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

Friday, March 1, 2019 Job 1: 1-5

PARENTAL PRAYER

Job was from Uz, probably located between Edom and Saudi Arabia. Scholars say that he was one of the sons of Issachar, which means that Jacob was his grandfather. Job was a great man, in fact was one of the richest men in the world then. God blessed him greatly. He had 10 children: 7 sons and 3 daughters. His wealth did not however turn his attention away from God or push him to live an ungodly or corrupt life. The Bible describes him as blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. This is an indication that he recognized that his wealth was from God. This is quite unlike many rich people in Nigeria who have no regard for God. It is a lesson for the rich in Nigeria.

Probably, because of the wealth of their father, the sons of Job were always organizing parties from one brother’s house to another. Much was not said about the spiritual life of Job’s children. Job recognized his role as father - as the Priest of the family - he therefore blessed, purified, and offered sacrifices on behalf of his children daily. This is a lesson for parents, especially fathers. No matter how busy we are, we should not forget to maintain the family altar with our family members daily.

Prayer point: Pray for Fathers.

Saturday, March 2, 2019 Job 1:6-12

GOD’S TESTIMONY ABOUT US

God testified concerning Job (v.8) “… there is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. This is a great testimony from God in heaven concerning a man.

In yesterday’s reading, we noted that Job was a very wealthy man, having great possession of sheep, cattle and oxen, and many children. However, this did not affect his devotion to God. Paul in his second letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:4), emphasized the need for a soldier to do everything in order to have a good testimony before his commanding officer.

It is important that a Christian should have a good testimony before God and man. If we are suffering as Christians, it should not be because of our evil deed, rather it should only be because of our faith (1Peter 2:20-22). In Job’s time, God said that no other person of such an impeccable character could be found among all who professed faith in God.

It is the same today: many profess to be Christians, but do not have Christian character no testimony. Blameless life does not free us from temptation. In spite of Job’s testimony, God allowed Satan to tempt him to prove His (God’s) power.

Prayer: Grant, Oh Lord, that my life shall be a testimony to your name.

Sunday, March 3, 2019 Mark 2: 13-17

(Quinquagesima)

JESUS CAME ALSO FOR THE OUTCAST AND THE SINNERS

In the minds of Jewish society, all were traitors, outcasts and sinners. These tax collectors were bitterly hated and ostracized. They were looked upon as having sold their souls to the Roman authorities. The vast majority were thieves, cheats and extortionists, always adding to the legal fee in order to fill their own pockets. Levi (Matthew) was the tax collector in charge of the tax station or office. As Jesus walked along, He passed by the tax booth that had been set up to collect the taxes owed by incoming ships. It was in this process that He met Levi (Matthew), and called him to follow Him.

The encounter of Matthew with Jesus paid off as he (Matthew) invited his associates and friends - fellow tax-collectors, to a great banquet with Jesus in his house (v.15; Matthew 9:10-11). Matthew literally committed everything to Jesus. It is this same Matthew who wrote the 1st Gospel of the New Testament.

No case about salvation of any man is hopeless as long as there is somebody who has the heart of love and burden for sinners, like Jesus. The worst sinner today can become the greatest Saint tomorrow.

Prayer: Pray for the salvation of members of your family.

Monday, March 4, 2019 Job 1: 13-22

WHEN WE ARE TESTED

Job was severely tested; the attack on him was complete. He lost all his possessions, his family and his posterity in one day. The man who was the richest and greatest man among all the people of the East, (v.3) suddenly, in a twinkling of an eye, became the most wretched. His Children, who were to encourage him in the face of this tragedy, were also lost. As we noted in our Saturday reading, God judged Job to have no comparison in his consecration and devotion to God (v.8). In spite of all, God gave permission to Satan to test Job to this level.

Many dedicated Christians with wonderful testimonies of upright and blameless life, of avowed fear of God and dissociation with everything called sin, have faced, and some are still facing severe trials. This has made them and other people who look up to them to ask many questions which nobody can answer. When Job was tested, his reaction proved what God had said about him (vs.21-22). In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. Whenever we are going through test, let us remember the example of Job.

Prayer: Keep me true Lord Jesus, to you, even in time of testing.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 Job 2:1-8

(Shrove Tuesday)

JOB SAT AMONG THE ASHES

“All that a man has, he will give for his life” (Job 2:4). Truly, men will give all their possessions in order to retain their health. The desire of men to continue life is stronger than the desire to maintain wealth.

