Saturday, October 22, 2016

Where No One Sees (day 65)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
There is so much to be done, seen and said in this world that God our Heavenly Father desires for us. We try to do things for God and in Jesus name but from our own flesh. So much of that is wasted effort, only producing popular programs, entertainment.

Building my life on the virtues that we see in the first 7 blessings is changing me on the inside; truly in my heart.

The apostle Paul saw how serious this matter is when he wrote in Ephesians 6:12;

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

When I fail to see how serious this is, I play right into the enemy’s hand. I begin to do things his way. I begin to fight according to the flesh, with rules and behavior modification ideas. At that moment I am losing.

Working on outward things will only create an appearance of godliness. If I concentrate on the things that are inward, then I begin to make real progress.

In 2 Corinthians 10 Paul gives a clear picture of where and how I must work in verses 3-5.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

It is the things that stand in the way of knowing God that I must be fighting in my own life, the way that God has prescribed.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Faith of a Little Child (Day 64)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
In Exodus 33 & 34 there is a story about the man Moses, who actually saw the back parts of God. When he came down from the mountain, the children of Israel were afraid to look at him because his face did shine. This blessing says that the pure in heart will see God.

I can hardly think about this blessing without thinking of the story I told a few weeks ago about the little boy and his mother. I will repeat it because it is beautiful.

Son: Did you know that if you look God in the eye, you can go in the deep end of the pool and you won't drown?
Mother: (feeling alarmed): Where did you hear that?!?
Son: Well, Jesus did it. He looked God in the eye and he walked on water. So that's what you do if you want to walk on water.

Adults are far too skeptical. We reason everything out based on empirical evidence. So how can we believe the wonderful things that the Word of God promises? Unless we take Jesus’ words seriously we will never know most of what God desires to do. Jesus says;

 Truly I say to you, “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
Later on The apostle Paul writes;

But as it is written, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard," nor has it entered into the heart of man, "the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)
And Jesus did say;

Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes on Me, the works that I do he shall do also, and greater works than these he shall do, because I go to My Father.  (John 14:12)
Don’t ask a 70-year-old theologian what these things mean ask a 7-year-old child.

God of Wonder, Father of Mercy open my eyes to the things you wish to do in and through me. Help me see clearly that I do not need to manipulate circumstances, but only work on the things your Word points out in my life. In Jesus lovely name and for His glory, Amen.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Lie (day 63)

And the serpent said to the woman, “You shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil.”

Surely I have believed the lie.

Assuredly I have taken it into my heart and given it the place of honor.
My Will, My Desires, My Pleasures these things are paramount.
This is the way for me to find Happiness, Satisfaction, Completion.
I lied and said, “Jesus is Lord” when all the time, I only wanted to not go to Hell.
Truly I have been lord and judge in all things.

Surely I have believed the Lie.

Where is the truth that can overcome?
Here is truth;
In me, that is, in my flesh good does not dwell.
My heart has been thoroughly polluted by my flesh,
But here is truth to begin the cleansing process

Create in me a clean heart Oh Lord
And renew a right spirit within me…
Blessed are the pure in heart,

For they shall see God.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

No zap Flash BANG for me (day 62)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
How can I get a Pure Heart? How can I remove all of the little idol shelves in my heart so that there is no place for lust to find a welcome?

Many people like to quote 2 Corinthians 5:17 as the simple answer to these questions.

So that if anyone is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

I cannot tell you how much I wish it was that simple. Pray the “sinner’s prayer”, go get baptized and ZAP, FLASH, BANG you’re a new creature. All the old bad stuff is gone and you are walking in the light.

It hasn’t worked that way for me. The way I have found is the way I have been talking about for the last several years. The way I have found in God’s Word. I am only learning it myself but I believe it is the way. I believe God is leading me this way.

Absolutely, I must come to the foot of the cross and admit my wretchedness and ask God to forgive and accept me and give me the gift of a new birth into His kingdom. I must obey the commands to repent and be baptized. Then I must learn to walk in this new life.

Have you noticed that from Acts to Revelation, “born again” Christians are exhorted again and again to live the life that they were called to live?  

David said, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.” I am learning to fill all those places where lust, anger, demands and all sorts of willfulness have found a home, to fill those places in my heart with God’s Word.

It’s working.

