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Dealing with stress and worry – James 2:1-13

January 4, 2010

James 2:5-10 : ‘Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?

If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. (New American Standard Bible)

I woke very early this morning with the intention of finding some time to spend in the Word before my kids woke up.  And while my cup of tea was doing its best to rouse me for the task, the high pitched ‘daddy!’ of my nearly 3 year old pierced the silence. And it wasn’t the ‘daddy’ that promises a return to sleep, but the ‘daddy!’ that declares sleep is absolutely finished – no debate.  So I set little Jack up in front of Playhouse Disney and decided before I opened the Word to check out my various FB pages and inboxes.  And that wasn’t a good experience.

The number of people I am reaching online has increased dramatically in the past 6 months and with it has come an increasing number of messages and expectations.  I welcome the messages! This is a big part of my ministry I love, but the volume has suddenly increased and I have been unable to answer each one as I would hope.  And this really stressed me this morning.  Not a good start to the day!

Eventually I found some time alone to journey deep into James 2:1-13 and one statement stood out: “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF” I decided to spend my time finding out just what this means and what I discovered gave me amazing perspective on my stress!

In Mark 12: 29-31 Jesus states:


The charge to love my neighbour as myself is one of the two greatest commandments – that is really big.  And what is key is that first I am to love the Lord my God with absolutely everything I have and I am – my heart, soul, mind, and strength. And I realised that I need to love God completely so that I can love my neighbor.  My love comes from God for as 1 John 4:7-8 states:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

So who is my neighbor?  My neighbor isn’t the limited notion I have today of the people living next door, but of all those I come into contact with.. like those I have contact with through Facebook and my blog.  If I have contact with you, then you are my neighbor!

So I started my time in James 2:1-13 stressed and worried at my inability to answer the many wonderful messages being sent me, and I finished my time realising that I need to work harder at loving God with all that I am and all that I have.  My heart: offering praise and adoration; my soul: dealing with my sin; my mind: committing myself to the study of the Bible; and my strength: seeking to serve others where possible.

It starts with God.. my love of others will grow as my love of God grows.  As Cindy Murray Traves stated on my Facebook page: ‘Take time to continue building ur relationship with God, not jus helping others to build theirs.’

Praise God!!

God bless,

Rev Mark

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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for today: Job 1 and 2

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  1. Sister Pam OP permalink

    Loving ourselves can be a difficult thing sometimes. For that reason, I like this verse. (John 13:34) “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

    We are to love one another as Jesus did. His love is so much more perfect than mine. I continually strive to love like Jesus, thereby perfecting my love of others.

    • I commend you for what you are doing & may God bless you & give you strength. I pray everyday & each day is a different prayer but 2 things I pray for everyday is God’s guidance & for Him to give me strength. I am fighting satan –like evil verses good in my own home. My husband & I were both laid off from our jobs in August–I have been looking & I asked God to direct me where He wants me to be then I know I am where I am suppose to be & it’ll all work out. My husband has developed prescription drug addiction & when he is out–it takes a toll of me cause then I have to carry on everything that he don’t. We have a 12 yr. old son–that isn’t dumb as to what is going on & it affects him. My daughter was paralyzed in a car accident 3 yrs. ago & was a problem child with drugs & addictions before that. We lost everything trying to find her & bring her home & help her & since the accident–it’s just been hell on earth & now she has left again–with the wrong people & going back down on that destructive road but I am learning that I cannot fix her or my husband only God can & they have to want to change. I need all the prayers that I can get & I can feel satan coming at me from all angles. He has tempted me & used my own family to weaken my faith but I know that God is stronger & where as people may let me down He won’t. I am trying to hold my marriage together & be an example to them all. My other daughter has made alot of mistakes but is married but still not saved & has alot of issues that she needs to deal with. It just seems overwhelming but I refuse to let satan drag me or my son down but it’s hard & heartbreaking. Please pray for me & may God richly bless you in all that you are doing.

      • Doris permalink

        I want you to know that I will be praying for you and your family. The bible says, which you probably know that, we are to be anxious for nothing but through prayer and supplications we are to make our requests know to Him. I will be sending requests to the Lord for your families salvation. Hold strong in the Lord.


      • Allie permalink

        I am so sorry to hear what is happening to you and your family. The Bible states that parents will be against their children and children against their parents, neighbors against neighbors, and brothers against brothers. Their is nothing else to do but keep your faith in God and be strong and pray, pray, pray. Also, if you have not done so already seek counseling from your pastor for yourself or from some other God believing helper. God also said “with two or more gather in my name there I am also”. But keep in mind the God’s Word will be fulfilled.

      • Mary Ann permalink

        Angie, you and your family will be in my prayers. It sounds like you have great faith in God and know that only He can help you and your family. I pray that He will continue to give you and your son stregnth and perserverence and that He will help your daughters and husband to find their way home to you and to Him.

      • Sister Pam OP permalink

        These are faith challenging and building times. Never stop praying. You are living a Job-like life. Take courage from this man who lost everything. You and your family are being lifted up to the Lord for healing and faith.

