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 139 Days

Osina Women at the Diocesan Women Conference 2019

Diocese of Ideato @20

Friday, February 1, 2019 Daniel 1:1-7

TRAINING BEFORE SERVICE

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated king Jehoiakim and captured Jerusalem. The Lord allowed the Israelites to be taken captive, together with some holy articles from God’s temple. They were carried them to Babylon (vs. 1-2). King Nebuchadnezzar ordered his chief official to give a 3-year training to selected Israelite captives who were to be fed from the king’s table before they could qualify to serve in Babylon (vs. 3-5). Those selected must: (i) possess a royal ancestry or be of noble background, (ii) be young men without physical defects, (iii) be handsome, (iv) possess very high intelligence quotient, (v) be very knowledgeable and proactive. They were to learn Babylonian language and literature.

Effective service demands thorough training. Selection of good leadership requires prayerfully seeking God’s face. Are our leaders well-trained before entering into secular service? Do we have well-selected and well-trained Pastors or Clergy men in our Churches? God wants us to give attention to the quality of men and women we select or vote into offices

in our nation. Service without proper training is bound to yield very poor dividends. Let us be very careful in choosing leaders in the church and nation.

Prayer: Father, grant us quality and capable men in leadership positions. Amen.

Saturday, February 2, 2019 Luke 2:22-35

(The presentation of Christ in the Temple)

PRESENTATION AND SACRIFICE

Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to God and to offer a sacrifice (vs. 22-24). As the firstborn of his earthly parents, this ritual was needed for Jesus (Leviticus 3:13). A Spirit-led man called Simeon came into the Temple, presented himself before God, carried the child Jesus and offered a sacrifice of praise (vs. 28-32). Jesus’ parents got their own encounter in the presence of God namely: (i) they were astonished about what was said about Jesus. (ii) they were blessed by Simeon, (iii) In their hearing, prophetic utterances concerning Jesus and Mary were released by Simeon (vs. 33-35).

Preparation is necessary before entering God’s presence. True worship goes with sacrifice. Hannah worshipped at Shiloh and fulfilled her pledge of giving Samuel back to God (1Samuel 1:26-28). Jesus’ parents presented him before God and offered a sacrifice (v. 24). Simeon carried Jesus in his arms before God and offered a sacrifice of praise (vs. 28-32). Do you prepare and go into the presence of the Lord with a sacrifice? Are you happy or upset when called upon to offer a sacrifice in your Church? From today decide to offer a sacrifice to God whenever you come into His presence.

Prayer: Father, as I come into your presence grant me a heart ready to sacrifice.

Sunday, February 3, 2019 Daniel 1:8-21

(Epiphany 4)

CHOSEN ABOVE OTHERS

Some men were selected to be trained and given special food as ordered by the king, but Daniel decided not to defile himself (v. 8). He rather requested the chief official to test him and his three colleagues by feeding them with only vegetables and water. The official grudgingly agreed to test Daniel and his colleagues for ten days (vs. 11-12). When the ten days elapsed, the four Jewish men looked healthier and better nourished than those who ate the royal food (vs. 15-16). At the end of the training, the trainees were presented before the king. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were chosen over the others because they were seen to be ten times better in wisdom and knowledge.

Notice here that it is the grace of God in a life that makes the difference! The Bible says that it is not to him that wills or to him that runs but to God who shows mercy. Also, it is God who works in his children to will and to act out his good purpose (Philippians 2:13). As you go out today, may God choose you. Determine like Daniel to live a righteous and undefiled life.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I yield my life to you. Please make me what you want me to be. Amen.

Monday, February 4, 2019 Daniel 2:1-11

A SLEEPLESS NIGHT

During the second year of his reign, king Nebuchadnezzar had dreams that perplexed him (v. 1). He summoned his wise men and fortune-tellers to tell the dream, and give its interpretation (vs. 1-2). The wise men could not oblige the king’s request. In spite of the king’s promise of handsome gifts to anyone who could tell and interpret the dream, the wise men merely told the king that it was only the gods that could reveal dreams (v. 11)..

