"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, July 17, 2012

July 17 Bible Reading: Isaiah Chapters 4-6

Are we ‘PRODUCING’ the ‘FRUIT’ that God ‘EXPECTS’ from us? "Now let me sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: my Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes." (Isaiah 5:1-2)

Isaiah chapter 5 contains a song (vv. 1–7), a lament (vv. 8–23), and a judgment (vv. 24–30). The song (vv. 1–7) has been named as Isaiah’s “Song of the Vineyard” and is a prime example of the sublime poetic style of Isaiah, unexcelled anywhere in literature. This song has three parts: an introduction to the allegory (vv. 1, 2); an accusation and sentence (vv. 3–6); and an interpretation of the allegory (v. 7; see Psalms 80:8–16).

In this allegory, the Well-beloved or Beloved represents Jehovah God, and the vineyard represents Israel and Judah (v. 7). God expected Israel and Judah to be an obedient, holy, witnessing people. However, the people produced bigotry, injustice, and idolatry instead of a witness to the nations, and they did this in spite of God’s abundant love and care!

In this song, Isaiah rehearses the tender care of God for His vineyard. God had chosen the best location, had cultivated the land Himself, had planted it with the choicest vine, had protected it, and had even prepared a winepress in the hope of a good harvest. However, instead of the harvest of good grapes (representing obedience, thanksgiving, love, worship, service) that God had expected, what grew out was bad-smelling, wild grapes (representing disobedience, rebellion, and idolatry).

Thus, in spite of all God’s gracious efforts, His “vineyard” (Israel and Judah) yielded only bad grapes. The people’s sin was ingratitude, taking their blessings for granted and using them selfishly. Instead of serving the Lord, they served themselves, and the result was a corrupted nation. Therefore, God denounces it with judgment to come, indicating the coming Babylonian captivity.

To apply this allegory to our lives, the owner and the vineyard stand for God and His people. This song is fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Matt. 21:33–44), who has become our true vine. We are the branches that have been grafted to Jesus, the true vine. We are expected to draw all the nourishment from vine by abiding in Him, and produce much fruit that God desires from our lives. Let us examine our lives today to check if we are indeed producing the fruit that God is expecting from our lives!

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 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." (John 15:1-2, 4-5)

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