The gun sounds as the race begins. iPray eVotionals exhorts the runners on the path of a prayerful lifestyle. It's the glass of water held out around each month's turn. It's for the runner who can use a quick and easy quench in order to finish strong.
(Approximate reading time: 5 Minutes)
This month iPray is motivated by the prayer ministry of Moms in Prayer and their new "watchword" for the coming 2012/2013 school year.
That word is Purity!
"Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God" Matthew 5:8
iPray 4 Purity
18 years ago I met my would-be sister-in-law. She had a dachshund named Roxy and I remember that she only gave Roxy bottled water which left quite an impression on me. "What?" I thought with an inner smirk, "Why would it matter what kind of water a dog drinks?" I loved my pets, but I didn't think twice about filling their water dishes from the tap.
This past spring break my little sister asked me to dog-sit for her. She instructed me to use filtered water in their water dish. 18 years later my reaction was the same. Again I made an inner smirk at the idea. But this time my sister caught it. I was kindly informed that their eye-gook was worse off when they drank tap water.
Now there's a thought and I couldn't smirk at it. Impure digested contaminants actually reeks havoc. Funny how tap water looks just like filtered water. Put them side by side and even Einstein couldn't visually tell you the difference between the two. And yet, one increases eye-gook and the other reduces it. It's not until the tap water is digested and runs its course through the body that the ill effects are noticed.
For the most part I'm a filtered-water drinker. I've never thought about the ill effects that tap might have on a body, I just don't care for the taste of it. If I'm really thirsty and come across a water fountain I put the taste aside because after all, the fountain is right there and my thirst needs to be quenched. My liver and kidneys will do their thing. But maybe... just maybe, it matters what kind of water quiches my thirst. Maybe it matters what watering hole I drink from. A dog has a liver and kidneys and yet... eye-gook! The tap may not give me excessive eye-gook but maybe my sweat is a little more stinky. Maybe my hair is not quite as shiny. Maybe my breath is a bit...breathy. Maybe it is wise to purify all my drinking water. Maybe it is even wiser to pass on tap.
Maybe when I get thirsty, I need to pray!
iNeed 2 Pray...
"What?" You may be thinking with a smirk, "What does praying have to do with anything?" Stick with me here and I'll kindly inform.
Our heart-gook is worse-off when we drink from the tap. Matthew 5:8 tells us, "Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God." Purity is the absence of impurity or contaminants in a substance. The term also applies to the absence of vice (a fault, a defect, an infirmity, or a bad/immoral habit ) in human character. It's nice to have shiny hair, but it's nicer to sport kindness. Sweat that doesn't stink quite as much may be somewhat desirable, but an attitude that doesn't stink at all is absolutely desirable. Breathy breath annoys, but a lying tongue destroys. Are you with me here?
First, we need The Filter. Brita helps purify our drinking water, but where's the filter that helps purify our heart? The filtering carbons of God's Word, Jesus' Blood and The Holly Spirit's guidance is what is needed to reduce heart-gook. Why God's Word? Psalm 12:6 says, "And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times." Why Jesus' Blood? Hebrews 13:11-12 reminds us of the sacrifice that was needed for purification, "The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood." Why The Holly Spirit's' guidance? Jesus tells us in John 14:25-26, "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."
Second, we need to filter our water. Once we have the filter, we use it by being sanctified. Sanctification is the filtering process of being made Holy through the truth in God's Word (aka The Bible), with the blood and by the Spirit. When my sister told me to use filtered water for her dogs, that meant I needed to make sure my fridge's filtering carbon's were not expired. Daily devotionals and memorizing scripture keeps the filters working and changes what we take in throughout the day. Don't have a resource? Google "Daily Devotionals" or "Daily Scriptures" to keep the carbons A-ok.
Third, we need to drink the filtered water. This is where prayer enters and makes all the difference! Once we have the purifying process, prayer helps digest everything directly effecting the heart behind what comes out. Living with a pure heart doesn't come by drinking from the tap. Jesus made this point when he said, "Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'" John 7:38
How iPray 4 Purity
An angry person I know makes a jab...
Tap thoughts: "@!#$&*@# YOU!"
Filtered thoughts: "Oh Lord, please help me not be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. It's your job to avenge and goodness will heap burning coals on this person's head." (From Romans 12:18-21)
A negative person I know is complaining...
Tap thoughts: "This bothers me too! I'll just complain, bash and relish in negative thoughts. It may not bring any good, but makes me feel like my thirst is being quenched."
Filtered thoughts: "Oh Lord, help me not focus on what brings me down, but to think about the things you want me to. Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, what is excellent or praiseworthy. Besides I don't want to be the kind of friend that helps destroy each other." (From Philippians 4:8 and Proverbs 18:24)
A moment where a little white lie would give me an advantage...
Tap thoughts: "If I don't include all the information then it's not a lie. What would it hurt? I can control reality if I want to. It's better that I cover my butt then come clean."
Filtered thoughts: "Lord, you know it would be so much easier for me to lie right now. But truthful lips endure forever and a lying tongue lasts only a moment. Plus you hate a lying tongue and a false witness who pours out lies. How can people trust what I say about you if I am a liar? Give me the strength to be honest right now." (From Proverbs 6:16-19 and Proverbs 12:19)
Water purification is the process of removing undesirable chemicals, biological contaminants, suspended solids and gases from contaminated water. And the goal is to produce water fit for a specific purpose.
Then I say Heart purification is the sanctifying process of removing undesirable characteristics, worldly contaminants, suspended sins and fleshly desires from contaminated hearts. And the goal is to produce holiness set aside for a specific God-given purpose.
Remember, two very different glasses of water can look the same on the outside. But what comes from drinking up one as appose to the other is very different. James, one of Jesus' disciples, puts it this way, "Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?" James 3:10-11 iPray that you will recognize The One and Only Heart-filter, that you will be sanctified and you will pray continually as you go along. Being purified is not a onetime thing, it is a continual process. Don't let 18 years go by before the eye-gook causes you to realize that the tap is not a wise watering hole. And iPray for you now...
iPray 4 Purity! That each of us will long for purity in our hearts. Also in our bodies, minds and spirits. iPray that our heart-gook will continue to decrease as we make strong choices to digest Your ways and abandon the tap. Humble our smirks. May it matter to us what kind of water quenches our thirst. "And as we purify ourselves by obeying the truth so that we have sincere love for our brothers and sisters, iPray that we love one another deeply, from the heart." (From 1 Peter 1:22)
In Jesus Name, A-man!
All for HIM,