GETTING THE MOST FROM GOD'S WORD:

"Do NOT labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting LIFE..." - The Gospel of John 6:27 (NKJV)
A systematic and daily reading of the Word of God is important in maintaining a strong Christian life. Establish a daily quiet time with God and His Word. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you understand what you read. By following our daily Bible reading schedule through this blog, you will be able to read the Bible through in a year. Please note that you may utilize the ‘BIBLE READER’ app that is installed at the bottom of this webpage to assist you in reading the specified scripture portion for today.

To get the MOST from God's Word, please do the following intentionally:
1. REQUEST God to connect with you as you read the word of God with FOCUS and OPENNESS to see what God wants to speak with you.
2. READ the selected sections of Scripture slowly as you mark the words and phrases that intrigue you, even reading them the second time to get a better understanding.
3. REFLECT on what God is communicating to you; stopping long enough to let the seed of God's Word take root in your heart.
4. RESPOND to the passage speaking directly to God about what is in your heart, and then look out for ways to live out what you find - individually, and to others within your church and elsewhere.

As you read and meditate, ask yourself the following three questions:
a) What is God speaking to me through this passage?
b) Is there a command, a promise or a warning for me?
c) Is there an example for me to follow?

Please POST your comments below if there is a thought or message that the Lord has spoken to you through the passage that you are reading and meditating today. Please make sure that your post is aligned to the scripture passage mentioned at the header. All comments should pertain to the relevant scripture portions only, and should be aimed to glorify God (the true author of 'The Bible') & edify everyone who visits this blog site daily - both young and old. May God bless you abundantly for encouraging others through your comments!

Let's PRAY...
LORD, give me the desire to take a little time out of my busy schedule today as I read and meditate on Your Word. Give me this day MY DAILY BREAD. Speak to me clearly & lead me today as my Good Shepherd. Help me to be a blessing to others who interact with me as I attempt to be a living witness of Your Word today. In Your Name I pray, AMEN.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August 30 Bible Reading: Ezekiel Chapters 13-15

The PARABLE of the FRUITLESS GRAPEVINE: "Therefore thus says the Lord God: 'Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so I will give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will set My face against them. They will go out from one fire, but another fire shall devour them. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I set My face against them. Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have persisted in unfaithfulness,' says the Lord God." (Ezek 15:6-8)

Ezekiel chapter 15 is an allegory picturing Israel as God’s grapevine that is no longer bearing fruit. The essential use of grapevine is to bear fruit (Psalms 80:8–16; Ezek. 19:10–14; Hosea 10:1). Since a grapevine is not good for wood or building (vv. 2, 3), once it has ceased to bear fruit, it can only be cast into the fire (v. 4). The point was clear: the nation of Israel had ceased to bear the fruit of righteousness and was therefore destined for judgment. Both Isaiah (Isa. 5:1-7) and Jeremiah (Jer. 2:21) spoke of Israel’s failure to produce proper fruit; however Ezekiel spoke of the total uselessness of Israel (v. 5).

Israel was thus like a charred and fruitless vine. It was not serving the Lord or bringing glory to Him. As the vine with charred ends, it had suffered burning (chastisement and judgment) on previous occasions. The northern end of the branch was charred by the Assyrians. The southern end was charred by the Egyptians. And now the middle – Jerusalem - would be charred by the Babylonians (see 2 Kings 25:9). The second fire of verse 7 pictures the captivity of those who escaped. They would now be given up to complete destruction because of their continued fruitlessness (v. 8).

As believers we have high privileges, but also the responsibility to produce fruit for God’s glory. If we don’t glorify Him with our life, our existence is vain and useless. It is like the vine without fruit, and our testimony will be destroyed. As branches in Christ, the True Vine, our chief function is to bear fruit for God. This would include the development of Christian character in our lives as seen in the fruit of the Spirit. However if we do not bear fruit, our existence is useless, and that was the condition of God’s people in Ezekiel’s day. Instead, if we share the life of God through faith in Jesus Christ, our lives will reveal itself in the fruit that we bear for His glory.

Let us remember the words of Jesus today and bear much fruit in our lives for His glory: "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." (John 15:5-8)

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