Jul 27

Discerning God’s Voice

Paul Fritz, Professor of Missions at the Trinity College of Florida, while delivering a message entitled, ‘Knowing God’s will,’ quoted an unknown author and said: “When God bolts the door, don’t try to get in through the window.”

 

1 SAMUEL 3:1-10 indicates the first time that God spoke to Samuel. He always slept in the house of the Lord, which had the Ark of the Covenant. He ensured that the lamp which was usually put out every evening, would not go out until the morning. He was diligent in his service to God, helping Eli the priest.

 

The Lord had not spoken to Samuel before in a clear voice until this time.

In those days, it was gathered that the Lord hardly ever spoke directly to people and did not appear to them in dreams very often either. Some Bible scholars noted that in the days of Moses and Joshua, the Lord often spoke to the leaders of the Israelites. But when the people went into sin, worshipping foreign gods, God could not speak to them in clear voice anymore.

Yet, one night, He called Samuel, as Eli was asleep in his room. When he heard the Lord’s voice, he thought it was Eli’s and he ran to him. Eli told the boy that he was not the one calling him. This happened thrice before Eli realized it could be God calling Samuel. He therefore taught the boy the proper way to reply the Lord.

“Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place” (1 Samuel 3:9).

 

Our text, which is quite significant, indicates that God can speak to His children through a clear audible voice. But when there is sin, He can be completely silent.

God stopped speaking to the Israelites when sin came in. This in effect, means that sin can strain our relationship with God. He was able to speak to Samuel because the boy’s way pleased Him. So, if our ways please Him, God will surely draw us closer to Himself. The choice is entirely ours.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God only honours those who honour and reverence Him.

 

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Spread The Word
Jul 26

The Guide We Need

In today’s world, many people parade themselves as role models. Among those who call themselves role models are divorcees, polygamists, men and women who cannot organize their homes.

The definition of ‘role model’ appears misconceived nowadays that many of those who make the list are bereft of morals. The idea of role models in our society is that a man/woman can sing, dance or act in movies etc. What do the world celebrate other than vain things?

But the word of God is a sure guide; it ever remains the same no matter the changes in values and in society. The word of God does not change to accommodate the excesses of a highly placed person in society. And those who desire to walk in the old path must see a dependable ally in the law of God.

 

From the passage before us today Psalm 119:105-112, we discover that to walk safely in the thick forest at night, we need a light to avoid stumbling over the roots or falling into holes.

In this life, we walk through a dark forest of evil. But the Bible can be our light to show us the way ahead so we won’t stumble as we walk. It reveals the entangling roots of false values and philosophies.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Three simple habits – reading the scriptures, spending time in prayers and sharing with others – are basic to the Christian life. Through the scriptures, Life speaks to life. And because God has inspired the writing of His word, when we read it, God speaks to us through the Word.

 

Yet, reading the word of God is not enough; it is more important to obey the word of God because it is in doing that that we grow. The prayer we must always offer is for God to give us the mind to understand His word, the heart to believe and the willingness to obey.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: It is impossible to stumble while following the law.

 

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Jul 24

Solemn Warning

Shortly before the Roman General, Titus, sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple, the Jews who had turned from Judaism to Christianity were undergoing intense pressure and persecution. They were denied their normal rights as citizens, professionals or artisans.

In some cases, they were beaten and dispossessed of their property. This made them wonder if they had not made a grievous mistake in accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour.

When this suffering hit them in the early days of their conversion, they remained faithful. But now, doubts and loss of faith began to creep in as the public ridicule, torments and affliction intensified. These Hebrew Christians began to question if the old order was not better after all.

But the inspired writer of the book of Hebrews insists that Christianity is superior to Judaism. He tells the Hebrew Christians that in every way, Jesus Christ is better and greater than angels, Moses and the Old Testament priests.

 

HEBREWS 10:19-28 comforts and reassures believers that whatsoever they have lost here on earth as a result of their steadfast stand for Christ, they would get in return for more precious assets in heaven when the Lord would take them home to enjoy indescribable joy forever.

“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)” (Hebrews 10:23).

As the day of the Lord is fast approaching with increasing signs, we must constantly identify with God’s children and “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Stick to Christ in unwavering faith to escape eternal crisis.

 

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Jul 23

As It Was Then…

The display of depravity and outright rebellion against God in Jerusalem as depicted in Isaiah 3:1-12 is not different from what we are experiencing in our time today. We have injustice, oppression, violence, disrespect to parents, immorality, and total rejection of God’s ways and laws.

 

We are reliving the days of Sodom and Gomorrah all over again. The marriage bed is not only being defiled, divorce is also becoming the rule rather than the exception.

Worse still, “women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And …men leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one towards another, men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet” (Romans 1:26,27).

 

In the days of Isaiah, society was disintegrating as the people suffered because they had rejected God and instituted their own rules of engagement which did not reckon with the prescription handed to them by the prophet of God.

