When Elisha cried to God in 2 Kings 2:14, River Jordan parted for him as soon as he smote the waters. You must realize his cry was out of distress. He was desperate. The Psalmist says in Psalms 120:1:
In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.
God attends to distress calls and He answers the desperate. Elisha’s outburst was out of desperation and he had every reason to be desperate. Since he left his home, he never went back. Even if he returned home, he could never return to his farming profession because he had earlier killed all his oxen and destroyed his farming tools. He had burnt the bridges and there was no looking back. Besides, he was at the bank of River Jordan where he had no ship or boat. There was no bridge across the river and he did not know how to swim. Boy! He couldn’t have become more desperate!
When a man is desperate, he easily gets God’s attention. Check out erstwhile blind Bartimaeus or the paralytic who was lowered through the roof to meet Jesus. In both cases, the Lord had to suspend what He was doing in order to attend to them. How desperate are you? Several millions and even billions of people pray to God daily. One criteria the angels use in selecting who gets attended to now, who can wait a little and who would have to wait much longer is the level of their desperation. Many fail to receive attention today because their prayers are too sophisticated and couched in Queen’s English, satisfying all laws of Grammar. At the end, their focus is more on grafting the prayer than on God. A desperate man does not care whether his grammar is correct or not as long as he is conversing with God. A woman in labour does not remember whether she has a Ph.D. or she is a bank manager. All she cares about is to be delivered of her baby safe and sound. How desperate are you in getting your desired answer? Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). If you can call on Him and show Him you are making a distress call, He will make away for you. This season, the Lord will create a way for you to go through. You are coming out of that fix! Call on Him now, call out in desperation and He will answer you.
According to Matthew 11:12, there are certain spiritual blessings that may never be obtained except through spiritual violence. How desperate are you?
If there was one Bible character who was sure of his divine calling and followed it to the end, it was Moses. He gave no room for negotiation with Pharaoh. But supposing after the initial demonstration of power at the palace, Pharaoh reminded Moses of his childhood days when they both grew up as princes in the same palace, and based on his antecedents offered Moses a big reward or position in Egypt in place of his God-given mission to liberate the Israelites? What would have become the fate of the Israelites if Moses had compromised? Today, several fire-brand preachers of salvation, holiness, and deliverance have negotiated their calling with the devil and received in its place pleasure, worldly fame, glory, wealth and position. Have you dumped your high calling and specific assignment for some worldly considerations? Did God anoint you and send you to the streets or mission fields and villages to win souls to Him as an evangelist but you accepted the offer of some church to occupy a big post and be paid some big money and dumped your original mandate? Remember, one day, you will account for the original mandate and not the fake one the flesh or devil has given to you.
Any position, promotion or offer that takes you out of God’s original mandate is simply a negotiation for your calling and must be rejected. It is worthy to note that your divine assignment is rooted in God’s covenant. For instance, the assignment of Moses was deeply rooted in God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and any failure would have affected God’s covenant for Israel. God has a total plan for the Body of Christ but gives every member of this body a piece of the plan – the one just meant for the fellow. If you dump your original mandate for any reason, there will be a vacuum. Just imagine as part of the body, a leg is missing, movement of the whole body will be seriously impeded. God may have to do some juggling or reassign someone else to do your assignment and this is why you must not forsake your assignment. Be true and faithful to it and do not let God’s Kingdom be a disadvantage as a result.
Father, let me never lose focus of Your mandate upon my life.
Memorise: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. Hebrews 8:11
Read: Hebrews 8:9-13
Bible in one year: Psalms 37-39
The finger of God is an agent of creation and a mark of God’s authority. They were also used in writing His laws. Deuteronomy 9:9-11 says God wrote the Ten Commandments with His finger on tablets of stone. Every author writes a book or puts words and sentences together in order to convey certain ideas or opinions for others to read. The fact that God wrote the Ten Commandments with His own fingers established the fact that He and not Moses is the Author. God not only writes on stones, He writes on men. After Cain killed his brother Abel and God judged him, he requested for a reduction in the punishment, being scared that anyone who sights him might kill him. As a result, God wrote on him – He put a mark of “untouchable” on him so that anyone who saw him from that day would not touch him. With God’s mark on Cain, he was free to serve his punishment without anyone touching him. Even today, God can put a mark upon you which will make you untouchable. Paul had this mark. He says:
From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Galatians 6:17
This mark is also a mark of divine ownership. In other words, when the finger of God writes on you, the enemy will immediately realise that you are a property of the King of kings and so they cannot just toy with you. Paul got his divine branding in the course of being persecuted for Christ. Have you been so branded? Apart from this, God said a time was coming when He would write His commandments on the tables of the hearts of men and they shall serve Him with ease. That time is now! Today, as you study His Word daily, ask Him to inscribe His laws upon the tables of your heart so that you will no more stray from His will (Hebrews 8:9-13). Servants are branded and their owners recognise them by the mark on them. Do you have any mark that identifies you as God’s property? Is His mark of ownership vivid? Are His laws written in your heart? Have you become untouchable? If any of these is lacking, run to the cross today!
