What it’s the Greatest Commandment?

Exodus 20:1-7 And the Lord spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who led you away from the land of Egypt, out of the house of servitude. You shall not have strange gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, nor a likeness of anything that is in heaven above or on earth below, nor of those things which are in the waters under the earth. You shall not adore them, nor shall you worship them. I am the Lord your God: strong, zealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the sons to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, and showing mercy to thousands of those who love me and keep my precepts. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. For the Lord will not hold harmless one who takes the name of the Lord his God falsely.” This is the long version of the first three of the Ten Commandments. When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” “Jesus said to him: “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God from all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38) Jesus, in effect, rolled the first three commandments into one. Those three all deal with who God is, and how He is to be treated by humankind. He is to be loved completely. Love God more than your self, your spouse, your children, your country, your job, your bank account, your hobbies, your television, your … your anything. Anything, that is cherished above the Lord, is an idol. “You shall not adore them, nor shall you worship them.” Prayer Lord, forgive us for those times we have allowed or hearts to be drawn away from you. Lord, we adore you. “Your teachings are worth more to me than a thousand pieces of silver and gold. (Psalms 119:72) Amen. Also visit my other blogs
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    NO UNEMPLOYED

    Matthew 11:25-30

    At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from wise and intelligent people and revealing them to little children. Yes, Father, this is what pleased you. “My Father has turned everything over to me. Only the Father knows the Son. And no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son is willing to reveal him. “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    I read this scripture, before I accepted the forgiveness of God’s gift of love and restoration, and it frightened me. I didn’t understand the truth of “Place my yoke over your shoulders.” I imagined a heavy wooden yoke placed upon my shoulders and then being forced to pull a plow or a wagon with a huge load in it. Now, having accepted the gift of salvation, I realize that I previously had my own yoke on my shoulders and was pulling that load alone. With Jesus’ yoke, we are sharing the load and he is doing nearly all of the work.

    Make no mistake, in the kingdom of God there are no unemployed. Every Christian had a duty to perform. However, Christ is with us doing all of the heavy lifting

    Prayer Thank you Lord for lifting that load. I ask now for the strength to lighten the load of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen IF YOU LIKE MY BLOG, PLEASE HIT THE LIKE BUTTON AND MAYBE LEAVE A COMMENT.
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    THEY HAD ONE JOB TO DO

    Mark 14:32-42

    Then they came to a place called Gethsemane. He said to his disciples, “Stay here while I pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him and began to feel distressed and anguished. He said to them, “My anguish is so great that I feel as if I’m dying. Wait here, and stay awake.” After walking a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible he might not have to suffer what was ahead of him. He said, “Abba! Father! You can do anything. Take this cup of suffering away from me. But let your will be done rather than mine.” He went back and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake for one hour? Stay awake, and pray that you won’t be tempted. You want to do what’s right, but you’re weak.” He went away again and prayed the same prayer as before. He found them asleep because they couldn’t keep their eyes open. They didn’t even know what they should say to him. He came back a third time and said to them, “You might as well sleep now. It’s all over. The time has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinners. Get up! Let’s go! The one who is betraying me is near.”

    This person had one job to do, paint two parallel yellow lines in the middle of the road. For mile upon mile he had done just that. And then something happened. Maybe he dozed for just a moment or maybe he was distracted momentarily. For whatever reason, he failed to do the one thing he was supposed to do.

    Jesus gave Peter, James, and John one job to do, wait and stay awake. He had told them, “My anguish is so great that I feel as if I’m dying.” Three times he prayed and they slept. One simple job, and they failed … repeatedly!

    Imagine for a moment that your best friend had just told you that they felt like they were dying and they asked you to wait and watch over them while they prayed. What would you do? Now put yourself in the other place. You are the one who feels like your dying. What would you expect of your friends?

    I would expect to pray with my friend and have them pray with me. I certainly wouldn’t expect them to fall asleep when I was at my darkest hour.

    Prayer
    Lord, forgive us for times that we also “fall sleep”. It may no not be actual sleep but times when inattentive to you calling to us. Or those times when our friends have needed us and we’ve not been there for them. Open our ears that we may hear. Open our eyes that we may see. Open our minds that we may know. Open our mouths that we may speak, and open our hearts that we might love. Amen

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    Luke 4:16-21

    Luke 4:16-21, 28

    And he went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. And he entered into the synagogue, according to his custom, on the Sabbath day. And he rose up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. And as he unrolled the book, he found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because of this, he has anointed me. He has sent me to evangelize the poor, to heal the contrite of heart, to preach forgiveness to captives and sight to the blind, to release the broken into forgiveness, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of retribution.” And when he had rolled up the book, he returned it to the minister, and he sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “On this day, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

    And all those in the synagogue, upon hearing these things, were filled with anger.


    First a little history. The practice in the synagogues was to have seven readers every sabbath, the first a priest, the second a Levite, and the other five Israelites of that synagogue. Jesus was raised in, and a member of, that very synagogue. As a member, he may have often been one of the readers for the day. However this day was special. This was the day that he announced to family, friends, and neighbors his God given ministry.

    Family and friends may be the hardest to whom you ever minister. Those who’ve known you longest know all your failures, the foolish things, and perhaps the sinful ways of your past. But they are the ones whom you most want to seer saved.

    One Spirit

    1 Corinthians 12:4-11

    There are different spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, and yet the same Lord is served. There are different types of work to do, but the same God produces every gift in every person. The evidence of the Spirit’s presence is given to each person for the common good of everyone. The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak with wisdom. The same Spirit gives another person the ability to speak with knowledge. To another person the same Spirit gives courageous faith. To another person the same Spirit gives the ability to heal. Another can work miracles. Another can speak what God has revealed. Another can tell the difference between spirits. Another can speak in different kinds of languages. Another can interpret languages. There is only one Spirit who does all these things by giving what God wants to give to each person.


