SUNDAY 20th JANUARY, 2019

THEME: THE DANGERS OF BACKSLIDING

PASSAGE: HEBREWS 10: 19 – 31
19. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20. By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21. And having an high priest over the house of God; 22. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24. And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30. For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

MESSAGE
A Yoruba adage says “The teeth a dog uses to play with its puppy is the same teeth it uses to bite it”. Many Christians often over-emphasize one aspect of God’s attribute to the detriment of others. Truly, God is love. He is holy and just; but He is also a consuming fire. Those who always dwell in God’s love, favour, kindness and mercy without His discipline should better re-examine their stand. What they are saying is that God in His gracious love and mercy should forgive Satan! God forbid.

Since Christ, our great High Priest, has opened the way for us to enter the Holiest place (Heb 10:19-21) and having sprinkled us with water of cleansing, we no more need any intermediary like angels, the Virgin Mary, departed saints, etc. What we now need is not only our heart set apart for God to dwell in, but also the whole body. As believers, we should hold fast to our faith and encourage others to do so for the Lord. We are also to encourage each other to do good deeds (vs23-24). We should not only support one another but also help them from backsliding because backsliding or apostasy is eternal punishment in hell fire.

But if anyone should sin deliberately after he has received knowledge of the truth in Christ such one has rejected the only available sacrifice for sin and can expect to face God’s judgment – eternal damnation.

HYMN: EMHB 476
1: FROM trials unexempted
Thy dearest children are;
But let us not be tempted
Above what we can bear;
Exposed to no temptation
That may our souls o’erpower,
Be thou our strong salvation
Through every fiery hour.

2: Ah! leave us not to venture
Within the verge of sin;
Or if the snare we enter,
Thy timely help bring in;
And if thy wisdom try us
Till pain and woe are past,
Almighty Love, stand by us,
And save from first to last!

3: Fain would we cease from sinning
In thought and word and deed,
From sin in its beginning
We languish to be freed;
From every base desire,
Our fallen nature’s shame,
Jesus, we dare require
Deliverance in thy name.

4: For every sinful action
Thou hast atonement made,
The rigid satisfaction
Thy precious blood has paid:
But take entire possession;
To make an end of sin,
To finish the transgression,
Most holy God, come in!

MEMORY VERSE:
Hebrews 10:26 “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth no sacrifice for sin is left.”

PRAYER:
Lord, uphold me in steadfast faith till the end through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

SATURDAY 19th JANUARY, 2019

THEME: BE RENEWED

PASSAGE: EZEKIEL 36:25-30
25. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. 30. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen

MESSAGE
A snake is said to remove its skin when it is old and a new skin emerges as a renewed snake. Also the eagle sheds the old feathers and takes up new ones. This is why it has more strength than other birds, even the old vultures! This is in conformity with the scripture that says “Therefore we do not lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2Cor 4: 16).

According to God’s promise to the Israelites, He will sprinkle clean water on them so that they may be cleansed from their impurities and idols (Ezek.36: 25). Water figuratively means the Word of God. Having been soaked in the Word, the scripture will again be fulfilled in the saying” Do not lie to each other since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge of the image of the Creator” (Col 3:9-10). This is true conversion and restoration.

The obedience that was not possible with a heart of stone will be made possible with the help of God’s indwelling Spirit (Ezek 36:27). A circumcised heart can only be renewed. The Lord is reminding us of what our divine responsibility is during our annual Covenant service and daily duty like Paul who says “I die every day – I mean that, brothers, just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Our renewal in Christ should be on daily basis as Satan is always around looking out for those he would hold in bondage and devour. Don’t allow the Antichrist to take you away from the Almighty God. Be renewed.

HYMN: EMHB 387
1: My God! I know, I feel thee mine,
And will not quit my claim,
Till all I have is lost in thine
And all renewed I am.

2: hold thee with a trembling hand,
But will not let thee go,
Till steadfastly by faith I stand
And all thy goodness know.

3: Jesus, thine all-victorious love
Shed in my heart abroad;
Then shall my feet no longer rove,
Rooted and fixed in God.

4: O that in me the sacred fire
Might now begin to glow,
Burn up the dross of base desire,
And make the mountains flow!

