Aug 31

Stop Swearing!

Traveling on a plane next to a salesman, Billy Graham asked him, “Are you paid anything for all the swearing you do?” “No,” was the startled reply, “I do it for nothing.” “Nothing?” cried the famous preacher. “You work cheap! You throw aside your character as a gentleman, inflict pain on your friends, break the Lord’s commandments, and endanger your own soul – and all for nothing! You certainly work cheap – TOO CHEAP!”

Yes, swearing is not only a “cheap” practice in many ways, but also a terrible sin which grieves the heart of God!

 

Jesus, in MATTHEW 5:33-37 lifted all conversation in His Church to the level of sacredness. Everything we say out of our mouths should be a promise of truth that will never be violated under any circumstances. We should have such integrity that’s enough for people to hear our affirmation of yes or no and believe it to be so.

“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37).

Everything we say should be simple, straightforward, honest and true. When we speak the truth in every situation, it will set us apart from the world.

 

The world’s system is built on lies. The Church must be different. It all dates back to our childhood when we were kids. Telling the truth sometimes demanded that we swear. That kind of swearing and giving oaths is really a device of man based upon his basic dishonesty.

 

Hear what the venerable George Whitefield has to say about swearing: “Among the many heinous sins for which this nation is grown infamous, perhaps there is no one more crying, but withal more common, than the abominable custom of profane swearing and cursing.

Our streets abound with persons of all degrees and qualities, who are continually provoking the holy one of Israel to anger, by their detestable oaths and blasphemies…” We must put an end to swearing and cursing if we ever wish to be tolerated in His presence.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: The world is a system built on lies.

 

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Aug 29

Judgement Against Babylon

Much early before the time of Jesus’ revelation to Apostle John, God declared to Isaiah that He would judge Babylon, the whore, for her sin. “Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know… Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them…” (Isaiah 47:11,13,14).

 

Now, Revelation 17:1-8 is announcing the coming of the fulfillment of this prophecy on Babylon. Cast in the figure of a woman well-dressed outside but full of abomination and filth within, sitting upon an equally colorfully-clad beast, the imagery is the story of the evil partnership between apostate religion and the corrupt political system of the world.

They will pursue a globally unified religious arrangement wedded to a unified international political system. This is a satanic objective that will seek to repudiate all the basic tenets of the Christian faith. This scheme would wage a mortal war against those who are loyal to Jesus Christ and the word of God.

 

“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” (Revelation 17:8).

 

God abhors unholy unity that would desire to subject the Church to the control of the devil, the Antichrist and the false prophet. Unstoppable judgment will break upon them and those who share in their doctrines.

God is urging: “Come out of her (the satanic world system), my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).

Avoid compromise and shun the path of least resistance in your pilgrim’s journey. The way of holiness is never cheap but grace is always available for those who dare to plod this glorious path.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “A prudent man foreseeth the evil and hideth himself”

 

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Aug 28

Brass For Gold

Few things give more sense of fulfillment and pride than to watch your children improve on your attainment in life. Indeed, it is the prayer of every well-meaning parent that their children should conquer more grounds than they did. On the other hand, when children fail to measure up or even squander their parents’ fortunes, it brings disappointment and shame to parents and other concerned people. Such wasted heritage often attracts negative public comment.

 

One of the most pathetic cases of wasted heritage recorded in the Bible is that of Rehoboam, the son and successor of King Solomon. He had the best opportunities in life, as the grandson of the godly King David and son of Solomon (the wisest and richest man).

His formative years coincided with the period when Solomon maintained a robust relationship with God. He had an opportunity of excellent education.

“And king Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king’s house” (1 Kings 14:27).

Sadly, his seventeen years reign as king of Judah recorded nothing but unimaginable decline. Judah descended into gross idolatry and moral decay as vile as sodomy. Her sins estranged her from God and rendered her vulnerable.

