"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, October 23, 2013

October 23 Bible Reading: Luke Chapters 4-6

Are we being FILLED and LED by the HOLY SPIRIT every day? “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil…Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.” (Luke 4:1-2, 14-15)

Jesus Christ is unique in His birth and growth into adulthood unlike any other person born on this earth. This is especially true with relation to the role of the Holy Spirit in His life even before His birth. When the angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary about how Jesus would be conceived as a human, this is what He had to say: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35) So, the Holy Spirit was in fact responsible for the birth of Jesus Christ as a human baby through the womb of Mary.

When Jesus came of age to begin His public ministry, one of the first acts that He did was to get baptized in the River Jordan in the hands of John the Baptist. Not that He needed to get baptized as a public act of confession of His inward faith, Jesus got baptized in water to show Himself as an example and to “fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). While Jesus was praying during His baptism service, we read that "the heaven was opened...and the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him" (Luke 3:21-22). The outward manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove was needed for the sake of the Jews witnessing this baptism since Jesus was to Himself baptize His followers "with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8).

So, after the baptism of Jesus both in water and the Holy Spirit, it is recorded that Jesus was “filled with the Holy Spirit … and was led by the Spirit,” (v. 1). In fact, there was never a time in the life of Jesus when He was not full of the Holy Spirit, but it is specifically mentioned here in connection with His temptation. To be filled with the Holy Spirit means to be completely yielded to Him and to be completely obedient to every word of God. A person who is filled with the Spirit is emptied of ‘known’ sin and of self and is richly indwelt by the Word of God. As Jesus was returning from the Jordan, where He had been baptized, He was thereafter led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness, which was probably the Wilderness of Judea, along the west coast of the Dead Sea.

As James Stewart in His book ‘Life and Teaching’ so aptly points out: "The study of the temptation narrative illuminates two important points. On the one hand, it proves that temptation is not necessarily sin. On the other hand, the narrative illuminates the great saying of a later disciple: In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). More than anything else, it reveals to us that the temptation was in the plan of God for Jesus, so that the writer of Hebrews could declare: "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." (Heb. 4:15)

It was remarkable that Jesus fasted during the entire period of forty days, in part as a spiritual preparation for the ministry in which He was about to engage. The period of forty days is a common length of time for both trials and temptations (see Gen. 7:4; Exod. 24:18; 1 Kings 19:8). Jesus was tempted for forty days in the desert, and Israel wandered for forty years in the wilderness (Num. 14:34). While Israel failed the test of obedience, Jesus was fully obedient to His Father and came out victorious in the end. The presence of the Holy Spirit did not exempt Jesus but rather directed Him to face Satan; and both the knowledge of Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit were necessary for Jesus to overcome all the three temptations from Satan!

After being filled and led by the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned in the power of the Holy Spirit to Galilee to begin the second year of His public ministry where He was widely acclaimed (vv. 14-15). Luke emphasizes the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ ministry, resulting in His subsequent fame. We too can be filled with the Holy Spirit, be obedient to God’s will and still experience temptations in our lives. The good news is that Jesus will identify with us in our temptations and can help us win the victory (see Heb. 2:17–18). It is not a sin to be tempted, for Jesus was tempted; but it is a sin to yield to the temptation. Instead, let us yield to Jesus, for in Him we already have all things that we need (1 Cor. 3:21–23). The question to ask ourselves today is this: are we being filled and led by the Holy Spirit every day?

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." (Rom. 8:14) "Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit." (Eph. 5:17-18)

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