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 7, 2014

THREE CHARACTERISTICS of an EFFECTIVE CHURCH

THREE CHARACTERISTICS of an EFFECTIVE CHURCH

November 7 Bible Reading: Acts Chapters 4-6

"Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need." (Acts 4:32-35)

The church that was formed on the day of Pentecost was greatly effective in their known world. The core reason for such effectiveness was that this Spirit-filled community was united (“of one heart and of one soul”) with bonds of love. We can see three remarkable characteristics in this church that should be evident in any church that wants to be effective in the community:
  1. Great Power (v. 33a): The ‘great power’ is translated from the Greek word “Dunamis” that means energy, power, might, great force, great ability, and strength. There was a mysterious power connected with lives that were totally dedicated to the Lord due to dramatic transformations. This was the norm for the Spirit-filled and Spirit-led church, and God gave their testimony and the gospel they shared remarkable attractiveness and force (Romans 1:16).
  2. Great Grace (v. 33b): The power in the witness of the believers was their love and grace for one another in witnessing and living (see Luke 2:40). The word “grace” as used in this text refers to “operations of the power of God” (Acts 11:23).  Just as God through His mercy has saved us by His grace, so that grace is manifested in great dynamic where the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives. 
  3. Great Provision (v. 34a): One of the key characteristics of the first church was its lack of selfishness. The love of the believers towards Christ and one another manifested itself in giving. These believers were extraordinarily generous and responded to each other with gracious, Christ-like compassion. Such behavior was one powerful result of the outpouring of the Spirit (2:1–4), and this was Christian charity in its finest display. If we, too, are filled with the Spirit of Christ, then we should also respond to the needs of people with the love of Christ!
The 1st century church has laid for us the above three characteristics to emulate – let our lives, actions and words show our love being poured out to the people around us. "But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." (2 Cor. 9:6-8)

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