When Job lost all his wealth and children, he shaved his head, fell down on the ground and worshipped God. But when his skin was touched, he sat among the ashes. Affliction, especially when it affects health, can bring a lot of disgrace, shame and complete loss of dignity and respect.

God permitted that this should be so (v.6) for his own greater glory. When a faithful servant of God goes through this kind of experience, it is difficult to still believe the word of God which says in 1Corinthians 10:13, ‘God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to endure.’ What type of affliction has reduced you or your beloved one to sitting in the dust? What situations of life have made your friends, relations and colleagues to abandon you or look disdainfully on you? Look up from that condition, God will surely make a way of escape.

Prayer: Pray for Christians who are passing through severe afflictions.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 Matthew 4:1-11

(Ash Wednesday)

BEWARE OF AFTER-MOUNTAIN EXPERIENCE

If there is any time a Christian feels very high spiritually and has great courage and confidence to face spiritual warfare, it is during or immediately after prayer and fasting. The physical body may be very weak, but the spirit is very high. The devil dared Jesus immediately after forty days of prayer and fasting. Why did the devil choose this period to tempt Jesus?

After fasting forty days and forty nights, Jesus, being also man, was hungry. Our spiritual exercise, like fasting and prayer, does not kill physical appetite or human feelings and desires. Elijah, after a mountain experience with God where he demonstrated his power to consume sacrifice by fire and releasing rain after 31/2 years at his command, became so afraid at the threat of Jezebel that he desired to die (I Kings 19:1-4).

Jesus overcame all the temptations of the devil by using the word of God. Though he had spent 40 days and nights in praying and fasting, he did not start speaking in tongues when the devil tempted him. He overcame by the correct application of the word of God in every instance of that temptation. Many believers today do a lot of prayer and even fasting, but have no thorough knowledge of the word of God. They become easy prey and victims of Satan’s arsenal.

Prayer: Lord help us to grow in the knowledge of your word.

Thursday, March 7, 2019 Job 2: 9-12

FRIEND IN NEED

When Job’s condition became tougher, his wife with whom he lost all properties and children, mocked Job, by saying to him “Are you still retaining your integrity? Curse God and die.”

Job’s dedication to God was already a problem to his wife. From her statement, she had never been part of Job’s devotion to God; it had been Job’s business. A wife who saw her husband in the state that Job then was boils all over his body, using a broken pot to scratch his body - was supposed to have compassion on him as a friend. Job needed her comfort and encouragement most at that period, as his friend and closest partner. A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends (Job 6:14a). It is so bewildering that at such moment of Job’s life, the thing that was bothering his wife was his integrity and relationship with God.

Job’s three friends came, saw his condition and did four things (v.12). They:

a. Began to weep aloud deep compassion - and these were men who hardly expressed emotion;

b. Tore their robes;

c. Sprinkled dust on their heads;

d. Sat on the same ash where job had been sitting for 7days.

May we be friends in need and indeed, to our loved ones who are suffering.

Prayer: Lord, make me a true friend to my friends.

Friday, March 8, 2019 Job 3: 1-10

JOB LAMENTS HIS BIRTH

After Job’s wife had asked him to curse God and die, Job must have felt a deep pain of rejection by all; he spoke out. He wished that everything that caused darkness would conceal his birth, and thus should not be known to man. He even wished that the night of his conception would have had no joy, for he would not have come to his suffering, if he had not been conceived and born.

Jeremiah, the prophet of God, at the time of his trouble, made a similar statement: “cursed be the day I was born…..” (Jeremiah 20:14). This extreme condition of despair has led some to commit suicide. It must be noted that though Job cursed his day of birth, he did not curse his God. The contention between God and Satan over Job was not whether Job had his infirmities or whether he was subject to like passion as we are. It was whether he was a hypocrite, who secretly hated God, and if he were provoked, would manifest his hatred. Job proved by his trial that he was not such a man.

It is not easy to hold on to our profession of faith during severe trials, but Hebrew 10:23 admonishes us to do so.

Prayer: Pray for victory over all trials.

Saturday, March 9, 2019 Job 3: 11-26

JOB LAMENTS HIS INFANCY

Job lamented his birth and thought that it would have been better to have been stillborn than to survive birth. In verses 14-19, Job identifies a common factor that levels up kings, counselors and princes, the small and great, the slave and master, the rich and the poor. Death is a common denominator to all. However, rest after death is only for the righteous, because the wicked shall be turned to everlasting torment. There, they have no rest, but gnashing of teeth and everlasting sorrow (Psalm 9:17; Matthew 13:41-42). Job did not get right some of his conclusions about life.

