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 22

Today’s Inspiration. Since the 1970s, first-world countries have been living in the historic period of time known as the Information Age. Technology and technological advances have made it easier and faster to store, access, generate, and communicate information—so much information, in fact, that data scientists in our universities are puzzling over what to do with it all, with how to make it useful.

So much information that it boggles the mind.

Sometimes I have to wonder, along with the data scientists, how all of this information is useful. But unlike many data scientists, I’m not wondering how the information can be usefully turned into monetary profit. My musings look at all that we consume on a daily basis—the sights (sites, too); the sounds; the words; the media in all of its forms are at times almost inescapable. How is all that we allow into our minds on a daily basis useful? Is it? And is it helping us to fulfill the greatest commandment of all?

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

In this Information Age we live in, what does it mean to love the Lord your God with all your mind?

Large spool of green yarn sitting in front of a colorful row of books. Photo text: Challenge Day 22, mind-love. #writinglifeaugustchallenge

Today’s Challenge. On Tuesday, you were encouraged to explore the Biblical concept of the heart. Yesterday’s challenge was to explore the Biblical concept of the soul. Today it’s the mind. What does the Bible mean when it uses the word mind, and how else—besides in Matthew 22:37—does it use the word?

As always, pray for understanding as you begin your exploration. Then, you may want to use a Bible tool that provides cross-references for the verse and the words in the verse, like a study Bible. Since English versions are translations of the original Greek and Hebrew, not all instances of the words are always translated the same way, so the cross references are useful in finding places the same word, or versions of the same word, are used in original texts.

Today’s Participation. As you think through what the Bible means by loving the Lord with all your mind, think about the connection between that and what you’re allowing into your mind on a daily basis—about all of the information sources you encounter, and what they “say” to you. Then, write a declarative sentence—one that states a fact or opinion to express a direct statement—about the connection and share it with someone, either online (the comments below would work!) or in conversation.