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.

SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS!

Beloved in the Lord,
For the next several days, we are going to focus on the letter of Paul to the Ephesians because it has such wonderful insights into our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
We’ll not give any comment but rather quote straight from the Bible using versions that will give us the most excellent translation of the portion to present each day.

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

(Ephesians 1:3-8)


All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.
Even before He made the world,  God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.
God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.
So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased  our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins.
He has showered  His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

 


 

 
 


 


                                                                                                                                                                      

 

  


  
 




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

GIVEN BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. ” – John 3:5 

God’s grace doesn’t just “happen” to come to us. It comes to us from God the Father through the obedience, death, and ­resurrection of Jesus Christ. And the saving work of Jesus comes to us through the Holy Spirit.
 
The Bible teaches that we all share the stain of Adam’s sin. From the moment we are conceived in our mother’s womb, we are in rebellion against God. Our rebellion, though rooted and connected to Adam’s first sin, includes our own inescapable inclination to sin. Our hearts are hardened against God: we have plugs in our ears and blinders over our eyes. On our own, we are hopelessly lost.
 
But the Holy Spirit comes to us and changes our hearts.
 
The Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts is sometimes overlooked or downplayed. Through the sometimes dramatic though often mundane events of our lives, the Spirit woos us, draws us to him, and moves us toward the love of our Father in heaven. And when—and only when—the Holy Spirit has softened our hearts, unstopping our ears and removing the blinders from our eyes, do we turn to God.
 
We are saved by grace alone through the power and work of the Holy Spirit. Be aware of the Spirit working in your life today, filling you with grace and flowing to those around you.

 
PRAYER: “Creator Spirit, you laid the world’s foundations, and you set us free to live in God’s love and mercy. Make us your sacred temples to live and serve and glorify our Father”. Amen.

STAY BLESSED

JESUS WANTS TO BEAR YOUR BURDEN WITH YOU

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” – Matthew 11:28-30 RSV.

I don’t know what burden you’re carrying. I don’t know what’s weighing you down. But I do know the answer to your trouble.

Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 RSV).

For many years I never understood that Scripture, because I didn’t know what a yoke was. When Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you,” it sounded to me like he was going to give me something else to deal with. My burden is heavy enough already, Lord! I don’t need to take your problems on me!

Then I learned that a yoke is actually a board with two arches in it that you put over two cattle so they can pull a cart.

The value of a yoke is that it halves the load. Without a yoke, one cow’s got to pull that entire load by itself. But if you yoke up the cow with another cow, then the two animals pull the load together, and the load is half as heavy.

When Jesus says to take his yoke upon you, he’s not saying he’s going to give you his problems. Jesus doesn’t have any problems! He’s saying he’s going to share your problems. He’s going to share your load. He’s going to take your stress on himself and bear it with you.

Wow!

He uses three notable verbs in this Scripture: come, learn, and take. Jesus says, “Come to me. Team up with me. Then, learn how I do it. Take on a lighter load. This is going to reduce your stress. This is going to make it easier for you to navigate.”

When you’re yoked with Christ, you move together with him. You move in the same direction and at the same speed. And you move in the right direction and at the right speed.

Talk About It

Why is it sometimes difficult to accept help from someone who wants to share your burdens and make it easier on you?
Do you have people in your life who are willing to do that for you? How are you offering yourself to others to help reduce their stress?
Jesus already knows all about your stress. Are you ready to take on his yoke? If not, what is holding you back?

 

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Daily Hope with Rick Warren.

NURTURING THE YOUNG GENERATION, THE BIBLE WAY – PART 1

PREFACE
Every year The Bible Society of Ghana chooses a theme for the celebration of Bible week. During this week all churches focus on the theme and on the chosen scriptures to confirm that the Bible is indeed useful for “teaching… The week is also set aside to confirm the value of the Bible for everyday living. Last year’s theme was “The Bible and Our Civic Responsibility.”
This year’s theme is “Nurturing the Young Generation, The Bible Way”. It is our pleasure to bring you all the scriptures chosen to draw our attention to what the Bible says about how we can nurture the young generation using God’s Word and His principles for living Please let’s enjoy this article and allow it to impact our daily living.

