Jul 16

Avoid Vainglory

Undue confidence in one’s intellectual, physical, material and financial acquisitions is a clear manifestation of the pride of life. Man is prone to boast of his achievements as if they were gotten by his power.

The human society is replete with vain and arrogant fellows who parade their so-called accomplishments contemptuously and want men to worship their exaggerated sense of self-worth.

 

“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches” (Jeremiah 9:23).

These vaunted portraits irritate God. In our text, God told Prophet Jeremiah all that He was going to do against Israel because of their sin. Obviously, there were those in their midst who bragged about their achievements in life. JEREMIAH 9:12-26. But God told Jeremiah that they should only glory in the fact that they understood and knew God experientially. But they did not.

The almighty God hates swelling words, especially when He knows that man is nothing without Him.

This is a wake-up call for every believer today that no matter what we may have acquired or our societal, spiritual, academic or financial attainment, we must be humble in heart and in deed. We must not make a boast of such things as if we were better than any other person. If we do, we are liable to punishment from God.

A pompous disposition irks God; His mercy is for those who recognize the source of their blessings and accord respect to the Giver of such blessings.

 

When Satan asked Jesus, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down…”, he had wanted Jesus to demonstrate physically that He is the Son of God. But Jesus knew it was not Satan’s opinion about Him that matter but the view that the almighty God held about Him.

A sincere believer must not engage in unethical or sinful behaviors to prove his worth. It is the net worth approval of God that counts.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Without God, earthly acquisition is chaff.

 

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Jul 15

Penitent heart

Charles H. Brent, an American clergyman, who served in the Philippines and western New York, once stated: “The happy sequence culminating in fellowship with God is penitence, pardon, and peace – the first we offer, the second we accept and the third we inherit.”

 

“Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried away” (Ezra 10:6).

The prophet, Ezra, as our text reveals, was a man with uncommon contrite spirit. When he heard of the transgression of his people who came back from exile, he became very sad. He felt they had not learnt their lesson.

God allowed them to go into captivity as a form of chastisement to enable them fully evaluate their shortcomings and repent of them in order to have good relationship with Him. Unfortunately, they continued in their old order of sin which attracted the wrath of God upon their lives.

Ezra moved away from the front of the house of God to Johanan’s chamber which was situated in the temple. Johanan was the son of Eliashib, the priest, and he was a man of note. While there, Ezra did not eat any food nor drank any water. He was absolutely sad because the people who returned after the exile were not loyal to God.

 

It takes a man with uncommon burden to achieve uncommon vision.

Today, many Christians have lost the vision to rebuild their lives, families and church to achieve God’s purpose. Some believers are no longer perturbed about the misconducts of their wives, husbands and children, let alone other brethren in the church.

They have lost the sense of burden to rescue sinners and backsliders from the claws of sins; they allow them to have comfort in sin.

God is counting on us to have the vision of Ezra and become the motivation through which His righteousness can be imparted into others.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: An honest heart seeks to please God in all things.

 

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Jul 13

A Sad End

The history of the Church is full of stories of men and women whom God picked up from their lowly state and used greatly for the salvation of men only for them to turn around in the latter days of their lives and die in such a miserable state.

One of such was a known American who had such a powerful and healing ministry. When he died at the age 59, he was found to have been an alcoholic. The sad end of notable men of God calls today’s Christians to a more careful and sober walk.

 

“So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it” (1 Chronicles 10:13).

Our text 1 Chronicles 10:1-14 presents us with the story of the death of Saul and his sons. Saul had had a wonderful start. When he was picked to be the first king of Israel, he displayed a great sense of humility and obedience to God. But as his reign became strong and powerful, he derailed to a life of selfwill, stubbornness and disobedience to God’s word.

He went to the point of practicing necromancy that is, seeking divination from spirits of the dead. Unfortunately for him, it was in this sad state that he died.

 

While success in life and ministry is something very desirable, it can become the source of one’s eternal undoing if it is not properly managed. Many people become so blinded and obsessed with success that they forget their humble beginning and early vows and consecration. Others become so arrogant, proud, self-willed and incorrigible.

There are those that allow their success to lead them to wrong companies and associations which result in many compromises and unthinkable sinful practices.

And there are those who in the bid to sustain their success, look away from God to indulge in satanic and occult practices.

 

To properly manage our success, we must constantly keep the word of God before us and see that it guides and directs all our actions and decisions. We must also maintain a humble disposition that will help us to seek and receive counsels from those who can help us.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: It is not enough to begin well; we must also end well.

 

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Jul 08

Bribe The Enemy?

Having encouraged idolatry among his subjects and put down Zechariah the son of the High Priest, Joash appeared to have squandered whatever remained of the promising beginning he had when he first ascended the throne of his father David.

“And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things … and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and in the king’s house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem” (2 Kings 12:18).

With the hedge of protection thus removed, the Syrians came in to take the city. He then decided to bribe them by taking down all the hallowed things from the Temple and the king’s house and sending them to the king of Syria.

