TEXT: PSALMS 103:1-5; PSALMS 146-150
MEMORY VERSE: PSALMS 103:1 “Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His Holy name.”

The word ‘Hallelujah’ is very popular among Christians but very few know that the Hebrew word means. “Praise Ye Jah (Jehovah) Hallelujah is a shout of victory, especially over the wicked. Today is the very last day of the year and by this time tomorrow, we are already in another year (2019). It is worth celebrating. But how do you celebrate seeing the end of the year? Do you celebrate it in beer parlours or with another man’s wife or husband? Christianity does not go against celebration but you must mind how you go about it in order not to fall into sin. Sin is like cancer.

David wrote Psalm 103 asking his soul to bless (worship) the Lord (Jesus Christ). He looked back and saw that God had showered many benefits on him. Psalms 111-118 and Ps. 146-150 are Hallelujah psalms which we must read and digest. Ps. 147:1 says “Praise ye the Lord for it is good to sing praises unto our God: for it is pleasant and praise is comely” and verse 7 says “Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God.” Ps. 149 urges us to sing a new song unto the Lord (verse 1) because “He takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the meek with salvation”, and so forth.

Beloved, praise ye the Lord because He is good and for His mighty acts. Let the high praises of God be in your mouth because you are still alive this day. Praise Him because your illness is gone forever and because God will repay all your losses in 2018 with stupendous blessings in the New Year. Hallelujah. Be of good cheer, you who have specific needs; you will begin to flourish like the Almond tree in the New Year. It is well with you.

PRAYER: Thank you, Father, for allowing me to see the very last day of the year in peace and good health. Let it be well with me and my family in the New Year and pour your blessings on me and keep me fit to serve You in Jesus’ name. Amen.

TEXT: LUKE 13:6-9
MEMORY VERSE: MATTHEW 3:10 “And now also the axe is laid unto the fruit of the trees: therefore, every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is cut down cast into fire.”

The fig tree is one of the most popular of the 29 trees mentioned in the Bible. It is of two kinds; the early and the late fig trees. Its leaves are always very big. No wonder Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves to cover themselves from the shame of nakedness they found themselves in Gen. 3:7. In the remaining days of your life, you will not experience physical, financial or any nakedness or barrenness in Jesus’ name. Amen.

A barren fig three is good for nothing. You hardly can sit under it because of the ants that stream its stem. In Palestine and Egypt, fruit trees are planted in gardens or orchards so they are always well taken care of. Fig trees always bring fruits 10 out the 12 months of the year and their fruits are always fleshy like mangoes or apple, and delicious.

What happens then when a fig tree refuses to have fruit? Your guess is as good as mine – cut it off. If a man or a woman is unproductive in a place of work, will the manager allow such a worker to continue to receive pay? God forbid. If a baby born three years ago, cannot crawl or talk, will the parents be happy?

That is what happens when a sinner refuses to repent. God sent Prophet Jonah to Nineveh, the then capital town of Assyria, to warn them of an impending doom unless they repented. When they repented, God let them off the hook but a century or so later God wiped them off the face of the earth when they went back to sin. The same happened to Babylon “the great” and Sodom and Gomorrah. Do you still hear about them today? It is the Law of God that “It shall not be well with the wicked.

Don’t be like the barren fig tree or the stump of a once flourishing tree? As you approach the year 2019, determine not to be a barren fig tree. Beloved, be fruitful.

PRAYER: Gracious and merciful Father, don’t allow me to be like a barren fig tree but make me productive to positively affect live and win souls for Kingdom in Jesus name.

TEXT: PSALM 103:1-14
MEMORY VERSE: PSALM 103:8 “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” (NIV).

All of God’s creation enjoys divine providence as Jesus Christ emphasised that God sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. Likewise, the sun shines on all to give light and warmth (Matthew 5:45). Imagine that these general benefits are not available for all the world would be in utter chaos and worse than what we may be experiencing at the moment.

However, those that confess and fear the Lord have unique benefits, ‘How joyful are those who fear the Lord—all who follow His ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labour. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear Him’ (Psalm 128:1-4 NLT). Say Amen to that. It is a very natural thing for children who are respectful to their parents and are hard working to attract special favours from them.

