"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.

Friday, August 24, 2012

August 24 Bible Reading: Lamentations Chapters 1-3

SIN brings BONDAGE & AFFLICTION back in our LIVES: "Judah has gone into captivity, under affliction and hard servitude; she dwells among the nations, she finds no rest; all her persecutors overtake her in dire straits. Her adversaries have become the master; her enemies prosper; for the Lord has afflicted her because of the multitude of her transgressions. Her children have gone into captivity before the enemy." (Lam 1:3, 5)

They people of Israel has lived through experiences unparalleled and unsurpassed by any other country of the world. They are a unique nation that was carved by God Himself, who redeemed them out of bondage and servitude from their oppressors (Egypt). Their hardship was due to no fault of their own but because they were ‘fruitful and multiplying’ (Exodus 1:9) as God had designed at creation (Genesis 1:28). In fact, they were subjected to tremendous suffering, and had cried out for deliverance. "Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage." (Exodus 2:23)

After God had delivered the children of Egypt through many signs and wonders under the leadership of Moses, God had warned His people time and again that sin and disobedience would bring the bondage and affliction back in their lives. In order to drive the point home, God had Moses remind the younger generation of the children of Israel about this, the details of which are recorded in the book of Deuteronomy. Joshua, who succeeded Moses, also warned the Israelites in his farewell address and the covenant at Shechem (see Joshua 24). Many of the judges who judged Israel after Joshua displayed the need for serving God alone. Even the kings who ruled thereafter (especially David) emphasized the need to serve God and forsake sin through songs, proverbs and words of wisdom. Finally, God sent mighty prophets like Jeremiah who pleaded with the Israelites to turn away from their sins and back to God!

However, the Israelites continued to disregard God and His prophets by committing gross sins and living immoral lives. Due to their constant transgressions, God allowed foreign nations like Assyria and Babylon to take over the countries of Israel and Judah into captivity. For the people of Judah, the fall of Jerusalem was a time of terrible suffering and anguish. It was this fearful catastrophe that brought forth the book of Lamentations as the heart-cry of the prophet Jeremiah. In the book, Jeremiah laments the former excellency and the present misery of Jerusalem for her sin (vv. 1-11). This book was read publicly each year to remind the Jews that their sin had caused their captivity and the destruction of the city of Jerusalem where Solomon’s Temple was situated.

Let us understand that sin brings bondage into our lives! Due to the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we have been born in sin and trespasses. However, Jesus Christ, the Son of God paid the price of our sin with His own life. "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience..." (Eph. 2:1-2) Jesus had given us true freedom that we need so desperately. "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:36)

If we go back into a life of sin and disobedience, we will again go back into bondage and affliction, just as it happened to the Israelites! Let us learn this very important lesson from their lives and stay close to God and His Word so that we do not slip back into sin and depravity in our lives. Pay attention to what Jesus Himself has compared His role with the role of Satan in our lives: "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

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