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Wednesday, May 15 2024

Contributor: Esther Alajiki

INTRODUCTION
Life is the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body. A principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings. An organismic state Characterized by Capacity for Metabolism, Growth, Reaction to Stimuli, And Reproduction.

John 1:4-5
“4 In Him was LIFE [and the power to bestow life], and the life was the LIGHT of men. 5 The Light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it or appropriate it or absorb it [and is unreceptive to it]. AMP

In Jesus we have the embodiment of both life and light. The word John uses for life is Zoe this refers to life as God has it. The essence of life not limited by time or death. John uses this word light 21 times in His Gospel. Jesus said on two occasions, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12, 9:5 NIV).

The Rabbis used light as a name for the Messiah that was promised to come. Reference to Jesus as the light is the proclamation of His divine identity and mission – as the long awaited Messiah also meaning that Jesus is God.

Jesus has brought us physical life but He wants to give us eternal life. John 3:16 and abundant life John 10:10 - life beyond our wildest dreams. “In Him we live and move and have our being”. Jesus is the True Life, he is the source of spiritual life. He is the true vine (Jn15:1). We need to be attached to him to be alive spiritually (Eph2:1.) We get attached to Him as we listen to His Words. We need to remain in Him to stay alive spiritually. We remain in Jesus not just by going to church, but as we personally remain in His Words and in His love (Jn15:7,9). Just as a branch draws on the vine’s life source, we need to depend on Jesus personally and draw on the source of spiritual life that only He can give and apart from Him we can do nothing (Jn15:5b).

Life and light is possible only for those who believe in the name of Jesus Christ, following the ways of the world is death. His life is light because it shows us where we came from and where we’re going back to. His life is light because it gives us hope in a world full of darkness. His light gives us life.
I John 5:11-13 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

“The life was the light of men” As Light He gives us sight. (Jn 12:46, John 9:39). Once again, Jesus spoke to the people and said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12. Jesus brings us the light that restores us from spiritual death and darkness John 9:39. The real blind are those who think they see outside of Jesus’ light.

While on manoeuvres, a battleship lookout noted a light in the dark, foggy night. After noting the light's coordinates, the captain recognized his ship was on a collision course with the other vessel. The captain instructed, "Signal the ship: We are on a collision course; advise you change course 20 degrees." The return signal countered, "Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees." The captain signalled, "I'm a captain, change course 20 degrees." The response was, "I'm a seaman second class, you'd better change your course 20 degrees." By this time the captain was furious. His signal curtly ordered, "I'm a battleship. Change course 20 degrees." The reply: "I'm a lighthouse. You make your decision."

Discussion: Characteristics of having life

  • Capacity for Metabolism - ingestion, digestion absorption and excretion
  • Growth – developing into maturity is what guarantees bearing of fruits
  • Reaction to Stimuli – living in the world and not conforming to the world
  • Reproduction – Making disciples and increasing the kingdom

John 3:19 "And this is the verdict: The Light has come into the world, but men loved the darkness rather than the Light because their deeds were evil."

CONCLUSION
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Follow thou Me. I am the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6
“MY CHILD, the more you depart from yourself, the more you will be able to enter into Me. As the giving up of exterior things brings interior peace, so the forsaking of self unites you to God. I will have you learn perfect surrender to My will, without contradiction or complaint. Follow Me. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Without the Way, there is no going. Without the Truth, there is no knowing. Without the Life, there is no living. I am the Way which you must follow, the Truth which you must believe, the Life for which you must hope. I am the inviolable Way, the infallible Truth, the unending Life. I am the Way that is straight, the supreme Truth, the Life that is true, the blessed, the uncreated Life. If you abide in My Way you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free, and you shall attain life everlasting. (Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis)
Wise people realign their priorities to Christ and develop disciplines that will help them to pursue the light and bring others to the light.

Friday, May 10 2024

Contributor: Wale Abiona

INTRODUCTION
Last week’s study demonstrated to us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Word, the Word is life and spirit. The Word knows everything about the Father and reveals deep mysteries of God to us. By the Word we understand the Love of the Father, demonstrated through the Son. We concluded with the question “do you love the Word?”
In today’s study we want to show how Jesus Christ, the Word, and God are the same through biblical instances and see if “the Word” is an appropriate description of God.
John 1:1
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”

Jesus Christ, the Word, and God are the same.
The following scriptures quoted of God and spoken by Christ show that both are the same. They bear the same Name and have the same glory, the same wisdom and knowledge.


 

John 17:5 - And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

1 Corinthians 1:24 - but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Colossians 2:2-3 - that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Biblical Instances
In the following Bible passages, God appeared in Word-Form
1. In the burning bush Exodus 3:3-4
2. On mount Horeb 1 Kings 19:12-13
3. On the road to Damascus Acts 3:3-4

Is “the Word” an appropriate description of God?
There may be some, who consider “the Word” not to be an appropriate description of God. Indeed, the Word is an appropriate description of God.
• The Word is inexhaustible, and God is infinite. Romans 11:33
• The Word is visible, so is God. Hebrews 11:2-4
• The Word is a mystery and God is unsearchable. Job 11:7; Job 23:8-9.
• All great decisions are expressed or executed by the written or spoken Word, and God is the great Decider who created things by His spoken Word. Deut.32:39
• The word comes from the hidden parts of man and God knows even the hidden thoughts of man. 1 Chronicles 28:9
• The Word fills the world and still resides in man, so is God. Genesis 1:3-26; 2:7 Then God said, “Let there be light, a firmament, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered, Let the earth bring forth grass, Let the earth bring forth the living creature and Let Us make man in Our image. Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. John 15:4

CONCLUSION
Now that we have seen why God chose the title “the Word” there remains one pertinent question: how can we walk with an unseen friend?
Genesis 6:9 gives us the clue. Do you want to walk with God? Are you determined to live a perfect life? Let us talk to the “Word” about it.

Thursday, May 02 2024

Contributor: Tobi Morakinyo

INTRODUCTION
The phrase "the Word of God" or "the Word of the Lord" has a number of different meanings in Scripture: (1) The spoken Word of God – personally spoken by God when addressing humans (Genesis 2:16-17), making a decree (e.g., Genesis 1:1-3), or spoken through His prophets/priests or Jesus Christ. (2) The written Word of God - has divine inspiration but human authorship, e.g., the Bible and Spirit-inspired books (2 Timothy 3:16-17). (3) Incarnate or The living Word of God i.e. The Word - This is the Word of God made flesh and lived among us (human), that is Jesus Christ, and this is who we will be studying more closely. May the Word Himself speak to our hearts tonight in His Name. Amen.

The Word and the Spirit
• Who is the Word? John 1:1-2. Jesus is the word of God, and a man is known by His words.
• How can we explain that Jesus is the Son of God? John 1:14. Jesus has a divine, incorruptible, and eternal origin, he existed at the beginning with God, the glory He showed is not ordinary but divine as of the begotten of the Father.
• How do we account for the Holy Spirit in the Trinity? I John 5:7. The Holy Spirit is the Breath of God and both the Holy Spirit, and the Word quickens.
• How then is Jesus equal to the Holy Spirit? John 6:63, Psalms 119:50. The Word and the Holy Spirit are the same.
• How do we know that Holy Spirit loves Jesus? John 16:13-14. We know that the Holy Spirit loves Christ because He glorifies Him.

The Unchanging Word
• Can God’s Word change? Isaiah 40:8. God’s word cannot change because Christ, the Word, changes not and is eternal.
• Give some of His unchangeable Words? Isaiah 9:6, Hebrew 13:8, Isaiah 53:5,Acts 1:8,and John 9:31. Some of His unchangeable words are that we are already healed, the Holy Ghost is available for us to empower us, and sinner’s prayers will not be answered unless they repent.

Result of the Word of God being from the beginning?
• What are some of the results of the facts that “the Word was with God from the beginning? John 14:8-11, John 9:4 , John 14:24, Matthew 11:27, John 17:25, John 3:35, John 17:26. The outcome of the Word being with God from the beginning includes:

(a) Intimacy in outlook in works and words

(b) deep and total knowledge of each other and

(c) deep love and trust of each other.

• How can we know the mysteries of God? We can know the mysteries of God by

(a) Revelation (Amos 3:7)

(b) nearness to Christ, the Word (John 15:15), and

(c) through the baptism in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor.2:9-10)

• How can we demonstrate our love for the Word? John 14:21, Matt.5:16, John 15:8, John 4:24.

We too can demonstrate our love for Christ by keeping His commandments and glorying Him

CONCLUSION
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Word, the Word is life and spirit. The Word knows everything about the Father and reveals deep mysteries of God to man. And you know that the Word loves you, but do you love the Word? Do you glorify Him in your words, thoughts, and deeds? Would you love to start doing so from now on?

Wednesday, April 24 2024

Contributor: Wilson Imade

INTRODUCTION
In the previous study we studies about the power of God. This week, we want to study about His wisdom because power can be dangerous in the hand of a fool. There are all sorts of wisdom but true, pure beneficial and divinely approved wisdom comes from God only, Daniel 2:20.
“20 Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. 21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.”

1.DIVINE WISDOM IS A GOLD MINE
The spirit of the Lord that gives power is also the same that gives wisdom, understanding, knowledge and the fear of God. However, the scriptures confirm that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This proves that the holy spirit and Jesus Christ are one and there is only one God. The wisdom of God is like gold mine the deeper you dig, the richer you become. Which implies that the more you know of Christ, the wiser you become because Jesus Christ is that " Gold mine" Isa.11:2, 1Cor.1:24

2.BUT THE HIGHEST WORDLY WISDOM FALLS SHORT OF THE "FOLLY" OF GOD
The wisdom is of this world is foolishness with God because (i) they are based on vanity and pursue vanity (ii) it eventually leads to destruction, so that what men call the foolishness of God is still wiser than the wisdom of men. For one thing, God can destroy the wisdom of men, but men cannot destroy the wisdom of God. Worldly wisdom is sensual and devilish, but divine wisdom is pure, peaceful, gentle, patient, merciful, good, impartial and straightforward. 1 cor.3:19-20, 1 Cor.1:25, Isa.29:14, Jer.4:22, Jam.3:15-17, Rom.1:22

3.TRUE WISDOM IS A VERY PRECIOUS GIFT FROM GOD
True wisdom is worth more than gold, silver, pearls, and rubies. That is why Divine wise man is a happy man. True wisdom is in the same category as light, which is understandable since Jesus the wisdom of God, is also the light of the world. A wise man is stronger than them mighty men, hence when God gives a man wisdom; no one will be able to resist him. Consequently, if you cannot get anything else from God be
sure you get wisdom from Him. Job 28:12-19, Prov.8:11, Eccl.2:13, Eccl.7:12, Eccl.2:26, Luke 21:15, Dan.2:21, James 1:5, Prov.4:7

4.IT IS EASY TO RECOGNISE A MAN WHO LACKS WISDOM
Some of the signs of a man devoid of wisdom are (i) unwillingness to acknowledge God as Supreme, (ii) inability to accept correction, (vi) love of arguments, (vii) meddling in other people's affairs, (viii) trusting his own abilities, (ix) acquiring wealth by fraudulent means, (x) crookedness or hypocrisy, and (xi) living as if everything ends in this world. Ps.53:1, Prov.10:18, Prov.14:9, Prov.19:6, Prov.20:3, Jer.17:11, Luke 11:39-40

5.IT IS ALSO EASY TO RECOGNISE A WISE MAN
Some of the signs of a wise man are (i) he fears God, (ii) he puts into practice whatsoever he learns from the scriptures, (iii) he searches the scriptures constantly to discover how God wants him to live, (iv) he is a man of few words (v) he is considered a fool by those who have worldly wisdom. Job28:28, 32:7, Matt.7:24, I Cor.2:6, I Cor.12:8, I Cor.3:18, II Tim.3:15, Eccl.5:3,Pro.15:2, Prov.12:23.

