Monday, July 23
EXEMPTIONS FROM MILITARY SERVICE
Deuteronomy 20:5-8“And the officers will speak further to the people and they will say, ‘What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest his brother’s heart faint as well as his heart.” Deut. 20:8, KJV Christian service is one that requires commitment and dedication that is extraordinary. A true Christian that God will enroll in His service must be one that is not burdened with the cares of this world. This is because anyone that is burdened with the cares of this world will end up chasing after the things of the world at the expense of the Gospel of Christ. In our passage today, God gave instructions to Israel on how to enlist men for warfare as she goes about possessing the Promised Land. The following people were to be exempted: one who is yet to dedicate his new house, one who is yet to eat from the produce of his vineyard, one who is yet to marry his betrothed, and anyone who is afraid. These people were to be exempted because the thought of what they left behind could make them lose focus on the battle field, thereby putting the entire nation at risk. Only men of single focus and courage were to be enlisted for battle. Friend, are you a single-focused, courageous soldier of Christ? Is the thought of worldly goods not affecting your devotion to Christ and His mission? If you are still entangled by ‘civilian issues,’ then you are not fit to be in the Lord's army.
- Birthday Blessing: But you will rejoice in the LORD and glory in the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 41:16b
Sunday, July 22
STRIVE TO ENTER GOD’S KINGDOM
Luke 13:22-30“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door.” Luke 13:24, NIV The story was told of a young lady who was weeping bitterly and uncontrollably at the convocation ceremony of a University. What happened was that the lady was a brilliant student but in her second year, she lost focus and went about partying. She no longer attended classes, did assignments, wrote examinations nor participated in any of the things that would ensure her graduation in good time and with good grades. So when her mates were graduating and rejoicing, she couldn’t graduate with them because her grades were so woeful that it would take her some extra sessions to make them up. Though she wept bitterly, it was too late because the Senate had sat and the decision had been made. In our text today, Jesus warned His listeners to do everything necessary to gain access into the kingdom before it is too late. No matter how difficult the Christian race is, we are this day enjoined to endure and persevere until we get to the kingdom. Don’t lose focus of where you are going; do not mind the challenges on the path but focus on the final reward of reigning with the Lord on the last day. It would be too late for anyone to decide for Christ after death or on the Judgement Day. Now is the time to decide to live for Jesus.
- Birthday Blessing: I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them. Amos 9:15
Saturday, July 21
ABUNDANT LIFE TODAY AND ETERNALLY
Mark 10:28-31“No one who has left home ... or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age … and in the age to come, eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30 As human beings, the silent question we often ask before embarking on anything is “What is in it for me?” As a young boy, I was fond of going to greet a particular woman on my way from the choir rehearsal. Although the woman’s shop was not on the route to my house, I delighted in making the detour because every time I visited the woman, she would give me fifty kobo which I used to buy sweets and other things. My reason for going to greet the woman was not because I loved or respected her but because of the regular parting gift of fifty kobo, which was then a big sum of money. After listening to Jesus description of how difficult it is to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, Peter asked “What will be our reward for leaving all to follow you?” “We have abandoned our homes and business to follow you, what shall we benefit? What is in it for us?” Jesus responded that a hundredfold reward here and hereafter plus eternal life is the reward for anyone who forsakes all to follow Him. Following Jesus may appear difficult and unpopular now, but it is exceedingly rewarding. Apart from having all those things people pursue as additions, we are also guaranteed eternal life with Jesus. Nothing can be more profitable!
- Birthday Blessing: The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nah. 1:7
Friday, July 20
HEAR AND ACT ON THE WORD
Matthew 7:24-29“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24, NIV The most important part of any structure is its foundation. No matter the architectural uniqueness and elegance of a building, if its foundation is weak, it is only a matter of time before it comes crashing down. Jesus made a comparison between the wise and foolish builders; likening those who live in obedience to His words to wise builders while the disobedient are likened to a foolish builder. One of the striking issues in this passage is that the same challenges came upon both the house built on rock and the one built on sand. They were both challenged by the rain, flood and wind yet one stood while the other fell greatly. In the journey of life, everyone will be faced with times of rain, flood and winds (the tough challenges and tempting situations of life); however, only those who are firmly rooted and built up in the Word of God will be able to stand in the face of life’s challenges. It is not enough to just hear (or read) the Word of God; it is more profitable to obey and put it to practice. It is as you obey the Word of God that it becomes flesh and dwells within you to such extent that people will see its glory in your life. How much of the Word (quantity) do you have and how strong (quality) is the Word in you?
- Birthday Blessing: “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame...” Isaiah 58:11
Thursday, July 19
BY THEIR FRUITS YOU WILL KNOW
Matthew 7:15-23“By their fruit, you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:16a, NIV St. Francis of Assisi once invited a young monk to accompany him to town to preach. The novice felt honoured by the opportunity. The two set out for the city then walked up and down the main street then several side streets. They chatted with peddlers and greeted the citizens. After some time, the younger man reminded Francis of his original intent. “You have forgotten, Father, that we went to town to preach.” “My son, he replied, “we have preached. We have been seen by many. Our behaviour was closely watched. Our attitudes were closely measured. Our words have been overheard. It was by thus that we preached our morning sermon.” Jesus here warns believers to beware of false prophets and wolves clothed in sheep’s attire. Though they may have all the religious terms, their deeds betray them as emissaries of the Devil. The fruit they bear on and off the pulpit, is the proof of who they really are. Do not be swayed by the sweet, flowery, motivational or inspiring words of anyone or the ‘miracles’ that attend their ministrations; rather carefully consider their lifestyle before queuing behind them. Are you a disciple? Do the fruits you bear attest to your confession? By their fruits you shall know them; by your fruits you shall be known.
- Birthday Blessings: The Almighty shall be your defense, and you shall have plenty of silver. Job 22:25