Psalm 103 speaks of 30 expanded benefits from the Lord some of which are forgiveness of our sins and healing of our diseases, redemption from death, crowning with love and tender mercies, filling of our lives with good things and renewal of our strength. Mark out the other benefits in the 22-verse psalm of David. These benefits stem from a relationship with God Almighty which Jesus Christ made possible as the mediator between humanity and God through His death on the cross. The ultimate of these benefits is eternal life with God (John 3:16). Some people see eternal life as utopia or non-existent but the Holy Spirit continues to testify of this and it is true.

PRAYER: Merciful God, I believe You for all the benefits You have given me. Renew my life like the eagle’s and wipe out all the diseases and sins attacking me and make me whole in Jesus’ name. Amen.

TEXT: ROMANS 12:1-21
MEMORY VERSE: ROMANS12:21 “Be not overcome of evil but overcome evil with good.”

Romans, written when Paul was in Corinth, is a gem of doctrinal importance. Canonically, the 6th of Paul’s 13(or 14) Epistles, Romans contains the A.B.C. of Christian’s education and should be studied in details before studying other epistles. In our text, right from verse 1 to the end, Christians are told what to do on daily basis such as –

Presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. Your body is God’s Temple and must be kept holy.
Not being conformed to the world; (though in the world, Christians are not of the world).
Don’t think you are better than others. Don’t put on the holier – than – thou attitude;
Christians are ONE in Christ and there should be no division;
Avoid ostentatious giving;
Stay clear of evil; always do good even when you are repaid with evil;
Be kind to one another. Show love to one another, not only to those who love you;
Don’t be a lazy worker. Learn from the ants (Prov. 6:6) and don’t wait to be told to do what you know it is your duty to do;
Be hospitable. Give willingly and sacrificially. Entertain visitors to the height of your ability;
Rejoice with them who rejoice and pray without ceasing.
Avenge not. God is the greatest avenger; allow Him to avenge for you;

These are a few of what Apostle Paul told the Romans, the centre of civilization during his time, to do, and by extension, all believers including you and me. You can list them and paste the list where you can always see it and act. Better if you put them in your mind. It is said that some Christians are saints in the church and Satan at work, at home and on the street. What are you, Brother and sister? What are people saying about you here and there? Consider your ways now.

PRAYER: Eternal God, teach me to do good at all times in Jesus name. Amen.

TEXT: AMOS 5:21-27; ISAIAH 1:1-14
MEMORY VERSE: AMOS 5:21 “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savour your sacred assemblies.” (Compare with Isaiah 1: 11-20)

The assemblies and offerings of the people had become a ceremonial performance that does not flow from the heart. Read vs. 21-23 and identify the area of acts of worship that God refused to be pleased with. It was like God rejected everything that made up worship, feast day, solemn assembly, burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings of fat beasts, songs, melody of stringed instruments, etc. Prophet Amos, one of the so-called minor prophets, had his ministry in the reign of King Uzziah of Judah and King Jeroboam of the 10 Northern Kingdom of Samaria (Israel). He probably operated shortly before the great Prophet Isaiah. Read Isa. 1:1-14 and compare with today’s text.

Also, read vs. 24 and list out what Israelites neglected, things lacking in their worship, why God rejected all those expressions of “beautiful worship”. Though socially unjust, Israel carried on with the rituals of religiosity which meant nothing to God. They presumed that obedience to ritualistic ceremonies and ceremonial acts of worship would justify their unjust act, especially against the oppressed. How can God accept praise from you when your poor house help is going through hell in your hands? Many at times, we are tempted to think that God is more interested in our act of worship in church (singing in choir/band, ushering work, serving in committees, giving communion, preaching, interceding, offering and seed sowing), than He is in our social and private life (cheating your spouse, secret relationships, midnight dirty browsing, plotting against one in secret, falsification of documents, coded lying, deceit, defrauding, etc.)

Do not be deceived; God watches the heart and checks the heart before checking the sacrifice/offering (Gen. 4:4-5). When God does not manifest despite all rituals, pause and check your life; let justice and righteousness flow like a mighty stream.

PRAYER: Help me, God, to be pure inside and outside all the days of my life so that my prayers, worship, praises and life may offer a living sacrifice unto Thee, in Jesus name I pray. Amen.

TEXT: HOSEA 7:1-10
MEMORY VERSE: HOSEA 7: 8 “Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned.”

