MEMORY VERSE: COLOSSIANS 1:13 “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”

Sometimes last year, some kidnappers were asking for huge sums of money to redeem or ransom their victim. Failure to pay the ransom will lead to the instant death of the victim. The word Redemption is a term that is commonly used by all manner of people and religions of the world today. Understanding of the word differs, depending on which religion you believe in. However, of all the religions in the world today, the tested, most confirmed and easiest without price or cost of all redemptions has been confirmed and identified to be that which Jesus Christ has done on the cross. Old Testament redemption in the bible was a continuous process which can’t deliver sinners from sin completely, every other religions redemption seems to be daily living in bondage. However, that which Christ has done was once and forever.

Jesus is our Sacrificial Lamb (Luke.1:68) and we are redeemed by His blood (Eph.1:7; Col.1:14; Rev 5:9). This blood also redeems those under law from the curses of law (Heb.9:15, Gal.3:13)

As you set out for your daily activities, ‘looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith’ (Heb. 12:2). His death has redeemed you from all your sins and power of destruction. He has paid it once and for all. Give your life to Him today or renew your hands of fellowship in Him. By His grace your redemption is forever sure. Prophetically say it, again and again, I am redeemed by the blood of Jesus. However, you must understand that this once-and-for-all redemption by the Blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross does not give you any liberty to continue to sin.

Apostle Paul says in Rom. 6:1 “what shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that the grace may abound? God forbid”. Be dead to sin.

PRAYER: Mighty and Everlasting Father, free me, a wretched sinner, from the bondage of Satan and its forces. Redeem me and make me a candidate of Your heavenly Kingdom where there is joy unspeakable and happiness forever in Jesus name. Amen.

Whenever alcohol is mentioned, controversies begin and different school of thoughts are opened immediately.

The controversies surrounding whether believers should drink wine, beer or hard liquor and the Bible’s stand about consuming alcohol are yet to be resolved.

In Proverbs 20:1, the Bible says that “wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink arouses brawling.” Habakkuk 2:15 says, “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbour, pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk.”

Looking at it critically, there’s no specific Bible verse that says drinking a glass of wine or beer, or a cocktail with dinner, is a sin, rather, the Bible forbids drunkenness and calls it a sin. It was clearly stated that drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of God, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Also, Romans 13:13 warns against drunkenness: “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.”

These days, some churches teach that since Jesus drank wine that we should as well. The basis for this teaching being that at the Lord’s supper and His last Passover feast because it wasn’t recorded anywhere in the scriptures that Jesus and his disciples drank juice. Some other churches dare to teach that the wine spoken about in the Bible refers to unfermented grape juice.

Fair enough, Noah or Lot did not get intoxicated on unfermented drink (Genesis 9:21, 19:32 – 35), and Biblical evidence shows a consistent reference, from cover to cover, that wine is an alcoholic beverage able to make a person drunk with its overuse.

Jesus first public miracle was turning water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana (John 2), and not water into grape juice. Jewish custom required they drink real wine at such a joyous celebration – especially when lots of people were expected to be in attendance. What Jesus miraculously produced had to contain fermentation for it to receive the rave reviews it got from the guests.

Luke 7:33-34 confirmed that Jesus drank wine although, the religious leaders of the time were upset with Him to the point of tagging Him a “winebibber.” While talking about Jesus, they said, “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’”

The Greek word for winebibber as explained by Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words is ‘oinopotes’ which means “‘a wine drinker’ (oinos, and potes, ‘a drinker’).”

‘Winebibber’ in the Old Testament is a word used to describe those who abuse the use of alcohol (Proverbs 23:20). Because Jesus drank little wine from time to time, this opened Him up to the charge of abusing it. Christ, of course, always drank in moderation; He never abused alcohol.

Now, the Bible teaches against the misuse of alcohol as that is a sin (Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:21; 1 Peter 4:3). Reflecting its use in moderation, Judges 9:13 speaks of wine that it “cheers both God and men.” Psalm 104 also presents moderate alcohol use in a positive light when it said, “And wine that makes glad the heart of man” (verse 15).

The Bible, on the issue of alcohol, is clear, and it is not one of total prohibition but rather of moderation. The apostle Paul, concerned about the health of his close friend and evangelist Timothy, charged him to stop drinking just water and begin to partake of some wine ‘for your stomach’s sake’ and for the sake of his illnesses (1Timothy 5:23). Paul promoted a balanced approach to alcohol and other things in life (Philippians 4:5) just like Jesus did.

In this light, we think it is safe to say that the Bible does allow Christians to partake of alcohol in a responsible way. Jesus saw nothing wrong with drinking a little wine now and then, so if he saw nothing wrong with its moderate use, we should see nothing wrong with doing so as well.