Wonderful Father in Heaven, Thank you for the gift to be able to call you Father. Thank you that your word truly is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. By it you can keep me from stumbling and you can lead me in the way I should go. Open the eyes of my understanding to treasure your word above all earthly riches. That you may be glorified, in Jesus name. Amen. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Be on Guard (day 61)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Jesus is the perfect example of a pure heart. Jesus is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, the author and completer. (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus lived the life that God desires each of us to live, because his heart’s deepest cry was, “Not my will, but thine be done, Oh Lord.”

Later in the “Sermon on the Mount” Jesus says;

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)
In the heart is where sin is originated. It is sin before it ever leaves the heart. In the book of James, I see the progress of sin and how it is formed in my heart. (James 1:14-15)

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Whenever lust finds a place in my heat, a place where it is welcome, then it can develop and grow sin that can only end in death. This takes place in my heart, the place where I like it.

Could it be that a pure heart is one where lust cannot find a place where it is welcome?

The lusts are in my flesh. Someone has said that when the lusts in my flesh come up to the door of my heart and want to come in, it is my duty to meet them there with the cross.

Proverbs 4:23 has a very serious exhortation for me. One translation that claims to be literal says,

Above every charge keep your heart, for out of it are the outgoings of life.

Father in Heaven, this is an area where I often am found with my guard down. Please help me to find grace to be more diligent here and to guard my heart so that when lust comes to enter, I will be at the door with the cross to stop it. In the blessed name of Jesus, amen.

Monday, October 17, 2016

My Heart Turns My Head (day 60)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Yesterday I said this may be the most frightening of the blessings. Some of you may have wondered why. For me I have seen glimpses of how my heart truly is, not how I would like it to be. It is not a good picture.

In Ezekiel 8 there is a prophecy about a hole in the wall of the temple which led to a secret chamber where all of the elders were worshiping all kinds of abominations. In verse 12 God says to Ezekiel;

And He said to me, Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, each man in his image room? For they are saying, Jehovah does not see us; Jehovah has forsaken the earth.
Adulteries, murders, robbery and all sorts of covetousness, as I in stillness looked at what sort of things I hide in my heart, these are things I found. At times I am successful at removing those things from my heart, but there is still a place for them there, sort of like a shelf with a label that says what belongs there.

I suspect that a pure heart is one where not only the abominations cannot be found, but where there is no place for them.

Imagine seeing a beautiful woman and immediately your attention is drawn to her face looking for signs of virtue, and hope, no matter how she is dressed. Imagine seeing a person obviously ruined by sin and rebellion and immediately praying for grace for repentance. I could come up with more illustrations but hopefully you can see where I am going.

It is my heart that directs my attention. It is my heart that produces my immediate, automatic responses.

Eternal ever present, all knowing God, you know my heart. There is nothing that I can hide from you, and yet by your spirit you call me to yourself. Thanks and praise always belong to you. Your will is that I find grace for repentance and for full salvation. You are the only source of grace; I must cling to you. Amen

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalms 51:10-12)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Building a Pure Heart (day 59)

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Somehow, as I was memorizing and repeating the blessings, this one would often get lost. I would just skip it. But I quickly realized that if I truly wanted to take part in the last blessings I must build the ones before into my life. I must learn to be merciful, before I could experience what it means to have a pure heart, before I could become a peace maker.

You can learn enough to build a storage shed in a few hours, but if you want to build a house, that is an entirely different matter. There is foundational work that must be done and understood in order to get things done properly.

To learn more fully how to be merciful I first had to learn some things about

1.    Being poor in spirit.
2.    How to mourn sincerely.
3.    What it means to be meek and how to be meek
4.    After the other three I was ready to begin learning to hunger and thirst for righteousness.

On the 26th day of this series I said the first blessing is the key to everything. I still believe that. I must begin there every day, every moment.

Every one of these blessings contains a partial description of Jesus the man. To be merciful is something I cannot fake. It will be visible. It may only be in a look of disapproval or scorn, or it may be in a tone of voice. But it will be visible.

The first 4 blessings can possibly be faked pretty convincingly but to be merciful is a line, it cannot be faked at all successfully. It must be built on the first 4 blessings.

Tomorrow we will begin looking at what might be the most frightening area so far.

Father of mercy, thank you for your wonderful will for each of us. Thank you that you want each one to be becoming more and more like Jesus each day. I need grace to be faithful to the truth of your word, to be living these things and not just writing and reading them. Then and only then will I bring glory to your name. Amen!