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 5, 2012

December 5 Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians Chapters 1-3

WANTED: SPIRITUAL FATHERS & MOTHERS in the CHURCH: "But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory." (1 Thess. 2:7-8, 10-12)

The above passage describes in great detail how Apostle Paul, Silvanus and Timothy (see 1:1) worked among the new believers in Thessalonica in order to mature them in Christ. Having explained their ministry in negative terms (2:1–6), Paul then described it positively (2:7–12). In contrast to the enemies’ accusations, Paul and his companions had demonstrated their loving care for the Thessalonians in the past.

The Greek word trŨgphos (meaning “nursing mother”) is a tender and vivid picture of Paul and his companion’s heart for the church. They had given themselves wholeheartedly to the Thessalonian believers just like a nursing mother selflessly cares for her children. The word “cherishes” further emphasizes the nursing mother’s activity as well as her attitude. Like a nursing mother cherishes her own children, they had been gentle and unselfish in their dealings with the new believers (v. 7). Since these believers needed spiritual nursing and care, they had carried on their ministry with all the solicitude of a devoted mother with tenderness and affection. Paul emphasizes the extent of his love: he would have sacrificed his own life for them if necessary!

Paul then refers to the father figure to sum up and justify their apostolic activities as they founded the church. Like a father who prepares his children for the events that lie ahead of them, they had comforted and encouraged the believers to fulfill God’s call in their lives (v. 11-12). As a father gives wisdom and counsel, Paul exhorted them to live a holy life and encouraged them to go on for the Lord in spite of persecutions, and he testified concerning the blessedness of obedience to the will and word of God.

Thus, through his writing Paul clearly intended to convey a sense of tender affection and loving care for his spiritual children, the Thessalonians. In doing so, he showed a side of spiritual leadership and nurture that Christian leaders will do well to emulate today. Paul’s ministry was motivated by love, not by pride or the desire for material gain. The goal of Paul’s ministry was that the Thessalonians might walk worthy of God who calls them into His own kingdom and glory!

Young believers need spiritual fathers and mothers in the church to lovingly nurture them in the Lord. How important it is for us to be good examples and role models before new believers! Helping new believers at a crucial stage in their faith is a labor of love that will cause great rejoicing at our ultimate “family reunion” in heaven. Let us strive to be spiritual fathers and mothers as we mentor new believers to grow and mature even “up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13)

"Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine." (1 Tim. 5:17)

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