Malachi 3:7-10 | 1 Cor 1:7-10
In the book of Malachi 3 God says that we are separated, and now He wants us back. He says that we have turned away from Him and failed to keep His commandments. One of the commands we have failed to keep is tithing. We have robbed God by failing to give the full tithe. When you are blessed you come up with diverse ideas like,'oh! I need money, oh!...', ending up with a tithe less than 10%. Take the example of a chapati; divide it into 10 pieces then take out one piece. That represents the 10% that you are expected to give back to God. You will see how small it is compared to the 90% you keep. God promises that when we return to Him, He will return to us. Therefore, start giving a full tithe. Also, give the full tithe not to show the church or other people but to honour God's commands.
To be united is to stay together while diversity refers to a range of different things. We are encouraged to remain united even in our differences. Take the example of four bulls which were left by a farmer with the instruction that they stick together, with their horns facing different directions. A hungry lion came and wished he could get one of the bulls but could not dare near them because of the fierce horns; he just sat there wishing his prayer could be answered. Meanwhile, the bulls disagreed and moved away from each other. The lion considered this a prayer answered; he went home to call the entire pride. The lions fed on all the bulls one by one because once separated they could not defend themselves. This is how separated we are from God. When the evil one comes he will finish us. Let's be united with God. Let us also be united with each other in mind and thought despite our diversities (1Cor 1:10).
United we stand, divided we fall!
Micah 6:1-10 | 'God reminds us...'
When the people of Israel started complaining, God responded by reminding them of all the things He had done for them. He reminded them of how He saved them from slavery in Egypt, amongst other things. God, therefore, had a case against His people and they had none against Him. This happens a lot in our lives, the Lord does so much for us but as humans we forget easily. God then reminds us of the good things He has done for us so that we can learn to be grateful and do good.
Micah 6:6 asks, "with what shall I come before the Lord?" This is the question we should ask ourselves after being reminded about the good things God has done for us. We owe God, and the first thing to do is to thank Him for His goodness. We are privileged, and for this we must thank God. We also need to love our neighbours. Do good to others just as God did and continues to do to us.
Clothe yourself with everything good; compassion, tolerance, forgiveness...(Col 3:12-17). Tolerate each other, forgive each other, just as God did to us. When you forgive you feel relieved, but if you don't it haunts you forever. Be compassionate, give! Whatever the Lord enables you to give is right, however small it may seem to you, so do not be embarassed. When you give what you can, you're giving back to God. The church is everyone's project, help in building it. Even though we are not equal, if we read the Bible constantly, we shall be able to live as brothers and sisters. Be gentle, have patience,Be good! Do good! This are the things that the Lord expects of us.
Something on Parenting!
We are living in a different age and time; parenting has to change. Children are also differentiated in that not all your children are the same. Handle each child appropriately, teach them well, if you don't teach them the world will do it for you, and it will not be a good teaching. The media and the internet are some of the top modern day influencers of behaviour. Your children are influenced by what they see and act upon that. Therefore, follow up on them promptly. Even when they are in college, go there and check on them through the administration just to ensure that everything is fine. The foundation of a child comes from the parent (Prov 6:20-23), so teach them and check on their progress until they are out of college.
Be good! Do good! This is what the Lord expects of us.
2 Cor 13:5-10 | 'Examine Yourselves...'
The Corinthians questioned Paul's source of power; they demanded proof that Christ is speaking through him. In his response, Paul asked the Corinthians to examine themselves first to see if they are in the faith. He asked them to test themselves and see that Christ is in them, except those who failed the test.
Do you obey your parents? Do you obey your leaders? employers? priests? Do you live up to the word in the Bible, now that you have been taught a lot? Do you ever wonder if anything you are doing is right or wrong? Maybe the answer is 'no' or 'not fully'. Now, how many times have you judged, criticized, or questioned other people over some aspects of their life? Many! You're like the Corinthians, they questioned Paul's power but failed to look at their own misdoings.
We have all sinned but are saved by God's Grace. However, we must spend more time questioning our hearts and examining ourselves to see whether what we are doing is right. If what you do is right then go over and above, always strive to do something more(Acts 17:11). If what you do is wrong then change, start doing that which is right. Practice what you know while using the Bible as a spiritual mirror. Use the Bible to reflect upon yourself, your deeds...and correct that which you find to be wrong.
Examine your faith, is it up to Godly standards? Examine your works. Examine yourself and take your own pride without comparing yourself to somebody else (Gal 6:3-5). Ask God to search your heart and test you to see if there's anything offensive, then ask Him to lead you in the way of everlasting life (Psalm 139:23-24).
Examine yourself...Don't compare with another!
John 14:26; The Holy Spirit
When Jesus was leaving the disciples and ascending to Heaven, He promised to send them a counselor and helper, the Holy Spirit. This helper would be sent by the Father in Jesus' name and would teach the disciples and the Christians who receive Him all things. When we receive the Holy Spirit, He enables us to remember Jesus' teachings and also goes ahead to teach us all things. The following are the qualities of the Holy Spirit as our helper;
He is a loving helper
The Holy Spirit helps us to love each other and to relate well amongst ourselves. Through His loving help, we're able to build healthy and harmonious relationships with each other.
He is a faithful helper
The Holy Spirit will never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6). He remains faithful even when we go astray in our sinful nature (2 Tim 2:13). He is always ready to accept us back when we repent.
He is a wise helper
The Holy Spirit will teach us all things because He is wise: He is all-knowing (John 14:26). James advises anyone who lacks wisdom to ask God for it (James 1:5). You will have wisdom through the help of the wise helper.
He is an active helper
The Holy Spirit is a friend in need and a friend indeed. He is the spirit of sonship. He enables us to cry, "Abba, Father" (Rom 8:15).
He is an ever-present helper
The Holy Spirit is always there to counsel, teach, and help us. Always there to remind us of the love that Jesus Christ our Lord has for us. The love that will not be separated from us, not by anything in the present nor future, not even by death (Rom 8:38-39). Call unto Him and He shall listen unto you.
The Holy Spirit will remind you the word of God!
Titus 2:1 "You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine."
The Bible requires that everybody is taught according to sound doctrine. Every group is addressed in the Biblical teachings, given the directions on what each person is supposed to do. The teachings are as follows;
To Wives...(Eph. 5:22-24)
Submit to your husbands just as you submit to God. The husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church. Therefore, as a wife you should submit to your husband in everything just as the church submits to Christ.
To Husbands...(Eph. 5:25-30)
Love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Love your your wives as your own bodies. "He who loves his wife loves himself," (v28b). No one hates his own body. You feed your body and take care of it just as Christ does the church. Do the same for your wives.
To Children...(Eph. 6:1)
Obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother" -- which is the first commandement with a promise -- that doing this will make things go well with you and you will have a long life on Earth.
