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JESUS OUR MAIN FOCUS
by Samuel Akinola
09/22/11
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LOVE FOR JESUS


STUDY TEXTS
John 10v14, 27; Lk.9v62; Matt.16v24,
10v37-38; Mark 10v28-30
MAIN TEXTS
John 14v15

WORDS OF TRUTH
Love for Jesus is not from the lips, neither is it from the eyes nor from the brain, but it is from the heart and known by the acts.



Mrs. Hoyt is cumber with load of worries as she drove through New York traffic to her resident in that winter night. The snow was falling in drone; the entire city appears clothed in garment of snow the continuous icefall was alarming.
She was already shivering in cold behind the steering wheel, having a very low resistance to cold. Nothing was right in her mind than to get home and shot herself in her heated bedroom, tucked up beneath the blanket. Then another fear sears into her, her eldest child was away on vacation, leaving Bobby the second son. What really worries her about Bob was his rebellious and disobedient spirit, which she has been trying to tackle. Nevertheless, tonight she hoped he would be different, she deeply prayed so.
She hardly parked the car in the garage when she sprang out of the car, and fleeted into the house in cold. The living room was not warm enough as she was expecting, but this did not really worry her. She stomps up the stairs, hugging herself; shivering in cold. The moment she burst into her bedroom, then her worst fear was confirm. The room was cold like a freezer machine, no coal was burning in the fireplace as she was earnestly expecting. Bitterness and anger came rushing into her, the disappointment she felt almost makes her scream down the whole house.
“Bobby!” She shouted in tone of bitterness. The teenage son came running into the room, at the sight of his shivering and enraged mother he realized what he has done.
“I gave you some money to buy coal earlier before I left for work to heat up the house and my room, but you didn’t!” She spat out between rattling teeth, tears of disappointment in her eyes.
“I...I forgot mum.” Bobby said in low tone of voice, looking guiltily at the floor.
“What did you mean you forgot? You did not care about my health and everything about me, never; you did not give a damn care!”
Bob looks up at his enraged mother; he really hated it when she speaks like this. “You know that is a lie Mum, you know I care about you!” He protested helplessly.
“Shout up Bobby! If you really care for me, you should have obeyed me. Nothing I ever said means anything to you; you always push my words aside to follow your own wish. For Christ sake w is your love for your mummy when you are so disobedient?” she scolded bitterly.
Bob cast his eyes to the floor once again, one thing he knew is that, mum was right.
As a human being, God created you in His own image. He did not created you for nothing; He has a purpose for creating you, and until you realize the purpose and submit yourself to do His will, and you will never fulfils your real destiny in life, even though you are abundantly rich.
Jesus said in the book of St. John 14v15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” You are a child of God, being a born-again Christian. However, are you obeying the words of Jesus? Are you abiding by the teachings of Jesus you claimed to loved? Jesus said, “I know my own and my own know me.” In verse twenty-seven of this gospel of John 10v14, he said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” The followers of Jesus are renowned on earth by their obedient to Jesus, and their steadfastness in him.
Take the story above for example, Mrs. Hoyt was expecting obedient from his son because she instructed him. As a follower of Jesus, God who has given His Son for the salvation of the world is expecting you to show your love for Jesus by obeying and abiding in his teaching. Do not say you are just a small Christian, every members in the body of Jesus is very important. As such, Jesus Christ our Lord is expecting you to fulfil your own part in Him with love and obedience. He will be disappointed just like the mother of Bobby if you fail to show your love for Him by obeying His commandment. Do not thrive in sins. No violent, immorality or greediness, or any kind of sins should thrive in you if you truly love Jesus; except if you are a liar.
The gospel of St. Luke says, “... no one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” {9v82}. A plough is a large piece of farming equipment, having one or several curved blades use for turning and digging the soil; it can be pull either by a tractor or an animal. As a farmer, once you lay your hands on this plough, it means you want to work on your farm. As a person, the day you vow or give your life to Jesus, that is the moment you set your faith on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Thus, you must not look back to your past sinful life to do it; but set your face firmly on Jesus and to love Him by obeying His commandments.
Of course, to follow Jesus without turning right or left in this sinful world is not easy, it takes deep and sincere love for Jesus, which will come gradually into your heart the moment you surrender everything about you to God and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus said in the gospel of St. Matthew 16v24, “... If any man would come after me, let him deny him and take up his cross and follow me.” Three things are noticeable in this statement of Jesus, to ‘deny yourself, take up your cross and follow him’. To follow Jesus, there are many pleasure of the world and pleasure of the flesh you will have to put away, then step into your portion to be fruitful in Christ Jesus and follow him without turning neither to the right nor to the left and do not look back.
Have this in mind that nothing in this world must distract you from following Jesus, and nothing you must love the most than your love for Jesus. He made this known in the gospel of St.Matthew 10v37-38, “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
If you claim love of Jesus, your love for Him and readiness to obey Him must be greater and stronger than your love for women or men, wife or husband, children or friends, properties or riches, life or death. Nothing of these sorts, or any other must you love than Jesus. Do not say it was a woman or a man that you loves made you disobey Jesus, or because of riches or friends or children that made you throw away your love for Jesus and disobeys Him.
The world might mock you because of what you have sacrificed for Jesus, and the immoral pleasures and other things you have put away because of your love for Jesus. Apostle Peter pointed this out for Jesus in the gospel of St. Mark 10v28-30, saying that they have left everything and followed Him. Jesus replied that no person who has left anything to follow Him would not receive it back in hundredfold, in this time and the ages to come. Therefore brethren, let your love for Jesus glow at all time, great will be your reward in His kingdom.


