MY YEAR OF CLOSER WALK WITH GOD

Psalm 119: 1 & 2

Pastor Julius Oladiran OgunkolaIn “life’s walk” as in “games plan,” there is a notion of what is fair and what is foul. And, whether in an enterprise or in a sport, we are in competition in which we don’t like to lose. However, we all agree that integrity and honesty should control the atmosphere. Yet, not everyone keeps to the rule of fairness. We can foul on ourselves or on others and when there is violation of either, there is defilement. We honour God when we practice what is fair and true. A person who has integrity has the security of a quiet life unlike the one who perverts the ways. No doubt, most of us have experienced varying degrees of pain and suffering due to evil perpetrated by others. Let us consider Mark 7:14-23. Jesus essentially requests that we do things God’s way; things that honour God. We must not live to confirm Isaiah 29:13 – “People draw near with their lips while their hearts are far from me.” Walking is one thing, talking is another! How often do we foul in what we talk or say! We must be mindful of our utterances. Sometimes, we may not say it but we exercise it because it is already in our hearts. As we advance in age, we sometimes assume that we have freedom to exercise prerogatives and discretions. We are not to use our freedom as an opportunity of the flesh but through love and fear of God serve one another – Galatians 5:13. ....Click here for more

Daily Devotional

For the Week: 14 th - 20 th June 2021


14th June

Topic: DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS

Text: Psalm 95:6-11

“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart.” - Vs.6-8a.

The fact that God is our Creator and knows everything about us (v.7) at any given instance, should impact the way we live every moment of our life. Psalm 95 serves a note of warning to the children of Israel after entering the Promised Land, to match up their worship of God with a heart of obedience. It also warns the new generation against acting like their forefathers who hardened their hearts in the wilderness and incurred God’s wrath (vs.8-10). Many still have not come to grips with the fact that acceptable and rewarding worship is one done in a true saving faith. The challenge to professing Christians today is to be sure their faith is a saving faith. Those who worship and praise the Lord must also hear and obey His voice. Our hearts get hardened when we repeatedly ignore the quiet still voice of the Holy Spirit, or His counsel from His Word. Confess and don’t harbor any known sins. He sees them all. The cloak of disobedience must be shed to enable you experience His rest (v.11).

Emphasis:

Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your heart because there is no escape for us if we neglect the great salvation He offers.

Prayer:

Give us a heart of flesh that is tender to respond positively to Your word, Oh Lord (Ezekiel 36:26).

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

Psalm 33-36
15th June

Topic: THE ISRAELITES REBELLED IN THE WILDERNESS

Text: Deuteronomy 1:22-33

“But you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of Jehovah your God.” - V.26.

Witchcraft is demonic. Witches are therefore not popularly welcomed in the society. Any one that fate catches up with, is usually stoned to death. But the highly favoured people of God, the Israelites, in today’s text, are rebellious. They had witnessed God’s mighty acts upon the Egyptians, yet, they rebelled against God. And “… rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft …” (I Samuel 15:23). We may wonder how in the face of God’s mighty works they could venture into unbelief and disobedience. But we may only have to look into our own lives to unravel the answer. In spite of God’s wonderful acts in our lives, many people weary Him with repeated disobedience. Consequently, almost a whole generation of the Israelites forfeited entry into God’s rest (the Promised Land) (Hebrews 3:11, Ps 5:11). When we fail to live in God’s will or refuse to be led by His Spirit, we incur a delay of fulfillment of, or total loss of God’s plan for our lives. We should have a holy fear of being out of the Lord’s will and losing His presence, grace and protection in our lives.

Emphasis:

Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry, therefore, avoid it.

Prayer:

Lord God, grant us the needed help and encouragement to consistently resist the sin of rebellion.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

Psalm 37-40
16th June

Topic: OBEDIENCE TO GOD BRINGS BLESSING

Text: Deuteronomy 11:22-32

“Behold, I Set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:” - Vs. 26-27.

When God initiated a relationship with Israel, He repeatedly emphasized to the nation, the necessity of love which comes from the heart. (Deuteronomy 10:12). This is the basis of any meaningful relationship. God had already given them an elaborate commandments to guide their conduct (Exodus 20). In the text before us today, the ultimate benefits God’s people would receive is the Promised Land (v.24). God sets, therefore, before them, the choice of receiving a blessing or a curse. This is to help constrain them to live in obedience unto God. Christians today are in a unique relationship with the Lord. God’s desire is to bring all people into a loving and rewarding relationship with Him. God says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14:23). As New Testament believers, we also have before us, a choice to make. If we depart from following God’s will, there is a curse to torment. But if we choose to follow His righteous ways, we will enjoy His presence, help and covenant protection.

Emphasis:

Obedience is the bedrock of abundant blessings from the Lord.

