Wednesday, January 31, 2018

WHAT IS MY MINISTRY? 2

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Ephesians 4:11-12 (NLT)
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to EQUIP God’s people to do HIS WORK and build up the church, the body of Christ.

I once had a conversation with a young man who had listened to me minister the word. He really felt like he needed to commit his life to serving the Lord. But I observed that the only way he thought a person could serve the Lord was to preach or teach from a pulpit. I was surprised. I had to start explaining to him that he could serve the Lord without being a church minister from the pulpit, that most believers have been ordained to Minister God from a platform in the world and not from a pulpit in the church.

Ananias whom the Lord sent to lay hands on Saul and open his eyes was not even an elder or a deacon at the time (see Acts 9:10-19). Priscilla and Aquila were business people (Acts 18:1-3).

But today, many people with the anointing of God upon their lives believe that the anointing has to mean that they are ministers in the church.

As anointed as David was, he knew he was not an itinerant prophet like Isaiah or Jeremiah. He knew his ministry in life was to be a king. Daniel, Nehemiah, Joseph and even father Abraham were not full-time prophets or preachers, they were doing what today’s Christians would call 'circular' jobs and businesses. They were in government and in business, yet were as anointed as they could be.

Go into today remembering that you are the light of the world, not just the light of the church.
Ask the Lord to help you shine  brighter
-SD Abraham

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Yearly Bible Reading: Matthew 8-10 (In Devotional Audio)
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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

DEAD TO SIN, ALIVE UNTO GOD

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Romans 6:11 (KJV)
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A man driving stopped to pick up a female hitchhiker who he felt was in need of a ride. Having noted her extreme modesty in dressing, he dismissed any fear of temptation. In a twist, it turned out that this lady was actually a seductress in disguise, and soon she began to touch him. Immediately, the man began to laugh and ominously declared "You're touching a dead man". The lady now looked confused, and seeing that the man went on to say "Now I'm taking you to where I died and was buried", in horror she began to beg, had the car stopped, and jumped out. Unknown to this lady, the man was a pastor on his way to the church where he got saved and baptized, which he now refers to as his burial ground!

Fighting on Satan's turf and hoping to win is spiritual suicide. He is a master of the fleshly realm and as long as our flesh remains alive and responsive, we are in danger of falling. Our only way out is us dying daily to the flesh through the Word and by the help of the Holy Spirit (See Luke 9:23, Romans 8:13). Our daily confession must become "I am dead to sin and alive unto God"

Friends, we are warned to always be alert to Satan's deceptions. What may seem harmless or look innocent, might just be the devil's trap or agent (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). However, just as a dead man doesn't respond to people, environment or any stimulus, we also must become dead to the flesh and its sinful affections (Galatians 5:24).

Go into today knowing that you're alive and victorious in Christ and that sin should have no dominion over you (Roman 6:14).
-Chibo E.C.

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Monday, January 29, 2018

WHAT IS MY MINISTRY? 1

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1 Corinthians 3:15 (NET)
If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

For too long many believers have believed that the only effective way to serve God is through the ‘pulpit ministry’ of ministering the word and power of God to the Church. It became that whenever a person really wanted to serve the Lord, he believed that he had to be involved one way or another in teaching the word of God to the church. This wrong understanding has created a philosophy that assumes that everyone who is serving the Lord has to become a pastor.

But this is not true. The Lord warns in James 3:1 that ‘Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers IN THE CHURCH, for we who teach will be judged more strictly’. It is only those who without doubt have been appointed by God for this work, those that would be judged if they do not teach, that should teach.

You may ask ‘how do I know whether or not I’m to teach the church?’ If you are walking in fellowship with God and growing, necessity will be laid on you to teach if you are to teach (not that it will be one of the many options). See 1 Cor 9:16. The words will be like fire in your bones if you do not teach and minister (see Jer 20:9).

If you are not walking with the Lord and growing, you will not know whether or not you are to teach the church. The biggest hindrance to walking with God and growing is rebellion and/or willful disobedience to the commands of Christ.

Go into today remembering that everyone is building something that will be tested by the Lord on that day. Whether you have been called to minister to the Church or not, you are a minister of God to your world.

Ask the Lord to help you be a faithful minister.
-Pastor SD Abraham

Yearly Bible Reading: Job 7-8 (In Devotional Audio)
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Sunday, January 28, 2018

SPIRITUAL OVERWEIGHT & OBESITY

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Philippians 3:19 (KJV)
Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.


Body Mass Index (BMI) is an index used for categorizing people as underweight, normal, overweight or obese. At the spectrum end is the overweight/obese category. These have a high risk of suffering or in worse cases, dying from deadly diseases such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, hypertension, cancer, etc. In the light of these risks, a lifestyle change is a must in feeding, physical and emotional habits.

The overweight/obese category is more of what we see today in Christendom. Its signs include dull hearing of God's word (Hebrews 5:11), idle works (2Thessalonians 3:11), no understanding of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7), prayerlessness, carnal mindedness, lack of self-control (1Corinthians 6:12), etc. With these and more, people have become liabilities (Philippians 3:18-19).

Hearing God's word repeatedly without ever working it, and as such depriving those who otherwise should have benefitted from you is wrong and spiritually insensitive (Hebrews 5:12). Using James 1:22-25 for emphasis, it's most likely that the spiritually out of shape believer won't like what he sees when he looks at himself through the mirror of God's word. If that is the case, then drastic measures are needed.

