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Friday, March 27, 2015

OPEN HEAVENS DAILY DEVOTIONAL (FRIDAY 27 MARCH 2015)

Open Heavens Devotional by Pastor E.A. Adeboye
Friday March 27

THE MARKS OF THE LORD JESUS

Memorise:
From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Galatians 6:17

Read: 1 Timothy 6:11-14
11  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.    
12  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.    
13  I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;   
14  That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: 

Message
A mark can be described as an impression, a distinguishing trait or quality. Marks indicate characteristics or symbols used for identification or indication of ownership. All heaven-bound Christians are children of God and by implication, belong to Christ (Mark 9:41, Romans 8:16). What are the marks of the Lord Jesus?

One distinguishing trait or quality that indicates one's ownership by the Lord Jesus is faithfulness. Everyone belonging to Christ is expected to be faithful in prayer, in tithes and offerings, in studying the word of God, in their marital relationship, general human relations and in service to God. Are you a child of God? Be faithful to God, yourself and others. Your faithfulness allows God to reveal greater insights to you. Faithfulness brings opportunities to you that are not given to the unfaithful. God takes pleasure in answering prayers that come from a faithful heart. Another mark of the Lord Jesus is obedience to the will of God. Christ came to fulfil God's perfect will for His life. Hebrews 10:7 says,
 "Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God." 

Are you living according to God's perfect will for your life? Anything that brings shame or reproach to the Name of God is not God's will for you. Are you involved in a business deal where it is required that you tell lies, engage in immorality and cut corners? That business venture should be reviewed. It is probably not God's perfect will for your life. As a spouse, are you obedient to the will of God in your marriage through fidelity, submission and love? 

Affiliated to obedience is love. Love is another mark of the Lord Jesus. John 13:1 says,
 "Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end."
God is love. The love of God is what indicates that you belong to Christ. You should be able to demonstrate true love to God and man. Love is a benevolent disposition of the mind towards fellow-Christians, growing out of sincere and fervent devotion to God. Indicators of love include kindness, selflessness, humility, self-discipline and purity. Love can endure evil, injury and provocation without being filled with resentment, indignation or revenge. Love is benevolent, bountiful, courteous and obliging. Love suppresses envy: it is not grieved by the good of others. Finally, love controls and restrains passions. Do you bear in you the marks of the Lord Jesus? 

Prayer Point:
Father, I submit myself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ; let His marks be seen in my life.

Bible in a year: Amos 7-9 & Matthew 9:27-10:15... Read after the cut:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

OPEN HEAVENS DAILY DEVOTIONAL (THURSDAY 26 MARCH 2015)

Open Heavens Devotional by Pastor E.A. Adeboye
Thursday March 26

ENJOYING LONGEVITY

Memorise:
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
1 Timothy 4:8

Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
23  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.   
24  Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 


Message
Every rational being wishes to be healthy, wealthy, fulfilled and enjoy longevity. The desire to live long and be healthy is scriptural. Psalm 91:16 says,
 "With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation." 
Man is a tripartite being. The Bible teaches that man consists of the spirit, soul and body. God is interested in our good health (3 John 1:2). He desires for us to be sound and complete in our spirit, soul and body. The working of wholeness in man starts in his spirit. It begins when God touches our spirit by the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 12:3). Has your spirit been touched by the Holy Spirit? The first miracle God does is to liberate man's spirit from sin. He justifies us from sin and reconnects our spirit man to Himself (1 Corinthians 6:11). He then continually bears witness with our spirit that we are God's children (Romans 8:16). After releasing our spirit from sin, the Holy Spirit works His way to our soul to heal and restore it. The soul of man is the seat of his emotions, intellect and will. The soul is the dwelling place of healthy and unhealthy emotions. It is thus possible for the soul to be healthy or sick.

