LIVING SACRIFICE

Sunday 31st August – 22nd Sunday of the year

Reflection: Romans 12: 1-2

LIVING SACRIFICE

A deep reflection on Jesus’ messianic destiny and how He attained our salvation calls us to embrace its meaning and purpose. Jesus Christ died that we may live (John 10:10). He sacrificed his kingly authority and became humble even to his accepting death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8). Though sinless, he took upon himself all our sins and suffered the death that was our due. Why did Christ do all this? He did this to redeem us from slavery to sin and death; to restore us to friendship with God. The costly price of his blood was paid for our ransom. (1 Peter 1:19)

Beloved in Christ, in response to the great mercy God has shown us (Romans 12:1), we are called to rededicate ourselves to him by offering ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him. Just as burnt offerings were used in the days of old, our lives too must be pleasing to God; drawing others to Christ through a sweet smelling aroma (2 Corinthians 2:15). We must daily fan into flame the gift of the Holy Spirit in us so as to renew our minds and be conformed to godly standards rather than the standards of this world (Romans 12:2). Do you know the will of God? Do you know what is pleasing to him and what is prefect? All this can be assessed by an offering of oneself to the God who leads us and calls us to follow his steps in the path of peace.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I offer myself to you today; take and sanctify me for honor O Lord. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 303 What does it mean to have fortitude?

Someone who practices fortitude perseveres in his commitment to the good, once he has recognized it, even if in the extreme case he must sacrifice even his own life for it.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “For we are like sweet smelling incense offered to God, which spreads among those who are being saved and those who are being lost” 2 Corinthians 2:15 GNB

Readings for Today: Jeremiah 20:7-9; Psalm 63: 2-9; Romans12:1-2; Matthew 16:21-27

HE WHO WILL BE ENTRUSTED WITH MORE

Saturday 30th August – Saturday of week 21 of the year

Reflections: Matthew 25: 14 – 30

HE WHO WILL BE ENTRUSTED WITH MORE

When politicians seek re-election into political offices or aspire to higher political posts, it is common place to hear expressions like: “Tested and trusted”, “One good turn deserves another” etc. This clearly illustrates a truth: how well you have managed or are currently managing the resource or assignment committed to your hands determines how much can be further committed to your trust.

Despite our apparent knowledge of this truth we seem not to have imbibed the lesson therein. As our politicians seek our votes for re-election or political advancement so do we many times demand more from life with little or no result for that which it has already committed to our trust. Much as our politicians come up with excuses for non-performance or under-performance, so do we; for we are both products of the same society.

Today’s Gospel reading clearly tells us that God, the just rewarder surely entrusts more to only those that have proven themselves faithful in little matters. Promotion is a reward for well executed responsibilities.

Beloved, do you desire elevation in any area of life? Examine the way you execute seemingly little assignments of life. Heaven and earth appreciate dedication, honesty and excellence in “little things”. And he who is ineptitude in life’s minor assignments will surely be when the major duties call. The disciples of Christ were men dedicated to their secular work before our Lord called them; so was young David a dedicated shepherd before he was anointed king over Israel. In fairness to all, I believe God shall grant us all significant opportunities in life, though they may come in various forms. The big question is: would you and I have adequately prepared ourselves through life’s “minor” events to capitalize on the big opportunities? History will not mark us out for the numerous work averagely done but for thee few outstandingly executed.

PRAYER: Dear Father, you have called me the salt of the earth and light of the world. Please help me to give my best to all that you have committed to my trust that my life may honour you better. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 318 – What are vices?

Vices are negative habits that deaden and dull the conscience, incline a person to evil, and habitually prepare him for sin.

Human vices are found in connection with the capital sins of pride, avarice, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, and sloth (or acedia, spiritual boredom).

HIDE A TREASURE: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your Master” Matthew 25: 21 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31; Psalm 33: 12-13, 18-21; Matthew 25: 14-30

GOD HAS SPOKEN

Thursday 29th August – Memorial of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist

Reflection: Jeremiah 1:17-19

GOD HAS SPOKEN

God’s word as seen in the Scriptures is full of power and addresses all situations in the life of his people. God’s word cannot be in vain. Just like the snow and the rain that come down from the sky to water the earth; God’s word would not fail to do what it is planned for, it will do everything it is sent to do. (Isaiah 55:10-11). Beloved in Christ, to appropriate God’s power in our lives is to know what God has said about you. Do I know what he has said and what he is saying?

