Posted in Sermon Sunday

July 8 2018

Deuteronomy 6:5

Leviticus 19:18

Matthew 22:37-40

In Matthew 22:37-40, and it’s parallel verses, Jesus sums up all of the Old Testament laws with just two Great Commandments. This is impressive because there are 613 Old Testament Laws. All of these laws have been summed up to love. Which I think we do lose a bit in translation with these two commandments. If you look at the Greek, Jesus says, “You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind” and “you will love your neighbor as yourself.” We’re not given an option here. Jesus is literally commanding us, yet we treat them as options sometimes.

So let’s dive into the commandments a bit more. “You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Let’s start with all your heart since that is the easier part. When we think of love we think of something dear to our hearts; family, friends, pets. Here we are told to love God with all of our hearts. Not just a piece. Now I know I said this is the easy part and you are all sitting there going I already don’t have enough of my heart to go around. Well… just wait.

Next we have, “You will love the Lord your God with all your soul.” I think we lose a bit in translation here too. The Greek word is psyche which means life. And not just the fact that you’re alive, but with everything that is your life. The job you have should be done loving God. The relationships you have should be aiding in your love towards God. The free time you may or may not have should be spent living God. You should be living your life loving God in preparation for spending eternity praising God.

Alright, so now you know that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul. Next we will love with our whole mind. This one word, mind, covers the rest. Mind is our words, our thoughts, our knowledge, and our imagination. All we say, think and know should be loving God. To sum this all up, every piece of our heart, everything we do, all we say and all we think should be done by loving God. This should be easy right? I mean look at the God we serve! He is worthy of all that. Yet, we get busy, our mind wanders, and we are all human. However, we can only love because God first loved us. Therefore as long as we are striving to love God with all we are and strive to be in a constant relationship with God then God is pleased. It’s when we begin to wander away, when we begin to place things before God, that God gets sadden with our absence. But He never stops loving us. We aren’t perfect and God doesn’t expect us to be.

All of that and we haven’t even got to the second commandment yet. Take a deep breath. Are you ready? The second is like it, you will love your neighbor as yourself. This too is multifaceted. Who is our neighbor? Que the story of the great Samaritan. We are to love the least, the last, the lost, and everyone else as our neighbors and therefore as ourselves. Now this leaves room for one tricky excuse. I don’t love myself much so I don’t have to love others much. Sadly, we hear this more often than we should. If you struggle with this, Think of the love God has for you, but overflowing, never ending love. What God sees in you is what you should see in you. Then you should see that and everyone else is well. God loves everyone, and that is your neighbor is. If you think about it the second commandment falls under the first one since it is an action of love and God by loving others. So, why would you just choose to state it as well? He chose to state this just to show how important it is to love others especially when it’s just plain easier not to sometimes.

I just recently saw church sign that said, “God loves me God loves you let’s love each other.” The first time I saw I just kind of dismissed it, but then it kept coming back to me. And since it was on my path from Tyrone to Morrisdale, I saw an awful lot. Then I began to realize that this commandment really is just as simple as the church sign makes it look. If God loves your neighbor just as much as He loves you, why shouldn’t you love your neighbor? That was the question I had for my weekly devotion and I would really recommend doing the same thing yourselves.

Either way, challenge yourself to begin fulfilling these commandments the new ways. Maybe that’s a new spiritual practice to grow closer to God. Maybe it’s reaching out to new people in your community. Maybe they’re trying to compliment someone everyday. Whatever it maybe love. Love with all you are. Love with all you do. Not only will your relationships here on earth begin the blossom, they are relationship with God will grow expeditiously as well. You could even say Jesus knew what he was talking about.

Let us pray:

God we thank you for loving us no matter what, 24 seven, no exceptions. We thank you for sending your son to pay for the way and even die, so we may live with you eternally. We thank you that the Holy Spirit resides in each of us, so we may begin to love as you love. Grant us the ability to open our hearts, souls, and minds to love more. Then open our eyes to see your neighbors the way you do, Lord. May we honor you and all that we do amen!

Posted in Devotion

Who do you say I am?

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” -Matthew 16:16

Take a second. Flip to Matthew 16 and read 16:13-20. This is a powerful piece of scripture. Jesus is asking those closest to Him if they have learned anything from Him. This is a huge test of His teachings. We are thrown this question everyday. We say we’re nervous about something and someone asks us, “don’t you believe in Jesus?” What they’re saying is, “Who is Jesus to you?” This is a question we should be asking ourselves daily. Jesus is our Savior, the Son of God. Lord of Lords.