5: O that it now from heaven might fall,
And all my sins consume!
Come, Holy Ghost, for thee I call,
Spirit of burning, come!

6: Refining fire, go through my heart,
Illuminate my soul;
Scatter thy life through every part,
And sanctify the whole.

MEMORY VERSE: Ezekiel 18:31 “Rid yourself of all the offences you have committed and get a new heart and anew Spirit for why will you die o house of Israel?”

PRAYER:
Lord, Let your grace have the true meaning to my soul that it is not to condone sin but say no to ungodliness and worldly passion. Amen

FRIDAY JANUARY 18, 2019

THEME: BE FILLED WITH CHRIST

PASSAGE: EPH. 3:14-21
14. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16. That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18. May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

MESSAGE
An American Evangelist once described African Christianity as one mile long and one inch deep. Water cannot rise above its level and so our Christianity is described as being so shallow that we always lay emphasis on mundane things of life in our prayers. Many Christians today are only addicted to religious values like Nicodemus, religious teacher of the Jews. (John 3).

But, like Apostles Paul, who was filled with Christ, our prayers must show that we value Christ above everything
Paul prayed that believers might be strengthened through the power of the Holy Spirit – not physical strength, but strength of character and inner strength that follow as the Holy Spirit penetrates into the depth of our hearts and minds (3:16-17a). This Holy Spirit power helps us to know the love of Christ.

Christ’s love is so wide that it covers the whole world and even beyond. So long it is that it has no limits! It is eternal and so high that there is no height that it cannot reach. It is also so deep that it can reach even hell to rescue those in bondage by Satan. This understanding will lead to spiritual growth and maturity in Christ. Because the just shall live by faith, our faith in Christ must be rooted and grounded like a tree deeply rooted in the soil and bearing fruits abundantly. Such deep-rooted trees can never be uprooted by hurricane Michael or any other storm. Be drunk also with the Word of God and at all times.

HYMN: EMHB 89
1: CHRIST, of all my hopes the ground,
Christ, the spring of all my joy,
Still in Thee may I be found,
Still for Thee my powers employ

2: Let Thy love my heart inflame,
Keep Thy fear before my sight,
Be Thy praise my highest aim,
Be Thy smile my chief delight,

3: When affliction clouds my sky,
And the wintry tempests blow,
Let Thy mercy-beaming eye
Sweetly cheer the night of woe.

4: When new triumphs of Thy name
Swell the raptured songs above,
May I feel a kindred flame,
Full of zeal, and full of love.

5: Life’s best joy, to see Thy praise
Fly on wings of gospel light,
Leading on millennial days,
Scattering all the shades of night.

6: Fountain of o’erflowing grace,
Freely from Thy fullness give;
Till I close my earthly race,
May I prove it Christ to live.

7: Firmly trusting in Thy blood,
Nothing shall my heart confound;
Safely shall I pass the flood,
Safely reach Immanuel’s ground.

8: Thus, O thus, an entrance give
To the land of cloudless sky;
Having known it Christ to live,
Let me find it gain to die.

MEMORY VERSE
Cool. 2:9 “For in Christ, all the fullness of the Godhead lives in bodily form”

PRAYER
Our Father and our God, help us to have CHRIST in His fullness in our lives so as to understand His love that we may be like Him, in Jesus name. Amen.

THURSDAY JANUARY 17, 2019

THEME: STAND IN THE GAP

PASSAGE: 1kings 8:46-51
1 Kings 8: 46. If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; 47. Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness; 48. And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name: 49. Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, 50. And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them: 51. For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron:

MESSAGE
To stand in the gap is to intercede on behalf of others. The Bible commands us to pray continually (1 Thess. 5:17). No particular posture is essential when you pray; you can stand up or kneel down. Solomon in this text knelt before the altar when he prayed. Prophet Elijah (1Kg. 18:42), Ezra (Ez. 9:5), Daniel (Dan. 6:10), Jesus (Lk. 22:41), Stephen (Acts 7:60), Peter (Acts 9:40) and Paul (Acts 20:36) all knelt in prayer. Victor Hugo is alleged to have said that the soul is on its knee many times regardless of the posture of the body. It is the posture of the heart that is important in prayer.

