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Full on LOVE.

June 23, 2010

“A lawyer asked him a question, testing him: ‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment?’ And he said to him,… ‘Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these’” (Mark 12:28-31).

New York is one full on place.  Over the past week I have had the utter privilege of living and working in New York.  Meetings in big buildings, hot dog mustard on my white business shirt, being bustled and compacted on the subway, dazzled by advertising, taken by the size and opulence of shops.  And I really really liked it.  Yes I could definitely live in New York.  Which is kinda funny as right now I live in a country town of about 5000 people where the tallest structure is a mobile phone tower and if it takes you 15 minutes to get across town you must be walking. And yes I absolutely love living here.  I think I need both, the full on city with all its choice and stimulation and the quiet country town with its slower pace and peacefulness.

And I think my relationship to Jesus can be a bit the same.. like living in two different places.  One moment it is slow, rambling along, content with how things are and then the next my faith is New York style, all full on and involved, seeking out the next opportunity.  But actually I need to be full on all the time.

I am to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.  Not just part but all.  Wow.

This is an invitation into complete involvement of every part of who I am, nothing left behind.  And the greek for love is agapao which speaks of loving, of making God my complete focus.  I guess just as New York captured my full attention, in the same way I need to give God my complete attention.  That I think about God a lot, pray heaps, ask the question often, ‘how can I serve you right now Jesus?’ and spend loads of time reading and accepting the teachings of the Bible.

And how do I know when I am giving God my all?  Well the proof is whether I am loving my neighbor as myself.  And the greek for neighbour speaks of those within my environment, those near me.  And I would actually count not only those people who live near me, but those I interact with on the net.  But the key isn’t to lead with this, to take the mental decision to love my neighbors, but first to work on loving God with all that I am, and from this will naturally flow a love for my neighbors.

So how am I going to apply this to my life?  Pushing my commitment to prayer up a few notches, more prayer needed.  I need to ask myself often, ‘‘how can I serve you right now Jesus?’.  And I need to recognize clearly that I need to love God with all that I am, nothing held back.

What are your thoughts on this awesome passage?  Be great to read your insights, feel free to leave them in the comments section on the blog.

God bless,


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

The portion for today is: Leviticus 4-6; 1 Kings 14-18
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  1. Lynn permalink

    i think the way you serve God fully giving Him all your heart, mind, and strenght is by following his commandments to the best of your ability. ask Him to let you see others through his eyes, andto help you not judge others ( this is the hardest), when you have a hard time forgiving some one , especially one who has caused you great harm as i did with those who had sexually abused me as a child, forgive them as an act of your will. remember, we didn’t deserve to be forgiven either. then ask God to make that forgiveness real in your heart. it won’t happen right away , but it will happen. it took me a couple of years, but then i found myself asking God to not only forgive them, but not to hold this sin to their charge.give yourself as a living sacrifice, and become a servant to others. take care and God bless.

  2. Kay permalink

    I wish to love God more and to serve Him more. i feel at the moment that i am doing too much asking of Him. i need to be cured of my panic, anxiety, depression and fear and I am continually praying for that to happen…nothing else. God must think me rather selfish to want only but i am desperate. what do you recommend Fr Mark?

    • Hey Kay, God certainly can heal you, in His time and of His style. I would encourage you to post a prayer on Praying People on Facebook at: get as many people as we can praying for you!! I certainly will be one of them. God bless you, Mark

    • Kathy permalink

      Kay, depression and anxiety are never from God, and He wants you to be free from that. Read His Word, read passages on healing, build up your faith. God wants you to live an abundant life! As you pray, begin thanking Him for healing you, knowing that Jesus bore the lashes on His back for our healing. Release your faith and thank Him for what He has done. Also, understand who you are wrestling with. It is the devil and his army of evil spirits that are attacking you. Jesus has given us authority over them. Stand up to the devil. Command that he take his hands off you because you are God’s property, and he is trespassing. Verbally rebuke the demonic spirits and order them to leave you in Jesus’ name. Anytime you want demons to flee, pray aloud, praise the Lord aloud, read the Bible aloud. They hate it and are afraid of it. Also, Mark’s advice is good. Get other people praying for you, standing with you. You don’t have to do this alone. That’s what the body of Christ is for. We love you!

