FRIDAY 21ST DECEMBER, 2018
THEME: THE VITAL THING
TEXT: PSALM 34: 1-22
MEMORY VERSE: Ps. 34: 1-3 “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”

This psalm was probably a song of deliverance of David when he changed his behaviour before Abimeleck in order to spare his life (1 Sam. 21:10-15). The summary of the reasons for praising God could be seen in vs. 22, in which he says the Lord redeems the soul of His servants. And none of those who trust in Him will be disappointed. True. This belief was very strong in the heart of the psalmist. What about you?

I pray that the Lord will miraculously deliver those caught in the traps of the enemies in Jesus name. As children of the Most High God, we must believe that whatever our challenges may be, the Omnipotent God will surely deliver us if we trust Him.

Our praising God should not be confined to a specific time and place of worship. The life of a child of God should be a life of constant flow of praises and worship for God irrespective of where we are or what confronts us. Note what God says about the life of the wicked in vs. 16 & 21 and identify the benefits for those who seek, fear and trust the Lord in vs.7, 8, 9 and 10. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of true wisdom. Do not dismiss His instruction and teaching with a wave of the hand for He watches closely and rewards each person according to his deeds. The vital thing is, worship Him in truth and holiness.

The psalmist, speaking from experience, also gives us the secrets of long life, which include freedom from worry, want, fear, troubles and evil. Only God is our Redeemer.

HYMN: EMHB 682 – GOD OF PITY, GOD OF GRACE,
PRAYER: Lord, help me to develop the habit of praising You at all times whether in joy or sorrow and let those who daily expect my downfall be put to shame in Jesus’ name. Amen.

THURSDAY 20TH DECEMBER, 2018
THEME: GLORY DUE HIS NAME
TEXT: PSALM 29: 1-11
MEMORY VERSE: PSALM 29: 2 “Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness.”

This psalm of David is a song or hymn celebrating the Kingship of Yahweh, perhaps after a victory in battle. The song is always sung at the close of the feast of Tabernacles, one of the nine feasts of the Jews, from the 15th day of October (Tisri) to the 22nd day of the month. David here knows that the Lord is Supreme and mighty to whom honour and praise should be given at all times.

The psalm begins with a call to pay homage to God and to worship Him because worshipping God is the sum and substance of the everlasting gospel (Rev. 14:6, 7). The “voice of the Lord” is repeated seven times indicating completeness, to portray God’s power and glory. Lebanon, known for its cedar trees, is a standard and image for earthly majesty and glory in Old Testament, yet the voice of the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon. Identify other glorious things the voice the Lord does in vs. 6-9. God’s voice of glory changes and shakes the root of stability, and nothing stands before Him. His glory is beyond the imagination and comprehension of mortal men. In verse 10, the Lord sits, not just as a temporal king, nor as a king but as KING FOREVER. We are asked to ascribe to Him glory and strength, due His name and to worship Him in the beauty of His holiness.

Read v.11 again and see what this glorious Lord can do for you when you ascribe to Him the glory due His name and sing this lyric: “Yahweh, Your name is Yahweh; You are the miracle-working God; Your name is Yahweh!” Sing other worship songs and thank Him for all He has done for your family this year and for what He will still do in the remaining 11 days of the year. Some people will still have their miracles before the year ends. Pray that you will be one of them.

HYMN: EMHB 876 – OMNIPRESENT GOD, WHOSE AID
PRAYER: O mighty and Everlasting God, grant that all our national and spiritual leaders continually glorify Thee and ascribe to Thee the honour and majesty due to Your Holy name for Christ’s sake. Amen.

WEDNESDAY 19TH DECEMBER, 2018
THEME: GOD’S GRACE IN TIME OF NEED
TEXT: PSALM 22: 1-21
MEMORY VERSE: PSALM 22: 2-3 “O my God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; And in the night season, and am not silent. But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.”

Today’s passage is a cry for help from an overwhelmingly afflicted soul. David, the Psalmist, was perplexed (1-21) but he ended up in praises (22-31). Many of us may have been in similar situation, either in the past or at the moment. What did you do? The psalmist cried to God desperately without losing hope. Verses 1 and 2 indicate that his prayers were not answered. Read vs. 2-5 and identify God’s attributes and past interventions among men. Pause a little, think and recall at least two of God’s interventions when you were in dire need. If you are passing through difficulties of any sort currently, read Isaiah 46:3-4and Philippians 1:6. God has not left you; He is aware of what you are passing through but cry to Him desperately like the Psalmist here.

Let God’s past mercies sustain and encourage you. If God took care of you when you were in your mother’s womb alone without anyone helping you there and looked after you through your stages of development (vs. 9-11), He is able to handle all concerning you even now and years to come.

