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The Purifying Love of God

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The pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8

The weight of this sentence is heaviest at the end ~ for they will see God. The pure of heart have a deep and driving desire to see God. The believer may see the Lord through a vision, when he comes again, or when they lay their eyes upon Him in eternity. The pure in heart should continually expect to see God’s character revealed through fellowship in the Word and with the Spirit.

A pure in heart believer will have motives which are unmixed and whose conscience is clean. Are your purposes driven by a heart that desires for God’s glory to be made manifest…come what may? Is your conscience unsettled, or is it at peace? We must welcome the Refiner’s fire, which is fueled by love because we are impure by nature and by practice and thus need this testing. Purity of heart will come by way of the refining fire, and the fire will have two forms. One way will be by the fire of affliction.

  • “Now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold, which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)
  • “Count it all joy, my brethren when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
  • “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord . . . for the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives . . . If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children . . . he disciplines us for our good that we may share his holiness . . . Pursue holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:5-10, 14)

The other way is by the fire of intentional self-sacrifice.

  • “If your right eye causes you to sin pluck it out . . . and if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.” (Matthew 5:29-30)
  • “I discipline my body and bring it under strict control.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)
  • “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.” (Romans 8:13)

The commands God gives believers are certainly not too difficult or beyond our reach (Deut. 30:11). He instructs us to crucify the flesh (Galatians 5:24, Romans 12:1) and not to pattern our life after this culture (Romans 12:2). We are to renovate our mind so that we are able to recognize His perfect will (Romans 12:2). In order to follow God’s commands, it will be our responsibility to welcome the Refiner’s fire and practice self-denial so that the true joy of our life will be found only in eternal things.

In His grace,

Amanda

Plant the Seed of Faith

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The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the sky nested in its branches. Luke 13:18

The typical mustard seed is usually 1 to 2 millimeters (0.039 to 0.079 in.) in diameter. When this tiny seed is planted, it grows into a bush reaching an average mature height of between 6 to 20 feet with a 20-foot spread. Under ideal conditions, exceptional plants can reach a height of 30 feet. Impressive growth comes from humble beginnings. Desire and welcome the Spirit’s teaching in your life, even when it is accompanied by correction so that your maturity is made evident to all.

The redeemed in God’s kingdom consists of the small becoming mature. Growth is anticipated and expected. We are to ‘take’ the seed given us (2 Corinthians 9:10) and sow it into the ‘garden’ of our heart. God will then provide the growth (1 Corinthians 3:7). Glory to God.

The mature tree described here in Luke has strong branches and thus provides a nesting place for birds. Likewise, our growth and maturity ought to provide glorious provision for other believer’s lives to grow in strength. Look and expect to see sweet fruit resulting from other’s growth. Growth and fruit are expected. Glory to God. Believer, reach out and ‘take’ the seed of faith Jesus gives (Hebrews 12:2, Romans 12:3) and plant it in the ‘garden’ of your heart and allow it to flourish; expecting God to do nothing less but great things with your faith! My eyes are on you Lord, perfect my faith (Hebrews 12:2)!

Two ways we plant the seed of faith in the ‘garden’ of our heart is by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17) and exhorting ourselves (Colossians 3:16) in His truth. God grows our faith when we make the effort to understand the magnitude of His grace. Grace always gives more than we deserve (Luke 17:9).

Jesus is THE source and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). It is His faith that we possess and He gives a measure of it to each one of us (Romans 12:3). Thank you, Lord for Your provision.

Lord, with the faith you have given me, I acknowledge and thank you for my Spiritual gift of (_____________). You intend for me to be profoundly effective in my gifting because is for your glory. Open doors of opportunity for me to minister to the body of Christ for Your glory alone. I desire to be found faithful.

