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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  • ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    Study, Meditate, Follow

    “Behold, I am instructing you. Be strengthened, and be steadfast. Do not dread, and do not fear. For the Lord your God is with you in all things, wherever you may go.” (Joshua 1:9) I would love to claim that promise for myself. However, it was not a general promise to all, nor was it without conditions. “Therefore, be strengthened and be very steadfast, so that you may observe and accomplish the entire law, which Moses, my servant, instructed to you. You may not turn aside from it to the right, nor to the left. So may you understand all that you should do. The book of this law shall not depart from your mouth. Instead, you shall meditate upon it, day and night, so that you may observe and do all the things that are written in it. Then you shall direct your way and understand it.” (Joshua 1:7-8) If I am to claim any of this promise, I must read, study, and meditate daily on the scriptures. Many centuries after Joshua, Paul wrote to Timothy, “All Scripture, having been divinely inspired, is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in justice, so that the man of God may be perfect, having been trained for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Realize that the Scripture to which Paul is referring is the same Scripture God commanded Joshua to study. Do you want to be a man or woman out God? How can you expect to follow God if you have not studied His word? Any fool can claim to be right before God. But only a student of scriptures can be confirmed righteous. Prayer Lord, as I study and meditate on Your word, lead me in the path of righteousness. Amen. Also visit my other blogs
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  • ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    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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    Blessings

    Jude 1-2
    Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are beloved in God the Father, and who are guarded and called in Jesus Christ: May mercy, and peace, and love be fulfilled in you.


    I am so humbled by the salutations in the various letters (epistles) saved in our scriptures.

    Though I write daily in my various blogs, I haven’t taken pen to paper to write an actual letter in years. Furthermore, in those days past, the salutations of my letters ever only were “Dear, insert name here”. Never did I open with a blessing.

    What does it cost us to offer a blessing to others? Nothing. I’ve begun to end phone conversations with “have a blessed day” rather than goodbye. Did you know that goodbye was a late 16th century contraction of God be with you, which was originally meant to be a blessing. However, goodbye had become so much less. Its modern meaning simple means I’m done talking to you.

    Let us make it a goal to offer a blessing to someone at least once a day.

    Prayer
    Father, fountain of all blessings, send your Spirit to prompt us to offer sincere blessings to those whom we are in connect today.
    Amen

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    ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    For You and Me

    Hebrews 2:14-17
    Therefore, because children have a common flesh and blood, he (Jesus) himself also, in like manner, has shared in the same, so that through death, he might destroy him who held the dominion of death, that is, the devil, 15. and so that he might free those who, through the fear of death, had been condemned to servitude throughout their entire life. 16. For at no time did he take hold of the Angels, but instead he took hold of the offspring of Abraham. 17. Therefore, it is fitting for him to be made similar to his brothers in all things, so that he might become a merciful and faithful High Priest before God, in order that he might bring forgiveness to the offenses of the people.

    Jesus, God with us, CHOSE to live the life of a human being. He likewise chose to die a physical death to free us from the fear of death. This is how much he loves us and chooses to have us share eternity with him.

    Prayer
    Jesus, thank you for your great sacrifice for us. Forgive us for the times we have failed to makes the tiniest sacrifice for you.
    Amen.

    Also visit my other blogs

    • Tom and Ella’s Daily Journal of Our Lives
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    ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    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.

    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.

    Also visit my other blogs.

  • Tom and Ella’s Daily Journal of Our Lives
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  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
  • ©2020 Thomas E Williams

  • Tom and Ella’s Daily Journal of Our Lives
  • http://TomAndEllaJournal.WordPress.com
  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
  • ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    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.

    Also visit my other blogs.

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    ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    40 Hours of Reflection

    The following was not written by me.  It was written by my mother-in-law.  It was recently read at her funeral.  I hope that when my time comes, I’ll have something as profound and meaningful to leave for my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. It will be of help when picturing these events to understand that this woman was about five foot in every direction.