Kings are supposed to be happy and enjoy life, but king Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams caused him to have a sleepless night. The king sought for answers in his wise men but was disappointed. Even the gifts he promised them did not help matters. His problem was serious but he went to the wrong people for a solution. He did not consult God. He relied on men who failed him. Do you have dreams or issues that trouble you? Child of God, when you have a problem, go to God for the solution. Reject going to consult other gods, prayer houses, false prophets, etc., because they will certainly disappoint you. Put your trust only on the Lord (Jeremiah 17:7).

Prayer: Father, help me to trust you in times of trouble in Jesus name. Amen.`

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 Daniel 2:12-23

CONFLICT RESOLUTION: GOD’S WAY

The inability of the wise men to help the king made him very angry and he decreed to execute all wise men in Babylon (vs. 12-13). On hearing the breaking news, Daniel spoke to the commander of the death squad with wisdom and tact to learn why the king issued such a harsh decree. Daniel even went further to see the king and request for time for him to reveal and interpret the dream (v. 16). He briefed his three Hebrew colleagues on the matter and urged them to engage in prayers to God concerning the king’s mysterious dream, in order to avoid being killed with the wise men. God answered their prayers and revealed the unknown dream to Daniel through a vision. This made Daniel to thank, praise and glorify the God of heaven.

To resolve conflicts as a wise person, do the following: (i) Find out the cause of the conflict (ii) Approach the main party in the conflict to request for time to seek for a solution (iii) Go to God in prayer with others and be eager to hear from Him. (iv) Praise and thank God for the answer.

Please handle conflicts God’s way. Always follow the Daniel example.

Prayer: Father, help me to resolve conflicts your way in Jesus name. Amen.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 Daniel 2:24-35

GOD REVEALS MYSTERIES

Daniel received a clear revelation of the dream and its interpretation. The magicians had acknowledged that the king made an impossible request (vs. 10-11), but Daniel showed that God of heaven reveals mysteries (v. 28)! God knows the end from the beginning, and all hidden things (v. 22). Today, He can reveal those mysteries that we need to know if we, like Daniel, ask in faith (vs. 17-18; Matthew 7:7-8). Daniel first presented the dream (vs. 31-35), and then the interpretation (vs. 36-45). In doing so, he did not ascribe any special power or piety to himself, but made it clear that he was only God’s instrument (v. 30). Peter and Paul adopted the same attitude (Acts 3:12; 2 Corinthians 3:4-5). We should do likewise.

Read verses 31-33 again and imagine such “an enormous, dazzling statue” made of five different materials. While the king watched, Daniel continued, a rock “not by human hands” struck the statue, destroyed it completely and the materials were blown away by the wind (v. 34). Finally, that rock became a global mountain (v. 35). The king and his officials and guests must have felt, like Pharaoh, that “this is the finger of God” (Exodus 8:19).

Prayer: Oh God, thank you that you reveal hidden things to us.

Thursday, February 7, 2019 Daniel 2:36-43

KINGDOMS SHALL RISE AND FALL

Daniel explains that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream signified four successive world kingdoms that are eventually replaced by an eternal kingdom of God. The head of gold represents the first kingdom, which Daniel identifies as the Babylonian kingdom of which Nebuchadnezzar was the most prominent emperor (vs. 36-38). In verses 39-43, Daniel explains that there would be three other world kingdoms after Babylon. Although they were not specifically named by Daniel, Bible scholars identify them as Mede-Persia (Silver chest and arms), Greece (bronze belly and thighs) and Rome (iron legs). Many historical details about these empires tend to support this.

The iron legs were followed by feet and toes of iron and clay (vs. 42-43). The prophet explains that just as iron does not mix well with clay, the kingdom will be a mixture of strength and weakness, a mixture of people of various cultures that will not remain united! (vs. 42-43). Can this be an apt description of today’s global Community where lots of imbalances abound?

