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.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7 Bible Reading: Acts Chapters 4-6

We should OBEY GOD rather than PEOPLE: But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him." (Acts 5:29-32)

It is worth noting that the apostles had prayed previously for boldness to speak God’s Word (Acts 4:29). God had answered their prayers fully, and now with courage from above they insisted that their obligation was to obey God rather than men. In fact, they had left the Sanhedrin the last time with these parting words: "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:19-20)

Now, Peter and the other apostles pled guilty to the charges countered against them but justified themselves by the authority of God. We should note that through this justification, Peter was not sanctioning civil disobedience as he makes clear in his first epistle (1 Pet. 2:13–17) and Paul makes it clear as well (Rom. 13:1–7). Peter was not so much advocating open defiance against the state as he was placing his absolute dependence upon God!

In responding to the accusation of disobedience to authority, Peter had put that charge in its proper context. Before his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had departed, this was the direct command that he had received from Jesus: "…you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem…" (Acts 1:8) Now, the High Priest and the religious council were telling them: "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!" (Acts 5:28) Whose command was Peter and the apostles to obey now? The Word in Life Study Bible mentions five ways how Peter and the other apostles reacted to this conflicting issue:
  1. Their aim was to serve and glorify God. They were not motivated by ego or out to protect their own power.
  2. Their point of disobedience was specific and particular. They did not resist the authority of the Jewish council in total.
  3. They approached the situation with a spirit of submissiveness toward both the council and God. They did not harbor rebellious anger toward authority in general.
  4. They delivered a positive, factual message about God’s plan and power in loving truth. They did not slander or show disrespect to their superiors.
  5. They accepted the cost of being loyal to the truth without rancor or bitterness. In fact, they departed from the council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus (v. 41)
What should we do when faced with a conflict between human authority and God’s authority? When faced with such a dilemma, we need step back and realize that ‘all authority comes from God’. When any authority commands us to do what God has forbidden, or forbids us to do what God has commanded, we (as God’s children) must obey the origin of all authority: God Himself. We submit to governmental authority because it is God who has instituted that authority. When we submit to the dictates of government, we are actually submitting to God. However, when there is a direct contradiction between God and human authority, our answer should be the same as Peter: “We will obey God rather than people!” (v. 29)

This is the only position for us to have when we have God’s Word on our side. We should hold on to this position by conviction rather than just an opinion. We should normally obey civil government, but when it goes contrary to the explicit commands of God we must obey God and be ready to suffer the consequences. It is worth noting what Peter and the other apostles continued to do after being beaten and commanded not to speak anymore in the name of Jesus (v. 40): "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." (Acts 5:42)

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