
Email: saltnlightministries@gmail.com
Website: saltandlightministriesgh.org

Magnificent Prayers by Nick Harrison

SCRIPTURE: “You have made known to me the path of life;
You will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11 NIV)


Why is it that prayer in the name of Christ brings such fullness of joy?
In part, because we get what we ask. But that is not the only reason, nor the greatest. 
It makes God real. When we ask something definite of God , and He gives it , how real God becomes! He is right there! It is blessed to have a God who is real, and not merely an idea.
There is no greater joy on earth or in heaven, than communion with God, and prayer in the name of Jesus brings us into communion with Him.
The Psalmist was surely not speaking only of future blessedness, but also of present blessedness when he said “in Thy presence is fullness of joy.” O the unutterable joy of those moments when in our prayers we really press into the presence of God! 


Magnificent Prayers by Nick Harrison

Beloved in Christ,
For the next 2 weeks, we will use the Devotional entitled Magnificent Prayers by Nick Harrison to remind us about the relevance of prayer in our daily lives.

 May the Holy Spirit minister deeply into our hearts, the message He has for us for today.

Enjoy!  

INTRODUCTION!


Prayer is truly, wonderfully, amazingly magnificent.
Prayer is an invitation to us from God Himself, asking us to please communicate with Him. Through prayer, we ask for and receive good things from our heavenly Father. Through prayer, we are invited to ask of Him of  whom an angel told Mary, 
“Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Miracles, yes -but certainly prayer itself is the greatest miracle.
The best antidote to spiritual depression is prayer. When we enter into communion with God, despair and hopelessness must go. 
Never fear the darkness. Overcome it through the power of prayer.
Has it occurred to us that the answer for which we continue to pray may already be on its way! God has heard it and attended to it. Don’t be discouraged by the delay
God is faithful, keep watching expectantly.

Jesus was real and raw in His times of prayer!

SCRIPTURE: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke  22:42 NIV).



And as the appointed time for the work of redemption drew ever closer, our Lord Jesus prayed to His Father: if you are willing, remove this cup from Me.. nevertheless,  He submissively continues.. not My will, but Yours, be done. Despite desiring that some other way could be found to accomplish the payment for mankind’s sins, Jesus bowed to His Father’s will in the matter and gave Himself.
It is never wrong to express our true feelings to God. Jesus exposed His dread of the coming trials, but He also reaffirmed His commitment to do what God wanted.
The cup He spoke of meant the terrible agony He knew He would endure-not only the horror of the crucifixion but, even worse, the total separation from God that He would have to experience in order to die for the world’s sins.


Inspired by: Paul Marc GouletJesus.net

Jesus created intimate times alone with His Father!

Prayer is intended to be personal and intimate. Each person should find his/her quiet place and create an ambiance that helps him/her connect with God, hear from Him, and unload every burden onto His broad shoulders. As Jesus once said, “‘Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

SCRIPTURE: “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray and spent the night praying to God.” (Luke  6:12 NIV).



Before every important event in Jesus’ life, He would take time to go off by Himself and pray. This time Jesus was praying to choose His inner circle, the 12 Apostles. Prayer was His spiritual lifeblood. It is His wide-open secret to being connected with His Father. We see that Jesus prepares Himself as well as He can for this incredibly important decision. Beloved, let us make sure that all our important decisions are grounded in prayer.
The Bible tells us that whenever Jesus faces a critical decision or an important action, He spends extra time in prayer. Prayer becomes more important for Him than food or rest, and the amazing thing about it is that unlike us, He doesn’t get a good night of sleep. When we face a difficult decision or a rough day ahead, we think the most important thing is to get a good night of sleep. Jesus, on the other hand, realizes that the most important thing for Him is to be in touch and communion with His Father. The most important thing for Jesus is to spend the night praying. He has shown us how we as believers should live in total dependence on the Father.


Inspired by: Paul Marc GouletJesus.net

HOW DID JESUS PRAY?

Today’s focus is on Jesus made sure to give God all the glory for the signs, wonders, and miracles that flowed through His life! 

May the Holy Spirit minister deeply into our hearts, the message He has for us for today.  

