A Pure Heart

on 5/26/2010

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Psalms 24:3-5)

Which of us can say, “I have a pure heart”? We love God and want His will for our lives. We even strive to do everything we can according to God’s ways and for God’s kingdom. But today let’s take a hard look at what exactly is a “pure heart.” Let’s decide whether we really have one. Then let’s see how we can really obtain one.

How often do sinful ideas come to your mind? While driving do you get angry at others? How often do you argue, even at work? When you see an attractive person are your thoughts completely pure? Do you ever feel pride, greed or jealousy?

You might say, “no one is perfect.” You might say, “no one lives like that.” But while it might be true that few people live without such feelings and desires, we all should. I believe God calls us to have pure hearts, and God makes this possible with some awesome help.

Let’s discuss again what is the “heart.” I know we have equated the heart with the spirit in earlier posts, and that’s still true. But today let’s change our definition a bit and regard our heart as our core. You are a spirit, soul and body tri-part being. But at the intersection of your parts, at your core, how are you? The real you, the one you consult with, the one you hear, what is that person like?

Now I know we all have conflicts between our spirits and souls. Our spirits want us to do righteousness, but our minds sometimes encourage sin. For that reason we must renew our minds to God’s Word so that we can have unity within ourselves. But what we ultimately want to create is the “perfect man.”

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).” “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48).” Look at the standard God calls us to. We are to be perfect people, as our Father is perfect, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Those are some goals. But God wouldn’t give you a goal or an order without providing the means for you to accomplish it. Remember that He which started a good work in you will complete it, and God works within us both to will and to do what He wants.

What if you never got sinfully angry? What if you only felt loving and compassionate emotions for others? What if you never looked at the wrong sex without brotherly love and Christian concern for their salvation? What if you never felt greed or lust or pride or hate or any other sinful feeling? You see, I’m not talking about removing sin from our actions; I’m talking about removing sin from our very consciousness. Let’s look at all God does to help.

“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27)

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)

“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Hebrews 9:13-14)?”

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)”

I know we don’t usually give so many quotes here, but these verses are so powerful we need to study them carefully. God does amazing things to help us become pure, holy beings. God gives us a new heart and a new spirit. God gives us His Spirit. The blood of Jesus purges our conscience from dead works. If we confess our sins God forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Jesus even continually washes us with God’s Word. Praise the Lord. All three Parts of The Trinity, (God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit) are all working together to help us eradicate sin from our lives. They are fundamentally changing us and cleansing us. And I wish I could tell you that they do all the work, but we still have a part to play.

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1).” “If a man therefore purge himself from these [strife and iniquity], he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work (2 Tim 2:21).”

We must do our portion. Despite all God does for us we still must work to cleanse ourselves and purge ourselves from all filthiness and sins. We live in a world that will continually bombard our perfect spirits with sinful ideas and opinions. We must keep a constant guard to prevent them from entering us and taking hold. We must receive all God’s Word says He has done to help us be perfect and holy before Him. We must receive this and walk in it.

Finally let me show you two mighty weapons we have to do our part, to cleanse and purge ourselves. “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart (Proverbs 3:3).” “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil (Proverbs 16:6).”

Mercy and Truth. We have the ability to engrave things into our heart, into our very core. If we engrave Mercy and Truth into our hearts then our hearts will be purged of iniquity. In every aspect of life God has His part and we have our part. Without both parts then the good work won’t be accomplished. I believe this is our part to becoming a perfect, pure human - spirit, soul and body. What is mercy but the love and compassion of God, which the Holy Spirit has already shed abroad into our hearts? What is Truth but God’s Word, which Jesus expressly told us is Truth.

We are given both God’s Love and God’s Word. The Bible says that we are to put on love, “which is the bond of perfectness.” Jesus, to help sanctify and cleanse us, also washes us with the Word. So we see that God’s Love and God’s Word are key. The Holy Spirit puts one into you, but the other you must put into you.