To Older Men...(Titus 2:2)
Older men should be temperate - control your temper. Be worthy of respect; be self-controlled; be sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Be a good example to the young men.
To Older Women...(Titus 2:3-5)
Be reverent in the way you live, do not be slanders or addicted to much wine. Teach others what is good. Train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, to be busy at home, and to be subject to their husbands. However, you must uphold these virtues first before training the younger women.
To Young Men...(Titus 2:6-7)
Exercise self-control. This is important as it will save you so much trouble. It will also prevent you from sinning. Always do what is good. Show integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech that you cannot be condemned. Those who purpose that you may be ashamed will have nothing to say about you.
To All of Us (Titus 3:1-2)
Let us all be subject to our leaders, be obedient, and do whatever is good. Slander no one, be placeable and considerate, and show true humility. Do not be weary of doing good, (Gal. 6:9). Many people in the Bible were rewarded for their good deeds: King Hezekiah was added 15 more years of life because of his good deeds (2Kings 20:1-6), Cornelius was also recognized for his good deeds (Acts 10:1-4), and so was Tabitha/Dorcas (Acts 9:36-42). Therefore, continue doing what is good and God will reward you.
You have heard the word, be a doer! practice it!
Lack of Knowledge (Hosea 4:6-10)
God says that His people, the people who are called by His name, are perishing because of lack of knowledge. We, the people of God, have forgotten that we are special creatures of God. We do not have the knowledge that we were not created just to fill the Earth. We suffer because of the lack of this knowledge. We should remember that we were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), and that God has a plan for us (Jer. 29:11). With this knowledge in mind we shall not suffer, we shall not perish.
The Lost Are Found (1 Sam 9:1-3; 17-21)
Kish's donkeys were lost and he was very disturbed. He asked his son, Saul, to go out and look for them. Saul met Samuel in the process. Saul not only found his father's donkeys but was also to be annointed as King of Israel. Most of us are lost just like the donkeys. But Jesus Christ came to look for the lost. Accept Christ and be found by Him, do not stay in the lost state of confusion and darkness.
Dan 3:16-28 | Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego lived in the days of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were administrators over the province of Babylon while Daniel served in the royal court. The men were envied by others because of the favour they had found in the eyes of the king. King Nebuchadnezzar set up an image that was to be worshipped whenever horns, flutes, lyre, and other instruments were played, but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship it. They took a stand and swore never to worship any gods. The astrologers reported the disobedience of the three men to the king, and they were thrown into a blazing furnace. However, God sent an angel to protect them from burning. The king praised the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
On this matter, what is my stand?
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not bow down to any other gods because they had taken a stand against worshipping these gods. Their only God remained to be Yahweh under all circumstances. It is time for you and me to ask ourselves what our stand is in matters happening around us. We are God's chosen people and so we must remain loyal to Him despite the trials we go through. Do not engage yourself in the ungodly happenings in the society. Do not accept to be yoked together with unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14). Take a stand and decide that you will not engage in anything ungodly! Ensure that you do everything for the glory of God (2 Cor 10:31). Never accept to be swayed from your stand. No amount of favours, money, or riches should shake your stand. Remain loyal to God.
Take a stand now!
Luke 17:11-19 | The Ten Lepers
Jesus healed ten lepers, nine of whom were Jews and one was a Samaritan. To Jesus' astonishment, it was only the one Samaritan who went back to thank Him.
It is important to give thanks for what God has done for you. In Deuteronomy 8:1-16, the Israelites were reminded over and over again to give thanks to God for what He had done for them. God has given you a lot; what you get from Him should stimulate you to thank Him more. Psalms 15:1, 50:3, 105:1, 106:1, and 107:1 all talk about thanksgiving. There are many reasons for which you should thank God: good health, new opportunities, good harvest (Proverbs 3:9), child birth, promotion, and many more. You can never lack a reason to be thankful to God.
It is beneficial to be thankful.
Thanksgiving makes you look forward to more - you thank God for what you have today and await another blessing for which you'll thank Him again.
It makes you healhier - when you count your blessings you smile and become happier.
You plant a seed - when you give thanks you plant a seed for more goodness.
Creates room for more blessings - being thankful to God for what you have makes Him bless you with more.
It's a sacrifice - thanksgiving is a sacrifice to God; the sacrifice is always rewarded.
It never fades from God's mind - in Acts 10, we see the Lord remembering Cornellius' prayers and gifts to the poor. God will not forget your thanksgiving. He will reward you with more.
Exodus 9:13-35 | The Departure
It was the time of departure; the Israelites were to leave Egypt and head to the promised land of Canaan to worship God. However, Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to let the Israelites go. God sent plagues to soften Pharaoh's heart.
It is the time for departure; departure from ungdodliness to Godliness.
Do Not Be A Barrier!
The Israelites were to go to Canaan and worship God from there but Pharaoh hindered them; he was a barrier. There are people who hold positions that don't fit well with them but cling to it, barring others from accessing good services. Other people become barriers to the service of God in their hearts, homes, and even the nation. Find that which hinders you from worshipping God and depart from it. Evaluate yourself and find out if you are a barrier to any practice or person. Strive to be an enabler and not a barrier.
God demanded that the Israelites be allowed to go, but Pharaoh declined. On the other hand, Moses obeyed the instructions given by God. Be obedient of God's commandments and instructions. This way, you'll be assured of His protection; you will be able to live without fear even if the world around you is collapsing. This is the life enjoyed by the Israelites during the plagues because they were not affected by any of them; they lived without fear.
Don't be a barrier..!
John 20:1-18 | He's Risen!
It was dark in the morning when the women went to the tomb. That was before they knew that Christ was risen. Our lives are dark before we realize and acknowledge that Christ is risen. He's not among the dead, He's risen! But, what does Easter Sunday mean to you? Is it an anniversary? Is it a memorial day? Or is it a real day - a reality that Christ is risen? How you take the day determines how you take the message of the day.
Be a Witness!
Christians should be witnesses and not spectators to the fact that Christ is risen. Easter is a reminder that Christ is alive and not just an anniversary of His rising. There are many crucial issues in the society in which Christians have been spectators - loving one another, preaching peace in the world, and many others. We should take part in all these issues; we should be witnesses. Death could not hold Christ back, He triumphed! We celebrate this victory with Christ by witnessing that indeed He arose and is alive.
Arise with Christ, be anchored in Him so that you may not be shaken. We witness His resurrection through baptism and faith. His resurrection changes lives; brings redemption from sin; brings victory; brings healing. It will be very unfortunate if anyone misses eternal life even after Christ's sacrifice. Witness His resurrection and accept Him as your saviour!
May Christ Arise In You!
As Jesus hung on the cross between two criminals, one of them hurled insults at Him. He dared Jesus to save Himself and the criminals if indeed He was Christ. But, the other criminal rebuked him; he then asked Christ to remember him when He comes into His kingdom. "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered him, "today you will be with me in paradise." (v. 43).
