Psalms 101; Psalms 15; Matthew 22:36-40
Reflections of the Heart:
While God’s Word commands us to love our neighbor, Scripture doesn’t really answer directly the question “Who is my neighbor?” other than Jesus’ reply of “the one who showed him mercy” in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. There are many examples of “bad neighbors” and “good neighbors” in our own lives. Ponder this: Those in one’s household are family members and those outside the home are neighbors. Jesus said, “Anyone who does God’s will is My brother and sister and mother.” Could it be that all outside our “family” – the body of Christ – are our neighbors, regardless of whether or not they live in close proximity to us?
Almighty Father, thank You for loving us despite how we sometimes act or think. Thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with Your love, so that we may share love with others. Thank You for helping us to be more loving and compassionate towards others. Lord, we come before You clapping our hands and shouting joyful praise to You. You are the great King of all the earth. You subdue the nations before us and put our enemies under our feet. Our hearts are confident in You, Father. Because of this confidence, we will sing Your praises. We will wake the dawn with our song, Lord, among all the people. We will sing Your praises among the nations for Your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Glorious Father, as Your dear children, we commit to loving You with all our hearts, and with all our souls, and with all our minds. This is the greatest and most important commandment of all. In the same Spirit, we also commit to loving our neighbors as ourselves. We confess that the Holy Spirit fills and controls us as we commit to doing Your will. We decree that we will be patient and kind instead of acting jealous, boastful, proud or rude. We will not demand our own way, but we will be considerate of others and their opinions. We will not be irritable or keep a record of being wronged. But we will be joyful and quick to forgive. We commit to living a righteous life. We will be patient and will not return evil with evil. We will let our light shine so that people will see our good works and glorify You, our Father.
How will you show your love for God and for your neighbor by your actions?
Holy Spirit, show us how to truly love the Father with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Reveal to us those habits, mindsets and attitudes that prevent us from being truly surrendered to the Father. Help us to not deceive ourselves by thinking we are walking in love while using our tongues to curse those who have been made in the Father’s image. In this world where we are told to put ourselves first, help us to truly put the Father first in our lives, and to esteem others better than ourselves.
Exalted Father, we ask Your forgiveness for our sins. Forgive us for being irreverent and apathetic towards You. Forgive us for murmuring and complaining and not showing our love and appreciation for all that You do for us. Forgive us for being impatient with our neighbor. Forgive us for picking and choosing to whom we will show love. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed). Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive; and we will be quick to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals, say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Eternal Lord, You are God alone. You created the heavens and the earth; You put everything in its place. You made the world to be lived in, not a place of empty chaos. You are the Lord and there is no other. You only speak what is true and declare only what is right. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture References for the Written Text: Romans 5:5, Psalm 47:1-3, Psalm 57:7-10, Matthew 22:37-39, I Corinthians 13:4, I Peter 3:9, Matthew 5:16, Mark 12:30, James 3:9, Philippians 2:3, Matthew 6:13, Isaiah 45:18-19