Purify My Heart

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

But how shall we know when our heart is purified?
When we become a reflection of the Master Goldsmith.

“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient,
and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.
We lived in malice and envy,
being hated and hating one another.”   Titus 3:3  

“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared; He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done,
but because of His mercy.”   Titus 3:4,5  

“He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
so that having  been justified by His grace,
we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”   Titus 3:6-7 

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”   Psalm 90:12

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Open My Eyes, Illumine me

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Please pray this prayer with me for our families, our country and its leaders……

Open My Eyes, That I May See
words and music by Clara H. Scott

Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth Thou hast for me; Place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free:
Silently now I wait for Thee, ready my God Thy will to see;
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!  

Open my ears that I may hear voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave-notes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear:
Silently now I wait for Thee, ready my God Thy will to see;                              Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!  

Open my mouth, and let me bear gladly the warm truth everywhere;
Open my heart and let me prepare Love with Thy children, thus to share:
Silently now I wait for Thee, ready my God Thy will to see;   Open my eyes illumine me, Spirit divine.

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”                  Psalm 119:18

“Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.”      Psalm 119:34

Great Faithfulness

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Great Is Thy Faithfulness
words by Thomas O Chisholm, music by William M. Runyan

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
there is no shadow of turning with Thee;   Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not;

 As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be. 

Summer and winter, and spring-time and harvest,
Sun moon and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. 

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!   Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed,
Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness Lord, unto me!

“Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”               Lamentations 3:22,23

Fear And The Eyes Of Faith

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“I sought the LORD, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”            Psalm 34:4,5

We took our three year old grandson to the mall this morning.  We had no intention of buying anything, we just wanted to take a leisurely walk indoors on a rainy day.  Every thing was going well with Shepherd holding his Daddo’s hand as we walked along.  But then suddenly something attracted his attention and he started pulling as hard as he could to go and see it.   I wonder if that’s the way we walk with Jesus.  We are content to walk along holding His hand until we see something we want that may not be His will for us.  We pull and strain to be free so we can go “our way”  instead of following His way.  Sometimes He lets us experience these detours from His way.  But usually it doesn’t take long before we realize the consequences of our disobedience and we wish we had never left His path.   Our grandson took off running and Daddo chased him.  It was all a great game to Shepherd.  Once I remember taking my son to go shopping and when I looked around he had disappeared.  For several moments I called and searched and began to feel panicky when I couldn’t find him.  It turned out that he had crawled under a circular rack of long coats and was happily sitting in the middle of them.  It was his idea of hide and seek.  But my son had no idea of the fear that I was feeling when he didn’t come when I called.

God knows exactly where we are when we take off on our own way.  But often times we can not see and have no idea of the danger we may be walking into.  Fear is sometimes the only thing that will make us come running back to Him.  What a wonderful feeling it is to be held in the loving arms of a grandfather who loves and forgives us just like our heavenly Father when we have strayed.   Sometimes we forget that this wonderful omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God is the only one who can guide, protect and provid for us.  His love is unfailing, yet we turn to the world hoping to find help and answers.  We become too busy for God.  How it must grieve His heart when we turn away from Him.  Over and over the “Heroes of Faith” in the bible illustrate God’s faithfulness. When they prayed to God, He saved them from their difficulties.  We must teach these stories to our children so that when they have a problem, they will first pray and turn to God rather then seeking the world’s advice.

Elisha the prophet had an intimate relationship with God and it enabled him to see with the eyes of faith.  The king of Aram sent horses and chariots and a strong force of men to capture Elisha.  But Elisha, looking with the eyes of faith, told his worried servant,  “Don’t be afraid.  Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”     II Kings 6:16 

The servant was only able to see with eyes of fear that focused on the opposing army .  But Elisha prayed,  “O LORD, open his eyes and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”   II Kings 6:17

Faith is a little like anything else in life.  As we exercise our faith it grows stronger.  In order to reach our goals and follow God’s plan for our lives, we will have to step out in faith over and over again.  Just like Peter, we may be willing to step out of the boat but most likely when we do, we will begin to look at the waves and storm and start to sink.  When we take our eyes off Jesus and begin thinking about how hopeless our situation appears instead of depending on the mighty power of God, our strength will fail.  We will crumble to our knees under the stress.   But being on our knees may well be the best place to be.  When we realize we are helpless, we  begin to realize how much we need God.  Trusting that God knows the best way for us and has planned every step of the way enables us to see with eyes of faith and rest confidently in His peace.   “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.”      Psalm 91:14,15

Unwavering Faith

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“For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.”          Psalm 71:5

