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 192 Days

Osina Women at the Diocesan Women Conference 2019

Diocese of Ideato @20

Tuesday, October 1, 2019 Jeremiah 24:1-10

JUDGMENT IS INEVITABLE

Today’s passage reveals that judgment came, and was to come upon Judah as a whole; the entire nation would feel the pain of it. Yet that did not mean that everyone in Judah was the same in God’s eyes. Some were like the good figs and were essentially sent out of Judah to Babylon for their own good. Judgment upon a nation or community means that all suffer, even those who may be individually innocent of the sins that brought God’s judgment. What God said to Jeremiah through the two baskets of figs implies that even when all suffer under a national judgment, God still knows the difference between those caught up in the judgment and those who brought down the judgment.

Just like those who remained in Jerusalem and seemed to have been exonerated from the national calamity would suffer precariously, so also corrupt individuals who currently feel at ease in Nigeria will drink their full cups of suffering at the fullness of time. You may dodge your responsibility but you may not dodge the consequences of dodging your responsibility.

Prayer: Lord, please deliver our nation from corrupt leaders.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 Jeremiah 25:1-11

TO BE FOREWARNED IS TO BE FOREARMED

When we were young, our parents had their special ways of communicating with us. Their communication through eye contact, for example, could signal either their approval or otherwise of whatever we were doing. Daddy, unlike Mummy, could tolerate us for months and this drew us closer to him than mummy. But once he lost his patience, we could be sure deliverance was not near at all.

In today’s passage, God would not punish his people because they sinned but because they took God and his servants for granted by rejecting all warnings and entreaties. Certainly, when a man sins perpetually, he is simply challenging God to the boxing ring. Please note the instrument of Israel’s punishment –“and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant” (v.9). This is similar to the method God employed in the book of Joel where locusts are described as God’s servants. Dear reader, do not wait until you receive the rod of your enemy before you repent because you may not win such battle.

Prayer: Lord, please teach me consistent obedience and may the rod of the enemy never fall on me.

Thursday, October 3, 2019 1Peter 5:1-6

THE TRUE MARKS OF GENUINE LEADERS

Today’s passage calls for the need to mirror our leadership styles and motives in the light of the Bible. While many of our leaders today are money changers and merchants, who see the ministry as a means of making money and dominating subordinates, Peter tells us a leader is humble and a servant of others. He accepts the task of “being ahead” (leading) without the ambition to “get ahead” in so doing.

We are tempted to measure leaders in terms of their success, but the Scriptures measure them in terms of their faithfulness in the midst of suffering. Success is not the test of leadership; suffering is. When we introduce a Christian speaker, we tell the audience of their educational achievements, their success in ministry (usually measured in numbers), and their acceptance by men. Peter will have none of this. And neither should we. We must desist from thinking of leadership as an honour rather than a means of expressing humility. It should be seen as an opportunity to empty ourselves in service to others rather than a sense of being fulfilled.

Prayer: Make me a leader after your heart, O! Lord.

Friday, October 4, 2019 Jeremiah 25:12-26

GOD WILL NOT BE SILENT FOREVER

“When seventy years are accomplished ......” (v.12). Seventy years accounted from the time that the Jews were carried away in the time of Jeconiah or Jehoiachin, (2 Kings 24:15,16). This was fulfilled by Darius, the king of Persia, (Daniel 4:31). Though God, to whom belongs all creation, and who is the Lord of all the hosts of his creatures, often makes use of heathens and other wicked men to punish his own people, yet he will at last punish these same wicked men too; and ordinarily, when he punishes them, it is with a more severe and grievous destruction than that by which he punishes his people. God allows a nation to have power until it fills up its cup of iniquity, and when it does, the Bible says He removes that nation from power (See Daniel 2:21; 4:17; Leviticus 18:24-28.)

God follows a consistent principle when dealing with humanity. This is called the "full cup principle." The full cup principle is based on the idea that God measures the actions of mankind. Every time we do wrong, we add a sin to our cup of grace. When all of God’s grace has been displaced by willful sin, our cup becomes full of bitterness and we have to drink the consequences of our actions. Many people currently interpret God’s silence or passiveness with evil to mean that He is either

nonexistent or indifferent to what we do. Others see His permissiveness as proof that He is not interested in each person’s day-to-day activities. For this reason, a growing number of people are committing horrible, evil deeds and thinking that God does not see them and will not hold them responsible for their actions. How wrong they are!

Prayer: Lord keep me from willful disobedience to your word.