When you spend time with God’s Word you spend time with God. As you engrave God’s Word on your heart you begin activating all the Truth contained therein. That new spirit God gave you grows stronger. The love poured in by the Holy Spirit starts boiling and overflowing. God’s Own Spirit grows louder and more influential in you. You begin to fear the Lord, you depart from evil, and iniquity is purged.

God wants us to be a complete person, holy and pure and without blemish. That’s a long way from where God finds us, but God does everything He can to help. All three Parts of The Trinity do their work, and we must do ours. Set your goal as perfection and maturity on the level with Jesus Christ and God. Work to truly be pure in your heart, in the core of your being. Sin won’t be a temptation, good works won’t be a struggle, and you will produce the abundant fruit God planned for your life.

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Grace and Sonship

on 5/22/2010

I’m done trying to earn things from God. I’m done trying to work hard and hope He’ll notice and reward me for what I do. Yes I know that the worker is worthy of his wages, but I believe God is completely done with a master/servant – employer/employee relationship with His people. Practically all Christians (if they knew God’s Word) would agree that we are God’s sons and not God’s servants. The Bible says that the Old Testament believers were servants, but we are sons. But we have failed to internalize God’s Word concerning our standing before God.

I’ve known this for years, claimed to be God’s son, and acknowledged that I’m righteous before Him. But I still try to earn things. I still try to prove myself to God. I still get down on myself when I don’t measure up to my standards that my mind says He sets. But that is over. From now on I will live as God’s son, enjoy being God’s friend, and work with God, my Father and Friend.

We at Exploits for God are interested in fundamental mindset changes concerning our Christianity. The world says Christianity is boring - we say it is excitement exemplified. The world says Christian rules are difficult and worthless - we say they are easy, life-giving, and fun. The world says we are closed-minded and hateful and imprisoned - we say we are open, loving, and free.

So let’s consider how we approach God. How many times have you heard not to ask for something the Bible clearly promises? How many times have people said God’s will for you may be something no one would ever want? How many times have you met a Christian heavy with a spiritual burden (and matching attitude) of their own creation? We have the wrong image of God. We have the wrong ideas about His feelings for us.

“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:11-13) “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

Don’t you see? The Bible calls Jesus “God’s exact likeness.” Jesus came doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil. Jesus came that we might have life more abundantly. God could have sent Jesus doing anything. Jesus could have moved mountains and parted oceans. Jesus could have decimated armies and commanded angels. But no.

Jesus, to show His Divinity, healed the sick, fed the masses, and blessed the people. When God revealed Himself to the people, He came as the embodiment of love to heal a dying world.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” (Luke 13:34)

Look at those verses again and feel God’s love for you. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. Beloved, now are we the sons of God. (1 John 3:1,2) My fellow Christians, we are God’s beloved children now. Not in Heaven, not after we die, not after we become so outwardly Christian that we finally feel good about ourselves, but NOW. By accepting Jesus Christ you allowed God into your Spirit. By God’s grace were you saved, it was God’s free gift to you.

But we must let God’s grace take us all the way to the God’s throne. We have only allowed grace to take us just past the gates of hell. But it isn’t just a get out of jail free card; it is a ticket to the Holy of Holies. God has made us alive together with Christ and made us to sit in Him in Heavenly places ALREADY (Eph 2:5,6).

God has already saved me, God has already given me His life and His nature. God has already declared me to be His beloved child. (Forget “adoption” in the legal sense, the Biblical word means “placing as a son.” God’s Life-Giving Spirit in us makes us His children. We are God’s BIOLOGICAL children. Glory to God!

Now that I am God’s child, I should have a corresponding relationship with God. I am not His fleshly servant, employee, or slave. I am His son. He will feed me, provide for me, take care of me, and love me. Look again at how Jesus compares our fatherly love to God’s. If we are evil, and would do anything to see our children happy, anything to see them satisfied, anything to see them joyful, HOW MUCH MORE DOES GOD WANT OUR GOOD! We would die for our children, and God (in Jesus) already died for us.

