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encouragement from steve wise

Thursday, December 10 2020

Dear friends,

“The most important command is this: ‘Listen, people of Israel! The Lord our God, he is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God. Love him with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second most important command is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ These two commands are the most important commands.”

- Jesus, Mark 12:34-40

How are you doing? I have probably never asked or been asked this question as often or with as much sincerity as I have these past nine months. I have probably never answered it or had it answered quite as honestly as I have these past nine months. As we walk through Advent in anticipation of Christmas, a valuable spiritual practice would be to ask Jesus to help us answer this question honestly and in a way that helps us grow in His love for us and our love for Him and others.

In what we call the great commandment, Jesus defines the point and purpose of human life in the context of love and relationships – with God and others. Notice the categories He uses - emotional (heart), psychological (soul), mental (will), physical (strength), and social (relationships). Our life with Jesus encompasses each of these categories. Spiritual growth and maturity involve health in each aspect and across the spectrum of these areas. The spiritual dimension is not a compartment of our lives but the whole.

We can use these words as a check-up of sorts. My doctor usually asks me many questions. We can ask Jesus these questions and ask Him to help us answer them in regard to our own lives.

Emotionally – how am I feeling and how are those feelings creating sadness or skepticism?

Psychological – what do I desire and how is that desire creating frustration or fear?

Mentally – what am I thinking about the most and how are these thoughts creating anger or anxiety?

Physically – how does my body feel and how does it affect my moods and my energy level?

Relationally – how am I treating others in my thoughts, words, & actions?

The deepest question centers on my response to God’s love for me. Jesus is less than 36 hours from His crucifixion when He utters these words. His death and resurrection are the demonstrations of God’s love for us. God loves us with all of His heart, soul, mind, and strength in Jesus. The question this poses is: am I trusting or distrusting God’s goodness and love in my life?

After asking these questions, we can spend some time asking Jesus to help us know His love and then to love Him with all we are and to love others as we love ourselves. May we know the deep love of the Father for us in Jesus. May we learn to love what He loves because He loves us so much. May we learn to love how He loves because He loves us so well.

One final note: Thank you so much for your continued support and involvement with WPC during these difficult days. We are so encouraged by attendance at church, engagement with our livestream, involvement in programs, and the faithfulness and generosity you have displayed. As we conclude our stewardship campaign in the coming weeks, we want to thank those who have made pledges for the upcoming year. If you have not done so, would you consider filling out a pledge card either on-line or by sending in one by mail? We understand these are difficult times for many. We begin our budget planning process in the new year. This information helps us to be good and wise stewards of the resources God entrusts to us.

Your friend

Steve Wise

Posted by: Steve AT 02:18 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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