Small Powder

August 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

“…both that altar and the high place he brake down,
and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder…”
– II Kings 23:15 –

This passage of Scripture is referring to a King of Judah named Josiah.  He was only eight years old when he began to reign but Josiah is one of the very few righteous Kings that ruled over Judah prior to captivity.

A study of King Josiah is a worthy study.  Only a small child when the Kingdom was bestowed upon him and having a wicked grandfather (Manasseh) and a righteous great-grandfather (Hezekiah), our governments today could take a great lesson from him.

We read in the Scripture that once the Truth was revealed to Josiah, he set out to purify the Kingdom and remove all the altars and worship centers set up to Baal. The poetic words used to describe the extent of the removal of these altars is quite symbolic – Josiah ‘…stamped it to small powder’.

What was his motivation?  He was but a child!  How could he have been so wise to do these things? The answer is simple. Josiah heard the truth and he reacted to it appropriately, cleansing the land of idols to false gods.

Isaiah 11:6 tells us  that ‘a little child shall lead them‘ and in the case of King Josiah, this is certainly true.  As we pursue purity we realize it is a daily walk, a daily fellowship, a daily conversation with God where He prompts us to pray inquisitive prayers. Ask God to open your eyes to see anything that prevents you from a closer walk with Him.

Do you have altars in our lives that need to be ‘...stamped to small powder‘? Has the Holy Spirit revealed to you areas you need to ‘cleanse’ in your life? If so, allow God to ‘stamp it small to powder.‘

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Who Are the Pure in Heart?

August 19, 2010 § 1 Comment

In the Bible the heart stands for the seat, source, reservoir and instigator of our thoughts, attitudes, desires, character and motivation. It is synonymous with our modern use of “mind,” since the mind is where we hold knowledge, attitudes, motivations, affections, desires, likes and dislikes.

God describes the pure in heart in the following verses. Read and think on these verses and find the freedom pursuing purity brings to your life.

– those that see God often (Matthew 5:8)
– those that think on pure things (Philippians 4:8)
– those that carefully screen their associations (I Timothy 5:22)
– those that follow after righteousness (II Timothy 2:22)
– those that discern purity (Titus 1:15)
– those that draw near to God (Hebrews 10:22)
– those that compelled to love those God loved (James 1:27)
– those that seek wisdom of God (James 3:17)
– those that obey God (I Peter 1:22)
– those that welcome instruction (II Peter 3:1)
– those that continue to examine themselves (I John 3:3)
– those that hate what God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19)
– those that care about their witness (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
– Psalm 139:23-24

The Captive and the Silly

August 4, 2010 § 2 Comments

“For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
– II Timothy 3:6-7 –

The words ‘captive‘and ‘silly‘are not kind words. I am certain that no woman considers herself as such. Still, God does not waste words.

In the previous verses, God describes what sort of people to BOLO – (Be On The Look Out) for.  It is not an admirable list either. Characteristics include those that are:  lovers of their own selves; covetous; boasters; proud; blasphemers; disobedient to parents; unthankful; unholy; without natural affection; trucebreakers; false accusers; incontinent; fierce; despisers of those that are good; traitors; heady; and high-minded.

Can you find yourself in that list?  We all can from time to time. A pursuit of purity, a mindset that focuses solely on getting all those things out of our lives, will free us from inclusion from that horrible list of behaviors.

These select words ‘captive‘(meaning without freedom) and ‘silly‘(meaning foolish or void of understanding) are descriptive words and the direct result of two things: 1) their diverse (many) lusts (forbidden desires), and 2) their ever learning (never-ending) of new ideas and things.

In today’s society, women boldly declare their intellect, their fortitude and their independence. But here in Scripture we find that the demands of many women to declare their rights and their never-ending desire to always look for the new and better thing results in the two unkind words ‘captive‘ and ‘silly‘.

It gets even worse. By not pursuing purity, by meandering, they have made themselves prime targets for ‘…those who creep into houses…” One cannot enter through a closed door.

A wise woman is a free woman. A wise woman’s head is not easily turned to the ‘new and better’. She has selected to build her house with wisdom by confessing her sin when God reveals it to her and avoiding the ‘new and better thing’ by holding fast to the teaching of her LORD.

The Wherewithal of God

August 3, 2010 § 2 Comments

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?
by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”
– Psalm 119:9

Wherewithal – have you ever used this word? The King James Version is not written in a contemporary style but the words it uses are distinct.  For instance, in our verse today, wherewithal means how, why and perhaps when.