But the peace proved to be short lived for the Syrians returned and Joash, having no more treasures, was obliged to risk a battle, which he lost along with the principal part of his nobility. Judah was totally ruined and Joash himself slain in his bed by his servants (2 Chronicles 24:17-27).

Let us review the character of Joash, and consider what we may learn from it.

When we see what a sad conclusion there was to so promising a beginning, it ought to make us look into our spiritual state. Backsliding has always brought evil and sad consequences and it robs the saints of their standing with God along with their authority in prayer.

 

Joash, knowing that he was a spent shell, had to settle for paying instead of praying, and bribing instead of binding. He dearly bought a peace which was of short duration, for the next year Hazael returned.

The devil will not stop his onslaught though you give him a thousand talents of gold. If he suspends his activities now, he will surely return tomorrow to hunt for your soul.

As this week progresses, let us trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). The settlement option may work for the moment, but it will only postpone but not proscribe the evil day.

You do not need the services of modern day Hazaels; the arm of flesh will fail you. Only God can effectively defend us and all that are ours.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Never negotiate with Satan.

 

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Jul 06

Beware Of The Pharisees And Sadducees

Of all vices, hypocrisy is the most subtle – and therefore, most damning.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ was armed with this truth when He warned His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod. The Pharisees constituted themselves into archenemies of Christ.

Their grouse stemmed essentially from the fact that Christ authoritatively reproved them for their contradictions. They could not bear Christ’s fame that was rising exponentially. Therefore, they tried by all means to get rid of Him.

“And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod” (Mark 8:15).

Here, they came tempting Christ by requesting a sign from Him. He declined and sighed at the extent of their insincerity and wickedness. His numerous signs could not change them. He left them and got over to the east shore. There He warned His disciples against the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod.

 

This has nothing to do with bread as the disciples thought, but the corrupting doctrines and influence of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

  • The Pharisees were noted for hypocrisy (outward righteousness), pride and religious showiness.
  • They equated the tradition of men and rituals with God’s word and were legalistic.
  • The Sadducees, represented here by Herod, were promoters of free thinking, skepticism, worldly-mindedness and political exploitation.

The Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ days have since expired. But the present age is full of modern Pharisees and Sadducees of whose “leaven” we must beware. They wield powerful influence in society, even in religious circles but their professed worship of God lacks spirituality, sincerity, sobriety and simplicity. Instead, they are selfish, sinful, showy and stubborn.

If you are Christ’s, you will have nothing to do with such except to grieve over their state.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: BEWARE means: Be Ever Watchful Against Religious Error-mongers.

 

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Jul 05

Child Training

The burden and passion for child training and development in the heart of Manoah, Samson’s father, is what is deficient in the world today. And like a sore thumb, the consequences are evident.

 

“And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?” (Judges 13:12).

In Manoah’s absence, an angel had prophesied about the conception and birth of Samson to his wife. When his wife related the encounter to him, he was so concerned as to go to the Lord in prayers to ask for a confirmation of the prophecy.

This act set Manoah apart as a spiritually-minded man who understood the value of prayers in resolving controversies and mysteries. It also showed his concern for the welfare of his wife and that of the baby yet to be conceived.

If all the fathers emulate Manoah in terms of prayer and care, marriage and family life will indeed be heaven on earth.

The angel reiterated his earlier instructions to the wife, that is, her diet should be restricted to that of the Nazarites, as a Nazarite from the womb was to be born of her.

 

Mothers also have crucial roles in the upbringing of their children, as their work start at the conception of the baby in the womb. The health of a baby depends so much on the diet and lifestyle of the mother. A gluttonous mother will give birth to an obese child whose future could be ruined by excess sugar levels. A child could develop cancer from the womb of a mother who is a smoker and drunkard.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

The world is filled with such delinquent acts as thuggery, cultism, prostitution, armed robbery, assassination, kidnapping, examination malpractices, terrorism and such like because the world is in short supply of fathers like Manoah.

The world needs godly parents who would be models to those permissive parents in the world.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God knows how best to raise your children. Seek His wisdom.

 

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Jul 03

What Displeases God?

We often erroneously think that God only frowns at those things we consider to be great sins, like murder, adultery, theft, among others. These are indeed serious offences before the Lord. But just as He frowns at them, so He does towards our everyday habits, like murmuring and complaining.

 

The Israelites came to this realization the hard way. While journeying through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, they began to complain about everything from the hardship in the course of the journey to their diet. God heard their murmuring and it displeased Him greatly.

“And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp” (Numbers 11:1).

Their rebellious conduct so made Him angry that His judgment descended on the Israelites. He set fire on the Israelites that were at the rear of the camp.

In horror at the instant and excruciating death that was sweeping through their camp, the Israelites pleaded with Moses to intervene. He did, as he prayed to the Lord for mercy. But no sooner did this end than the Israelites and those admirers that fled Egypt with them started complaining again about the manna which God has given them for food.

Suddenly, this heavenly food became unattractive when compared to their diets in Egypt. Instead, they wanted fish, cucumber, melon, leek, garlic which were their staples in Egypt. They spurned the food from heaven in favor of that cultivated by man!

