The Importance of Roots
When someone asked Jesus what’s the most important thing we should do with our lives, he replied:
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’ (Matthew 22:37–39).
In these two great commandments there’s a lifetime of lessons to learn: for example, about the supremacy of love; about the fact that love requires effort, whether it’s love for another person or love for God; and about the fact that there is a priority—God first, people second.
God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us, so that our sins can be taken away. The Christian’s love for God and for other people is a response to the love that God has shown.
IF SOMEONE asked you what’s the most important thing in life, what would you say?
This was Jesus’ reply when he was asked that question:
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:37–40).
THE MAN looked disorientated. “You’re not from these parts, are you?” asked the kindly shopper. “No,” the man replied hesitantly. “Not from this country.” He sighed. “I don’t have a country. I am seeking asylum here. I had to flee from my country because I believe in Jesus Christ. In my country I would die.”
TOWARDS the end of his life Elisha completed a task originally given to Elijah. When he was at Horeb, the mountain of God, Elijah had been told to do three things:
Then the LORD said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place” (1 Kings 19:15–16).
THERE IS one God, and He is supreme. This is stressed throughout the Bible.
Moses said: “To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him” (Deuteronomy 4:35).
King David said: “Yours,
O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the
victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours”
(1 Chronicles 29:11).
IN THE ACTS of the Apostles we read of the beginning of the early church when 3,000 people were baptised on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41). The next verse says “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” This is a simple and clear statement that the apostles’ doctrine (‘doctrine’ means ‘teaching’) was the foundation of the faith of these new believers, and they had a ‘fellowship’ that drew them together as a body of people with a common purpose.
THE PERSIAN EMPIRE spread over much of the civilised world and consisted of 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia (Esther 1:1). Following the destruction of the kingdom of Judah a hundred years earlier many Jews were still scattered throughout the Empire (Esther 4:3; 8:9, 17). The Persian king Ahasuerus in the book of Esther is generally thought to be Xerxes (485–464 BC). An attempt to annihilate the Jews was thwarted by God, Who has an ongoing purpose with this nation.
The HOPE of the Gospel is a wonderful one – to live for ever in the Kingdom of God. This promise is real and physical and is described in the Bible. God’s purpose is clear, “All the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord” (Numbers 14:21).
Frank was a highly qualified accountant. He was on his way to start a new job, in Eastern Europe far from home.
He sat in the corner of the train carriage well out of the way. He was aware that people were looking at him, and sometimes looks developed into uncomfortable stares. It was unusual to see a black African travelling on a train in that country.