The Most Rev'd Dr. C. A. Manduoma (JP)
The Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province
and Bishop of Ideato
Calendar
Event Title...SYNOD Saturday, April 25, 2020 02:00 PM 313 Days

Osina Women at the Diocesan Women Conference 2019

Sunday, December 1, 2019 Matthew 24:36-44

(Advent Sunday)

The End Time Events

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. Tell

us, they said. “When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and

of the end of the age?(Matthew 24:3). Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in

responding to the question about the end time and His second coming, made it clear to

His disciples and by extension to us today, that the signs are as stated in Matthew

24:4-30. But about the day and hour, they are unknown but are only known by God

alone. The return of Christ is a real event that is yet to happen. And so there is “that

day or hour.” There is a fixed day and hour when Christ will return. It is an actual

event and not a moonlight story. The day and hour of His return is secret in the sense

that no one knows, but only the Father.

The return of Christ will be the same way and manner just as in Noah’s day. They

were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the flood came and

destroyed them. Christians today should learn from the errors of Noah’s days so as not to be taken unawares.

Prayer: Father I ask for your grace to remain faithful to the end in Jesus name. Amen.

Monday, December 2, 2019 2Peter 1:1-11

Christian Virtues for Growth

In our text today, Peter is advising Christians to possess certain qualities that would help them to mature spiritually. These include: knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness and love (2Peter 1:5-7). Possession of these virtues will make a Christian fruitful. It is a charge to keep and meditate upon; it is a charge for Christians to live their lives in accordance with the set standard of God Almighty. And so a Christian is charged to make every effort never to live his or her life outside God’s ordained standard.

What this means is that present day Christians should have faith, study the word of God and obey Him. This will make them fruitful. This also implies that Christians should show good character in the way they conduct their daily lives, whether in public or private.

Prayer: Righteous Father, I pray you to equip me with these virtues to enable me remain relevant in this race in Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019 2 Peter 1:12-21

Vital things a Christian should remember

At the point of Peter’s departure, he reminded believers of vital things they are to watch out for. These include (1) False teachings that deny the power and second coming of Jesus Christ (2Peter 1:16) (2) The glorification of Jesus Christ which he himself witnessed (2Peter 1:17) (3) That no scripture is of private interpretation (2Peter 1:20) (4) The fulfilment of the prophecy (2Peter 1:19).

For a Christian to be steadfast in the faith he/she must study the word of God, depend on the Holy Spirit for understanding and put the word into practice. Doing this will help such a believer avoid false teachers and prophecies.

Prayer: Righteous Father, grant us knowledge and deep insight of your word in Jesus name. Amen.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 2 Peter 2:1-3

The Description of False Teachers

In this scripture, Apostle Peter says that false teachers would always secretly introduce or bring in destructive heresies into the church. However, they do not do this openly but deceptively, quietly, secretly. Their strategy is to quietly teach their false and destructive heresies in the church and among believers.

Any teaching that is contrary to God’s word is heresy; it destroys both spiritual and physical lives of the people and leads them to doom. Christians must beware of false teachers and their tactics in the church. If they give attention to these false teachings, they run the risk of losing their salvation.

Prayer: Eternal Father, deliver your church from the hands of false and destructive teachers in Jesus name. Amen.

Thursday, December 5, 2019 2 Peter 2:4-11

God’s judgment awaits false teachers

From yesterdays reading in 2 Peter 2:3, the bible makes it clear that false teachers will be judged and destroyed. Though it may seem that false teaching goes on and on forever without being corrected or handled by God, one thing is sure no matter how successful or prosperous a false teacher may seem to be, judgment must surely come. A day has been fixed by God where all false teachers will face God’s judgment and they must surely pay for all destructive and misleading doctrines they introduce into the church.

If the angels did not escape God’s wrath when they sinned against God (2Peter 2:4), the false teachers have no escaping route from God’s judgment. And so if God judges fallen angels, how much more will He judge men, especially if they teach false doctrines and mislead people (Jude 1:6, Isaiah 14:12-15)?

Prayer: Father Lord, help me not to fall victim of false teachers in Jesus name. Amen.

Friday, December 6, 2019 2Peter 2:12-22

The character of false teachers

The scripture says “by their fruits, we shall know them.In the same vein, false teachers are also known by their character. The following are the conducts of false teachers: (1) They are carnally minded (2) They make light of spiritual things (3) They are deceivers (4) They are adulterers (5) They are covetous and hypocritical.