The criminal who asked Christ to remember him was rejected by the society because of his actions - theft. Being a criminal, no one wanted to associate with him. He would die and no one would mourn his death. Have you ever been rejected for the things you do? Think about the known criminals in the society; the drunkards; all the people that the society looks at as 'bad' people. We reject them. Even Christians do not wish to be associated with such people. But Christ promised such a person that they would be together in paradise! This is just one instance where Christ associates with rejected people - in His ministry He associated with a prostitute, a tax collector, lepers, and many others. These are the people for whom Christ came. They are also the people to whom we, Christians, are sent.
Emmanuel - God With Us
Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, He came to reunite us with God (Matt 1:23). When Adam and Eve had sinned against God they hid from Him due to the shame (Gen. 3:8-9). We always hide when we know we have sinned - but Christ came and died for us. He died so that we may be accepted into the Kingdom of God. Reach out to the rejected people in the society, preach to them, tell them that Christ came and died for their sins, and all they need to do is accept Him as their personal saviour. He will accept them as long as they repent.
You should also seek Christ always - do not wait until you're on the cross; do not wait until you're about to die; do not wait until you're very old. Seek Christ now. He died so that we may live.
John 13:1-17, 31-35: The Washing of Feet
Before His betrayal, Jesus was already aware that His time had come. During the evening meal, He got up, took off His outer clothing and then wrapped a towel around His waist then went ahead to wash the disciples' feet. Other disciples like Peter wondered whether Jesus should wash his feet. Jesus explained that He washed their feet as their Teacher so that they can also wash one another's.
Serve! Serve! Serve!
Jesus came to Earth to serve and did so all the days that He was here. Even though He is the son of God, He was never too proud to serve. He was humble. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the current world. Today, people want to be recognized based on their status - education, powereful job, leadership - all which make people fail to serve. Political parties fight for superiority in the nation, church elders fight for leadership in the church, men and women fight over the heading of their families - the fights are everywhere. Poeple have failed to do that which Jesus taught by washing His disciples' feet - serving others. He washed His disciples' feet so that they can wash each other. This implies that we must serve each other's. He removed His 'outer clothing' so that He could wash the disciples' feet. You must, also, remove the cover of status then resume your duty of serving others. Jesus said that by serving those around us we will be serving Him - feed the hungry, dress the clothless, visit prisoners....this way you will be serving God. Remember that in the house of God you are a servant regardless of your status. Do not be blinded by worldly titles, they can never be as great as being the son of God, but Jesus was never too proud to serve. Therefore...
...be humble and serve!
Keep in mind!
During the palm Sunday Jesus was welcomed in Jerusalem with happiness; they called him Hossanah! A few days later they were shouting, 'Crucify Him!'
The Bible was written in 6 seasons
Understanding all the seasons will help us to know where we've come from as Christians, where we are, and where we are going.
Season 1: Creation - when God created the Heavens, the Earth, and everything in them - including man.
Season 2: The Fall of Man - when Adam and Eve sinned and were chased out of the Garden of Eden. Since then everybody was born in sin.
Season 3: The History of the Israelites - starting with promises to Abraham, the slavery in Egypt and the freedom from slavery.
Season 4: Jesus Christ - His birth, life, teachings, death, and ressurection. He brought redemption from the original sin.
Season 5: The Church - this is where we are now. The church that was left by Jesus Christ as He ascended into Heaven. Those who receive Christ receive salvation and become members of His church.
Season 6: The New Heaven and New Earth - these are to come. We should live according to Jesus's teachings to be part of the new Heaven and Earth whose king He will be.
Parents, Teach Your Children the Word
A week has 168 hours which are distributed as follows in the life a child; 63 hours sleeping, 48 hours in the house playing, 2 hours in church, and 55 hours in school. Therefore, a child spends 111 hours (63+48) with their parent, 2 with their Sunday School teacher, and 55 with their teachers at school. The parent spends the most time with the child and so parents are expected to impact the lives of their children more. Use the time to teach the Child the word of God.
Why Should Parents Teach Their Children the Word?
-Parents are required by God to govern their children....Gen. 1:28. -It's God's command...Deut 6:6-7. -So that they may learn to follow the values of God...Deut. 31:10-13. -God can use children as prophets to the nations...Jer. 1:5. -Children should be given foundation and assurance of the future...Prov. 22.6. -They have wisdom...Prov. 1:7. -They're part of fallen mankind...Rom 3:23. -They're part of the world that God sent Jesus to...John 3:16.
What Should Parents Teach Their Children?
#1-Fundamental truths. Give children the right/correct answers to questions they ask...Exodus 12:25-26. #2-God commanded children to hear. Teach them about God's word and they will hear it....Deut 6:6-9; 31:13. #3-Read scriptures then discuss it with them...Isaiah 28:9-10. #4-Children were commanded to be in the solemn assembly of repentance...Joel 2:16-17. #5-Innocent children will not escape the wrath of God...Jer 6:11.
Attitudes of Children
1: They believe what they're told...Rom 10:17.
2: They are humble enough to meet God's standards.
3: They face the truth more readily than adults.
4: They have tender hearts...touched by the Holy Spirit.
5: Their conscious is clear.
6: They are teachable - ready to change.
1: To Fathers (parents); do not irritate and provoke your children, raise them in the training and instructions of the Lord ...Eph. 6:4
2: To the clergy; the Lord says, "Feed my lambs"...John 21:16. Children are the lambs.
3: To the believers; teach the Children so that they may also receive Christ.
It is our responsibility - together - to teach the children the word of God so that they may grow in it.
Exodus 4:21-23: 'Let my son go, So he may worship me'
The people of God, the Israelites, were suffering in Egypt and God wanted to save them as a promise He made to Abraham. He asked Moses to go back to Egypt and perform miracles before Pharaoh. However, God made Pharaoh's heart hard so that he refused to let the Israelites go. Due to this refusal, God asked Moses to tell Pharaoh that, "I told you, 'Let my son go, so he may worship me.'' But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn." (v23)Then plagues started befalling Egypt.
The power of intercession and spiritual warfare
Pharaoh was not going to release the Israelites without a fight. When Moses and Aaron were performing the miracles by the power of God, Pharaoh fought back with his magicians. This is the war that as Christians we face everyday. The devil is always at war with us. The Israelites were God's chosen people - that is why He did everything for them - we are God's people and He will also guide us in this spiritual warfare. We need to call on Him through the power of intercession and He will hear us. Through intercession we get to listen to God first. Moses listened to God and obtained all instructions from Him. We must listen to God before engaging in this warfare. We are all soldiers in the army of God and so we should all be ready to fight the spiritual warfare.
Why are we expected to fight the spiritual warfare?