      Tom Williams 

    40 Hours of Reflection

    by Darlene Wilson

    A church service is 2 hours long. The Titanic movie 3 hours long. Watching 40 episodes of the Friends TV program back to back would take 20 hours. 40 hours is a full work week.

    I spent the longest and most challenging 40 hours of my life trapped in a bathtub. I was not trying to set a world record for the longest bath for 77 year old woman, it was an accident. I’m telling you this only to glorify God, because God is my strength.

    My story begins on Tuesday, December 15, 2003, shortly before 10 p.m. I had spent several hours handing out oranges at the food pantry and doing errands and was incredibly tired. I raced through the front door my mobile home without even locking it behind me as I really needed to get to the bathroom! I was so exhausted I fell asleep sitting on the stool. When I finally woke and stood up, my right foot and leg were numb and I lost my balance.

    The stool was near the tub and the shower. The tub had a hard plastic folding shower door with a soft blue cloth shower curtain covering it. I fell against the folding door and into my empty four foot long bathtub with a crumpled shower door underneath me. I faintly remember removing pieces of the shower door, then assessing my situation. I was fully closed, but without my shoes. I was wearing my glasses and watch. The light was on.

    I tried many times to get out of the tub without success. Since my knee replacements, I couldn’t kneel, so that made it difficult. As a diabetic, I needed medicine and food. I began praying for God to be with me and for him to do a miracle. I asked God if I was being punished or had done something wrong. He assured me that I wasn’t being punished; it was an accident. “Forgive me for thinking that. Devil get behind me, I belong to Jesus Christ and you can have none of me.” I bound the devil and kept chanting Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus.

    Eventually my family would come looking for me, however, I have no idea how long I would be confined to the tub. I did know I needed depend on Him for survival tactics. I am week, but he is strong. I needed to keep focused and listen to him.

    There was no one to talk to other than God. I pray and read my bible every morning, but this was closer communion for a longer period of time than I had ever experienced. These were some of the things He told me:

    • He was there for me and would never leave me or forsake me

    • He was not the cause, but the answer to my problem

    • I must move my feet and legs and do ankle pops. I must do some exercises to keep my body moving.

    • I needed to breathe deeply and cough so I wouldn’t get hypostatic pneumonia. I didn’t even know what that was!

    • I needed liquid to survive

    • I needed to sleep, if possible

    I thanked God the bathroom door was open, the heat was a at 70º and I was warm … most of the time.

    I tried to turn on water, but the faucets were high up on the wall. I finally got the cold water on a bit. It dripped on my feet. I cupped my hand to get a few teaspoonfuls of water so I could get a drink. The water dripped on my blouse and chilled me as I brought my hand to my mouth. After drinking a little water, I worked to shut it off. Many times over the coming hours I repeated the steps to keep from dehydrating.

    The muscle spasms were intense starting at my groin and spreading down my legs. I prayed through them. They kept coming and I kept praying. I was uncomfortable in other ways. Let’s just say I know why a baby cries when their pants are wet. God was there for me spiritually, physically and emotionally. His staff ministered to me at all times keeping me from feeling sorry for myself and helping me control my thoughts and emotions.

    I sang hymns and childhood songs, recited the books of the Bible, praised God, prayed in tongues and recited poems I had learned in grade school. Occasionally, I slept. I kept remembering events from my life as I thought about my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I reminisced about my husband, Darrell, and good times we had in our life together and about my parents, four brothers and four sisters.

    I thought about my extremely hard of hearing grandmother, Hattie Teter, and what a strong influence she had on my life. She was the spiritual leader of our family reading the Bible to us, taking us to church every Sunday and setting a good example. She reflected the love of God.

    One thing she taught me was not to worry. She said worry with a lack of faith in God. If you had faith in God, you gave your problems to him and it was up to him to solve them.

    I laughed at some memories I realize I had never even told my children. We attended a small country church with a potbellied stove. There was no water, no inside toilet, just a path out behind, but God was there and so was I. At age 10, sermons could be rather dull. Sitting next to the minister’s daughter, I played a game during the sermon. She opened the song book and explained that to every song title we added the words “under the bed.”

