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, November 10, 2012

November 10 Bible Reading: Acts Chapters 13-15

We should ‘NOT’ hold GRUDGES when we DISAGREE: Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (Acts 15:37-41)

The above passage marks the beginning of the second missionary tour of Paul and Barnabas, and their entire journey is recorded in Acts 15:36–18:22. This journey was undertaken for the prime purpose of revisiting the Churches where these brethren had previously labored, and thus shows the zeal with which these apostles watched for the welfare of the congregations that they had founded. However, they disagreed on taking John Mark along with them this time!

John Mark was the son of Mary, who owned a house in Jerusalem where the church often prayed (Acts 12:12–17), and was the cousin of Barnabas (Acts 4:36–37; Col. 4:10). Peter referred to Mark as his “son” (1 Pet. 5:13). However, Mark had deserted Paul and Barnabas during their first missionary journey due to certain unknown reasons, and scripture doesn't tell us why Mark made the decision to go home. But Mark’s return didn't disqualify him from the faith or diminish his spirituality, no matter how strongly Paul felt about it!

Even though both Paul and Barnabas were spiritual men full of the Holy Spirit, yet they disagreed over the issue of Mark. Barnabas was determined to take Mark along with them since he was more people-oriented and due to the fact that Mark was his cousin. In this case Barnabas was right and God used the disagreement to make two missionary outreaches instead of only one. Barnabas took Mark home with him to Cyprus where he nurtured him both personally and spiritually.

Thanks to Barnabas, Mark turned out to be a special gift to the early church. Barnabas was able to recover and rebuild the life of Mark whom Paul later referred to as one whom he appreciated (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11). He became a valued associate of Peter and probably traveled with him to Rome, where tradition holds that he composed the Gospel bearing his name by writing down Peter’s memories of Jesus’ life and teaching. With time and the encouragement of Barnabas, Mark developed into one of the key leaders of the early church. Early church tradition says that he was the first evangelist to Alexandria-Egypt, and the first bishop of that city!

It is interesting to note that even though Paul and Barnabas disagreed over the issue of Mark, their separation was friendly (see 1 Cor. 9:6; Philemon 24), and they did not hold any grudges against each other. Rather, they decided to part ways in the ministry as they faithfully served God earnestly in their own ways. Similarly, there are times when Christians will not agree on certain aspects of ministry. Perhaps the best course of action in some of those situations is to work separately if that is the will of God. Let us know that God can use these adverse situations for good by expanding His kingdom!

"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another...be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." (Romans 12:10, 16-18)

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