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Posts Tagged ‘#lovethelordyourgod’

So, what’s your main thing?

You know, the thing that you love above all else?

We all have a main thing, a love greater than all else.

Exodus 20:3 tells us:

“You shall have no other gods before me”

Are our main things like gods in our lives?

Are they the main things in our hearts?

What if they ceased to exist, to live? Could we carry on with just the love of God?

I ask myself these questions sometimes … wondering if the things, the ones, that I love most have become idols in my heart and mind. I wonder if I have elevated them above my reliance on the one who made me. I wonder if I love him above all else.

As I was pondering my God, my loves, my heart, I sought out what Jesus had to say about this first commandment, for, though he does not retract from the Old Testament commandments, he does provide further clarification (Mark 12:30)

Love the Lord your God
with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your mind
and with all your strength.

It would seem that whereas the OT commandment sounds very much like a rule, the NT version would seem to sound sound like an act of choice (can love ever be anything but a choice?). To love with heart, soul, mind and strength is to love with every part of us, who we are.

Love is a pretty big deal in the ministry of Jesus. After expressing the greatest commandment (above) he left us with one additional commandment,

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

They really go together, for in our choosing to love God, we seek to be like him and there is no greater expression of our love for him than to love others.

Now back to the beginning … our main thing?

I think I have come to realize that God has to be my main thing. That I have to love him above all else, not just as a security blanket that keeps me safe for all eternity, but because I cannot love anyone else well if I do not first dwell in my love for my Creator. For it is in loving him that I am able to love others.

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The day of love has arrived … so says our calendar.

Flowers, chocolates, lingerie, jewellery, cards and more are purchased as declarations of our love. Dinner reservations (or home deliveries) are made, candles are lit, chilled drinks poured into stemmed glasses … all to show and celebrate love for someone close to our hearts.

I’m kinda lucky, because my special guy got me freshly fallen snow … could there be a better Valentine’s gift?

The following three verses about love are probably the most frequently quoted love verses in the Bible.

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Matthew 22:37-39
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

The first, written by Paul to the Corinth church. He is instructing the believers in this community on what is important in how to live as followers of Christ.

The second are from the lips of Jesus. He reminds us that we are first to love God, then others. It is through our love of God that we have the capacity to love each other.

The third were the words of Jesus on the night before his death … after the foot washing, after Judas left the room. These were his closest followers, who would build his church on the foundation of these words.

The thing is the word love in each and every use in these verses, is the Greek word agape.

agape is the love to die for …

more specifically,

it’s the love that would die for you

Agape love is unconditional, self-sacrificing, never-ending. It is the highest form of love, the most difficult love to give, the most innately sought. As humans, I believe we were created longing for that love … it is in our DNA to seek it … for it is how our Creator-Father loves us.

Agape love costs nothing, and everything.

It takes no time, yet all of our time.

It requires that we just be ourselves, yet, in our own strength we cannot love like that.

It is the sum total of the reason for the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus … for his Father (He) loved the world so much that he gave so that we would live (John 3:16).

Agape love is to love as does not come natural for us, as humans, for it requires that we say and do things that we do not want to … because someone else needs to receive … and their need, seen through the eyes and heart of agape love (God’s eyes and heart) trump our own.

As we declare our love for those around us, today, may our words and deeds be in line with the unconditional, self-sacrificing, never-ending love that God has modelled for us.

love, as I have loved you

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After the storms have passed, after we have summited the mountains? Then … do we dare to ask now what?

I suggested we read Deuteronomy 8. I read it, then I listened to it … a couple of times. It amazed me what I heard that I missed when I was reading the words quietly to myself.

Deuteronomy is a book that instructs us about work and rest, relationships, leadership and justice. An interesting combination of subjects that impact all of our lives.

There are two messages or themes in Deuteronomy:

  1. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deut. 6:4-5).
  2. I am the Lord your God…you shall have no other gods before me.” (Deut. 5:6-7)

We need to keep these in mind as we read the book, as we read chapter 8.

When we go through difficult times we often cling to God, to his word. It is when the struggles are the most intense that we cry out to him, recognizing how helpless we are without him. It is easy and natural to love him with our everything, to have no other gods. Though this is not always the case, for when we struggle the most is often when we cry out why God?

then again, maybe asking God why is a sign that we love do love him alone, for he is who we ask, confirming our trust of him.

God has broad shoulders … he can carry such heavy questions … it is not a sign of spiritual weakness to ask God the tough questions. He wants us to ask, to cry out, to wag our finger at him … because he knows our thoughts already and he knows the heart behind them.

So, we haven’t really gotten into Deuteronomy 8 yet (this is how my brain works), but we know two important themes for all of Deuteronomy:

  1. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deut. 6:4-5).
  2. I am the Lord your God…you shall have no other gods before me.” (Deut. 5:6-7)

This is the beginning of our search for an answer to now what? after the tough mountain has been climbed, now what?

Keep reading Deuteronomy 8. Try listening to it.

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