#1: Jesus fought the spiritual warfare and since we are called by His name, we must also engage in the warfare. He was tempted by the devil and He won. Every time He faced a challenge He prayed - The Power of Intercession is important in the spiritual warfare.
#2: We have received the 'sonship' through redemption by blood (Gal. 4:4-5). Verse 5 of the text emphasises that upon redemption we received the 'full rights of sons.' This means that we are expected to protect the kingdom which we expect to inherit. It is, therefore, our responsibility as Christians to fight the spiritual warfare.
#3: The creation of God expects the sons of God to be revealed (Rom 8:19). Having been given the full rights of sons, all other creations eagerly wait for us [Christians] to be revealed. We must engage in the spiritual warfare because is this what is expected of us.
#4: It's upon us to teach the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10). The intention of God was that through the church His manifold wisdom is made known to the rulers and authorities...we are the church and it is our responsibility to spread the word of God.
We are winners!
The Lord has given us the authority to trample over the enemy and to overcome all his power. Nothing will harm us (Luke 10:19). Let us engage in the spiritual warfare through intercession - victory is guaranteed.
Micah 6:6-8: With what shall I come to the Lord?
The prophet Micah presents a question that many Christians must be asking themselves regarding the worship of God - what to take to God as you worship Him. Is it the best calves, or thousands of sheep? Is it the firstborn? Many christians are at a crossraods here. Wondering what is the best thing to bring to God to show that indeed they are worshipping Him. Many are tempted to think that tithe, and other offerings alone are enough to show God that they've worshipped Him. Well, everything in the world belongs to God (Psalms 50:12). Therefore, we cannot choose what to give Him - He makes the choice of what He desires from us.
Be just, Show love, Be humble (Micah 6:8)
The Lord says that what He requires of us is to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in a humble fellowship with Him. That is, we must portray justice, love, and humility. Many times people do wrong and claim that 'God will understand'. God does not understand that. He has told us what we need to do and this is what we must stick to. He has solutions to all challenges we face as humans - we should seek His solutions and not come up with our own solutions. Let us avoid human philosophies and embrace the Godly ones - as the chosen people of God we must clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, and all that is good (Col. 3:12-14). Also, keep your mind fixed on things above, not on Earthly things.
Offer your body as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2)
God has great mercy to us and that is why He has taken us as His children. We did not choose Him - He chose us. We cannot choose what to bring to Him for worship - He chooses what He wants us to offer. Let us offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him because this is what He desires of us. This way we will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him (Rom 12:1-2).
There was money-changing and trading taking place in the Temple and this was allowed by the religion. However, Jesus saw that this made the Temple, His Father's house, look like a marketplace. He got bitter and drove them out using a whip which He had made out of cords. Jesus did this to cleanse the temple of all ungodliness and restore it to its original purpose - the worship of God.
Cleanse Your Temple
Your body is the temple of God. It was created for the worship of God. You should not destroy that temple (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19). Your body should not contain anything that will make it incomplete and unclean for the worship of God. The Holy Spirit does not reside in a temple that has been reduced to a marketplace. It is only you and God who know the things that make your body unfit for His worship. In this season of lent and beyond, reflect upon your life and identify the things that you do that hinder you from worshipping God as you should. Is it self-centeredness or criticism of others? is it deceit or selfishness? Find out what it is then give to God so that He may help you destroy them.
Keep your body - the temple of God - clean
Give thanks unto the Lord for His marvelous deeds. God has done great things in our lives. God is generous, just, and compassionate. Out of His compassion, He delivered the Israelites from the suffering in Egypt. He provided them with manna, quails, and direction through the wilderness day and night. This is the compassion that we should also show towards the people around us.
God's Justice (Isaiah 51:1-11)
God's justice is true justice! God treated His people - Israel - with justice. His rightness and justice is near and He shall deliver equal justice to all. God treats all people as equals. Through the eyes of the Lord we are all equal. We all belong to one body with Jesus Christ as the head (Gal 3:26-28). Despite our differences in gender, race, tribe, and nationality, we are equal before the Lord. We should treat each other equally.
God prioritizes the neglected - the homeless, the children in the Homes, the poor, the refugees. He is a generous and compassionate God as He remembers and provides for them. We should also practice God's justice and compassion. Tribalism, corruption, and nepotism are not part of God's justice. As a christian you should aspire to promote God's justice everywhere you are - at home, in your workplace, and in the society. You should also be compassionate to the unfortunate in the society. By doing so you will be lending to God and He will repay you handsomely.
Mark 11:12-25 Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
As Jesus and the disciples were coming from Bethany, Jesus was hungry. He saw a fig tree in the distance. The tree was covered with leaves; He walked over to it for figs but found none because it was not the right time for figs. Jesus cursed the tree by saying that no one shall ever eat figs from it again (Mark 11:14).
Bear Fruits All Season
Jesus knew that it was not the right time for figs but He cursed the tree for not having figs; this teaches us one lesson that is also an expectation that Jesus has of us - that we should bear fruits in and out of season. The seasons that apply to us are seasons of sadness and happiness, seasons of crying and smiling, seasons of mourning and celebrating, and seasons of scarcity and abundance, among others. As a Christian you are expected to be productive all the time. You are expected to praise and glorify the Lord without giving excuses.
The word of God was written to believers to encourage them not to give up even in the face of persecution. It is also a reminder to us that God remains the same through all seasons and so we should glorify Him throughout. We give various excuses for not glorifying God all year round - bad economy, drought, and famine are some of the excuses. Sometimes we only turn to God when we have nothing but when blessed with plenty we turn away and enjoy forgeting who blessed us. This is a calling to all; worship God all the time, in everything you do, in your families, homes, and places of work.
Bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit in and out of season!
Ash Wednesday is the first day of the period of Lent. It is exactly 40 days before the Easter Sunday when counted without Sundays. The period of lent marks the time when Jesus went to the desert to pray for 40 days. Lent is a period of fasting, moderation, and self-denial. It is a period of penance.
Make a Lenten sacrifice!
During this period of lent you are called to make a sacrifice - to give up something. Jesus prayed in the desert, and since we are called by His name (Christians), we are also expected to sacrifice something - especially that which we see as luxurious. Let us give up sin. Wordly pleasures have dragged us into sin and this period presents us with an opportunity to give up these pleasures of sin and seek God's forgiveness.
Think about your relationship with other people. Reflect upon your relationships with the people around you. We know that we are all sinners and would be deceiving ourselves if we say we have no sin. How have you sinned against the people around you? How many hearts have you broken? How many people have you wronged in one way or the other? This is the time to seek forgiveness from these people and from God as well. Pray, repent, and seek His forgiveness.
