MONDAY 12TH NOVEMBER, 2018
THEME: KEEP YOUR ANGER IN CHECK
TEXT: PROVERBS 19: 1 – 11
MEMORY VERSE: PROVERB 29: 11 “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.”

Anger is “little madness”. It is an emotion in every man regardless of status, sex, age and spiritual life. Every day there are things that come on our way that can make us upset. Someone may be rude to you; a child may disobey your instruction, plans may not work out as you think; your wife/husband may offend you one way or the other. Anger can arise as a result of stress. The Word of God recognizes it as an expression which man cannot do without (Eph. 4:26) but be careful your anger does not lead to sin.

The effects of anger are:

It deprives one of making the right decisions;
It causes strife and dissension (Prov. 30:33);
It destroys relationship either martial or between friends;
It causes bad utterances;
It kills the Spirit of God in man.
Owing to the negative effects of anger the Bible admonishes us to restrain from it (James 1: 19 – 20). The antidotes for anger are:
Pray for the ability to quick listening habit and slow to respond (James 1: 19).
Pray for the Holy Spirit to take control of your heart because out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Always pray against the spirit of anger.
Watch your temperament.

It is normal to be angry but you have to keep it in check to avoid its negative consequences on your family, work and Christian life. Eph. 4:26 says “Be ye angry and sin not”

HYMN: EMHB 291 – GRACIOUS SPIRIT DWELL WITH ME
PRAYER: Father, give me the spirit of meekness to always be in tune with You in Jesus’ name.

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.

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.

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.

THURSDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2018
THEME: GO FORWARD
TEXT: EXODUS 14:13-16
MEMORY VERSE: EXODUS 14:15 “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.”

In a recent newspaper news item, a successful Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) of a company told his success story. He traced the root of his success to when he lost his well-paid job in another company. He thought at that time he had nothing more to live for.

Sometimes we find ourselves in a similar situation. We get to a crossroads in various parts of our life and we become confused about the way forward. Take the situation as it faced the Israelites in today’s reading. Because as human beings we lack foresight or we do not see into the future, we lapse into despair when we get to such inextricable positions. Like the Israelites, when we cry in despair to God, we expect God to solve the problem with our limited human intelligence. Walking through the sea on dry ground would have been the least expected solution Moses would have thought God would offer.

When we are at the cross-road of our life, whether in business, health, family life or even our spiritual life, the first decision is to call to God in FAITH. When we decide to trust God we totally submit to Him. We cannot call Him and suggest to Him solutions. If we know what will work in the first place why call Him into it? We have to trust Him and wait in expectation of His way of solving the problem. When God says ‘Move forward’, we should not let doubts rob us of moving to the next rung of the ladder of triumph in our challenging situation. We should trust and obey Him when He instructs us. It is only so doing that will see us to the end of our challenge.

HYMN: EMHB 516 – WHEN WE WALK WITH THE LORD
PRAYER: My God, I put my trust in Thee; choose for me the direction to follow in the crossroads of life and don’t allow me to be wise in my own eyes.

WEDNESDAY 29TH AUGUST, 2018
THEME: TRUST AND OBEY
TEXT: JOSHUA 6:10-20
MEMORY VERSE: JOSHUA 6:20 “When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city.”

Many times we are faced with confounding challenges life. These challenges test our faith in God’s capacity to deliver us. The Israelites were faced similarly with overcoming the people of Jericho, a city surrounded by imposing walls and a fierce army. Their response was trusting God’s words through Joshua by simply marching round the city of Jericho with the Ark seven times and shouting at the last stage of the march.

The Israelites did not rationalize the need to fight a battle by opposing God’s plan to simply march round the city for a week. This affirms that with God’s plan and obedience by the Israelites, they were guaranteed victory.

God’s plans may require us sometimes to do things that do not make sense in the first instance but ours is to trust and obey. God’s plans are perfect for the actualization of our salvation. Our “symbolic wall of Jericho” will come down only if we follow His plan methodically. Another lesson to learn here is that when we think we are in our comfort zone and rely on our own strength or earthly fortification for our protection, things may not work out the way we think. Wake up because as the people of Jericho found out ‘the arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own’. So when faced with life’s challenges trust only in God’s strength.

HYMN: EMHB 548 – ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO HIM
PRAYER: Dear God, with You providing the strength and direction, let our victory over our challenges be sure in Jesus’ name. Amen.