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 251 Days

Osina Women at the Diocesan Women Conference 2019

Tuesday, January 1, 2019 Joshua 5:1-7

(Circumcision and Naming of Christ)

AN EMBLEM OF A NEW BEGINNING

Beloved, happy New Year! God has graciously brought us into this year. To Him alone be all the glory. In most Churches particularly the orthodox, today is set aside to commemorate the Circumcision and Naming of Jesus Christ. In our text, the Lord told Joshua to circumcise all the males who were born in the wilderness and had not been circumcised earlier, though they journeyed with other circumcised Israelites in the wilderness all those forty years of their wandering. That circumcision that Joshua did was especially necessary because at that time, Israel had just stepped into a new phase in their journey of faith they had just crossed River Jordan and had entered into the long-awaited Canaan.

That is very instructive. Entering into this year alive may be a kind of stepping into a Jordan of life; but to maximally walk with God this year, you need to ensure that no carry-over of the sinful life of past years follows you into this year. Circumcision is the solution. And this circumcision is “...the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ- (Colossians 2:11). That is the emblem of a new beginning.

Prayer: Lord, circumcise my heart and give me a new name.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019 Joshua 5:8-15

WHEN MANNA CEASES

After the encounter at Gilgal, Israel kept a Passover to commemorate it. The next critical matter in their pilgrimage was that the manna they had enjoyed for forty years had ceased! Imagine the shock on the nation, especially on those Israelites who were born in the wilderness and had never known any other way God provided food for them except by raining down manna from heaven every day. But did they die of hunger? Certainly no!

What does that teach us? God may change His method and means of supply of our needs but He does not desert His faithful people. This year, the Lord may choose to cause your ‘manna’ to cease so that you see His other means of providing for you. If that happens, it is not the time to complain; it is the time to ask God to show you His new ways of handling the same challenges. Therefore, whether He causes manna to fall from heaven or He chooses that you eat food that grows of its own accord, or He decides to prosper your handwork as a means of meeting your needs, you need to appreciate the principle that He is committed to providing for His people but He is not bound by one particular method. That should be our attitude when the manna ceases.

Prayer: Lord, help me understand and adapt to Your diverse ways of operation.

Thursday, January 3, 2019 Psalm 9:1-10

WITH MY WHOLE HEART

Our text today can be divided into two major sections: commitment to God and the reasons for that commitment. Verses one and two deal with the matter of worshipping God with our whole heart; verses three to nine centre on the reasons. The first reason of the Psalmist’s total commitment to God is the concrete assurance that He will deal with enemies of the Psalmist (vs. 3-6); the second reason is that God is immortal and just in judgment (vs. 7-9).

Sometimes, the explanation for some people’s partial commitment to worshipping God with their whole heart is their lack of understanding of the Person of God. As the year progresses, you may need God’s intervention against your enemies or His justice over your oppression. From our text, we see that the primary requirement for engaging God’s power and justice is to worship Him with all our hearts. When we worship in spirit and in truth, when we wholly depend on Him and His word, we are not just being pious, we are engaging His integrity. And God delights in fighting for such people. Therefore, let’s play our part of worshipping God with our whole heart; He will fight for us and as well, give us justice.

Prayer: Lord, give us the grace to serve You with all our hearts.

Friday, January 4, 2019 Psalm 9:11-20

A CRY FOR HELP

A couple planned a big ceremony for their child’s dedication but what they gave as offering to God was a peanut compared to the huge sum they spent on alcohol, entertaining friends. The dedication in the church, to them, was a mere formality. This is a misplaced priority.

The Psalmist cried “Have mercy upon me, Oh Lord; consider my trouble...” (v.13). And the reason was definite: “That I may show forth all Thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in Thy salvation” (v.14). The Psalmist had a passion for where the testimony of the Lord’s deliverance would be celebrated. Zion was the focal point of the Psalmist’s place of thanksgiving and this is instructive. Some cry to God for deliverance from one trouble or the other, but when that deliverance comes, they do not have a definite budget for a Thanks Offering unto God. They go to church for a ceremonial thanksgiving, but they have no clear-cut plan for glorifying God. That is wrong. When we have divine blessings or deliverance from one problem or the other, let us, like the Psalmist, make it a point of duty to show forth the praise of the Lord in Zion (the church). That is pleasing to God.