    • Bev permalink

      Praying for you, Kay!

  3. Denise permalink

    glad you are enjoying NYC! It’s a fast crazy place… I live there but WISH I could live in the country.. with God’s help maybe one day! I enjoy reading, keep it up! God bless you!

  4. Todd permalink

    I just read this Devotional that ties in with your message today. GOD is so AWESOME. God Bless You

    “Ephraim is a cake not turned.” — Hosea 7:8

    A cake not turned is uncooked on one side; and so Ephraim was, in many respects, untouched by divine grace: though there was some partial obedience, there was very much rebellion left. My soul, I charge thee, see whether this be thy case. Art thou thorough in the things of God? Has grace gone through the very centre of thy being so as to be felt in its divine operations in all thy powers, thy actions, thy words, and thy thoughts? To be sanctified, spirit, soul, and body, should be thine aim and prayer; and although sanctification may not be perfect in thee anywhere in degree, yet it must be universal in its action; there must not be the appearance of holiness in one place and reigning sin in another, else thou, too, wilt be a cake not turned.

    A cake not turned is soon burnt on the side nearest the fire, and although no man can have too much religion, there are some who seem burnt black with bigoted zeal for that part of truth which they have received, or are charred to a cinder with a vainglorious Pharisaic ostentation of those religious performances which suit their humor. The assumed appearance of superior sanctity frequently accompanies a total absence of all vital godliness. The saint in public is a devil in private. He deals in flour by day and in soot by night. The cake which is burned on one side, is dough on the other.

    If it be so with me, O Lord, turn me! Turn my unsanctified nature to the fire of Thy love and let it feel the sacred glow, and let my burnt side cool a little while I learn my own weakness and want of heat when I am removed from Thy heavenly flame. Let me not be found a double-minded man, but one entirely under the powerful influence of reigning grace; for well I know if I am left like a cake unturned, and am not on both sides the subject of Thy grace, I must be consumed for ever amid everlasting burnings.

  5. Manuel dos Santos permalink

    I firstly want to say that I am thankful for your blog on FB. I am recently divorced and due to this I feel that this piece of scripture is most challenging.

    I have mixed emotions about my ex, about my so called “friends” and honestly about myself.

    Today I may be forgiving and accept the way people rejected me, and tomorrow I am so angry at everyone I could go mad. So yes, loving your “neighbour” as yourself is not an easy one to deal with.

    I think it boils down to accepting GOD’s rule and not trying to put it into earthly ways. Earthly ways get us nowhere in GOD’s way. Earthly ways give us the pain, anger and hate that makes us “forget”, for lack of a better word, GOD’s law.

  6. Stephen permalink

    Very relevant and ironic.Just yesterday,i treated a homeless drunk man very badly.I feel awful about this.I think God gave me an opportunity to love my neighbor and i failed.It has been bothering me since it happened . i knew instantly it was wrong..Then i listenend to your reading not even knowing what it was about, and i knew God wanted me to hear this.

    • Neil Price permalink

      been there done that Stephen…trust me on that…I see them and when i walk past them, my spirit acts up…and I start cussing myself saying, ‘So you call yourself a child of God, huh Neil…’…the guilt i feel when i am not in a position to help them in some way or another…but God has His own way of letting us understand…and I thank Him for the conviction of the Holy Spirit…be blessed!

