THE TRUE RELIGION: Devotion for Wednesday October 5, 2016

Worthy of note here is the fact that those with pure and lasting religion will refuse to let the world corrupt them. Are you one of those people who will not allow the world to corrupt you? To keep ourselves from being corrupted by the world, we need to commit ourselves to Christ’s ethical and moral standard, and system, not the world’s standard (Romans 12:2).

THE TRUE RELIGION: Devotion for Wednesday October 5, 2016

Text: James 1:26 – 27         Memory verse: James 1 v 27

True, Religion, James, Faith, Devotion, Obey, Life, Corruption, Christ, Covenant,

In our text, James speaks of a relationship with God where He is allowed to direct the terms of our behaviour. To him, this is pure and lasting religion. James explains religion in terms of practical service and personal purity that is by its fruits. According to his explanation, true religion has two sides: first, that of love and mercy; secondly, that of purity from worldly defilements. Rituals done with reverence are not wrong; but if the person still refuses to obey God in daily life by living out his faith, his religion will not be accepted by God.

However, it is pertinent to note that pure and lasting religion is not perfect observance of rules and observances; instead, it is a spirit that pervades our hearts and lives (Leviticus 19:18 and Isaiah 1:16-17). Like Jesus, James explains religion in terms of a vital inner faith that acts itself out in daily life. Our conduct must be in keeping with our faith (1 Corinthians 5:8).

Worthy of note here is the fact that those with pure and lasting religion will refuse to let the world corrupt them. Are you one of those people who will not allow the world to corrupt you? To keep ourselves from being corrupted by the world, we need to commit ourselves to Christ’s ethical and moral standard, and system, not the world’s standard (Romans 12:2). We are not to adapt to the world’s value system like money, power, and pleasure. True faith means nothing if we are contaminated with such values. What is your position? Don’t allow your faith to be contaminated with values of money, power, pleasures, politics, etc.

Food for Thought: Have you allowed the world to corrupt you or you are still following Christ’s standard?

Prayer: Lord God, grant that my religion will not be that of confession alone but of purity, love and mercy in Jesus name.

A MENTOR INDEED: Devotion for Tuesday October 4, 2016

A MENTOR INDEED: Devotion for Tuesday October 4, 2016

Text: Text: Philippians 4:8 & 9      Memory verse: Philippians 4:9

Mentor, Paul, Confident, Bold, Call, Philippians, Devotion, Daily Covenant,   

A mentor is an experienced adviser, trainer or supporter. Here, Paul was confident, bold and unwavering as he made this statement in our text. He knew his call and the person that called him which made him to be focused, dedicated and committed to that call. He exuded such boldness and authority in asking the Philippians to imitate him because of the exemplary life he lived among the people when he ministered there (Acts 18:3; 20:34; 1 Cor. 4:1–12; & 2 Cor. 7:2–4). Can you list some of the exemplary qualities of Paul and his ministry in these verses read? Compare these qualities of Paul with that of your Pastor and see if there is any similarity or difference.

Our call as people in the ordained ministry or the laity is to be worthy shepherds because today we all are priests unto God. God called us to set example for others (1 Tim 4:12). The preacher is the interpreter of the spiritual life and should be an example of it. Can you say the words of our text to people under you as a Pastor, father, mother, teacher, etc? When going on transfer to a new station, will you be bold enough to say what is in our text today? On retirement, can you say what Paul told the church at Philippi? We should live as light of the world and salt of the earth. Beware of how you live because all you are doing is on record. Live as a worthy servant for there is a reward for faithfulness.

Food for Thought: A good mentor is always bold to say imitate me. Are you one?

Prayer: Lord, make me a worthy mentor of people under my care.

When a society is morally bankrupt, you can hardly get someone to stand out for God. In such case, God will vent His anger on the people because in a situation where morality is no more found, you can hardly get someone to intercede. This devotions calls on us to stand out in our generation and be at the gap to avert God’s anger on us.

