SAT. 16th FEB, 2019

THEME: FAILURE OF WORLDLY PLEASURE

TEXT: ECCLESIASTES 2:8-11
8. I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. 9. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. 10. And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. 11. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.

MESSAGE
In a quest to acquire wealth, live flamboyantly, ensure security and pleasure, a man killed his mother for ritual. When the day of reckoning came, his wealth failed him. He regretted killing his mother and ended his life in suffering and pain without finding the pleasure he had craved for.

When all that one pursues or strives to achieve in life is pleasure and material gain, such a person is bound to fail and eternity in hell may not elude him/her. That is to say that worldly pleasure has no eternal security or value: It is temporary. It is a mirage.

The story of the rich fool in the Scripture (Luke 12: 16-20) teaches us that worldly pleasure or passion is not eternal. The lifestyle of the rich fool demonstrated to us our relationship with our possessions, that where our wealth is, there is our heart.

King Solomon, the wisest and richest man on earth boldly confessed in Ecclesiastes 12:9-14 that life lived without Christ is a waste. It is so with us today. Solomon had taken time to experiment on life in its fullest and came to a conclusion that “it is vanity upon vanity.” If we succeed by the world’s standard but fail with God, we fail in all.

Worldly fame does not mean eternal recognition by God and material prosperity does not equal spiritual prosperity. Brethren, let us live a life of godly contentment and avoid vain and luxurious life of any kind. Do not envy any wealthy man who does not give his life to God because such a man is ignorant of the Lord’s way. Remember, ‘If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable’ (1 Corinth. 15:19).

HYMN: EMHB 549
1: LORD, that I may learn of Thee,
Give me true simplicity;
Wean my soul, and keep it low.
Willing Thee alone to know.

2: Let me cast my reeds aside,
All that feeds my knowing pride,
Not to man, but God submit,
Lay my reasonings at Thy feet;

3: Of my boasted wisdom spoiled,
Docile, helpless, as a child,
Only seeing in Thy light,
Only walking in Thy might.

4: Then infuse the teaching grace,
Spirit of truth and righteousness;
Knowledge, love divine, impart,
Life eternal, to my heart.

MEMORY VERSE:
Prov. 21:17 “He who loves pleasure will become poor, whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich.”

PRAYER:
May you help us to pursue that which will earn us eternal pleasure through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

FRI. 15th FEB., 2019

THEME: NOT OF THE WORLD

PASSAGE: JOHN 15:18-21
18. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

MESSAGE
Once upon a time, a hunter saw the egg of an eagle and took it home. Reaching home, he added it to his fowl’s eggs which the hen was to start hatching. After a while, the hen hatched her eggs including the eagle’s egg. The young eagle mingled with the chicken while growing up. But as they grew up, the eagle discovered that she was different from the chicken and behaved differently, too. This was a result of the mother eagle it saw the previous time.

Another day, the hen saw the mother eagle again and heard the mother informing her that she did not belong to the ground but to the sky and asked the young eagle to try and fly up there. The young eagle tried to fly several times, but failed. It eventually made it to the sky and started enjoying her new life in the new environment.

The world has a system. It has a practice. It does her things differently from the way heaven does her things. In our reading this morning, Jesus made it clear to believers that they do not belong to this world. Hence, they should not think and behave like the world. Believers should not love the world or things inside it, for they shall all pass away (1Jn.2:15ff). Children of God are expected to shine as light in the world. Their way of dressing, what they eat and drink, what they say, who they associate with should be in tandem with their faith. They should not be of the world or with the world though they live in the world.

God our heavenly Father and Creator does not belong to the world, and He has commanded us as Christians to seek things above. We do not belong to the world any longer. Hence, we should avoid old and worldly lifestyle and live heavenward to the glory of God.

HYMN: EMHB 110
1: JESUS, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high:
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide,
O receive my soul at last.

2: Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me:
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.

3: Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
More than all in Thee I find.
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind:
Just and holy is Thy name,
I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am,
Thou art full of truth and grace.

4: Plenteous grace with thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound,
Make and keep me pure within:
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee,
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity. Amen.

