GOD UNDERSTANDS OUR PLIGHT: Devotion for Friday September 9, 2016

GOD UNDERSTANDS OUR PLIGHT: Devotion for Friday September 9, 2016

Text: Genesis 26: 24, 25               Memory verse: Genesis 26:24

Most times all we need to overcome the problems of life we pass through is just someone to encourage us; someone to hold our hands or someone we can lay our heads on. Sometimes we don’t even need the money or physical help. Once we have a heart to understand us, we will be okay.

If you are in good relationship with God and usually spend time with Him, you will definitely know that He understands our plight and our need for special encouragement. Occasionally, when we are confronted with series of problems in life, we develop emotion depression and then we will need a heart to lean on. This was the case of Isaac as he needed especial encouragement because of the insult, envy, jealousy and outrage he received from the Philistines.

With the persistent attack and threat, he had to return to the place where Abraham his father died. Such remembrance of the death of his father and the persecution he suffered in the hands of the Philistines afflicted his soul. God who made him and called him into the covenant He made with his father, Abraham, understood his plight and immediately appears to comfort and support him in his trials, by a renewal of all the promises made to him and his father. After God had spoken to him, he built an altar there. God’s words brought reassurance to Isaac that He was there with him. That might have been the reason why he started building the altar for God.

There are times when we are challenged and wronged, and we feel as if God is far from us or has forgotten us. One might ask why God didn’t intervene when Isaac was being wronged by the Philistines. Why did He now appear after he has suffered loses? The reason is that the land of Philistine was not the place God promised Isaac. Again, the famine that made him to run to the land of Philistine was over. God expected him to have returned. God knows when to appear for our good. Are you going through hard times, sickness, in prison, being oppressed, etc? God understands your situation and will appear for your deliverance soon. Don’t give up.

Food for Thought: Jeremiah 29:11

Prayer: Lord, you know all my ordeals, send your words of encouragement to pacify and reassure me of your love in Jesus name.

BLESSINGS ATTRACT ENVY: Devotion for Thursday September 8, 2016

If someone is jealous of you, it means you have something he or she doesn’t have. Why then will you be offended? Know that the more they envy you, the more you will continue to prosper. It is my sincere desire that God will prosper you till you become prosperous in Jesus name. Amen

BLESSINGS ATTRACT ENVY: Devotion for Thursday September 8, 2016

Text: Genesis 26:15 – 23          Memory verse: Genesis 26:16

God is ever faithful to the words He has spoken and He keeps them. He doesn’t make a promise without keeping to it. We have series of promises He made to His people which were fulfilled. Though some took a long time to come to pass, the long time in our eyes is not so with God.

He kept His promise to bless Isaac (Genesis 26:3) as Isaac was blessed (Genesis 26:13). The Bible stated that he started prospering until he became prosperous. The neighbouring Philistines grew jealous because everything Isaac did seemed to go right. The first step they took was to plug his wells and tried to get rid of him. By this they thought his blessings will cease. Being jealous is a very bad and it is a dividing force that can tear apart the closest friends. Life Application Notes says, “Jealousy forces you to separate yourself from what you were longing for in the first place. When you find yourself becoming jealous of others, try thanking God for their good fortune.”

The jealousy and envy of the Philistines against Isaac made him to relocate three times and on each occasion, he and his men dug new well. In the first two disputes that arose between Isaac and the Philistines, he moved on. He opted to avoid quarrel and troubles of the Philistines by moving to a more neutral ground. Here is a lesson and challenge for us Christians of this generation. Isaac moved on without challenging back for his rights which were denied him. He finally got to a place where there was room enough for him and the Philistines. Instead of Isaac resorting to start a huge conflict, he opted for give and take for the sake of peace between him and his landlords. We should be willing to forsake an important position or valuable possession to keep peace as those who bear the name of Christ.

Beloved, it shouldn’t be a surprise when your Landlord, your colleagues, your neighbours, etc, begins to envy you. Picking quarrels against them will be a mark of immaturity. With the blessing of God upon you, you are greater than them and will continue to excel above them. If someone is jealous of you, it means you have something he or she doesn’t have. Why then will you be offended? Know that the more they envy you, the more you will continue to prosper. It is my sincere desire that God will prosper you till you become prosperous in Jesus name. Amen

Food for Thought: Exodus 1:9

Prayer: Lord God, grant me the wisdom to know when to withdraw and when to stand and fight when people are against me.

A MANIFESTO NIGHT: Devotion for Wednesday September 7, 2016

During campaigns into some offices like spiritual, traditional or political, people make so many promises. The present manifestos that can move people easily to accept them. On the other hand, many aspire for positions just for selfish reasons. It is pertinent to ask this question to those aspiring to be in different office. What is your agenda/manifesto for contesting to be a bishop, a Local Government Chairman, Governor, President or whatever position you are aspiring for? Are you aspiring for the good of the people or for selfish interest?

