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They Are Gifts From God

Devotion for Tuesday November 21, 2017

Topic: They Are Gifts From God

Text: John 3:26 – 33

There is nothing we have that is not from God. He is the one that appoints our work and gives us all that we have. Some Jews steered up envy in the mind of the disciples of John the Baptist by telling them that Jesus was baptizing. They came to John, who was wise enough to correct this erroneous perception that no other person can baptize except him and also the envy and jealousy of his disciples. John the Baptist made effort to root out all prejudice against Christ out of their minds, which made him to show them a five-fold difference between Christ and himself (John 3:29 – 33).

There is no ministry we have today that God has not entrusted to us. He gives to all, their places and work as He sees best for us. John cautioned them not to be dissatisfied that a greater than himself has come, for this is what he foretold.

From the above, we should note that it is important every gospel minister should endeavour to magnify Jesus Christ; to display His Glorious Excellency and perfections before the people and not themselves. They should also revere His person, respect His authority and laws. This is the duty we owe God as Christians. That we are being used today doesn’t mean we are to arrogate the praise to ourselves and we start answering big names like Demon Bulldozer, Apostle of Fire, Miracle Worker, etc. We should be humble in whatever way God uses us and never to be envious of the way He uses others too.

Food for Thought: Envy and prejudice kill our gifts and make us unproductive.

Memory verse: James 1:17

Prayer: Almighty God, grant me the understanding that you appoint our work for us and help me not to envy another person or arrogate praise to myself for what you are using me to do in Jesus name.

WHY DISILLUSIONED? WHY TROUBLED?

WHY DISILLUSIONED? WHY TROUBLED? YOU HAVE THE MAN, JESUS CHRIST

The case of the man at the Pool of Bethesda who said, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me” was the centre of discussion at the just concluded 7th edition of Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON) held in National Christian Centre Abuja from 13th – 16th November. This man was sick for 38 years. Though it was not stated if he had spent all the 38 years at the Pool but from the story and the man’s submission, it was obvious that he had spent so many years there. The sickness had affected this man so severely that he couldn’t answer simple question.

Looking at the man, according to Bishop Sunday Adewole, “He was an old man, 38 years of living with infirmity clearly shows that he was not a young man. He totally depended on others for everything. This was made obvious by his statement ‘I have no man …’ He had submitted all his dependency on another human. The sickness had affected his mentality to the extent that he finds it difficult to answer the question Jesus asked him correctly, he rather complained. He was a blame shifter, a sinner, disloyal and ingrate.”

Despite all these weaknesses in that man, who didn’t deserve what he received Jesus chose him for healing. It was the work of grace which God has offered to humanity through Jesus Christ. He demonstrated this grace towards this man. That grace is sufficient for you if only you can come to the full knowledge of God and believe that He is the Saviour.

Today, many of us, despite our long years in the church are still disillusioned, troubled and living in anxiety because of the challenges of life. Some people find it hard to believe that in Christianity, we can stay without food, with sickness, jobless, childless, no prospective spouse coming to ask for your hand in marriage at over 40 years and many more. The present economic stress in the country has worsened the matter. These problems and challenges have so much affected the spiritual life of some people that today, they can hardly pray. A young lady of about 37 years came to me and said, “Daddy, I am tired. I can no longer pray because I have prayed and nothing seems to happen.” When I asked why, she said, “I am now 37 years and no man is asking for my hand in marriage.” This is a sister that is committed and dedicated but things are not working out well for her. This is one in million cases we have today.

However, I bring you the assurance that you have the man Jesus. There is no situation beyond his ability. If you have Jesus, the following are available for you. a) He can give you hope (1 Peter 1:13; Hebrews 10:23). b) He can give you joy amidst all the challenges of life (John 16:24). c) He can provide for you (Matthew 6:25 – 27). d) He can give you salvation (Luke 19:10; 1 Thess. 5:9). e) He can forgive you (Ephesians 1:7 – 8). f) He can comfort you (2 Corinthians 1:3 – 4). g) He can take away your worries, care and anxiety (Psalm 55:22; Matt. 11:28). h) He can give you eternal life (John 10:27 – 28; John 3:16, 36). i) He can help you (Hebrews 4:15 – 16) j) He can heal you (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).

