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.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 29 Bible Reading: 1 Samuel Chapters 28-31

Does GOD answer ‘ALL’ our PRAYERS? Then the Philistines gathered together, and came and encamped at Shunem. So Saul gathered all Israel together, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, "Find me a woman who is a medium that I may go to her and inquire of her." (1 Sam 28:4-7)

Saul, who started his reign with great expectations being filled and prophesying through the Spirit of God (10:6-12), had a tragic life ending. He had started out with everything in his favor but then had departed from God gradually. It all began with him offering a presumptuous sacrifice as a result of which Samuel foretold the loss of his kingdom (13:14). Then Saul disobeyed God's specific commands and spared Agag and flocks due to which he lost his kingdom (15:28). With his total separation from Samuel, Saul then lost complete fellowship with God as well (28:6). In his downhill path Saul then visited a medium to get answers, and his doom was predicted (28:19). Finally, Saul ended up taking his own life in a battle that killed all his three sons as well (31:4, 6).

When Saul began his reign, it was “the dawning of the day” (9:26), but now he was walking in total darkness. Saul’s disobedience in the past had led to darkness in the present, and defeat along with death in the future. By consulting a medium (28:7), Saul made a poor choice as his use of witchcraft was a violation of God’s law (Exod. 22:18; Lev. 19:31; 20:6; Deut. 18:9–14), and that ultimately led to his death (1 Chr. 10:13–14).

Moreover, Saul had been fighting a ‘wrongly perceived’ enemy (David) for so long that when the ‘real’ enemy (Philistines) appeared, he was unprepared. Saul’s persistent disobedience had left him completely without God’s presence and protection. Saul had rejected God earlier and as a consequence God had rejected him now (15:23). When God gave him opportunities to repent, he ignored them. He did not “seek the Lord while He may be found” (Isaiah 55:6).

All these problems did not happen overnight for Saul. When Saul had killed the priests from Nob earlier (22:18-19), he totally eliminated the means by which he could receive guidance from God. While David had the prophet Gad with him (22:5), it is unlikely that a true prophet accompanied Saul after Samuel had left him for good due to his deliberate sins (15:34-35). Moreover, the authentic ephod containing the Urim (2:28) had come into David’s possession now through the priest Abiathar (22:20-23; 23:6). God was not with Saul now and his prayer was not answered!

What should we do when our prayers are not answered immediately? The first thing is to examine our hearts to see if we have sin in our lives. The Psalmist has thus said: "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear (me)" (Psalms 66:18). Let us confess our sins through the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:9), and forsake them as well. "He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy" (Prov 28:13).

God’s delays are necessarily not His denials! Let us be persistent in our prayers like the widow in Luke 18:1-8, and Daniel who had to wait for an answer from God for three full weeks (Daniel 10:1-14). Let us not go to any wrong people as Saul did, but get our answers directly from God according to His wonderful promise: "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know" (Jer 33:3).

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