The Greatest Commandment

Many of us are staying safe at home, doing our part to stop the spread of the corona virus. The number of those infected by this unprecedented virus is growing every day. We pray daily in our homes for those who have lost loved ones and for others to recover and that our merciful God will bring the virus to an end.

Schools and businesses are closed and live sports have been halted. So much has changed in a very short time. Some of us find it challenging to stay home given that we are accustomed to living busy, hectic lives. You may not know what to do with the extra time we have been given. But wait! Now is the time to stop and smell the roses.

Staying home doesn’t mean we have to be idle and unproductive. This season of life can be life changing. It offers the opportunity to reorder our priorities. Reordering priorities is extremely important for the Christian and needs to be done frequently. If we are not diligent in this respect, our relationship to God will suffer. The cares of this world so easily move to the forefront and block our “view” of God.

You may be making new plans or looking for new forms of entertainment when all the while there is someone very near who is asking: What about Me? Exodus 13:14 reveals to us that God is a jealous God. This verse actually says that one of His names is Jealous!

I have a husband that is very industriousness. He plans his day and moves quickly to accomplish all that he has planned. Praise God for an energetic, goal oriented spouse! But (and here comes the but) there are days that his busyness generates within me the feeling that I am being overlooked. Today was such a day. Bringing my concerns to him; he was quick to alter his plans so we could have some time together. Again, praise God! But in the process of all this, I wondered if perhaps, this is how God views us. His children; too busy with the distractions of life, to set aside time for Him.

When asked what the greatest commandment in the Law is, Jesus replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) This is the first and greatest commandment given to us by God. He desires that we grow more in love with Him with each passing day. To grow more in love with God is to have an increasing awareness of sin in our lives and be quick to repent and ask for forgiveness.

We grow in love when we think about who God is and understand who we are in relationship to Him. Scripture reveals these things beautifully and can change our lives.

We grow in love when we enter into the presence of God through prayer and the study of His Word. Commit to this daily and make it the priority above all things. For many of us, this commitment has become the best time of the day. We honor Him when we sit at His feet and learn from Him. He is the One who laid down His life and freed us from the plague of sin. It is here that we eat of the Bread of Life (John 6:35) and are nourished, refreshed and satisfied.

Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on him in truth.

Don’t neglect the greatness of your salvation. Call on Him today while He is near. Use this opportunity to reconnect with God and His Son Jesus Christ and to grow in the knowlege of God and His Word.

He wrote you a letter (the Bible) and is waiting for your response!


Peace in Times of Trouble

As I write this, the United States is in the midst of the corona virus pandemic. We have more cases today than any other country in the world. Many of us are under a “stay at home” order issued by our state governors. These are trying times indeed and for some, the future may be uncertain or even fearful.

There is a promise we can hold onto. “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.

This is a promise for believers. True believers. Those who love God and are motivated by that love to live for Him.

Does that describe you? Think about it. Do you know the One who created the universe and everything in it? Do you know the One who knows the beginning and the end? Do you know the One who knows everything about you and formed you in your mother’s womb and watched you grow?

Today God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ say: “Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.

It is a tender call of intimacy with Jesus to those who are weary and burdened. Weary of trying to work things out in your own strength only to be disappointed and discouraged. Weary of self doubt and self condemnation. Weary of searching for your identity. Weary of comparing yourself to others. Weary from broken relationships, weary from worry, from stress, from sickness! You name it. The burdens of life are endless!

Jesus calls: Come with all your burdens and I will give you rest.

It’s an invitation from the One who experienced the trials and temptations of life and having done so perfectly, experienced the wrath of God when our sins were laid upon Him. He is the spotless lamb of God who offered His life to pay for our sins. He died a terrible death on a Roman cross to set us free from sin and death and to reconcile us to God.

You see, sin separates us from God. It all started with the first man Adam and the first woman Eve and their rebellion towards God in the garden as recorded in Genesis chapter 3.

Sin and death entered the human experience and life was never the same. The Bible teaches that we are the offspring of Adam and by birth inherit his sin nature. (Romans 5:12)

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

Romans 6:23 says: “The wages of sin is death.” This means that through the work of sin within us, we have earned, and deserve, physical and spiritual death. That’s very serious indeed! However, Romans 6:23 doesn’t end there. It continues with the very best news ever! And here it is: “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Eternal life? How is that possible when we all know that we will eventually die? The apostle Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.” (Romans 1:29) Paul’s life, once he was converted, was to live for God, but speaking of his death, he considered it far better to be out of the body and present with the Lord Jesus.

We all possess a spirit, soul and body. 1Thessalonians 5:23. Our spirit was made to connect with God but suffered corruption when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. It needs to be reborn or made alive to connect with God and walk in fellowship with Him as Adam and Eve did before they rebelled in the garden. Only God can accomplish this miracle as He recreates our inner man and calls to us.

Come to Me…

Our soul is the essence of who we are as an individual. It is often referred to as the heart and the mind of a person. It is the soul that departs from the body upon death. The destination of your soul is determined by who you are joined to in this life. The soul that is joined to Satan, also known as the devil and the enemy of our souls, enters a place of darkness and torment. This is hell and there is no escape.

The soul that has been joined to Jesus, through faith in His sacrificial death, immediately enters heaven and into the presence of Jesus and our great God.

Yes, I know. It is a lot to take in but this is of great importance especially in view of the perilous times we live in. Be reconciled to God and respond to His voice in the stillness of your heart as He offers the gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, who died so you can live!

You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:9

And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3

We can have peace in the times of trouble.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3