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Daily Devotional

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Tuesday, November 20, 2018
11. A gracious woman retains honor, But ruthless men retain riches.
17. The merciful man does good for his own soul, But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.
18. The wicked man does deceptive work, But he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward. 19. As righteousness leads to life, So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.
20. Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the Lord , But the blameless in their ways are His delight. 21. Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; But the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.
22. As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.
23. The desire of the righteous is only good, But the expectation of the wicked is wrath. 24. There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty.
25. The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.
26. The people will curse him who withholds grain, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.
27. He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, But trouble will come to him who seeks evil.
28. He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage.
29. He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, And the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.
30. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.
31. If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, How much more the ungodly and the sinner.
Proverbs 11:16‭-‬31 NKJV
Yesterday, we saw the evil in working deceit for gain. Today we read in verse 18 that the wicked works a deceitful work, but that the person who sows righteousness is guaranteed a reward. This seems to encourage the righteous not to work a deceitful work. It tells those who continue in well-doing that they’ll ultimately receive a sure, certain, guaranteed reward from God.
When the wicked do a deceitful work, because they are not caught or exposed, they think that they have got away with it. Not so with the righteous God. The wicked shall surely be punished since their deceitful work is an abomination to God. We sow righteousness when we obey the requirements or commandments of God. That is why the Bible enjoins us in Gal. 6:9 not to be weary in well doing, since we shall reap in due season, if we faint not. Verse 31 of our text for today concludes it so beautifully for us: “Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner” (KJV). The righteous should always bear in mind that an unfailing reward shall surely come to them one day. The promise of God to reward the righteous shall certainly come to pass. Alleluia!
Prayer: O Lord, help me to always bear in mind that an unfailing reward will surely come to me if I remain righteous

Monday, November 19, 2018
1. The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
2. To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding,
3. To receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, judgment, and equity;
4. To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion—
5. A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
6. To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles.
7. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8. My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother;
9. For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.
10. My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.
11. If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;
12. Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit;
13. We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil;
14. Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse”—
15. My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path;
Proverbs 1:1‭-‬15 NKJV
Righteousness is a Christian virtue which relates to being in right standing or relationship with God. This relationship is as a result of freedom from sin or guilt. By this, it is important to distinguish this kind of righteousness (which refers to righteousness credited to us by God when we believe in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, who freed us from all sin by dying for us) from that which may come as a result of our efforts to be morally right. This kind of self-righteousness is like a dirty cloth in the eyes of God (Is. 64:6).
Many people feel that living righteously is a hindrance to their earthly pursuits but there are many gains for those who live a righteous life. Righteousness brings deliverance from troubles, keeps one on the right path, and also causes the nation/society to be blessed and exalted. There is indeed no gain for the unrighteous; instead there are several woes. Let us therefore endeavour to be counted among the righteous in our generation.
Prayer: Lord, enable me to live a righteous life in my generation so that I can enjoy the blessings thereof. Amen.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday, November 18
1. For behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, Takes away from Jerusalem and from Judah The stock and the store, The whole supply of bread and the whole supply of water;
2. The mighty man and the man of war, The judge and the prophet, And the diviner and the elder; 3. The captain of fifty and the honorable man, The counselor and the skillful artisan, And the expert enchanter.
4.“I will give children to be their princes, And babes shall rule over them.
5. The people will be oppressed, Every one by another and every one by his neighbor; The child will be insolent toward the elder, And the base toward the honorable.”
6. When a man takes hold of his brother In the house of his father, saying, “You have clothing; You be our ruler, And let these ruins be under your power,”
7. In that day he will protest, saying, “I cannot cure your ills, For in my house is neither food nor clothing; Do not make me a ruler of the people.”
8. For Jerusalem stumbled, And Judah is fallen, Because their tongue and their doings Are against the Lord , To provoke the eyes of His glory. 9. The look on their countenance witnesses against them, And they declare their sin as Sodom; They do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves.
10.“Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, For they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
11. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, For the reward of his hands shall be given him.
12. As for My people, children are their oppressors, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths.”
13. The Lord stands up to plead, And stands to judge the people.
14. The Lord will enter into judgment With the elders of His people And His princes: “For you have eaten up the vineyard; The plunder of the poor is in your houses.
15. What do you mean by crushing My people And grinding the faces of the poor?” Says the Lord God of hosts.
16. Moreover the Lord says: “Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, And walk with outstretched necks And wanton eyes, Walking and mincing as they go, Making a jingling with their feet,
17. Therefore the Lord will strike with a scab The crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, And the Lord will uncover their secret parts.”
18. In that day the Lord will take away the finery: The jingling anklets, the scarves, and the crescents;
19. The pendants, the bracelets, and the veils;
20. The headdresses, the leg ornaments, and the headbands; The perfume boxes, the charms,
21. and the rings; The nose jewels,
22. the festal apparel, and the mantles;
The outer garments, the purses,
23. and the mirrors; The fine linen, the turbans, and the robes.
24. And so it shall be: Instead of a sweet smell there will be a stench; Instead of a sash, a rope; Instead of well-set hair, baldness; Instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth; And branding instead of beauty.
25. Your men shall fall by the sword, And your mighty in the war.
26. Her gates shall lament and mourn, And she being desolate shall sit on the ground.
Isaiah 3:1‭-‬26 NKJV
Our reading today calls for a very sober reflection. It is about the judgment of God on Judah and Jerusalem. This judgment was in the form of famine (He took away the stock and the store). There was an absence of men of integrity and courage, righteous judges, true men of God, skilful people, uncorrupted leaders, etc. The land was so poor and devastated. Can you see a similarity with our situation in Nigeria today? What brought all these? Sin! They forsook God (v8), became wicked – oppressed the poor, elected or selected unserious and ungodly people to rule them; their women lived in stupendous luxury while the majority of the people suffered. No wonder the judgment of God fell upon them. However, in all these, “it shall be well with the righteous” (v10). God always rewards faithful and obedient behaviour. This is a call to repentance for our nation and nations that turn away from the Lord.
Prayer: O Lord, have mercy on our nation and forgive our wickedness

Friday, November 16, 2018
TEXT: PROVERBS 10: 15-25
15. The rich man’s wealth is his strong city; The destruction of the poor is their poverty.
16. The labor of the righteous leads to life, The wages of the wicked to sin.
17. He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, But he who refuses correction goes astray.
18. Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, And whoever spreads slander is a fool.
19. In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise. .
20. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; The heart of the wicked is worth little.
21. The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of wisdom.
22. The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it.
23. To do evil is like sport to a fool, But a man of understanding has wisdom.
24. The fear of the wicked will come upon him, And the desire of the righteous will be granted.
25. When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.
Proverbs 10:15‭-‬25 NKJV
Our reading today brings out important virtues that a child of God should imbibe. Riches are good, but you should not place your trust in them (James 1:9, 10). It is good to work hard and do well because God will bless the work of the righteous and lead them to eternal life. It is important to live a life of obedience to God. Obedience leads to life (1 Sam. 15:22). You need to be careful with your tongue (James 1:19). The more you talk, the more likely you are to sin. If you are wise, you will keep quiet.
The words of the righteous can benefit people, so listen to godly people and practice the word of God. It is only blessing from the Lord that lasts and gives peace of mind. Work hard but trust in the Lord to bless the work of your hand. Believe God for understanding and wisdom as you face various life challenges, and do not be afraid. God has not given us the spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). As we trust in the Lord, He will continue to give us grace to live a righteous life.
Prayer: O Lord, help me to live a life that glorifies you.