A MANIFESTO NIGHT: Devotion for Wednesday September 7, 2016

Text: Luke 4:18 and 19       Memory verse: Luke 4:18

In the higher institutions, there is a night called Manifesto Night. It is the night when candidates intending to contest election into Student Union Government offices present their manifesto to fellow students. I can still remember how I did it when I was in ordination training. My speech was borrowed by my successor because of the content. It was indeed thrilling. Many students look forward to such nights and it affords them the opportunity to make public speeches and presentations. It is usually a learning ground for those who aspire to hold public offices in future.

Our text is termed Jesus’ public presentation of His manifesto. A comprehensive look at the text, will make us to appreciate the magnitude of God’s love for us (Ephesians 3:17–19). Everything in this manifesto as presented by Jesus Christ had the interest of man at the centre. He did not come to be crowned a king. Even when people wanted to do it by force, He withdrew.  His agenda was not to acquire empire, wealth or material things of this world. Rather His manifesto was based on liberation and freedom of man.

During campaigns into some offices like spiritual, traditional or political, people make so many promises. The present manifestos that can move people easily to accept them. On the other hand, many aspire for positions just for selfish reasons. It is pertinent to ask this question to those aspiring to be in different office. What is your agenda/manifesto for contesting to be a bishop, a Local Government Chairman, Governor, President or whatever position you are aspiring for? Are you aspiring for the good of the people or for selfish interest?

Jesus quoted this text from Isaiah 61:1 & 2a. Have you ever imagined why Jesus stopped at Isaiah 61:2a? His first coming wasn’t for vengeance but for redemption. Vengeance will be later. This is the era of God’s favour; the era of grace, mercies and call to repentance. Jesus came to give us the Good News that our sins have been forgiven, to heal us, deliver us from oppression, etc. Have you benefited of these? If not repent now because the day of vengeance is coming (Isaiah 61:2b).

Food for Thought: Are you a beneficiary of what Jesus has offered mankind?  

Prayer: Grant me the heart to appreciate your love, O Lord so that I will benefit from all that you have offered mankind.

OPPORTUNITY TO TESTIFY: Devotion for Tuesday September 6, 2016

Beloved, how do you react to what you are suffering for the sake of the gospel? Do you use that problem as a stepping-stone to draw closer to God and witness of His love to others?

OPPORTUNITY TO TESTIFY: Devotion for Tuesday September 6, 2016

Text: Luke 21:10 – 13                 Memory verse: Luke 21:13   

Opportunity, Testify, Devotion, Persecution, Paul, Disciples, Silas, Apostles, Jailer, Gospel, Preach, Tabugbo Uzoma, Daily, Covenant,

Jesus spoke about the persecution that will come upon the church in Luke 21:12 which they should use as opportunity to testify Luke 21:13. Not long after this admonition, the persecution started as Luke recorded in Acts of the Apostles. We have instances of Paul writing from the prison that he suffered gladly because it helped him to know Christ better and do His work (Philippians 3:10, Colossians 1:24 compare Philippians 1:12–14). Their suffering led to the furtherance of the gospel, a testimony. It was Tertullian, one of the early church fathers in late 2nd century, wrote, “The blood of Christians is seed of the gospel.” The persecutions suffered by the Apostles and early disciples became an added advantage to the spreading of the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Paul and Silas while in prison used the occasion to preach the gospel, which led to the repentance of the Jailer and his family. Beloved, how do you react to what you are suffering for the sake of the gospel? Do you use that problem as a stepping-stone to draw closer to God and witness of His love to others? That problem, trial, or temptation will lead to a testimony in Jesus name. Those who think they want to punish you by redeploying you or by that transfer will see you testifying because it will be a blessing. Persevere and maintain the faith and at last, God will prove Himself to you.

Food for Thought: Something good can come out of that problem you are going through now depending on your perspective.  

Prayer: God, turn the problem confronting me into a testimony in Jesus name.

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE BELIEVER: Devotion for Monday September 5, 2016

We should understand that as believers, the power of God comes into us immediately we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour (John 1:12). It is from that moment that the Holy Spirit will begin to influence our lives until we allow Him full control of our lives. Speaking in tongues is not the only sign to know if the Holy Spirit is in us. It is the fruit we bear (Galatians 522 & 23). Is the Holy Spirit in control of your life or you are still living in the flesh?

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE BELIEVER: Devotion for Monday September 5, 2016

Text: John 14:25 – 27      Memory verse: John 14:26

Holy Spirit, Believers, Trinity, Baptism, Benediction, Fruits, Christians, Counsel, Salvation, Daily Covenant, Tabugbo Uzoma,

Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity. According to Nicene Creed, He proceeds from the Father and the Son (John 14:26; John 15:26). Holy Spirit is a person and not a dove or olive oil. Some ministers even use ‘it’ for Holy Spirit when they are ministering. You will hear them say, “Receive it”. He is a person and He is equal with the Father and the Son. In Baptism, we use the three equally (Matthew 28:19) when we say “I baptize you in the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. When we say the Apostolic benediction (the grace), we use the three also. He has the attributes of God the Father (Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 16:19). Therefore, He should be worshipped the way we worship God the Father or God the Son.