Prayer: Oh Ancient of Days, thank you for showing us that you are truly in charge of the entire human history.

Friday, February 8, 2019 Daniel 2:44-49

AN EVERLASTING KINGDOM

In verses 44-45, Daniel completed the interpretation by declaring that God himself will set up a kingdom “in the days of those kings.” It starts small, like the mustard seed, but eventually grows to crush all the previous kingdoms, and covers the entire earth (Matthew 13:31; Revelation 11:15). In addition, it is an everlasting Kingdom, (Isaiah 9:7; Daniel 7:13-14). This is sometimes called the “Kingdom of God”, “the Kingdom of Christ”, or the “Kingdom of Heaven” (Luke 1:32-33 and 2 Peter 1:11). Many of Christ’s teachings and parables revolved around the Kingdom of God. In Matthew 6:33, He urged us to seek this Kingdom first.

Daniel concluded his presentation by asserting that “the dream is true, and the interpretation is trustworthy” (v.45). Notice the response of the king in verses 46-47, and the honours and promotions he granted to Daniel and his three friends (vs. 48-49). As we serve God faithfully, we shall not go unrewarded, for He is a just God! In particular, we shall inherit His everlasting Kingdom.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for giving us an everlasting Kingdom. Please help me never to miss it in Jesus name. Amen.

Saturday, February 9, 2019 Daniel 3:1-12

AN EVIL SET UP

Contrary to his declaration in Daniel 2:47 that Daniel’s “God is the God of gods”, King Nebuchadnezzar set up an imposing golden image and directed his officials to worship it (vs 1-2). In verses 3-7, we see that the leading government officials worshipped the image! The only exceptions were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel himself is not mentioned in this chapter at all (vs. 8-9)). An adverse report on this is sent to the king (vs. 8-12). As we shall see later, the king takes decisive action against these brethren, but God delivers them miraculously!

In our homes, places of work, study, or business, there are often unchristian practices that the leaders try to impose on all members of the group. How do you react to such evil set ups? Notice the severe punishment that awaited those who did not succumb to the king’s order (vs. 6, 11). Have you faced similar threats to your life, welfare, promotion or some other benefit because of your refusal to deny your faith? Never yield to such threats!

Prayer: Oh Lord, help me to stand firm in the face of any threats, and never to deny Jesus!

Sunday, February 10, 2019 John 3:13-21

(Epiphany 5)

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

Verse 16 is perhaps one of the most memorized and quoted verse of Scripture. It declares that God loved the world so much. The love is unconditional. It was not because of anything that people have done. It is a boundless love, an amazing love where can we find the human words to describe such a love? This love made God to send Jesus Christ for a special purpose – “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Verse 17 states that “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world…” He came to save you and I, not to condemn us! He told the woman caught in adultery “neither do I condemn thee…” (John 8:11). But he quickly added, “go, and sin no more”.

Have we in any way forgotten the extent of God’s love for us? Or have we found ourselves in such a tight corner that we keep falling into sin? The good news is that God’s love has made him to make available to us the power to overcome each and every sin and to live a life that pleases him. Therefore, repent today!

Prayer: Pray with v.1 of A&M 205:

Love divine, all loves excelling

Joy of heaven, to earth come down

Fix in us thy humble dwelling,

All thy faithful mercies crown

Jesu, thou art all compassion,

Pure unbounded love thou art;

Visit us with thy salvation,

Enter every trembling heart

Monday, February 11, 2019 Daniel 3:13-23

GOD IS ABLE

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced imminent death through the blazing furnace. They did not belittle the king’s power or resolve to execute them, since he had all the Executive, Legislative and Judicial powers. Therefore, the king could not contemplate any power that could deliver them from his hands (v. 15). Further, when they declined the second chance offered in verses 15-16, the king ordered the heating of the furnace seven times more than usual (v. 19). He also took extra security measures (vs. 20- 21).

