RESPOND TO ABUSE WITH A BLESSING
1 Peter 3:8-12“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1Peter 3:9, NIV George Whitefield, 18th century evangelist, described how he responded to a false attack by a fellow minister of the Gospel. He said, "To the honour of God’s free grace be it spoken, whilst the Co-missionary was representing me thus, I felt the Blessed Spirit strengthening and refreshing my soul. God, at the same time, gave me the grace to see what I was by nature, and how I had deserved His eternal wrath; therefore, I did not feel the least resentment against the preacher. I pitied, I prayed for him; and wished, from my soul, that the Lord would convert him as he once did the persecutor Saul, and let him know that it is Jesus Whom he persecutes. Persecution is a reality every Christian faces, but our response to it differs. No matter what, Christians must be at peace with everyone and never repay evil with evil, but with blessing. As a Christian, how do you respond to opposition? Jesus is our perfect example; He did not revile back when He was reviled, instead He prayed for them. You need to learn this attitude from Jesus to be able to overcome evil with good. It is never late to learn the attitude of blessing instead of cursing. May the Lord endow you with His grace in Jesus’ name. Amen.
- Birthday Blessing: “I will bless those who bless you, and
AIM TO LIVE BY THE SPIRIT
Galatians 5:16-26“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Galatians 5:16, NIV A young man responded after he was witnessed to, saying, it was not possible for him to live above the sin of immorality, because he could not do without having sex every day. Surely, it is not possible to deny the gratification of the flesh without living by the Spirit. The text for today tells us that it is only when one gives himself completely to the Spirit’s control that the sinful nature will cease to have dominion over one. The truth is that the sinful nature always desires what is contrary to the Spirit and vice versa. Whoever is under the influence of the sinful nature will display its acts as listed in verses 19-21, and whoever is under the influence of the Spirit of God will manifest the fruit of the Spirit (vv 22-23). The only way to deny the sinful nature is by making one’s body dead to sin and consciously live righteously. As you go out today, determine to be controlled by the Spirit and say no to the temptation to go against God’s will. You can overcome that desire to sin by completely trusting the Holy Spirit and asking Him to help you. May you be helped by the Spirit in Christ’s name. Amen.
- Birthday Blessing: “…sin shall not have dominion over
MANY MEMBERS IN ONE BODY
1 Corinthians 12:12-26“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body…” 1 Corinthians 12:12, NIV There is no unit in creation that is solely singular in its parts. Man is created with many parts. A tree has many parts. The universe has various parts. Technologically, a computer has many parts. It has been observed that "no two parts, no two leaves of the same tree, no two faces, even of twins, entirely correspond” and the various parts of the universe works together for one purpose. Considering the passage for today, the apostle compares the many parts of the body of a man to the many parts of the body of Christ – the Church. All believers are members of Christ’s body. Hence, individual members function differently and no part of the body members functions independently. There is no part of the body that is useless. Therefore, each part must have concern for one another. As a believer in Christ, you are a member of Christ’s body and you should function differently from others. Identifying your function in the body and fulfilling it makes the body of Christ function perfectly. Are you fulfilling your purpose as a part in the body of Christ?
- Birthday Blessing: “And you are complete in Him, who
BALANCE NEED AND ABUNDANCE FAIRLY
2 Corinthians 8:7-15“At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality.” 2 Corinthians 8:14, NIV Arhetoric question goes thus: “What would be your response to these two different churches: one, the church who cares for the need of her members, and two, and the church who does not care? Which one will you choose to become her member? Definitely, you will choose the former. The early church documentation reveals that the believers had all things in common. Everyone brings whatever he or she has before the whole congregation to be distributed according to individual’s need, so that no one lacks anything among them. The passage today enlightens us the more. The need of poor members must be met by the abundance of others. It is expected of the church to excel in this grace of giving. Jesus once became poor so that believers might be rich. So the church must be willing to fulfil this grace of giving based on what she has. There must be a balance or equality. If some are relieved, others must not be hard-pressed. Does your local church balance need and abundance? Are some members feeling neglected by the church? Are you fulfilling your part as a member of that body? Today, think of how you will meet the need of others through your abundance.
- Birthday Blessing: “So I will restore to you the years
SUPPORT THE MINISTRY OF CHURCH LEADERS
2 Corinthians 8:16-24“As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you…” 2 Corinthians 8:23a, NIV A tree cannot make the forest” says an adage. Interdependence makes creation works perfectly. A body full of parts depends on the cooperation of all parts for proper functioning. The same goes with workers in any local church. Church leaders need the support of others to accomplish their leadership thrust. Apostle Paul, in our today’s text, acknowledges the support of other workers in the church, especially in the person of Titus. Titus has the same concern that Paul had for the Corinthian churches. In his own initiative he plans to visit them. Another worker (Luke) was also sent along with Titus; the one who wins the testimony of many beloved. As a matter of fact, Paul had enough support from the churches. It is important and beneficial that you support the ministry of your church leaders or pastors in fulfilling their mandate. Your availability, financial contribution, prayers, submission to their leadership, among other things are required of you. Also, as a leader always recognise the input of others in the success of your ministry and always lookout for ways to encourage them to do more for God through you. What do you think you can do to support the ministry of your church leaders? As a leader, how can you encourage those working with you?
