Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Good and Faithful Servant – What is Good?

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Matthew 25:23 (WEB) His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things. I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord’

Rose was excited about the recent turn of events. She had received her largest commission yet from the marketing firm she worked with, Johnson had finally proposed over the weekend, and she was now staring at the letter of appointment to a bigger firm she had always dreamt of working with. She was giddy with joy.

She dialed Mena, her closest buddy, to share the good news with her but was less than impressed with her reception. Mena was excited for Rose but then she began to bring to Rose’s attention that the conditions of her appointment were going to mean that she would have little or no time for the service to God and even for herself. Rose protested that it didn’t matter because she will still be able to do a lot of good and charitable works with her new salary.

Who exactly is a good servant? What makes a servant good?

When considering matters of scripture, it is supremely important that we endeavor to mine the definition and description of words and concepts from the scripture itself and not from secular and popular usage.

The idea of ‘good’, as used in our text to describe the servant, refers not to a servant who has done charitable acts or one who has done “good things”, rather, it refers to a servant who is being true to his nature of being a servant the way the master wants, designed and desires him to be.

It is why one servant could be in the wilderness eating wild honey and locusts and garbed in raiment of camel’s hair preaching while another will be in the cities and towns teaching, preaching, and healing many and both would be good servants.

Being a good servant is about being true to the call of the Master. Jonah could do all charitable works and even tell the men of Tarshish tales of Yahweh and still not be good, this is because his call, and indeed his Master, demanded that he go to Nineveh and proclaim to them the word of the Lord. It is not about what you do, it is about being true to the call and demands of God upon your life.

Go into today determined to settle for nothing less than to fully follow the call and plan of God for your life.
—Ikechukwu Mpama

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Bible in 1 Year: Luke 11-12 (in today's audio)
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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Commendable Hatred

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Revelation 2:6 (NET): But you do have this going for you: You hate what the Nicolaitans practice – practices I also hate

Right there in the cold Isles of Patmos, Apostle John was experiencing a sight so frightful that at some point he fainted. It was the vision of Jesus in his glory and splendor. He instructed John to write a letter to seven churches in Asia, he had warnings and commendations for the church. These letters, once more, give us a close-up inside look at how Jesus views things.

In the letter addressed to the church in Ephesus (See Revelation 2:1-7), Jesus commended them for their works, labor, and patience, then he scolded them for departing from their first love, and then again commended them, this time around, he commended them for what they hated. Jesus commended this church for hating the practices of the Nicolaitans because He himself hated their works also.

You see, the things you hate are as much an indication of where your heart is as much as the things you love. Our devotion to Jesus must regulate our desires and preferences such that we begin to love certain things and hate certain things as well.

It is an anomaly for you, a child of God, to love what Jesus hates. We must train ourselves to adopt his likes and dislikes through a conscious commitment to believe and walk in the truth the word of God reveals. Yours must be a continual work and walk of discovery and realignment of heart disposition under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

One might ask, but what exactly does Jesus hate? Hebrews 1 verse 9 will be a good place to start. It reads, “You have loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with oil of gladness above your fellows”.

Go into today committed to loving what Jesus loves, and hating what he hates.
—Ikechukwu Mpama

Bible in 1 Year: Ezekiel 1-6 (in today's audio)
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Monday, July 26, 2021

Working As One

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1 Corinthians 3:8 (NET) The one who plants and the one who waters work as one, but each will receive his reward according to his work.

When Ebele started preaching the gospel on campus, he noticed that it was very easy for him to bring people to accept the Lord Jesus. Even the most hardened unbelievers were being convicted and repenting. Sometimes, there was the manifestation of the prophetic and the miraculous when he preached, and this made it even easier for him to bring people to see the light of the gospel. But Ebele noticed that it was not that easy for him to disciple the many people he had led to the Lord. This was a great concern for him.

He noticed that one of the brothers in the fellowship had a powerful teaching anointing and was also very successful in discipling people. He started drawing close to this brother and encouraging him to help disciple the many people that had come to the Lord through his preaching. Because of this arrangement, many of those who now believed remained in the Lord and grew greatly.