INTRODUCTION
‘It’s great to be young’ is a well-known adage that carries both positive and negative connotations. Positively, it affirms the vibrancy, excitement and adventure which young people experience in their heydays. But it also points to the inexperience that quite often characterizes the youthful phase of life. Whichever way we look at, one thing remains clear: the young generation needs to be guided and nurtured into maturity so that as responsible citizens, they can build on the foundations laid by the older generation. This calls for careful mentoring in order to help them realize their full potentials. The onus, therefore, lies on the adult community to instil positive values in their young ones, serving as their role models in both attitude and conduct. But the young generation must also respond in humility and obedience, allowing themselves to be shaped as well as transformed into a great nation- builders. The Bible places a high premium on the Young Generation. It offers numerous guidelines regarding how they should be nurtured. It lays particular emphasis on the role parents ought to play in helping to shape tomorrow’s leaders. It also affirms that God can choose young people to carry out important responsibilities in the family, community, nation and the wider world.

1. Bringing the young generation into being through procreation has been an integral part of God’s purpose since the beginning of human existence.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God, He created them; male and female He created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful an increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. – Genesis 1:26-28a
The young are a priceless legacy to every community and they are precious in God’s sight.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court. – Psalm 127:3-5.

People were bringing little children for Jesus to place His hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone, who will not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them. – Mark 10:13-16.

2. Every child is born into a particular family or community. Genealogies, Families and Communities are thus important identity markers for the young generation.

“This, then, is the family line of Perez:
Perez was the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
Boaz the father of Obed,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of David.” – Ruth 4:18-22 (See also Matthew 1:1-17)

3. Community involvement in child outdooring is a vital socialization process or i=rite of passage for our young ones.
When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hands was with him. – Luke 1:57 -60 & 66.

4. Careful child weaning is an important nurturing ministry that should not be taken for granted.
Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. – Genesis 21:1-8.

When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfil his vow, Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.” “Do what seems best to you,” her husband Elkanah told her. “Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the Lord make good his[b] word.” So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him. – 1 Samuel 1:21-23.

5. Parents/ Guardians and the older generation ought to provide a conducive environment for children to develop holistically.
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on Him. Then He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. – Luke 2:29-40& 51-52.

1 Corinthians 13:11 This includes nurturing them in the Christian faith

“I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” – 2 Timothy 1:3-5. ( See also Proverbs 22:6).

Our young ones need to be nurtured and encouraged to constantly reconnect in a godly manner with their roots, culture or place of upbringing.

“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day, he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you today.” – Acts 22:3.

6. The family connections of Jesus, as visiting young prophet-teacher-evangelist, was well known in His Nazareth community.
Jesus left there and went to His hometown, accompanied by His disciples. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard Him were amazed.
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given Him? What are these remarkable miracles He is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offence at Him. – Mark 6:1-3

To be continued!

Stay Blessed!

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

Email:  saltnlightministries@gmail.com

Website:  saltandlightgh.org 

APPRECIATE LIFE

“I will sacrifice a thank offering to You and call on the name of the Lord.” – Psalm 116:17

Do you appreciate the love and support of your family? Can you still marvel at the rising of the sun? Can you still laugh about a funny situation, or do you find it hard to believe that humour is one of God’s gift to you?
Don’t let your enthusiasm for life wane! Enjoying and appreciating the beauty of life must be an integral part of your life.
If you put God at the centre of your life and thoughts, you will discover that, by appreciating your life, you continually move closer to Him, the Source of all real life.

Father, I appreciate all the beauty and joy that fills my life and that You have so freely bestowed on me. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace for Each Moment.

WHERE THERE IS NO LAW – LAWLESSNESS WILL ABOUND.

They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. – Proverbs 28:4

This proverb contrasts those who break the law and those who obey the law. The Law to which Solomon refers is the Law of Moses… which is also God’s Word. The Law of Moses was given for the good of the people of Israel. The commandments we are told to obey are those found in God’s Word, such as the Ten Commandments and other passages of instruction. To obey what God teaches in the Bible is self-preserving. To disobey is self-destructive.

