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August

What is right for the glory of God

Written by Nana Kwame Owusu-Afriyie.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.” (NIV) Romans 12:1-2, Romans 6:13

Human nature dictates that we naturally gravitate towards the desires of the flesh. Human nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. The Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what human nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your personal intentions (Gal. 5:16–17). Is there a solution? Yes, let us commit to being slaves to the Spirit so that we can produce the works of righteousness (Gal. 5:18, 22–23). But is it that easy? Certainly not! As Christians, we can agree with Paul that we are constantly struggling with sin: “I do not understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it, instead, I do what I hate” (Rom. 7:16). The gap that exists between what we know to be right and yet refusing to do what is right is aggravated by sin.

Susanna Wesley was the mother of Charles Wesley, the hymnist and John Wesley, the preacher. One day, John went to the mother and asked for the definition of sin. The mother gave perhaps the most profound definition of sin; “if anything weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenets of your conscience, obscures your sense of god or takes away your relish for spiritual things. In short, if anything increases the authority and the power of the flesh over the spirit that to you becomes sin however good is it in itself.”

Sin is the bane of our existence! Slowly but surely it weakens our reasoning, impairs the tenets of our conscience, obscures our sense of God and eventually takes away our delight for what is spiritual. Like the proverbial frog, we would resist hot water when we first encounter it but when it is presented as lukewarm water, we stay in it, oblivious to the danger. Sooner than imaginable, we get boiled to the point of destruction. Is there hope? Yes, there is. More than ever we need a principle of jealous Godly fear within. A sensibility of sin and the pain to feel it is near. We must strive to choose to do what is right for the glory of God.

Organic evangelism || More

Organic evangelism

Written by Richard D. Phillips (Forthright Magazine).

"He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."(NIV) Mark 16:15

The elders were at a loss. After a congregational meeting, a retreat, sermons and several meetings with the deacons, the congregation still was not growing.

Their latest meeting was getting testy. One of the elders wanted to fire the preacher. Another touted a new book that claimed to have just the right program. The last elder just wanted to stay quiet and keep the peace. Disgusted, they just went home and grumbled to their wives.

Congregations are always running after the perfect preacher, program and publicity campaign to help them grow. However, most of them overlook the most successful plan available to them.

The New Testament provides a plan that will work. It requires more than many brethren are willing to give. It asks for a sacrifice more personal than money and commitment more tangible than a surrogate.

Church growth must be organic, emanating from the inside of a congregation. If a group is cold, comfortable, lifeless and bored, church growth is impossible no matter how much money is spent on preachers and programs. No one wants to be with the dead.

As God's people, we live in Christ through his blood (Acts 2:38, 47; Galatians 3:27). We enjoy all the spiritual blessings available to us (Ephesians 1:3) as we glorify Christ (Ephesians 3:20-21) and walk in him daily (Ephesians 4:1).

United in the Spirit, we learn from Scripture how to bond together in unity and peace (Ephesians 4:3). We build a church family and community that loves being together, and we depend on one another in everything (Colossians 3:12-15). Worship and Bible study become spiritual feasts.

Our love for the Word and each other (Colossians 3:16) will naturally spill over into all of our lives, and we will share that with others. Accordingly, people will be intrigued by such joy and want to come and see whether they can be part of an exceptional harvest of blessings.

Can we not see why evangelism must emanate from within? Please, allow the light of Christ to shine into a dark and sinful world and people will flock to its warmth!

The power of Godly love || More

The power of Godly love

Written by Myles MacMillan.

“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” (NIV) John 1:9-11

We live in a world where it seems the wisdom of the day is “every man for himself”. In an environment like this, people are frequently taken advantage of and mistreated and sometimes we may find ourselves in one of these situations. We sometimes get frustrated with people when we feel that we are being treated unfairly. Sometimes we may be correct about our unfair treatment and sometimes we are not but as Christians, how should we respond to these situations?