Saturday, October 5, 2019 Jeremiah 25:27-38

GOD’S JUDGMENT IS REAL

The prophecy in this passage was given prior to the final Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 25:1), so it is possible that verse 29 could refer to the final Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem. However, the language in several verses in Jeremiah 25:15-38 is reminiscent of the language found in verses about the end times. Indeed, several Bible prophecy passages suggest that Jeremiah 25:29’s fulfillment is likely during the end times. If Jerusalem, God’s chosen city was not spared, then, all the nations of the earth should get prepared for the dreadful day of the Lord

Some people are of the opinion that God cannot afford to punish the multitude of sinners on the face of the earth, perhaps for their vast number or on account of God’s mercy. Today’s passage is teaching otherwise; God is going to judge iniquities and not even his elects who are involved, will be spared. Although God is merciful, he is at the same time, terrible. Both are his attributes. Do not ever imagine that God’s warnings are mere intimidation. He means what He says and says what He means. If we believe that God is dependable, and we can believe Him to fulfill His every good promise, then nothing prevents us from believing that his wrath will be released on every disobedience.

Prayer: Lord grant me the heart that trembles at your word.

Sunday, October 6, 2019 Matthew 25:14-30

RESPONSIBILITY DEMANDS ACCOUNTABILITY

This section of Scripture constitutes part of Jesus’ final warnings, prophecies, and encouragements to His people prior to His departure. He, who is their Lord, is leaving for an undisclosed period of time. He is delegating to them the responsibility, as stewards, to care for His kingdom. In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus is teaching lessons about what His second coming would be like. Each of the servants in the parable were given talents matching their abilities and were expected to put those talents to use for the Master’s glory.

The Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14-30, impresses on them the weight of that responsibility and the serious consequences of neglecting to understand and apply His instructions. Be reminded that talents are gifts and not our personal belongings, because “a man cannot receive anything except it is given to him from above” (John 3:27). Every talent is expected to make us responsible and actively involved in the project of God’s kingdom. And for all that, God has committed into your hands, you are going to give account.

Prayer: Father in heaven, help me to live with the consciousness that I will give account of my stewardship to you.

Monday, October 7, 2019 Jeremiah 26:1-11

SEEK THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND

Jeremiah's first major trouble during Jehoiakim's reign came about when he was told by God to go to the Temple and warn all who came there that unless they lived by God's Laws, God would cause Jerusalem to become as ravaged as the ancient town of Shiloh, the town where the Tabernacle was set up when Israel first came into the land of Canaan (Joshua 18:1; Psalm 78:60; Jeremiah 26:6). Shiloh had been destroyed by the Philistines hundreds of years before Jeremiah's time (1Samuel 4:10-12). Again, why would this warning be taken to the Temple? Surely, God is no respecter of any man and “judgment must begin at the house of God: and if first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1Peter 4:17).Unfortunately, an opportunity to repent came to the doorstep of God’s people and they trivialized it as these warnings went unheeded.

What a wasted opportunity by God’s people! God will not punish men for sinning but he will punish them because men have opportunities to repent but they ignored God’s word. There are always two reactions to the word of God; you either accept or reject it. Jesus is at the door of your heart, do not reject him like the Jews pushed him out of their Synagogue in his home town, Nazareth (Luke 4:29)

Prayer: Lord, I humbly receive your word. Cause it to prosper in my heart.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 Jeremiah 26:1-24

FEAR NO FEAR

“The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else,” wrote Earnest Becker in his book, The Denial of Death. Thanatophobia – the fear of death - can compel a man to confess the sins he has not committed because no one hears of his imminent death and will not be afraid. But this was not going to be the case with Jeremiah. He communicated the word of God without giving consideration to any negative reaction. Eventually, he would not die as the Princes and all the people convinced the people against their earlier plan (v.16).

Some among us today cannot open their mouths to share the gospel because they are choked with anxiety over what people might think. Many will remain silent in a just cause while shrinking from the repercussions of speaking out. Many Priests have rejected their postings on account of imaginary fear that does not exist anywhere. And there are others who dread rejection so much that it keeps them from living up to their own convictions. Of all, the fear of men seems to be the greatest fear of men of God. Fear is the opposite of faith. But none of the two can accommodate the other as the presence of one signals the disappearance of the other.

Prayer: Lord, give me faith that dispels fear.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 Jeremiah 27:1-11

GOD RULES IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN

Our reading today reveals why God must be reverred and feared. Indeed, He is an awesome God! Jeremiah was made to wear the yoke of wood which was a symbol of the light burden to be received by being under the King of Babylon to whom God had promised to hand over the nation of Judah and her neighbours because He owns them all (vs.1-5). We have to note however that Nebuchadnezzar was chosen as God’s instrument, not because he was godly, rather he was “borrowed” to serve a divine purpose, “until his time is up” (v.7, NLT).