Prayer: Lord, help me to thank You reverently and sufficiently.

Saturday, January 5, 2019 Ephesians 3:1-12

HUMBLED BY GRACE

In our text today, Paul speaks of the gracious revelation he had on the mystery of divine purpose of bringing both Jews and Gentiles into the fold of Christ. This mystery of the church being the Body of Christ and as God’s means of reaching the Gentiles with the gospel, is a critical matter in the programme of God for recovering man back to Himself. When Paul caught that revelation, he felt unqualified to have such depth of revelation. That honest sense of inadequacy in him made him say that the revelation was “unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (v.8).

Sadly, these days, some believers brag about their depth of revelation over a scriptural issue. This unfortunate situation of being arrogant over divine revelation, is contrary to the word of God. The closer to God, the humbler we ought to be. That humility is not inferiority complex; it is an awful response of a mortal who has been privileged by God to have access to His mysteries. As you crave for deeper divine revelation in the New Year, also seek His grace to handle His mysteries with deep humility.

Prayer: Lord, give me the grace to handle the mysteries of your will, with all humility.

Sunday, January 6, 2019 Isaiah 49:1-7

(Epiphany Day)

MANIFESTATION WITH DIVINE BLUEPRINT

Today is Epiphany Day: a day set aside to remember the Manifestation of Jesus to the world. In our passage today, we see some definite works of the Messiah: He was to be the Servant of God (vs.3&5) to bring Israel back to God (v.5); He was to raise up the tribes of Israel; He was also to be a light to the Gentiles and salvation to all the earth. These were some definite duties of Christ as recorded by Prophet Isaiah in our text.

Everybody wants to recognized. Believers also desire to manifest for God, but the issue is that many Christians do not have a clear divine blueprint for their desired or promised manifestation. We need to scripturally and prayerfully seek from God the blueprint, the profile and particulars He has set for our manifestation. Jesus did not just come to occupy history with His presence; there was a divinely laid out chart for His work. Therefore, as we remember His Manifestation today, let us seek from God the manual for earthly function. That is a pathway to serving God acceptably.

Prayer: Lord, show me Your blueprint for my earthly relevance.

Monday, January 7, 2019 Isaiah 60:1-7

ARISE AND SHINE

Our text is a wake-up call on Israel in the light of the prophetic reality that Christ, the personification of God’s glory, had, first of all, appeared unto the Jews. The call to “arise and shine” is a justifiable divine demand on a people who had the privilege of Christ first appearing to them. The Lord required from them the responsibility of spreading to others the message of grace they had received.

There is presently a relative dullness on the part of the church and her members in the matter of reaching to the world with the message of the gospel. Perhaps, that is due to spiritual ignorance of the glory of God in us. The Lord depends on the church in the matter of reaching the unsaved with the light of the gospel. As the year is yet young, it is a good time to take stock of our evangelical vision as a church and as individuals. The Lord requires visible action in this matter, that is why He says “arise, shine...” Enough of the slumber of excuses and non-functional wishes; arise and shine! Why? The glory of the Lord has risen upon you. If you have partaken of that glory, you have to arise and shine. That is the Lord’s call on His people.

Prayer: Lord, help me to arise and shine for You.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019 Isaiah 60:8-14

READINESS FOR DIVINE OUTBURST

Yesterday’s topic was on the divine call to arise and shine. Today, we see God’s promise of restoration of Israel (the church). Verses 8-11 give us a graphic illustration of how lost souls shall troop back to Israel in repentance and service to God. The passage also shows the picture of the future glory of Israel. That is a prophetic allusion to divine description of the church.