In our text, Solomon stood and spread out his hands toward heaven (8:22) but the Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit where they sat praying in one accord (Acts 2:2).

Solomon prayed that God would also answer the prayers of foreigners who believe in God. For this, God accepted people like Ruth, the Ethiopian Eunuch, Rahab the harlot, and so on. While your pastors pray for you, you also must stand in the gap for them.

The Scripture enjoins us to pray with understanding and in the Spirit. Praying in the Spirit is the most effective. It leads to groaning in prayer. Groaning in prayer is one of the most positive things we can do. God allows us to groan, otherwise we would never truly pray. We would utter words but never really pray from the deep within where effectual fervent prayer has to begin (James 5:6 Rom8:26). At the same time, groaning in Spirit is more than physically screaming.

Remember that those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint……. Isaiah 40:31. As Christian believers, we must stand in the gap for our leaders, pastors, body of Christ and the nation. Do so today!

HYMN: EMHB 534
1: JESUS, Thou sovereign Lord of all,
The same through one eternal day,
Attend Thy feeblest followers’ call,
And O instruct us how to pray!
Pour out the supplicating grace,
And stir us up to seek Thy face.

2: We cannot think a gracious thought,
We cannot feel a good desire,
Till Thou, who call’dst a world from nought,
The power into our hearts inspire:
The promised Intercessor give,
And let us now Thyself receive.

3: Come in Thy pleading Spirit down
To us who for Thy coming stay;
Of all Thy gifts we ask but one,
We ask the constant power to pray:
Indulge us, Lord, in this request;
Thou canst not then deny the rest.

MEMORY VERSE: Ezekiel 22:30 “I looked for a man who will build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it but I found none.”

PRAYER: Lord, help us to always intercede for Your Church and others, in obedience to your will.

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 16, 2019

THEME: DIVINE ENABLEMENT

PASSAGE: EXODUS 31: 1-11
1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2. See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 3. And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4. To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 5. And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. 6. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee; 7. The tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle, 8. And the table and his furniture, and the pure candlestick with all his furniture, and the altar of incense, 9. And the altar of burnt offering with all his furniture, and the laver and his foot, 10. And the cloths of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office, 11. And the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.

MESSAGE
There are hundreds of gifts that God gives to men to serve Him with. It is up to an individual to discover what his or her gifts are. Whatever a man is equipped to do, it is the thing he should do unless God makes it clear that he should do otherwise. Some want to speak like others even when they are not equipped to speak. They stubbornly continue with that when other useful gifts they have waste away! God chose Bezaleel, son of Uri, the son of Hur, and told Moses that He had filled him Bezaleel with Spirit of God with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts (v1-3)

Each of us has a unique and personal call to be our own selves and not copiers of other people. While some believe that wisdom comes from observation and experiences of life, some think that wisdom is inherent. Others even believe that wisdom is the exclusive preserve of philosophers, the aged and leaders in society. These are good but without divine enablement all is vanity. So, whatever gift God has given you, He would want you to use it for His service. He will give you the wisdom, understanding and knowledge to do the work successfully. However, to receive such gifts, you need God’s favour, and to receive God’s favour, you must be very close to Him.

The fact remains that while some people have one gift, others have two or more gifts. God expects you to use the gift He gave to you to the fullest. He expects you to gain more with the gift and not to bury it. If you fail to use the gift to the fullest, God will surely judge and condemn you on the the Day of Judgement.

HYMN: EMHB 572
1: BEHOLD the servant of the Lord!
I wait Thy guiding eye to feel,
To hear and keep Thy every word,
To prove and do Thy perfect will,
Joyful from my own works to cease,
Glad to fulfil all righteousness.

2: Me, if Thy grace vouchsafe to use,
Meanest of all thy creatures, me,
The deed, the time, the manner choose,
Let all my fruit be found of Thee;
Let all my works in Thee be wrought,
By thee to full perfection brought.

3: My every weak, though good design,
O’errule, or change, as seems Thee meet;
Jesus, let all my work be Thine!
Thy work, O Lord, is all complete,
And pleasing in Thy Father’s sight;
Thou only hast done all things right.