STUDY WORK
1. How you can show your love for Jesus?
2. Does the world really love Jesus these days explain why?
3. What are the benefits of loving Jesus?













DISCIPLINE IN GOD’S HOUSE




STUDY TEXTS
Acts 15v39; Matt.7v16; Num.12v1-15
MAIN TEXTS
1 Cor.14v32, 33


WORDS OF TRUTH
You might yelp at the slice of the whip, but let tomorrow comes, the cause of the whip may make you a better leader.



I remember the tale of an Old Catholic Rev. in Oregon, USA. The old man had two grown up sons; though they were still young adult, constant spat among them was giving the old Rev. hard time to cope with. The Reverend was coming from an evening mass that day, the moment he rode his old motorcycle into the compound, then he knew he was in for another tough time with the boys.
The house was alive with screaming and yelling, cursing and punching; the Reverend instantly knew his boys are lock up in another tough brawl. It took him about twenty minutes to pry the tough fighters apart and calmed them; lucky enough not to have been knock down by them.
After listening to the course of their fighting for some minutes, he pointed out calmly, “Mark you are wrong, you should not have strike your brother in the first place.”
Mark bites his lips in anger; of course, he knew that he would be the one to be blame for everything. “But papa, he started everything up by calling me foul names!” He protested.
“He is your younger brother Mark, at your age and maturity you should have learnt to tolerate the weakness of your brother. Of course I would have scolded him if you have not done anything rash and wait for me to come home, and decide everything.”
Mark frowned stubbornly, “he has been doing these for long and what have you done about it? Nothing! Why should I believe you now papa when you always blame me?”
“It should not be every time your brother steps on your toes you should turn the house into wrestling stage. If you did not learn to tolerate your brother now, how will you ever cope with different kinds of people if you became a leader tomorrow?” Silent prevailed for long.
It should not be a surprising thing to see some God’s children clashing with each other. Just like the tale of the Reverend above, children of the same father can have sharp contention among themselves, but then God will have to decide the case and enforce discipline in His house, among His children.
This did not mean that the ‘Christian Spirit’ is troublesome or quarrelsome, far be it from it. However, some children of God are like babies in spirits; some are still under the influence of the flesh. Moreover, beside this, Satan loves to cause trouble among God’s children to bring them to the captivity of the flesh.
The book of the Acts of the Apostles 15v39, recorded that there arose sharp contention between Apostle Paul and Barnabas, to the extent that they separated and went different ways. Understand that the scripture did not said that their contention led to violent or hostility, but each of them has reason not to agree with each other, and they parted not for the sake of the flesh, but to continue their missionary. The ‘Sharp Contention’ the scripture said did not mean violent quarrel among them, they voiced out their minds over Mark; and since they could not agree then they took the best decision and went separate ways. Do not picture this like a violent argument as among the pagans, they have been together for long in the same missionary, and were men filled with the Holy Spirit. As we all know, were dwells the Holy Spirit there is peace and joy. Therefore, these two men have right to their wish and they took the better decision, and the brethren commended Paul to the grace of the Lord.
In the house of God, there are many vessels ordained by Him, working according to their grace in Christ Jesus. It is a sad thing that there is too much misunderstanding among various vessels of God in the world today. Some thought and felt that they are better than others are, while some shows that they are much holier than others are. Some believed they are perfect in their teachings and doctrines, and as such did not see anything deficient among them. Most anointed ministers of God today are lord their might over one another; and some workers in the house of God are just showing off for human appraisal. Brethren this is not right, it is not the Spirit of the Christian but of the Satan the devil at work.
