Day 98

Love from the Inside Out

Wisdom Psalm 42:1–5
New Testament Luke 11:33–54
Old Testament Deuteronomy 6:1–8:20


Celine, a young woman who came on Alpha because of what she described as her ‘spiritual search’, wrote, ‘I am not entirely sure what happened! Over the course I have grown more and more thirsty for God’s presence like when on a hot, dry summer’s day one gets a sip of cold fresh water, just the right temperature, one wants to drink and drink, and one never gets enough.

‘I am now constantly skipping and laughing and wanting to tell everyone how amazing God is… plus I seem to love everybody! I was seeking to forgive someone, but just seemed to grow more and more bitter and resentful, until I came on Alpha… It’s gone, I have totally forgiven that person and love them too!’

She says that she is now ‘passionately in love with Christ!’ Her inner thirst is being satisfied. She has a new inner light and a new inner love.


Psalm 42:1–5

For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
   so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
   When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food
   day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
   “Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember
   as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
   under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
   among the festive throng.

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
   Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
   for I will yet praise him,
   my Saviour and my God.


Inner thirst

Are there times when you have a nebulous feeling and you don’t know quite what it is that is causing you to be ‘downcast’? You are not alone. The psalmist knew this feeling: ‘Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?’ (v.5a). God does not want you to stay in this place – he loves you and he wants to encourage you.

The psalmist speaks of an inner thirst: ‘As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you’ (v.1). He continues, ‘My inner self thirsts for God’ (v.2, AMP).

Only God himself can satisfy this thirst. Knowledge about God will not satisfy your inner thirst. Cry out for God’s presence. Meet with God (v.2) and pour out your soul (v.4).

Worship is key: The psalmist says: ‘I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd, right out in front, leading them all, eager to arrive and worship, shouting praises, singing thanksgiving – celebrating, all of us, God’s feast!’ (v.4, MSG). Remember past experiences of God’s favour and his blessings. This will inspire you to keep trusting in God and give you strength to worship him again (v.5b-6a).


Lord, my soul thirsts for you. Only your presence can satisfy my deep inner thirst. I hope in you and praise you, my Saviour and my God.

New Testament

Luke 11:33–54

The Lamp of the Body

33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”

Woes on the Pharisees and the Experts in the Law

37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.

39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.

44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”

45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”

46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.

52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”

53 When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54 waiting to catch him in something he might say.


Inner light

With the worldwide spread of the coronavirus, washing your hands is extremely important. However, Jesus says a clean heart and conscience are even more important than clean hands. What goes on in your heart and thoughts really matters. Your eyes are key – they are the gate to the inner life. That is why what you look at matters so much. You let things into your inner life through your eyes. Your eyes also reflect what is going on in your heart.

Jesus calls you to fill your inner being with light: ‘Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don’t get musty and murky. Keep your life as well-lighted as your best-lighted room’ (vv.34–36, MSG).

Jesus calls you to an intimate and loving relationship with God – to that secret place, the heart, where true contact with God takes place. He calls you to be clean on the inside, not just on the outside (v.39). It is no good appearing clean outwardly if inside you are full of ‘greed and wickedness’ (v.39).

The focus of the inner life, according to Jesus, is the poor: ‘Give as donations to the poor… and behold, everything is purified and clean for you’ (v.41, AMP). Giving cleanses the heart.

Jesus goes on to say that outward giving in itself is not enough if you neglect ‘justice and the love of God’ (v.42).

As Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa writes, ‘It would be a mistake to think that insistence on the inner life could harm our energetic commitment to the kingdom and to justice. Far from diminishing the importance of acting for God, interior life lays its foundation and keeps it going.’

Jesus warns these religious leaders about wrong attitudes of the heart into which we can so easily fall. These words are a challenge to those of us in any kind of leadership. Jesus warns against:

1. Self-importance

‘You love the most important seats’ (v.43).

2. Love of recognition

‘Greetings in the market-place’ (v.43).

3. Hypocrisy

There is a danger of teaching a standard that we ourselves fail to live up to: ‘You load people down with burdens they can hardly carry and you will not lift one finger to help them’ (v.46).

Jesus was not afraid to confront people about their inner lives. He was not afraid of confrontation nor was he afraid of making enemies. It is not surprising that the object of his attack, the religious leaders, began to oppose him fiercely (v.54).