Thursday, November 15, 2018
1. The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son makes a glad father, But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.
2. Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, But righteousness delivers from death.
3. The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish, But He casts away the desire of the wicked.
4. He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
5. He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.
7. Blessings are on the head of the righteous, But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
8. The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.
9. The wise in heart will receive commands, But a prating fool will fall. He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become known.
10. He who winks with the eye causes trouble, But a prating fool will fall.
11. The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
12. Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.
13. Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding.
14. Wise people store up knowledge, But the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
Proverbs 10:1‭-‬14 NKJV
This proverb of Solomon is rich in knowledge; it explains this virtue, wisdom and its results. Solomon goes further to align wisdom with righteousness. As with the whole Book of Proverbs, this one highlights the gains of wisdom and the folly of foolishness. Wisdom and righteousness result in some of the following: makes a father glad for his wise son, delivers from death, brings blessings, sharp memory, obeys commandments, is a fountain of life, brings riches, makes one walk in integrity, gives understanding, gives knowledge, etc.
Wisdom comes from God. 1 Cor. 1:30 says that Jesus is the wisdom from God. It is only the wise that look for God and are loyal to the Almighty. The fool says in his heart that there is no God (See Psalm 53:1).Wise men still seek God. Our wisdom is measured by our decision to follow Jesus and by righteous living. Are you wise? Judge for yourself today! Have you wisely found Jesus and made Him your Lord and Saviour? If no, do so now.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, make me a wise son or daughter who makes his/her parents glad and not angry.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
TEXT: Nehemiah 13:17-31
17. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, “What evil thing is this that you do, by which you profane the Sabbath day?
18. Did not your fathers do thus, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Yet you bring added wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.”
19. So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after the Sabbath. Then I posted some of my servants at the gates, so that no burdens would be brought in on the Sabbath day.
20. Now the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice.
21. Then I warned them, and said to them, “Why do you spend the night around the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you!” From that time on they came no more on the Sabbath.
22. And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should go and guard the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of Your mercy!
23. In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab.
24. And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people.
25. So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves.
26. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved of his God; and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin.
27. Should we then hear of your doing all this great evil, transgressing against our God by marrying pagan women?”
28. And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was a son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite; therefore I drove him from me.
29. Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.
30. Thus I cleansed them of everything pagan. I also assigned duties to the priests and the Levites, each to his service,
31. and to bringing the wood offering and the firstfruits at appointed times. Remember me, O my God, for good!
Nehemiah 13:17‭-‬31 NKJV
In this passage, the Sabbath Day kept holy for the Lord, was neglected. Foreigners were carrying goods into Jerusalem at random on Sabbath days and selling. The temple of God was forsaken. The Priesthood was defiled along with the Sabbath. Marriages with pagan nations like Syria, Ammon and Ashdod took place. The children of Judah lost their original language because of foreign marriages. These pagan women caused the people to forget their God. This mixed marriage was the same thing that led to the fall of King Solomon (1 Kings 11:4-6).
The gate of Jerusalem is the gate of the temple of God. Your body represents the temple of God (See 1 Cor. 6:13-20). What do you allow into this temple; the Syrians, Ammonites or Ashdodites? Don’t allow digital or analogue trafficking to defile this temple (See Mark 7:14-23). Contend with the merchants at the gate of your heart. The heart is the portal of entrance of good and evil. Guard your heart jealously with the word of life. Don’t make your heart a thoroughfare.Also, don’t marry pagan women or they will turn your heart away from God.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to guard and guide my heart against defilement and pollution.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
TEXT: Nehemiah 13:4-16
4. Now before this, Eliashib the priest, having authority over the storerooms of the house of our God, was allied with Tobiah.
5. And he had prepared for him a large room, where previously they had stored the grain offerings, the frankincense, the articles, the tithes of grain, the new wine and oil, which were commanded to be given to the Levites and singers and gatekeepers, and the offerings for the priests.
6. But during all this I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Then after certain days I obtained leave from the king,
7. and I came to Jerusalem and discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, in preparing a room for him in the courts of the house of God.
8. And it grieved me bitterly; therefore I threw all the household goods of Tobiah out of the room.
9. Then I commanded them to cleanse the rooms; and I brought back into them the articles of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.
10. I also realized that the portions for the Levites had not been given them; for each of the Levites and the singers who did the work had gone back to his field.
11. So I contended with the rulers, and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their place.
12. Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain and the new wine and the oil to the storehouse.
13. And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouse Shelemiah the priest and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah; and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah; for they were considered faithful, and their task was to distribute to their brethren.
14. Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for its services!
15. In those days I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them about the day on which they were selling provisions. 16. Men of Tyre dwelt there also, who brought in fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on the Sabbath to the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.
Nehemiah 13:4‭-‬16 NKJV
This passage highlights the introduction of opposition and pollution into the house of God by certain disgruntled elements. The House of God is sacred and should be kept holy. People like Sanballat and Tobiah should be kept out of it. Eliashib the Priest allowed Tobiah to live in the storeroom where holy things dedicated to God were kept. He had an alliance with him thereby polluting the temple of God. What was meant to give service to God was turned to give service to a selfish man. Nehemiah was bold enough to resist and discontinue this pollution (vv4-9).
Jesus had to personally chase people away who traded and exchanged money on the floor of the Temple during his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He declared that His Father’s House should be the house of prayer but the people had turned it to inglorious use through their trading activities. When we turn places of worship to inglorious use, we join to pollute it. Are you contributing to such? Change today. Also, our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not pollute it.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may you help me not to pollute my body, your temple.