As a child of God, there are times when God will allow wicked persons to rule and mete out discipline to His Children. He may also allow painful and challenging situations to overwhelm us. Trying to avoid this may complicate issues further (v.8). We must also realize that bad leadership with the attendant policies; painful situations and challenges are periods of temporary trials which are bound to pass as it was prophesied about Babylon (v.7). To a user of this devotional today, God is asking us to submit to His chastisement, hold the fort and we will surely sing a new song.

Prayer: Help me Lord to accept your plans for my life and surrender to your will in all situations.

Thursday, October 10, 2019 Jeremiah 27:12-22

HEARKEN NOT UNTO THEM

One of the problems of Christianity today is the increasing rate of prophecies and positive confessions that have become a habit. This however is not a new phenomenon. It was the same in the time of Jeremiah. Prophets were prophesying contrary to what God told him (Jeremiah) but he warned the people not to hearken to them in verses 14, 16 and 17 because “… I have not sent them, saith the Lord yet they prophesy a lie in my name… (v.15).

Even though a wicked man rises up and blesses himself seven times daily, the Scripture says “It shall not be well with him” (Isaiah 3:11; cf. Ecclesiastes 8:13). Making positive confessions or claiming promises and prophecies does not remove the wrath of God from the life of an unrepentant evil doer. What can make God to change His documented judgment is total repentance and obedience to His word.

Prayer: Dear Father, give unto your Church a heart that turns at your rebuke and help her not to be deceived by false promises of peace.

Friday, October 11, 2019 Jeremiah 28:1-9

KNOWING TRUE AND FALSE PROPHETS/PROPHECIES

Our text today shows the test of a true/false prophets and prophecies. Earlier in Deuteronomy18:22, fulfillment of a prophecy is enough to authenticate the prophet. In Isaiah 8:20, agreement with the word of God is seen as the proof of a prophecy. In Jeremiah 28:8,9, the contents of the prophecy is seen as another proof.

While constant prophecy of doom cannot always be taken as a message from God, we must also realize that prophesying peace, prosperity and well-being to an unrepentant sinner is unscriptural and this was the issue between Prophet Hananiah, son of Azur (Jeremiah 28:1) and Jeremiah. While Jeremiah was warning the people to repent and enjoy the grace, mercy and blessings of God, Hananiah was prophesying peace and restoration without genuine repentance. How Scriptural is this? It is high time we went back to the Scripture, both as individuals and as a Church, in order to know God’s mind so as not to be misled by the prophets and prophecies which litter the landscape of Christianity today.

Prayer: Open the eyes of your Church, dear Lord, and deliver her from the Spirit of the end time in Jesus name.

Saturday, October 12, 2019 Jeremiah 28:10-17

A WORD OF CAUTION

Today’s reading is both for warning and encouragement. That some people oppose the true preaching of the gospel is not a new phenomenon. Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses (2 Timothy 3:8); Korah’s company (Numbers 16:1-3, 19-33); Bar-Jesus withstood Paul (Acts 13:6-11). These all paid for opposing God’s word and his servants. Hananiah opposed Jeremiah, gave a false prophecy and broke the wooden yoke on his neck. No doubt, the people would have applauded him and possibly mocked Jeremiah who went away without saying a word. God however fought back in order to protect His name and honour His word because within two months, Hananiah died.

As a user of this devotional, is God’s message that you are preaching being opposed like that of Jeremiah? Remain calm and leave God to defend His name and His word. Are you in the camp of Hananiah? Do you never see or hear anything good in God’s word being preached by your Pastor or others but will always be in opposition? Desist from it today before it is too late.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant, we beseech thee, repentant hearts to all those who oppose your word and encourage your faithful preacher by confirming your word.

Sunday, October 13, 2019 2Corinthians 5:1-7

(Trinity 17)

JOY UNSPEAKABLE!

If there is anything that should be comforting to believers, it is the fact that this world is not our home. Paul, in today’s reading wrote to the Corinthian believers, that their present existence on earth is a life of groaning. This might not be unconnected with the fact of the painful experiences they were daily going through.

Globally today, things have not changed although it seems to be worse in developing countries than among the developed societies. Unprovoked killings, especially of believers, a business environment that is not friendly for believers and even the Church that is supposed to be a place of refuge, has in fact become “slaughter slab” where godliness and righteousness are mortgaged. All these, no doubt, is enough to weary any believer with a right standing with God. We however have an assurance that “we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens…desiring to be clothed with our house which is in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1,2). This assurance of a blissful future is however not for all but for those who have been redeemed by the Lord Jesus (John1:11,12). Are you in the number? To be part of this team, confess your sins today, repent of them and accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

Thought: Are you in the number saved by grace?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please save my soul and keep me saved till the end.

