SING PRAISES

Monday 31st March – Monday of the 4th week of Lent

Reflection: Psalm 30

SING PRAISES

“Count your blessings, name them one by one

and it will surprise you what the Lord has done”.

So reads a song we are all familiar with. It’s a song that calls us to give thanks to God as we reflect on the numerous blessings we receive from Him each day. However, the words of this song unveils one reality: if we are not careful, we can easily forget the great things God does for us and begin to take them for granted, hence the need to count our blessings and name them one by one.

The Psalmist in today’s reading does just that. He reflects on all the wonders God has done for Him and cannot but sing praises to God from the depths of His heart. We too should stop and think. Think of the times of uncertainty or difficulty you have experience in the past. Think of the times of sickness, suffering and pain, think of the numerous times you have turned to God and asked for His help. Think of the many blessings you have received which you did not even ask for. Look around you and see the beauty and order of creation.

Dear friends, God’s steadfast love and faithfulness is indeed great. Let us take time to praise Him. Let us look beyond the difficulties assailing us right now and praise our God for the many blessings we receive each day. Remember, God dwells in the praises of His people and moves mightily on their behalf. A heart of thanksgiving always touches God’s heart. Are you ready to praise? Go on, God is waiting to hear your voice!

PRAYER: Lord I thank You for the blessings You give me each day. Please give me a heart of gratitude that I may praise you always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 489 What does it mean to praise God?

God needs no applause. But we need to express spontaneously our delight in God and the rejoicing in our hearts. We praise God because he exists and because he is good. We thereby join even now in the eternal praise of the angels and saints in heaven.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us; and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!” Psalm 117 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Isaiah 65: 17-21; Psalm 30; John 4: 43-54

WALKING IN GOD’S WILL

Sunday 30th March – 4th Sunday of Lent

Reflection: 1 Samuel 16: 1, 6-13

WALKING IN GOD’S WILL

There is a truth in the saying: “He who has nothing to look forward to, has nothing to live for.” Man as a creature of purpose, must necessarily have aspirations. These aspirations must be positive and decently pursued to promote our common good as humans.

However today, our world is bedeviled with several inordinate desires. There are over ambitious individuals who see life as nothing but a rat race! These ones readily betray trust, jettison morality and violate their conscience in a bid to reach their myopic end (2 Timothy 3: 1-4). The high level of monetary inducement, bribery and corruption plaguing our land is one of the offshoots of this. So in the midst of this, what should our response be as Christian youths?

Our response must necessarily stem from deeper conviction and understanding. One which is dependent on God for direction in life’s pursuit. One which irrevocably commits itself to the fulfillment of its assured mission. But alongside, our hearts must be large enough to help others in the fulfillment of their lofty aspirations. By this we “blossom where God has planted us”. This is being light in our own spheres of life.

In today’s first reading, we see how God can safely guard and deliver the blessing He has apportioned for His chosen ones. What He did for David amidst seven brothers, He is more than able to do for you and I today. This should be our assurance in life’s pursuits amidst the unhealthy rivalry around us.

PRAYER: Eternal Father, please daily grant me a clearer picture of Your will for me, help me choose it, and grant me fulfillment therein. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 49 – Does God guide the world and my life?

Yes, but in a mysterious way; God guides everything along paths that only he knows, leading it to its perfection. At no point in time does something that he has created fall out of his hands.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 1 Samuel 16: 1, 6-7, 10-13; Psalm 23: 1-6; Ephesians 5: 8-14

GOD IS NOT MOCKED

Saturday 29th March – Saturday of the 3rd week of Lent

Reflection: Hosea 6:16

GOD IS NOT MOCKED

Beloved, have your Lent observances have been fruitful so far? Today we want to examine ourselves in a deeper dimension. First, we must understand the fact that we serve a God who is Omniscient: that is, “all-knowing.” He knows you even more than you know yourself. Therefore, it is useless for man to conceal anything from God. Nothing is hidden from his knowledge and sight. When Adam and Eve sinned against God they went to hide, not knowing that God already knew what they had done.

