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.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

God will *STIR* up PEOPLE to BUILD His CHURCH

God will *STIR* up PEOPLE to BUILD His CHURCH

May 14 Bible Reading: Ezra Chapters 1-3

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem." (Ezra 1:1-3)

The purpose of the book of Ezra is to describe the restoration of the people of God after the Exile. This begins with the people’s return and the rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 1–6) and continues with Ezra’s reinstitution of the Law (Ezra 7–10). The book of Ezra opens with the closing words of 2 Chronicles, for God’s plan was not finished. Judah had rejected Jeremiah’s warning, but the prophet’s words came true. God is at work in human history. His purposes will be accomplished, regardless of the nations’ activities.

God used Cyrus, king of Persia, to issue a proclamation permitting the Jews to return to Judah and to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and to reestablish His people. Many years before his birth, Cyrus had been named by God and set apart for this high destiny (see Isaiah 44:28–45:13), and this illustrates the truth of Proverbs 21:1: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” The point of these Scriptures is to assert that God was at work through this powerful ruler of the ancient world. He spoke to Cyrus through His Word (v. 2) and moved Cyrus in his inner spirit (v. 1). Through Cyrus, God was accomplishing His own will—that is, to graciously deliver His people from captivity. The God we serve is not only the God of Israel or Judah, but of the whole world!

There are four important lessons that we can learn from this passage:
  1. First, rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem was God’s objective in the history of redemption at that point in time and God accomplished it as promised (Jeremiah 25:12; 29:10).
  2. Second, God can use virtually any means to accomplish His purposes just as He used even a pagan king to fulfill Jeremiah’s prophecy that the Jews would return to the land after 70 years of exile (v. 1a).
  3. Third, the written word is a powerful tool used by God to accomplish His objective as Cyrus put his decree in writing and proclaimed throughout his kingdom (v. 1b).
  4. Fourth, the people of God as a whole are vital for accomplishing God’s purpose in this world as the Jews traveled back to Jerusalem to rebuild God’s temple (v. 5).
Even today, God is fulfilling His promises. We have been called out as “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and His own special people” (1 Peter 2:9). We have been made part of His children on this earth and categorized as the ‘Church’ which started on the day of Pentecost in Acts 3. God is building His Church on this earth with or without our help. If we do not spread the gospel, God will make the stones to cry out for Him (Luke 19:40).

God is already stirring up people all over the world with a burden to build His Church, so let us do our part in His Kingdom today. Let us never forget what Jesus has already declared: "I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." (Matt. 16:18)

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