 

Like lost sheep with an uncaring shepherd, all the people and their leaders headed for the same direction that led to perdition. God was not happy with them and He took “Away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and staff, the whole stay of bread and the whole stay of water.” Judgment came in the form of famine and loss of good leadership.

But for those who remained faithful to God in the midst of all this backsliding and immoral behavior, the Lord says “it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings” (Isaiah 3:10).

To the wicked however, God says there will be judgment (Isaiah 3:11). This can only be averted if the sinner repents of his ways and accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Righteousness empowers you to enjoy divine blessings

 

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Jul 22

In Everything…..

Some Christians ignorantly think that there is a limit to what the word of God demands over their lives. While it is okay for the word of God to regulate how they conduct their spiritual lives, they feel that it is none of God’s business to be concerned with the way they choose to conduct their day-to day physical lives.

What has God got to do with what they put on, what they eat, where they go, who they associate with, etc.?

They sometimes wonder aloud. In their misunderstanding of what they call Christian liberty and grace, they allow whatever they like in their lives. Of course, such people are never known to be able to live victorious lives.

 

True Christians are totally under the control of God’s word. God’s word regulates every aspect of their lives.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth” (Leviticus 11:1,2).

Our reading today carefully illustrates this. The Lord did not only dictate how the children of Israel were to conduct their worship and spiritual lives, He also spelt out how they are to go about their eating habit.

He specifically commanded them on the kind of animals and seafood they can eat and those they must avoid. They were not expected to be like the idolatrous nations around them who did not discriminate between clean and unclean animals. Since the children of Israel belonged to Him and He had paid so much to redeem them, He wanted them to be different and unique. He wanted them to preserve their distinctiveness, maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid questionable associations.

The Lord does not want us to take His grace as a license for careless living.

We are not at liberty to dress anyhow or conduct ourselves in whichever way we like. We must ensure that our lifestyle and actions do not bring offence to the gospel of Christ. Therefore, everything we do should be to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Obedience to God’s whole word makes our lives unique.

 

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Jul 21

Stand On The Rock Of Ages

The dynamics of erecting an enduring structure in ancient times required a start with what builders called an alignment stone for the foundation. The stone lay at an extreme corner to set the parameters for a strong base. This angle of the cornerstone was very precise, determining all of the subsequent lines and other angles of the building.

It became a standard for the bearing of the beams and walls in the construction of the whole work. In other words, the strength and durability of the building derived from the alignment stone known in modern times as the cornerstone.

That exactly is what God is teaching believers in today’s study: Jesus Christ is the First and Foremost component of the undergirding structure upon which everything else in the Church is aligned.

 

Whatever we teach in the church must line up with the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must have concern for the eternal welfare of a spiritually lost world, as well as for the development of God’s people to full and perfect growth.

 

“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20).

Jesus is the Cornerstone of the foundation of the Church, and those who would build upon that foundation must be diligent to keep their eyes on Him. That is the way to get it right in the Christian race, since “without me (Jesus Christ) ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).

This is the reason why the leaders of the early Church jealously guarded against distraction from the teaching of the sound word of God when there was discontent over food administration to the Gentile widows (Acts 6:1-7).

Studying and abiding faithfully with the doctrine of Jesus Christ should form the center-piece of all activities in the church. All else should be secondary; the same way every element of a building is secondary and dependent on the cornerstone of the structure. Only that way can the believer abide.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Stand on the Rock of Ages, and you won’t be rocked by the crisis of ages.

 

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Jul 20

Don’t Doubt The Most High God!

The man who appeared to Daniel after his 21 days of fasting and praying told him that a king in the north would be more powerful than that of the south. But later, they would enter into a peace treaty, which would make the southern king to give him his daughter to marry. The lady would be exalted but she would later lose her position.

The woman, with her husband and their children, would be killed. But her brother, who would eventually emerge as the king of the southern kingdom would stage a revenge. He would capture some cities in the northern kingdom and carry their idols and valuable things to Egypt. The king of the north would launch unsuccessful attack on the south. Also, his sons would attack the southern kingdom again and fail.

 

God’s word will always stand.

“But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail” (Daniel 11:7).

This prophecy was fulfilled about 350 years later when Philadelphus, the king of Egypt, from the south and king of Syria, from the north, engaged themselves in a serious war. When they settled, Philadelphus gave his daughter, Bernice, to Theos, the king of Syria, as wife. The king of Syria divorced his wife, Laodicea, and married Bernice. Somebody eventually murdered her with her husband and children.

When her brother, Euergetes, heard of her death, he launched an attack against Syria and defeated Callinicus, who later became the king.

Soter, who succeeded Callinicus attacked Philopator, the new king of Egypt, and lost the war. The sons of the king of Syria, after gathering a large army, went again to attack Egypt, but they were defeated. The king of Egypt, consequent upon this feat, became very proud.

 

The prophecy was fulfilled to the letter and this gave credence to what Christ said that “till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18).

Do you still doubt the Second Coming of Jesus, the rapture and Great Tribulation? Do you still doubt that all sinners will go to hell? Repent before it becomes too late.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven”.

