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 137 Days

Osina Women at the Diocesan Women Conference 2019

Diocese of Ideato @20

Sunday, September 1, 2019 John 17:20-26

(Trinity 11)

UNITY OF BELIEVERS

You are welcome to the ember months. May the Lord give you great blessings in this season in Jesus Name.

John 17 is a lengthy prayer made by Jesus for his disciples and those who would believe in Him through their word. He prayed for unity among believers and their unity with Him. He prayed that believers may be one as He and the Father is one. The Trinity is fully in union with each other; no division exists. They do not struggle for supremacy or relevance. When God created man, he said, let us (the Trinity) make man in our own image. When Jesus was baptized at the River Jordan, the Trinity was together to support His Ministry (Matthew 3:16-17).

The Church can only have unity when we allow Christ-like humility (Philippians 2:5) to be our watchword and when we engage in healthy Christian activities like the Apostles in Acts 2:42 and 4:22. The greatest problem facing the Church of today is disunity. Satan has capitalized on this to put the Church in disarray. We are faced with struggle for power and supremacy both within a denomination/Christian organization and amongst children of God. This has made us abandon the Kingdom business of winning souls for God. Even some Christian organizations that are meant to unite the Church, sometimes do not help matters. Are you involved in causing disunity in the Church? The Holy Spirit is calling you today to retrace your steps. Jesus will come for a united Church and not for one in confusion.

Prayer: Dear Lord, may we be one even as You and Your Father are one.

Monday, September 2, 2019 Jeremiah 15:10-21

GOD HAS NOT ABANDONED YOU

When God called Jeremiah, He assured him that before he was born He knew him and had sanctified him and ordained him as a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). Along the line, Jeremiah faced a lot of challenges in his prophetic assignment that he even regretted the day he was born as a man (v.10). He even felt that God had abandoned and failed him (v.18), despite his integrity. Though Jeremiah did not join the people to sin, he was sharing in their suffering. God assured him no harm would befall him on the day of disaster (v.11). God also charged him not to sink to the level of the people (v.19).

In life, challenges must come, both to the believer and to the unbeliever. How we handle these challenges makes the difference. Are you passing through tough times that you feel like giving up? Dr. Robert Schuller, in his book said, Tough Times Never Last But Tough People Do.” When Elijah felt that way, God brought him back to his senses and even fed him twice with food that sustained him for 40 days (1 Kings 19:5-8). My beloved, please don’t give up, help is on the way. Our God will never abandon you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Even if your problem is a result of sin, God is ready to show you mercy if you repent.

Prayer: Oh Lord My God, you know what I am passing through; may you never be far from me in Jesus Name.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 Jeremiah 16:1-13

THE COMING CAPTIVITY

Due to the coming captivity of Judah through the Babylonians, God warned Jeremiah not to marry (v.2), nor take part in funeral rites (v.5) or joyous occasions (v.8). God promised to take away peace, joy and gladness from the people. He asked Jeremiah to tell the people when they inquired the reasons for all these that their fathers forsook God, served and worshipped other gods and did not keep His word. God promised to take them to captivity where they would have opportunity to serve other gods (vs.10-13). He accused the people of even doing worse than their fathers by walking according to the imagination of their own evil hearts.

Our God is a consuming fire. Though God is very merciful, He is ever ready to punish every sin and disobedience if there is no repentance. We are in the end times. The handwriting is on the wall about this. God has been warning men over the years about the coming disaster through the Second Coming of Christ. Many are paying deaf ears to these warnings. God shall not be blamed if He allows ‘captivity’ to overtake us. Run from the coming wrath of God. God warned through Amos 5:18-20 about the Day of the Lord. He also declared in 2 Corinthians 6:2 that this is the acceptable time and the day of salvation. Take the opportunity you have now and repent. Tomorrow may be too late.

Prayer: Lord, help us to run away from the wrath to come.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 Jeremiah 16:14-21

THE FUTURE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

The nation of Israel is so special to God that He assured of re-gathering them in future from every nation He had presently scattered them (v.15; cf. Matthew 24:31). This will take place at the Second Coming of Christ. Meanwhile, they have to pay for their sins now by going into exile. God promised them they would be caught like fish by fishermen and like prey, hunted

by hunters. The reason is that all their iniquities, chief of which is idolatry, were not hidden from God.

None of our sins escapes the attention of God, whether we sin secretly or openly (Psalm 139:7-12). Many of us feel we are so smart we can deceive or confuse God that He will never notice what we are doing. This assumption is so dangerous. Whatever you are doing presently which does not give glory to God, please retrace your steps. Our God is so merciful He is ready to forgive. God has no pleasure in the death of a sinner but that the sinner may repent and return to Him (Ezekiel 18:32). We are assured of a better future in heaven if we accept Christ today and follow His footsteps.