6.GOD'S TRAP FOR THE WORLDY WISE IS THEIR WISDOM
God's way of catching the wise man of this world is by turning their wisdom to foolishness, spoiling their grand designs while God ultimately has the last laugh. Examples in the bible include Samson versus the Philistines, David versus Goliath, King Saul and the witch of Endor, David versus Nathan, Haman versus Mordecai, the case of Gehazi and Saul's journey to Damascus. Judges 16:23-24, Isaiah 17:43-51, Isa.28:7-19, Isa.12:14, Esther 7:9-10, II kings 5:20-27, Acts 1:7-22. Are you on His side or in His trap.

CONCLUSION
To become a wise man or woman we must become “a fool” in the hand of God.1st Corinthians 1:24-28 tells us that God chooses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. Matthew 7:24- 27 tells us the difference between a wise and a foolish man. Therefore we must choose to obey and do whatever God says so that we can be counted as wise.

Wednesday, April 17 2024

Contributor: Clem Roberts

INTRODUCTION
"The Power of God" is an immensely profound and multifaceted concept that holds deep significance across all spheres. Numerous individuals assert to possess power, yet their claims are deceptive. Some contend that governmental authority holds sway, but this notion is misguided. Others proclaim that Satan wields power, yet this assertion is unfounded. In truth, there exists only one being vested with true power, and that being is none other than God Almighty, as affirmed in Psalm 62:11

“God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.”

TRUE POWER BELONGS TO GOD ONLY
All power, without exception, resides solely with God, for He is infinitely mighty. God acts according to His sovereign will; none can oppose or restrict Him. He possesses the authority to liberate from any captor, yet none can emancipate themselves from His dominion. His power can be employed to aid or obstruct, to bestow wealth and honour, as indicated in Matthew 6:13, Matthew 28:18, Psalm 115:3, Psalm 135:6, Daniel 3:17, Isaiah 43:13, 2 Chronicles 25:8, and 1 Chronicles 29:12.

SATAN HAS NO POWER
Satan possesses no inherent power, yet he is exceedingly crafty. His strategy primarily involves inducing his victims to rebel against the omnipotent God. This tactic led to the troubles of the children of Israel in the wilderness, the downfall of Samson, and the near ruin of David. However, in the Name of Jesus, we are shielded from his destructive influence, as we remain vigilant against his deceitful schemes, as stated in James 1:13-15, Numbers 22:15-18, Numbers 23:7-11, Numbers 20:23-26, Numbers 24:8-10, 15-19, Numbers 25:1-5, 9, Judges 16:6, 19:21, 2 Samuel 12:7-13, 2 Corinthians 2:10-11, and Ephesians 6:11.

GOD POSSESSES THE ABILITY TO ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING
God possesses boundless power, capable of accomplishing anything; there is absolutely nothing beyond His reach. What humanity deems impossible, God effortlessly achieves. As the sovereign ruler of all creation, He can enable even an elderly woman to conceive and give birth. Having fashioned the earth and the heavens out of nothing, He has the ability to bring forth offspring from stones. His capacity exceeds our boldest requests, as affirmed in Luke 1:37, Job 42:2, Matthew 19:26, Genesis 18:13-14, Jeremiah 32:17, 27, Luke 3:8, and Ephesians 3:20. 

Divine Attributes of God’s Power - The power of God is usually associated with traits such as all-powerfulness (omnipotence), all-knowingness (omniscience), and allpresence(omnipresence). These attributes emphasize the limitless nature of God's power, knowledge, and presence. These attributes can further characterised God as:
• The Creator and Sustainer
• God of Miracles and Divine Intervention
• God of Transformation and Healing
• God of Guidance and Protection
• Our Salvation and Redemption
• Our Faith and Devotion

GOD HAS THE POWER TO PREVENT ANY WILLING CHRISTIAN FROM STUMBLING
The Scriptures affirm that God's word assures us of His abundant power to establish us in the gospel and guide us safely to our eternal home. He is capable of preserving us from stumbling and can save us completely. Furthermore, since He possesses all power while the enemy possesses none, any obedient child of God is assured of ultimate victory at all times. This truth is emphasized in Romans 16:25-27, Jude verse 24, Hebrews 7:25, Luke 10:19, and Psalm 91:1, 7, 13-16.

THE POWER OF GOD HAS THE ABILITY TO TRANSFORM ANY INDIVIDUAL
The sole means by which an individual may partake in God's power is through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. By this divine empowerment, a believer can accomplish remarkable feats for God. The Bible offers numerous examples of individuals such as Samson, Elijah, Elisha, Peter, Stephen, and Paul, who operated in the power of the Holy Spirit. Since God shows no partiality and remains consistent in His nature, what He has done for others, He is equally capable of doing for us if we earnestly desire it. References to this truth can be found in Micah 3:8, Acts 1:8, Zechariah 4:6, Romans 15:18-19, Judges 14:5-6, 19, Judges 15:14-15, 1 Kings 18:46, 2 Kings 2:9-12, Acts 5:12-16, Acts 6:8, 15, Acts 9:17-22, Acts 19:11-12, Acts 10:34, and Hebrews 13:8.

CONCLUSION
Ultimately, the power of God is a deeply personal and transcendent reality that inspires awe, reverence, and humility in those who seek to understand and experience it. It is a source of comfort, strength, and hope for believers, guiding them on their spiritual journey and offering reassurance of divine love and providence.

Wednesday, April 10 2024

Contributor: Okwudili Prince Isaac

INTRODUCTION
The glory of God can be akin to the display of His magnificence. It could also mean praise and honour being showered upon His great name. Indeed, it is impractical to fully define God’s glory in human words simply because of His infinite perfection, infinite greatness, and infinite worth. It is the going-public of His holiness.
The scripture makes us understand that the glory of man is - at best, like the flower of grass, I Pet. 1:24, in fact Solomon (in his prime) did not compare favourably with lilies of the field, Mat. 6:28-29. Contrasts this with the glory of the Lord - a devouring fire, Exod. 24:17. If a sinner, not covered in the blood of the Lamb, should behold Him, the glory of His face alone will kill the sinner instantly, Exodus 33:18-23. But a saved soul will obtain a portion of this eternal Divine glory, II Timothy 2:10

The Brightness of Divine Glory
Saul of Tarsus saw the glory of God at noonday, and it was brighter than the noon-day sun. Apostle John saw Jesus in full glory and described His hair as whiter than earthly white, His eyes as flame of fire, His feet like brass in a furnace, His voice loud, deep and yet soft, His countenance as the radiance of the sun on a cloudless day. When the Apostles saw Him in glory, the very garments He wore changed colours, Acts 22:6, Rev 19: 11-12, Mark 9: 2-6

The Human Body is too Weak to Withstand His Glory
Whenever the glory of God appears to ordinary men, there are serious reactions. For example:
• I Kings 8:15-18; His glory drove out the priests in Solomon’s temple,
• Exod. 40:34-35: His glory prevented Moses from entering the tabernacle,
• Isaiah 6:1-5; It revealed the sinful state of Isaiah,
• Ezek. 1:26-28, Acts 9:3-4, Daniel 8:15-18, Rev. 1:17; His glory knocked down Ezekiel and Saul of Tarsus, and knocked out Daniel and John the Revelator.
• Leviticus 16:2; His glory can kill a careless priest.
• II Corinthians 4:17, Philippians 3:21; Indeed, our bodies must be changed to be able to fully enter His glory at His second coming.

Divine Glory Has Weight: The More Souls We Win The Heavier Our Glory
There are different kinds of glories, and one glory excels another. For instance, the glory of grace excels the glory of the law. Also, glory has weight, and some are heavier than other. And since one condition for obtaining glory is winning souls, it follows therefore that the more souls we win, the heavier will be our weight of
glory. I Cor.15:40-41, II Cor.3:5-11, II Cor.4:17, I Thess.2:19-20, Daniel 12:3, John 15:8.

Believers Can Share in the Divine Glory
Since everything about God is glorious, His holiness, His works, the honour of His majesty, His gospel, His liberty, His power, and His appearing, it follows that His church must be glorious too. Which means that believers, who constitute His Church, must share in His glory. But there are conditions to be satisfied before we can share in His glory apart from being born again. Some of them are - we must.
a) Be holy (Eph.5:27)
b) Suffer with Him (I Pet.4:12-14, Rom.8: 17, 21)
c) Win souls (Matt.19:28)
d) Be wise (Titus 2:13, Prov.3:35)
e) Be full of good works (Matt.13:43)
f) Keep our body, souls, and spirit pure (I Corin 6:20).

We Can Bring His Glory Down Today
To bring down the glory of God at any time, all we need to do is praise Him. But all who presents themselves must do so in one accord i.e. with one heart and mind and with the same purpose in view. In Spirit and Truth. Also, if we purpose to offer praise Him in the first instance, we must proceed gloriously. Ps.50:23, II Chron.5:13-14, Rom.15:6, Ps.66:2.

CONCLUSION
In the Old Testament after Moses’ encounter with God on Mount Sinai, he returned to his people and his face glowed from being in God’s presence. His face was glowed so much a veil had to be placed over his visage.
Today, we have access to the very presence of God, but in a better way than Moses. Moses experienced the glory of God for a moment and eventually that radiance faded away. However, we have God’s spirit indwelling us so that radiance never ceases. God’s presence doesn’t just visit and depart; God’s presence is ever ‘s with us because He’s indwelling. As we surrender more and more to the Holy Spirit we become more of the trophy of God’s grace and the evidence of God’s glory within us will radiate to everything (and person) around us.
Welcome to a glorious life.

Wednesday, April 03 2024

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION
In the first quarter of this year we have been considering the benefits of walking with God. So far we have considered the following: “Being known by God”, “Having access to God”, Enjoying the: “(Peace, Joy, Love) of God” and today, as we begin a new quarter, we will be considering “The Mercy of God”.
Mercy is underserved favour, it is a compassionate or forgiving attitude shown towards someone who deserves punishment or judgment. The mercy of God is an act of grace and love that encompasses understanding and compassion even when justice might dictate otherwise. The mercies of God are great according to 2 Samuel 24:14.
"David said to Gad, 'I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.'"

BACKGROUND
In 2 Samuel 24:1-2, King David ordered a census of Israel and Judah, and God was not pleased. 1 Chronicles 21:1 tells us that it was the instigation of the enemy. It says: “Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.”
God was displeased because a man only had the right to count or number what belonged to him. Israel didn’t belong to David; Israel belonged to God. (Exodus 30:12). And so God gave David 3 options for his punishment. Two out of the three options meant that Israel would either be at the mercy of neighbouring countries (as in seven years of famine) or attacked by enemies (Flee three months before your enemies). So he chose the third option, (Three days’ plague in the land) - This would mean the death of some in Israel, but anyone could be struck by this plague – rich or poor, influential or anonymous, royal or common. He chose this option because he knew that God was far more merciful and gracious than man.

This brings us to the first summation, that there are two categories of mercy, God’s (Divine) Mercy and Human Mercy.

PART 1: GOD’S MERCY
1. God’s Mercy is in Abundance

Ephesians 2:4-5 says: "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved."
As a matter of fact His mercy is so plenteous, it fills the whole earth and goes beyond the heavens in height. (Psalm 119:64) The earth, O LORD, is full of Thy mercy: Teach me thy statutes.”