We must note that “Israel” and “Ephraim” are often used interchangeably. Samaria is the capital of Ephraim as well as all the 10 northern kingdoms.

In our text for today, we are looking at the moral state of Israel as a nation in a deplorable condition. The king was guilty in that the wickedness of the nation amused him and his royal court. This sin was so prevalent that they had no regard for God’s covenant with them again. Her wickedness was as the heated oven that is continually too hot to be controlled by the baker. Her Kings ignored God’s Word and were not moved by the calamities that befell the nation. They were careless about sins and the people’s sufferings. Some 14 kings and queens of Israel were assassinated within a short time! They were like unturned cakes that burned on one side and uncooked on the other side! Such cake is as poisonous as an adder or serpent. But in all these, what pained God most was that Ephraim mixed herself with the gentile nations. Her behaviour was not different from the wicked cultures of unbelievers. Prophet Hosea (pronounced Osee) lists about 55 such sins in his 14-chapter, 197-verse, book! Note in vs.2 that God laments the insensitivity of the people. He remembers all their wickedness.

God knows your ways, they are open before Him. Whenever a Christian begins to lose the sensitivity and sharpness of his/her conscience, such a person’s heart is evil. It is more dangerous to be half-baked than to be unbaked. Half-baked cakes are poisonous. David prayed for God to deliver him from presumptuous (deliberate) sins. Only then will he be innocent, he said. What is the state of your heart and life? Why not call upon God for help today so as to be restored? When you know you got it wrong, continuing in error is not the solution. Instead, stop; turn to God and receive His help and grace. Stop being so comfortable in the face of sinful acts. They seal your heart against your Creator, God Almighty. You become a rebel fighting against God Almighty. You can never win. Settle with Him.

PRAYER: Do not allow evil to take over my heart, O God, and deliver me from all manner of sins in Jesus’ name. Amen.

TEXT: LUKE 2:1-20
MEMORY VERSE: LUKE 2: 11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.

Today is Christmas Day all over the Christian world. Though some Bible scholars have disputed December 25th as the day Christ was born because of what Luke wrote in Verse 8 of our text let us put aside that controversy and rejoice at the birth of the Messiah, the light of the world, the filial Deity who, in obedience to His Father, left His glory in heaven and lived with us sinners and finally died for our sins. For this reason, we say “Merry Christmas” to all our readers and the body of Christ.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, a member of the Trinity or God head who created the world. He is still the greatest apostle – greater than the great prophets like Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, and so forth. He is still the only one who has seen God the Father and He shall be the One who will judge the world on the day of Judgment. He is the Only One through whom our prayers can reach the father. He is still the Only One who died and resurrected and was seen and spoken to by hundreds of people after his resurrection from the dead! The power for any believer to become “sons of God “Lies with him. John the Beloved says that “the world was made by Him” and the book of Revelation by the same John says Jesus Christ is “the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending (Rev. 1:8a) and He that has ” the keys of hell and of death (Rev. 1:18b).

Unfortunately, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Beloved, as we celebrate Christmas today, winning and dinning, remember that Jesus came to the world because of you and me and that He will, in the last days, judge the living and the dead. Repent of your sins and surrender your life to Him who cares for you – even as the vilest offender- and the noise of joy will be heard in your family once more. Today is the day of decision.

PRAYER: Son of the Most High God, Jesus Christ, touch my life and put a new heart in me, the vilest sinner, and make me worthy Thy heavenly Kingdom. Amen.

TEXT: ISAIAH 43: 14-21
MEMORY VERSE: 1PETER 2:9 ” But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light;”

Our passage today refers to God’s mercy for Israel despite her unfaithfulness towards Him. While speaking through Isaiah the prophet, God introduces Himself to the people of Israel as the Lord, the Holy One, the Creator of Israel, her king. It was very important for God to make His people understand that their creation was by Him and not by another person or god. Though God can do all things He does not do anything without a clear-cut purpose. He does not create for nothing or for the fun of creating.

Rather, every act of creation has a well-defined purpose it must serve. This purpose comes before the creation is even completed. In verse 15, God establishes that He created Israel while in verse 21, His purpose of creating and sustaining them as His people is specified. He formed them for Himself “to show forth My praise”. Anything outside or short of this is abnormal.

