“Be Sober”

Thursday, November 15.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8)

The year is about to end.  For some, 2017 has been a year of joy and happiness.  It has been a year of great gains and successes.  Some folks have made gains in their finances, educational pursuit, marriage, family life, and the list goes on.  For some, it has been a difficult year.  It has been a year of financial losses, family problems, loss of jobs, deaths of loves ones, etcetera.  God tells us to be thankful in every situation.  We thank Him for all He has done for us.  As we come to the close of another year, it is important for us to be sober and vigilant.  In First Peter five, God tells us in His word to be self-controlled because the devil, Satan is all around the place.  He will come to us in many forms.  In this time of our Savior’s birth, our enemy is the world.  The world will come to us dress with the glitter and glamour of a commercialized Christmas.  It will come with a Christmas from which Jesus Christ is excluded.  We indulged in it and become our own enemies, when we lose ourselves in spending orgies.

Christmas’ call is to be alert because it is a time of Christ’s coming.  Christ is our friend.  He honors us by taking us into His confidence and love. (John 15:15)  This true friend bears all our sins and griefs.  He comes as the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  We must be vigilant because our Lord’s return will be unannounced and unexpected.  Let us pray that God will keep us alert in this darkened world. Let us pray that God helps us make Christ the reason for this season.

Memory verse: Luke 12:40

“Be vigilant because nothing one achieves last forever.” Tahar Ben Jelloun

 

https://firstchurchnewton.org/daily-devotions/1815/

“Let Us Worship God all the Days of our Lives”

“Let us God all the Days of our Lives!”                                                                                

Wednesday, November 14.

“I will praise God all my life, I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” Psalms 146:2

At Wesley Park, a retirement community for seniors in Newton, Kansas, I had the opportunity to lead worship and preach.  The hymn was “Softly and Tenderly, Jesus is Calling.”  As I sang along looking around the room, everyone’s attention was buried into the hymnal.  About ninety percent of all those in the room was above the age of seventy.  There were folks who were ninety four, eighty seven, eighty years of age.  Some did not even wear glasses but could read out the words very clearly.  As I sang along, I could not stop beaming with smiles and joy.  What  went through my mind was Psalms 146:2, where the Psalmist vow that he will praise God all his life and that he would sing song of praises to God as long as he lives.  At one point, he reminded his audience that he once was young and then he grew old.  During these periods, he has never seen God give up on the righteous!  What more about us?  It is important for us to always worship God till we leave this earth. It is important for us to worship God in the morning, noon time, evening and even at dawn.  It does not matter the place, or our age.  We can be frail, feeble or energetic.  God made us to know him, love him, serve him and worship him.  Let us begin our day praising Him for His kindness and His mercy, and His providence in our lives.  If we truly love God, worshiping will never be a burden.

Memory verse: Psalms 138:1

“Worship changes the worshiper in the image of the worshiped.” Jack Hayford

 

“God Gives us Prosperity”

“God Gives Us Prosperity”

Tuesday, November 13.

“Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enable him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work-this is a gift from God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19

Every material possession we have comes from God.  It is God who provides for us.  The cars we ride, the house we sleep in, all comes from God. God loves us so much that He bless us with things we do not work for.   The hand of God bestows material wealth on His children because He wants them to be happy.  God does it without trouble.  He brings heavenly blessings to this temporal life on earth.  Ecclesiastes 5:19 reminds us that all these things God gives us are gifts.  The question here is, How do we use the gifts God gives us?  We should use those gifts to give back to God’s work, to the community and for ourselves.  Unfortunately, our inability to properly dispense the wealth God gives us results in many people being hungry in the midst of plenty.  Our inability to properly use the material wealth God blesses us with results in the work of God not being done.  One thing here is, if we misuse the money intended to do God’s work, we will be punished.  God requires us to use every dime given to us for the purpose of His work for the intended purpose.  If we do not please the Lord, the blessings God gave us will be taken away.  “To the man who please Him, God give wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner He give the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.” Ecclesiastes 2:26  Let us be prudent today in the way we use the wealth God has given us.

Memory verse: Proverbs 3:5

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.” Psalms 1:1

Going through Life’s Struggles”

“Going through Life’s Struggles.”

Monday, November 12..

