So be very careful to love the Lord your God. —Joshua 23:11

Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel. —Joshua 24:31

            The two great commands are to love God, which is the greatest command, and the second is to love people (Matthew 22:37-40).  All of God’s Word is summed up in these two commands.  Everything in God’s Word points to these two commands.  We are even to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). 

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.  If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” —Luke 6:27-36

            Now that is a challenging portion of God’s Word, but we need to consider how much God loved us when we did not even know Him or care about Him.  Now “We love because he first loved us” (I John 4:19).  So now we can love others that do not know Him just as He did us before we knew Him.  He gives us the ability, His ability, to do so.

            Loving Him is to be obedient to what He says (John 14:21).  He has much to say, but at the very basics He tells us to be His witnesses and to make disciples.  It is a sad commentary above that Israel followed and obeyed the Lord only throughout the life time of Joshua and the “elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.”  After their deaths the nation began to stray from the Lord as we will see in the Book of Judges.  It got to the point where “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 17:6).  Apparently they did not make disciples that would make disciples.  Sadly Joshua did not disciple others as Moses had him and prepared him.  Joshua nor the elders prepared others to live as the Lord desired.

            This is so short-sighted, but how many today, ministries and individuals, do not disciple others that will disciple others?  How many are even discipling others with the intent that those they disciple will indeed disciple others who will disciple others with the desire for this disciple-making to extend to the very end of this age?  May we have that vision and be obedient to Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20).  That is love!

Dear Father I love You and thank You for all You have done, are doing and will do for me, for You Church—the Body of Christ, and for the lost You are yet to save out of this world.  It is truly my desire to be faithful to You.  I so look forward to being with You and all who love You in that perfect place with Jesus.  May I finish well the race You have marked out for me, keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus.  Yes, may this be so by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son Jesus.

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