We are not called to be hearers only, but to be doers of the Word till we come to full maturity (Ephesians 4:11-14). The mature believer is a spiritual heavyweight who by discipline, building and exercising of his spiritual muscles in Word, meditation, study, praying in the Spirit, fasting, worship, and stewardship, has honed his skills over time and now has the strength to withstand the adversary (Ref Hebrews 5:14, 1Corinthians 9:26-27, 2Timothy 2:15, Daniel 11:32, Jude 1:20, Ephesians 3:16).

Become spiritually strong today by working out and exercising the authority of the Word and relying on the Holy Spirit as your instructor.
-Chibo E.C.

Yearly Bible Reading: Psalms 9-11 (In Devotional Audio)
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Saturday, January 27, 2018

SPIRITUAL UNDERWEIGHT

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1 Peter 2:2 KJV
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby


Body Mass Index (BMI) is an index used for categorizing people as underweight, normal, overweight or obese. Those classified as underweight (less than 18.5) on this index, have low body mass and risk suffering or in worse cases, dying from malnutrition and other low immune system related diseases. Medical advice must be consulted to bring about a healthy change.

Spiritual underweights are those who are spiritually malnourished (Hosea 4:6). They're without strength and are too weak to withstand life's trials (Proverbs 24:10). They exhibit an anorexic attitude to God's Word and because of this are unstable and are still dominated by the sinful nature.

This anorexic attitude to the Word (Mark 4:15) as well as the inability to be planted where its truths are genuinely practiced makes for an open invitation to the wily attacks of the devil. It is an immune system (Ephesians 6:16) deficient state as its defense promoter in the Word of God is lacking (Romans 10:17).

From our verse of scripture, we are expected to grow (in grace and in the knowledge of Christ - 2Peter 3:18) and this growth starts first with our DESIRE for the Word of God. The more we desire and feed on God's word, the more we prosper in life (Joshua 1:8), are resistant to sin (Psalm 119:11), are fruitful (Mark 4:20), are able to discern Satan's lies (John 10:4-5), are emotionally stabilized (Psalm 19:7, James 1:20-21) and are ultimately healthy (Proverbs 4:20-21).

Begin a new, fitter and healthier spiritual lifestyle today by living and feeding on the Word of God.

Prayer: Father I receive Your grace today to help me receive, retain and reproduce good fruits in and through Your Word in Jesus Name.
-Chibo E.C.

Yearly Bible Reading: Joshua 16-20 (In Devotional Audio)
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Friday, January 26, 2018

THE WORDS OF CHRIST

 
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Colossians 3:16 (NET) 
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God.

What grieved Zara most was the time she wasted in that fellowship. She reckoned that she would have been a spiritual giant if she had not wasted that time believing empty and powerless doctrines based on human logic and not the word of Christ. Oh, she wept!

We saw yesterday that one attribute of false teachers is that they downplay the words of Christ (1 Tim 6:3). One place you will find the words of Christ is in the New Testament part of your Bible. Many Bibles have the words of Christ written in red. These words were what the apostles taught those who first believed.

Today, the devil is trying very hard to make Christians depart from these words. I have heard that some churches even now say that the words of Christ in the book of Revelation cannot be applied to the Christian because it is too metaphorical. They are not comfortable with the words of Christ because Christ warned his disciples about going to hell if they keep on sinning (Matt 5:22, 29), and it is clear that Christ does not believe their 'once saved always saved' doctrine. He said He would spill some believers out of His mouth because they were lukewarm (Rev 3:16), and He kept warning erring believers to repent (Rev 3:3, Rev 2:5, 16). They do not like the words of Christ because it does not fit into their false narrative of the gospel.

As you go into today, pray for the Church in your territory. Ask the Lord to deliver His people from delusion. Pray for yourself also.
-SD Abraham

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Yearly Bible Reading: Genesis 12-15 (In Devotional Audio)
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Thursday, January 25, 2018

THE LAW OF CHRIST 7

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1 Timothy 6:3 (NET)
If someone spreads false teachings and does not agree with sound words (that is, THOSE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST) and with the teaching that accords with godliness…

When Zara attended that fellowship that led to her spiritual impoverishment, there were many false things they taught. Because they found that the teaching of Christ in the four gospels did not correspond with their doctrines, they insisted that the teachings of Christ are not relevant to the church. That Jesus taught those under the law, and what He taught was not meant for the Christian.

We have established earlier that even though the believer is not under the 613 laws of Moses, nor is he under the Ten Commandments, the believer is under the law of Christ. Of the Ten Commandments, Jesus reiterated nine (leaving out the Sabbath). He also gave certain other specific instructions that were not captured in the Law of Moses. For example, He gave us new commandments concerning marriage and divorce, anxiety, retribution, prayer, and fasting, etc. These instructions (and many others) for the believer are what we call THE LAW OF CHRIST. They are centered on love for God and love for neighbor.

You can find some of these instructions in Matthews 5-7. These were the commandments that Jesus was referring to when he said those who broke the least of them would be called least in the kingdom (see Matt 5:19).

As Paul reveals in 1 Cor 9:20-21: 'to those under the law, I became as one under the law (indicating that he was not under the law)..., and to those without law (Gentiles), I became as one without law, even though I am not without God’s law, but under the LAW OF CHRIST’, we are not under the Law of Moses as Christians, but we are under the LAW OF CHRIST (see Gal 6:2).

Go into today remembering that any teaching which undermines the commandments of Christ in any way is a false teaching (see 1 Tim 6:3-4). Run away from such.
-SD Abraham

Yearly Bible Reading: Romans 7-8 (In Devotional Audio)
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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

GOD'S PRODUCTION LINE

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Matthew 14:19 (KJV)
And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

Manufacturing processes are steps through which raw materials are transformed into a final product. The joy of a manufacturer is when he sees the finished goods meeting the standard both in quality and quantity. In order for him to achieve this, errors and stops in the transformation process must be eliminated as every step is essential to the realization of the finished product.

