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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    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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    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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  • ©2020 Thomas E Williams

  • 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

    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)
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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    • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives
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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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    • 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.
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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.
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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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    Fall – Forgiveness

    Fall – Forgiveness

    Ephesians 1:3-7

    Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer. Before the creation of the world, he chose us through Christ to be holy and perfect in his presence. Because of his love he had already decided to adopt us through Jesus Christ. He freely chose to do this so that the kindness he had given us in his dear Son would be praised and given glory. Through the blood of his Son, we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of his overflowing kindness.

    As a father, I have at times, separated myself from my children because of their disobedience. I’ve given them a “time out” or sent them to their room until they were ready to once again follow the rules of the family. At no point during this separation did I stop loving them. And a way was always made for their return.

    What a loving God we serve! Since before creation He planned for us to be his children. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, their sin covered them so that they could no longer stand in the presence of God. God, in his justice, put a separation between himself and humankind. In His mercy he made a plan to bring his fallen children back into his loving embrace. Through Christ, He adopted us and returned us to the family.

    Prayer

    God thank you for loving us enough to correct us. Thank you for forgiving us. Thank you for making a way back to you. Thank you that we can once again call you our Father.

    Amen.

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    Choose Your Day

    Proverbs 15:15
    Every day is a terrible day for a miserable person, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.


    Are you the type of person who wakes up and says, “Good lord, it’s morning” or do you wake and say, “Good morning, Lord”?  

    A terrible day begins within the first few minutes … and so does a great day. You have a choice to let your attitude set the tone of the day or let the day set the tone of your attitude.

    A moment spent in a prayer of thanksgiving, counting your blessings will change your day. Can’t think of anything for which to give thanks? Start with the fact that you woke up.

    Be thankful for the sleep you’ve had. Be thankful for the air you breathe, the water you drink, the ground you walk on. Once you start in an attitude of being thankful for things you have taken for granted, you will begin to open your eyes for other things over which to rejoice.

    Prayer
    Lord, give me eyes to see even the smallest of blessings. Give me a cheerful heart, Lord. Amen.

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    Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving

    Philippians 4:4-7

    Always be joyful in the Lord! I’ll say it again: Be joyful! Let everyone know how considerate you are. The Lord is near. Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.

    Thanksgiving

    Today in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving. For most it will be a time to gather with family and friends around a shared meal. It is a time to be thankful. For some of us (I hope the majority of us) we give Thanks to God, our Creator, Savior, and Sustainer for the myriad of blessings bestowed.

    Prayer

    I pray that God’s Holy Spirit fill our gatherings with God’s love and peace.
    Amen.

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    Come, Lord Jesus.

    Revelation 22:16-17
    “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

    The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.


    What an invitation!

    I have told you before that I’m not a fan of prophecy. I have not been given the gift of deciphering the symbols and allegorical illustrations. I’ve read through the Revelation of John many times, seeking the truth. All I know is that there will come an end to this world as we know it. At that time, every person who has ever lived, will be judged for their belief, faith, and actions. Some will be welcomed to a life eternal in the presence of God. Some will be forever cut off from God.

    Having given that disclaimer of any prophetic insight, I do understand this gem of invitation found near the end of the book. It is an open invitation for all to come and share in the promises proclaimed by prophets, poets, and the Lord Jesus himself, throughout the holy scriptures.

    That is enough of an understanding for me to praise God and say, “Come, Lord Jesus, come.”

    Prayer
    Lord, I know that is your perfect will that none should perish. I believe that you are holding the end time until all have been given a chance to accept or deny your gift. The people of this world are connected to information in a way never before possible. So I  believe that your return will be soon. Come, Lord,come!
    Amen.

    Death Has No Hold on Us

    Hebrews 2:14-18

    Therefore, because children have a common flesh and blood, he 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, and so that he might free those who, through the fear of death, had been condemned to servitude throughout their entire life. For at no time did he take hold of the Angels, but instead he took hold of the offspring of Abraham. 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. For in as much as he himself has suffered and has been tempted, he also is able to assist those who are tempted.

    Death Has No Hold on Us

    We humans are all God’s children. And we have feared death because the devil has used lies and trickery to make us believe that death is the end of life.

    However, Christ became human in order that, by his death and resurrection, he might take the power of fear away from the devil by exposing that lie. Death is not the end of life. It is only a doorway into eternal life for we who trust God as Abraham did.

    Prayer:

    We, your children, often fear the unknown and death has always been the greatest unknown. Thank you, Lord, that you have not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7) You have given us the assurance of a glorified life with you for all eternity. We will sing praises to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

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  • Tough Love

    2 Thessalonians 3:14-15

    Take note of those who do not obey what we say in this letter; have nothing to do with them, so that they may be ashamed.  Do not regard them as enemies, but warn them as believers.

    Tough love

    Paul was advising his readers to apply tough love to those believers who were not following his commandments. It reminds me of being a parent. You love your children and want to be their friend and play with them. But at the same time, you have a duty to train them up to be responsible adults who contribute to society rather than a drain on their community..

    In like manner, the more mature in Christ must take a leadership role in guiding and strengthening those weaker in the faith. And sometimes that means not being their “buddy,” but being their true friend and warning then of their errors.

    Prayer:

    Holy Spirit, be my guide. When I all weak let me take good instruction from the strong. When I am strong, help me, in love, lift the weak among us.

    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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