Bible Reference: Mark 12:29-31
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)
Bible Text: 29 ….. “The most important of all the commandments is this: ‘The Lord Yahweh, our God, is one!’ 30 You are to love the Lord Yahweh, your God, with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, with every thought that is within you, and with all your strength. This is the great and supreme commandment. 31 And the second is this: ‘You must love your neighbor in the same way you love yourself.’ You will never find a greater commandment than these.”
OBSERVATION: A religious scholar of Jesus’ day wanted to know, and I believe all of us would want to know, what is of top priority importance to Jesus? Of all the commandments and teachings that He shared through His Word, all of which are super important to us, it is so good to know what Jesus considers most important. So let’s take time to meditate on this today.
APPLICATION: I believe that if these things are considered ‘important’ to Jesus, then surely He is happiest when He sees His children making an effort to obey these commandments and putting these things at the very top of our priority list. So let’s really dig into what seems important to our Master: (1) Love the Lord your God deeply and sincerely – with energy and compassion of heart – I believe this means that there is nothing more important to us, than to make Jesus the priority of every part of our lives and of our day. For if He is Lord of our lives, then He will automatically be Lord of everything we do. There is no compartmentalizing, meaning that Jesus is only Lord at home, or will only be obvious in our actions at church. Friends, I believe that if He is the source of our Joy, then it will exude from us and rub off on those that we associate with. For us to say that we love Jesus, and that He fills our life with joy, then to act like the devil around our friends, it’s like living a double standard. It’s like thinking we could pack Jesus away in the back corner of our heart,while we return to our old self in order to tell a friend off. It just don’t work that way friends! Jesus is either Lord of your life and Lord of all, or you’re still searching for Him. I am not saying that a Christian won’t, or can’t sin, because as long as we are on planet earth, that will happen. But if we have invited Jesus to rule and reign in our lives, I have faith to believe that He will guide us in His ways and to act in ways that would be pleasing to Him. If we mess up on that, then we must quickly seek His forgiveness, for Jesus will not reside where sin abounds. And (2) Love your neighbor in the same way that you love yourself – I believe that Jesus is teaching us to treat that friend/neighbor at the same level as we are, not looking down on them, nor feeling intimidated by them. We would never hurt ourselves, so don’t even think of hurting a neighbor. You always want yourself to look best, be fed the best food, and achieve the best in everything. Help that neighbor achieve the same thing. Because you want them to be just like you; have everything you have; and act just like you in response to life, then you will work hard to love them unconditionally and help them connect with the source of your joy and your strength and your hope. Our Lord Jesus said that there are no other commandments as important as these two. Don’t you feel like that narrows things down to a manageable level? We can do this friends, with the help of the one who died for us, so that we could one day be with Him in glory!
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please touch my life today, and the lives of those who will meditate on these words that I’ve shared with Your help and direction. We want to be like You, and we want to be obedient children, but we need your help. I believe that You want us to follow in Your ways and according to Your commands, especially these two important commandments. Please enable us to hear Your will for our lives, and obediently follow where You will lead us. May others see Jesus today, begining with their encounter with us. AMEN!
Bible Reference: Proverbs 7:1-3
Translation: The Voice (VOICE)
Bible Text: My son, live according to what I am telling you;
guard my instructions as you would a treasure deep within you.
2 Stay true to my directives, and they will serve you well;
make my teachings the lens through which you see life.
3 Bind cords around your fingers to remind you of them;
meditate on them, and you’ll engrave them upon your heart.
OBSERVATION: Too often we hear that old saying ‘garbage in, garbage out’. The Word of God teaches us today that when we take in the Word of God and let it saturate our hearts and our lives, then we would expect nothing less, what others might hear from us. This also comes into play with our sight, for we could see the good in a situation, or we could look for things that tear down a person. In desiring to be more like our Master, let us look for ways that He might respond in life and then determine in our hearts to do the same…
APPLICATION: The last time I saw my grandmother alive, she assured me that even though she could no longer see to read her Bible, she was able to recite Scripture daily and meditate on the Word of God. Our Scripture today encourages us to write the Word upon our heart. Could it be for times such as my grandmother experienced when her sight left her? Perhaps! And I could only praise the Lord for her ability to remember, for it seems like a struggle for me to do the same! But friends, I believe this is also important at other times in our lives: What spurts from your mouth when you are caught off guard, or frightened by someone? What comes forth when you are told shocking news? What words do you share with someone when you know its the last time you might see them here on this earth? Let’s be reminded that “from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”. Also remember, if it’s in you, it will come out of you! So dear one, let us be busy about the Master’s work. Let us daily commit to take in more of the Lord, by reading His precious Word. Not only will it give us direction for the day, but it gives us a path for us to walk, or a lens through which we could see the world and the richness of God’s love in this world. Let the love of God so live inside of you, that your life and your words will show evidence of that in everything you say or do. May your life count in multiple ways today as evidence of your King, to a lost and hopeless world.
