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.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18 Bible Reading: James Chapters 4-5

CONFESSION & PRAYER will result in HEALING & DELIVERANCE: “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)

As James brings his epistle to a conclusion, he turns his attention to believers in a church setting who are suffering (v. 13), sick (vv. 14-18) and backslidden (vv. 19-20). To effectively deal with sickness among believers, James proposes two things: the confession of faults to one another and praying for one another. Confession of faults to one another is necessary if there is to be healing since many sicknesses originate as a result of sin. This is evident from what Jehovah God had spoken to the Old Testament Israelites: “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you” (Exo. 15:26).

Our prayer of faith cannot operate as long as sins are not confessed:  “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Prov. 28:13). When confession is made, definite sins should be mentioned: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Confession of faults is necessary, especially to those against whom the sins and injustice have been committed. If one sins against an individual, confession should be made to that individual. When there is trouble between individuals, they should get together and ask for pardon, and do all in their power to make things right (restitution). This was what our Lord Jesus had spoken: “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5:23, 24). This is especially true when one partakes of the Lord’s Table as our unconfessed sins can bring sickness and sometimes even death (see 1 Cor. 11:27-32).

We should not only confess our sins to one another, but we should pray for one another as well. Instead of holding grudges and allowing resentments to build up, we should maintain ourselves in fellowship with others through prayer. We see that God restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends and as much as he had before (Job 42:10). However, as per James, in order for our prayers to be effective and powerful, we should meet the following five conditions:
  1. We should become righteous before God. This happens when we repent, confess, turn away from our sins, and live righteously. We should not allow sin to cloud our conversation with God as God will not hear us when sin lurks in our hearts (Ps. 66:18).
  2. We should pray fervently. For our prayers to be heard and answered, we should pray with passion, sincerity, diligence and discipline.
  3. We should pray effectively. For our prayer to be effective, we should expect results as we pray.
  4. We should pray specifically. Our prayers should be specific and to the point. This was how Elijah prayed - specifically, first for a drought then for rain.
  5. We should pray based on God’s Word. We are required to pray in accordance with God’s will (1 John 5:14), just like Elijah prayed based on God’s directive in Deut. 28:12, 24.
Confession and prayer will result in healing and deliverance! Effective prayer is characterized by the earnestness, fervency, and energy exhibited by a righteous man/woman in Christ. Prayer is powerful when we have faith, ask earnestly and boldly as we persevere and surrender to God’s perfect will. Powerful results can happen from even a short time of prayer, as we can see from the prayer examples of Elijah (1 Kings 18:36-37) and our Lord Jesus Christ (John 11:41-42). God longs to meet with us and show His power in our lives. Prayer is really a child’s helpless cry to the father’s attentive ears. When we are helpless and cry out to our heavenly Father, He will hear and answer us speedily!  

So, let’s join with King David and pray this prayer today: “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,' and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when You may be found.” (Ps. 32:5-6)

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