Clean Hands and A Pure Heart

Good afternoon. It is Sunday, march 22, 2015. 15 more days until Opening Day!!

Today’s word of the day is emportment. This is a noun, meaning, “A spell of anger or strong feeling; a fit of passion. Also as a mass noun: anger, fury.” Pretty strong word, there.

Today is Goof Off Day. I like to think that of every Sunday, at least for now, as long as we are having our worship gatherings on Saturday evening. We are trying to figure out a way to move back to Sundays, but that will take a while, until we can find a suitable location.

We had, in my opinion, a very nice prayer gathering yesterday. There were more people there, than usual, and we had some precious time sharing prayer requests with one another. I have come to believe that that portion of the prayer gathering is the most important; the time when we pray for one another, specifically. Sure it is nice to pray general prayers for the church at large, and we should be doing that. But the more intimate action of praying specifically for each other is much more meaningful, and I believe it builds relationship within the body. It seems that, each week, I feel a stronger and stronger bond with my brothers and sisters.

After our worship gathering, we went through the drive-thru of Taco Bell for dinner. I tried one of their new “quesarittos,” and it was only okay. I probably won’t try that again. I’m a big fan of their chalupas and beef burritos, so I will probably just stick with those. Unless they bring back the triple steak stack, or whatever that was called. That thing was scrumptious!! Christi and I watched a couple of episodes of The Blacklist, then she went to bed. I stayed up and watched the last two episodes of The Walking Dead. Then we slept until almost 11:00 this morning! Wow. That’s why I didn’t begin this until after noon.

Not sure what we will do today. Hopefully, there will be goofing off! 🙂

It was on this date in 1621 that the Plymouth pilgrims signed a peace treaty with Massasoit of the Wampanoag tribe. A year later, to the day, Algonquian Indians killed 347 English settlers around Jamestown, Virginia, in what would be known as The Jamestown Massacre.

Today’s birthdays include Chico Marx (Marx Brothers), Louis L’Amour (author), Karl Malden (actor), Werner Klemperer (actor, Hogan’s Heroes), Marcel Marceau (mime), Stephen Sondheim (composer/lyricist), William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk), M. Emmett Walsh (actor), Roger Whittaker (singer), Jeremy Clyde (Chad & Jeremy), George Benson (jazz musician), James Patterson (author), Andrew Lloyd Weber (composer), Bob Costas (sports commentator), Matthew Modine (actor), Elvis Stojko (ice skater), Reese Witherspoon (actress), Kellie Shangygne Williams (actress, Family Matters), Juan Uribe (baseball player), and Justin Masterson (baseball player).

William Shatner is an actor who is indisputably most famous for his role as Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise on classic Star Trek. Here is a fan-made clip that I thought was fun.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.

Psalm 24:3-4

(From Heart Aflame)

For several days, Heart Aflame has been going verse-by-verse through Psalm 24. Today’s reading focuses on verse 4, quoted above. I included verse 3 because verse 4 begins the answer to the question given in verse 3. Note that David includes the idea of clean hands and pure heart together. “True purity, no doubt, has its seat in the heart, but it manifests its fruits in the works of the hands.” So the pure heart is joined to the purity of the whole life. We would think it ridiculous if a man boasted of having a pure heart, while not showing this with the fruit of his hands.

On the other hand, we also know that “good works” mean nothing, if they do not come from a pure heart. Purity of heart must precede outward fruit. Just because David mentions the “clean hands” before the “pure heart,” does not mean that the hands come before the heart. We sometimes mention effects before the cause, simply because the effect is the thing that is more well known. We can see the acts of clean hands. They are visible. The motivations behind the acts are not visible, but must precede the act.

It is noted that David says nothing about faith in God, at this point. Calvin points out that men seldom act so uprightly before their fellow man, unless they be “endued with the true fear of God so as to walk circumspectly before him.” “David very justly forms his estimate of the piety of men towards God by the character of their conduct towards their fellow-men.”

Father, I thank you that you have placed within my heart that fear of you that causes me to walk in integrity, not only before you, but before my brothers and sisters, as well. I thank you that my heart will not allow me to mistreat my fellow man, and should an occasion occur where I violate that principal, I am immediately struck down with a great guilt of conscience and seek immediate forgiveness, if at all possible. Is my heart pure? Only insomuch as it is cleansed by Christ, for it is still the heart of a wretched sinner, in the flesh. I do not consider that my heart will be utterly pure until this mortal coil is shed, and I stand before you in all of Christ’s glory, prepared to enter into the place that he has prepared for me. I praise you, that, in spite of my continued sin, when you look at me, you feel only love. That is almost more than I can fathom, my Father!

I pray for the remainder of this day. May you grant us safe travel wherever we go, and whatever we do, this afternoon. May our time together be pleasant, and may we bond as a family, today, also growing closer to you. I pray for my mother, that you continue hastening her recovery, and that you would bring healing to both her and my father. May you keep them safe in their home, providing whatever they need for life. I pray for Rachel and Justin, that you would provide them with whatever they need for this day.

May your will be done on earth as in heaven.

Clean hands and a pure heart; these are necessary to “ascend the hill of the Lord.” I cannot obtain either in my own power. Jesus Christ has provided the means of obtaining a pure heart, thereby having clean hands.

ascending-the-hill

Grace and peace, friends.

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