The human body is that part of man which is aware of and interacts with the tangible, empirical world. The whole body of man is built around a bony framework of skeleton and consists of a great number of different parts. The human body consists primarily of cells, which together form tissues, which form organs, which work together as systems to carry out specific functions. It is worth noting that healthy living guarantees longevity. To enjoy longevity, you need to eat proper balanced diets. Experts in nutrition teach that our foods can be classified into two classes. One class consists of fruits and vegetables. The other class consist of fats, starch and proteins. 
A proper balance of these two classes of food will provide good health and a long life. An improper balance will bring poor health, sickness and can result in early death. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals. Proteins supply building blocks for the body. Fats and starch supply heat and energy to the body. According to many health books, we should eat about 75% fruits and vegetables, while 25% should be protein, fats and starch. This 75 : 25 ratio should form the basis of the daily diet of every living person. To obtain and maintain good health, you must eat foods that contain generous amounts of vitamins and minerals. Foods low in vitamins and minerals lead to poor health, ailments, suffering and death. Enjoying longevity in good health is however not limited to the food you eat. Your state of mind and pattern of life can either accelerate or slow down the aging process. These also affect your good health. In addition, learn to exercise your body. Don't forget: "bodily exercise profiteth little."

Action Point:
Take stock of how you are treating your body. Adjust your nutrition and lifestyle if necessary.

Bible in a year: Amos 4:6-6:14 & Matthew 9:9-26... Read after the cut:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

OPEN HEAVENS DAILY DEVOTIONAL (WEDNESDAY 25 MARCH 2015)

Open Heavens Devotional by Pastor E.A. Adeboye
Wednesday March 25

RENEWING THE MIND

Memorise:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Romans 12:2

Read: 1 Corinthians 2:9-14
9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.    
10  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.   
11  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.    
12  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.    
13  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.    
14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Message
One striking thing about holiness is that it is what makes God who He is. If a human being was asked this question: "Who is God?", you might get answers like: God is love, God is powerful, God is merciful, God is faithful etc. But if angels or celestial beings were asked this same question, they would chorus: God is Holy! The theme of the songs of celestial beings in heaven is the holiness of God (Isaiah 6:2-3, Revelation 4:8). Do you belong to God? Then be prepared to live holy. Why? God's people are a holy temple to Him (1 Corinthians 3:17). We are called to a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5), and we are described as holy brethren (Hebrews 3:1). The Father chose His own, so that they might be holy (Ephesians 1:4). 
This is the reason why Jesus died for us (Ephesians 5:25-27).The Holy Spirit was given, so that through the renewing of our minds, we might be holy (Titus 3:5, 2 Corinthians 3:18). The Holy Spirit renews our mind by convincing us and making us accept what God's Word says about us or about a subject-matter. This is critical because your mind controls your actions. The Word of God is spiritual; only the Holy Spirit can bring the mind to a state of conformity with its contents (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Holiness simply means obeying God totally and consecrating yourself to do His will from the heart. It is difficult to do God's will without knowing His mind. The Bible, which is the word of God, is a compendium of God's will. It is easy to know the mind of God and to renew your own mind when you meditate on the word of God. This meditation should however be a daily affair. It is imperative for every child of God to study and meditate on God's word. Merely reading the word of God is different from studying and serious meditation. 
Studying is an application of the mental faculties to the acquisition of knowledge. It entails a careful examination or analysis of the Bible - its promises, commandments, warnings, blessings, questions and answers. Meditation on God's word denotes focusing one's thoughts on it, reflecting on and pondering over it. In Joshua 1:8, Joshua was instructed to meditate on the word of God day and night because constant meditation leads to good success. This happens progressively. First, meditate on God's word on daily basis. Second, be observant enough to obey it unconditionally. Doing this will assure you of good success; i.e. full-blown success that is holistic, covering every imaginable area of life (spirit, soul and body). Renewing your mind makes it possible to discern what the perfect will of God is (Romans 12:2). Do you desire to know the perfect will of God for every aspect of your life? Renew your mind through constant studying and meditation on the word of God. Keep God's Word in your heart, allow it to permeate your entire being through the Holy Spirit and act on it.

Prayer Point:
Dear Holy Spirit, as I ponder on God's word, help my mind to accept the truth of what it says.

Bible in a year: Amos 1:1-4:5 & Matthew 8:18-9:8... Read after the cut:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

OPEN HEAVENS DAILY DEVOTIONAL (TUESDAY 24 MARCH 2015)

Open Heavens Devotional by Pastor E.A. Adeboye
Tuesday March 24

ATTITUDES TO WORSHIP

Memorise:
 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
John 4:24

Read: Isaiah 40:12-22
12  Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?    
13  Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?  
14  With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?   
15  Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.   
16  And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.   
17  All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.   
18  To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?    
19  The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.    
20  He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.   
21  Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?   
22  It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

Message
Prayer involves much more than asking God for our heart desires. It also involves praise and worship, both of which are very much related. While praise acknowledges God for what He has done, worship acknowledges God for who He is. We need to understand that God expects all creatures to worship Him (Revelations 5:13). No matter what or who they are, as far as they exist, God expects them to worship Him. 