Lord Jesus made it known that true leaders in Him follow His footsteps by serving in the spirit of humbleness. Besides, not all who claimed anointed vessels of God are true about it, Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits...” Matt 7v16. God knew His truly anointed vessels, He has appointed each of them according to His will, and He knew how to enforce discipline among them.
God showed His act of discipline in the story of the leadership of Moses in the book of Number 12v1-15. 1Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married ... 2And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. 3Now the man Moses was vey meek, more than all men that were on the face of the earth. 4And suddenly the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” And the three of them came out. 5 And the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud, and stood at the door of the tent, and called Aaron and Miriam; and they both came forward. 6And he said, “Hear my words: if there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision, I speak with him in a dream. 7Not so with my servant Moses; he is entrusted with all my house. 8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in dark speech; and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” 9 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed; 10 and when the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow ... 11And Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us because we have done foolishly and have sinned ...”
Very wonderful, God who chosen and ordained His vessels, knew the duty and ability of every each of them; and He is not slow to enforce discipline among them. In the scripture above, Miriam and Aaron have reason to be proud and make Moses inferior to them. Miriam was a prophetess, while Aaron was the ordained priest chosen by God; and both of them were older than Moses in years! Moses was a meek man, having the spirit of gentleness and slows in the use of tongue. No wonder he endured their pride and taunting without protesting or enraged. God never tolerate pride and boasting in His House, especially among His vessels, since He has assigned each of them to their duty. The act of God in the above scripture by punishing Prophetess Miriam, without regard to her status as a prophetess, shows He is a disciplinary and enforcer of loyalty in His House. Verse thirteen of the scripture tells how Moses pleaded to God on behalf of Miriam who has become leprous. God showed His displeasure at her and ordered her shut up outside the camp for seven days, before God cleansed her leprosy.
Pride and boasting must not thrive among the true anointed ministers of God, Apostle Paul even wrote about this in the book of 1 Corinthians 14v32-33. “And the spirits of prophets are subjected to prophets. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” If I claimed to be an anointed man of God, but yet nurse grudges or pride against other vessels of God on personal grand or beyond, I should examine myself, Satan is trying to control me or he has done it!
Beloved one of God Almighty, every child of God is unique in His presence; He loves every one of them and shows no partiality. If you are prominent in the House of God, let this not rule over your sense of loyalty and humbleness before God in all your ways. He knew how to judge and discipline His children like a caring Father, and He will show no preferential treatment to any one of them but judge them according to who they are before Him.


STUDY WORK
1. Can you explain some ways God can enforce discipline in His house?
2. How can you know if God is enforcing discipline or not among His children?
3. Why did you think it is necessary for God to discipline His anointed vessels?

JESUS TEMPTATION, AN EXAMPLE FOR US



STUDY TEXTS
Matt.4v1-11; John 4v34; Psalm 24v1

MAIN TEXTS
John 13v15

WORDS OF TRUTH
A sheep strayed from the shepherd in the wilderness, will fall prey to the mountain lion.