PRAYER: Precious Lord, take my hand today and lead me on. May the Words that I’ve read today be a rich source of inspiration, and a witness, to someone without any hope. May they desire to know You personally and be willing to seek the source of all hope that results in eternity with You in heaven. Please touch the hearts of all who might read this devotional today, so that their hearts might be impacted by the King of all kings, my Master and my Lord. AMEN!
Bible Reference: Job 19:23-27
Translation: Living Bible (TLB)
Bible Text: 23-24 Oh, that I could write my plea with an iron pen in the rock forever.
25 “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. 26 And I know that after this body has decayed, this body shall see God! 27 Then he will be on my side! Yes, I shall see him, not as a stranger, but as a friend! What a glorious hope!
OBSERVATION: In ways that we could never imagine, Job was tested and tried because of his faith. In ways that may have caused us to buckle under the pressure, Job stayed true to God and endured the persecution. All because He knew that a day was coming that he would unite with the King of Glory! What a lesson for us to ponder today as we meditate on the Word of God!
APPLICATION: At the beginning of the book of Job, God said of Job that he was a true man of God that stood tall among other men and was firm in his commitment to God, in spite of what might come his way. Friends, we have seen for the past 18 chapters where Satan unleashed his power on Job and, yes it became very discouraging for Job, because he even wished he was never born. But praise to the God of heaven and the Savior of all mankind, Job never lost his allegiance to God. He knew that God was right there, and that it was he (Job) that needed to lift his eyes above the troubles and look towards the day when he would see God’s wonderful and loving face. I believe that when he wished that these words were written in stone for others to see and be encouraged by, he not only thought of us, but he also wished that he could be encouraged by his own words when discouraging times came. Job realized and acknowledged where his struggles came, but he also firmly acknowledged where his strength came from. Satan is very powerful friends, but our God is head and shoulders above him, He created this universe and He is very capable of ruling and reigning over Satan and any of his deceptions, lies or devious acts that could possibly be imposed upon us while living in this old world. What a lesson this is for us! If we would take time to analyze the cause of our sin, our frustration, our weakness and our failing, perhaps it would help us to do like Job and stand firm in our faith in spite of all that goes on in our lives. I believe that our application here is that we must make God so much a part of our lives that not only will He be able to say like He did about Job, but that He will also acknowledge our commitment, our dedication to the cause of Christ, and that our faith will be evident to our God and to those around us. Friends, others hear of Jesus but they are constantly looking for proof of His existence in the lives of His children here on earth. Will they identify whose we are, and in whom we gain our strength and guidance. While we are living each day in the fear of the Lord, others are watching for an example to follow, and they are making mental notes, so that when anything is said about us, whether in life or death, they will be ready to attest to our lives and what our principles and character meant to them. Let us then live in the light of eternity, in our everlasting hope, in the One who leads us to the love others like He did. Let us stand strong in our faith, no matter what may come against us by this world and it’s leader. Our God’s not dead, for He is very much alive in us each and every day!
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You are my hope and my strength in all that I contend with in this old world. My joy comes from You alone, and it causes me to reflect on heaven where I will spend eternity with my wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Thank You for loving me enough to make such provisions for me. Thank You for always being there for me! Please continue to give me strength to look above my troubles and look towards the heavens and remember all the joys that are mine! Lord, more than we could ever imagine, You are fully aware of our challenges here on earth, and You know full well everything that my friends and I face on a daily basis. Please keep us focused on You, so that our challenging times down here will seem miniscule compared to the overwhelming joy that is ours when we join You in heaven. Thank You for watching over Job, yet allowing his true strength and joy to be revealed to us in the scriptures. May the light of Your Word always be the path that we will follow all the days of our lives! Jesus, I ask all this in Your precious and most holy name, knowing that You are Master over everything that could possibly come our way, AMEN!
Bible Reference: Mark 11:25-26
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)
Bible Text: 25 And whenever you stand praying, if you find that you carry something in your heart against another person, release him and forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also release you and forgive you of your faults. 26 But if you will not release forgiveness, don’t expect your Father in heaven to release you from your misdeeds.”