In the Bible, repentance was marked by wearing of sackcloathes and spreading with ashes and even dust - (Job. 42:6, Daniel 9:3, Luke 10:13). Even though we may not wear sackcloath, we apply ash on our faces during Ash Wednesday services to show that we are in penitence. God has done many things to us but we have failed to thank Him - instead, we are always complaining. We have watched as the poor suffer when we have plenty. We have failed to do a duties in various ways. For all these and more we need to ask God for forgiveness.
We have received the Grace of God, let that not be in vain (2 Cor. 6:1). Let us aspire to move closer to God. During this lent period give up the luxuries in life and engage in prayer, fasting and giving to the poor. Do these not to gain favour from any human being but from God, lest you don't receive God's reward (Matt. 6:1-6). Read the scripture and engage in Godly activities. Come out of lent better than you entered into the period!
The Bible talks of a woman who had bled for twelve years. She had visited various doctors but found no cure. She joined the crowd following Jesus and touched the edge of cloak of Jesus. Her bleeding stopped immediately. She believed that by touching the cloak of Jesus she would be healed, and indeed she was healed. Jesus told her that her faith made her well. She was healed by her faith.
Benefits of [Strong] Faith
Strong faith brings salvation. We are healed by our faith and not by our works (Eph. 2:8-9). We were all sinners but became the children of God when we believed that Jesus Christ is Lord. We should continue to have strong faith in Jesus Christ to receive His salvation.
Strong faith brings answers to prayers. When we pray to God we must believe in His existence and ability to answer those prayers. If you pray but lack faith you will not be answered. You will end up thinking that God does not answer prayers when He does. You need to accompany your prayers with strong faith to receive answers from God.
Strong faith is a major key for healing and deliverence in our hearts. The bleeding woman was healed because of her faith. We should, therefore, have strong faith to receive healing from God. We are also delivered from sin through our faith in Jesus Christ. Without faith you will not be delivered from sin and will miss the eternal life. You need to develop faith in God. This can only come from hearing, and by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17).
Have Strong Faith in God!
Colossians 1:15-20 | John 1:1-14
To testify is to make a statement or provide evidence under oath. You can only testify for someone you know, just like it happens in courts. You can also testify only to something you are sure about or believe in. Every christian is called to testify for Christ in the world.
In court, witnesses testify under oath, the same applies to Christians with the only difference being that Christians testify under vows - the vows you made when you were baptised. When you accepted Christ into your life and was born again you got closer to Christ and knew Him better; it is about time you let the world know about Him.
Purpose To Know Christ
You can only testify for who you know - aspire to know Christ so that you can testify for Him better. Jesus Christ was there from the beginning; He was the word that was with God from the beginning (John 1:1); He is God. Everything in the world was created through Him. Christ is the light that shines in the darkness. He existed before all things and it is in union with Him that all things have their proper place. However, even though everything - including the world - was created through Christ and for Christ, when He came to the world He was rejected. His own did not receive Him (John 1:10-11). In line with the scriptures, He was crucified and died to reconcile the world back to God. He rose and defeated death; He is the firsborn from the dead (Col 1:18).
Children of God
The death of Christ was very important to the world - through it the world was reconciled back to God (Col 1:20). Without His death the world would have perished, but through Christ we are called the Children of God - by believing in Him. To all who receive Him and believe in His name He gives the right to become Children of God (John 1:1). Christ died to reconcile the whole world but it is only those who believe in His name that are given the right to become the Children of God. Testify to the world so that many can believe in His name and become the Children of God. John the baptist testified in the wilderness; He testified about the light of the world. You need this light to fight the darkness in the world. You also need to become a Child of God to be part of Christ's church; Be part of the body whose head He is. It is time to honour our baptism vows to become missionaries and witnesses for Christ. You have seen the glory of Christ, now go out to the world testifying for Him and share the good news with many so that we can all become the Children of God.
As Christians, we have a very strong power in us - divine power. The power is strong enough to do wonders and change things. There are sources from where we get the power as well as the various instruments through which we express the power in us. These are;
1. The Blood of Jesus - 2 Cor 10:3-5
We live in the world with many worldy things, some of which are there to make us fall - to bring us down. We, therefore, are in a constant fight against these things; these principalities and strongholds. On our own we cannot last a day in this war. We rely on the blood of Jesus for the power to fight and win. We do not fight for worldy motives but Godly. We do not use worldy weapons but God's powerful weapons. The blood of Jesus is the only cover that is divine - it enables us to fight against all obstacles raised against the knowledge of God; It is a source of the power in us.
2. The Name of Jesus - Proverbs 18:10-11
The Lord is like a strong tower; He protects the righteous and makes them feel safe. The name of the Lord is strong and whoever calls upon His name does not perish. This name is strong enough to cast out demons and demolish all evil. This is the only name with a guarantee of safety. The name is so powerful that all beings in heaven and on earth will fall and kneel before Him and proclaim that indeed, Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:10-11). Through Jesus' name believers are given the power to perform miracles, drive out demons and speak in tongues. They will not be harmed by poison or snakes because of this powerful name. The name of Jesus lives in us through the Holy Spirit. The name is a source of the power in us.
3. The Tongue - Proverbs 18:21
The tongue is very powerful in that whatever you say can preserve a life or destroy it. The tongue is an instrument of power with which we express the power in us. It is a very powerful organ because it can decide the fate of a life. You must be careful with your words because they can harm other people. You must also be ready to acccept the consequences of your words. Be mindful of every word you utter with this powerful organ.
4. The Word of God - Hebrews 4:12-13
The Word of God is alive and active; it is sharper than a double-edged sword. It cuts all the way; it sees through us and judges our desires and thoughts. Through the word of God we have the power and authority to overcome all the power of our enemy - the devil (Luke 10:19). Do not worry about anything because this power in you is divine and will protect you from all harm - nothing will harm you. Mary was not sure how she would give birth to a son yet she was a virgin; but the angel of God told her that The Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of God would rest upon her (Luke 1:34-35). Through the Holy Spirit, therefore, we are assured that God's power is resting upon us.
5. The Weapon of Prayer- Isaiah 54:17
With prayer we have a weapon in our hand ready to use in the fight against the devil and his worldly pleasures. Through prayers we are able to call upon the Lord and our voice is heard and answered. No other weapon will be able to hurt us; we shall have answers to all those who accuse us. We shall call upon the Lord in prayer and He shall defend and give us victory.
Do not worry; You have divine power in you; Use it to call upon the Lord and to spread His word.
John 3:10-18: For God so loved the world...
In the old testament every time a law was broken, a lamb had to be slaughtered for sacrifices of forgiveness. This meant that without blood there was no forgiveness. However, the sacrifices had to be made time and again with no lasting redemption. That is why God gave the world His only Son to die on the cross for the full atonement of our sins - to give those who believe in Him eternal salvation. But what made God give His only son is the love that He had (and still has) for the world (John 3:16).
Out of His love, God chose the small nation of Israel and made them His people and became their God (Exodus 6:7). He delivered them from slavery, showed them the way through the wilderness day and night, and even provided them manna and quails. What an immense love! God wouldn't have done any of these to the Israelites if He did not love them.
