Pure Heart

pure heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8 NIV

A right heart is the foundation for everything else. I can do a lot of things.  I can fill my task list with all kinds of “good” things but if I do not do them in love, they are not worthy.  Often in prayer I ask God to search my heart because I want to offer it up to Him and I trust Him to keep it right. Sometimes I see an element of fear or comparison or performance and I ask Him to get rid of it. I ask Him to fill my heart with things too. Like discernment and wisdom and love. Sometimes I just ask Him to make it right and then He shows me what’s going on.  I’m so thankful.  He is the best heart surgeon around! Talk about preventive medicine! I also ask that He fill me with His love.  His perfect love heals all. All we have to do is ask Him and He will do it.

Father, take my heart and make it Yours.

Psalm 7:10, Psalm 17:3, Proverbs 3:5, Matthew 22:37

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The Best

“9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11 NIV

These words resonated for me:

your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” This kind of love is strong and wise. It endures for generations and generations.

“able to discern what is best” Not good. Not good enough.  The BEST.  Wow.  A love that gives me the strength and wisdom to choose the BEST.

“may be pure and blameless” I am made pure and blameless through Jesus.  He demonstrated His love in giving His life.  We demonstrate our Psalm 5 by giving Him ours.

“filled with the fruit of righteousness” By celebrating the gift of Jesus and giving all the credit for this happiness to Him, I become full of righteousness.  I have lots of choices.  These words inspire me to choose the best!

Father, You are the very best. The One and Only.  The One True God.  I choose You.

Philippians 1:6, Colossians 1:6

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Watch Over Your Heart

watch over your heart

“Above all else, watch over your heart; diligently guard it because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life.” Proverbs 4:23 The Voice

Why do you think God asks us to watch over our heart?  I think it is because it is central to everything we do, say, think and feel.  Everything that comes out of us, originates from our heart.  If we are co-dependent, it’s because of an injury to our heart.  If we are narcissistic, it’s because of an injury to our heart.  If we are angry, violent or hostile, it’s because of an injury to our heart.

If our heart is guarded, really tucked into God for safekeeping, our hearts can operate in a healthy way.  God can heal every injury to our heart.  We still have to do our part and take our hearts to Him. We have to learn His ways in order to walk through life with a protected heart that is equipped to love others and see others the way that God sees them. It is a love that is not of this world.  It is a love that supersedes any love we have ever known.  It is the love of sacrifice and eternity. It is the greatest love story ever told.

Search my heart, Father. Let me place no other thing before You. Guide me. Please keep my heart straight. Holy Spirit, great Comforter and guide, keep me close to You in all matters. Keep my heart. Tend to my heart. Guard my heart.

Proverbs 4:23-26, John 3:16

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Laugh At Days To Come

laugh at days to come

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25 NIV

As I read this, it conjures up a picture of a super hero.  But no! It’s a Proverbs 31 woman. This woman is a dynamo.  She’s up early. She is a savvy business woman and manages the best of care for her family.  I aspire to be like the Proverbs 31 woman.

This is an aspect of her that I have not thought much about.  In strength and dignity, she can LAUGH at the days to come.  Ha! Ha! Ha!

In order to laugh, there are a few things that she cannot be burdened with: worry, fear, doubt, confusion, anxiety, stress, uncertainty, gossip, comparison, insecurity.  And I’m sure there are more.

This lighter burden and purified heart unleash this confident strength and dignity. It is confidence in a power much greater than herself. With that, she can laugh at days to come…

Lord, deposit laughter and joy deep into my heart!

Proverbs 17:22, Matthew 11:28-30, Matthew 12:13-14, 2 Corinthians 13:5

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Motives

Motives

“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10 NASB

James 4 is packed with so much relational wisdom.  It really sums up what causes conflict and quarrels:

  • We want what we don’t have
  • We don’t have because we don’t ask God for it
  • We don’t receive because our heart’s motives are not right

God placed His Holy Spirit in us because He longs to be in relationship with us.  We literally have everything we need right inside us.  When we submit to the Holy Spirit we are submitting to God. Allowing our lives to be directed by the Holy Spirit is what faith is all about.  The Holy Spirit is our constant guide. So much so that if we know the right thing to do and choose not to do it, it is sin.

Father, please teach me how to submit fully to the Holy Spirit that you have placed inside of me. Thank You for sending Your Son to make a way for me.

James 4, Proverbs 3:34

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James 4, Proverbs 3:34

If We Walk In The Light

iff we walk in the light

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 NIV

Gossip and divisiveness do not thrive out in the open.  Rejection can get all twisted inside us so that it comes out sideways through insecurity, comparison, gossip and divisiveness.  If we carry around the expectation that we are going to be rejected, it’s a short walk to rejecting others first and saving yourself the pain.  It can create a very ugly downward spiral.

Over the years, I have been on the receiving end of painful injury of spoken words.  Unfortunately, I have delivered a few shots on occasion myself.  I now recognize how it feeds something so unhealthy that I have really lost a taste for it.  The following has become a good rule of thumb for me: If something has to be spoken in secret, there is a good chance it should not be spoken at all.