2. God’s Mercy Never Comes to an End
To keep us alive, God renews His mercy day by day, because none of us really deserves to live due to our numerous sins. Lamentation 3:22-23 says: "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

Just imagine if God’s mercy one day comes to an end, what will be the fate of man? But thankfully, the mercy of God upon us lasts forever, (Psalms 106:1) “Praise ye the LORD . O give thanks unto the LORD ; for he is good: For his mercy endureth for ever.”

3. God Delights in Showing us Mercy
He enjoys being merciful and hence forgives easily. None of us deserved to be saved and live eternally but for the mercy of God. (Micah. 7:18) “Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy”

God’s Mercy Manifests in:
1. Forgiveness of Sins: Walking with God allows individuals to experience His mercy through the forgiveness of sins. 1 John 1:9 states, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

2. Protection and Deliverance: Those who walk with God often experience His mercy through protection and deliverance from harm. Psalm 91:4-5 affirms this: "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day."

3. Renewed Strength and Comfort: Walking with God enables individuals to experience His mercy through the renewal of strength and comfort in times of difficulty. Isaiah 40:31 states, "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

4. Guidance and Wisdom: Those who walk with God receive His mercy through guidance and wisdom in making decisions. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

PART 2: HUMAN MERCY
Matthew 18:23-34 tells us about the parable of the unforgiving servant. Verses 32-34, reveals God’s expectation “32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt"
James 2:13 says “For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment”

We are expected as humans, not just being recipients of God’s mercy only, but to be merciful to others as well. Walking with God, requires that we become like Him. (Luke 6:36.)

Mercy obeys the law of harvest: if you sow mercy, you will reap mercy. If you show no mercy you will receive none. Each time you let offences committed against you go unrevenged you will inherit a blessing. Besides, being merciful is a sign that you are a true Son of God. (Matthew 5:7)

Showing mercy doesn’t always come naturally. So how can we be merciful as we walk with God? By:

1. Being patient with people: How do you become more patient with your kids, spouse, coworkers, or friends? Ask God for His wisdom. The Bible says in James 3:17, “The wisdom from above is . . . peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy” (NLT).

2. Helping anyone around you who is hurting: You cannot love your neighbor as yourself without being merciful. Proverbs 3:27 says, “Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it” (GNT)—and “do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:8 NIV).

3. Giving people a second chance: When somebody hurts us, we normally want to get even or write that person off. But the Bible says, “Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others . . . Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ” (Ephesians 4:31-32 CEV).

4. Doing good and being kind to those who hurt you: Mercy is giving people what they need, not what they deserve, because that’s what God does with us: “Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back . . . Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36 NIV), Jude 1:22-23 says, “Show mercy to those who have doubts . . . even though you are afraid that you might be stained by their sinful lives” (GW).

You’ve got to be more interested in winning people to Christ than in winning the argument.

OBTAINING MERCY
1. Approach God’s throne with confidence in the Blood: Hebrews 4:16 "Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
2. Show Mercy to Others: Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."
3. Cry Out for Mercy: Luke 18:35-38 “As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!

CONCLUSION
When we walk with God, we become candidates of this plenteous mercy of God! (Psalm 103:8). “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. We receive forgiveness of sins when we repent, we experience protection and deliverance from harm, we received renewed strength and are guided by His wisdom.

Wednesday, March 27 2024

Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye

INTRODUCTION
In the last bible study, we looked at “The Joy of the Lord”. We learnt that only those who love the Lord and obey the Lord in all things can express the Joy of the Lord. We also learnt that the Joy of the Lord is our strength and saw how we could experience the fullness of the Joy of the Lord. We concluded that God did not promise that circumstances and situations will not arise that could try to rob us of his Joy but that he would overcome the world (John 16:33).

This week, we will look at The LOVE of God - we’ll be looking into God’s love, and the meaning of true love and its advantages. As we cannot define God, we cannot provide an inclusive account of who he is - Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us…” 1John 3:1. So, since God is incomprehensible, then so is his LOVE (a divine love). While we may and must speak truthfully about his love, we can never measure it. God’s love is unique, universal, unmerited, and personal. It’s saving, sacrificial and giving yet requiring only one thing - our faith.

John 3 Verse 14-17:
“14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[b] 16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

What is Love?
Love is complicated, it could be very difficult! Paul wrote a whole chapter about Love alone (It endures all things, it seeks not its own, …. greatest of things is love) – Faith, hope and love – the greatest of these is Love. And while you can get Faith good and hope good, sometimes we can get trouble with the Love.
Love will make you do things that you said you will never do. Love will make you ignore things that you thought you could never ignore because love has a way of surviving pain.
Even though the heart is strong, God knew to protect the heart. The heart is designed in such a way that the rib case helps to protect the organs in the chest such as the heart, the lungs from damage. God knew to protect the physical heart – even though the heart is strong, it is vulnerable.

God’s Love.
If I am to become the heart of God, that means I must be as strong as I am vulnerable! If I lose either one of them, I cease to represent the heart of God, if I go for the strong and don’t reflect the vulnerable, I do not reflect the heart of God! Am mistaken on the wrong identity of been a strong woman, a strong man – yes, but you are hard! And if we are hard, we are not like God because God gives us the hint that you must be strong enough to keep pumping but vulnerable enough that you have to be protected!

In the spirit realm, God wants us to guide our hearts for out of your hearts flows the issues of life and what he is talking about is “guide your spirit” because he doesn’t have a rib cage around your spirit! So, you have to stand guide over your heart! Who you let in and who you let out, what you let flow out of your heart. That’s where your creativity comes from, that’s where your endurance comes from that’s where the power to fulfil your vision come from. Out if your heart! Not your head, not your degree, not your intellect, not your vocabularies but out of your heart, flows the issues of life!

Who Exactly Does God Love?
When John wrote here about God, he says “God so loved the world” It would have been enough to say God love because God is Love! But he says that God so loved.
Peter said, I pray that you might know the love of God which passes all understanding. God said, I have loved you, with an everlasting love – I loved you when you were drunk, I loved you when you were high, I loved you when you were wicked, I loved you when you were evil, I loved you when you were stealing, I loved you when you were in the homeless shelter, I loved you when you were in jail, I loved you when you didn’t have food to eat, God so loved the world! It didn’t say that God so loved the church, it didn’t say God so loved the Christian, it didn’t say God so loved the believers, it says that God so loved the world!
God’s love will climb over on top of walls! It will grab a ladder up and reach them! It doesn’t matter what we think, we may not like the person, we may lock them out! But God loves even your enemies because they are God’s child too and GOD LOVES THEM! God feel in-love with the world whom he says its heart is continually wicked and every imagination in it is evil and still! God so loved the world!
We didn’t earn God’s love – God doesn’t love you because you are smart, or because you are talented. God told Jeremiah, before I formed you in the belle, I knew you and ordained you and sanctified you. Before you opened your mouth to cry or learn your first note or read the bible, God loved you! While you were living in sin, God loved you! While you were in the gutter, God loved you.

God so loved the world – It is the heartbeat of the gospel. If you don’t understand this, then you have arms, and legs and feet and toes and eyes and head but no heart – the heart of the gospel itself is in John 3:16: God so loved the world.

Having a Deeper Look at the Love of God.
The truth is Satan, knew the love of God so he wanted to get against God because he knew God loved man and hated sin and as long as what God loved (which is man), was separate from that which God hated (which is sin), God had no problem in his own emotions but if he could get man to sin, then man would be filled with what God hated and put God in a dilemma that if he reacted to what he hated, he would kill what he loved. That if reacted to what he loved, then he would have to love what he hated! The devil basically put what God hates (sin) in what God loves (us – the world) and literally asked God “how do you like them now?”

God warned Adam – he said the day you eat of the tree; you will surely die! And so now God is in a dilemma: “Do I come into the garden now and kill him? – but I love him!”. So, the doctrine of substitution was born in the dilemma that Satan placed God in. God spent time trying to figure out how to save what he loves and kill what he hates. God called and said, “Adam where art thou?” but Adam is hiding….

God still had to fix it, He knew man couldn’t fix the mess man made (by listening to Satan instead of listening to God)! He knew they couldn’t get themselves out of this, Adam couldn’t sew anything that would cover him well enough to make him righteous enough and so even in his sin, God helped him to cover up. God didn’t want to kill Adam because He loved him and of course there was consequences for his sin which he face.

What to do with the Love of God
GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD – According to Hebrews 10:3-10 (read): God’s blood is God’s Love. The price he paid to Love you! When we think of passion, we think of pleasure! when God thinks of passion, he thinks of pain! When I think of love, I think of wonderful feelings, when God thinks of love, he thinks of bruises – bruised for our iniquities… and by his stripes we are healed. Not just healed but made whole. To go from healed to whole, you must come back! Coming back to say thank you, thank you for how you changed my life, thank you for how you picked me, thank you for how you looked over my sins, thank you for how you made a way of escape, thank you for how you loved the unlovable, touched the untouchable, redeemed the unredeemable – I owe you the praise! God took BRUISES for you! – he took my bruises!! There is a love that endures all things! – It will never back away, it is The Love of God!

The Love of God is shared in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. The only way to love like God, is to be filled with God and when you get filled with God, you can love like God. When you are really filled with the Holy Ghosts, its not just you speaking in tongues. Some of the real sign of been filled with the Holy Ghost is:
• when you love your neighbour.
• when you love people who mistreated you.
• when you people after they have done you wrong.

You may have to love people at a distance, but you still love them! You don’t become God’s disciple by wearing long dresses, by not wearing makeup etc.
• You are God’s disciple when the LOVE of God affects how you treat the people around you.
• You are God’s disciple when you learn how to forgive!
• You are God’s disciple when you can’t hold a grudge.
• You are God’s disciple when you love people who you have nothing to gain from.
• You are God’s disciple when you don’t get anything back out of it but you still do it anyway!
• You are God’s disciple when you serve!
• You are God’s disciple when you carry the bruises of LOVE!

CONCLUSION
John 3:16 is a famous verse and it is important because it tells us about the unconditional love that God has for his creation, it teaches us about the sacrifice God made for us, and it helps us understand the eternal implications of being a follower of Jesus. The verse affirms who Jesus is, why he came to earth, and what belief in him results in. This verse depicts how great God’s love for the world is that he would be willing to offer up his son for us, which was a huge sacrifice on God’s part. It is because of God’s sacrificial love that believers gain eternal life.
True love always gives. Not only did God give His Son Jesus Christ, in Him also He gives a new life - eternal life. Everlasting life doesn’t just refer to our life without end, but a life with God in heaven for-ever. It is the life of God one possesses, new life that can relate to God. That is what we need -we were dead in sins and trespasses but made us alive together with Christ by His grace (Eph 2:1, 5).

Wednesday, March 20 2024

Contributor: Ayomide Oladipo

INTRODUCTION
Last week we looked at the topic “The peace of God”. In the study we learned that ‘the peace of God is the calmness that the body, mind and spirit experience through the trusting in the power and grace of God.’ During the discussion we learned that one of the characters of God is peace - Roman 15:33, and the way live experientially a life of peace is to submit everything to God in prayer according to Philippians 4: 4-7.
Today we would be looking at the topic “The Joy of the Lord”.
The word JOY is versatile in its meaning. Its versatility means that it is not limited to a single definition, it encompasses a wide range of emotion, experience and interpretation and the form and intensity by which it manifest is dependent on individual perspective. However, literally, JOY is generally defined as a feeling of gladness, happiness, and great pleasure.
There are different types of Joy for example, true joy, false joy, lasting joy, ephemeral joy (joy that is transient/ temporary), but the best and most enduring type of JOY comes from the Lord.’

Today we would contrast all other types of JOY with ‘the JOY of the Lord’, also discuss the link between ‘the JOY of the Lord’ and ‘the peace of God’.