MEMORY VERSE: John 15:19, “If you belong to the world, it would love you as its own, as it is, you do not belong to the world. That is why the world hates you.”

PRAYER:
Heavenly Father, put off the canal man in me and replace it with the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

THU 14th FEB, 2019

THEME: DON’T LOSE YOUR SAVOUR

PASSAGES:
LUKE 14:34-35;
Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35. It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

MARK 9:49-50
Mark 9: 49. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. 50. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.

MESSAGE
Savour is “The specific taste or smell of something or a distinctive sensation.” Our today’s passage describes the goodness of salt. Salt has a unique taste that everyone craves for. It sweetens and preserves food. When salt is absent in foods, the food either becomes unwanted, insipid or tasteless.

The life of a Christian is likened to that of the salt by Jesus in one of His teachings on the Mount.(Mt. 5:13). The Christian life has a ‘unique taste’ or character that the society recognizes. When a chaotic situation crops up in the life of the unconverted, he comes seeking for solution from the true Christian in their community. However, when such unconverted person could not see the savour expected from the Christian, he becomes frustrated and disappointed.

Imagine where you expect someone to rebuke people stealing from their place of work but later found out that he himself was the chief thief breeding other thieves. Where you expect someone to preach against fornication or adultery but found out that he himself is the one sleeping around with every available female in the church or community (Rom. 2:21-25). It would mean that the savour of such believer is wasted and useless.

Is that savour of the believer still in your life as a Christian? Have you corrupted the salt and turned it to a sour taste that the society abhors? You need to examine your life by the Word of God and allow a divine repair or solution before it is too late. Jesus said when the salt has lost its savour, it is no longer good for anything but to be trodden under feet of men. My prayer is that your ‘salt’ as a Christian will not become sour or lose its taste in Jesus name.

On the other hand, if the savour is still very effective, protect it and don’t allow it to be trodden under the feet of men.” Rather, labour more to sweeten more lives as your savour becomes more valuable, the more you use it. Mind you, the savour of Christian life is love, agape original! So, don’t let Valentine take away your savour but to enhance it.

HYMN: EMHB 600(DLM)
1: O MASTER, let me walk with Thee
In lowly paths of service free;
Thy secret; help me bear
The strain of toil, the fret of care;
Help me the slow of heart to move
By some clear winning word of love;
Teach me the wayward feet to stay,
And guide them in the homeward way.

2: Teach me Thy patience; still with Thee
In closer, dearer company,
In work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
In trust that triumphs over wrong,
In hope that sends a shining ray
Far down the future’s broadening way,
In peace that only Thou canst give,
With thee, O Master, let me live!

MEMORY VERSE: Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavour? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, let me never to lose my savour as a Christian believer but to increase in my sweetness as I touch more lives with the gospel and life of Christ. Amen.

HAPPY VALENTINE! LOTS OF LOVE IN CHRIST!

WED. 13th FEB, 2019

THEME: GIVE SACRIFICIALLY

PASSAGE: MATT. 26:6-13
6. Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 7. There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. 8. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? 9. For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. 10. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. 11. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. 12. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. 13. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

MESSAGE
Sacrificial means connected with or offered as a sacrifice. To give sacrificially, therefore, implies giving something very precious and valuable to you which you are willing to part with because of your love for the recipient. When something like that is given in such respect, it touches the heart of God to commend such act and bless the doer.

The box of perfume that the woman gave up and used on Jesus was very expensive. In some Bible commentaries, it was valued at a year’s worth of wages. It was so expensive that the disciples of Jesus had to complain of such a wasteful use. The woman was not considering the amount of the perfume but the great worth of Jesus on whom she poured it.

Also today’s memory verse (Lk 24:3,4) portrays a widow who gave the whole of her life’s substance as offering in the Temple. And what was Jesus’ comment? “I assure you,” He said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has” (Lk. 21:3-4).

A tithe payment may not be considered sacrificial as it is a norm, a percentage of your income expected to be given as your basic contribution. A sacrificial giving will go well beyond the normal. Have you ever given a sacrificial offering or gift, either to God or fellow human? Sacrificial offering receives commendation from God and will definitely receive due reward both in this world and in heaven’s account. In fact, giving in the New Testament is sacrificial and far more than tithes and offering.

