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.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

September 30 Bible Reading: Zephaniah Chapters 1-3

EVERYONE has an OPPORTUNITY to REPENT & TURN BACK to GOD: "Before the decree is issued, or the day passes like chaff, before the Lord's fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the Lord's anger comes upon you! Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord's anger." (Zeph. 2:2-3)

Zephaniah, whose name means “The Lord has hidden”, was a prophet from the royal family in Judah. He warned the people that the nation’s immorality and idolatry had made God’s judgment inevitable (1:4–13; 3:1–7). He also predicted that the people who repent would survive the coming judgment and enjoy blessings (2:1–3; 3:8–20). His short prophetical book is reflective of God’s total plan of redemption, which has led Martin Bucer in 1528 to make the following declaration: “If anyone wishes all the secret oracles of the prophets to be given in a brief compendium, let him read through this brief Zephaniah.”

The above verses (Zeph. 2:2-3) come closest to summarizing briefly the theme of the book. The only means by which anyone can hope to escape the judgment of God is to “seek” God on a daily basis (Psalms 105:4; Amos 5:6; Matt. 7:7, 8). The “meek of the earth” are those who cling to God’s standard of justice, and they are exhorted to continue seeking “righteousness” and “humility” passionately. To seek God is to seek righteousness and humility, and through this God’s judgment may be averted (v. 2).

A deeper study of God’s Word reveal that God is merciful to those who acknowledge their wrongdoings, make a clean confession to Him, and turn their lives back toward Him. God’s judgment of sin is inevitable, but He always leaves everyone an opportunity for repentance to escape the “great day of the Lord”, which is a day that will display the terrifying wrath of God (1:14–15). The Bible is replete with examples of people who escaped God’s judgment through repentance:
  • The Assyrians of Nineveh had fasted in sackcloth as they repented of their wickedness and idolatry in response to Jonah’s preaching (Jonah 3). As a result, the Lord had withheld His judgment of that city.
  • King Hezekiah had responded with repentance in the days of Micah the prophet, and God had withheld His judgment of Judah (Jer. 26:17–19).
History reveals that King Josiah and the people of Judah also repented through Zephaniah’s message that resulted in extensive spiritual reforms, including widespread destruction of idols and the restoration of true worship (2 Kings 23:1–25). Even when the Babylonians eventually destroyed Jerusalem, those people who continued to fear God came through the ordeal, including the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 40:1–6).

God’s wrath against sin is still in effect today (Rom. 1:18). If we want to escape His certain judgment, we have to follow the same terms from God: repentance from sin and obedience toward God. Christ’s death on the cross ensures that the penalty for our sin is paid in full (3:21–26). Our genuine faith in God’s salvation plan always includes repentance. We need to forsake evil and turn toward God today. Then we will be “hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zeph. 2:3; Acts 17:30–31; 1 Thess. 1:9–10).

"Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:38-39)

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