Father, give me hatred for sin. Help me to hate sin as you hate it.
Memorise: Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. Micah 7:5
Read: Micah 7:2-7
Bible in one year: Psalms 34-36
A king is a prime target in any war between two kingdoms. The moment he is captured, all his subjects become captives of the victorious king. In Hosea 10:13-15, the Lord told Israel that their expectation for national defence through their men of war would fail and their king would die. It is wrong to invest your expectations, hopes and aspirations in your leader, or men of wealth. They will fail you.
Another reason expectations are disappointed is when they are placed on friends. The truth is those individuals most people take as friend are not truly their friends. Some people may be close to you because of mutual interest. These are your associates. By reason of further interactions, you could see them as friends but do you know their hearts? True friends will express a love that is stronger than that of blood brothers (Proverbs 18:24). Also, a true friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17). David and Jonathan were true friends and they were ready to do anything to protect their friendship. When you become rich, some people will attach themselves to you and some of them will be suckers – those who just want to benefit from your wealth (Proverbs 19:4; 14:20). You will be making a mistake to think such people are friends. The day your wealth disappears, so will they. Then there are those who associate with you because you are of the same social status. To this end, the rich befriend rich people like themselves, but in their midst there is a lot of rivalry, envy and competition. Those you are richer than or those you are more brilliant than as a student or those you are prettier than as a lady would secretly be wishing that something would happen that will dwindle your competence and make them better than you. Yet you think they are your friends and you tell them your secrets. Why will such “friends” not be happy to disappoint you when you really need them, especially if that would help them have an edge over you? So Micah 7:5 warns that you do not put your trust in your friends. The only friend you can have that will always be with you and will never betray you is Jesus Christ. As you receive Him into your heart today, He will be always with you, helping you in all you do. He is genuinely interested in every area of your life so do not hide anything from Him.
If you have all the friends in the world but do not have Jesus Christ as your friend, you will never experience what true friendship is.
Memorise: The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. Psalms 103:8
Read: Psalms 103:9-14
Bible in one year: Psalms 31-33
Apart from supplies, another thing that God has in abundance is mercy. Ephesians 2:4-5 says God is rich in mercy. Psalms 103:11 says:
For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
Just imagine the space between the surface of the earth, through the sky, before entering the galaxies! God’s mercy covers all that space towards us. If His mercy is that large, then there is enough mercy to go round the billions of earth’s inhabitants. More astounding is the realisation that a very insignificant fraction of that mercy can heal the sick, raise the dead, and do the impossible. But if this is so, why is it that people still run out of God’s mercy? Why did King Saul exhaust his mercy line so soon? Why did the family of Eli run out of God’s mercy at Eli’s old age? The answer is in Psalms 103:11 quoted above; which is the absence of the fear of the Lord. Although God’s mercy is so great yet it must never be taken for granted. The mercy of God responds directly to the fear of God in our lives. While God’s mercy gets bigger and bigger towards those who fear Him, it becomes leaner towards those who do not fear Him. Whether God’s great mercy will be accessible to you or not will be determined by you. If only you can fear God completely, God’s mercy will not only be readily available, but will always be accessible to you.
Moved with compassion and gripped by mercy towards a leper in Mark 1:40-45, the One who asked us not to touch lepers touched a leper and healed him. Mercy gives you what you don’t deserve. Similarly, in Mark 10:46-52, mercy moved Him to hear the cry of a beggar and He healed him. This season, mercy will grip His loins and cause Him to do something about your situation. The Lord will have compassion on you today. Even though you do not deserve His blessing, His mercy will extend His touch to you. On the other hand, work on yourself and ensure you continually increase in the fear of the Lord as a way to ever access His unlimited mercy.
Father let the hold of the Spirit of the fear of the Lord grow stronger in my heart every day
Memorise: Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he peserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Psalms 97:10
Read: Psalms 97:9-12
Bible in one year: Psalms 28-30
If you look through the pages of scriptures, you will discover that so much emphasis is placed on righteousness as well as the rewards of righteousness. There is no way you can gloss over this while searching scriptures. God is interested in your works after you are saved. Acts 10:38 says Jesus was full of good works. Some people say it is now only faith, no more works. Lies could not be as profound! James 2:20-26 says faith cannot stand alone. It is works that demonstrate faith and perfect it. Also, you need to combine your works with your faith before you can be justified (James 2:24). How are your works today? Do they tally with Scriptures? Are they in consonance with the works of Jesus Christ?
To make it to Heaven, your life must show forth certain works of righteousness. Let us consider how you will identify a righteous man or woman.