Christians should be firmly rooted in the word of God, and possess the spirit of discernment in order to know when false teachers are at work because we have them within and around us. We must be watchful.

Prayer: Father Lord, expose and expunge false teachers from among us in Jesus name. Amen.

Saturday, December 7, 2019 2Peter 3:1-7

The Scoffers Antics

Apostle Peter in 2Peter 3:3 wants believers to know that in the last days, scoffers would come. Their main aim is to ridicule the return of Christ (2Peter 3:4). For them, it has been thousands of years since Jesus came to the earth the first time, and so they ask in mockery, “Where is the promise of Christ’s second coming? What has happened to his promise of coming back?For them, there has never been a change in the way the world operates; there has not been a change since creation.

As a child of God, when you begin to hear these questions from these scoffers, you should know that the second coming of Christ is at hand. You should never allow yourself to be deceived. Watch out for their antics, and get ready! We will soon be going home!

Prayer: Righteous Father in heaven, increase my faith and love for you. I refuse to be influenced by scoffers in Jesus name. Amen.

Sunday December 8, 2019 John 5:36-47

The Greatest Testimony

The miraculous works of our Lord Jesus Christ remain the authentic testimony above any other testimonies that prove that Jesus is the Son of God and that he was sent by God. Jesus was appointed by God to carry out God’s work and these works testify that He is the true Son of God. These works had never been or ever would be done by any other. The works that Jesus did were unusual and full of power and wisdom, love and care, glory and honour to God.

Believers should not look anywhere else for any other proof; the wonderful works of Jesus are not hidden. And so we are without excuse if we fail to see and believe.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to believe your testimony. Amen.

Monday, December 9, 2019 2Peter 3:8-10

One thing we should not forget

Apostle Peter in this last chapter of his second letter to the believers reminds them that God is not slow in fulfilling what He said. Peter also wanted the believers to know that God’s calendar is different from man’s calendar. He also told them that though God is patient with us, it does not mean that He is weak in fulfilling His word but only wants us to come back to our senses and repent.

God’s promises are real and must surely come to pass; each one at God’s own appointed time. We should not take God’s patience for granted. We must repent of whatever it is that is making us think that God is slow in fulfilling His promises and turn to Him now. The day will come when we least expect it when all the things that have taken away our attention from the reality of things will be destroyed.

Prayer: Father, grant me grace to heed to your word in Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 2Peter 3:11-18

As we wait for the Second Coming of Christ

In concluding this second letter, Apostle Peter asks a thought-provoking question in verse 11, “What kind of people ought you to be?He asked this question because everything on earth which occupy our attention now, will ultimately be destroyed by fire. Apostle Peter reminds the believer that the Day of the Lord will be a day of destruction by fire. However, for the believer, the Lord promises him/her a new heaven and a new earth.

Since we already know these things, the scripture urges us to be on our guard so that nobody will be carried away by the worldly activities within and around us. Every one of us must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and watch against distraction.

Prayer: Almighty God, help me to remain watchful so that your day will not come upon me unprepared in Jesus name. Amen.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 1John 1:1-10

The Eye Witness Testimony

The truth that our Lord Jesus Christ was really in the flesh, that He was no phantom, no shadow mocking the eyes that looked upon him, is exceedingly important, hence John (whose style in this Epistle, is precisely like the style which he uses in his Gospel), begins by declaring that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who in his eternity was from the beginning, was really a substantial man. He says, “We have heard him.Of course, hearing is good evidence! “Which we have seen with our eyes”; again what we see clearly with our eyes is good evidence.

We need have no doubt about the reality of Christ’s incarnation when we have these clear evidence. We should not behave like Thomas (John 20:27), but endeavour to be among those that believe without seeing, and Jesus said that such are blessed (John 20:29).

Prayer: Father Lord, help me not to doubt your word in Jesus name. Amen.

Thursday, December 12, 2019 1John 2:1-11

Knowing God

In our text today, Apostle John is anxious that believers should not sin, though he knows they do and that they would be liars if they say they do not. Still the Christian’s sole objective is sinless perfection, and though he will never get it till he gets to heaven, it still makes it better because he will always be pressing forward, and never reckoning that he has attained. Again, Apostle John strives to let the believers know that Jesus Christ not only died for Gentiles but also for Jews and all nations and in his atonement is hope for every creature.