Do you consider God as of great value? Start giving something sacrificial. Do you consider God’s command to love others as we love ourselves? Consider giving sacrificially to people who need such gesture as times present themselves. Such labour of love will definitely receive God’s commendation and reward.

HYMN: EMHB 923
1: WE give Thee but Thine own,
Whate’er the gift may be;
All that we have is Thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from Thee.

2: May we Thy bounties thus
As stewards true receive,
And gladly, as Thou blessest us,
To Thee our first-fruits give.

3: O hearts are bruised and dead,
And homes are bare and cold,
And lambs for whom the Shepherd bled
Are straying from the fold.

4: To comfort and to bless,
To find a balm for woe,
To tend the lone and fatherless
Is angels’ work below.

5: The captive to release,
To God the lost to bring,
To teach the way of life and peace—
It is a Christ-like thing.

MEMORY VERSE:
Luke 21:4 “For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”

PRAYER:
Help me Lord, to understand the benefits of sacrificial giving and to practise it from time to time. Amen.

TUE. 12th FEB., 2019

THEME: CARE FOR THE NEEDY

PASSAGE: DEUT. 15:6-11
6. For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations,but they shall not reign over thee. 7. If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: 8. But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. 9. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee. 10. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. 11. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

MESSAGE
Going by the dictionary meaning, the needy are people who are poor and need help from others. They are people who need affection, attention or reassurance. In the Old Testament, God gave them laws that created a caring and loving atmosphere where the less-privileged are taken care of or recognized. For instance, one of the laws protecting the needy says, “When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I, the Lord, AM your God” (Lev. 23:22). If you can recollect, there was a time when Jesus and His disciples were going through a field of corn and His disciples ate from such left over (Mk. 2:23).

In the early church, the disciples had all things in common; they shared what they had, one with others so that no one lacked (Acts 2:44-47). The church community is expected to be a type of closely-knitted family where everyone is catered for irrespective of class or status. That was why Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters” (Gal. 6:10). However, the needy are not only those who need food, money or materials they also need affection, attention or reassurance.

Do you have those who need your help, money, care, counselling, comfort, encouragement? Don’t turn or run away from them! Give to them those things you are able to give with the assurance that God will give back to you in multiple folds. Remember, no one knows tomorrow.

HYMN: EMHB 153(LM)
1: JESUS, Thy far-extended fame
My drooping soul exults to hear;
Thy name, thy all-restoring name,
Is music in a sinner’s ear.

2: Sinners of old Thou didst receive
With comfortable words and kind,
Their sorrows cheer, their wants relieve,
Heal the diseased, and cure the blind

3: And art Thou not the Saviour still,
In every place and age the same?
Hast Thou forgot Thy gracious skill,
Or lost the virtue of Thy name?

4: Faith in Thy changeless name I have;
The good, the kind physician, Thou
Art able now our souls to save,
Art willing to restore them now.

5: Wouldst Thou the body’s health restore,
And not regard the sin-sick soul?
The sin-sick soul Thou lov’st much more,
And surely Thou shalt make it whole.

6: All my disease, my every sin,
To Thee, O Jesus, I confess;
In pardon, Lord, my cure begin,
And perfect it in holiness.

MEMORY VERSE: Deuteronomy 14:29 “Give it to the Levites, who have no inheritance among you, as well as to the foreigners living among you, the orphans, and the widows in your towns, so they can eat and be satisfied. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all your work.”

PRAYER: God, help me to have Christ-like compassion to give without minding
the cost; to labour without seeking any repose, for Jesus name’s sake. Amen.

MONDAY 11th Feb., 2019

THEME: BE WARNED

PASSAGE: Matt. 24:4-24
4. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8. All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 15. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16. Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. 23. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

In these days that we are, many false prophets deceiving many have multiplied (II Tim. 3:13). Some of the time you even wonder how they were able to gain the confidence of their adherents that heed their instructions and false prophecies!