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Hebrews 1:9
A righteous man is identified by how much he loves righteousness and hates sin. You cannot love sin and righteousness at the same time except you want to deceive yourself. If you are genuinely born again, any time you show some interest in something sinful, you compromise your righteousness. Your robe of righteousness is tainted with sin. To this end, Romans 1:29-32, says those going to hell include both those who committed the sin as well as those who aided and abetted the sinners. To what extent do you hate sin? If you hate sin, you will keep it at a distance. You will be far from anyone who can easily lead you into it. If you hate sin, you will never set aside time to engage in evil thoughts much more the actual deeds. If you hate sin, you will daily pray that God keeps you far from it. If you love righteousness, you will be full of good works. Your friends will be men and women of good spiritual standing. You will only participate in activities that glorify God. To what extent do you hate sin?
Father, give me hatred for sin. Help me to hate sin as much as You hate it.
One major undoing of the church in Laodicea was pride. Lucifer was created perfect in beauty and also had position and power from God. But the day he became proud of what he had (as if they came from him) and began to rub shoulders with God, God simply pushed aside all His investments in Lucifer and began to deal with him based on his pride. If you are carrying out exploits for God but you are proud, don’t be surprised if you make it to Heaven, and you are told there is no record of your achievements there. Do away with pride now before it completely erodes all your gains! Everyone who is proud is indirectly saying he or she is self-sufficient and does not need God for anything. A proud person sees God not as God but as a mate. A proud person cannot show God respect. It takes humility for you to respect God. Are you proud?
Another problem with this church was lukewarmness. They were indifferent to whatever God asked them to do. They were neither hot nor cold. The Lord hates lukewarmness with passion! Earlier, Paul wrote to the Bishop of this church named Archippus to take heed to the ministry so as to fulfil it but he simply paid deaf ears to it (Colossians 4:16-17). Down the line, the Lord could not see anything good in the church he was overseeing any more. From this we learn that we should do things at the appropriate time. If you fail to take correction concerning a particular area, and you think things will remain the way they are, they won’t; things will only get worse. The longer you leave a restitution undone, the more difficult it becomes to do the same later. If you were uneducated in the 60’s, how will it be some 30 or 40 years later? You may think it is still the same level of ignorance only to discover that the very little you knew had become so obsolete that you have totally gone out of relevance. Make those little corrections in your life, family and ministry today before they get worse. Obey the Lord’s warnings now before they get out of hand. Carry out those little restitutions today before they become issues in your life and permanently keep you from Heaven.
Not only is love expensive, it may also undergo a trial. If you don’t believe this, ask Abraham. At a time, Abraham was torn between his promised child Isaac and God. It became inevitable for God to test whether he still loved Him (Genesis 22:1-2). Whether you like it or not, your love for God will be tested. Usually it would be based on someone or something you really love. Isaac was about 15 years before the test. Abraham had become so fond of him to the point of Isaac being inseparable from him. I went through my own test some years ago. It was during a Christ the Redeemer’s Congress which held on the 24th of December. It was my custom to spend the Christmas and New Year holidays with my mother because of my love for her. I therefore decided to visit her on the 23rd of December, just to see her and give her some few things before the Congress. I arrived at her house very late. As I knocked, somebody else opened the door and rejoiced that I had come. I was briefed on my mother’s illness and told she was almost at the point of death. At this time, there was no telephone to communicate with others to delegate my assignment. So I prayed for her and told her that I love her but I love God more, that after the Congress I would come back to see her, alive or dead. That was though but after the Congress she was still alive when I returned and she lived for another 15 years. In other words, God extended her life like Hezekiah’s after helping me go through the test of love.
Your love may be tested on the fiery furnace or in the lion’s den. Since Jesus laid down His life for you, He expects nothing less from you to your brethren (1 John 3:16). It is either you love God to the extreme or you don’t. I once shared with my children that to succeed could be quite expensive because of the requirement to study at night when others are sleeping, or study in the day while others are playing. One may even be called a bookworm and other names, yet that is a far cheaper price to pay than failure. If you fail, you will become a servant to your colleagues who succeeded. Every Christian may claim to be born again and on their way to Heaven, yet it is only the few who really love Him that will make it on the last day. You can be part of the few!
Every disciple of Jesus will be required to take the test of love. Ask for grace to scale through.
When the Lord sent Moses to ask for the release of the children of Israel nothing happened until the magicians saw the finger of God.
Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. Exodus 8:19
Thereafter, it was no more business as usual. This season, you will encounter the finger of God and your situation shall change dramatically in Jesus name.
The finger of God is significant in many ways and has definite implications for us. According to Psalms 8:3, it is an agent of creation.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
God created what we can see on earth today with His hands; hence Psalms 19:1 says the firmament is God’s handiwork. The implication of this is that when the finger of God comes into a situation, the power of creation steps in, ready to create or recreate whatever is needed. Does your body need some new parts? The finger of God will recreate them for you. When Jesus came across a man with the withered hand In Mark 3:1-5, the finger of God was brought into his situation and his hand was recreated to be like the other hand. Is one of your hands or legs shorter or smaller than the other? The touch of His finger shall correct the defect. In addition to this, if you are lacking in ideas, useful suggestions and plans and the finger of God touches you, your creative abilities will suddenly receive a boost. Are you short of ideas that can give your business or church a positive turn around? The finger of God will touch you and what you lacked shall be created. As the Lord touches you today, everything that is lacking in your ministry, finances, and family shall come into being. They shall be created. Ask that the finger of God will touch you today. Release your faith and expect the impossible but desirable to take place. Your situation is about to turn around for the best.