  • The best way to oppose the wicked philosophies and lifestyles of this generation is a righteous life. You can make a strong statement and powerful illustration for truth and wisdom by your actions. You need not even open your mouth to argue for godliness.
  • If you compromise God’s commandments in your life, you commend and endorse the wicked by agreeing with them against God. Instead of commending the wicked by folly yourself, exalt righteousness and condemn sinners by showing the virtues of godliness.
  • It is easy to criticize the profane opinions and conduct of a God-hating society. The folly of sinners is visible everywhere. But words are cheap, and words are also very hollow if you compromise truth in your own life. Can you identify this partiality as hypocrisy?
  • Many sinners justify their disregard for God, religion, or righteousness by the hypocrisy of others. While this excuse will be rejected by Jesus Christ in the great Day of Judgment, nonetheless it points out the damage and danger of believers living carnal lives.
  • If wicked persons see compromise or inconsistency in your life, they will be strengthened in their folly and rebellion. They will be comforted that you are not much different from them, so they will continue on in their evil course without any check of conscience.
  • True Christians are a very small minority, so Jesus called them the salt of the earth and light of the world. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16. If you compromise, you lose your saltiness and are good for nothing. If your light does not shine brightly, you contribute to the world’s darkness.
  • Sin is sin. Breaking one command is to be guilty of all. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it”. – James 2:10. If you ridicule sodomy, but fantasize about adultery or defraud your spouse of frequent sex, you are as wicked as the sodomite, and you are a hypocrite. “For He who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment”. – James 2:11-13. God will judge such hypocrisy.
  • Keeping the law contends with the wicked – it fights and opposes them. But forsaking the law praises the wicked. If you cheat and compromise God’s holy standard of righteousness, you praise sinners by your choice to break God’s law just like they do.
  • Rather than picketing an abortion clinic, love and train your children by God’s Word. A loving family with godly and obedient children in public will say more against abortion than any discussion with the mindless murderers entering the baby-killing facility.
  • Upset about the high divorce rate? Then keep a perfect marriage. Divorce is just one aspect of a dysfunctional marriage; there are many more. Where are you compromising in your marriage? Have you examined it by the light of Holy Scripture?
  • Angry about the rebellious youth today? Make sure you drive the speed limit to respect civil authority, outwork your colleagues to respect business authority, submit to your husband to respect marital authority, and obey your pastor to respect religious authority.
  • Sick of hearing about evolution? Live like you know the Creator! Live like you were made for His glory, and He has the right to dictate the terms of your life. Glorify Him in all you do, and speak of Him as your Maker. You can condemn evolution this easy way.
  • Carnal Christianity is the norm today. It is loving pleasure more than God and having a form of godliness without any authority. Condemn these compromises by loving God more than pleasure and exalting His authority in your life more than church services.
  • Christian reader, godly living in every part of your life beautifies the gospel. “You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” – Titus 2:1,10 and protects it from the accusations of the wicked. “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbours. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honourable behaviour, and they will give honour to God when He judges the world.” – I Peter 2:12. Your goal is to be a blameless and harmless son of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation and to be a light in the world for the glory of God. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. – Matthew 5:16.

Source: From a devotional on Proverbs I receive from time to time.

Stay blessed!

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5 BIRTHMARKS OF THE BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN

For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
While the entire Bible stresses certainty and assurance for Christians who are born-again, there’s one section of Scripture that stakes out this theme as its central focus—the letter of 1 John.