Prayer: My Father, we have gone astray; but in your anger, remember mercy.

Thursday, September 5, 2019 Jeremiah 17:1-10

THE HEART OF MAN

God described the sin of Judah as being engraved in their hearts with a pen of iron, with a diamond tip. They seemed unrepentant of their sins which God had been pointing out to them. They never cared to repent and seek God’s help. Instead, they sought for the help of Egypt against the coming Babylonian captivity. God described their heart, and man’s heart, generally as ‘desperately wicked’ (v.9).

God searches the heart and tests the mind as to give every man according to his ways. Our heart is the centre-piece of activity. The Word of God enjoins us to guard it ‘with all diligence, for out it comes all the issues of life’ (Proverbs 4:23). We should be careful of what flows in and out of our hearts. When we trust in the Lord, make Him our hope and give our hearts to Him, we will be like a tree planted by the riverside that its leaves remain evergreen. On what and on whom do you centre your heart? Never give your heart to the devil or the world.

Prayer: May the meditations and thoughts of my heart be centred only on thee, Oh Lord.

Friday, September 6, 2019 Jeremiah 17:11-23

WATCH YOUR PRAYERS

The people were accusing Jeremiah and lying against him for what he never said. They even dared God to do His worse (v.15). The people were also warned not to bring in their crops and wares on the Sabbath Day. They refused to obey. Jeremiah pleaded with God to bring disgrace on those who persecuted him; to bring disaster on them and break them to pieces (v.18; GNB). He asked God to spare him while doing so.

It is true that Jeremiah was being unjustly oppressed and was justified to ask God for vindication but presently, we live in a new dispensation. We may be passing through rough times in the hands of people; we may even perceive them as enemies. However, God can use them as vehicles for our promotion. Only the devil is our enemy. He uses men to fulfill his purpose. God expects us to see our ‘enemies’ in another light. In Matthew 5:44, Jesus

charged us to “…love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” This looks like a very tall order, but that is exactly what God expects of us. However, we cannot achieve that in the flesh except we allow the Holy Spirit to control and direct our lives.

Prayer: My Lord, help me to forgive those I may perceive as my enemies and pray for them.

Saturday, September 7, 2019 Jeremiah 17:24-27

HALLOW THE SABBATH DAY

As we read yesterday, the people of Israel used the Sabbath Day to bring in their crops and wares into the city. This violated the Law which forbade work on the Day. God created the world and rested on the 7th day. He instructed the Israelites to keep the day holy. Hallowing the Sabbath is a sign of repentance (Nehemiah 10:31). God told them that if they would obey the rules of the Sabbath, they would receive bountiful blessings. If they disobeyed, God said “… I will set the gates of Jerusalem on fire. Fire would burn down the palaces of Jerusalem, and no one would be able to put it out” (v.27; GNB).

God never jokes with His instructions. Our own “Sabbath Day” today is Sunday, the first day of the week. The early Christians observed it probably in honour of the Resurrection of Christ (Acts 20:7; Matthew 28:1-6). God owns all the days of the week. We are to worship/honour Him on a daily basis though we have to join others to respect this designated day. If you are not on essential duty on Sundays, like those in the armed forces, medical personnel, etc., kindly make out time to join others to worship God. This is a mark of obedience and the Lord will bless you.

Prayer: Oh Lord, please help me to obey you by keeping the ‘Sabbath Day’ holy.

Sunday, September 8, 2019 Matthew 10:16-25

(Trinity 12)

LIKE MASTER LIKE SERVANT

Jesus knew He was going to suffer for mankind. Very soon, He would leave His disciples. He clearly told them what they were going to face as they spread the Gospel. These included: arrest and being charged to court for no crime, flogging, hatred, trial before state and national leaders, and even death. They were asked not to fear about what they would say at such times. The Holy Spirit would reveal that. As they persecuted Jesus, so would they be.

Jesus was not saying these things to scare His disciples. He was preparing their minds to know that following Him is costly. Many modern Christians prefer easy-going Christianity. Many of us sing at the top of our voices: “Me, I no go suffer, I no go beg for bread…”. This is a wonderful confession but we are warned that he who must follow Christ must suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus said that he who wants to follow him must daily carry his

Cross to do so. The Cross of Christ signifies suffering. No one wishes suffering but we are enjoined that our suffering should not be for committing evil but for righteousness sake (1 Peter 3:17). What are you suffering for: righteousness or evil?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, just as you suffered for me, help me to endure every suffering for your sake.