However, what was significant during his (Job’s) calamity was the fact that he never thought about suicide, for he understood that it was God who gives and takes life. In verses 20-26, Job complains that his life was continued and not cut off. He thinks it hard, in general, that miserable lives should be prolonged (vs.20-22). The continuance and length of life must be according to God’s will and not according to ours.

Here again, Job was shortsighted because of his problems. He could not see light at the end of the dark tunnel and crucible of affliction. Let us learn to look beyond our immediate situation to hope in God.

Prayer: Lord, help me to see you beyond my affliction.

Sunday, March 10, 2019 Matthew 4:1-11

(Lent 1)

EVEN JESUS WAS TEMPTED

Sometimes, we are overwhelmed when the tempter comes our way, as if something strange is happening to us, or as if God has abandoned us to Satan. This is why Peter in his first letter to the saints said “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).

Jesus was directed to the combat; he was led up of the Spirit to be tempted of the devil. What do you think was the lesson from his temptation? (1) Man needs more than bread. He needs more than physical life and physical needs to be met. (2) Man needs God’s life. He needs eternal life and the word of God to overcome when the tempter comes his way.

If Jesus had succumbed, the devil would have made him do the following three things: (1) Take command from Satan instead of God. (2) Fail in meeting spiritual needs of man. (3) Spread wrong teachings that the physical is more important than the spiritual.

If God, by his providence, orders us into circumstances of temptation for our trial, we must not think it strange. Jesus himself was tempted in every way as we are, yet He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Use the appropriate word of God, like Jesus, and you will be victorious.

Prayer: Lord, deliver us from every temptation.

Monday, March 11, 2019 Job 4:1-21

COSTLY ASSUMPTIONS

Job’s three friends visited him to sympathize with and comfort him over the trouble that came upon him. When they saw his situation, they mourned with him and remained speechless for seven days and seven nights. Finally, Eliphaz, one of them, broke the silence and made

certain assumptions: the innocent and upright do not have trouble (v.7); they that sow evil reap it (v.8); mortals cannot be innocent before God their maker (v.12).

In some cases of course, his assumptions may be true but not in Job’s case. To Eliphaz, Job’s suffering was as a result of his sins but the testimony of his life in verses 3-7 and Chapter 1:1 as a blameless man contradicts his assumptions.

Many a time, when brethren suffer as a result of sickness, horrible afflictions, etc., we quickly attribute such to sin. Though sin has a devastating effect, it is not responsible for every negative condition, as in the case of Job. Let us therefore show brotherly affection to our troubled ones by praying for God’s mercy and intervention in their situations. Sometimes, costly assumptions are more painful than the trouble itself.

Prayer: Father, use me always to bring succour to troubled hearts.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 Job 5:1-16

RIGHTEOUS PERSONS SOMETIMES SUFFER (1)

Eliphaz, one of Job’s friends had contended in his discourse on Job’s situation that Job was suffering because of his wickedness and to prove his case, he made the statement in verse 6 “affliction does not come from the dust or trouble from the ground.” By implication, Job was guilty of sin hence his advice in verse 6 for him to repent, because righteous persons cannot suffer afflictions. In his argument he made some statements about God: God does great and unsearchable things including watering the earth for man’s food (vs.9-10); God has a strong disposition in cracking down the counsel of the wicked (vs.12-13). Though his statements about God are true, he was totally wrong about Job’s case; he and his friends knew nothing about the dialogue that took place between God and the devil over Job’s integrity.

It is human for people to blame others for their troubles, especially when a righteous person is suffering. Man is limited in knowledge; therefore we must be careful on what we say over people’s plight. Yes, righteous persons sometimes suffer like Job. When such happens, our duty is to strengthen, encourage and comfort them rather than being judgmental.

Prayer: Lord, arise for the righteous who are suffering and save them.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 Job 5:17-27

RIGHTEOUS PERSONS SOMETIMES SUFFER (2)

In today’s passage, Eliphaz has continued to indict Job of being the architect of his suffering. To him, a just God cannot allow an innocent man to suffer - Job must be guilty. He therefore advised that he should surrender to God’s discipline for his healing and restoration (v.17).

From verse 18, God can wound and bind up and injure and heal, if He so wishes in a particular instance. This however, does not apply in the case of Job. In order to buttress his argument over Job’s suffering, Eliphaz goes further to posit the theory of prosperity for the righteous which shows through material blessings, God’s deliverance and safety of life,

blessings of children and long life. All these, he concluded, have been proven to be true (v.27).