We have a High Priest who understands our weaknesses because He, too, went through all we are going through now (Heb. 4:15). He will not be far from you, be it pain, ridicule, agony, sickness, loss of a dear one, hunger, displacement, abuse, etc. He feels with us and by His wounds, we are healed (Isa. 53:3-5). No matter how close trouble is, God is nearer to you than you can imagine. Hold on to Him for He fails not. He will shield your soul. You will surely sing songs of praise in His sanctuary and others will rejoice with you.

HYMN: EMHB 878 – OH GOD OUR HELP IN AGES PAST
PRAYER: Give me grace, O Lord, to focus on You in every situation I find myself and never forsake this poor lad/lass.

TUESDAY 18TH DECEMBER, 2018
THEME: PURE WORSHIP
TEXT: JOB 1: 1-22
MEMORY VERSE: JOB 1: 21 “Naked came I from my mother’s womb and naked shall I return thither.”

Job was described as a blameless and upright man (vs. 1,2). Read vs. 4-6,8 and identify the virtues that guaranteed such description of Job. With the affirmation of Job’s character by God (vs. 8), Satan had a ready-made accusation. Satan argued that Job served God for what he was getting out of it. Therefore, if Job’s wealth and health were taken away, Job would curse God (vs. 9-11.) Satan was proved wrong because in verse 20-22 of our text it is reported that “Job arose, and rent his mantle and shaved his head and…worshipped God,” saying “Naked came I from my mother’s womb and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not nor charged God foolishly.” Is this accusation in any way true about you and your worship of God? Satan needed to prove to God that Job’s worship was attached to what he was getting from God, not necessarily a true worship. God gave Satan access into Job’s life which teaches that there can be innocent sufferings a times.

With all that Job experienced (vs. 13-19), his reaction in v 20(a) of tearing his robe may be normal but falling down to worship God (vs. 20b-21b) was unusual. The statement “Blessed be the name of the Lord” can only come from one with a very deep knowledge of God and how He works. What an expression of worship that is void of any sentiment or attachment!

Our worship of God must be from the heart. Use everything within you to worship Him. Use all your resources to worship Him, too. What will your worship be if you are not where you are today or not having all you have today? Do not be a fair-weather worshipper. Some people only worship God when things are rosy and go away when chips are down, blaming God for their woes. Parents should note Job’s priestly function for his household in vs. 5 and learn a lesson from him.

HYMN: EMHB 679 – PLEASANT ARE THY COURTS ABOVE,
PRAYER: Lord, let not Satan, with all its antics and fiery darts, sift me as wheat. Hold me with Your right, hand, Mighty God, in the storm of life in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

MONDAY 17TH DECEMBER, 2018
THEME: REVIVAL LIKE OF OLD
TEXT: 2 CHRONICLE 29 VS 1-36
MEMORY VERSE: 2 CHRONICLE 29: 36 “Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced that God had prepared the people since the events took place so suddenly.”

Hezekiah came to the throne when Judah was at its lowest ebb spiritually under his father, King Ahaz. (28: 24-25). His father led the entire Israel astray especially by joining other gentile nations in the worship of idols (28:22). Ahaz sought alliance with Syrian King, Tiglath-pileser against the advice of Prophet Isaiah.

King Hezekiah broke away from what he knew and met. He was a good son of a bad father. He restored the worship of God as it was originally meant to be (vs. 15). As a restorer, he resolved to bring the whole Israel back to where she truly belonged in worship and her place in God’s agenda (vs. 10). Doing so is the only guarantee to averting the wrath of God. Can you identify what the seven things Ahab did which attracted the anger of God against them in vs. 6-8? Things went so bad that the door of the temple was shut while that of idols was open; rubbish accumulated to the temple to the point that it took the priests and Levites 8 days to get rid of them (16-17). Many of the holy places of worship had been shut from the true purpose and desecrated by unholy activities, and accumulated a lot of rubbish. We have a responsibility to restore God’s presence to His temple.

Are you one of those who practice unholy things in the Church or grumbles because the sermon is either ‘too long’ or that the preacher has you in mind concerning his/ her sermon? Repent before God’s anger is kindled against you. We are the temple of God where the Holy Spirit dwells. What kind of rubbish can be traced to your life and heart? Is the door of your heart shut against God but open to sin or witchcraft? When last did God receive from you an acceptable sacrifice (Rom 12:1, 2). Like Hezekiah purged Judah and the Temple of all rubbish, check your life and ensure today that no dross/rubbish is left behind. Though Hezekiah may have the right to blame his father (Ahaz) for any misbehaviour, each person will be held accountable for his own sin (2 Cor. 5:10).