STAND IN THE GAP: Devotion for Monday October 3, 2016

Text: Ezekiel 22:23 – 31      Memory verse: Ezekiel 22 verse 30

Stand, Gap, Devotion, Ezekiel, Leaders, Priests, God, Anger, Prayer, Truth, Daily, Covenant,

Whatever we do as leaders or priest will always have effect on the people we lead whether good of bad. If only we hope to make great impacts on the people we lead, we should be very cautious of what we do; the kind of policies we introduce and the kind of advice we receive from people. When wicked leaders collaborate with wicked and false prophets, and priests to ruin a nation and corrupt its faith and practices through false doctrines, ungodliness and iniquity, it will bring unbearable consequences because it will definitely permeate the masses.

This is the case in this our country and most other countries of the world. Unfortunately, the deceiver and the deceived cannot escape God’s anger. At the revelation of His anger, the people with their rulers and teachers will become like briers and thorns ready to be consumed by the fire of His wrath. None of them will be spared. That is the extend God can go in dealing with us in His anger.

As Christians who fear God, we should unite to promote His truth and righteousness; as wicked men of every rank and profession plot together to run them down. This is what is expected of us if only we can make our world a better place for all of us to live in. A situation where we who ought to be bearers of light turn out to become agents of darkness will at the long run receive the wrath of God.

When the society is morally bankrupt, it will be hard to see anyone who seeks the face of God in fasting and prayers. This was the reason God expressed sadness over the situation in 22:30. God sought for a man that would stand in the gap; that would faithfully exhort, reprove and counsel, with all long-suffering and doctrine because there was a serious breach made in the moral state and feeling of the people. But none was to be found! Today, most of us instead of standing at the gap because of the moral decadence in our society, we resort to joining them or complaining. We should stand at the gap always for that is what God expects from us.

Food for Thought: Isaiah 59:16

Prayer: Lord, grant me the grace I need to stand at the gap always for my family and my nation in Jesus name.

WHEN GOD IS ANGRY: Devotion for Sunday October 2, 2016

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God. From our bible readings of yesterday and today, we found out that God was angry with His people Israelis. They disobeyed Him and chose other idols as gods. This made to to declare that He will punish them. There is a warning for us too in this devotion.

WHEN GOD IS ANGRY: Devotion for Sunday October 2, 2016

Text: Ezekiel 22:17 – 22       Memory verse: Ezekiel 22 verse 21

Our bible reading for the day is a continuation from where we stopped yesterday. In this our text for today, the prophet compared Israel with other nations, as the gold and silver are compared with baser metals. The prophet describes them as the refuse that is consumed in the furnace, or thrown away when the silver is refined. What a comparison and assessment! This result ought not to be associated with people who have the Almighty God as their God.

This is very unfortunate when compared with the glory they have enjoyed when they were in good terms with God. Then nations were afraid of them. What happened to Israeli nation is also same with anyone who has tasted the mercies of God and later fall out of faith. In God’s assessment and account, they were seen as useless and good for nothing. In the furnace, the dross shall be fully separated, and the good metal purified. That is the essence of the furnace.

When God brings His own people into the furnace, He sits by them as the refiner by his gold, to see that they are not continued there any longer than necessary. This is how God treats us. We know the case of Job. God didn’t allow him to stay longer than necessary when he had proved that his sickness and troubles of life shouldn’t make him to curse God as Satan anticipated. I have personally had such experience.

Therefore, it is expedient we take to heart this warning from Matthew Henry Concise Commentary. In his opinion, those who suffer pains, or lingering sickness, and find that their hearts can scarcely bear these light and momentary afflictions, take warning to flee from the wrath to come; for if these trials are not sanctified by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the cleansing their hearts and hands from sin, far worse things will come upon them. God’s anger can consume us in a twinkle of an eye and the only way to avoid it is to amend our ways. We should escape it by repenting of our sins and turning back to Him. Are you willing to do it today?

Food for Thought: Nahum 1:6

Prayer: My God and my Father, give me a truthful heart to love and obey you because it is a fearful thing to fall into your hands in Jesus mighty name I pray. Amen.

BE THE CHANGE YOU DESIRE IN NIGERIA

I have heard and read some people’s opinion that there is no need to celebrate our independence. To me they are partially wrong because some of us have not deemed it right to do what is expected of us. We have failed in so many areas like seeing evil and keeping quiet, not praying for our nation, not standing up for our rights, abuse of different kinds, etc. This sermon urges us to rise up to our responsibilities if we hope to see anything good in this country.