Father, in any area I am in need, by Your finger supply that need.
Memorise: Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a season; Hebrews 11:25
Read: Hebrews 11:24-27
Bible in one year: Daniel 4-6
The one who has not fully made up his mind about his relationship with God, might be tempted to compromise the Gospel message or the specific errand he or she is asked to deliver to the affluent in society when given the opportunity to stand before them. When compromise sets in, the glory departs. Compromise is a great deflector of God’s glory. When you stand before kings to tell them the truth, even when they do not like to hear the truth, God increases His glory upon your life. There are several children of God who stood before kings in Bible days and they never compromised: Young David, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Daniel and Paul, all stood before kings without compromising. In fact, Daniel was very outstanding. He remained in the corridors of power for a very long time. Successive kings found him so invaluable that they retained him so as to give credibility and add value to their kingdoms. There is a user of this Devotional who will soon stand before kings. God is giving you the opportunity to stand before kings. But when this comes to pass, do not be intimidated, and do not change your message. Speak the truth and God will uphold you.
Can God send you to a place of pleasure or a dangerous zone without you compromising? If money or self gratification is uppermost in your heart, you will surely forget your main reason for going. It was dangerous for Moses to accept God’s call to go and meet Pharaoh. That errand could have cost him his life, yet he went. He made a choice that could hurt him. What were gains to him, he counted as loss, just like Paul. It was a great honour to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter – a prince, yet he told people to stop calling him that. In other words, he despised the title that would have opened doors to him everywhere he went in Egypt, but rather chose to suffer with endangered species (the Israelites). He preferred the reproaches of Christ greater treasures compared to the sinful pleasures of Egypt. No wonder he carried God’s glory to the extent that people could not look at his shinning face. What sacrifice have you made to earn the glory of God you are asking for? Paul gave up his academic achievements just to be a carrier of higher levels of glory. Without sacrifice, you can never climb high on the glory ladder.
It is faithfulness that keeps you uncompromising in the midst of pressures. Ask for grace to remain faithful wherever you are.
Memorise: The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. Nahum 1:7
Read: Hosea 10:13-15
Bible in one year: Esther 8-10
Due to the nature of man, placing your hope on associates can cause the death of your expectations. The reason some are hopeful of getting a job or a particular contract is because a friend or close associate has assured them of assistance. Never allow any associate take the place of God in your life! In Jeremiah 9:2-4, Jeremiah warned that the Israelites should not put their trust in their brother or neighbour because their lifestyle was replete with lies. Jesus did not commit Himself to man because He could see how vain they were (John 2:24-25). For those living in these last days, the Bible paints a bleak picture of their character and even believers are not spared because, commitment to the truth is ebbing fast. It is increasingly difficult to really have someone to trust among professing Christians today because many have adopted and retained some level of falsehood. Before you enter into partnership with fellow believers, be led of God to the specific believer or else, you would be thoroughly disappointed by the actions of some Christians whose lives have been taken over by the love of money and falsehood.
Similarly, any expectation built on influential people such as those in government, family, church, academia, trade unions, etc., can easily disappoint because those making the promises are ordinary men. How many people who were voted into public offices have truly kept their promises? Basing your hopes on such people could cause a heart attack when they disappoint you. God raised the nation of Israel through the ranks; from humble beginnings with inexperienced soldiers to a greatly fortified nation with mighty warriors. But what did the people do? They took their trust from God and placed it in their mighty men. No wonder God told them they would fail (Hosea 10:13-15). The confidence of some Christians has shifted from God to their prayer contractors. Even some church leaders now put their trust in their prayer band members forgetting that when men pray, it is left to God whether to answer or not. If He refuses to answer, you cannot take Him to court. Let your trust be in the Lord.
It is either you trust in God or in man. Who you trust determines whether you are blessed or not.
Memorise: A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time. Isaiah 60:22
Read: John 2:1-11
Bible in one year: Esther 4-7
God is unlimited in generosity hence Romans 8:32 says if He could give up His Son, what else can’t He give to us? When Solomon made a request in 2 Chronicles 1:6-12, all he asked for was wisdom, yet God went beyond his request to give him even the things he never asked for. This He did to prove to Solomon that God was inestimable in his life, that even though Solomon can be exhausted after giving 1000 burnt offerings, He cannot be exhausted while giving. This year, the Lord will not be tired of blessing you. You will give to Him and ask for one thing and God will give you ten things – asked and unasked. In John 2:1-11, they only told Him they needed some wine. Instead of giving them a few bottles, He gave them 162 gallons which is over 700 litres (British imperial system) of the purest wine. He did not order for them from the winery but simply spoke to the water and said: “Water, I need you to serve me not as water but as wine” and immediately the water became wine. Today, the Lord will speak sweetness into your tasteless situation in Jesus name.
