Scripture Challenge: Matthew 22:37-39

It’s been a while since I posted something on here and I now that i finally have the time to do it, I’m coming up short on what to write about. I thought I’d give another scripture challenge a try. Ironically, I’m pretty sure this particular verse was read this past weekend at church. 

Here’s today’s scripture off Bible Gateway: 

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39NIV

 

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

To really understand this I decided to take a look at the 22nd chapter of Matthew a little closer. I wanted to know to whom it was Jesus was talking. As it turns out Jesus was speaking to the Sadducees. Since I’m not particularly strong in biblical history I decided to google these people. According to wikipedia, the Sadducees are a sect of Jews who were in charge of maintaining the temple. It also appears that they were of a higher and more prestigious socio-economic class. 

Jesus was prompted by one of the Sadducees to tell him what the greatest commandment of all was. The above was his response. But what does it really mean? Love your Lord your God with all your heart, means not to be a Sunday Christian. It means to love the Lord so much that each and every act is done with him in mind. On a personal level I equate it to the way that I consider my husband before I make household decisions. It’s easy to consider him because he is a physical presence in my life. What the first part of this reading is saying though, is to love God in that same way. Do things because they are what God would want. Do things because the being that loves you most in this world would want it that way. 

The verse goes on to say to love the Lord your God with all your soul. This is a harder one personally to quantify. What does it mean to do something with all your soul. To figure out what this meant I took to google. (What a handy little friend!). After looking at a few blogs it turns out that people distinguish loving with your soul from your heart by noting that your soul is a matter of devotion, your heart is a matter of affection. I consider my husbands wishes each day because I love him, the same way I suggested in the previous paragraph that I need to make decisions by asking myself if it was what the God who loves me would want. In this case though, it become a matter of doing things because you’ve made the commitment to do so. When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior you undoubtedly make a commitment to God. At some points it’s going to be hard to keep, but loving him with all your soul means that you do it anyway. I imagine a situation where God is challenging you. Maybe he’s telling you that you need to be kind or helpful to someone whom you have absolutely no desire to be kind and helpful to. When you love your Lord with all your soul, you do it anyway. Because pleasing him is more than a matter of love, it’s a matter of devotion. You do it because it is what He wants. 

The final part of the triad is to love the lord with all your mind. I’ll be honest, I had to take to google again and read the thoughts of some others here. I believe what the reading means when it says to love God with all your mind it means to think on the words of the bible daily. Share the words of the bible daily. Share your faith and beliefs with others. Loving the Lord with all your mind means to be cognisant of Him in all that you do. 

Then Jesus declares, This is the first and the greatest commandment of them all.

Jesus probably says this to emphasize the importance of this commandment. While it is important to follow the other teachings, it feels as if He is saying that if we cannot do this, we will some how be following the rest in vain. We need to obey this first commandment, so that we can have any hope of obeying the rest.

Finally, Jesus says, ‘And the second is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The interpretation of the last part of this reading is easy enough to understand. It’s been taught to most people since they were a child. Basically, treat others the way you want to be treated. But this is one that falls severely short in practice. It is one thing to be kind to another person. As a people-pleaser I find kindness towards other normally pretty easy. The problem is, the verse doesn’t actually say “treat others as you’d like to be treated”, it says love your neighbor as yourself. I believe this to mean that at a much deeper level we need to treat others with love. Love encompasses such features as patience, forgiveness, understanding, empathy, and kindness. This is very hard to do. And I believe that this in many ways is where loving God with all your mind comes into play. Some times loving your  neighbor is going to require a constant thought of God, and how he would want you to treat them.

This is just my few thoughts on the daily verse off biblegateway.com. I hope I did the verses justice and that somewhere, someone gains something from my consideration of the verse. God Bless!

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Girlfriends

Yesterday at work I had the thought that I wanted to do something special for my office Valentines, who are true friends even outside the office. I’d kind of been mulling the idea of a “Happy Thoughts” jar because we sometimes have a group text where we can whine about our day without fear of judgement and where we also try and cheer/lift each other up. I went to Pinterest sure that they’d have some sort of template but they didn’t really. I did see a ton of those write down a memory each day jars. So here is what I did.

