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

THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT – PART II

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 5:16; 6:33.

INTRODUCTION

We publish this week, part two of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 where Jesus teaches what it really means to follow Him and be a part of God’s kingdom. The sermon as we have already intimated, contains a powerful and practical revelation of the principles and standards by which God expects Christians to live.  Living up to these standards is only possible through faith in Jesus, the Son of God. 

Please enjoy and pass it on to others!

MATTHEW 6:1-34

GIVING TO THE NEEDY

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

PRAYER

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

FASTING

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

TREASURES IN HEAVEN

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

DO NOT WORRY

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

JUDGING OTHERS

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

ASK, SEEK, KNOCK

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

To be continued!

Stay blessed!

For further inquiries please contact us on Tel Nos. 0243588467 or 0268130615

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

THE CHURCH’S PROPHETIC VOICE IN “SECULAR” SOCIETY (PART I)

“He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” – Micah 6:8 

Introduction

The community of believers in God through Jesus Christ His Son, are empowed by God’s Holy Spirit to speak forth the Word of God’s salvation to secular society.  Even more importantly, we let the whole world see the transforming power of God in our lives by:

  • manifesting the character of Christ who lives in us;
  • being people of real integrity;
  • being hardworking
  • being diligent;
  • respecting authority (not in sycophancy but as an act of obedience to God)
  • making good use of our time.

Politics

What about the church’s prophetic voice in politics.  We are not called to play God.  What I mean is that we are not expected to bring the rule of Jesus Christ in this world before the appointed time of God.  But let me hasten to say that we are called to be the salt penetrating this rotten world.  We have a moral obligation to be involved in our world.  The Church has to point the society to God’s love for justice, for mercy, for ensuring the well-being of the needy, the oppressed, the widows and the orphans – Micah 6:8; Exo. 22:22-23.  The Church must let the leadership of secular society know that God hates corruption and bribery because this distorts justice and leads to the strong and the rich depriving the weak and the poor – Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 16:19. Rulers must be told of God’s hatred for the sin of idol worship which He considers spiritual adultery – Jeremiah 2:19-20.  The Church must constantly speak against selfishness, violence, nepotism and greed.  If this is deemed politics, then praise God because in pointing out these things and calling people to repentance, the Church will be obeying God.

Dangers

To maintain its prophetic voice, the church must steer clear of the sin of loving the world and making friends with it. Jesus warns us that the flesh is weak even though the spirit is willing.  The world’s allures are many.  They beckon us daily.  Satan is at his craftiest best seducing us in many ways.  Slowly, but with sure steps, the world is making in-roads in to the Church.  We are beginning to measure our success by the world’s standards, that is, by the number of people in the church and their material well-being, the size and beauty of our church buildings.  We look for the acclaim of men by how publicly we do our acts of charity and so on when we should see it as merely doing our duty.  God’s standard of success is only one – total obedience.  The cross of Christ was failure by the World’s standards but to God it was total success as Philippians 2:5-11 indicates: In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In the letters to the Churches in Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus was very clear about their weaknesses which were mainly the result of using the world’s standards to judge themselves and thus, ignoring what is most important to God.

Empowered by God

It is God who has called out the Church and separated her to Himself so that she will reveal to the world what God wants to do for the world through Christ.  It is God’s testimony that counts.  When He calls, He equips.  The world needs Christ and God has freely offered Him as His gift to the world.  We must proclaim this message with boldness.  But above all our own lives, transformed by the renewing of our minds, will be the only way we can maintain our prophetic voice for then we will truly know and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect willRomans 12:2b.

Yes, through Jesus, God has saved us and given us His righteousness.  He has also given us the power to live righteous and godly lives.  In Titus 2:11 we read: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.”  That is why Peter also says in 2 Peter 1:4-8 that “Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises so that through them we may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world cased by evil desires.  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  The world must know that through Christ we can all live above our basic instincts.  

The Church, that is the collective of all believers, can faithfully, boldly and with great eagerness maintain our prophetic voice in this secular, decadent sin-filled world, lifting Christ up that He may draw all men to Himself, because God has empowered us, so to do.

For God loved the world that He gave His one only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him!  We need to let the world know this!

To be continued!

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 Hymns and their Stories.

THE SOON AND COMING KING

“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” – Isaiah 9:6

INGTRODUCTION

In a time of great darkness, God promised to send a light who would shine on everyone living in the shadow of death. He is both ‘Wonderful Counsellor’ and ‘Mighty God’. This message of hope was fulfilled in the birth of Christ and the establishment of His eternal Kingdom. He came to deliver us from slavery of sin.