Oh the depths of His love. We think we know, but we have no idea. I’m done even being courteous towards ideas that God has any other feeling but unimaginable love for His children. Those are such garbage and absolutely insulting to His Nature.

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:14-17)

God is my father and I’m going to have that loving relationship with Him that He desires. I’m could never earn anything from Him by my works. God’s gives us everything by grace, through faith, because of love. Receive a revelation of your True Family today. God loves you, His child, more than you can possibly fathom.

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Unified in Myself

on 5/18/2010

Imagine three individuals walking together, Left, Middle, and Right. Middle walks strongly and directly towards a goal from which his eyes never move. Left, however, turns backwards regularly, only to be dragged back in line by Middle. The interaction between Middle and Left is characterized by physical struggle, where Middle must work hard to keep Left with him. Right constantly looks around and moves in many directions, wherever his eyes turn his body follows. Sometimes he goes forward with Middle, sometimes he goes backwards with Left. But he regularly changes and goes other directions. Middle must continually slap him back to reality and get him back in line. They have a mental struggle.

Middle is the strongest and succeeds in making progress towards his goal. But he wastes much time and energy bringing the other two. He can’t get rid of them, they are bound together. If he could get them into agreement he would go much faster and farther. Now, imagine the three of them all walking in unison, all with eyes fixed, focused and marching towards their goal.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 tells us that we are tri-part beings, having a spirit, soul and body. Your spirit is your inner being, your true self, your real self. When you get born again your spirit is the part which experiences that. Your spirit receives the life of God and the love of God. Your spirit is commonly referred to as your “heart.” Your body is your flesh. It does not get born again and it retains a sin nature. Your soul consists of your mind, will and emotions. It governs the interaction between your spirit and your flesh and your spirit and the natural world. You make all decisions in your soul. Your soul, like your flesh, does not get born again. It also retains a sin nature and all the memories of sin.

The first picture shows the common Christian. Their Middle, or spirit, has strength and purpose. Your spirit wants to go forward in God’s plan for your life. Your spirit does not get distracted. Your spirit, which has direct communication with God’s Spirit, constantly wants progress.

But the spirit must have a body to do anything in this world. Your body remembers and still desires sinful things. Your body wants laziness, your body wants unhealthy food and doesn’t care for exercise. Your body remembers the pleasures of sexual sin and intoxication. Your body even remembers certain pleasures from the mind, like the feeling of anger and lust. Your born again spirit must constantly battle the flesh for supremacy. Who will lead this group? Are we going towards God and holiness or towards the devil and sin? Most Christians still move forward in God somewhat, but they constantly battle the flesh.

Your soul spent its entire life before Christ learning the ways and pleasures of the world. Your soul relies on physical evidence, so it has difficulty digesting much spiritual truth. Your soul is constantly inundated with stimuli, words and pictures from the world which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. Your spirit wants to go forward, but must have a soul to operate on earth. Your spirit must constantly influence the soul to keep it focused.

Although we all begin our Christian lives this way, without inner unity, we can surely change. God tells us how. First, let’s remember the spirit. Remember that your spirit has direct communication with God’s Spirit. God’s Spirit will reveal to your spirit what God planned for your life (1 Corinthians 2). So your spirit can first see the goal, make the plan, and set the course. Your spirit has the life of God. Your spirit hates sin and loves holiness. God gives your spirit His nature and perfect condition. Your spirit is already ready to move forward. But the spirit must deal with your flesh and soul. How can we get all three working in unison towards God’s purposes?

As for the flesh, I believe there are two key verses. The first is 1 Corinthians 9:27 - “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” The Amplified translation writes “keep under” as “buffet” or “handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships,” and “subdue it.” By putting pressure on the flesh you exert your dominion over it. For this reason I believe in appropriate eating, exercise, fasting, and limited sleeping (not in any weird sense). I believe when you begin focusing your body on God’s plans for it, and treating it as the tool it really is, then you will begin to see God’s plans manifested in your body. Don’t give into your body’s desires, doing so causes them to grow. Discipline and dominate the body, then it will get in line.