One of the best ways to try and answer this question is to look at the life of Jesus? John 1:11 says “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” Was Jesus treated unfairly by those around Him? Absolutely! How did Jesus respond to this treatment? Again, the bible helps us answer this question in Romans 5:6-8 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The answer is that Christ responded with a profound display of love. The bible tells us that God is love and so, it should come as no surprise that Jesus’ reaction to all the rejection and mistreatment was to show love by doing what was best for those who rejected Him, regardless of what it cost Him. This is the same attitude we need to have as we seek to show God’s love to the world around us.

God’s love is so powerful and I always find it refreshing to reflect on His definition of Love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a in order to re-focus on what’s important “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” May God bless us as we seek to show the power of His love to this world!

  What are we bowing to today? || More

A legacy in God’s Kingdom

Written by Alfred Ofori Agyemang.

“Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds." (NIV) John 19:38-39

There are so many people in the world today who are secret admirers of Christian worship. Many wish they were in the Lord’s church and also committed to the building of the kingdom on earth but cannot act because of fear and intimidation.

Sometimes, it is very interesting how God does his things. Consider the following events in the history of Christianity:

Before Jesus came to the earth, his entry was well planned and executed as captured by the gospels. The divine birth was planned and executed.

Christ had a plan for his earthly ministry and went by it. During his ministry, he planned ahead the triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

The Passover celebration that led to the establishment of the Lord’s Supper was planned and was followed in time. The establishment of the church on earth was planned and executed through the Apostles.

As part of the master plan of God, Christ was to die to save mankind from sin. Jesus prophesied about his death too and actually died. However, he never said anything about his burial before his death. Beloved, Christ was to be buried, but by who and how?

A man perhaps thought about this question and acted upon it when the opportunity came. This man- Joseph of Arimathea made history. Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man and a prominent member of the Jewish council according to scriptures (Matthew 27:57, Mark 15:43). Because of fear and intimidation by his colleagues and Israelites, he could not openly come to Christ when he was alive. But during Jesus’ death on the cross, he thought of Jesus and made a bold decision- neglecting the anticipated pressure and criticism from his peers. He requested for the body of Christ from Pilate and buried Jesus in his new tomb.

Beloved, there are so many things to be done in the kingdom and ministry of God. Be confident and do what God expects and neglect the reactions from the world that intimidates you. What Joseph did also inspired Nicodemus to openly come and anoint the body of Christ before burial (John 19:38-42). Similarly, your initiative today may inspire the next Christian to also act in a mega way to create a legacy in God’s kingdom. Be empowered by the Holy Spirit and act without fear, make a legacy today.

  Bread of Life || More

Bread of Life

Written by Alfred Ofori Agyemang.

“I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate manna in the desert, yet they died. But there is a bread that comes from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die " (NIV) John 6:48-50

Physically, we all need good nutrition to sustain our lives on earth. Inadequate intake of essential nutrition results in health disorders. Bread has been a staple food for mankind globally. God in the Old Testament gave bread (manna) to the people of Israel to sustain their lives in the wilderness for 40 years. Manna was given to the Israelites also as a sign that God was with them.

Let’s examine some link between the old bread for life (manna) and the new bread of life (Christ). The manna God gave the Israelites was small and round (Exo. 16:14) which symbolizes Christ's humility and also his eternal nature. The manna was temporal but now God is offering eternal bread for the whole world in Christ Jesus. The manna was sweet to taste and so are the words of Christ (1Pet. 2:3).

Indeed, the words of Christ are spiritual nutrition for growth and ultimately eternal glory in Heaven. Where can you find all these great words? The Scriptures (Holy Bible). We receive spiritual food by studying the Bible and applying its principles daily.

Some of us plan our physical menu for the day and week to have adequate nutrition. We take so much time in preparing quality healthy meals but what about our spiritual diet? Let us plan on feeding on God’s word daily and apply its divine principles. Jesus is the only provider of what we need to survive today and for eternal life. Feed on His word.

  Avoid worldly counsel || More

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