As believers, we should live our lives in obedience to God. That Jesus Christ died for our sins is not a license to live our lives carelessly and in a carefree manner. We should not take the mercy of God for granted. If we sin, the right thing to do is to turn back to God in true repentance.

Prayer: Eternal Father, grant me grace to live above sin in Jesus name. Amen.

Friday, December 13, 2019 1John 2:12-17

Do God’s Will and Live

In our scriptural reading today, Apostle John explains to the believers the reasons for his writing. He wrote because (1) Their sins are forgiven. (2) They know him from the beginning. (3)They have overcome the wicked one. (4) They are strong, and the word of God abides in them. Lastly, he warned them not to love the world, for doing so means that they do not have the love of God in them. And so believers should know that all that is in the world are not of the Father in heaven, and more so the world and its lust will pass away, but those who do the will of God will live forever.

Believers have no option than to do the will of God so that they can live with Christ forever. We should not make nonsense of the mercy of God by living a deceitful and hypocritical life.

Prayer: Father I want to do your will; please grant me enabling power and grace in Jesus name. Amen.

Saturday, December 14, 2019 1John 2:18-29

The spirit of the Antichrist

Apostle John in our text today stated thus: (1) That the issue of antichrists is no longer news; there are many of them around us. (2) That those who have left the church did so because they are not part of us and so there is no way they would have continued with us. (3) That whoever denies Christ is a liar. He therefore encouraged the believer to allow the word of God to abide in him, so that the promise of eternal life will be fulfilled in him.

Christians today must be extra careful with the activities of the antichrists. They must make every effort to distance themselves from all that will make them to deny Christ in whichever form. Instead, they should allow the word of God to dwell richly in them so that they will not sin against God (Colossians 3:16, Psalm 119:11)

Prayer: Father, please deliver me from the activities of the antichrists in Jesus name. Amen.

Sunday, December 15, 2019 John 1:19-28

(Advent 3)

An Example of Humility

In his day, John was questioned by religionists who were suspicious of him. They were sent from Jerusalem, the headquarters of the Jewish religion, as fact-finding commission. In the eyes of the authorities, all the sons of priests were automatically priests by descent because John’s Father, Zechariah, was a priest. But John the Baptist was not a priest and so who was he? They wanted to know from him. With all the questions they put to him, John the Baptist simply and humbly said to them “I am the voice of the one calling in the desert, Make straight the way for the Lord.”’

Believers and ministers of the gospel today should learn from John the Baptist the act of humility and not to take the glory of God simply because God is using them to perform miracles. Humility is key to this life’s journey. No matter how mighty God is using you, never you take the glory of God.

Prayer: Father please grant me the spirit of humility in Jesus name. Amen. Monday, December 16, 2019 1 John 3:1-9 SIN AND THE CHILD OF GOD Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4) or transgression of God’s will, either by omitting to do what God’s law requires or by doing what it forbids. Transgression can occur in thought (1 John 3:15), in word (Matthew 5:22), or deed (Romans 1:32). Mankind was created without sin, morally upright and inclined to do well (Ecclesiastes 7:29). A child of God is someone who loves and fears God. The original nature of man is void of sin, but since after the fall of Adam, it has been a struggle for man to live right with God. The most painful aspect of it is that some so-called pastors who are living in sin are deceiving

some ignorant people, with the word; ‘it does not matter’ and God understands.’ Child of God, you must stay away from sin no matter how little, to avoid staining that garment that has been washed by the blood of the Lamb. No one can avoid sin by his/her own power except through the help of the Holy Spirit, and we can only have this Spirit by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. Prayer: Lord may I never see any sin as small; rather give me the grace to live above sin in Jesus Christ Name. Amen. Tuesday, December 17, 2019 1 John 3:10-24 LOVE IN ACTION Brotherly love is so scarce in our generation despite the multiplicity of churches and ministries; unfortunately the so-called churches and ministries are the major cause of problems in so many families today. However, in the face of this, we all still claim to be Christians. Early Christians demonstrated their love by selling their belongings to help brothers in need. But these days, we claim brotherhood without the willingness to make sacrifices for our brothers. We have become so selfish; only thinking about ourselves and immediate family members, with no concern about what happens to our next door neighbour. Where is the love we confess? Let us not love in word only, but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18). Love for our neighbour is a must, if indeed we are to be called disciples of Christ. And that love must be backed up with the willingness to make sacrifices if need be. The level of atrocity - kidnapping, ritual killings, fraud, child trafficking, etc., - we witness in our society today is a clear evidence that there is no love amongst us anymore. Love is the ultimate (1 Corinthians 13:13). Love compelled Jesus to die on the cross. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Where there is love, there is peace and progress. Let us practise love, for God is Love. Prayer: Lord teach us to love others as you loved us in Jesus Christ Name. Amen. Wednesday, December 18, 2019 1 John 4:1-11 BE AT ALERT Children of God are called to be watchful because all that glitters is not gold. This warning becomes more serious at this time when false prophets abound, making it more difficult to differentiate between the godly and the ungodly. Yet despite the similarities, the difference is clear: false prophets are after their stomach and their pockets. The unfortunate thing is that many started well, but along the line, they were bought over by the devil. This may be because they started emulating someone they know nothing about his/her origin and source of