      • kent permalink

        I will pray for you Angie. I honor you for trying to keep your marriage together for your son and for yourself . People get divorced too easy these days.
        I went through well actually still going through a painfull divorce that my exwife initiated. It is too complicated to discuss here but I also had
        a 16 year old daughter at home when my wife walked out . We felt abandoned and the ramifications were a disaster for our marriage.
        Satan will try anything he can to destroy a family
        You are stronger than you know with Jesus on your side. I know I almost let Satan take my life, but Jesus saved me for my grandson and daughter and the other people who need me. Satan has a way of making you feel helpless and weak and stupid and worthless and even a bad person that does not deserve to even live much less recieve blessings. These experienses are making me stronger and wiser . I needed them to happen to me for I was pridefull and an arrogant man. They have brought me back to God. I have learned much from these lessons. I am not sure why you are going through this nightmare but I know that it is going to make you into the person God wants you to be. The answers will come later as they will with me. I just know that almost everyday a new conviction applies itself to my circumstanses.
        I am being shown things in the most strange ways. It’s really impossible to expain . Only God knows why I am recieving these things this way. I am still in much pain and heartbreak at losing my wife. Everyday I am being refined to be used for Gods Purpose.
        If my life had not taken the direction it did I would still be lost in my pride and jealousy. I am still fighting those demons in my life but as I stay yoked to Jesus it is becoming much easier. . We must stay in relationship with believers and not the ungodly for they will try to destroy what God is moulding to his purpose. Anxiety and depression are the worst and there are times I think I might even lose my senses but God is faithfull and I can still function and perform.
        Listen to good Christian music stations and if you have access to television with Christian broadcasting take advantage of it if you are not already.
        I brought much of my situation on myself and I’m surely not suggesting that you did the same . You just have to believe that if you continue to trust in Jesus he is going to bring you through this a new person and your family will see what an honorable person you are. God has a purpose for the pain . You are going to do great things with your life that you don’t even know yet.
        I am going to pray for your Marriage, your husband your daughters and your son That God will speak to their hearts and that salvation will come to them in Gods time.


      • kent permalink

        Angie I am also going to pray that God will help you both find employment or another way to make money and that Jesus will help your husband break his addiction.
        God Bless !

      • Sharon Gardner permalink

        Thanks for the uplift, you keep praying, and all good will come!!!!!

      • Kari permalink

        Your story is very upsetting. I hope that God finds a way to work miracles in your life. I pray that he finds a way to shed light on your situation. We recently had a sermon in church about giving our troubles or troubled individuals up to God. This takes the worry off us as we cannot control everything. I hope that you can give up some of your troubles to God and worry a little less. The devil is so strong and has tried to tear my marriage apart at one time, but I kept praying that I would still love the same person forever. I hope you can find peace, hope, and God’s love through these tough times. God bless

      • matthew hudson permalink

        Angie i just want to let you know I am praying for!! I pray that everything will work for your good!! dont let your emotions get the the best of you!! In the scriptures Jesus had emotions!! Mark 26 38-39, 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
        39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
        In the verse 39 he did two very important things. First , even though his heart was heavy, he went a little farther!!! This is letting the devil know that no matter what he does your going to keep moving!! second, he fell to his face and prayed to God, anything you need you just go to the Lord and he will answer!! Notice jesus had his emotions, they didnt have him!!

        I love you!!! God bless!!

      • EMMANUEL…GOD WITH US…we all have diff story…but i pray we will end up at one point…the same…with r heavenly FATHER…ill b praying for u angie and ur family…keep strong..hold tight ..dont give up…pray for agape filled ur heart…keep praying..keep watching…stay guard of ur faith..EMMANUEL!!!!

  2. Shannyn permalink

    I so appreciate this challenge. Praise God for what He is doing!!! Thank you Rev Mark for being obedient as I have learnt and recieved so much just from the four days so far, I really appreciate it!!! God Bless :-D

  3. I have often wondered how Job stayed with his wife after she told him to “curse God and die”. It was good for her that he was a godly man! But it appears they remained together & were blessed with more children and greater prosperity. The bible is silent about her but I do wonder if her faith was changed after all the loss & subsequent restoration.

  4. Suzanne permalink

    I just want to say thank you for taking time to think of others.I have felt for a few months that not only was I going to grow alot in 2010 but also christians as a whole and you I feel are help putting into motion…God bless you.

  5. Gail permalink

    I am dealing with the greast stress and worry I have ever felt in my life. I was thinking of Job this morning before I even got out of bed. Asking God to give me tha faith and patience Job had. This is exactly what I needed! It is very easy to say you put all your trust in the Lord Jesus, but then the mind wanders, and soon Satan is trying to make you feel hopeless again. I will not let the devil win. Jesus is my strength and my rock I cling to in this awful time in my life.

    • I too feel the attack of Satan so strong in my life. I went through a long period of time where God was so in control that I was feeling great and my Christian ministry and life were the best it could be. Then the holidays set in and life’s problems popped up and Satan kinda snuck in there. Sometimes it is hard to kick him out once he has come in. I have been fighting with him everyday and I know that God will prevail (Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world) but at the same time it makes you feel so depressed and anxious. I am really trying to rely on God for all the answers and decisions I need to make. But, I do practice everyday the Golden Rule…”Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you” and this helps me love my neighbor as myself. Thank you for this site and having a place to share our struggles.

      • Sister Pam OP permalink

        Fighting Satan is like fighting a battle in a war that has already been won. Jesus conquered Satan for eternity, but the evil one remains active in our world. Tell Satan to be gone. He will fight back and try to convince us that he is strong. He is not. He is a deceiver.