Monday, November 12, 2018

1. On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people, and in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever come into the assembly of God,
2. because they had not met the children of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them. However, our God turned the curse into a blessing.
3. So it was, when they had heard the Law, that they separated all the mixed multitude from Israel.
Nehemiah 13:1‭-‬3 NKJV
Zerubbabel and Nehemiah were agents of revival in the land of Israel. One major revival was to make sure the ministers of God were catered for on a daily basis. Another revival was on the public reading of the Law. Remember that Timothy was advised to attend to the public readings of the word of God (1 Tim. 4:13).
Hebrews 10:24-25 talks about the importance of coming together in worship and fellowship. This is to stir up love and good works. We are encouraged never to forsake such gathering together as we await Jesus’ return. When we gather, our activities according to Acts 2:42-46 should include teaching (apostles’ doctrines), fellowship, breaking of bread (Eucharist), prayers and praises. Our gathering should also involve the reading of the word. The minister should be faithful to his congregation in ensuring that the prayer, word and worship life of the church is kept aglow. As a member of the congregation, you should also value the fellowship of your local church and contribute to its growth. When we come together in fellowship, the blood of Jesus is available to cleanse us from our sins (1 John 1:7). Do you attend your Church regularly and partake of the activities? If no, do so today.
Prayer: My Lord, please give me grace not to forsake the fellowship of your people.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

TEXT: Isaiah 2:1-22
1. The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2. Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the Lord ’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.
3. Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord , To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4. He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.
5. O house of Jacob, come and let us walk In the light of the Lord . 6. For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, Because they are filled with eastern ways; They are soothsayers like the Philistines, And they are pleased with the children of foreigners. 7. Their land is also full of silver and gold, And there is no end to their treasures; Their land is also full of horses, And there is no end to their chariots.
8. Their land is also full of idols; They worship the work of their own hands, That which their own fingers have made.
9. People bow down, And each man humbles himself; Therefore do not forgive them.
10. Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, From the terror of the Lord And the glory of His majesty. 11. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.
12. For the day of the Lord of hosts Shall come upon everything proud and lofty, Upon everything lifted up— And it shall be brought low—
13. Upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, And upon all the oaks of Bashan; 14. Upon all the high mountains, And upon all the hills that are lifted up;
15. Upon every high tower, And upon every fortified wall;
16. Upon all the ships of Tarshish, And upon all the beautiful sloops.
17. The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, And the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; The Lord alone will be exalted in that day, 18. But the idols He shall utterly abolish. 19. They shall go into the holes of the rocks, And into the caves of the earth, From the terror of the Lord And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily.
20. In that day a man will cast away his idols of silver And his idols of gold, Which they made, each for himself to worship, To the moles and bats,
21. To go into the clefts of the rocks, And into the crags of the rugged rocks, From the terror of the Lord And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily.
22. Sever yourselves from such a man, Whose breath is in his nostrils; For of what account is he?
Isaiah 2:1‭-‬22 NKJV
Part of this passage dwells on the proud, lofty, haughty and the high-minded. This nature or position was what the devil introduced to humanity. Haughtiness is like idolatry and rebellion. High-mindedness is thinking you are the most important person to God. God hates such. This is linked up with worshipping other gods than Jehovah (Isa. 2:10-19).
What do you understand from verses 8-9? What is your object of worship? God will not give His glory to man or any being (Isa. 42:8). Jesus said that it is only God we should worship and serve. Where do you belong now? God’s terror is coming on the children of disobedience (Isa. 2:19). You cannot run away from the presence of the Almighty. Amend your ways today and run to Jesus for safety.
Prayer: Lord, teach me your ways and I shall walk in your path (Isaiah 2:3).

Saturday, November 10, 2018
TEXT: Nehemiah 12:44-47
44. And at the same time some were appointed over the rooms of the storehouse for the offerings, the firstfruits, and the tithes, to gather into them from the fields of the cities the portions specified by the Law for the priests and Levites; for Judah rejoiced over the priests and Levites who ministered.
45. Both the singers and the gatekeepers kept the charge of their God and the charge of the purification, according to the command of David and Solomon his son.
46. For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chiefs of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.
47. In the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah all Israel gave the portions for the singers and the gatekeepers, a portion for each day. They also consecrated holy things for the Levites, and the Levites consecrated them for the children of Aaron.
Nehemiah 12:44‭-‬47 NKJV
Our text is a good example of budgeting to bless the men of God who minister unto you. Here, people were appointed for the upkeep of the ministers of God through offerings, first-fruits and tithes. Provisions were made for the Priests or Pastors, Levites, singers and all the ministers of God. Judah rejoiced over the Priests and all who ministered to them.
In some congregations, there is no provision for the ministers. Most of our ministers are left hungry and unable to even take care of their families. Sometimes, we have no regard for our ministers let alone talking about their well-being. When we first give our lives as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, (Rom. 12:1-2), it will be very easy for us to do the work of the Lord which includes taking care of the ministers or servants of God. May you change your ways today if you have been showing no interest in the welfare of God’s ministers. God will bless you.
Prayer: My Lord Jesus, I present my body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to you, which is my
reasonable service

Friday, November 9, 2018
TEXT: Nehemiah 12:27-43
27. Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps.
28. And the sons of the singers gathered together from the countryside around Jerusalem, from the villages of the Netophathites,
29. from the house of Gilgal, and from the fields of Geba and Azmaveth; for the singers had built themselves villages all around Jerusalem.
30. Then the priests and Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, the gates, and the wall.
31. So I brought the leaders of Judah up on the wall, and appointed two large thanksgiving choirs. One went to the right hand on the wall toward the Refuse Gate.
32. After them went Hoshaiah and half of the leaders of Judah, 33. and Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam,
34. Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, Jeremiah, 35. and some of the priests’ sons with trumpets—Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Michaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph,
36. and his brethren, Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God. Ezra the scribe went before them.
37. By the Fountain Gate, in front of them, they went up the stairs of the City of David, on the stairway of the wall, beyond the house of David, as far as the Water Gate eastward.
38. The other thanksgiving choir went the opposite way, and I was behind them with half of the people on the wall, going past the Tower of the Ovens as far as the Broad Wall,
39. and above the Gate of Ephraim, above the Old Gate, above the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel, the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Sheep Gate; and they stopped by the Gate of the Prison.
40. So the two thanksgiving choirs stood in the house of God, likewise I and the half of the rulers with me;
41. and the priests, Eliakim, Maaseiah, Minjamin, Michaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets;
42. also Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. The singers sang loudly with Jezrahiah the director.
43. Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.
Nehemiah 12:27‭-‬43 NKJV
We have just read about the zeal of Nehemiah to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Dedication of any building or project is a very important occasion before God. At the completion of the wall, dedication was to be made. The elders, the Levites, the priests, the princes, the singers and the entire people were gathered at Jerusalem for the ceremony. This was to mark the end of the project masterminded by God. Dedication of a project is so important that in Deut. 20:5, even a soldier can be permitted to go home and dedicate his new house than going into battle and dying, leaving another person to do it.
When a sinner gives his life to Christ, the Scripture records that there is joy in heaven for such an action. The thanksgiving choir in two groups sang to the glory of God during the dedication, offered great sacrifices and offerings. They rejoiced with the priests, leaders, women and children and were thankful to God. Check within yourself whether you show any appreciation to God for His mercies to you, your family and even to your Church.
Prayer: Lord, help me to dedicate my life afresh to you with rejoicing and thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