Where God takes His supplies from, there is much more left. The whole of mankind can never exhaust God’s resources, much less it being exhausted while serving only you.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Psalms 23:5
I once asked God, “Why the waste?” And He said: “So that you will know that I have unlimited blessings. There is plenty from where the blessing is coming from”. Isaac sowed in a time of famine and he received 100 fold returns, and God added to him a large flock of cattle and a great store of servants (Genesis 26:12-14). Esau on the other hand got only a tiny blessing, yet he had 400 bodyguards (Genesis 32:6). That is why wise believers will never joke with their tithes even for once. Why? Malachi 3:10 says when you pay your tithe, you are asking God to demonstrate what He can do. Your tithe will make God to flex His muscles, ready to bless you, while paying your first fruits will cause your barns to burst (Proverbs 3:9-10). As you obey Him completely and ask in accordance to His Word, you will get beyond your request. You will knock on one door and 10 doors will open to you. This is possible because God is a God of super abundance.
Have you ever asked God one thing and He gave you beyond that request? If your answer is No, do so now. If your answer is Yes, ask Him to repeat it.
Memorise: Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 1 John 3:7
Read: 1 John 3:1-10
Bible in one year: Esther 1-3
The call to salvation is a call to holiness. After you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Saviour, it does not end there; the journey to Heaven has only just begun. Before you were saved, you manifested the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). But now that you have encountered Jesus Christ at salvation, the fruit of the Spirit is expected from you (Galatians 5:22-23). Every attempt at righteousness before your salvation was equal to self-righteousness which is as filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6); hence, Paul says his self-righteousness no longer counts but the righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9). God has not only saved us and given us the gift of righteousness, He also expects us to live a life in agreement with His standard. Today, some people think that it is just enough to be born again and that nothing else is required. No! It is not enough! The truth is your new birth gives you the platform on which to build on, having secured God’s righteousness through your faith in Christ Jesus.
We are called to be like our Saviour Jesus Christ. In 1 John 2:1, Jesus is called the righteous, and verse 29 says:
If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
This means that the fruit of righteousness that you bear will be used to determine whether you are born of God or not. 1 John 3:7 says:
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
God is not saying you should be holier than Jesus. Even Jesus says it is enough for a servant to be like his master (Luke 6:40). If God expected works of righteousness from Jesus, He expects the same from you. If you look at the letters the Lord wrote to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3, you will notice that He kept repeating that those who will qualify for those wonderful rewards are only the believers who overcome as He also overcame. In every point Jesus overcame, you too should, because He is our standard. Every act of righteousness He manifested, you too should. You must live a life that manifests the victory Christ has given you over the flesh, Satan and the world. You must allow Him to live His righteous life through you. Are you daily living a life of righteousness?
Jesus is God’s unchangeable standard for man. Be like Him in everything including righteous living.
In today’s reading, the Lord wrote a letter to the church in Laodicea. Let us briefly look at their background. Laodicea was a strong financial centre in those days. It had very rich inhabitants who thought since they had virtually all they needed, they did not need God. It was the heart of textile manufacturing, providing specialised medical care for eyes and ears. The church in Laodicea was equally inhabited by wealthy members who thought they could do almost anything with money. Being wealthy, they could afford the best of clothes and medical care. Their comfort and affluence made them proud people.
If you look closely, the church in Laodicea was the only one out of seven that the Lord had nothing good to say about. Even as bad as Sardis was, it still had some good people. Meanwhile, they saw themselves as the happening church- the rich and affluent church. Laodicea was a church that had all its physical needs met. They could afford the most fantastic auditorium, equipped with the best and most expensive musical instruments then. They could afford to publicise every programme on air and do glamorous banners. Their church could be said to be what most of our churches today dream to be. On Sundays, if you saw the sisters there, you would think there was a fashion parade or some kind of beauty pageant. It was a prosperous church with all members physically prospering. The latest cars were parked in their parking lot. What a church without a need! Meanwhile, as they were celebrating their “immense success”, the Lord was lamenting their wretchedness. In His eyes, they were the exact opposite of who they thought they were. May you never see yourself only through your eyes but always through His eyes. One lesson here is that we need to steer clear of pride as it is capable of eroding all our good works. Anyone who is adorned with any attribute of pride blocks God’s view of his or her good deeds, except the object of pride. If you fill up a two-storey building with good works but you are proud, it is only your pride that would be seen. Nothing will be recorded for your good. The proud is in competition with God. Are you proud?
ACTION POINT: Search yourself for any element of pride and immediately deal with them before they spoil your work.
