Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Acts 5:32

"And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."

First, I'm going to write a little background on the context of the Scripture surrounding this verse. Peter and the apostles had been imprisoned for performing miracles, healed the sick and cast out demons in Jerusalem. Many people were brought to Christ during this time. The high priests and religious leaders weren't happy with what was happening and the fact that they were teaching in Jesus name, so they threw the apostles in jail. While they were at the jail, later that night, an angel of the Lord appeared to them and opened the prison doors and let them out. The angel said to them, "Go stand in the temple and speak to the people al the words of this life." So they left the prison, and entered the temple and taught there. The high priest sent officers to check on the apostles, and when the officers got there they found a closed, empty prison cell with guards still standing outside the door. One officer had heard that they were in the temple and told the others that the apostles were in the temple teaching the people. The captain and the officers went to the temple and brought the apostles back and put them on trial again. The high preist asked them "Did I not strictly command you not to teach in this name?" and Peter and the other apostles answered and said ,"We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. (32) And we are witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."

The apostles were first hand witnesses to Christ's life, death and resurrection. They had so much boldness in preaching the Gospel and teaching about Jesus to the people. They weren't afraid to speak out, and even were willing to be imprisoned for their beliefs. I hear of people like this today. Martyrs for Christ, and it prompts me to ask myself the question, Would I be a martyr for Christ? Am I bold in speaking about Him or would I rather please men ? Galations 1:10 says, "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men ? For If I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ." This verse is pretty clear. Its important for us to search our hearts and make sure that we are always aligned with Christ. Recently, the Lord gave me Psalm 51 and it has really stuck out to me and its something that I want to make my prayer everyday. Verses 10-12 say "create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me". I want the Lord to search my heart and reveal any wicked way within me, and start my day aligned with Him. When my heart is pure and my posture is aligned with God, then my intentions will be aligned with His will as well.

The Apostles may have physically seen Jesus firsthand and witnessed His life, death and resurrection, but we see Jesus today in many different forms. For me personally, God has made Himself so evident in my life. When I look back on my life, and where I was, and where I could have wound up, I see God's Hand guiding me and protecting me through everything. There is not just my testimony, but also the testimonies of those around us, and of those in the Bible that witness to us about Jesus and His never ending love, grace and mercy on us everyday. I also feel His presence everyday. Because I have obeyed Him and have made Jesus my Lord and Savior, He has given me the gift of His Holy Spirit whom has been my Comforter, my Advocate to the Father, and also the One who convicts me daily of my sin. Once I confess my sin to the Lord with an open and pure heart, that burden and heaviness on my heart is lifted and there is a peace that washes over me and I know that I have been forgiven.

As I mentioned earlier, I want to be more diligent in making Psalm 51 my prayer every morning when I wake up. So tonight, I will write it down in my prayer journal, and then wake up tomorrow and start my day with it as my prayer every morning.

Psalm 51:1-13

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.

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