As we carefully read through 1 John, we notice a five-fold argument for the assurance of salvation—five of the birthmarks of the Christian. These are characteristics and traits of someone who is born again through faith in Jesus Christ.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” 1 John 1:1-4 (NIV)

Let’s take a look at the 5 signs of those who are born again Christians
1. The Birthmark of Confession
The first is the birthmark of confession, described in 1 John 5:1: “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” (NASB) Before you can have assurance of salvation, you have to believe and be saved. You have to confess Jesus Christ as Lord. Some people assume they are saved because they grew up in a Christian culture, or they have gone to church all their lives, or they have been baptized, or they have tried to live a good life. Yet they’ve never distinctly and personally confessed Jesus Christ as their SavioUr and Lord.
The Bible teaches that we are sinners, separated from God by a sinful nature. We can never earn, buy, or climb our way into heaven. By our own efforts or goodness, we can never be saved. That’s why God became a man who lived a wholly righteous life, died on the cross, shed His blood for us, and rose from the dead. He paid our penalty, took our judgment upon Himself, and He offers us the opportunity to be born again.

2. The Birthmark of Change
If the first birthmark is our confession of Christ as our Saviour and Lord, the second is a changed life, as we see in 1 John 2:29: “Everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.” When Jesus truly saves us, it makes a difference in how we think, act, speak, and conduct ourselves. The Bible says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” – 2 Corinthians 5:17.
As we begin learning to practice righteousness, our habits change. We will not be sinlessly perfect while we’re on this planet; but if we’re Christians, we need to behave like Christians. If we say we’re saved but nothing has changed about us, something is wrong. We are not saved by good works, but we are saved for good works, and the Gospel is a transforming agent in our lives. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10.

3. The Birthmark of Compassion
Those who are truly saved also bear the birthmark of compassion. How can you know that you are a Christian? By what you believe, by how you live, and by whom you love. Love is a recurring theme in 1 John, and the apostle leaves no doubt about how it permeates the lives of true Christians. “Beloved,” he wrote, “let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. . . . We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren” – 1 John 4:7; 3:14.
Do you love your brothers and sisters in the family of God? Those who are truly saved are those who enjoy and bless the household of faith, the family of God.

4. The Birthmark of Conflict
A fourth sign of being truly saved is conflict. According to 1 John 5:4, “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” The word overcome implies a struggle. We’re faced with an adversary whom we must overcome. Our adversary is identified in 1 John 2:14 as the wicked one: “I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.” John went on in the next verses to say: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. . . . For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” – 1 John 2:15-17.

When you’re genuinely born of God, you’ll be growing to be an overcomer as you deal with the temptations around you—the world, the flesh, and the devil. You may not be victorious over every temptation every time, but you’ll make progress in gaining more victories and losing less battles as you grow stronger in Christ and in the power of the abiding Word of God.

5. The Birthmark of Conduct
That leads to the final point I want to make: We can see evidence for the validity of salvation in our desire to conduct ourselves in a way that pleases God. According to 1 John 3:9, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”
If we’re not careful, we might interpret this verse to teach that anyone who is born of God never sins. That would conflict with other passages in the Bible that describe us as fallible and often failing.

In 1 John 3:9, the word for sin is a present active infinitive and it describes a continuous action. John is not saying that whoever sins once is not born of God. That would disqualify all of us. It would certainly disqualify me. But John is saying, in effect, “Whoever keeps on willfully sinning, violating God’s law with stubborn disregard and ongoing wickedness, cannot have assurance of salvation.”

If we are truly saved, we will grieve over our sins, confess them, and seek God’s grace to do better.
You can have assurance of salvation today.
His grace is inexhaustible and His salvation is irreversible. Make sure you have confessed Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and then trust Him with your eternal future. He will never leave you or forsake you. His Word was given that you might know Jesus Christ as your Savior and that you might know that you have eternal life.

Stay Blessed!

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

THE FUTURE IS YOURS

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10

Perhaps your past tells a story of frustration or you feel that your life is uninspired and dull, and that nothing you do is worthwhile.

But the future belongs to you; it is yours. Every day is a gift from the loving hand of God, and you can only live life to the full when you surrender to His purpose for your life.

Achieving your purpose in life depends on your relationship with Christ. If your life has a spiritual foundation, it must also have a spiritual goal. It is by acknowledging this truth and applying it in your own life that you are y=guaranteed complete deliverance, joy and fulfillment. Then you can utilize God’s precious gift of living life to the full.

Thank You that I can have everlasting life through Christ’s crucifixion. Not even death can make me fear. Amen.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: Culled from Grace for Each Moment.