Purity and Promise – Matthew 5:8

I woke up a couple of weeks ago with this verse in my mind and I’ve been ruminating over it since then.

Matthew 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

I was struck by what seems to be a promise to those who are pure in heart – they will “see God”! Not only this, but they are “blessed” (having the happiness that comes from divine favor, my Bible notes say).

And then I wondered what it means to be “pure in heart.” I found this online:

“The Greek word for ‘pure’ here is katharos. It means to be ‘clean, blameless, unstained from guilt.’

“The Greek word for ‘heart’ is kardeeah. It can be applied to the physical heart, but also refers to the spiritual center of life. It is where thoughts, desires, sense of purpose, will, understanding, and character reside.

“So, to be pure in heart means to be blameless in who we actually are. Being pure in heart involves having a singleness of heart toward God. A pure heart has no hypocrisy, no guile, no hidden motives. The pure heart is marked by transparency and an uncompromising desire to please God in all things. It is more than an external purity of behavior; it is an internal purity of soul.”  (See http://www.gotquestions.org/pure-in-heart.html.)

When by faith in Christ we come to know God, he purifies our hearts and cleanses us from unrighteousness. But there is the process of sanctification, of ongoing holiness that keeps us in that purity. It’s not just a thing at one moment in time.

So my next thought was “How can continue to be pure in heart?”

Psalm 119:9 gives us an answer:
“How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.”

We stay pure by living according to God’s Word. I don’t think we can hope to be pure in heart if we are not in God’s Word regularly.

We can offer this prayer that David offered after his sin in his life.

Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

1 John 3:2b-3, speaking to the children of God, says, “we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Prayer: Father in heaven, thank you for the sacrifice of your Son that brought us redemption, for the purifying work you do in our lives to refine us and make us like yourself. Help us to walk and live according to your Word so that we might be clean and pure. Convict us where we need to be pure in heart. Cleanse us from any unrighteousness, and create in us pure hearts. Renew in us a steadfast spirit to love and follow you. Help this purity to be our heart’s desire and for you (the One who is perfectly pure) to be our heart’s desire. And may we know the outcome of this purity, the promise that you give us, that we will be blessed and see you! Let us experience this blessing and promise, I pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Verses for the Day: Phil. 4:4-7, 1 Thess. 5:16-18

I love it that “the Lord is near” and we have nothing to fear. Instead, we can rejoice, give thanks, and pray.

Philippians 4:4-7: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Why Verses for the Day?

The “Verse for the Day” blog posts began as notes of encouragement each day to my children. I was choosing select verses that God had used in my life and sharing those with my children.

I became convicted that perhaps I should put the verses more in context and decided to choose a book of the Bible to go through, which might also teach my children about more in-depth Bible study. The first book I chose was Galatians, and this has turned out to be far more challenging than I anticipated! I can’t share what I don’t know, and so I have to study and read a good bit more. In the process, I’ve been the one encouraged.

I continue to post these here as a record for my children. However, I don’t pretend to be a Bible scholar! I’m not. In fact, I’ve encountered challenges to getting through Galatians, but want to persevere with what I started. And hopefully by sharing this with my children and here, I am simply sharing what any of us can do when we open up the Word of God each day, study it, and ask Him to lead us by His Spirit. God and His Word have the power to change our lives, and that’s the biggest message I want my children and anyone else to know!

Verses for the Day – Romans 12:1-2

I found a slip of paper this morning in my Bible. It’s been there for a number of years, though I don’t often look at it. There were some notes on it that I wrote down one time when I had to give a brief testimony years ago.

It said, “What drew me to God?”

And I had written, “The Word and His Spirit.” Then I explained with this sentence, “Started with diligent study [of the Word] and led to His supernatural invasion [by His Spirit].”

That pretty much sums it up. I remember moving in 2002 to where we live now and starting Bible studies that took me to study the Bible each day. It was regular, it was consistent. I was learning and growing. There wasn’t anything earth-shattering or emotional. It was just consistent, deliberate study of the Bible every day.

Over time, God’s Word began to take root in my life, and He by the power of His Spirit made all that I had studied and was studying come alive to me. Indescribable joy and blessing followed.

The Lord showed me that if I loved Him, I would obey Him (1 John 5:3). But I wouldn’t obey Him and His Word if I didn’t really believe Him. These things (faith, love, obedience) were all connected.

My faith and belief in God would lead me to obey Him which would show my love for Him, and that would lead to blessing.