Lord, may my eyes only look at things that light up the inside. Fill me today with your Holy Spirit. May my heart be filled with generosity, justice and the love of God.

Old Testament

Deuteronomy 6:1–8:20

Love the LORD Your God

6 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the LORD your God , who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. 16 Do not put the LORD your God to the test as you did at Massah. 17 Be sure to keep the commands of the LORD your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors, 19 thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the LORD said.

20 In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?” 21 tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the LORD sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. 24 The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness. ”

Driving Out the Nations

7 When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations —the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you— 2 and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. 3 Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 4 for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. 5 This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. 6 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

7 The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. 10 But

those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction;
he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him.

11 Therefore, take care to follow the commands, decrees and laws I give you today.

12 If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors. 13 He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and olive oil —the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. 14 You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor will any of your livestock be without young. 15 The LORD will keep you free from every disease. He will not inflict on you the horrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all who hate you. 16 You must destroy all the peoples the LORD your God gives over to you. Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.

17 You may say to yourselves, “These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out? ” 18 But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. 19 You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the LORD your God brought you out. The LORD your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear. 20 Moreover, the LORD your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished. 21 Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. 22 The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. 23 But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed. 24 He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them. 25 The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the LORD your God. 26 Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Regard it as vile and utterly detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.

Do Not Forget the LORD

8 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

6 Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land —a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.

10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.

19 If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.


Inner love

At the heart of the Old Testament, as of the New Testament, is love. ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength’ (6:5). The Hebrew words here are much broader than any translation can fully capture, something that is probably reflected in the New Testament using a fourfold translation (heart, soul, strength, mind). The phrase is meant to sum up the whole of life, including both mind and will.

God always intended that the law of love should be internal – in the heart: ‘Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children’ (v.6, MSG).

Your love for God flows out of his love for you. His love for you is not dependent on any innate moral quality that you possess. It is the grace of God – loving us in spite of our sins, weaknesses and failures. ‘The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loves you’ (7:7–8a). He loves you because he loves you!

God showers his love upon you because of his loving character and his faithfulness: ‘The Lord your God will keep his covenant of love with you… He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers’ (vv.12–13).

You are called to this intimate and loving relationship with God. However, there are three warnings given in chapter 6:

1. The danger of abandoning God because of the surrounding idolatry – ‘do not follow other gods’ (6:14)

There is the temptation to fit in with the surrounding culture and adopt the beliefs of the people around us. However, God wants you to remain faithful to him rather than merely seeking to fit in with those around you.

2. The danger of doubting God because of hardship – ‘do not test the LORD’ (6:16)

When hardship comes, the temptation is to think that God no longer cares about you, but you need to hold on to the faithfulness and word of God.

God allows you to go through tests and trials so you can learn by experience that doing things his way is the best way. If you will not serve and worship him in the hard times of life (the valleys), you may not consistently serve and worship him in the good times (the mountaintops). Remember that mountaintops encourage you, but valleys mature you.

3. The danger of forgetting God because of affluence – ‘do not forget the LORD’ (6:12)

In the enjoyment of the gift, you can sometimes forget the giver. ‘But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth’ (8:18).

Underlying these three warnings is the realisation that material things alone – whether personal possessions or ‘idols’ – do not satisfy: ‘human beings do not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord’ (8:3).

Jesus quoted this verse when he was being tempted in the desert by the devil to satisfy his physical hunger in the wrong way. His response to the devil was that it is the inner life – the inner hunger – that is far more important than the material things. This inner hunger can only be satisfied by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Whether you are materially well-off or not, the focus of your life should be on the inner life which alone can satisfy the deep inner longing which God has put in every human heart.


Lord, thank you for your amazing love for me. Thank you that you promise to love me and bless me. Help me to love you with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.

Pippa adds

Deuteronomy 6:12 says:

‘… be careful that you do not forget the LORD…’

I must have said to my children, thousands of times over the years, ‘Do be careful,’ and I still do! It was mostly for their physical safety, but forgetting God is far more dangerous than not tying their shoelaces or riding a bicycle with no lights or brakes.



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Raniero Cantalamessa, The Mystery of Easter, (The Liturgical Press, 1994) p.105.

The Bible with Nicky and Pippa Gumbel (commentary formerly known as Bible in One Year) ©Alpha International 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Compilation of daily Bible readings © Hodder & Stoughton Limited 1988. Published by Hodder & Stoughton Limited as the Bible in One Year.

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.

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