- Birthday Blessing: “May He send you help from
GENEROSITY RESULTS IN MUTUAL THANKSGIVING
2 Corinthians 9:11-15
“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many experiences of thanks to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:12, NIVA woman rescued a child from abandonment and trained him. The child grew up, having intimated him with the story, appreciated the woman and gave thanks to God. Similarly, when the woman was in need, the man she trained came to her aid which also resulted into thanksgiving to God and due appreciation to the man. Whenever the Lord uses people to meet the need of individuals, it results in mutual thanksgiving to God. The one whose need is met will give God the praise and express his heart of gratitude to God in the life of the instrument God has used. The one who meets other people’s need also gives God the praise for using him as an instrument of blessing. Paul then said that whenever the Corinthians were blessed, they would be able to meet other people’s need. Generosity sets people on to give thanks to God for meeting their need. It proves one’s obedience to the gospel of Christ and also knits the souls of believers together. Has the act of generosity in you resulted in mutual thanksgiving? Do you make God and fellow believers glad through your generosity? Let generosity be your habitual act of grace!
- Birthday Blessing: “So you shall rejoice in
EXCEL IN GENEROSITY
2 Corinthians 8:1-6
“Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”
2 Corinthians 8:2A. W. Tozer once said that "Before the judgment seat of Christ my service will not be judged by how much I have done but by how much of me there is in it. No man gives at all until he has given all. No man gives anything acceptable to God until he has first given himself in love and sacrifice." In the text today, the apostle Paul gave the testimony of the generosity of the Macedonian churches, how they excelled in the act. In spite of their severe trial, they sacrificially gave to the Lord. This was possible for them because they first gave themselves to the Lord. Apostle Paul, then, uses the Macedonian testimony to encourage the Corinthian churches to be able to excel in the grace of giving. For you to be a generous person you must first give yourself to the Lord. It is in giving yourself first to the Lord that you can genuinely give your all. It is not until you have plenty that you can give; you can give the little you have. Have you given yourself first to the Lord? Do you sacrificially give your best to the Lord? May you excel in the grace of giving in Christ’s name. Amen.
- Birthday Blessing: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
GENEROUS SELF-GIVING OF JESUS
Philippians 2:5-11“…but (Jesus) made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant...and became obedient to death.” Philippians 2:7a-8b George Sweeting, Chancellor of Moody Bible Institute, told of a series of tornados that caused extensive damage in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Nearly 100 lives were lost. Prior to the storm, a man named David Kostka was umpiring a Little League baseball game in Wheatland, Pennsylvania. When he saw the black funnel heading toward the field, he rushed into the stands and grabbed his niece. He pushed her into a nearby ditch and covered her with his body. Then the tornado struck. When the youngster looked up, her uncle was gone. He had given his life in the deadly storm to save her. Apostle Paul in our text for today explained how Jesus sacrificed Himself for humanity. He did this voluntarily and afterwards He was exalted to the highest place. His sacrifice paid off for Him and for all humanity. Christians are to cultivate Christ’s attitude and be able to sacrifice for the salvation of others. If Jesus could give His all, including His life to buy us salvation, the least we can give to Him is also our all. How much sacrifice are you able to offer in to save an unbelieving person close to you? Jesus did it for you and you must strive to do likewise. Sacrifice for someone’s peace and salvation today.
- Birthday Blessing: “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10
GOD PROVIDES FOOD FOR THE PEOPLE
Exodus 16:13-17“That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning…when the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor.” Exodus 16:13 14 It is often said that “A hungry man is an angry man”. When the entire Israelite community got to the Desert of Sin, they grumbled against Moses and Aaron, because they had no meat and bread to eat. God, having heard them grumble against the leadership, told Moses to expect the miracle of bread from heaven. God wanted to test their faithfulness to Him. He did as He had promised. He gave them meat in the evening and bread in the morning. God remains the Unfailing and Great Provider – Jehovah Jireh. When you need anything, cry to Him for provision and do not grumble. The Scriptures say that every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord, but the Scriptures also states that a double-minded man will receive nothing from the Lord. When you ask God for anything, ask in faith and you will surely receive it. You must not be covetous (Luke 12:15), that is, be contented and never desire more than you need. God miraculously provides for His people. His ways of doing things are unsearchable. Only trust Him for your daily provision. He is a faithful God. He will never fail to provide for His own. Trust and pray to Him for your needs to be met and He will surely answer your prayer of faith.
- Birthday Blessing: “In famine He will deliver you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword.” Job 5:20
GOD’S RIGHTEOUS, IMPARTIAL JUDGMENT
Romans 2:1-12“God will give to each person according to what he has done.” Romans 2:6, NIV Sometime ago, I watched a video clip in which two men dressed gorgeously and presented themselves as being rich and dignified to a company that was into furniture making. Their outfits and presentation made the workers to treat them with respect and honour. The company was duped because the workers could not judge rightly. On the long run, their deception was exposed and they were taken to court and jailed. No matter how a man covers up, God’s judgment is righteous and impartial. God is unlike men who will judge with partiality, treating the rich based on their riches, and not because of their right-standing before God. God will judge everyone according to his work. He will not make any error in the judgment. The Scripture read today gives us this understanding. God will not make any mistake in passing righteous judgment on your life and deeds. He is not a man who can make such an error. You must live right in order to receive eternal life from the righteous God and Judge. You cannot bribe Him. As you go out today, remember whatever you sow, you will reap!
- Birthday Blessing: “For I will look on you favourably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you.” Leviticus 26:9