Many Christians also hold the above view and wonder why the righteous sometimes suffer. This is a great mistake. God does not eliminate suffering for the righteous, “we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Secondly, material prosperity is not a measure of one’s righteousness. Though sufferings produce pains, they equally produce godly character, God’s power and eternal glory, when they are properly handled.

Prayer: Lord, may we always see the gain of suffering than the pains.

Thursday, March 14, 2019 Job 6:1-13

DON’T GIVE UP IN THE FACE OF SUFFERING

In our text for today, Job spoke up to reply his friend Eliphaz, who had judged and condemned him unreservedly. He described the pains he was passing through as heavier than the sand of the seas, if weighed. He saw his afflictions as arrows and poison from God. He thought God was instrumental to his suffering, not knowing the dialogue between God and the devil over his blamelessness. This situation pushed him to request that God would destroy him (v.9). He had lost every hope and prospect in life.

Have you ever experienced any situation that tried to make you think God does not exist, is not involved in your affairs and does not care? Then you can understand Job better. Brethren no matter how bad our life’s situation is, we must not give up. There is hope for the living. God’s silence is not His denial. He will come at his right time.

In our struggles, both small and large, let us trust God to be in control. He is a faithful God who will always keep His promises. With perseverance in prayer, we shall see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Prayer: May I see you, O Lord, always bearing my burden.

Friday, March 15, 2019 Job 6:14-30

A FRIEND IN NEED

Job has continued to react to his friends’ conviction over his suffering. He described them as pitiless, deceitful and fearful (vs.14-15; 21). They offered him no help. Though Job was disappointed with his friends, he stood his ground and maintained his innocence. How do you relate with your friends who are suffering and need your help? Like Job’s friends, with grievous assumptions? God forbid! A friend loveth at all times (Proverbs 17:17).

The word of God recognizes the need for the afflicted and has instructed on what to do to help out. Some of them include: mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15); carry each other’s burden (Galatians 6:2); cloth yourselves with compassion (Colossians 3:12); let your conversation be full of grace seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6); do not judge or you will be judged (Matthew 7:1); pray for each other (James 5:16).

When we willingly obey God’s injunction for those who are suffering, God will make a way for them and they will smoothly overcome their situations. A friend in need is a friend indeed. May we be friends in need in Jesus, Name!

Prayer: Lord, make me a friend in need to save souls for eternity.

Saturday, March 16, 2019 Job 7:1-10

DANGERS OF DESPERATION

Job, out of anguish resulting from his suffering, has expressed his feelings. In desperation, he has seen nothing good in his life. His flesh has been eaten up with worms and dust (v.5). Every hope for life was gone and everything has totally become futile. Under this situation, the only alternative was death. As humans limited in knowledge about the source of his predicament, he took to negative confessions. God, though silent over the matter, had purposed to glorify His name through Job but he did not know.

Christians should not despair or take to negative confessions when passing through suffering. Alternatively, they should confess positively. This will help such a person to endure and see affliction from an eternal perspective and ultimately to triumph over such situations. We should learn from Abraham who against hope had hope and was blessed to be the father of many nations. It will pay us more if we humbly reason with God over such uncommon matters than to despair. He knows the details of what we are passing through and will make a way of escape and fast too. Desperation does not solve problems; rather it wounds our spirit and leaves us defeated.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, please help my weakness so that I will not despair in time of affliction.

Sunday, March 17, 2019 Luke 15:1-10

(Lent 2)

THE MINISTRY OF JESUS CHRIST

The ministry of Jesus is a special one rooted in love and concern for lost souls. It cuts across every group of people on earth: the rich and poor, educated and uneducated, privileged and less privileged, sinners and saints, etc. This was different from the practice of the Jewish religious sects of his day who avoided the tax collectors and sinners. The parable of the lost sheep and coin which we read of are one and the same central message. They both place the highest value on the redemption of man’s soul. The shepherd who loses one sheep out of one hundred sheep, leaves the rest to look for the lost one. When he eventually finds it, he rejoices with his friends over it. In the same vein, when a sinner repents, heaven rejoices for the devil has lost his faithful one.

Concerning Jesus’ ministry, he said “the son of man came to seek and to save what was lost (Luke 19:10). Salvation of souls is of first priority in Christ’s ministry because of its eternal value. Are you saved? Today some ministers have shifted emphasis to material things. This ought not to be so. Christians must place soul winning above all other things.