    • Roni permalink

      Hi Gail,
      I am following Rev. Mark on Facebook and just signed up for the Read the Bible in a Year. I don’t have a lot of extra time to read these comments, but
      the Lord put on my heart to read one and it was yours. I just want to bring you a word of encouragement as you deal with your trial. “Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the World”. I have been through the hardest times of my life…from ’04 – currently. My husband and I were dealing with aging and sick parents. My husband had to drive his mom to dialysis 6 times a week…while leaving work to do so and it was out of town. He had to take them to doctor appointments and help with all the other daily needs. In these times, there is not much time for yourself.
      In April ’05 He lost his mom, then that month my dad had open heart surgery, then I went back to school in July 05, then my dad had a stroke in Oct ’05, then I was in a car accident in Nov ’05, then my husband and I had to take on the responsibility of my dad’s business affairs and ranch,
      then… was hours and hours of work…more doctor appts, hospitals…then we lost his dad in ’07, we lost my mom in ’08, and lost
      my dad in May of ’09. There was much detailed struggles that took
      us through all of those losses….watching them suffer, dealing with the pain and helplessness we feel, pressures and stress of the problems and challenges that come with all of this. I can tell you this….though…God was my rock…through it all…He was my refuge…through it all…and I can
      tell you…I just didn’t say I trust you Lord…I finally learned through it all how to totally let go and let God. I truly learned what “trusting God” meant. It is so bittersweet…to have such pain and suffering on one side…then have such love, peace and contentment on the otherside.
      I would never have survived all this without the Lord getting me through.
      I learned to speak the word of God when I was being attacked spiritually and physically. The power is in HIS word…it is our sword! Putting on the armour of God….isn’t just saying so…it’s knowing it…so it just comes when we need it. I remember learning in Sunday School…that we are to hide the word of God in our heart by memorizing bible verses….and when we need it…God will pull out just the right one that we need…and you know I found with me personally…HE does just that. You have all that you
      need…in HIM…and HIS LOVE…and HIS WORD. I will be praying for you…and trust and know that God is in charge and HE will take care of you
      and your trial. Jer. 29:11 John 10:10
      In His Love,Roni
      p.s. I love that you said you won’t let the devil win. I was being verbally attacked one day…and I spoke the words with my hand held up to stop the attack…”I will not let the devil rob me of my joy in the Lord”. I know God was the one who was protecting me at the time. Then I have heard some
      sermons on this subject since with Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer and Marilyn Hickey on TV. We have choices….and we do not have to let the devil rob us of our joy. He has already lost…God wins! You are a daughter of
      God and are covered in HIS wings of protection. Never forget how special and loved you are. You are HIS girl! He will take care of your trial and you! May you have the peace that passeth all understanding….

      • Lyn permalink

        Roni, I read every word of your comments above and I really identified with so much of it. I have been through many emotional struggles lately and sometimes it is so hard to stay peaceful. Thank you for your strength and convincing progress. The Lord is our rock, our friend and He alone can bring us through it. The saying goes….if He brought us to it, He will bring us through it. Take care and God bless.

  6. Karen permalink

    Thank you! This morning it was an encouragement to know I am not the only one who plops the little one in front of the tv to get those precious moments in the Word. Your description of your morning put a smile on my face – so similar it is to mine.

  7. Sheila permalink

    I can’t even imagine the influx of comments and email you must be receiving.. How overwhelming that must be. I am only writing to thank and encourage you (no response required :-) ) I joined this group, Journey Deeper, a few weeks ago and can’t express how much I appreciate the time and effort you’ve given to the furthering of God’s Word. This new endeavor for 2010 has been a welcome and necessary challenge in my life. I am working hard to dissect and study while depending on God to help me understand. Thank you for the daily direction that you’ve given in achieving this endeavor.. and I praise God for his guidance and patience with me.

  8. Abby permalink

    I think that was a great way to start off my day, for I am yet still a baby in learning the word of God, and with that comes loving my neighbor as i love myself. I am trying pretty hard to strengthen my relationship with Him. I have accepted Jesus as the Lord of my Life and The Holy Spirit lives in me. But I get a little off track and start to lose my focus with the worldly things and people in it. I’m happy i susbscribed to this blog because it helps me in a way to deeper understanding by your insights, and i want to Thank You for it, because it keeps me connected to God, and thats how I want to start my day off with, and hopefully, keep it in mind all day. Thank you lots! God Bless! —Abby

  9. Lydia Reyes permalink

    I have found out in my past that reading the book of Job has given me so much strength when I needed the most. I am so thankful every morning to get up and fall into the word of God. It’s been only 4 days in this challenge and I already find it so rewarding. For one thing I am not a morning person and I ask God in prayer to help me and he has given me so much vigor and vitality in the morning. I just love My Lord so much. Mark, your comment on James 2:1-10 was so uplifting to me, today. I am going for a little surgery this morning, after this study and I needed the encouragment you gave. May God continue to Bless you and all in this site.

  10. hope permalink

    Thank you for your encouragement. I find it completely ironic that you have started this bible study in James. I went to church yesterday, and my preacher is starting a new series in – you guessed it – James. God still speaks in a small voice, and I’m trying to listen.

  11. Judy permalink

    God is sooooo! awesome. I have been struggling with an issue which has tested my love and acceptance of others, especially my own children and grandchildren. I have been praying for God to help me and show me HOW to love the way HE LOVES unconditionally. Last night after church Creflo Dollar preach this very message on LOVE. I woke this morning at 4 with a heavy heart and feeling so rejected by my family. Through prayer God showed me His heart and the rejection He felt as His “family” rejected Him and still does. This is the first email I have received this morning from U and I am so elated for the confirmation that God is hearing my cries and coming to my rescue.. Just wanted to let U know and Thank You for allowing God to use U to help Me.. I KNOW U and I both will have a Blessed day with Jesus…. Judy

  12. Kathy permalink

    Mark you are reaching out! Put God first and he will take care of the rest. God bless! Have peace. That’s my resolution. Peace

  13. Debbe permalink

    I read the Job selections this morning and I have to admit I have always been “theologically troubled” when I read this book. I think that is why I don’t seek it out when I read. I seem to go for other parts of the Bible.