TEXT: Nehemiah 12:1-26
1. Now these are the priests and the Levites who came up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,
2. Amariah, Malluch, Hattush,
3. Shechaniah, Rehum, Meremoth,
4. Iddo, Ginnethoi, Abijah,
5. Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah,
6. Shemaiah, Joiarib, Jedaiah,
7. Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, and Jedaiah. These were the heads of the priests and their brethren in the days of Jeshua.
8. Moreover the Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah who led the thanksgiving psalms, he and his brethren.
9. Also Bakbukiah and Unni, their brethren, stood across from them in their duties. 10. Jeshua begot Joiakim, Joiakim begot Eliashib, Eliashib begot Joiada,
11. Joiada begot Jonathan, and Jonathan begot Jaddua.
12. Now in the days of Joiakim, the priests, the heads of the fathers’ houses were: of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah;
13. of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan;
14. of Melichu, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, Joseph;
15. of Harim, Adna; of Meraioth, Helkai;
16. of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam;
17. of Abijah, Zichri; the son of Minjamin; of Moadiah, Piltai;
18. of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan;
19. of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi;
20. of Sallai, Kallai; of Amok, Eber;
21. of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; and of Jedaiah, Nethanel.
22. During the reign of Darius the Persian, a record was also kept of the Levites and priests who had been heads of their fathers’ houses in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua.
23. The sons of Levi, the heads of the fathers’ houses until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib, were written in the book of the chronicles. 24. And the heads of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brothers across from them, to praise and give thanks, group alternating with group, according to the command of David the man of God.
25. Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers keeping the watch at the storerooms of the gates.
26. These lived in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor, and of Ezra the priest, the scribe.
Nehemiah 12:1‭-‬26 NKJV
God taught humans the need to keep records. God is a Statistician. Even a book of the Bible is known as Numbers where certain data were recorded. In verse 22 of our text we learnt that, “…a record was also kept of the Levites and priests who had been head of their fathers’ houses…”
Record-keeping is so important in life. Many of our parents due to ignorance and lack of education, never kept records of important events like birth and deaths. Our country Nigeria is in a state of confusion and it is affecting all areas of national life. We find it very difficult to lay hands on necessary data to plan with. What are we doing as individuals? Are you keeping records of milestones in your life, family and place of assignment? Can you help to curb the problem of falsification of age by keeping proper age records for your children? At the judgement, we shall all be judged from the records kept by God (Revelation 20:12). How are you making straight your life records with God so that you will not be a cast-away at last?
Prayer: My Father, teach me to walk rightly before you so that my record shall be straightened in heaven.

Wednesday, November 7
TEXT: Nehemiah 10:32-39
32. Also we made ordinances for ourselves, to exact from ourselves yearly one-third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God:
33. for the showbread, for the regular grain offering, for the regular burnt offering of the Sabbaths, the New Moons, and the set feasts; for the holy things, for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and all the work of the house of our God. 34. We cast lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for bringing the wood offering into the house of our God, according to our fathers’ houses, at the appointed times year by year, to burn on the altar of the Lord our God as it is written in the Law.
35. And we made ordinances to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the Lord ;
36. to bring the firstborn of our sons and our cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and our flocks, to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God; 37. to bring the firstfruits of our dough, our offerings, the fruit from all kinds of trees, the new wine and oil, to the priests, to the storerooms of the house of our God; and to bring the tithes of our land to the Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes in all our farming communities. 38. And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse.
39. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the grain, of the new wine and the oil, to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary are, where the priests who minister and the gatekeepers and the singers are; and we will not neglect the house of our God.
Nehemiah 10:32‭-‬39 NKJV
The House of the Lord mostly is where the children of God gather to worship God. The people of Israel noticed they had neglected the House of the Lord for some period. As part of the agreement mentioned earlier, they decided to bring their tithes as commanded so that there would be food in the storehouses (Malachi 3:10). They agreed to bring the various statutory offerings to the House of God to ensure that the servants of God were well taken care of. They also decided to offer their first-fruits of man, animals, grain and fruits as required by the Law.
Are you neglecting your Church? Many of us are so busy that we do not remember to contribute for the upkeep of our place of worship or the workers. Many do not look around to notice what is lacking. Have you ever noticed the peeling paints, the broken pews or chairs, the leaking roofs, etc.? Are you waiting for your Pastor to inform you things are not right before you act even when you know? Have you ever noticed that your Pastor’s children were sent home from school for lack of funds? Have you noticed that servants of God where you worship trek or take motor-bikes when you can help to better their condition? May we motivate the servants of God where we worship!
Prayer: Oh Lord, whatsoever my hands finds to do help me to do it with all my might in Jesus Name.

Tuesday, November 6

TEXT: Nehemiah 10:1-9, 28-31
1. Now those who placed their seal on the document were: Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah,
2. Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah,
3. Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah,
4. Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch,
5. Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,
6. Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch,
7. Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin,
8. Maaziah, Bilgai, and Shemaiah. These were the priests.
9. The Levites: Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, and Kadmiel. 28. Now the rest of the people—the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Nethinim, and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, everyone who had knowledge and understanding— 29. these joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes:
30. We would not give our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons;
31. if the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and we would forego the seventh year’s produce and the exacting of every debt.
Nehemiah 10:1‭-‬9‭, ‬28‭-‬31 NKJV
Various groups were part of those that sealed the covenant and signed the agreement. They were, Nehemiah (the Governor), the Priests, the Levites, gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, etc. They agreed not to marry foreign wives or give their daughters to foreigners, to walk in God’s Law, to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord and not to trade on the Sabbath Day and other holy days. It was a total turn around.
When things go wrong in the household of God or where you find yourself, do you join to make things right or stay aloof? The high and the low all joined hands to see that things which went wrong were put right. Our society today suffers from the inaction of the majority that could help to put things right. Are you part of such group or are you willing for God to use you as an instrument to make things work? Look around you and see what you can do to reconcile those quarrelling or having misunderstanding. Can you help to call people to order who are going contrary to God’s commandments? If you have gone astray, are you ready to retrace your step today like the Israelites?
Prayer: My broken and contrite heart, Oh Lord, may you not despise.


Monday, November 5
TEXT: Nehemiah 9:32-38
32.“Now therefore, our God, The great, the mighty, and awesome God, Who keeps covenant and mercy: Do not let all the trouble seem small before You That has come upon us, Our kings and our princes, Our priests and our prophets, Our fathers and on all Your people, From the days of the kings of Assyria until this day.
33. However You are just in all that has befallen us; For You have dealt faithfully, But we have done wickedly.
34. Neither our kings nor our princes, Our priests nor our fathers, Have kept Your law, Nor heeded Your commandments and Your testimonies, With which You testified against them. 35. For they have not served You in their kingdom, Or in the many good things that You gave them, Or in the large and rich land which You set before them; Nor did they turn from their wicked works.
36.“Here we are, servants today! And the land that You gave to our fathers, To eat its fruit and its bounty, Here we are, servants in it!
37. And it yields much increase to the kings You have set over us, Because of our sins; Also they have dominion over our bodies and our cattle At their pleasure; And we are in great distress.
38.“And because of all this, We make a sure covenant and write it; Our leaders, our Levites, and our priests seal it. ”
Nehemiah 9:32‭-‬38 NKJV
Nehemiah and the people, both high and low, acknowledged they had sinned and exonerated God. In verse 33 they stated, ‘…you are just in all that has befallen us; for you have dealt faithfully, but we have done wickedly.’ They agreed that they, their leaders and their fathers, had not kept God’s laws nor heeded His commandments. They lamented their condition which included being servants in the land God gave to them.
Our God is a covenant-keeping God. He watches over His words to fulfil it. Many times we have brought problems to ourselves by the path we chose. How many of us justify our actions when we go wrong like King Saul, Adam and Eve? Do we go to the extent of accusing God of being the architect of our calamities? Is it not time you acknowledge your wrong doings like the people of Judah by seeking the face of God through praying and fasting. It may not be too late if you start today. Jesus is standing at the door and knocking; will you open to Him today to come in and dine with you.
Prayer: Make 2 Chronicles 7:14 your prayer, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face…”

