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: 26 th July - 1st August 2021


26th July

Topic: SELECT THOSE FULL OF THE SPIRIT

Text: Acts 6: 1-7

“Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.” - V. 3 (NIV).

Leadership problem was one of the banes of the early Church, even as it is today. When a Church grows numerically, administrative challenges are bound to manifest because in any community of people there are differences of opinions and beliefs therefore, conflict of interest is inevitable. When the number of disciples in the early church multiplied, Grecian widows were neglected in their daily distributions, and there arose murmurings (v.1). Challenges or crises in the Church, if allowed to thrive, will derail her vision, and the Church will become a laughing stock to the outside world! Call to mind the various factional parties that have broken out of many Churches! This brings no glory to the Lord. The Apostles saw the need for a conducive atmosphere and then selected men of honest report, and full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom (v.3). It didn’t even matter that the responsibility was to serve tables (vs.2, 3). They were then able to focus on their primary assignment (v.4). Today, the Church should make progress in her divine assignment, with less dissipation of energy on trivial issues. Men whose lives are continually being influenced by the Holy Spirit should be considered for leadership positions.

Emphasis:

When Christians whose lives are full of the Holy Spirit are in leadership positions, crises will be well managed.

Prayer:

Lord, fill me with your Spirit so that I may effectively fit in to carry out the work that you have placed in my hands.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

Ecclesiastes 5-8
27th July

Topic: PAUL DIDN’T SHRINK FROM HIS MINISTRY

Text: ACTS 20: 17- 24

“You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.” - V.20.

In today’s passage, Paul summoned the elders in the church of Ephesus and reminded them of what the work of the ministry entails (vs. 19-24). He does this through the narration of his own life’s experiences while ministering in their midst. There are many today who love ministry, but do not love its challenges. Paul says ministry requires consistency (v.18); humility; diligence; non-compromise of biblical standard, enduring tearful situations and overcoming temptations (v.19); faithfulness (v.20); enduring persecutions (vs.22,23); self-denial (v.24) and other afflictions and sufferings. These conditions have not changed. Has God called you into ministry? Brace up and prepare to weather many of these storms which tend to shift our focus from the goal of the ministry. In the face of the harshest conditions, Paul did not count his life dear (v.24). He remained focused. There is a satisfying joy we receive when we finish our course well (v.24). God, who calls, is faithful. He provides the supports and the needed grace.

Emphasis:

Nothing that you go through should be enough to stop you from proceeding and excelling in what God has called you to do.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, help me to stay faithful in whatever it is that you have committed in my hands.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

Ecclesiastes 9-12
28th July

Topic: KEEP WATCH OVER THE FLOCK

Text: Acts 20: 25-31

“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” - V. 28

What is most paramount in God’s heart is that all “men” come to repentance and be saved. That is why He came in the flesh to purchase them for Himself with the precious blood of His beloved Son. These saved ones are therefore precious in God’s sight, to the point that He does not want any of them to be lost. This rallying point, is Paul’s heart beat in today’s Scripture reference. To this end, Paul instructs the Ephesian Elders to keep watch over themselves and over the flock of God (v.28). Established believers in Christ are Overseers in varying degrees, who have oversight function over God’s children around them. If you are one, Paul instructs that you “feed” and “watch over God’s children (vs.28-31). This is a continuous responsibility that includes teaching the whole will of God without fear or favour (II Timothy 4:2). You must also diligently protect them from false teachers, who could draw them away from faith. It also requires constant visitation to know their states and help meet their needs sacrificially. We should not be a stumbling block or the reason why an individual will not make heaven. Rather, we need to encourage and support them.

Emphasis:

We have been saved to serve, hence let us keep watch over the flock of God.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I know that your love for me is unceasing, please help me to, in turn, keep watch over the flock that you have placed in my care.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

Solomon 1-4
29th July

Topic: REMEMBER YOUR LEADERS

Text: HEBREWS 13: 7-14

“Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” - V.7. (NIV)

Many godly leaders have mentored and impacted the lives of lots of their children in the Lord. Perhaps you are one of these beneficiaries. I can recall many of the burdens my fellowship and church leaders went through in my formative years after I became a Christian - teaching me basic Christian tenets, giving counsels, correcting, rebuking, paying visits, giving sacrificially, and encouraging me while going through emotional set-backs. Now, with a hindsight, I realize that it is not always easy to establish a person in faith. Indeed the demands upon godly leaders are enormous. Consequently, there is need to reflect frequently on those dynamic leaders - that Christian Brother or sister, and those fellowship leaders and pastors – and appreciate them. One of the things that will put smiles on their faces is when we sustain the gains they have rubbed off on our lives through them, and also replicate this on others around us. As we remember them prayerfully, God’s Spirit will inspire our hearts in spiritual and tangible ways to be thankful unto them.