    Job doesn’t feel theologically like other parts of the Bible. I have questioned whether or not it was a play, an allegory, written in this form to teach us to always stand fast with God, that in the long run, we will come out the better for it. Is the purpose of Job to teach us that bad things happen to good people and that we will weather the storms of life if we stay close with God? People look at me like I’m the devil for speculating that. They take it all literally and think it happened just as it is depicted and that these people were real. I don’t think it takes away from the divine nature of God or the sacredness of the Bible if this was a play.

    I don’t see God with the personality that he is boxed in with in the book of Job and I don’t see him as deliberately causing suffering to prove that his followers think he is really great.

    For reasons that I can only partially figure out, he does allow us to go through things we would pass on if given the choice. I attributed this to the fallen state of creation after The Fall of Adam and Eve, and that the longer the earth stands, the farther we tend to get from God. However, I struggle with why God who with a thought could stop so much suffering allows us to go through it. He has reasons I can’t and won’t understand. I just have to trust that he knows best and his ways are not our ways. I do know that it takes traumatic suffering sometimes to get people to turn to God.

    Oh well, enough rambling. Thanks for doing this, Father Mark.

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      You are not crazy for considering the story an allegory. Whether it historically happened or not, the message is the same. Some will tell you otherwise. Listen to God speaking to you in your heart when reading Job or any other part of the Bible. That is the voice that matters.

  14. Donna permalink

    Several months back, I looked at the whole “Love your neighbor” as a big big challenge… But once I came to realize that “Love” is a verb, a form of action, and not neccesarily a feeling, it helped me to relize you can show love to people whether they choose to accept it or not is on them. Jesus showed love and mercy to everyone he encountered. I want to treat people as I want to be treated, not always easy, but my goal still the same.

  15. Sara Sue permalink

    I agree with Cindy that a focus on God first, supplies the power we need (Him) to be able to love others. Also, I believe one of the temptations we face as believers is trying to BE God to others by meeting all the needs they present. Our job is to point them to God, which you are doing masterfully. It is His work to sort them, and their problems, out. Babies in Jesus will cry out just like physical babies do, but what they need is the milk of the Word so that they can grow in their relationship to Jesus–not in their relationship to us.

    • Michael Cook permalink

      Wow! Sara Sue…you hit on something there! God supplies the power we need to to love Him and to love others! And we cannot fall into that demonic trap of trying to “BE GOD” to others! I love what you have said here because it is a trap, a snare of the enemy, to cause us to fall into guilt and condemnation. And this starts with our families as well. We try to be their saviour instead of pointing them to THE SAVIOUR…JESUS! What you said in this post is full of power and I believe a true revelation for me! Thank you so very much for being lead by the Spirit! You are beautiful!

  16. Donna permalink

    Enjoyed the reading this AM, especially the part about how our love for others will grow as our love for God grows. Today my sister & I (she is a Jehovah’s Witness) are taking my mom out of town for a surgery. I need to love my sister more. We were estranged for 13 yrs. until recently. So anyway my prayer is that I will prioritize loving God more so that I can have more love for my neighbors.

  17. Thank you for that Rev Mark. I have to remember to love my neighbor and to treat everyone with Love…

  18. Peggy permalink

    Rev Mark, as you struggle with trying to respond to all of us, remember we are a family in Christ, and we are helping each other. You are still human and can only do so much. Remember God, immediate Family then others. God Bless you for what you do.

  19. Hi Rev, I shared this with my little sister…she was amazed with scripture….and has subscribed to Our Journey! Thank you for all your efforts and I look forward to becoming a better Christian and sharing the faith in Our Lord. Your letters are very inspirational and I feel fortunate to have read them!

  20. I really like what you are doing and this challenge and I love what the word said about getttingto know Gop more and then taking care of your neiborbor I def need to do this Thank you for taking the time to dothis and Gods will it was needed and is helping me and opening my eyes God Bless you

  21. Gladys Wright permalink

    Do not be stressed. That is not Gods will for you… do not dispare…
    …AS, you reach/contact each and everyone of us with this facebook vehicle.
    God has blessed me with your facebook page.

  22. Margaret Ann James permalink

    Rev Mark, I agree with Peggy. You are reaching out to each one of us in your study. At some point in time, you will respond to my needs, whether it is through a personal response, or through study in the word. Even greater is it, that it be through GOD himself.

  23. What an eyeopener today from the word,i have to see to it that i maintain my relationship with God in order to love others,thanks Rev Mark.

  24. Maie permalink

    I am so glad to see the topic of James, because this is what God has put on my heart to start the year off with. James is so up in your face and its exactly what we need sometimes to remind us that we are to seek out that relationship with Him first. How can we love others if we haven’t learned to love God first. I agree that if we love our Lord first with all our heart,soul, mind, and strength that loving others will come and become easier.

