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Devotion: Loving and Serving God

I don’t know how many times I’ve read the Bible cover to cover. I listen to it in the morning when I walk/run. I read and study it. I’m the type of person that starts digging through my Bible during sermons or Bible studies because something said sparked a thought that required looking something up, that leads me to look up something else, etc. Even though I’ve done so much study for years and years, but I had a new revelation last week.

Don’t you just love it when God does that?

Here it is:

Deuteronomy 6:5 tells us what God’s greatest commandment is (Jesus affirmed this in Matthew):

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

LOVE God with ALL your heart and ALL your soul.

Got it?

Now, Deuteronomy 10:12-13 says:

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?

This says we’re supposed to SERVE God with ALL our heart and with ALL our soul!
We’re to LOVE God and SERVE God with the SAME PASSION!!

I love this so much.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

God’s grace is what allows me to claim victory over sin and be a true follower of Christ. HOWEVER, more is expected. I can’t just sit back and take the grace and never act.

Acts 16:31 tells us that if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will be saved. But, the word believe is the same word as the word OBEY. The Greek word is pisteuō – and it means both believe AND obey. Christ told us to obey His commandments, and claimed the greatest commandment was to love the Lord God with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.

And we learn that LOVING God is to be the same as SERVING God.

James 2:14-26 makes it clear that FAITH without WORKS means NOTHING.

I think what I realized reading Deuteronomy last night is that LOVE for God without SERVING God goes totally hand in had with FAITH and WORKS.

Exciting stuff!!

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Today’s Word of Promise

galatiansMany days a week, I do a 4-mile aerobic walk. It takes me one hour. I listen to my Word of Promise Bible while I walk.

Today I listened to the entire book of Galatians.

The part that stood out to me in that passage is this:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

I’m focusing today on the verb “IS”. Do you know what “IS” is? Well, sure, it’s a lot of things. But for this specific post, it’s SINGULAR. That’s right, the verses do not say that the fruits of the Spirit are. What they say is that the fruit of the Spirit is. That means that if you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then you can count on a well of love, joy, peace, longsuffering (read: patience), goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

They’re right there for you. One big singular package just ready for you to unopen it and embrace it.

May God bless you and bless your day. Find a word of God speak to you today.
halleeLOGOspinefinal


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Today’s Word of Promise

actsMany days a week, I do a 4-mile aerobic walk. It takes me one hour. I listen to my Word of Promise Bible while I walk.

Today I listened to Acts 17 – Acts 28.

The part that stood out to me in that passage is this:

And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; 24 and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” 25 He wrote a letter in the following manner:

26 Claudius Lysias,

To the most excellent governor Felix:

Greetings.

27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them. Coming with the troops I rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 28 And when I wanted to know the reason they accused him, I brought him before their council. 29 I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains. 30 And when it was told me that the Jews lay in wait for the man,I sent him immediately to you, and also commanded his accusers to state before you the charges against him.

Farewell. ~Acts 23:24-30

I have always imagined that the government in the time of the New Testament was corrupt. I think it stems from the fact that Jesus, a man without sin, was crucified so terribly — in my mind, only a corrupt system could have that be so.

However, while it’s not necessarily “moral” to the way that our society operates today (and I use the term moral in conjunction with our society loosely), it was absolutely NOT corrupt. It’s fascinating to me the lengths that were taken to protect Paul – a Jew – because he was a Roman citizen. He was about to be beaten when Paul revealed his nationality – and in a day and age without recordings and video evidence, they could have easily beaten him, killed him, and covered it all up because was a Sadducee in the Jewish faith. Instead, they immediately halted anything against him until they could investigate who he was and what he was.

In the meantime, the Jewish leaders sought to kill him. Rather than just letting it happen and washing their hands of this whole religious feud between the followers of Christ and the Jewish leaders, they took great pains to keep Paul safe and transport him out of the area for his protection.

When I listened to this, the lack of corruption both surprised me and impressed me.

May God bless you and bless your day. Find a word of God speak to you today.

