​THE CHURCH MUST NOT LOSE FOCUS BECAUSE OF MONEY 

THE CHURCH MUST NOT LOSE FOCUS BECAUSE OF MONEY 

The Church was established by Christ to reflect the heavenly home on earth. The Church is expected at all times to do the bidding of God on earth. The Church is called to shine as a light to the world, leading people to the truth and portraying the unique culture and eternal life of Gods Kingdom.

The Church and her mission are distinct and contrary to the worldly way of life. It is an embodiment of the virtues God desires from the people He created in His image and likeness. The Churchs desire and purpose is to teach the world morals, to call the world to a godly lifestyle, to correct wrongs, and to put people right with God. 

Today, there is a wind blowing against the Church  the desire to get rich, especially in materials things; the drive for funds for personal and unnecessary projects. In the light of the new wave of evangelism, the Church must at all times depend on Gods wisdom and resources to achieve her mission on earth. A saying goes that God funds His projects or missions on earth. We ought to live with that in mind.

The Church must not be anxious about how to raise funds for the work of God because God has resources stored up for the accomplishment of His purpose. Instead, the Church should ask for Gods guidance on ways to tap into the storeroom of Gods resources. We must not be like Saul who was more concerned and passionate about offering God sacrifice rather than obeying Gods command. Today, the scripture is questioning us, Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? (1 Samuel 15:22a NRSV).

Irrespective of our answers to the question, the scripture informs on what is right to do: Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is no less than divination, and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry (1 Samuel 15:22b-23a NRSV). Therefore, there is nothing wrong with rejecting gifts or offerings got from unholy ventures like embezzlement of community funds, drug pushers, fraudsters, and all questionable characters. Even if they offer to erect a church building from their ill-gotten gain, reject them just like God rejected the sacrifice of Saul.   

At no point in time should the Church lose faith in Gods ability to fund His project, the Churchs mission on earth. Whilst the world is desperate to acquire resources, the Church must depend on Gods supply. She must source funds in a morally integrous manner without scandalizing the Church or the Christ she represents. The Church must not lose focus or drift away from her mission because of money. The willingness of the shepherds of the gospel of Christ to serve must not to be hinged on money or the love of it. They must at all times be motivated by the same love Christ has for His flock. They must live simple and humble lives just like our master, Jesus Christ. They must not be flamboyant or extravagant. They must teach and encourage their followers to do the same. 

The Church must not raise funds with a deceptive mind. The Church must not exploit her members for frivolous activities that are not in line with Gods purpose or desire. The Church must obey God principle of giving pleasing and acceptable offerings to God. Funds must not be raised in a coercive, deceptive or misleading manner in the name of God or His mission. 

The true shepherds of the Household of God must not dilute or bend the message of the scripture because of money. The Church must not give honour to those whose sources of income are questionable. The Church must be more concerned about the spiritual states of her members than the money they are willing to offer. Fundraising or contributions must not create avenues for discrimination or for people to seek vainglory.

In our Christian Churches and ministries today, more emphasis is place on scriptural passages promoting seed sowing, tithe sowing and offering. More energy seems to be directed towards fund raising and all attention seems to be focused on structural developments or reconstructions. Meanwhile, the main message of the Gospel- The message of love, repentance and reconciliation has been whittled down in many Churches or ministries.

More songs are rendered during offerings to motivate people to give for a particular purpose which may be genuine or deceptive. More enthusiasm is given to things that will make us comfort in this world while losing sight of the heavenly glory. More energy is directed towards achieving vainglory rather than Gods glorification or approval. More passion is shown for wealth and materialism rather than the expression of love for one another and a desire to be saintly on earth. 

Ministries are unconcerned if the money offered during services come from justifiable sources. That is, if the money are blemished or unblemished. Today the prosperity message seems to be order of the day. We must come to term with the truth, that the problem in the world is not the lack of wealth to sustain the world but the lack of love in the hearts of men and women. Hence the Scripture:

With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow before God most high? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my crime, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:6-8 TAB).  

The Church must not be oblivious of the truth that offering is a show of reverence and thanksgiving to God for His awesomeness and supremacy over all living and non-living things. Offering is a holy sacrifice to honour and glorify the Lord of the harvest for His infinite mercy and love. It is a show of gratitude to God Almighty and must be rendered in humility and with a sincere heart. Offerings must be rendered to God in all humility because the scripture says silver and gold belong to God (See Haggai 2:8). 