HYMN: EMHB 738 – REVIVE THY WORK, O LORD,
PRAYER: Eternal father, purge me from all inadequacies and misbehaviour and restore me back to the person You want me to be through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

SUNDAY 16TH DECEMBER, 2018
THEME: SPIRITUAL WARFARE
TEXT: 2 CHRONICLE 20:1-29
MEMORY VERSE: 2 CHRONICLES 20:1 “it came to pass after this also that the children of Moab and the children of Ammon and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.”

Life is full of battles. This is confirmed by the Word of God in Job 5:7 which says that man is born into trouble. What determines whether you will be a victim or a Victor in the battles of life is who you choose as your ally. The spiritual warfare is an invisible battle that is waged in the spirit realm. The enemies cannot be seen with physical eyes and the weapons of warfare are not seen with physical eyes as well. What is even more significant is that it is what happens spiritually, that determines the physical manifestation that will be experienced by humans. Spiritual warfare can, therefore, be more devastating that physical warfare.

In today bible reading of 2 Chronicles 20:1 the powerful kings and kingdoms organized a conspiracy and battle against Jehoshaphat the king of Judah. Their objectives were to eliminate and destroy the people of Israel. These enemies trusted in their chariots and horses but Jehoshaphat implicitly set himself to seek the face of Almighty God – the man of war who ambushed the children of Ammon, Moab at mount Seir. These enemies of God’s people were completely smitten. Any agent of darkness fighting against you this season will be disappointed in Jesus name, the sophistication of the enemy’s Armour and multitude of his followers notwithstanding.

The bible says in Isaiah 49:24-25. “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the Lord, even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee and I will save thy children. As you engage heaven in aggressive prayers this season you will receive divine attention in Jesus name. Call on Him now.

HYMN: EMHB 822 – ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS
PRAYER: Father please, fight my battles and defend my cause in Jesus’ name. Amen.

SATURDAY 15TH DECEMBER, 2018
THEME: PROPHETIC PRAISE!
TEXT: 1 CHRONICLE 25:1-8
MEMORY VERSE: 1 CHRONICLE 25:1 “David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals…”

Today, we turn a bit to consider the blessedness of the music ministry. Have you realized that, in our text, David and the commanders of the army set people apart who prophesied with musical instruments (harps, lyres and cymbals)? Here we see the truth that God created all things (including materials used for musical instruments) for His pleasure. We need to note some characteristics of this prophetic praise. First, the instruments, accompaniments and music are meant to be an integral part of worship. This means keeping the instrumentation moderate but effective.

Secondly, the musicians were given to Heman, the king’s seer, to make him prominent (verse 5, GNT). Musicians are honourable people who should make their families and denominations proud. Thirdly, they were under supervision (verse 6). This cannot be over-emphasized. The music ministry should submit to the overall ministry of the church.

Lastly, they were all trained and skilled in music for the Lord (verse 7). David had 4,000 singers who were well-trained in the use of various musical instruments. Some of the singers, too, were great composers, such as the sons Korah, Asaph, Heman, Ethan. Music has become a veritable weapon of evangelism, too. Let’s spend more money on the music sector and it will surely pay off. Apart from those so set apart, every believer has a music ministry to God and the world. So, pick up your cymbal, tambourine, guitar, etc., or use your hands and clap the enemy into confusion in a prophetic praise.

HYMN: EMHB 428 – I’LL PRAISE MY MAKER WHILE I’VE BREATH
PRAYER: Lord, I thank You for the gift of music to aid Your praise and worship. Today, I tune into a lifestyle of praise, defying every spirit of heaviness in Jesus’ name.

FRIDAY 14TH DECEMBER, 2018
THEME: BOWING BEFORE BEAUTY
TEXT: 1 CHRONICLES 16:23-36
MEMORY VERSE: 1 CHRONICLES 16:25 “For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods.”

Knowledge and understanding of an object or person will attract the attention of the observer. Through the study of the Word of God, we are exposed to the character of God. We look around us every day and we see the sun, the star, the moon, the animals and every other creature which came to being by the spoken Word of God. We see the beauty of creation which testifies of the breath-taking beauty of the Creator. No matter how we are captivated by the beauty of nature, our object of worship and adoration should be God, our Creator, and not the creature.

We need to grow in our knowledge of God and His character in order to give Him unlimited worship and adoration. Adoration increases with knowledge and our love for God also grows with knowledge of who He is. We will never run to Him for refuge or prostrate or bow before Him unless we realize the great love He has for us. A familiar passage in the Bible can explode with new meaning which leads to adoration. When was the last time you were amazed by the goodness, the greatness, the grace of God? Do you desire such experience? As we experience the beauty of God, study His character and mediate on His goodness. We have no choice than to bow before Him. The more we deepen in appreciation of the mystery of God, the more we will be lost in wonder, love and praise of Him.