    Jesus loves me… under the bed. Amazing grace … under the bed. Joy to the world … under the bed. What a friend we have in … Jesus under the bed. We began giggling uncontrollably. Her mother came over and took the song look away from us. We knew better than to try that again, at least not in church!

    I remember how happy we were when our first daughter, Becky, was born. We were married 5 years and 1 day when she arrived. I can still see the little pink toes and fingers as I cuddled her cheek. The memory was a happy one, yet brought tears to my eyes. This was the first time we experienced God’s miracle of birth. We felt this joy three more times when Linda, Shelley and Janet were born.

    I had a flashback to Becky’s kindergarten days. Our wedding anniversary with February 27th and her birthday was February 28th. She came home from school on her birthday telling me she had announced to the teacher that her parents were married one day and she was born the next. I quickly ask if you had explained we had been married 5 years and 1 day before she was born. “No,” was her response, “she didn’t ask!”

    God kept my mind busy and I didn’t dwell on my situation. Even in the bathtub I had peace and joy. He reminded me of the times He had already saved my life. At 5 I took my 4 year old brother, Gene and our dog to the creek. The dog kept me from drowning that day. To avoid a severe seat warming, I never told my parents.

    At 12 I had measles with an extremely high fever and was delirious for three days. During the depression you didn’t have a doctor come in for search minor ailments. I survived, although my hair began to grey from that day forward.

    At age 64 I was in a car accident that left me pinned in my vehicle while it was turned on its side with the engine still running. The emergency squad broke my back window, turned off the ignition, and cut my seatbelt so they could free me with the jaws of life. I walked away with only bruises. God protected me, once again.

    I thought about other times God was with me. He told me this time was no different. His tremendous love provided divine protection many times throughout my life. Praise God for such a wonderful Savior who cares and protects us.

    Outside the bathtub, the world was continuing on as usual. I felt like it was passing me by. I could hear the daily routine to the neighbors and my phone ringing. Was someone looking for me? I could tell daylight from dark and, of course, the time. Although I felt detached from the world, I felt a constant connection with God.

    A few minutes before 2 p.m. on Wednesday, December 17, I heard a noise at my front door as someone came in. I always lock the door, but realize I forgot in my haste to get to the bathroom.

    As I screamed for help a voice said, “I’m here, Grandma, it’s Alyssa.”

    When I saw her white winter hat as she rushed into the bathroom, I told her she looked just like an angel. “Thank you Lord, thank you Lord, praise His name!”

    Alyssa gave me a glass of water and called 911. When the police arrived they ask me some stupid questions to see if my time in the tub had affected me mentally. I told him I wasn’t any worse of mentally than I usually was! More police, and an emergency squad and an ambulance arrived to extract me form my plastic prison. I was shaking smelly and ready to be released. At the hospital I was told my sugar level was a little high, my muscles were weak, but all other tests were normal. Once again, God had his hand on my life.

    I came out of this ordeal with the greater appreciation for life and God. I cherish many things that I once took for granted. I can use my arms and legs, see, hear, eat and enjoy my grandchildren. I can get a drink of water, drive my car and sleep in a comfortable bed between sheets. He said, “I come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” My life was more abundant because of my 40 hour confinement.

    Don’t give up because God doesn’t answer your prayers in your time frame. God’s timing is not ours. He is neither ahead or behind: he is always on time. Although I waited 40 hours, I wasn’t mad at God. I knew God was the solution, not the problem! If anyone is wondering if God is real, have no doubt.

    Did I mention my insurance policy? It covered me even when I was in the bathtub. My insurance agent is Jesus Christ. I have full coverage and it cost me nothing. He paid the premium in full over 2000 years ago when He died on the cross. If you don’t have this type of insurance policy, please consider talking to my insurance agent. His phone number is 1 800 P-R-A-Y-E-R.

    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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  • 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
    • 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