The ministers of the gospel of Christ must not focus on how to enrich themselves in material things but to prepare the world for the coming of the Lord. The ministers of the Church must have an utmost goal far more than building mansions on earth. Winning souls for the everlasting mansionHeavenwhere Christ is seated at the right hand of God Almighty must be our overriding concern.

The Church must stand out and beam her light on the world to dispel the darkness in the hearts of men and women. If fraudulent men and women or those who got their money by ungodly means are given honour in our ministries, we would only be institutionalizing evil in the society. We would be telling others it is good to venture into unholy means of getting rich. We must not be shy to rebuke evil. Many are afraid to speak the truth in order not to lose fat pockets or members. Hence, the evil in the world seems untamable.     

It is the duty of the ministers of the gospel to make sinners uncomfortable in sin. It is the responsibility of the pastors and prophets of the Church to tell their members to abandon the way of unrighteousness and to embrace the path of Life. It is the job of the rabbis to rebuke all evil ways of acquiring money and not to honour those who use evil devices to get rich. It is the obligation of the evangelists of the Good News to reject blemished offerings and accept or encourage the offering of unblemished gifts. If you cannot discern between the two, seek Gods wisdom to be able to differentiate between them. As we do this, let us: 

Wait upon the Lord: wait upon Him patiently; wait upon Him by avoiding all sin. He will come; doubt it not. To this firm hope, join the practice of virtue, and even in this life you will begin to taste the ineffable joys of Paradise.   St Bernard.  

Reflection

What kind of offering do you offer to God: blemished or unblemished? Which do you think God prefers: your gifts or a life of holiness? Has God changed His mind on the way to offer Him acceptable offerings, i.e. unblemished offerings? Why are you in ministry: to do Gods bidding or your bidding?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, You are a holy God. Help us who are Your children, created in Your image and likeness, to live holy lives, and to render You holy and acceptable offerings to Your honour and the fulfillment of Your mission on earth. Amen. 

Jesus Christ Speaks

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35 NRSV).

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DO NOT NEGLECT THE GATHERING OF THE BRETHREN

DO NOT NEGLECT THE GATHERING OF THE BRETHREN

The scripture says, “I rejoiced when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’ And now our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:1-2 TAB). These are the words of the Psalmist. He expressed enthusiasm with those who said, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’ He knew the joy that overflows in one’s heart when one has an encounter with God.

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, it is a great thing to fellowship together in honour of the Lord. God is present in the midst of His children. The scripture says, “Truly I tell you once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in My name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:19-20 NJB).

God is ever present in the midst of His people who gather in His name to seek His face, mercy, love, guidance, protection, and above all, to revere Him. It has always been the tradition of God to dwell in the midst of His children since the inception of time. It is also important to know that in gathering together, there is warmness, bonding and a joyful feeling which enwraps us, making us whole, caring, supported and godly.

Today, this rich culture is hardly embraced by many. Many have lost the joy of going to the House of God; it is now a burden to attend the gathering of the brethren. Many give invalid excuses why they are unable to participate in the gathering of God’s faithful. Some would say they are fine watching a church programme on television even on the Lord’s Day. Are you incapacitated? Are you on admission bed in the hospital? 

Many have downloaded apps to watch a church programme in their bedroom. We need to ask ourselves if we are truly participants in the body of Christ when we wilfully decide not to go to church; when we sit in the sitting room and tune in to a church programme every Sunday without visiting one; when we watch a church programme in the bedroom on Sunday because of our laziness and lack of excitement in going to the House of God. 

We have stylishly or willfully alienated ourselves from the body of Christ, His church. It is a rejection of the presence of God. Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, we are doing ourselves great harm or disservice when we reject the presence of God. The ministers of the gospel must not support laziness. They must encourage the faithful to attend the gathering of the brethren. They must let the people know the television or apps are not churches but a means of winning souls into the sheepfold of God.