The following are some weird news of some practices of these so-called false prophets around the world: A South African pastor, Lesego Daniel, ordered his members to go out into the field outside to eat grass so as to be closer to God. Surprisingly, the members ran outside eating as much grass they could. A pastor named Raphael Obi, popularly called “Jehovah Sharp, Sharp” was interrogated by detectives at the Area M Command, Idimu, Lagos, for sucking women’s breasts. In his defense, he explained that he sucked their breasts to deliver them from killer diseases, including cancer. Another pastor’s act went viral on the internet for striping his female members and kissing them at the back side proving that it will make them get the right husbands.

The most shocking thing is that many are still deceived by these so-called false prophets by giving heed to their evil and unbiblical practices. The truth is that these false prophets engage the use of diabolical powers to hypnotize their victims.

Jesus said, “…you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:32). When you are truly converted by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and make room for proper study of God’s Word, you are secured from errors coming from the pit of hell. Do not allow false prophets and teachers to seduce you or turn you to the paths of hell. Free yourself by accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour today. Programme yourself into rich bible studies both in the church and at home.

HYMN: EMHB 491
1: CHRISTIAN, seek not yet repose;
Cast thy dreams of ease away;
Thou art in the midst of foes:
Watch and pray!

2: Principalities and powers,
Mustering their unseen array,
Wait for thy unguarded hours:
Watch and pray!

3: Gird thy heavenly armour on,
Wear it ever, night and day;
Ambushed lies the evil one:
Watch and pray

4: Hear the victors who o’ercame;
Still they mark each warrior’s way;
All with one sweet voice exclaim:
“Watch and pray!“

5: Hear, above all, hear thy Lord,
Him thou lovest to obey;
Hide within thy heart his word:
“Watch and pray!“

6: Watch, as if on that alone
Hung the issue of the day;
Pray that help may be sent down:
Watch and pray!

MEMORY VERSE: Matthew 24:5 “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”

PRAYER:
Open my spiritual eyes O Lord, that I may be able to distinguish lies and falsehood from the truth, thereby saving me from all the deceit of false prophets and false teacher in Jesus’ name. Amen.

SUNDAY 10th FEB. 2019

THEME: MORE THAN ENOUGH!

PASSAGE: EXO. 36:4-7
4. And all the wise men, that wrought all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his work which they made; 5. And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make. 6. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. 7. For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.

MESSAGE
A proclamation was made by Moses to all the Israelites to bring offering for the work of the tabernacle as instructed by God. In response, the people brought the requirements for the work in abundance, even beyond what was needed! Another instruction had to be given to stop the continual outpouring of freewill offerings which had become embarrassingly abundant!

How wonderful will it be, if today, people could give with such zeal and open heart to obey the Lord and His servants in bringing what the house of God needs? Most often today, if peoples’ names are not announced with the amount they donated, it might be very difficult to raise a quarter of what the church needed for a given project. This was not the case in the early church; brethren gave with the same spirit in today’s text. Many of them sold their possessions and gave the whole money to the apostles both for distribution to the needy and for church projects (Acts 2:44-47).

How do you give in God’s house today? Do you give generously unless your offering or donation is announced? Are there so many needs in your church that no one seems to be concerned about? Do you even realize that all you have belongs to God? If God says, “Bring all you have to Me,” will you be able to heed such request? Are you answering to God’s clarion call to meet the needs of His house and servants? Learn to give embarrassingly huge gifts to God and challenge others to do same. It pays to do so now just as it paid then!

HYMN: EMHB 923
1: WE give Thee but Thine own,
Whate’er the gift may be;
All that we have is Thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from Thee.

2: May we Thy bounties thus
As stewards true receive,
And gladly, as Thou blessest us,
To Thee our first-fruits give.

3: O hearts are bruised and dead,
And homes are bare and cold,
And lambs for whom the Shepherd bled
Are straying from the fold.

4: To comfort and to bless,
To find a balm for woe,
To tend the lone and fatherless
Is angels’ work below.

5: The captive to release,
To God the lost to bring,
To teach the way of life and peace—
It is a Christ-like thing.