Great Expectations

Imagine that a message has come about the visit of a great King.  This king who is coming to visit your city is of impeccable pedigree – a line of ancestors known for their great leadership qualities.  This expected King has a reputation for fairness, justice, kindness, wisdom and generosity.  All over town people’s expectations are high.  The people know that the King will not just visit and go along His way without leaving them something that will make their lives better so each person in the village has made their own list of things that they will either directly or indirectly ask from the King.  The issue of not receiving what is asked for is totally out of the question.  The awaited King is not like that.  He not only keeps His word.  He is one who is compassionate and listens to His people and so wherever He goes He leaves a train of fulfilled dreams and hopes.

The Great King

In Isaiah 9:1-7, we read of the famous prophecy at the coronation of either Hezekiah or Josiah as King of Judah “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.  In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the  future he will honour Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan.  The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.  You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.  Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.  For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.  He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” 

The prophecy speaks of the close of the chapter of doom, gloom and melancholy. In verses 2 & 3, Isaiah draws a contrast between the darkness of despair and the joyous salvation which will be ushered in by the coming king, who will be the long awaited Saviour.  This passage in Isaiah is quoted extensively at Christmas time because it is the prophecy concerning the coming of the King of kings and Saviour of the world – the Lord Jesus Christ.

Later Isaiah gives us names which are descriptive of the nature, character and power of this coming King.  These names have a very special meaning to us because we know that Jesus has fulfilled every aspect of the prophecy.

Wonderful Counsellor

This coming king – Jesus, is exceptional because He is the Son of God and Son of man.  He gives the right advice because He is intimately acquainted with the counsels of God from eternity.  In fact John, one of His apostles describes Him as ‘one who was with God in the beginning’ – John 1:1-2. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God He was with God in the beginning.”(NIV) This Wonderful Counsellor is the wisdom of God our Father who has made Him our wisdom.  We can rely on Him for wisdom to handle our everyday situations and solve seemingly intractable problems.  He is our wisdom because He enables us to move beyond our selfishness, greed, unholiness and self-will and submit to God’s direction without feeling that our peers would consider us foolish.

Mighty God

The coming King is a Divine Warrior because He has supernatural skill and strength in battle.  Because He is God Himself, Jesus is able to fight and overcome every scheme of the devil concerning the lives of His redeemed.  But even more, His divine skills in battle are transferred to us through the armour He has provided us which include the belt of truth; the breastplate of righteousness the gospel of peace; the shield of faith; the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit as we read in Ephesians 6:13-17. “Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. – (NIV)  Through God’s might we are able to overcome one of our greatest enemies – the SELF; the I in us which insists on having its own way even if that way is against God and humanity.  The might of God, given us through the coming King, Jesus Christ, gives us power to resist the world’s seductive attractions.

Everlasting Father

This coming King is timeless; He is God our Father or better put Father for ever, meaning that the King will look after His people as a father looks after His children.  Jesus’ own promise to the disciples (and to us) is that no one can snatch us from His hands because we have been given to Him by His Father, God: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.    I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I am the Father are one”- John 10:27-30 (NIV).

Prince of Peace

As a King, He preserves commands and creates peace in His Kingdom.  He Himself is Peace and therefore brings prosperity and well-being to His people.  He does this by governing with justice, righteousness and equity.  In Isaiah 11:1-9 gives further detail about what constitutes the rule of the Prince of Peace as follows:

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from the roots a Branch will bear fruit.  The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord – and He will delight in the fear of the Lord.  He will not judge by what He sees with his eyes or decide by what He hears with His ears, but with righteousness He will judge the needy, with justice He will give decisions for poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.  Righteousness will be His belt and faithfulness the sash around His waist.  The wolf will be with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together and a little child will lead them.  The cow will feed with the bear, and their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.  The infant will play near the hole of the cobra and the young child put his hand into the vipers nest.  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” – (NIV)

Getting Ready for the King

During this period until soon after Christmas, let us all be meditating on the message of Christmas.  It is the message of God coming down to our level so that we will be raised to His level.  It is a message of salvation from sin, the breaking of the bonds of slavery to Satan.  It is a message of God lovingly binding broken hearts and healing diseases.  But most of all, it is a message of restoration – God restoring us to the original relationship He created us to have with Him. 

SING, WE THE KING WHO IS COMING TO REIGN – MHB 116 (verse 1& 5)

1 Sing we the King who is coming to reign,
Glory to Jesus, the Lamb that was slain,
Life and salvation his empire shall bring
Joy to the nations when Jesus is King.