Monday, September 9, 2019 Luke 1:39-55

[Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (transferred)]

THE SPECIAL CHILD, JESUS

Before Jesus was conceived, Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, was already six months pregnant. This miracle prompted Mary to visit her. The baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy in getting in contact with Jesus in His mother’s womb. This showed that Jesus was not an ordinary child. From conception to birth to the fulfillment of His ministry, Jesus manifested Himself as special. Mary was privileged to be the instrument God used to bring the Child, Jesus to the world. After all, she was not the only virgin in Israel then. She showed this in the ‘Magnificat’ (Song of Praise) in verses 46-55. The song showed the mighty things God can do as:

i. One who scatters the proud and their plans;

ii. He who dethrones mighty kings and lifts the lowly;

iii. He who feeds the hungry and sends the rich away empty;

iv. He who shows mercy to those who fear Him in all generations.

May we all join Mary today to praise our heavenly Father for great things He has done in our lives and especially for giving mankind this Special Child, Jesus.

Prayer: Turn this Song to prayer; “To God be the glory, great things He has done... (SSS 23)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 Philippians 1:1-11

PRAYER FOR THE FLOCK

Today’s text is part of a letter of appreciation to the saints in Christ Jesus in Philippi. The word “saint” (Acts 9:13) means “consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious." The word “saints” is a group of people set apart for the Lord and His kingdom as seen in their godly character (Romans 16:2; Ephesians 4:12).Believers in Christ Jesus are saints! It is only when we surrender to the Lord that He will begin a work in our lives which will continue until Christ returns (Philippians 1:6). The Philippian Church was a partner in ministry to Paul. Whatever support we render to ministers and missionaries, we partner with them in spreading the Gospel.

Paul writing from prison makes him all the more optimistic of seeing them again. His love for them and prayers show they were much endeared to him, he approves of them and was proud of them. “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you” (v.3). He prayed for them that their love may abound, not only in giving but also in knowledge, all judgment, ability to

approve things that are excellent, sincerity, being filled with the fruit of righteousness and most importantly, remaining without offence till the day of Christ. What a prayer for us today!

Prayer: Oh Lord, give me grace to be thankful for all things you give to me through people.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 Philippians 1:12-18

PREACH CHRIST IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON

Paul, while in custody/house arrest in Rome, persisted in preaching the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the extent that his imprisonment and the gospel were well known in the king’s palace. His incarceration even gave the brethren more boldness to speak the word without fear. Paul never gave room to self-pity, despondency or despair; rather he continued ministering while in custody and in his own words, “knowing that I am set for the defense of the Gospel” (v.17). Like Joseph in prison, who through his ministrations to other prisoners, was made to keep charge of the prisoners because the Lord was with him (Genesis 39:20-23), Paul was strong in spirit. Paul also wrote several epistles which form about one-third of his letters while in prison or custody! What a powerful management of time and resources!

This is surely an encouragement to us as Christians worldwide to preach Christ in every situation we find ourselves, whether at home, in the office, while travelling and in every market place. We must use every opportunity to propagate the gospel in love, especially in these times of tribulation around the world (2Timothy 4:2). The coming of Christ is at the door.

Prayer: Lord, help me to be strong in spirit and to preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, no matter the challenges of life.

Thursday, September 12, 2019 Philippians 1:19-30

TO LIVE IS CHRIST AND TO DIE IS GAIN

In the African setting, a mother never really has a time she can call ‘rest time’ in her life. All through her life, she is caring for family members. From husband to children, to grandchildren and other relations, she is always pouring out her life to care for others. Likewise, Paul was more concerned for the welfare of the saints than himself. In this passage, he had a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. On a second thought, he said “to abide in the flesh is more needful for you …for your joy of faith and rejoicing in Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:24-25). Just as Paul gave up himself to the Lord, whether living or dying, so are we expected to do for the furtherance of the Gospel.

Walking in the footsteps of the Lord makes it easy to live the life of Christ. It is easier to serve well when your master or mentor is around. The opposite may be the case. Paul’s concern for the saints is that at our different locations: (i) our Christian conduct should portray the Gospel of Christ in unity (ii) we should labour in spreading the Gospel (iii) suffer for Christ, and (iv) be courageous in the face of adversaries. We are admonished not to be eye-service Christians (Ephesians 6:6).

Prayer: Grant me Oh Lord, the grace and strength to live for you in every aspect of my life, whether in the secret or in the open.

