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, June 19, 2016

Our PRAYERS turns our ‘CLOUDS of DESPAIR’ into ‘GLIMMERS of HOPE’

Our PRAYERS turns our ‘CLOUDS of DESPAIR’ into ‘GLIMMERS of HOPE’

June 19 Bible Reading: Psalms Chapters 82-89

"O Lord, God of my salvation, I have cried out day and night before You. Let my prayer come before You; incline Your ear to my cry." (Psalms 88:1-2)

Bible scholars are in agreement that Psalms 88 is the saddest and gloomiest psalm in the entire book of Psalms. The reason why this psalm is so gloomy and depressing is because this psalm fails to give even the slightest ray of hope or, expectation of deliverance, and never comes to a resolution of trust in God that is the hallmark of most of the psalms ever written. So, this psalm is rightly categorized as a ‘psalm of complaint and lament’. The only bright spot in the Psalm is the name of God with which it begins: “O Lord, God of my salvation.” Gaebelein calls it “the one ray of light that struggles through the gloom, the star that pierces the thick midnight darkness.”

The writer of this psalm is ‘Heman the Ezrahite’, who is best identified as Heman of the tribe of Judah (see 1 Kings 4:31; 1 Chr. 2:6) rather than Heman of the tribe of Levi, who was one of David’s three chief musicians. It is possible that Heman had experienced a tragedy like that of Job for which he had no explanation. In any case, Heman was a troubled man. As he looked back in his life, he could only remember poor health and misfortune. As he looked around him, he could only see adversity and abandonment. Even when he looked up, he could find no solace anywhere. He complained that he was distraught (v. 15), in darkness (v. 6), afflicted (vv. 7, 15), and cast-off (v. 14). He felt that he was going to die (vv. 3-4) because God had abandoned him (vv. 5-7), and even his friends had left him alone to his misfortune (v. 8).

Even though Heman could see no light at the end of the tunnel, but he still clung to God in prayers and through tears day and night (vv. 1, 13), and called upon God every day (v. 9). His lack of hope was not because he had not prayed; rather, he has prayed earnestly and reminded God that he has done so (see v. 1). The elements of this psalm consist of despair (vv. 1-7), desolation (vv. 8–12), and distress (vv. 13–18). Heman’s distress can be felt throughout this psalm from its beginning to end because his pain has lasted from his youth (v. 15) until the present. While most of the other lamenting psalms turn to confidence and praise at the end, the only glimmer of hope in this psalm is that Heman is concerned to pray at all, and the fact that he refers to God as “my salvation” (v. 1).

When Heman wrote this psalm, he was suffering greatly, and God had not given him relief. But he kept on praying and trusting God, and did not give up. Instead, he looked by faith to God, and even acknowledged His lovingkindness, faithfulness, and righteousness (vv. 10–12). While we do not know if Heman ever got delivered from his pain and sufferings, we can find solace in the sufferings and resurrection of Christ (Phil. 3:10). While we are not exempt from tribulations in this world, we can be joyous in our sufferings because our Lord Jesus has already overcome this world (John 16:33), and He is preparing a place for us in His heavenly abode (John 14:1-3). God knows how we feel (Heb. 4:14–16) and He is working out His purposes through our lives.

Our prayers will eventually turn our clouds of despair into glimmers of hope when we place our total trust in Him, and lay our burdens upon Him (see Ps. 55:22). When we do that, He will give us a divine peace that will sustain us through all our pain and sufferings: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:6-7)

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