  25. rev Mark, once we put God first in our Lives you will be able to respond to all wants be used for each one according to His will and puropose. i think of mary who sat at the feet of Jesus and now i have the same feeling sitting with Jesus as my prime in life everything will follow in order. pray God use you in a His Mighty ways

  26. I consent in silence! GBY more Mark!

  27. Michelle Meyer permalink

    Dear brother Mark in Christ,
    Loving your neighbor as yourself does not mean that you have to answer everyone’s needs. Loving yourself: You give yourself boundaries and cannot have everything you want. Therefore, loving your neighbor as self, you can offer boundaries to what you can and cannot do, and that you CANNOT give everything of you away to others. Jesus ultimately gave all He had for others on the cross, however, during His ministry, He took many breaks from people and He did not meet everyone’s needs. I hope that I have not burdoned you as I would rather give help than receive. You have a heart of gold brother Mark which in my opinion, is why you are stressed that you cannot meet everyone’s needs- you have the love of God for others. (I am not trying to complement you- I really mean this).
    -Michelle Meyer

    • dorthy porter permalink

      Mark this has really made me think today.Do I fall short in this area?I do believe I do,this will be a area of my life that work on.It is easy to love and be kind to the people that are nice but what about my neighbors who are not as nice or do not meet the standards of the world.Am I willing to step out to the ones in need and be friends to the social outcasts of the world.Will I offer them Jesus,food,blankets,dignatity.Yes I will it will be my New Years new goal.

    • Kari permalink

      I really struggle with this. I try to help everyone and give everyone everything to make them happy. Sometimes it overwhelms me and I get run down and tired. I need to remember I cannot help everyone. I have tried to help a very close family member out of depression, not eating, and it seems I have failed. I have tried everything I could think of, and I think she needs to want to help herself. It is hard to sit back and watch someone to self destructive, but she does not want my help.

  28. Sandy permalink

    thank you so much Rev. Mark for this encouraging message!!
    Since I’m in a foreign country now, I’m dealing with people I never thought I woudl deal with, I’m spending time with them, getting to know them and getting so close to them as well!! at first I used to be shocked when they talked about sexual relationships simply!! then I realized it’s just like that!! they don’t have a problem sharing their sexual lives with others!! and in a certain time I was wondering, how should I REALLY deal with these people??!! should I still spend time with them and hang out with them since I’m a believer?? And I asked God several times to give me wisdom and to tell me how I should deal with these people who eventually became my real friends!! and here it is the answer I got.. TO LOVE THEM!! wow!! I didn’t think that “LOVE” could be the answer!!
    Lord Jesus I love you so much!! I love you because You love me with no conditions!! and I ask You to help me love “my neighbors” as You love me!!
    praise the Lord!!

  29. Rita permalink

    Friday morning during a conversation with a friend, one of the things we discussed was loving our neighbor as ourselves. She said that we can only love people as well as we love ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves, then how can we love other people?

    If we look down on ourselves we will keep other people at a distance and in doing that we lose out on not only blessing them, but also receiving the blessings they could bring into our lives.

    I struggle with loving God wholeheartedly even though I want to serve Him. I struggle with being loving towards certain people. I need to remember that God is their judge. I personally can’t stand arrorgant people and people who just take whatever they want because they are afraid they won’t get their fair share, and so take without considering other people.

    Perhaps I still have a judgmental and critical spirit towards others and even my church because I feel inadequate or unworthy or inferior and so I am not as loving as I could and ought to be or not willing to seek the counsel of others. By doing this I am ruining my life and probably holding myself back from what God has planned for me.

    So this is my confession as well as my comment. I hope that maybe it encouraged someone else who is feeling like me.

    Thank you Reverend Mark for your faithful service.

  30. Thank you for teaching us to think and study and learn and stay faithful with it through your e-mail. No need to return a comment. I don’t want to add to your stress. Just know you are appreciated and I’m sure God is pleased with you.

  31. Shea permalink

    Thank you so much for being in my life, even though we have not met or even conversed before. I know God made it in His plan for me to subscribe to your daily devotions to Him. Today’s lesson exists as 100% applicant to my life right now. It is so easy to say that people are bothersome…. But God doesn’t want us to dislike our neighbors. Like the scripture said: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” I have been struggling with this commandment for about four years now, from sixth grade (the beginning of middle school, where all the “drama” starts) until my freshman year in high school, presently. I’ve tried and tried to love everybody, but if one tries to squeeze out love, it is pointless. But you directed this answer to me straight from God. I cannot love others unless I love God first. Thank you so much, Reverend Mark. God bless you, and I look forward to seeing you in Heaven.

  32. Patsy Bond permalink

    Job is a great story. It reminds me that satan rules the earth, if we let him. I love God. Amen.

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      I like what you said about satan, “…if we let him.” Jesus us is our King, Lord and savior. Satan deceives us into thinking he is still in control.

  33. jessica nel permalink

    That’s beautiful… Thank u.. Words of wisdom run thru my veigns.. U are truly awesome!

  34. Tommy Hunter permalink

    Dear Rev Mark,

    God is using you and affecting not just myself but many others, as testament these other entries to today’s message and your seemingly growing number of messages you referenced.

    This is a good, no great thing! Thank you for all your devotion and effort as well as your candid honesty! I feel blessed to have you in my spiritual journey.


  35. Thank you :0)

  36. Robinsky permalink

    Mark, thank you so much for giving guidance as to what it means to love God with my whole heart, my soul, my mind and my strength. I have asked God, what is it you want from me…how do I put it into real practice. Thank you so much for this Mark. and don’t worry about us, you are loving us by giving us these wonderful, life changing devotions. God bless you.

  37. Elaine permalink

    What an amazing revelation. With all the daily expectations of today’s world: family-work-friends, etc. we find ourselves so involved in pleasing and doing for others that we continually forget to love or work on ourselves, thus, finding we are running on empty. By finding this time to grow with HIM and HE in us, is a way to re-charge our love meter, and able to then give to others, without the stress that comes with running on low.
    May God continue to strengthen your walk, and thank you for your obedience and “Loving your Neighbors!”. God Bless…

  38. Kathy Jacques Lewis permalink

    Amen Cindy a great word for all of us!!