But the question is how ready is the church (corporately and individually) to handle that promised divine outburst? With the obvious shallowness and indifference to revival in the church, are we ready to handle the wave of divine move among His people? Our passage today is not about just an incident but it is about the move of God. To sustain this move, we need a formidable church of believers with depth, capacity and stability in spiritual matters. Discipleship is the answer. That way, every believer is trained in the word of righteousness to develop and maintain a definite and cumulative walk with God. This is divine pattern for sustaining God’s move in every generation.

Prayer: Lord, strengthen your church to handle Your move in our generation.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019 Isaiah 60:15-18

A PROMISE OF RESTORATION

In our text today, we see the Lord comfort His people with the promise of restoration, peace and prosperity. The promise is applicable to private individuals, the church and nation. The Lord says: “Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no one went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations.”

In this new year, the Lord is already committing Himself to blessing us. So, it does not matter what you may have lost in the past year, God will make you “...an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations.” Just believe Him and live in the light of that promise; He will change your story of shame to that of glory. The promise is also for our nation. Last year, Nigeria witnessed a lot of bloodbaths. This is a year of elections. God is saying to us as a nation that He will transform both the leaders of the state and the led: “...I will also make your officers peace, and your magistrates righteousness. Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls salvation, and your gates Praise (vs.17, 18). Let us make this promise an issue of prayer and trust God to give us both personal and national transformations.

Prayer: Oh Lord, come and turn again our captivity into rejoicing

Thursday, January 10, 2019 Isaiah 60:19-22

A GREATER GLORY

There are different types and degrees of glory. But the glory of the Lord is greater than any other. Our text today is largely centred on the eternal glory which God has in stock for the victorious ones. The glory of heaven is such that we would not need any external source of light. God is the Source of the light in heaven.

Gradually, emphasis on heaven and the purity of life required by God to get there is fading away in the church. The emphasis now is on material things. That is unfortunate. The truth is that sincere believers will (no matter how much of the glory of this earth they enjoy) come to the point when they would lose appetite for everything earthly. The genuine longing to go to heaven is usually the product of continued inward work of God on the believer and His (God’s) gracious revelation to him/her of the temporal nature of this world. It is this revelation that produces a genuine longing for Home above. Until this inward longing for heaven deepens in the believer, what he/she knows about the Glory Land will be merely intellectual. There is a greater glory above. God help us to get there.

Prayer: Lord, help me enter into eternal glory at the due time.

Friday, January 11, 2019 Isaiah 61:1-3

HE HAD YOU IN MIND

The text today is a prophetic declaration of the mission of Christ. In those three verses, we see a list of several works He was to do by the power of the Holy Spirit: to preach the gospel to the poor in spirit; to bind up the broken-hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives; to declare the acceptable year of the Lord (the year of freedom from bondage of slavery by reason of Christ’s atonement). Jubilee in Israel was celebrated once every fifty years (Leviticus 25:8-13), but by the Messiah’s work of redemption, it is now a daily experience for those who will believe. Again, Christ’s ministry includes setting the prisoners free, comforting all that mourn; replacing the spirit of heaviness with the oil of gladness, etc.

Which is your case? God had you in mind while sending Jesus. When Jesus came to this world, He read that passage in the temple (Luke 4:18-20), and after that He said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). The day you believe that word, the Spirit of God activates that prophecy for your good. Of all the listed works Christ was to do, God had you in mind while drawing that list. Believe and receive.

Prayer: Lord, please attend to my case today.

Saturday, January 12, 2019 Isaiah 61:4-7

DOUBLE RESTORATION FOR YOUR SHAME

The message of hope and comfort to God’s people is one of the things we see in our Bible passage for today. God promises double restoration for the shame His people may have suffered. A similar promise is in Joel 2:25 “...I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten...” What that means is that for all the loss (of crop yield) as a result of locust’s invasion on their farms, the Lord would make up by causing multiple increases in their crop yield.

