Aug 17

Doggedness In Service

Satan’s aversion for the kingdom of God and all that pertains to it is a long established fact. Therefore, he thrives in devising different methods (subtle and violent) targeted towards destabilizing, disrupting or even stopping the work of the Kingdom.

However, discerning believers need to know that his crafty and evil antics, no matter how vicious, cannot stop God from fulfilling His programme.

The work of God had been going on successfully in Jerusalem since the disciples of Jesus Christ were baptized in the Holy Ghost. This record of achievement was intimidating to the devil, hence he determined to stop the work.

Having failed in his earlier efforts, he intensified his efforts by ensuring that Stephen, a disciple who was “full of faith and power” was arrested, accused falsely before the Jewish council of blasphemy against Moses and God, and finally killed.

 

Contrary to the command by Jesus that the disciples should extend the gospel beyond Jerusalem (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8), they confined themselves to Jerusalem, hence the persecution. It was this intense persecution that scattered them to other cities outside.

Once he escaped to the city of Samaria, Philip did not allow the persecution to stop him from preaching the gospel. It then means the scattering actually led to the spreading of the gospel beyond Jerusalem.

“Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” (Acts 8:4,5).

As believers, we should not panic when faced with persecution, either on account of our faith in the work of the ministry or even in our secular engagements, realizing that “even hereunto were [we] called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that [we] should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: It takes unswerving endurance to clinch the victory.

 

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Spread The Word
Aug 14

Repentance Attracts Forgiveness

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, an English Baptist pastor and writer, stated: “Another proof of the conquest of a soul for Christ will be found in a real change of life. If the man does not live differently from what he did before, both at home and abroad, his repentance needs to be repented of and his conversion, is a fiction.”

Isaiah, the prophet, points out that God is absolutely in control of everything on earth, a fact the king of Egypt and his officials tried to underrate. They could impress upon the king that they came from a family of wise princes, but they would not be able to inform him of God’s plan against Egypt. All they did only ended up misleading the Egyptians towards the wrong direction, making them to walk like drunks.

 

According to Isaiah in ISAIAH 19:11-19, there was nothing anybody in Egypt could do because of God’s overwhelming power to unleash terror on the Egyptians. On the day He would act, the inhabitants of Egypt would be like weak women, trembling with fear.

“In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD” (Isaiah 19:19).

The name, Judah, would equally put great fear upon them. For this, the people of Judah would be foolish to seek any help from the Egyptians, who had already been subjected to fear at the mere mention of the name, ‘Judah.’

 

God is all-powerful and He has given believers a powerful weapon, that at the mention of the name of Jesus, every knee must bow and all tongues must confess that Jesus is the Lord.

As God’s genuine son or daughter, who is washed in the efficacious blood of Jesus, you need to cash in on this special privilege. It would be foolish to rely on soothsayers and necromancers, among others, for protection, prosperity, childbearing, promotion, provision and others, making the heathen to ask, “where is your God?”

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Lip service to repentance will endanger the soul.

 

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Aug 13

Answerable Prayer

Eli Stanley Jones, a 20th-century missionary and theologian, once said: “Prayer is surrender to the will of God and cooperation with that will. If I throw out a hook from a boat and catch hold of the shore and pull, do I pull the shore to me, or do I pull myself to the shore? Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but the aligning of my will to the will of God.”

 

In PSALM 74:1-23, the psalmist complained about the desolations of the temple, which would not have been possible if God had intervened on behalf of His people. The psalmist prayed to God to act for them as He had done for their fathers, whom, by His miraculous power, He saved.

He begged God to arise and vindicate His honor against His enemies, and the enemies of His people. But the psalmist’s prayer suggested that God’s people, when they are in sore afflictions, are apt to have misgivings about God, as if He did cast off His people without a cause.

O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?” (Psalm 74:1).

The psalmist never mentioned any national or personal sin, which they needed to repent of, nor did he justify the Lord’s righteous dealing in their punishment. There was no supplication for pardon and forgiveness. This showed that some people who are under divine chastisement, might humbly protest against God about their cause.

The Israelites were sorry because their enemies destroyed the temple. But they were not sorry that they had disobeyed God.

 

As it was then, so it is today. Many in affliction might be in such condition because of their misdeeds. Instead of looking inwards to discover their sin, they look outwards, sometimes holding God responsible for their plight. Are you in such a situation? Be contrite and meek to return to the Lord in penitence and repentance instead of making silly excuses.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: True prayer is measured by weight, not by length.

 

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Aug 12

Our Supreme Court

“And differing judgments serve but to declare that truth lies somewhere, if we knew but where.” So wrote William Cowper, the British poet, in his poem, “Hope”.

Yes, differing judgments will always exist among men because even the best of brains suffers partial understanding. And most of men’s opinions are stained with ignorance and limitations.

How then can mortal man search out the whole truth in every sphere? This prerogative belongs to the omniscient God, Who also has revealed His mind to us in His word.