    For the common good is the reason that the gifts of the Spirit are given.

    Wisdom
    Knowledge

    Courageous
    Healing
    Miracles

    Prophecy
    Discernment
    Speaking languages
    Understanding languages,

    These are given to be of service to the church, which is the body of Christ, for the glory of God. Do not be prideful or boastful puff your gift. No gift is given for self glorification. No one earns a gift of the Spirit. The GIFTS are given by the Spirit to fulfill the will of God.

    Prayer
    Lord, we come seeking Your will and purpose. We place these Spirit given gifts under your direction that they may be used for the common good.
    Amen.

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    The Great Reward

    The teachings of the LORD are perfect. They renew the soul. The testimony of the LORD is dependable. It makes gullible people wise. The instructions of the LORD are correct. They make the heart rejoice. The command of the LORD is radiant. It makes the eyes shine. The fear of the LORD is pure. It endures forever. The decisions of the LORD are true. They are completely fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even the drippings from a honeycomb. As your servant I am warned by them. There is a great reward in following them. (Psalms 19:7-11)

    Some assembly required. Those three little words seem so innocent on the package. But when you’ve opened the box and the myriad of pieces fall you the floor your heart sinks. How will this scattered pile of parts ever resemble the desired product? Read through the instructions and follow them step by step and like magic it begins to appear!

    Do You want your soul renewed? Do you wish to be wise? Does your heart rejoice and your eyes shine?
    Read the teachings of the Lord adds follow them.

    Lord forgive us for our impatience. We like children want all of your promises fulfilled in or lives. However, we often fail to follow Your instructions on how to achieve  them. Grant us wisdom and patience as we read and follow the directions.
    Amen.

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  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
  • ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    We Gather Together

    Hebrews 10:24-25 24.
    Let’s consider how to provoke one another to love and good works, 25. not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.


    Every Wednesday a group of us gather for a card ministry. We send cards to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, and other milestone events. Cards are sent with our sympathies. Get well cards are sent with our prayers. The cards are signed by all in attendance (up to 24 folks). Though this group also has other ministries within and for the community, the cards are what draw us together every week. At the end of each meeting we take a role call. The roll call is when each member updates us on their joys and concerns for the week. The roll call binds us together to celebrate each other’s joys and carry each other’s burdens.
    If there is a similar group near you, I encourage you to join them. If there is no group, make one!

    Prayer
    Lord we are mindful of the apostle’s words , “not forsaking our own assembling together”. Lord, thank you for bringing your followed together for ministry toward the community and within our assembly.
    Amen.

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    I Don’t Have Time

    Matthew 17:5
    And while he (Peter) was still speaking, behold, a shining cloud overshadowed them. And behold, there was a voice from the cloud, saying: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”

    Luke 9:35 And a voice came from the cloud, saying: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

    These two gospel readings record the words of God the Father and what He said about Jesus. “Listen to him.” Does this sound like a suggestion to you? To me it sounds like a command: “Listen to him.”

    Many of us have bibles in which Jesus’s words are in red. Those words in red are the most important words to which we should listen. Read them. There aren’t many. Between Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts there are slightly over 2000 words. However, many of the events are covered in multiple accounts using slightly different words. If you combine those accounts you end with a little over 1000 words. An average reader could read 2000 words in about 7 minutes! A slow reader should be able to read the entirety of Luke (the longest gospel) in around three hours. The average person spends that much time watching TV.

    For the sake of your immortal soul, could you take the time to read the most important words ever spoken?

    Prayer
    Lord, we truly are busy. The things of this world pull us in so many directions. However, we know in our hearts that we always make time for what is important. Forgive us for not making time with your word a high priority.
    Amen.

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    Pure Joy

    Romans 15:13
    May God, the source of hope, fill you with joy and peace through your faith in him. Then you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


    I love being Santa. Santa, based loosely on the real Saint Nicolas, embodies the best in us as human beings.
    In my guise as Santa, I get to bring joy to children. And in return they bring such joy to me.
    One of my special ministries during this season is the Caring Santa program which sets aside special times for special needs people, young and not so young. I also welcome them anytime. Some people may pity those with diminished mental abilities. I do not. I almost envy the fact that they have retained a childlike sense puff wonder and joy.

    Prayer
    God, the source of our hope, fill us with joy and peace through our faith in you. Let Your love fill us to overflowing with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    Amen.

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  • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
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  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
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  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
    • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com
    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
    https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/
    • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams

    The Lord’s Path

    Proverbs 16:1-4 The plans of the heart belong to humans, but an answer on the tongue comes from the LORD. A person thinks all his ways are pure, but the LORD weighs motives. Entrust your efforts to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. The LORD has made everything for his own purpose, even wicked people for the day of trouble. This morning I began my prayer time by praying for our church leaders, the Bishop, district superintendent, pastors, committee chairs and members. I prayed that God’s path would be made clear to them, that they may become better followers and better leaders. Having done that, I intended to do my personal devotion study on palm 154. However, my old shaky fingers found the above passages on my digital bible. These scripture passages spoke so directly to the prayers I had just prayed. The Lord does indeed have a clear path that he has made straight and smooth for each of us. It is only to our human eyes that the road seems too be full of rough spots and curves. Prayer Lord, make your way plain to us. Give us strength and encouragement as we travel the way you have chosen for us. Amen.
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