Monday, October 14, 2019 Jeremiah 29:1-9

OUR BASIC CHRISTIAN DUTY

‘And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare’ (Jeremiah 29:7; NLT). This was the basic advice of Jeremiah to the captives in Babylon. They had been under the deceitful prophecy of the false prophets with them in their land of captivity that the captivity would soon be over. God moved Jeremiah to encourage them to settle down and be prepared for a long stay. While doing this however, they should keep praying for the peace, prosperity and welfare of the land where they lived. What an irony of life!

As believers, though we are on the earth, we are not of the earth. This however does not mean that we should stand aloof and become unconcerned with what goes on in our society. It is true that our commonwealth is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), yet we should realize that we have an obligation to this present society. We are expected to seek its peace, prosperity and welfare through prayer (1 Timothy 2:4), performance of our civic duties like paying taxes etc., (Psalm 13:1-7), witnessing for Christ (Matthew 28:18-20) etc. While doing all these, we should be careful to maintain our Christian testimonies as Daniel and the three Hebrew children did in the land of Babylon.

Prayer: Help us, dear Lord, to discharge our duties to our world as we witness for you through our service to you and humanly.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 Jeremiah 29:10-23

IT HAS AN END!

Nothing lasts forever, except life in eternity. Today’s passage gave respite to the captives in Babylon that their captivity was not for life. It would only last for seventy years! Although this seemed to be a lengthy period but it was very certain that it would surely come to an end and of course, it did, thanks to the intercessory prayer of Daniel (Daniel 9:1-3) after which God stirred up the heart of Cyrus to proclaim the liberation of the captives (Ezra1:1-3). Without doubt, the captivity was used by God to teach the people of Judah a lesson (Jeremiah 29:11-14) which of course they learnt as they never again got involved in the sins that led them to the captivity.

God is saying to a user of this devotional today that the challenges and “captivity” you are presently going through is not for life. It has an end. What God is only demanding from you is PATIENCE (James 1:2-4; Hebrew 10:35-39). God might have allowed what you are going through now to come your way in order to bring the best out of you. Always remember that for gold to become what it is, it has

to go through the furnace at a very high temperature. Look unto God, what you are going through now will produce in you a strong Christian character and testimony.

Prayer: Keep me true to you dear Lord and see me through the present challenging situations I am going through in Jesus Name.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 Jeremiah 29:24-32

WATCH OUT FOR FALSE PROPHETS

False prophets have always been there. Jeremiah, a prophet of God, found himself in the midst of false prophets, one of whom is Shemaiah the Nehelamite (v.24). The message of Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon was that: “It will be a long time. Therefore build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce” (v.28). Although Jeremiah spoke as God gave him utterance, the message did not go down well with the people because it did not offer them hope for a quick return. This is where false prophets like Shemaiah come in to falsely assure the people of what they want to hear - imminent return to Jerusalem, when the Lord had not spoken.

A prophet of God will not tell you that you will never encounter difficulties, but rather would let you know that because the Lord is with you, when you pass through the waters/rivers/fire, no harm will befall you (cf Isaiah 43:2). This is unlike the false prophets who will make you believe that God does not take interest in allowing His children go through trouble.

Beloved, we must watch out when we are faced with life’s challenges so that we do not become easy prey for false prophets. We can easily be lured by them when we are looking for a quick solution. Jesus Christ has to warn in this regard: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

Prayer: Dear Father, help me that I may never be a victim of false prophets in Jesus name. Amen.

Thursday, October 17, 2019 Jeremiah 30:1-11

DO NOT REJECT DISCIPLINE

Our passage of today talks about restoration that will come the way of the people of God - Israel and Judah. God had to allow their enemies to overpower and enslave them. This measure which was borne out of love for His people was taken by God to punish and correct them for their iniquities. Amos 3:2 reads, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for

all your iniquities.” Indeed, God will never overlook our wrongs as we read from Habakkuk 1:13 “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.”

A careful look at the passage reveals that the manner God goes about punishing His children, is quite different from the way He punishes unbelievers. While the unbelieving nations are completely destroyed for their sins, God’s children are only judged and fairly disciplined (v.11). When God disciplines His children, it is with the hope of producing a harvest of righteousness and peace (cf Hebrews 12:11). Since the discipline of God is unto a good end, we are warned to take seriously God’s discipline and not lose heart when we are rebuked (cf Hebrews 12:5). If we do not take to corrections, then we will be in danger of being given over to a depraved mind to continue to do wrong until we are destroyed (cf Romans 1:28).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me surrender to Your discipline always in Jesus Name. Amen.

