Love That Issues From A Pure Heart

It’s Saturday morning, and we’ll be heading out to help set up for the worship celebration at The Exchange in about 40 minutes, so I have to hurry this morning. I don’t really like to be rushed, but it’s either that, or wait until after noon today. It’s much more peaceful in the house right now, so it’s more conducive to “devoting.”

The saga with Stephanie continues to progress. The school faxed forms to the psychiatrist’s office yesterday, for him to fill out and return, and an ARD meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, November 1. I’m impressed that they are actually trying to work this process quickly. I kind of thought that they would buck at the “homebound” idea, but they seem to be working toward it for us. Things have been better at home, too. Until Steph decided to ask for ice cream last night. Anyone who knows us knows that Stephanie, just as a lot of autistic kids, has a low tolerance for milk and ice cream. She can do cheese without major consequences, but straight milk and ice cream, for some reason that seems to baffle doctors, causes major behavioral issues with her. So we had a small meltdown last night about whether or when she could have ice cream. The good news is that this one only lasted about 30 minutes. The turning point seems to be when I came in the room and asked Christi if she wanted to go spend the night in a hotel room. It wasn’t a major one, though, not like past ones that have gone on for over an hour. And we didn’t yell at each other. Voices got a little elevated, but no yelling.

On to the Bible readings.

First, I want to revisit a couple of verses. Proverbs 3:5-6 are my verses for 2011. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. These verses have had a serious impact on me numerous times during this year. Most recently, came the realization of the truth of the last phrase, “he will make straight your paths.” God is the one who can make my path straight. I can’t do it. This goes hand in hand with what I am reading in the Richard J. Foster book, Sanctuary of the Soul, in which Foster reminds us that only God can change our hearts. We work so hard sometimes to do something that only God can do.

Psalm 86:11 is my “life verse.” I chose this verse close to 10 years ago. Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. This is a constant prayer to the Lord. And I believe that I can pair this up with the verse in 2 Thessalonians 3 that I came across yesterday, as Paul prayed for the Thessalonians, May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. (v. 5) I think this is a great verse to pray for each other, as well as for ourselves, and when paired up with the prayer in Psalm 86:11, is even better.

Today’s Bible readings:
1 Timothy 1; Jeremiah 25-26; Proverbs 22:24-29

Paul’s letters to Timothy are unique, in that they are not to specific churches, but, rather to an individual. He pretty much hits the ground running with a warning to Timothy to charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. (vv. 3b-4) Immediately, Paul is warning against false teachers, which may have been not intentionally false, but had wandered off the path of truth. But it is also very important for us to note the reason for this charge in verse 5. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. I have to confess that I have said some very derogatory things about people that I believe to be “false teachers.” It wouldn’t be so bad, but I don’t think my motives were pure. My reason had nothing to do with “love that issues from a pure heart.” I’m beginning to be more careful about this sort of thing.
Paul also discusses people who have gone off into teaching the law. The law is good, if handled properly. But it is, he says, for the “lawless and disobedient,” not for the just. Paul is very clear to state that the law was given to show people where they had fallen short, so they could be receptive to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He even goes on to describe the ways in which he was a “lawbreaker.” In verse 12, he says he was a “blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent.” But he received mercy as “the grace of our Lord overflowed for ]him] with the faith and love that are in Jesus Christ.” (v. 13) He even calls himself the “chief” of sinners (v. 15 in KJV). The ESV translates the word, “foremost.” He considered himself “number one.” Yet Christ showed him mercy. What a wonderful truth for us all!

Father, I pray that you would, indeed, teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name, and direct my heart to your love and to steadfastness in Jesus Christ. I pray that you help me obey the command in Proverbs 3:5-6. Why is it such a complicated thing to trust in you? I pray that you would make my paths straight. I also pray for grace and mercy, both in my life, in your dealings with my sin, but also in the way that I deal with people whom I perceive to be false teachers. May I approach these subjects with the same reason that Paul described to Timothy, love issuing from a pure heart. Let everything I do have this as its motive!

I pray for our setup this morning, that it would go smoothly and safely. I pray for our worship celebration tomorrow, that you would, above all else, be magnified and glorified.

I pray for this day of rest that we have from our work. Let the afternoon be restful and peaceful. Let my heart be drawn to you.

Let everything be done out of a motive for pure love. Show grace and mercy, as we have been shown grace and mercy by Jesus.

Grace and peace, friends.

5 thoughts on “Love That Issues From A Pure Heart

  1. Jeff
    Your writing touched me as always – thank you for the great passages
    Prayers for your day and I will continue to pray for Stephanie

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