Monday, May 21, 2012

Love the Lord your God

We have all heard Jesus' words on the greatest commandments:
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. ~Luke 10.27 ESV~
Today, I would like to look more closely at those words. When Jesus taught, He used a method that was very common to the rabbinical community at the time. He would quote the beginning of an Old Testament passage as a way to expand upon that passage or in order to hammer home a point. In this instance, He was quoting Deuteronomy 6.5, which is also the beginning of the shema. Before we look at what the shema is, and its place in the Jewish culture, let's delve more deeply into Deuteronomy 6.5-9 and learn the entirety of Jesus' message regarding the love we are to have for God.
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. ~Deut. 6.5-9 ESV~
All too often, people speak of love as just an emotion with an acceptance and tolerance of those around us; but as we can see in this passage, love is so much more than that! We are not called to just have a private love of God. We are not called to merely be spiritual and have a nice emotion about who God is and what He can do for us. We are to LOVE Him with every fibre of our being, with every moment of our day, with every action we take and every word on our lips!
We are called to be living that love for God with every single choice we make. We want to teach children right and wrong? Seek out the answers in God's Word and diligently teach them to our children. Diligently, not just as a problem arises, not just lackadaisically, but diligently! As much effort and emphasis goes into teaching the ABCs and 123s, so much more should go into the teaching of God's Word. We want to have a conversation with our neighbours? Speak of what God is doing in your life and the promises He has spoken through His Word. We wonder about the action we are to take in response to a coworker or friend? Pray and seek His will!
In every moment of our lives, we are to be living in obedience to God, His will and His Word. That is how we love Him. It is just not enough to sit alone watching "Desperate Housewives" and tell yourself that you love God. It is to be a living, breathing, working relationship! We do not act in such a manner in order to be saved and gain this loving relationship with God through Christ Jesus. Instead, we act in such a manner because we are saved and in a loving relationship with God through Christ Jesus. It is not an obligatory set of rules but a loving obedience to His commands.
How does this relate to the second part of Christ's command where He calls us to love our neighbours as ourselves? It is through that loving obedience to Christ that we seek out His Word and Will and have that Truth and love abiding in us where we can truly love our neighbours as ourselves. If we truly love someone and we see that person standing on a ledge with a gun to his head, are we going to say "I love you and wish the best for you" then walk away?!?!
By no means! We would call 9-1-1; we would get up there on the ledge and talk; we would get the help needed! After that neighbour came off the ledge, would we just walk away and leave them to suffer, assuming they would figure out why they chose such an action? Not at all! We would continue to be with them, helping how we can, calling on those who can help more. How is that different than helping a brother or sister with sin? We come together with them; we seek out the answers in God's Word; we pray for and with them. We can't just leave them to wallow in it and say that we love them any more than we could continue to live in our old, fleshly, sinful lives and say that we love God. Love takes action and choices and now is the time for that choice! Will it be light or darkness, God or self, love or indifference?
...Con tutti mi cuore, mente, anima e corpo. ~Lily~
Now, just a little add-on: I mentioned the shema before and said I would explain it further. The shema is a traditional Jewish prayer of worship and thanksgiving using quotations from the Old Testament. I may go deeper into a study of the shema and its connection to Christ at a later point if the Holy Spirit so leads me, but for now, I will leave you with those words:
Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One. Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever. You shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be upon your heart. You shall teach them thoroughly to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates. And it will be, if you will diligently obey My commandments which I enjoin upon you this day, to love the L-rd your G-d and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, I will give rain for your land at the proper time, the early rain and the late rain, and you will gather in your grain, your wine and your oil. And I will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be sated. Take care lest your heart be lured away, and you turn astray and worship alien gods and bow down to them. For then the L-rd's wrath will flare up against you, and He will close the heavens so that there will be no rain and the earth will not yield its produce, and you will swiftly perish from the good land which the L-rd gives you. Therefore, place these words of Mine upon your heart and upon your soul, and bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, to speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise. And you shall inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates - so that your days and the days of your children may be prolonged on the land which the L-rd swore to your fathers to give to them for as long as the heavens are above the earth. The L-rd spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel and tell them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to attach a thread of blue on the fringe of each corner. They shall be to you as tzizit, and you shall look upon them and remember all the commandments of the L-rd and fulfill them, and you will not follow after your heart and after your eyes by which you go astray - so that you may remember and fulfill all My commandments and be holy to your G-d. I am the L-rd your G-d who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your G-d; I, the L-rd, am your G-d. True.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Waiting Upon the Lord

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40.31 ESV
Waiting for God to move can sometimes be very difficult and trying when I have an idea of exactly what I want to happen. I want this condo sold now so we can move. I want to find and buy a house in Ontario so we can start planning a family. ...I, I, I! But what does God want? What does He want me to learn from this? What if He has completely different ideas? I said that it can be difficult and that is putting it mildly. It is so easy to get down-trodden and let the enemy start influencing our thoughts when we are not focusing on God and His Will and Words.
When I was thinking and wondering about how to start this off today, "wait upon the Lord" is what came to me and then the song I will Call Upon The Lord, which comes from Psalm 18.3&46. We are called to wait upon God and call out His name. We are promised blessings, protection and provisions when we follow His Words. All that we need to know, we can learn within His Words. When we trust in Him and wait upon Him, we receive hope and salvation. In Psalm 62, David speaks of waiting for his salvation from God and having faith that God alone can be his (and our) rock, salvation and fortress. In Isaiah 40, we are told that we will be able to soar like eagles, run and not be weary and walk without fainting. What wonderful promises God has given us in His word! Trust in Him, wait upon His Will and we will be blessed in His timing.
Praise God in His great mercy and wonder! It is amazing how we can see Him moving if we just stop, be still and listen for His voice. The other night, Gabe and I were having a disagreement and I cried that I didn't know why we seemed to stay stuck in this same spot again and again of taking our stress out on each other whenever things got difficult. I said I didn't know what to do! Gabe reminded me that we had to pray and talk it out. As the evening ended, I told him that even if we were stuck in this spot for the next 70 years, I would stay and be stuck with him and he told me that was all he was waiting for and we were able to sleep peacefully. What a sweet guy right? ...But the story doesn't end there. The next morning, all the ministry posts popping up on my Facebook page were about finding peace in God and trusting Him through the rough times, conquering the issues together with your spouse and being peacemakers! See what I mean about being still and watching God work?? Be at peace and wait upon God today! Con tutti mi cuore, mente, anima e corpo, Lily

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

God's Call?

I know that it has been almost 2 years since I last posted on here and I don't know if anyone is even still paying attention to my blog or any of that good stuff but we'll see. :-) I have been feeling something on my heart for the last few weeks and I wonder if it is a Call on my heart. I have been feeling like I should be writing and posting devotionals/Bible studies on my page rather than just reading and re-sharing other folks thoughts... More later and God Bless!