SATURDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER, 2018
THEME: UNDERSTANDING THE TIMES
TEXT: 1 CHRONICLES 12:23-32
MEMORY VERSE: ECCLESIASTES 3:1 “To everything, there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven”.

You waste time, you lose everything”. This is a popular maxim. The whole life of mankind and history are controlled by time. Show me anything in this world that is not time-bound? Is it kingdom, regime, administration, government, even the life of man? David might not have committed adultery if he had walked and followed the principle of time usage (2 Samuel 11:1-ff).

Time is of great essence and value. The Bible records of the children of Issachar that they were only two hundred men and, by virtue of their understanding of the times, they were the ones that commanded their brethren. (1 Chronicles 12:32). We are now in the end-time. This is the time that we need to work and walk as wise men and women and not as fools (Ephesians 5:15-18). No doubt, the signs and happenings around us signify this. Time is running out but we need to keep standing with Christ so that we shall not fall victims of the perils of the end-times. (Ephesians 5:1-7). Let us learn from the children of Issachar.

HYMN: EMHB 810 – FATHER, LET THY KINGDOM COME
PRAYER: Gracious Father, I understand that I am living in the end-time. Help me to walk with You till the end of the age. (Amen).

THURSDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER, 2018
THEME: HOLY COMMUNION
TEXT: I CORINTHIANS 11:20-34
MEMORY VERSE: 1 COR. 11:25 “In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood. These do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

The Holy Communion is a meal which is taken by Christians in remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ. It is also known as the Lord’s Supper, the Sacrament, or the Eucharist. Some have argued concerning the time when it was originally taken as being in the night but the truth is that today, the time we take it is not so important. Rather the condition of the communicant’s heart must be right with God, else there will be serious consequences. (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).

The Holy Communion is the New Testament concept of the Passover feast which the Israelites celebrated before leaving Egypt (Exodus 12:1-28). The Passover feast was instituted in Egypt to mark the passing over of the Jewish houses when the first-born of all the Egyptians were slain. It begins on the 14th day of Nisan (Abib) our April. Similarly, the Holy Communion is a holy feast instituted by Jesus Christ to concretize the fellowship between Him and His disciples. (Matthew 26:26-30). Each time the Holy Communion is celebrated, it is a remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Luke 22:14-20, 33). Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb that was slain in the Old Testament.

The Lord’s Super is one of the 12 things the Corinthians Church asked Paul to shed light on. The Lord’s Supper must not be taken unworthily. Before the Holy Communion is taken, the partaker must examine himself or herself to see if he/she is fit to take it; There must be no idol in the heart of the partaker else there would be serious consequences if taken unworthily.

HYMN: EMHB 763 – ACCORDING TO THY GRACIOUS WORD,
PRAYER: Dear Lord, as I feast at Your table, help me to remember that You died for my sins, and let me resurrect with You ever more in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

TUESDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER, 2018
THEME: WHAT MANNER OF MAN IS JESUS?
TEXT: JOHN 11:38 – 44
MEMORY VERSE: JOHN 11:25-26 “Jesus said to her, I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?

“What manner of man is Jesus? Halleluiah! 2ce
He made the blind to see? Halleluiah!
He made the dead to rise, Halleluiah!

So goes a popular chorus. Jesus vividly demonstrated here that He was not only the Son of God but that He is God in human flesh (John 11:25). What ordinary man could raise a decomposing corpse of four days? What manner of man would intentionally wait for a man to die before He visited him to raise him up? (John 11:3-6, 14-17). What kind of man would walk on the sea and not sink? What kind of man will die and rise again the third day? What manner of man will, after rising from the dead, show Himself of people and even eat and talk with them?

Certainly, this son of a carpenter is God in human flesh – a man who wept at Lazarus’ tomb! He wept not only because He loved Lazarus but also because of the people’s unbelief in His ability to raise Lazarus from the dead. From the tomb which Jesus eventually raised Lazarus up from signifying that He has power over death.

Many prophets spoke about the birth of Jesus Christ hundreds of years before He was actually born. He was the Son of God worshipped here on earth and in heaven by the angelic hosts and He is the only One who will judge the living and the dead at the close of age. Without His approval, nobody will be able to enter the New Jerusalem. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Hallelujah.

HYMN: EMHB 86 – STRONG SON OF GOD, IMMORTAL LOVE
PRAYER: Oh Lord, let the same power with which You raised Lazarus from the dead, raise up every dead goodness in my life. Amen.

SATURDAY 8TH SEPTEMBER, 2018
THEME: LOVING THE UNLOVABLE
TEXT: MATTHEW 5:43-48
MEMORY VERSE: MATTHEW 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”

Is it really possible to love one’s enemies? Humanly speaking, this is not possible but scripturally speaking, it is what we are commanded to do as Christians even though it seems difficult. (Matthew 5:43-44).Part of the characteristics of what entitles us as Christians to be called the children of God is when we exhibit love to those who are unlovable (Matthew 5:45). According to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “Love is the only force that is capable of transforming an enemy into a friend”.