power and by so doing, they became the devil's advocates, unknown to many. Their character is to change their messages and call it maturity. Child of God, be steadfast in your faith. Remember that God does not reward success, but faithfulness. Therefore keep on holding unto God; at an appointed time He will manifest His glory in your life. Do not be deceived with their magical acts; rather watch out for the fruit of the Spirit and their character, because charisma can never replace character. Fight on and faint not, for the Lord is at hand. Prayer: God open my eyes to see from your point of view so that I will not be deceived in Jesus Christ Name. Amen. Thursday, December 19, 2019 1 John 4:12-21 VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL LOVE Love is the summary of the law; the law is divided into two, love for God and love for our neighbours. Whenever a child of God achieves the above, he/she is perfected in law. In our world today, almost everybody belongs to one church or the other. We show much commitment to church activities and claim to love God, yet many of us in our families, are at war with one another. It therefore becomes too difficult to reconcile our claims with our behaviours. Love is only perfect when we love God and that love is manifested in our relationship with our neighbour. No one can claim to love God when he/she is in enmity with his/her brother. ‘If someone says, "I love God," but hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?’ (1 John 4:20). Show the love of Christ to all! Prayer: Father of love, may your love for us compel us to love one another to prove to the world that we are your disciples in Jesus Christ Name. Amen Friday, December 20, 2019 I John 5:1-13 THE THREEFOLD WITNESS A popular Christian hymn reads; "Courage brother, do not stumble, though your path is dark as night. There's a star to guide the humble; Trust in God and do the right." As revealed in today's text, whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God and therefore overcomes the world through faith (vs. 1, 4). The scriptures say, "Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith "(Hebrews 12:2) and without faith (Jesus), it is impossible to please God(Hebrews11:6). How many today can really boast of this faith as to overcome on earth?

As children of God, there are three realities that bear witness in heaven as we express this faith on earth: The Father, the Word [Jesus] and the Holy Spirit; and the three are one (v.7). On the other hand, there are three realities that bear witness on earth as we continue to express this faith on earth: the Spirit (Comforter), the water (Forgiver) and the blood

(Redeemer); all also agree as one (v.8). This threefold witness both in heaven and on earth can only be made manifest in our lives when we surrender all to Jesus. Let us run to Him today and our lives will never remain the same.

Prayer: O Lord, strengthen my faith that I may overcome always, Amen.

Saturday, December 21, 2019 Luke 1:1-26 THE BLESSEDNESS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS This Bible passage is the familiar story of a priest named Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth. Both of them were advanced in age and were without a child. Despite all odds, there is something very remarkable and revealing about them: they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly (v.6). In other words, both of them were faithful in their walk with God even in the midst of their difficult moments. They would not give up on their services unto God. And because of this, God was not finished with them even though they were advanced in age. While serving before God in the temple, a divine message was delivered to Zacharias through the Angel Gabriel that he (Zacharias) would become a father and that his wife, Elizabeth, who was called 'barren' would bear a son who would be called John. God indeed remembered them by blessing them with the fruit of the womb. They were blessed for their righteous living and for walking faithfully with God. Can we be found faithful in the sight of God to the point of attracting His blessings? Do you know that God can make dry bones in your life and ministry live again? God can change that mess into a message; that test into a testimony and that gory into glory. Walk with God henceforth and you will forever be blessed.

Prayer: Lord grant me the grace to walk righteously with and for You in Jesus Name. Amen.

