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: 12 th - 18 th April 2021


12th Apr.

Topic: PAUL REMEMBERS THESSALONIANS’ FAITH

Text: I Thessalonians 1:1-5

“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.” - V. 3.

“Faith, Hope, and Love” are virtues every believer should possess. I Corinthians 13:13 calls them virtues that will last forever. These are more than just armchair virtues, they are like calories that can’t actually be seen, but their results are visible. They provoke constant activity. Real faith always produces real works (James 2:18-20), labour of love builds on the work of faith(Galatians 5:6). Like genuine faith, love produces action. It is put into action by sacrificing our time, money, resources and energy for others. Hope can be likened to a cord that binds faith and love together. What makes us put our faith to work by loving not just those who do good to us but extending the love of Christ even to our enemies and to those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44), is because we patiently hope in our Lord Jesus Christ who will reward every faithful follower of his life. Our hope in Him is not just an optimism of a bright future but a confident expectation about the future, based on trust in God’s promises. These promises holds true both in this present life and in the world to come. Hope requires patience because we are saved by hope. Romans 8:24. Let us therefore not cast away our confidence of hope in our Lord Jesus, let us endure all hardship as a good soldier of Christ, not relenting in a faithful service to His course.

Emphasis:

Patient hope in Jesus kept alive, strengthens us to keep walking in love and showing our Faith by our works

Prayer:

Help me Lord to wait in hope for the fulfilment of your promises in my life

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

I Kings 19-22
13th Apr.

Topic: YOU HAVE BECOME AN EXAMPLE

Text: I Thessalonians 1:6-10

“So that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.” - V. 7. (NKJV)

Yesterday, it was emphasized that Faith, Hope and Love are not just passive virtues. When the Holy Spirit works out these virtues in the life of a believer, it speaks louder than even a verbal communication of such a believer’s faith in the Lord Jesus. We are in a world where many profess to be Christians, but the character they exude is in conflict with what they profess. Though Jesus’ followers will face hardships and oppositions, our faith in Jesus cannot be validated if it is not put to test by trials. Through the tests and trials we face, our succor is the Holy Ghost who serves our inner man with a joy that keeps us strong in the face of all challenges. When we display great strength and an unexplainable joy in spite of the persecution we receive from men for our hope in the Gospel (James 1:2), our lives become an inspiration and a message to our fellow believers and even a means by which unbelievers are drawn to the knowledge of Christ. It has been recorded at various times in history that the doggedness of believers in the face of persecution sparked great revivals in such communities where they resided and even beyond the shores of their land. Strive to make sure what you believe is in tandem with how you live no matter the challenge you face for hoping in the Lord Jesus.

Emphasis:

Let your life be indeed an evident example of one who professes faith in the Lord Jesus.

Prayer:

Holy Spirit, work out the positive virtue of grace upon my life in order to walk in faith, hope and life.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

II Kings 1-3
14th Apr.

Topic: PAUL’S COMING WAS NOT IN VAIN

Text: I Thessalonians 2:1-8

“For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain.” - V.1. (NKJV)

Our motives and intents in whatever we do as regards external service to God is much more important than the service itself. As a minister of the gospel, a worker in your local church or whichever capacity you find yourself serving in the body of Christ, the heart with which we serve must be right. Monetary gain and self-recognition should never be the reason why we serve in God’s vineyard. God seeks for faithful stewards who will serve Him with fervency and a pure heart. It is a great responsibility to serve in God’s vineyard, it is a high level of trust that has been placed by God in our hands. We must not seek to be men-pleasers, we must not also take advantage of God’s flock or promote one’s self due to graces God bestowed upon our lives. If we find an expression of any grace in our lives, it is not for personal gain or use, it is to serve the people of God faithfully, bearing in mind that stricter judgment will be given to those who are masters in God’s vineyard (James 1:3). In all you do, God who called you should be the one to please not man, otherwise, all you do may be a vain service to God.

Emphasis:

Be a good shepherd of God’s flock that is placedunder your care, watching over them not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be (I Peter 5:2) (NLT).

Prayer:

Father, grant me tangible result in all I do for Mission and life’s endeavours so that I do not labour in vain

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

II Kings 4-6
15th Apr.

Topic: YOU RECEIVED GOD’S WORD

Text: I Thessalonians 2:9-13

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” - V.13.