Parents must encourage togetherness in their homes, especially in prayer sessions, at mealtime, or during games. They must not be oblivious of the truth that “a house divided against itself will not stand” (See Mark 3:25). Deliberately create and establish that bonding, oneness and desire for togetherness in your homes. Dear friends, it is not good culture for food to be dished out and each one goes to his or her room to have the meal or entertain himself or herself with games or movies. You are doing your family harm. You are replacing the warmness and bonding of the family members with coldness and indifference towards one another. Charity, they say, begins at home. 

Beloved friends in Christ, your mind may be filled with these questions or thoughts: Have you ever thought that the unwillingness of even sincere children of God to go to Church gathering might well be the result of the hypocritical and judgmental character apparent in the Church today? Have you ever considered the seeming institutionally-entrenched wickedness of church members and pastors? Have all the atrocities committed in the name of God not stunk in your nostrils enough to indicate that some persons might be feeling an even more odious stench than you are? I think that if people are no longer willing to go to Church, it is indicative of the failure of the Church rather than the evil in the hearts of men that is to blame. 

I quite understand your sentiments, but should we abandon the church for the wicked or those who have strayed from the path of righteousness? Do you mean there is no longer a single believing church in your community to attend? Do you know you are able to discern what is good and evil because God wants to use you to correct what is wrong? Remember Christ said, “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16 NRSV). And if you think the church will be totally free of evil doers until the Rapture takes place, you are only day dreaming. Kindly read the parable of the weed (Matthew 13:24-30) and know that God is a patient God who expects the wicked to change their evil ways and embrace life.

So, what is the right thing to do? We must not be resentful but correct one another in love. We must preach and defend the truth, as St Paul advised in his second letter to Timothy: 

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully (2 Timothy 4:1-5 NRSV).

Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will (2 Timothy 2:23-26 NRSV).

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, we must not be oblivious of the truth that the Church is a community of believers. Therefore, step out of your hideout and allow God use you to fulfill His purpose on earth. To all people of goodwill, let us rekindle the joy that once flooded our hearts when we first welcomed the Good News of Christ our redeemer. Let us fan into flame the willingness to fellowship as brothers and sisters in the Household of God. Let us ask God for the grace to take that bold step to join the faithful in fellowship. Let us encourage one another to embrace the family of Christ’s faithful. Let us be careful not to scandalise our Christian faith. Let us pray and seek those who have neglected the House of God. 

The scripture says rightly: 

Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works. Do not absent yourself from your own assemblies, as some do, but encourage each other; the more so as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25 NJB). 



Reflection

Have you lost the joy of fellowshipping with God’s faithful? Do you know those who have lost the joy of fellowshipping with God’s faithful? If yes, do you know God can rekindle that joy in our hearts when we thrust our burdens on Him?
Prayer

Heavenly Father, inflame our hearts with joy, not only to long for Your presence, but to join the brethren in fellowship, in reverence and worship of You, the one and the only true God. Amen. 
Jesus Christ Speaks

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35 NRSV).

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​THE SLAVE GIRL IS GODS DAUGHTER

THE SLAVE GIRL IS GODS DAUGHTER

The word slave is extremely demeaning. It was popularly used in ancient times when slave trade prevailed. Young girls and boys were bought or hired from families or communities to serve their masters or mistresses. Their duties were to do the demeaning jobs, be treated as less human and receive no respect. To term a human being as a slave girl or slave boy is unjustified attempt to reduce Gods image in that person (Genesis 1:26) to an unfortunate, insignificant and less human being. 

Unfortunately, despite the abolishment of slave trade, many still hold on to the erroneous ideology that a fellow human is a slave to them. No wonder we see the shocking level of oppression and hatred with which many (including Bible believing Christians) treat their household helps and maids. What is the reason for these anomalies? One might be tempted to ask. The answer lies in the anti-Christian mentality of placing oneself above others and seeing others as less fortunate or insignificant.

This mentality of seeing oneself as most fortunate or endowed is one nauseating culture that has passively registered into the psych of many believers and non-believers alike that religion or professed Faith has not been able to erase it completely from them. Humans have been labelled as worthless and stripped of their moral and basic rights. 

Most threatening among these alienations is the exclusion from their right to profess their faith in God. In most cases they are left behind to take care of the house chore while their masters or mistresses go to church to worship God. Even on few occasions where they are taken along, it is merely to attend to the children while the service or church programme is going on. But they fail to understand that “The duties of justice come first before the duties of worship” said Rev. Fr. George Ehusani.