The JOY of the Lord
1 Peter 1:8-9: “Though you have not seen him, you love him, and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls”.

The JOY of the Lord can simply be defined as the kind of JOY that ‘The Lord’ gives. Unlike other types of JOY, the Joy of the Lord is not a feeling, it is an expression, this type of Joy is not transient, it is a product of an acceptance of the God’s love to mankind.

Who can express the Joy of the Lord?
1.Those who love the Lord: According to (John 14:28) “You have heard how I saidunto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice,because I said, I go unto the father, for my father is greater than I”, the joy of the lordis available to those who love the Lord. Who loves the lord? Those that have acceptedJesus as their Lord and saviour.

2.Those who obey the Lord in all things: According to (John 15:10-11) “10. If yekeep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my father’scommandments and abide in his love 11. These things have I spoken unto you, thatmy joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full, the fulness of the Lord’sjoy is in those who obey him in all things.
What role does the Joy of the lord plays in a believers live?

The Joy of the Lord is our strength.
Nehemiah 8: 10
“Then he said unto them, go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
The primary role of the JOY of the Lord in the life of a believer is to strengthen us. Other forms of JOY can excite, can cause someone to be cheerful but only the JOY of the Lord strengthen. The source of this JOY is Christ himself, As earlier established that the JOY of the lord is not a feeling but an expression, believers that have accepted the finished work of Jesus are able to express it because they no longer depend on their own righteousness or circumstances around them to have JOY, and because of the absolute finished work of Christ, this believers are always strengthened.

2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
It is important to know that it is not by power or might or human works are believers strengthened by ‘the JOY of the Lord’ it is by accepting that it is in him we live and move and have our being, so even when we are weak or fall short, we still can rejoice as apostle Paul say that he glory in his weakness, so that he can experience the power of God.
Zechariah 4:6 “So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts.”
The Spirit of God is the source of our Joy and strength, nothing qualifies us to express the JOY of the Lord but by receiving of the Lord as our Saviour.

Discussion: Can a believer share ‘The Joy of the Lord’ with another person? Isaiah 61:1

Experiencing the fullness of the JOY of the Lord
Psalm 16:11 “11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life, in thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
The presence of the Lord is where fullness of Joy is. In Psalm 122:1 “I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the house of the Lord.”, the psalmist here understood that the presence of God is a place where he experiences the fulness of JOY of the Lord. God does not intend for us to only experience fullness of Joy when we converge within the walls of a church alone, it is his desire that our Joy is always full. How do we have this fullness of JOY every time, anywhere, it is by dwelling in the secret place of the most high - Psalm 91.

There is no place more delightful than the secret place of the Lord. Through consistent prayer, we are transformed to not only dwell in the presence of the Lord, but to carry the presence of the Lord within us that everywhere we go as believers, people can physically connect to the presence of God within us. Jer.15:16 “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.” Jeremaiah here testifies of what meditating on the word of God did to him (Gave him JOY)

Can this JOY be lost?
Psalm 24:3-6: “3. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart, who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”
A believer can indeed lose the JOY of the Lord in them when they yield to sin. As earlier established our source of JOY is the Lord through His spirit that works in us, however the devil does not want a believer to enjoy this JOY permanently, he is always looking for ways to rob a believer of access into the presence of God where we enjoy fullness of JOY. According to Psalm 15, a sinful and impure heart cannot ascend into the presence of the Lord.

Psalm 45:6-8: “8 But unto the Son he saith, thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

When a believer love iniquity and hates righteousness, such believer will anoint themselves with the oil of sadness.

How can it be restored?
Jeremiah 33:7-9 “7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. 8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. 9 And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise, and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.”

Our God is a Restorer, He is committed to forgive and restore His Joy unto anyone that lost it as He did to Judah, if they humble themselves, repent and turn back to God – 2 Chronicles 7:14. "14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
Discussion: Can someone have “the peace of God’ without having ‘the Joy of the Lord’?

CONCLUSION
John 17:13 “And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” These was Jesus’s prayer before he left the world, which clearly shows that it is will and his prayer that we his children have his JOY in us.
He did not promise that circumstances and situations will not arise that would want to rob us his JOY, he however told us that he has overcome the world- John 16:33. Jesus paid the price for our JOY in him, this is the reason why it is not circumstance dependent, we can express it anytime any day by having faith in his finished work. While the peace of God is the calmness the body, mind and spirit experience through trusting in the power and grace of God, the JOY of the lord is an expression of gladness we experience as a result of our faith in his strength and grace.
Finally, we are also commissioned to show unbelievers the source of this JOY -Mark 16:15-16 “15 And he said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

Prayer: Father let your JOY continue to grow stronger in me in Jesus name.

Wednesday, March 13 2024

Contributor: Ngozi Roberts

INTRODUCTION
The previous study we focused on Psalms 15:1-5 which emphasizes on the character of those who abide in the Lord. We were reminded of the character of the person whom God receives which starts from having intimacy with God and in the process we are enabled by His Spirit to conform to His Will in all that concerns us either physically or spiritually. Today we are going a little bit deeper to discuss the topic Peace of God. When we talk about the Peace of God, we must first acknowledge that there is another kind of Peace which is not of God.
Peace in general encompasses both external circumstances and internal well-being. In a broader sense, peace can refer to absence of war or violence, when nations or communities coexist without hostility. It can also refer to inner calmness, which is a sense of quietness and contentment within oneself. It could be referred to as relational harmony which is when individuals or groups interact without strife or discord. It also refers to when one experiences Spiritual serenity. This is having a deep sense of connection with a higher power. This is where our topic for today falls under. God’s kind of Peace.

What is the peace of God?
The Bible made us to understand that the peace of God is the calmness that the body, mind and spirit experience through the trusting in the power and grace of God. It is the experience that we get when we choose to rest on Him in prayer. When we choose prayer and trust in Him during our anxious moments then it is said that we have the Peace of God. It is a supernatural and unexplainable experience that guards our hearts. How do we know these?

Philippians 4: 4-7
4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Now this scripture sums it all up. It guides us into how to experience the Peace of God:
• Rejoice always
• Be careful for nothing – don’t be anxious
• Prayers
• Thanksgiving
Then be sure to experience the peace of God and note this kind of peace, no one will understand it except you!

God of Peace
We serve a God of Peace. Heb. 13:20 "20Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,"

In Isaiah 9:6 "6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
When Jesus was born the angels came to sing in Luk 2:14 - "14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
And when Jesus was leaving the earth he promised Peace. He said in John 14:27 - 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

He explains that there is a difference between other people or the world kind of peace and His kind of peace. His kind of peace is experienced when we do not let our heart be troubled or when we are not afraid. This tells you that you can have everything but if you do not have the prince of peace you do not know anything about peace.

Types of Peace
Peace of God can be in different categories or degrees
1. Great peace
2. Multiplied Peace
3. All round peace
4. Peace like a river
5. Peace of God that passes all understanding
6. Absence of Peace, No peace
All these kinds of peace can be found in our God.

Great Peace - If you have children according to Isaiah 54:13. If you teach your children the way of God then great shall be your peace. Example in Gen 18:17-19 God was confident that Abraham will bring up his children in Gods ways. Can God vouch for you like that? This was evidence in Gen. 22:1-18 when Isaac was going to be sacrificed, he did not fret. He was not afraid because he had been trained to believe in His father and God. He believed that God will provide even unto death, by not resisting when he was tied up for the kill. He had great Peace that can only be experienced by children brought up in the way of the Lord.

Multiplied Peace - In Daniel 4: 1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. It is used as a royal greeting. 1 Peter: 1-2 , …. Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Also in 2 Peter 1:2 2Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
So as long as we have peace it can be multiplied. Wherever you go you can contaminate them with the peace of God. That is when you multiply the peace of God in you. This can be gotten through the knowledge of God.
All round Peace

• Could be physically. When God brought out the children of Israel from Egypt, He promised them all round health 26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

• Could be materially, He said in Psalm 92:12-15 that 12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bring forth

• Could be Spiritual. In Mark 5: 2- 15 a story was told of a mad man in the country called Gadarene. This man was possessed by many demons such that he was always hurting himself and living in the grave yard amongst the dead. Yet when he met with Jesus, He was delivered and when the people heard and came to see what happened, they met this formerly mad man sitting quietly at the feet of Jesus at Peace. Amazing!
An example of one that experiences this all round peace was King Solomon. 1 king 4:24 24 For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him
Spiritually, God loved him. Physically, he did not experience any sickness until he was dying and Materially, he was the wealthiest in the world.

• Peace like a River – this can be experience when we harken unto His voice. 18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:
o When you have peace like a river, you will be singing praises in the day of trouble like Paul and Silas –Acts16:16-34 when they were put in prison.
o 22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 24Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks 25And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

• Peace that surpasses all understanding – Phil 4: 7. This is the one you do not have understanding of. No one understands this. It is usually based on experience. Acts12:5-11 – a story was told of Peter in prison, and there he was snoring away! So much so that when the angel woke him up, asked him to tie the lace of his shoes and put on his garment and took him past the first gate, second gate, until in he came into the city, he thought he was dreaming! He could not understand what has just happened to him until he was physically knocking on the door of his brethren. It was like a dream. The God that has the key of David that opens doors where no one can and shut doors where no one can, this same God opened the gates of the prisons and led him out in Peace. So when you experience this kind of deliverance and peace from this God, it gives you the confidence and re-assurance that since he has done it before, he can still do it again and from there your Peace that surpasses all understanding comes in.

• Lost Peace – This is the experience you get especially when making decisions, a child of God wants to embark on a journey or take a business project or carry out an assignment. God speaks to such people mostly by removing their Peace.

• No Peace - Isaiah 48:22 the bible says there is no peace for the wicked - "22 There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked." So If you are not one of his children and you are praying for peace, His peace will not come. But if you are still not sure that you are His Child, and want to experience His kind of peace, then cry to him right
now. 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

How to Experience God’s Peace
When you genuinely give your life to Jesus Christ is when the Peace of God steps in. It is one of the fruits of the spirit that steps into your life when you genuinely give your life to Christ. Nothing offends you – Psalm 119:165
1. Submission and Trust: To experience God’s peace, we must humbly submit to and trust His commandments.
2. Moving Closer to God: As we draw near to God, we encounter more of His peace. Psalm 24:3-4 emphasizes the importance of a pure heart and clean hands.
3. Growing in Knowledge: Our relationship with God deepens as we grow in our knowledge of Him. 2 Peter 1:2 encourages us to seek more grace and peace through this knowledge.
4. Restful Faith: As we understand God’s love and wisdom, our minds and spirits develop a restful faith in His power and grace.
5. Assurance: God’s peace assures us that He works all things together for our good and accomplishes His purposes.

CONCLUSION
The Scripture describes God’s peace, as a profound and transformative experience that transcends earthly circumstances. It is characterized by harmony and calmness of body, mind, and spirit. It surpasses all understanding, meaning it goes beyond what our human minds can comprehend. It is rooted in trust—specifically, trusting in the power and grace of God. Peace is considered a blessing from God and is consistent with His character. God’s peace is not merely the absence of conflict; it is a profound inner tranquillity that comes from trusting in Him and aligning our hearts with His will.
As we submit and trust in God, move closer to him, grow in knowledge of him and restfully have faith in him, we will be rest assured that Gods kind of peace will be our portion in every area of our lives.