How did these Hebrew boys develop such confidence in God to make the declaration in verse 17? Clearly, their confidence was borne out of a firm belief that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Like David, they must have experienced God’s deliverance in the past, and known that He is the same God yesterday, today and forever (1 Samuel 17:37; Hebrews 13:8). On the other hand, from verse 18, they were prepared to face execution if God did not deliver them! May we read the scriptures daily to know God the more, and exercise faith in Him in each life situation! (2 Timothy 2:15).

Prayer: O God, help me to exercise faith in you daily in Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 Daniel 3:24-30

“FIRE WILL NOT BURN YOU”

Isaiah 43:2 was fulfilled physically in this passage. To the amazement of King Nebuchadnezzar, the blazing furnace killed the soldiers who threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into it, but had no effect on the three men (vs. 22, 25, 27). The king therefore praised God, and decreed severe punishment on anyone who would say anything against God (v. 29). Further, he commended the faith of these young men, promoted them (vs. 28, 30), and acknowledged that this miracle was by the “finger of God” (vs. 25, 28), as Pharaoh’s magicians had declared in Exodus 8:19. May our lives bring glory to God, and draw people to Him in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Some of our experiences may be like “walking through fire”, (Isaiah 43:2). In every circumstance, whether good or bad, let us remember that “if God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31). As God was with these three men, and provided a way out, let us trust Him to provide a way out of any challenge we may be passing through, according to His will (1 Corinthians 10:13). Above all, like Moses, let us actively seek God’s presence and guidance always (Exodus 33:14-16).

Prayer: O Lord, be with me as I pass each situation in life.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 Daniel 4:1-12

NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S TESTIMONY

This chapter contains King Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony about his dream of a tree. In verses 1 to 12, the words “I” “me” or “my” are used at least 26 times. Verse 2 suggests that the testimony was for circulation throughout his vast kingdom that covered much of present day

Middle East and parts of Africa, Asia and Europe (Daniel 6:1; Esther 1:1). He first acknowledges God as the Most High who works miraculous signs and wonders (v. 2). He then acknowledges that God rules for all generations, and His kingdom is eternal (v.3). What a profound expression from a man who had subdued several kingdoms! (Jeremiah 52:11). May we be the Daniels of today so that through us, the kings and rulers of the day shall abandon their gods and acknowledge God as the Most High!

Notice the King’s comment about Daniel in verse 8. May people see the Spirit of God at work in you and give glory to God! Read verse 9 again! Why do you think the king consulted Daniel as a last resort? May we never be like him! Take that matter to God in prayer. He is still the God who does great signs and wonders today.

Prayer: O God, handle this matter that has troubled me in Jesus name. Amen.

Thursday, February 14, 2019 Daniel 4:13-23

YOU ARE THAT TREE!

In verses 10 to 14, the king recalled his dream of a large tree that provided food for all, but was to be cut down, leaving only the stump. In verses 15 to 17, the narrative uses a direct reference to a man. He would become insane and live with animals and eat grass like cattle for 7 time periods. This would humble him and teach everyone that God is supreme over all the earth, and can raise and use anybody to accomplish his purpose (v.1). All of us alive today need to continually emphasize this to ourselves and our leaders (Psalm 24:1; Ezekiel 18:4). Verses 20 to 27 give the dream’s interpretation. As the tree had grown to an enormous height and strength, the king had become great and strong, ruling over a vast kingdom (v.22). Nebuchadnezzar was that tree!

Daniel’s conduct in this challenging exercise is worth emulating. He showed personal concern about the king and his welfare (v.19). He did not allow himself to be distracted by the praises poured on him (vs. 8, 9 & 18. See also 5:16-17). Similarly, let us rely on God to help us handle difficult challenges presented by our leaders.

Prayer: O God, help me to use every opportunity to preach Christ.