This is a new year. You may have lost a lot in the last year(s); you may have incurred accumulated shame and seemingly persistent loss, but this year, the Lord promises you double blessing in place of your shame. How should you respond to this promise of double blessing? You should enlarge our minds by faith to accommodate the promised divine abundance and walk and work in that line. Stretch your mind by the word of God; pray and programme your life to handle divine outburst of blessings and make up your mind to be generous as He blesses you. The promise is sure: “for your shame you shall have double...”

Prayer: Lord, please give me double blessing in place of my shame. Amen.

Sunday, January 13, 2019 John 2:1-11

(Epiphany 2)

FILL THE JARS WITH WATER

Today is the second Sunday in Epiphany. The story in our text today is popular. Jesus attended a wedding in Cana of Galilee. In the course of the reception, wine was abruptly exhausted and Jesus was consulted on the situation. He gave a clear instruction: “fill the jars with water...” (John 2:7). And they filled the jar to the brim.

What do we learn from that story? At least two things: one, for every situation we trust God to handle, we also need to get specific divine instruction on that. Mary understood this; that was why she said to the servants: “...whatever He says to you, do it” (v.5). What has God said to you specifically concerning the matter you trust Him to handle? If any, have you done it? Number two, for every empty jar of seeming hopeless situation, we should keep pouring the water of God’s word into that situation until it gets to the brim. When God’s word gets to the brim of that your situation, He will cause a positive change. The wine of your marriage may have finished; the wine of your joy may have been exhausted; approach heaven for a turnaround.

Prayer: Lord, please restore the wine of my situation.

Monday, January 14, 2019 Isaiah 61:8-11

“...I HATE ROBBERY FOR BURNT OFFERING...”

God is not greedy for offering. He is more interested in the life of the person bringing the offering than the offering itself. Some people even go as far as paying tithes from the proceeds of robbery! God does not accept such offering. Some rob their neighbours of their entitlements and bring offering to church from such sinful acts. The church may accept it, not knowing how it was got, but certainly, the Lord does not accept such offerings. Some so-called Christians take bribe and have the effrontery to give offering and tithes from the proceeds of such bribery. God cannot be mocked. He has set standards for accepting offerings.

Therefore, let us watch our lives very closely on the mirror of God’s word before giving Him any offering. God accepted the person of Abel before accepting his offering. Cain was angry with God for rejecting his offering, and God asked him: "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?(Genesis 4:6). The principle is clear: “...if you do well...” you will be accepted. Jesus maintains the same principle: make your life right first, before giving God your offering (Matthew 5:23, 24).

Prayer: Lord, cleanse me of every sin and accept my offering.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 Isaiah 62:1-5

DIVINE COMMITMENT TO GOD’S CHURCH

In our text today, the Lord Himself says that He would not hold His peace because of Zion – “... until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns.In addition to His word of commitment to the establishment of the church in righteousness,

the Lord has also given us His Spirit to work with us in our labour for the revival of the church. He has given spiritual gifts and power to us to ensure that His church reflects His purpose.

What should be our response to that divine commitment to His church? The Lord makes an assumption on our behalf that we “...shall be willing in the day of his power, in the beauties of holiness(Psalm 110:3). In the light of the Lord’s commitment to the growth of His church, there should be functional willingness on the part of the church (individually and corporately) to ensure that His glory radiates every aspect of the society. That productive willingness should be coupled with the beauties of holiness. A Day of divine visitation has broken upon us; we must be ready and willing to walk with God and work for Him in the beauties of holiness if we shall see the revival we need.

Prayer: Lord, give us the grace not to frustrate your commitment to the Church.

Wednesday, 16 January, 2019 Isaiah 62:6-9

ENGAGING GOD THROUGH PRAYER

In furtherance of divine purpose of restoring His people, God has set watchmen over them. The function of these watchmen is to engage God in prayer, reminding Him of His word and commitment to rebuilding His people. He has given us the liberty to “...give him no rest, till he establishes, and till he makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (v.7). It is difficult to find any earthly dignitary that will allow people to meet him for assistance any time, any day. But God has given us such privilege in the place of prayer.