In a nutshell, that is the natural manufacturing process of earthly things. However, spiritually, God's manufacturing processes are steps through which smaller raw materials are transformed into a far greater final product. It is such an incredible contrast to the natural process which goes from the big to the small (Matthew 13:31-32).

From our verse of scripture, God's Production line involves:

1. Looking up to God in acknowledgment as our source (Proverbs 3:5-6, John 15:5b, James 1:17-18).

2. Thanking God for all He has provided including salvation, healing, blessings, etc. (Psalm 67:5-6, Ephesians 1:3, 1Thessalonians 5:18).

3. Making oneself useful in God's hands by brokenness, humility, self-denial, contrite heart, sacrifice, etc. (Psalm 51:17, Isaiah 66:2, Matthew 5:3-6, John 15:2, 2Timothy 2:21).

4. Showing love to God and spreading the love of God to others through cheerful giving, sowing, stewardship, etc. (Genesis 8:22, Ecclesiastes 11:1-4, Romans 12:1, 2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

If the practice of each of these individual processes results in an increase in the life of a believer, how much more productive would their collective and unbroken chain of transformation yield?

Go into today asking the Lord to make you a more productive (fruitful) believer.
-Chibo E.C.

Yearly Bible Reading: Matthew 5-7 (In Devotional Audio)
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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

ACTIVATING THE PROMISES

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Romans 8:28 (NLT)
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them


When Kemi lost her admission to the university, she found it very difficult to believe that all things work together for her good. She couldn’t meet up with the admission acceptance deadline because she couldn’t raise the money needed. She cried and cried. But she was comforted by the Holy Spirit. One scripture the Holy Spirit used to comfort her was 'all things work together for good…'

Because she believed this truth of God's word, it eventually became her reality. By the time she wrote the university entrance exams the next year, she had grown greatly in her knowledge of the Lord. She performed so well in the exams that she got a full scholarship for her undergraduate program at the university. Added to that, she got to study a much better course than the one she was first offered.

After all of these had happened, she thanked God that she missed her first admission and got this one. She also thanked the Lord that she dared to believe His word. Somehow, she knew things wouldn’t have worked out the way they did if she didn’t believe God's word that all things were walking together for her good.

Many believers do not walk in the reality of many of God's promises because they simply do not believe those promises. Before a promise of God can be fulfilled in your life, you have to believe it and continue believing it.

Go into today remembering and confessing God's promises concerning your life. Believe them by expecting to see them manifest in your life. Remember that all the promises of God are yea and amen for those in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 1:20).
-SD Abraham

Yearly Bible Reading: Isaiah 12-17 (In Devotional Audio)
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Monday, January 22, 2018

THE PILGRIM LIFESTYLE 3

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1 Timothy 6:7 KJV
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

Every ambassador is recalled back to his country of origin after his service. Imagine that the ambassador is from a country with infinitely better life, economy, currency, government, welfare, infrastructure, etc. than where he was assigned, would it be wise for him to spend all his time acquiring valueless money and properties in the highly impoverished country of his service?

Our scriptural guide in 1Timothy 6 contains godly lessons with respect to our attitude to worldly possessions, here are some of them:

1. The pilgrim should not be covetous but should have godly contentment. This does not mean he lacks vision and foresight, but it means he always trusts and remains grateful his needs would be met by God whenever they arise (vs 6).

2. The pilgrim should hold things loosely. This doesn't mean he is careless. it means he views all material blessings as instruments which God can demand for His use at any time, so he is ready to release them (vs 7-8).

3. The pilgrim should desire a good rest from his journey and so he should use his money wisely for good works while on earth in order to lay up treasure in his real home (vs 18-19).

4. The pilgrim must follow the truth of God's word no matter how old fashioned it sounds against following new trends and new age false doctrines (vs 20-21).

Abraham's understood the pilgrim life (see Genesis 12, 13 & 17). Though an heir of the promised inheritance of the entire land of Canaan, he lived in a tent, built altars and never owned a house there! The only land he bought was for himself and his wife's burial (Genesis 23:16-20, 25:8-10). He was always ready to move and was focused on his eternal home instead of an earthly Canaan (Hebrews 11:9-10)

Go into today living a life prepared for eternity.
-Chibo E.C.

Yearly Bible Reading: Job 5-6 (In Devotional Audio)
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Sunday, January 21, 2018

THE PILGRIM LIFESTYLE 2

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John 15:19 (KJV)
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.

After his studies in the UK, an African student stayed back in hopes of getting a job. As a student, he was limited to working 20 hours per week. He came to realize that employment policy for full-time jobs always favored a native first before a foreign national. He wasn't entitled or eligible to access certain benefits provided by the government of the land and his visa status was always monitored. These and other things he would face as a foreigner.

As certain as border security, immigration checks, limited benefits, etc. are to a foreigner, so also are trials and oppositions to the life of the pilgrim. However, all of these instituted checks can only become frustrating to the pilgrim if he loses a sense of his mission and his desire for his real home. It is only when his desire for things in that foreign land grows and becomes more attractive than his desire for his home that they become an issue.

The Word of God in 1John 2:15 says 'love not the world, nor the things in the world. When a believer decides to love the things of the world, his life becomes a struggle. The world will not hand things over to him for free, but will demand he first becomes its citizen. By him making friends, settling and following the world's cultural practices, he makes himself an enemy of his homeland (James 4:4) and in trying to enjoy the world without being its friend, he becomes an illegal alien who is then hunted and harassed.
-Chibo E.C.