Dear friends, this is the same with us. Before God, there is no secret, He knows even the depths of your thoughts. Hence, today’s reading is a call to sincerity and humility in our walk with our God, for He is not man that He should be mocked. The Psalmist tells us in Psalm 51:6 that “sincerity and truth are what He desires”. God desires our openness and sincerity as we journey with Him this season. He is God, and as scripture says, “God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble…” James 4:6.

PRAYER: Father, please forgive me for the many times I have taken your patience for granted. Help me to live a sincere Christian life henceforth. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 525What does it mean to say, “Lead us not into temptation”?

Because every day and every hour we are in danger of falling into sin and saying No to God, we beg God not to leave us defenseless in the power of temptation.

Jesus, who was tempted himself, knows that we are weak human beings, who have little strength of our own with which to oppose the evil one. He graciously gives us the petition from the Our Father, which teaches us to trust in God’s assistance in the hour of trial.

HIDE A TREASURE: “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us” Psalm 67:1 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Hosea 6:1-6; Psalm 51:3-4, 18-21; Luke 18:9-14.

HIS LOVE IS ETERNAL

Friday 28th March – Friday of the 3rd week of Lent

Reflection: Hosea 14: 2-10

HIS LOVE IS ETERNAL

I once had a dialogue with a friend of mine, and to my greatest amazement, he did not believe the fact that God loves him. He must have encountered some trying moments in his journey of life which had made him give up on God. Beloved, do you know that God loves you even more than you love yourself? This might sound strange, but it is true! God created you in this world in order to have a close relationship with Him. No wonder the Psalmist says “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).

Unless you draw nearer to God you may never experience this personal love He has for you. God, has in fact promised to make His love manifest to you today if you call on Him. He is always willing to have you back, no matter how far you have strayed from him. God’s arms are opened wide today for you, would you not rather embrace Him? He would heal all the wounds in your soul. Remember this always my beloved: “God is love” (1John 4:8), and He loves you unconditionally.

PRAYER: Father I thank for your unconditional love for me. I surrender my whole being to you this day. Please take me as I am. Thank you Lord. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 2 – Why did God create us?

God created us out of free and unselfish love

When a man loves, his heart overflows. He would like to share his joy with others. He gets this from his Creator. Although God is a mystery, we can still think about him in a human way and say: Out of the “surplus” of his love he created us. He wanted to share his endless joy with us, who are creatures of his love.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “…The love of God is shed broad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Hosea 14:2-10; Psalm 81: 6-11, 14, 17; Matthew 12: 28-34

WITNESSING IN TRUTH

Thursday 27th March – Thursday of the 3rd Week of Lent.

Reflection: Luke 11:14-23

WITNESSING IN TRUTH

As we progress through this season of repentance, there is a need to be watchful and prayerful especially with the way we handle the celebration of our faith and the way we portray Christ. To live for Christ is indeed a life of sacrifice and constant determination to fight temptations and overcome them. Withdrawing from this fact and shying away from our identity is unacceptable to God. The scripture says that we should rejoice in our trials. (Matthew 5:11-12).

Jesus Christ in our reading today was accused of a false power. What audacity they had to address Jesus that way! You and I should expect even greater accusations. This must therefore make us to examine our lives and cut ourselves away from any connection which we might have with the devil. No one can serve two masters; one must take precedence over the other. Let us therefore give full attention to the teachings of our faith in and outside the church so that we can be credible in our witness for Christ.

A life of hypocrisy is like a flicking lamp that goes on and off. Better the lamp be put off than to continue malfunctioning. If we are in Christ, the old life is gone and we should live in newness of life (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christ bought us for a price; so let us walk in the Spirit if we live by the Spirit.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, deliver me from every evil attachment and fill me with your Spirit. Set my feet on your solid rock that I might remain in your love always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 453 – What does our relationship to the truth have to do with God?