In our fellowships, the ministers of the Good News address us as brothers and sisters in Christ” because in the eyes of God we are truly brothers and sisters, men and women with dignity. We are not address as masters and slaves, superior and inferior beings. Why? The slave girl or slave boy is Gods daughter or son. And if God himself being great above all did not regard us as His slaves but as His children, what rights have we to rob our fellow human beings of their dignity? What rights have we to reduce them to insignificant beings? The society may fail to see them as significant persons but as Gods children we must recognize them as valuable and Gods gifts; we must see them as true brothers and sisters in Christ or at least see them as people made in the image and likeness of God.

The first book of the Holy Scripture taught us that the reason while God created more than one person after creation of the world was for companionship  a need for a helper and comforter (See Genesis 2:18-23). Our maids and subjects are also helpers because of the role they perform. It would be wrong for us to reduce them to nothing in spite of their circumstances in life. If they were nothing before they had an encounter with us, Christian virtues demands that we make them valuable in life because the love of Christ dwells in our hearts. We can confidently say we are our brothers keeper when we treat others lovingly (even our subjects). 

Interestingly, Gods blessings are enormous for those who have realized the hidden secret of showing love and respect to their servants. The story of Naaman and his serving girl is a vivid example. He was cured of his deadly disease  leprosy because his serving girl told him about a great man of God that could heal him  Prophet Elisha. (See 2 Kings 5:1-15). Now here is one truth that many ignore in this story. The serving girl would have kept the news about Prophet Elisha to herself had her master been mistreating her. The act she did was out of love for the treatment received from her master. 

Our maids can either be a tool of blessing or a curse. Our attitude towards them plays a pivotal role. Remember they prepare our meals, take care of our children and they know most of the daily activities in our homes. They were created in the image of God, hence the reason why they prepare our meals with a godly heart – without harming us or our children. We too must treat them as Gods gifts to humanity, His valuable children.

I know many folks will say: I must get the value I pay them for!” Yes, but this is not enough reason to strip them of their dignity. We are only privileged by God over them and God did not bless us to suppress, mistreat and demean His children created in His image and likeness. We are blessed to be a blessing to others. I am glad there are some persons who treat their servants as their own children or true brothers and sisters in Christ. God will surely reward them for their acts of love.

Beloved, just imagine if God decides to make us the maid and our maids our masters or mistresses. How we would have loved to be treated? Instead of us reflecting on this question, many of us will be quick to say God forbid. The same God is forbidding us from mistreating, demeaning or dehumanizing our fellow brothers and sisters  Gods children. Think about it! As Christs followers, nothing on earth is more important as love for God and neighbour, the rest is vanity. 

On judgment day, Christ will only ask us how much we loved Him and the people we had an encounter with while we were on our earthly pilgrimage and not how much authority we exercised or the material things we acquired. For Christ said, whatever you did to the least of My brothers and sisters, you did unto Me.” (See Matthew 25:31-46).

Therefore, let us treat our maids, drivers, cleaners, subordinates with the love and the fear of God. We must pray before we employ them  for Gods guidance and discerning spirit. And we must never stop to pray after employing them  for God to grant them a saintly heart and to shield our household against the evil ones or the influence of the devil. 

Reflection

Do you see your workers or subordinates as Gods beloved children? Do you see your status as master or mistress as a privilege to love and serve God and your neighbours? Do you know God loves your subordinates just the way He loves you?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, grant me the grace to love and treat everyone who will have an encounter with me with the same love Christ showed me on the cross of Calvary and on a daily basis. Amen.

Jesus Christ Speaks

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35 NRSV).

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Sexual Desecration

There is a terrorist that is secretly and publicly destroying our brothers and sisters –husbands, wives, children and even the ministers of the gospel. In truth, her ultimate goal is to strip us of our dignity and deny us of our claim to eternal life. Her name is sexual perversion. She has become a special guest in many homes and many of us are diehard fans or victims of this terrorist who is raging like a roaring lion, desecrating the temple of the Holy Spirit, obliterating our state of holiness, sense of reasoning, joy, peace and dignity. Her furious wind is weeping the mighty, the small, the old and the young from the path of righteousness. Should we stand and watch our love ones being led away like slaves by this immoral sexual crusader or brace up and wage war against this cankerworm of our time? 