Yearly Bible Reading: Psalms 6-8 (In Devotional Audio)
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Saturday, January 20, 2018

THE PILGRIM LIFESTYLE 1

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2 Peter 3:11 (KJV)
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness

He arrived Scotland via Aberdeen airport ready to begin his studies. Coming from Africa, everything looked and felt strange to him and when he got on a taxi, he knew then that he had an issue. He found it difficult to communicate with the locals because he was taught English language by a native of his own country. There was a huge difference in the way they sounded. Later he would always be identified as the foreigner because of what they called his "funny accent".

Even more than looks, accent is one sure way to identify a foreigner. Two people might have similar features, but their accents will give them away.

The conversation from today's scriptural verse talks about the pilgrim's entire lifestyle, including his speech, action, dressing, outings, mannerisms, etc.

The believer is on a pilgrimage here on earth. He comes from a place with a different language and way of speaking. The world speaks with an untamed tongue filled with filthy things, flatteries, boastings, jesting, heated arguments, cursing, putting down, gossips, slanders, lies, etc., eventually leading to hell (See Romans 3:10-14 & James 3:6). This is not so for the believer as he now has a tamed tongue, achieved not by the workings of man, but by the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit (See James 3:8-10, Isaiah 6:7 & Exodus 4:12).

Today, as pilgrims, we are reminded that we are to use our mouths as instruments of righteousness and not for sin. Our response to the world must always reference our heavenly identity. Also, this means we must actively and politely counter or leave certain unwholesome conversations because sitting silently will imply involvement. They may ridicule you now as being weird or having a different tongue, but it sure won't be funny on the Day of Judgment.

Prayer: Lord, please help me order my words according to your will.
-Chibo E.C.

Yearly Bible Reading: Joshua 11-15 (In Devotional Audio)
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Friday, January 19, 2018

THE LAW OF CHRIST 6

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Titus 2:11-13 (NET)
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. 12 It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

After Zara accepted the Lord Jesus at age 16, she started growing in her knowledge of the Lord and even started walking in His mighty power. But when she got to the university, she met some believers who taught lawlessness dressed as the teaching of grace. She followed them because they appeared to be sound Bible teachers. It didn’t take her long to realize that she was being reduced to a loaf of bread. Sins she never imagined started finding expression in her life. There was no more power; she started fearing the things she didn’t fear before as a new believer because there was no more power in her spirit. This is when she realized that she had been deceived. She quickly traced back her steps and repented of lawlessness.

There is someone reading this devotional that is like Zara. You have received new doctrines and impoverished yourself as a result. There is no more spiritual power. You are now a slave of sin, but you claim you are under grace. God wants to restore you.

Any teaching on grace that does not do what today's Bible verse above says (Titus 2:11-13) is a false and dangerous teaching for you.

Go into today remembering that If you are truly under grace, sin will not have dominion over you (Rom 6:14). If you claim you are under grace, but sin still has dominion over you, you are not under grace but under the law of sin. True grace brings you under the law (dominion) of Christ and makes you a slave of righteousness, not a slave of sin (Rom 6:18).
Ask the Lord to deliver you from false doctrines this year.
-SD Abraham

Yearly Bible Reading: Genesis 8-11 (In Devotional Audio)

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

SMALL PROBLEM, BIG FISH

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Jonah 1:17 KJV
Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Here are the wordings of a song I love:
Bigger than all my problems, Bigger than all my fears, God is bigger than any mountain. I can or cannot see. Bigger than all my questions, Bigger than all my fears, God is bigger than any mountain, I can or cannot see.

In life, there are literal or figurative Jonahs. They cause troubles on end without a seeming solution. These troubles hide, are stubborn and appear to defy God's Word (Jonah 1:1-3). They may even appear too heavy, but in the light and truth of God's word, they are actually lightweights because God has an even bigger provision to tackle them.

We need to carry out spiritual fact checking through the Word of God and with prayers by asking: What is responsible for this problem? Where is it coming from? What is its nature? What is my role in aiding this problem? (Jonah 1:8). In doing so, we will find sometimes that the issue lies with us not being in tune with God to first check, identify and then cast out the Jonahs even before they climb onboard our lives.

In Christ, we have the Big Fish solution called GRACE & MERCY already waiting for stubborn Jonah's in order to swallow them, carry them away and in return bring us peace. No matter how bad we think our situation or offenses are, they are infinitely tiny in comparison to the great love and merciful kindness of God's saving grace when we turn to Him (See also Psalm 103:11-12, Romans 5:20 & 1Peter 4:8).

Go into today knowing that God loves you and wants to be your burden bearer if you let Him (1Peter 5:7). Perhaps you feel like you are indeed a Jonah, even then, God is saying to you "Cast your life on my big love and you will not drown"
-Chibo E.C.

Yearly Bible Reading: Romans 5-6 (In Devotional Audio)

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

THE LAW OF CHRIST 5

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Matthew 5:17 (KJV)
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Before Zara believed, she was still very young and innocent. She had a great sense of self-righteousness and didn’t feel she needed God. But as she beheld the righteousness of God as given by Christ in Matthew 5:17-48, she knew no human being could attain such standards by his own power. She knew she needed the grace of the Lord Jesus.

Being under grace (and not being under the law) means a believer does not trust in his ability to keep God’s law as the reason why he is saved, he rather trusts in the grace of God (through Christ Jesus) as the reason why he is saved. But this does not mean he is now without law: he is under the law of Christ (see 1 Cor 9:21).

