April 2

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (NIV) 12And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13and to observe the Lord's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

God only asks us that which is for our good. In this passage, He asks us five things for our good. The first is to fear the LORD our God. The fear of the LORD causes us to distance ourselves from evil. To fear God means to know He is just and will punish all rebellion against His goodness.

Then He asks us to walk in His ways. What are the ways of God? His attributes define the ways of God: justice, mercy, truth, righteousness, grace, love, holiness, and goodness. When we walk in His ways, we are in His likeness. Walking in His ways has lasting results. It is the best for us and for those whom we come in contact.

Next is to love Him. We love Him because He first loved us. When that is done, all is done. To love Him means the other instructions are carried out as well. God wants a living relationship with you, not just obedience to rituals.

Fourth is to serve the LORD our God with all our heart and soul. If we love Him we will want to express that love. Love that is not expressed in service is insincere. Does your wholehearted service express your love relationship with God?

Last is to observe His commands. It's not because God is a dictator, but because His commands are instructions of love that show you the best way to go. The two great commands are to love God with our all, and our neighbor as our self.

Prayer: Lord, teach me to fear You, walk in Your ways, serve, love, and obey You.

April 2

Matthew 26:39-41 (NIV) 39Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." 40Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. 41"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

Gethsemene means 'olive press'. Jesus had retreated to what we believe was a friend's olive grove. The cave where the press was kept is still there today. The Church of All Nations is built over the spot where it is believed this event took place. Ancient olive trees still grow in the garden beside the church. Jesus came to prepare Himself for the battle that lay before Him. He had never felt the weight of sin personally. For all eternity He had perfect fellowship with the Father. Ahead, He could see the sins of the world upon Him while all hell vented its fury at Him. The Father would have to turn His face, for God is of purer eyes than to behold evil. "Isn't there some other way?" He asked.

Jesus' will was not to suffer. That is not a sin. That is instinctive. Yet, He was willing to suffer if it was the Father's will. Reader, don't feel that you have sinned if you do not desire loss or pain that lies before you. As long as the Father's will is your priority and you are willing to do His will, even if you do not desire the pain, you are not in sin. You don't have to like God's will. You do have to have faith that He will see you through and bring good from the suffering. That is faith in the character and sovereignty of God.

Jesus asked the disciples to pray with Him. Jesus wanted His friends to be prepared too. He asked them to pray for their own sakes. When God prompts you to pray, it is sometimes the preparation for the battle that lies before you. They wanted to pray, but their bodies were tired. As you pray for others, don't forget to pray for your dependence on the Spirit of God for strength.

Consider: Can you keep watch with Him for one hour?