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, August 26, 2016

God EXPECTS us to be FAITHFUL WITNESSES before OTHER PEOPLE

God EXPECTS us to be FAITHFUL WITNESSES before OTHER PEOPLE

August 26 Bible Reading: Ezekiel Chapters 1-3

"And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord." (Ezek. 1:26-28)

The prophet Ezekiel had the thankless job of proclaiming God’s message on the crowded and hostile streets of Babylon. In fact, few assignments are more difficult than to proclaim God’s truth to those people who have departed from God, but continue to practice the formalities of religion. These people boast of their tradition and so they tend to resent the message and reject the messenger. While the prophet Jeremiah was warning the citizens of Jerusalem of the coming destruction, Ezekiel was preaching the same message to the Jewish exiles in Babylon.

History records that the prophet Ezekiel faced plenty of rejection from the Jewish exiles in Babylon. These were a hard-hearted group of Jews who would not listen to him just because they were unwilling to listen to God’s Word (3:7). However, God’s mandate to the prophet Ezekiel was that regardless of his listeners’ response, it was his task to proclaim God’s Word and be a faithful witness of God before a corrupt and degenerate group of people. Overall, God addresses Ezekiel almost ninety times, and he was responsible for the faithful proclamation of the messages that God had given him.

It was also Ezekiel’s responsibility to declare the holy character of God and to extol His glory. Ezekiel was to be a faithful witness to all that he saw and heard! Ezekiel thus became a faithful witness of five wonderful attributes of God that include the holiness, transcendence, grace, mercy, and the sovereignty of God. While expounding this passage, the Believer's Study Bible has listed five essential characteristics that mark a good witness of God:
  1. He/she senses a divine call that provides both commission and authority (1:28–2:8)
  2. He/she must be saturated with the message of God (2:8–3:3)
  3. He/she shares the message with others faithfully, and does not receive it solely for personal enjoyment (3:4–11)
  4. He/she shares the word of God with compassion, identifying with the plight of the hearer (3:12–15)
  5. He/she understands and accepts the responsibility to warn those who are out of God’s will and to call them to repentance (3:16–21)
Let us note that even though the prophet Ezekiel did not see God, he saw the likeness and appearance of God, which he described both accurately and faithfully“I saw visions of God” was Ezekiel’s summary of the visions that he described in detail in 1:4–2:7. “The word of the Lord” pointed to the source of Ezekiel’s message (2:8–3:11). Ezekiel was just to receive the message that God wanted him to deliver, and “the hand of the Lord” described Ezekiel’s mandate for his ministry. He was not acting on his own initiative but was constrained by God to minister (3:12–27).

The gospel writers and apostles were also faithful witness to record their experiences for future generation as we can see the following verses: "Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us" (Luke 1:1-2). "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life-- the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- that which we have seen and heard we declare to you" (1 John 1:1-3)

Today, let us fulfill the special mandate given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ and become faithful witnesses of His saving grace before other people: "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8)

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