These issues and the way forward are addressed in this book: Sexual Desecration of the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Kindly get a copy and learn more.
Download Your Own Copy Now Sexual Desecration

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​REDEEMED TO BECOME FISHERS OF MEN

REDEEMED TO BECOME FISHERS OF MEN

Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. – Matthew 4:19

Christ came into the world to win souls for the heavenly kingdom where He now reigns at the right hand of God the Father. His mission was to redeem us from the path to eternal damnation. “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand” were His first public words after His baptism at the River Jordan and His wilderness experience (see Matthew 4:17), and these words resonate throughout His earthly ministry. In truth, this was the core of His mission on earth.  

To achieve this earthly mission, without wasting time He recruited common men and commissioned them to spread His core message to humanity, Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. From the outset He made it clear to His first recruits, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men (see Matthew 4:19). And at the climax of His earthly ministry, He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (See Mark 16:15-16).

Today, many of us have embraced this Good News, baptized and redeemed. Hence, we have become Christs faithful  Christians. Like the first apostles of Christ, we are also chosen to herald the Good News to our brothers and sisters, communities and nations. Yes, we were redeemed to proclaim the Good News, to become fishers of men and not fishermen. So, as Christians, it is not enough to go to church daily and be fine with the title: “I am a born again.” The born again, baptized or redeemed child of God is zealous for God’s mission – witnessing to the Good News as we saw in the lives of the first commissioned or apostles of Christ,

For we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard. – Acts 4:20

This was the position of our patriarchs when they were cautioned and warned not to speak in the name of Jesus Christ our redeemer or propagate His Good News to mankind. They were zealous for Christs mission and were ready to lay down their lives for many souls to escape the fierce fiery fire of hell. In truth, many of them did sacrifice their lives for you and me to become Christ-redeemedChristians.    


All Christs commissionedborn again, redeemed Christiansmust rise up to their calling. We need to tell the world how much God loves them. We need to defend and preserve our Faith which is currently under threat from within and without. We need to tell the sheep which have strayed that God still cares about them and is reaching out to them daily. We must be witnesses by words, deeds and the very way we live our lives. The Scripture says, The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. (See Luke 10:2-3).  

A Christians mission in the world is splendid, it is a mission intended for everyone, it is a mission of service, excluding no one! 

– Pope Francis

Today, we need to ask ourselves if we are part of the kingdom’s labourers, who are ever willing to harvest more souls for the Kingdom of God. Yes, we really need to ask ourselves if we are fishers of men or just fishermen who are only after the manna God is providing for His creatures. As “born again,” baptized or redeemed children of God, we must seize every opportunity to minister the word of God in our families, neighbourhoods, places of work whether private or governmental, market, social or community gatherings. We must let our actions and deeds reflect the Christ in us. Those who have encounters with us should say, “(S)he is a true Christian.” 
Beloved brothers and sisters, as fishers of men, we must make use of every available channel to reach out to our present world which is filled with hate and longing for worldly pleasures. As the commissioned of Christ, we must correct one another in love. We must be ready to counsel those who need counsel, comfort those who need comfort, help those who need help, redirect those who have veered off the path of life. We must be prepared to call what is wrong wrong and what is good good. We must reach out to the world by words from the pulpit, media, on the streets, in the car, social media platforms or one-on-one. If you are shy to speak, use tracts or podcast. Our deeds must not contradict our message because,

The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today  – Francis of Assisi   

The redeemed children of God must stand with Christ in private and in public, in the church and in the world. We must not be seasonal Christians: When it is day or even in public we are for Christ, and when it is dark or in private we are against Christ, or vice versa. If we are truly born again, baptized and redeemed, then our actions must indeed acknowledge it. The born again, baptized or redeemed must be ready at all times to gather with Christ  witnessing to the Good News and winning souls for our Redeemer Jesus Christs Kingdom.

Christ said, Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters” (see Matthew 12:30). Today, where do you stand? Are you gathering with Christ  fishing souls for His kingdomor you are scattering – leading many astray? Beloved, there is no neutral position, as the Scripture affirmed, To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of Gods creation.  I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarmneither hot nor coldI am about to spit you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:14-16). Hence, Apostle Paul said, 

Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (See 1 Corinthians 9:16).