The other verse is Romans 8:11 - “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” We must pay attention to God’s Spirit which lives in us. We must realize that His Spirit, and its Life, will invade and infect our natural bodies so that they are quickened (made alive) with His New Life. While we work from the outside God will work from the inside, helping us bring our bodies in line with His will.

So if a person will discipline His body, pushing it towards God and away from its desires, and work to enhance its relationship with God’s Spirit, that person will have a well tuned body ready to do the spirit’s bidding and walk God’s paths strongly.

Now training your soul to come into agreement with your spirit will also take some physical actions, but they concern developing your mind. Remember the soul consists of the mind, will, and emotions, but I would argue that your will (desires) and emotions (feelings in response to something) are determined by your mind. For example, if your mind believes that loving and helping others should be done, then when you see another person you might feel love and kindness towards them. And if you see them hurting your will should be to help them. On the other hand if your mind believes you must protect and look out for yourself at all costs, when you see others you won’t feel much or want to do much for them.

“[B]e not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2).” Just like we have to buffet our bodies, we have to renew our minds. Another translation of renew is “renovate.” We all know what property renovations look like. We have to demolish parts of a space and then build it back. In the same we must strip away much of what we learned in the world and then replace it with what we learn from God.

“[P]ut off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).”

In this verse we again see the Apostle Paul exhorting us to renew our minds. We were the old men, we were corrupted according to ungodly desires (lusts). But now we can put on the new man, which is like God in righteousness and holiness. We must renovate our minds. We do so by studying and meditating God’s Word.

Consider again what our minds think about other people. We typically, in our natural (old) mentality, only look at people for what they can do for us. If we see some businessman or attractive woman approach us we are thinking opportunity. But if a homeless or elderly person approaches we usually think obligation and irritation. We have to change the way we think about others. What about finances? The world tells you to save as much as you can and hope you have enough. At the same time the world tells you to buy lots of new things you shouldn’t. But the Bible says it’s more blessed to give than to receive, and that if you water (bless others) you yourself will be watered.

You see, when you really begin studying God’s Word on a subject you will feel it changing your thoughts and overall mentality. Once you know what God says about something you can act in line with God’s desires. And when your spirit, directed by God’s Spirit, tells you to do what God wants, your mind won’t resist because it’s been renewed by God’s Word.

So consider these words and remember Left, Middle, and Right. Do you want to be divided within yourself? Remember that a house divided cannot stand. Your spirit is ready, willing and able to lead you into God’s perfect plans for you. Dominate your body and better your soul by renewing your mind. Let God’s Spirit assist and enhance every part of your existence. Work for this unity within yourself so that you can go forth boldly and powerfully in this life for God. May God bless you and sanctify you wholly.

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A Fanatic's Fanatic

on 5/13/2010

These days Christians paint no unified picture regarding the appropriate level of devotion to God. I don’t doubt that nearly all unsaved people I know (and many Christians) would call me a fanatic. When I was younger I considered my parents fanatics. I bet you look at certain Christians you know and think they take it too far, that they’re crazy, that they’re way too serious about their religion. Today I would like to examine this situation and attempt to justify, and spread, my fanaticism.

Who is a Christian fanatic? If you grew up in church and call yourself a Christian then maybe you think those people who constantly pray, constantly talk about God, and constantly go to church are fanatics. If you grew up outside the church then you might consider anyone who calls himself Christian to be a diehard nutcase. So let’s just talk about me, an admitted fanatic, a fanatic of the fanatics, and hopefully I can represent all fanatics well.

