The Grand day out

Morning friends. Friday is here and we are nearly at the weekend. I will share a little secret with you today. My husband (the romantic soul he is) is taking me out for the day on Saturday. A whole day. Just himself and I. No dog, no daughters – just the two of us.

He has planned a trip to Stratford upon Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare. Stratford is a beautiful place on the river and I love it. The historic buildings, the theatre, the winding streets, museums, shops, pubs, cafes, tourists, street performers. Its a great place.

As a special treat for me he has booked tickets see the play – Much Ado About Nothing. You see I love a bit of a Shakespeare. I studied Shakespeare and have read and watched lots of the plays. This is one of the comedies, but a modern interpretation so I’m really looking forward to it.

Theatre at Stratford viewed from the River

Anyway, I digress. My trip has reminded me of the inspiration for one of my previous posts called the Truth will always out which was inspired by Lady Macbeth. I hope you enjoy it again.

Matthew 5 v 8. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

There is a very dramatic scene in Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” when Lady Macbeth is observed at night sleep walking and “washing” her hands over and over in an attempt to clean them from the “blood” which only she can see on her hands.      She keeps repeating over and over “out damned spot out” but no matter how often she cleans her hands it has no effect.    The “blood” is still there and she knows it. 

Those watching her sleep walking think she has gone mad because they cannot see any blood on her hands. As far as they know she hasn’t murdered anyone or spilled blood– her hands are to all intents and purposes clean.

Her unconscious actions though whilst asleep however betray the truth.

Lady Macbeth was to all intents and purposes a murderer. She had persuaded her husband to murder the King and now she was suffering from guilt and revealing through her actions what had previously been hidden in her heart.      Her heart was certainly not pure as it was full of murderous thoughts, jealousy and scheming ambition.   Consequently, her apparently clean hands were not really clean at all. 

She was the ultimate hypocrite whose heart betrayed her.  

The story of Lady Macbeth is rather an extreme example but I hope it might makes us stop and think and consider our own hearts and what motivates us.   We can all put on a good show (myself included) but impurity in our thoughts and character will eventually come out no matter how much we might try to hide or pretend it’s not there.  

Jesus taught his disciples that it wasn’t enough to just observe the religious rituals of the day because it was the evil thoughts which came out of their hearts which actually defiled them and shaped their actions. 

Jesus had a lot to say about hypocrisy and wasn’t shy to challenge the religious people of the day.  

I believe Jesus issues the same challenges to us, His followers, today.

Jesus didn’t mince His words.   He called the Pharisees “whitewashed” tombs and accused them of being too concerned with appearing holy to others but actually inside they were full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.     

The religious leaders of the day were so meticulous in enforcing, and on the face of it obeying all the laws and traditions, but in practice they were not living out a pure life but were full of “extortion and self-indulgence”.   The outside of the cup may have been clean but not the inside.

Matthew 5 v 8. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. 

These words of Jesus show us that it must be possible to become pure in heart otherwise Jesus would be lying.  I believe that Jesus is truth so this statement would on that principle be true.    

The bible teaches us that we cannot be pure through our own efforts – it is impossible.  

The Old Testament points us to the need for a Saviour.    I believe that Jesus is that Saviour who makes this possible. Jesus is the only one who can make us clean from sin by His sacrifice on the Cross and His blood shed for us to cleanse us from sin. 

The apostle Paul teaches us that “Jesus loved the church and gave himself for her that he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of the Word in order to present her as a glorious church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that she should be holy and without blemish” i.e. pure.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross ensures that we can daily come and take hold of His blood to cleanse and purify us.   However, we must not treat his sacrifice with contempt and pay lip service when we are convicted of sin.      True repentance means turning away from sin. Changing our behavior. Replacing the old wrong behaviors and thoughts with the right and Godly ones.

I believe in the biblical promise that one day when we die in faith we will then be with and see God.    To be absent from the body as Paul put it and present with the Lord.    However, I think that Jesus’ promise that we will see God can be evidenced in our behavior in our everyday lives.  

When we are hypocritical and our actions do not mirror what we say we believe or what God requires of us in his Word then we do not “see” God at work in our lives or in the lives of others around us.  

However, when we submit ourselves to God and allow Him to work in us and to change us by the power of the Holy Spirit, then I believe we “see” God at work in the changes we experience in our character and motives.     We become more Christ like in our attitudes and so we see God’s character reflected in us and our actions to others.   

I know for myself and I am sure that others can testify to the changes that have taken place in them since becoming Christians.   Some of the immediate changes in my behavior were more obvious and noticeable (my lifestyle changed dramatically when I came back to the Lord) and I think it can be the same for a lot of people.   The lifestyle changes are usually the first to be seen. 

However, some changes in character and behavior are a deeper work of the Holy Spirit especially if we are “blind” or don’t want to acknowledge those character flaws within us. This is when the Word of God and applying the Word is so important as we can use the Word to hold ourselves to account.

1 Peter 2 says Lay aside all hypocrisy –desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby and Romans 12: “Let love be without hypocrisy”.

True Christian love in our hearts will show itself through our actions.

These are certainly the days for action.

We are in a new day of opportunity in how we live out our Christian faith daily- the old pattern & structure of church attendance is not the same any more. We are not pew fillers and were never just meant to be “Sunday believers”. I believe we are now less “building focused” and more “body of Christ” focused.