  39. Debbie permalink

    Rev. Mark, Just by making the challenge for us you are helping us with our needs..God Bless you

  40. jennifer bruce permalink

    This is exactly what I needed today! I feel like God knows my situation and what we are going through and He led me right to your lesson for today. God is awesome and knows our needs! Thank you for an awesome message! It has helped lift me up today tremendously!

  41. Brenda P permalink

    Just remember, we are no more required to “thank” each breath we take, nor each blade of grass, or anything else in creation than we are to thank each person who responds to our posts. Just relax and enjoy the fact that you have initiated a post that brings joy and/or instruction to others. What they do with it is their business, and God’s business–not yours! Wow! What a concept. Ask me how I know….. May God bless you as you bless others.

  42. thanks you for your awesome way of showing us the way…God Be with you always

  43. Tammy permalink

    I appreciate your FB posts! My prayer for this new year is to see people the way Jesus does – through His eyes – and that in turn will lead me to get past my preconceived ideas and judgments and open the door so I can love them as He directs me to.

  44. Becky permalink

    Wow, I feel so guilty after reading Job. So many times I whine and complain when things do go as I feel they should and I feel like God has turned his back on me. But, look at Job. Everything was taken from him in one tragic day! Still he fell down in worship and praised God. He never turned against God even when he was so miserable that he probably wanted to die. I have so much work to do to get to that level.

  45. Steve Gill permalink

    Mark…. (And Everyone Else)….

    I realized after reading your reflection today that you already have “Loved” us. You took the time to lay your reflection at the feet of Facebook believers as a Worship to your God. I won’t ever expect a return email from these wonderful messages because my comments are being raised up as a perfect aroma to My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    You all are helping more than you realize… BUT… God gets all the glory. So we must move on to the next thing. Love and Peace to all.

  46. Robbye permalink

    Thank you. The four devotionals this year have helped me start my day right. God does come first. The motto of the Order of the Daughters of the King is “For His Sake. . .I am but one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do. What I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do. Lord, what will you have me do?” I pray these words will help you discern what you can and cannot do. You cannot do it all. Jesus paid it all. Rest in the Lord. Your devotions are wonderful, spirit-filled words that reach all who read them. And then, we get to pass them along. That’s our responsibility. That’s how you will reach many. God bless you in a big way today.

  47. Rev. Mark,
    Thank you so much for your word today. I was impressed by The Lord that I must truly forgive and release ill feelings that I have towards a person in my life.
    That if I truly love God and want God’s peace, provision I must forgive and love even those who mistreat, neglect or abuse me. Then God’s love will shine like the morning sun in my life. I must put God before all else, make Him first so that I may love all my neighbors.
    Thanks again,

  48. Inspiring! I follow u on facebook too!

  49. this year has not started out to good so could yall please pray 4 me @ my family we need gods strength to help us through some personalthanks to every one 4 their prayers\\ problems going on in our family all prayers will be greatly appreciated god i cant make it through this without your help need u in my life u r my strength my father who art in heaven i need u

  50. What does love mean? This word puzzles me.

  51. Angie A. permalink

    Brother Mark today you hit my feelings on the nail head. Your printing of Gods word and the time you take to break it down is such a blessing. Thank you for all you do. Heavenly Father please keep this family and the works you have them doing in safe keeping and peaceful bliss. Amen
    lots of love

  52. LEONA BENEDICT permalink


  53. Michele permalink

    What a powerful message in James and Job today. It’s been quite the manic Monday for me today. I did not sleep well last night and was awaken several times. My kids returned to school today for the 1st day back after winter break. I had my alarm set for PM instead of AM and woke up 5 mins before it was time to take my first two to the bustop. Ugh!! Rushed and stressed we did make it to the bus on time. Praise God!! Then I returned home to wake up my two younger children and send them off by 7:30am to their bus. Atferwards, I shut off the coffee pot and returned to bed in hopes of catching up on some much needed rest. I didn’t feel having my morning cup of coffee would be wise. I woke up an hour and a half later and paid some online bills before they became past due. Then I read Job and re-read James. Please pray for me fellow prayer warriors as stress and worry is something I experience often. It is a struggle for me. Thank you Mark for your wisdom and may God continue to bless you as you continue building your relationship with God. God is great and through Him we all faithful to Him will receive answers to our prayers and questions. God bless, Michele

  54. Dave permalink

    I was struck by the truth in the passage in James 2: 1-13. I am aware of the strenght of faith found in the believers in 3rd world country’s. There happiness in the midst of troubles that would strike us down. And then to compare it to the truth of the fact that it is the rich who are taking us into court. In our times most of us in the developed world would be considered rich and it is in our world that the faith is taken to task by the ACLU’s and the like. “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith”. Another verification of the truth in God’s word. But who do we reach out to and who do we walk around or cross the street to avoid. Keep up the good work.

  55. Peggy Thompson permalink

    I just recently found FB, and a lot of my friend’s from high school. I love Journey Deeper into God’s word. I love this it is great. Tyvm 4 serving God and 4 passing this gr8 journey onto us. I just recently rededicated my life to God and Jesus Christ. I will do my very best 2 follow your journey and I will let you know where my journey takes me as well. May God bless you and your family. I’d also like 2 say worry and stress doesn’t change anything only prayer, and God and yourself can change the way things may turn out. Just keep praying and ask for God’s guidance, and I know you will find the answer’s you need as will I. Thank you again and God bless.