MEMORY VERSE: 1 CORINTHIAN 3:18 “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.”

We daily plan, plant and make positive moves towards a mission or vision. All our plans and moves come to pass through the grace and transformation that God gives. When a farmer plants on a fertile land he goes away but the power behind the seed growing comes from God. There is nothing man does that is fruitful without the knowledge of God. He gives grace of fruitfulness. Therefore, there is nothing God requires from you and me than for us to acknowledge His power of fruitfulness and transformation.

Verse 18 of our reading today says if anyone thinks he is wise by the standard of the world, he should become a fool in order to be really wise and understand what God wants. In the presence of God we are nothing. When you see yourself as someone that knows nothing in the presence of God, God will enrich and increase your understanding and wisdom. He will grant the work of your hand divine fruitfulness. He will transform all you do by His power and your life forever shall be a testimony.

It is not by your power but grace which God has given that brings transformation to all things. All you need to do is to give your life to Him for transformation and He will transform it. It is equally important for you to commit all you do to His hand for divine transformation. He shall transform it and make it forever fruitful. See God today as the transformer for all your endeavour and you shall have testimony. Another point made known by Paul in the text is that our work here on earth will be tested by fire. If your work is like gold, it gets brighter when it passes through fire but if it is wood, hay or stubble, it shall suffer great loss when it passes through fire. So consider your ways today and make amends.

PRAYER: Lord God, I see You today as the Power behind all transformations. Let this power manifest in all my daily endeavours in Jesus’ name. Amen.

‘Odiginaka’ – Kelechi
By ’Funmilola Olukomaiya

‘Odiginaka’, means ‘It is in Your hands’. This almost four-minute Afro-pop piece with rich African elements, sprinkled with sustained flowing lines. It is a passive number that exudes subtle rhythmic intensity. Odiginaka’s mood was well scored – a simple musical composition with no sense of adventure, but easily relatable – a slow tempo and consistent rhythm.

Inspired by life experiences and the need to take a step at a time without biting too much each time, Kelechi dishes life hacks in this piece while encouraging himself and listeners alike that with persistence and hard work, success is sure.

While stressing that no achievement can be gotten through one’s efforts but through sole reliance on God, he stresses the importance of clinging to the Most High whilst not demonstrating lazy tendencies.

This number is a song of encouragement, especially when faced with the hurdles life throws at us. It is sure to soothe you no matter the situation. And indeed, putting everything in God’s hands gives rest of mind.

Through the lyrics, the singer appreciates himself, his resilience and diligence while explaining his disappointments and affirming that with God on his side, he will surely pull through – successfully at that.

It is also a lovely, soft and beautifully crafted tune with every line carefully selected. This piece creates a quite inspirational flow with its subtle, rhythmic sound. The rich and resonant lead guitar melody soothes the scene throughout, as the main theme is somewhat developed.

‘Odiginaka’ is tuneful and interesting and easy to remember; helps you to ease out stress and makes you feel at home listening to it. With a catchy introduction, one that is engaging and captures your imagination right from its start, this quickly makes way for something somewhat woven into what can be perceived as the solo of the song. The expressively stirring tone from the guitar helped to lead into the song naturally.

Kelechi’s vocal quality is rich and expressive in relaying the lyrics of the song which was sung in ‘pidgin english’, a type of language that resonates across ethnic groups.

Odiginaka’s lyrics are meaningful, not predictable, shallow or pretentious.

Whilst there is a great, solid beat and engaging melody that grabs you and carries you along, the rhythmic effects are flowing, energetic and pronounced and at the same time, consistent and convincing too. The song has a rich variety of interesting and expressive instruments, quite distinctive and memorable. The arrangement is tasteful and suits the mood of the song. The backup singers also fit well into the song as they possess good voice texture that blended well to complete his.

However, the song ends rather abruptly and leaves the listener One would have thought the brief interval was for an instrumental interlude.

Overall, Kelechi Christian is natural, talented and professional and the song makes good music to the ears with its consistent rhythm which can relax the mind anytime and anywhere.

TEXT: ROMANS 8:14-22
MEMORY VERSE: ROMANS 8:19 “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”

The fall of man in the Garden of Eden brought about the manifestation of the Son of God. The first man created sinned and God was not pleased with him. God cast him out of the garden.

The aftermath was the manifestation of God’s grace through His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for all our sins particularly those who believe in Him. To them He gave the Spirit of sonship to become the sons of God and co-heir with Jesus Christ. When we achieve this, we have equal rights with our Lord Jesus to call “Abba Father” which a slave has no right to call. When we absolutely believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are redeemed from Satanic bondage and granted the sonship rights.

