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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Spread The Word
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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Aug 01

Most Dependable companion

Nowadays, it is almost becoming difficult to have a dependable companion. Cases abound of people tricking their friends to be kidnapped for ransom. Some give up even their blood relations for money. Security has broken down in many countries, particularly in developing nations, so much that life is almost meaningless. And justice is a mirage.

 

Newspapers and electronic media inundate our ears and eyes with horrible news on a daily basis. There’s no comforting news anywhere. But the Psalmist tells us that the law of the Lord offers that hope. Reading and depending on it reassures the believer of the ever-present God to offer the desired help.

 

The Psalmist here acknowledges the efficacy of the word of God and of all His counsels. He also acknowledges the unchangeableness of the almighty God with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning. “Thy word” by which the heavens were made, “is settled,” producing as evidence, the constancy of the course of nature.

The abiding faithfulness of the Creator from generations past till eternity lends more credence to the durability and reliability of His word. He said, “I am God, I change not” (Malachi 3:6). So also are His words. “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.”

 

This eternal quality is not subject in anyway to the elements of nature. The Psalmist ever found solace in the powerful influence of the word in his affliction, as it gave him delight in solitude and sorrow. The word of the Lord is a pleasant companion at all times.

The best evidence of our love for the word of God is never to forget it. David said: “I have sought thy precepts,” even in the midst of enemies and conspiracies against him. He confessed, “I will consider thy testimonies.”

 

The more of His word you have in you, the more His abiding presence is assured. We should, therefore, consciously endeavor to store more of His word in our hearts.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: A man is vulnerable when he forsakes God’s law.

 

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Jul 30

Two Of A Kind

A few years ago, a sad event played out in a family in one of the states in Nigeria. The family had seven sons and the eldest went into armed robbery. He was caught and killed. The second followed in the steps of his elder and ended the same way.

The others followed in the same business of armed robbery and all seven died either by execution or mob action. None was able to see the need to turn away from the evil despite the destructions that befell the front-runners.

The story of the two sisters, Aholah and Aholibah in Ezekiel 23:1–21, is similar.

Aholah played the harlot, forsook her God and went after the gods of the Assyrians and Egypt and she was destroyed (verse 10). This result did not stop Aholibah the younger from following in the same way. She became worse than her elder, Aholah.

 

Samaria and Jerusalem which are represented by Aholah and Aholibah went into sin, turned away from God and went after the Babylonians. They became terribly polluted. The consequence was that God became also alienated from them (verse 18).

“Then I saw that she was defiled, that they took both one way” (Ezekiel 23:13).

The scriptures admonish us to be separated from the world and not to love the world. Friendship with the world is enmity with God. When Aholah and Aholibah, God’s chosen ones joined themselves to the Egyptians and Assyrians, they lost fellowship with God.

The love of the world comes gradually and before we know it, if we are not watchful, we would have been swallowed by it. Everyone has the tendency to get drawn into the world. Worldliness is spiritual adultery.

Aholibah followed the steps of Aholah. Anyone can mislead the other. The truth, however, is that Aholibah had the same inordinate desire for the world like her sister. They were two of a kind.

 

When you turn from God, you become alienated from Him and judgment follows. The two sisters were destroyed. Those who walk the same way end up in the same place. Examine yourself, repent and return to your first love and escape God’s judgment.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Sin will shorten your lifespan.

 

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Jul 28

Don’t Forget The Mirror

Imagine yourself standing before your mirror in the morning dressed to go out. As you looked at the mirror, you observed your hair is not combed, your clothes not well adjusted and everything just looked rough and disheveled.

What would you do?

  • Would you ignore what you saw in the mirror and feel it is not important?
  • Would you think it would be okay to go out all the same and manage that shameful look?
  • Do you think you would be able to carry on with an air of confidence all through the day if you went out the way you looked without making every necessary adjustment?

Certainly not. When you take a look at the mirror each day, it is not just for the fun of it. It is to ensure you are looking good enough and well suited for the day.

 

That is the same thing we do each time we look at the word of God. The word of God is the divine mirror that tells us exactly how we look. It reveals our true spiritual state to us and tells what we need to add on or put away in order to have a perfect day.

“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was” (James 1:23,24).

In our text today JAMES 1:16-27, we are admonished to receive the word of God with meekness. As we read the Word, we are to adjust our lives by it. This is what it means to be doers of the word.

We cannot really tell our true spiritual state until we take a deep and sincere look at the Bible. While it is possible for some mirrors to give us a distorted impression of ourselves, the word of God shows us exactly how we look. There is no defect in God’s word.

 

More than showing us how we look, the word of God has the power to set our lives right if we allow it. This is why we must make it a daily practice to take a look at the mirror of the word of God before we set out each day. This gives us the confidence we need and guarantees our success in all that we do.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: You are not ready for the day without a look at God’s word.

 

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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 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 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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