Friday, February 15, 2019 Daniel 4:24-33

GOD RULES OVER THE KINGDOMS OF MEN

In our reading, we see that while the king boasts about his mighty power, the interpretation of his dream given by Daniel is fulfilled. The king becomes insane, begins to behave like an animal, and is banished from the society. From verses 25 and 32, we see that the purpose of this judgment was to enable him realize that God rules over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone He wishes. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble, (Proverbs 16:18; James 4:6). The King’s boasting in verse 30 was probably due to his enormous contributions which made Babylon the mightiest city in the ancient world with the famed

Hanging Gardens that are recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. May we learn never to boast of our achievements, however great they might be.

In verse 27, Daniel advised the king to renounce his sins in order to avert the terrible disgrace that he suffered. The experiences of Ahab and the king of Nineveh show that God is always ready to welcome the repentant sinner (1 Kings 21:29; Jonah 3:5, 10). May we repent of every known sin today, and give ourselves wholly to God.

Prayer: O God, I acknowledge your Lordship over all the affairs of men.

Saturday, February 16, 2019 Daniel 4:34-37

SANITY RESTORED!

As we saw in Daniel 4:1-12, the narrative in today’s reading is very personal. This may be to emphasize the fact that the experience was real, and hence the readers should learn from it. Verse 34 indicates that the restoration of King Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity was real and instantaneous! Following that, his throne, honour, power, officials and other privileges were restored! (v.36). Today, the lives of many people waste away due to drug abuse, drunkenness, cultism and immorality, among others. This often drives them to depressive conditions or even insanity. Pray that God shall restore such people to normalcy as he did for Nebuchadnezzar!

Nebuchadnezzar shares two important lessons from his experience in this passage. First, he realized that God is eternal and Omnipotent, and he gave all honour and glory to Him (vs. 34-35). God’s omnipotence is emphasized throughout the scriptures, especially Job 42:2; Isaiah 48:13 and Luke 1:37. May we live with this realization every day of our lives! Read verse 37 again and note the second lesson from the King’s experience – God brings down the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Therefore, humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Prayer: Oh God, help me to put away every pride from my life today in Jesus name. Amen.

Sunday, February 17, 2019 Matthew 5: 1 12

(Septuagesima)

BLESSED PEOPLE OF GOD

Today’s reading contains 9 special blessings (Beatitudes) of a child of God. Each is unique, yet all are to be enjoyed together. Each beatitude includes a pronouncement; those it applies to and an explanation. Verse 1 showed that it was directed at the disciples in a quiet place for maximum effect. In these days of much noise pollution, may we make out a regular time of quietness with the Lord!

Each beatitude is significant. The “poor in spirit” (v.3) are those who recognize their spiritual poverty and depend on God. “Those who mourn” (v.4) are not necessarily the bereaved, but those who experience the sorrow of repentance. Similarly, the “meek” (v.5) does not connote weakness, but rather controlled strength expressed in humility and self-discipline. Read verse 6, Psalm 42;1-2 ; and 84:1-4 to understand what it means to hunger and thirst for

righteousness. As you do so, you will be filled and enabled to be merciful (v.7), pure (v.8) and a peacemaker (v.9). These blessings may often be mixed with persecution (vs. 10-12), but God will be with you and grant you His peace (v 12; John 14 : 27).

Prayer: Lord, enable me to experience your blessings fully in Jesus name. Amen

Monday, February 18, 2019 Daniel 5:1-12

THE WRITING ON THE WALL

Feasting is common in palaces, but this event attracted divine punishment due to the sacrilege described in verses 2-4. The vessels brought by King Nebuchadnezzar from the temple in Jerusalem had been dedicated to God, and should not be used for any other purpose (2 Chronicles 4: 19-22; 7:1). We should therefore be careful not to repeat King Belshazzar’s error by converting resources dedicated to God for the propagation of the gospel into personal property. Another aspect of the sacrilege committed by Belshazzar was to praise man-made gods as if they were responsible for the growth and power of the kingdom. The Lord warns severally that He is a jealous God, and he will not give his glory to any man or idol (Exodus 20:5). We are to be careful not to ascribe any glory due to God to ourselves or someone else.

