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Lenten Devotional 3/10

“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 mind and with all your strength.”  This was the answer given by Jesus to a Professor of the Law in the temple courts of Jerusalem, who asked what the greatest commandment was.  Jesus goes on to say that the second greatest commandment is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:29-31
These commandments seem pretty simple.  Love God with all of our being. Love your neighbor as yourself.  But sometimes we find it difficult to love someone when we feel wronged by them, or they don’t think like we do, or maybe they don’t even look like us.  If we are to follow the example set before us by Jesus, then we are expected to keep this commandment. 
It would have been very easy for Jesus to give in to temptation, because he was human just like us.  When it seemed everyone hated him, spat upon him and beat him, Jesus could have hated them right back.  But He didn’t.  Jesus loved every one of them and every one of us so much He was willing to be tortured and crucified so that we might live.  Jesus sacrificed himself for us. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many people that would do that for me, nor would I do that for them.  So the latter commandment might not be so simple after all.
We must challenge ourselves daily to love each other as Jesus loved His enemies. We must actively find ways of showing our love for one another whether through random acts of kindness, kind words, a hug or even a simple smile.
Dear God, I ask you to help each of us be more like your son Jesus Christ who loved every one of us, even before we were put upon this earth. He loved us so much that He gave up everything for us. Help us to understand that it is through Jesus’ blood that was shed upon the cross that we have grace and a promise of eternal life with You and Your son in Heaven when we leave this earth.  Please forgive us from our sins and bless us as we go through our lives. Thank you for your greatest blessing of sending Your one and only son, Jesus, to die on the cross for forgiveness of our sins. I ask all these things in Jesus’ most Holy and Precious Name, Amen.


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