“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5 NKJV
According to Jesus, this is THE greatest commandment. As such it makes sense that we need to truly grasp what it means.
As I read this verse, I asked myself … why did Moses say to love God with:
(a) all my heart
(b) all my soul
(c) all my strength.
How does loving God with my heart differ from loving Him with my soul and my strength? It must be important or Moses wouldn’t have expounded on it.
In Deuteronomy 6 Moses is preparing the children of Israel to finally enter the promised land. Knowing their inclination to idolatry and rebellion he reminds them of three key mandates which in turn answer the question of ‘how do we love God with all our heart, soul and strength?’
Loving God with all my HEART is about loyalty: There is ONE God and He is a jealous God. God will not share His glory with false gods. Anything, or anyone, that is more important to us is an idol.
Loving God with all my SOUL is about obedience: Moses instructed the people to keep the commandments of God AND to pass them on from generation to generation. To love God is to obey God. This theme is seen repeatedly in the Word in both the Old and New Testaments. Our soul is comprised of our mind, will and emotions. To love God with all our soul we must “know him’, through experience/relationship, knowledge of His Word and revelation of the Holy Spirit.
Loving God with all my STRENGTH is about perseverance: Possession of the Land required defeat of Israel’s enemies. To this day Israel has to fight for their land. While God is capable of wiping out our enemies with a single word, He knows we value what we struggle to obtain. Our dreams and visions are worth the fight! Never give up on God’s promise(s) to you.
Lord, thank You for opening my eyes to understand Your command to love You will all my heart, soul and strength. Help me to always love you with loyalty, obedience and perseverance.
I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV)
I take comfort in knowing I can do anything the Lord empowers me to do. I believe in miracles. I believe in the power of prayer and of faith.
Philippians 4:13 popped up as the ‘Verse of the Day’ recently on YouVersion. Because I am an advocate on reading scripture in context I have started reading the chapters as well as the verses. As I read Philippians 4 it occured to me, Paul wrote this verse in the context of contentment. He wasn’t quoting a formula for victory, he was declaring that he was able to endure both hardship and victory because he knew the secret to contentment was knowing God would sustain him in every circumstance.
I must admit, there are times I question God when I see things that don’t make sense. Certain things rob my contentment, if I allow them to. When I see children suffer or people die prematurely; when prayers don’t get answered the way I would like, it’s hard to be content.
And yet, I know that God is good! I may not understand the why, but I believe God’s promise that, “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NKJV) Ultimately it comes down to this, do I trust Him?
The secret to contentment is knowing that God will sustain you through the trials and the triumphs of life. It is knowing he will give you the strength you need, when you need it. He will not leave us to face our battles alone. He is always with us. Contentment is birthed in trust. It is resting in the knowledge that God is for you, not against you.
PRAY: Lord, help me to follow Paul’s example in learning to be content in spite of my circumstances. Forgive me for the times I have complained and allowed circumstances to rob my faith allowing doubts of Your goodness to prevail. Help me Lord to be content in all things, knowing you will sustain me and give me strength.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 NKJV
This is one of those verses that can be very confusing when you read it “out of context.” At first glance it sounds as if this is a guarantee against defeat.
Jesus said the world would hate us, because it hated Him. I have seen more animosity toward Christianity in the last ten years than my entire lifetime. While this may be a new concern in America, Christians around the world have suffered persecution for centuries.
When we read this verse in context we find that this chapter speaks to the glory in suffering. We aren’t promised to be shielded from suffering, but rather through suffering. In comparison to the reward of eternity with the Lord our suffering seems trivial. In fact, suffering strengthens and purifies us. Psalms describes it as being refined by fire.
We see in Roman 8 that NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ, and even in death we are more than conquerors.
My take on this verse is this: If God be for me who cares who is against me! My life is His. I live for an audience of ONE. God alone is my judge, and Jesus is interceding FOR me.
Lord, I am so thankful that nothing can separate me from Your love. I am thankful for the promise of Your continual presence. Knowing You will never leave me or forsake me gives me the courage to face this life. Thank You Lord for suffering in my place. You left the comfort of Heaven to purchase my redemption.
When life gets tough, remind me it’s temporary. Help me to be spiritually minded, which brings life and peace. Help me to have an attitude like Paul who considered suffering as unworthy to be compared to the glory that awaits us.
Jesus, thank You that You are interceding on my behalf before God. I know You will work all things together for my good. Thank You for making me a conqueror!
“Yet the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen [you] and set you on a firm foundation and guard you from the evil [one].” 2 Thessalonians 3:3 AMP
Paul wrote this passage as he was requesting prayer from the Thessalonian church. He knew there would be opposition as he spread the GOOD NEWS. He also knew as he moved on from the churches he had planted, they too would face spiritual assault.
There are many conflicting messages today. When we are confused and unsure who to believe, the Lord is still faithful. Ask Him to strengthen you and give you the stability of a firm foundation, based on HIS word rather than the doctrines of man.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness. Strengthen me and set me on the firm foundation of Your Word. Help me to disearn truth and guard my heart from the deception of the evil one. Amen.