Refrain:
Come let us sing: Praise to our King,
Jesus our King, Jesus our King;
This is our song, who to Jesus belong:
Glory to Jesus, to Jesus our King.

5 Kingdom of Christ, for thy coming we pray,
Hasten, O Father, the dawn of the day
When this new song thy creation shall sing,
Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King.

Stay blessed!

For further inquiries please contact us on Tel Nos. 0243588467 or 0268130615

Email:  saltnlightministries@gmail.com

Website: saltandlightministriesgh.org     

THE HOPE OF ADVENT

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.

They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!” – Acts 2:1-8

INTRODUCTION

Advent,” says Pope Francis, “is a journey toward the horizon of hope. Does not disappoint because it is founded on the Word of God”. A hope that does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful!”

During Advent, we are invited to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord – to wait in joyful hope for His return in glory at the end of time and to prepare for the annual celebration of His birth.

REFLECT

The Holy Spirit’s arrival was a fulfilment of Jesus’ promise and also John the Baptist’s words about the Holy Spirit’s baptizing with fire (Luke 3:16 – John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But One who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.), and of the prophet Joel’s words about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-29 – And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.).

Tongues of fire were the sign of His arrival.

Why tongues of fire? Tongues symbolize speech and the communication of the gospel. Fire symbolizes God’s purifying presence, which burns away the undesirable elements of our lives and sets our hearts aflame to ignite the lives of others. On Mount Sinai, God confirmed the validity of the Old Testament law with fire from heaven (Exodus 19:16-18). At Pentecost, God confirmed the validity of the Holy Spirit’s ministry by sending fire. At Mount Sinai, fire had come down on one place; at Pentecost, fire came down on many believers, symbolizing that God’s presence is now available to all who believe in Him.

RESPOND

God made His presence known to this group of believers in a spectacular way—violent wind, fire, and His Holy Spirit. Would you like God to reveal Himself to you in such recognizable ways? He may do so, but be wary of forcing your expectations on God. In 1 Kings 19:10-13, Elijah also needed a message from God. There was a great wind, then an earthquake, and finally a fire. But God’s message came in a “gentle whisper.” God may use dramatic methods to work in your life—or He may speak in a gentle whisper. Wait patiently and always listen.

A PRAYER FOR HOPE

Heavenly Father,

Advent is a time for remembering and reflecting on the birth of Your Son and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Father, I pray that You will turn our hearts toward You as Christmas approaches.  Let us not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season this year and miss the chance to celebrate the gifts of hope, peace, joy, love, that You sent to us on that first Christmas day!

Father God, every word in scripture points to the gift of hope that we have because of Christ Jesus.  The Christmas story wasn’t the beginning of that message of hope because the old testament is full of glimpses of Your plan to redeem Your people and restore them into a relationship with You, but we are able to truly begin to see and understand just how great Your love for us is when we read the story of Jesus’ birth in Scripture.

You showed us a glimmer of that hope as You chose to send Your Son into this earth through a family tree that was a little bent and scarred.  We glanced it again as You chose a tribe that was small and a city that was lowly. We are grateful that You didn’t send Your Son to be birthed in a fancy palace among the wealthy and the elite, but our King of kings and Lord of lords was born among common shepherds and livestock in a barn.

The family wasn’t ideal.  The surroundings weren’t grand.  The situation wasn’t without its’ difficulties, however, You came in the midst of all of that.  Emmanuel.  God with us.  God in the messy.  God in the dirty.  God in the difficult and the troubled. 

Your plan to redeem and restore mankind was to dwell among us, fully God and fully man.  You chose to come to earth enrobed in the fragile soft skin of a newborn baby and set aside all of the glory of heaven for one purpose.  You came to be with us.  You came to love us.  You came to die for us, so that we might live.

Help us to see that You are with us.  Nothing is too difficult, too messy, or too dirty for you.  Jesus came to give us the gift of eternal life through the salvation that only you, our Heavenly Father, can give when we believe in Your Son, repent of our sins, and confess Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

That first Christmas, You gave us the gift of hope wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.  Thank you, Father, for your immeasurable gift.

We are bold to pray like this because of this precious name of Your Son and our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. With thanksgiving Amen.

MHB 150 – THOU DIDST LEAVE THY THRONE

1 Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,

When Thou camest to earth for me;

But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room

For Thy holy nativity.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,

There is room in my heart for Thee.

2 Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang,

Proclaiming Thy royal degree;

But of lowly birth cams’t Thou come to earth,

And in great humility.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,

There is room in my heart for Thee.

Emily Elizabeth Steele Elliot, 1836-1897

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.

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