Friday, September 13, 2019 Philippians 2:1-4

THE JOY OF THE FATHER

In this text, Paul is showing the Philippians "the manual." The best model of a genuine Christian mindset is Christ himself. Christ is the ultimate manifestation of the character of God which God aims to reproduce in His people. Union with Christ and love for Him are necessary for Christian love and unity (v.2). Paul enumerates the conditions to fulfilling his joy: be likeminded, have the same love, be of one accord and of one mind. This is the unity expressed. “A wise son makes a glad father,” (Proverbs 10:1) and “whoso keeps the law is a wise son” (Proverbs 28:7). Therefore let us make God happy by being united and having the mind of Christ (Amos 3:3).

Christ’s ultimate example of one not looking only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others, is clearly outlined (v.4). Putting others first is a sure mark of love, humility, maturity, selflessness, politeness and servant-leadership. Humility eradicates strife and vainglory and makes one to esteem the other better than oneself. Self-exaltation, which is exaggerating one’s own importance or power, is not a Christian spirit. Rather, let men see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Prayer: Dear Lord, may my life give you joy continually.

Saturday, September 14, 2019 Philippians 2:5-11

BE LIKE CHRIST

The two natures of Christ are portrayed in this passage: (i) His divine nature illustrated thus: (i) “Who being in the form of God” (v.6), (b) the eternal and only begotten Son of God (John1:1, Colossians 1:1), (c) “He thought it no robbery to be equal with God; did not think himself guilty of any invasion of what did not belong to him, or assuming another’s right” (v.6), (d) “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). It is the highest degree of robbery for any mere man to pretend to be equal with God, or profess himself “one with the Father.”

(ii) His human nature: the Lord Jesus Christ could have come as a prince, and appeared in splendour but He took upon Him the likeness and fashion of a man and the form of a servant, that is, a man of mean estate (Hebrews 2:17). The lowest step of His humiliation was His dying the death of the cross; He was actually and voluntarily obedient. His exaltation was the reward of His humiliation. Therefore, God highly exalted Him, that is, raised Him to an exceeding height in honour; so He had a name above every name, a title of dignity above all the creatures, men and angels. And in power: Every knee must bow to Him, the whole creation must be in subjection to Him. The name of Jesus is greater than any other name, full of power and might. When we humble ourselves like Christ, God must lift us up. Try it today.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please teach me humility so that I will be honoured and exalted.

Suggested Song:

At the name of Jesus, Every knee shall bow

Every tongue confess him King of glory now

Tis the Father’s pleasure we should call him Lord

Who from the beginning was the mighty Lord

Sunday, September 15, 2019 Luke 11:1-13

(Trinity 13)

LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY

The disciples of Jesus must have observed Him going out early to pray daily in a quiet place (Mark 1:35). This must have made them to realize the importance of prayer and to ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. The prayer Jesus taught them is the popular “Our Lord’s Prayer” (cf. Matthew 6:7-13). Some reduce the contents of this prayer to ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication). It is a sample prayer and contains all the ingredients of prayer. It can be applied for all seasons and situations in derived forms. Jesus also taught them consistency in prayer till an answer comes (vs.9-10). Some call it PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens).

These days, many people pray all manner of prayers. Some pray for their ‘enemies’ to die. Some pray amiss and for selfish purposes (James 4:1-3). Some believe that if you have not shouted or jumped up, you have not prayed. There is no particular formula to prayer. All these call for the necessity to ask Jesus to teach us to pray. Have you ever asked Jesus to teach you? Once you make out time to pray, Jesus will come to your aid! Pour your heart out to your Father in heaven. He has assured you that if you ask, you will receive; if you seek, you will find and if you knock, the door will be opened unto you. Please seize this opportunity and cry to heaven now. If you pray according to the will of God, you are sure of answers (Isaiah 65:24; 1 John 5:14-15). The time to start is now. Only sin hinders answers to prayers (Isaiah 59:1-2).

Prayer: Lord, teach us how to pray aright… (A&M 317, stanza 1)

Monday, September 16, 2019 Philippians 2:12-30

FAITHFUL WORKERS

Paul was really blessed to have Timothy and Epaphroditus to help him while in prison custody in Rome. Epaphroditus was sent by the Philippian Church to minister to the needs of Paul. He became sick in the course of running the errand and stayed with Paul, thus becoming his companion in labour and a fellow soldier (v.25). Paul urged the Philippians to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (v.12) which implies “to continually work to bring something to completion or fruition.

