"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, October 12, 2012

October 12 Bible Reading: Matthew Chapters 13-15

Why did Jesus TEACH mostly using ‘PARABLES’? All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: "I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world." (Matt. 13:34-35)
The quotation of Asaph serves as a prophecy of Jesus’ use of parables: "I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old" (Psalms 78:2). Jesus Christ taught similar to Asaph by using parables. In fact, the words of Asaph described the manner in which Christ taught, and in this sense it could be said that the words of Asaph were fulfilled by Jesus Christ Himself. The teachings of Jesus were laced with parables, and people followed Him everywhere hanging on His every word (Matt. 7:28). His listeners remarked more than once: “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (John 7:46), and they were right. Jesus was a master teacher and profound communicator!
It is remarkable that Jesus actually lived the highest moral and spiritual principles ever known to humankind besides teaching them to the people. He told people to love their enemies and proved that by forgiving those who crucified Him. He told people to lay down their lives for others, which He enacted by laying down His own life for the world. He told people not to worry about material possessions, and unlike the spiritual leaders of our times, owned no more than the clothes on His back and did not have a home to call His own. Jesus’ example makes Him the most remarkable of all teachers as He practiced all that He taught to others!
However, the question arises: Why did Jesus teach mostly using parables? Let us look into a few scriptural verses in an earlier passage to get a better grasp of this issue: And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.' (Matt. 13:10-15)
A simple explanation can be as follows: Jesus proclaimed the “mysteries” of the kingdom of God and made the far-reaching implications of its arrival very public. This was a "mystery" in the sense that it had not been disclosed in this form before: Jesus revealed it in his ministry. Among his hearers there were some whose minds were open to his teaching; they grasped its meaning and appreciated the point of his parables. Only a few, relatively speaking, embraced the good news of the kingdom, but for their sake it was worthwhile making it known!
There were others whose minds were closed. Even if at first they thought that He was the teacher and leader for whom they had been waiting, they soon changed their minds. The parables of Jesus were but riddles to these people whose eyes and ears were closed to His words. They could not take his message in, and so they could not profit by it. The more he spoke and acted among them the less responsive they became, and very quickly, they became the majority who were hypercritical to His teachings. So, God decided that these people should not profit by these words of wisdom, and that was the reason why Jesus spoke mostly in parables!
Let us keep our eyes, ears and hearts open to hear, listen and act upon the words of Jesus! If not, we will be like the Pharisees of Jesus’ days that could not comprehend and assimilate His teachings. Even worse is that God will look at us as fools, as it clearly states in the words of wisdom below: "Like the legs of the lame that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of fools. Like one who binds a stone in a sling is he who gives honor to a fool. Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools." (Proverbs 26:7-9)

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