Read this verse with exasperation.  Hear the almost defeatist tone in the first part of this verse. Do you hear it? “How, Why – O, Lord can I cleanse myself?” Have you ever felt like that? We all have. Take heart. God has some good news for you.

We live in such a filthy world. We are bombarded on every side. Though we do our very best, it seems we cannot escape the constant barrage of images, thoughts, or ideas. Pursuing purity in our world today is an impossible task. It is too much for us, we cannot accomplish this in our own power.

This is why the second part of the verse is given. It is impossible to miss a billboard on your way to work, a song that conjures of memories of your youth with all its ungodly mindsets, or just a commercial that runs during an otherwise godly television program.

God gives you the wherewithal to cleanse yourself. Your empowerment comes from taking heed to God’s word. God would not make such a claim if it were not possible. It is possible, but only by paying close attention to the instruction He gives in His word.

Explore and take heed to the instruction given in God’s word and know this:  You have a 100% chance of success in living a pure life before God.

Isn’t that good news?

The Purity of Full Assurance

August 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,
and our bodies washed with pure water.”
– Hebrews 10:22 (KJV) –

There are times when we want to draw near to God but are reluctant to do so. We know God is pure and He is holy.  During our pursuit of purity, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us areas in our lives that are neither pure nor holy.  We feel estranged from God and helpless to find our way back.

We consider the thoughts of our minds and the intent of our hearts and find wickedness. There is no purity or holiness there. It is then we hear the lies of the enemy and begin despair.

Now we must decide which path to take. Do we believe the lies of the enemy that can only result in depression and sadness or do we obey the Lover of our souls and run into His arms.

We must remember that we could not know that our hearts and minds are wicked if God did not reveal it to us. If He did not want us to see it, we would not know it.

The Holy Spirit is our Comforter.  A faithful friend would tell you of a behavior in your life that needs to be confronted. The Holy Spirit, who is far more than a faithful friend, does this as well. It is not to condemn us, but to set us free.  We cannot conquer a thing until we confront it. And, we are not left to confront it in our own power.

We are encouraged that through Jesus, we can ‘draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.’

We cannot cleanse our own hearts nor wash our bodies with pure water, but God can and God will if we run to Him in full assurance that He is able.

Purity in the Eye of the Beholder

August 3, 2010 § 1 Comment

“To the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the wicked you show yourself hostile
.”
– II Samuel 22:27 (NLT) –

It is attributed to the Greek Philosopher, Plato, the idea of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. The concept is that what we see is largely based on what our reality is.

“Remember how in that communion only, beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may.”
– Plato, Symposium

Have you ever heard someone make a comment in disagreement (or agreement) and follow it with a “That is how I was raised” or “I wasn’t raised that way” as if to give reason for their opinion?  Have you ever done this?

What is happening here is that the person making the comment is telling us that this is all they know on the subject and since that is how they were raised, it must be the truth.

We cannot describe what an apple looks or taste like if we have never seen or eaten an apple. We can only offer what we know as our reality.

To some, God is hostile and angry. To others, He is kind, merciful, generous and sovereign. A person’s view of God is based on what they know of Him. “To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the wicked you show yourself hostile” tells us more about ourselves than it tells us about God.

If we are to know the truth about God, we must get our information directly from the source, God’s word.  Then our reality shifts and we see God clearly as we pursue purity.

Tending the Garden

August 3, 2010 § 1 Comment

And every man that hath this hope in him  purifieth himself,
even as he is pure.”
– I John 3:3

Recently, my husband and I moved to our new home in the country. Driving to our new house, I often noticed my neighbors outside tending their gardens.

Having lived in the suburbs most of my life, there was never room for a garden. Now that I lived in the country, I wanted a garden of my own. When the next spring came, we tilled a small area and planted a few vegetables.

Each day, I would don my garden attire and set out to tend my new garden. I pulled weeds, sprayed for bugs, and hoed the rows until my little garden looked as cared for as I could make it. I waved to my neighbors as they tended their gardens.

I did everything I knew to tend to my little garden. There was one thing I never did, though. I never went to my neighbors to tend their gardens. They never came to mine either. We tended, we purified our own gardens.

I learned many lessons during that first year. I did not create the soil, the seed, or the rain it needed to grow. But, I did tend the garden. I kept as many insects and weeds and small animals from it as possible. I purified our garden as best I could.

Our lives are much like this. We have the hope that God plants in us as sons and daughters. There is much we cannot control in our lives. There is also much we can. Every child of God who has this hope purifies himself, even as he is pure.

Because of the hope He gives us, we are driven to purify ourselves.

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