If I can bask in the light of Jesus, it warms and heals my heart in ways nothing else can.  It allows me to set aside injuries with forgiveness.  It allows me to have compassion and seek understanding.  It places a pause on reactivity because pride is not attached to the outcome.  His light purifies me.

Lord, thank you for Your purifying light inside of me.

Psalm 56:13, 1 John 2:9-11, 1 John 1:3, John 8:12

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Counselor


“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6 AMP

Counselor is one of the roles of a king or other highly placed official.  It is the task of being wise and judicious in the most difficult questions, the most complicated negotiations, and the most intractable problems.  Jesus was the only infallible counselor.

Wonderful means out of the ordinary, clearly different, beyond human explanation.  God knows when we sit and rise, our goings and comings. He perceives our every thought. He is intimately familiar with us.  His knowledge is too wonderful for us to imagine.  We have access through His Holy Spirit to His wonderful counsel daily.

Father, thank you for Your Son Jesus.  Thank you for creating a way for us.  You know us so intimately and love us so much that You created an infallible path.  I pray we shine a light on Your path with every opportunity we are given. I love You Almighty Jehovah!

Psalm 139:1-6, John 14:16-17, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Romans 12:2

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Our Gift

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“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1 NIV

Have you ever parted with anything precious? Or had to let go of someone or something that you held dear? I can tell you that in the moment it can be quite painful. But somehow on the other side of it, there is a sense of relief. It is amazing how much energy we can invest in attaching ourselves to things and people.  Once they are released, truly released, there is a sense of freedom.  When God asks us to let go and we listen, I believe He honors our obedience.

So in this scripture, He is asking that we not hold anything back of ourselves.  He wants all of us – not just Sunday morning or volunteering for a charitable event or a mission trip.  He wants our life, our bodies, our soul – our minds and our hearts. He wants us to release ourselves to Him.  Our desires.  Our hopes. Our dreams.  Withholding nothing.

In doing that, we have to trust our Heavenly Father. We have to believe that what He wants for us is good and full of His love and His best for us.  We have to relinquish any fear or insecurity. We really have to believe that His will is perfect.  We have to understand that our will is not. We have to accept that His design for our lives is much greater than our own.

Instead of relying on our own safety net for our lives, we trust His. This can be hard!  But He is a kind and merciful teacher.  This is His better way.  This is freedom and grace.  Accepting His gifts for us as He receives ours. Our obedience in this is a demonstration of love. There is no greater gift.

Father, let me not withhold anything from you.  Take my life and let it be Yours.

1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13

Dance Like David

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21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.  2 Samuel 6:21-22a NIV

A favorite book of mine is “In a Pit With a Lion On a Snowy Day” by Mark Batterson.  It is a book that inspires, motivates and encourages a God-sized perspective.  In reference to King David dancing with all his might before the Lord, it is a picture of pure worship. David literally danced his robes off.  Worship is a form of disrobing. It is the shedding of those things that are outside of our relationship with Christ. It is a reminder that our royal robes are like filthy rags.  It’s not about what we can do for God.  It is about what He has already done for us. That understanding produces the greatest freedom in the world: having nothing to prove.

In those moments when I feel foolish and insecure, I go to God. I realize that any other place doesn’t make sense to me anymore. When I am struggling with feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, less than or falling behind – it can feel pretty lousy. But those things are simply not true. That is not who I am in Christ.  That is when I have to dig in.  I have to choose not listen to the dialog that is designed to derail me. I have to choose to tuck into a loving place with my heavenly Father.  Stealing away for those moments with Him in pure worship is beautiful.  It is a place where I can be free.  Be foolish.  Be in that humble, undignified place of total vulnerability.  He revels in our unencumbered celebration of all He has done for us!

Father, I want to dance like David danced, worshipping you mightily!

2 Samuel 6:1-22

The Light In Our Hearts


For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV

When I thought of God’s glory, I thought of lightning bolts and power.  It’s so much more than that.

Glory: 1. Very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent; renown. 2. Something that is a source of honor, fame, or admiration; a distinguished ornament or an object of pride. 3. Adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving. 4. Resplendent beauty or magnificence. 5. A state of great splendor, magnificence or prosperity. 6. A state of absolute happiness, gratification, contentment, etc. 7. The splendor and bliss of heaven; heaven. *

So how is God’s glory being reflected in my life?

The words “resplendent beauty” captured my attention. When I explored the word resplendent, here is what I found: “shining brilliantly; gleaming; splendid.”

So resplendent glory is this: It is a source of praise, honor and admiration. It is a state of great splendor, magnificence and prosperity. It is a state of absolute happiness, gratification and contentment. No wonder God has to prepare us for it! No wonder it is such a process for God to work more of His likeness into us so that we can handle the manifestation of His glory in us.

Father, thank you for Your grace and mercy. Your great love provided the means for Your glory to be present in us. Thank you for Your open heart. I pray my heart becomes more like Yours, as demonstrated in Jesus Christ, every day.

Isaiah 30:18, 1 Corinthians 2:4-5