Our text shows us one of the works of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer in John 14:26. The works of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer include;

1) He teaches us – John 14:26

2) He empowers us – Acts 1:18

3) He counsels, comforts and guides us – John 16:7

4) He guarantees our salvation – Ephesians 1:14

5) He helps us to bear good fruits – Galatians 5: 22 & 23.

We should understand that as believers, the power of God comes into us immediately we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour (John 1:12). It is from that moment that the Holy Spirit will begin to influence our lives until we allow Him full control of our lives. Speaking in tongues is not the only sign to know if the Holy Spirit is in us. It is the fruit we bear (Galatians 522 & 23). Is the Holy Spirit in control of your life or you are still living in the flesh?

Food for Thought: As a Christian, is your life controlled by the Holy Spirit?

Prayer: Take control of my life, Holy Spirit, as I surrender to you this day in Jesus name.

ABOUT FIRST FRUIT HARVEST: Devotion for Sunday September 4, 2016

It makes us responsible to God who made us, gave us those blessings and to the less privileged ones; the strangers, the priests, the widows, etc, that we have around us. It is also a way of sowing seeds for a better and a greater harvest. How are you doing these? Let it be with a cheerful heart and not grudgingly because God loves a cheerful giver.

ABOUT FIRST FRUIT HARVEST: Devotion for Sunday September 4, 2016

First Fruit, Harvest, Israelis, God, Blessings, Honour, Obedience, Daily Covenant, Tabugbo Uzoma,

Text: Deuteronomy 26:1 – 11    Memory verse: Deuteronomy 26:2

First fruit harvest is an injunction from God who ordered the Israelis to do it and by extension we the new Israel. God gave His people the injunction to present their first fruit of all their produce to Him (Deut. 26:2). From out text, it was obvious that this injunction from God to the Israelis is in order not to forget the source of their blessings. It is a way of showing gratitude to God from who all our blessings comes from. This injunction is from the covenant God made with Israel (Ex. 34:26, 27).

In Deut. 26:2–11 is the instructions on how to carry out our first fruit harvest. We are expected to pick some of all produce of our land, put them in a basket and take them to the church and offer them to the Lord. The Priest will receive them from our hands and bless us. It should not be taken to any other place.

There are lessons for us in this our scriptural reading for today. They are (a) God is the source of all we have and all we are. Our successes are not out of our strength, our business acumen, our intelligence, etc. If it were so, there wouldn’t have been poor people because majority of the poor in our society today labour for almost 24 hour of every day in the week. If not God’s grace and favour, what can we achieve? He blesses our little effort and turns it to become a mighty blessing. Yesterday’s devotion attests to this.

(b) It is a sign of regard, honour for and obedience to God (Prov. 3:9). When we set aside our first fruit as God demands from us, we are honouring God and He in turn will honour us (1 Sam. 2:30).

(c) It teaches us that we have responsibilities towards God. It makes us responsible to God who made us, gave us those blessings and to the less privileged ones; the strangers, the priests, the widows, etc, that we have around us. It is also a way of sowing seeds for a better and a greater harvest. How are you doing these? Let it be with a cheerful heart and not grudgingly because God loves a cheerful giver. Happy first fruit harvest to those celebrating today!

Food for Thought: Proverbs 3:9

Prayer: My Lord and my Father, may I always honour you with my substances because they all come from you in Jesus name.

ISAAC SOWED: Devotion for Saturday September 3, 2016

ISAAC SOWED: Devotion for Saturday September 3, 2016

Text: Genesis 26:12 – 14           Memory verse: Genesis 26:12

The instruction God gave Isaac in Genesis 26:2 & 3 was “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.” Isaac obeyed God’s instruction and stayed in Gerar (Genesis 26:6). He didn’t just stay, waiting for fulfillment of God’s promise. In the interim, he sowed in the land where he was a stranger and God blessed him 100 times more than what he sowed. He was not waiting for the death of the Philistines to inherit their blessings. The blessing of God upon him attracted envy of his landlords, the Philistines (Genesis 26:7). They forced Isaac go out of their country. Wisdom and discretion teaches us to give up our right, and to draw back from contentions. That was what David did when Saul went after him. He ran to the Philistines.  If we are wrongfully driven out from one place, the Lord will make room for us in another. So it was in the case of Isaac.

We should understand that Isaac didn’t wait for God’s blessings as promised to start manifesting. He went ahead to do something for himself. It was what he was doing that God blessed and he prospered therein. God has promised to bless us. But we still have a part to play in bringing the promises to fulfillment. When God provided manna, He kept them outside and not inside the tent. He could have sent them into their tents but it wasn’t so because He wanted to teach them that they have a part to play in their blessings. Again it was to test their obedience. Isaac obeyed God and stayed in Gerar when God blessed him and he prospered. How obedient are you to God’s instructions?

Food for Thought: What and where can you sow so as to reap abundantly?

Prayer: As I sow, O Lord, may I reap in abundance in Jesus name. Grant that I will not reap into a leaking pocket in Jesus name.