Giving is preceded by love, that's why God only gave His son to the world because He loves the world. This type of giving cannot take place without love. You cannot share anything with the needy if you have no love. It is good to have love which should then lead you to sharing what you have to help those who do not have.
'He Who Believes in Him [Jesus] Is Not Condemned' - John 3:18
The Israelites were bitten by snakes and they cried for help, Moses lifted a bronze snake so that whoever was bitten would live if they looked at it (Numbers 21:9); those who didn't look at it died. A similar thing happens in the New Testament; to a condemned world God has given His only son, out of His love for the world. The duty of the people of the world is to believe in the Son - Jesus Christ. The Son was given to the world to save it and so whoever believes in Him is saved, 'but whoever does not believe [in Him] stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son' - V18. We must believe in Jesus Christ to live, if we don't we perish and fail to attain eternal life. He is a gift of love to us, Let us all believe in Him for He is the way, the truth, and the life.
2018 - The Recover-It-All Year
In the book of Joshua 6 we see how the Lord delivers Jericho to the Israelites; It takes them seven days of surrounding and sounding of trumpets to get the walls down just as God had commanded Joshua. The walls collapsed on the seventh day...from that day and the eigth day onwards they must have been clearing up the city also as commanded. Walls went down in the year 2017. We lost several things, the most important one being love. In this year let us recover it all including and especially our love towards each other. Let us portray the love that God has for us to the people around us.
Love, Give, and Believe in Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 62:1-5: 'You will be called by a new name'
The Israelites had been despised by other nations for long. They had suffered for long; they called out to God for help. The Lord said that He would no longer be silent, He would no longer keep quiet. He would bring salvation to Israel, salvation that 'shines like a blazing torch.' Israel would be restored.
You will be called by a new name - (Isaiah 62:2)
God has restored many people, in the bible, from suffering in the darkness to light. Abram was living among the moon worshippers and he was not known. This was the same case for his wife, Sarai, who was old with no child. But God called them and changed their names. Abram was now Abraham, and Sarai, Sarah. Sarah was also given a child at her old age. Sarah was no longer barren and Abraham was now known - he was called the Father of Nations. This is what happens when God restores us. The Israelites were despised by other nations. They were called Deserted and their land Desolate. But after the restoration they would be called Hephzibah - 'my delight in you' and their land Beulah - 'married'. This was because the Lord would take delight in them.
You may have suffered a lot. You may have gone through so much that you are almost losing hope in life. You may have prayed so much but felt like God is not hearing you. But the time for restoration is now, God is restoring His people. For your sake God will no longer be silent, He will not be quiet any more because He wants to restore you. Do not lose hope because you will no longer be called deserted nor desolate, you will be called by a new name. Success, Favour, Grace, Blessings, will be your portion from now on.
God does not forget His people, He always comes at the right time to restore them. No amount of suffering should make you lose hope or feel worthless before God. God takes delight in you just like a bridegroom rejoices over his bride (Isaiah 62:5). God rejoices over you and He is here to restore you. It is your time to shine. Your salvation has come and God will not be silent until this salvation blazes like a torch to be seen by all nations - all people. 2018 is the year of restoration; let the Lord restore you to high glory!
1st Sam 16:1-3 and v13 | Samuel Annoints David
It was that time in Israel when king Saul had been rejected by God. He was bitter and was feared. God asked Samuel to fill his horn with oil and go to Bethlehem to annoint one of the sons of Jesse - David - whom God had chosen to be king. However, Samuel was afraid of Saul for he knew Saul would kill him if he found out about it. So he asked God, "How can I go?" But God asked him to take a heifer for sacrifice and go.
Most of the time we find ourselves in a situation similar to Samuel's, where we have big plans and ambitions but we despair due to the challenges that stand before us. But God says 'get up and go.' In this new year, 2018, and also the years to come you will face new challenges against your dreams and ambitions, but you should not despair because the Lord that we worship is always with us and knows what lies ahead. So get up and go, trusting in God and not letting challenges discourage you.
When Samuel looked at the sons of Jesse, he wondered who else was the chosen king because he expected him to be among the elderly sons. When he saw Eliab he thought he was the one, but God told him not to consider his appearance or height (v7). Do not be deceived by appearance because appearance can be misleading. Sometimes we look at the challenges before us and we feel like they're way too big for us, not knowing what God has in store for us. With God you will triumph over your challenges.
In verse 13 we are told that '...the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power...', confirming that the spirit of God is with His annointed. Be encouraged because you've learnt to listen to God and the Holy Spirit is with you. You can go, you can face tomorrow because He who holds your tomorrow says, 'Get up and go!'
In procurement, stock counting (stock taking) is done at the end of every year to determine the quantity of goods available. During this time, also, the quantity of goods available is compared with the quantity at the beginning of that period - year. 2017 has come to an end, it is time to count your stock.
Everyone is given an annointing by God, an annointing that we are supposed to use to the glory of God. But most of us still go back to the "forest" from where we were delivered by the annointing. There is a purpose that God wanted you to accomplish in 2017. Maybe it was singing in the choir, maybe it was helping the needy, maybe it was evangelising. Now that 2017 has ended, count your stock to determine how many of these purposes you accomplished and how many you didn't. If there is any you didn't accomplish, seek His forgiveness and aspire to know and accomplish your purpose in 2018.
Kill Your Goliath
David was a young man shepherding his father's flocks, not known or recognized. But when he killed Goliath and brought with him his had, he was allowed to enter the palace and king Soul wanted to know whose son he was. He gained entry to the palace and was recognized for his actions.
Everyone has a purpose but against everyone there is a Goliath who tries to prevent you from accomplishing that purpose. This Goliath may be your ego, your sinful ways, fear, lack of faith, or even negligence. The truth is that you will not enter the 'palace', neither will you be recognized until you kill your Goliath. Identify your gifts, your purpose, then identify what hinders you from using these gifts, then fight these hindrances by the help of God. In 2018, purpose to kill your Goliath to accomplish your purpose.
Learn From the Eagle
Lesson One: An eagle flies alone: An eagle knows what it is, it does not fly with bats or any other birds because it is an eagle. Be like an eagle and fly with fellow 'eagles'.
Lesson Two: An eagle has accurate vision: An eagle can see its prey from miles up in the sky then fly down to pick it without being distracted by other things on the way, even other potential preys. As a christian, your vision should be as accurate and as you aim towards heaven, do not be distracted or swayed by worldly pleasures.
Lesson Three: An eagle does not feed on dead flesh: It is flesh, yes, but as long as it is dead, an eagle will not eat it. It kills fresh flesh. You gave a contribution in January 2017, you paid tithe in May, you gave an offertory on the New Year's day. All these are right but 'dead' glory. Not dead in that they're not meaningful but dead because they were done in the past. You need to get working towards 'fresh' glory. Do not be weary of doing good, (Gal. 6:9), move from glory to glory.