1 Then Jesus was led up by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’.”
You might not fully realise what Jesus was passing through after his forty days and nights fasting. He became hungry, his throat parched for lack of water, the blazing heat of the wilderness blazing down on him; adding more to his physical stress. The devil took this moment of stress to tempt Jesus to use power, and position as the Son of God to gratify his self-desire. However, Jesus was hungry and he needed something to eat, but he was wiser than the foolishness of the devil to fall into his wile. He refused to use his position and power as the Son of God gratifies his self-desire. Remember that He said in the gospel of St.John 4v34, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.” He knew his sonship with his Father, and his mission on earth, thus he put devil to shame.
This episode of Jesus set a perfect example for His followers, especially the anointed ministers not to use their power and position in the House of God to fulfil their selfish interest. Rather, they should let their commission in Christ Jesus be their main priority and with full dedication just like the Lord. God knew how to take care of the need of His children perfectly.
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written ‘He will give his angels charge of you, and in their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”
Indeed the angels of God encamp around His children to protect them, indeed God never abandon His children to evil, and indeed no weapon formed against them will prosper. Nevertheless, beware not to put yourself into dangerous or embarrassing situation because God is with you, or because you are a faithful Christian. Learn to avoid trouble, dangers or any violence than can lead to your assault; except you are not responsible for it or it is beyond your physical power and ability to avoid.
You might say that the book of Proverbs said the wicked ones ran when no one pursue, but remember that same book of Proverbs said “A prudent man sees danger and hides himself; but the simple go on, and suffer for it.” 22v3. God cannot be tempt by anyone or with anything, He knew what you should do and what you should not do. If you did, what God knew you should not have done, even though He will help you out because of His love for you; but you will still take the harsh consequence of your unwise act or behaviour.
8 And again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him alone shall you serve’.” Then the devil left him, and the angels came and ministered to him.
It is a shameful thing today that many Christians and ministers of God are diverting from the path God destined them, most just because of the riches of the world, or because of the pleasure of the flesh. In the episode above, understand that Satan did not have that authority to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth, because, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” Ps.24v1. Satan was only bluffing perhaps he could deceive Jesus, because, ‘he is the father of all lies’. If Jesus had consented to this lies, he would have gained nothing but lost everything.
The temptation Jesus faced and overcame set a perfect example for every branch in Christ to follow faithfully. He was meek, weak and helpless, but truly, he was strong and powerful. However, he became weak and helpless just for our sake, like a lamb led to the slaughterhouse he opened not his mouth in protest; but bore all forms of injustice and suffering to death. We can be like Him because He wanted us to be like Him, any all His faithful sheep in His folds must obey Him, follow him and never stray from him; lest they fall prey to the lion of the world.


STUDY WORK

1. Jesus temptations, how does it affect you?
2. Devil wanted Jesus to worship him; does that mean he did not know who Jesus was?
3. How wish devil overcame Jesus, what did you think could have happen?



WHERE IS MY HONOUR?


STUDY TEXTS
Psalm 1v1-2; Matt.7v6; John 4v24
MAIN TEXT
Malachi 1v6


WORDS OF TRUTH
Make honour thy crown son, lest thy reproach drag me to grave in shame.