Let me describe my fanaticism. [Now spare me, I’m not tooting my own horn. I’m writing for the point of illustration and edification.] When I wake up I head to the computer for 1-2 hours in prayer and Bible study. When I drive to work I listen to worship music and sing aloud. On the job I’m constantly giving God praise and asking for His help. I usually give God at least another hour each night. I go to church every Wednesday and Sunday. I attend other meetings, conferences, and concerts. I think about God constantly. I involve Him in practically every decision. I read virtually only Christian books and magazines. I only listen to Christian music. And really I could list many other aspects of my life that further evidence this crazed devotion to my religion, but I’m sure you get the idea.

So, the non-fanatic would say, “Why are you so nuts about it?” What is it that drives you to do all of that? Is that necessary? Do you have some crazy inferiority complex mixed with some servant mentality topped off with some serious daddy issues? Well I’m not sure what Mr. Freud would say but I don’t think about any of that.

In reality, I’ve decided to take my Christian beliefs seriously. If you call yourself Christian then think about some sentences you should say and believe. Really think about these statements. “I literally believe that this Being I can’t see created everything I can.” I literally believe that this Being (God) created me and loves me and has a jealous desire for my affection on a level I can’t fathom. I literally believe God created all wisdom, beauty, fun, excitement, and good things.

I literally believe that God is awesome and loving and fun and funny and cool and wonderful. I literally believe that my relationship with this wonderful God enables me to experience this life at its best and grants me access to a spiritual life most people don’t even perceive. I literally believe that in God’s presence is fullness of joy, God’s Word is life and health, God’s judgments are sweet and true, and God has an eternity planned for me.”

Maybe you don’t believe all that, but I would venture to say most Christians do. Now we must transition those beliefs from our minds to our hearts, and we must decide how those beliefs should shape our lives.

Let’s talk about God’s rules. People think that God has many problematic and archaic regulations we must follow for no good reason. I say that God’s rules actually hold the keys to your best possible existence. No, you can’t understand that now, but that’s because you are deceived by the world’s sinful schemes. But on the other hand, if God doesn’t want me to steal, who cares why? I believe all those wonderful things about God and if He doesn’t want me to steal then that’s fine with me. I’m sure He has his reasons and I trust Him. Whatever His reasons, I don’t need to know them and they are fine for me. I’m not going to twist His Word to escape His rules. I’m going to happily and excitedly obey them.

What about God’s service? People don’t want to go to church or read God’s Word or put something in God’s offering plate. People then want to limit these and say you only need to do so much of these. But I’m not looking for guidelines or minimums. I love God’s House and God’s Word and God’s programs. I want to be with Him and study Him and give to Him. You don’t need to drag me there. Because I know how awesome God is I want to serve Him in any way I can. I want to witness, build, help, minister, deliver, and do everything else God wants me to do so that He can show His love to the world.

You see, I’m not a fanatic because of need or compulsion or psychological disorder. I’m all in for Jesus Christ and God because I have a personal relationship with them and a deep revelation of how wonderful They are. I’m not telling you to stop what do for God if you don’t feel this way, but that you should work on getting to know God better and renewing your mind to His reality. When you know God you want to fellowship with Him always and give Him your all. The Christian life, with the appropriate relationship with Christ, will fulfill and energize and strength and enliven and excite you to your very core. Ungodly toil, struggle, temptations, infightings, fears, and desires gradually vanish away. God will fill you. You won’t want anything but Him and what He has for you.

Remember that God loves a cheerful giver. God wants us joyfully to serve Him joyfully. God wants a loving parent-child relationship with you. If Christians would focus first on drawing closer to God then God would draw closer to them, and the entire emotional state of the Christian Body would change. I am not a suffering servant. Yes we do suffer in some ways, but that ultimately leads to more joy. I’m filled with an ever increasing passion for God. You will be too if you focus on Him and develop that relationship.

When you know God you’ll never judge another Christian to be fanatical again. You’ll respect their love and devotion to God. In fact, you’ll want what they have. You’ll increase your own Christian experience. You’ll cry out to God for more of Him. You’ll be glad you did. Then you’ll be the fanatic. And do you know what we fanatics all have in common? We don’t care what the others think, because we know the Truth.

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