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 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 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 26

Bad Habits Kills

Often, what makes people to persist in their reckless and indulgent lifestyle is the comfort they derive from their companions in the act. They refuse to see that they are in a slippery path, and are headed to a certain disaster.

They would not listen to good reason nor accept wise counsel, choosing instead to draw mental strength from their notorious companions.

 

“And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards” (Isaiah 19:3).

The Egyptians were like that. They had all become accustomed to their evil habits and lifestyle. They were incorrigible because of their renowned wisdom and great achievements in the field of science. They, therefore, did not see any need for God in their affairs. Before God, they lived as outlaws.

This was an assault on the Almighty, and He decided to sweep through the land of Egypt with His judgment. The idols in which they trusted shall be moved at the presence of God, and their hardened hearts would at last melt at the sight of the vengeance of The Lord. Their destruction shall come from within, for God shall set them against each other.

Rather than give comfort, they would destroy themselves. At that time, the widely acknowledged spirit of Egypt shall fail them, as would all their idols, charmers, familiar spirits and wizards. They would be hit by natural disasters. They would find help from nowhere, and instead, they shall be governed by a cruel and fierce king, who would show them no mercy.

 

It is foolish to think that you can make do without God in this life. You may think that you have succeeded having escaped danger on numerous occasions or having benefited from God’s mercies.

But evil lurks in the corner for all those who would not listen to the counsel of God to turn from their wicked ways. The thing to do is to retrace your steps from your sinful habits and receive Jesus Christ today as your Savior and Lord.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

 

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Jun 23

The Peerless Physician

God bless our medical doctors the world over for their assistance to mankind. To the best of their knowledge and ability, they have handled the treatment of various diseases and have carried out the transplant of various organs to help those who have suffered due to the malfunctioning of their original organs.

However, opening the eyes of a totally blind man through surgery or any form of therapy is probably not in any medical record. That comes up under miracles – the exclusive preserve of God through His Son Jesus Christ.

 

In today’s discourse in MATTHEW 9:27-38, we see the compassion of Christ, the test of faith and the call for more laborers.

 

The two blind men were particularly fortunate to be alive during the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ for “Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind” (John 9:32). They had never seen Jesus physically but only heard of what mighty works He has been doing. Their faith was built up on what they heard.

 

“And Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord” (Matthew 9:28b).

 

Jesus wanted to know how much they really believed and He asked them, “believe ye that I am able to do this?” They answered in the affirmative. Their answer was not just based on what others had told them. They must have learnt from the Old Testament scriptures of the Messiah hence they cried-out “thou Son of David, have mercy on us.” Jesus touched their eyes with His compassionate hands and healed them instantly.

 

Today, the physically and spiritually blind can exercise faith in the finished work of Christ and receive deliverance.

 

Sin puts the sinner in the dark and he is actually unable to see the danger of hell that he faces. If he would hear the word of God, appreciate his nothingness and need of a Savior, and believe that Christ paid the price for his redemption, he will be saved.

 

Jesus still heals today as before. His compassion is still the same. All you need do is to repose full and unfettered trust in Him and sooner than later, He will demystify all fearsome challenges of life

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God has no impossibility.

 

 

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Jun 21

The Holy Call

Fishing, as an occupation does require much training, teaching, guidance, commitment, consecration and hard work. Soul winning is compared to fishing, except that the soul winner ‘catches’ souls into the kingdom of God.

“And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mathew 10:7).

In bible passage above, the time had come for our Lord Jesus Christ to try out the men He had chosen as disciples and pioneer soul winners. He thus sent them out, as it would appear that they had completed their probation.

The ministry of reconciling men to God is a great trust. Those chosen, therefore to carry out this task should only be those that are found fit.

The disciples had been with Christ for sometime. They had watched Him, observed His methods, received instructions and assimilated His teachings. They had asked questions on knotty issues and had obtained clarifications. It was now time to go out and put their knowledge into practice.

 

Though the manner and method by which believers are called today and commissioned may be different, the task of reconciling men to God remains the same. The urgency that Jesus communicated to the disciples as they were sent out has not changed either. Thousands today, die each minute and go to a Christless eternity in hell. How we need to urgently rescue the perishing.

When healing and deliverance follow the preaching of the gospel, repentance from sin and new life in Christ must not be relegated to the background. If men must make heaven and escape eternal damnation in hell, what they need is unrelenting warning against sin and its consequences.

Pastors, preachers and true believers must address themselves to this task as true disciples of Jesus Christ.

 

Are you a Christian, born again and cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ shed at Calvary? The commandment from the Master comes to you today ‘Go and tell men that the kingdom of God is at hand’. Persuade them to repent and believe the gospel.

This is a sacred call that true believers cannot lay aside.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Christians owe the world the gospel message.

 

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Jun 18

Salutations To Saints Alive!

Ephesus was one of the five major cities in the Roman Empire, along with Rome, Corinth, Antioch and Alexandra. It was a commercial, political and religious center for all of Asia Minor and was also the location of the temple of Diana, the goddess of Athens.

 

At this time, Paul the apostle had been a Christian for close to thirty years. He had undertaken a trip to Ephesus during his second missionary journey. He wrote to the Ephesians while he was under house arrest. As was usual with him, he warmly saluted them, and desired for them the best spiritual blessing.

“Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:2,4).

“All spiritual blessings in heavenly places” means all the good things God has provided for His followers. These include salvation, the gifts of the Spirit, the power to do His will while here, and the hope of eternal life with Christ hereafter.

 

God’s choice of saved believers is entirely by His grace. No one takes credit for his salvation. Salvation makes us new creatures in Christ, willing to obey Him and do His will. Our old life was characterized by disobedience, sin, condemnation and death.

But God has graciously shaped our lives and destinies in conformity with His will.

Are you one of those the Lord has chosen? Do not spurn God’s invitation; neither drive rough over the sacrifice offered by His Son. Accept His salvation with a grateful heart and you will be glad you did.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: To be chosen, you have to willingly surrender your life to Him today.

 

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Jun 17

Your Decision Determines Your Destiny

The book of 1 KINGS 12:1-15 gives an insight into the effect of Rehoboam’s decision on the kingdom of Israel, after the death of Solomon. The leaders of the northern tribes of Israel met Rehoboam at Shechem to iron out some issues.

Though they were willing to make him their king because they wanted the kingdom to remain united, they were not comfortable with Solomon’s high-handedness and they wanted Rehoboam to review it.

Rehoboam asked for time to enable him seek for advice. He ought to have prayed about this and seek for God’s advice, but he never did. He did not even ask a prophet or a priest to advise him. He possibly was afraid that God would tell him something contrary to his plan – not to rule the northern tribes.

 

The elderly men who served Solomon, with better experience, knew certain things which Rehoboam probably did not know. They had respect for Solomon because of his godly wisdom and fair judgments which they possibly believed Rehoboam did not have.

They thus advised him to agree with the people’s demands. But the younger men, whose advice he equally sought, never had any experience on the act of governance.

They thought the Israelites could be controlled with strong words.

Unfortunately, Rehoboam rejected the advice of those elderly leaders and chose the advice of his peers. This proved disastrous.

He who sows the wind, must reap the whirlwind and whatsoever a man sows, he reaps. Rehoboam sowed utter foolishness and reaped disaster.

Those given to impulsive decisions, without mediation and prayers, must be prepared for the dire consequences.

“Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat” (1 Kings 12:15).

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Eternal values, not temporal ones, should determine a believer’s decisions.

 

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