Therefore, let us “...give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:7) till we see the glory of the Lord in the Church. In this critical matter of engaging God for revival, the watchmen (the leaders) should take the lead; the flocks also should be addicted to prayer and ministry of the word. Whether for personal needs or the corporate needs of revival in the church, let prayer, based on God’s word, be our anchor. God does not complain when we frequently pray to Him about the matter His word supports. “What a friend we have in Jesus! All our griefs and sins to bear; what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!”

Prayer: Lord, please give us the grace to give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word.

Thursday, January 17, 2019 Isaiah 62:10 -12

A STANDARD FOR ALL

Our text today speaks of the future. The Israelites at this time were out of the Holy Land they were on exile in different nations. God granted the prophet Isaiah an insight into His future plan; he had planned that the Israelites would come back from all over the world to the Holy Land. This would be possible when they complied with the standard that would be

raised for them. This standard is their salvation and carried both rewards and recompense for those who love Him and those who hate him respectively. Jesus is this Standard He is the salvation of Zion.

In this first month of the year, it is necessary to prepare ourselves for the journey back to the Holy Land (heaven). The essence of Christ’s second coming is to take us to heaven. But only those who meet the standard will make it. Let us ponder a while: Are you in Jesus? Does your life have a resemblance to His? Remember, if we meet the standard, we get rewards but if we do not, we will be recompensed (2 Thessalonians 1:6-7; Revelation 22:12).

Prayer: O God, give us the grace to keep to our decision to live by the standard of Jesus. Amen.

Friday, January 18, 2019 Isaiah 63:1-6

AN END TO SUFFERING

Our text captures the final defeat of the antichrist during Christ’s second coming for judgment. The writer conceived the suffering and cruel persecution that will characterize the world before the second coming of Christ. In verse 5, he represented the Israelites with himself when he said “and I looked, and there was none to help …” At the time of the Messiah’s second coming, God’s people will be suffering most cruel persecutions. But Jesus will come back in power and glory to bring victory to His people and all suffering will end.

We can now appreciate why Christians are persecuted terribly all over the world. It is an indication of the nearness of Christ’s coming and that our salvation is closer now than when we first believed. Having known this, let us make up our minds as we begin this year never to give up our faith in the face of suffering. Whatever level of persecution that may confront us, let us console ourselves that an end to all suffering is near the appearance of Jesus in the sky.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, may suffering not take me away from your love. Amen.

Saturday, January 19, 2019 Isaiah 63:7-14

GREAT DIVINE COMMITMENT

The text today starts with a reflection of God’s lovingkindness and great goodness to His people. It is a reflection on God’s relationship with Israel. When they took to holiness (“children that will not lie…” v.8), God became their Saviour. He was present in all their afflictions and saved them as in the days of Moses. God performed wonders with His glorious arm to protect them and lead them to their Promised Land (manifestation) for His Name’s

sake what a commitment! But, according to verse 10, when they rebelled and vexed the Holy Spirit, God turned to be their enemy and fought against them.

God has staked His Name in commitment to the righteous. In this 2019, He will identify with your problems. He will deliver you for His Name’s sake. If you have assurance of this great commitment, then 2019 should hold no terror for you. But if you do not have this assurance because you know you are not right with Him, you have the opportunity to make amends today. This will qualify you for the divine commitment.

Prayer: Lord, please deliver me from challenges this year in Jesus Name. Amen.

Sunday, January 20, 2019 Mathew 8:1-13

KINGDOM NECESSITIES

Today’s text is somewhat lengthy and captures indispensable requirements for accessing God’s mercy and blessings. The leper first worshiped Jesus, acknowledged the will of God and then politely made his request for cleansing from leprosy with great faith. The faith is expressed in the statement “thou canst make …” “Can” speaks of certainty of his trust in Christ’s power to heal. The centurion himself demonstrated humility (of not being qualified to have Jesus come to him) and faith in the authority of Jesus. These two persons received mercy and got answers to their problems.