Beloved, you should understand the God you serve; His abilities and all He can do. If you know and have Jesus, you will never be troubled or disillusioned by situations and circumstances. Cheer up because you are not like that man at the Pool of Bethesda (House of Mercy) who claimed that he had no man but you have the man Jesus Christ who is abundantly able to save, heal, deliver and help. Hallelujah!

Tabugbo Morgan Uzoma

Assisting Priest

St. Philip’s Anglican Church

AGGS Compound

West End, Asaba

Do As It Pleases You But …

Devotion for Monday November 20, 2017

Topic: Do As It Pleases You But …

Text: Ecclesiastics 11:7 – 10

Youths are usually vigorous, energetic, lively, enthusiastic and adventurous. These make them restive because they love to pursue their heart desires. They do not accept a ‘no’ for anything they have made up their minds on. When they desire something, they are purposeful about it and they will vigorously pursue it till they acquire or attain that height.

It is on this premise that Solomon admonished youths to use their youthful exuberance with the mind that a day of reckoning will come. This should make them have a deep sense of God’s presence, reverencing His authority as that will be a great security against pursuit of sinful desires. Because God will bring youthful activities into judgement, they should let their pursuit of happiness and all their youthful enjoyments be in the fear of God.

This warning is not for the youths only. It is a warning for whosoever will not be found wanting on the day of Judgement. Those who fear God, and make Him their portion, will enjoy all that this world is capable of giving, and be prepared for the higher enjoyments of eternity because they will always apply discretion and fear of God in pursuit of enjoyment and happiness. This should be our guide in our walk with God.

Food for Thought: Aspiration after God is the only aspiration with the assurance that it will never meet with disappointment.

Memory verse: Ecclesiastics 11:9

Prayer: God, grant that I will always be mindful of what I do with the mind that there is Judgement waiting for me.

So He Did As Instructed

Devotion for Sunday November 19, 2017

Topic: So He Did As Instructed

Text: Genesis 6:22

Noah was a man of faith who obeyed God. His faith and obedience singled him out in his generation as a righteous man. What God demands from us is obedience. God revealed to Noah His plans to end the world through deluge because he was very obedient. He gave him the instruction to build the ark. He did what God instructed him to do with care and diligence which could be attributed to his faith in the word of God. He believed God’s word about drowning the world and he prepared the ark according to specification.

We should not doubt God’s word about impending wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. People doubted Noah but at last God’s word came to pass and so shall the reality of hell fire come to pass too. Noah did as God instructed him. His obedience was ready and resolute. Having begun to build, he did not leave off till he had finished. Such dedication to our call is required of us.

Just as Noah was warned, so we have a more solemn warning for us, to flee from the wrath to come. How prepared are you? Are you doing as God instructed you so as to flee the second death in hell fire? Noah did as God said and we must do as God said if only we hope to escape the wrath of God on the Last Day.

Food for Thought: Are you living your Christian life according to God’s instructions?

Memory verse: Genesis 6:22

Prayer: Lord God, I need your grace to live according to your instructions so that I can avoid the wrath that is to come upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men in Jesus name. Amen.

When The Amazing God Acts Amazingly

Devotion for Saturday November 14, 2017

Topic: When The Amazing God Acts Amazingly

Text: Act 12:1 – 17

When God intervenes in some precarious cases, it leaves us speechless, amazed, astonished and perplexed. Our text for the day speaks of amazing act of God in delivering Peter from the prison despite the guards and the gates. God sent his angel who came and struck him amidst soldiers and the chain with which they chained him to two soldiers fell off. The angel led him through first and second posts (gates) through the iron post heavily manned by armed soldiers but the gates all opened on their own accord (Acts 12:7 – 17). It was after they had passed through all the gates that Peter came to himself and realised that it was not a dream.