It is good to have faithful people around especially when one is in trouble. Today, we have many fair-weather friends - those who only come around when the going is good. Even the disciples of Jesus deserted him and ran away for their lives when He was arrested. Peter followed afar off. How faithful are we to people? How often do we visit those who are sick, the aged, the destitute, the widows, those in prison or in one problem or another? Visitation is a necessary part of the Christian service meant to be a source of encouragement and ministration for the needy. Pay a visit today! Pray also for those in trouble.

Prayer: Dear Lord, grant us the grace to bless and comfort the needy today.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 Philippians 3:1-9

ALL FOR CHRIST

The faithful and flourishing Philippian Church seemed disturbed by the Judaizing teachers

who endeavoured to keep the laws of Moses and mix the observances of it with the doctrines

of Christ. Paul warned them, “beware of dogs,” (v.2), who bark and bite against faithful

proclaimers of the Gospel of Christ. Paul calls them the concision: they rent and tore the

Church of Christ contending for the Jewish rites and ceremonies as conditions for salvation.

Paul then declared his human achievements and how he had laid them aside since they

prevented him from trusting in Christ (vs.4-7). He considered all things in which he boasted

as worthless because they couldn’t earn him righteousness which comes by faith in Christ

Jesus, before God.

Many of us allow our human achievements to blind us from serving God or serving Him

wholeheartedly. We flaunt our position, our academic laurels, our wealth, our connections,

etc. Some will ask you with arrogance, ‘do you know me?’ Such persons forget that the best

brains and achievers are lying in the mortuary or in the grave. We are nothing if not for the

grace of God (1 Corinthians 4:7). Paul realized this and showed us worthy examples to

follow. Please emulate him and count all things but loss for the sake of Christ. Eternal reward

awaits you.

Prayer: Dear Father, I surrender all that I am and shall be to you.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 Philippians 3:10-21

PRESSING TOWARDS THE MARK

In this text, Paul’s earnestness of soul was not projected as if he had gained the prize, or was

already made perfect in the Saviour's likeness. He forgot the things which were behind: he

was not content with past labours or present measures of grace. He reached forth (that is,

stretched himself forward towards the goal which is eternity with Christ) and showed great

concern to become more and more like unto Christ. He who runs a race, must never stop

short of the end, but press forward as fast as he can. So, those who have heaven in their view,

must still press forward to it, in holy desires and hopes, and constant endeavours. Eternal life

is the gift of God and must come to us through Christ Jesus. There is no getting to heaven as

our home, but by Christ as our Way.

Paul urges the Philippians to follow his example and live according to the Biblical pattern he

gave them. Can we like Paul tell our spiritual children to follow us? The way of the enemies

of the Cross of Christ who mind nothing but their sensual appetites may seem pleasant, but

death and hell are at the end of it. If we choose their way, we shall share their end. Let us as

Christians set our affections upon things above, heaven; where our head, home and hearts are

and where we hope to be shortly.

Prayer: Father, kindly keep us focused as we press towards the mark.

Thursday, September 19, 2019 Philippians 4:1-

11

REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS

Paul used the following words for the Philippian Church in v.1: beloved - repeated twice - implying that his great love to them should be a motive for their obedience; longed for --"yearned after" in your absence (Philippians1:8); crown - the disciples in the day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 2:19). All these show how much he treasured the Philippian Church. So he encouraged them to stand fast in the Lord. Paul pleaded with Euodia and Syntyche who laboured with him in the Gospel, whose names are in the book of life but who seem to have been at variance with each other, to be of the same mind in the Lord. He enjoined the Church to help them. Is your name in the book of life?

Paul’s joyful mood pervades this epistle in spite of his bonds (vs. 4, 10). The more we rejoice in Christ, the more willing we shall be to suffer for Him and the less danger we shall be in of being drawn away from him. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). The Church is called upon to commit all their burdens to the Lord in prayer in order to enjoy God’s peace which passes all understanding. He urges the Church to have continual regard for things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue and praise-worthy. Virtue, which is behaviour showing high moral standard, is inseparable from piety. Piety is love with its face towards God; morality is love with its face towards man. Let’s not despise anything that is good.

Prayer: Oh Lord, make me a living example like Paul that others can emulate.