Truly speaking, it is very difficult to love someone who is one’s enemy (Matthew 5:43). But it is practicable and possible. Proverbs 25:21-22 says when you give your enemy food or water, you heap coals of fire on his head and the Lord shall reward you. That is why we are commanded to be perfect even as our heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48).

We need to remember that Christ loved us even before we ever come to know Him. Such is the love He expects us to display to those we see as “unlovable” because God is Love! (Read 1 John 4:8-11, 15-16). If you say that you love God but hates someone around you, you are, no doubt, a liar. Let us love one another for Christ’s sake.

HYMN: EMHB 73 – MY GOD, HOW WONDERFUL THOU ART…
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please give me the grace to love my enemies even though they appear unlovable, and pray for their change of heart.

FRIDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER, 2018
THEME: THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH
TEXT: 1 TIMOTHY 6:11-16
MEMORY VERSE: 1TIMOTHY 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

The word ‘fight’ appears over 100 times in the Bible but the one in 1 Timothy 6:12 is where the Bible encourages Christians to “Fight”. Behold, this “fight” is not that of strife, violence, hatred, competition or terrorism; rather it is a clarion call to stand and defend the faith, through our acts of righteousness.

Do you remember the three Hebrew young men? (Daniel 3:12-30)? They refused to bow down to the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. That is a good fight of faith. What about Joseph in Potiphar’s house? (Genesis 39:1-11). Do you also remember Daniel? (Daniel 6:1-23). This fight is not that which involves the needless shedding of human blood, nor the slaughtering of human beings, like animals, in the name of religion. It is not the fight of suicide bombing. It is a clarion call to stand for righteousness in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation, declaring the mind of God to everyone around us even when it may cost us our lives, work and comfort. Where are we as a church in this good fight of faith? What of our leaders in the church? Are they fighting the good fight of faith? It is our calling if truly we are Christians; it is also our confession if indeed we are children of God (1 Timothy 6:11-14).

You are to speak against injustice, oppression, corruption in all its ramifications, steer clear of evil and evildoers.

HYMN: EMHB 490 -FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT WITH ALL THY MIGHT
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to fight the good fight of faith till the end of my life’s journey (Amen).

TUESDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER, 2018
THEME: THE PERILOUS TIMES
TEXT: 2 TIMOTHY 3:1-9
MEMORY VERSE: 2 TIMOTHY 3:1 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times shall come”.

Perilous times are here with us! It is only God that can save and deliver us. Things that have never happened before are now everyday experience. Terrorism is on the rampage everywhere! Famine is already taking its toll in South Sudan. All the signs are visible in various homes, societies, nations and all over the world. (2Timothy 3:1-4). The Church of God is not exempted as the church is getting worldly (2Timothy 3:5). Technology has advanced greatly; knowledge has increased tremendously but evil has also increased exponentially. War is devastating and ravaging many countries (Matthew 24:7-8).

There is so much knowledge but truth has been both elusive and evasive in the world (2 Timothy 3:7-8). We should not be surprised at all with all the happenings in these perilous times because we have been fore-warned by Christ (Matthew 24:6, 11-14). The steps we need to take are as follows:

(i) Do not be troubled or disturbed (John 14:1)
(ii) Do not be deceived (1 Corinthians 15:33-34)
(iii) Ask God for strength to stay with Him to the end (Matthew 24:12-13)
(iv) Continue your walk with the Lord (2 Timothy 3:14-15)
(v) Preach the gospel to as many that you come across (Matthew 24:14)
(vi) Embrace holiness and righteousness.
(vii) Always be prepared.

It is well with your soul!!

HYMN: EMHB 526 -O JESUS, I HAVE PROMISED ….
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me not to fall into the dangers of these perilous times as I patiently await Your second coming and please uphold me to the end. Amen.

MONDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER, 2018
THEME: LOVE IS SACRIFICIAL
TEXT: JOHN 15:12-15
MEMORY VERSE: JOHN 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.

Love is more than having a beautiful feeling. The world’s view of love, today, is basically lust because “love will always wait to have but lust can never wait to get”. The love we are talking of here is agape, God’s kind of love which does not attract any condition(s). Such was the love that Jesus demonstrated by sacrificing Himself on the Cross of Calvary for the remission of our sins (John 15:13). The hallmark of the Christian faith is love. That is why Jesus commands Christians to love one another (John 15:12).