Sunday, March 10 2024

Contributor: Alex Kokobili

INTRODUCTION

The previous study of Psalms Chapter 1 showed us the blessings the God and the consequences of ungodliness. The Godly are blessed with God’s presence and are sustained by the law of the Lord both day and night while the ungodly are condemned to be judged because of their unrighteousness. Today’s discussion focuses on Psalms 15 which emphasizes the character of those who abide in the Lord. Character is virtue or essential good conduct that should portray goodliness which we can also relate with 2 Peter 1: 2-8 “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

VERSE 1: Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

The Holy Hill represents God’s presence. This is not a physical hill, mountain, or elevated piece of land but God’s dwelling place which is our lives. This can also be manifested in a place where people are gathered in God’s name for His purpose, but the emphasis as a new creation in Christ is that our bodies should be available to carry His presence (1 Corin 16: 9 Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit).

The gathering of the saints is also portrayed in this limelight of God’s tabernacle (Mathew 18: 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them).

The significance of the holy hill reminds us of the hill of Zion which was the point in Jerusalem where the temple was located. However, as believers, this now has a spiritual connotation of God’s manifest presence in Jesus Christ in us through the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 12: 22-24 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel).

To abide in His holy hill. Such a person must:

• Receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (John 3: 16)

• Have clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully (Psalm 24:4)

• Live righteous, and those who have faith in God (Isaiah 26: 2)

• Live a sanctified life in holiness with a pure conscience (Hebrews 10:22, Hebrews 4: 8, Isaiah 6:1-5).

• Have the revelation and manifest knowledge of Jesus as the door of salvation (John 10:9). Having peace in God through Christ and dwelling in His grace (Romans 5: 1-2). Understanding God’s eternal purpose in Christ (Ephesians 3: 11-12)

• Depend on the Holy Spirit for divine ability and presence to comply with His will (John 16: 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth). The gifts of the Holy Spirit must be at work (1 Corin 12). Our lives must portray the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law).

VERSE 2: The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart. “Walking uprightly and blameless before God”.
God expects us to live in accordance with His commandments whether we think it is philosophical or not but to trust Him to direct the affairs of our lives.
As a Christian apart from pleasing God with your life, business, family, etc. We are advised to:

• Avoid being cruel to others (Proverbs 11:17-18). Have a pure conscience!

• Be aware that whatsoever you sow even as a child of God, you will also reap (Galathians.6:7-8).

• That God watches us and sees our actions both in secret or in the open (Psalm 34: 5 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry).

• Watch your association or manner of communication. (Psalm 119: 63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts, 1 Corin 15: 33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners).

• That God will always come through to help the righteous even in times of afflictions (Psalm 34: 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivered him out of them all).

• The one who works blameless will be an ambassador to proclaim God’s goodness to others (Psalm 26: 7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works).

• Depend on God’s wisdom at all times (Psalm 51: 6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom).

• Be truthful (Ephesians 4: 25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another).

VERSE 3 He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend. “Watch Your Tongue”.

• We have to understand the power vested on the tongue and be guided (Psalm 18: 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit).

• A Christian must be guided while speaking both to Christians and non-Christians (James 1: 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless)

• A filthy heart will speak filthiness (Psalm 5:9, Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice), Matt. 12: 24 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth).

• The unfaithful man’s mouth is a snare for bitterness (Romans 3: 10-14).

• Don’t slander people even if they wrong you (Leviticus 19: 16 Do not go about spreading slander among your people).

• Our mouth is used for all manner of prayer (1 Thessalonians 5: 17 be unceasing and persistent in prayer)

• Our mouth is for praising God and not complaining (Psalm 145:21 My mouth will declare the praise of the LORD; let every creature bless His holy name forever).

• Use your mouth to bless others and not curse them (1 Kings 8:14-15 Then the king turned around and blessed the whole assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing. 15 And he said: “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who spoke with His mouth to my father David, and with His hand has fulfilled it, saying).

VERSE 4: In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear the LORD; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change. “Honor God and those who honor Him”.

A vile person has no regard for Godly virtue or a righteous lifestyle and hence things to consider:

• We must hate what God hates which is sin and do not be aligned with those who mock God’s righteousness (2 Peter 2: 5-8 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

• Vain thoughts dishonor the Lord. Let’s be careful (Psalm 119: 13 I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love)

• Caution your speech and never compromise your thoughts by being politically correct (Proverbs 8: 7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips), 2 Peter 2: 7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked).

• Let the Word of God comfort and guide our disposition of life (Colossians 3: 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord).

• Don’t be in a rush to make a promise or vow and if you have made a vow examine it because God keeps account of all things (Numbers 30: 9 But any vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, anything by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her. let it be fulfilled).

• Fulfill your vows to God (Ecclesiastics 5: 4-5 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. 5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it).

• All vows, oats, or alliances that are not connected to God’s alignment must be prayerfully discounted (Romans 8: 1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit).

VERSE 5: He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved. “Integrity before God”.

Usury means a place where people lend money at an unreasonable rate. Bribery means collecting money as a form of inducement that compromises your righteousness. Integrity is required if we would stand before God and have access to His presence and blessings.

• Imbibe integrity and desist from shady business deals, bribery, making profits out of greed, or partaking in any dealings that involve compromising our faith (Jeremiah. 17:11 Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay are those who gain riches by unjust means. When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them and in the end they will prove to be fools).

• Avoid greed when dealing financially with the poor or vulnerable people (Proverbs 22: 22-23 Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; 23 For the Lord will plead their cause, And plunder the soul of those who plunder them). • Riches made honest give peace (Proverbs 21: 6 A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare).

• Little profit with contentment is righteousness than a bounty gained by injustice (Proverbs 16: 8 Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice, 1 Timothy 6: 6-11 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs)

• Christians must ever forget that financial wealth and economic elevation come from God and it must never be derailed from this reality (1 Chronicles 29: 12 Both riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler over all. In Your hands are power and might to exalt and give strength to all).

CONCLUSION

The discussion reminds us about the character of the person whom God receives which starts from having intimacy with God and in this process we are enabled by His Spirit to be conformed to His will in all that concerns us either physically or spiritually. Character is also referred to as virtue and portraying any character without goodliness means we would always be ensnared to the dictates of the flesh and its struggles making us unfruitful before the Lord.

2 Peter 1:3-8 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Also, Galatians 5: 22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Wednesday, February 21 2024

Contributor: Folashade Morakinyo

INTRODUCTION
In a world consisting of millions upon millions of people, how is it possible for God to differentiate good people from bad? How can He know those in Africa and the same time those in America, Europe, India, China, the near and far East? What type of brain does God have? Isaiah 40:28 answers these questions.
“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.”

There are further questions and answers to guide our understanding of today’s study.

1. How intimately does God know His own?

  • John 10:3 - He knows them by their individual names
  • John 1:48 - Even in the offices or farms
  • Nahum1:7 - Also in the time of trouble

What conclusions can we draw from 1 Corinthians 8:3, 2 Timothy 2:19-20?

Does He know the sinners too? Amos 9:3, Zephaniah 1:12, Jeremiah 17:10.

2. How can you know that He knows you and recognizes you as His own?

1 John 2:3-5, 1 John 3:14, I John 3:19, 1 John 4:13, 1 John 5:9, John 15:14.
If we find it easy to obey His commandments and find pleasure in doing it, then we can have the witness in us that He knows us as His own. Also, a deep love towards all His children is another determining factor.

3. Who else knows the saints as special people of God?
Acts 19:15, Acts 16:16-18. All evil spirits recognize saints for what they are.

4. How do saints know themselves?
How can you recognize a true child of God if you meet one?
Ps. 119:63, Malachi 3:16, Acts 2:42, I John 1:17, Proverbs 17:17.
All true children of God enjoy fellowshipping together and live a holy and blameless life.

5. If I want to become a saint what must I do?
What benefits are mine if I become someone who is recognized by God as His own? Psalms 34:18, Acts 17:27, Ps. 145:18, Ps.16:8, Genesis 25:24, Revelation 3:4.
If you want to become a saint, the first thing is to be truly sorry for your sins and humbly come to God for forgiveness. When you become accepted of Him there is hope of eternal life and eternal glory for you.

CONCLUSION
How glorious is it to walk with Jesus! How wonderful to be recognized as a friend by God Almighty even when the State Governor does not know you. Imagine the glory of one day dinning with the King of kings and of Lord of Lords!
And all it takes is to live a holy life! Is that too great a price to pay! Are you willing to pay the price? Talk to Him about it now.

Wednesday, February 14 2024

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION
Throughout this year, we will be studying various topics under the theme: “A Closer Walk with God”. To walk with God is to continuously have an awareness of His presence. There are numerous benefits that await those who walk with God and in today’s study we shall be considering one of them. The Blessings of God. Today’s study is in three parts. The first part will look at The Blessed Man, the second will consider The Benefits of the Godly, and the third, The Woes of the Ungodly.

PART 1: THE BLESSED MAN (VERSES 1-2)

The word Blessing is from the Hebrew root word Barak which means “to bless”, “to invoke divine favour”, “to empower”, “to prosper”, or “to make successful”. To be blessed means to be “empowered for success.” In Genesis 1:28, we see this empowerment accompanying the blessing God declared.Although man lost this blessing, but by Christ, every believer now has access to the power and wisdom that will override the curse through faith in The Blessing of the Lord. Finally, to be blessed is to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Characteristics of the Blessed Man

Verses 1-2 of this Psalm lists the characteristics of the blessed man. And these characteristics are divided into 2 main sections. Separation and Occupation. Separation

  • He Does not Walk in the Counsel of the Ungodly. He does not take advice or live his life based on the opinion and recommendation of the world systems. The ungodly “warn” against being too strict and extreme, to be broad-minded and to "make the best of both worlds". But they have no "fear of God" before their eye and are driven by self-will and self-pleasing, and dominated by what they call "common sense". 1 Kings 12:8 tells us that Rehoboam took on bad/ungodly counsel that ended up splitting the nation of Israel.
  • He Does not Stand in the Way of Sinners. He does not fellowship/hangout orassociate with sinners. His best friends are not unbelievers. Evil communicationcorrupts good manners. (1 Corinthians 15:33)
  • He Does not Sit in the Seat of the Scornful. To not sit in the seat of the scornful,means that the blessed man does not take his ease, nor seek his joy in the recreationsof the world. He does not laugh at jokes that undermines the Almighty God! Exodus23:2 tells us that we must not follow the crowd in doing wrong or subscribe topopular opinion.

Occupation

  • But He Delights in and Meditates on the Word of God. God's Word is the dailybread of the "blessed" man. It is not simply that he is interested in "the Law of the Lord," but he delights in it! Joshua 1:8 tells us that reading, meditating on the Word of God and obeying it is the key to making our ways prosperous and having good success!

Categories of Blessings
There are three categories of blessings:- Physical, Soulish and Spiritual.

A. Physical Blessings: Physical blessings are for God’s children. They include among others, money (Amos 9:13), property (Isaiah 30:32), health (Exodus 23:25), wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18), protection (Isaiah 25:4), sleep (Psalms 127:2), Genesis 24:35. He intends for us to have the very best – Ps. 34:110, Ps. 103:5.

Obtaining Physical Blessings

Physical blessings don’t simply happen to us. God is a God of grace and mercy, but He mostly deals with us by certain biblical principles. There are many conditional promises of the Lord's blessings you and I can capitalize on. We will simply consider only 5 ways we can obtain physical blessings. By:

  • Letting the Lord dwell in your home. 2 Samuel 6:11 tells us that when the ark ofthe Lord remained in Obed-Edom’s house for 3 months, the LORD blessed himand his entire household.
  • Giving God tithes and offerings – Malachi 3:10 – Here God promised that Hewill open the windows of heaven to us and bless us until there shall not be roomenough to receive it.
  • Giving to others – Luke 6:38. Give and it shall be given unto you. Good measure,pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap.
  • Serving the Lord - Exodus 23:25 says: And you shall serve the Lord and He will bless your bread and your water and drive sickness away from you.
  • Obedience to God - Deuteronomy 28:1-2. If we fully obey (not partial obedience), then the Lord will set us high above all the nations of the earth and His blessings will come upon us and accompany us!