Friday September 20, 2019 Philippians 4:12-23

GOD SHALL SUPPLY ALL OUR NEEDS

Paul informed the Philippians that he had learnt in all things and in all situations to be content. This is a state of happiness and satisfaction (1Timothy 6:6). He stated that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. The Philippians made themselves sharers with Paul in his affliction, by contributing to his need over and over again (vs.15, 16). He appreciated the gifts given him by calling it ‘the odour of a sweet smell’ drawn from their gifts which were not so much to Paul, as to God (Matthew 25:40). These gifts to God "came up for a memorial" (Acts 10:4), sweet-smelling in God's presence (Genesis 8:21; Revelation 8:3,4) and a sacrifice acceptable (Hebrews 13:16). Paul affirmed that God would reward their bounty to HIS servant, by "fully supplying" their every "need" (v.19; 2 Corinthians 9:8) according to His riches in glory.

Many people want blessings from God without fulfilling the conditions set by Him. Deuteronomy 28:1-2 says otherwise. Many lay claim to the promises in Philippians 4:19 without knowing it was a prayer prayed by a father showing gratitude for what his children had done for him. Paul was praying out of burden for them. How can you receive when you have not sown? Learn to sow into the lives of genuine men of God and the needy and God will supply all your needs. What have you given to expect a supply?

Prayer: Lord, make me a giver to the work of the kingdom so that I may enjoy the full benefits of giving.

Saturday, September 21, 2019 Matthew 9:1-13

(St. Matthew the Apostle)

FAITH IN ACTION

The friends of the paralytic man conveyed him to where Jesus was. Their faith was something never seen before. Nothing could serve as an obstacle or barrier to them. When they noticed that the entrance was blocked, they had to carry the man on a bed through the roof of the house where Jesus was. They brought him before Jesus who said to the man “son, be of good

cheer; your sins are forgiven you,” (v.2). This implies that the origin of the man’s sickness is sin. Will Jesus address you as son or daughter?

Anywhere Jesus went, He was still actively involved in the mission of why He came - to seek and to save the lost. Anywhere He went, He was doing good, (Acts 10:38). The assurance we have is that whether it is sickness or sin, demons or witches, challenges or deformities; Jesus is the solution to every problem. Faith in Jesus is the key. Jesus gave the clue in Luke 18:8b, ‘…nevertheless, when the son of man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?’ Never allow sin to be a barrier between you and God.

Prayer: Lord, please increase my faith to tackle all my problems including sin.

Sunday, September 22, 2019 Luke 10: 25-37

(Trinity 14)

BE A GOOD NEIGHBOUR

The story in our text today is of a man who was attacked by robbers while on a journey. The robbers wounded him and left him half-dead. This story is a pathetic one. The Priest and the Levite who were the religious leaders of the day came and by-passed the injured man. The Samaritan when he came around, had compassion on the man, treated him and took care of him. He is labeled the “Good Samaritan” by people.

This type of story is rampant all over the world especially in Africa. We hear about terrorism, violence, kidnapping, etc. Do we still have good people with sincere love for God and human beings? Some ‘Christians’ pray that their enemies die. Some show apathy to things around them. This does not model the life of God. The attitude of some law enforcement agencies to the “good Samaritans” of our day who may wish to help has made it somewhat impossible to show empathy even to accident victims, in order to avoid trouble. Matthew 19:18-19 summarizes the commandments of God, “You shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; … and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The Priest and the Levite knew these laws; the Samaritan may not have known but he applied it. How much of a good neighbour are you? A good neighbour is only the one who shows mercy to fellow humans. You must earn being a neighbour. Go and do likewise.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please inculcate in us the godly virtue of showing mercy even in a world of violence and wickedness through obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Monday, September 23, 2019 Jeremiah 18:1-17

THE SUPREMACY OF GOD

God directed Jeremiah to the potter’s house to watch him work. God made him to know that as the potter has the right to do with the clay whatever he likes, so does God have the right over his people and creation. He declared that He had the right to punish or show mercy to the people of Judah depending on their obedience or disobedience. God is supreme and nobody can query His actions. The people of Judah were stubborn to all entreaties of God; they preferred idol worship to worship of the true God. God had utilized every avenue to communicate with Judah to make them come to the understanding of His love, purpose and thoughts concerning them, but to no avail. God declared He would punish them.

Every human being, irrespective of race, religion and complexion was created by God Almighty. Transgender people (men who turn themselves to women and vice versa) have attempted to change themselves outwardly to what God has not made them to be! Can they recreate the internal organs? Such people rebel against God, ‘querying’ Him why He made them who they are. The greatest rebellion is looking down on the instructions of God and living our lives the way we choose. We shall all one day appear before the judgment seat of Christ to answer about our actions (2 Corinthians 5:10). If you repent today and give your life to Jesus, it will make the difference.