In His grace,

Amanda

God Eases Our Distress

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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 16:3,4

He comforts us in all our affliction. Life seems to have a way of revealing the clouds among the silver linings. If, however, you are at peace with The Sovereign, the silver linings will always be more apparent than the darkness of the cloud. When affliction comes to you, it is often a good thing to allow it to be swallowed down at once as we do when we must take the bitter pill of medicine. Chewing the bitter pill does not make it go down any easier. In fact, it makes it all the more difficult because it gets in your teeth and remains on your tongue. God sends afflictions for His own reasons, and they are for our good. Lord, help us to not brood over our grief; as we will most likely hatch something we did not anticipate ~ perhaps a hornet that will come with other stings we never expected. Instead, let’s occupy ourselves with blessing God. This takes our thoughts off our troubles and places them on God; redirecting us to greater things.

He comforts us so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction. Rely on God to be your comfort in times of trouble. He is faithful and will encourage you greatly so that you will not only have enough comfort for your own need but will overflow in encouragement so that you may supply some else’s need; it becomes a multiplying effect. God’s comfort is profoundly effective in our life and produces a harvest for the benefit of many. The remarkable thing is, the provision of comfort received for our need is adaptable for affliction of any kind; not just one similar to our own.

We comfort others through the comfort we received from God. Since God gives in abundance, let’s be found doing the same thing. Let’s follow the Master’s lead and graciously ease the distresses of others because He has so kindly relieved ours. Thank you, Lord.

In His grace,

Amanda

Learning The Best Conduct During Trials

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But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power, is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Paul spoke to the Corinthians (v2-5) about the person (most likely himself) who ascended into the third heaven (the hidden paradise) and what he had heard (and seen?), admitting that human words were inadequate to fully convey the experience. The New Testament gives glimpses of the coming Glory for the purposes of strengthening our faith and developing our holiness (2 Peter 3:10-14, 1 John 3:2, 3). Most likely, Paul was given the glorious revelation (v3) to fortify him for future service and sufferings (Acts 9:16, Romans 8:18). Revelation the New Testament gives is not aimed at satisfying our curiosity (Expositors Bible Commentary) but for strengthening our resolve.

Paul was embarrassed at having to boast of his experience (v1) to the Corinthians because his boasting would not have contributed to the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7) and because he desired to avoid the suggestion that he was in any way a special Christian; as he said, he was “a man in Christ.” Even though the revelation Paul received was an honor (v5), it did not add to his importance; it only served to equip him for service.

How can we learn the best conduct during trials? Paul’s behavior in 2 Corinthians illustrates the following:

1) He asked the Lord for help. His “thorn” was so troubling to him that he “pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away.” We should pray and ask the Lord for all of our needs.

2) Paul received a revelation of God’s majesty which fortified him for service in ministry as well as in suffering. Any revelation you receive whether it is from the Lord or from the Word, consider it essential equipping for ministry and for suffering and not merely as answers to questions or for boasting.

3) The answer to Paul’s prayer did not take the form he expected. The thorn remained, but so did his memory of the divine reply, “He said to me.” Even though the thorn produced distressing weakness at various times in Paul’s life, he would never lack sufficient grace to be a conqueror (Romans 8:35-37). By God’s grace, our acknowledged weaknesses will meet God’s full scope and strength (Ephesians 3:16, Philippians 4:13) so that the power of Christ will rest on us.

4) Paul learned that he would not escape all hardships. Therefore, he resolved to gladly boast about anything that would expose his weakness; enabling Christ’s strength, through him, to be made evident to all. When we come to the same conclusion as Paul and resolve to boast in our weaknesses instead of our strengths, we should most certainly expect Christ’s enabling strength to be made evident through us for God’s glory.

Paul found comfort and delight in the awareness of his weakness because it was balanced by the sense that the might of Christ would dwell in him and around him. The word for “rest” in 2 Corinthians 12 is like the word in John 1:14to dwell as in a tent, and suggests the thought that the strength of Christ was to Paul as the Shechinah cloud of glory encompassing him and protecting him. (Ellicott’s Commentary) Glory to God. Let’s boast in our weaknesses sweet things and expect the strength of God to aid us.

In His grace,

Amanda