Those who trust in their ability to keep God’s law as their ticket for salvation trust in themselves. But those who trust in God’s grace do not trust in themselves but in God (Prov 3:5). God now works in them to do His good pleasure (see Phil 2:13).

When you are born again, the same unchangeable God who wrote His laws on the tablets of stones (Deut 9:10) now lives within you and writes His laws on the tablets of your heart (see Heb 10:16). He administers His kingdom (government) within you (Luke 17:21) and empowers you to do His good pleasure.

Christ is the end of the law for those who believe (Rom 10:4). 'End' here does not mean He is the termination of the law, but it means He is the fulfillment of the law. Only those who abide in Him (and He in them) will fulfill the law of God (see Rom 8:4). When 1Peter 1:9 says ‘receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls’, it does not mean receiving the termination of your faith, it means receiving the fulfillment or the final result of your faith.
Go intot today asking the Lord to help you abide in Him.
-SD Abraham

Yearly Bible Reading: Matthew 3-4 (In Devotional Audio)
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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

THE GOLDEN GOAL

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Philippians 3:14 (AMP)
I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

No one likes to watch sports of any kind, especially football or soccer if it ends in a boring goalless draw. In football, winning requires goals and there are many ways a goal can be scored. When a goal is scored, there is always that loud, rapturous and ecstatic celebration by the players, their coaching crew and all their fans.

All of mankind’s life activity on earth is an allegorical competition for souls, and all must belong to either one of two opposing teams with both teams having active spectators (angels and demons) on either side. Unknown to most about the rules of this earthly life, they are being refereed according to the truth of God's word whether they like it or not, and unfortunately, goalless or high scoring draws are exempt, and possession stats don't matter (Matthew 16:26). Only one goal can be scored to determine the outcome. This means there are no shared honors. It ends either in honor or dishonor; glory or shame.

Titus 2:11 teaches that a call for all men to join the winning team has gone out. By accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, one can choose to join this team no matter his natural abilities or limitations. Most importantly, Jesus who is the captain of this team (see Hebrews 2:10) has scored the decisive golden goal through his sacrificial atonement for sin on the cross, and has now been substituted. This golden goal which he scored is ETERNAL LIFE through SALVATION. So now, with time far spent, we are winning even before we came into the game and our opponents are very bitter.

As clear favorites then, it will be naive of us and negligent for us to rest on our oars of just being part of the team. Rather, we must always keep our eyes on the prize (1 Corinthians 9:25) and be resolute in defense (1Peter 5:8-9) in order to protect and consolidate our goal till the final whistle or trumpet sound. Being a tough game, we must expect and prepare against the attacks and pressures of the devilish opposition. Thankfully, our substitute (who is the Holy Spirit) supplies us with all the strength and ability needed to keep our lead.

The most important goal one would ever score in life as described by Apostle Paul in our text leads to a crowning in the hereafter. The question now is, are you still living a goalless life? Join Jesus now and join the winning team.
-Chibo E.C

Yearly Bible Reading: Isaiah 7-11 (In Devotional Audio)
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Monday, January 15, 2018

THE PRINCIPLE OF LEAVEN 2

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1 Corinthians 5:6 (KJV)
...Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

When I started writing on this topic and examining how God's moral standards are being eroded from the [western] church and society, I kept thinking of these words from Peggy Noonan as quoted by Ravi Zacharias several years ago:

We have all had a moment when all of a sudden we looked around and thought: The world is changing, I am seeing it change. This is for me the moment when the new America began: I was at a graduation ceremony at a public high school in New Jersey. It was 1971 or 1972. One by one a stream of black-robed students walked across the stage and received their diplomas. And a pretty young girl with red hair, big under her graduation gown, walked up to receive hers. The auditorium stood up and applauded. I looked at my sister: “She’s going to have a baby.”
The girl was eight months pregnant and had the courage to go through with her pregnancy and take her finals and finish school despite society’s disapproval.
But: Society wasn’t disapproving. It was applauding. Applause is a right and generous response for a young girl with grit and heart. And yet, in the sound of that applause I heard a wall falling, a thousand-year wall, a wall of sanctions that said: We as a society do not approve of teenaged unwed motherhood because it is not good for the child, not good for the mother and not good for us.
The old America had a delicate sense of the difference between the general (“We disapprove”) and the particular (Let’s go help her”). We had the moral self-confidence to sustain the paradox, to sustain the distance between “official” disapproval and “unofficial” succor. The old America would not have applauded the girl in the big graduation gown, but some of its individuals would have helped her not only materially but with some measure of emotional support. We don’t so much anymore. For all our tolerance and talk we don’t show much love to what used to be called girls in trouble. As we’ve gotten more open-minded we’ve gotten more closed-hearted.
Message to society: What you applaud, you encourage. And: Watch out what you celebrate.

-SD Abraham
Yearly Bible Reading: Job 3-4 (In Devotional Audio)

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

THE PRINCIPLE OF LEAVEN

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1 Corinthians 5:6 (KJV)
Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

In the Corinthian church, there was a man who was living in such immorality that was not even permitted among unbelievers. His was cohabiting with his father’s wife and was still a member of the church. For some reason, it appeared that the church didn’t see anything wrong with his sinful conduct or they just chose to look the other way. After all, 'we are all under grace', some may have thought.

But Apostle Paul saw through all that and saw the ultimate scheme of Satan. He understood the principle of leaven, and how the iniquity a people condone will eventually erode their righteous convictions, and destroy them. He, therefore, instructed them to put the immoral man out of the church until he repents (see 1 Cor 5:1-7).