Friday, October 18, 2019 Luke 10:1-9

(St. Luke the Physician and Evangelist)

LUKE A WORTHY PHYSICIAN AND EVANGELIST

Today is set apart in the Lectionary to commemorate St. Luke the Physician and Evangelist. St. Luke is believed to be the author of The Gospel According to Luke, and The Acts of the Apostles. Luke was devoted to what was good and productive. He was not a Jew but a Gentile (Colossians 4:11; cf 4:14). Moreover, he was not an eyewitness and minister of the Word from the beginning (Luke 1:2). Notwithstanding his background, the contributions he made in the spread of the gospel surpass that which some Jews and earlier disciples of Christ made. Similarly, it does not matter what our background was before coming to Christ, all that the Lord is looking out for is for us to be willing so that He can supply the power.

We need to note that Luke was Paul’s ‘fellow worker’ (Philemon v.24) who remained faithful while others deserted him (2 Timothy 4:10-11). Let us learn from Luke that we must remain faithful to the cause of the gospel in this depraved world.

Luke records this command by Jesus to His disciples: “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you” (Luke 10:9). Indeed, Luke the Evangelist, in obeying this command, wrote the 2 books which bear the good news that can “heal the broken hearted and bind up wounds” (Psalm 147:3); strengthen the weak and make bold those who are afraid (Isaiah 35:3ff). Likewise, we must see the Gospel as medicine that could cure souls, and join in the spread of it to bring the perishing into the kingdom of God.

Prayer: Dear Father, grant that I may be devoted to what is good and live a productive life in Jesus Name. Amen.

Saturday, October 19, 2019 Jeremiah 30:12-24

SIN IS A DEADLY DISEASE

Verses 12 to 13 of today’s passage read thus, “Your affliction is incurable...You have no healing medicines.” Verse 14 tells us sin is the cause of the incurable affliction: “For I have wounded you...For the multitude of your iniquities, because your sins have increased.” Indeed, sin is a deadly disease! None of us wants to be diagnosed of a deadly disease. Whenever we fall sick and are not sure of the cause, we become apprehensive while we await the medical report. We are happy when we find out that the sickness is curable. But when the result is the contrary, the battle to stay alive begins that moment. When medical treatment fails, we turn to God for spiritual healing. In some of such hopeless cases, divine healing takes place, as we read of the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:25-34).

Beloved, it is true that we are afraid to contract a terminal illness because it leads to physical death, but we should be more afraid to commit sin because it can lead to both physical and spiritual illness/death (Romans 6:23 cf Ezekiel 18:4; Psalm 32:1-5). Only the Lord has the cure for all terminal illnesses, physical or spiritual (v.17cf 1Peter 2:24). Come to Him now!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, deliver me from the guilt and power of sin in Jesus name. Amen.

Sunday, October 20, 2019 Matthew 21:28-32

(Trinity 18)

DISOBEDIENCE IS DANGEROUS

No parent will be happy with a child who chooses to be disobedient. Similarly, God our Father is never pleased with us when we choose not to obey Him. As we find in the passage read, the first son who changed his mind represents those who once were disobedient, but with time become obedient. The Lord is pleased with such obedient people. The other son represents pretenders who claim to be obedient but are not. The Lord is not pleased with such people.

We read in 1 Samuel 15:22, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” We must understand that nothing can take the place of obedience, be it the time, talent and treasure we sacrifice in the course of worshiping God. King Saul disobeyed God and thought the sacrifice of ram would make up for it, but got the rebuke of his life which ultimately led to his

rejection as king. No amount of attendance at Church services, prayer meetings, or Bible reading can compensate for the sin of deliberate, continued disobedience.

May we also learn from Samson who as a result of disobedience “...did not know that the LORD had left him” (Judges 16:20). The consequence of this was that since Samson did not know the Lord had left him, he was not conscious of the fact that he needed to repent of his sins, and because he did not repent, he was suddenly destroyed. Indeed, disobedience is dangerous!

Prayer: Lord God, reveal to me any areas of my life where I have been continually disobedient. I repent of them in Jesus Name. Amen.