David knew how to praise his God. A careful study of the Psalter will reveal how much intimacy David had about the Almighty and self-existent God. In the carrying of the Ark to Jerusalem, many psalms were sung, particularly Ps. 96, 105, 106 and a combination of Psalms. Worship the Lord with singing of Psalms. Methodist is born in song, worship and praises. Let us restore this dying legacy which other denominations are seriously trying to hijack.

HYMN: EMHB 25 – ROUND THE LORD IN GLORY SEATED
PRAYER: May every creature and people of every tribe and language recognize the need to worship the Almighty God in Jesus’ name. Amen.

THURSDAY 13TH DECEMBER, 2018
THEME: AMEN AND AMEN
TEXT: 1 CHRONICLES 16:1-22
MEMORY VERSE: 1 CHRONICLES 16:36 “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! ‘And all the people said “Amen!” and praised the LORD.”

The Ark of the Covenant has been an invaluable gift God handed down to the children of Israel to assure them of His presence. Due to their sin, the enemy captured God’s presence from them and they remained empty. The enemy saw the ark as a pretty kettle of fish and because of afflictions that came upon them they hastened to release it. I prophesy into someone’s life this morning that whatever the enemy has stolen from him/her will be recovered in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Many souls perished on the arrival of the Ark because of misguided acts that made David to keep it in Obed-edom’s house. God blessed him exceedingly. David had a rethink and constructed a tent to place the Ark of the Covenant there. The Ark was carried amidst great Jubilation, using different musical instruments to appreciate the faithfulness of God in their lives. The appointed ministers were to thank and praise God. After the praises were rendered, in verse 36 the entirety of the congregation shouted “Amen” as a mark of establishing what has been said in God’s hearing.

The word “Amen” simply means “so shall it be” or “it is done”. The challenge for us this day is, how often do we echo Amen to prayers said by our religious leaders, teachers, parents, elderly ones, etc? Do we think those words are said in vain? The situation in many of our churches is discouraging in which people cannot say “Amen” to prayers! We are known for this bad attitude by the so-called new generation churches and we need to change and shout a louder “Amen” to prayers. From today, let our AMEN to prayers be resounding.

Let us repent from such and maintain hearts of gratitude to God at every juncture of our life for us to experience more of His faithfulness. Saying Amen will not reduce us; rather it will increase our spiritual value in anticipation of what God will do for us in all ramifications of life.

HYMN: EMHB 658 – FOREVER WITH THE LORD!
PRAYER: O Rock of Ages, always say a loud ‘Amen’ to all my prayers in Jesus’ name. Amen.

WEDNESDAY 12TH DECEMBER, 2018
THEME: REJOICE IN WORSHIP
TEXT: DEUTERONOMY 12:1-29
MEMORY VERSE: DEUTERONOMY 12:7 “There in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and rejoice in everything you have put your hand because the Lord, your God, has blessed you.”

Deut. 12 is very important in the Jewish law of the Sanctuary. It shows a marked departure from the way worship and sacrifices were done in the wilderness. This new law has to be obeyed to the letter. God, Himself is to choose an acceptable place of sacrifice and worship. You are to bring your offerings, tithes, etc. there, too. When they are settled in the Promised Land, worship shall be in ONE place and you bring your offerings, tithes, etc., there. However, Jerusalem is not mentioned. In that ONE place, they shall gather to worship Yahweh with rejoicing. We are to take special note of verses 5, 11, 13, 14, 18, 21, 26.

John S.B Monsell calls on Christians to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, (EMHB 9). The Almighty God loves orderliness and discipline. This was the reason He gave Moses instructions on how His people, Israel, must worship Him. The true worship of God must stem from an obedient heart, a broad heart (humble, repentant and reverent), an honest heart and a thankful heart. God is holy and abhors sin. The Canaanite nations that the Israelites dispossessed, worshipped idols. God hates idols, so He required them to uproot every idol worship from among them (Deut. 12:1-3). They must worship only God and where God Himself chose them to worship Him. There, they must bring the following: burnt offerings, tithes, special offerings, vows, freewill offerings and firstborn of flocks and herds (first fruits). As they brought these things, all the members of their families must come together to rejoice in the presence of God.

The Lord has chosen our hearts to dwell in, uproot, cut down and destroy every idol in your heart, and anything that does not glorify God. Enthrone the Lord Jesus Christ; reach out to all the members of your family, neighbours and unbelievers. Come one, come all with your substance, come rejoicing to worship the Lord your God in the place He has designated for you to worship.
HYMN: EMHB 247 – REJOICE, THE LORD IS KING!

PRAYER: Thank you God, for the salvation wrought for us through our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you, Father, for the Holy Spirit that guides us. Give us the heart of worship henceforth through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.