Prayer: Lord please make me an active soul winner.

Monday, March 18, 2019 Job 7:11-21

JOB COMPLAINS TO GOD

Job, in bitterness of soul, complained to God about his predicament. His experiences were overwhelming that he resorted to complaining, thus: His bed did not give him comfort because he could not sleep (v.13); He was having terrifying dreams (v.16); He hated his life because there was no hope (v.16); God kept his eye on him and made him his target (v.19).

The above issues mounted much pressure on Job so much so that he felt God had abandoned and refused to forgive him. The truth still remained that God had neither found him guilty nor abandoned him. God still had goodwill for Job only that he had not understood the will of God for his life. The pressure of suffering can force Christians to complain like Job but we should not give in.

Beloved, God does not permit his people to complain, either for good or bad. When the Israelites were travelling to the Promised Land, they complained against God, who also punished them (Numbers 11:1). Therefore when faced with suffering, resist the urge to complain. Humbly seek God and present the matter to Him with thanksgiving and He will visit you fast.

Prayer: Father please deliver me from the temptation of complaining in Jesus Name.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 Luke 2:41-52

ST. JOSEPH OF NAZARETH

St. Joseph of Nazareth is being remembered today in our Communion because of the role he played in the life of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He was the foster father of Jesus Christ here on earth and God used him to raise His son to the age when He could become independent to carry out His ministry.

Parents have the responsibility to bring up their children in the way of the Lord so that they will fulfill Gods purpose for their lives. Our text shows how Joseph and Mary his wife took Jesus at the age twelve to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. By so doing, he had started early to indoctrinate into the growing child, the beliefs of his people.

Joseph and Mary while going back to their home assumed that Jesus was with them when he stayed back in the temple. This was a costly assumption. Christians must not assume that their children are with them in godly matters. Regular supervision is necessary, in terms beliefs, holiness, mode of dressing, etc., so that we can raise a generation that is both obedient and would obtain favour from God and man, like Jesus.

Prayer: Dear Lord, give me the grace to be the Joseph of our time, Amen.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 1 Peter 1:1-12

JOY IN TRIALS

Apostle Peter writing to the early Christians, who were scattered throughout the world because of persecution, addressed them as pilgrims and God’s elect. By implication, Christians have been chosen by God, are strangers in this world and are on a journey to heaven. In verses 3-4, Peter informed the believers about the benefits they have in Christ Jesus as a result of being born again. These include: a living hope which cannot disappoint them and an inheritance that is incorruptible and kept in heaven. Beloved, the plan of God for his people is wonderful; however it must be accessed by faith in Christ Jesus through a new life. Are you born again to be part of this inheritance?

Furthermore, a believer can only partake of this inheritance when he overcomes trials and temptations which may come to him. In this, Peter encourages all to be joyful when they face such situations. They are a means to proving the genuineness of our faith and leading us into our inheritance. Trials and sufferings are part of our faith; they are not meant to destroy but to refine us. When they come, we should not give in to bitterness and despair, rather we should persevere, believing that God is in control. Definitely we shall come out victorious.

Prayer: Lord, save all who are facing diverse trials and afflictions.

Thursday, March 21, 2019 1 Peter 1:13-25

NOW THAT YOU HAVE BEEN REGENERATED

How will you feel if you saw a Governor or President eating boiled corn along the street or a Professor eating mangoes in the market? Of course, that will be quite embarrassing! This is because different positions require specific behaviours from their role incumbents. Similarly, today’s passage outlines biblical requirements for those who have been called unto a new life in Christ.

The Bible reminds us about the nature of He who has called us (vs.15&17). He is holy and impartial in judgment. This realization should make us holy in speech and conduct (v.21). We are also to remember that we are chosen (v.24), powerfully and supernaturally redeemed (v.18) and purchased and regenerated by an ever living word of God (v.19). This means that we have a new life, free from the bondages of sin, demonic oppressions, ancestral curses, evil habits and weaknesses.

We are also reminded about God’s future plan concerning the rapture (v.13). Hence, we are to continually focus our thoughts on the second coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. This will make us to live in obedience to the word of God and desist from the entanglements of the world. These expected behaviours should characterize our lives as we await the return of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Oh Lord, help me to live out a regenerated life to those around me.