  7. lynn permalink

    kay, you are not being selfish praying for a healing for yourself. God knows your need, He has heard you crying out to him and He has promised to answered you. i suffered with anxiety and panic attacks for years,and depression due to PTSD. but God healed me in a way that would not be a shock to my system and wouldn’t shut me completely down. try praying for the needs of others when you pray for yourself and you’ll better about asking for yourself. it helpedme a lot. i will be praying for you. take care and God bless

  8. Just finished watching your video Mark and I agree wholeheartedly with the way you look at things. I gave my life to God 3 years ago when battling stage 3 multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer) in my spine and I prayed for God to heal me. According to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) it is an incurable cancer, but I beg to differ. I feel God answered my prayers and healed me. I have been cancer-free now since October 30th, 2007 after having been diagnosed in January 2007. God is in control! He has shown me that, not just by healing me, but by changing me. I am a completely different person than I used to be. Not only do I pray and talk with God all the time now, I have placed my life into his hands and have complete faith in him. I don’t worry about things the way I used to because I know that God will provide for me just as surely as he does for the birds of the air and the animals in the forest. I have been overwhelmed with his blessings since giving my life to him. I’m a more caring person which makes the “Love thy neighbor” commandment come natural and without any effort on my part. Thank you for sharing your journey Mark and I know that you will have a much more happy and fulfilling life by having faith in God than you’ve ever had in the past. May God bless you abundantly my brother!

    Best regards,
    Cliff Fox

  9. Mark,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this passage of scripture! One thing that came to my mind was that whenever I seem to have an opportunity ahead of me to serve the Lord, or whenever I have made a decision to serve Him in a particular way, Satan always tries to stop me through temptation to sin. If he can get me to hate someone, or to hold something back from God through fear or some other emotion, that is a great way to stop me from serving the Lord. So I love the life application you gave “How can I serve the Lord right now?” When I feel tempted, that is exactly when I need to pray to the Lord asking how He wants me to serve Him. According to 1 Corinthians 10:13 He will answer, and He will give me a way out of the temptation so I can serve Him with my whole heart, nothing lacking.

  10. Sharon permalink

    This message comes with such uncanny timing. I too, live in the country in a fiercely independent part of Northern Idaho. Although I moved in here long before others, our family is openly disliked by the people who moved in on either side of us, one family who claims to be very strong Christians. I can feel my resentment taking hold, and am struggling to forgive and love them. It is difficult to pray for them, I am so hurt and angry. Thank you for this timely message. I will have to work harder.

  11. Kay permalink

    I do not have Facebook but i will rely on you Fr Mark for prayers. Perhaps also my husband will come back to me. He left me and that is the cause of my problems. I also pray to God for him to return to me

    • Jesus can deliver us from our trials, & very often He does. There are times, though when He wants to walk us through them instead cuz there is something we need to learn about ourselves or Him, usually both. It’s good & well to ask Jesus for our own needs cuz He cares for us. It is dangerous, though for you to focus soley on your own needs cuz that often intensfies them in your own mind. Always to your own needs to Jesus, but also look around for other’s who need prayer as well & be sure to take their needs to Jesus as well. You’ll find your soul, heart, & mind blessed when you include other’s in your prayers. In the meantime, I will add you to my own orayer list. Jesus blessings to you Kay. Hugs. :)(:

    • Kathy permalink

      Kay, first I would encourage you to join Facebook and then join the various groups that Mark Brown has started. Then you would feel the strength, love and prayers of the thousands of believers there. Do you have a good church home where people will support you?

      Second, I agree with Tina that you should also pray for others. James 5:16 says, “Pray for each other so that YOU may be healed.” The Bible talks a great deal about sowing and reaping, planting seeds and receiving a harvest. Our prayers are like seeds that we sow into the lives of others, and we can expect to reap a good harvest (blessings, answered prayers) from that. Our whole lives can be used as seed – our time, our love, our smile, our offerings, our friendship, our teaching, our helping, our playing with children, our use of our talents – every good thing we do is seed that we sow into God’s kingdom. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

      Kay, don’t struggle with your heartache alone. Get with Christian friends. Share a cup of coffee and talk, laugh, cry, pray and read the Word together. Jesus said, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19, 20