The best way for us to gather with Christ is to be loving, caring, charitable, truthful, patient, humble, chaste, prayerful, be just, defending and preserving the Good News. In truth, we must always be Christ-centered beings. It might be difficult. Yes, it will inflict some pains on you. It will surely cost you a lot. But rejoice as Christ said, for your reward will be great in Heaven (see Matthew 5:11-12).

Sigh! Must I wait for the Heavenly reward? If you must wait for anything in life, beloved brothers and sisters, let it be the heavenly reward. The earth, with all it contains, is being eroded (see 1 John 2:17). They only last for a moment and fade away forever. But the heavenly reward, though it may tarry for a while, will last forever when it finally comes. Always remember: we are in the world but not of the world (see John 17:6). Redeemed, baptized or born again beings are heavenly candidates. Therefore, live the Christ-like life by your words and deeds to the service and redemption of the world. 

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, help me with the grace to offer myself as an instrument to defend and preach the Good News to the whole world and to win souls for Your heavenly kingdom. Amen.

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​SHOW MERCY AND OBTAIN MERCY

​SHOW MERCY AND OBTAIN MERCY

One of the greatest obstacles that will prevent many acclaimed Christians from inheriting the heavenly kingdom is lack of mercy. Many of us are very religious but rarely forgive our offenders. We have read the Scriptures from the beginning to the last letter in the last chapter, and many can recite whole chapters and verses of the Bible but are heavily burdened with unforgiving hearts. 

Many have concluded that it is difficult, very difficult, to forgive seemingly unbearable and unpardonable offences, so they move on with life with heavy hearts and hatred towards their transgressors. Their offenders span from spouses to siblings, parents to children, friends, neighbours, governments, church ministers, and the list goes on… 

To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.

– William H. Walton

Remember, Christ’s closest friends betrayed and denied Him. Those He came to redeem shouted that He deserved death and crucified Him. This is the reality of life. Those who are close to you will someday hurt you lightly or bitterly; the unknown will ridicule you and some will love you dearly, more than the friends you knew from childhood.

Beloved sister and brother, Christianity is a life of love and not hate. Christ showed mercy to His executioners, leaving us an example, that we should follow in His steps. It is difficult to let that bitterness fade away. It is very difficult. God knows how troubled and wounded you are as a result of that man or woman’s hateful act. But Christ our Lord and Master is telling you to cast that burden on Him and He will grant you rest – freedom from the pain, bitterness, anger and revenge caged in your heart. 

Christ is also reminding you of His love towards you on the cross of Calvary: “I forgave you all your sins against Me and I nailed it to the cross at Calvary. You must also do the same to those who wrong you deeply or lightly” (See Matthew 18:21-35). And in one of her tweets, Victoria Osteen said, “Love isn’t about feelings and emotions. It’s about the choice to treat people the way God tells us to in His Word.” 

…if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (See Matthew 6:15).

We all sin (see Romans 3:23). Every day we err against God. We know that nothing unclean will enter the kingdom of God. To keep clean and fit for the kingdom of God, we must turn to God for mercy, to be robed to attend the wedding feast of the Lamb. But there is a condition to obtain God’s mercy as Christ stated in Matthew 6:15: show mercy to others and obtain mercy. Thus, Lewis B. Smedes said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

Prayer

Christ Jesus, You shouldered our sin, nailed it to the cross and obtained for us redemption. Fill me with the grace to show mercy to those who hurt me and heal my heart of all pains, wounds and vengeful thoughts. Amen.  

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​I SHALL ARISE AND TURN TO MY FATHER

​I SHALL ARISE AND TURN TO MY FATHER

I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands (Luke 15:18 NRSV).

Once a river is cut off from its source, it will dry up very soon. This was the experience of the prodigal son when he asked for his share of the father’s property. Poverty caught up with him after a short period of a life of pleasure. Thus, the Scripture says, “Cut away from Me you can do nothing. A branch cannot bear fruit except it remain in the Vine” (see John 15:4-6).

We can’t survive without God. The prodigal son recognized this truth and he made a U-turn, retracing his steps to his source of life. The beauty of the parable of the prodigal son is that the prodigal son found restoration and life when he embraced the father and expressed remorse for his arrogance, lack of contentment and desire for independence.

