"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, April 20, 2016

Take ROOT downward and bear FRUIT upward

Take ROOT downward and bear FRUIT upward

April 20 Bible Reading: 2 Kings Chapters 19-21

"And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and those who escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this." (2 Kings 19:30-31)

The essence of the above passage is that God reassures King Hezekiah of Jerusalem’s survival by giving him a sign that the Assyrian would not conquer Jerusalem. For two years the people of Judah would not be able to raise normal crops because of the Assyrian presence, but would eat things that grew without cultivation. Then, in the third year, they would be safe enough from the threat of assault that they could carry on their normal activities. No more than two harvests would be lost, after which the remnant would again see normal growth of field and family. Not only would the remnant of Jerusalem survive but they would thrive and flourish as well.

However, the phrase ‘taking root downwards and bearing fruit upwards’ take on an entirely new meaning for us in the New Testament. In John 15:1-5, our Lord Jesus says that He is the true vine, God the Father is the vinedresser and we are the branches. We need to abide in Christ in order to bear fruit. God will sometimes prune us so that we can bear more fruit. When we abide in Christ, we can bear much fruit. But in order to bear fruit, we must take root in God’s Word, which is our strong foundation (Matt. 7:24-27).

We can make our foundation strong by strengthening our doctrinal root. This can be done only through the church, which is the pillar and ground of that truth (1 Tim. 3:15). The areas of doctrinal purity (Gal. 1:6-9); biblical authority (2 Tim. 3:16); worship (John 4:24); and the biblical doctrine of salvation (Eph. 2:8) are very important. We should take root downward so that our Christian doctrine will not be perverted in our generation.

We can make our foundation strong by strengthening our moral root as well. We must not be conformed to the world (Rom. 12:2) at any cost, nor participate in the moral decline prevalent among the majority in our local community. The grace of God in our lives demands that we live moral lives (Titus 2:11-12). We should be willing to wrestle with our carnal nature, taking root downward and bringing every thought into captivity (2 Cor. 10:5). There are three ways in which we can develop a strong root:
  1. We must be rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ: "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving" (Col. 2:6-7). This rooting can be strengthened through a growing fellowship with Jesus Christ on a daily basis that will enable us to be strong and fruit-bearing Christians.
  2. We must be rooted in our local church: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Heb. 10:25). We will grow and be fruitful by serving others (Gal. 5:13) along with bearing their burdens (Gal. 6:2).
  3. We must be rooted in God’s Word. The Psalmist speaks about the righteous man as "…his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night" (Psalms 1:2). We should rely on God’s Word daily as our instructions for righteous living, and receive it with all readiness of mind (Acts 17:11). Let us read, reflect, study, memorize and respond positively to God’s Word on a daily basis. As we act on God’s Word, our lives will be radically changed!
Let us remember that God is glorified when we bear much fruit, as Jesus Himself said: "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples" (John 15:8). The root of the righteous yields fruit (Prov. 12:12b) esp. when God has planted them (Jer. 12:2a). If the root is holy, so are the branches (Rom. 11:16b), but we will wither away without having a strong root (Matt. 13:6b). Let us take root downward and bear fruit upward every day! 

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