Have you ever wondered why there are so much powerful teachings of God’s truth but without many lives been transformed by such teachings? The problem is definitely not from God’s true word but rather from how the heart of men receives the word. In the parable of the sower (Luke 8:5-15), the same seed was sown, but the result in the hearts were different. God’s word must be received in good spirit, internalised and acted upon if we will profit from it. God requires of us a simple heart to profit from His Word. Our lives can only be truly transformed and our souls saved if we receive God’s word with simple and meek heart(Psalm 119:130; James 1:21. We must be ready to trade our ideologies, principles, standards and ways for God’s. God’s ways and thoughts are far apart from ours(Isaiah 55:8. If we insist on following our own ways, it will only lead to death (Proverbs 16:25). God’s word comes to reveal to us how a man should live. When the light of God’s word dawns in our heart, we must be quick to believe and conform our ways to it, so we can live a purposeful and fulfilling life.

Emphasis:

Promises of God must be planted in a good soil, that is, heart, in order to obtain a fruitful result.

Prayer:

Lord, as I plant the word of Your promise, I look forward to reaping a bountiful harvest thereof.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

II Kings 7-9
16thApr.

Topic: YOU HAVE SUFFERED FOR CHRIST

Text: I Thessalonians 2:14-20

“For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews.” - V.14.

The persecution we face for Christ arises not just from unbelievers alone but from even many acclaimed Christians. Suffering for Christ is not only when Christians are martyred for their faith. Every time we choose to pattern our lives according to Christ’s standards, we should expect confrontations and oppositions from not only infidels, but also fellow Christians who have chosen not to also take up their cross and die daily. This is also suffering. This explains why you may have been denied promotion at work severally because you have refused to conform to ungodly life styles. We are denied some rightful benefits in the world because we have chosen to please Christ. The world will always be against us for following the path of Christ and it is even more painful when our fellow brethren disdain us for living according to the dictates of Christ. Then, what do we do? Compromise? Not at all! Christ Himself was killed by the very Jews He came to save. So, His followers should expect the same. We are subject to God, not man. If we understand the Cross, we will realize that following Jesus means accepting hardship and daily carrying our crosses. Our gaze should be fixed on the hope of Eternal life (Titus 1:2). We must always hold fast this confidence, and reassure our hearts that, glorious crowns await those who endure these hardships for Christ’s sake.

Emphasis:

Jesus and His sufferings remain the substitutionary measure for life’s sufferings, and it is incontrovertible.

Prayer:

Lord God, since suffering for the cause of Christ is an appendage of our Christian pilgrimage, grant me the grace to identify with You, in Your suffering.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

II Kings 10-12
17th Apr.

Topic: TIMOTHY SENT BY PAUL TO ENCOURAGE

Text: I Thessalonians 3:1-5

“And sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith.” - V.2. (NKJV)

Afflictions will always accompany the gospel of Christ. These afflictions are stirred by the tempter- the devil - to shift our gaze from our Lord Jesus, and move us away from the hope of the gospel. At such a challenging moment, we all need encouragement to give us a reassurance for our profession of faith. Afflictions are bound to come at different phases of our sojourn on earth. Be encouraged that the afflictions that come our way, are light, and are but for a moment. It is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (II Corinthians 4:18). Never look at the affliction, but focus on the eternal reward that awaits those who fully endure to the end. You can also be a vessel God uses to help others in their trying moments. The words we speak to people when their faith is challenged can either strengthen or dampen their spirit. We will always need each other to strengthen one another on the journey of faith. Be that person who can spur believers on, to keep journeying when their faith in Christ is tried.

Emphasis:

Always be an encourager and, not a discourager to people around you.

Prayer:

Father, use me to lift up the spirit of those around me who are cast down.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

II Kings 13-15
18th Apr.

Topic: TIMOTHY BRINGS BACK GOOD NEWS

Text: I Thessalonians 3: 6-13

“But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also see you.” - V. 6. (IKJV).

It is the joy of every Pastor to see his members prosper in the faith. It is also the joy of every parent to see their children grow and mature properly. I believe God is interested to see His children live and show how much they love Him. This is by displaying the virtues of faith and love despite the assaults they face. God desires we grow up spiritually and not remain as babes in the faith. One of the signs of maturity is that we trust Him no matter the challenge we face, and to walk in love. Being a Christian is an active profession not a passive one. It is not just marking attendance in church on Sundays. It is an active work of faith and love. How we show we are true disciples of Jesus is in how we live our daily lives no matter the contradictions that come our way. God is glorified when we actively grow in faith, the Gospel is adorned and we also lay up for ourselves treasures in Heaven.

Emphasis:

There will be so much joy in the heart of God when He sees His children living for Him

Prayer:

Amidst life’s contradictions and trials, O Lord God, be thou glorified.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:

II Kings 16-18