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.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25 Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles Chapters 10-12

SIGNIFICANCE of FASTING in our SPIRITUAL JOURNEY: "And when all Jabesh Gilead heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul, all the valiant men arose and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons; and they brought them to Jabesh, and buried their bones under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days." (1 Chron. 10:11-12)

The city of Jabesh Gilead was situated just east of the River Jordan. Upon hearing the tragic news of the demise of King Saul and his sons, some courageous men of Jabesh Gilead journeyed all night to Beth Shan in order to retrieve their bodies from where they had fallen. They brought their bones back to Jabesh Gilead and then buried them under the tamarisk tree. However, they did not stop there but out of their grief, respect and admiration for King Saul, they fasted for seven complete days! These brave men of Jabesh Gilead had not forgotten the kindness that King Saul had shown them about forty years ago when he came to their aid and had saved their city from Nahash the Ammonite (see 1 Sam. 11:1–11).

The reason why the valiant men of Jabesh Gilead had fasted for seven days was to express their profound grief over King Saul’s death (10:12). Rather than hide their sadness and inner feelings of loss, they openly expressed it by using fasting as a cleansing discipline. The Old Testament reveals other purposes for fasting among the Israelites, which include the times when they were faced with public calamities (2 Sam. 1:12); when they were in imminent danger (Esther 4:16); when they had afflictions (2 Sam. 12:16; Ps. 35:13; Dan 6:18); when they had commemorated special occasions of God’s deliverance (Zech. 8:19); when they were grieving for their disobedience against God (Judg. 20:26; 1 Sam. 7:6); when they were expressing humility before God (Lev. 16:29; Ps. 69:10); and when they were seeking guidance from God by focusing on Him alone (Exo. 34:28; 2 Chr. 20:3–4). Usually, their fasting was accompanied by prayer (Dan 9:3); confession of sin (1 Sam. 7:6; Neh. 9:1-2), and self-humiliation (Deut. 9:18; Neh. 9:1).

We have numerous examples of people in the Bible who fasted, including Moses (Exo. 24:18; 34:27–28; Deut. 9:9, 18), the Israelites (1 Sam. 7:5–6), King David (2 Sam. 12:15–16), Ahab (1 Kin. 21:27), Ezra (Ezra 8:21–23), Nehemiah (Neh. 1:4–11), Daniel (Dan. 9:3–4; 10:2, 3), the people of Nineveh at Jonah’s message of judgment (Jon. 3:4–9), Zechariah (Zech. 8:19), our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 4:2), the Roman centurion Cornelius (Acts 10:30–32), lastly, the church at Antioch (Acts 13:1–5).

When our Lord Jesus Christ was teaching about fasting to His disciples, He purposely used the term “when you fast” two times instead of “if you fast”: "Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matt. 6:16-18). Jesus was emphasizing that fasting is an essential ingredient for our spiritual journey & it is a matter of “when” and not “if” with regards to fasting.

Let us remember that there is a great significance in fasting during our spiritual journey. Fasting is a means toward spiritual focus by concentrating on God rather than on food and other personal needs. Fasting is a good way to honor God in our critical situations and ask for His help. Finally, fasting is a spiritual discipline that clarifies our vision, and makes us sensitive to God’s plan and purpose for our earthly life. Let us fast regularly, and get refocused as we move forward towards our final destination.

"Now, therefore," says the Lord, "turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him--" (Joel 2:12-14)

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