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.

Friday, November 8, 2013

November 8 Bible Reading: Acts Chapters 7-9

Are we RISKING our ‘ALL’ for the SAKE of the GOSPEL? Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ. (Acts 9:20-22)

The dramatic conversion of Saul of Tarsus was a turning point in the history of the first century church, and his conversion resulted from a miraculous encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ as he was heading for Damascus in Syria, which is about 150 miles from Jerusalem. Saul was singularly determined to capture and destroy as many people of ‘the Way’ as possible (9:1). Apart from being the person who guarded the clothes of the people who were stoning Stephen (7:58), Saul "made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison" (8:3).

Saul had great credentials to boast about since he was a Roman citizen by birth (22:27-28), who came from a wealthy Jewish family in Tarsus of Cilicia, and who underwent his education "at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of (the) law, and was zealous toward God" (22:3). He was “circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Phil. 3:5-6). However, after his conversion, Saul became God’s primary instrument in the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles. The church’s greatest opponent became her greatest advocate! 

Luke records that after three days of temporary blindness Saul has now regained his sight. What a difference three days can make in a person’s life! During this brief period of blindness, Saul was able to see himself as the ‘worst of sinners’. Alone with his guilt bearing upon his conscience due to the blood of innocent followers of Christ in his hands, Saul repented of his sins and wrongdoings and asked Jesus to forgive him for all his atrocities that he had committed in the past (9:4-5). He then started praying earnestly to God after making a radical decision to serve Him alone going forward (9:11b). God then gave Saul a vision about a person called Ananias laying his hands upon him to get his eyesight back (9:12). Just as his vision revealed, Saul got his eyesight restored, got baptised in water and got filled with the Holy Spirit (9:17-18).

It was then that Saul decided to risk his ‘all’ for the sake of the gospel. As soon as he became a follower of Jesus, he began to proclaim in the Damascus synagogue that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah (9:19b–22). Note that this is the only reference to Jesus Christ as the Son of God in the book of the Acts. It is significant that it occurred very early in the preaching of Paul, indicating that he immediately recognized not only that Jesus was the Messiah of Israel, but that Jesus was the true Son of God as well. The radical changes that took place in Saul proved the genuineness of his conversion and this prepared him for a very fruitful ministry among the Gentiles. He proved that his conversion was real, in that he confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus. Saul’s apostolic authority had come directly from Jesus Christ, and not by succession through one of the apostles (Gal. 1:1, 11, 12).

The question to ask ourselves today is: like Saul are we risking our ‘all’ for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Jesus has clearly stated that: "whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:33). Let us remember that our lives are windows through which the people around us can see Jesus. If so, how much risk are we willing to take so that others can know the truth of the gospel? Can we join with Apostle Paul (formerly, Saul of Tarsus) and make the following declaration of faith today? - "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him..." (Phil. 3:7-9)

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