Are you a son of the Most High God? There are benefits on earth and in heaven when you are an heir of the kingdom. If you are yet to be saved it is time today for you to ask God to accept you as His son. However, you must have repented of your sins before you can ask for sonship. Once this is done you are already a son and Heir of the Kingdom. Do this today and see a total change or turnaround in your life.

Apostle Paul in the text, however, makes us to know that whatever sufferings we go through in this world for the sake of Christ cannot be compared with the everlasting joy in heaven that awaits us there. Therefore, if you want to be co-heir with Jesus in heaven you must be willing to suffer for Him here on earth and rejoice with Him in Heaven. The choice is yours.

PRAYER: Eternal God, I thank You for the grace of sonship granted me through Jesus Christ. Never allow me to lose this grace in Jesus’ name. Amen.

TEXT: ISAIAH 55:6-13
MEMORY VERSE: ISAIAH 55:12 “For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

The Israelite had been taken into captivity in Babylon and had been living there for about 70 years, several miles away from “the land flowing with milk and honey” and from the Sanctuary of the Lord. In our text, there is an appeal to the exiles to leave Babylon and go back to Palestine where they would satisfy their desires. Isaiah 55 makes an interesting reading with many command of Jehovah to the would-be returnees.

They include:
(i) Hearken diligently to me
(ii) Incline your ear, come to me
(iii) Hear and your soul shall live
(iv) Seek the Lord while He may be found
(v) Call upon Him while He is near
(vi) Let the righteous man forsake his way, etc. No money is needed to buy all these!

The purposes and reasons of men are known unto God who created him and he cannot accomplish anything without the full support of his creator. Accomplishment of man comes from his total submission to the supernatural being who can complement his efforts. God is always present to accept those who will always seek His audience for a greater accomplishment and He is ever ready to accompany them with peace because He has everything in His care.

Beloved, the command of God in Isaiah 55 are also for us today. We are to seek Him while He is near and to forsake our evil ways and return to God, our maker. The call is very urgent because tomorrow may be too late. He says that you will go out with Joy and be led forth in peace, the mountains and the hills will break forth before you into singing and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. It can only come to pass if you seek the Lord now that you can see Him, and call upon Him now that He is near.

In conclusion, don’t follow the way of the evil men; make sure you have the right mind so that your creator will accompany you with His peace.

PRAYER: My God and my creator let me walk not in the way of the evil men, and please accompany me with your peace so that I can accomplish my purposes today.

TEXT: PSALM 39:1-13
MEMORY VERSE: PHILIPPIANS 2:13 “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasures.”

In our passage for today, David, the Psalmist feels that his emotions have to be restrained, lest he speaks against the Lord for his struggles of life which he considers short and frail. He believes that his obedience to the will of God in response to God’s grace is essential for the saving of his soul. He also hopes for deliverance from sin. He realizes that sin is breaking God’s law (1 John. 3:4), doing that which is against one’s conscience (Rom.14:23), it is unrighteousness (1 John. 5:17)

The psalmist also believes that the following are the causes of sins
(1) One’s own heart (Mt.15:19) (3) The works of Satan (Jn. 8:44; 1Pet.5:8)
(2) The lust of man (James.1:13-15) (4) Pride (1 Pt.5:6-7)

He also believes in the results of sin.
1. Separation from the presence of God (2Th.1:7-9)
2. Separation from God (Is.59:1-2) (3) Spiritual death (Rom. 6:23)

Beloved, one of the things that can light your fire is obedience to God’s will (Rom. 6:16-17), doing His will (Mt.7:21-27), willingness to forsake all sins (Mk.10:29-30), searching for Spiritual things, seeking to please Jesus (Jn.15:14). If the psalmist will refrain himself from complaints against the Lord and speak less, definitely even you reading this need to emulate the writer of Psalm 39 who searches for sins, their causes and the results. There are many things that can lure one into sin today: economic recession, satanic dressings of our ladies, the behaviour of politicians who loot the treasury, the so-called ‘men of God’ who prophesy lies to get rich quick, etc. Whatever it may be Christian still needs to stand right and keep the lamp burning so that their spiritual fire may not quench. Keep hoping that Christ will appear one day. Keep away from sins that can put off your light. As you proceed in today’s journey of life, pray that God Almighty would guide you so that you don’t run into sin.

PRAYER: Oh Lord my God, let Your Word be a lamp to my feet as I daily proceed in the journey of life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

TEXT: 1 KINGS 3:5-10
MEMORY VERSE: 1 KINGS 3:9 “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil for who is able to judge these great people of Yours?

If it were you what would you choose if God offered to give you anything you asked for? King Solomon was face to face with that delightful dilemma when God presented to him every opportunity to become whatever he wanted to become in life. “Ask what I shall give unto you”, God told him in a dream at night when he went to Gibeon, about 61/2 km from Jerusalem. (1 Kings 3.5).

