You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37
Facebook announced it is funding research on a project to read the human mind—a machine that can pick up your thoughts directly from your neurons and translate them into words. The aim, said the company, is to allow us to control our digital devices by the power of thought.
Everything about that is troubling. But use this news to examine yourself. If someone could pick up and translate your thoughts into words, how many of those words would be Scripture? Would your sinister eavesdropper hear the Gospel circulating through your thoughts? Would they hear “Let not your heart be troubled…. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…. We know that all things work together for good…. For God so loved the world…. Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (John 14:1; Psalm 46:1; Romans 8:28; John 3:16; Proverbs 3:5)?
When we become Christians, the truth of God should be utmost in our thoughts as we love Him with all our mind. One way of measuring that is how often Scripture is cycling through our thoughts, leading us to praise and adoration.
Finding ‘the One,’ and Keeping Them – Song of Solomon 1:9; 2:4; Matthew 22:37-40 – Nate Heitizg
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love. 2 John 1:3
The Roman inns during the time of Christ had a reputation so bad that rabbis wouldn’t even permit cattle to be left at them. Faced with such bad conditions, traveling Christians usually sought out other believers for hospitality.
Among those early travelers were false teachers who denied that Jesus was the Messiah. This is why the letter of 2 John tells its readers there is a time to refuse to extend hospitality. John had said in a previous letter that these false teachers were “antichrist—denying the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). In 2 John he elaborated on this, telling his readers that whoever believes Jesus is the Messiah “has both the Father and the Son” (v. 9).
Then he warned, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them” (v. 10). To extend hospitality to someone preaching a false gospel would actually help keep people separated from God.
John’s second letter shows us a “flip side” of God’s love. We serve a God who welcomes everyone with open arms. But genuine love won’t enable those who deceitfully harm themselves and others. God wraps His arms around those who come to Him in repentance, but He never embraces a lie.
Reflect & Pray
How can you reflect God’s love in your relationships today? What issues might you need to confront in your own life or in the lives of others?
Father, You love us in Your truth. Help us extend that love to others with the unwavering grace that comes only from Your Spirit.
Heaven is the believer’s future home, and we’ve all wondered what it’s like. But the Bible gives us only a glimpse. Even if God revealed more in Scripture, we’d be incapable of comprehending it. As earthly creatures, we lack the experience or frame of reference needed to understand the eternal realities of that dimension.
Desiring to know more about heaven, some people have sought information outside of the Bible, often in books written by people who claim to have gone there. However, the only legitimate source of facts about heaven is God’s Word—nothing else can be depended upon to have a sure foundation in truth.
When Paul was caught up to the third heaven, he “heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak” (2 Corinthians 12:4). None of his letters include any details of his experience. God also entrusted the apostle John with a vision of heaven, but human language is inadequate to convey the realities of that otherworldly realm.
Although we may not be able to visualize everything John describes, we can all relate to what he says about those things that are absent in heaven: There will be no more tears, death, mourning, or pain (Revelation 21:4). What’s more, we will never become stressed, exhausted, frustrated, angry, or sick, because our new bodies will be imperishable, sinless, and powerful (1 Corinthians 15:42-43). Heaven is a perfect environment with no sin or sinners in it. And best of all, God will dwell among us.
“Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.” (Philippians 4:15)
As Paul went on his missionary journeys, he never asked for money for himself from the people to whom he preached. He later wrote to the Thessalonians, “Because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:9). He did stress the teaching of Christ that “the labourer is worthy of his reward” (1 Timothy 5:18; Luke 10:7) and that “even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14). But he himself said: “I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me” (1 Corinthians 9:15).
Thus, he was especially moved when the impoverished Christians at Philippi, without being asked, “sent once and again unto my necessity” (Philippians 4:16), and they were the only ones who did! This act of generous concern came about, Paul recognized, because they “first gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:5). As a result, Paul could assure them: “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Not only their material need, but every need.
They had learned a wonderful truth that every Christian needs to learn. As Paul told the Ephesian elders: “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Therefore, let each of us give in His name, “not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8). HMM
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
If God has singled you out to be a special object of His grace you may expect Him to honor you with stricter discipline and greater suffering than less favored ones are called upon to endure….
If God sets out to make you an unusual Christian He is not likely to be as gentle as He is usually pictured by the popular teachers. A sculptor does not use a manicure set to reduce the rude, unshapely marble to a thing of beauty. The saw, the hammer and the chisel are cruel tools, but without them the rough stone must remain forever formless and unbeautiful.
To do His supreme work of grace within you He will take from your heart everything you love most. Everything you trust in will go from you. Piles of ashes will lie where your most precious treasures used to be. TIC122-124
Lord, give me the grace to withstand “the saw, the hammer and the chisel.” I submit myself today to Your working. Amen.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.—John 15:11.
Thou bringest all again; with Thee
Is light, is space, is breadth and room
For each thing fair, beloved, and free,
To have its hour of life and bloom.
Each heart’s deep instinct unconfessed,
Each lowly wish, each daring claim,
All, all that life hath long repressed,
Unfolds, undreading blight or blame.
Let us offer up to Him each day, and all its occupations, yes, and all its relaxations—as it begins—and beg Him to let us somehow “see” Him throughout it. Let us trust Him with the hallowing of our ordinary “secular” interests, let us try to shape each day’s life so as best to please Him. “Would our Lord like me to say this or to read that? Would He sanction this train of thought or of fancy? When I go with that companion, can I imagine His drawing near and walking beside us f” This habitual “looking up to Jesus,” this repeated reference to His will and pleasure—does it seem to us likely to be oppressive, restrictive, burdensome? Let us only try it, and judge for ourselves: it will turn out to be a source of peace and comfort indescribable.
“I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Ps. 16:8
This is the way to live. With God always before us, we shall have the noblest companionship, the holiest example, the sweetest consolation, and the mightiest influence. This must be a resolute act of the mind. “I have set,” and it must be maintained as a set and settled thing. Always to have an eye to the Lord’s eye, and an ear for the Lord’s voice — this is the right state for the godly man. His God is near him, filling the horizon of his vision, leading the way of his life, and furnishing the theme of his meditation. What vanities we should avoid, what sins we should overcome, what virtues we should exhibit, what joys we should experience if we did indeed set the Lord always before us! Why not?
This is the way to be safe. The Lord being ever in our minds, we come to feel safety and certainty because of His being so near. He is at our right hand to guide and aid us; and hence we are not moved by fear, nor force, nor fraud, nor fickleness. When God stands at a man’s right hand, that man is himself sure to stand. Come on, then, ye foemen of the truth! Rush against me like a furious tempest, if ye will. God upholds me. God abides with me. Whom shall I fear?