Friday, March 5, 2010

The Most Important

Mark 12:29-31 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this, 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.

Jesus when asked by a teacher of the law which of the the commandments is most important answered this. LOVE. . . love God and love others. Love God with your entire being first. Then second we are to love others as ourselves. There is a priority to this -first go deep into God followed by our reaching out to others with this love. The ten commandments of the OT can be summarized by these two commands as the first four focus on God and the next six focus on others. I am again amazed at the reality of how appropriate this passage is as we start this 30 Day Love Dare. . . Your Word is 'living and active.'

Today I will start with a focused clarity that chooses to LOVE GOD wholeheartedly and then chooses to LOVE OTHERS. I feel the challenge of starting my day by first connecting deeply with You God by having devotions in Your Word and loving You with my whole being. And the call to obey this next command by loving my wife and children in this morning over breakfast, entering into my day off as I take a bike ride with a group of friends and strangers. . . Love them as I would myself. Then as I head to my son's basketball game tonight. . . Love these fellow parents and kids as I would myself. Open to divine appointments all along the way. . . today encountering people in need of hearing, feeling, experiencing the Love of Christ through me. . . if I would be willing. . . Lord, I am willing. Help me also be one who is willing to receive your love from others today.

Father God, Thank you for the clarity that Jesus calls us to live. Thank you for calling us to experience being a part of your transformational team to the world sharing Your love.

Lord please help me to live in obedience to these 'most important" commands.

Please use me today to share Your Love.

What are you hearing God say to you?


  1. What a great challenge as we begin the Love Dare! Thanks for sharing.

    For myself, after reading Deuteronomy I was challenged to "Just Do It," meaning just do God's will when he asks, rather than grumbling or making excuses like the Israelites did. God is faithful and sovereign, and worthy of our love and obedience. And to further connect it with "the most important" commandment to love God, here is another verse: "This is love for God: to obey his commands" (1 John 5:3a.) Just do it!

  2. 29 Then I said to you, "Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. 30 The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place."

    It left me wondering how many times I have been wondering because I allowed fear to keep me from following God's will. I am looking at 2 different circumstances in my life that may involve a move of some sort. I am fearful. I need to remember that God will go with me.

    I am purposing to serve God where I am and respect those in authority over me. I am purposing to love one in particular as myself because of my love for God.

    Lord help me to love others as you love me. Show me my fear and disobedience so that I may turn far from it and follow you.

    Tina in Olympia

  3. My S.O.A.P. today was also from Deuteronomy (which kind of surprised me, actually) and I think it is cool how it so closely related to your prayer, Ray--and Tracy & Tina's posts.
    In a nutshell it was about obeying God out of love, not because I don't want to accept a punishment (Deut. 1:41--the Isrealites decide they will attack after God has told them they will be punished for their disobedience by not getting to the Promised Land). I guess if I were to condense it even further it would be LOVE=OBEDIENCE.
    Father God, I pray that we all be obedient to you today.
    Tracey G.

  4. I SOAP'd on Mk 12:17 today - "Give to Caesar what is Caeser's and to God what is God's". Yesterday I filed my income tax, giving to "Caesar" what is his. I found it was not a difficult experience because throughout the year I had been doing my duty faithfully so that I even got a small refund.
    So, I asked myself this morning how my giving to God measured up. What things are His that I need to give to him as regularly as I pay my taxes? In this chapter alone there are five areas mentioned:
    - Read the book (bible) - vs 26
    - Love God - vs 30
    - Love my Neighbor - vs 31
    - Humility - vs 38-40
    - Possessions - vs 42-44
    I am to actively practice all five of these, not only for this 30 days, but throughout my life. And, if I am as faithful to God as I am to "Caesar" it should not be difficult. Today I will pay God what is his.
    Father, my most difficult area is to actively love my neighbors. Give me opportunity today to show your love to at least one of them.

  5. My devotional today was also based in Deut 1:21 (Go and take possession of the land. Don't be afraid) and Mark 12:44 (She put in everything, all she had to live on) The first spoke to me because God told me that He has already given us the land, we just need to obey and take it! The second one spoke to me because sometimes I try to love only a little and give what I can spend. But God is calling me to give even more: to give everything I had, to Him first and then to others.
    Therefore, today I will devote myself completely to the task God has appointed me to do! Also I will call the person God put in my heart. Moreover, I will not complain about not having time for myself. Today I will give everything to my God.
    Prayer: Thank you, Father for the land you have already given to me. Please give me the courage and strength to go and take it. Help me to remain faithful and fearless. Please also help me to give everything I possess to you: my time, my love, my money so you can use it to show your love to the people around me! In Jesus name, amen.

  6. S: 31 "There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place."

    O: Thinking about how it's God who does the carrying. And thinking about how exactly a father carries his son (protectively, strongly, sometimes silently).

    A: I like the idea that we are carried until we reach the place God intends. It is something to trust and hope in and realize we are better off being carried than limping along alone.

    P: I thank God for his grip on me, his affection, his intention. I am glad He knows the destination.