Friday, March 22, 2019 Ephesians 5:21-23

PATTERNED LIKE CHRIST

We live in a generation where the family has been threatened by divorce, wrong philosophies, separation, etc. In spite of this, the word of God is clear and unchanging about expected patterns of behaviour to achieve Christian unity in the home. These regulations are not based on circumstances, but should be adhered to out of reverence for Christ (v.21). It is out of this reverence, that husbands and wives should be subject to each other in spite of their cultures (v. 21).Wives are enjoined to submit and adapt to their husbands as the ‘appointed’ head of the family, irrespective of their status, education, experience, etc. Husbands are to love their wives in two ways: as Christ loved the Church (v.25) and as their own bodies (v.28). Note that no wife is a perfect package but is given to the husband (likened to the Church and Christ) to sanctify by words and deeds to make her glorious to himself (vs.26-28)

Finally, absolute unity is required (v.31) signifying detachment from every culture, family ties, peer pressure and environmental influences that negate biblical principles of relationship for marriage. It is our work as believers to return to this pattern to restore the lost glory of the family in our generation.

Prayer: Lord please help me to adhere to biblical roles stipulated for my position in the family, in Jesus name.

Saturday, March 23, 2019 Songs of Solomon 1:1 -17

THE BLACK BRIDE AND THE ‘BEAUTIFUL’ BRIDEGROOM

This book is usually accepted as an allegory between Christ (the King) and his Church (the bride). Today’s passage contains a beautiful illustration of God’s salvation plan and our expected response.

The original colour of the bride was thwarted by her angry stepbrothers who made her to work in the sun as a keeper of vineyards (v.5). Similarly, God’s divine plan for us is to be righteous. Unfortunately through our inherited Adamic nature, the enemy made us ‘keepers’ of vineyards of lies, theft, immorality, bribery, etc. This changed our heavenly colour of righteousness just as the bride became black as a result of her activities. But thank God for our King and Lord, Jesus Christ who came to draw us away from sin into His chamber of love at Calvary (v.4). He sees a beauty in us, worthy to be harnessed for His glory (v.15). Like the bride in today’s passage, we are expected to respond positively by running after Him (v. 4)

Have you responded to His love or are you still satisfied with being a ‘keeper’ of vineyards of sin? The King still calls today. Repent and accept Him into your life. Dwell in contentment (vs.16-17) in His chamber through daily prayers, bible study, worship and commitment and it shall be well with you.

Prayers: I am tired of being a keeper of the vineyard of unrighteousness. I repent today and ask you Lord Jesus to take over my Life as my King, Lord and Saviour.

Sunday, March 24, 2019 Luke 9:18-27

(Lent 3)

WHO IS JESUS TO YOU?

A friend told me how a Muslim joined in shouting the blood of Jesus when their car almost had an accident.Afterwards, they asked him why he shouted “the blood of Jesus” and he told them that he had to call upon anything that would save him in times of danger. The blood of Jesus to him was only for deliverance from accidents.

In times past, many regarded Jesus as a prophet or a resurrected John the Baptist. Only Peter, out of all the disciples, answered that He is Christ. This shows that we might be seen as ‘disciples’ without knowing who Christ is. Today, some Christians regard him as a talisman and deliverer in times of accidents, childbirth, sickness, demonic attacks, threats from enemies, etc. To some others, he is a prophet to reveal their past, future and enemies around them while their lives are contrary God’s word.

Those who will accept Him as Lord are instructed in verse 25 to deny themselves, follow Him and value Him above all (v.25) and boldly stand for Him (v.26). They are also to sit with Him to listen to His word or teachings (v.18). Who is Jesus to you? He came to be your Lord and Saviour. Open your heart so that the power to become His disciple will flow into your life.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want you to be more than a healer, deliverer and supplier to me. I accept you as my Lord and personal Saviour today.

Monday, March 25, 2019 Luke 1:26-38

(The Annunciation of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary)

THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL OVERSHADOW YOU

Angel Gabriel told Mary that she had been chosen to become the mother of Jesus. This message contravened scientific laws guiding human conception. However, the angel assured her that a visitation of the Holy Spirit turns impossibilities to possibilities. Mary’s miracle was already discussed, concluded and packaged in heaven without her knowledge. Heaven visited her on an unexpected day.

Note that Mary created an environment for her divine purpose to be accomplished. She was chaste, though engaged (v.7), an eroded quality today among the young and old. She was open to learn (v.34) unlike some who are content to sit in ignorance about biblical truths and doctrines. Mary believed God’s word, acted by faith and spoke positively even before seeing changes in her body (v.38). Learn from Mary. Always create a positive environment for heavenly visitation. The Holy Spirit will come and overshadow your family and challenging situations. He will change the situations which have defied human strength and knowledge. So get ready for you are packaged for a miracle.