Many times, there has been a great harvest of souls through powerful gospel crusades and campaigns, but many of those new believers went back to the world because there was no proper "follow-up" and discipleship. There is a need for those who have the ministry to plant and those who have the ministry to water to begin to work as one. This is when we will take full advantage of the harvest that our Lord has paid for.

The ministries in the body of Christ can be divided into two departments. There are those who plant, and there are those who water. Every Christian must be involved in one of these.

Go into today remembering that everyone will be rewarded according to the work he has done. If you are not doing anything in this regard, it is time to wake up because you will give an account of your stewardship before the Lord.
Prayer: Lord, help me do my part in our kingdom advancement agenda. Deliver me from every form of slumber. Amen.
—Abraham Dami Arigi

Bible in 1 Year: Proverbs 4 (in today's audio)
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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Life In The Spirit 2

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Romans 7:21-23 (NET) So, I find the law that when I want to do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God in my inner being. But I see a different law in my members waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that is in my members.

Because Larry had explored a sinful life for long before he believed in the Lord Jesus, it was particularly difficult for him to live a victorious life above sin. He always wondered if it was possible for him to enjoy the victory over sin he knew was his portion in Christ. He knew what sin was because of the law of God he knew in his mind, it was only that he did not seem to have the ability to overcome it.
 
Larry started living in victory over sin after he learned certain important lessons from Romans 6-8.
He realized that it was not by the law but by the Spirit that he could put to death the works of the flesh. Because of his communion with brethren with whom he was accountable, his prayer life grew and he found that the more he prayed and was filled with the power of the Spirit, the more he had power over the power of the flesh. He now understood why the Lord instructed us in His word to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
 
Larry started walking in the reality of victory over sin because he learned and understood how to be filled with the Spirit. His words, his thoughts, his joy in the Lord, his prayer discipline, his commitment to the ministry of the word, and his submission and fellowship with the brethren, kept his life filled with the Spirit and empowered over the power of sin.

Go into today remembering that the only way you can overcome the law of sin operating from the flesh is by employing the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus(Romans 8:1-2). For the believer, being filled with the Spirit(see Ephesians 5:19-21) is not a luxury, it is a necessity to activating the law of the Spirit of life and walking in the liberty of Christ.

Prayer: Lord, help me always be filled with your spirit and walk above the law of sin. Amen.
—Abraham Damilola Arigi

Bible in 1 Year: Psalms 69-71
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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Life in the Spirit

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Romans 7:5 (KJV) For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

The law operates within the domain of the mind and all this is ruled by the knowledge of Good and evil. So even though in the old creation, a man under the law of God is far better than a man ruled by his flesh and native impulses or any other human code, when the new creation came, it became an aberration for people to still cling to a life ruled by the law when they can live lives ruled by the Spirit of life.

Because we are still in a body of flesh, an understanding of the law would be a guide to help us know what the Spirit would never lead us to do, but our lives and hope of salvation should never be based on our ability to keep certain rules and regulations, but based on our relationship with the Spirit of the living God. The earnest/guarantee of our salvation is the Holy Spirit, not the law (see
Ephesians 1:14).

Those who subscribed to the law only found their minds trained to be more sophisticated and refined in their approach to sin. because of the flesh, the law did not have the power to kill sin in our hearts so it only helped to institutionalize it such that even though we are sinners we would be feeling self-righteous because we have convinced ourselves that we have not broken all God's law.

Go into today remembering that the biggest hindrance to a life of grace is a dependence on our ability to keep God's laws as the basis of our justification.

Prayer: Lord, help me live in the Spirit and bring forth fruits unto God(Romans 7:4).
-Abraham Damilola Arigi

Bible in 1 Year: I Kings 10-13
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Friday, July 23, 2021

Examine Yourself

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2 Corinthians 13:5 (NET) Put yourselves to the test to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize regarding yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you – unless, indeed, you fail the test!
Seyi: Gloria, why are you always filled with joy in spite of all that is happening around us and in this country? It's like you don't even have any problem? Please tell me your secret. I want to have this hope and peace that you have.

Gloria: The Lord is the reason why I have peace. I have hope beyond what this world is offering. The Kingdom that I belong to will rule over this world very soon, and I have an inheritance in that kingdom. The power of that kingdom is already at work in me even now. That's why I have hope and joy. I don't know if things will get better in this country or in the world, but my portion in life is not tied to this country or even to this present world, that’s why my inner peace and joy is not affected by what is happening.

One of the ways to check and be sure that you're still in the faith is that your heart is still filled with the blessed hope of the Lord's return and the glory that shall be revealed in us(Titus 2:13). This glorious expectation keeps us holy and busy doing the will of the Lord who will reward us according to our works (Titus 2:13-14, 1 John 3:3, Rev 22:12). One of the things that the Holy Spirit does in us is to bring these things to the remembrance of our spirits, and keep us in a state of joyful expectation because we are sons of God.

If Christ no longer lives in a person, he will lose all hope. Christ in us is the hope of glory(Colossians 1:27). This hope is the reason why no matter what we face in this world, we still have joy and peace because we know that we are more than conquerors through Christ our Lord. In the end, we win. The devil does not have the power to touch our inheritance in Christ, it is way beyond him. This is the reason why no matter what the devil does, it should not affect our hope which produces rejoicing in our souls.

Go into today remembering to hallow the Lord God in your heart and always be ready to give an answer to those who ask you about the hope you possess(1 Peter 3:15).

Determine to do self-examination regularly and guard against the cares of this life that seek to snuff out the blessed hope you have in Christ.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for doing for me more than I could ever imagine. Help me remain in your love and bask in your peace. Let me never forget that for which you have apprehended me. Amen.
—Abraham Dami Arigi

Bible Yearly: Leviticus 1-3
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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Fruitful in the knowledge of Christ 2

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2 Peter 1:8 (NET) For if these things are really yours and are continually increasing, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive in your pursuit of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ more intimately.

When Ben learned that his character really mattered and his failure to learn of Christ and model his character like that of Christ was costing him more than the criticism of men, he started making amendments, and almost immediately, he started seeing changes and fruitfulness in his pursuit of knowing the Lord more intimately. He observed that as his life started bearing the fruit of the spirit, his pursuit of knowing the Lord was also fruitful, and the grace(power) upon him was being multiplied(2 Peter 1:2).

Of the various fruits a person bears as proof of the life of God he has received, the fruit of the spirit is chief among them. But there are other fruits that we bear. Fruits like the one talked about in today's Bible verse which is multiplied grace; the fruit of communion with the Lord God. There is also the fruit of our lips which is sincere praise and worship (capable of executing judgment (Hebrews 13:15, Psalm 149:6-9)), and there is the fruit of prayer(John 15:7-8).

In order to begin to be fruitful in all areas, bearing the fruit of the spirit is key to this because from the spirit/heart flows the spring of life(Proverbs 4:23).

The fruit of the spirit produces Christian character, but the fruit produced as a result of knowing the Lord more intimately is multiplied grace and peace(see 2 Peter 1:2, 3:18). If you can become fruitful in that area of character, it would open the door to other forms of fruitfulness you also desire.

Go into today remembering that in order to be fruitful in every aspect of life, focus on the fruit of the spirit. If your spirit is healthy, your whole being will be full of life.

Prayer: Lord, help me learn of you and allow your word to dwell in me richly so I may be fruitful in every good work.
—Abraham Dami Arigi

Bible Yearly: Ephesians 1-3
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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Fruitful in the knowledge of Christ

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2 Peter 1:8 (NET) For if these things are really yours and are continually increasing, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive in your pursuit of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ more intimately.

Ben wanted so much to know the Lord and walk in His mighty power. He learned that in order for this to happen, he was to be devoted to prayer and fasting, and the ministry of the Word.

He thus had a very good prayer schedule that included praying in the spirit for hours every day. He was always listening to sermons too. But as time passed, it became clear to Ben that he was not really fruitful in his pursuit of the knowledge of Christ. Grace wasn't multiplying in His life even though he did all these things in order to know the Lord more and walk more in His grace.

You see, even though Ben was devoting more time to spiritual disciplines, he was not building up his character. He was still the same deceptive, unloving, arrogant, and self-centered Ben. As he sought the Lord to find out why his pursuit of knowing Him was unfruitful, he found that the reason was that his character was not consistent with the nature of Christ.

