"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, July 4, 2013

July 4 Bible Reading: Proverbs Chapters 16-18

God can TRANSFORM our THOUGHTS & WORDS if we let HIM: "The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits. Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established." (Prov. 16:1-3)

The above scriptural passage makes it clear how our relationship to God has a direct bearing on how we impact the lives of other people who encounter us in our journey of life. When we live in such a way as to please God, even our enemies will be inclined to live in peace with us (16:7). However, due to our sinful nature, our hearts are "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" (Jer. 17:9), so we do not think the thoughts that conformity with the thoughts of God. This is how God compares His thoughts and ways with ours: "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Let us also understand that God searches our hearts and tests our minds at all times (Jer. 17:10). We may think and plan in advance, but God sometimes overrules our words to accomplish His purposes. A couple of biblical examples are Balaam, who wanted to curse the Israelites but instead blessed them (Num. 22:38; 23:7–10), and Caiaphas, who spoke beyond his own wisdom during the mock trial of Jesus (John 11:49–52). When we are persecuted for the sake of the gospel, God has promised to give us the proper words to speak at that time (Matt. 10:19). During these extraordinary moments, God will enable us to give the right answers in order to accomplish His plans, "for it is God who works in (us) both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).

We know that out of the abundance of our hearts does our mouths speak (see Matt. 12:34; Luke 6:45). Our God is the greatest discerner of our motives, scheming and planning. So, during our everyday ordinary moments of our lives, we are encouraged to commit all of our works unto the Lord (16:3). When we allow God to take control over our lives, He will transform our thoughts and words to line up with His purposes. How does God transform our thoughts and words?
  1. First, God will establish our thoughts (16:3) so we do not have to worry any more, but rather commit everything to God in prayer. Trusting God with our decisions frees us from any preoccupation with our problems. God will give us a peace that is beyond our understanding (Phil. 4:6-7).  This will result in us meditating only on "things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, having virtue, and is praiseworthy" (Phil. 4:8).
  2. Second, God will help us to limit the words that we speak out. This is because God will give us wisdom and knowledge to deal with specific situations. Proverbs 17:27 tells us: "He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit". Most often, we would be better off not to say all we think or, know (or, think we know). Discretion of speech is better than eloquence with words, and even a fool is counted wise and considered perceptive when he holds his peace (Prov. 17:28).
  3. Third, God will enable us to speak kind words that will encourage the listeners. Proverbs 16:24 tells us: "Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones". Our gentle and kind words will carry great weight even though they fall lightly to the ears of the listeners. We will then have the same kind of effect that our Lord Jesus Christ had on His listeners when He was on this earth: "So all bore witness to Him (Jesus), and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth" (Luke 4:22).
Remember, God can transform our thoughts and words if we let Him. When we turn our plans to God, our life purposes that God has designed for us will come to fruition. Our hearts should receive God’s truth and we should submit to God’s will. So, let this be our prayer for today: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Ps. 139:23-24). We can also pray: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer" (Ps. 19:14).

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