4: Here then to Thee Thy own I leave;
Mould as thou wilt thy passive clay;
But let me all thy stamp receive,
But let me all thy words obey,
Serve with a single heart and eye,
And to thy glory live and die.

MEMORY VERSE:
Deuteronomy 8:18 “But remember the Lord your God for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant which He swore to your forefathers as it is today.”

PRAYER:
Lord, grant me Your wisdom, understanding and knowledge to successfully perform with the gifts You have deposited in my life, for in Christ Jesus’ name I pray

MONDAY JANUARY 14, 2019

THEME: WASH AND BE CLEAN

TEXT: EXODUS 30:17-21
17. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 18. Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. 19. For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: 20. When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD: 21. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.

MESSAGE
In Biblical studies, one of the great facts we learn is that the “Old Testament” is the New Testament contained, while the New Testament is the Old Testament fulfilled.” Exodus 30, therefore, contains prescription of elements of worship in the Tabernacle as God dictated to Moses. The bowl of bronze described in the passage is meant to be used by priests who are the leaders of worship to wash their feet and hands before moving on to offer sacrifices at the altar

A deeper study of the letter to the Hebrews (especially Hebrews 8-20) shows that those elements and procedures of worship in the Old Testament were ‘a copy and shadow of what is in heaven’ (Heb. 8:5). Peter did not understand that the washing of his feet and those of the other disciples by Jesus Christ pointed to a much deeper and inner cleansing which comes through the ultimate sacrifice of the Lord-begotten Son of God. The washing with water and blood of goats and bulls offered outwards or ceremonial cleansing, whereas, the blood of Jesus Christ has power for inner sanctification and transformation. ‘How much more then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our conscience from acts that leads to death, so that we may serve the living God!’ (Heb. 9:14). The blood is essential in cleansing from sin and if you have not been washed by the blood of Christ, you are not part of Him.

The most effective and efficient tool for human regeneration and transformation of society is the Good News of Jesus Christ. When a person receives forgiveness from the Lord and repents of evil and wickedness, he or she has a change of focus and perspective on life and offers positive contributions for his or her own good and the good of the society. The best weapon against corruption, nepotism, injustice and dishonesty is the power of the gospel. Let us explore it. Be cleansed inside and outside.

HYMN EMHB 319
1: WEARY souls, that wander wide
From the central point of bliss,
Turn to Jesus crucified,
Fly to those dear wounds of His:
Sink into the purple flood;
Rise into the life of God.

2: Find in Christ the way of peace,
Peace unspeakable, unknown;
By His pain He gives you ease,
Life by His expiring groan:
Rise, exalted by His fall;
Find in Christ your all in all.

3: O believe the record true:
God to you His Son hath given.
Ye may now be happy too,
Find on earth the life of heaven,
Live the life of heaven above,
All the life of glorious love.

MEMORY VERSE:
John 13:8 “’No,’ said Peter, ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘unless I wash you, you have no part with me’”

PRAYER:
Wash me clean with Your Blood which is the spiritual water and put Your righteousness in me O Lord. Amen.

SUNDAY JANUARY 13, 2019

THEME: THE IMPERISHABLE BODY

TEXT: 1COR. 15:42-58
42. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43. It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

LUKE 9:28-32
28. And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. 30. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: 31. Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. 32. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.

MESSAGE
Transfiguration is said to mean “a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state.” The experience of Jesus Christ on a mountain when He took with Himself Peter, James and John adequately describes what transfiguration is. As Luke 9:29 reports, “As He was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning” (Luke 9:29). This was a very glorious and spiritual experience and the three disciples saw it.

It did not end there; a voice of God confirmed Jesus Christ, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him’ (Luke 9:35NIV). They were speechless after this encounter. In the gospels, we read how Jesus Christ is glorified by the Father and also how He will come in glory with the holy angels (Matt. 16:17; Luke 21:17; john 1:14; John 17:24). The glory of Jesus Christ is not an earthly one but from heaven – something he has with the Father.

A glimpse of the glory of Jesus was shown to the disciples and they were dazed. God also showed His glory to Moses and the Israelites as Sinai and they could not withstand it. God’s design is to take us into His glory through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (John 11:40; 17:24). We have a duty to believe in the Lord for us to have a taste of His glory. In fact, this encounter does not come of our own accord but from the Lord Himself, through the Holy Spirit. He purifies us until we conform with the image of God. (2Cor. 3:18).