January every year is a time of resolution, planning and prayer. Our desire is to enjoy God’s blessings and receive answers to our prayers. Are you guided by these kingdom necessities – worship, having God’s will over your desires, humility before God, acknowledgment of your not being qualified for His mercy and faith in Jesus’ ability and authority over all situations? Unfortunately, these virtues are lacking in the life of many who claim to be Christians today even though these virtues are necessities for entering God’s Kingdom (vs.10-12).

Prayer: Help us, Lord, with these virtues that we may receive answers to our prayers and inherit your kingdom at last. Amen.

Monday, January 21, 2019 Isaiah 63:15-19

COSTLY MISTAKE

The Believing remnant of Israel in our text today acknowledged their mistake. They believed God would save them based on their relationship to Abraham (see John 8:39). By this, they broke their relationship with God and their adversaries destroyed their sanctuary. The mistake was to link their qualification for salvation to their ancestral origin rather than to God’s provision of love and mercy. On realizing their mistake, they went on their knees and retraced their steps with the statement, “… you are our Father ....

Many are in such costly mistakes today. We tie our salvation to our family’s Christian commitment or church affiliation. We believe God will help us out of problems, not because we have relationship with Him, but because a relation of ours does. We feel we will gain salvation because of our good works. It is indeed a costly mistake to base ones salvation on something else. There is no other means of salvation except through Christ through a relationship with Him. Please, correct this mistake today to avoid losing the privileges of the kingdom.

Prayer: Dear Lord, please Save us from this costly mistake and accept us into relationship with you. Amen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 Isaiah 64: 1-7

AT HIS PRESENCE

The writer of our text today presents his message creatively. It sounds like a poem with emphasis on God’s presence. The power of God’s presence is captured as being able to do all things. In His presence, heavens are torn, mountains melt and flow down, cold waters boil, nations tremble and unimaginable wonders happen. Israel once enjoyed God’s presence with its attendant deliverance, victory and blessings but lost out later because of sin. Problems consumed them. The writer blamed this on Israel’s failure to continuously wait on God (v.7).

The best thing that could happen to us in 2019 is to constantly have God’s presence. His presence will melt off Islamic agenda in Nigeria, rend economic crisis, dissolve election phobia, disarm principalities and powers, heal sicknesses and bring about open doors. These are all we need to excel this year. The question is: what can we do to have His presence always? The answer is to keep away from sin and develop the habit of waiting on God daily in our prayer closets.

Prayer: Lord, please grant me the privilege of being in your presence every moment. Amen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 Isaiah 64:8-12

GREAT CITY TURNED A WILDERNESS

Our text today describes prophet Isaiah’s sorrowful and broken heart, and a contrite spirit, not for a personal situation but for a national mess. Jerusalem, the most beautiful city; Zion, a revered city, is pictured as a wilderness, a desolation. Its pride was lost, its beauty disappeared, the temple of God was burnt and the inhabitants taken into exile. Isaiah acknowledged this to be the manifestation of God’s anger as a result of the sin of the so- called children of God. Isaiah carried the burden and besought God for mercy on Jerusalem, on Zion.

As we prepare ourselves for this year, let us pray for our nation Nigeria. Considering the level of hunger and scarcity confronting our people, can we say Nigeria is better than a wilderness? With the incessant killings and bloodletting in our nation, is the safety of Nigeria not compared to that of a wilderness? What about destruction and burning of churches? Nigeria the giant of Africa - seems to have been turned to a desolation! The question is, are we not part of the cause of the situation? Let us ask God for His mercy and stand in the gap for Nigeria today as Isaiah did for Jerusalem.

Prayer: Oh Lord, please show us mercy and save our land. Amen!

