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.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December 22 Bible Reading: 1 John Chapters 1-3

Accept God’s FORGIVENESS through the BLOOD of CHRIST: “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:7-10)

Apostle John is clear about one fact – we all have the element of sin in our lives, and we can never deny that we have not sinned before God. Apostle Paul had already declared this matter in his epistle to the Romans: “There is none righteous, no, not one...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:10, 23). Sin is all about ‘missing the mark’ that God has set in His righteousness, and as long as we are housed in our lowly body that bears the elements of sin, we commit sin in some form or another, whether in our thoughts, words, or action.

It is interesting to note that Apostle John makes a distinction between sin (v. 8) and sins (v. 9). Sin refers to our corrupt, evil nature. Sins refer to evils that we have done. There are ‘sins of commission’ (doing the evils that we are not supposed to do), and there are ‘sins of omission’ (not doing the good deeds that we are supposed to do). Then there are also sins of thought, sins of act, secret sins, and public sins. Our Lord Jesus Christ has died both for our sin and our sins. We may appear righteous on the outside, but God knows our hearts and the wickedness inside (Jer. 17:9). When we are sensitive to His interactions and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, we cannot deny either that we have not sinned or that we do not commit sin.

However, the good news is that we can receive forgiveness from God from our sins when we boldly and unashamedly confess all our sins to Him. This is a crucial element in receiving forgiveness from God. Confession is agreeing with God about our sins and receiving forgiveness from Him. Unless we openly confess our sins, we cannot receive forgiveness from God. There are many among us today who do not feel the need to or, do not feel convicted enough to confess our sins before God. When there are unconfessed sins lurking in our lives, we have set up a barrier before God, and God cannot hear our prayers as the Psalmist says: "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear" (Ps. 66:18). On the other hand, if we cover our sins we will not prosper “but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Prov. 28:13). To confess our sins is thus a prerequisite to receiving the God’s forgiveness and cleansing.

King David is a prime example of someone who tried to hide his sins initially, but God took note of it and send His prophet Nathan to confront David (see 2 Sam. 12:1-13; Ps. 32:3-5). Upon realizing the extent of his depravity, David pleaded for mercy from God, and his outpouring is detailed in Psalms 51. David realized three truths from this experience: his sin was an affront to God; he deserves judgment from God for his sins; and he need to get forgiven and cleansed of his sins by God. Our Lord Jesus has taken all our sins and our due punishment for our sins upon Himself by dying on our place. So, He can create in us a “clean heart” when we cry out to Him (Ps. 51:10). We have the blessing of confession and forgiveness from God that will lift us up when we are down.

So, we should accept God’s forgiveness through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ today. When we do that, God accepts us as righteous because He imputes to us the righteousness of His Son Jesus Christ. Instead of living in the shadows of yesterday, we need to walk in the light of today and the hope of tomorrow. The only way that we can cope from defeat and disappointment is to ask God to forgive us. God’s pardon and forgiveness will enable us to start again with a pure heart as we focus on today’s opportunities and move forward in our journey of life.

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)

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