"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, June 26, 2013

June 26 Bible Reading: Psalms Chapters 128-136

BALANCING our 'WORK LIFE' and our 'FAMILY LIFE': "When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table." (Psalms 128:2-3)

Psalm 128 parallels Psalm 112, and reminds us of the blessings that God sends when we fear the Lord and walk in obedience to His Word. It is also categorized as a wisdom psalm that is dedicated to work, marriage, and family. The primary message of this psalm is that we will never be truly blessed until we serve God in godly fear and holiness. This psalm begins with a pronouncement of blessing on a man who fears the Lord (vv. 1–4) and concludes with a prayer for blessing for his long life (vv. 5, 6). However, the benedictions here are all based on an integral element of worship: “the fear of the Lord” (v. 1).

When a man truly fears the Lord, he will also work hard for a living and thereafter eat his food in contentment. After God had created Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden, he had the responsibility of tending and keeping it in shape (Gen. 2:15). However, after Adam and Eve disobeyed God, one of curses of God upon Adam was that he would have to work hard to get food on the table (Gen. 3:17–19). Thus, there is a reward in work and a satisfaction in labor that is a blessing of God (Eccl. 3:9–13).

In Psalms 128, the psalmist envisions the righteous man prospering from his own labor. His prosperity results in getting protection from calamity, drought, pestilence and defeat. He does not die prematurely, but lives to enjoy the material wealth for which he had labored. He enjoys freedom from discord and strife, and the joyful contentment of having God’s favor upon him. Thus, God brings enjoyment in employment, as his work becomes a blessing and his ministry for the Lord!

Not only does the godly man prosper from his labor, but he is also productive as well. The vine produces the grapes for wine, a source of joy to the Israelites (Ps. 104:15). Like a fruitful vine, his wife bears him many children, and she is a source of joy in his life. The blessing that the fruitful wife brings includes children around the table. Olives and olive oil were valued staple commodities in the nation’s life. So, his children are precious provisions in his home (vv. 3–5). They are clustered around his table like tender olive plants—full of vigor and vitality (Ps. 52:8).

A godly man who fears God and works with his hands finds his greatest fruitfulness in his wife and children. His wife is always within his house, keeping the home and being the center of God’s love there. His children spring up around his table, just as the lifeless root of an olive tree can give rise to new plants. God blesses this man in his home, beginning at the heart of the home (his wife) and touching everybody else around the table. Thus, his home becomes a fruitful garden that even nourishes many people from outside!

However, it is interesting to note that work and family are two of God’s primary callings for the human race; and they are often found side-by-side in scripture (vv. 2–4). It is also true that since the beginning of history, people have found the greatest meaning and fulfillment, as well as, the deepest pain and frustration in their work and family life. This was reflected in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve before and after their sin. Before their sin, their work in the garden and their life with each other brought them great joy and significance. But after they sinned, their work became “sweat” (Gen. 3:19) and their family life produced pain and sorrow (Gen. 3:16; 4:8, 16).

We can see similar biblical accounts in the case of Abraham who used his wife as a bargaining chip for his own benefit (Gen. 12:10–20), and King Solomon who found both his work and family to be very unsatisfying (Eccl. 1:1–2:26) even though he believed that both were gifts from God to be treasured (3:12–13; 5:18–20). A good lesson that we can learn from these accounts is that we should center our work in the Lord in order to find fulfillment and reward. Similarly, our family life can be both satisfying and secure when we build our homes on a godly foundation. Let’s balance our work life and family life by keeping God’s kingdom and His righteousness at the center of both, and giving it our first priority: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matt. 6:33)

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