Children love to play hide and seek.  But the funny thing is that the little ones somehow seem to think that if they close and cover their eyes, we can’t see them.  I wonder if occasionally we do that with God.  We close our eyes to His word and fail to listen to His voice and disobey Him hoping that He won’t notice.   But of course He sees everything and it must break His heart knowing that He has something wonderful planned for us if we will only wait on His timing.    So often I am guilty of being impatient and trying to plan things my way instead of waiting on Him. Or even worse, I think something can’t possibly happen so I give up and don’t continue to pray.  Hoping and wishing for something is not enough.  God wants us to develop great faith.   Have you ever wondered about the real meaning of the word “hope.”  Webster’s dictionary defines it as “yearning with expectation.”  In the past I felt like if I said that I was hoping something would happen, it showed a lack of faith.  The second definition in Webster’s says, “one in whom trust or confidence is placed.”  Perhaps hope is step 1. and the purpose of hope is to lead us to prayer which is step 2.  The only one I can trust and place my confidence in is God.  After we pray and spend time talking to God and listening to Him, we need to go to step 3. which is reading the bible and thinking about how God works.  Seeing how God worked in believer’s lives in the past enables us to be confident that He will love, protect, and guide us as well.  Hope, prayer and bible study enable us to develop an intimate relationship with God which will strengthen our faith.  This leads to step 4 which is praise.  We know that all things are possible with God so we begin to praise Him because we are confident that God in His amazing love is working out all things for our good.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose.”     Romans 8:28

I believe that the reason God placed so many examples in the bible of courageous men and women of faith was to encourage us to stand firm in our faith.  One of my favorites is the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  When they refused to bow down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, they were brought before the king.  Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar warned them, “But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace.  Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”   Daniel 3:15

The best part of the story is found in their reply.  “If we are thrown in the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king.”     Daniel 3:17

The faith and testimony of these young men is so strong it amazes me.  I call it unwavering faith.  Their final statement shows the strength of their conviction and allegiance.  They were committed to stand firm no matter the consequences.   “But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”             Daniel 3:18    

God honors this kind of faith.  When King Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace, he saw four men walking around in the fire unbound and unharmed and he said that the fourth looked like a son of the gods.  Then he approached the opening and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out!  Come here!”   Daniel 3:26    Their faith opened the eyes of Nebuchadnezzar and he praised the one true God.  It also resulted in untold numbers coming to believe as they heard the story of how God rescued these men.

Our children’s heroes today remind me of cardboard cutouts.  They have no inner strength or backbone.

They only have fantasy powers and abilities to fight evil. 

If we do not teach our children that the only real strength and power to fight the enemy comes from God, how will they survive in today’s world?

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”        Ephesians 6:12   My prayer is that God will open our eyes to the truth and give us discerning spirits so that we will stand firm and honor Him with unwavering faith.

“By standing firm you will gain life.”         Luke 21:19

Ingredients of Patience

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“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.”          Psalm 40:1   I often see a fisherman standing at the edge of the surf when I go for a morning walk along the beach.  Not long ago I watched a great blue heron who was watching the fisherman patiently, hopeful that he would toss him a fish.  Perhaps you have watched two fishermen sitting in a tiny rowboat not saying anything, just fishing for hours.  Waiting and watching and some days not catching anything.  But they come  back again before dawn the following day.  It is hard for me to imagine having that much patience.  I wonder if fishermen fish just for the silence and peace of a quiet lake early in the morning.  Perhaps they fish because it is a time they can be alone with God.  Are they really fishing for fish or peace of mind and soul?   There is an old saying “patience is a virtue, acquire it if you can.  It’s seldom found in women and never found in men.  But I don’t think there is much truth in this saying….

Friends, I am guest posting at Nikki’s place, Simplystriving for her “Music Monday” post this week.  Nikki is a precious Christian blogger and homeschool mom and I love reading her posts.  I know they will bless your heart as they do mine.  Please clique on Simplystriving to continue reading about finding patience in this hurry up world of ours.

Locked Gates and Prayer

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“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”  Jeremiah33:3

When the burdens of life become too heavy we can go to God in prayer anytime night or day and know that He hears us.  Prayer is having a conversation with God.  It involves both speaking and listening to God.  What a blessing it is that we can speak with Almighty God any time we have a need.  God doesn’t keep office hours and leave for long vacations or weekends.  He doesn’t even have a secretary that listens to our requests and decides whether it is important enough to have Him call us back later.  God never closes the gate and locks us outside of His love and concern.  God is available and desires for us to come to Him so that He can guide us to discover His best for us.

Have you ever felt rejected by someone or a group of people you thought were your friends?  Sometimes we are rejected because of race or religion.  Sometimes our values and priorities make others uncomfortable and they’d rather not have us around them.   Sometimes we aren’t really rejected but others are just too busy to spend time with us.Frequently we build walls around our own hearts – walls of bitterness, anger, fear and grief.  We lock the gate of our heart and refuse to let God in or even our friends and family.  We are held captive by our emotions.  Once we lock the gate to our heart, it is almost as though a roaring lion stands guard at the entrance, daring anyone who loves us to come near.

“Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”            I Peter 5:8    But God promises to rescue us if we will only turn to Him.  We need not be held captive by unhealthy fears and emotions.   Prayer is the key that can unlock the gate.  It is God’s greatest gift to man.  It enables us to fellowship with Him and find hope and guidance for our lives.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”                       Jeremiah 29:11,12

God desires that we unlock the gate to our heart so that He can come in and renew a right spirit within us.  It may not seem easy to open the gate.  The hinges may be rusty and the lock frozen shut.  But oh, it is so worthwhile!  When you let Jesus come into your heart, you will feel a great rush of love come pouring in and you will discover a peace that is above and beyond all that you could hope for or imagine.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”     Romans15:13