  7. God is telling me today to love my dad by taking him for a drive on a sunny day and enjoying an ice cream with him!

  8. S: Deut 1:32 In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.

    O: We have doubts today. Believing in something that cannot be seen or proved physically one person to another can be difficult. The Israelites had daily visual confirmation and proof of God and His leading and plans for their lives. They still had doubts. They let their fear in and forgot to have faith in what God had already promised them.

    A: When I am nervous about a decision I know needs to be made, or afraid to complete a task I feel led to complete, I want to move forward in faith in God's abilities. I want to put all my doubts and negative ideas aside and focus on the positive God is going to bring. I don't want to waste any time on doubt, fear, or worry. I want to give them to God and move forward courageously in faith.

    P: God please help me to feel your presence. You have shown me how easy a seemingly difficult task becomes when I focus on you; your will and knowledge. Thank you for your guidance and for carrying the burden. May I always remember to allow you.

  9. Today, at my morning bikeride the first person I talked to was a ER nurse who had come out for her first ever Friday ride. She came up to me and shared that she was taking the day off to ride because it was her birthday! I had the opportunity to warmly greet the first stranger of the day and sincerly say, 'Happy Birthday, as we started the ride. As we ended the ride, I felt a prompt to go and wish her a Happy Birthday again and tell her that I hope she has a great rest of the day . . . so I did, and she seemed genuinely surprised as we all loaded up our bikes in our cars to head home!

    This evening was deeply challenging as my son had his basketball playoff game. He had a really terrible game to start off with and was benched in the most of the last quarter. Ouch. . . then he was put in the last 2 minutes of the game and finally ignited ands scored 5 points in the closing seconds in their losing effort. . . I want to say it is easy for me to say encouraging/kind/loving words to the coach and my son . . . but it was a challenge. By the grace of God I did. . . but only with God's help, I kept having the challenge of 'love them as you would want to be loved' running through my mind.

    Day 1 of love dare in the books for me! Can't wait to see what tomorrow holds!

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  11. Comment has been moved to March 6 post-

  12. S: Psalm 36:1-3 An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin. The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good.

    O: David is saying that because the wicked do not fear God, they go on sinning. The sinner thinks to highly of himself, "flatters himself too much" to see the sin he creates. He foolishly spews evil and no good comes from it.

    A: I have been challenged by how to reach out to the wicked in my life. I do not ever want to become prideful and speak out against them. I want to remember that I can better serve God by loving the way he loves me. I know who these people are in my life today. I want to reach out to them when I feel led. I am not always sure how to do this, but I know even by simply not reacting to their sin in a judgmental or condemning manner I can speak to them.

    P: God please help me to maintain a healthy fear of you that I may turn from sin. Help me to serve and love those around me regardless of their sin. Guide me through my interactions with others in a way that would serve you and show them your loving way. Help me to not take it personally or feel prideful when I see them sinning, but rather be reminded of your unconditional love for me even when I am sinning. Show me how to love others the way you love me. I cannot do it without you.

  13. Well, I am amused and confused. My husband has a strong desire to take a trip to the southwest this april. I found myself praying for wisdom as to whether to go or not as I was reading Deut. He looks up from the newspaper and says we should just go in April. I shake my head and wonder to myself what I am to say as a wise wife. Then I read Ps 46. I have place myself in an awkward position with my unbelieving Boss. Without intend, but not heading the spirits leading, I have caused some distance to come between she and I. I felt like the beginning of the psalm. Get me out of here Lord, then my husband says we need to go to Monument Valley. I can see how if we are not careful to look at the entire counsel of scripture I could take these verses and run with it. HMMMmm. I have wanted out of my work situation and my husband wants to go to the mountain. Is this the peace I had just asked you for Lord only minutes before???

    Lord, please help me to use your Word as a light to my path and protect me from misusing it to fit my own desire and will. Please make it clear to me what you would have me to do in these circumstances and rely on the entire counsel of God. Give me Godly wisdom in how to answer my husband concerning this matter. I do not want to sin against you for pleasure.


  14. I should have previewed the above post. God and I may be the only ones able to follow what I was talking about. Not to mention typo and spelling errors. LOL

    I am truly enjoying this. Thanks to all who are contributing.
    Tina again.

  15. 6-9 So it's paramount that you keep the commandments of God, your God, walk down the roads he shows you and reverently respect him. God is about to bring you into a good land, a land with brooks and rivers, springs and lakes, streams out of the hills and through the valleys. It's a land of wheat and barley, of vines and figs and pomegranates, of olives, oil, and honey. It's land where you'll never go hungry—always food on the table and a roof over your head. It's a land where you'll get iron out of rocks and mine copper from the hills.

    Deut. something. I read this and because I am so wondering Which way do I go, which which way do I go with some earthly decisions---to get to the promised land-- I laughed when I remembered some of the posts from some of you reminding me that He is the promised land and I have already arrived. The rest of the journey does not compare to my relationship with God. It is just a means to the end. Thanks guys. Back to my reading. Tina