Sunday, December 22, 2019 Luke 1:26-38

(Advent IV) BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN! Today's topic, as found in verse 28 of our text, was beyond every expectation, an unprecedented but glorious salutation of Angel Gabriel to a maidservant whom God had granted favour. Mary was just a virgin betrothed to a carpenter named Joseph, of the house of David. At first, she was confounded by the words and manner of greeting by the Angel who came to deliver the Good News of the Messiah to be born. Though she was of a lowly status, yet God chose her to be highly blessed among other women.

Mary was fortunate to be blessed among other women as the mother of Jesus not because she was the finest, or smartest or even holiest, but because she availed herself by living a life of humility and purity. Her humble heart and background attracted the favour of God to her. What can God find in us that will attract His blessings to our lives? God is looking for a man or woman He would bless and who would in turn become a blessing to others. Have you any room for Jesus that He may come in and announce to you, ‘Blessed are you among people’? Therefore, let us humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt us in due time (I Peter 5:6). Prayer: Hymn A&M 89: My Spirit longs for thee within my troubled breast, though I unworthy be of so divine a guest.

Monday, December 23, 2019 Luke 1:39-56 THE SONG OF MARY (MAGNIFICAT) Having received the good news that Elizabeth was heavy with a promised child, Mary wasted no time to journey all the way from the city of Nazareth to visit and share in the blessing of the fruit of the womb in the life of Elizabeth and her husband, Zacharias. Despite the fact that doctors had certified the old couple medically ‘unable’ to conceive but God was saying, "I am able, for with me all things are possible" (Luke 1: 37). How often do we share in people's joys and sorrows?

The baby in Elizabeth's womb would bear witness to the joy that filled the heart of Mary when she came in and greeted. Verse 44 says, "For indeed, as soon as your voice of greeting sounded in my ears, the baby (John) leaped in the womb for joy." Consequently, Mary began to sing to the glory of God. Her song is known in the Christian world as the Magnificat. She had every reason to magnify God for regarding her lowly status and for the fact that all generations would call her blessed. The life we live today is not of our own making. It is not by might or power but by the Spirit of God at work in us (Zechariah 4:6). Sing to the Lord a new song today and He will do more of His words and works in your life.

Song: I will praise Him, I will praise Him, I will praise Him for-ever-more.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019 Luke 1:57-58

(Christmas Eve)

WHAT WILL THIS LITTLE CHILD BE?

John was a child of prophecy and was given birth to, at the fulfilment of this prophecy. On the 8th, the day for circumcision and naming, the neighbours wanted to give him the name of his father. They did not see in John anything beyond his father, after all Zachariah was a priest. What else could one ask for? But his mother (thank God for the gift of a spiritual mother, Luke 1:5-8), chose the name given to them by the Angel Gabriel. At that instance, the neighbours gave the father a slate to write his son’s name. Zachariah wrote and spoke for the first time in a year to confirm this unique name for a unique son. It left everyone wondering what this “little child” would become since it was obvious God was with him.

Zachariah prophesied at that hour by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He, in his prophecy, tied the destiny of his son to the fulfilment of God’s promise and covenant to Israel: redemption, horn of salvation, mercy, deliverance and service to the Lord. What would have been our prophecy on our own unique children if we were the one given the opportunity? We could have prophesied, “Being head and not the tail”; “money”; “death of the enemy”; etc. But Zachariah was thinking and seeing “25th December.” His son would have to usher in the long-awaited Messiah. Abraham, David, and the prophets had waited for this Messiah! “What can we do to work God’s work” and to expand His kingdom?

Prayer: May the Lord show us mercy to speak of the propagation of His kingdom and salvation for our generation, Amen.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019 Luke 2:10-20

(Christmas Day)

THE LORD’S GLORY SHONE AROUND THEM

Jesus was born at a time and on a day of great national activity. A national Census was going on throughout the empire. There was a great movement of people to and from their home city. The transport business was on a boom. The hospitality and hotel industry were a beehive of activity. People were experiencing a boom in business, and the empire was at its peak. God had blessed the emperor and the empire. The core Jews, looking for a release from Roman occupation and rule, were downcast as it seemed the contrary was happening: Rome was waxing stronger. Then the saviour was born!