  12. Brian permalink

    Mark, I thank God for giving you a heart to share what you’ve learned and are going through. I, like Kay, feel selfish and self-centered in my prayers most of the time. Sometimes I even wonder if I will be able to love God with my whole being while I am in this flesh. I have felt a peace wash over me when I think of worshiping and praising God unhindered when I get my new body. I have to remind myself that Jesus is the author, perfecter, and finisher of my faith. I am learning that the more I am able to keep my focus on God the better I am. Sometimes I don’t see any progress and get frustrated, but then I see that I have come from a place where I rarely thought about God, to desiring a real relationship with Him. It’s all about God and His love. I’m learning to trust again. My relationship with God is unique, just for me. God knows how I am wired. I draw from others experiences, I try not to compare my walk with others too much. I desire to be more mature in my walk and less self-centered. I know God will get me where I need to be. The more I come to know God the more I trust and love Him. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” I am grateful that God planted the hunger and thirst in me.

  13. You are right on, Mark! (I’m confirming your blog post/writing!!) 🙂

    Best way to function IN CHRIST (and AS Christ) is to go deeper in prayer, staying connected to the Vine. My prayer life, as well, needs a boost… I’ve set aside my summer in Maine to draw deeper from the well of Living Water!! Appreciate your blog thoughts…. Lindy

  14. Marilyn permalink

    It is good to be reminded of the greatest commandment of all, “to Love.” Often it has been said, that ‘those who are the most difficult to love are the ones who need love the most.’
    Mark, it is good to see you enjoying NYC so much… Enjoy and stay safe, you are in our prayers.

  15. Paulie permalink

    Dude you rock. You speak funny but say great things. Don’t give up the good fight my friend.

  16. Sandy permalink

    Jesus Christ completed the law of the ten commandments-that no man could finish. Jesus Christ was constantly tried by man to be a joke, but always turned the tables on the worldly people by simply loving God first, everyone else second, and Himself third. Every temptation he met, every obstacle in His life was answered by a scripture. He healed, raised the dead, did many miracles in the name of God, the Father. He never was without a comment on what the scriptures said-what God had to say. And in every situation, He was more than a conqueror. He knew He was going to die, He knew who, what, where, when and how. He loved God with all He was, and arose more than a conqueror in every situation-including death. God doesn’t ask us to do anymore that the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Pay attention on how to be more than a conqueror in every situation of your life. Think of God first, everyone else second, and yourself third. Never start a sentence with the word “I”. Start every sentence with ‘God says’ and humble yourself to know that every person in this world is special to God. It is not up to you to decide who hears the word of God, it is up to you as an adopted Son of God to tell everyone you meet about the wonderful love of God, and how much He loves us, and all that waits for all who love and respect Him and follow His word. You should be speaking about your Father’s business while you are here. After all, He chose us before the foundation of the world. How much impact does that have on you? How much impact did it have on Jesus Christ?

  17. Sister Pam OP permalink

    I struggle much like others do in loving God wholly and completely. It helps for me to look into a person and see Jesus right there. The love I feel, even for difficult people, is such a blossoming, bursting forth experience that it can be overwhelming. When I fail others I have failed Jesus and humbly repent.

  18. lucy ng permalink

    To love GOD wholeheartedly NOTHING held back!!!
    This words touches me as I realise how do Can I love GOD fully if I cannot see HIM??
    Then all of a sudden I thought of the next verse that says love yr. neighbour!
    Someone …….especially special GOD has placed in my life journey I now see HIM !!!

  19. Kay permalink

    thank you all for your suggestions and support. You have made me feel visible. My husband leaving me has made me panicky and frightened. i suffer greatly from loneliness and the church i live near does not have a womens support community. i cannot get into facebook as i have forgotten my password and they have not sent me another. But your words here have helped me a great deal. thank you for your prayers. I feel inadequate and inferior. i pray alot but as i said i cannot hear HIS voice and HIS answers.

  20. Joye permalink

    I feel that prayer is a much needed neccesity in everyone’s journey! I personally do not know how people get by without prayer. It should be every humans first priority to love God with all their heart, soul. mind, and strength. Praise GOD!

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