ImageFirst, I traced the outline of the lid for a mason jar I picked up at target. I cut out that circle and then I actually put it inside the metal ring and traced it again. The first circle cut off words. Then I wrote out the poem pictured above. I can’t take credit for that I saw it on another blog but it was so perfect I used it for my own!

Then I took about an hour each girl and wrote out cute little messages on pieces of colored card stock. At first I was going to do a lot of cute quotes but since my jar was kind of small and I was using smaller sheets of paper and didn’t want to have to try and write really tiny I did shorter and more simple things. Some of the things I used were:

  • Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy shoes and that’s kind of the same thing.
  • You are BLESSED.
  • This too shall pass.
  • You are loved.
  • My life is better for having had you in it. 

You can use bible verses, cute jokes, inspirational quotes, happy memories, whatever you want, those are just a few of the ones I used because I know I was having trouble getting started. 

I kept them pretty simple and sweet and tried to make them pertain to the girl who was receiving it. Here is a picture of the final product!

Image

 

To try and dress it up just a tiny bit I used that multicolored Valentine’s day string that I found at Target and slipped a pink heart through a piece of it to ask them if they’d be my Valentine. I haven’t given them out yet (it’s only 6am) but I am hoping they will love them!

 

Scripture Challenge

Part of being a Christian is reading the bible and learning how to work the messages and lessons into your every day life. After reading a friend’s blog post (http://lamerediaries.blogspot.com) I decided to try something new. I went to Bible Gateway to read their Daily Verse (most websites have them, and I know my YouVersion App has one).

Today’s verse is oddly one of the most over-used and cliched verses out there. It reads the following:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV

So what can I take away from this message to make my life better and more fulfilling here on earth? I take the following lessons.

Love is patient. I need to remember that everyone has lived a different life than mine. Just because something makes sense to me or just because I would do things some way doesn’t mean that another persons choices are wrong. I need to be patient with others (as I would want them to be with me). 

Love is kind. Love means not holding or saying a bad word against people. This is very hard for me. I like to tell people what is wrong with my day or how I’ve been wronged (“Can you believe the person who I’m working with showed up an HOUR late today?”). The problem with that is that if you focus on the negative you’ll only see the negative. Also, being mad at someone or thinking not kind things is only going to negatively affect the way I’m feeling.

It does not boast. I’m generally not a boastful person so this is fairly easy for me to understand and apply. Basically, do not brag or show off the wonderful things in your life. Be happy, express your happiness. However, do not do it in an attempt to make other people feel inferior about what they have.

It does not dishonor others. Love in some ways can apply to the work you do or even the strangers you meet in every day life. Do not dishonor others means treat everyone with respect and as Jesus would have. There’s an expression somewhere along the lines of Be the Christian Message you want people to see. I know that’s not exactly what it says but basically act in such a Christian way that people who are new to the faith don’t need a bible to know what Jesus teaches.

It is not self-seeking. The Bible tells us to act in a way that will honor and please God. It is important for me, and everyone, to remember that when you make decisions in your life you need to make them bearing in mind what God would want you to do, not what you would want to do. If you don’t know how to react in a certain circumstance, you can always go ask God for guidance.

It is not easily angered. This is similar to patience. Be appeasing and don’t look for reasons to find fault in others. The expression “Be slow to anger and quick to forgive” is one that echos the sentiment of this phrase.

It keeps no record of wrongs. This goes back to something I read in Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” she says she built a better marriage on the concept of quitting with the score cards. Love isn’t about who has done what for whom, or who messed up and how. Forgiveness means just that, forgiveness. If the Heavenly Father is not keeping tabs on each and every sin you commit (thank goodness the list would certainly be long) then why should you treat others, especially those that you love, the same way.

What do you think? What practices do you use to help you become and stay a better Christian?