Note the comments made about Daniel in verses 11-12. He had built up a reputation over the years as a man of God who could be consulted in times of difficulty. Hence, by your words and conducts, show the people around you that you are truly a child of God (Matthew 5:16).

Prayer: Oh Lord, make me to be a vessel of honour always in Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 Daniel 5:1321

A CAPTIVE TO THE RESCUE

Daniel’s faith, courage, dependence on God and prophetic gifts had become well known over the years as an exile (vs.13-14, 16). He was therefore brought in after all the efforts of the magicians, astrologers and diviners failed (vs. 2:10-11; 5:15). May we learn to turn to God always in the first instance!

In verse 16, the king promised to elevate Daniel to the 3rd position in the kingdom if he could read and explain the writing, but Daniel declined these honours (v.17). Would you have responded like Daniel if faced with a similar situation today? Or would you, like Gehazi in 2 Kings 5:20-23, run after material rewards in return for exercising spiritual gifts? (See also Matthew 10:8). With humility, and yet firmness, Daniel observed that the king had continued the evil example of pride and arrogance for which his predecessor was humiliated (vs.19-21). Many leaders today are surrounded by sychophants who induce them to increasingly involve

in evil practices. Strive to bring positive change by wisely and prayerfully correcting your leaders when they do wrong.

Prayer: O God, give me the grace to always speak out your mind in all situations.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 Daniel 5:22-31

WEIGHED AND FOUND WANTING!

Daniel explains that the writing was sent by God as a punishment for the king’s pride, sacrilege and idolatry (vv.22-24). He reads and brings out the significance of each word. as follows: Mene: God has numbered the days of Belshazzar’s reign and brought it to an end. (v.26). Tekel: the king has been weighed on the scales and found deficient (v.27). Peres: (which is the singular form of Parsin), the kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians (v.28). After Daniel read the strange writing and gave its interpretation, the king fulfilled his promise by honouring Daniel and proclaiming him the third highest ruler in the kingdom (vs.7, 16 and 29). That very night, Belshazzar was slain and the kingdom was taken over by the Medes and Persians (vs.30-31. See also 6:8,12).

If our thoughts, motives and attitudes are weighed on the divine scales, what will be the result? (Psalm 139:23-24). Drawing from our text and Job 31:6; Proverbs 16:2; I Corinthians 3:13-14; the author of Sacred Songs & Solos 432, v.4, wrote

So our deeds are recorded – there’s a Hand that’s writing now;

Sinner, give your heart to Jesus to His royal mandate bow;

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I turn to you fully today so that I shall not be found wanting on the day of reckoning!

Thursday, February 21, 2019 Daniel 6:1-12

AN EVIL PLOT AGAINST THE RIGHTEOUS

King Darius wanted to appoint Daniel into a top political post (vs. 1-3). Because Daniel was so highly favoured by God, other officials became jealous and planned his downfall (v.4). Because of Daniel’s impeccable character and dedication to duty, his enemies could not justifiably accuse him. They therefore deceived the king to forbid any other form of worship than to him for a period of 30 days. Having ascertained the king’s approval in writing, they publicized the decree that meant death in the lion’s den for defaulters (vs. 6-9). This notwithstanding, Daniel held fast to his faith and prayed thrice a day. His enemies caught Daniel praying to God and quickly went to the king to report their observation.

God has good plans concerning you (Jeremiah 29:11). He wants to lift you up in your studies, work, business or ministry. You need to be like Daniel, shun corruption, imbibe faithfulness and do not neglect your duty. People may dislike you but trust God for protection. Be consistent in worshipping only the living God and no weapon, no lion’s den, no charms, no wicked plot or demonic attacks, will overcome you. Stand firm like Daniel and God will see you through.