Prayer:

Lord God, grant me the enablement to consistently choose to follow your righteous ways, even when it is difficult to do so.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

Psalm 41-44
17th June

Topic: WE ARE AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST

Text: II Corinthians 5:16 - 6:2

“We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.” - V. 20 (NIV).

One of the valedictory messages I received each time I graduated from an institution of higher learning was, “You are an ambassador of this great institution.” An ambassador is a representative of a body, an organisation or a country, who is sent to promote the interests, culture, and missions of the sending body. Faithful believers are Christ’s ambassadors sent to treat with sinners on peace and reconciliation. Reconciliation pre-supposes there had been a quarrel. The issue of sin has set man apart from the holy God. But God in His compassionate nature is appeased, and had made provision for reconciliation through Christ’s atoning death. Christ is now seated in Heaven, and has committed the work of reconciling sinners back to God, unto all believers. A Christ ambassador is a new creature, with, a regenerated heart, new values, and new goals, as distinct from the past. In the past he was in the flesh serving the world. Are you a believer in Christ? You are already enlisted to the business of restoring sinners to fellowship with God.

Emphasis:

The church has been given the ministry of reconciliation, calling all people to be reconciled to God (v.20).

Prayer:

Thank You Lord, for the honour done Your children in faith, to rise up in Christ stead, to complete the work of reconciliation.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

Psalm 45-48
18thJune

Topic: HOLD YOUR CONFIDENCE FIRM

Text: Hebrews 3:12-19

“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.” - V.14.

Some people view salvation as holding a ticket to heaven. They believe that once they have it, they can do as they please because no one can take away their “ticket.” This view is disastrous. We would believe that the failure of the Israelites in the wilderness is a failing of “unbelief.” While we are justified by faith, and not by works, such a callous disregard for our behavior reflects a failing faith. If falling away were not possible, there would be little reason for Scriptures to offer such warnings. Rather than having a ticket to heaven, we should view our salvation as a relationship with Jesus Christ. No one in a loving relationship would believe that what he or she did was not important. We have the precious privilege of being partners with Christ. We share in His kingdom but there is a condition that must be met to keep our position. We need to be steadfast unto the end. How we begin the race is important but how we finish it is very vital. Do not become weary like some who fell out of the race (II Timothy 4:7), but strengthen your spiritual stamina to finish up well.

Emphasis:

How we begin the Christian race is important, but how we finish it is vital

Prayer:

Many people of faith who started well have fallen along the way. Lord God, strengthen me, that I become not weary, but to finish the journey of faith well.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

Psalm 49-52
19th June

Topic: WE WHO BELIEVE ENTER GOD’S REST

Text: Hebrews 4:1-5

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left of us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” - V.1.

Many people today, are groaning under heavy burdens of life and affliction of sin. When one is overwhelmed with anxieties of life and without peace, one thing that he needs most is rest. A lot who feel that by acquisition of wealth – houses, fleet of cars, business concerns, landed properties, and many more - they would experience rest, have been disappointed. In actual fact many are in rest crises. God, in today’s text promises us His rest (v.1). And Jesus says, “… come unto me … and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). This is God’s spiritual rest. When we enter into God’s rest, we experience His peace. And someone has rightly said, “No Jesus, no peace.” And, “Know Jesus, know peace. Only those who believe the saving message of Christ and consistently abide in His word, enter into God’s spiritual rest (v.3a). By this, Christ takes our burdens and guilt of sins away, and gives us peace in all circumstances. However, in this life our rest is only partial. For believers, there remains an eternal rest in heaven (John 14:1-3; Hebrews 11:10, 16).

Emphasis:

… one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses

Prayer:

Merciful God grant me the Grace of abiding peace and rest in whatsoever position life may bring my way

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

Psalm 53-56
20th June

Topic: MAKE EFFORTS TO ENTER THAT REST

Text: Hebrews 4:6-13

“Therefore let us labor to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of unbelief.” - V.11.

Yogi Berra, an American professional base-ball catcher, who later became a Manager and a Coach, once observed that a game is “not over until it is over.” What is true of a game of baseball is certainly just as true of a Christian life. Just as it is possible for a football team to lose the game at the injury time, the writer of Hebrews warns the readers that it is possible to fall away even if one has made a good start in the Christian life. Life is much more like a marathon than a hundred metre-dash. We must persist to the end. Spiritual growth helps us to endure. The Jewish forefathers had fallen in the wilderness because they were not willing to step out on faith to do the work of entering the Promised Land as God required. For that work of faith, it would have been realized that it was actually God working behind the scenes to defeat the enemies. Their failure is an example of unbelief. The rest God promised us is not the same as the one in Canaan, but a spiritual rest, the ultimate of which is eternal rest. This should be our motivating factor not to lose focus, no matter the huddles.

Emphasis:

The Christian life is not something to be finished very quickly but must be endured, however long.

Prayer:

Lord God, give me the grace to make my Christian race to the finishing line

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

Psalm 57-60