Sunday, November 4
TEXT: Isaiah 1:1-31
(Trinity 22)
1. The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
2. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me;
3. The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.”
4. Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the Lord , They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward.
5. Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, And the whole heart faints.
6. From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up, Or soothed with ointment.
7. Your country is desolate, Your cities are burned with fire; Strangers devour your land in your presence; And it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
8. So the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, As a hut in a garden of cucumbers, As a besieged city.
9. Unless the Lord of hosts Had left to us a very small remnant, We would have become like Sodom, We would have been made like Gomorrah.
10. Hear the word of the Lord , You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah: 11.“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord . “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats.
12. “When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts?
13. Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. 14. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.
15. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.
16.“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil,
17. Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.
18.“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord , “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
19. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;
20. But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. 21. How the faithful city has become a harlot! It was full of justice; Righteousness lodged in it, But now murderers. 22. Your silver has become dross, Your wine mixed with water. 23. Your princes are rebellious, And companions of thieves; Everyone loves bribes, And follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless, Nor does the cause of the widow come before them.
24. Therefore the Lord says, The Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, “Ah, I will rid Myself of My adversaries, And take vengeance on My enemies.
25. I will turn My hand against you, And thoroughly purge away your dross, And take away all your alloy.
26. I will restore your judges as at the first, And your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.”
27. Zion shall be redeemed with justice, And her penitents with righteousness.
28. The destruction of transgressors and of sinners shall be together, And those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
29. For they shall be ashamed of the terebinth trees Which you have desired; And you shall be embarrassed because of the gardens Which you have chosen.
30. For you shall be as a terebinth whose leaf fades, And as a garden that has no water.
31. The strong shall be as tinder, And the work of it as a spark; Both will burn together, And no one shall quench them.
Isaiah 1:1‭-‬31 NKJV
The Lord was lamenting over the children of Judah who had left His ways by rebelling against him. “…I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me” (v2). He narrated some of the ways they had gone astray: rebellion, taking bribes and receiving unjust gains and oppression of the widows and the fatherless. God was no longer interested in their worship, sacrifices, feasts and ceremonies because to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken more than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15:22-23).
Which father will feel happy when his children go against his ways and move in their own direction? When our children misbehave and follow their own ways, we never feel happy. Some will go to the extent of disowning their own biological children. What do we expect God who sacrificed His Son for our salvation to do? He is a righteous judge. He punishes iniquity and rewards righteousness. That is the reason for his invitation to us in verse 18 to come and reason with him to know where He had gone wrong. He is always ready to forgive and bless us (v18-19). What are you waiting for? Why not grab God’s olive branch today and turn away from your evil ways and return to Him. Like the father of the Prodigal Son, He will willingly accept you back. Please take the step back home, He is waiting for you.
Prayer: Dear Father, I have gone astray. May you kindly receive me back. I am so sorry.

Friday, November 2
TEXT: Revelation 14:6-13
(All Souls Day)
6. Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth— to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—
7. saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
8. And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
9. Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand,
10. he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 12. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. 13. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”
Revelation 14:6‭-‬13 NKJV
All Souls Day reminds us of the hope of the righteous dead. This text reminds us of the fate of the unrighteous - they shall be punished in various forms. Those who worship the beast and take his mark (666), are doomed forever in hell fire. In the same vein, there is hope for the righteous even at death. They will rest from their labours and their works follow them (v13).
1 Thess. 4:13-18 gives hope to all those who die in the Lord at the rapture. While we are living we are encouraged to remain steadfast in whatever we are doing because our labour in the Lord is not in vain. Eccl. 9:10 reminds us that whatever our hands find to do, we should do it with all our might because there is nothing else we can do at death. Even at death, we still have hope in Christ. Please do not give up hope or compromise because of what you are you passing through now because of your faith in Christ. God will see you through and you will be rewarded at last.
Prayer: My Lord Jesus, lead me through the journeys of life so I can enjoy your rest at last.

Thursday, November 1

TEXT: Revelation 14:1-5
(All Saints Day)
1. Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.
2. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps.
3. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.
4. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. 5. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Revelation 14:1‭-‬5 NKJV
These verses highlight more on the 144, 000 sealed, 12,000 each from the 12 tribes of Israel. The tribe of Dan was replaced by that of Joseph. (Revelation 7:1-8). They were redeemed from the earth. Their activities included being able to sing a new song before the throne. They were not defiled with women, being virgins; they faithfully followed the Lord and lived righteously. The tribe of Dan was possibly omitted for being the first tribe to officially adopt idol worship in Israel (Judges 18).
Every true believer in Christ is a living saint. God expects us to live a life of righteousness if we are redeemed of the Lord. It is not enough to claim to be a child of God, we need to live it out in such a way that that both God and man will testify. What is your present state? Surrender your life to Christ so that you will be counted among the saints. Like the tribe of Dan, know that no idol worshipper shall be in the congregation of the righteous.
Prayer: Oh Lord, may you work in me to be among the redeemed.



Wednesday, October 31
TEXT:Nehemiah 8:1-12
1. Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel.
2. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month.
3. Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. 4. So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose; and beside him, at his right hand, stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and at his left hand Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
5. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.
6. And Ezra blessed the Lord , the great God. Then all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
7. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law; and the people stood in their place.
8. So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading. 9. And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.
10. Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
11. So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.”
12. And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.
Nehemiah 8:1‭-‬12 NKJV
Joy is a spiritual thing that is released in us by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does this by giving us the understanding of the word of God we know or have heard. This understanding produces joy unspeakable in our hearts. Understanding God’s Word also gives godly sorrow which leads to repentance. When repentance is genuine, we are made right with God and the joy of the Lord becomes ours. This was the experience of the children of Israel in our text today. They desired that Ezra read the word of God to them. Having heard what was read, they became sorry because they discovered that they had erred and had derailed from God’s word. But after their genuine repentance, they were comforted and were told by the Levites to rejoice ‘for the joy of the Lord is your strength" (v10) “And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them” (v12).
Have you been caught in a web of sin and the word of God has been pointing it out to you? Do not rebel in your heart. Humbly submit to God’s word and repent and the joy of the Lord will be your strength.
Prayer: Lord, I accept Your word today and repent of all my wrong doings. Let Your joy be my strength, in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tuesday, October 30
TEXT: Nehemiah 7:1-11
1. Then it was, when the wall was built and I had hung the doors, when the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed,
2. that I gave the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many. 3. And I said to them, “Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house.”
4. Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few, and the houses were not rebuilt.
5. Then my God put it into my heart to gather the nobles, the rulers, and the people, that they might be registered by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of those who had come up in the first return, and found written in it:
6. These are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his city.
7. Those who came with Zerubbabel were Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel:
8. the sons of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two;
9. the sons of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two;
10. the sons of Arah, six hundred and fifty-two; 11. the sons of Pahath-Moab, of the sons of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and eighteen;
Nehemiah 7:1‭-‬11 NKJV
After Nehemiah had finished building the wall and gatekeepers, singers and Levites had been appointed, he set Hanani and Hananiah over the city of Jerusalem. Hananiah had the reputation of integrity, faithfulness and godly fear. So, it is clear that the appointment made by Nehemiah was based on the credibility of that individual.
One of the banes of the Nigerian society is the appointment or election of people of questionable character into public offices. Such people devour us and that which collectively belong to us. But we can correct this anomaly if we brace ourselves up to put the right people in positions, using our prayer power and votes. So, as we approach the year of election in our country Nigeria, let us be thus minded to set over ourselves, men of integrity who fear God. Let us not eat our future or destroy the hope of our coming generation by joining in taking bribes to elect or appoint leaders. We should not forget that ‘When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan’ (Prov. 29:2).
Prayer: Dear Father, we pray that you set over us men and women who fear You in this country, in Jesus name.

