“You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance.”
-We all know and sometimes pronounce the common salutation, “God is good all the time and all the time, God is good and that is His nature”. This salutation will not leave our hearts in year 2021, through faith. We will experience the goodness of the Lord in our lives, families, marriages, businesses, jobs, government, nation and everything we purpose to achieve. Like Esther who obtained grace and favor in the sight of king Ahasuerus and was honored with the royal crown instead of Vashti (Esther 2:17), we too will obtain grace and favor before God and men this year. The Lord is calling us to commit whatever we do to Him and He will establish our plans (Proverbs 16:3). Any vision, goal, plan or building that you intend to build this year, let it stand upon the Chief Cornerstone who is Christ, and it shall not stumble or fall. If whatever you plan to achieve this year is not be founded on Christ, be it personal plans, business, employment, investment, family, marriage, education, political ambitions, government agendas, health plans, spiritual achievements etc, it will come to nothing. The building will come down. Let us remember to put God first in everything that we do and He will make every crooked path straight. The Lord has crowned this year with His goodness and calls us to partake of His abundance. We will then forget the former things that came with year 2020, for the Lord will do a new thing in all that we plan to achieve and beyond, according to the riches of His glory.
Almighty and everlasting Father we come to You with humility in our hearts to thank You and to worship Your holy name. Your name is a strong tower the righteous run to it and are safe. We will run to You this year, save us merciful Father. We humbly beseech You Lord to forgive us all our trespasses and give us the grace to forgive all those who offend us too. Protect us Jesus from all the snares of the evil and cover us with Your precious blood and hedge of fire. Make every crooked path straight and make all our plans succeed dear Father. We submit our plans to Your plans and our will to Your will dear Master, lead us in the way we should go. Bless our going out and our coming in Lord and open many doors of divine opportunities for us. May Your presence always go with us and show us Your salvation. We humbly come to Your throne of grace Jesus that we may find mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. May Your grace always be present in our lives and all that we do, and help us to achieve our purposes here on earth. Bless the work of our hands dear Father and fill our lips with Your praises. Thank You Jesus for making the church Your bride. Thank You for the privilege that You made us Your children loving Father and crowned us with royal crowns. We humbly ask that You accelerate us to the next level in all spheres of life according to the riches of Your glory dear Father. We declare that we shall enjoy Your goodness and grace this decade. We declare that we shall obtain grace and favor before You Lord and before men. We declare that we shall enjoy abundance and supernatural increase this year. We declare that we shall only give thanks to You Lord from January to December. We declare that we shall experience Your everlasting love and mercy this decade. We pray all this believing and trusting in Jesus mighty name. Amen
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
-An athlete runs with an aim to win and only win the prize. During the race, the athlete needs to gather strength and courage to conquer. We have seen marathon runners periodically taking water to rejuvenate themselves during the race. Some athletes give up and are disqualified from further engagement. It is in such a race that we all ran, that we may receive our crowns. As we begin this year 2021, let us ask the Lord to go before us and strengthen our feet in the races we run. To also show us the way to the imperishable crown and not the perishable crown that only lasts for a time. As we are aware, some people work hard all their lives for the perishable crowns, receive glory here on earth and end up loosing their souls in hell like we see in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). Some focus too much in accumulating wealth and forget their purpose here on earth, and matters related to spiritual growth. Proverbs 27:24 reveals that, “For riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations.” As we gather treasures here on earth, let us ask God to give us wisdom to store them up in heaven; where there is no moth nor rush and thieves cannot steal. Let us also endure to put our faith in Christ, and to love God and our neighbours as ourselves. To share the love of God with the less fortunate in our society, which qualifies us as sheep ready to inherit God’s kingdom (Matthew 25:34-36). To run the race well, we need to be guided and rejuvenated by the Holy Spirit our Helper, Strength, Councilor, Comforter, Intercessor and Guide in all matters pertaining to our lives. As we run the race, let us endure to win the prize by focusing on Christ, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.