MEMORY VERSE:
EXO. 36:5 “We have more than enough materials on hand now to complete the job the Lord has given us to do!” they exclaimed.”

PRAYER: God, nothing is too big to give to You. Help me, therefore, to realize this and be able to give all I have to the glory of Your name. Amen.

SAT. 9th FEB., 2019

THEME: A PLEASING LIFE

PASSAGE: COL. 1:9-12
9. For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10. That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11. Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12. Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

MESSAGE
Apostle Paul was writing to the believers in Colosse, appreciating the good news of their faith in Christ and how they have always showed love to the brethren. He also revealed the hope of heavenly rewards awaiting them for all they have laboured. Nonetheless, he wanted them to have deeper knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding so that they might walk worthy of the Lord and live lives pleasing to all.

In Matt. 5:14, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on the hill cannot be hidden.” People around us hope to see in us lives that are completely different from those of the world. They expect to see lives void of lies, fornication, anger, jealousy, adultery, stealing, idolatry, etc. When your life as a Christian does not receive approval from people around you, it repels people from you. But when your life is full of the knowledge of God’s Word in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, it draws people closer to you and promotes increase in God’s Kingdom. “I will follow you to Church,“ they will say.

You may not be able to live a life pleasing to all if you are shallow in the knowledge of God’s word. The deep knowledge of God’s Word is what can make you wise and be able to remain irreproachable. Today, people are looking for faithful people, who do what they say and maintain godly lives.

If you desire to live a pleasing life, study God’s Word, and apply it to your life and see how you become approved and pleasing to all. Nevertheless, pleasing God and gaining Divine approval is second to none.

HYMN: EMHB 697
1: BLEST are the humble souls that see
Their emptiness and poverty;
Treasures of grace to them are given,
And crowns of joy laid up in Heaven.

2: Blest are the men of broken heart,
Who mourn for sin with inward smart;
The blood of Christ divinely flows,
A healing balm for all their woes.

3: Blest are the souls that thirst for grace,
Hunger and long for righteousness;
They shall be well supplied, and fed
With living streams and living bread.

4: Blest are the pure, whose hearts are clean
From the defiling powers of sin;
With endless pleasure they shall see
The God of spotless purity.

5: Blest are the sufferers who partake
Of pain and shame for Jesus’ sake;
Their souls shall triumph in the Lord;
Glory and joy are their reward.

MEMORY VERSE: Colossians 1:10 “That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

PRAYER: I pray Thee, Lord, help me to study and understand Your Word and be filled with
divine wisdom that promotes a pleasing life before all, for I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

FRI. 8th FEB., 2019

THEME: MERCY SEAT

PASSAGE: EXO. 25:17-22
17. And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. 18. And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. 19. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. 20. And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. 21. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. 22. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

MESSAGE
Mercy is kindness, pity, forgiveness or compassion to another. God made a provision of mercy to the people of Israel. In spite of the abundance of sins committed by the Israelites, God asked Moses to make the Ark of Covenant which was to be a symbol of the presence of God among them. By design, a mercy seat was to be incorporated upon it. The Mercy Seat was to be a place where God will meet with the people in a compassionate mood and have mercy on them by forgiving all their sins. It was to be an atonement made for man by God Himself.

However, before man can benefit from the mercy or forgiveness from God, he must come with a heart of confession and repentance. That was why the Israelites must come to the priest to offer a sacrifice for their sins. The step portrays a heart of penitence or repentance before the promise of mercy could be extended to the man who offered the sacrifice.

Today, Jesus Christ is our Lamb of atonement; He is the ‘Mercy Seat’ where all our sins are forgiven and remitted. Remember, the Scripture says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Whoever desires forgiveness and pardon from his or her sins must come to Jesus, the Lamb of God; confess the sins, repent and accept Him as his or her Lord and Saviour. That is the only way today by which can meet with God on the ‘mercy seat’ and be pardoned and justified.

Are you still in your sins and burdened with the load of guilt? You can come to Jesus Christ today. He has the power and authority to forgive your sins and rescue you from all your guilt and consequence of sins. Accept Him into your life today, tomorrow may be too late.