 Monday, October 29, 2018
TEXT: Jude 1-4
(St. Simon and St. Jude)
1. Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:
2. Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
3. Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jude 1:1‭-‬4 NKJV
Today, the church honours two of her Apostles in a single feast, as St. Simon and St. Jude, were united in their last ministry and martyrdom. St. Simon first preached in Egypt and St. Jude in Mesopotamia, but they both ultimately came to Persia where they suffered martyrdom on July 1, the date of their commemoration in the Eastern churches. Nicknames were added to the two Apostles so as to distinguish them from the others and to reveal their personalities. For example, Simon was called the “Zealot” (Zelotes in Greek and Canaanite in Hebrew meaning “Zealous”) while Jude or Judas the brother of James was commonly referred to as “Thaddeus” (Thadday meaning “courageous” in Hebrew). From our text, apparently Jude was concerned about apostasy creeping into the church, urging his readers to contend for the faith (v3) and warning them against the deceitful tactics of the apostates (v4).
“The Faith” Jude was referring to are: Christian doctrine that came from the Apostles` teaching, and Jesus’ teaching given to the Apostles. We must contend for this faith because counterfeit preachers have gained in-road into the church and they are tools in the hands of Satan, preying on new believers who are just escaping from the error of this world. We need courage and zeal in stopping these ungodly men in our churches from destroying the flock of God.
Prayer: Lord, give me grace to be zealous and courageous in defending the Faith in my generation. Amen.

 Sunday, October 28, 2018

Season: Trinity XXII
Study Sub-Theme: By power manifestation.
Topic: Power manifestation over situations and circumstances.
Aim: (i) To realize that the manifestation of God’s power over situations and circumstances is an act of faith; (ii) To understand that power manifestation pleases God; and (iii) To view power manifestation from God’s perspective rather than ours.
Text: Hebrew 11:30-38.
Christians’ walk with God does not insulate them from challenging situations and circumstances of life. The Bible is full of the accounts of very challenging situations of the children of God. The Bible records in very many places that Christians will have hard times; Jesus Himself tasted some. In many of these, however, there have been mighty deliverances or manifestations of His power, and God has been glorified. Such Christians also prove Satan wrong that men serve God for what they will get from Him (Job 1:8-11).
Study Guide:
Identify some of the situations and or circumstances, (including the characters that were involved) over which God’s power was manifested from the text.
In what ways did God demonstrate that He was pleased with His children that were involved in the situations or circumstances?Dan.3:18-25; 6:16-22; Luke 10:17-21
What lessons about God do the following Scriptures teach us in relation to this topic?Heb.5:6-8; Phil.2:8; John 21:19.
Comparing the above with Heb.11:11, 17-19, 32-37, how would you view hard times and lives?
God is pleased with us when we demonstrate His power over situations and circumstances. It must be noted, however, that it is not in all cases that such manifestations can result in what we may call ‘success’ or ‘victory’ today. The testimonies of those who defied the wickedness of their day, even at a cost to their lives, and what happened thereafter are also manifestations as we saw in Heb.11:36-38.
Food for Thought: That God is glorified in our situations and circumstances is of greater importance than the nature of our experiences.
Memory Verse: John 21:19.

 Saturday, October 27, 2018

TEXT: Nehemiah 6:1-14
1. Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates),
2. that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm. 3. So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?”
4. But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.
5. Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand.
6. In it was written: It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. 7. And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, “ There is a king in Judah!” Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together.
8. Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart.”
9. For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.” Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. 10. Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you.”
11. And I said, “Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!” 12. Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13. For this reason he was hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might have cause for an evil report, that they might reproach me.
14. My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid.
Nehemiah 6:1‭-‬14 NKJV
In whatever form of leadership one is made or becomes a leader, it is full of challenges from within and without. From our text, Nehemiah was attacked for being the leader of the Jews. The enemies sought to discourage and manipulate him. They even acted like friends, hoping to harm him (vv1-4), but God was greater than his enemies. They hated him and these were some of the devices used by his enemies: deception (v2), distraction (v3), false rumours (v6), threat (v7), hired informants (v10). Despite all these, he was firm and displayed the spirit of discernment.
We need strong, vibrant, determined, focused and fearless leaders like Nehemiah in our society today to right all the wrongs that have bedevilled us. Knowing full well that there is nothing a leader can do to impress or satisfy men, they will always find faults in whatever he/she does. Leadership is not a bed of roses neither is it a place of enjoyment; it is an assignment that comes with diverse challenges. Therefore, brace yourself up to confront whatever things that men might do to you as you lead in the family, community, group, association, church, etc.
Prayer: O God, strengthen my hands to accomplish the leadership task that is set before me in Jesus’ name. Amen.

                                                              Friday, October 26, 2018

TEXT:Nehemiah 5:14-19
14. Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year until the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the governor’s provisions. 15. But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God.
16. Indeed, I also continued the work on this wall, and we did not buy any land. All my servants were gathered there for the work.
17. And at my table were one hundred and fifty Jews and rulers, besides those who came to us from the nations around us.
18. Now that which was prepared daily was one ox and six choice sheep. Also fowl were prepared for me, and once every ten days an abundance of all kinds of wine. Yet in spite of this I did not demand the governor’s provisions, because the bondage was heavy on this people.
19. Remember me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.
Nehemiah 5:14‭-‬19 NKJV
Servant leadership is service to others. It is not about lobbying for a position or politicking for power. Instead, it is looking for opportunity to serve. Servant leaders avoid the limelight and serve in ways that often go unnoticed. Nehemiah and his team stood out as men who cared. They supported themselves for 12 years, and did not take the usual pay and support, as other governors and leaders had done (v14). Besides this, Nehemiah took no salary, flour, wine, or anything else from the people; he bought no land for himself; his servant worked without pay; and he fed 150 Jews and rulers at his table daily, besides many others who came from the heathen to settle in Jerusalem (vv14-19).
It is quite unfortunate that people of this kind of mind and attributes are fast disappearing in our society. Most of those that are interested in leadership positions today don’t have the fear of God in them. They see it as a “do or die” affair because of the benefits and privileges attached to the office. Even leadership positions in the church of God are not spared. Very soon, our politicians will begin their campaigns, they will promise us better days so that they can get our votes. Let us pray to God to give us leaders that are God-fearing in the forthcoming elections.
Prayer: Lord, fill our leaders with love of truth and righteousness, and make them mindful of their calling to serve the people in your fear in Jesus’ name. Amen.