Thank You Holy Spirit for this far that You have brought us. It is not by our power nor might but by Your Spirit Lord. We count our blessings and name them one by one. We praise You for providing for us, protecting us, preserving us, guiding our steps, sustaining us in every way and for loving us with Your everlasting love. Thank You for we have not been consumed but we are alive to glorify Your holy name. Thank You for the gift of life. We pray for all our children including those who go to school; that You may protect them and increase in them wisdom to fear You Lord. We pray for their teachers and support; staff that You may preserve them and give them patience to teach well. We pray for all our doctors and nurses; that You may protect them from harm with Your precious blood. We pray for all those who are sick; that You may heal them completely for by Your stripes we are healed. We pray for our churches; that only Your name will be praised and many will come to You. We pray for all the less fortunate in our society including all the children living in the streets; that Your hand of grace may always be upon them. Give us hearts of compassion dear Jesus so that we may minister unto them through Your love for the glory of Your name. We pray for our government and leaders; that they may fear You Lord and walk according to Your will. We pray for our nation; that You may restore our economy and liberate us from neo-colonialism. Forgive us all our sins together with our blood lines, cover us with Your precious blood and heal our land. We pray for all our family members; that You may protect us, preserve us and bless us with the dew of heaven. Thank You Lord for the ministry of angels who You send to minister unto us, to shield us and guide our ways. Thank You Lord for all those who ran their races well and minister before Your holy presence. We pray for our destinies Holy Spirit; that Your may help us to run the race You have set before us well and finish our course. Give us the strength, courage, counsel and wisdom to finish strong and receive our imperishable crowns at the end of time. Thank You for receiving and answering all our prayers which come to You as incense. Only You are holy, only You are worthy to receive all the glory and praise. Amen
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
-Temptations form part of our Christian lives. In fact, the Bible describes temptation as a joyful process which is a test of faith that produces patience, and makes one complete lacking nothing (James 1:2-4). Job was tempted severely but yet he did not curse God (Job 2:10). Jesus was tempted by the devil and overcame by Himself Who He is the Word (Luke 4:1-14). We also find the martyr Church at Smyrna is encouraged to faithfulness unto death by the promise of the crown of life from the hands of the Lord of life (Revelation 2:10). The angel of the Church at Philadelphia is stimulated to hold fast what they have, that no man take their crowns (Revelation 3:10-11). James speaks of the crown of life which a person who is proven through trial and temptations; receives. 1 Corinthians 10:13 reveals that, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” To overcome temptations, we need to fully rely on the power of Christ, to pray and fast like Jesus did, to read and meditate on the word of God, to resist the devil and dwell in the presence of God through prayer and praise, to follow God’s instructions that come to us through dreams, visions, prophecy and His word. In all these things we are comforted for God has made provision for His grace to help us overcome every temptation from the tempter.
Almighty and everlasting Father, we come before this morning thanking You for the gift of life and the far that You have brought us. Grant us merciful Father, the grace to overcome every temptation that comes our way. Increase in us faith to conquer all and remain faithful to You. Give us the gift of wisdom that we may follow You wholeheartedly and never turn back; that no one may take our crowns. We expose every plan of the wicked one in our lives, families, schools, societies and nation by Your precious blood. We break all the bars of iron and wicked plans of the enemy. Fight for us Jesus and make every crooked path straight. May all those who plan evil against us submit to Your authority Jesus Christ. We pray for the grace Jesus to accomplish every assignment, command and burden that You have placed in our hearts. We pray for the lives that have been wasted. The people who have been diverted and misaligned from their course of life. Those whose stars have been stolen by the evil one and are used to bring forth evil to others. Those whose lives have been captured by the devil through sickness, barrenness, insanity and those that roam aimlessly in the streets. We break every curse in their lives by Your precious blood Jesus. Return them back to their course by Your merciful love. Return us all loving Father to our course where we have missed the mark. Deliver us from the snares of the enemy, O God and always be our Fortress against those who are attacking us. Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from all evil. Arise Lord to help us, look to our plight and fight for us, for the battle belongs to You. Show us Your ways dear Lord and guide us in the light of Your salvation. Bless the nation of Israel merciful Father and all its people; and grant them peace. Amen
1 Peter 5:2-4
“Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”
-Prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter had denied Him three times, much to his own shame and he wept (Mark 14:72). Jesus asked three times if Peter loved Him. Each time, Peter affirmed that he loved Jesus, grieved at the repeated question. Also each time, Jesus responded to Peter’s answer with a command to feed or tend Jesus’ sheep. Shepherding the flock of God was to be Peter’s life work and a sign of love. Here, in these verses, Peter is sharing his mission with the elders of the local churches who will receive this letter. He reveals that an elder should provide leadership in the church; serve as an overseer with willingness and not by compulsion, dealing genuinely and not for dishonest gains, serving as good examples to their flock and exercising humility with others. As they do this, they should realize that the flock belongs to God and not it’s human leaders. As we begin this new year, it is important to remember that each one of us has a purpose to accomplish on earth. Our mandates should be geared towards bringing glory to God. As we do this, we should note that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Jesus commissioned His disciples saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20). As children of God and His disciples, we have been called to serve God in whatever capacities we are in by spreading the gospel and making disciples for the glory of His name, and we shall receive our crowns of glory when Christ comes again.
