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, December 12, 2012

December 12 Bible Reading: Philemon Chapter 1

EVERYTHING happens in our LIVES for a ‘REASON’: "For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave--a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord." (Philemon 1:15-16)

During the first century, having slaves in homes were common-place in most of the wealthy households in Israel. These slaves were usually bought from an auction block by the highest bidder, who would purchase a slave to be a lifelong investment to be used as a household/field helper for life. A wealthy Christian by the name of Philemon had a slave called Onesimus, who one day stole money from his coffers and ran away from his home hoping for freedom. However, he got more freedom than he bargained for when he met Apostle Paul in a Roman prison and became a believer of Jesus Christ, who made him truly free (John 8:36).

Someone has once said that the purpose of Christianity is not to help a person escape his past but to face it and to rise above it. Through his influence, Apostle Paul convinced Onesimus that he needs to go back to Philemon and rectify the error that he has committed. Along with Onesimus, Paul sent along a short hand-written note that is available to us as ‘Paul’s epistle to Philemon’. In the above passage in this epistle, Paul suggests that God may have permitted the events that had taken place to result in greater good, and he urged Philemon to view them in that light. God’s deeper providence was at work, and with Onesimus now belonging to Christ, there is a new and eternal relationship between the slave and his master. Philemon should now regard Onesimus not as a slave but as a brother in Christ and treat him lovingly!

Looking at the bigger picture, it appears that it was God’s plan that Onesimus would run away due to the eternal benefits of his salvation directly resulting from his action. Not only will Onesimus be useful on the human level, he will be useful for the work of the Lord eventually. Thus, the marvelous providence of God can be seen with Onesimus stealing money and absconding from his master’s home that finally resulted in his salvation experience. Now he returns to Philemon to spend the rest of his life on this earth along with the happy prospect of spending eternity in heaven with his master Philemon and all other believers. So, as Paul inferred in his letter, God in His providence did turn this evil episode around for good!

Like Paul, we should reflect on the circumstances of our lives as well. We should think carefully about what God may be trying to show us or teach us through the unusual or, the unexpected or, even the undesirable events that we encounter in our lives. This will help us bring God and His Word into our understanding of life. We can then look beyond the adverse circumstances of the moment and see God working His plan through all the events of our lives. This will eventually teach us to incorporate our pain into God's divine plan, as the patriarch Joseph did towards the end of his life (see Genesis 45:5, 7). Let us never forget that everything happens in life for a reason!

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

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