Prayer: My father, please help me to stand firm in the faith in the midst of a corrupt environment.

Friday, February 22, 2019 Daniel 6:13-24

PERSECUTED BUT PROTECTED

Daniel’s enemies slandered him and accused him of disobedience to the royal edict (v.13) and reminded King Darius to execute the penalty by throwing Daniel into the lionsden (vs.15-16). The King, obviously unhappy, gave royal approval according to the irrevocable law of the kingdom. A stone was used to seal the entrance of the den (v.17). It seemed that all hope was gone for Daniel that night. The next day, the King hurried to the lionsden and to his surprise, found Daniel alive, kept by the power and providence of God. God had shut the mouths of the lions (vs.19-22). The overjoyed King had Daniel released from the den and threw his accusers into the lions’ den where they were devoured.

Are you being persecuted for righteousness sake? God will not only protect you but He will provide a way of escape. You may be experiencing hard times caused by others. You may be weeping at night because of your situation. Trust the Lord. Look unto Jesus. He will fill your mouth with laughter and judge your detractors. Rejoice and be glad for you have a great reward in Heaven (Matthew 5:11-12).

Prayer: Father, strengthen my faith in you and cause me to rejoice in the midst of persecution. Amen.

Saturday, February 23, 2019 Daniel 6:25-28

A ROYAL TESTIMONY

In our text today, we read that king Darius was so excited with the experiences of Daniel in the Lion’s den that he gave a royal testimony. The salient points of his testimony include:

i) People everywhere should fear and reverence the God of Daniel. (ii) God is alive and lives forever (v.26). (iii) God’s kingdom and dominion will never end (v.26). (iv) God rescues, saves and does miracles (v.27). (v) God rescued Daniel from the power of lions in the lionsden (v.27).

Notice also that because God was with Daniel, he prospered during the reign of King Darius and the Persian king Cyrus (v.28).

It is worthy to know that God is faithful and can deliver to the uttermost. As we go about our duties today, let us learn to fear and reverence the Lord. Let us acknowledge the ever living and everlasting God whose kingdom and dominion are eternal. Let us expect Him to rescue and save us from all our problems and to do the miraculous in our lives, service and ministry. May God give you a special testimony of his supernatural deliverance today and may He prosper the works of your hands.

Prayer: Almighty God, I pray that you give me a testimony that glorifies your name in Jesus name. Amen.

Sunday, February 24, 2019 Mark 2:1-12

(Sexagesima)

THE HEALING POWER OF JESUS

Jesus arrived in Capernaum, went into a house and a large crowd gathered to hear him. The room was so full of people that many had to stand outside the door. Meanwhile, four men came carrying a physically challenged man who could not walk. They climbed and lowered the mat on which they carried the man through the roof into the presence of Jesus (vs.1-4). Their commendable action attracted the attention of Jesus, who quickly forgave the man his sins. The scribes or teachers of the law thought that Jesus was blaspheming and were displeased. Jesus read their hearts (Jeremiah 17:10a) and told the lame man to get up and go home with his mat. The man immediately responded and walked out as the crowd watched in amazement (vs.5-12). What a fantastic healing power of Jesus! The people testified that they had never experienced such a miracle.

Are you sick or physically challenged? Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). What he did for others, he will do for you. Come to Jesus and receive your healing. You may not have friends but as you come to Jesus, expect your miracle of healing today.

Prayer: Heal me Oh Lord of every infirmity in Jesus name. Amen.

Monday, February 25, 2019 Acts 1:15-26

[St Matthias (transferred)]

CONDUCTING ELECTIONS THE GODLY WAY

After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Apostle Peter addressed the 120 believers on the need to elect a replacement for Judas Iscariot who betrayed Christ (vs.15-20). He outlined the conditions which each candidate would meet namely:

(i) He must have been actively involved in Jesus’ ministry from the time when Jesus was baptized by John till his ascension (vs. 21-22). (ii) He would be duly nominated before the election (v.23). (iii) He would participate in prayers to God to reveal His choice among the nominated candidates (v.24). (iv) He would participate in the voting process (v.26). (v) He would gladly accept the result of the election (v.26).