 

Rehoboam yielded easily when Shishak, king of Egypt, attacked Jerusalem. Shishak carted away the treasures of the temple and of the king’s house, including the shields of gold that Solomon made. To replace the looted golden shields, Rehoboam made shields of brass – pitiable counterfeit! This was a manifest symbol of departed glory.

 

Many Christians, churches and whole denominations have surrendered the golden shields of the “faith of our fathers” and have shamefully made for themselves shields of brass.

It often starts by gradual compromise that morphs into outright backsliding. Did you have the privilege of rich godly heritage? What have you made of it? We can learn from Rehoboam’s case and avoid descending from gold to brass.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: We lose all if we fail to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

 

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Aug 27

Giant Rants Of A Bully

There is wisdom in William Scott Downey’s observation: “The dog who barks the loudest is not always the best watcher; neither are braggadocios the most valiant.”

 

This truth notwithstanding, it is customary for people to brag about their strength before any contest. Sports men and women do it in their pre-game speeches. Nations preparing for war spend a lot of money on propaganda.

The chief aim of all these is to intimidate and weaken their opponents while boosting their self-image. However, many times, it backfires or ends up as empty rants.

Israel and Philistine pitched camps against each other in what was going to be a decisive battle. Goliath, the champion of the Philistine army stepped forward and did a pre-battle speech that had a crippling effect on the army of Israel and Saul.

With bravado, he treated the army of Israel with contempt and demanded for a soldier from them who could dare fight him one-on-one to decide the battle. What else could anyone expect from an egotistic 11 feet 4 inches tall and heavily-built giant reputed for war mastery and armed with deadly weapons?

 

We have an enemy that employs similar bullying tactics. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The devil’s aim is to intimidate by barking, and if anyone in the army of the Lord gets terrified, he springs on him to ruin him. His first weapon is fear.

“And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together” (1 Samuel 17:10).

 

Are you hearing threatening or bragging from Satan’s camp? Are you worried about the roaring of the restless lion? If the Lion of the tribe of Judah lives in you, you will heed neither the giant rants nor intimidating looks of the enemy. Firm up your grip on Christ, fight and resist Satan.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: When Satan sends you an arrow of fear, respond with a shield of faith.

 

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Aug 26

Be Grateful Always

If Martin Rinkart were to evaluate the event of the first half of the 17th century in Germany, he would, without mincing words, conclude it was the worst of times, as the country witnessed wars, famine and pestilence.

During the thirty-year period that war wrecked terror on the people, Rinkart conducted up to 50 funerals a day, among whom were members of his family. Yet, during those years of darkness and despair, he could write 66 sacred songs and hymns, which demonstrated that thankfulness does not have to wait for moments of prosperity and peace.

“Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?” (Exodus 17:2).

The passage above pointed out the disturbing and unwholesome character of the Israelites. They regaled in despising God instead of appreciating Him for His merciful acts and deliverance.

 

While in Egypt, Pharaoh and his kinsmen had afflicted them with heavy burden and determined to squeeze life out of them. But God, through Moses, delivered them. By the Red Sea, they saw the wonderful act of God, when He parted a way for them and drowned their enemies.

Yet, they could not control themselves when they were thirsty at Rephidim. They forgot everything that God did for them. They preferred to go back to Egypt, a land of slavery and suffering.

 

Many believers, unfortunately, do not take a careful stock of their lives to see what God has done. God has kept them alive, provided wives, husbands and children for them; given them good jobs and promotion, while destroying the activities of Satan upon their lives. But when a little challenge crops up, they become easily discouraged.

Dispassionately count your blessings today and name them one by one to see what God has done.

 

THOUGHT FOR TH DAY: It is comely and glorious to show forth ceaseless praise to God.

 

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Aug 25

No Preferential Treatment

There is a point to which the common saying that “success has many friends but failure is an orphan” will be wrongly applied. While it is good and desirable to be rich, it will be wrong to use it as the basis of judgment and treatment of people in the church or anywhere else.

 

Discriminating against people on the basis of their affluence and success is a worldly practice which should not be a part of the church.