It is difficult to acknowledge that our hearts might not be right before God and to humble ourselves. 

I am not perfect by any means and some days the thoughts and motives of my heart are anything but pure. I would be lying if I said otherwise, but I love the fact that God’s grace is at work in my life. I take confidence from the fact that “He who has begun a good work in me will complete it” Phil 1:6.

There is an encouraging prayer in the Psalms – Psalm 51 –A prayer of repentance which can help us. 

David acknowledged that he needed to be cleansed from his sins and that God “desires truth in the inward parts”. David certainly knew what he was talking about – the sinful desires of his heart had also led him to contrive a murder (rather like our fictional Lady Macbeth) which he then tried to cover up but God revealed the truth through his prophet, Nathan. David was truly repentant and experienced God’s redeeming love.

Can I encourage us all that our prayer to God this week is “Create in me a clean heart O’ God”.

Deep Clean

So following on from my last post Purity and Preparation my friend Heather (who has guest posted here) told me this story which is a great encouragement.

Heather had decided to give her kitchen floor a scrub on her hands and knees with a scrubbing brush. Her floor didn’t look dirty because she mops it regularly but she felt prompted to get right down close and scrub it.

To her surprise the water in her bucket was soon black and dirty and she couldn’t believe how much ingrained dirt came out which the mop had missed.

She felt the Lord say that this can be the same for us. On the surface everything can look nice and clean but the Lord wants to get down deeper into some of those areas we just give a lick to and give us a deep clean. A deep, deep clean. Some of those bad habits and bad attitudes need to be submitted to God and broken in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit and Cleansed by Jesus’ blood.

Lord you know which parts of our lives, our hearts and our attitudes need a deep clean. Come by your Holy Spirit Lord and show us where you want us to go deeper with you and what needs to change. Cleanse us Lord we pray and lead us deeper with you.

Have a blessed day my friends.

It’s just like me cleaning every day 😂 and sing,sing,sing

Purity and Preparation

There’s a beautiful worship song written by Brian Doerksen and I have been reminded of the lyrics today.

“Purify my heart, let me be as gold and silver, purify my heart, let me be as gold pure gold, Refiners fire, my heart’s one desire is to be holy, set apart for you Lord. I choose to be holy, set apart for you my Master, Ready to do your will”. Purify my heart, cleanse me from within, and make me holy, purify my heart, cleanse me from my sin deep within.”

The Lord is still talking to me currently about being prepared. This could be a word just be for me but I believe it’s wider and for others in this season.

I think one of the ways the Lord wants His believers to prepare is pursuing purity. He wants us, His followers, to be pure in heart in our service to Him and in preparation for service.

The Lord is calling us to be ready to respond to His call and I discern that the work for some reading this will be great. The Lord will use you to do more than at this stage you could even imagine or contemplate.

All God’s people are to be ready to serve in whatever ways the Lord asks. The Lord calls us and will use us to meet the challenges ahead and to be used of Him to do great and mighty things for His glory and the advancement of His kingdom.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
James 4:7-10

If you would like to read my other posts on preparation the I have linked them all in this recent post called Preparation and perseverance in the race – prize athletes. I hadn’t realised until I read this post from July again today that the first line of the word the Lord had given me was a call to purify hearts.

Have a blessed day in Jesus name.

Washed Clean

I saw these lovely old posters in a railway station today and they reminded me of the incredible blessing of being washed clean of sin by the precious blood of Jesus.

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7

No man made soap could ever wash away our sins and make us clean in God’s sight.

“For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, Yet your iniquity is marked before Me,” says the Lord God. Jeremiah 2:22”

It is only the “son” the “light” of the world who can make us truly clean.

Thankfully, Jesus is always willing to cleanse us. His offer is open to everyone to come and be cleansed.

“And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Matthew 8:2-3

“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

Thank you Lord for cleansing us from our sins and making us clean and righteous in your sight. Amen

Have a blessed day 😊

The refining fire

As I was fasting and praying, I believe I heard in the spirit, the Lord, Jesus saying the following;

 The day is coming when My fire, My breath will blow across this land. 

Great swathes of the land will catch fire and the fire will spread.  

Those who submit themselves to the fire of my holiness and glory will be refined.  They will shine like the stars of heaven. 

They will go out like a mighty army of people to serve me with whole hearts and faithfulness.  

The process of refining will be quick now. 

It will be a time to jump into the fire of God to be refined. 

All the muck and chaff to come off and away and what is left to be pure and reflect My glory.  

For I am a Holy God and I desire a holy people. 

Totally committed to me and with faith in Me. 

For this time is coming soon and the bride must prepare herself. 

Those who will not get into the fire will have no place in the ministry to come.  

They must be pure in Me, cleansed in Me, redeemed in Me. 

I have come to bring fire down from heaven. 

All glory and praise and honour to My name.   

He who has ears let him listen and understand what the Spirit is saying.    

The things which are not of Me are required to be burnt up like dross. 

They are required to be burnt and destroyed so that new life can come.  

Those things which are dead need to be put on the fire. 

I will breathe new life into you.”

Amen 🙏 blessings to you in Jesus name.