(Excerpt of my message on 1st October, 2015)

TOPIC: BE THE CHANGE YOU DESIRE IN NIGERIA
TEXT: 2 KINGS 7:1 – 10
PREAMBLE/INTRODUCTION: Happy Independence and happy month of October to you all in Jesus name. Today is our 55th Independence anniversary. We thank God for what He has done for us as a nation. It is my prayer that the spirit of freedom we have received in our independence will help us grow from strength to strength in Jesus name.
DEVELOPMENT
We all desire a country that is peaceful, united, a country with good government, good roads, potable drinking water, good housing, high standard of living, good and qualitative health care, etc.
Who amongst us care to ask why has these things eluded us in the past 55 years? Some of us believe that we have a faulty foundation; some are of the opinion that we are cursed as a nation. Some blame it on our founding fathers, etc.
We make laws in this country but hardly keep any. The result of these laws is that it has opened our eyes to more evil.
The societies we envy today, how did they come to that level of development? They made self sacrifices, commitments to their nationhood, dedication, etc. They upheld justice and equity.
In our text is the story of 4 leprous men at the city gate. They eat by begging. Unfortunately, there was famine and no one has food to spare. They wanted food seriously and decided that waiting for people to give them will amount to death before their time and thus they decided to fend for themselves. The steps they took resulted to their deliverance and that of the city. They desired food and went for it.
If Nigeria as a nation will become what we desire her to be, we must act out that which we desire.
Do you have the desire for a corrupt free Nigeria? Then don’t be corrupt.
Do you desire clean environment? Then tidy your environment and don’t liter places
Do you desire good, dedicated and competent civil service? Then be dutiful and dedicated to your civil or public service work
Do you desire good military? Then show commitment in your duty.
Do you desire to have politicians who are just and godly? Then don’t join them in rigging elections.
Do you desire to have genuine Christians in Nigeria? Then become one in your corner.
The list is endless.
As a nation, we thank God that we are still intact but we are too fragile and can break up because we are too divided along religion and ethnicity. This is so because our present and past leaders didn’t uphold justice and equity in their governance.
However, despite all these differences and problems confronting us, as Christians, we have the duty to build bridges and not walls, and to pray for the unity of this nation, Nigeria.
On personal terms, what are the changes you desire in your life, your career and family? Be that change. Act on it and the change will come. Don’t wait for manna to fall from heaven.
We have wrong notion about believe it and claim it. Most of us will rise up, raise our hands and shout Amen to prophecies. That will be the end. When God called Abraham, he believed God and went as instructed. Isaac did same and God blessed him until he became prosperous that the Philistines started envying him. The Apostles believed and stayed put in Jerusalem.
CONCLUSION: What are the changes you need in your life, career and family in this new month and what can you do about it? What are the changes you want to see in your spiritual life in this new month or do you just want to remain stagnant? Think about it.
Let us pray.

REPROACH TO NATIONS: Devotion for Saturday October 1, 2016

In the time of Ezekiel, Jerusalem was termed a bloody city because of the numerous crimes being committed by the inhabitants. The level of evil and crime in the city can be likened to what we have in Nigeria today. This devotion is a call on Nigerians to take a retrospect on the past and make amends for the future.

REPROACH TO NATIONS: Devotion for Saturday October 1, 2016

Text: Ezekiel 22:1 – 16      Memory verse: Ezekiel 22 verse 4  

Reproach, Nations, Devotion, Happy, Independence, Nigeria, Nigerians, Jerusalem, Ezekiel, Bloody, City, Murder, Fulani, Herdsmen,  

Happy independent celebrations to Nigeria and Nigerians! Today is the 56th Independence Anniversary of Nigerian nation. We congratulate Nigerians as they celebrate this day.

Here in our text for the day, Jerusalem is called a bloody city because of her crimes. This chapter of Ezekiel explains why Jerusalem’s judgment would come (Ezekiel 22:2–16), how it would come (Ezekiel 22:17–22), and who would be affected by it (Ezekiel 22:23–31). The sins which Jerusalem stands charged with are exceedingly sinful – murder, idolatry, disobedience to parents, oppression and extortion, profanation of the Sabbath and holy things, seventh commandment sins, lewdness and adultery.

