Sep 03

Prevailing Prayers

Dr. Wilbur Chapman recalled his experience when, as a young man, he went to become the pastor of a church in Philadelphia. After his first sermon, an old gentleman accosted him, “You’re pretty young to be pastor of this church. But you preach the gospel, and I’m going to help you. I’m going to pray for you that you may have the Holy Spirit’s power upon you.

Two others have covenanted to join me in prayers for you”. From the initial three that started the prayer, they became 10; the 10 became 20, 20 became 50 and the number further grew to 200. They all met before every service to pray that the Holy Spirit might come upon him.

God, in His mercy, answered the prayers and the church got 1,100 converts in three years. Chapman commented: “It was the work of the Holy Spirit in answer to prayer”.

 

In EXODUS 17:8-16, the Amalekites had made themselves enemies of the Israelites. When they attacked the Israelites at Rephidim, Moses ordered Joshua to go up against them. Joshua mobilized some men for the battle, while Moses took Aaron and Hur with him to the hilltop. As the battle was going on, anytime Moses’ hands dropped down, Israel would start losing in the battle, but when his hands went up, Israel would gain ground.

So, Aaron and Hur found a seat for Moses and supported his arms. With this assistance, Moses was able to keep his hands firm and sustained the battle against the Amalekites.

 

What is your disposition to the devil’s plot to make sports of brethren, members of your family or church? Do you look indifferent to their plight? The devil has afflicted some people with sicknesses, barrenness, joblessness and other challenges of life. Do you look away from their needs? Moses could not do that when the Amalekites attacked the Israelites.

Now we need to pray to God to give us the right spirit, burden and compassion to be our brother’s keeper.

 

Thought for the day: Share the throne-room of intercession with Christ for the good of fellow men.

Prayer: “But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun” (EXODUS 17:12).

 

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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 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 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 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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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 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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