 

God’s word is perfect and far superior to the views of our best thinkers. Lovers of truth, like David, cannot but fall in love with this eternal word. “Therefore, I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold”, was his remark. It was by the guidance of this word that David got a right standing with God.

He was certainly buoyed by his righteousness to confidently enter “boldly unto the throne of grace” and sought to obtain mercy and grace in time of need. He sought divine intervention against the evils of wicked men who flagrantly flouted God’s word.

 

That David was truly committed to the word of God is evident in his declaration: “Therefore, I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way”(psalm 119 :128). To him, God’s word, like the Supreme Court of a nation, has the final ruling on every matter. He held the whole word to be inerrant and did not pick and choose from it nor make it a subject for debate.

David’s attitude here is instructive for every Christian believer.  We have to love God and His word more than earthly treasures.  This will translate to living a saintly life in accordance with God’s righteous standard.

In our decisions – in every area of life – God’s word should be our reference point as well as the highest and final court in every argument.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: If God said it – it doesn’t matter who does not believe – it is right!

 

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Aug 11

Watch Over That White Linen

It is a common saying among atribal people of the West African coast that “he that is arrayed in a white apparel should be careful to avoid walking in miry, dusty roads lest he has mud splashed upon him and his clothe be stained, and spoils his parade.” A little stain of sin could spoil and distort the testimony of good living established over many years.

 

ECCLESIASTES 10:1-7 emphasizes how sin can destroy the testimony of the righteous. “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour” (Ecclesiastes 10:1). It is wisdom on the part of the believer to remain faithful and steadfast in his relationship with God. Backsliding brings reproach, shame and dishonor.

 

The believer has a great deal of reputation to lose. Therefore, those who follow the Lord need to walk carefully to abstain from all appearances of evil so that their testimonies will remain credible and untarnished.

The sinner has no testimony which he may lose. Those in dark clothing are not so much liable to apparent stains and spots like those in white, sparkling clothing. The deeper we go in our relationship with God, the greater harm is done to our testimony and conscience by any act of sin or disposition to it. A little sin may cast so great a dark shadow over a previously great and upright living.

 

As we go out today, we must depend upon Him to help us attain unto the high moral standard which He has set for us in His word. We must be free from lust and never yield ourselves to evil. We must avoid situations that could lead to compromise.

In the midst of extreme apathy to the gospel message and immorality that pervades our society today, we must still do our best to preach to every creature. “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spoiled by the flesh (Jude 23).

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Take heed to your life and Christian profession. 

 

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Aug 10

Who Can Use God?

Down through the ages, people have tried to use God rather than be used by Him. From the politician that invokes God’s name in order to amass votes, to the pauper that feigns godliness so as to extort money from people, humans have imagined that they can use God to their personal advantage.

 

See 1 KINGS 14:1-20

Jeroboam thought he could use God but was taught the invariable lesson that “God is not mocked.” When God decided to yank off a greater part of Israel’s kingdom from the house of David because of Solomon’s sin, Jeroboam was favored by God to rule over ten tribes.

Sadly, he failed God by setting up worship images in Israel to keep his subjects from going to Jerusalem for worship, thus leading the people to idolatry and apostasy. When his son, Abijah, got sick, he thought of patronizing Ahijah, the Shiloh-based prophet that God used to anoint him king. He sent his wife to enquire if the child was going to survive the sickness.

 

“And the LORD said unto Ahijah, Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son; for he is sick: thus and thus shalt thou say unto her: for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself to be another woman” (1 Kings 14:5).

Jeroboam disguised his wife to avoid being identified by the prophet – more so the prophet’s eyes had dimmed by age. But can anyone hide something from the omniscient God?

As soon as she arrived at Ahijah’s home, having been briefed by God, he not only identified her, but pronounced to her judgment concerning the impending terrible ruin of the house of Jeroboam. She was also assured that their sick son would die. Ahijah was faithful. He cared not for her presence or presents.

God is too mighty to be used by ordinary worm like man. He deserves our utmost worship. He “is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

Only spiritual rebirth through repentance and faith in Christ qualifies us to properly relate with God and be used of Him.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Every deception targeted at God ends up woefully as self-deception.

 

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Aug 09

Valiant Soldiers Of Christ

Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) once said: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they lie in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” A brave spirit like this, if found in an army, could be the determinant for victory, if God is in it.

This, then, was the privilege of David as God prepared him to be king over all Israel.

Great men came to David and serve with him to make his kingdom strong. The list is long but they are all referred to as valiant men according to; Also the valiant men of the armies were, Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem” (1 Chronicles 11:26).

 

They were tough and no seekers of pleasure. They preferred rejection, danger and every hardship of life than living under the oppressive hands of King Saul. They fought alongside David until he was made king and the kingdom was established under him.

True Christians are not only followers but also soldiers of Christ. We are to be brave and steadfast in our faith and service to the Lord. A steadfast Christian soldier is never a deserter. He endures hardness and is never a lover of the world or the attraction it holds. He loves the Lord.