Memorise: By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35
Read: John 13:34-35
Bible in one year: Hosea 8-10
It is very expensive to love God except you do not really have an understanding of this. In John 14:15, Jesus said:
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Ordinarily, there is no big deal in this except when you realise one of His commandments you must keep is to turn the other cheek to the one who slaps you. This is hard. It is hard to have the capacity and resources to carry out revenge but refrain from doing so because of your faith in Jesus Christ. When some Christians found themselves in such situations, they wept as when they saw a rat biting the tail of a cat but the cat could not do anything. Also, John 13:35 says: we should love one another as Christ has loved us. This is a difficult task because among those we are told to love are unlovable people. How do you love a so-called brother or sister who is constantly doing everything to provoke you and cause your downfall? How do you love a so-called leader who is a traitor and who discriminates against you? How do you love a pastor who sits on your progress for several years and warns you not to tell his superiors? It is hard. Yet, you have to love them because of Heaven. You have to love and forgive them or else you have gotten to your final bus stop in your Christian race.
Additionally, Psalms 97:10 says if you love the Lord, you must hate evil. To most Christians, that appears like what they regularly do until they isolate some cases and find out that they are not truly keeping this commandment. Some Christian parents see their children dress improperly and dismiss it with a wave of the hand saying: “Don’t mind her: she is being childish”, yet they do nothing about it. What of wives who dress in seductive manners, virtually showing to the world that they are” available for sale”, yet their husbands cannot caution them? Or what of prayer point the Lord gave to all believers in Matthew 5:43-45? Do you know that based on this command, we should be praying for all our enemies daily? Did I hear an Amen? Not for the enemies to fall down and die but for God to open their eyes to know the truth and become converted. How many people are keeping this commandment today?
Lord, no matter how hard it is, for as long as you commanded me to obey Your Word, grant me grace to obey without complaining.
God’s call is not for fun or frivolity. God has definite purpose for calling you. It is important you acknowledge why He saved and called you because God does not just pour down His glory on people, He does so to assist you in fulfilling His call upon your life. As you respond and totally submit to that call, He will move you from one level of glory to another. According to 1 Corinthians 15:40-41, God has different glory moulds for different things He created. The bodies of angels are different from human bodies and both have their different glories. Even among lights, there are different levels of glory. Among believers in Christ, the story is not different. Believers radiate varying levels of glory due to number of reasons such as: the type of calling on that believer, the price paid to maximise that calling, the level of holiness or obedience the believer operates, prayer life, Bible study life, worship, praise and thanksgiving life, the degree of pleasing God, etc. You can be a carrier of God’s higher levels of glory if only you are ready to pay the price.
God does not expect you to deviate from your primary calling as this will not only lead to failure but also make you unable to maximise God’s glory in your life. Moses was called primarily to lead the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage into their promised land. In doing this, the Lord sent him to Pharaoh to ask him to release God’s people. This assignment was both dangerous and tempting. It is possible for somebody like Moses who was brought from the bush and made to stand before the king to compromise because of affluence associated with the palace. Many church leaders and Christian workers today who were given the opportunity to minister to the top brass of the society, have compromised on the message or errand they were sent. They found it difficult to tell the truth because they wanted to remain in favour with those in authority. No wonder they cannot optimise God’s glory! If God sends you to the crème de la crème in the society, you owe the truth of God’s Word. In wisdom deliver to them the Gospel message and where possible make an alter call. God wants you as His witness before panels, committees, kings and the leaders of the society. Be a true witness! Don’t change your message!
Jesus died for all classes of people. If you have opportunity to reach any of these classes, you are privileged; do it with all your might!
If you are a bona fide child of God, the rivers and seas will serve you. River Jordan served Joshua, Elijah and Elisha. The Red Sea swallowed up the Egyptian hosts chasing the Israelites. The sea solidified under the feet of Jesus for Him to walk on. From today, the rivers, oceans, lakes and sea will serve you. This is one aspect of God’s creation that has been put under man’s dominion in Genesis 1:28. Today, the rivers still serve us in the baptism of saved souls. The water will not swallow your blessings in Jesus name. Have you lost any good thing to the river? Command that specific river to vomit it in Jesus name.
Another lesson regarding the parting of River Jordan is that while a river can receive a positive anointing which can be of later use, it can also receive a negative anointing which can negatively impact on someone’s life and destiny later. In the first aspect, after contacting the anointing on the three men of God, the river was ready to be used by God to release healing to Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-14). No wonder it was also the same river prepared for the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:13-17). The river was prepared before it was used. Its use had nothing to do with its size or how physically clean it was. Going by what Naaman initially said, there were even other better rivers than Jordan, yet Jordan was the one that had been prepared. God likes to use vessels He has prepared. If He has used you before, He would want to use you again. The more you make yourself available to Him, the more He will use you. The more He uses you, the more He will use you to do greater things and to handle more sensitive or special assignments for Him. Are you available for His use? On the other hand, after Naaman dipped seven times into River Jordan, his leprosy was retained by the river which was later transferred to Gehazi. A lot of rubbish is dropped in rivers physically, as well as spiritually. It is possible for some people to contact demon spirits, marine spirits and negative power from rivers. It is also possible for somebody to pick up what another person has dropped. This is why we have to be very prayerful. Have you been covenanted with water spirits when you were young? Renounce such covenants, break them by the blood of Jesus and rededicate your life to Jesus. If you are not yet born again, give your life to Jesus and see your pastor for deliverance prayers. Command every negative thing that has come into your life from the waters to return to their source.