Pretty much everybody in existence has received something from God (Acts 17:28). However, only those who acknowledge what they have received as coming from God can be deemed worshippers. Among this group of people, there are those who feel contented with what they have received from God. If you are in this category, praise and worship God. On the other hand, there are those who feel they have not received enough from God. These are people who feel God has done much but not enough for them. Such people believe they need more blessings from the Lord, and some even feel that God has not done enough to warrant their praises. It's among this category of people you will find those who compare their wealth and other tangible achievements with that of those they think are more privileged than themselves. More often than not, people who engage in such comparisons conclude that God has not been fair to them. No matter how little you think the goodness of the Lord is in your life, it is imperative that you praise and worship Him.

Many people feel as though God has done nothing for them. In their opinion, God is not good at all. This kind of feeling is wrong and dangerous. If the devil is ministering to you that God is not good at all, resist the devil and worship God for who He is. It is easy to fall into this state when you are afflicted. Examples of those afflicted are the bereaved, the sorrowful, the disappointed and the discouraged. We should worship God even when afflicted. A classical example of someone who did this is Job. Job was a man who worshipped God in prosperity (Job 1:5) and he also worshipped God in the midst of satanic afflictions. Job 1:20-21 says,
 "Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
Note that Job still worshipped God at the end of his trials (Job 42:1-5). Worship characterises vessels unto honour. Are you a vessel unto honour? If your answer is yes, go ahead and worship God, whatever your situation might be.

Prayer Point:
Father, grant me the grace to worship you, no matter what I am going through.

Bible in a year: Joel 1-3 & Matthew 7:24-8:17... Read after the cut:

Monday, March 23, 2015

OPEN HEAVENS DAILY DEVOTIONAL (MONDAY 23 MARCH 2015)

Open Heavens Devotional by Pastor E.A. Adeboye
Monday March 23

KEYS TO ANSWERED PRAYER

Memorise:
O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.
Psalm 65:2

Read: Matthew 7:7-11
 7  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:   
8  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.   
9  Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?   
10  Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?  
11  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Message
If Christians can master the art and practice of prayer, this world will definitely become a better place to live in for them. Someone described prayer as a paradox. It is both simple and complex. It is the simplest form of speech that infant lips can try, and the sublime strains that reach the Majesty on high. What is prayer? John Bunyan, while in Bedford Prison, defined prayer as "a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God had promised according to the Word for the good of the Church, with submission, in faith, to the will of God." Our God is a prayer-answering God. It is God's will to answer the prayers of His children. However, He operates on principles. There are conditions which activate the answering of prayers by God. These I will refer to as keys to answered prayers. Are you a child of God? It is the desire of your Father to answer all of your prayers (John 16:23). If your prayers are not being answered, look inward. Are you employing the appropriate keys to answered prayers?

One of such keys is contrition (2 Chronicles 7:14). Contrition describes a state of feeling or showing of sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming. Do you want your prayers answered? Examine your relationship with the Lord. Are there sins not confessed in your life? Psalm 66:18 says,
 "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:"
Approach God with humility and confess your sins, iniquities and shortcomings to Him. Repent of them and ask for forgiveness. Another key to answered prayers is whole-heartedness (Jeremiah 29:13). This has to do with your commitment and intimacy. How committed are you to the Almighty God and to His work? How intimate is your relationship with God and His Word? John 15:7 says,
 "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."

Do you want all your prayers answered? Be a doer of the word and not a hearer only. The next key to answered prayers is faith. Faith is one of the most important factors required for prayers to be answered (Mark 11:24). How strong is your faith? To receive anything from God, you must believe that you have received what you asked for and then you will have it. The fourth key to answered prayers is righteousness (John 9:31). Simply put, righteousness denotes acting in accordance to the divine nature and being free from the guilt of sin. A righteous person is morally upright. Such a person abstains from all appearances of evil. The last (but not the least) key to answered prayers is that you must ask in order to receive (Matthew 7:7).