“We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22

The journey in life can be near smooth for some people.  The journey can be difficult for others.  Even becoming a Christian, does not mean, we will have everything.  Visiting the library during my refugee days, I grabbed a copy of Rupert Hughes’s “We Can’t Have Everything.”  It was a difficult period in my life.  The title of the book pointed to the fact, that some things in life will be beyond our reach.  Life itself is often a struggle.  From the scripture above, there are two truths.  The first truth is that there will be tribulation in life.  There will be trials and temptations.  The second truth is that we will enter the kingdom of heaven after we go through hardships.  This is because Jesus has overtaken the world.  In the world, we will have troubles.  Jesus Christ passed through many hardships to overcome these troubles.  In John 16:33, Christ assures us that He has overcome all hardships, pressure, depression, and distress.  Today, we may be experiencing life as an uphill road.  You may not be a popular person. You may not be rich or famous.  You may not have close family ties or good health.  Don’t worry.  Be happy.  Jesus Christ is the family you never had.  Jesus Christ will give you good health.  Jesus Christ is your path to honor, when the time comes.  Let us remember that with Jesus, all things are possible.  Jesus has gone through all what you will go through in life in terms of difficulties.   Remember that sweet old hymn, ‘Trust and Obey?’  It tells us to trust Jesus and obey Him.  This is the only way to be happy in Him      Just trust Jesus!!

Memory verse:  Proverb 3:5.

“Trust what you see, not what you hear.” PictureQuotes.com

“Joy and Happiness”

“Joy and Happiness”

Friday, November 9.

“He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.”

For a Christian, there is a difference between being happy and being filled with joy.  Some will say happiness is sometimes temporary and based largely on circumstances.  Joy is deep in our heart, coming from our faith based upon God’s word and the love of an unchanging God.

There are many Scriptures that points out happiness and joy.  Proverbs 3:13 says, “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom…” Happiness is that gladness that comes to us when something is good.  It makes us to live in the moment.  It brings comfort at the time.

Joy on the other hand is when we are pleased with what life unfolds whether good or bad.  The Psalmist puts it this way, “Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.  For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”  Joy is rejoicing when everything goes wrong.  It is being glad in the face of calamity.  How can one have joy, when things around is not going good.  It is a fruit that is produced by the Holy Spirit.  It shows when we have faith in God no matter what.

We have nothing to fear when we rest in God’s unchanging love and the Holy Spirit that provides us with a list of gifts including peace and joy.

Memory verse: Proverbs 14:21

“If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.” Carlos Santana

“Be Diligent in your service”

“Be Diligent in your Service ”

Thursday, November 8.

“And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end….”  Hebrews 6:11

In all my over fifteen years of itinerant ministry, I have observed many folks who give their all to the service of the church and God.  I have seen where many folks have gone the extra mile, in doing what is needed to be done to help the work of God.  I had the chance to work with an elderly woman in congregational care ministry in Dayton, Ohio.  This lady was involved in almost all church activities.  She sang in the choir, serve on the Committee on Stewardship, Congregational Care Committee, and the list goes on.  What is unique about her service is that she is always willing and has a plan.  She would carefully list out who needed visit.  She would make calls ahead to folks and will know what each person need is.  She did all these work in the church without trying to get praises.  She would always shied away from folks who will want to praise her in the open.  In our quest to serve God, let us always do it with focus, willingness, and commitment.  Let our work have a trademark.  Let our work be done with urgency.  Let us not procrastinate.  If there is a work that has to be done, let us do it now.  When we work in the house of God, we will always want to do what God has called us to do with diligence.  Let us work diligently to cover all areas of our calling.  God who sees us in secret will always reward us. Let us pray that God will give us the energy to serve him with all He has blessed us with.

Memory verse: Galatians 6:10

“What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.” Samuel Johnson

“Let Us Teach Our Children About God”

“Let us Teach our Children about God.”

Wednesday, November 7.

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:13-14

Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior taught about the importance of children.  In one scenario, Christ rebuked His own disciples for stopping parents, from bringing their children to Him.  He later lay His hands on them and prayed for the children.  He also pointed out that the little children belongs to the kingdom of heaven.  Isn’t that wonderful to hear.  If Jesus Christ informed us that children were important to the kingdom of God, then we should always make it our business to help our children to know Jesus.  We should help our children to know God.  One way we can teach our children about God, is to teach them that everything on the earth was created by God.  Teach children, the Bible says we should trust God.  Teach children that God is bigger then our understanding.   If we teach our children that the food, the clothes, the toys we give them were provided by God through us, they will learn that God is real.  We will find out that children will ask us many questions about God. They will ask questions like, “Who made God? Why do God want us to breathe?  The reason they ask such questions is to learn.  Anything we tell them sticks. They will go out into the world and hear and see good things.  They will always believe that these things come from God.  We must seize any opportunity to teach them about the Creator.  Let us pray that our children will know God every day.

