Week 12 March 18-24, 2018

There is no word in the English language that is more misunderstood than the word “love.”

While other languages use multiple terms to describe different degrees of love, in English we use the same four-letter word to describe how we feel about our family members as we do about our favorite flavor of ice cream.

So, when the Bible commands us to love God, we need to consider what type of love is being required of us.

In Deuteronomy 6:4-5, we learn through Moses that God calls His people to love Him with the highest degree of devotion that is humanly possible. As Moses proclaims, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

In just these two verses (known in Hebrew as “The Shema” which means “Hear”), Moses not only restates the exclusive identity of the one true God, he also reveals the only proper way to love this one true God: By Dedicating every area of our human experience to expressing our deepest level of commitment and affection towards our Creator, as one continual act of worship.

To illustrate how we can offer this type of devotion, Moses mentions three areas of our human DNA that we must exhaustively use to express our love for the Lord: Our heart, our soul, and our might. These three areas are used interchangeably to point to the very core of our being and challenge us to pour out all of our passion, energy, and strength, towards making God the sole focus of our existence.

But how exactly do we use our passion, energy, and strength on a daily basis to love and worship God? Thankfully, Moses continues throughout the book of Deuteronomy to give God’s people numerous examples of what this type of love looks like tangibly. He reveals that if we love God with all of our heart, soul, and might, we will… Learn, obey, teach, and remember God’s commandments (6:6-9, 10:13, 11:22, 19:9, 30:16); Reverently fear God’s holiness and power (10:12); Walk daily in God’s ways (10:12, 11:22, 19:9, 30:16); Sacrificially serve God (10:12, 11:13); Hold fast to God’s presence in all situations (11:22, 30:20); and Listen closely to hear and obey God’s voice (11:13, 30:20).

If we evaluate these areas, we would all be quick to admit that we have not fully loved God with our entire heart, soul, or might. This is why we need the saving work of Jesus Christ and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in our lives to help us.

Christ is our Savior who declares us righteous because He exchanged our flawed love with His perfect love on the cross at Calvary. The Holy Spirit is our Transformer who cleanses us and enables us to actually begin loving God with the type of passion, energy and strength that meets the standard of righteousness we have already been declared. Our responsibility is simply to repent of sin, confess that we have not loved God with our whole hearts, and then ask the Spirit of God to change our desires and ability to focus squarely on Him.  

So, take a closer look at where your passion, energy, and strength is being poured out the most today and ask yourself, “What do I need to love less so that I can love God more?”

A Longing to Love the Lord

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We are Not Worthy

There is an interesting lesson in worthiness found in the story of the Roman centurion in Luke 7:1-10. In verse 4, the disciples tell Jesus that the centurion is worthy to have his servant healed because he loves Israel and helped built the synagogue. But in verses 6-7, the centurion declares the exact opposite to Jesus. He says, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.” It was in truly understanding his unworthiness before God that Jesus concluded in verse 9, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”

Giving God Our Word

God expects His people to be true to their word at all times. This is especially true in the vows we make to Him. Deuteronomy 23:21 says, “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and you will be guilty of sin.” The passage goes on to reveal that we are not required to make any vows and would be better off just living in faithful obedience. As Jesus says in Matthew 5:37, Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

A Lord Who Listens

David’s focus throughout the Psalms is not primarily on what he is praying for, but instead on a God who actually hears his prayers. In Psalm 5:1-3 David cries out, “Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice.” Ironically, just one psalm later in Psalm 6:8-9, David’s pleas are transformed into praise when he states, “…the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer.”

Tips to Keep You on Track


          The readings this week will take you into “The Promised Land” as you begin studying Israel’s conquest of Canaan in the first few chapters of Joshua. As you read this account, notice how many times God reminds Israel not to fear their enemies but to be “strong and courageous.” This is because it was a constant temptation for the Israelites to look at the size and power of their adversary and run away in terror. They often forgot that God’s power was made perfect in their weakness, and that He alone was the source of all their victories. This is also true in our lives as Christians. God’s grace works in and through us as His adopted children to accomplish His sovereign purposes. So, let God’s words to Israel be a daily reminder to you as you study Joshua that God is not impressed with your ability but simply wants your trust and obedience.  

Week 13 Readings:  March 25 - 31

-Day One:  Deuteronomy 27-31; Luke 12

-Day Two:  Deuteronomy 32-34; Psalm 13; Luke 13

-Day Three:  Joshua 1-4; Psalm 143; Luke 14

-Day Four:  Joshua 5-8; Psalm 14; Luke 15

-Day Five:  Joshua 9-13; Luke 16