LOSE YOUR LIFE FOR MY SAKE
Matthew 10:34-39“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” Matthew 10:39 Some expatriates came to work in Nigeria years ago. They had an agreement with the government of Nigeria that forty per cent of their salary should be paid in naira and the remaining into their foreign account. At that time when you visit their family, you will meet their family living rooms sparsely and barely furnished. They were not concerned about buying land or developing properties in Nigeria because they knew they were in Nigeria for a limited period of time. The above is a clear picture of what it means to live with eternity in view as you deny yourself, take up the cross and follow Christ. When you live in light of eternity, your values change. You use your time and money wisely. You place a higher premium on relationships and character instead of worldly fame, wealth, achievement or even fun in this side of eternity because you know that none of those things acquired in this world will have eternal relevance. Today, you are challenged to put eternity in view as you go about your daily activities. You also must refuse to be engrossed with pursuing the things of this world which will eventually fade away.
- Birthday Blessing: “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”Isaiah 40:29
OTHER SHEEP WILL LISTEN TO ME
John 10:11-18“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also” John 10:16 George Whitefield said, “My ambition in life is to win as many as possible.” This is a reflection of a passionate soul winner. He exemplified the Spirit of Christ who wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. As a good shepherd, Jesus does not only want to feed the sheep that are already in the sheepfold, but He is willing to bring in those who are also far away. He wants them to be cared for and be protected from wolves. We should not be like the Jews who felt the Gentiles must be perpetually kept away from the commonwealth of Israel. All human beings are entitled to God’s gift of salvation. You must therefore be concerned about people in your neighbourhood who are yet to know Jesus, and be ready to share the good news with them. And you must not just bring them to Jesus, but see to it that they are established in the faith and assume their sonship status in the spiritual family. Have you also taken your rightful place in God? Are you enjoying the benefits of sonship to the fullest? Then endeavour to share it with others today.
- Birthday Blessing: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14
AS LABOURERS GO INTO THE HARVEST
Matthew 9:35-38“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” Matthew 9:37 A wealthy businessman was visiting different mission fields in remote areas of East Africa. One day, he found himself in a leprosarium. Outside this leprosarium, he saw a young missionary nurse attending to the desperate needs of a filthy wretched leprous man before he could be admitted into the leprosarium. The businessman had his camera strung around his neck, but he couldn’t take any picture. He paused at the sight, and then withdrew a few feet. Tears filled his eyes and he said to the young nurse, “Young lady, I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars.” Quickly she turned to him and said, “Sir, neither would I except for the love of Jesus.” While on earth, Jesus ministered to different categories of people with diverse needs. Today’s passage shows how He was moved with compassion when He saw the helplessness of humanity even after restoring sight to two blind men (Matt. 9:27-34). Just like the nurse in our illustration, Jesus expects every believer to be willing to do everything possible for the sake of the gospel. The harvest remains plenteous and God is looking for labourers. Will you answer God’s call today to bring good news to someone? Be an expression of God’s love today.
- Birthday Blessing: “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (Isaiah 60:3).
GO PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS
Matthew 10:5-15“As you go, preach this message; ‘The Kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 10:7 William Carey, who is called “The Father of Modern Missions,” served the Lord in India for many years. He gradually became concerned about the attitude of his son, Felix. The young man earlier promised to become a missionary, but he reneged on his vow when he was appointed an ambassador to Burna by the Queen of England. Carey wrote to his friend, asking prayer for his son with these words: "Pray for Felix. He has degenerated into an ambassador of the British government when he should be serving the King of kings." Every believer is ordained a soul winner but many of us have been carried away by other activities of the world. When you fail to proclaim the good news, God is concerned just like William Carey was over his son. The Gospel remains the power of God for the salvation of mankind. But until it is proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit, it remains latent. God places a high premium on human souls and so should we. The more we wait, the more souls we lose to the devil. Therefore, use every available platform to share the message of salvation with people that come your way today.
- Birthday Blessing: “See, I have set before you an open door that no man can shut it” (Rev. 3:8)
THOMAS MOVES FROM DOUBT TO FAITH
John 20:24-28“Because you have seen, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” John 20:29 A man slipped and fell off a cliff while hiking a mountaintop. Luckily he was able to grab a branch on his way down. Panicked, he yelled, “Help! Is anybody there?” A voice spoke up. “I am here, and I will save you if you believe in me.” "I believe!" yelled back the man. “If you believe me, let go off the branch, I will save you. The young man, hearing what the voice said, looked down again. Seeing the rock valley below, he quickly looked back up and shouted, “Is there anybody else up there?” Thomas, in today’s passage, was like the man in the story. He wanted to see Jesus before believing He resurrected. But biblical faith demands that you believe before seeing. Faith is seeing the invisible in the light of the scriptures and commanding the impossible feat. It is a covenant trigger for the manifestation of the power of God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. God hates unbelief (James 1:7, 8). After Thomas encountered Jesus Christ, his faith was established. Are you in doubt over any area of your life? Turn to Jesus Christ today and your faith will be restored. Do not remain doubtful or unbelieving, have faith in God's Word that never fails.