Lesson Four: An eagle loves storms: An eagle flies high through storms then opens its wings wide then allows itself to be carried freely by the storm. Do not hide, face your storm head-on and triumph. Make it an opportunity to get even stronger, higher; by the help of God.
Lesson Five: An eagle prepares for training: An eagle builds its nest with thorns then leaves. When the young ones refuse to fly, the eagle removes the leaves leaving them on the thorns. They are then forced to fly. Challenges are meant to empower you to be creative and to succeed.
Lesson Six: When old, an eagle goes to the mountains where it is alone, plucks its feathers, beats its beak against rocks to break it, and plucks its claws, through a painful process. It then waits for them to grow and be young again. It lives up to 70 years.: Evaluate yourself and find the old feathers, old wings, old beaks and claws that make you fail to glorify God as you used to. Remove these and glorify God to the fullest.
Happy Prosperous New Year, 2018!
Luke 2 | Christ, the Christmas Gift
During Christmas we take gifts to our loved ones and they bring us gifts as well. It is a season of happiness that does not end without the sharing of gifts. But the main question is, have you shared with your neighbour in this season?
Jesus Christ is Himself a christmas gift to the world, a gift from God. "In the town of David a saviour has been born...", (Luke 2:11). This great gift is a saviour who saves all people and is ready to save us when we call on Him. Mary celebrated the baby as a gift to her, a gift who came to reconcile us back to God - Emmanuel. But as God gave the world this special gift, what have you given out?
The shepherds who visited Jesus Christ when He was born were strangers to the family, they were welcomed. Have you opened your door to the people around you? They brought gifts with love and adoration. What kind of gifts do you give out? Do you offer the gift of love to others?
Mary and Joseph were to take care of their gift, our gift, Jesus Christ. How do you handle gifts? Love is a special gift, how do you take care of it? peace is another special gift, do you protect it and ensure it reigns? Purpose to esnure peace reigns now and forever.
Share! Share! Share!There are many people around us who are not able to enjoy the Christmas season like us; think of the orphans in children's homes, the prisoners, the poor, the sick in hospitals , and even the closest people around us who do not have some of the things that we have in plenty. As Christ is a special christas gift to us from God, during this season purpose to gift others by sharing the little that you have with those that don't have. This way you will be promoting the spirit of Christmas.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, 2018!
Luke 2 | Birth and Life of Christ
The birth of christ is special; He was concieved by the power of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin. This signifies purity - blamelessness. God is blameless, Jesus was God and still is. He had to be born blameless. Acts 2:33 and Acts 7:56 tell us that Jesus was exalted and is standing at the right hand of God the Father. Phillippians 2:9-11 also tell us that He was exalted.
The birth of Jesus Christ was special because He is the son of God. He was with God from the beginning of time. In John 17:5 Jesus asks God to "...glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began". He was and still is God, He took the form of man and was given birth to in a special way.
To the world a saviour was born - this makes His birth very special. Not just a normal baby was born, the baby would come to save the world and reconcile it back to God as it was in the beginning. This is very special. He is our refuge and sympathizes with us, Hebrews 4:15. He came to save us and give us Hope. He was tempted but did not sin, challenging us to strive to be as blameless.
As Christ is born to the world this season, may He be born in our hearts...
Isaiah 7:10-16 | Romans 1:1-7
Scriptually, you will find the ritual of thanksgiving nearly from cover to cover. Individuals offered sacrifices out of gratitude in the book of Genesis. The Israelites sang a song of thanksgiving as they were delivered from Pharaoh's army after crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 15). Also later, the Mosaic Law set aside three separate times each year when the Israelites would gather together. All three of these times; Unleavened Bread (also called the Feast of the Passover) (Exodus 12:15-20), Harvest or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-21), and the Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-36), involved remembering God's provision and peace.
As Christians, We're called to be Thankful.
The Bible regularly mentioned "Thanksgiving" long before1863, when during the Civil War, president Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated. Different bible translations have also mentioned the word "thanksgiving" several times as follows: KJV: 30, NIV: 32, NET: 29, ESV: 38, NLT: 31. This shows how important thanksgiving is.
"Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever", (Psalms 106). The following verses talk more about thanksgiving: Phillippians 4:6, Jonah 2:9, Colossians 3:15, Colossians 2:7, Psalms 69:30, and Psalms 28:7. Read through these verses to learn more about thanksgiving. The following verses; 1 Chronicles 16:34, Ephesians 5:20, and 1 Thessalonians 5:18, talk about giving thanks as a practice we should always carry out. Give thanks for all the things that God has done for you.
Thanks To His Name"Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorius name,"(1 Chronicles 29:13). The name of the Lord is great and holy and so we should always give thanks and praise to His Name. Hebrews 13:15 and Psalms 100:4 also emphasise the importance of thanking the name of God.
Ungratefulness - The Opposite of ThanksGod is angered by us when we complain and fail to thank Him. "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their follish heart was darkened", (Romans 1:21). "And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord...", (Numbers 11). 2 Timothy 3:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 10:10 also talk about why we should not be ungrateful.
Why Should You Be grateful?
- Being grateful makes you happier and healthier - Researchers say that if you count your blessings you increase your emotional health because it makes you happier.
- Being grateful helps you see more blessings - being thankful for your current blessings attracts more blessings for you.
- There are sad consequences of ingratitude - Being ungrateful and always complaining angers the Lord and we may lose more blessings which we were to recieve.
Be GratefulIf we say that "I'd be happy if...", we will never be happy. Everything that will come our way will not make us happy, we will always want something more. Be grateful for what you have now even as you pray that God blesses you with more. Ask yourself what God has done for you this far (to date), in the year 2017 and even before. Be thankful to Him for these. Be thankful to those around you too. Take a gratitude challenge; Identify several things in your life that you are thankful for . These can be the people who've helped you, physical abilities, material possessions, things about nature, places, foods and also things about the gospel. Be thankful for these and in your life, be grateful for everything.
Isaiah 5:8-30 | Acts 3:13-41
The Bible records a story of a vineyard owner who did everything possible to make the vineyard produce good harvests. He even secured the vineyard from intruders so that it may grow well. However, during harvesting time the vineyard did not produce to his expectations. He decided to remove the protection and let it grow on its own. However, he kept on visiting and checking on it but the harvests were always poor. This is is the story of us and God.
The people of Israel had angered God through their sinful acts and God pronounced woes unto them. Woe was pronounced unto; those who add house to house till there is no space left and live alone on the land, those who wake up in the morning to chase after their drinks as well as those who stay up late for the same, those who draw sins along with cords of deceit, those who call evil good and good evil, those who are wise and clever in their own eyes, those those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, and those who acquit the guilty for a bribe and deny the innocent justice. The judgement of God was declared upon these people. "The Lord's anger burns against His people," (Isaiah 5:25a). God had done the Israelites good, saved them from slavery, but they disobeyed and angered Him. We are doing the same to our God.