Believers live in great danger when they think they can condone erroneous doctrine and lifestyle, and still remain unscathed. They do not understand that evil communication corrupts (1 Cor 15:33), and Friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4).

Many have walked out of the will of God for their lives because they failed to understand this principle.

Even the Apostles had to be categorically warned by the Lord to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and that of Herod (Mark 8:15). Their leaven (doctrine and lifestyle) had infiltrated and dominated society, and Jesus didn’t want that in His church.

God has set you apart (from the world) to make you a light in your generation. You are the salt of the earth. Believers lose their saltness when there is no more difference between them and the world.

Go into today remembering that evil communication will corrupt. Many children have been corrupted because of the kind of communication their parents allow through movies they watch.

Prayer: Ask the Lord to help you not to lose your saltiness but fulfill your divine purpose on the earth.(read Matt 5:13)
-Pastor SD Abraham

Yearly Bible Reading: Psalms 3-5 (In Devotional Audio)
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Saturday, January 13, 2018

THE LAW OF CHRIST 4

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Matthew 5:27-28 (NLT)
27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.


One day, Duke was watching TV in the living room when Ekaite (their house help) came in to clean some furniture. That was the first time lust entered his heart toward her.

He tried to fight it, but he realized that each time he now looked at her, there was lust building in his heart.

He decided to pray about this. Eventually, he told his wife and they discovered that Ekaite had an agenda to seduce Him. They had to let her go. The Lord provided them with another house help who didn’t have to live with them.

Every sin has a seed before its fruit is manifested outwardly. Fruits shootout after a seed is allowed to germinate and grow. The seed of adultery and fornication is lust in the heart (toward a person that is not your husband or wife).

New covenant people deal with sin from the stage where it is still a seed. We don’t wait for it to germinate and become an established plant that would now be very difficult to uproot.

Matt 5:29 (NLT)
So if your eye-even your good eye-causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

Go into today remembering that grace is available for you to walk above every sin. This grace is supplied by the indwelling Holy Spirit and the living word in your heart.

Prayer confession: sin shall not have dominion over me. I am walking in the divine nature. I am fruitful in every good work. Amen.
-Pastor SD Abraham

Yearly Bible Reading: Joshua 6-10 (In Devotional Audio)
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Friday, January 12, 2018

THE LAW OF CHRIST 3

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1 Corinthians 8:2-3 (NET) .
But if someone loves God, he is known by God.

Memunat observed that as she lived her life under the authority (and law) of Christ, she became closer to God. The Lord was now so real to her. Her spiritual senses became active and she could hear the Lord and know His will concerning everything. She now lived a life led by the Spirit of God.

There are many people who go to church today that are not known by God. They claim to know God, but God does not know them. From today’s Bible verse we can see that it is those who love God that are known by God. The way to love God is to obey His commandments (see John 14:23).

The Lord reveals to us that on the judgment, many would come expecting to enter His kingdom because they think He knows them, but He will clearly tell them that He does not know them. And the reason is because they are lawbreakers. These are people who call Him Lord but do not obey Him.

Matt 7:22-23 (NET): On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’

Go into today remembering that the way we love God and are known by Him is to keep His commandments.
1 John 5:3 (NLT): Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.
-Pastor SD Abraham

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Yearly Bible Reading: Genesis 4-7 (In Devotional Audio)

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

THE LAW OF CHRIST 2

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Galatians 6:2 (NET)
Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the LAW OF CHRIST.

1 Corinthians 9:21 (NET) 

To those free from the law I became like one free from the law (though I am not free from God’s law but under the LAW OF CHRIST) to gain those free from the law.

Memunat had a conversation with her pastor that went thus:
Memunat: Pastor, I have been studying the Bible and have found that there are over 600 laws in the Old Testament. But I Have observed that we do not follow many of them as Christians. Why?

Pastor Ben: Because we are no more under the law as Christians. We are now under grace. Read Romans 6:14.

Memunat: ok sir. But does it mean we can do anything we like since we are no more under any law?

Pastor Ben: When a person is under grace, he has been set free from the slavery of sin and the law, and is now brought into God’s eternal kingdom. He has been set free from the law of sin and death and now translated into the kingdom of God. This kingdom is regulated by the law of life and peace. Anyone in this kingdom now lives according to the LAW OF CHRIST. He is not lawless.

When Jesus came, he made it clear that he did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it (read Matthew 5:17). And that is what happens to a person who is in Christ. The righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in him (read Rom 8:4). This is made possible by the grace of God administered to him by the Holy Spirit within him.

Under the law, people transgressed, and that was why there were the [atoning] sacrifices and the high priest who made atonement for the people. Under grace, people can transgress Christ's law (1 John 3:4), and that is why we have the atoning sacrifice of Christ and His priesthood (read 1 John 2:1-2).

Go into today thanking the Lord for bringing you into His glorious kingdom.
-Pastor SD Abraham
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Yearly Bible Reading: Romans 3-4 (In Devotional Audio)

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

THE LAW OF CHRIST 1

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1 Corinthians 9:21 (NET)
To those free from the law I became like one free from the law (though I am not free from God’s law but under the LAW OF CHRIST) to gain those free from the law.

In the old covenant, people believed that salvation could be received by keeping the laws of God. That is what it means to be under the law. It means believing that the reason you will be saved is because of certain laws you can keep. But when a person believes that he receives salvation because of the sacrifice of Christ alone, that is what it means to be under grace.

Anyone who is a believer in Christ is not under the 613 laws of Moses. He is not even under the Ten Commandments. He is under grace; and is ruled by the LAW OF CHRIST.