Monday, October 21, 2019 Jeremiah 31:1-14

BLESSED ASSURANCE

The passage is full of assurances from God to His people. Here, God assures all the families and tribes of Israel that though their present state was that of enslavement by foreigners, those who put their trust in Him would be rebuilt and dance with joy (v.4). They would again be able to plant and enjoy the fruit of their labour (v.5). As these blessings pour down from the Lord, they will acknowledge God as the One who has blessed them and go to worship Him in Zion (v.6). It is still words of assurances we find in verses 7-14. They would be restored from all over the earth to their land (vs.8-11); they would lack nothing like a well-watered garden, having joy all the way (vs.12-14).

Beloved in Christ, God never raises our hope and dashes it to the ground. After many years that God gave these assurances to His children that they would be gathered from all over the earth, Israel became a nation on May 14, 1948. It does not matter how long it takes, whatever God promises will surely come to pass. Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Mark 13:31). God who made these promises to the families of Israel and brought them to pass has not changed and will never change (cf Hebrews 13:8). Look beyond the troubles you may be having right now and put your trust in the Lord, holding on to the blessed assurances in His word. He will surely bring them to pass.

Prayer: Dear Father, let all Your promises concerning my life come to pass. You who raise the hope of Your children and never dash it, raise my hope in Jesus name!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 Jeremiah 31:15-26

CALL TO REPENTANCE

The Lord passionately calls on His children (Ephraim) to repent of their sins and return to Him. God caused them to weep and mourn as a result of their sins (v.15). While His children (Ephraim) are in tears and pain, God’s expectation of them is that they should acknowledge that they have been like an unruly calf for which they have been disciplined, be ashamed and repent in tears to be restored (vs.18-19). This is God’s expectation of us whenever we fall into sin. We must bow our heads in shame like the publican/tax collector who could not look up to heaven (Luke 18:13). In other words,

we must know the sin(s) we are repenting of, and specifically mention it (them) to the Lord. We must not hide under the cover of the General Confession in our divine services without our hearts going to specific sin(s) to confess before God.

While we remain in sin, we are in captivity and it is God’s desire we do not stay there long but be brought back so that we can be a blessed people (vs.22-24). Why should we remain in captivity of sin when the Lord wants to set us free? It is for this reason He sent His only begotten Son into the world (John 3:16). He assures us that when we come to Him with our multitude of sins, He will not drive us away (John 6:37). We are warned to seek the LORD while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near (Isaiah 55:6).

Prayer: Dear Father, grant that I will ever take Your call to repentance seriously in Jesus Name. Amen.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 Matthew 13:53-58

ST. JAMES THE BROTHER OF JESUS

Most people are used to the expression, “familiarity breeds contempt.” We read from the Gospel accounts that Jesus preached and taught and did many wonders throughout Judea and beyond and His fame resounded everywhere as many sought to hear him, see him, and experience him. But back in his hometown, Nazareth, it was a different story. He had been brought up there and many knew his humble family and social background. There was nothing “excellent” or extraordinary about his family and upbringing. But when he spoke, there was something “superior” about him – the power, the wisdom and the grace. Unfortunately, this virtue in him elicited nothing but scorn and hatred from his people. They had become so “familiar” with him that they had no respect and appreciation for him and his ministry. But they were the losers because the word they heard and the miracles he did, did not meet with faith in their hearts.

Today, so many people who have been raised in the Christian environment: Church-goers, theologians, and so on, have become so familiar with the Bible and its “stories” that its meanings and power have been lost to them. They claim to be “born again”, but the word of God has not been allowed to change their lives. They have heard a good number of sermons preached about Jesus’ power to save, heal and deliver, yet, a lot of contending interests have not allowed them to come to Jesus and be saved. It is interesting that James, the brother of Jesus (whom we celebrate today) did not allow his familiarity with the Master to prevent him from knowing his “Brother” Jesus as his Saviour and Lord. Dear reader, what about you?

Prayer: Dear Lord, grant that my familiarity with your word and your name will be an added factor that draws me ever closer to you, Amen.

Thursday, October 24, 2019 Jeremiah 31:27-34

RECALLED AND RESTORED

God had spoken to the Prophet Jeremiah and had revealed to him what was going to be the “restored fortune” of apostate Israel. Israel had gone into exile as a punishment for forsaking the worship of the One True God, Jehovah, in preference for the pagan gods. But the Lord, seeing their afflictions in foreign lands, would have pity on them. And even though they had broken the covenant by which they had been made His “chosen people”, God would see to it that they were restored to Him, this time, under a new and better covenant agreement which would guarantee a personal relationship with, and accountability to, God.

Under this new covenant: The people of God who would come to Him would experience true prosperity. This is because many from other nations would see how good their God would be to them, and they too would come to Him. This new covenant is by far superior to the old, and mirrors much more the heavenly and the spiritual. The Lord would give them pardon and peace; and a new enablement to know and love Him. This is the heart’s circumcision. They would receive the grace to live for Him. This truth, however, is for the future Gospel Church when the new covenant grace would be consummated. God’s people would know Him and by their personal relationship with Him, He will reveal Himself to them.

