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.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September 22 Bible Reading: Amos Chapters 4-6

Love GOOD, Hate EVIL, and Establish JUSTICE Always: "For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: afflicting the just and taking bribes; diverting the poor from justice at the gate. Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the Lord God of hosts will be with you, as you have spoken. Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate. It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph." (Amos 5:12, 14-15)

Some Bible scholars point out that during the reign of the second King Jeroboam, the Israelite society split vertically into two tiers based on their income level: ‘the-haves’ and ‘the-have-nots’. In fact, those people with power, money and influence oppressed the poor and downtrodden in order to maintain their lifestyles of luxury (v. 11). This was exactly what the Canaanites had done whom they had driven out from their Promised Land (see Josh. 3:10). The Israelites loved evil, hated good, and instituted much injustice in their public life (see Amos 2:6; 5:11–12; 8:4–6). No wonder God was determined to destroy them!

The prophet Amos now pleads with the Israelites to return to God in order to avoid the judgment that He was planning to bring upon them. They were to seek after and love good, and hate evil by default. To seek after good and hate evil emphasized the radical change that repentance would bring in their lives. When they love good and hate evil, they will be inclined to be just in all their public and personal dealings.

In the case of Israelites, they were to ‘love good, hate evil and establish justice in the gate’ (v. 15). In their context, the ‘gate’ was the place where civic and commercial matters were handled (see Ruth 4:1; Esth. 2:19–21; Prov. 31:23). Much of a city’s legal business was transacted in its gate, which was a large passageway with adjoining rooms. Therefore, to ‘establish justice in the gate’ meant to set laws, do business, and conduct other public transactions in ways that honor God and serve people!

Many Christians think that social reform comes mainly through spiritual regeneration. People will change the ways in which they live and treat others after they have experienced inner change as a result of salvation in Christ. This is to state that ‘grace leads to justice’. This thinking is just opposite to the admonition of prophet Amos where he challenged the Israelites to do justice first, which might lead to God pouring out His grace upon them! That is, if they changed their society into one that was more just and loving, God might change His plans to destroy them (v. 15b). God will be gracious to those who repent of their evil ways!

As we consider our influence in our society today, we should look into the impact that public justice might have on people’s openness to God’s grace. It is true that grace leads to justice, and a person transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ will treat others fairly. The transformation in Zacchaeus the chief tax collector is a clear evidence of this fact (Luke 19:8-9). On the other hand, we, as the anointed Spirit-filled children of God should work for social justice everywhere as we give people hope, and open up their hearts to hear the message of God’s love for them. Let us love God, hate evil and establish justice always!

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed" (Luke 4:18)

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