They were not bothered that their complaining displeased God. And a new round of judgment lurked around the corner for them.

 

God does not tolerate complaints. It offends Him so much because your complaints show you no longer trust Him. More than that, it is a mark of rebellion and expresses doubt about the ability of God to fulfill His promises.

Rather than complain when you face hard times, you should call on the Lord for mercy.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Those who make light of God’s beneficence, incur His wrath.

 

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Jul 02

Christ Supplies All Needs

A global increase in population, especially in developing nations with rising prices of goods, is a serious threat to survival. Severe drought in numerous nations of Africa has made many families to go hungry or at least compromised their diets. In the midst of hunger and scarcity, God has always provided for those who trust in His ability to change difficult situations and provide their needs.

 

“So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets” (Mark 8:8).

MARK 8:5-9 focuses on the compassionate nature of Christ to always find enduring solution to the plight of those who come to Him. The preceding chapter captures different categories of people with diverse ailments and challenges who were healed and delivered.

They were astonished beyond measure, “saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak” (Mark 7:37). Christ provided food for the hungry and fainting people, to support them and to sustain the spiritual blessings they had received.

Sometimes, we ignore the physical needs of others in pursuit of the spiritual alone. Yet, the two are necessary. Although the multitude did not complain or tell Jesus of their hunger, He nevertheless, recognized the need and supplied food. Sometimes, we are too slow to recognize people’s needs, and even when we do, nothing is done about it.

 

Are there hungry people in your local church? You may not be able to heal the sick but you can provide something for somebody in your local assembly. Identify a needy person today, and allow the compassion of God to move you to meet their needs and lighten their burden. On that score, you will be a true follower of Christ.

 

God cares for every minute detail of our lives. He is not too busy with important matters alone; He is also interested in every minor or major areas of our lives.

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you“ (1 Peter 5:17).

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Christ will supply all your needs, if you trust Him.

 

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Jul 01

Grace, Not A license To Sin

As Christians, we do rejoice that we are not under the dispensation of the laws of the Old Testament with so many of its “dos” and “don’ts”. We relish so much the grace of God that does not condition our salvation on the works of our hands and the sacrifices we have to bring but on Christ’s final and eternal sacrifice.

However, there is a point in which many Christians err in their understanding of the grace of God in relation to the moral obligations commanded in the Old Testament. They misinterpret the grace of God to mean having unrestrained liberty to do whatever they wish.

 

Some declare that Christ’s sacrifice has taken care of the sins they ever committed or would ever commit. They brand those who seek to live straight and keep the moral laws as being unduly legalistic, fanatical and under bondage. This is an abuse of grace!

“Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 18:30).

 

Grace does not take from us our moral obligations. The moral ordinances contained in the passage of our meditation this morning are as binding on us today as they were binding on all the people in the Old Testament dispensation. Disobedience to these laws carries the same weight of judgment today as it did in the Old Testament.

Neither law nor grace can protect from judgment in such cases. It is folly to place one’s hope in a grace that will excuse sin and allow one to do the very thing forbidden to be done under the terms of grace as revealed in God’s word.

Real grace brings along with it the divine enablement to obey God’s word and live right.

Keeping God’s word is revealed as the secret of blessing both in the Old and New Testaments. God’s words are to keep us from committing these abominable practices and thereby defiling ourselves. Living contrary to the word of God on the excuse of grace is an abuse of God’s grace and therefore subject to God’s judgement.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Grace does not take from us our moral duties.

 

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Jun 30

Israel’s Loss, Our Gain

It is no accident that the world’s eye is turned towards the Middle East. This part of the world is important, not only for its oil, but also because it is the stage on which the final act of God’s redemptive drama will be played out.

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25).

In the above passage, Paul summarized God’s dealings with Israel and with the Gentiles.

 

In order for God to facilitate bringing the gospel to the Gentiles, He had to deal with Israel corporately as enemies. They had rejected the message by His Son, and thus proved themselves His enemies even while they called Him their God. They actively opposed God by preventing people from hearing the gospel. Israel’s corporate stumbling, which is temporary, is called a mystery.

In the Scripture, a mystery is not a truth difficult to understand, but a truth previously unrevealed (and therefore unknown) which is now revealed and publicly proclaimed (Ephesians 3:9).

When Christ returns at the end of the Great Tribulation, a remnant who have turned from their transgression unto God during the Great Tribulation will be saved.

The salvation of anyone is a matter of God’s grace, not of their own merit and it will be the same for Israel. The salvation of anyone is because of God’s kindness and favor.

 

When God turned His gospel toward all the nations of the world, many believed it and received the righteousness provided by grace. It is important to point out however, that as God rescinded Israel’s relationship with Him as His chosen people, He will do the same to us if we do not “hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:14).

This nullifies and sets aside the doctrine of eternal security which states that once you are saved, you are forever saved. Be constant in Christ therefore, and continue to the end.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: It’s a new day, arise and embrace it.

 

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