Sin makes us detach ourselves from the presence of God just like the prodigal son. When we sin we are simply saying, “God, we are not content with Your provision, rules and ordinances, so we demand independence from You. Yes, we can do without You.” But who can live a happy and fulfilled life without reliance on the source of life – God Almighty. The prodigal son tried it and almost withered but was quick to reconnect with the Vine, and immediately he was resuscitated, nourished and restored.

Many of us have alienated ourselves from the Vine, like the prodigal son. Some are wallowing or having a swell time in their iniquities while some are drying up without remedy to their misery. But there is hope for every sinner. Just like the father of the prodigal son who watched daily, waiting for his son’s return, God is waiting for you and me to take that bold step and return to Him. Like the prodigal son, we can all say, ‘I shall arise and return to my father.’ 

When we take that bold decision and make a U-turn from the road to damnation and begin to journey on the road to life, God will welcome us with His two hands, make us white as snow and clothe us with the garment of salvation. The heavens will also rejoice because we who were once lost and dead are now found and restored to life. 

Christ, in his parables, demonstrated the love God has for His estranged daughters and sons. He abandons the ninety-nine and searches for the missing sheep, and when He has found it, he carries it on His shoulders and calls for celebration because He has found His missing sheep (See Luke 15:1-7).

God is searching for His estranged daughters and sons daily. He expects them to come back home. He has the joy, happiness and peace they seek outside His sheepfold. Don’t be ashamed to return to your God and Lord. Don’t think you are too filthy for Him to embrace. No, you are not! The Scripture says:

Come now, and let us reason together, says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. (See Isaiah 1:18).

Can you see that God is reaching out His hands of mercy to you. Kindly reach out to Him too. You may go down on your knees and let Him know how remorseful you are for rebelling against Him; how much you have offended Him by rejecting His hands of love. Remember, the prodigal son did and was restored to his father’s kingdom, and no longer as a beggar, a slave or an outcast, but as a son, a prince and a heir to God’s Kingdom. The same reward awaits you if and only if you take that bold step today, this hour, this very minute, and return to your Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, for I have sinned. I have sought for happiness outside Your sheepfold and my lacked love towards my brothers and sisters created in the image and likeness of God. Lord, show me mercy and help me to live the rest of my life united with You. Amen.

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​LET GOD IN

​LET GOD IN

Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with Me (Revelation 3:20 NRSV).

God is love and His love flows to all men and women, young and old. He wants to sit with you daily and share His awesome presence with you. He stands at the door of your heart knocking and waiting for you to let Him in. Won’t you let Him in? He wants to share in your pain, He wants to share in your joy, He wants to be part of your daily decisions. Kindly let Him in. Just say, ‘My Lord, come in and have Your way in my life.’ He wants you to do this because He respects your will. 

Remember, Christ said, ‘Cut away from Me you can do nothing’ (see John 15:5). As a sinner, let Him in to make you white as snow. The sick welcome Him and He sits beside them and touches them with His healing hands. As a leader, open the door of your heart to Him and He will grant you wisdom and understanding to make the right decisions and lead your followers in paths of righteousness and profit. In your chaotic relationship, business, academics, community, family or miserable state, turn to the one who cares – Jesus—and He will remedy the situation because you are so dear to Him.

In moments of plenty and joy, never forget to lean on this true friend, Jesus Christ, and He will keep watch over your treasured possessions. Beloved brother or sister, Jesus Christ wants to be part of your life, to teach you what is right and beneficial to your soul; to comfort you, guide you, provide for you and lead you gently and triumphantly into His heavenly kingdom. Will you give Him a chance today? Please do and you will enjoy the peace and love of God.

Prayer

My Lord and my God, in You there is life, peace and joy. Please, have Your way in my life, teach me the way to go and grant me the grace to hold firm to You and Your ordinances. Amen. 

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​PEOPLE OF COLOUR

​PEOPLE OF COLOUR

The very first time I heard someone use the term “People of Colour” on CNN, I was deeply troubled. Do we have colourless people? My mind queried. Immediately, I concluded that this is a racist term. But I asked myself if those who coined and use this term really understand the meaning of colour, being educated people. We are all people of colour—white, black, red or brown—because, from my educational background, something is either coloured or colourless.
Therefore, those who use this term “People of colour” need to answer this: “Are there colourless people?” Nature has blessed each one with a particular colour. We should be proud to be black, white, red or brown, and respect one another’s colour because it is not any person’s doing to be born black, white, red or brown. It is the doing of the Lord God Almighty, who calls us to respect and love one another irrespective of colour, race, ethnicity or religious background. 