SCRIPTURE: Father, glorify your name! Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”  (John 12:28 NIV)



“Father, glorify your name.” It tells us that God Himself says, I have and I will.  And God Himself says it  “I have glorified My name, and I will glorify it again.”
The deepest reason why we live for the glory of God is that God lives for the Glory of Himself. We are passionate about God’s glory because God is passionate about His glory. God glorified His own name through Jesus’ life and would glorify it again when Jesus went to the cross, resurrection, and ascension. This was an affirmation that Jesus’ prayer was already answered by the Father. His Will is one with that of the Father; His glory is in the glorifying the Father’s name. 
God sent Him into the world to die for our sins, in our place. Jesus said no to His human desires in order to obey His Father and glorify Him.
Beloved, although we will never have to face such difficult and awesome tasks, we are still called to obedience. Whatever the Father asks, we should do His Will and bring glory to His name.


Inspired by: Paul Marc GouletJesus.net

Jesus Spoke To His Father In A Warm and Honoring Way!

Prayer is intended to be personal and intimate. Each person should find his/her quiet place and create an ambiance that helps him/her connect with God, hear from Him, and unload every burden onto His broad shoulders. As Jesus once said, “‘Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Beloved in the Lord,
For the next couple of days, we are going to talk about HOW DID JESUS PRAY?

Today’s focus is on Jesus spoke to His Father in a warm and honoring way! 

May the Holy Spirit minister deeply into our hearts, the message He has for us for today.  

SCRIPTURE: “He said to them, When you pray, say:
Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come
Give us each day our daily bread
 (Luke 11:2 NIV)



First Jesus praised God; then He made His requests. 
Praising God first puts us in the right frame of mind to tell Him about our needs. Too often our prayers are more like a shopping list than conversations.
God’s provision is daily, not all at once. We cannot store it up and then cut off communication with Him. And we dare not be self-satisfied. If we are running low on strength, let us ask ourselves, how long have we been away from the source.
Prayer will help us go to Jesus in a personal way. In fact, Jesus demonstrated to His disciples a perfect life.
If prayer used to be a chore for us, we can actually use them as we can the best part of our day. We can get filled, inspired, and energized by the Spirit every day.


Inspired by: Paul Marc GouletJesus.net

Ambitious for God!

SCRIPTURE: “And I answered the king If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favour in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where many fathers are buried so that  I can rebuild it.
Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, How long will your journey take and when will you get back? It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.”  (Nehemiah 2:5-6 NIV)



After his prayer, Nehemiah asks the king for permission to go to Judah. As soon as he got a positive answer, he began asking for additional help.
Sometimes when we have needs, we hesitate to ask the right people for help because we are afraid to approach them. Not Nehemiah! He went directly to the king who could help him the most. He also asks for letters from the king to speed him on his way and give him protection as he goes.

However, he doesn’t stop there. He also asked for use of the king’s materials as well! This was extremely bold.
Beloved, don’t be reluctant to ask those who are able to help. They may be more interested and approachable than you think. God’s answers to our prayers may come as a result of we asking others.
Nehemiah had position, power, and many good organizational skills, but he acknowledge that God’s gracious hand was upon him. He knew that without God’s strength, his efforts would be in vain. Do we acknowledge  God as our power source and the giver of our gifts!



 


 

 
 


 


                                                                                                                                                                      

 

  


  
 




 
STAY BLESSED.
Rev. Dr. Joyce R. Aryee
(Executive Director, Salt and Light Ministries)
Salt and Light Ministries
P.O.Box AN 15007, Accra North
Contact: 0302 772013,026 8130 615/0243588467
Email: saltnlightministries@gmail.com
Website : saltandlightministriesgh.org

Reliance on God!

SCRIPTURE: “Then I said: O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and obey His commands.
“Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant prays before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins  we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you.”  (Nehemiah 1:5-6 NIV)

When Nehemiah was faced with the news about Jerusalem he immediately turned to God in fasting and prayer for help. He repented of the sins of Israel and beseeched the Lord to help them in their plight. Notice too, when the king asks Nehemiah what he can do for him Nehemiah first voices a quick prayer to God for wisdom.  He demonstrated the elements of effective prayer.

1. Praise
2. Thanksgiving
3. Repentance
4. Specific request
5. Commitment.

Heartfelt prayers like Nehemiah’s can help clarify
Any problem we may be facing,
God’s great power to help us,
The job we have to do.

By the end of his prayer, Nehemiah knew what action he had to take (Neh. 1:11)
When God’s people pray, difficult decisions fall into proper perspective, and appropriate actions follow.

 
STAY BLESSED.
Rev. Dr. Joyce R. Aryee
(Executive Director, Salt and Light Ministries)
Salt and Light Ministries
P.O.Box AN 15007, Accra North
Contact: 0302 772013,026 8130 615/0243588467
Email: saltnlightministries@gmail.com
Website : saltandlightministriesgh.org