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.

Challenge Day 21

Today’s Inspiration. When I was a kid I was forced to take five years of piano lessons. I’m guessing that in the beginning it wasn’t forced upon me, but after several teachers who kept making me play the same classical pieces over and over again—pieces I didn’t enjoy no matter how many times I had to learn to play them—I got tired of it. One thing I didn’t get tired of, though—and definitely didn’t learn from any of my piano teachers—was playing the fun duet that people now know as “Heart and Soul.”

The thing about the piano duet that is so well known—the recognizable bass line, and the easy melody that follows so quickly behind it—is that the original song with the lyrics aren’t as well known. And the phrase heart and soul was around a lot longer than the song, and meant something entirely different in the Jewish culture. Moses had passed a commandment down to his people from the LORD, and Jesus reaffirmed that commandment as the greatest in their law:

“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, NIV)

Yesterday, your challenge was to explore the Biblical meaning of the heart. Today, we turn to the concept of the soul.

Ceramic green-blue bird in front of ceramic red ladybug. Photo text: Challenge Day 21, soul-love. #writinglifeaugustchallenge

Today’s Challenge. What is the soul, as it is used in the Bible, and what does it mean to love the Lord your God with all your soul? Your challenge today is pray for understanding and then begin to explore this concept. Then, try to put it together with your understanding what it means to love God with all your heart.

Just like yesterday, don’t worry about building a complete understanding of it all in one afternoon—people have been asking what the soul is (and even debating its existence!) for centuries.

Today’s Participation. After exploring the Biblical concept of the word soul, try to simplify it by writing your own definition. Put the definition in the comments below or use it as a caption in an Instagram post that depicts the concept. Follow @rhondalorraineblog and use the hashtag #writinglifeaugustchallenge if you want me to see it!