It is completely inhumane to hate or demean someone because of his/her skin colour. Do you ever ask yourself if it is your will or doing to be black, white, red or brown at birth? Have you ever asked yourself where it is permitted by the Lord of the universe, the Master and Potter of all living and non-living things or beings, to tyrannize and ill-treat one another because of skin colour? 
Racism is a purely human design, an act of hate, supremacy, arrogance, egocentricity and wickedness. Why should one’s skin irritate you, whereas you relate and treasure animals and things irrespective of colour? It is a deep-rooted hatred infused to many hearts by the ancient slave drivers and victims of slavery.
All human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, hence we must desist from using this term, “People of colour”, or use it properly. That is, not to segregate people based on the colour of their skin or their roots because, truly, we don’t have colourless people. 

This also was the message of the late South Afican reggae legend, Lucky Dube, in one of his tracks, ‘Different Colours’:
Hey you government 

Never try to separate the people

Hey you politician

Never try to separate the people
They were created in the image of God

And who are you to separate them

Bible says, He made man in His image

But it didn’t say black or white

Look at me you see BLACK

I look at you I see WHITE

Now is the time to kick that away

And join in my song
Different colours (one people)

Different colours (one people)

Hey you journalist, sport fans, awards organizers, movie and song writers/directors, comedians, coaches, teachers, policemen and women, healthcare practitioners, men and women, young and old, and all who have reverence for God Almighty, never try to separate the people.  God has a reason for creating us black, white, red or brown. He created us for His glory and to love and respect one another. Therefore, at all times, we must join in solidarity with the late South African and global icon Nelson Mandela to say privately or publicly: 

I detest racism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man.

For that reason we must all join the Nigerian singer 2Face Idibia in his song, One Love:
All we need is one love

Irrespective of the colour

Your religion or political border

All we need is one love

Our people, hold it, embrace it

Express it and show it

Cos I know it is the answer. 

Reflection

Did I ever have the opportunity before conception to choose my skin colour, race or nationality? My idea of terming others inferior or superior to me based on skin colour, race or nationality, does it comes from God or man?
Prayer

Heavenly Father, You created us for Your glory and to love and serve one another. Help us with the grace to recognize Your image and likeness in one another and to treat one another as beloved brothers and sisters. Amen.  
Jesus Christ Speaks

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35 NRSV).

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​GOD KNOWS YOUR INTENTIONS

​GOD KNOWS YOUR INTENTIONS

All deeds are right in the sight of the doer, but the Lord weighs the heart (Proverbs 21:2 NRSV).

Sometimes we give ourselves credits for successfully deceiving a fellow human being. We call it being smart. Many of us are comfortable with this lifestyle of deception. It has become a way of life. There are so many seemingly good actions performed by many of us but they are acts of deception. 

This lifestyle is practised by many of us, from little children to teens, adults, parents, religious leaders, community leaders or political leaders. So many relationships are built on this foundation: deception. The scripture says this lifestyle might be fine for many, but in the eyes of God it is ungodly because as His children we are called to speak and live the truth at all times. Deception is a lie, an act to rob another and to bury the truth. God warns us against it in the Ten Commandments (see Leviticus 19:11).

God wants us to be godly at all times. If it seems difficult, then we must seek His grace to live a genuine, truthful and Christ-like life at all times. Yes, this is what makes us, Christ’s faithful, to live an upright life, to be truthful irrespective of the consequences. When you do, God will reward you in ways far beyond what your imaginations. 

Finally, kindly know that there is no gain in deceiving one another because when we succeed in deceiving one another, we have simultaneously succeeded in bringing our relationship with Christ into disrepute. Yes, we have violated the love code of conduct. As Christians, we must be prepared at all times to let go of any action and attitude that could directly or indirectly jeopardise our relationship with God.
Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, You are the way, the truth and the life. Help me daily to live and walk in the path of truth and enjoy eternal life in Your heavenly abode. Amen. 

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