All eyes were glued to the teacher named Jesus. The man who seemed to know so much more than the average carpenter’s son. The combination of his background and knowledge baffled the religious leaders of the day. So a question was posed to him:
Which commandment is the most important of all?
I wish I could hear the tone of the questioner’s voice. Was this an honest question, posed with a sincere heart, trying to understand this new Jesus way of religion? Or was it a cynical, “I think I have him on this one” sort of questioning? After all the years of the law with its traditions and regulations, surely this man Jesus was crazy to think there could be a new and better way of practicing religion. And all the crowd paused to wait for the answer from the lips of the God-man.
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Do you think anyone gasped at the simplicity of this answer? Wasn’t it too easy? After all, the law consisted of books and books of rules. Thou shalt, thou shalt not. Thou shalt, thou shalt not. Yet what some of the listeners would realize that day is that it’s easier to keep a checklist of do’s and don’t’s, even if you miss a few here and there, than it is to love “all in.” I wish I could hear their discussions that night at the dinner table.
To think the depth of God’s love unfolded before these men as they watched Jesus crucified and then saw him resurrected again is mind-boggling. His love is soooo vast that he gave. For God so loved the world. And it didn’t stop with the world, a group. No, God intimately and personally loves each and every soul on the planet.
When was the last time you thought about how much God loves you?
And when was the last time you told him how much you love him?
I’m excited about this month’s Bible reading challenge for many reasons, but here are two. First, it took me far too long in my faith journey to begin to grasp how much God loves me. And I really want others to let the truth of God’s love to sink into their souls much earlier than I did! So I’m excited for you to delve into God’s Word and allow his promises of love to cover you.
Secondly, I have a feeling we are going to be challenged to do a lot more than read. This month’s reading is going to provoke us to act in love; I just know it! How awesome is that?
True Love Bible Reading Plan and Journal
Last month, I released the Pure Joy Bible Reading Plan and Journal to accompany the monthly Bible reading challenge. I really believe the idea was from the Lord and I have so loved using my journal! It’s been a huge personal blessing and I can’t even fully grasp the impact it has had. For those reasons, I created the True Love: Embracing the Father’s Affection as Bible Reading Plan and Journal and praise the Lord, it’s available NOW for purchase!
I know some of you began to see my Pure Joy journal on social media and I kept getting the same question over and over again- which is wonderful, by the way!! “What is this journal? Where did you get it? Oh, I need one!” So I wanted to share a couple sample interior pages with you below. If you’d like to see a little more, then click to purchase the book on Amazon, then click on the book cover. You will be able to see several interior pages there. Global friends (outside the US), this title will be available on bookdepository.com; I’ll let you know as soon as they have it available!
True Love Bible Reading Challenge
Welcome to the True Love Bible reading challenge! If you’ve never joined a Bible reading challenge here before, each day we follow the plan and read the passage. You can share what you are learning on social media or just keep it between you and God. My goal through the reading is to draw closer to Jesus, and I want that for you too!
For this month, we will use the hashtags #truelovejournal and #biblereadingplan. Almost every day, I post on Instagram or Facebook about what I’m learning through the passages and sometimes I post the Bible journaling pages or handlettering I work on throughout the study.
On Fridays, I post a summary of what I learned through the week here on the blog and invite you to share what God is teaching you in the comments. So here’s the plan:
True Love Bible Reading Plan
1. Mark 12:28-34
2. Romans 5:1-8
3. Romans 8:31-39
4. Matthew 22:34-40
5. Psalm 42:8-11
6. 1 John 4:7-13
7. 1 John 4:14-20
8. Zephaniah 3:17-20
9. John 13:34&35
10. Psalm 136:1-13
11. Psalm 136:14-26
12. Deut. 10:12-15
13. Psalm 5:7-12
14. Psalm 25:1-10
15. 1 Peter 1:3-8
16. Ephesians 3:14-21
17. Galatians 5:1-6
18. Galatians 5:22-26
19. 1 Peter 4:1-8
20. I Peter 3:8-12
21. Ephesians 4:10-16
22. Philippians 2:1-11
23. Colossians 3:8-15
24. John 14:21-27
25. John 15:9-13
26. John 15:14-21
27. 1 John 3:1-5
28. 1 Cor. 13:1-7
Optional Readings for Any Month (included in journal)
29. 1 Cor. 13:8-13
30. Romans 12:9-18
31. Psalm 136:1-13
PRINTABLE OR DIGITAL
Just screenshot the graphic to your smartphone and mark it as a favorite for easy daily access. For a simple printable copy, click on the graphic or HERE and print out two copies of the Bible reading plan. Share one with a friend!
Ok, Friends! The journal is optional, but I surely do enjoy using this new tool. Who’s in for the challenge? It will begin February 1st!
Learning to love God and others,
Purchase your True Love: Embracing the Father’s Affection Bible reading plan and journal HERE.