 

We cannot compare with valiant men of our text whose names are in the Book of Life and are now gone to their rewards if we are often cast down in despair and gloom at the slightest experience of pain and difficulty in life.

 

As David’s great men individually distinguished themselves in battle, and were qualified to be included in the list of great men by their deeds of bravery, so must we fight the good fight of faith and overcome sin, self and Satan.

We must manfully fight on to rescue perishing souls in spite of persecution and intimidation that will become common in these last days.

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: There is a divine roll call, strive to enter in.

 

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Aug 07

Nearing The Danger Zone

Every believer ought to use this true story to conduct a spiritual stocktaking. With the prevailing harvest of iniquities, there is the possibility that the careless and unfocussed believer might have pitched his tent near a Sodom. In that case, it is better to do a rethink and a clear return to God before the looming apocalypse. Remember, the enemy is always at the corner.

 

From the outset of the divine call on Abram, God had required him to get out of his country and from his kindred (Genesis 12:1). Abram responded in faith to God’s call and took Lot, his brother’s son, along.

Abram and Lot returned from their sojourn in Egypt, so greatly prospered that the land could not bear their cattle. In the event, strife ensued among their herdsmen (verses 6,7). Abram pleaded peaceably with Lot. In brotherly love and preferring Lot to himself, he asked Lot to choose the part of the land that suited him, after which he would be content with the leftover.

 

Attracted by what must have been a beautiful scenery of lush green vegetable and rich pasture, Lot chose the plain of Jordan which was well-watered (verse 10). Little did he know, that he would be pitching his tent near the danger zone.

“…And Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom” (Genesis 13:12).

Already in the mind of God, that land was scheduled for utter destruction because of the sin and wickedness of the inhabitants (verses 12,13); “For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds” (2 Peter 2:8).

Temptation is rife everywhere, lurking around even in the most unexpected places.

The danger zone is clearly marked by spiritual “live-wires”, but everyone needs the heavenly vision to identify it. We must resolve today to properly focus on Christ, and respond always, not to the allurement of the flesh and its dire consequences, but to the prompting of the Spirit and its eminent inheritances.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: The price of everlasting joy is unwavering vigilance.

 

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Aug 06

A Worthy Investment

Hearing the Savior’s command to sell all and give to the poor, Peter, on behalf of the other disciples, tells Christ that they had left all to follow Him. It was the best bargain they could ever make in life. By leaving all immediately, and following Christ, they showed that they were willing to follow Him wherever He led them.

 

“Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee” (Mark 10:28).

A man wedded to the world will renounce Christ rather than the world. Little did the disciples know what awaited them when they “left all” to follow Jesus of Nazareth.

As believers, we cannot fully comprehend the blessings that await us until we meet with the Saviour face-to-face. Having been called out of the world, the Lord expects that we cheerfully and faithfully follow Him, willing to commit everything into His hand.

 

Christ gracious answer to Peter’s question reveals that every true child of God will surely receive reward for his obedience, consecration and commitment to the Lord. The rewards of faithful service are both temporal and eternal. While still on earth, the believer enjoys pardon for sin, divine favor, divine provision, protection, peace of mind, support in trials and persecution, among others. Above all, he will spend eternity with Christ in heaven.

 

You can make the best investment today in things that serve Kingdom purposes.

Therefore, invest your energy, time, talent, resources, wealth, etc., to promote the cause of the gospel. Every effort we make to bring sinners to Christ, help the needy and support the church will never go unrewarded, both now and in eternity.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: No one ever regrets his investment in God’s service.

 

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Aug 05

The Great Provider

The story of Hagar and her son is most instructive and evergreen. Thinking that every hope was lost, after she was sent away from Abraham’s house with her son, she wondered aimlessly in the wilderness of Beersheba expecting to die of thirst.

But the Lord saw her distress and heard the cry of the child; “And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink” (Genesis 21:19). God provides many things seemingly out of nothing.

 

In NUMBERS 11:16-23, Moses had by this time, seen much of God’s power. The miracles in Egypt were spectacularly beyond human understanding. Now freed from Egyptian bondage, they were worried about flesh to eat. They failed to learn from the consequences of their earlier complaints (verse 1). Even Moses forgot God’s power and all the miracles in a moment of frustration and undue pressure.

“And Moses said, The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen… Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them?” (Numbers 11:21,22).

 

Many people doubt God when they are faced with severe challenges. They forget victories already won through divine intervention, their level of spiritual maturity notwithstanding. Our victory is assured if only we can completely depend on God at all times. We must avoid the temptation of leaning on our understanding.

God knows all our trials and needs. He lessened the burden of leadership on Moses through the assistance of seventy elders. He knows the burdens you are called to bear in His vineyard and will support you all the way. “Lo, I am with you alway,” He says.

 

Are the challenges of life and ministry becoming heavier than you had hoped? Don’t give up. He who has called you is well able to provide all your needs as you faithfully serve Him. Soon, it will be over and we all will enter into His rest.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: The night is darkest when the dawn is near.

 

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