Friday 1, August 2014
Bible Passage: Luke 15: 11 - 24
Memory Verse: \"These things says He who is holy, He who is true, \"He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens\": \"I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.'' Revelation 3: 7 - 8.
A few days ago, I was in discussions at the breakfast table with my family and the issue of lost opportunities came up. Then the Lord put in my mind that God is a God of unending opportunities.
That He not only gives us a second chance, but many more chances. This led me to the topic of the message of grace for this month - 'Open-Ended-Grace'. Indeed the grace of our God is always available for us to tap into anytime we need it, or whenever we make up our minds to take advantage of it, even if we had missed many opportunities in the past. God has given us unlimited opportunities to begin again and to try all over again.
The story of the prodigal son told by Jesus Christ in one of His parables is very instructive in this regard. The prodigal son demanded for and collected all his inheritance from his father, even whilst the father was still alive. He left home, went abroad and squandered all the inheritance in riotous living. After this he suffered great deprivation and lack, to the extent that descended to the lowest level in life, when he even contemplated sharing the pods the swine ate and no one gave him anything (verse 16). The Bible says that, '.... when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him ........' (Luke 15:17 - 18). He came clean and decided to start all over again. When he did, his father did not reject him, but gave him another chance. See what the father said to his older brother, when he complained because of how the father received his prodigal brother in Luke 15:32 - '.... we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found' No wonder that Jesus said, 'there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents!'
Have you squandered many of the opportunities God gave you in the past? Have you messed up so badly that you feel God can never have anything to do with you again? Don't despair, return to God, repent and ask for forgiveness, and then begin again! Consider what the angel of the church in Philadelphia said to John in the memory verse: 'See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name' God's opportunities for us never stops. I remember that chorus which we always sing with a lot of gusto! 'The steadfast love of our God never ceaseth, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning, great is thy faithfulness O Lord. Great is the faithfulness'.
The Lord has placed before us open ended opportunities to make amends and start all over again, as if we had not made a mistake before. Have you experienced lost or wasted opportunities in the past and you feel you can never make it again? The Lord is saying to you now, 'take a step of faith and do it again'. You will be surprised to discover that all will be new and refreshed again and all will be well.
However, though open-ended-grace has been made available for us to tap into and our sins are forgivable, we cannot continue in sin and expect the grace to continue and abound. We have to make a complete turnaround from our sins. Note, though our sins will be forgiven, we will still face the consequences of the sins. Remember David and the sin of adultery and murder and Saul, later Paul , and the sin of persecuting the followers of Jesus Christ. When we turn around from our sins, the Lord will forgive us and give us a fresh start. But the consequences of the sins will come to haunt us later in life. Therefore I urge you to strive to live a holy life, so that you can enjoy a life free of the consequences of sin.
The Lord bless and keep you. May He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace, now and forevermore, Amen. Have a really splendid month in Jesus name.
1. Thank the Lord for the open access He has given us, by His grace, that we can retrace our steps and be able to start all over again, even when we missed it the first time.
2. Confess your sins and ask Him to forgive you all of them. Ask for His help that you will not go back to the sins again, like a dog that goes back to its vomit.
3. Ask for His help to be able to tap into the available open-ended-grace and that He should give you the opportunity to being all over again. Pray that He will restore all the opportunities you have lost and help you to reclaim them all.
4. Pray for your nation and ask the Lord to deliver our nations from self-inflicted pains.
5. Please pray for Nigeria and ask the Lord to deliver us from the scourge of Boko Haram. That He will bring this terrorist group to their knees and they will surrender to the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
6. Pray and ask the Lord to help the Nigerian government to find the Chibok girls, wherever they are kept and that He will return them back to us speedily.
7. Please pray for other nations of the world where the scourge of terrorism is plundering their lands. Ask the Lord to bring peace back into our world.
8. Pray for the nation Israel who is currently going through a very difficult time and ask the Lord to intervene and defend His nation from those who device her halting and annihilation.