This is the point that Apostle James stresses in “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors” (James 2:9)..

In fact, he calls it an outright sin to be partial in the church of God. Preferential treatment on the basis of wealth, clothing or position displeases God. Such action is not motivated by love but by the inordinate desire to benefit from the wealth of the rich.

 

While there is nothing wrong to be rich or respect those who are highly placed, it will be wrong to use it as the basis for giving them first place attention. This does not however mean that we cannot, in the process of evangelizing and helping them come to Christ, create a comfortable atmosphere that can help them receive the gospel message. Here, we need to apply the scriptural principle of becoming all things to all men so that we can by every means save some (1 Corinthians 9:22).

 

Let’s get this right. The poor does not get to heaven on the basis of his poverty, neither do the rich go to hell because of their wealth. What qualifies anyone for heaven is a life of holiness and righteousness obtained by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

As much as it is wrong to look down on the poor because of his poverty; so is it wrong to speak evil against the rich because of their wealth. In Christ Jesus, everyone is equal and so should be treated. We must treat one another with equal honor and respect.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: In Christ Jesus, there is no big “I” and small “you”.

 

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Aug 21

The Two-Fold Hope

TEXT: 1-7

 

Someone said “Hope is good for breakfast, but bad for dinner”. This is as far as man, mortal man can perceive. But hope in God is not time-bound. It is a confident assurance in Him that He will fulfill what He has promised, even when all hope has been lost.

Previously, Isaiah had shown the adverse effects of false dependence: hardship, hunger, anguish and darkness (Isaiah 8:21-22). The prophet now pictures the darkness fading away as the light of the Lord dawns. This brings joy to the people.

 

The oppressor shall be driven out of the land. All warlike apparatuses shall be destroyed. They shall no longer be required in the new era. A summary of the twofold hope was then given to Israel – redemption at the Messiah’s first coming and restoration of Davidic kingdom at His Second Advent (ISAIAH 9 verses 6,7).

These two verses are pregnant with meaning. The whole destiny of man hangs on them viz:

  • A child (Jesus) is born at Bethlehem.
  • A son (the Saviour) is given at Calvary.

 

These first two comprise the first hope. The right to be the Sovereign of all the earth shall be vested in the Saviour. He, the Saviour, will restore the Davidic kingdom and rule eternally. These last two points are “the second, hope”.

 

Notice however, that the prophets could not see the intervening period that separates the word given in verse six and the rest of the prediction, that is, the Church Age in which we live (Ephesians 3:3-9).

The first hope has already been fulfilled, for the Child has been born and the Son given (crucified). Henceforth, God requires us to apply faith to appropriate the benefits of this fulfilled hope. This qualifies us to be part of the true Church.

Do you believe in Jesus? Have you accepted Him as Saviour and Lord and fully repented of your sins? If you are a child of God, you can be rest assured that “the second hope” will be literally fulfilled for God remains the same. Be appropriately positioned though, to fully appropriate all that God has embedded in Christ.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God means just what He says.

 

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Aug 20

Applauded By Men

Many people, today, use fame and fortune as yardsticks to measure success. But the story of Charles Schwab, an American steel magnate, who was the President of the world’s largest independent steel company, should be a sober reflection. He rose to fame and could own a 44 room summer estate on 1,000 acres in Loretto.

He became an international celebrity, traveling in private rail car. He thought his fame and fortune was an opportunity to live a notorious lifestyle. He spent all his fortune and died in bankruptcy.

 

Being popular with the people is not the same as being popular with God. This was the truth with Hananiah, who did not realize this on time. He was popular with the government of the day under King Zedekiah, who saw Jeremiah as a hard-liner. As a result, they always turned to Hananiah to tell them what they wanted to hear instead of what God wanted to tell them.

“Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie” (Jeremiah 28:15).