Prayer: Dear Lord, open my eyes and thoughts to realize you reign supreme over my life.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019 Jeremiah 18:18-23

WHEN THE MINISTER IS PERSECUTED

The people of Israel made up their minds to deal with Jeremiah. They felt they could always find priests to instruct them; the wise to give them counsel and prophets to proclaim God’s message to them (v.1). Jeremiah asked God if evil was the payment for doing good. He was sure he never offended these people but was interceding for them (vs.19-20). Jeremiah prayed with a very bitter heart against them for their plot.

It is true people can always find others who can tell them what they wish to hear. The problem is: are they being told the truth? (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Anyone who proclaims the truth should always be ready for persecution. John the Baptist was thrown into prison by Herod for telling him it was not right for him (Herod) to marry the wife of his brother who was alive. Eventually, John was beheaded for his boldness. Micaiah was thrown into the prison for telling Ahab he would not return from the war alive (1 Kings 22:26-27). Are you passing through such persecution presently? Don’t despair. God knows and He will see you through. Matthew 5:11-12 says: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Prayer: Teach me O Lord, to endure every persecution arising from saying the truth.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 Jeremiah 19:1-15

WHEN GOD JUDGES IDOLATRY

God complained through Jeremiah that the people of Judah had abandoned Him and ran riot in their worship of idols. They had even gone to the extent of burning their children in the fire as sacrifice. The people were so stubborn and refused to turn away from their sins. God therefore pronounced His judgment which was irrevocable and irreversible. It was be like the potter’s earthen flask which, if broken, could not be made whole again. God declared that He would let their enemies defeat them and kill them in battle. He would allow birds and wild animals to feed on their corpses. A siege would be laid against them to the extent that they would feed on each other’s flesh out of desperation (vs. 6-9).

Proverbs 29:1 says, “He who is often rebuked and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy.” Let our rebellion not push God to the wall for such a decision over us. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).

Are you daring God? What is your decision now? May you bow down your head and cry to God for repentance.

Prayer: Lord, give me sufficient grace and help me to follow you fully in this life and not to serve other gods beside you.

Thursday, September 26, 2019 Jeremiah 20:1-6

THE DANGER OF BEING A FALSE PROPHET OR PRIEST

Yesterday, we discussed God’s reaction to a stubborn, unrepentant heart. Today, God brings us to the issue of His reaction to deceitful workers (ministers, priests and pastors). In this passage, God pronounced judgment on Judah and on a false priest, Pashhur, for deceiving the nation. Pashhur would be a terror to himself and his friends; he would be taken to Babylon in captivity and die there. The people of Judah would also be taken captive and some killed. Their wealth and treasures would be plundered and taken by their captors.

We have to be careful these days of confusion and scrambling for recognition by some of the modern prophets and apostles who dish out conflicting messages with questionable origins. God warned us in 1 John 4:1 “…do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” The offices of Prophets, Apostles, Evangelists, Teachers, and Pastors are unique and the occupiers must be careful how they handle it and be sure they are truly called by God. If you deceive people because they trust you, your punishment will be like that of Pashhur. You stand the danger of bringing calamity to yourself, your hearers and our nation if you deceive people in the name of God.

Prayer: Lord, may you help me not to use your name to deceive my hearers, Amen.

Friday, September 27, 2019 Jeremiah 20:7-18

DOING THE WILL OF GOD IN MINISTRY

Jeremiah seemed to be struggling with his call and ministry. He was complaining to God concerning the experiences he was going through. It was not easy for him. Jeremiah’s call and messages were bringing mockery, reproach and shame daily to him. His message was not the modern popular prosperity messages. Jeremiah was a crying prophet. He even cursed the day of his birth. He seemed frustrated to the extent he decided not to speak anymore in God’s name, “…but His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.

It is not easy answering God’s call or doing His will in ministry. Sometimes, those ‘who have left all’ to follow the Master feel they had made a mistake. Some regret ever deciding for such. Some feel abandoned and frustrated like Elijah who felt he was the only prophet left and even wished to die. Sometimes, doubts would come, like in the case of John the Baptist who sent his disciples to find out if Jesus was actually the expected Messiah. In such situations, we need the rekindling fire of the Word of God to jolt us into action. Our service has eternal values. It outlives whatever we have abandoned and followed Christ. We name

Churches and people today after the Apostles because they sacrificed all to follow Christ. Don’t give up.

Prayer: Lord, help me to fulfill my ministry no matter the unpalatable challenges I face in it.

Saturday, September 28, 2019 Jeremiah 21:1-14

WHAT DO YOU WISH TO HEAR?