No one took notice; there was no place for him at the inn. He was inconsequential to the movement of the time. God was looking for whom to tell and to celebrate with for this epoch- making birth. There was no one found in the city. And as had been from the days of Moses in the wilderness, the angel went out of the ‘city of activities’ to the shepherds in the field to announce the birth of the Saviour. It was with these shepherds that the Lord stood and His glory shone unto them. The emperor, the governor and people, occupied with the empire prosperity, saw none of God’s glory. They had not the presence of God. As men are occupied again today in celebration and feast, it is important that we do not get carried away (Hebrews 13:9-14), so that we do not miss the most important thing His presence, His message, His joy, and His angelic celebration.

Prayer: May the Lord find us separated enough in order to grace us with His presence and glory today and always, through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Thursday, December 26, 2019 Acts 7:54-60

(St Stephen, The first Martyr and Deacon)

HE LOOKED INTENTLY INTO HEAVEN

The first Christian martyr, Stephen, was not one of the apostles neither one of the early and bigger disciples of Jesus. Stephen came to limelight in an obscure manner, as one of the seven deacons selected to ‘serve table’ (do administration) while the apostles faced more serious matters (of the word of God and prayers). But on the day that Stephen was to be martyred, it became clear what manner of man he was and what measure of the Spirit of Christ that was in him. Faced with an audience set on murder and a biased jury, Stephen became filled with the Holy Spirit and looked intently to heaven. He cast his eyes on heaven, gazing steadfastly and not allowing the present circumstances to discourage nor dissuade him. He was not crying for mercy from an unbelieving crowd. He looked to heaven (from where help would come..., Psalm 121) and opened his mouth in prophecy and glorifying God, much to the anger of his traducers. That was the help God granted him. God did not save him

from death nor from the blood-thirsty appetite of the killers rather He gave him the spirit to prophesy to his would-be murderers.

Even as they were killing him, Stephen’s eyes never left heaven. He saw God. He saw Jesus. Pain, death, the angry crowd, pressure, circumstances, false allegations, and hatred could not take Stephen’s eyes away from heaven. No wonder he could summarize the history of Israel’s disobedience as Jesus stood to welcome him. Where do you look to in the days of trouble? On whom are your eyes fixed?

Prayer: Lord may I cease from today from looking at men, problems and difficulties, but to turn my eyes and thoughts to you just like Stephen did, in Jesus Name. Amen.

Friday, December 27, 2019 John 21:19-24

TOPIC: FAIR PRICE FOR THE KINGDOM MANDATE

Jesus had just tactfully exacted from Peter a hearty pledge of love and loyalty, and now proceeds to grant him an insight into what he should expect in pursuance of the task ahead. Peter should already know that the road to the kingdom is strait and narrow (Matthew 7:13). But to hear again that the end would also be turbulent - an unsurrendered soul would have chickened out immediately as this same Peter had done in the heat of the Master’s passion.

In very plain terms, Peter was told that the journey he was about to undertake wasn’t going to be a bed of roses. He still reserved the right to choose to back out. But this time around, he wisely chose the Lord, probably recalling Jesus’ words in Luke 9:62; “Anyone who puts his hands to the plough and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God.” But he also had assurance from Jesus that it would all culminate in glory unto God.

Evidently satisfied with Peter’s positive response, the Lord extended this all-important invitation - “Follow Me.” Peter had received this same invitation three years earlier. The Amplified Version renders this to mean “Walk in the same path of life that I have walked.” It was heaven’s second chance to Peter. And he wasn’t prepared to quash it again. Would you?

We also grasp from Jesus’ reproving response to Peter’s expressed curiosity on what would become of John his friend and colleague (vs.20-22), that in pursuance of the kingdom mandate, one does not have the liberty of looking back or prying into other people's business. Focus on your own personal mandate and leave whatever becomes of John to Me, was the Lord’s tacit response to Peter and to whoever else would heed to this call - “Follow Me.”

Prayer: Dearest Lord, grant me the grace to follow you through to the very end irrespective of whatever storms that rear their ugly heads on the way. Amen.

Saturday, December 28, 2019 Matthew 2:13-19

(Holy Innocent Day)

DANGER LURKS: ESCAPE!

Today we remember the cruel slaughtering of the little boys of Bethlehem by Herod The Great which manifested his reputation as a cruel and unscrupulous despot. Because of hatred and ambition for power among families, and because of Herod’s consuming suspicion that someone might usurp his throne, he even executed one of his wives and his three oldest sons. Thus, the act of murdering all of the young male children in the region of Bethlehem in an effort to eliminate the one whom the Magi had called King of the Jews, fits Herod’s character (vs.1-16). The commemoration of that event is called the Holy Innocent Day because of the fact of these little children did not commit anything warranting death. However, God had beforehand revealed this impending wicked act of Herod to Joseph in a dream and instructed him to take the Child (Jesus) and His mother (Mary) and escape to Egypt so as to save the child from being destroyed by the wickedness of man (Herod).