Those God will use to do greater Kingdom tasks often go through tougher trials of longer duration.
Before you receive a prophetic declaration, check out the fruit of the vessel-the prophet, pastor, or servant of God, whether the fellow is still in league with God. Some people say, “thus says the Lord,” but the Lord did not say anything to them. Some of them heard from themselves and spoke. Be careful of what you accept as being from God. In Jeremiah 28:1-4, Hananiah a prophet prophesied that in two years God was going to set Israel free from the yoke of the king of Babylon, but it was all a lie! Imagine the joy of the people when they heard that. But after two years, and the prophecy did not come to pass, all the expectations of the people failed. Instead of two years, they spent 70 years. In others, the prophetic lies of prophets cannot change what God want to do or alter its timing. Stick with genuine men of God and particularly the Word of God i.e. the Bible.
Apart from lies, expectations that are based on the support of an idol, another power or spirit will definitely be disappointed. Sincere idol worshippers and cultists know that there are severe manipulations and falsehood regarding the predictions of their idols or deities. They also know that promises of fame, power and wealth made to them are actually in return for long life, health, the lives of their loved ones, etc. being taken from them. Satan does not offer any free gift but at the time of the offer, he will make everything appear as if it’s free. The recipient of such offers would have been trapped before there is a realisation of what the devil would have in return (Isaiah 40:19-20, 24). The expectations of the wicked including idol worshippers shall fail (Proverbs 10:28). This involves confidence in local deities, charms, amulets, magic rings, love portions, anything and anyone you love to a point of taking the place of God in your heart. According to Psalms 92:7 and Isaiah 45:16, idol worshippers with their hopes shall be disappointed because they want to share what God cannot share with anyone- His glory. The prophets of Baal who contested with Elijah on Mount Carmel were disappointed and lost their lives (1 Kings 18:17-40). Are you using evil power or contesting with a bona fide child of God? Your expectations shall fail and you may even lose your life. Repent today, and apologise to the child of God you are fighting before the Lord faces you.
Make this confession: Every idol taking God’s place in my heart, I tear you down and enthrone the Lord Jesus Christ at the centre of my life.
Knowing your spiritual standing is very important at any point in time. But one challenge is how to judge where you are, whether you are dead, sleeping, sitting, standing, running or flying. Who is a dead fellow? A dead man is one that has no feelings. If your conscience is hardened, you are spiritually dead. There are some pastors who are dead. No matter what they hear like: stop stealing, falsifying church records, committing adultery, etc. they will say, Amen; but when they return to their parishes, they will continue with their evil deeds. This they do because they are dead spiritually. Ephesians 2:1-3 speaks of those who are dead in sins and trespasses. The dead are those who sin and take pleasure in it. They enjoy living in sin which makes them no different from unbelievers.
It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom. Proverbs 10:23.
The pastor who verbally runs down his senior pastor and sees nothing wrong with it, is dead. It is a dead fellow who will witch-hunt other believers with the motive of replacing them. There is a growing congregation of the dead in the church today. If you want to stay alive, you must avoid them like a plague. Avoid any group in your church that promotes rebellion, gossiping, backbiting, segregation and any other evil. The day God’s wrath will fall on them, if you are with them, you will not be excluded.
If you have no feeling for your brother or sister, your conscience is dead. If you sin or do wrong and you do not feel anything, you are probably not only dead but buried in sin. If you oppress others, particularly your brethren that you were asked to do good to, it is because your conscience is dead or seared with a hot iron. Jesus says let the dead bury their dead. If you are dead, it is people like yourself that will finally nail your spiritual coffin- that is, they will ensure you never rise up again spiritually. This means, if you are part of the congregation of the dead, in order not to be buried by them, run back to Jesus today. Cry out to God to change your heart. Ask for a heart of flesh and make all necessary restitutions. Are you dead? The Lord says to you arise and He will heal your backsliding (Jeremiah 3:22).
Father, in any way I have become insensitive to your pricks, cause me to arise today.
What is jubilee? Jubilee is a new beginning where the fellow who was once rich but lost his wealth gets it back; where the house that was filled with empty vessels begins to have those vessels filled (2 Kings 4:1-7). What makes jubilee beautiful is the fact that it is by divine decree. It is not as if the slave owner really wants the slaves to go, but because God has decreed it, the slave must go. Nobody can stand on His way. God does not need to take permission from the devil before He sets you free. You do not need to take permission or plead with your captors to release you on the day of your jubilee. Has God decreed your release? Then you must be freed! He decreed light and light came into existence (Genesis 1:3). Psalms 33:8-9 says God should be feared because when He speaks, it is done. Your release is settled because God has said it.
