"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.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September 15 Bible Reading: Hosea Chapters 1-3

LOVE is a ‘CONSCIOUS’ CHOICE: Then the Lord said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans." So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. And I said to her, "You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man--so, too, will I be toward you." (Hosea 3:1-3)

God commanded Hosea to “go show [his] love” to his unfaithful adulterous wife Gomer, and reclaim her even though she had lapsed into the depths of moral depravity. Through this act, God was trying to illustrate that Israel had been unfaithful like Gomer. Whereas Gomer’s sin was sexual and highlighted her marital unfaithfulness, Israel’s sin was spiritual and highlighted her adulterous behavior as she went after and worshipped false gods instead of Jehovah who had redeemed her from Egypt. To picture the compassionate heart of God and His faithful love for Israel, Hosea was asked to “love her as the Lord loves the Israelites.”

Popular culture often describes love in terms of passion, sexuality, or blind devotion. By this measure, love is little more than an uncontrollable attraction toward another person that ebbs and flows unconsciously. This sort of “love” looks only for its own gain and can walk away if its demands and needs go unmet or unsatisfied. In contrast, God’s love, as seen in Hosea, is willing to go where others would not be willing to go and to pay what others would not be willing to pay. God called the prophet Hosea to pursue a radical kind of love for his wife—a love that was based on a conscious choice to be committed to her for her benefit, regardless of her response to that gift. That was how God was committed to Israel. Hosea’s marriage was an illustration of God’s marriage to the spiritually adulterous nation of Israel.

To illustrate His intention to redeem Israel, the Lord instructed Hosea to reclaim and redeem Gomer, his unfaithful wife, as she had become the property of another man. Hosea’s purchase of Gomer symbolized God’s great devotion, which moves Him to seek reconciliation even if it means subjecting Himself to humiliation. This is pictured in God Himself redeeming us by paying the ultimate price on the cross. "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Phil. 2:8)

If anyone had occasion to renounce his wife, Hosea did; however, he was instructed to love her still, which was similar to how God continued to love an unfaithful Israel. God’s apparently unreasonable request was patterned after His own loyal, protective, and bountiful love for undeserving Israel, and by extension, to us today.

Let us understand that love is a conscious choice! Let us intentionally make choices every day that reflect our love for God in total obedience to His Word. When we return to our first love (God), we can enjoy His intimate love in our lives; otherwise we will have to face the dire consequence one day in the future.

"Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent." (Rev 2:4-5)

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