 

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Jul 19

How Much Do You God?

In an age of distressing crises and sundry pressures of life, many people are often hesitant in relating with strangers. Some even adopt the extreme position of showing suspicion towards those they do not know.

In fact, conventional wisdom tells us that the more aware and acquainted you are with a person, the more likely you are able to relate well to him. It follows then that spiritually speaking, the reason many people do not have a flourishing relationship with God is because they really do not know Him.

 

Bible writers were different. They knew only little about God, of course, for no one can ever successfully unravel all there is about the Almighty. Yet, they spoke about Him with so much reverence and awe.

“The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted” (Psalm 47:9).

The Psalmist in PSALM 47:1-9 best illustrates this. In obvious wonderment, he urged all people to clap their hands, shout with the voice of triumph in praise and worship of the almighty God, the great King over all the earth.

He points out that God has power to subdue nations and peoples under Him;

  • He desires to be praised, honored and worshipped.
  • He reigns and rules in holiness over both good and bad people.
  • He has power over all. No wonder the people who know Him, “even the people of the God of Abraham” unite in extolling His greatness and exalting His Name.

 

God, indeed, is so awesome; we can never capture all His essence in words. But this must not stop us from describing Him in glowing terms.

We should excitedly tell others about Him, especially what He has done for us, and what we know personally about this “God of Abraham”. And like Abraham, what we know about Him should make us obey Him without reservation.

This way, we can become, not just God’s children but His friends and spiritual inheritors of all the promises that He made to Abraham.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: If you know God more, you’ll trust Him more.

 

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Jul 18

Killing For Position

Stella Nickell, a Washington state woman, a few years ago, was convicted for poisoning her husband, Bruce, 52, with cyanide-filled extra-strength Excedrin capsules because she wanted to collect $176,000 in life insurance.

She was accused of tampering with over-the-counter pain pills by planting cyanide in them, just to kill her husband. Her daughter, Cynthia Hamilton, who heard Nickell talking about killing her husband, invited the police. Investigation revealed, through fingerprints, that she had consulted four books about cyanide in her local library. Two of them she read, shortly before her husband’s death.

 

Nickell’s issue was one out of many, who killed because of greed.

Several years after the death of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who was king of Israel, many successive leaders took to evil to register their relevance in the scheme of things.

“For Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, and came to Samaria, and smote Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria, and slew him, and reigned in his stead” (2 Kings 15:14).

In our today’s text, Menahem, the son of Gadi, who ruled Israel for ten years in Samaria, did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam. Pekahiah also followed the footsteps of his father, Menahem, and the vicious circle continued.

 

Curiously today, the situation is getting worse. In offices, there are those who have employed diabolical means to eliminate the lives of their colleagues, just because of position. Others use gossip and backbiting to curry favor and run down their colleagues.

Regrettably, this desperate quest for position has crept into the church. Some Christians now think that their position will determine their place in heaven, failing to realize that without peace with everybody and holiness, they cannot see God.

God has called us to good works so that our activities here will endure to the good of humanity and in furtherance of the gospel of repentance from sin and dead works.

No matter where we find ourselves, we must be a salt; we must be the light and we must leave a good footprint in the sand of time.

 

Thought for the day: A glorious lifestyle is a treasure for posterity.

 

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Jul 17

At The Lord’s Table

at-the-lords-table

It is often the lot of man to turn God’s sacred practices to fads and fashion. Yet, God’s standards remain unalterable. The wise keeps to it and rejoices.

 

The Lord’s Supper is a practical demonstration of the gospel, a vivid illustration of the death of Christ, for the sin of mankind. Through it, believers are reminded of the death of the Savior and of the imminence and hope of His return.

 

The celebration of the Lord’s Supper in the early Church also incorporated a love feast. This was a form of sharing and caring which preceded the actual celebration and in which all believers freely participated.

Sadly, the Corinthian Church soon lost this admirable tradition. It was replaced by wanton discrimination between the rich and the poor. Paul promptly rebuked this anomaly and again, presented to the Church the significance and process of conducting the Lord’s Supper, as given by the Lord.

“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27).

The bread and wine (emblems used at the Supper) are symbolic representations of the Body and Blood of the Savior. It took the sacrifice on the cross to make our new relationship anchored not on the law, but on the amazing grace of God’s love.

 

Partaking in the Lord’s Supper shows that we are remembering Christ’s sacrifice for us and renewing our pledge of service to Him. Taking the ordinance unworthily portrays ignorance of the implications of Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary.

 

How then do we partake in the Lord’s Supper?

  • First, we do so prayerfully and thoughtfully, mindful of Christ’s death and sacrifice for our sins.
  • Secondly, we partake, not presumptuously, but with honor and due reverence to God.
  • Thirdly we yield ourselves to critical self-examination, so that no sinful attitude is found in us.
  • In addition, we partake with due deference to the body of Christ, celebrating it in an orderly, decent and co­operative manner.
  • And finally, we do so with humility and contrition of heart.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Christ in His flesh bore our sins and paid our ransom.

 

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