  56. stephanie permalink

    REV.MARK thise is the first time i tried to right anything becuse i dont read well ihave trouble with comprehention so it strays me from the bible becuse i dont want to be miss lead i would like to claim i am a christian and have been for most of my 45 years of life hear on earth but after you just upered on my facebook page is truly a mirical i just barly learned how to get on the commputer my husband set me up facebook should me how to sign on witch took many times becuse i cant rememer anything do to my drug addicted life starting at age 13 got pregnet at age 22 still used drugs through my pregnency had pretty little girl i say pretty becuse i can not spell beutefull but she was born with nero blastoma cancer had kemo for 4 years andgod gave me yet a nother mirical she is now 23 prais god i continude useing drugs till i did a verry bad thing that landed me in jail i was sentenced to 180 days prais god this was rehabe for me was clean for 11 years then got into the wrong place and people and started useing agian costed me what i thought was the best and fun job i ever had made good money took care of my family ialso have a husband that is addicted to pain meds and does not work becuse of pain and has no income it is just me god mark and gods followers my mom was diagnost with brain cancer in june 09 and passed in aug 09 lost my job at that time and now on unemployment i no longer use drugs prais god but i can not read right or comprehend i have a felony that keeps me from getting even the worst and dirtyest of jobs i have done heating and air cond installs for about 11 years know but i have abused my body so much over the years i can bearly do that any more i am a lost child finding my way back home through you i do not even get your lesson becuse i dont know how to sign up for it i just click on your chalenge next to your picture and it leads me straighte to everyons comments POINT BEING PEOPLE LIKE ME ARE HEARING GOD SPEAK THROUGH YOU AND I DONT EVEN KNOW HOW YOU GOT ON MY LIST OF FRIENDS NEVER HERD OF YOU OR YOUR NAME YOU WILL NOT HEAR FROM ME AGIAN BUT NOW THIS GOD IS USEING YOU IN AWAY THAT CAN NOT BE EXPLAINED ………….. MIRICALE COMES TO MIND ………… THANK YOU JESUS FOR SENDING MARK TO TEACH ME AND TO HELP ME FIND MY WAY HOME THANK YOU FOOLOWERS OF MARK AND YOUR COMMENTS EVERYDAY IS A NEW DAY IN CHRIST GOD BLESS AND MARK IF YOU GET A CHANCE TO READ THIS NO REPLY IS NESSASARY IT JUST FEELS SO GOOD TO GET THIS MESS OFF MY CHEST I AM NO LONGER FELLING SORRY FOR MYSELF THANK YOU AND AGIAN GOD BLESS.

    • Wow!! Wonderful to hear from you Stephanie! Praise God for the way He is working in your life! God bless you, Mark

  57. stacey brown permalink

    I appreciate your messages, as I continue to seek God and ask for guidance to what he has given, your views help me to realize what has in store for me.

  58. Wow…As layed awake talking to God about a situation and ask what to do about it as i had been thinking in my mind that had giving all i can give. I thought i had giving all of me. But the word can forth in James 2 1-13,,,,LOVE which ties in with what God has been dealing with me about. I especially love the part in verse 13 when the word clearly states that those who shows n mercy will recieve no mercy. There is my answer… I’m to show mercy whether there wrong or right. Keep loving on the Lord. Thanks

  59. Mr. Mark, I have not heard of you before today. If you would like to know, I am a CHRISRTIAN, however because of previous exposure to dominations, I declare no 1 path to Christianiaty. I was asked at the age of 17 to leave First Baptist Chruch, Southern Baptist, in Southern Arkansas, because when a youth minister grooped me, he went the the pastor, not I, nor did I go to my parents. However 2 weeks later I almost took my life when a group of 12 went to Texarkana for a day out, but when the preacher showed up, the youth director stated that I was wanting to go home alone, and realized that something was not right. Luckily my mom had divine intervention and called before I could pull the trigger. Before me or my family could go to the pastor, he called asking to speak to me privately. He knew nothing of the evenig before, however because of what the Youth Director had told him ( after having grooped me in the sanctuary) he stated there was no room in the Church for someone like me. Literally, I was excommunicated from the First Baptist Church, Lewisville, AR. But I have something in my connor. I have thoroughly studies, searched, and read the total BIBLE. Let me tell you one thing and one thing only. I KNOW why I am a Christian, I know the Principles that I stand on, and NO ONE WILL EVER CAUSE ME TO DENY MY FAITH. However, most cannot give you the same commitment.

    Sir, I commend you on your outreach. I will pray daily for your success. However, Please look closest to those who seem most not interesred, for possibly they will have a stort that will curdle your blood. Since my experience, mine seems almost benign after hearing what others have experienced. My brother, start the the Church, make sure it is a real CHURCH, the start your outreach. Otherwise, others whom are like me will only see the sinners in sheeps clothing.

  60. Laura permalink

    Howdy Neighbor :)
    Thank you for what you are doing. These devotions really help me Journey Deeper into God :) I don’t always get a chance to read my bible everyday because of school work and other things, but I check my email often and I look forward to your emails. Your messages help me to realize all of the plans God has for me. I appreciate every single message and I just wanted to tell you thank you.

  61. Mary permalink

    Do you use The King James Bible ? If not, what do you think of it ?

  62. Dear Rev. Mark,

    I have been praying very hard for the past 4 months to God for various reasons.
    Also I have been reading the Bible daily. When I was younger… up to when I was 13 my grandmother read bits of the Bible to me everyday, she was very spiritual.