OBSERVATION: It appears like we easily place ourselves before God and ask for things, without giving any thought to what His Word says. Forgiveness is one of those things where the Word says that one must forgive others, before asking God to forgive them personally. There is a similar command on giving, but today we will focus in on forgiveness.
APPLICATION: How easy is it to forgive another individual? When considering the extreme hurt caused to you, it becomes pretty challenging, doesn’t it? However, I believe that we are capable of understanding how God feels about us also. Imagine for a moment: God created human beings – you and I; He placed us on this beautiful earth that He meticulously created for us to enjoy, to live on, and the survive from everything that He placed on the earth. Yet we carelessly destroy all the beauty He created, plus we sin against one another, and even murder one another over very silly things. We are hurt by others who may be jealous over our successes, or they just may not approve of our well being, compared to their own. We are therefore provoked to stay away from them and be on guard to take any action necessary to protect our own territory. The relationship we develop with these individuals is such that we want to stay far enough away from them, and it wouldn’t hurt our feelings any if we saw them struggling along the edge of the road or about to drown in the ocean. However, praise to the Almighty, we are a holy people, and although we have sinned, we know that we can present ourselves before our Master and ask for forgiveness. STOP right there! That’s where our Scripture today becomes so vital to us. For why would God listen to a man, or woman, holding such a grudge against a Brother or Sister to the degree that they are willing to see them harmed along the roadside, or sink into the depths of the ocean? Could such a person seriously want forgiveness of their own sin, without giving thought or attention to the awful sin bound up inside against a fellow Brother or Sister? I believe that God is saying to us in His Word today, that this type of pleading from Him is unacceptable. For He expects us to clean up our own act, before asking a perfect God, who knows every little itsy bitsy thing about us, to forgive us of our own sin. I believe that God is saying to us that He will forgive us, as we have forgiven others. Only you and God can answer what that might look like: completely? fully? totally forgiven with nothing held back? There’s a song that centers around this theme and it speaks to the forgiven person being asked by God ‘What sin?’. Can you honestly ask that question of God if He questioned you about your relationship with a Brother or Sister who hurt you and caused you to harbor sin in your heart? ‘What sin are you referring to, dear Jesus? I forgave them a long time ago’. I believe that the Scripture is telling us to consider any grudge we have against another, before asking God to forgive us of our trespasses and our sin.
PRAYER: Precious Lord, we stand before You as an opened book today, knowing that You are well aware of our comings and our goings; our sin and our readiness to forgive. Please touch deep inside the hearts of all who will read this devotional today, and cause us to forgive others, so that we might receive Your forgiveness. AMEN!
Bible Reference: Psalm 34:12-14
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)
12–13 Do you want to live a long, good life,
enjoying the beauty that fills each day?
Then never speak a lie or allow wicked words
to come from your mouth.
14 Keep turning your back on every sin,
and make “peace” your life motto.
Practice being at peace with everyone.
OBSERVATION: With the beginning of these verses, I believe it is very obvious that this advice is for all people, for who would not want for themselves a long, good life. So I believe it is important that we take the advise God ordained through His servant David in this Scripture.
APPLICATION: I believe that God placed us here on this earth so that we might be blessed of Him, and blessed by each other. Unfortunately Satan wiggled his way into this world, and found how he could upset individuals, families, communities, churches and even larger groups, so that they would never again be happy. However, for the Christian, we have the Word of God that reminds us that greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world, and we have Scripture such as this one from the book of Psalms admonishes us to practice being at peace with everyone. This tells me that we must put effort into it, and be intentional about turning our back on sin, and being at peace with everyone. Friends, I believe that if the love of God is truly inside of us, we can’t help but seeing it exude from us in every act, in every word, and in every deliberate step that we take. So how do we get there? Please allow me to remind you that Satan is much bigger than we are, and he is much more powerful than we are, so may we quickly be reminded that there is only One more powerful – God Himself. Let us therefore surrender our all before God, and let us seek His guidance, His power and His peace, and let us allow Him to guide us into a life that is so filled with Jesus and His love, that we would be overflow with His character and His peace. We live in a very troubled world, and we should do everything possible to be a light to the rest of the world, and not add to the darkness that already exists. Let us therefore seek the fullness of God and ask that we, His humble representatives be like He is. Filled with love and compassion for one another.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I come humbly before You today seeking Your power and Your grace. I would sincerely ask that You touch my life, and teh lives of those who will read this devotional today. Please fill us with Your love, give us the power to overcome, and give us teh peace that surpases all understanding, so that we might be . AMEN!