Of the Ten Commandments, Jesus reiterated nine of them and gave us better context and understanding (see Matt 5-7). These are now known as the LAW OF CHRIST. They are based on love for God and love for neighbor. There are other instructions Jesus gave that were not captured by the Law of Moses. They include instructions concerning marriage and divorce, retribution, handling debts, prayer, handling anxiety and fear, forgiveness, etc.

Of the Ten Commandments, the only one that was not reiterated by the Lord for us was the law of the Sabbath. Christians are not under the Sabbath law, neither are we under the other 611 laws of Moses.

Sunday is not a Sabbath. The early church never worshiped on Saturday being the Sabbath, but they worshipped on Sunday because it was the day our Lord resurrected, and also the day of the Pentecost that ushered in the start of the church (see Acts 2:1). Since before the time of the Romans, Sunday has been the first day of the week, and believers have always worshipped on that day (see 1 Cor 16:2, Acts 20:7).

Go into today remembering that we are set free from the law of sin and death by the law of [the spirit of life in] Christ Jesus (Rom 8:2).
-Pastor SD Abraham

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Yearly Bible Plan: Matthew 1-2 (In Devotional Audio)

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

UNITY IN THE CHURCH 3


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John 17:21 (NLT)
I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one--as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.


After Memunat became a believer in the Lord Jesus, she was so excited about her new life in Christ and wanted to grow into its fullness. Because of this, she did not miss any church meetings, and would buy and read all the books her pastor recommended. She grew very fast.

We saw yesterday that when the Church is united in love, this is one of our most effective ways of evangelizing the world. Everyone wants to be part of a big loving family, and that is what the church is.

When the world sees people from different socio-cultural backgrounds, ethnic groups, etc. loving each other in truth, it is the greatest sign to the world that we are of God. No other people on earth have the capacity to love the way Christians do. This is because we are born of God (see 1 John 4:7).

But when believers are not properly taught, and remain spiritual babies, they will not walk in love and unity of spirit. Love is the fruit of the spirit. It is mature plants that get to be fruitful.

God uses the ministries of the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors and Teachers, to equip the saints to grow into spiritual maturity and attain Unity of the faith (see Eph 4:11-13). Believers who have minimal exposure to these ministries will experience minimal growth.

Go into today knowing that one way to receive from a person's ministry (whether that of an Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor & teacher) is by reading his books, listening to his sermons, etc.

Prayer: ask the Lord to help you grow more than ever before this year  (Eph 4:13).

-Pastor SD Abraham

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Yearly Bible Plan: Isaiah 1-6 (In Devotional Audio)

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Monday, January 8, 2018

UNITY IN THE CHURCH 2


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John 17:21 (NLT)
I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one--as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.


When Memunat was in the university, what attracted her most to Christianity was the way Christian brethren truly loved and cared for each other. She had a roommate who lost her dad and was to drop out of school. But her Christian fellowship members rallied around her and paid her fees. They ensured that she graduated without lacking anything. Memunat saw that these Christians were a real family and she longed to be part of such a loving united family.
Many years later, she received the gospel and accepted Christ as her Lord and personal savior. The seed for this was sown when she was in the university.

From today’s Bible verse, we can see that when believers are united, the world will believe in Christ Jesus. One of the greatest hindrances to the prosperity of the gospel around the world today is lack of unity in the body of Christ. Our unity and love for each other is one of the most effective ways we evangelize Christ to the world.

As you go into today, ask the Lord to make His church in your nation more united. This is only when we would be able to conquer entire nations for the Lord.
-Pastor SD Abraham

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018: BE WATCHFUL


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Matthew 13:25 (KJV)
But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

New Year crossover service across churches worldwide sees prophetic declarations and pronouncements made to parishioners whether based on the flesh or by the Holy Spirit's leading. Phrases such as "My Fruitful Year, Year of Higher Level, Unstoppable Blessings", etc. are declared. These are supposedly good words sown in the hearts of men with many rejoicing in anticipation of their fulfillment. However, it is seen that as the year progresses, many are found in doubt, many are in distress and many abandon as lies the good words which they received regardless of its genuineness because they are experiencing the contrary.

The disappointment of weeds appearing in many will result from slothfulness in making sure that the Word of God which they received ran its full course (2 Thessalonians 3:1). The parable in Matthew 13:24-30 shows the devils response to prophecy: It is almost immediate, waiting for no one to settle before sowing his evil seeds. This happens when we neglect our duties as watchmen and fall asleep. We are warned in Psalms 13:3 against sleeping the sleep of death. Therefore, we must enlighten our eyes with God's word, working it and remaining strengthened in the word with persistent prayers among other spiritual weapons.

Being watchful means raising the alarm by actively denouncing anything contrary to God's word and refusing to yield to sin when suspicious movement of the devil is noticed within or externally. Peradventure the enemy has already succeeded early in sowing weeds in words, thoughts and situations, it is the responsibility also of the watchman that the enemy seed is uprooted, overthrown and destroyed as well as sowing again if need be or replanting the good seed of the word that was previously received (Jeremiah 1:10).

Start early in being watchful! Amen.
-Chibo E.C.

Yearly Bible Plan: Psalms 1-2 (In Devotional Audio)
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Saturday, January 6, 2018

UNITY IN THE CHURCH

 
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John 17:21 (NLT)
I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one--as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

After the First World War, some brothers from England went to Germany to attend a conference. One of the brothers in Germany rose to introduce the visitors by saying: “Now that the war is over, we have some English brothers visiting us, to whom we extend our warmest welcome.” Among those thus introduced, one stood up and replied: “We are not English brothers, but brothers from England.”