    I stopped praying sometime in 2003, but am trying to re-establish my faith, for I did lose it for a while there, never stopped believing in God, I just lost faith as I was reviewing various religious beliefs from all around the world.

    I now attend a non-denominational Church, but I want to start another Church for old time sake and belief, but I also wish to attend a different church for other reasons and can’t decide which is best. I believe I can have faith in both of them and am considering attending both. Is that right or wrong.

  63. The past year has been the worst I have ever experienced and I don’t want this year to be anything like the last, so I decided to make a few comments on your excellent site for inspiration. It’s true that God lets us know when we are walking in his righteousness and we are not and I pray that the forgiveness that the Lord provides will help me and save me once again, I know he answers prayers and I know he punishes us for sin, I need forgiveness and I am doing all I can to repent for my indiscretions over the past few years.

  64. Lest anyone think of it as a new command, read Leviticus 19:18.

    He upgraded that command in the Gospels: “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).

  65. Andrew Sands permalink

    Your thoughts on James have smacked me in the face. I, too find myself many times struggling with the pressures of my job and what needs to be done next. Gotta start different tomorrow. When God comes first, everything else takes care of itself…because God has a way of taking care of it. But, it’s a faith step. I have to trust that God will take care of me as I strive to know Him deeper. Great thoughts!!

  66. ian permalink

    i really feel your pain…putting it simple life is not a bed of roses…the lord gives us free will and we all take advantage of that, all of us. god is amazing in his own little ways…you have the faith and that will pull you through always, maybe until the next hurdle appears but the faith and belief in the lord will do it time and time again easing the pain….after reading your situation i now know that i really dont have problems…thank you for sharing and taking the time….god bless you and trust me he always will…AT TIMES I HAVE DOUBTED IT BUT HE ALWAYS ALWAYS BRINGS ME THROUGE…IAN

  67. Mark, Maybe you could find an assistant to help you in the facebook ministry. Paul had Timothy, and if God willing maybe you could find someone capable like that to share the ministry load with. Thank you for all that you do,and for the prayers an sharing the gospel of Christ.

  68. Edgar permalink

    We should take a lesson from Job. He remained faithful to the Lord, and cursed not, even though everything was stripped from him and he was with disease from head to toe. Yet he cursed not, neither did he sin, unlike many today would do if suddenly every fiber of their money and material wealth were stripped from them, and/or they lost a loved one or were strcken with a serious disease upon themselves.

    What would you do if this thing that happened to Job suddenly happened to you today? How would you react?

  69. THELMA MAY SEDDON permalink

    It can be a task when you have several Adults in the home to get in your time with the Lord. It takes peristance and a will to stay with the task before you. I am not giving up for I am looking for that City–called Heaven where My Lord and Saviour is.

  70. Angie,

    I will certainly keep you in my prayers at all times…in fact Im going to simply pray about this right now!…Please keep us posted as your life changes for the better through the power of prayer!

  71. omar permalink

    Thanks so much to take time everyday, and writeto us. I am trying to get my life back on tract with God, and this is of great help. Even if you cant get to everyone, your still doing enough, thank you.

  72. Carl permalink

    Thank you for serving me as your neighbor.


  73. dennis permalink

    Hi, I just subscribed to the fb named Bible and then subscribed to this blog. And what a wonder you have done for me in just a few days, opened my eyes a lot I’ve been out of church for awhile but in actuality my hearts been out of church for years although I believe my faith is strong sometimes you don’t know if your faith is really there until you are reassured by your peers. AND YOU HAVE DONE JUST THAT!!! anyways I say all this because although you cannot return everyones comments and questions you are doing soooo much for all your neighbors/future neighbors and even people you don’t know exist like me! I think that shows your love for God, your neighbors, and most importantly YOURSELF, I learned a loooong time ago you cannot love your neighbors without being able to love yourself. SO THANK YOU AND KEEP IT COMING!

  74. Sharon R. permalink

    Rev. Mark,

    Regarding your post today. Be not stressed as God will lead you where you are to be as you keep your eyes on Him. He will lead you to the posts and to the people to reply to. He is ALWAYS right, so trust Him. The closer you draw to Him, the easier it is to know what it is to do.

  75. Samuel permalink

    Am greatful to God for your ministry, I am daily blessed through the “Journey Deeper Into God’s Word. Thank you.


  76. Connie Lovingood permalink

    Love is exactly what God is all about. Vs 5 says, “ Hath not God chosen the poor of the world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” KJV. This verse if powerful. This means that God does not care about how much money you have, He cares about how faithful we are to Him. If we are faithful to Him, we will receive eternity in heaven (His kingdom) with Him. God wants us to be kind to one another and work from the goodness in our hearts, not because it will get us into heaven or not against others who are less fortunate than us.

  77. Rebecca permalink

    While I may leave a comment once in awhile, I certainly don’t expect you to respond to each one! You’re showing your love by feeding us…and that takes time and effort. Just continue that and be blessed in it and I, for one, will be satisfied!

  78. Helene permalink

    My pastor just wrote a book on the Great Commandment (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your soul) – it has really helped me understand what that means, and it’s a fun and easy read. I HIGHLY recommend it. Actually he’s doing a series of sermon on that topic (first sermon was how to love God with all your heart, today’s sermon was how to love God with all your soul, and so on and so on). Look up the book “Primal” by Mark Batterson (it just came out a few weeks ago). If you have time for a quick, fun and passionate read, it might work for you!

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