B. Soulish Blessings: In 3 John 2, the Bible says: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” A prospering soul is a blessed soul. There are three parts of the soul, the mind, will, and emotion. These soulish blessings include among others, honour, fame popularity, (l Kings 3:13), promotion (I Samuel 2:7), rest of mind (Matthew 11:28), wisdom (Daniel 2:21), etc.

Obtaining Soulish Blessings
As it is with Physical blessings, Soulish blessings don’t also simply happen to us. However, it is important to note that the prospering of our souls is solely dependent on the prospering of our spirits. A prosperous soul is a soul where a person's mind, will, and emotions are under the rule of their spirit and the Word of God
Here are 4 ways among many others by which we can obtain soulish blessings.

  • By studying the Word of God: Proverbs 2:10 tells us that knowledge is pleasantfor our souls. The Word of God is our instruction manual, or our road map, for life.It contains wisdom, encouragement, comfort, and life-changing power thatprospers our souls.
  • By Following Righteousness and Mercy – Prov. 21:21 tells us that if we earnestlyseek righteousness and loyalty, we will find life, righteousness, and honour.
  • By Humility – Prov. 22:4 (AMP) says: “The reward of humility [that is, having arealistic view of one’s importance] and the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the LordIs riches, honour, and life.”
  • By Serving God – John 12:26 “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where Iam, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me.”

C. Spiritual Blessings: Spiritual blessings are any blessings administered in the realm of the spirit; specifically, the blessing of the Spirit in introducing the believer into “the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3) Spiritual blessings can be, A glorious name (Isaiah 56:4-5), Ability to know God (Jeremiah 24:7), A soft heart (Ezekiel 11:19), The Holy Spirit and His gifts (Luke 11:13, I Cor. 12:4-20), Eternal Life (John 10:28), etc.

Obtaining Spiritual Blessings
Spiritual blessings can be obtained:

  • By Giving our lives to Christ: Ephesians 1:3 tells us that God has blessed us inthe heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
  • By Living a Holy Life – Isaiah 58:8-11 tells us that if we live a holy life, our lightwill break forth like the dawn
  • By Faith – Mark 9:23 tells us that “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

PART 2: THE BENEFITS OF THE GODLY (VERSE 3)
Living godly has benefits that money cannot buy. It causes you to live in satisfaction, joy, and tranquillity, because you know that God is on your side. Here, the Bible likens the godly to a tree planted by the rivers of water. Isaiah 61:3 says they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD. Psalm 1 verse 3 (TPT) lists out the benefits of the godly:

  • They Stand Firm Like a Flourishing Tree Planted by God’s Design, (Isaiah61:3) A tree planted by the Lord will not fear when heat comes, it will notexperience damage from the blazing heats of summer, its leaf remains green, andit will yield fruit in season.
  • They are Deeply Rooted by the Brooks of Bliss, (Hosea 14:5) Like a cedar ofLebanon. The cedar wood is rot-proof. Because of its characteristics (size,diameter, lifespan), it is a symbol of greatness, of nobility, of strength and ofincorruptibility.
  • They Bear Fruit in Every Season of Life. (Exodus 23:26). There is no time or room for barrenness
  • They are Never Dry (spiritually or materially), Isaiah 58:11 tells us that Godwill guide, satisfy, and keep us strong and we will be like a garden that has plentyof water, like a spring of water that never runs dry.
  • They will Never Faint. Isaiah 40:31 promises the godly that they shall run and notbe weary, and they shall walk and not faint.
  • Ever Blessed, Deut.28:2 tells us that God’s blessings shall come on us and overtakeus
  • Ever Prosperous. (2 Corinthians 9:8, Philippians 4:19), Deut.26:12 tells us that God will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, and to bless all the work of our hands. To the extent that we will lend to many nations!

PART 3: THE WOES OF THE UNGODLY (VERSES 4-5)
Psalms 32:10a tells us that the woes of the wicked are many. Here in verses 4-5, the Bible contrasts the godly and the ungodly. The passage starts off by saying: “The wicked [those who live in disobedience to God’s law] are not so . . .”[AMP]
Then continues further to list out the woes of the ungodly/wicked
They are worthless and without substance (like the chaff which the wind blowsaway.) Psalm 37:10 tells us that the wicked will soon disappear. Isaiah 14:20
The wicked will not endure the day of judgment (but will be punished). Proverbs11:21 tells us that the wicked shall not go unpunished.
Nothing they do will succeed or endure for long. Isaiah 14:20 says the seed ofevildoers shall never be renowned.

CONCLUSION (VERSE 6)
Verse 6 tells us the advantage the godly have over the ungodly, God!
It says: “For the Lord watches over all the plans and paths of godly men, but the paths of the godless lead to doom.”

There are thousands of blessings in the scripture laid up for you and I to claim, that the ungodly are not qualified to claim. A typical example is Psalms 91 where we learn that a thousand shall fall at our side, and ten thousand at our right hand; But it shall not come near us! Only with thine eyes shall we see the reward of the wicked.

We must however, be conscious of the fact that there can be no true walking with God, until we separate from the world, and forsake the paths of sin. We must observe that it is a downward spiral to yield to the ways of the ungodly. We must acknowledge the privileged positions we possess as God’s children and not relinquish it by envying the wicked or adopting their way of life.
In Psalm 73, the end of the wicked was contrasted with that of the righteous. Where David considered the lives of the wicked ones - They never have to lift a finger, living a life of ease while their riches multiply. (Vs.12) He thought he was being foolish playing by the rules and keeping his life pure (Vs.13). When he tried to understand the situation, it gave him a splitting headache (Vs.16) MSG. Until one day God showed him their lives and in the light of glory, his distorted perspective vanished. (Verse 17) when he saw that they were on a slippery slope and heading for destruction that will bring to end all their life of ease; in a blink of the eye and they will be swept away by sudden calamity! (Vs.18-19)
We must continue to remain faithful. Proverbs 28:20 tells us that “A faithful man will abound with blessings!”

Wednesday, January 31 2024

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION
The theme of the entire book of Proverbs is centered around wisdom for living in the world, guided by righteousness and biblical principles, as opposed to the folly the world offers. In last week’s study, we explored Chapters 18 -24 as we sought for additional wisdom while contrasting the ways of the wise and unwise and how this impacted on our daily living and relationships with God and men. Today’s study continues in the same light as we bring the Proverbs challenge of this year to an end. Chapter 25 began a series of wise sayings attributed to Solomon and collected from other sources by Hezekiah's men. (Proverbs 25:1) This list continues through to the end of chapter 29. Chapter 30 are the words of Agur the son of Jakeh, (Proverbs 30:1) and Chapter 31 are the words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. (Proverbs 31:1)

PROVERBS 25
Proverbs Chapter 25 offers practical insights for virtuous living and cultivating positive qualities. It talks about . . .

• Refining Character: Verses 4-5
These verses make use of metaphors like removing impurities from silver to illustrate refining a person’s character
“Remove impurities from the silver and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice; Remove the wicked from leadership and authority will be credible and God-honoring.”

It advises on the following:

• Wisdom & Humility: Verses 6-7
“Don’t work yourself into the spotlight; don’t push your way into the place of prominence.
It’s better to be promoted to a place of honor than face humiliation by being demoted.” (MSG). Humility opens doors to honour. See the story told by Jesus in Luke 14:7.

• Reliability & Trust: Verses 13 & 19
“Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat—refreshing!”
“Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.”

The ear mark of reliable friendship is meaning and doing what one says.
Prayer: “Lord Jesus, please surround me with reliable friends and grant me the grace to be a reliable friend myself”

Proverbs 25 also highlights the importance of:

• Self-Control: Verses 16-17
“When you’re given a box of candy, don’t gulp it all down; eat too much chocolate and you’ll make yourself sick; And when you find a friend, don’t outwear your welcome; show up at all hours and he’ll soon get fed up.”

Application
We must humbly accept wisdom, because it is what enables us apply tact and discretion when dealing with others and to have a consistent lifestyle guided by biblical principles and self-control.

PROVERBS 26
Proverbs Chapter 26 contrasts the foolish and the wise. It underscores the importance of discernment and prudence in various life situations. Such as:

• How to Answer a Fool: Verses 4-5
“Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool; you’ll only look foolish yourself. 5 Answer a fool in simple terms so he doesn’t get a swelled head.”
Never stoop low to the level of fools in order to make a point or retaliate.
 

“Never Wrestle with a Pig. You will Both Get Dirty and the Pig enjoys It”
To wrestle with a pig is to engage in a struggle with an opponent that benefits from the struggle even without winning it.

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, please help me to always be the bigger person and not respond to the words of a fool with more foolish words. Instead, I will answer with words of wisdom seasoned with salt and grace.”

The Chapter also cautions us against:

• Undeserved Honor for fools: Verses 6-10.
“You’re only asking for trouble when you send a message by a fool. 7 A proverb quoted by fools is limp as a wet noodle. 8 Putting a fool in a place of honor is like setting a mud brick on a marble column. 9 To ask a moron to quote a proverb is like putting a scalpel in the hands of a drunk. 10 Hire a fool or a drunk and you shoot yourself in the foot.”

In this chapter, Solomon uses vivid imagery, like a dog returning to its vomit, to stress the folly of repeating mistakes (verse 11). He also discusses the lazy person (verses 13-15) and warns against meddling in others’ disputes. (verse 17) gossip, flattery, slander, etc. (verses 20-26)

Application
We must not join with those who make outrageous excuses for their lack of effort. Giving reasons and justifying why they fail to meet their obligations. This is not only lazy, but it's also a form of arrogance.

PROVERBS 27
Proverbs Chapter 27 advises against . . .

• Self-praise: Verses 1- 2
“Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring. 2 Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth—a stranger, not your own lips.”
Arrogance of any kind is risky. (James 4:13–15), king Nebuchadnezzar, the rich fool. etc.

The chapter delves into themes of . . .

• Friendship: Verses 6, 9, 10
A friend who loves and who fears God is well-equipped to give godly counsel, and his friend will receive it gladly. The wounds “inflicted” by such a friend are for our good because they will only rebuke us if we need it. However, those who hate us will gladly enable and empower our own foolishness because they know it will harm us in the end. It stresses the value of genuine friendships, comparing them to iron sharpening iron (verse 17).
The more we have “spiritual interaction” with one another the more we are sharpened, strengthened and encouraged. People influence one another whether they are trying to or not, and this is why evil communication corrupts good manners (1 Corinthians 15:33). It is also why being around wise people can be beneficial to one’s heart, mind, and soul if any humility is present.

It spells out
• The Benefits of Service: Verse 18
“Tend an orchard and you’ll have fruit to eat. Serve the Master’s interests and you’ll receive honor that’s sweet.” TPT

It highlights . . .

• Humility, Purity and Sincerity: Verses 19, 21
The heart of man is the real man, and what is in the heart will be reflected by what is said and done. The fruit from a persons’ life will reveal whether a person’s heart is good or evil (Matthew 7:20, Mark 7:20).

• The fleeting nature of life, Commitment and Good Stewardship: Verses 23-27
“Know your sheep by name; carefully attend to your flocks; (Don’t take them for granted; possessions don’t last forever, you know.) And then, when the crops are in and the harvest is stored in the barns, You can knit sweaters from lambs’ wool, and sell your goats for a profit; There will be plenty of milk and meat to last your family through the winter.” (MSG)

A diligent farmer cares for his flock, doing his best to ensure a prosperous future. Current wealth does not guarantee future wealth, so it's wise to plan ahead. A lazy or irresponsible person risks falling behind and failing to provide for their family.