The final glory will come when Christ returns for the second and the last time. And if you hope in the second coming of Christ, you will not rest on your oars, but diligently and steadfastly seek and worship Him and purify yourself. (1John 3:3)

HYMN EMHB 823
1: OUR life is hid with Christ in God;
Our Life shall soon appear,
And shed His glory all abroad
In all His members here.

2: Our souls are in His mighty hand,
And He shall keep them still;
And you and I shall surely stand
With Him on Zion’s hill.

3: O what a joyful meeting there!
In robes of white arrayed,
Palms in our hands we all shall bear,
And crowns upon our head.

4: Then let us lawfully contend,
And fight our passage through :
Bear in our faithful minds the end,
And keep the prize in view.

MEMORY VERSE:
2Cor. 5:1 “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands”

PRAYER:
Lord keep and make me ready for Your glorious second coming in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.

SATURDAY JANUARY 12, 2019

THEME: THE LORD IS WITH YOU

TEXT: ZEPHANIAH 3:14-17
14. Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15. The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. 16. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. 17. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

MESSAGE
Israel as a people of God by covenant has no reason to be trampled upon or demeaned or miserable. If for any reason they live short of their esteemed pedestal, it is no other person’s fault or of the Lord, but theirs. While God usually keeps His terms of the covenant, the people were either stubborn and disobedient or weak to keep theirs. As a result, they always ran into trouble when God withdraws the blessings attached to the covenant.

Today we hear of people signing agreement, pact and memorandum of understanding with mutual benefits attached if they are true to what they signed. Because of failure to keep such promises, there are always conflicts between persons and nations resulting in violence and legal tussled all over the place, even among relatives and close friends. All that is required is commitment and determination to keep your own side of any covenant or promise you have entered into.

However, while persons may be hard to one another, God’s attribute of love, mercy and forgiveness stand side by side with His justice. Hence, after scolding and punishment, God again appears to us as a lovely mother who will not just throw away a stubborn baby, “can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she had borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15 NIV).

Zephaniah therefore, reassures us here that God is with us and is mighty to save us from our sins, misery and failure because He delights in us and His love will give us harmony. God is like a father who disciplines a stubborn child and, at the same time is like a mother who embraces a repentant child. He wants the best for you and from you!

HYMN EMHB 608
1: CAPTAIN of Israel’s host and guide,
Of all who seek the land above,
Beneath Thy shadow we abide,
The cloud of Thy protecting love;
Our strength, Thy grace; our rule, Thy word
Our end the glory of the Lord

2: By Thy unerring spirit led,
We shall not in the desert stray,
We shall not full direction need,
Nor miss our providential way;
As far from danger as from fear,
While love almighty love is near.

MEMORY VERSE:
Zeph. 3:17 “The Lord your God us with you,, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing”

PRAYER:
Lord Almighty, as one with God us majority, always be with me in all my journey in this world for Christ’s sake. Amen.

FRIDAY JANUARY 11, 2019

THEME: IT IS TIME TO SHINE

TEXT: ISAIAH 60:1-9

MESSAGE
JERUSALEM, The City of God, had been at a low ebb and in darkness. Everything failed and in disarray. No life. No joy. No prosperity. Yet, it was sworn by God as His holy City, City of Peace. The Lord, by covenant, promised to set His light on Israel, upon Zion, the Holy City, the Mount Zion. The Prophet (Isaiah) now tell the people to “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you” (Isaiah 60:1). It is imagined that they were so weakened to realize that the blessing and grace of God have been released to them.

Prophet Isaiah gave a shout to the people of Judah to arise, and shine. As they shine the light of God, great things will happen, ‘Then you will look and be radiant; your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come” (Isaiah 60:5 NIV). Since the restoration of the State of Israel in 1948 in fulfillment of the prophecy of God in Ezekiel 37:1-14, they continued to wit ness outstanding number of tourists each year, with a record of 3.6million in 2017. Israel has been the best hi-tech, the best military and intelligence in the world and exports millions of tons of food produce in spite of the fact that it is situated in a desert and depend on irrigation.

