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, September 19, 2013

September 19 Bible Reading: Hosea Chapters 13-14

DEATH & GRAVE have LOST its POWER over US! "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes." (Hosea 13:14)

The above verse is one of the great Old Testament affirmations of God’s power over the last enemy (death) and its habitation (grave). Even though this great promise by Jehovah God to grant divine power over death did not come into fruition for the people of Israel during the time of Hosea, the true spiritual Israel (Christ with His church) experiences it. The final triumph over the last enemy was assured by the death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the grave on the third day!

Many people are afraid of death because of the fear of the unknown, and the grave reminds them of their own mortality. Death is our ultimate enemy as it robs away our most cherished possession—life itself. When people are faced with the inevitability of their death and are given a certain time to live, many of them try to deny the obvious and ignore it in order to make it go away. However, God’s Word has never denied death as it boldly declares: "…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27). The pages of the Bible are filled with accounts of death and dying, of both the godly and the ungodly people. Even God confronted the painful reality of death in the crucifixion of His Son, Jesus Christ!

However, the Bible also offers hope in the face of death by challenging death’s ultimate victory. Through the prophet Hosea, God promised that He would ransom His faithful people from the power of the grave: “I will redeem them from death” (v. 14). God was actually ridiculing the power of death and grave through His prophet Hosea, and only God could save Israel from its national extinction. After its judgment is complete, Israel will be redeemed and will bring forth fruits of repentance. This national repentance and restoration will finally be realized by Israel in the Millennium.

God’s Word has affirmed at least six times that death and grave will eventually lose its power over us:
  1. Even though Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden allowed death to enter the world, God promised that the tempter who brought sin and death into the world would eventually be conquered by the “seed of the woman” - our Lord Jesus Christ (Gen. 3:14–15).
  2. The prophet Isaiah has promised that God will “swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces” (Isa. 25:8).
  3. The prophet Jeremiah has spoken of God’s mercies, which are “new every morning”, and we can “hope in Him” because salvation comes from the Lord (Lam. 3:22–27).
  4. King David has prophesied about the resurrection of Jesus Christ: "For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption" (Ps. 16:10)
  5. Apostle Paul echoed Hosea’s words when he rhetorically asked, “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” after which he added, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:55–57).
  6. Finally, Apostle John foresaw the end of death in his vision of a new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1), and makes the following statement: "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Rev. 21:4).
God will not only release people from the power of the grave and death, but He will also take away the threat of death on the basis of the victory won through the resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. He alone guarantees the personal resurrection of all believers in Christ ultimately on the day of resurrection. Jesus had declared to Martha: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26) Let us never forget that our Lord Jesus Christ offers everlasting life only to those who believe in Him, so put your trust in Jesus today in order to avail the ultimate victory over death and the grave!

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