Elections conducted in Nigeria and around the world are fraught with injustice, corruption, electoral malpractices, rigging, bloodshed, etc. In some churches and church organizations, elections fall short of the Biblical standard. The same goes for elections conducted at market unions, village meetings, corporate and academic boards. It is time to do things God’s way! We need to repent for sins committed in all elections in our country and ask God to intervene in the affairs of our nation (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Prayer: Dear Lord please influence INEC and Nigerians to conduct and participate in elections your own way. Amen

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 John 11:1-16

SLEEP: LIKE NO OTHER

Lazarus slept one day and did not get up due to illness. His bewildered sisters informed Jesus of his sickness who waited for two days before responding (vs.3-6). He told his disciples that they had to go back to Judea to visit Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Brushing off the objections of his disciples, Jesus informed them that their friend Lazarus was in a sleep like no other. The disciples did not think it wise to venture into Judea to wake up someone who was just asleep. Jesus had to definitely tell them that Lazarus was dead and he had to visit Bethany (vs.11-14).

The death of Lazarus was a huge shock to his sisters but they knew what to do. They called on Jesus. They had faith in His ability to bring back Lazarus from this unnatural sleep. In spite of the dangers facing Jesus in Judea, He had to answer the invitation of the two sisters. He did not allow the discouragement of his disciples deter him. What do you do when faced with a crisis? Whom do you call when perplexed or discouraged? Call on Jesus (Jeremiah 33:3; Matthew 11:28). He is a friend like no other.

Prayer: “What a friend we have in Jesus!” Make that hymn your prayer.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 John 11:17-37

JESUS: THE COMFORTER

When Jesus arrived at Bethany, He learnt that Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days. He comforted Martha telling her that He was the resurrection and life and had the power to make the dead live (vs.25-26). Martha believed that Christ was the expected Messiah and quickly intimated Mary that Jesus had come. Mary, followed by some Jewish mourners hastened to meet Him. On meeting Jesus, she fell at his feet in humility and told him that if he had been there, Lazarus would not have died. In a show of sympathy Jesus wept (v.35).

When a very close relative dies, the bereaved need comfort, love and assistance. The presence of Jesus meant a lot to Martha and Mary. They poured out their hearts to him and He encouraged and comforted them. Christ’s humanity was evident as He shed tears but He had a mission. His visit was both to comfort the bereaved family and to radically change their situation. Are you in a time of mourning? Wait for the Lord! He will surely comfort you and turn your mourning into joy. No matter what you are passing through, Jesus will turn it around for your good.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please comfort every hurting soul now and always. Amen.

Thursday, February 28, 2019 John 11:38-44

JESUS: THE ULTIMATE POWER

One power that has kept man in bondage is the power of death but Jesus has power over death (2Timothy 1:10). No wonder He commanded the people to remove the stone from Lazarus’ grave. Martha complained that the corpse must be stinking since 4 days had elapsed after burial. However, after a brief prayer, Jesus commanded the dead man to come back to life. Since Jesus had the ultimate power, the spirit of death had to bow and let Lazarus go.

But the man was still held captive by the grave clothes that were used to bind his hands and foot; and a napkin was used to bind his face. Jesus had to complete his mission of total liberation by commanding the people to loose the man and let him go.

Indeed God has given us victory over death through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). Irrespective of your challenge, hold fast to your faith. Have you lost a loved one? Just know that Christ has the ultimate power and He is the resurrection and the life. Those that have died in Christ will live again (1 Thessalonians 4:14). Fear God and you will have nothing else to fear.

Prayer: Father, help me realize that your power is above all other power. Amen

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The Most Revd. Nicholas Dikeriehi Orogodo Okoh

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