                                                              Thursday, October 25, 2018

Thursday, October 25
TEXT: Nehemiah 5:1-13
1. And there was a great outcry of the people and their wives against their Jewish brethren.
2. For there were those who said, “We, our sons, and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain, that we may eat and live.”
3. There were also some who said, “We have mortgaged our lands and vineyards and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine.”
4. There were also those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our lands and vineyards.
5. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards.”
6. And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. 7. After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, “Each of you is exacting usury from his brother.” So I called a great assembly against them.
8. And I said to them, “According to our ability we have redeemed our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brethren? Or should they be sold to us?” Then they were silenced and found nothing to say.
9. Then I said, “What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?
10. I also, with my brethren and my servants, am lending them money and grain. Please, let us stop this usury!
11. Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them.”
12. So they said, “We will restore it, and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say.” Then I called the priests, and required an oath from them that they would do according to this promise.
13. Then I shook out the fold of my garment and said, “So may God shake out each man from his house, and from his property, who does not perform this promise. Even thus may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord . Then the people did according to this promise.
Nehemiah 5:1‭-‬13 NKJV
In the text today, the common people cried against the leaders, rulers, and money-lenders, who were oppressing them and taking advantage of their situations to oppress them. Many of the returned exiles were suffering at the hands of some of their countrymen. These people would lend large sums of money, and then when the debtors missed a payment, they would take over their fields and they will be left with no means of income and the debtors would be forced to sell off their children into slavery. Nehemiah acted swiftly and justly to put down all injustice and oppression in Judah.
The situation that caused the common people to cry during the time of Nehemiah is not different from our present situation in the nation. We could see the poor being oppressed and the rich taking advantage of the situation of the country to impoverish the helpless in the country. The money meant for the development of the nation and for the betterment of the common people is being looted by some cabals in the nation. Some people even think they are above the law; anything they do can never be brought to justice. People’s lives are no longer secured because of lack of security in the nation, brought about by deep-seated corruption. God hates oppression and has concern for the poor (Gen. 25: 35-37). If you are in this position of oppressing others – in your marriage as a husband, in your extended family, in your neighbourhood, and in your working place, have a rethink and desist from this habit.
Prayer: Lord, change the hearts of oppressors in this nation; and make me an instrument of love around me, in Jesus’ name. Amen

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

TEXT:Nehemiah 4:15-23
15. And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. 16. So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah.
17. Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon.
18. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me.
19. Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall.
20. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”
21. So we labored in the work, and half of the men held the spears from daybreak until the stars appeared.
22. At the same time I also said to the people, “Let each man and his servant stay at night in Jerusalem, that they may be our guard by night and a working party by day.”
23. So neither I, my brethren, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me took off our clothes, except that everyone took them off for washing.
Nehemiah 4:15‭-‬23 NKJV
When the task for rebuilding the wall commenced, the workers were spread out along the wall, Nehemiah devised means of protecting the people. Half the men worked while the other half stood guard. To further relieve the anxiety of the people, a communication system was set up. He appointed a man to sound the trumpet whenever there was any danger so that the people would come and fight together as one. The man who sounded the trumpet stayed with Nehemiah and people knew what to do if they heard the trumpet. The promise of open immediate communication helped the workers to accomplish their task. The administrative acumen of Nehemiah helped in the progress of rebuilding the wall. The entire group worked with one mind, some as labourers and others as security guards, every day in their own department. This posed a threat to their enemy.
In our Church today, there are different departments but the same goal of making people candidates of heaven (1Cor. 12: 4 - 6). If any of the departments fails, it can affect the other departments or bring setback to the vision and mission of the Church. Therefore, Christians must endeavour to work in unity and purpose. We must come together irrespective of our denomination and ministry and see one another as one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Our central focus should be Jesus. Nehemiah placed the workers in their different departments; they worked together and succeeded in accomplishing the task, defeating the plans of their enemy. In the same way, you have been positioned in your local assembly to help accomplish the goal of Christ in His Church. God wants you to work in unity with others to defeat the plan of the enemy against the Church.

Prayer: Lord, use me as an instrument of unity in Your Church in order to accomplish Your ultimate goal.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

TEXT:Matthew 13:54-58
(St James the Brother of the Lord)
54. When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?
55. Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?
56. And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?”
57. So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.”
58. Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
Matthew 13:54‭-‬58 NKJV
Jesus grew up in a family that included four half-brothers: James, Joses, Simon and Judas (who later wrote the epistle of Jude), (Matthew 13: 55 - 56). Throughout Jesus’ ministry, His brother James, along with the other three brothers, did not give Jesus the respect due him (John 7: 3-5). They thought He was not thinking clearly, and perhaps they wanted Him gone from their home (Mark 3:31-35). James and Jesus’ other brothers show him no honour. This saddened Jesus who spoke from that personal experience when he said “A prophet is not without honour except in his own country and in his own house.” (Matthew 13: 57). However, after Jesus’ resurrection, James and his brothers who had joined the company of believers now were convinced that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah and Son of God (Acts 1: 4). The way James introduced himself when wrote his epistle some 30 years later, clearly showed his humility: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1). James identified himself as the servant of Jesus rather than as a close relative. James apparently became the leader of the Jerusalem Church (Act.15:13-21).
Like James the brother of the Lord, it is never too late to make a u-turn to Jesus, to begin to serve him as your Lord and personal Saviour. You might have gone so far from him; even as a blasphemer, hater of the gospel, or whatever position you are now, away from Christ, you too can receive the light of Christ if you come to the knowledge of the resurrection power of Christ. When you come to Jesus, His vision and plan will be very clear to you. James the brother of the Lord became great among the Christian believers and also a reference point in settling the dispute in the church. When you come to Jesus, He will make you very relevant in His Kingdom. It is never too late for you to come to Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, I come to you afresh today, transform and draw me nearer in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Monday, October 22, 2018