Living in respect for the truth means not only being true to oneself. More precisely it means being truthful, being true to God, for he is the source of all truth. We find the truth about God and about all of reality quite directly in Jesus, who is “the way, and the truth, and the life”.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ” Ephesians 4:15 GNB

Readings for today: Jeremiah 7:23-28; Psalm 95:1-2.6-9; Luke 11:14-23

IT’S ALL ABOUT GOD

Wednesday 26th March – Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Lent.

Reflection: Psalm 147: 12-16, 19-20

IT’S ALL ABOUT GOD

The more the world realizes its nothingness without God, its maker, the better it would operate. We may have acquired lots of skills and advancement in technology, we may be permitted to have our way and ignorantly do many things contrary to God’s precepts, yet, all these do not rule out the importance of God. The Scriptures tell us that “everything God does will last forever. You can’t add anything to it or take anything away from it” (Eccl 3: 14a). The Psalmist today directs his message to the supremacy of God. Nothing can ever exist without His consent. He is the Alpha and Omega. What he commands his quickly done (Ps 147:15).

Beloved, have you taken time to build up every aspect of your life on Godly principles? What is God saying about your relationship, your career, your utterances, your dressing, eating habits etc? The more God is permitted to possess everything about us, the happier and fulfilled we would become. Let us commit our ways into His hands. God is ready to teach you. As you read His word, make a conscious plan to observe them. (Deut. 4: 9-10). They are the package of God to you which keeps unfolding till the perfect day. It all about God and what he has to say about you. Nothing else counts and in him, we exist and have our being.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, reign in my thoughts, my actions and my will. Your will is mine and your word is my portion. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 40 – Can God do anything? Is he almighty?

“For God nothing is impossible” (see Luke 1:37). He is almighty.

Anyone who calls on God in need believes that he is all-powerful. God created the world out of nothing. He is the Lord of history. He guides all things and can do everything…Often God’s omnipotence is displayed in a situation where men no longer expect anything from it. The powerlessness of Good Friday was the prerequisite for the Resurrection.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “In my desire for your commands, I pant with open mouth” Psalm 119:131 GNB

Readings for today: Deuteronomy. 4:1, 5-9; Psalm 147:12-16, 19-20; Matthew 5:17-19

FULFILLING PURPOSE

Tuesday, 25th March – Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Reflection: Luke 1: 26-38

FULFILLING PURPOSE

After much time of waiting for the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah in the first reading of today (Isaiah 7:14), the Lord kept his word by sending the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary who in turn agreed to be part of God’s plan of salvation. This marked the beginning of our life of grace and truth. God’s message for our lives is a pathway that would lead us to where He wants us to be.

Beloved in Christ, we have all been designed by God for a purpose and all we have and are today were in God’s plan for us even before our existence. Our life keeps unfolding everyday like a scroll. Let us learn to receive from God with an open heart, whatever he has in store for us. The beauty of the Good news of Christ is that it does not only bring the knowledge of God’s will for us but also gives the grace to accept it.

In our reading today, the Angel’s first message for Mary was that of peace (Luke 1:28). This was to Mary, a tool to be able to receive and act appropriately. God is always bringing forth the message of salvation to us but many a time we close the door of our hearts due to anxiety, worry and doubt. Let us accept God’s word with conviction, bearing in mind that the grace and power to do His will has been made available for us. Indeed, only in trusting Him with our lives can we live to fulfill His divine purpose for our existence.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, let your peace reign in my heart so that I may be able to welcome your purpose for my life with faith and trust. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 80 – Why is Mary a Virgin?

God willed that Jesus Christ should have a true human mother but only God himself as his Father, because he wanted to make a new beginning that could be credited to him alone and not to earthly forces.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” Luke 1: 38 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Isaiah 7:10-14.8:10; Psalm 40:7-11; Hebrews 10:4-10; Luke 1:26-38.