"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, March 20, 2013

March 20 Bible Reading: 1 Samuel Chapters 1-3

God does ‘EVERYTHING’ in our LIFE for a REASON: "And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat." (1 Sam. 1:4-7)

The book of 1st Samuel opens by introducing us to a family living in the mountains of Ephraim where a man called Elkanah had two wives, Hannah (meaning, grace) and Peninnah (meaning, pearl). Just like Leah and Rachel, the two wives of Jacob, Peninnah had children while Hannah was barren (vv. 1-2). Even though Hannah was childless, she was more loved by her husband, who gave her a double portion of the peace offering that was offered to God at Shiloh (vv. 3–5).

Although this momentary limitation was an exceedingly bitter experience for Hannah, her husband’s kindness and favor were an immediate compensation (vv. 4-5, 8). Added to the implied social stigma of receiving only one part of the sacrifice were the constant jabs that Hannah faced from her rival Peninnah, who sorely provoked her and caused her both severe anxiety and depression until she could not bear the torture any more (vv. 6-7).

There was no particular reason why Hannah was barren, except that “the Lord had closed her womb” (v. 5). So, the temporary infertility of Hannah is ascribed directly to the will and act of God. A woman in Old Testament times who could bear no children was viewed as ‘cursed by God’ (Exo. 23:26, Deut. 7:14, Isa. 54:1). God is the One who provides the ability to conceive children (see Gen. 33:5; Ps. 127:3). So, that brings us to the question: why did God do such a thing in Hannah’s life so that she went literally through such a difficult experience? The answer for this question will be revealed when we examine closely what happened to Hannah as a result of this experience:
  • Hannah’s despair drove her closer to the Lord; and in her misery she trusted in God’s true grace (vv. 9-10). The name Hannah means ‘grace’, and she needed God’s grace to handle her burdens.
  • Hannah’s prayer was accompanied by the vow that if God would give her a son, she would dedicate him to Yahweh as a Nazirite for the rest of his life (v. 11).
  • After the baby Samuel was born to Hannah as a result of prayer and faith in God, she waited for the child to be weaned before she gave him up to be raised in the tabernacle at Shiloh (vv. 19 -28).
  • As the young boy Samuel ministered before the Lord even as a young child wearing a linen ephod (v. 18; 3:1a), and grew up before the Lord (v. 21b), he was suitably placed in an excellent position to hear God’s word about God’s judgment against the house of Eli the priest (3:1b-18).
  • Finally, Samuel grew up in Shiloh, and the Lord was with him as God did not allow any word spoken by Samuel to fall in vain. In fact, Samuel became an established prophet of God (3:19-20) as the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh (v. 21).
With regards to Hannah, God blessed her so much that she bore three more sons and two daughters apart from Samuel (2:21a). God then planted the seeds of praise in the soil of adversity in Hannah’s life (see Hannah’s Song, esp. 2:5). God’s favor was more than sufficient reward for the faith which Hannah exercised during her barren years of waiting upon the Lord. We see similar situations in case of some other women in the scriptures (e.g. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Samson's mother, and Elizabeth who was the mother of John the Baptist).

This brings us to make this supposition that ‘God does everything in our life for a reason’. Even though we do not understand the reason why we go through sufferings at times, maybe due to no fault of our own, we should be clear that God has a great purpose behind it. Let us clearly understand that out of our sorrows and disappointments, God will build great faith and sends special blessings in our lives. God does everything in our lives for a reason!

"But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you" (1 Peter 5:10). "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" (Rom. 8:28).

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