Emphasis:

Frequently reflect on the godly leaders, placed in your ways to transform your life and, show appreciations to them in tangible ways.

Prayer:

Lord God, help me to be thankful to Your servants that You have put along my journey of faith to transform my life.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

Solomon 5-8
30thJuly

Topic: A BISHOP MUST BE ABOVE REPROACH

Text: I Timothy 3: 1-7

“Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, and able to teach.” - V.2.

In a world that looks more to image than character, the church must hold true to God’s word in regard to leadership. Nowhere is this more important than in the selection of leadership for the local congregation. What a leader does “off the court” affects the work in leading the church of the Lord Jesus. Character qualities such as being disciplined, peaceable, and above reproach are necessary in a world that too often values the opposite. Today, more predominantly, the church places prospective candidate’s personality, preaching gifts, administrative abilities and academic accomplishments, above his moral and spiritual endowments. Qualities are general traits that may be present in varying degrees, while qualifications are absolutes. A person must meet all “qualifications,” or he is disqualified, ineligible. When God’s standard is tampered with in the selection of Christian leaders, there will always be crises. The church must re-evaluate her selection criteria and return to the biblical standard set forth in the reference passage.

Emphasis:

The church must re-evaluate her selection procedures, with a view to returning to the biblical standard set forth for leadership positions in the church.

Prayer:

Revive Your church O Lord, by helping her to return to the biblical standard set forth for selecting leaders in Your church. It is time again for another Family Life Line programme. Ask God to visit our families and revive, renew and establish enduring love in the family-fold.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

Isaiah 1-3
31st July

Topic: DEACONS MUST BE SERIOUS

Text: I Timothy 3: 8-13

“Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.” - V. 8.

In the New Testament, deacons simply means “servants” in a general sense. But in our passage today, Paul uses this word to refer to a specific office of the church. A similar relationship exists between the Priest and the Levites, in the Old Testament, on one hand, and between the Elders or Pastors and the Deacons in the New Testament, on the other hand. The office of the deacon is therefore a sacred position. Deacons assist the pastors by administering the temporal and material affairs of the church, just as the Levites assist the priests. This allows the pastors to give themselves fully to prayer and the ministry of the Word. The spiritual qualifications for deacons are essentially the same as for pastors. In the selection of the seven servants (deacons) in Acts 6, men were sought who were of honest reports, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. A deacon must be well able to manage his house-hold, because charity begins at home, and must live above reproach. Deacons in this sense refers to every serious Christians, hence the allusion here in this text is to all believers in Christ who must imbibe godly character and servant heart.

Emphasis:

The spiritual qualifications for deacons are essentially the same as for pastors. And, biblical standard must not be set aside.

Prayer:

Lord God, give us men and women who are really servants with impeccable character, humble and full of the Holy Spirit to serve in Your house.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

Isaiah 4-6
1st August

Topic: GOOD LEADERS - WORTHY OF DOUBLE HONOUR

Text: – I Timothy 5: 17-22

“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” - V. 17.

It cannot be over-stressed that the burdens of leadership with respect to those who rule in the fear of God in our local congregations, is enormous. Although for this, they ought to be held in high esteem, most often, they suffer neglect and contempt. However, as much as we respect them, they must still be held accountable for irresponsible and sinful actions. This is the biblical view, and Paul charged Timothy accordingly. Today, the situation in this regard is not different. Individuals and corporate bodies must admire and embrace the counsel to give double honour to our worthy leaders. These may be through our moral, material and financial provisions for them. We must also honour them through encouraging Christian conduct. In matters of discipline, when they err, they must be accorded dignified treatment without fear or favour, by other elders, or a properly constituted disciplinary committee. We need to always remember that these leaders are still human beings, who also have their emotional and psychological needs. They therefore need our prayers at all times.

Emphasis:

: Godly church leaders should be appreciated by providing them with adequate remuneration, and protection as well as proper discipline when they err.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, give me the grace to honor our leaders that work relentlessly for the sake of the gospel.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

Isaiah 7-9