We live in a cruel and wicked world, a world that desires the destruction of the godly; a world where evil men desire to lure godly people in a most unsuspecting manner so that they

will be destroyed; a world of sin where immoral living thrives. In the face of all these, the word of God enjoins us to flee for our safety. We are charged to escape from blood-thirsty and power-hungry men like Herod and seek the face of the Lord, who alone has enduring powers to save. God is constantly calling us to reject the ways and patterns of this world (Romans 12:1) to avoid being destroyed by His anger. Brethren, as Joseph heeded the instructions of God, let us be diligent in obeying God’s instructions.

Prayer: Lord God, grant me the heart to obey your word and stay saved always in Jesus Name, Amen.

Sunday, December 29, 2019 John 1:14-18

(Christmas 1)

CHRISTMAS - GOD’S CURE

Should you receive this message from your doctor in a very serious voice, “please come in as soon as you can. I have something to discuss with you”, you would know there is bad news! Till you get hold of the diagnosis, your world would seemingly stand still. God, our great physician, also has some bad news about man’s spiritual condition. When against God’s express warning, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, God told Adam that all mankind would die spiritually and physically. That’s the bad news!

God also gave a solution. He promised a Saviour (Genesis 3:15). The Apostle John tells us Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John1:17). But how does that help? Jesus came that first Christmas to bring God’s grace, something that none of us deserved because like Adam, we have all sinned. But Jesus also came to reverse what sin brought. He came to be the truth (John 14:6) that would bring us back to God. He came to save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). In the words of an unknown writer, “Life is uncertain, death is sure; Sin the cause, Christ the cure.” Listen to what the Great physician has to say in the Bible about your spiritual condition. Then accept the cure he has provided- the gift of salvation through Christ.

Prayer: Lord I ask that by your grace I will be cured of my sinful attitude and life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, December 30, 2019 John 7:1-36

DO NOT JUDGE BY HUMAN APPEARANCE

Our passage focuses on Jesus’ encounter with His brothers and the Jews during the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. His brothers challenged Him to go to Jerusalem for the feast. Their message was, in essence, “You must not miss this great opportunity to showcase yourself. There will be huge crowds there to see your miracles.” Sadly, their real motive was to expose Him to the scrutiny of the renowned Jewish scholars. The Bible recorded that “even His own brothers did not believe in Him” (v.5).

Jesus eventually showed up at the Feast when His time had fully come (vs.8-10) and immediately began to teach at the Feast. It was in the course of His teaching that He told the Jews, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement” (v.24). This is because the Jews appear righteous in all ramifications, but yet are not righteous. Moses gave them the Law, yet none of them kept the Law (v.19). If they were righteous as they claimed, they wouldn’t have sought to kill Jesus (v.30).

It is said that “not all that glitters is gold,” that is why “the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). In a world full of deception - including those deceiving with the name of the Lord, we need to be careful not to judge by appearances, as Jesus warned. Let us not be in a

haste to trust even those who praise us; their motives could be different. Jesus’ approach to issues of life and ministry should be a guide for us to follow.

Prayer: Dear Lord, You alone know the heart and search the mind; help me not to be deceived by praise-singers but to always be wholly committed to you all the days of my life. Amen.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019 John 7:37-39

ARE YOU ATHIRST? Come!

Thirst is a feeling caused by a desire or need to drink. Jesus said in verse 37 of our text, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.” This statement of the Lord has a spiritual meaning; and the thirst mentioned, is purely of a spiritual kind. It means anxiety of soul, convicted of sin, desiring pardon and longing for peace of mind (Matthew 11:28, Philippians 4:7). “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). This is a confession of a man that is athirst.

The Lord is making an open invitation to you if you have not known or received Him into your life. Salvation is free and open to all, only believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (See Isaiah 1:18; Revelation 22:17; John 15:1-5). The promise of the Father (Holy Spirit) is for you, only if you receive and believe in Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for saving me and making me to drink from your fountain

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The Most Revd. Nicholas Dikeriehi Orogodo Okoh

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