Moreover, when we talk of the year of jubilee, people generally think it must be every 50 years. But when l studied the Bible, I discovered that people experienced jubilee at different times. For instance, the man by the pool of Bethesda was in captivity but got his jubilee after 38 years (John 5: 2-9). Also, for the man born blind recorded in John 9:1-7, his jubilee dawned and he regained his sight after 40 years. In Luke 13:10-17, the woman who was bent got her jubilee after 18 years. According to Exodus 21:1-6, the year of jubilee could come to some after 7 years because God is the One who controls times and seasons, and He is the One who will decide when He wants to intervene in a matter (Daniel 2:20-21). Your age will not stop your jubilee. Our God is the God of jubilee and He loves to set the captives free although He will never violate your will. In Exodus 21:2-6, when jubilee is offered, captives are free to void it and remain as captives. In a town in Osun State (South West Nigeria), there was a very wealthy man who amassed much wealth through extremely evil means. One day, out of mercy, God wanted to save him so He sent a preacher to tell him about salvation. After listening for some time, he thanked the preacher and asked him to lead all his children to Christ, but as for him he had gone too far with the devil that he had chosen to end it up with him. Even when he was told it was not too late for him, the man resisted. He turned down his jubilee. Will you accept or turn down your jubilee?
Pray that God will open the eyes of all those who are rejecting jubilee to see things from God’s perspective and accept His salvation.
Memorise: The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 2 Peter 2:9
Read: 2 Peter 2:4-9
Bible in one year: Amos 1-3
There are three schools of thought on the subject of the timing of the Great Tribulation. The first school of thought say born again Christians will be on the earth and will go through Great Tribulation. The second say believers will stay on the earth for the first 3½ years of the tribulation period before being taken away; while the third school of thought says believers will not be here when the tribulation begins. I strongly share the views of the third school of thought based on scriptural evidences of God’s past dealing with His people.
First, according to Revelation 3:10, if you keep His word, you will be out of the way before the trouble i.e. Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7) starts. Similarly, God does not destroy the righteous with the wicked except if the righteous had dumped righteousness for evil. That was the basis for Abraham’s intercession for the righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah and God spared Lot and his family (Genesis 18:22-23). We learn from that account that one major reason God has not overthrown our cities today is because of the righteous living in them; after all, the world is far more corrupt now than in the days of Noah or Sodom and Gomorrah. Also, during the deluge, God spared Noah and his family before flooding the whole earth. Fear not! As you serve the Lord faithfully, He will take you away before He brings judgment upon where you are. However, the church in Philadelphia was advised to hold fast what they have lest another fellow takes their crown. Some years ago, in a communist enclave, 50 Christians were being tortured for their faith in Christ. Soldiers moved them to a lake of freezing water, stripped and put them there. At another spot was a huge bonfire so that if they denounced Jesus they could warm themselves and be set free. Unknown to them, God has opened the eyes of one of the soldiers who saw each of the believers who endured being tortured to death, receive a crown from an angel. As this continued, one of the Christians who could no longer bear the pain started stepping out. Disappointed, his angel was about to take his crown back to Heaven when this soldier suddenly stripped himself and ran to replace the believer so that he could take his crown. Hold fast to what you have or you will lose your crown and other rewards to others!
Father, help me to endure to the end so that no one will take my crown.
Memorise: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 1 Corinthians 6:9
It is love that can make a man to wait for 14 years just to get married to the lady of his choice like Jacob did for Rachel (Genesis 29:18-28). A lady once told me that nobody was asking for her hand in marriage. We prayed and few months later, she had six suitors on line. Then she came to me to ask how she will know the one that is her husband. I asked her to tell them that they should wait for 14 years, by that time she would be through with her Ph.D. programme and would have worked for some years. Not one of them stayed after hearing that. If there is love, there is strength to wait. Love can be costly. It can cost a man his freedom. From Exodus 21:2-6 we understand that any servant that is Hebrew is expected to serve for six years and on the seventh, he should be freed. If however he marries and because of love he refuses to go, he would receive a mark so that anybody who sees him will know that he is a slave forever. Occasionally, I hear some people give God conditions before complying with certain divine requests or instructions. This shows that they do not love God, or that they have forgotten they were supposed to be His servants forever.
True love gives you super human strength. When somebody is truly in love, he could survive any adversity for the sake of that love (Romans 8:35-37). Being more than conquerors is a height in love which many do not yet know. If you are truly in love with God, you will gladly die for Him like Stephen (Acts 7:54-60). Today, because many church leaders are afraid of their lives, they cannot go to certain countries or certain parts within their native land to preach Christ. Death is no big deal but the big deal is what you go through before you die. In the days of communism, it was the torture that a Christian went through that gave him pleasure; today, the reverse is the case. A Christian was arrested and thrown into prison. He began to witness Christ to the inmates so they took him and gave him the beating of his life until he was bleeding all over. By the time he was returned, he asked those he was preaching to, “Where did I stop before the interruption?” Loving God can be expensive. How cheap or otherwise is your love for God?
Take this confession: Lord Jesus. I confess and acknowledge you as my Lord. I am your servant. You own all I have. And I will worship you with all that you give me until you take me to glory.