We give thanks and praise to Almighty God, for in his faithfulness and mercy, He has kept and preserved our lives. He has carried us through the year 2023, a year that was indeed a mixed bag for many of us, and for many Nigerians as well. But we thank God for his great help; it is indeed because of his mercies that we are not consumed because his faithfulness is new every morning. As He said in Malachi 3:6, “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob, you are not consumed.”
We thank the Lord who preserved us! Welcome to another New Year.
Today is the 1st of January, 2024. We are celebrating not just the beginning of the civil year, but also the circumcision of Christ.
Just as Paul writes in Galatians 4:4-7 that “In the fullness of time, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that He might save them that are under the law”, we are indeed those who are under the law. Humanity is under the law of the elemental forces and principles of this world. But in the fullness of time, in God’s way, He remembered and visited humanity by sending his own Son, Jesus Christ, born of a woman – the Blessed Virgin Mary – born under the law.
Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day, and today is the Feast of his Circumcision. And He was given the name, Jesus, as the Angel spoke to Joseph and also to Mary, thus: “For his name shall be called Jesus, for He shall save his people from their sins.”
We thank God as we mark the beginning, and as we step into the New Year, we are asking that the Lord will circumcise our hearts – not the circumcision done with hands – but the circumcision done by the Holy Spirit.
We ask for the circumcision done by God so that He will heal our hearts, as He promised in the Book of Ezekiel that He will take away the heart of stone and give us the heart of flesh, and will give us his Holy Spirit and help us to obey him.
Brothers and sisters, this is a fresh New Year and my prayer is that the Lord will go with us if we are to go with the Lord, and because He is the God of righteousness, the God that prepared his word and covenant, we pray that He will sanctify, purge, cleanse and circumcise our hearts, that we may walk with him.
The problem of humanity is the problem of the heart! Everything we do, think and say, all spring forth from the heart. For Jesus says, “It is what comes out of a man that entices him, and not what goes into his mouth.” What we therefore need is the circumcision of the heart, so that our hearts will be in tune with God and our lives in tune with his purposes.
Brothers and sisters, God has created times and seasons so that we will always have fresh opportunities. This is another fresh year, and no matter your experiences of 2023, it’s over. Those bitter experiences will not come again! Affliction shall not come to us the second time in the Name of Jesus!
God is giving us another fresh beginning, and just as He spoke on the first day of the creation in Genesis 1, He is standing at the portal – at the very beginning of 2024. On this very first day, the Lord is commanding and is saying, “Let there be light.” Let there be light amid our confusion! Let there be light amid our doubt and fears! Let there be light in our achievements and our triumphs! Let light shine out of every darkness, in the Name of Jesus Christ! For indeed, Jesus is the one from whom light has shone upon our hearts to give the light of his knowledge of the glory of God.
My prayer is that the God who spoke at the very beginning, when He made the First Day, may stand with us and by us and cause light to shine upon us! When there is light, there will be no fear; there is boldness! When there is light, everything is visible. You don’t need to hide. You don’t need to doubt. May the Lord stand by us!
2024 will come with its challenges and blessings, just as 2023 which has just passed. However, our God is the Sovereign Lord, and He shall go ahead of us all, and everything that concerns us. Beloved, expect God’s move unusually, proving his power in our situations whatever they may be! Amen.
It is the year of divine peace and fulfilment. 2024 is the year of divine peace, fulfilment and completeness, Amen! When we talk of peace, the e-dictionary defines it as a state of tranquility, quiet, and harmony in personal relationships and also an absence of violence. It is a state free of oppressive and unpleasant emotions.
The Old Testament uses the word Shalom for peace, meaning having to do with peace, completeness, welfare, good, and wholesome health. Peace or Shalom is a very important term in the Old Testament; it is like the life force or principle that underlines the very life we live. It is a situation in which we experience tranquility and harmony and are not moved by situations because we know that God is with us and we shall not be moved.