Thursday, January 24, 2019 Isaiah 65:1-7

SAVE YOUR LINEAGE

Our text today clearly shows the graciousness of God, His love and His patience. He showed love to the Israelites and was patient with them to appreciate and reciprocate His love but they rejected Him. They preferred idolatry and cultism (vs.3-5). God thus decided to recompense them (vs.6-7). The recompensing would be trans-generational. The word “bossom” as used by the King James Version of the Bible, refers to family, generation or lineage. It is a reaffirmation of Exodus 20:5b.

Idolatry and cultism seem to be finding a strong place in our society today. What we call cultural revival is a disguised revival of idolatry and cultism. As we get involved, we put ourselves and our entire lineage under God’s wrath. We can now appreciate the secret of some mishaps happening to some families that now appear as hereditary. God is calling on us today to save our lineage from being accursed by desisting from evil. Make this decision today and save your lineage.

Prayer: O God, deliver us from trans-generational curses and wrath in Jesus Name. Amen.

Friday, January 25, 2019 Acts 9:1-22

(Conversion of St. Paul)

FROM DESTROYER TO DEFENDER

Today, we commemorate the conversion of Paul from Judaism to Christianity. Saul was committed to the destruction of Christians (vs.1-2). For this purpose, he embarked on a Journey to Damascus but the controller of man’s heart and destiny, and the Builder and Defender of His church, took hold of him. The encounter brought Saul to the realization that (1) Christ actually arose from the dead and still lives on (2) persecution of Christians means persecuting Christ (3) Mortals can commune with the risen Lord (4) Though he had eyes and thought he could see but he was actually without sight (5) he is a chosen vessel unto the Lord

while he was yet a sinner. With the understanding of these, Saul surrendered and was transformed from a destroyer of Christianity to its defender.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. No matter how harmful you have been to Christ and His mission, He is still in need of you. Come to terms with the revelations in Paul’s encounter and receive nature transplantation. Today, the church is persecuted by some persons of other religions. Let us not lose faith and be quick to condemn them lest we condemn an elect. Let’s resort to praying for their conversion.

Prayer: Turn the hearts of the enemies of your church, O God, to repentance and to becoming your disciples in Jesus Name.

Saturday, January 26, 2019 2 Corinthians 7:1-7

(Timothy & Titus Companions of St. Paul)

CHRISTIAN CHARACTER

The beginning of 2 Corinthians clearly shows that Timothy was with Paul while he was writing to the Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 1:1). Titus later joined them for missions when the going became tough (7:6). So Paul, Timothy and Titus were companions in ministry and faced great tribulations yet, they wronged no man, corrupted no one, defrauded no one, were committed to saving souls whether it brought them death or life and remained joyful even in times of tribulations.

How quick Christians today betray Christian character: just a little difficulty, we abandon our Christian commitment and take to the life of unbelievers. Just a little tribulation, ministers and missionaries of our time will abandon their location for a ‘secure place” as if we bargained only for life without death. This speaks volumes about our commitment to missions today. Beloved of God, let us learn from these patriarchs of our faith; let’s pursue these qualities we have seen in them and make them part of our new resolutions.

Prayer: Help us, O Lord, to exhibit Christian character as Paul, Timothy and Titus did. Amen.

Sunday, January 27, 2019 John 4:19-2b

THE DOMAIN OF WORSHIP

The conversation between Jesus and the woman of Samaria centered on the right place or venue for worshipping God. While her attention was on earthly location, Jesus expressly pointed out that the domain (location) for worship transcends the physical (vs.23-24). Worship resides and is done in the realm of the spirit and in truth. The “spirit” with small letter refers to man’s spirit while that with capital Spiritexplicitly is the Spirit of God. Thus, worship is an interaction of man’s spirit with the Spirit of God. Is our worship today spiritual or carnal?

Jesus’ insistence on this exercise being done in truth opens up the reality that worship could be done in falsehood connecting ones spirit to another spirit that is not the Spirit of God.

When this happens, the beclouded mentality may still feel he is worshipping God. This is common in our society today. Most of the places we cherish so much like the Samaritan woman, are deceptive places where worship offered is not unto God. It takes only an encounter with Jesus before we can realize this truth. They that worship God must do so in spirit and in truth.