Principalities and powers abound in our world just as is seen in our reading today. God gave Jeremiah the strength to resist all the people in the land he was sent to. The Lord said he would be like a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall. (Jer. 1:18-19). These words are for us today as we battle with sin and the devil’s tricks. Everything we need to live a victorious life has been provided by God in his word. Why battle in endless pain when you are a victor in Christ. Do we succumb to falsehood when it has become the norm of the day around us? Are we afraid to stand alone with Christ when challenges abound?

Let us get ready to search and embrace God’s word. We can never know and experience God’s power when we fail to take heed to his word. Let us be courageous to live in the words he has spoken. The world awaits our manifestation of God’s power.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I believe your word for me today, give me the courage to live in faith and trust in your word.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 22 How does one go about believing?

Someone who believes is seeking a personal union with God and is ready to believe God in everything that he shows (reveals) about himself.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword” Hebrews 4:12 GNB

Readings for Today: Jeremiah 1:17-19; Psalm 71:1-6, 15, 17; Mark 6:17-29

OUR HERITAGE IN CHRIST

Thursday 28th August – Thursday of week 21 of the year

Reflection: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

OUR HERITAGE IN CHRIST

In today’s reading, God speaks to us about who we are in Christ Jesus. Our impact as Christians has been less felt by the society because we seem to be so preoccupied with finding solution to our problems that we appear to have lost sight of our identity and privileges in Christ. A young prince who has no idea of who he really is can be bossed around by his father’s slave (Galatians 4:1). As Christians, when we fail to harness the power of God that lies within us, we easily become jittery with every little storm life throws at us. How absurd this can be.

Dear friend, a river that forgets its source would dry up. As a child of God who is established in Christ, we are rich in all things; in speech, in knowledge, in power and in grace (1 Corinthians 1:6-7). These and many more are our heritage in Christ. Let us therefore refuse to be tricked by the devil by daily confessing our identity in Christ and so become renewed and strengthened for life’s battle. Let us trust God (1Corinthians 1:9), knowing that faithful is he who has called us. Christ who lives in you wants to move through you. Be confident and face all conditions of life with the power of God at work in you. Give thanks to God for this privilege.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, because you live in me, grant me victory and make me grow in grace and knowledge of you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 477What does it mean to learn from Jesus how to pray?

Learning from Jesus how to pray means entering into his boundless trust, joining in his prayer, and being led by him, step by step, to the Father.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD” Isaiah 54: 17CCB

Readings for Today: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; Psalm 145: 2-7; Matthew 24: 42-51

PERSEVERANCE

Monday 25th August – Monday of week 21 of the year

Reflection: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 11-12

PERSEVERANCE

Mount Everest the tallest mountain in the world was never climbed in a day. Those who attempted to climb its treacherous slopes spend months and even years training. Sometimes they fail, other times they succeeded. From one slope to another they keep on till they got to the top. So also is our own journey to eternity. The path we are treading is narrow and rough, filled with many ups and downs; with treacherous slopes and deep valleys. Yet ahead of it all lies the ‘Crown’ for those who endure.

Dear friends, to gain victory we must be ready to fight the good fight of faith. Without fighting we cannot obtain the crown of glory which God has in store for us (2 Timothy 4:7-8). As challenges come in the process of striving towards achieving set goals; likewise anyone who has determined to serve God must be prepared for times of trials. We must keep our hearts upright and remain resolute; and not be upset in time of adversity. We must accept all that happens to us with patience; for as gold is tested in the crucible of fire, so those acceptable to God are tested in the crucible of humiliation. For there is no ‘Crown’ without the ‘Cross’.

Beloved in Christ, we must hold fast to the Lord when trials and tribulations come our way because of our faith in God; do not separate yourself from Him so that we may be successful to the end of our days.

PRAYER: When I am weak and your grace alone can assist me, Jesus, help me and never leave me. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 197 – Why does the Church adhere to the practice of infant Baptism?