Love also brings about obedience to please the one you love. (John 15:14). Love also brings about friendship. (John15:15). If you really love someone there is no length you cannot go in order to ensure that the person is happy. There will be no sacrifice too much to give just to ensure that such a friend is happy. Such is the love that Jesus displayed. God sent Jesus to die for our sins because He loves us so much (1 John 4:10-11). When we love, it is a proof that God lives in us and that we abide in Him and know God. (1 John 4:12-16).

In Matt 5:44, Jesus Christ tells us: ” Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you”. Jesus Himself demonstrated love on the Cross. He prayed for those who killed Him, saying “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing”. Are you ready to do so? Know that unless you have that kind of love, heaven may still be a no-go area for you.

HYMN: EMHB 52-OH LOVE OF GOD, HOW STRONG AND TRUE ….
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, give me the grace not only to love those who love me but also to love my enemies and pray for them.

SUNDAY 2ND SEPTEMBER, 2018
THEME: WAITING ON THE LORD
TEXT: ISAIAH 40:25-31
MEMORY VERSE: ISAIAH 40:31 “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.”

What does it mean to wait on the Lord? It means trusting God and not giving over to worry about anything we so much desire even when we are experiencing a delay. Delay is not denial, but we tend to worry and become anxious when we have not received what we are expecting from God.

What are the steps to be taken when waiting on the Lord?
1. Trust in the Lord absolutely (Psalm 56:11, Proverbs 3:5-6)
2. Be rest assured that you shall not be put to shame (Psalm 34:5; Isaiah 50:7-9).
3. Allow God to guide and instruct you. (Psalm 32:8).
4. Believe that what you are expecting Him to do shall be done without fail. (Mk. 11:24)

Are there any troubles you are going through at this moment? All you need do is trust God and He will meet you at the point of your need. He may keep you waiting until the last moment but He will surely answer you at the most appropriate time. Wait on the Lord, pray and depend on Him without any doubt.

HYMN: EMHB 54- JESUS MY STRENGTH, MY HOPE….
PRAYER: Help me to wait on You, Faithful Lord, and renew my strength to mount up like an eagle, and to do exploit for God without being weary or tired, to fight for Him without minding the wounds.

SATURDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER, 2018
THEME: NO MORE BABES
TEXT: EPHESIANS 4:10-16
MEMORY VERSE: EPHESIANS 4:14. “That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, and cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive”

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ have brought very many benefits to us as Christians. His death and resurrection brought about what has been recognized as the five-fold ministry of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers (Ephesians 4:10-11). And what is the purpose of this five-fold ministry? For the equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry and for the edifying of the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12); to unify believers in the faith (4:13); to perfect the Church in Christ, and to bring members to maturity in Christ (v 13).

The church is expected to have in place all the five-fold ministry i.e. Ministers and their ministries have to be ordained by God to nourish our souls of converts to maturity (Ephesians 4:13) even as we nourish our physical bodies to maturity. When we are fully mature spiritually, then we are no more babes in Christ who are tossed up and down and carried about with every wind of doctrine (falsehood).

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, let us not do those things that unbelievers do (Gal.5:19-21), but bear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

HYMN: EMHB 164-BEHOLD A LITTLE CHILD….
PRAYER: Lord, give me the grace to grow in Your knowledge so that I may not be carried away by the affairs of the world nor by the craftiness of fake prophets.

FRIDAY 31ST AUGUST, 2018
THEME: PARTIAL OBEDIENCE
TEXT: 1 SAMUEL 15:13-23
MEMORY VERSE: 1 SAMUEL 15:22 “But Samuel replied: ‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.'”

In a football game, there are two teams in a contest to outdo each other. Each team is led by coaches who organize and determine the strategy for the contest. He instructs each player on the role to play for the overall success of the team. If, however, a player indulges in excessive dribbling in an effort to show off his skills instead of engaging in team play, the team might suffer defeat. Such lack of obedience or partial obedience has its consequence to the team and its players. One certain consequence is that the coach may end up dropping the offending player from the team. In the same manner, spiritual disobedience or partial obedience has its consequences. Saul was rejected because of his partial obedience to instructions due to personal reasons.

Let us look at why people do not obey instructions to the letter. Some of the reasons could be lack of trust in the leader instructing us. However, most times the major reason is selfish consideration. We try to impose our own selfish advantage over and above the collective good of the group we belong to. When we do this, we bring consequences, not only to ourselves when we fail to achieve the collective good because of our selfish motives but the whole group also ends up suffering for the wrong ambitions of a few. Today, God is saying we cannot place our own consideration above the collective good, especially when we are in a leadership position. It is a betrayal of trust.

HYMN: EMHB 403 – MY HEART IS FIXED, ETERNAL GOD,
PRAYER: When the joyful pleasures of the flesh beckon on me, Merciful Father, let Your Word always awaken my spirit to Your command in Jesus’ name.