Verse-A-Day Prior Verses

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Mark 12:28-31

Now one of the experts in the law came and heard them debating. When he saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”  Jesus answered, “The most important is: ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

When Jesus is asked to provide the single most important commandment, He provides two. In speaking them, he numbers them first and second, but when He refers to them after speaking, He refers to them as one commandment. If we love the Lord with everything, we WILL love our neighbors as ourselves. If we do not love our neighbors as our selves, then that is a reflection of something not being right with our relationship with the Lord. It is not a call to perfection, it is a call to love both God and others. Both of these things are on the heart of God first and foremost! Seek the Lord and allow Him to show you opportunities in your life to love others, then do the unbelievable, and love them like Christ loves you.

Psalm 66:16-19

Come! Listen, all you who are loyal to God! I will declare what he has done for me. I cried out to him for help and praised him with my tongue. If I had harbored sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. However, God heard; he listened to my prayer.

Someone who cherishes sin in their heart will not confess it to the Lord, or to other people. Ultimately they believe that whatever they receive from hiding the sin outweighs all else. A heart confused in this way is in great danger, because without confession of sin the Lord does not hear us. Our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior does not begin with us demanding that He forgive us, rather, it begins with us recognizing that we are a sinner, and confessing to the Lord our sins. As we work out our salvation and the Holy Spirit of God reveals to us the state of our hearts, we must continue to confess what is found! Besides, it is foolish to actually believe you can hide sin from God. Confession is the first step toward greater intimacy with the Lord Jesus.

1 Kings 18:36-39

When it was time for the evening offering, Elijah the prophet approached the altar and prayed: “O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.  Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are the true God and that you are winning back their allegiance.”  Then fire from the Lord fell from the sky. It consumed the offering, the wood, the stones, and the dirt, and licked up the water in the trench.  When all the people saw this, they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground and said, “The Lord is the true God! The Lord is the true God!”

Notice that fire falls from the sky and consumes not just the sacrifice but the wood, stones, dust, and water that had previously filled the trench. Exodus 24:17, Deuteronomy 4:24, and Hebrews 12:29 all reference God as a consuming fire. The result of this contest is no surprise if you know the Lord. He is the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samson, David...and countless others in Israel's history, including Elijah. He is the living God! Know that God prepared Jesus Christ, His only Son, as the sacrifice for your sins. He took every single sin, the entire mess, upon Himself and nailed them to the cross. His life was consumed so that your life can be offered to God freely as an acceptable living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. (Romans 12:1)

Ephesians 3:14-19

For this reason I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on the earth is named.  I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person,  that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love,  you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

There is no love like the love of Christ and the love that we are capable of sharing in together as believers in Christ. There is strength available to us as followers of Jesus through His Spirit. It is the kind of power that unlocks our potential to comprehend the extent of the love of Christ. This understanding births in us new and restored life capable of bearing witness to Jesus; capable of empowering us with the measure of the fullness of God. Pray this prayer for those you know, that they would remember that God is the author of true life and love which never runs dry or spoils. This is our prayer for all of you today.

1 Kings 18:30-35

Elijah then told all the people, “Approach me.” So all the people approached him. He repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down.  Then Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of tribes that descended from Jacob, to whom the Lord had said, “Israel will be your new name.”  With the stones he constructed an altar for the Lord. Around the altar he made a trench large enough to contain two seahs of seed.  He arranged the wood, cut up the bull, and placed it on the wood.  Then he said, “Fill four water jars and pour the water on the offering and the wood.” When they had done so, he said, “Do it again.” So they did it again. Then he said, “Do it a third time.” So they did it a third time.  The water flowed down all sides of the altar and filled the trench.

In round 1 of the contest, Baal does not answer his 450 prophets. Their sacrifice remains on their altar. Round 2 begins with Elijah repairing the altar of the Lord that had been destroyed. While there is precision and significance to every detail he performs, the striking point comes when he instructs people to pour large amounts of water on the offering and the wood. Three times this is done, and we are left with a completely drenched offering. Only God can light it now. There will be no magic tricks or deception. Think about the water in this story being sin, and the offering to God being our lives. God alone can deliver Israel. He alone can deliver us from sin. The stage is set once again for God to show up and do the impossible.