How great are Your signs Lord, how mighty are Your wonders. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and Your dominion is from generation to generation. Lord You say in Your word that wisdom is the principal thing and in all our getting let us get wisdom, grant us Your wisdom Lord. As Your wisdom places an ornament of grace on peoples heads, let us be among the beneficiaries and deliver to us a crown of glory. Thank You for Your gift of wisdom Holy Spirit. Guide us to spread the gospel and make disciples according to Your will. Teach us to follow You wholeheartedly and make us vessels of honor ready for the Masters use. May Your purposes prevail in our lives dear Jesus. May Your peace that surpasses all understanding dwell in our hearts, minds, homes, relationships, marriages, businesses, jobs, schools, economy, government, nation and all the nations of the world through You Christ Jesus. Be with the nation of Uganda as they cast their vote. May Your will prevail in the US and may Your people know You for who You are. All glory and praise belongs to You Jesus, now and forever. Amen
2 Timothy 4:7-8
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
-Who can fight the good fight and better still win the race without the Lord granting it to him/her. When we are anchored on Christ through faith as the Vine and we the branches, we will bear much fruit and receive our crowns.
Several classifications of crowns have been revealed through the scriptures, among them: – the imperishable crown, crown of life, crown of righteousness, crown of rejoicing and crown of glory. All these can be referred to as crowns of grace for it is through faith that we have been saved and not by our own works lest anyone should boast. Crowns of grace can be likened the pineapple. A pineapple grows high above the ground, its leaves are thorny to protect the fruit, it also has a spiky outer shell for protection, at maturity it is normally very sweet and the best part of it; it has a crown at the top. As Christians we can follow the analogy of the pineapple, by standing firm in faith, putting on the whole armor of God that protects us against the snares of the devil as we run our races, relying on God’s protection and grace always, being sweet in the inside as we share love and the word of God with others and wearing our crowns of grace like queen Esther as children of the King as we eagerly await His second coming. Crowns of grace can either be classified as diadems that kings and queens wear or crowns that have been promises to all those who will inherit eternal life. The crown of life is reserved for those who will preserver under trials and love God. It is also associated with martyrdom or those who will suffer but be faithful to the point of death as revealed through the church in Smyrna. The incorruptible or imperishable crown is also reserved for those who will be perseverant and run the race well. Those who remain in the holiness of God through grace. Crown of righteousness is promised to those who love and desire intimacy with God. Crown of Glory is the clergyman’s confirmation of final glory. The crown is for all those who shepherd the flock of Christ in humility, with honesty and unselfish love serving as good examples to others. Crown of rejoicing or crown of exultation as delineated in 1 Thessalonians 2:19, is given to people who hold fast their hope in the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These are beautiful crowns reserved in heaven for all those who will fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith. Those who the Lord has granted the gift of salvation and assurance of eternal life through faith in Him.
Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. Who forgives all our iniquities, Who heals all our diseases, Who redeems our lives from destruction, Who crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies our mouths with good things so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Only You LORD executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. Execute justice for our lives, families, marriages, destinies, intentions, jobs, businesses, finances, economy, emotions, spirituality and all that concerns us. May Your presence always go before us and fight for us Jesus. Forgive us all our iniquities Jesus and cover us with Your precious blood. Crown this year Jesus with Your goodness and let us dwell in Your grace. Help us to run the race well, fight the good fight and keep the faith, for You love us and care for us. Thank You Lord for You have promised in Your word that You will never leave us nor forsake us. Grant all those who do not know You the gift of salvation merciful Father. Thank You for loving us. We praise You and honor Your holy name, now and forever. Amen