Action Point:
Do you have any unanswered prayer? Apply the keys to answered prayers to it today.

Bible in a year: Hosea 11-14 & Matthew 7:1-23 ... Read after the cut:

Sunday, March 22, 2015

OPEN HEAVENS DAILY DEVOTIONAL (SUNDAY 22 MARCH 2015)

Open Heavens Devotional by Pastor E.A. Adeboye
Sunday March 22

DO YOU HAVE TRUE LOVE?

Memorise:
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1 Corinthians 13:7

Read: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
1  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  
2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.   
3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.   
4  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,   
5  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;    
6  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;    
7  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.    
8  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.   
9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.   
10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.    
11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.    
12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.    
13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 

Message
Our God is wonderful, and He has many wonderful attributes. Some of these attributes are unique to Him alone. For example, in all of heaven and earth, God is the only one who is all-knowing, all-powerful and is present everywhere. However, there are other attributes which God, as a wonderful Father, shares with His children. Some of such attributes are holiness, mercy, faithfulness and love. These attributes are scarce in the character of present-day society. Just like the Corinthians in the days of Paul, many homes, communities and churches nowadays are torn apart by contentions, are divided along party lines and are envious of each other. Such character proves that the love for God and love towards fellow man is waning. Love is paramount to God. Our numerous gifts and abilities are nothing in the eyes of God without love.

 "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." 
1 John 4:7
Love should be differentiated from lust. While lust is impatient to get, love is always eager to give. John 3:16 describes true love:
 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
This is the kind of love God expects from us. True love means to have strong affection or deep tender feelings towards God, towards yourself and towards others. It means to love the way God loves. 
It implies knowing and worshipping God rightly, seeing yourself the way God sees you and caring for others the way God cares for you. Without true love, all gifts (however excellent) are useless in the eyes of God. A person who has outstanding gifts such as the divine ability to speak many languages, the gift of prophecy and understanding of all mysteries and knowledge, and the faith to remove mountains is nothing without true love. In like manner, sacrifice, no matter how expensive, profits nothing without true love (1 Corinthians 13:3).

Because true love is a commandment of God (1 John 4:21), you need it in order to enjoy the blessings of God (Isaiah 1:19). Know also that without demonstrating true love, it is impossible to make heaven. True love is praised in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. It is slow to anger and not predisposed to revenge. It is patient and forbearing, good natured, gentle, tender and affectionate. True love is never harsh or rude; it is rather polite and courteous. It is prompt in giving due respect to superiors and in showing respect for their opinions. True love is humble and unselfish. It does not seek its own happiness to the injury of others. Do you have true love?

Prayer Point:
Father, please grant me the grace to demonstrate true love.

Bible in a year: Hosea 6-10 & Matthew 6:16-34... Read after the cut:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

OPEN HEAVENS DAILY DEVOTIONAL (SATURDAY 21 MARCH 2015)

Open Heavens Devotional by Pastor E.A. Adeboye
Saturday March 21

SIN-DOMINATED?

Memorise:
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Romans 6:14

Read: Romans 6:1-6
1  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?    
2  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?    
3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?    
4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.    
5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:   
6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Message
Mankind is the epitome of God's creative art. He was created by God to have dominion over all things (Genesis 1:26). God did not design man for sin, neither should sin have dominion over man (Romans 6:14). Sin is an enemy. It is our most persistent, determined and pernicious enemy. Sin seeks to rob us of every good thing God has designed for us. It is very subtle, bringing death and creeping into our lives when and where we least expect it. It packages itself so attractively that we are lured into thinking that it cannot really harm us.

Sin is undoubtedly a weight. In Hebrews 12:1, Christians are likened to sprinters:
 "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,"
The competition before us is fierce as sin stealthily and relentlessly tries to entangle our lives. We will never be able to run the race marked out for us as long as we are entrapped in sin. Anyone who is born of God has a nature that should not sin (1 John 3:8-10). However, children of God fall into sin by not being watchful. Sin should be recognised for what it is. Some people engage in self-deception. 
They call sin a mistake, a bad habit or a weakness. Sin is more than these. It is cancerous, terrible and results in outright destruction. Sin must be admitted and tackled at its root. It is dangerous to blame your sins on others; neither must you allow pride to convince you that it is too humiliating to admit the sin in your life. Sin can blind a person to its presence. It does not always command people's attention, but rather, it subtly and pervasively robs one of spiritual power and victory.