In the medieval period, in the summer of 1226, King Xavier planned to host a great feast to commemorate his victories ever since he came on the throne. Indeed the royal feast happened, the great palace courts filled with tens of thousands of people; both lords and kings from far and near countries graced the feast in their gorgeous royal apparels. The jubilant inhabitants of the hosting country, turned out for the royal feast to honour their king with abundant gifts; singing and dancing.
Exalted King Xavier sat like a demigod on his great royal throne in his glory, watching with joy and prides the happy faces of tens of thousands of people within and without the great palace, in their boisterous festivities. Gifts were offered, abundant gifts that the royal officials could not number. The glamorous looking princes and princesses were in the festivity with the royal families, but except one. Pains sears into the heart of the king at the thought, were else could this prince have been by this time if not roaming around mountains and into mud with his evil and worthless cronies; who were already guilty of atrocities. The king holds his hand to his chest, behind his beaming face pains of his honourless son battering his heart.
Prince Xto knew he was already late for the feasting in the palace; he kicks his stirrups harder, spurring the horse faster. It was another rough day for him with his bunches of friends; he was dirty with mud and dust, his cloak flying behind him in the cloud of dust he was riding through to the palace.
Xto knew he was rough as he came to the palace, father might not be please to see him like this as usual. However, he did not care; after all, he will not be staying for long. He leapt down from the horse; the helmeted soldiers dare not stands on his way lest they face the wrath of his sword. He sneaks through the crowds of feasting people, a bag of grains on his shoulder. He knew rodents have infested the bag of grains he is taking to the king. Nevertheless, will the rich king care after receiving gifts without number today?
King Xavier was laughing and feasting with his fellow kings and lords, when his worst fear became confirm. Xto was already in the inner court with his old bag of grains, both stench and all, laughing and talking shamelessly with the bewildered royal officials. Shame and pain sears into the great king, his fellow kings bearing the same reproach with him in understanding. The Senior Lord saw the dismay look of their king, he rose gracefully to put away the honourless prince from the presence.
The feast ended after dusk, Xto was confined to his chamber, anger and regret turning his face to stone. King Xavier pushed opened the door and stomps into the chamber in annoyance.
“So much for thy love for me father, when thou ordered me away from thy presence like a worthless trash!” Xto sneered between gritted teeth.
“You called me father? Then if am thus where is my honour? You dishonoured me son and brought shame upon me in the presence of kings and lords!” Enraged king thundered.
“How did I father, is it because I was dirty and shabbily clothed?” Xto retorted.
“Worse than that O son! Thou roam around with evil and worthless men filled with atrocities, bringing my name to shame among them. Thou tumbled in mud’s like a pig in the name of duelling, forgetting a noble prince thou are. Yet into my presence, thou came dirty like a pig, with stench like cow dung, alas, bringing me a rotten bag of grains as my merit. Worst of all, you treat me with contempt and regard not my words.” Xavier upbraided angrily.
“Why so much trouble on me father, lo, thou filled thy palace with noble princes and princesses, loyal to thee than I. I am as I am father; thou knew this to be true.”
“Indeed thou are not in the wrong, for I have noble princes and princesses to me delight. Nevertheless, hearken to me O son devoid of honour; I love all my children and I care for them including you. I rather die than let anyone of ye stray from me and bring my name to shame among my enemies.” King Xavier growled and stomps away, leaving Xto in confusion.
Truly, a son must honour his parents no matter the situation. God upbraided the people of Israel He chose among nations to be His people, for dishonouring Him and yet referring to Him as their Father. As He says in the book of Malachi 1v6, “A son honours his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honour? And if I am a master, were is my fear? Says the Lord of hosts...”
As a child of God you are not of the world, He has bought you with the price of the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, thus you are not of yourself any longer. You need to honour the Lord your God by doing His holy will without grumbling or murmuring. Giving Him your best from the deepest of your heart with no grudges, while avoiding sins and not participating in the sins and wickedness of another. Remember that it was written in the book of Psalm 1v 2, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night.”
Beside this, know that you are a peculiar person, chosen by God from the world to be holy and blameless before Him, as such you need to live honourable live on earth before your God Almighty. Jesus said in the gospel of St. Matthew 7v6, “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine; lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.” As a faithful child of God, there are unique abilities or talents God has endowed you with, never display them anyhow to the pleasure of the children of this sinful world, lest it will lead to your dishonour before them, they will take you as one of their kind without regard to your holiness to God. You need to have high moral standing in all your ways before God, having this in mind that through your honour God will be honour; many sinners will glorify God when they see your devotion and loyalty to Him.
You dishonour your heavenly Father by sinning or following multitudes to sin. You dishonour God by treating what belongs to Him with no respect, offering Him polluted sacrifices, giving Him gifts or contributing to His good works with grudges, or through jealousy or strife; and while giving Him what you know is not your best. You can dishonour God through your unacceptable manners in life, or through the ungracious foul words coming out from your mouth. Your ungodly conduct can bring Him shame, forgetting that you are not of this world. Many God’s children are bringing Him shame today through their ungodly physical appearance of dressing, following the fashion trends of this world in the name of modernisation. Never forget that the world is passing away with all its forms, be not conformed to the system of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind with the help of the Holy Spirit; so that you can know what is acceptable before God and not.
Lord Jesus Christ taught that he, who must serve God, must serve Him in truth and in spirit. {John 4v24}. When worshipping God, worship Him with all your heart and full dedication, not through shame or in spirit of pride.

STUDY WORK

1. Explain or talk about how you can honour God in your life?
2. Assuming you dishonoured God, how do you think He will feel or react?
3. How can you tell if you are dishonouring God or not?







If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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