Prayer: Father help me to always expect and create an environment for heavenly visitation.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 Songs of Solomon 2:1-17

LILY AMONG THORNS

The bridegroom first of all reminds the bride that she is a lily among thorns (v.2). We need to realize that believers are like lily flowers existing in the midst of the thorns of the world. We must be careful to remain beautiful for God and not to be crushed or destroyed by the world. The bridegroom also stresses the need to sit with delight in God’s presence so that we can be sustained (vs.3&5). There is the need to drive away the little foxes of sin that spoil our Christian faith and behaviour (v.15). God, like the King in verse 9, is able to look through windows, walls and lattices of our lives and situations. We need to listen to instructions in His word for He sees and knows beyond us.

The King told his bride when to rise or come away because of the change in seasons. Similarly we need to obey God when he calls us to pray, study the bible, have retreats or vigils due to changes in the seasons of life. Recognize that seasons of cold, heat, etc., exist in life. His instructions will help us to be victorious over each season and if we hold His hand, He will guide us through the rocky mountains (v.14).

Prayer: Lord please help me to be an obedient bride so that I can radiate your beauty as a flower and remain uncrushed among the thorns of this life.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 Songs of Solomon 2:1-11

WHEN THE KING SEEMS ‘LOST’

The terrible things happening in the world today often make people to wonder whether God is still in control. Again, faithful believers often face challenges of unemployment, barrenness, sickness, poverty, bondages, business downswings, erring children, etc., making it seem as if God is ‘lost.Such believers spend time with Jesus but fail to find Him like the bride in time of their need (v.1).

The response of the bride in this passage is a lesson for us during such trying times. In verse two, she decided to find her king and she remained resolute even when she could not find him (v.2). She also asked about her King from watchmen who could not provide satisfactory answers. Undeterred, she continued her search till she found him in verse 4, held him and brought him into her mother’s house.

Do you abandon or look for God during trying periods? Do you meet the right people for godly counsel? Do you ensure that the testimony of your miracle when it happens is an avenue to touch members of your family or friends? Learn from the bride who brought the King to her mother’s house. Hold on in spite of the prolonged silence of heaven till your miracle occurs. Your testimonies will transform lives in Jesus Name.

Prayer: Lord help me not to waiver in trying times but to hold on till my miracle manifests to change lives around me in Jesus Name, Amen.

Thursday, March 28, 2019 Song of Solomon 4:1-16

EXPECTATIONS FROM THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

Do you want to please God? The bride in today’s passage pleased the king because of the qualities she exhibited. These qualities are:

1. Absence of flaw (v.7) which signifies a life of holiness unto God; 2. Separation from Lebanon, Hermon, lions and mountains of leopards, etc., (v.8) signifying a life, separated from pride and sin; 3. She made her king happy, giving him courage to look at her (v.9). Our lives as God’s children should make God happy and boastful about us; 4. She loves the king (v.10). Our love for God should be evident to all by the level of commitment we show in our Christian duties; 5. Her lips were likened to honey and milk (v.11) signifying lips used to glorify God and edify men; 6. Her garment was like the fragrant ointment of Lebanon, showing a physical appearance that glorifies God (v.11); 7. The bride is likened to an enclosed and barred garden (v.12); depicting a Christian life with no entrance of ungodliness and worldliness; 8. The bride lives a fruitful Christian life depicted by orchards, fruits etc.

(v.13); 9. She is a garden and fountain (v.15), showing a deposit of God’s talents and gifts. Our talents and gifts should flow from our lives to others around us.

Prayer: Lord, may our lives exhibit the qualities expected from the bride of Christ.

Friday, March 29, 2019 Songs of Solomon 5:1-16

WHEN THE KING VISITS HIS GARDEN

Many years ago, God woke me up around 4am and instructed me to pray. I was enjoying my sleep so I ignored the instruction. By 6.30am my father in-law was knocked down by a car as he was returning to his house after early morning prayers. He died before we could get to the hospital to see him. I cried profusely but it was too late. His death could have been averted when the King visited me and requested intercession but I was too sleepy to respond.