God’s promise to you is that no matter how far you have gone away from Him, He loves you and will bring you back to Himself. Will you now turn away from every sin or habit that creates a barrier between you and Him? He will take you in.

Prayer: Dear loving Father, I come to you from the wilderness of sin. Receive me by your mercy, in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, October 25, 2019 Jeremiah 31:35

GOD’S WORD IS IRREVOCABLE!

“God is not a man that He should lie…if He said it, He will do it” (Numbers 23:19).

The New Covenant is symbolized by the creation of a “New heart” in man on which God’s law shall be written indelibly - not on a stone which is insensitive to the weaknesses of man and therefore cannot save him. All that the old covenant (The law) could do was to constantly remind man of the power of sin.

Jesus Christ is the initiator of the New covenant which is borne out of His love. All those who come to Him by faith in His precious blood, come under the canopy of His love, and nothing shall ever snatch them away from His hands - eternal security in Christ Jesus. Could there ever be a greater blessing? The Church, the product of Jesus Christ’s redemptive sacrifice on the cross, is the Temple which is sure to abide, whatever the circumstances of life may be. And those who run into it will abide in eternal security (Proverbs 18:10; Matthew 16:18).

Dear reader, are you securely established in this “Temple”? If you are, you can be sure that no power of hell can snatch you away. If not, you have a chance right now to make your life right with God through Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I make you my Saviour and Lord now. As I run into You today, may I dwell in the peace and rest of your everlasting Kingdom. Amen.

Saturday, October 26, 2019 Jeremiah 32:1-15

DO NOT DOUBT GOD

It is an irony that Prophet Jeremiah woke up from a beautiful dream of Israel’s glorious restoration, only to come face to face with the stark reality: the nation was going to be crushed by the Babylonians and the people carried into captivity. Nebuchadnezzar was notorious for being brutal to captive kings and in the case of Zedekiah, it was likely to be a horrific experience (vs.4&5). The Devil shows no mercy to those in his captivity. Sinner, beware!

Despite this fact, Prophet Jeremiah did not lose confidence in the promise of God. Do you often despair when you see what looks like a contradiction between God’s promise and the harsh reality around you? Let your faith not be shaken. Because you are precious in the eyes of the Lord, He will make His good purpose concerning you to come to pass in due season.

The following assertion of absolute trust in the promise of God by the prophet Habakkuk should strengthen us. Please turn it into your own personal prayer:

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen, and no cattle in the stalls, yet, I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be joyful in God my Saviour”(Habakkuk 3:17,18).

May that be your song, in Jesus Name!

Sunday, October 27, 2019 John 11:17-27

(Trinity 19)

JESUS CHRIST, THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE

Faithful Christians who trust in the Lord often find that they pass through some difficult experiences in life which may look like a contradiction of what they know of the compassionate character of Jesus Christ. The centurion in Matthew 8:5-13 made a simple request of Jesus who simply spoke the word from afar and the soldier’s servant was healed at that instant. The Syro-Phoenician woman (Matthew 9:20-22) simply touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and her blood-flow stopped

immediately. But when Lazarus, Jesus’ own friend was sick and a message was sent to the Master, He deliberately delayed until Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. This He did to reveal to Mary and Martha that He is the Resurrection and the Life.

The Jews had known Jesus Christ as the “man who opened the eyes of the blind” and healed the sick - keeping them from dying.” Mary and her sister knew the “resurrection at the last day” (v.24). Lazarus was raised from the dead, Halleluiah! But it took this event for the two sisters to know that the “resurrection” was not just a future event. The Man that they had played host to, the “Teacher”, was actually the Resurrection personified.

Beloved, some of the ardent prayers you have made that seem not to have received any answers, may be the Lord’s own way of revealing something new about Himself to you as “Comforter”, the Companion of the lonely”, etc. So, whatever you are passing through, prayerfully look through the veil of tears and you will see the message, in Jesus’ Name.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, when things go wrong and seem to make me think that you are far away, help me to remember that you love me so much as not to abandon me. Amen.

Monday, October 28, 2019 John 15:17-28

(St. Simon and St. Jude)

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

One Christian writer once said that love is not just one of the characteristics of the Kingdom of God; it is in fact the OXYGEN of the Kingdom. Just as every living being needs oxygen to survive, so also love must be regarded as the life of the Kingdom. But it is love as defined by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and not by the World. The love which the Lord mandated His disciples to show is the one that is selfless. It is sacrificial and without hypocrisy. Christians must love as Christ Himself loved them (John 15:12).

