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All My Love Devotional By Matt Hunt

 

All My Love Devotional By Matt Hunt

A Journey of individual spiritual renewal Based on the Great Commandment of Mark 12:29-31

God is the centre of life.

The best way to live life is to delightfully practise and regularly celebrate my lifelong obsession for Him with the entirety of myself such that I can’t contain it and have it joyfully, generously and sacrificially overflow into the lives of others.

© CrossLife Publishing 2012 2

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“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Hebrews 12:1-3

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Introduction

Our lives regularly go up and down. There is a rhythm in the ‘toing and froing’ between the moments of great joy and wonderment, and the times of grief, loss, confusion, despondency and worry. Every part of our life is impacted by this rhythm: our physical world with the ups and downs of health, dieting and exercise, our understanding as we learn new things and leave behind any irrelevant thoughts of the past, even our emotional world as we seek to find a rested centre whilst dealing with the baggage of past hurts, struggles of current relationships, and the dreams and hopes of our future before they are realised – or not!

Little wonder then that our spiritual lives also feel this merry- go-round experience. Sometimes God seems close, at other times far away. In one sense, all of life is spiritual as God is in the midst of it all; on the other hand, our regular spiritual disciplines of investing in and growing our relationship with Him wax and wane like everything else.

This experience underlines the importance of regular personal spiritual renewal. On occasion these moments of renewal can come unexpected as God ‘turns up unawares’ as it were – walking in the bush or by the sea, in a church service, or whilst listening to a piece of music, or … . At those times we can find our thoughts drifting toward God and sense His renewing touch or encouragement. At other times, a time of spiritual renewal can come in the midst of struggle, or through later reflecting on that struggle asking “Lord, where were you in that ?” (to which His answer is invariably “carrying you!!”). Both these times of spiritual renewal are valuable and helpful to us.

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However, just like physical exercise for our physical shape, formal education or intentional reading for our intellectual shape, or the periods we engage in some form of counseling to help us emotionally, our spiritual lives can do with a regular deliberate and intentional focus and renewal. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-8,

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
And his words just echoed what the Lord God said in

Deuteronomy 4:29 centuries before,

“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

If you seek God deliberately, you will find Him, so there is value in choosing to seek Him! And this little book is to help you do that: To take you on an intentional time of spiritual renewal. It is a tool to help you put Deuteronomy 4:29 into practice and seek God with all your heart and soul: In fact not just your heart and soul, but your mind and strength and relationships as well, but more on that later.

This book will guide you as you do a ‘check up’ on how your relationship with God is tracking right now. It is unapologetically primed for a journey of Christian spiritual renewal (if you haven’t realized already!) and so is centred on Jesus Christ, and works alongside a Bible in helping you hear from God on his heart for your renewed relationship with Him. It will help you cry out in prayer for the Holy Spirit to fill you afresh and send you boldly out to live and speak for Jesus like hasn’t happened for a while … or perhaps ever. You don’t have to ‘be a Christian’ to read this book and take a deliberate

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journey of spiritual renewal, you’ve just got to be a person who is open to God and recognize He has an interest and place in your life for your benefit.

Although you will read a variety of passages on the Bible from both the Old Testament and the New Testament, your time with God will be centred on one thought from the Lord Jesus that, like what I’ve quoted above, came directly from the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament: His answer to the greatest question of all: “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus’ reply was clear, perhaps even immediate, “The most important one is this: Hear O Israel: the Lord our God 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.’ And the second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

This passage has been called the Great Commandment. Rightly understood and applied under the Holy Spirit’s direction it can have a profound impact on not just our spiritual life, but our entire life – and beyond that too. It can give us a direction, a focus, even a sense of purpose and meaning in all we do. J Hampton Keathley III, shares this helpful paragraph to underline the significance of this passage and its suitability for a journey of spiritual renewal. Having commented on how the Jewish leaders were preoccupied with treating God’s plan as a series of laws to obey, he writes,

“This preoccupation caused them to miss the very heart, goal, and central theme of the Bible. … Mark 12:28-31 (and its parallel, Matthew 22:34-40) is visionary. It gives us a perspective of life which, as the very heart and goal of Scripture, is like a beacon that guides us in our passage through the dark and treacherous waters of life. Understanding our

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purpose and having goals in accordance with the teaching of this wonderful passage is equivalent to vision. It means the ability to see where we are going. Having vision means having God’s revelation and using it to get God’s perspective on life so we know who we are, why we are here, where we are going, and what we ought to be doing. Without this we are like ships cast about on the sea of uncertainty with the ever changing winds of the ideas of men. We are left restless and unrestrained by our own desires and aspirations, caught in an ocean of despair.”1

The heart, goal and central theme of the Bible is that God is intimately interested in your life and mine. And that we live it the best. He has declared and demonstrated that heart in humanity’s history through the death and resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus, to deal with our sin and rebellion of putting our ways in our life ahead of His, thus resigning ourselves to life, and death, less than it has to be. And He will initiate this turnaround in our lives should we seek Him, rather than try and make him fit our understanding – the mistake of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, and every religious leader of history that has lifted religion above the Lord God.

The book is divided into 36 days of readings, prayers, and reflections. Some include an activity to help you write your own prayer, reflection or action in response to what you’ve read and considered before God on that day. There are six periods of six days as follows,

  1. Love the Lord your God: God is the centre of life
  2. Love the Lord your God with all your heart: The root of

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  1. Love the Lord your God with all your soul: Clearing the way in spiritual renewal
  2. Love the Lord your God with all your mind: Getting our head around spiritual renewal
  3. Love the Lord your God with all your strength: The practice of spiritual renewal
  4. Love your neighbour as yourself: Regular spiritual renewal does not stop at you.

Each day contains five parts:

One big idea to focus on.  One Old Testament passage and one New Testament passage to see the big idea.  Two questions on each passage to consider the big idea.  A short comment to reflect on the big idea.  One action to practise the big idea in prayer, written reflection or ‘something to do’.

You will

reflection (unless it involves ‘something to do’ later in the week!). You can do it alone, or with someone else like a spouse, your kids or parents, a friend you trust or a small group. However you do it, this 20-30 minutes may be the best investment in your spiritual life for the next month and perhaps beyond that. Make it happen. Remember if you seek Him you will find Him!

Pray with me:

Lord, as we consider the Great Commandment, may You bring a deeper appreciation of its wonder, its effectiveness and its overwhelming significance for our lives. As you lead me by Your

need roughly 20-30 minutes to do the reading and

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Holy Spirit, let my walk with You be renewed from the depth of my heart, to the deep places of my soul, around the rigour of my mind, and through the exertion and energy of all my strength; so that I cannot contain this deepening, joyful and delightful love for You and it overflows in serving and giving into the lives of my neighbour (all other people!) with great gladness and pleasure.

Lord Jesus, may your commandment come to be not a burden to be carried, or a law to be obeyed, but a life to be lived out. A full life, lived not begrudgingly but generously. Not timidly, but boldly. A life lived, not alone, but lived with You and with Your people. A life lived, not for me, but for You.

A life lived, not half-heartedly, but with all my love.

Now that really is a personal spiritual renewal!

Matt Hunt

Lead Pastor
CrossLife – a baptist church Gold Coast, Australia

https://www.facebook.com/CrossLifeChurch2012

Like wat you read?

give them a call or pop them an email info@crosslife.org.au or call on (07)55733644.

A nominal cost of $10 to cover costs of postage and Printing

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