Psalms 121 and 91 give us a picture of what Shalom is. It is being always rooted in God. Psalm 91 says that “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God whom I will trust. Surely, He will deliver you from the snares of the fowler. And from the perennial pestilence, He shall cover your head, He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you shall take refuge. His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your right, at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look and see the reward of the wicked.”
Verse 14 says, “Because he has set his love upon me, therefore I will deliver him. I will set him up on high because he has known my name. He will call upon me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honour him; with long life, I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Brethren, this is Peace! It does not rule out issues of life and challenges but one thing is that you are confident that God is with you; He is standing by your right hand and you shall not be moved, Amen!
Peace has to do with wholesomeness in body, soul, and spirit; it covers the physical and spiritual realms. It is sound healing and sound health, economically and socially. It is healthiness in our relationships, in our families, in marriage, at work, and in our businesses. This is what God says He will give us because the dynamics of the things that surround and confront us are always, in most cases, beyond what we can see or understand; it takes only God to unravel their depth.
This year, the Lord is saying, ‘No matter what comes our way, He will be there with us.’ Christ will be involved and He will give us wholesome security, protection, and victory, Amen!
Challenges and trials are always part of life; there will be storms, just as we see in Mark 4:31-41. Even when Jesus was with his disciples in the boat, the storm still came. After the disciples tried with their skills and failed, they came to Jesus, woke him up and said, ‘Master, don’t you care that we are perishing?’ When the Lord is with you in that boat, you will not perish!
The storm will not overwhelm us. Though we will go through the fire, the Lord has said it will not consume us! Whatever may come, if the Lord be for us, no man or power can be against us! That is peace which Jesus commanded when he said, ‘Peace be still.’ As the wind and storm yielded to him, so will everything around us yield to the authority of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, Amen!
Brothers and sisters, God will give us divine peace and divine solution, divine help, and divine intervention at the appropriate time. Because it is rooted in the death, resurrection, and the power of God in Jesus Christ, there is nothing coming your way that Jesus has not dealt with!
This accomplished work of Jesus on the cross of Calvary is the source of our peace. For every bitter event and challenge of life, Jesus has already paid for it on the cross. According to Ephesians 2, by his death and resurrection, He broke down the middle wall of partition. Ordinarily, walls are built for security. However, they are also built for separation, for exclusion, for limitation. Walls limit access, and even relationships, and apart from physical walls, there are also walls of sin, walls of bitterness, hatred, and envy. This year, in the peace of God, there will be healing of relationships in our families and between us and God, Amen! Brethren, my prayer is that in this year of divine peace, God will visit us in his power, breaking every wall of separation.
Though before now, you may have tried and it seems as if you are always hitting a brick wall, know that this is the year of divine peace. By his death on the cross and his resurrection, He has defeated principalities and powers and made a public show of them. He has broken down the walls! Believe God as you move into the year 2024; march around the walls of your Jericho and they must crumble. Why? Because He has broken down the walls of separation. Whatever has been the separation between you and the purpose of God in your life, and God’s plan for you and your family, children, for the future of your family, business, job, they will certainly fall this year!
The purpose of God is that He will create a new thing. He takes delight in creating new things out of that which has been ruined. Whatever is ruined in our hands can be reused in the hands of God. Surrender it unto him; He knows how to create a new thing. He who sits on the throne says, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ As you enter into the New Year, enter into the newness that Christ brings, Amen!
Today in our country, instead of changes, what we see is continually increasing violence. Corruption is so endemic that the core value of excellence has been thrown to the winds and dogs. Today, we are suffering under the burden of poverty, wickedness, and oppression. In the midst of wealth and affluence, justice is robbed and wrecked. Many are despondent and dismayed and just managing to get by. We pray that this year, God will step into our fears! We cannot afford to give up. Don’t be afraid, don’t give up on God, and don’t give up on yourself (Isaiah 40:27-30).