Christ Jesus is the personification of the Light of God as He confirmed in John 8:12 that, ‘I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’. It is possible for people to be asleep and unaware that there is light. As long as you are asleep, even when there is light, you cannot know. This is a wake-up call on you to embrace the Light of God.

Spiritually, why allow sin and dishonesty to wreck you? Why should satan continue to oppress you and make you miserable when the name of Jesus Christ is above all names? Friend, this 2019 is your time to shine. Wake up! Wake up!

HYMN EMHB 931
1: AWAKE, my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise
To pay thy morning sacrifice.

2: Redeem Thy misspent moments past,
And live this day as if thy last;
Improve thy talent with due care;
For the great day thyself prepare.

3: Let all Thy converse be sincere,
Thy conscience as the noonday clear;
For God’s all seeing eye surveys
Thy secret thoughts, thy words and ways.

4: Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,
And with the angels bear thy part,
Who all night long unwearied sing
High praise to the eternal King.

5: All praise to thee, who safe hast kept,
And hast refreshed me whilst I slept.
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake,
I may of endless life partake.

6: Lord, I my vows to thee renew;
Disperse my sins as morning dew;
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with thyself my spirit fill.

7: Direct, control, suggest, this day,
All I design or do or say;
That all my powers, with all their might,
In thy sole glory may unite.

8: Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
Praise him, all creatures here below,
Praise him above, angelic host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

MEMORY VERSE:
Eph. 5:14 “For it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, o sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you’”

PRAYER: Lord, enter into my life, Thou Light of God, and let me shine like the Stars in Jesus’ name. Amen.

THURSDAY JANUARY 10, 2019

THEME: RETURN TO THE LORD

TEXT: JOEL 2:12-14
12. Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13. And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?

MESSAGE:
Many of us behaved in ways that are very appalling to God. We do detestable things to fellow human beings and also disobey God. When we start facing the consequences of our actions we become miserable. When our conscience begins to condemn us or when the Spirit of God convicts us and we are haunted by guilt, some of us start hating our own lives. Instead of taking positive actions, some degenerate deeper into the wrong acts, while others take to drugs, alcoholism, commits suicide or become enemies to everyone around.

At the time of Joel’s prophecy, the people of Judah were facing the consequences of their misdeeds and rebellion through plague and drought. Joel sounded the warning about the impending day of the Lord and urged them to “return to me with all your heart with fasting and weeping and mourning” (Joel 2:12). Instead of the people to truly repent and turn to the Lord, they were angry with themselves by tearing their garments and running mad. It is cultural for people of that era to tear their garments or put ashes on their heads as a sign of repentance or protest against unpleasant situations. This is not it. Hold it! Do not harm yourself out of guilt or self-pity for falling below family standards, because you have an unwanted pregnancy and a child out of wedlock; because you were withdrawn from school for failure, because you were sexually abused or molested is not enough for you to hurt yourself.

This is not to sound as if to condone sin. But God’s love is immeasurable, boundless and inexplicable. The very sinful person who has been so condemned and degraded has God’s attention and Jesus Christ would tell you that He came for you (Matt. 9:12-13). Hence, return to the Lord. Come to Jesus Christ as you are. Something good will happen to you.

HYMN EMHB 342
1: COME, let us to the Lord our God
With contrite hearts return;
Our God is gracious, nor will leave
The desolate to mourn.

2: His voice commands the tempest forth,
And stills the stormy wave;
And though His arm be strong to smite,
’Tis also strong to save.

3: Long hath the night of sorrows reigned;
The dawn shall bring us light;
God shall appear, and we shall rise
With gladness in His sight.

4: Our hearts, if God we seek to know,
Shall know Him and rejoice;
His coming like the morn shall be,
Like morning songs His voice.

5: As dew upon the tender herb,
Diffusing fragrance round;
As showers that usher in the spring,
And cheer the thirsty ground.

6: So shall His presence bless our souls,
And shed a joyful light;
That hallowed morn shall chase away
The sorrows of the night.

MEMORY VERSE:
Joel 2:12 “Even now declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning’”

PRAYER: Lord, have mercy on me for I have no one else to run to besides You. Amen.