From antiquity the Church has practiced infant Baptism. There is one reason for this: before we decide on God, God has decided on us. Baptism is therefore a grace, an undeserved gift of God, who accepts us unconditionally. Believing parents who want what is best for their child want Baptism also, in which the child is freed from the influence of original sin and the power of death.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Happy are those who patiently endure trials, because afterwards they will receive the crown of life which the Lord promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 CCB

Readings for Today: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 11-12; Psalm 96:1-5; Matthew 23:13-22

HYPOCRISY

Tuesday 26th August – Tuesday of week 21 of the year

Reflection: Matthew 23:23-26

HYPOCRISY

Many Christians and ministers of God have been condemned by allowing the virus of hypocrisy to take root and spread in their ministries. They cover up sin and vices and end up deceiving those that God has entrusted to them. They die slowly in their spirit man as they fail to acknowledge the fact that our God is all knowing and can discern the depths of man’s heart. Is this not applicable to you and me when we seek to become acceptable to men at the expense of pleasing God?

Beloved, anything born out of falsehood cannot be pleasing to God even when it seems right to man. The message of truth which we must witness as children of God must be done with all sincerity and truth so that we would not be condemned just as the teachers of the law in our reading today. JUSTICE, MERCY and HONESTY as pointed out in today’s reading (Matthew 23:23) must prevail;

JUSTICE is doing unto others what we want them to do to us. (Matthew 7:12)

MERCY is showing compassion and having a kind heart to forgive and accommodate those that have caused us pain. This is practically keeping God’s great mercy in view and availing ourselves to its grace to reciprocate it in own little way.

HONESTY is standing for the truth and never covering up falsehood but exposing it to the light of Christ.

Let us therefore strife to never entertain falsehood in our journey of faith but seek to be pleasing to God and then to man.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to be pleasing to you in my heart, my utterance and my deeds. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 455What does it mean to be truthful?

Truthfulness means that one acts sincerely and speaks honestly. The truthful individual guards against double-dealing, misrepresentation, malicious deception, and hypocrisy. The worst form of untruthfulness is perjury.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “Clean what is inside the cup first, and then the outside will be clean too.” Matthew 23:26 GNB

Readings for Today: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3a. 14-17; Ps 96:10 -13; Matthew 23:23-26

THE MISSING LINK

Wednesday 27th August –Wednesday of week 21 of the year

Reflection: Psalm 128:1 – 5

THE MISSING LINK

Believers sometimes pray so much but have little or nothing to show for their prayers.  As young individuals, we readily deploy our youthful strength to get things done. Despite our youthful strength and ingenuity, we sometimes labor with little or no result. Why does this happen? What is the “missing link” to access our long expected result? Do we have an understanding of what prosperity is according to the mind of God?

Dear friend, obedience is the key. It unlocks treasures which have been long provided for by our Heavenly Father. It sets us on the right track to journey to our expected end. The psalmist today reveals to us the “missing link” to make our work meet the needs that we desire (Psalm 128:2). The Lord rewards obedience by his children (Ps 128:1). Beloved in Christ, prosperity is far more than accumulating riches; it is the end product of obedience to God. This is seen in the life of Abraham. He obeyed God and left his kindred for an unknown land. This made him the father of nations. This blessing of Abraham is still the same blessing God offers us in our day to day activities (Deuteronomy 30:16).

Today, let us trust God with all our plans and connect to our blessings and riches in Christ. If you are willing and obedient, you will lack nothing good (Isaiah 1:19). This is God’s promise to you.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I resolve to obey and follow you, please give me the grace to be faithful to the end. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 84Was Mary only an instrument of God?

Mary was more than a merely passive instrument of God. The Incarnation of God took place through her active consent as well.

When the angel told her that she would bear “the Son of God”, Mary replied, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). The redemption of mankind by Jesus Christ thus begins with a request by God and the free consent of a human being—and a pregnancy before Mary was married to Joseph. By such an unusual path Mary became for us the “Gate of Salvation”.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “If you will only obey me, you will eat the good things the land produces” Isaiah 1:19 GNB

Readings for Today: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10, 16-18; Psalm 128:1-5; Matthew 23: 27-32