The good news is that there was hope for the Israelites just like there is for us. This hope is in Jesus Christ.
Just like the Israelites, God has given us all we need and has blessed us with enough resources to bear good fruits for His glory. Instead, we have strayed away from Him and engaged in unGodly things, bearing no good fruits. This has angered Him and He has declared woes and judgement upon us. We cannot escape this judgment by our own might. We need Jesus Christ. We have the hope that though we have sinned annd angered God, He is always ready to forgive us if we repent. "But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life," (Ezekiel 18:27 (NIV)). This means that we shall be forgiven if we repent of our sins and walk away from the sinful life.
What are you doing that does not please God? Have you sinned and had woes and God's judgment declared upon you? All you need to do is repent of those sins and accept that you need Christ to help you live a righteous life and your sins will be forgiven.
"Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you," (Acts 13:38).
Repent, accept Christ and be forgiven.
The people of Israel had forsaken the Lord and engaged in sinful activities that angered God. They had seeked other gods in Gilgal, Bethel and Beersheba. They were doomed. There cities would face destruction. However, Amos told them that the Lord says, "Seek Me and Live". Despite their sinful lives, there was hope of life if they seek God.
To seek is to look for something earnestly. This is what all christians are called to do. You must seek God earnestly for you to live. To live doesn't just mean not to die, it means being alive in the Lord.
However, there are barriers and hindrances to seeking God. Some of them are;
- Sin - We cannot seek God if we are engulfed in sin. Sin prevents us from seeing the face of God. We should have our sins washed with the precious blood of Christ so that we can seek God truely.
- Pride - in 1st Peter 5:5, the bible says that "God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.". We, therefore, must get rid of our pride before seeking God.
- Worldness and Flesh - the world is filled with all good things to the eye and flesh but evil to the spirit. Those who follow the worldy desires of the flesh cannot seek God earnestly. Do not be swayed by these doomed desires.
- Satan - the devil will always find a way to prevent you from seeking God. Be strong.
- Ignorance - you know that you should seek God and you know how but you do not seek Him.
How then should we seek God?
- Prayers - Prayers act as a bridge, a communication channel between us and God.
- Repentance - (Isaiah 55:7), sin hinders us from seeking God; repent of it, be forgiven and seek God.
- Reading the word of God - Let the word of God not depart from you, (Joshua 1:8).
- Fellowship - fellowship with other christians and help each other to seek God.
Why it is important to seek God (Benefits)
- God strengthens us - when we seek God, He strengthens us, (Psalms 46:1).
- We will get rest - when we seek God, His presence shall go with us and He will give us rest, (Exodus 33:14).
- We will not lack - He will always provide for us.
- God's blessings will always walk with us - "Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart," (Psalms 119:2).
Rev. Julia's Retirement
Retirement is good because it allows one to do all the things they could not do while in service. there are many good things that a Christian can do but at times one is heald up by the service they offer. Retirement gives one the golden chance to practice all these. However, when one retires from a christian service, they should not stop offering such services. One should always walk with christianity.
"Christianity does not mean anything if it does not mean everything," (Bishop Stephen Neil).Christiaity should mean everything even after retirement.
Retirement also gives one the chance to thank God for a good serice period. At the end of your services, during retirement, ask yourself "How shall I thank God?". Set out to do those things that show thanksgiving to God for being with you throughout the service. You have been doing a very good job, but now what you're going to do [from now on] is very important.
Luke 2:21-24 | Consecration of the Firstborn (Jesus)
To redeem is to buy back; to get something back at a price. You must part with something. The story of firstborn redemption began in Egypt during the passover when the angel of God passed over the houses of the Israelites and kiled the firstborns of the Egyptians. The Israelites had cried to the Lord due to their suffering and God responded and came to their rescue. After the paasover, all firstborns of Israelites belonged to God and to get them back they had to offer animals.
Jesus was the firstborn to Mary and Joseph and so he was also redeemed in accordance with the law. They gave two pigeons. This shows that this practice is a must-do. The Israelites were supposed to break the neck of an animal which was a firstborn and they felt they could not redeem. Showing that firstborns MUST be redeemed or be given to the Lord.
Firstborn redemption is important as it helps in supporting the 'Levites' (clergy), shows obedience to God's commandments and is also a way of thanking God for opening a woman's womb. In exchange, God provides His protection, prosperity, and presence to the child and the family at large.
There are three things that we, as Christians, should do in a worshipping of God. The first point is First Things First. There are many things that we can do in this world but we should start with what the word of God tells us in Matthew 6:33, "...seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be given (added) to you." The devil has reversed the order of importance of things, (Rom. 1:21-25). Do not fall into his trap, do the first thing fast, seek God.
The second thing is discerning time (Heb. 10:1-4, 10:19-21). You should be in a position to know the times in which we are living. We are no longer in the old covenant where animals' blood were repeatedly offered for cleansing, we are in the new covenant where Jesus' blood was offered once and for all, for everyone. (2 Cor. 3:7-14).
The third thing is seeking the truth. Know the truth and it shall set you free. Be born of water and spirit for you to enter the Kingdom of God. this is the truth (John 3:5, 8).
Numbers 18:15;16 | Lev. 27:26-34
All firstborns belong to God. The Israelites had to offer animals to buy their firstborns back and keep them. This shows that all firstborns are God's and not ours. We must offer something to God in exchange for the firstborns if we intend to keep them. Otherwise we should hand them over to the church to work for God.
Firstborns are very important to the family, whether male or female. They lead the family in various ways, always acting as family heads. Every family that redeems its first born is blessed because the Lord allows the first born to belong to the family, bearing in mind that before redemption the firstborn was His. The message here is: redeem your firstborns.
Luke 15:11-24 | The story of the prodigal son
The prodigal son asked for his share of the father's wealth and left to a far off country where he misused all the wealth and suffered. Going away from his father was a sin whose consequence was the suffering he went through in the far country. When he could not take it anymore, he decided to go back to his father. He told his father that he had sinned against him and God. In verse 21, "The son said to him, �Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.�". The bible says that the song came back to his sense then went back to his father. His fater forgave him and accepted him back happily.
As Christians, we are Children of God and so by His side we should always stay. Anytime we pull away and try to make it on our own weare committing a sin and we eventually fail. Sin is madness, that is why the bible says the son came back to his sense before realizing that he had sinned. So have you gone astray? Are you trusting in your own might instead of the Lords? God is saying to you today, "Come back to me!". Remeber the words of the psalmist, "Betteris one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere..."(Psalms 84:10). If you're astray, return and if you're within God's courts, stay.