What would have led a nation adopted by a holy, righteous and pure God into this level of sin, crime and evil? Not being mindful of God led them into this wickedness. They took the mercies and grace of God for granted and thus due to their complacency and lukewarmness, they started compromising which took them into these evil they were charged of here.

Sinners provoke God by forgetting Him. When they do not take His ordinances to heart, they can do anything they like. When they also see the worship of God as ceremonies without spiritual attachment to it, their worship will not have any impact on them. Jerusalem has filled the measure of her sins. Family Bible Notes says about Ezekiel 22:4 that, “When we see a community giving itself up to the practice of iniquity of every kind without restraint, we may be certain, from the sure testimony of God, that its days of punishment are near. The position of Family Bible Notes here can well be said of our present generation where all manner of evil are seen on daily basis.

The sins charged against Jerusalem, are similar to what we see in Nigeria today – murder, oppression and extortion, adultery, etc. The spate of Fulani herdsmen killings, abduction and kidnapping, Boko Haram, budget padding, corruption, etc are all pointers to the assertion that our present day Nigeria is similar to what Ezekiel saw in Jerusalem at the time he was prophesying. Just like Jerusalem became a reproach to nations around her so our country, Nigeria has become a reproach to nations around her.

As Family Bible Notes posited above, we are expecting God’s judgment upon this country for we have turned against God in so many ways. In fact we have started reaping the fruit of our evil, greed, corruption, hatred, in ability to forgive ourselves, etc with the current economic recession and poor leadership we have experienced in Nigeria since independence.

Think of the number of churches in our country. What are the effects of these churches in our nation? Are the perpetrators of these crimes not found in our churches? We should be prepared for the day of the Lord. How prepared are you for God’s judgment because it will certainly come? Don’t think you can escape it unless you repent. Nigeria needs a Solemn Assembly which should be led by our leader. Until we sincerely and truly repent, we cannot escape the wrath of God that will be revealed to avenge the blood of innocent souls spilled in this country.

Food for Thought: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people – Proverbs 14:34.

Prayer: Lord God, heal our country and her people that we will no longer be reproach unto nations in Jesus name.

TOUCH NOT MY ANOINTED: Devotion for Friday September 30, 2016

Brethren, it is the will of God to protect us and keep us for His glory and eternity. For this reason, He announced His redemption plan for humanity immediately after the fall of man. If He was not willing to protect us, He would have left us at the mercy of the devil.

TOUCH NOT MY ANOINTED: Devotion for Friday September 30, 2016

Text: Psalm 121:1 – 8          Memory verse: Psalm 121 verse 5

In the new covenant, there are so many provisions for us in the area of providence, protection, guidance, favour, grace, etc. Some of the provisions in the new covenant which all sincere Christians carry about as tag include a decree ‘Out of Bound’, ‘Touch not my Anointed’ and ‘Do my prophet no harm’. This is one of the good aspects carried over from the old covenant. God who made this statement is ever faithful and can do whatsoever He says. As God is faithful to His word, it holds therefore that the best thing we can do for ourselves is to key into the conditions of this promise.

This Psalm says God is All-powerful (Psalm 121:7a) and watches over us (Psalm 121:7a, 8 – compare Matthew 19:26 & Psalm 41:2). The true and sincere Christians have the Almighty God as their friend and keeper. Not only is He their friend and keeper, He is ever present to help them in trouble, support them in temptation, guide them through perplexity, and defend them from all attacks of the enemies. Why should you be afraid, O child of God? If you have the knowledge that God is your friend and keeper, you should always be fearless and bold because He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world.

Brethren, it is the will of God to protect us and keep us for His glory and eternity. For this reason, He announced His redemption plan for humanity immediately after the fall of man. If He was not willing to protect us, He would have left us at the mercy of the devil. The story of the Israelis from Abraham till they settled in the Promised Land should encourage us

When God grants us His protection, we are safe in the midst of the greatest dangers. This special protection is not same as the general protection He gives all people. This is a covenanted protection. Have you entered into the new covenant? If not, do so now. See Mk 16:17, 18 & Psalm 34:15. Our God does not fail.

Food for Thought: Are you under God’s decree – Touch not my anointed?

Prayer: Lord, may I remain under your cover and protection in Jesus name.