- Birthday Blessing: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe”
PETER DENIES JESUS THREE TIMES
John 18:15-18, 25-27“Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow” John 18:27 William Secker’s words are relevant to our devotion this morning: “Another singular action of a sanctified Christian is to prefer the duties he owes to God to the danger he fears from men. Christians in all ages have prized their service above their safety. The fearful trembles at every cry; but the courageous lion is unmoved by the greatest clamour. Were believers to shrink back at every contrary wind that blows, they would never make their voyage to heaven." The Christian faith is under perpetual attack. Peter failed the test of loyalty and steadfastness in the face of threat from a little girl. The same Peter who had courageously cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant denied Jesus three times. The same can happen to you. Situations that will test our faith are always around us. Our response to them shows our level of faith in God. You will be tempted to deny Christ as a student, market woman, civil servant, business man and much more as a church worker. You must take your stand; be watchful and prayerful, trusting not in the arm of flesh but in the strength the Spirit gives.
- Birthday Blessing: “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint..." Isaiah 50:7
JOHN’S TESTIMONY TO JESUS IS TRUE
20:30-31; 21:24-25“This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.” John 21:24 Larry King was asked the historical figures he strongly wished he could interview. One of those he named was Jesus Christ. “What would you have asked him?” asked the questioner. “I would like to ask Him if He was indeed virgin born. The answer to that question would define history.” The truth is, the Bible has given us everything we need to know about all issues of life. If Jesus were to be interviewed, He would definitely say exactly what we have in the Bible. Like Larry, many of us have doubt about some portions of the Scripture. However, 1 Tim. 3:16 tells us for sure that everything written in the scripture was given by God, so it can be trusted. John was an ardent follower of Jesus and he keenly recorded, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, what he had seen and experienced with Jesus. Jesus lived for just thirty-three years and six months, yet his exploits were so heavy that it would take volumes of books to capture all. As believers, we must accept and believe the scripture as accurate and perfect because it is written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Do you believe the word of God is true? • Birthday Blessing: Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked. Psalms 1:1 RBT Passage: Lev 10; Psalms 11-12; Pro. 25; 1 Thess. 4. “He is truly great who deemeth himself small, and counteth all height of honour as nothing.” – Thomas Kemps
LEAD MY PEOPLE AND FOLLOW ME
John 21:15-23“Jesus said, take care of my sheep...follow me.”John 21:16 & 19 Richard Baxter was one of England’s greatest ministers. In his early life, he visited a large parish that was composed largely of rich, cultured people. He found that the congregation was spiritually cold, and all was not as he had hoped. He therefore spent three years visiting the homes in his community helping to establish family altar in every home. He succeeded amazingly, the largely church became larger and Christianity was revived in his parish. Everything rises or falls on leadership. True leadership is service motivated by love. The more you serve with your gift, the greater you become. That was Jesus’ challenge to Peter in today’s passage. One of the problems facing the world today is lack of authentic leadership. Most saddening is the fact that the Church, which ought to produce authentic leaders for the society appears not to be up to its task. The result is the weak leadership that is seen in the society at large. What kind of a leader are you or what kind do you intend to be? God wants you to be a servant leader who follows after Christ, not just a positional leader who lord it over people. He wants you to follow His leadership so that we can learn how to lead others rightly.
- Birthday Blessing: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you” Psalms 32:8
ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH HEARS THE GOOD NEWS
Acts 8:26-35“Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” Acts 8:35, NIV A theologian, Norman Geisler, wrote an article in which he said: “I have a confession to make. I was a Director for Christian Youth Organisation for three years, a pastor for nine years, a Bible College teacher for six years, and in all that time, I did not witness Jesus Christ. I scarcely ever shared my faith one-on-one with other people.” Eventually, he became convicted by the words of a little song that said: “Lead me to some soul today. Oh teach me, Lord, just what to say.” He turned out to be a radical witness for Jesus. The Ethiopian eunuch would have remained in the dark for ever about the message of salvation if not for the timely obedience of Philip to the voice of the Spirit. Philip explained the Gospel so well that the man could understand the message of salvation even from the book of Isaiah. Can God count on you to deliver His message to lost souls the way He trusted Philip with the salvation of the Ethiopian eunuch? Are you burdened for the lost? Your prayer today should also be that God should lead you to a soul.
- Birthday Blessing: “I will give you the treasures of darkness…so that you may know that I am the LORD…” Isaiah 45:3
SCRIPTURES EQUIP DISCIPLES FOR GOOD WORK
2 Timothy 3:14-17“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:15, NIV I once read a story of a family whose value and appreciation for God’s Word was low. They only had one copy of the Bible in the family. They hardly go to church. But when they do, whoever gets hold of the Bible first takes it to church. Eventually, the father had an encounter with God and consecrated his life to Jesus. He started developing hunger for God’s Word, buying different versions of the Bible and other Christian literature. His life became transformed and he eventually became a pastor in one of the growing evangelical Churches. In today’s passage, Paul underscores the priority of God’s Word. Timothy had been nurtured in the Word of truth from cradle and has become an example of good works to other believers. God’s word is profitable for all things (2 Timothy 3:16). It provides you with spiritual nourishment you can’t get elsewhere (Matt 4:4). It provides you with Light to navigate the dark part of this world (Psalm 119:105); it gives you enablement not to commit moral errors (Psalm 119:11). What is your attitude to the Word of God? You need to read and meditate on it daily.
- Birthday Blessing: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree” Psalms 92:12