Memory verse: Matthew 18:1

“Father, I pray my child looks to you for strength to hold strong to convictions.  Psalms 28:7

“The Different Faces of Love”

“The Different Faces of Love”

Monday, November 5

“For God so love the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

In the New International Version of the Bible, the word love is used a little over 550 times.  The word love as used in the Bible can be interpreted in different ways.  The three ways it is used comes from three Greek word Eros (romantic or sexual feelings), Philo (brotherly love), and Agape (unconditional love). In John 21:15-17, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?”  Jesus asked Peter on three different occasions the same question. Peter answered in the affirmative each time Christ asked him.  Christ was asking Peter if he love him unconditionally.  Too often in life, the love shown by many comes with conditions.  Even from parents, children get love that is based on conditions.  I love you if you do the home work, obey the rules, do the household chores. In too many instances those rules are broken, and one or the other have to take actions that will not be satisfactory to the other.  But God loves (agape) us without condition.  If we do not return the affection, God still loves us.  In John 3:16, God loves us and sent Jesus Christ to die for us.  We do not have to deal with any other face of love.  We do not have to satisfy any condition to get his love.  Today, let us concentrate on God’s love for us.  We can nurture the love we have for our brothers, sisters, our neighbors into unconditional love.

Memory Verse: Matthew 22:37

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus of Nazareth

“Serving Others Is Serving Christ”

“Serving others Is Serving Christ.”

Friday, November 2.

“Let each of you look not own to his own interest, but also to the interest of others” Philippians 2:4

On September 11, 2011, I traveled to the 37 Military Hospital in Ghana, to care for a sick uncle.  As I walked into the lobby, by the nursing station, I looked up at the television. What I saw will forever trouble my heart.  Sky News was broadcasting live,the 911 terror attack in New York City. I don’t know how long I stood there, but the scene was chaotic and frightening.  One thing that caught my eyes was seeing people running towards the area, where all the chaos was going on.  These people were among the many first responders who had gone to help.  I did not know who first responders were. As I learned later, many of these people were fire fighters, police officers, good Samaritans, who lost their lives helping others.  Nine years later, I found myself sitting near that very spot. I have visited that place about a dozen times.  Every time I go to New York, I can not resist going there.  Often times, I prayed for the victims and their family and for America.  As I think about why I always find myself visiting, The realization is to pay homage to those who sacrifice for others. It reminds me every time of Hebrews 13:16, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifice is pleasing to God.’  People from all walks of life, give all that they had, their bloods, sweats, toils and their lives to help other.  God is pleased with their sacrifice.  On this day, we remembered all those who died from a senseless act of terror, perpetrated on innocent people.  We remember those who ran to their aid and suffer in the process.  We remember those who died in the process.  We remember their act of bravery, reminding ourselves of God’s command for us to look after the interest of others.  God bless America!

Memory verse: James 4:17

“Helping others in need is not only a responsibility of life; it is what gives meaning to life.”  Mollie Martin

“Bless with the Spirit of Boldness”

“God has not given us the spirit of Fear.”

Thursday, November 1..

“Jesus immediately aid to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” Matthew 14:27 (NIV)

After World War II, a man hid for thirty two years out of fear of pro Nazis war time activity.  The man would cry whenever he heard the happy voices of people outside.  He would not even show his face outside.  He did not attend his mother’s funeral due to the same reason.  Janez Rue, the man being talked about, when into hiding at his sister farm house.  Janez was discovered years later. According to Today in the Word, Janez discovery came, when his sister bought a large supply of bread from a nearby village to store.  According to Janez, he did nothing but just stare down the village in the valley.  Fear has a way of paralyzing people.  Fear has a way to blinding people.  Fear has a way of distorting the truth.  Fear can even cause death out of ignorance.  Fear can cause one person to abuse another person, without the person being abused saying nothing. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of boldness and a sound mind.  In this world in which we live, it is important to read the word of God for encouragement and comfort.  People who do not know the truth of a matter will misinform us, on things that aren’t true.  People will be misled by others who simply is not well verse on issues of war, politics, economics, science, and or many different subjects.  News outlet will give us information sometimes that simply aren’t true.  We will hear from leaders, statements that are not helpful to the peace and security of our existence.  It is important for us to lean towards what God tells us in His word.  We as Christian must count on Jesus and His saying for our support.  Jesus tells His disciples that the peace makers are blessed because they shall be called the children of God.  He also gives us many words of wisdoms in the beatitude in Matthew chapter five.  Jesus is with us.  With Him, we have peace and a spirit of boldness and a sound mind to make reasonable judgment.  With Jesus, we have the teachings to love each others and not live in fear and hate.  With Jesus, we can live with God in eternity.

Memory verse”: Psalms 34:4

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25