Jesus Christ was sending His apostles out into a world that was full of darkness and hatred, a world in which men hate the truth and everything else that reveals the darkness of their hearts. And this ugly situation is even worse today. But the message of the Kingdom must be preached by the Church (Christians) who are distinguished by love, and who must be united in their mission. Otherwise, the body of believers and their witness would sooner or later be destroyed or rendered totally ineffective; and souls that would have been saved would be lost eternally.

Dear reader, does it often bother you that in many Churches and fellowships today, leaders and members are at daggers drawn - quarrelling and tearing each other apart? Would you not sincerely spend more time praying for the Church for which Christ died?

Prayer: Lord, let there be love shared among us and let it fill our nation, in Jesus’ Name.

`

Tuesday, October 29, 2019 1 Timothy 1:1-11

BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS!

There are two very important lessons to learn from this passage. The first is about the relationship between the Apostle Paul and his spiritual son, Timothy. Although Paul was the one who converted Timothy, Paul never turned his attention as a mentor, from him. He encouraged him to remain focused on the true faith and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Brother, have you ever made a convert, or led any one to Christ Jesus? Are you aware that you have a responsibility not only to pray for them but to ensure that they remain in the grace of God and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ? Not to do so is to expose them to the danger of falling away.

The second lesson is that even in the first century of the Christian era, there was a proliferation of false teachers whose teachings were basically distortions of the Old Testament Laws and the formulation of false but “fanciful” philosophies which had actually crept into the Church. They were contrary to the Gospel of the Grace of Christ. Can you identify some of them in today’s world/Church? What is your attitude towards the spread of these false religions and philosophies? Paul admonished Timothy not to engage in unnecessary arguments - they are a worthless exercise. Rather, what you and I should do is to continually deepen our knowledge of the truth of the Word of God, teach it and live by it. Thus, we shall save our souls and those of them who look up to us.

Prayer: Dear Father, help me to so study and esteem the Word of Truth that I will not be swayed by false teachings; in Jesus’ Name.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 1 Timothy 1:12-20

HUMILITY EVEN IN GREATNESS

Paul was chosen by Christ Jesus even when he was a notorious blasphemer and persecutor of the Church. But the Lord called him because He knew that his activities were borne out of ignorance and misunderstanding of the Christian faith. His zeal was to be channeled to a more profitable use for the Kingdom of Christ. And because he submitted his entire self to Christ, He was greatly empowered to do exploits. However, his sense of inadequacy and unworthiness made him focus more on the abundant grace of God upon his life than on whatever credit he could claim for himself. This grace of God made him humble and so Christ was all the more glorified.

For every Saint, there is a past. And that calls for humility

And for every sinner, there is a future. And that calls for grace.

If all you have and all you have achieved is by the grace of God, then you have absolutely nothing to boast about. You must hide yourself behind the Cross of Calvary, and let Christ alone be glorified. It is a pity that a great number of modern-day so-called “men of God” boast more about the “miracles”, “healings” and “deliverances” which they “perform” than talk about the grace of God poured out on them. “Humility” means emptying oneself and making Jesus Christ known (Philippians 2:5-11).

Prayer: Father, grant that I may grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, October 31, 2019 1 Timothy 2:1-15

INSTRUCTION ON WORSHIP

Worship (or prayer) is an act of communication between Man and God. Man recognizes God’s awesome glory and majesty and power in the creation of the World and all that is seen and unseen; His love, grace and mercy in the redemption of mankind through the sacrifice of His only Son Jesus Christ. By this, He created a new world by which man could relate with Him as children would relate to a loving, caring, and providential Father.

In response to Him, we seek fellowship through prayers in which we praise Him, and bring our needs as well as those of other people to Him. But prayer must go beyond a mere legalistic exercise. If we are in a deep relationship with God through our Redeemer Jesus Christ, prayer becomes a vital life-giving and life-sustaining experience - just like the water we drink and the air we breathe.

But for prayers to be answered, they must be offered by those who live holy and righteous lives, whose hearts are sanctified and devoid of hatred and unforgiveness. Christians must not be selfish in their prayers; they should pray for all sorts and conditions of men - even for their enemies. And as we “spice” our prayer life with praise and thanksgiving, we will find that our communion with God is no longer a mere routine; it is a soul-lifting experience.

Prayer: Dear Loving Father, grant that any moment I draw near to you in prayer, I shall find the blessed radiance of your face flooding my entire being, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Primate

The Most Revd. Nicholas Dikeriehi Orogodo Okoh

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