"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, October 19, 2016

How can WE become ‘GREAT’ in GOD’s KINGDOM?

How can WE become ‘GREAT’ in GOD’s KINGDOM?

October 19 Bible Reading: Mark Chapters 7-9

Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”  (Mark 9:33-35)

The above verses contain a key passage in the Gospel of Mark because it emphasizes the importance of service. This is the second lesson on discipleship (the first lesson is found in 8:34–38) and the first of the lessons of Jesus on “true greatness” (the second is found in 10:35–45).

Usually among people, greatness is built upon fame, money, marketing, power, position, or possessions. On this earth not too long ago, the famous boxer Muhammad Ali had once boasted: “I am the greatest…it's hard to be humble, when you're as great as I am.” However, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's syndrome in 1984, and was later quoted as saying: “We have one life; it soon will be past; what we do for God is all that will last.” In the heavens, the archangel Lucifer had once wanted to ascend to heaven to set his throne above the stars of God and make himself great like the Most High God, but he was brought down to Sheol later (see Isa. 14:12-15).

Now we see that the disciples of Jesus had started arguing among themselves as to who would be the greatest (vv. 33-34). It is heartbreaking to realize that at the very time Jesus had been telling them about His impending death (v. 31); they were esteeming themselves better than others as each one had secretly wanted to take the place of his Master when He was dead and gone. The disciples were caught up in a value system based on obtaining significance through power that had caused them to compete with each other (v. 34). In fact, their dispute over greatness resurfaced later as well (see 10:35–45). As the prophet Jeremiah has said: “The heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked above all things.” (Jer. 17:9).

However, Jesus noticed the thinking of His disciples and challenged it without any hesitation (v. 35). He pointed out that true greatness is in serving others rather than outdoing them, which He later suggested to a rich ruler as well (10:21). Jesus had now presented them with a paradox—to be great in God’s kingdom, they must become like servants, which was an example modeled by Christ Himself (see John 13:1-17). Jesus “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (10:45). In the similar manner, Jesus’ disciples should take a lowly place by ministering to the needs of the lowly!

Thus, humility characterizes those who genuinely desire to serve Christ and His kingdom, and it is through humility that we can achieve true greatness as God’s Word instructs us: “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6). Servant hood is thus the highest priority of a committed disciple of Christ!

Let us not aim for human greatness, but rather aim to be more like Jesus Christ who achieved true greatness through humility: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:5-11)

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