FAITH leads to—-> OBEDIENCE which shows my —–> LOVE for God, which ultimately brings —-> BLESSING and great JOY.

Maybe it sounds complex, It’s not. This is why I encourage you to read the Bible because that’s where truth is and that’s where these things will begin to grow. You may not see it or feel it at the start, but you keep doing it because you believe that it matters and that it changes you. And God by His Spirit will do the work.

I end this post this morning with two verses from Romans 12:1-2. I looked up the word “beseech” at the beginning, and it means beg eagerly, implore urgently.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

PRAYER: Father, we see that transformation comes by the renewing of our minds. As we renew our minds in Your Word and truth, our lives are changed by the power of Your Spirit and Your Word, leading to joyful hearts and great blessing. Help us today to believe You and that these things are true, to obey You, to love You, to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, pleasing to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Verse for the Day – Proverbs 1:7

I’ll return to Galatians tomorrow, but for today, here’s a real short and simple verse that I love, Proverbs 1:7:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Do you want wisdom to know how to live moment by moment? Walk in the fear of the Lord. This will bless you and lead you and give you knowledge. Fear Him. Not man, friends, or peers, but God!

What is the fear of the Lord?

The best way I would describe it is standing in awe of God — His might, His power, who He is! It’s not fear in the sense of being afraid (though there may be aspects of that); rather, when we rightly consider Him, though we can’t comprehend Him fully, this will be our reaction to the God that He is.

The fear of the LORD involves walking in His ways, trusting Him, hoping in His mercy, serving Him, departing from evil, loving and obeying Him — just to name a few things I’ve seen in Scripture.

However, the thing that has blessed me the most in my study of this so far is that when I see the fear of the LORD, I see timelessness, promises that extend beyond my lifetime and into eternity. Unlike some of the other promises given in Scripture, these promises to those who fear God go beyond today to future generations:

Luke 1:50 “His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.”

Psalm 103:17 “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children”

Psalm 19:9 “The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.”

How amazing to think that the result of fearing Him might not only be my complete joy and His great mercy upon me, but also extended to my children and their children!

PRAYER: Lord, please help us to fear You and walk in the fear of the Lord! You are awesome and mighty and powerful and worthy of all our worship and honor. May You be exalted in our lives, lifted up, and feared. We love You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Verse for the Day – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Have you ever felt like you can’t do it? You can’t live the Christian life well? It’s just too hard?

Or why not just keep going like things are—isn’t that good enough? Do we really need to try to do better? or be better? And is that even possible in a world stained by sin? Can we possibly improve ourselves, much less make a positive difference in this world?

If you’ve ever struggled with these things, those questions, then I think you are in a really good place. Does that sound strange? What?! Feeling as though I can’t do it is a good place to be? Wouldn’t it be better to feel like I am competent and able and strong and doing really well?

I introduce you today to my life verses, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Paul has been talking about a thorn in his flesh that was given to him, and he had pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from him.

“And He [the Lord] said to me [Paul], My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefor I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (NKJV)

Think about that. God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. If we could do it all, if we had all it takes, why would we need Him? But when we wrestle in our Christian walk of faith, when we see this is too much, it’s too hard, it’s when we begin to realize, yes, it’s too hard! But not for Christ! He is strong, He is greater than it all, and He is able by the power of His Holy Spirit to work in you for his good pleasure, your great joy and good, and His glory.

See your inability, your weakness, not as something to discourage you, but to lead you to Christ. He does still call us to act and obey, to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12), to “put off” sin and “put on” godliness (Col. 3), but He will help us. Keep calling out to Him for help.

He forgives us when we repent (1 John 1:9). He hears us when we cry. He answers us when we call. Let Him give you His strength to live each day. Sometimes it may be up and down and hard, but keep looking to Him, keep seeking Him, keep believing He is able and will lead you. Let His strength help you in your weakness.

We can’t live this life in our own strength. (We can try, we may feel we can for a bit, but it will always fail!)  When we understand and see the truth and beauty of that reality, then we are able to accept something which is so much better: we live this life in His strength, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ in us, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).

PRAYER: Dear Lord, we come to You this day acknowledging our sinfulness and the things that so easily beset us and discourage us. Help us to give up ourselves and turn to You who is able to keep us from falling and is able to give us the strength that we need to obey and follow You with great joy. We are human, we surely fail, but we have You, our God who is greater than all our sin, who rejoices when we repent, who waits patiently for us, and who will supply us with all we need for life and godliness. We love and praise You this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.