Sep 01

Divine Help And Favor

Most men are tempted to run away in despair when clouds of trials and temptations come their way. If believers would look closely at every situation through the eyes of faith, they would also see God’s angels of mercy coming to their aid to help in times of dire need.

David ran away from civilization as it were, to the strongholds in the jungle to avoid the persecution of King Saul and his repressive army.

Ordinarily, men do not associate with failed escapades, but because David’s cause was just and righteous, God sent men to him to encourage and fortify him.

Although, King Saul was a Benjamite, hordes of Benjamites trooped out to team up with David in the forest, despite the entreaties and blackmail of the king against them. This is what divine favour is all about.

 

In moments of trials and challenges, we are tempted to think that God has deserted us and left us to our misery. It is not so, for “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”. When God notices a moral defect in us, which will adversely affect His grand purpose in our lives, He might permit what we term “problems” to purge out such defects.

 

David was called as God’s own General to subdue the Canaanites and return dominion to Israel. All the troubles he went through were to toughen and make him combat ready for the job. In the midst of the crisis, God fortified him with men and materials, so that he would not fight alone.

“And they helped David against the band of the rovers: for they were all mighty men of valour, and were captains in the host” (1 Chronicles 12:21).

Throughout the challenges David faced, God did not forsake him. In your hour of “trouble”, just believe God that innumerable angels and men are on standby to see you through those challenges.

Elisha’s servant’s “eyes” were opened to see that “they that be with us are more than they that be with them”. As it was then, so it is today for everyone who dwells “in the secret place of the “Most High”.

Thought for the day: He who walks with God, will not walk alone.

 

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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 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 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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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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