Is this who Jesus is to you? Do you have a special title for Jesus?

Don’t let your battle with anxiety cause you to stumble answering this question. Jesus doesn’t leave you in your time of doubt, so don’t leave Him either. When others face you with this question, answer it with pride.

So, Who is Jesus to you?

© 2018 Kiersten Smeal

Posted in Motivational Monday

You are Worth it!

We all have those days that we just don’t feel worth it. Why would God die for us? Why would God choose to save us? What makes us worth it?

The good news is that God died for us while none of us were worth it. That is just how much I love that God has for me and for you. So the next time that you don’t feel worth it, please remember that God’s love for you is not based on your work it’s based on his love and that is never ending.

God bless! Have a great week!

Posted in Devotion

Sabbath Time

The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. -Mark 2:27

Do you take a Sabbath? A day doing things you enjoy? Maybe just a few hours is all you can do.

If you answered no, then why not? We were not made for non-stop lives. We were made to stop, pause, and take some time for ourselves. God gifted us the Sabbath, so why are you rejecting it?

You may be thinking, “I am way too busy, I don’t have time for the Sabbath.” A Sabbath doesn’t have to be a full 24-hour period of time. It could be waking up an hour early to have some you time. Maybe it’s staying up an hour later. Any period of time you take for you is a Sabbath.

Another reason many don’t take a sabbath is because they feel selfish. Please don’t. See it as excepting a gift from God. If man were made for a sabbath maybe I could see feeling selfish, but the sabbath was made for man. God made the Sabbath for you!

So, next time you feel caught up in the business of life, an anxious period of time, or a stressful week, stop. Take a moment for you. Pick up that magazine that’s been sitting around for months. Eat a meal outside. Lay on the floor and just breathe. Whatever it may be, take the time for you. You will be glad you did!

A Sabbath Prayer:

Lord, the sabbath was made for man. It is a great gift that we usually reject. Please help me accept the gift of the Sabbath in my life Lord. Help me take time for me, so I can be better in my relationship with You and with others. Thank you for the Sabbath Lord. Amen.

© 2018 Kiersten Smeal

Posted in Devotion

Beautiful People

When we think of someone suffering, we tend to automatically assume sadness and grief for that person. We tend to overlook the joy they are portraying in Christ. We tend to overlook how people overcome their suffering to be who Jesus wants them to be. The potential God sees in us.

When we see a person with a background of suffering and a joyful presence, what do we think? Are we those people?

What if I told you these people were beautiful people? Would you believe me? I think Jesus says this loud and clear when He communes with these exact people.

Beautiful people see beautiful people. -Caroline Barsom

We are able to spot beautiful people because we are beautiful people. Isn’t that great? I want you to remember that YOU are beautiful!

Beautiful people teach us how to be real. How to use our past to be more Christ-like in our present.

Do you know beautiful people? In what ways have they taught you to be real?

© 2018 Kiersten Smeal

Posted in Motivational Monday

Let your Light Shine

We are all broken. That’s how the light gets in. -Ernest Hemingway

We always think of ourselves as broken human beings. That there is something wrong with us. What if I told you that it is a blessing to be broken?

God’s light shines within us. If we are broken, then the light is able to shine out for others to see.

By pretending to be perfect, we build walls that block God’s light. Embrace your brokenness. Embrace shining the light of God.

Have a great week everyone! ❤️

Posted in Devotion

Jesus Gets It

Last week we read about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. We are going to stick with Jesus this week also.

Jesus dying for us on the cross is amazing enough right? Well, it gets better. Jesus resurrected from the dead. Jesus suffers anxiety just like us. He knows our pain. He walked the earth just like us.

Therefore, when we feel we have no one to go to, we have the best person to go to. Take it to Jesus. Please note I am not saying to pray and it will all go away. I am saying that Jesus understands when no one else does. Jesus listens when no one else is around. Jesus loves you when it feels like no one else does.

Jesus doesn’t want to see us suffering. In a perfect world, there would be no suffering. However, we live in a fallen world where even Jesus suffered. Jesus suffered to save the world. Are we suffering just to suffer, or are we suffering to save someone else?

How has your suffering helped another person whom was suffering?

Blessings on your week! ❤️

© 2018 Kiersten Smeal