God had determined to teach Israel a lesson by keeping them in captivity in Babylon for a period of time, which He made known to them through Jeremiah. But Hananiah challenged Jeremiah’s stand. He took off the wooden yoke off Jeremiah’s neck and broke it.

He also told the people, contrary to Jeremiah’s prophecy, that God would break the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar off their neck within a space of two full years. Jeremiah did not engage him in an unnecessary argument. Rather, he walked away from the scene. He only went back to Hananiah at the instance of God to deliver a message of death.

 

Today, we have Hananiahs, who dine and wine with government functionaries. They mislead politicians, giving them false hope and making a caricature of God’s word.

Many so-called believers, for want of what to eat and wear, have equally become harbingers of false hope through the circulation of dubious and erroneous tales.

We should not go into unnecessary argument with the enemies of God. Whenever they make light of the word of God, we should leave them to God. Jeremiah left everything to God and walked away. We must also warn them about God’s impending judgment.

 

Thought for the day: Popularity has slain more prophets of God than persecution ever did.

 

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Aug 19

Maturity Through Christ

Leadership, whether spiritual or secular, has a divine origin. It is not always the preserve of the novice or the ignorant; if not, anarchy and confusion would reign. Societies governed and led by nitwits and “children”, as it were, hardly progress.

Others with sufficiently prepared leaderships make profound marks in the comity of nations.

 

“Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!” (Ecclesiastes 10:16).

Woe betides a nation, whose president (king) is a “child” and the governors, senators and parliamentarians “eat in the morning”. When leaders of a nation are physically, mentally and spiritually immature and incapable, problems and challenges will pile up to a point where they appear insurmountable. When leaders are being led by the people they are supposed to be leading and guiding, the stage is set for social and political disorder.

Also, when church administration is left in the hands of “children” and “those that eat in the morning”, only God can save that church from implosion. When mediocres and upstarts find their way to positions of authority in the church, through favoritism, the stage is set for the infiltration of devil’s agents and activities.

When the father in the home is cowered and intimidated by his wife and children, such that he is unable to exercise minimal correction and discipline in his family, the members of that family will turn out as delinquents in the long run.

When a businessman decides to place “children” and “those that eat in the morning”, in his management team, he will soon be filing for bankruptcy.

 

The blessedness of a nation, society, church, family and business emanates from mature, capable, effective, and efficient leadership, controlled by the Spirit of God.

Take advantage of the fullness of God in Christ to be whom God wants you to be.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: A society governed by a tiny thought is primed for failure.

 

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Aug 18

No pretentious Love

There are so much insincerity and deception in the world today. Many professions of love are not true because they have hidden motives. Many people have feigned love only to have deceived, defrauded, swindled and jilted those they claimed to love? Many love for what they stand to gain and not what they are in to give.

This is the kind of love most practiced in the world.

God’s word calls Christians to unpretentious love. This is one area in which the believer is not to be conformed to the world. The Christian life and love is real and not plastic or fake. Love is a deliberate act of the will.

 

As such, this love is not as a result of what we hope to get but what we desire to give. One of the characteristics of this love is that it is not blind to evil. It does not encourage evil; neither does it close its eyes to evil in the life of the one it loves.

 

Love is practical and expressive. It manifests itself in true and sincere feeling of affection for others. It is not hard, callous and indifferent to the plight and feelings of others. It is practical, fervent, joyful, kind, patient, enduring, forgiving, winsome and not vengeful.

It is clear that the carnal mind does not have the capacity to have and express this kind of love. You can’t give what you don’t have. The Bible reveals man’s heart to be intrinsically evil and selfish (Genesis 6:5, Jeremiah 17:9).

So, to be able to have this love and express it, there must be a transforming and renewing of the mind. In other words, there must be a change of heart made only possible when one becomes born again by faith in the saving power of the Lord Jesus.

 

As Christians, we must daily strive to express this love everywhere we go. It is the mark that identifies us with Christ and makes us His worthy ambassadors. The world is hurting and hurtful; let us soothe it with love.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Love is a deliberate act of the will.

 

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