Tag: loving God

Running to win!

Scripture reading for August 15th: 1st Corinthians 9:20-10:14

Paul’s sole motive was to win the most people as possible.  He had purposely not taken support from those he ministered to in order to win more of them.  Next he told of his strategy to continue to reap a big harvest.  He was not just doing things to be busy, but had a plan he was working on!

To the Jews, I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.  To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so as to win those under the law.  To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.  I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (1st Corinthians 9:20-23)

Paul loved God and loved God’s people.  He was open to live his life in a way that would have maximum impact on the most people possible.  In order to reach people, we must relate to people.  For the sake of the Gospel, we can lay aside some of our liberties and identify with those who are weak or struggling.  In doing so, we can preach and speak into their lives.

He viewed his life like a race in which he was running to get a prize.  In the athletic contests of that day, many runners ran to get a crown of flowers that would soon fade away.  But in the race for souls to enter the kingdom of heaven, the crown was permanent!  (1st Corinthians 9:24-25)  Paul disciplined himself and brought his mind and body into obedience in order to accomplish his task of reaching the Gentiles.  He was focused on this task and did not want to be disqualified for failing to finish the race!

How is your focus on finishing your spiritual race?  Are you aware of the eternal prize awaiting those who finish well?   Are you disciplining your body and mind to focus on the task ahead?  The eternal crown awaits all who finish in faith!

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Law of Love!

Scripture reading for February 23th: Deuteronomy 5-7

Moses preached a second message to the children of Israel in the year before he died.  This message began in Deuteronomy 5 and goes through chapter 26.  You might say that Moses was a long-winded preacher, but he had learned much about God through his experience of leading the people and falling face-down before the Lord.  He wanted to impress the basics on these who would go in to possess the promised land so that they would be prosperous and successful in their walk with God.

Moses began his message by calling for Israel to “hear”.  Faith comes by hearing the word of God. (Romans 10:17)  They first needed to “hear” that what happened in the past at Mt. Sinai was not just for their dead ancestors, but for them!  (Deuteronomy 5:1-4)  When we read or hear the word of God, our hearts need to be open to “hear” with the idea that God is speaking to us as well.  We are descendants of  Israel by faith in Jesus Christ! (Romans 11:17-18)

Moses then restated the ten commandments.  The only major change from 40 years earlier was his commentary on the fourth commandment, Sabbath keeping.  Here he emphasized keeping the Sabbath to remember their deliverance from Egypt.  (Deuteronomy 5:12-15)  In the Exodus account, Moses had emphasized creation’s pattern where God worked six days and then rested on the seventh. (Exodus 20:8-11)

After restating the Law, Moses gave them further insight.  “Hear O Israel:  The Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

The law of God is all about love because God is love.  If we love God, we will obey Him from our heart!  (1st John 4:16)  Jesus Christ repeated this in summarizing the greatest commandment: “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.” (Matthew 22:37-38)

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