Are you living in sin? Are you deeply and dangerously entangled in it? There is good news for you: there is no extent to which sin can entangle us that God's grace does not abound to free us from it. Romans 5:20 says,
 "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:"
Has sin robbed you of joy? Do you go about life in a manner that is moody and melancholy? Has sin prevented you from being the best husband, wife, son, daughter, friend, minister, boss or subordinate you ought to be? Is it keeping you from spiritual maturity and fulfilment in life, business, marriage and ministry? If you have become entangled with sin, God can release you immediately! He however requires repentance from you. Harden not your heart. Repent and recommit your life to Jesus Christ now.

Prayer Point:
Father, grant me grace to live above sin, Satan and all his allied forces in Jesus' Name.

Bible in a year: Hosea 1-5 & Matthew 5:43-6:15... Read after the cut:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

OPEN HEAVENS DAILY DEVOTIONAL (FRIDAY 20 MARCH 2015)

Open Heavens Devotional by Pastor E.A. Adeboye
Friday March 20

SANCTIFICATION PRECEDES DIVINE COMMISSIONING

Memorise:
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
2 Timothy 2:21

Read: John 17:13-19
13  And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.   
14  I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.   
15  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.   
16  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.   
17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.   
18  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.   
19  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

Message
The most important thing a person needs is to be born-again (John 3:3). From personal experience and from the experience of others, certain things give you the assurance that you are born-again. If you are born-again, you stop thinking about yourself alone. You stop thinking only about what Jesus can do for you but also of what you can do for Jesus. This was the case with Paul after he met the Lord in Acts 9:6:
 "And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do."
You also begin to think about restitution (Luke 19:8), and you begin to serve God with the same vigour with which you served the devil (Acts 9:20-22).

After you are saved, you need to be sanctified before you can be divinely commissioned for service. An unsanctified believer is susceptible to backsliding, hence the need for sanctification. The state of the human heart before salvation is one of the reasons why sanctification is necessary. Jeremiah 17:9 reveals that:
 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
Every person is born with a heart that is desperately wicked, and every of our actions originate from the heart (Matthew 15:19-20). Sanctification changes the nature of a person's heart (Ezekiel 36:26-27). 
Many people who were once born-again backslid because of their failure to get sanctified. A backslider is worse than a sinner who has never been saved. Backsliding is horrible. It can be likened to a dog going back to its vomit. Worldliness can cause a Christian to backslide. Demas was an example of a Christian worker who backslid because of his attachment to the things of this world (Philemon 24, 2 Timothy 4:10).

The ability to live holy is given by God. Jesus died for our sanctification. When a person is sanctified, he or she begins to think like Jesus. You forgive like Jesus and like Him, you become humble. You develop a servant-spirit and you become obedient and meek (Matthew 11:29). To become sanctified, you must believe that it is possible to live holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). You must then admit that you cannot do it without the assistance of the Holy Spirit (John 15:5). Finally, ask God to remove the heart of stone from you and replace it with a heart of flesh.

Prayer Point:
Father, sanctify me wholly; give me a heart of flesh that is in line with Your nature.

Bible in a year: Daniel 11-12 & Matthew 5:21-42... Read after the cut:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

OPEN HEAVENS DAILY DEVOTIONAL (THURSDAY 19 MARCH 2015)

Open Heavens Devotional by Pastor E.A. Adeboye
Thursday March 19

SATAN'S ATTACK OR THE LORD'S CHASTENING?

Memorise:
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Hebrews 12:6

Read: Hebrews 12:4-6
4  Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.    
5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  
6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Message
Christians are spiritual soldiers. We engage in constant warfare against principalities, powers and wicked spiritual forces that operate in high places. Ephesians 6:12 says that:
 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
There is a tendency among Christians therefore to view anything unpleasant that happens to them as emanating from spiritual warfare. When a difficult situation arises, many immediately ask God to remove their distress. It is worth noting that not all problems that we face as believers have something to do with the devil or the spiritual warfare we are engaged in. In Galatians 6:7, the Scripture says,
 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Some hardships, difficulties and unpleasant happenings arise as a result of sin, disobedience, pride or other shortcomings that call for disciplinary action from our Heavenly Father. Sin frequently attracts punishment. Sin can be described as transgression or non-conformity to the law of God in our inward or outward conduct of life, whether by omission or by commission. The Bible indicates that sin justly deserves punishment and that it calls down the righteous judgement of God (Romans 6:23). Various kinds of sins are mentioned in the Scriptures. These include presumptuous sin, secret or hidden sin and sin against the Holy Ghost. 