Meanwhile, prayers were being offered for him (Acts 12:5). When Peter arrived at the gate of the house of Mary, mother of John Mark, Rhoda didn’t open the gate out of joy when she saw that it was Peter knocking at the gate. Rather, she ran in to announce what she saw and she was accused of not being herself. They had regarded his rescue as so difficult and where hopeless. Yet they were praying for his release. This is how some of us behave. We keep praying without believing that God can give us what we are praying for.

Sometimes, it is difficult for us to believe the answer to our prayers, even when God said He is more ready to answer us. Yet when He does that which we had asked for, we will be astonished. This made the people praying to say that Rhoda was mad. We shouldn’t be overwhelmed and astonished when our petitions are granted, and when God manifests His power in His own way and time. That is a sign of little faith or faithlessness. We should grow to the level of believing God for His word. With God all things are possible. As we do not know what time God will act for us, we should be what we pray for because He will surely answer our sincere prayers (James 1:6 – 8).

Food for Thought: Matthew 11:24

Memory verse: Acts 12:15

Prayer: Lord God, strengthen my faith so that I will not doubt your ability to do what I ask for in prayer.

In The Multitude Of Words

Devotion for Monday November 13, 2017

Topic: In The Multitude Of Words

Text: Proverbs 10:19

Job 6:24 says, “Teach me and I will hold my tongue; cause me to understand wherein I have erred.” The greatest virtue someone can develop in life is the ability to tame his or her tongue. James gave reason for this in James 3:5 – 12.

Our text admonishes us on the importance of governing our tongue which should be our duty for these reasons.

1) It is good to say little, because in the multitude of words, sin doesn’t cease. Usually, those that speak much, speak much idle words which they must shortly give account of (Mathew 12:36).

2). It is therefore good to keep our mouth as with a bridle. See Amos 5:13 and James 1:19. Do you have control over your tongue? James 1:26 says, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.”

The way you talk in the public goes a long way to show the kind of Christian you are. Peter sagely said, “For he who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit” – 1 Peter 3:10. This is a challenge for us. Many people ridicule their faith by what they say with their mouth. A true Christian chooses his or her words before speaking and not the opposite. Be wise as your faith demands. Have a great day!

Food for Thought: James 1:26

Memory verse: Proverbs 10:19

Prayer: Almighty God, grant me the grace to bridle my tongue and to choose my words before I speak so that I will not say idle words

To Their Hurt

Devotion for Sunday November 12, 2017

Topic: To Their Hurt

Text: Ecclesiastics 5:13

Money is good but not everything. There are some things money cannot buy; it cannot buy freedom from sin, peace, secure the future, stop death from coming to them, etc. Many rich people think that they will secure their future and that of their children with their wealth. Unfortunately, it is not so. Solomon sees riches as source of hurt to its owner. This may be the source of hurt to the owner because

  1. He may make an improper use of them or lose his health by them
  2. He may join in an unfortunate partnership and lose all
  3. His riches may excite the desire of robbers and he may spoil him of his goods and even take away his life.
  4. He may leave them to his son, who turns profligate, spends the whole and ruins both his body and soul.

For riches to hurt the owner is one vanity of wealth that after a life of toil and care in accumulating it, it will either be lost or become source of the owner’s death. The rich oppressor’s wealth provokes enemies and robbers. The antidote to this hurt is contentment.. Many people hurt themselves in pursuant of wealth at all cost. This is very unfortunate as it is even seen among Christians who have been admonished to set their minds on the things that are above and not below (Colossians 3:1 – 2). When we understand this, it will help our orientation and perception about wealth. Think about this and take a good stand now before you will hurt yourself so badly.

Food for Thought: Wealth, heaped up out of covetousness will always result clashes of interest among heirs.

Memory verse: Ecclesiastics 5:13

Prayer: God help me to reorder my priorities in life so that I will not pursue wealth at the detriment of my salvation and hurt in Jesus name. Amen.