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.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January 6 Bible Reading: Genesis Chapters 16-18

TRUSTING & OBEYING God DAILY has GREAT REWARDS: "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly." Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations." (Gen. 17:1-5)

Abram was 75 years old when he came to the land of Canaan (12:4), and when he became the father of Ishmael, he was 86 years old (16:16). Then thirteen more years had passed without a son being born to Sarah. From Abram’s perspective, God was taking a long time to fulfill his promise that He had made to him at various times in the past (see 12:1–3; 15:3, 5, 13, 18). However, during those quiet intervening years, Abram continued to walk with God and serve Him. Although God’s promises were unconditional, Abram’s temporal participation in God’s blessing was conditioned on his faithfulness and his obedience to God’s commands. Abram withstood the test—he had believed and obeyed God without any hesitation (15:6).

Now, for the fourth time, the Lord appeared to Abram after he came to the land of Canaan (12:7; 13:14–17; 15:1; 18:1) introducing Himself for the very first time as El Shaddai (the “Almighty God”). The reason why God introduced Himself in this manner was to assure Abram that He had all the might and power to fill in the void that Abram had in his life – a child that was promised to Him through Sarai. This divine name may signify God’s universal dominion. It occurs frequently in Job, and in the patriarchal narratives, often when the covenant promise of progeny is stressed (Gen. 28:3; 35:11; 43:14; 48:3; 49:25).

Furthermore, Abram had to realize that though he was old and seemingly senile, and his wife Sarai was too old to have a baby, God was all-powerful and able to do the impossible to fulfill His promise that He had made to Abram many years ago. God’s words to Abram in may have been a veiled way of saying that he should stop trying to work things out in his own strength and let Almighty God work for him. Another reason for God to introduce Himself with this name was to remind Abram what He had spoken to him many years ago: "Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son." (Gen. 18:14)

Abram was then commanded to walk before God just as Enoch had walked with God earlier (5:21–24). He was to conduct his life as an open display of faithfulness to the Lord. Immediately afterward God renewed His covenant and changed the patriarch’s name from Abram (“exalted father”) to Abraham (“father of a multitude”). The patriarchal narratives will show how this was realized when the descendants of Abraham become the progenitors of whole nations. The change to Abraham was further evidence of divine determination to fulfill the covenant. The promise points far beyond those who were to be his physical descendants and looks forward to the families of the earth that was to be spiritually blessed in him (Gen. 12:3).

God expects an attitude of obedience and trust from us every day! Abram obeyed God without any hesitation throughout His life, and trusted in the faithfulness of God to fulfill His promises even though many years had passed by and it appeared almost impossible for Abram and Sarai to have a child of their own. This is the reason why God blessed Abram with a new name Abraham (that means “Father of a multitude”: Gen. 17:5), a new relationship (“Friend of God”: Jam. 2:23), and a new honor (“The Father of all believers”: Rom. 4:11). Let us also strive to obey and trust God daily like Abram, for that has a wonderful promise of great rewards for us!

"By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude--innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore." (Heb. 11:11-12)

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