Solomon’s answer to this golden opportunity to ask for anything was that God should give him the understanding to lead the people of Israel. Because of his unselfish request, God gave him more than he asked for.

Many Christians today engage in warfare prayers, battle-to-finish arrow prayers and series of prayers of entreaty for selfish reasons. Many people ask for long life, prosperity, success, fortune and every good thing they can make use of but they failed to ask for the most important thing –UNDERSTANDING.

The most important thing Solomon requested for at that time was understanding. The most important thing God wants to hear you request for is understanding of the divine opportunity and position He has placed you. Have you requested for such? Remember your riches, position and all that you have need divine understanding on how to handle them successfully. Therefore, pray unto God today for understanding. Proverbs 3:5 encourages us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts, and lean not on our own understanding. Proverbs 19:8 encourages us “to keep understanding so that we can find good things”. Only a fool will not have delight in understanding but a wise man will always seek for it.

Understanding is sometimes used with wisdom so when you get one, you get the other. Prov. 4:7 says “Wisdom is a principal thing; therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding.”

Pray today for both.

PRAYER: All-wise Father, open my eyes and sense of understanding to know what and how to pray in Jesus’ name.

MEMORY VERSE: EPHESIAN. 5:29. “For no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does for the Church”

In Ephesians 5, Apostle Paul continues dealing with evils and virtues that unbelievers and Christians respectively do in their different walks of life. These 8 contrasts he deals with, beginning with falsehood and truth in 4:25ff. In our text for today, he deals with sexual immorality and purity (5:3-14); foolishness and wisdom (5:15-17); drunkenness and joy (5:18-21); duties of wives (5:22-24); and duties of husbands (5:25-33). We should study each command and let them be part of us on daily basis. As believers, we should not be identified with fornication, covetousness, immorality, vain words, etc. We must have no fellowship with “unfruitful work of darkness;” rather, “we are to remove them.”

As for our domestic lives as Christian, we must “nourish and cherish” one another as members of the body of Christ (verse 29). Wives are to submit to their husbands while husbands are to love their wives. It is very sad, the way marriages are broken these days between Christians. Why? Because of several reasons including infidelity; Lack of respect for each other; anger; etc. We are to love our wives as “our own bodies” because “he that love his wife love himself”. The same goes for the wife and other family members. If a father nourishes his family, it is expected that each member of the family reciprocates.

When the ground provides water for a tree, the tree provides manure by the leaves dropped on the ground. Life is give and take – nourish and cherish. When you are fed, it is important you show an appreciation to who fed us. Check verse 29 again and see what Christ did for the Church..

Beloved as you set out on your daily endeavour, remember that ‘Nourish and cherish’ is an important aspect of life to keep the world more habitable for you and me. Let us nourish and cherish one another in the fear and love of God. ‘for love is from God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God, but he who does not love knows not God, for God is love’

PRAYER: My Father and my God I lift my eyes unto Thee, grant me the grace to be able to nourish and cherish others in every aspect of life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

TEXT: JOHN 15:1-10
MEMORY VERSE: JOHN 15:7 “If you abide in Me and My Word abides in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

Prayers today are not wanting in churches, homes and different other places. Have you ever given it a second thought at the end of every prayer session how many of the prayers actually come to pass? It is not a matter of attending too much prayer sessions – but how to get your prayers answered.

Jesus, in verse 7 of today’s text made it clear that if we remain in Him and He in us, we can ask for anything we want and He will do it. There is a lesson to be learnt here; we must learn to remain in Him. If we refuse to remain in Him, it could be a hindrance to our prayers. Any river that ignores its source will dry up.

How can we remain in Him? We must first be saved by giving our life to Him completely. We must learn to live our life according to His will. With that, you have the assurance to ask for anything from Him and He will do it. I remember the story of a man who had six children; one of them had never lacked anything. Once he asks; the father gives him: money, beautiful clothes or any request. At a family meeting, the other children asked him: “Daddy you have a favourite among us”. The father said No: They accused the bewildered man of being partial. “You always give all to a particular one without minding the rest of us,” one of them added.

The father answered, “I don’t have a favourite, but the fourth child does much of my will and I must do his will too,” the man said. The simple lesson is this as we read in our scripture today: “Remain in Me and I will remain in you”. If you do this, whatever you ask He shall grant to you.

Disobedience to God’s Word will always hinder prayers. Disobedience here includes all manner of sins -telling lies, stealing, shedding of human blood, fornication, adultery, secretly or openly doing evil, etc. If you do any one of these, even if you pray for hours days and weeks, God will not answer.

PRAYER: Father, grant to me the grace to abide in You and to obey Your Word and Commands in Jesus’ name. Amen.