Hallee


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Today’s Word of Promise

actsEveryday, I do a 4-mile aerobic walk. It takes me one hour. I listen to my Word of Promise Bible while I walk.

Today I listened to Acts 9 – Acts Acts 17.

The part that stood out to me in that passage is this:

The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”

And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. Acts 10:9-16

Almost certainly, whenever we explain our choice to follow a Biblical diet, someone brings up Peter’s vision. However, this vision has nothing to do with food. In fact, Peter himself knew that. While he was having this vision, Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian regiment, had a delegation on their way to where Peter was staying. These were not Jews, and it was unlawful for a Jew to “keep company with” someone who was not Jewish. However, these men explained that an angel of the Lord told Cornelius to send for Peter. So, he put the men up for the night, and the next day went with them to see Cornelius.

When Peter met Cornelius, he said:

Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Peter’s dream was showing him that God could sanctify and cleanse any MAN.

So, if you want to argue about whether God has approved those country hams for Sunday after church consumption, this isn’t the passage you ought to use. If you want a passage to use, it’s better to use Acts 15. There was a church in Jerusalem that was preaching that Gentiles had to be circumcised and follow the law of Moses in order to be saved. So, Peter and other church leaders met and held a council to determine how to handle this situation, because the Gentiles were coming to Christ in huge numbers. They determined that:

They wrote this letter by them:

The apostles, the elders, and the brethren,

To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

Greetings.

Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law” —to whom we gave no such commandment— it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.

Farewell. ~Acts 15:23-29

So, there you go. If you’re a Gentile, and that country ham wasn’t sacrificed to an idol, it isn’t a sin to eat it.

But that doesn’t make the meat clean. Or healthy. Or pleasing to God.

May God bless you and bless your day. Find a word of God speak to you today.

halleeLOGOspinefinal


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Today’s Word of Promise

actsEveryday, I do a 4-mile aerobic walk. It takes me one hour. I listen to my Word of Promise Bible while I walk.

Today I listened to Acts 3 – Acts Acts 9.

The part that stood out to me in that passage is this:

 

Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. Acts 4:34-35

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. Acts 5:1-5

Our modern church does not operate like the church in Acts 4. Church goers do not sell all of their possessions and give it all to the church to distribute to those who have need. Instead, church goers work with the intent of achieving possession and status within the community – and oftentimes pay taxes with the idea that the government should distribute to those in need.

I’m not a big fan of this. I’d LOVE to see a modern church that has a congregation full of Christ worshiping believers who give everything they have. Unfortunately, in today’s society, that would probably be considered a cult.

All that said, here and operating in modern times with a modern church, the part I want to look at is Ananias and Sapphira.

What do you think he did wrong? Why was he killed by God?

I don’t think it was due to greed. I think it’s because he didn’t believe in the omniscient divinity of God. I think he thought if he did something in the darkness, it wouldn’t be shown in the light. I think he thought he could get away with lying TO God. I think that’s why he was killed.

Examine your life and your heart. Is there something being done in the dark that you don’t think will see the light? Remember: God is all present and all knowing. He’s here. He’s there. Trust Him and love Him. There’s no need for lying, conniving, bad business practices – no need for any of that when you lay it all at the feet of Jesus.

May God bless you and bless your day. Find a word of God speak to you today.

halleeLOGOspinefinal


I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
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Today’s Word of Promise

actsEveryday, I do a 4-mile aerobic walk. It takes me one hour. I listen to my Word of Promise Bible while I walk.

Today I listened to John 18-Acts 2.

The part that stood out to me in that passage is this:

 

And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved. Acts 2:21

This was Peter preaching the word brought to Israel by the prophet Joel. What Peter was saying was that Jesus Christ was the Lord to whom Joel referred.

Whoever calls on the name of Jesus Christ – Yeshua – יֵשׁוּעַ , will be saved.

Saved from what? Saved from the righteous judgement of God in the wake of our human sinful ways. As it is said in John, “For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Jesus, Yeshua, stands in for us so that we no longer fall short but rise up to Him.

May God bless you and bless your day. Find a word of God speak to you today.
halleeLOGOspinefinal


I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


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