Application
Those who have faithfully tended to the little things day after day will find that they have what they need in the day of trouble. It is never good or wise to neglect the little things while presuming on one big thing to work out. Similarly, spiritual fruit is often a result of daily investments made and service done rather than one big accomplishment or event. Luke 16:10 says, “one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much”

PROVERBS 28
Proverbs Chapter 28 offers guidance on ethical living and the consequences of moral choices. Teaching us that:

• The consequence of wickedness and evil is fear. Verse 1
“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

• Moral integrity is worth far more than material wealth. Verse 6
“Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse.”

• Flattery and dishonesty have no long term benefits: Verse 23
“If you correct someone with constructive criticism, in the end he will appreciate it more than flattery.” TPT
The NLT says: “In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.”

• It is foolishness to make the same mistake others have made: Verse 26
“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others”

Application
We must always be future-thinking and concerned about what truly matters and not become someone who massages another’s ego or expects someone to massage ours. So we must tell, expect and accept the truth even if it hurts now for the sake of the future.

PROVERBS 29
Proverbs Chapter 29 highlights

• The importance of discipline and heeding correction: Verses 15, 17 & 19
Verse 19: “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.” NLT
Discipline a child early enough in life to avoid heartache in the future

Application
Severally in the book of Proverbs we are admonished to discipline our children. Many restrain from discipline and indulge them indiscriminately because they think they love their children too much but Proverbs 13:24 (TPT) says: “If you withhold correction and punishment from your children, you demonstrate a lack of true love. So prove your love and be prompt to punish them.”

Proverbs 19:18 (TPT) says: “Don’t be afraid to discipline your children while they’re still young enough to learn. Don’t indulge your children or be swayed by their protests.”

”Indulgence is not a mark of love but a bait for destruction”

PROVERBS 30
Proverbs Chapter 30 contains the sayings of Agur, offers reflections on humility, gratitude, and the awe-inspiring nature of God. The writer expresses a sense of inadequacy and marvels at the wisdom of God (Verses 2-4).

• Every word of God is tried, tested and proven true: Verse 5
“Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.” NLT

Application
Psalm 12:6 tells us that “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times”
We must never doubt God’s Words; especially what it says about us.

Prayer: Lord Jesus please grant us the grace and strength to continually trust in Your unfailing Word

Chapter 30 also includes observations about nature and the mysterious aspects of creation, showcasing the limits of human understanding. Verses 18-31
The chapter ends with a warning about natural consequences. Whether one intends to, or not, churning milk will turn it into butter. Punching someone in the nose will make them bleed. And provoking others to anger results in anguish and controversy. For that reason, a person who realizes they've been acting like a fool should take steps towards self-control: even if it means clamping a hand over their own mouth.

PROVERBS 31
Proverbs Chapter 31 is split into two interesting sections
• Part 1 (verses 1-9)
Consists of godly advice for kings or those who have the ambition to be successful in life around women and drink. Verse 4: “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink;. . .”
“Grow a wise heart—you’ll do yourself a favor; keep a clear head—you’ll find a good life.”
MSG 8:19 Proverbs

The Bible does not say “Thou shall not drink” But it points us in the directions of the consequences of drinking. Read Proverbs 20:1 and 23:20-21, 29-35

• Part 2 (verses 10-31)
Presents the “virtuous woman,” extolling her qualities and contributions. It describes her industriousness, kindness, and wisdom, emphasizing her value in both household and community. The chapter provides a vivid portrait of an ideal wife and mother, highlighting virtues such as diligence, generosity, and fear of the Lord. Ultimately, Proverbs 31 serves as a tribute to the capable and virtuous woman, offering a model of character and strength.
Verses 10 – 31 describes the "excellent wife." She is remarkable, in part, because of how rare it is to find such qualities (See Proverbs 20:6). Over the course of the passage, she is noted with traits directly opposed to the "fools" mentioned in earlier passages. Many men read these verses and pass them off as being for women only, but I do not believe qualities such as trustworthiness, hard work, diligence, preparedness, care, kindness, wisdom, and honor are reserved for women, only. Rather, they speak of attributes any person would benefit from, and aspire to possess.

Wednesday, January 24 2024

Contributor: Esther Alajiki

Introduction
As we continue to glean wisdom in our study of the book of Proverbs, we will be exploring Chapters 18 -24 for additional wisdom and contrasting the ways of the wise and unwise and how this impacts on our daily living and relationships with God and men.

Chapter 18 - Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
Verses 1-7: "1He who [willfully] separates himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom. 2A [closed-minded] fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his personal opinions [unwittingly displaying his self-indulgence and his stupidity].6A fool’s lips bring contention and strife, And his mouth invites a beating. 7A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul. 10The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs to it and is safe and set on high [far above evil]."

Verse 15: "The mind of the prudent [always] acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise [always] seeks knowledge."

Verses 20-21: "A man’s stomach will be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; He will be satisfied with the consequence of his words. 21Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words."

• Revelation
The verses talk about the fools and way of life, A fool has no delight in understanding, is haughty, trusts in his wealth, spreads gossip lies. Slothfulness .etc. the wise man or woman has great satisfaction in knowledge, understanding, wisdom, diligence, is humble and trusts in the Lord.

• Application
We must intentionally reflect on the choices we make as these directs the course of our lives and relationships. We need to desire and pursue wisdom.

Chapter 19: On Life and Conduct
Verse 8: "He who gains wisdom and good sense loves (preserves) his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good and prosper."

Verses 15-16: "Laziness casts one into a deep sleep [unmindful of lost opportunity], And the idle person will suffer hunger. 16He who keeps and obeys the commandment [of the LORD] keeps (guards) his own life, But he who is careless of his ways and conduct will die."

Verse 18: "Discipline and teach your son while there is hope, And do not [indulge your anger or resentment by imposing inappropriate punishment nor] desire his destruction. Verse 23: The fear of the LORD leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil."

Verse 29: "Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And beatings for the backs of [thickheaded] fools."

• Revelation
Our lives and conduct must align with the word of God is we want to prosper and live long, the fear of the Lord will protect us from evil. It is a must to train the children at the appropriate age and time in the appropriate way, There is not an endless window of opportunity to chasten and wisely discipline our children. Age and circumstances limit the opportunity for effective training, so it must be done while there is hope.

• Application
We must allow God to guide us and we will enjoy the peace that passes all understanding and will not be visited with evil but the wicked will not escape penalty. God wants us to choose wisely.

Chapter 20: On Life and Conduct
Verses 3-4: “It is an honor for a man to keep away from strife [by handling situations with thoughtful foresight], But any fool will [start a] quarrel [without regard for the consequences]. 4The lazy man does not plow when the winter [planting] season arrives; So he begs at the [next] harvest and has nothing [to reap].”

Verses 17-18: “Food gained by deceit is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel. 18 Plans are established by counsel; So make war [only] with wise guidance.”

Verse 24: “Man’s steps are ordered and ordained by the LORD. How then can a man [fully] understand his way?”

Verse 27: “The spirit (conscience) of man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching and examining all the innermost parts of his being.”

• Revelation
Lack of consequential thinking has consequences. Sin. Laziness, evil… may be sweet at first, but later its consequences bring despair]. Don’t only plan ensure you have wise counsel, ensure God is the one that leads you, he is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.

• Application
If God seats upon the throne of our heart, our lives will reflect his blessing. Press in to God.

Chapter 21 – God is Sovereign
Verse 2: "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts"
God’s discernment goes beyond unmasking those who fool others; he even finds out those who have fooled themselves.

Verse 16: “A man who wanders from the way of understanding, Will rest in the assembly of the dead.”
Solomon began on the way of understanding, the departure from the way of understanding doesn’t have to be calculated and deliberate; it may feel like wandering.

Verse 21: “He who follows righteousness and mercy Finds life, righteousness, and honor”            This is the path of wisdom, God’s path for those who will listen and surrender to God, it isn’t easy and is often opposed and mocked yet it is rewarded by God.

Verse 27: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; How much more when he brings it with wicked intent!”
When a sacrifice is offered, the priest or observers may not be able to see wicked intent, but God can.

Verses 30-31: “There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the LORD. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But deliverance is of the LORD.”
God is sovereign

• Application
Take heed, God sees in secret and open and we must fear him above all.

Chapter 22 How to Live a Life of Wisdom
Verse 3: “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself . . .”
Prevision is the best means of prevention

Verse 6: “Train up a child in the way he should go . . .”
With the gift of a child is the responsibility to train

Verses 17-21: “The value of the words of the wise . . .”
The heart and mind must be open to receive wisdom, true wisdom makes us more dependent on God

Verses 22-23: “Treat the poor fairly . . .”
God Himself will plead their cause and will plunder the soul of those who plunder the poor.

Verses 24-25: “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, . . .”
Warning against the angry man - Wisdom chooses friends carefully and should make no friendship with an angry man.

Verses 26-27: “Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts;”
Stay away from the debts of others - personal debt is to be avoided don’t become surety for debts of another person.

Verse 29: “Do you see someone skilled in their work?”
The reward of excellent work: Wisdom pushes us toward excellence- excellence of a man or woman’s work can give them great standing in the world. More importantly, it gives them standing before the King of kings, who promises to reward the one who works diligently unto Him (Colossians 3:23-24).

• Application
We must daily and intentionally allow the wisdom of God to order our lives

Chapter 23 Warnings
Verses 1-3: “When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, . . .”
Curb your appetite or control yourself - Consider carefully what is before you; - Don’t grab everything set before you, it could fill your stomach but empty your spirit. (most initiation into witchcraft is through food, there are so many examples of people destroyed by food)

Verses 4-5: “Do not wear yourself out to get rich . . .”
Do not make an idol of wealth- Though working hard is a mark of wisdom, God must be first in our heart.

Verses 6-8: “Do not eat the food of a begrudging host, do not crave his delicacies . . .”
Do not eat at the table of a stingy man. - He doesn’t want you to really enjoy yourself at his table, be discerning.

Verse 9: “Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.”
Do not waste your words on the fool. The fool will not receive or appreciate your wisdom. It will be as Jesus later described – like throwing pearls before pigs (Matthew 7:6). Pray instead.

Verses 10-11: “Do not move an ancient boundary stone”
Do not steal from others – God is watching and there is a special curse for the thief. Zechariah 5:3

Verse 12: “Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.”
Do not neglect wisdom. - wisdom can be given out, but it must be received to be of any lasting good. The reception of wisdom isn’t passive; it is active, it must be received and applied.

Verses 13-14: “Do not withhold discipline from a child . . .”
Do not fail to correct your children. – connect and correct not brutalize.

Verses 17-18: “Do not let your heart envy sinners . . .”
Do not envy sinners - Be zealous for the fear of the LORD don’t be jealous of the wicked. Ps 73.

Verses 19-21: “Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path . . .”
Warnings about wine and women. The self-indulgent are reduced to destitution, Their full stomachs empty their minds

Verse 23: “Buy the truth and do not sell it—wisdom, instruction and insight as well.”
The attitude to have towards wisdom - Buy the truth, and do not sell it, and wisdom and instruction and understanding.

Verse 26-28: “My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways . . .”
The danger of the immoral woman - Solomon could point to his own life as an example of wisdom when it came to the dangers of an immoral woman - Samson broke the bonds of his enemies, but he could not break the bonds of his own lusts

Verses 29-35: “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? . . .”
The misery of abusing alcohol - eventually, the abuse of alcohol or drugs will bite and sting.

• Application
As a Christian Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people] Ephesians 5:15.

Chapter 24
Verses 3-9: Wisdom for the home
“Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches. . .”
Moral and spiritual values must be built through wisdom and established through understanding. The blessing of building a home with God’s wisdom, God’s understanding, and God’s knowledge will bring precious and pleasant riches in the spiritual sense and often in the material sense. God’s blessing is on the home that seeks and honors His wisdom. Wisdom strengthens, lack of wisdom results in folly.

Verses 11-12: Help those on their way to destruction
“Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.”

Verses 15-20: The resilience of the righteous
“For a righteous man may fall seven times, and rise again. . .”

Verses 21-22: Respect for God and king.
“My son, fear the LORD and the king . . .”

Verses 23-25: The importance of true justice.
“It is not good to show partiality in judgment. . .”

Verse 27: Order your work wisely.
“Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.”
Work should be done with proper planning and in the proper order.

Verses 30-34 The tragedy of the lazy man.
“I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense. . .”
The lazy man did not plant the thorns or nettles, and he did not deliberately break down the stone wall. Yet his laziness made these things happen just as much as if he had deliberately done them. the spiritual sluggard has a neglected spirit - barren, instead of being sown with the seeds of grace becomes overgrown with thorns and nettles.

• Application
Build your life with God’s wisdom, and you will be fruitful and prosperous physically and spiritually.

Wednesday, January 17 2024

Contributor: Wale Abiona

Introduction
In continuation of our study in the book of Proverbs, we will be looking at Chapters 11-17 for additional wisdom on how to live righteously with the understanding of consequences of failure to take counsel from God.
These chapters touch on the issue of making wise choices and the blessings and curses of pride. May the Holy spirit gives us understanding in Jesus' name.

Chapter 11 – The upright and the wicked.
Verse(s): 1–3, 7-8
"1 The Lord hates false scales, but he loves accurate weights. 2 Proud and boastful people will be shamed, but wisdom stays with those who are modest and humble. 3 Good people are guided by their honesty, but crooks who lie and cheat will ruin themselves." 

"7 When the wicked die, all their hopes are lost; everything they thought they could do comes to nothing. 8 Good people escape from trouble, but the wicked come along and are trapped by it."

Revelation: An upright, godly life leads a person in the right path. Those who reject wisdom are consumed and destroyed by their own evil.

Application: this chapter urges us to cultivate virtues and shun vices, illustrating the profound consequences that our actions can bring (Proverbs 11:30–31).

Chapter 12 – Wisdom and Foolishness.
Verse(s): 1-4; 15

"1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid. 2 A good man obtains favour from the Lord, But a man of wicked intentions He will condemn. 3 A man is not established by wickedness, But the root of the righteous cannot be moved. 4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones."

"15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise."

Revelation: Those who embrace discipline will be wise and behave themselves wisely. They will keep themselves from destruction that follow those who are wicked.

Application: The knowledge of what is good and acceptable comes from following God’s instruction. When we are divinely guided, by instruction we will be established in righteousness (Proverbs 12:7).

Chapter 13 – Wise Choice
Verse(s): 3, 16, 17 & 20

"3 He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction."

"16 Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool lays open his folly."

"17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble, But a faithful ambassador brings health."

"20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed."

Revelation: It is better to be wise than to be foolish. Keeping right company is a sign of wisdom and spiritual maturity.

Application: We are to demonstrate wisdom in our utterance and avoid keeping company with the wicked because they lack understanding of spiritual things (Psalm 1:1).

Chapter 14 – Life and Death by choice
Verse(s): 1-3, 7 & 11-12

"1 The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. 2 He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD, But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him. 3 In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, But the lips of the wise will preserve them."

"7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, When you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge."

"11 The house of the wicked will be overthrown, But the tent of the upright will flourish. 12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death."

Revelation: It is foolish to reject God's truth and instruction. This will only lead to disaster.

Application: (Psalm 14:1; Proverbs 1:7). Sin is deceptive in nature and can make rejecting God instruction seem like a good idea, but the result is tragedy. To avoid negative earthly consequences, we should follow godly counsel and stay away from the ungodly. In either case, that which a person chooses—selfishness or godliness—is repaid to them. Proverbs 14:11–14).

Chapter 15 – A Soft Answer Turns Away Wrath – (Common sense)
Verse(s): 1- 5

"1 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. 3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good. 4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit. 5 A fool despises his father’s instruction, But he who receives correction is prudent."

Revelation: A wise person carefully chooses their response, rather than babbling out whatever comes to mind. Closely connected to this is the need to humbly accept correction (Proverbs 15:1–5). Also, God observes everything, despising the wicked's sacrifices but loving the prayers of the upright.

Application: If we are to follow peace with all men…, then we must learn to control our emotions. Cautious and gentle answers do not only prevent additional strife, but they also reduce whatever tension already exists. We must be careful and sensible to listen to godly wisdom. It is a sign of humility that comes through a reverent honor of God (Proverbs 15:33).

Chapter 16 – Calls for aligning our plans with God's purposes.
Verse(s): 1-3,  16 & 19

"1 The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. 2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits. 3 Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established."

"16 How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver."

"19 Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud."

Revelation: Human nature can lead us to arrogance and ignorance. Failure to seek God's will or examine our own motives can lead to disaster. Lord sees the heart, weighs the spirit, and determines what will happen. The Lord is sovereign; He has a purpose for everything He created. (vs 9). God detests arrogance—spiritual pride that causes a person to reject God—but is pleased when one turns away from evil. Godly wisdom is better than any material wealth.

Application: There is a clear distinction between evil people and those who are righteous. A righteous life is deemed better than silver or gold. A righteous life is the one that follow God’ original plan. Trusting in own strength or wisdom will only take us away from God’s presence. We should rather seek to align self with God’s plan for our life by taking counsel from his word.

Chapter 17 – Wisdom for righteous and godly daily living.
It outlines various life situations and offers timeless wisdom on how to navigate them.
The first section of this chapter deals with virtues such as family harmony and honesty. God cannot be deceived, and He knows precisely what's on each person's heart (Proverbs 17:1–6).
(Proverbs 17:7–21) These verses cover a wide range of ideas, which include sins that cause anger or division between people, friendship, and careful use of one's resources.
(Proverbs 17:22–28) These verses end with wisdom centered on godly spirituality and a controlled tongue.

Wednesday, January 10 2024

Contributor: Tobi Morakinyo

Introduction
Proverbs are truths expressed in a somewhat obscured or coded way—short sayings filled with wisdom. The Book of Proverbs is one of the “Wisdom” Books in the Bible, alongside Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. King Solomon authored Proverbs during the early years of his reign after receiving the gift of wisdom he asked of God, and before he turned away from God. The book is like a father’s letter to his sons, and given the spirit of wisdom (God) in Solomon, he was writing the mind of God to his children as an earthly father speaking to his son. The primary purpose of the book is to teach wisdom, reaching not
only the young and inexperienced but also the learned. May the Lord open our understanding as we study this book afresh this month in Jesus' name.

Chapter 1 – The benefit of Proverbs , the enticement of sinners and the warning of wisdom
Proverbs 1 has three broad themes starting with the usefulness of Proverbs. For instance, vs 4 says, “To give subtlety to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.” This implies that though wisdom is attained by experience, young people, through listening to the wise and keeping to their instructions, can obtain wisdom that would normally take time to garner, thereby saving time and achieving desired results.
The point here is some life lessons should not necessarily be learned through personal experience; we leverage the lessons from the experience of others included in the Bible to lead an effective, productive, and kingdom-focused life. The Bible says in Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

The enticement of sinners (Proverbs 1:8-19) – Righteous (not moral) living is uncommon; this makes it common for believers to be enticed (vs 10), and as sons of God, we must be determined not to consent. Temptation will come, and it is not sinful to be tempted; yielding to temptation is sin.

Wisdom warns (1:20-33) - The tone changes here to the first person as Wisdom speaks of her loud invitation to people on a platter, but despite her effort, there was no response. She warns of a payback time when she will be sought after and needed but says, “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh…” (vs 26-28) but “whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely and shall be quiet from the fear of evil” (vs 33). The key point here is that we should hearken diligently to the instructions of God so that we have Him as our ally as we proceed into the new year.

Chapter 2 – The pursuit of Wisdom.
Given our understanding of the benefits of wisdom and the danger of rejecting wisdom, this chapter reveals the extent we should be ready to go in the pursuit of wisdom. For instance, it says we should seek wisdom as silver; and search for her as hidden treasure (2:4). It further reveals that the Lord is the giver of wisdom (vs 6). This means to have wisdom; we should seek the custodian. “…If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9c). However, God hides himself to be found by intentional and diligent seekers. He says “he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him.”
So wisdom is one of the rewards of diligent seekers. This received wisdom, among others, will deliver the receiver from the ways of evil men (2:12), crooked ways (2:15), and strange women (2:16).

Chapter 3 – The blessing (rewards) of wisdom.
The chapter, like the previous one, highlights some nuggets for living, e.g., “bind mercy and truth around your neck (vs 3) to obtain favor of God and men; trust in the Lord and lean not on your understanding (vs 5-6); despise not correction from the Lord (vs 11-12); if you are to choose, buy wisdom not gold or silver (vs 14); and each coming with individual benefits. However, vs 35 sums up the benefit of living by godly wisdom - “to inherit glory and good testimonial of God and men.”

Chapter 4 –the Father’s instruction.
This chapter starts with a father's admonishment to his children to obey his commandment as their blessings are attached to their obedience. We can relate this to many other conditional blessings in the scripture, e.g., Deuteronomy 28:1-13 and Isaiah 1:19 – “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” It also highlights the importance of guarding one's heart with all diligence, for from it flows the issues of life (vs 20-23) – actions are first decided from the heart, and the consequences of our summed actions are what we have as our lives outcome. So we must be careful at what goes on in our hearts.

Chapters 5 & 7.: Warning against immoral women
Both chapters focus on the danger of adultery and the importance of marital fidelity. The father to his son describes the cunningness of a “strange woman” who through sweet mouth (5:3; 7:1-8) and warns that transactions with her will ultimately lead to destruction. “Let not thine heart decline to her ways; go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” (vs 25-27). For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life (6:26). The Father subsequently encourages young men to be satisfied and faithful to the wife of their youth, avoiding by all means the walking on the path with a strange woman.

Chapter 6 – Parental counsel.
It provides more nuggets for various aspects of life, including financial responsibility, work ethics, and relationships. For instance, it encourages diligence and hard work following the example of ants, emphasizing the importance of preparing for the future and avoiding laziness (6:6-11). Another important aspect can be found in vs 16-20, which highlights the seven abominations that the Lord hates - A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. (vs 16-19).

Chapters 8 & 9 –Wisdom calls for hearing and Wisdom invitation.
Both structures as a contrast between wisdom and folly, both personified as a woman. Proverbs 8 – 9:12 portrays a feast prepared by wisdom and her effort in inviting people to her banquet, especially the simple (young and inexperienced). Accepting her invitation yields longevity. On the other hand, folly similarly prepares her banquet and sends out an invitation targeting the simple with a catchphrase “stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is sweet” (vs 17). But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell (vs 18).

Chapter 10 –Contrast of righteous and wicked.
The chapter contrasts the lifestyle and outcomes of the wise and foolish. Overall, wisdom is portrayed as a source of blessing; prosperity and protection while foolishness lead to destruction and adversity (vs 8, 21). It also emphasizes the importance of speaking wisely and truthfully as opposed to gossip and spreading lies (vs 13, 18-21). It also encourages hard work and diligence as conditions for success and abundance (vs 4, 22).

May the Lord help us to be doers of His word in Jesus' name.

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