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Greatest commandments: Love God, our neighbors

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A message from Pastor Gene Whitehouse of Peachtree Baptist Church:

“Love in the Bible can be directed from person to person or from a person to things. When directed toward things, love means enjoying or taking pleasure in those things. Love toward people is more complex. Loving people may mean simply enjoying them and taking pleasure in their personalities, looks, achievements, etc. But there is another aspect of love that is very important in the Bible.

“There is the part of love for people who are not attractive or good or productive. In this case, love is not a delight in what a person is, but a deeply felt commitment to helping him be what he ought to be. Hopefully, we will see the love for things and both dimensions of the love for people are wonderfully demonstrated in the Bible.

“Love in the Old Testament was referred to by Jesus in what He called the greatest commandment — ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind’ (Matthew 22:36; Deuteronomy 6:5).

“The second commandment was, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:39; Leviticus 19:18).

“Then he said, ‘On these two commandments, hang all the law and prophets’ (Matthew 22:40). This must mean that if a person understood and obeyed these two commandments, he would understand and fulfill what the whole Old Testament was trying to teach. Everything in the Old Testament, when properly understood, aims basically to transform men and women into people who fervently love God and their neighbor.

“You can tell what a person loves by what he devotes himself to most passionately. What a person values most is reflected in his actions and enthusiasm. The Old Testament makes it very clear that God’s highest value, his greatest love, is his own name. From the beginning of Israel’s history to the end of the Old Testament era, God was moved by this great love.

“But above all in the Old Testament, God’s love for his own glory involves him in an eternal commitment to the people of Israel. The reason this is so is that an essential aspect of God’s glory is his sovereign freedom in choosing to bless the undeserving. 

“God’s relationship to Israel as a nation did not mean that he had no dealings with individuals, nor did his treatment of the nation as a whole prevent him from making distinctions among individuals. God’s love is not directed equally toward all. In its full saving effect, the love of God is enjoyed only by ‘those who hope in his steadfast love.’

“Therefore, as in the New Testament, the full enjoyment of God’s love is conditional upon an attitude fitting for receiving it, namely, a humble reliance upon God’s mercy: ‘Trust in the Lord and he will act’ (Psalm 37:5).”

I presented the sanctuary flower arrangment for July 5 in honor of my husband Bob’s birthday. The sanctuary flowers for Sunday were presented to glorify God by Joan and Ray Eason in memory of Ray’s brother, Mike Eason.

DEVOTIONAL

Jerry Hobgood’s devotional this week is “The Best Teacher,” by Anne Graham Lotz, from “Fixing My Eyes On Jesus.”

“When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come” — John 16:13.

“The Bible is a wonderful book of history and poetry. Anyone can be blessed just by reading. But as a child of God, you have a unique blessing to go past a surface reading and into its deeper meaning.

“Luke 24:45 says Jesus ‘opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.’ The Holy Spirit gives clarity to the wonderful Book He has inspired. Again and again I have sat at my desk, staring at the Scripture passage I’ve just read and doodling with my pen because my mind’s gone blank. Then I pray and ask the Holy Spirit to unlock the meaning for me, and as I continue to meditate, a thought will come to me, then another thought, until the passage opens up and I see the treasure that’s inside.

“The Holy Spirit is the best Teacher. He will guide you into all truth. Be a diligent student.”

Hope for today: “There have been those who have attempted to rewrite or erase history books. Scientific theories have been proven false. Scripture has stood the test of time; there is comfort in knowing that generations have turned to the same truths found within its pages.”

Special music: Jane May preformed a piano solo. Kristina Whitehouse Suggs and her daughter Kara sang a duet and Kara played the guitar for “Gather Around You Christians, Come.” Kristina is the daughter and Kara the granddaughter of Pastor Gene and Marta Whitehouse.

Verse of the week: Romans: 15:2.

COMMUNITY NEWS

• I attended my great-niece Savannah Oakley’s baby shower in Butner on Saturday.

• Kristina and Kara Suggs have been visiting Pastor Gene and Marta Whitehouse.

• Don’t forget, just because we are not able to do our celebrations or normal habits now because of the virus, we do not have to cancel these events. Just postpone them. Have a bigger and better event later. Look forward to that.

IN LOVING MEMORY

The entire Peachtree Baptist Church family expresses heartfelt, deep sympathy to the family and friends of Leonard “Keith” Rice, 70, who passed away July 1. Keith was born in Nash County in 1949. He was a longtime member of the Peachtree community.

PRAYERS AND BLESSINGS

• To all those sick and in need. Please keep them all in your prayers.

• Norman Whitley, Maxine Whitley, Jean Bunn, Linwood May, Ronnie Matthews, Linda Beasley, Mable Purvis, Mac Bennett, Ronnie Russell and Rudy Brantley.

• James Sheppard will have a test done at the hospital.

• Curtis and Ginny Beddingfield’s daughter needs special prayers.

• Jeannie Joyner, Lynn Griffin’s mother, is having a test.

• I am having a test.

• Mable Purvis, Ray Eason’s mother, is in Nash General Hospital.

• Julie Brantley’s sister is in the hospital.

• Jean Bunn is having a test.

• Aubrey Farmer is recovering from a hospital stay.

• My dad Jake Robertson is having minor surgery Thursday at Duke Regional Hospital.

• Please keep all frontline heroes in your prayers.

• Please don’t forget the people in the nursing homes in your area. So many are suffering with COVID-19.

• Pray for the people of this country and the world that we can come together in peace and love to solve our problems.

If you have news, please call or email me. I can’t print it if I don’t know. I do prefer an email. My email address is mfpbun@aol.com. My phone number is 252-478-2846. You may leave a message.

Fran Bunn is a member of Peachtree Baptist Church.

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