Challenge Day 24

Can anyone out there name the movie and scene this quote comes from?

“Love, true love…”

No? Perhaps it would be easier if spelled phonetically, the way it is pronounced in the movie:

“Wuv, twu wuv…”

Got it now?

When I sat down to write today’s blog and thought about the topic—true love, as in truly loving the Lord—that’s what popped into my head right away: a quote from pop culture, from a movie I saw when I was young (if no one guesses, perhaps I’ll put it in the comments later—until then you’ll have to be in suspense). The speed with which that popped into my mind is a testament to Thursday’s challenge post and the vast amount of (sometimes useless) information we’re constantly exposed to. But honestly, besides the phrase, it has nothing to do with today’s topic: the who—the recipient—of the love we’ve been exploring for the past few days.

Today’s Inspiration. We’ve been examining the way in which we are to love: with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our minds, and with all our strength. But in doing so, we skipped over considering whom we are to love like this, taking that part of it for granted:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37, NIV)

Today, we’ll look at that phrase the Lord your God.

Shelf with old fashioned, red alarm clock sitting on it in top left-hand corner; blank wall in middle; galvanized steel star hung on the wall in bottom right-hand corner. Photo text: Challenge Day 24, the Lord your God. #writinglifeaugustchallenge

Today’s Challenge. Spend some time thinking about the phrase the Lord your God, about to whom it refers, and about what it means to call him Lord. Pray that the Lord will reveal something about himself to you before you begin and look to what he says about himself, in the Bible, rather than relying on your own understanding of him. It’s only really possible to love someone when you know something about who they are—so it’s important to discover who your Lord really is.

Today’s Participation. Have a conversation, post a comment, or create a post on social media that says something about who God is that makes him worthy of our love (trust me, he’s more than worthy!). When you do, refer to the Bible verse(s) in which God reveals that characteristic of himself to us.

I can’t leave this post without recommending one of my favorite books on this topic, Knowing God by J. I. Packer. It’s not an easy read but it is an excellent one!

Challenge Day 23

Today’s Inspiration. For the past few days, we’ve been inspired by Matthew 22:37, in which Jesus quoted the greatest commandment of them all. But in the English, the commandment reads a bit differently in Deuteronomy, when Moses first gave it, than it does in Matthew:

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 that I give you today are to be on your hearts. (4:4-6, NIV)

Did you catch that? The Hebrew in Deuteronomy is translated into English as with all your strength, whereas yesterday’s verse—and the Greek in Matthew—is translated as with all your mind. We’ll turn our focus to strength today.

A gray pillow with white whip-stitching around the edges and an appliquéd letter S against a pale background. Photo text: Challenge Day 23, strong love. #writinglifeaugustchallenge

Today’s Challenge. Today, explore what Moses’ command to love the LORD your God with all your strength means and if it is different from loving the Lord with all your mind. Use a study Bible or a tool like Bible Hub to find verses that use the same or similar language, or look at the meaning of the original Hebrew used in Deuteronomy and compare it to the meaning of the Greek used in Matthew (you can use Bible Hub for this, too). Don’t forget to pray as you begin your exploration.

Today’s Participation. Today is the day to put it all together: Describe or depict what it would be or look like if you were able to do as commanded and love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Share your description or depiction with a friend or post it online. If you post it in Instagram, use #writinglifeaugustchallenge and follow me @rhondalorraineblog so I can see it!

Challenge Day 20

Today’s Inspiration. When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied with the commandment to love God:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37, NIV)

Yesterday, I challenged you to ask the question, What is love? from a Biblical perspective. But you’ll notice that Jesus didn’t just say to love the Lord your God: He went further than that, as did the original commandment given in Deuteronomy (6:5, 10:12, 30:6). Jesus commanded us to love him in three different ways, the first of which is with all your heart. We’ll look into that today.

Antique wood and metal milk crate with fur peeking out from the inside. Photo text: Challenge Day 20, heart-love. #writinglifeaugustchallenge

Today’s Challenge. What does it mean to love someone or something with all of your heart? In the English language, we often use the word to refer to something other than the physical organ inside our bodies, and that is how the word is used here—but to what was Jesus referring when he used the word heart and differentiated it from the soul and from the mind?

Your challenge today is to explore the concept of the heart and try to gain an understanding of what Jesus meant by using it in his reply to the Pharisees. Pray, ask for understanding, and then explore other uses of the word in the Bible. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t understand it all at once—this is a question (like yesterday’s) that humans have been pondering and trying to define for millennia; you only need to look through the history of rhetoric for proof of that. If you’re at a loss of where to start, try looking at the cross-references or the lexicon of the language in a resource like Bible Hub or a study Bible.

Today’s Participation. Using your understanding of what it means to love the Lord your God with all your heart, imagine what one manifestation of this love would be or look like—what would you do or say? What would someone notice when they see it in you? Perhaps you don’t have to imagine it—perhaps you can tell us what you do do, what you do say, what people do see in you. Write about it in the comments or depict this and post it online using #writinglifeaugustchallenge. Be sure to tell us what inspired your understanding (what Bible verse or chapter?).