In this passage, King Zedekiah sent people to ask Jeremiah to speak to the Lord for them concerning the impending invasion by King Nebuchadnezzar. They hoped that the Lord would show mercy and avert the invasion. God told them point-blank that He would fight them Himself. Nebuchadnezzar would deal with them decisively and even kill their king. Only those who surrendered to the Babylonians would survive. The city would be destroyed. Though this message was not palatable to the ear, Jeremiah never coloured the message.

Is it not ironical that even the very people who continually break God’s heart seek His blessings daily? They wish to hear palatable messages from God. Those they consult cash in on this to deceive them. Even those in authority gather pastors and prophets who will tell them what they wish to hear; praise singing. Every bad government at the risk of losing votes hires sycophants who turn truth into lies for the sake of winning election (1 Kings 22:5-7). Any genuine minister of God will not sell his birthright because of unjust gain. You must say what God tells you to say, whether sweet or hard. At this period of confusion in ministry, do you seek for false prophesies? What message do you receive: sound or diluted?

Prayer: May you, Oh Lord, direct me to your servants that will tell me only the truth.

Sunday, September 29, 2019 Jeremiah 23:1-8

(Trinity 15)

THE BRANCH OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

The Lord promised to judge the shepherds (unrighteous leaders) who destroyed and scattered His people. God would punish them for their actions. He also would gather His people from the places they had been scattered. He would raise a ‘a Branch of righteousness; a King’ for the house of David who shall reign, prosper and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. This King would also be known as THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

This prophecy is about Christ, the Son of David who will come to execute judgment and rule the world in righteousness. He will judge in righteousness all people, including the shepherds of the flock. As a shepherd of the flock, how are you leading the flock? Are you scattering or gathering with the owner of the flock? Are you ready to give account to this King about the flock committed into your care when He returns? As a follower, are you ready to give account of how you follow the shepherd? Are you listening to direction and instructions from the shepherd? Time will tell.

Prayer: Dear Lord, make us ready to face the Branch of Righteousness when He returns.

Monday, September 30, 2019 Jude 1:8-10

[(St. Michael and all angels (transferred)]

CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH

The text today describes St. Michael contending for the body of Moses from the Devil. Moses offended God through disobedience and the Devil felt he had a right over his body. Michael did not insult the Devil but used the name of God to rebuke him and to wrestle the body of Moses from him. This is an example of contending which is the main theme of the book.

The word ‘contend’ does not call up peaceful images but denotes several things: to be aggressive, forceful, to strive, fight, resist, not giving in, maintaining a stand without looking back, standing firm, being unmovable, being steadfast, not giving a loophole, etc. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 explains to us that contending is not a physical war of gun, knife and special military weapons but spiritual; not of flesh and blood. To contend, we must put on the whole armour of God in Ephesians 6:10-18 and the garments of priesthood as in Exodus 28:1-36. In this present world, there are many things to contend with - it doesn’t matter attitude, same-sex marriage, homosexuality, tattooing, nakedness, immodest dressing, heresies, ungodliness, sodomy, sexual immorality in high and low places, corruption, etc. All these exist both in the Church and secular society and they all war against our faith. That is why we are charged to “contend earnestly for the faith.” Are you contending?

Prayer: Lord, give us the grace to contend for the Faith in the face of all the rottenness.

PRAYER POINTS FOR THE FOURTH QUARTER

1. Thank God for His guidance these 58 years as an independent nation.

2. Thank God for defeating your foes and giving you victory over challenges of life.

3. Confess your sins of lack of faith and unbelief in God.

4. Pray for the government officials at the Federal, State and Local government. Pray for the President, his Vice, members of Legislature both Federal and State, members of Judiciary both Federal and State. Pray that the Spirit of God will direct their policies and its implementation for the benefits of the masses.

5. Pray against Boko Haram and its sponsors. Pray that God will frustrate their efforts and agenda.

6. Pray for God to assist the government in fighting corruption. Pray for all the agencies that fight corruption. Pray that it would not be political witch-hunt.

7. Pray for the success of DIVCCON this year. Pray for all the resource persons and participants.

8. Pray that God will keep them safe as they come and go.

9. Thank God for the year ending and ask Him to keep us safe in the coming year. Pray and cancel every cause of leaking blessings in your life, business and career.

10. Pray and command every spiritual hole in your life to be closed.

11. Lord open up all the good doors of my life that I may enter my rest.

12. Pray that every sickness in your life will receive termination in the name of Jesus.

13. Pray that God will uproot evil things from your life and plant good things there.

Primate

The Most Revd. Nicholas Dikeriehi Orogodo Okoh

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Akokwa Women at the Diocesan Women Conference 2018.