TEXT: Nehemiah 4:1-14
1. But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews.
2. And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish— stones that are burned?”
3. Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall.”
4. Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their reproach on their own heads, and give them as plunder to a land of captivity!
5. Do not cover their iniquity, and do not let their sin be blotted out from before You; for they have provoked You to anger before the builders.
6. So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.
7. Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry,
8. and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion.
9. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.
10. Then Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.” 11. And our adversaries said, “They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.”
12. So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, “From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.”
13. Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows.
14. And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”
Nehemiah 4:1‭-‬14 NKJV
Sanballat was governor of Samaria and Tobiah was probably governor of Trans-Jordan under the Persians. Sanballat might have hoped to become governor of Judea as well. With the arrival of Nehemiah, his plan was truncated. Sanballat and Tobiah tried to scare Nehemiah away or at least discourage him by scorn, threats and ridicule. Nehemiah was no ordinary exile, he was the king’s personal adviser and cup bearer, arriving in Jerusalem with the king’s approval to build and fortify the city. Nehemiah had a burden to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem (Neh.2:1-5), but met with stiff opposition at Jerusalem from the hands of the Persian government officials who felt threatened that if the wall was rebuilt, they could lose total control of Jerusalem. These government officials: Sanballat and Tobiah, used ridiculous remarks to try to dissuade the Jews from building the wall but instead of Nehemiah getting discouraged, He prayed to God for divine intervention (v4).
Beloved, you may be receiving a specific instruction from God to embark on an assignment or take up a project and you are faced with several challenges. The support you are supposed to receive to accomplish the task is not available, instead you are faced with criticism, threat, or opposition. Those you look up to for assistance are even discouraging you. DO NOT GIVE UP but turn those obstacles to God in prayer. Nehemiah turned to God in prayer for every challenge he faced. You also can do what Nehemiah did and turn to God in prayer for your challenges. God who has given you the instruction to go ahead with the task is able to see you through and give you the grace to overcome the challenges (2 Tim.1:12). Nehemiah did not lose faith or give up but persevered in the work. If God has called you to a task, determine to complete it even if you face opposition or discouragement. You will be overcome at the end.

Prayer: Lord, give me grace to overcome every challenge that hinders my progress in Jesus’ name. Amen

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:2

Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.
Psalm 100
Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.
Know this: The Lord himself is God;
he himself has made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.
For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.
Psalm 148
1 Hallelujah!
Praise the LORD from the heavens; *
praise the LORD in the heights.
2 Praise the LORD, all you holy angels; *
praise the LORD, all heavenly host.
3 Praise the LORD, sun and moon; *
praise the LORD, all you shining stars.
4 Praise the LORD, heaven of heavens, *
and you waters above the heavens.
5 Let them praise the Name of the LORD; *
who commanded, and they were created.
6 The LORD made them stand fast for ever and ever *
and gave them a law which shall not pass away.
7 Praise the LORD from the earth, *
you sea-monsters and all deeps;
8 Fire and hail, snow and fog, *
tempestuous wind, obeying God’s will;
9 Mountains and all hills, *
fruit trees and all cedars;
10 Wild beasts and all cattle, *
creeping things and wingèd birds;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples, *
rulers and all judges of the world;
12 Young men and women, *
old and young together.
13 Let them praise the Name of the LORD, *
for the Name of the LORD only is exalted,
and the splendor of the LORD is over earth and heaven.
14 The LORD has raised up strength for the chosen people
and praise for all loyal servants, *
the children of Israel, a people who are near to the LORD.
Psalm 149
1 Hallelujah!
Sing to the LORD a new song; *
sing praise to God in the congregation of the faithful.
2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; *
let the children of Zion be joyful in their Sovereign.
3 Let them praise God’s Name in the dance; *
let them sing praise to the LORD with timbrel and harp.
4 For the LORD takes pleasure in the chosen people *
and adorns the poor with victory.
5 Let the faithful rejoice in triumph; *
let them be joyful on their beds.
6 Let the praises of God be in their throat *
and a two-edged sword in their hand;
7 To wreak vengeance on the nations *
and punishment on the peoples;
8 To bind their rulers in chains *
and their nobles with links of iron;
9 To inflict on them the judgment decreed; *
this is glory for all God’s faithful people.
Psalm 150
1 Hallelujah!
Praise God in the holy temple; *
give praise in the firmament of heaven.
2 Praise God who is mighty in deed; *
give praise for God’s excellent greatness.
3 Praise God with the blast of the ram’s-horn; *
give praise with lyre and harp.
4 Praise God with timbrel and dance; *
give praise with strings and pipe.
5 Praise God with resounding cymbals; *
give praise with loud-clanging cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath *
praise the LORD.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Ecclesiasticus 4:1-10 (NRSV)
My child, do not cheat the poor of their living,
and do not keep needy eyes waiting.
Do not grieve the hungry,
or anger one in need.
Do not add to the troubles of the desperate,
or delay giving to the needy.
Do not reject a suppliant in distress,
or turn your face away from the poor.
Do not avert your eye from the needy,
and give no one reason to curse you;
for if in bitterness of soul some should curse you,
their Creator will hear their prayer.
Endear yourself to the congregation;
bow your head low to the great.
Give a hearing to the poor,
and return their greeting politely.
Rescue the oppressed from the oppressor;
and do not be hesitant in giving a verdict.
Be a father to orphans,
and be like a husband to their mother;
you will then be like a son of the Most High,
and he will love you more than does your mother.
Canticle: Song of Zechariah
Luke 1:68-79
Blessed are you, Lord, the God of Israel; *
you have come to your people and set them free.
You have raised up for us a mighty savior, *
born of the house of your servant David.
Through your holy prophets you promised of old
to save us from our enemies, *
from the hands of all who hate us.
To show mercy to our forebears, *
and to remember your holy covenant.
This was the oath you swore to our father Abraham, *
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship you without fear, *
holy and righteous before you
all the days of our life.
And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, *
for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way,
To give God’s people knowledge of salvation *
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 (NRSV)
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.
Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.
Canticle: We Praise You, O God
Te Deum laudamus
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
All creation worships you,
the Father everlasting.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
the cherubim and seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.
When you took our flesh to set us free
you humbly chose the Virgin’s womb.
You overcame the sting of death
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come to be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.

Matthew 16:13-20 (NRSV)
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
God’s only son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.
Show us your mercy, O Lord;
And grant us your salvation.
Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
Let your people sing with joy.
Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
For only in you can we live in safety.
Lord, keep this nation under your care;
And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
Let your way be known upon earth;
Your saving health among all nations.
Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Create in us clean hearts, O God;
And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.

St. Margaret’s, Westminster, the parish church consecrated in 1523 on the grounds of Westminster Abbey, is part of the World Heritage Site with the Palace of Westminster. The abbey is a Royal Peculiar controlled by the monarch for national purposes, while St. Margaret’s serves the neighborhood; until 1972 it was the parish church of the House of Commons. The abbey is high church and St. Margaret’s is low for historic reasons; during and after the English Civil War, Parliament was Calvinist, and after the Cromwell government collapsed, the Commons wanted nothing to do with the royal pomp and circumstance next door. (source unknown)
Collect of the Day: Proper 24
Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A Collect for Sundays
O God, you make us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord: Give us this day such blessing through our worship of you, that the week to come may be spent in your favor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For Protection
Assist us mercifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and dispose the way of your servants towards the attainment of everlasting salvation; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, they may ever be defended by your gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The General Thanksgiving
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14+