The King in today’s passage visited his bride at an unexpected period. She was tired and gave all sorts of good reasons why she should not welcome him (v.3). Unfortunately when she was ready to open the door, the King had gone. This story depicts what happens in our lives when we miss fellowships, church services and programmes, godly counsel due to ‘beautiful’ excuses of business engagements, sleep, deadlines to meet, etc., while being ignorant of what heaven packaged for us in such programmes. We sometimes find God seemingly ‘far away’ when we now decide to seek for Him like the bride. Note that the watchmen wounded her, took her veil and mantle in verses 6 and 7 in the process her looking for her king. These are some of the wounds we sustain (our righteousness and authority) when we turn a deaf ear when God is willing to help us. Today many are still sick, poor and in bondage because they wanted God to come when they were comfortable to receive him. Such people, like the bride, often lose great resources, righteousness, etc., when they finally decide to seek for God. May we not pay dearly to look for our king because we missed the time of our visitation!

Prayer: Father, please help me not to miss the time of my visitation.

Saturday, March 30, 2019 Songs of Solomon 6:1-13

ABOVE ALL

Today, the King commended his bride for excelling above all queens and virgins. She merited this commendation because she is the garden of her King (v.3). She is also undefiled and perfect (v.9). She was always talking about her king and never confessed negatively about him (vs.1-2) when the women asked her questions about the whereabouts of her beloved. She stands alone for her King and her character causes people to praise her (v.11).

Every Christian is the garden of the Lord. This means that we are a deposit of His nature, power, gifts and plans. This demands fruitfulness through the sharing of the gospel with others as the bride did in verse 1 to the ladies. We are also expected to excel above others in character, to bring praises to God. We should live holy lives in this depraved generation and be ready to stand alone for our King even where sin is condoned. We are to trust God without wavering even when we face situations that make people to ask, where is our God? Hebrews chapter 11 outlines the great works of men and women who stood for their faith. God is looking for those who will stand above all for Him in this generation. Decide today to be one of them.

Prayer: Lord help me to stand and excel for you in all my endeavors in Jesus Name, Amen.

Sunday, March 31, 2019 Matthew 7:1-13

FIVE INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE NARROW GATE

Have you ever been to a cave? The entrance to caves is usually narrow, requiring entrants to

make personal adjustments to pass through them. The tour guide usually gives instructions to

enable entrants fit into the door and other parts of the cave so that they can be safe.

Today’s reading advises us to enter through the narrow gate if we want life (vs.13-14). Those

who wish to heed to this advice are required to do the following: (1) First, conduct a personal

inward search into their lives instead of criticizing others. The aim is to remove ‘beams’ or

impediments that will constitute an obstacle in their heavenly race. (2) Desist from giving

holy things to dogs which entails playing or jesting with spiritual things, marrying nonbelievers,

discussing spiritual matters/problems in the church with the wrong people. The

result is that they will turn around and make a mockery of our faith (v.6). (3) Persevere in

prayers (vs.7-8). (4) Adhere to the golden rule which states that you should do what you want

others to do for you (vs.12). (5) Trust absolutely on the faithfulness and love of God (vs.11).

This truly requires a life of sacrifice.

Prayer: Lord help me to adhere to these instructions so that I can pass through the narrow

gate of life in Jesus Name. Amen.

PRAYER POINTS FOR THE SECOND QUATERS

1. Thank God for His faithfulness over your life and family.

2. Pray for the peace of our nation Nigeria. Pray that God will arrest the sponsors of violence and other vices in our country.

3. Pray for Christian brethren in the North. Ask God to strengthen and equip them to face the diverse persecution from Boko Haram and other Islamic fundamentalists.

4. Pray for Anglican Dioceses in the North. Pray for their Bishops and Clergy. Ask God to supply all their needs.

5. Pray against the Islamization of Nigeria. Pray that the gospel will grow stronger as in the days of Stephen.

6. Pray for the Church of Nigeria Missionary Society (CNMS) and missionaries all over the world especially in Nigeria. Pray for members of our Clergy who are in Togo, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso etc. Ask God to protect them and supply all they need.

7. Pray fervently against tribalism and all machinations of the evil one in the election of the Primate of our Church.

8. Pray that God will direct you to the path of righteousness. That you will be at the right place doing the right thing at the right time.

9. Pray that God will fill your cup to overflowing.

10. Pray that God’s favour will locate you as you journey through this year.

11. Prophesy to your future that it shall be better than your past. Pray for divine connection that will take you to your promised land.

12. Ask for the power to overcome sin, flesh and the devil.

13. Pray that every negative word and pronouncement against your success be completely nullified in Jesus Name.

Primate

The Most Revd. Nicholas Dikeriehi Orogodo Okoh

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  • The Peace of the Lord be with you (John 14:27:)
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Akokwa Women at the Diocesan Women Conference 2018.