In living as God’s people, we must live for God alone and by so doing, show forth God’s praise. As a child of God, who and what do you live for? Today, career, family affairs, fame, wealth, ego, security, etc. have seriously taken Christians away from living for God, their Maker and Redeemer. God created and saved you for Himself; you cannot afford to live for anything or anyone else. When we live for God, His praise will now be radically shown forth through us. Do not behave like Israel who fails to call upon God (v.22), weary of her Creator (v 22), who dishonoured God (v. 23, who fails to bring offerings to God (v. 24) and who made God angry with her sins.

PRAYER: Help me, O Lord, to show forth Your praise in my daily living in Jesus’ name. Amen.

TEXT: PSALM 119: 1-16
MEMORY VERSE: PSALM 119:11 “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against Thee.”

This Psalm, the longest in the Psalter with 176 verses divided into 22 sections of 8 verses each, is about the Word of God, probably put down by David. Each section begins with the letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Our text today is mainly devoted to one word “Blessed” As human beings are blessed by God, God also can be blessed. God is blessed when a man or a woman reconciles with God; obeys His Word and walks in His ways, He is blessed when a sinner comes to Him in repentance and continues to do those things God likes and hates what He hates or abhors. God is also blessed or happy when men put on His righteousness and recognise that His Word is the word of truth and is eternal and when man surrenders himself to God’s security, and so forth.

A man is “blessed” not because he is wealthy or attains a position of authority or has immense influence. Rather, a man is happy or blessed when he dwells in the secret place of the most High God, when the Lord is His shepherd and when he has confidence in God’s protection and he is not afraid of the fiery darts of the enemy, the arrows that fly by day, the terrors and pestilence or the destructions that hover 24/7. Such a man is “blessed” because he is always happy.

Beloved, are you blessed or happy because your business is booming or your bank account is fat with all sorts of currencies – the Euro, the Pounds Sterling, the Dollar, etc? Your happiness or blessedness is not complete without God operating or ruling your life. Many rich people today don’t have time for God because of their numerous businesses. They even don’t pay their tithes because they consider the money too much to give to God. Do they even know that God is the owner of their life and He can take it at any time? Learn from the story of the rich fool in Luke 12:16-21. He was destroyed with his riches because he did not give glory to God Almighty who is the author of riches. Don’t be like the rich fool.

PRAYER: O Lord, Blessed are You, Everlasting Father! Don’t let me wander away from You whenever You bless me but to remain under Your canopy in Jesus’ name. Amen.

MEMORY VERSE: EPHESIANS 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Newspaper Journalists write “exclusive” stories which are not found in other newspapers. The story reported in our text today is an exclusive which has no parallel in the 1 & 2 Kings. The war came from the Israelites’ southern neighbours’ the Moabites, the Ammonites and the Meunites or the Arabians who gave Nehemiah a tough time years later. The war had begun some time and had reached EnGedi before King Jehoshaphat knew! King Jehoshaphat and the entire Israelites were therefore very afraid. In their helplessness, King Jehoshaphat led the entire awe-stricken Israelites in prayer to God for His intervention. To whom do you run when you are in a difficult situation or attack of the evil one? The king acknowledged the supremacy of God (vs. 6); the exploits of God in the past (vs. 9) the presence of God among them now (8, 9) before presenting his complaint and petition. How much God’s supremacy do you recognize when in a threatening situation? There is the tendency to forget or lose sight of God’s past miracles whenever we are facing fresh fierce challenges.

Jehoshaphat understood this battle to be spiritual and not confrontational. I want you to identify God’s specific instruction to them in vs. 16 & 17 and their immediate response in vs. 18 &19. What are the rewards of believing God (vs. 20- 25) Because Jehoshaphat and the people laboured in prayer, though full of fear, they rose from the place of prayer full of courage. How dangerous would it have been for them to have taken physical confrontation in this spiritual battle? Their victory was settled in the place of prayer instead of going to war with the enemies who were better equipped and better prepared than they were.

Some of us stupidly go to the police or to court instead of going to God. When enemies spit fire and brimstone at you, what do you do and where do you go? When your boss in the office hates you and is eager to get you sacked, what do you do or where do you go? Take a cue from Jehoshaphat, a name which means “Jehovah judges” and let God be the Judge.

PRAYER: Lord, teach me to always take my problems to You in prayers and don’t allow the enemy to rejoice over me in Jesus’ name.