HYMN: EMHB 364 (SM)
1: AH! whither should I go,
Burdened, and sick, and faint?
To whom should I my troubles show,
And pour out my complaint?

2: My Saviour bids me come;
Ah! why do I delay?
He calls the weary sinner home,
And yet from Him I stay!

3: What is it keeps me back,
From which I cannot part,
Which will not let my Saviour take,
Possession of my heart?

4: Some cursed thing unknown
Must surely lurk within,
Some idol, which I will not own,
Some secret bosom sin.

5: Jesu, the hindrance show,
Which I have feared to see;
Yet let me now consent to know
What keeps me out of Thee:

6: Searcher of hearts, in mine
Thy trying power display;
Into its darkest corners shine,
And take the veil away.

7: I now believe in Thee
Compassion reigns alone;
According to my faith to me
O let it, Lord, be done!

MEMORY VERSE: Exodus 25:22 “I will meet with you there and talk to you from above the atonement cover between the gold cherubim that hover over the Ark of the Covenant. From there I will give you my commands for the people of Israel.”

PRAYER:
Merciful God, grant me the access to the ‘MERCY SEAT’ in Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who came into the world and died for our sins through Whom our sins are forgiven and atoned. Do this in His most wonderful name I pray. Amen.

THU. 7th FEB. 2019

THEME: AVOID HUMAN APPLAUSE

PASSAGE: MATT. 6:1-8
1. Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4. That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. 5. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

MESSAGE
The Scriptures admonish us to give to the poor and the house of God for therein lie great rewards from God who pays back to those who are faithful. However, we are to keep ourselves from proclaiming on mountain top what we have done for people as if it was by our power. Whatever you are able to do for people was given to you to do by God’s grace and not by your own power or ability. Jesus taught us to give secretly without blowing a trumpet to announce what we have done (verses 1-3). If you do, you have already received your reward? What reward! The applause of men is the earthly reward, not of God. The earthly reward of men is temporal but that of heaven is eternal.

In the exercise of prayer, Jesus also warned that we should not pray as if we want applause from men. Our prayers are to be offered to God without the invitation of men as spectators. If we request men as spectators when we pray, the applause of men will be our reward. We are also not to practice vain repetition of words which makes us sound like fools because our God is not deaf. He hears us and understands our needs and feelings, even before we bring them to Him in prayer

Some kind of vain and repetitive prayers have become so common today that many believers have been deceived into thinking that you sound more spiritual when you do so. The kind of prayers where you repeat same word over and over, or shout Amen three times, fire three times and Holy Spirit three times are only to attract the applause of people and not of God who hears even the most silent prayers. Such might have become a norm in many churches but they are really not God’s desire or show you are spiritual.

Jesus said, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” (verse 7-8). Let God applaud you. GROW UP! Follow the advice of our Lord Jesus Christ in this all-important matter.

HYMN: EMHB 328 (7.6.7.6.D)
1: COME unto Me, ye weary,
And I will give you rest!
O blessed voice of Jesus,
Which comes to hearts oppressed!
It tells of benediction,
Of pardon, grace, and peace,
Of joy that hath no ending,
Of love which cannot cease.

2: Come unto Me, ye wanderers,
And I will give you light!
O loving voice of Jesus,
Which comes to cheer the night!
Our hearts were filled with sadness,
And we had lost our way;
But Thou hast brought us gladness,
And songs at break of day.

3: Come unto Me, ye fainting,
And I will give you life!
O quickening voice of Jesus,
Which comes to aid our strife!
The foe is stern and eager;
The fight is fierce and long;
But Thou hast made us mighty,
And stronger than the strong

4: And whosoever cometh
I will not cast him out!
O welcome voice of Jesus,
Which drives away our doubt,
Which calls us very sinners,
Unworthy though we be
Of love so free and boundless,
To come, dear Lord, to Thee.

MEMORY VERSE:
Matt. 6:4 “Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.”

PRAYER:
Lord, God, grant me the grace to pray according to Your divine wish and don’t allow me to attract the applause of people but of You in my prayers, in Jesus’ name. Amen.