How well-spoken were those words! We cannot have English brothers, American brothers, French sisters, or Italian sisters. We only have brothers from England, America, France or Italy.

In Christ, there is neither national distinction nor even provincial difference. In the church, there is only Christ, for Christ is all in all.
-Watchman Nee

I have come to discover that one of the biggest hindrances to Christian unity is racism and tribalism. These are dangerous cancers that should be excised from the body. They have the potential of sucking the benefits of eternal life from those who suffer from their infection.

When a believer sees himself primarily through the lenses of an ethnic group or a race or nation, the limitations of that group will still find expression in his life, even though he is supposed to be a new creature in Christ.

Go into today knowing that as believers, we are not even to see ourselves from the standpoint of our family heritages first, we are to see ourselves first from the standpoint of our spiritual heritage in Christ. Family limitations still find expression in the lives of believers who exalt their family & ethnic identity over their identity in Christ.
-SD Abraham
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Yearly Bible Plan: Joshua 1-5 (In Devotional Audio)

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Friday, January 5, 2018

2018: START IN HIS LIGHT

 
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Genesis 1:1-3 (KJV)
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. [2] And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. [3] And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.


Usain Bolt was on his marks, staring with focus and concentrating on his 100m Olympic men's final race. He could clearly see the finish line. At the blast of the gun, he took off with great strides against rivals as well as the elements and soon, in less than 10 seconds he was taking a victory lap and receiving adulation from the adoring crowd. He was champion for the third time in the Olympics! It is clear that Usain Bolt as a freak of nature athlete, possessed the build, the strength, the belief among other things, and a strong desire to win. But most importantly he could see. He had sight of the finish line from the beginning. Without light in that stadium, he would never have finished the race on his lane and would have probably fallen or would have been disqualified.

The year for many is yet obscure and without form. But for some, the year is bright and the finish line can already be seen. This is not about having set plans. Planning and target setting is good but plans and targets can change overnight. This is about staying in God's presence to receive light (Psalm 119:105).
Like Usain Bolt, staying in the straight and narrow lane of the believer's race without disqualification requires light. We need the Holy Spirit who is our strength and we also need faith which forms our spiritual sight. But we can't run on life's race course without light. Faith isn't blind as some would say "blind faith" and the Holy Spirit will reveal and bring to remembrance that which abides (John 14:26), that is, the Word of God. Faith sees based on the illuminated Word and the Holy Spirit acts based on the illuminated and spoken Word of God.(To be continued).
Go into today thanking God for His word that brings light.
-Chibo E.C.

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Yearly Bible Plan: Genesis 1-3 (In Devotional Audio)

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

STAYING IN THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW 1B

 
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Matthew 7:13-14 (KJV)
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: [14] Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

John 16:7-10 explains the way in which The Holy Spirit keeps us in the straight and narrow and here is a simple analogy of that work:

In convicting sin, He says to you in love when you're doing the wrong thing and are proud "Beloved why haven't you believed in Jesus and that on any matter Jesus is enough and His words are true?" Regarding righteousness, He says to you when you feel unassured of your standing "Beloved, Jesus has justified you by His death on the cross and now He is no longer here, I am here to take his place to keep you in that standard He has set". Finally, as it concerns Judgment, He says to you when you feel condemned or accused "Beloved don't yield to the devil, he is already defeated. I'm not the One condemning you. You have a glorious future but he's is of certain destruction. Resist him and everything he brings your way. You're more than a conqueror!".

This is how we must keep ourselves in the straight and narrow because Matthew 7:13 shows it can be missed and it leaves no room for excesses by its uncompromising standard. Just as many have found themselves lost in the jungle of life without a compass or a travel companion we also as believers are susceptible to losing our way when we seem to or assume we can go through life alone without the Holy Spirit. To the one who is yet proud and has refused to receive Jesus, you are not on God's standard path and judgment looms. But to him who has received Christ's life, you have been made right and along the path you've chosen is life eternal (Proverbs 12:28).
Amen.
-Chibo E.C

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Yearly Bible Plan: Romans 1-2 (In Devotional Audio)

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

POWERFUL WORDS

 

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Psalm 19:14 (KJV)
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Before Tracy left for the motor park to embark on her journey, her aunt said ‘journey mercies dear’. To this Tracy said ‘amen’.

While they were on their journey, Tracy fell asleep and had a most unusual dream. In that dream, their bus had a ghastly accident and she and one other person were the only ones that survived. While she was trying to get away from the damaged vehicle, a man dressed in white appeared to her and kept repeating in the exact voice of her aunt: ‘journey mercies’. While she was trying to figure out what was going on, she woke up. But it was the crash of the bus that woke her up. Indeed, the bus had crashed into a truck and it was a ghastly accident. Most of the people in the bus died, but she was spared. She only had bruises.

Tracy realized that her life was preserved because of the words her aunt uttered earlier.

When a Christian declares a thing, it should come to pass (Job 22:28) because we are children of God who have the authority of Christ Jesus. But many times, Christians find that their words are powerless.

When a believer is used to uttering idle and useless words, they render his words weightless in the realm of the spirit. That is why Jesus warns us against uttering idle words (see Matt 12:36). Untrue words are idle words. Believers who tell lies do so at the expense of the power of faith that should be released when they declare things they want to come to pass.

Go into today remembering that believers who tell lies and talk too much have weightless words in the realm of the spirit.
-SD Abraham
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Yearly Bible Plan: Acts 27-28 (In Devotional Audio)

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The Humility of Christ

You are invited to the 2019 Streamglobe Conference | Date: July 19th-20th, 2019 | Venue: Holy Faith Bible Church, Lokoja, Nigeria. | Gue...