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If you are into memorizing Scripture at all, Jesus' teaching Matthew chapter 22 verses 37-40 is certainly worth memorizing! "`You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: `Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."" So, I think it is fair to say that if you learn nothing else this year in the New Testament in a Year, please at least learn these 3 verses above. :) However - I am quite sure you will learn these 3 verses and so much more this year! Then, of course, to take things beyond just learning - we need to be applying the learnings from the Bible this year in our lives. How about these two commandments from Jesus above - think you've learned them? Now, can you practice applying them to your life each and every day? How will you go about doing this? How will you love God with all your heart, soul, and mind? How will you love your neighbor? Commentary on verse 39 entitled, "Is Self-Love Biblical?" is online at bible.org at this link.
In Matthew 22 verse 44 Jesus quotes and teaches from Psalm 110. An interesting trivia note is that Psalm 110 is the most frequently quoted Old Testament chapter in the New Testament. Must be an important Psalm, eh? It's a surprisingly short Psalm I think, in light of this trivia note. We'll read this Psalm later this year - or you can read it now at this link.
Matthew chapter 23 verse 5 is referring to exaggerated phylacteries: "Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear extra long tassels on their robes." From bible-history.com - "Phylacteries (tephillin) are strips of leather to which is attached a very strong, square box made of parchment and painted black. The box contains four parts of the Torah written on parchment: Exodus 13:1-10 and 13:11-16; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21. According to Deut 6:4-9 two phylacteries were used, one for the head and one for the arm. These (called frontlets in Deuteronomy) were put on in such a way that one box rested on the head, between the eyes (seat of the mind) and the other on the left arm opposite the heart (seat of the actions and the emotions, denoting that one loves the Lord with one's heart)." This definition and a good picture of what phylacteries look like is at bible-history.com at this link. And another image is here:
Worship Video: Today's readings in Matthew about the great commandments reminds me of the beautiful Chris Tomlin song "Praise the Father:"
Do you Praise the Father? Click here and Praise the Son!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on five verses of Scripture today: ""Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'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. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."" Matthew 22:36-40 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you would love God with all of your heart, soul and mind each and every day. Pray that you would love your neighbor as yourself.
Comments from You and Questions of the Day: In Matthew chapter 23 verse 5 above, I don't think Jesus was demeaning phylacteries in and of themselves - but, he was demeaning those that used phylacteries only for "show," for the wrong motives - the wrong motive of people noticing us instead of giving the glory to God. Which can lead us to this question in our lives today - are there any "religious things" that we do in our life just for "show"? Just so that others will honor us? I think this is such a fine line and something that we have to monitor all of our lives. Are you monitoring yourself when it comes to your faith to make sure you are not doing anything for "show" or for the wrong reasons? Have there been times in your past where you have done things just for "show" when it comes to your faith? How did you catch yourself / notice that you were doing something just for "show"? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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