One thing is clear in today's Bible verse above, it is possible for a person to be ineffective and unproductive in his pursuit of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ more intimately. If you read 2 Peter 2 from verse 5, you will see that we are to keep adding virtues to ourselves. We are to add excellence to our faith, knowledge to excellence, self-control to knowledge, perseverance to self-control, godliness to perseverance, brotherly affection to godliness, and unselfish love to brotherly affection. Refusing to keep building up our Christian character is the reason why people may be given to a lot of spiritual disciplines that would have helped them know the Lord more and experience multiplied grace, but it doesn't happen.

Go into today remembering that if you have the spirit and character of Christ, it would be very easy to fellowship with Him and grow in grace.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I want to be like Jesus in my heart. Deliver me from everything that hinders me from this goal.
—Abraham Dami Arigi

Bible Yearly: Luke 9-10
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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Appropriating the Promise of His Manifest Presence

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Matthew 28:18-20 (NET) Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Dorine had a reputation for being one of the best dermatologists in her city. As a doctor who had the trust of her patients, she could talk to them and they would listen. Many would try to talk to her about personal issues medical science cannot fix, and she would show them the light that she had found in Christ Jesus. It was through her that a very notorious pop star in that city came to know the Lord. She was able to disciple him and he was now known to be a preacher of the gospel. Many very high profile people like him that wouldn't have listened to the gospel from a preacher were led to the Lord through her because the peace of God radiated through her life and her patients wanted to know about the hope that was the source of such peace(see 1 Peter 3:15). As time passed, Dorine understood why the Lord made her a doctor, gave her exceptional skills, and planted her in that strategic city - she was there to be a witness unto Him.

The most important thing you can be found doing under the sun is making disciples of Jesus Christ. This is the way by which our lives would be measured when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ(2 Corinthians 5:10). We must never lose focus on our agenda. In order to do this effectively, God plants us in different places as His kingdom advancement agents. Some of us are preachers and teachers while most of us aren't. But we are all expected to be witnesses unto the Lord wherever we find ourselves and in whatever jobs we do. Our work is to be witnesses unto the Lord.

Go into today remembering that as you determine to be a witness unto the Lord in the most usual and unusual places, you are guaranteed of His unbreakable fellowship and tangible presence. He promises that He will be with us always(see Matthew 20:20). This promise is appropriated by those who are committed to His kingdom’s advancement agenda of making disciples everywhere.

Prayer: Thank the Lord for the opportunity to be a bearer of his life. Ask the Lord for wisdom and grace to be an effective soul winner in whatever place He has planted you.
—Abraham Damilola Arigi

Bible Yearly: Lamentations
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Monday, July 19, 2021

Quickened to New Life

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Ephesians 2:1-2 (KJV) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience
Anyone who has not accepted Christ is still under the dominion of Satan the prince of the power of the air. It is interesting that apostle Paul refers to Satan this way.

In the Greek world, they understood very well the power of elemental spirits and how they controlled the elements. There are water elementals, fire elementals, land/earth elementals, and one more. These spirits were considered to have control over the elements, and they can use their power to manipulate those operating within their sphere of influence. The devil, who is their master is called the prince of the power of the air. He seeks to control everywhere there is air-- the whole earth. The only power that can deliver a person from his influence and control is the power of Christ.

As long as he breathes air, anyone who is not in Christ is ultimately under the control of the prince of the power of the air, whether he likes it or not.

Just like physically, we breathe air without ceasing, those who are in christ survive and have power over the kingdom of darkness by praying without ceasing-- that’s how we breathe spiritually. We practice the presence of God everywhere we go. Just like we feed on food and water physically to survive, those who are in Christ survive and have power over the influence of elemental spirits by feeding their spirits with God’s word. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).

Because they don't only exist through their flesh life(that depends on the elements) but are now sustained through the life of the spirit, those who are in Christ can overcome the prince of the power of the air. The life that truly sustains us does not draw its power from the elements but from God.

Go into today remembering that if you must live above the influence of elemental spirits, you must be deliberate and intentional in your commitment to prayer and the ministry of the word.

Prayer: Lord, help me live by the spirit and fulfill your purpose for me. Amen.
—Abraham Damilola Arigi

Bible Yearly: Proverbs 2-3
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Good and Faithful Servant – What is Good?

Click here for the Audio Version: https://bit.ly/aud2594 Matthew 25:23 (WEB) His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. Yo...