Prayer: Father Deliver us from deceptive places of worship and grant us grace to worship You in spirit and truth. Amen.

Monday, January 28, 2019 Isaiah 65:8-16

JUST A SEED

The prophecy in our text today raises hope for a new dawn - when the wilderness will become a dwelling place (vs.10). This will be possible by the springing up of a seed out of Jacob, out of Judah. He would attract God’s mercy and favour to turn the wilderness place into a fruitful garden. This seed of Judah is Jesus Christ He is the seed prophesied to bruise the head of the serpent. No wonder He said, “… I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly(John 10:10).

To enjoy life in abundance is one of our main agenda for this year and this is within God’s will for us. He has given the seed for the harvest and that seed is Jesus. Until this seed is planted in us, the promised harvest of abundance characterizing a change from the wilderness to a fruitful land will not be possible. As we are about rounding off January to begin full application of our plans, we need this seed to be planted in us, as an assurance for a wonderful 2019.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please come into my life. Amen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 Isaiah 65:17-25

LIFE IN THE NEW DAWN

In our study yesterday, we became contemporaneous with Jesus when He was planted in us as God’s seed. We are now co-heirs with Him, thus we have become God’s seeds also (v.23b). This is the new dawn time of rejoicing, long life with fulfillment, material blessings and express answers to prayers. God is committed to fulfilling all these in the new dawn.

What else do we need for 2019 if we have all the above. Let us forget about the failures of 2018. We need not live in the past but in the present. God has loaded 2019 with greater glory against the predictions of political and economic analysts. Our fruitfulness and protection are sure, unless within us, we know we have not become the seed of God. But if we are His seed,

when we pray with all faith, we will receive answers from Him and will prosper this year in all we do (Psalm 1:3b).

Prayer: May life in the new dawn manifest on and in us this year in Jesus Name. Amen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019 Isaiah 6:1-11

TWO OPPOSITE SIDES

Since the 1st day of this month, God’s word has been coming to us strongly with warnings and invitations for a wise choice. This second to the last day of the month, our text captures two opposite sets of persons and two opposite sides of God. First, we see people who are committed to God’s word and are investing in kingdom matters while the other set is committed to their own ways, rejecting God’s word. Jesus will appear to the joy of those who obey His words and to the shame of those who reject His word. While Christ comes to restore Jerusalem, He also comes to destroy the wicked.

What side of God do you want to enjoy this year and throughout your life time? It all depends on what you commit yourself, time and resources to. Make a deliberate decision to commit yourself to God’s word and commit your time and resources to kingdom business this year. That is the sure way to seeing the best side of God.

Prayer: Lord, please help my resolve to keep your word and commit my resources and time to kingdom business. Amen.

Thursday, January 31, 2019 Isaiah 66:12-24

FINAL DERISION

Our attention today is drawn towards the last verse of our text. From verse 21, a clear picture of the separation of the wheat from the chaff is given. The children of God will have eternal life. From the place of eternal bliss, they will look and see the final derision of the wicked, sinners and the devil. The sight is terrible: “… for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched…” (v.24). The pain and trauma of hell fire is unimaginable a man to be in fire continuously to eternity with worms feeding on him through his nostrils, ears and eyes!

Beloved, I do not wish even my enemies this experience. Remember, this is not a myth or falsehood but a sure situation that must take place. It is necessary therefore to make good use of this last day of January the month of preparation. Take a decision today not to end in hell fire. A lecturer who never believed in heaven and hell once said to his student, “it is better to

become born again because if you go over there and there is no heaven, you lose nothing; if you remain a sinner and you go over there and there is hell fire, there will be no chance again for amendment of ways.” Today is the day of decision. Do not delay!

Prayer: I decide for heaven today; help me Lord. Amen.

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The Most Revd. Nicholas Dikeriehi Orogodo Okoh

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