Presumptuous sins refer to defiant acts of sin. These are sins committed on the basis of assumption. Some people steal, tell lies, commit fornication or adultery, forge documents or engage in other evil acts. When such people are confronted with God's view on their waywardness and its implications, they argue that God understands. They assume that God is too holy and kind to send a sinner to Hell-fire. Presumptuous sin is dangerous. God is a God of both love and of judgment (1 John 4:8, Hebrews 10:31). King David wisely prayed that God should keep him from presumptuous sins (Psalm 19:13). Secret sins are sins which escape the notice of the soul. Many people commit sins without being conscious of it. These also attract divine judgment and chastisement. What such people need is repentance and deliverance. David also prayed that God should cleanse him from secret sins (Psalm 19:12). The last but not the least is sin against the Holy Ghost or what is referred to as "sin unto death" (Matthew 12:31-32, 1 John 5:16). This is a wilful rejection of grace. Are you facing unpleasant happenings? Look inward. God's expectation from chastising is repentance.

Action Point:
Examine yourself to see if there is any presumptuous or hidden sin in your life.

Bible in a year: Daniel 9-10 & Matthew 4:23-5:20... Read after the cut:

OPEN HEAVENS DAILY DEVOTIONAL (WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH 2015)

Open Heavens Devotional by Pastor E.A. Adeboye
Wednesday March 18

LIVING BY VISION & REVELATION

Memorise:
After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
Genesis 15:1

Read: Genesis 41:38-43
38  And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?   
39  And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:   
40  Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.    
41  And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.    
42  And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;    
43  And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Message
Vision is the energy of progress and a determinant of destiny. Vision is no doubt one of the most powerful forces available to man on earth today. It gives meaning to life, keeps us alive and conditions our lives. Vision inspired the Greeks to produce philosophy and art that still impacts the thinking of our world. It motivated the great Roman Empire to expand its influence and develop the known world. Vision inspired the explorers who circumvented the globe and ignited the creation and expansion of many of the nations we know today. It is your vision that determines your destiny. Proverbs 29:18 says,
 "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."

True vision is not based on what a person sees with the physical eyes alone, but on the images seen with the inward eyes of the mind. A man of vision sees what God has planned for him before its fulfilment. Vision entails planning and goal-setting. Every great person in history owned a personal vision. A man with no vision is at best a living corpse. He desires nothing and achieves nothing. Is your life directed by a clear vision? Do you know your potential for fulfilling this vision? Have you developed a concrete plan for your vision? What active steps have you taken towards the fulfilment of your vision? Do you recognise people's influence on your vision? These are all questions you need to answer if you will leave your prints on the sand of time. 

When you begin to act on your vision, it will stir up both those who want to help you and those who want to hinder you. How passionate are you about your vision? Vision requires faith for fulfilment. Have you built up the faith necessary for the fulfilment of your God-given vision? And most importantly, what is the source of your vision?

In addition to true vision, God's people live by revelation. A Christian is expected to operate on a God-given vision and by revelation. Christianity is an intimate growing relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. Every child of God should therefore live by the revelation of the Word. We should live by what the Word of God says. God expects you to arrange your life based on His Word, regardless of whether it makes sense to you or not, and regardless of whether it is convenient or not. God knows what is best for your future, your family, your church and your country. He wants to reveal what is on His heart to you, if only He can get your attention. He expects you to diligently pursue your vision and the revelations He drops in your spirit. Actualising your vision and the revelation God gives you requires diligence, integrity, focus, good human relations, prayer and faith. How prepared are you to live by these?

Action Point:
Dust up that vision or revelation God gave you so long ago and diligently run with it.

Bible in a year: Daniel 7:9-8:27 & Matthew 4:1-22... Read after the cut: