TODAY’S DEVOTION (Thursday 24th February 2022)
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39 NKJV
WELCOME TO THE 55th DAY OF OUR YEAR OF AMAZING GRACE
This is the day the LORD has made, we shall rejoice and be glad in it. Day unto day we have been experiencing God’s mercies, power and compassion.
It’s has been a love galore between our maker and us. The Bible says He commanded His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. The shelter of His love is the reason we have been through so much and are still here.
The shelter of God’s unchanging love is the reason our sins and wickedness have not killed us. It is the reason our repentance exhumes times of restoration from His presence. It is the reason we have been, and are still been delivered from destruction. It is the reason we were redeemed without money having sold ourselves for nothing.
It does not matter the kind of house you may be living in. You may be living in a castle like that of the queen of England, a presidential palace like that of the Russian President, a well secured place like the White House, or the poorest of the poorest places on earth; If you are not living in the shelter of God’s love, you are still without a good shelter in your life.
The Bible spoke about the Tabernacle that cannot be pulled down. That is a perfect description of the shelter of God’s love. No force in Heaven or an earth will be able to pull it down. It flows from the Seas of God’s glory in Eternity, and is rooted deeply into the foundations of His Holy Mountain.
Apart from Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, it is clear in scriptures that there is no sin on earth that Heaven cannot forgive, because there no sin on earth that is stronger than God’s love and mercies. That is why one of the major battles we should spend our days fighting is the battle not to be separated from the love of God.
If we are separated from God’s loves, we may be living in the best hoes or shelters on earth, we will be are without the best shelter to live in a trouble world. The first portion of our devotional text said;
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:35 NKJV
PAUL WENT THROUGH A LOT. THE EARLY CHURCH WENT THROUGH SO MUCH.
But they never let any of what they suffered to separate them form the love of GOD. They never let those who unleashed tribulation or distress upon them to separate them form the love of GOD. They knew that was the only enduring shelter to spend earthly days under.
They never let persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword do it. They stood strong in faith and remained unconditionally committed to the LORD in the midst of all they went through!
Yesterday we looked at Bible truths on the prayer of repentance. If one is not living under the shelter of God’s love, prayers of repentance will yield no results. That is why one should never take a step away from it or do a thing that will blow the shelter away from him.
Yes, there are things we do that can take us away from God’s mercy and blow the shelter away from our lives. That is why you must make sure you are under the shelter of God’s love and mercy before entering the prayer room.
The prayers of many are being hindered for not praying from the shelter of God’s love and mercies. They have either walked away from it or blew it up away from their lives with their evil deeds, consequently saying prayers that God will never hear.
Again, there are sins that cannot take us away from the shelter and there are sins that can. You will get to know them shortly. But the truth is, every sinner is under the shelter of God’s love except for those who are found in the very sins that keeps men away from the shelter, or blow it away from their lives completely.
The sins of unforgiveness, and every sin that we commit when we walk in hate e.g. betrayal, gossips, treachery or taking vengeance, stinginess, bitterness, malice, evil speaking, bitter disagreements, hate induced divorce, or not walking in mercy towards people who need our mercy, can keep us away from the shelter of GOD’s love, or even blow it away from our lives, depending on the gravity.
TURNING AWAY FROM THEM WILL BE NECESSARY IF WE ARE TO PRAY FROM THE SHELTER OF GOD’S LOVE AND MERCIES.
In teaching about prayer, Jesus made it clear that answer to prayers is only possible if we do things that keep us under the shelter of God’s love and mercy; if we walk in love and forgiveness and make sure there is no hate in our lives. He said in His word;
“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:9-15 NKJV
It is clear in this prayer model that I grew up to know as the LORD’s prayer that if one is not walking in love and mercy, forgiving others, their prayers will not be answered. The part of the prayer model that said “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses:” is the foundation of the enter prayer model.
It tells us that we must be under the shelter of God’s love and mercy by doing things that keep men there before opening our mouths in prayer. The LORD made this clear in another portion of the Bible, when He said;
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:24-26 NKJV
THIS SCRIPTURE MADE A MIXTURE OF FAITH, FORGIVENESS, LOVE AND MERCY THE KEY TO GETTING ANSWERS TO OUR PRAYERS.
That is why you find many who have prayed and believed GOD, seeing no answers to their prayers. They prayed, believed but did not walk in love, mercy and forgiveness, hence shutting the Heaven against their prayers.
Child of God no matter how powerful your faith that God will answer you is, if you are not living under the shelter of His love and mercies by showing mercy to those who needs your mercy and walking in love and forgiveness, it will never unlock answer to your prayers. That must be driven home. You may have to depend on other people’s prayers for survival on earth.
Very few Christians know that we determine the level of God’s mercies we enjoy on the prayer knee by how we show mercies to others. Very few know that they spend their days outside the shelter of God’s love and mercy if they are not extending God’s love to others and walking in mercy towards even those who deserve punishment for what they may have done to them.
In my opinion, whenever people do things to us, we should take it as an opportunity to extend mercy to them, and strengthen our stay under the shelter of God’s love and mercy so that our prayers can be acceptable to God at all times, especially prayers of repentance.
As earlier stated, do not open your mouth to pray if you are not under the shelter of GOD’s love, even if it is the prayer of repentance you want to pray. Make sure you are under the shelter before opening your mouth. That is why the Bible says before we open our mouth in prayer or open our hands to offer anything to God, we should first make sure we are under the shelter. Jesus put it this way;
“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 NKJV
This scripture is one of the most forgotten scriptures in our lives today, that is why you see men and women whose personal prayers God cannot answer. They had to depend on preachers. Your brother having something against you is your brother seeking your mercy but you refusing to release mercy to him. That is what the Bible meant.
WITHOLDING MERCY WILL SHUT YOUR HEAVEN AND KEEP YOU OUTSIDE THE SHELTER OF GOD’S LOVE AND MERCY.
In effect, Jesus was saying “make sure you are in the shelter of my Love and mercy before you offer anything to God either in prayer or in stewardship.” Clearly, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus out of hate and offense. Hate and offense can keep one outside the shelter of God’s love and mercy.
Sadly, that was where Judas lived even when he was so close to the LORD. The result was betrayal. There are betrayals that are born out of foolishness, immaturity, ignorance and others fear. They cannot take one away from the shelter of God’s love and mercy. But there are betrayals that are children of hate. Those ones will keep you outside the shelter of God’s love and mercy even after you become remorseful. That is the lesson here! Concerning Judas, the Bible says;
“Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”
Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. Matthew 27:3-5 NKJV
From this scripture, its clear that there is a huge difference between remorse and repentance. Repentance is absolutely different from remorse because repentance is a child of a change that has taken place in our hearts, remorse is a child of regrets but no change.
The Bible says, a broken and a contrite heart God will not despise, but what Judas did in this scripture was not born out of a broken and a contrite heart, it was born out of a regretting but unchanged heart. If it was born out of a broken and a contrite heart, there would have been times of refreshing from the LORD. And it would not have ended in suicide.
We must understand these truths and not bring swift destruction on ourselves. The lesson here is, we should cultivate a Christian life that is void of hate, bitterness and offense towards others. If we do not, we will find it difficult to break through in prayers. We will just be struggling and depending on the prayer lives of others.
I believe the message of today have been passed. May the LORD use this word to keep us away from hate, unforgiveness and bitterness. May He help us to pursue holiness in our private lives, and peace with all men, so long as it is within our power.
May He help us not to get to the place of seeking GOD’s mercy even with tears, without finding it. Amen
MAKE THIS SCRIPTURE AN ADDITIONAL MEDITATION FOR THE DAY
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.
For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears. Hebrews 12:14-17 NKJV