Some have complained that God has given up on us and our portion has passed over us. However, God is saying He is not tired; He will not be weary. He says that they that wait upon him shall renew their strength. Therefore, receive grace to stand! Many of us have laboured and served this nation. We have poured out our lifetime and blood in the service of this country. Will you give up now? Never!
We are in the days of Gideon. Gideon’s response is our response today in most cases. When the Lord said to him, “The Lord is with you”, he said “If the Lord is with us, why are we suffering?” Today, we wonder, ‘Is it that God no longer answers prayers? Is it that the hand of the Lord is too short that He cannot save us?’ No, the hand of the Lord is not too short to save us. Neither is his ear too heavy that He cannot hear us. But it is sin and wickedness in the hearts of both the leadership and the people that are hindering us. We are operating in a situation in which we have suffered generational loss of value and decency.
There is something that we are contending against, both in Nigeria and the world over; it is the Babylonian spirit that is manipulating the nations and making them drunk with idolatry and adultery. These two things are strong weapons; Idolatry must always go with adultery, immorality, and indecency. This is the battle that is raging in the spirit realm and it is affecting us in our social, economic and political realms. There is a spiritual and moral consequence for spiritual and moral failures. But in most cases, we tend to blame people and blame God. And sometimes, we may be tempted to give up on God. Brethren, let us put it as it is: The truth is that we have missed the real foundation! The foundation is broken and therefore the righteous cannot do so much. We must turn away from the wickedness and injustice reigning in our lives and hearts, and return to God.
As we make ourselves available, God will touch our lives, our families, our communities, and our nation. You can save your family. You can save and help the Church to remain focused on prayer. You can mentor others. You can share the core values that have helped your life. You can share your testimony of faith and the faithfulness of God.
God says, ‘Have I not sent you?’ Let us stop the blame game, and take responsibility. God is commissioning us. Know that this day the Lord is saying, ‘You have not chosen me, I have chosen you. I have commissioned you and ordained you that you may go and bear fruit and that your fruit may last.’ Nigeria will experience the touch of the power of God in the Name of Jesus Christ! And for this to happen, the Church of God in Nigeria must rise. If you cannot talk, you can pray. If you cannot pray, you can contact others. Pray for this nation, our families, our communities, and the Church of God.
There will be divine presence and assurance because the Lord says, ‘I will be with you and you shall defeat the Midianites. The Midianites will not prevail. You will defeat them as one man, in the Name of Jesus!
When we talk of peace, we must bear in mind that there will be warfare and challenges. However, the enemy (devil) we are battling with and his agents that manipulate the system to work against the purposes of God shall be defeated. Jesus has already disarmed him on the cross. He has broken down the walls of partition, abolished enmity, and given us access to the very presence of God. Jesus is our Peace over wars and calamity.
God will go ahead of us. He will give us victory and help us succeed in the Name of Jesus! He will keep us safe and secure. He will heal and defend us and our families. But we must learn to dwell in the secret place of the Almighty and walk with him.
This year, there shall be an unrestricted breakthrough and unseemly opportunities that will yield much economic reward. God will give us this breakthrough in the Name of Jesus Christ!
God will once again prove himself as God in the lives of his people; this nation belongs to God. For the Church of God, first, there shall be great opportunities for kingdom advancement and missions of the church. An all-round peace and growth which flows from God’s presence shall attend unto the church of God. Lives shall be touched and gracious outpouring of the power and move of God shall be our experience in the Name of Jesus Christ!
Finally, this shall be the year of greater works. As Jesus said to the disciples, as we put our hope, trust, and confidence in him, He will cause us to do greater works because He is on the throne and rules and reigns over all. This peace of God shall not be taken by the world and the enemy will not frustrate it, Amen!
Therefore, brothers and sisters, receive the grace, authority and power of God. Receive the keys of the kingdom! For whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. And because the Lord is with you, occupy your place and fulfil his purpose until He comes. To him that believes, all things are possible. Believe God!
2024 is the year of divine peace, divine fulfilment, and divine settlement. May that be our portion in the Name of God, the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen!