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The Upside Down Kingdom Part 6

The Leprosy Mission produces an internal daily devotional guide, The Bridge, for use in offices, hospitals, clinics and projects around the world. Current and former staff and trustees from many countries contribute to the guide. We will share with you contributions made by one of our team.

Norman Lazonby, a member of our board, has written this series of thoughts on the Beatitudes.

Matthew 5:8

I find this the most challenging of the beatitudes. I cannot with honesty say that my heart is pure. I enjoy reading books and watching films which include sex and violence. I have done and said things which I know to be wrong. For three-quarters of my life to date, I did not even acknowledge God.

So, is there no hope for me to see God?

Yes there is! When I turn to Scripture I find that the greatest people in the Bible were also sinners whose hearts were not always pure. Isaiah, when coming into God’s presence, described himself as a man with filthy lips. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and put her husband on the front line of a battle so that he would be killed. The apostle Paul described himself as the worst of sinners.

Of all the beatitudes, it is this one which reminds me that I cannot earn my way into God’s Kingdom. I need to throw myself on God’s mercy and grace. Only God can make us pure and blameless in his sight!

The seraphim touched Isaiah’s lips with a burning coal and said his guilt was removed and his sins forgiven (Isa 6:7). In Psalm 51, David appeals to God because of His great compassion: wash me clean from my guilt and purify me from my sins; do not banish me from your presence but create in me a clean heart and renew a loyal spirit within me.

The apostle Paul reminds us that everyone has sinned and we all fall short of God’s glorious standard (Rom 3:23) but Jesus can free us from this life that is dominated by sin and death (Rom 7:24-25). Paul also tells us that before taking communion we first need to examine ourselves to ensure that we are not doing so unworthily (1 Cor 11:27-32).

To come into God’s presence, we need to acknowledge our sins and failings and turn to God to receive His forgiveness and cleansing. Only then can we have the purity of heart required to see our Holy God.

Prayer: Loving and merciful God, you know our hearts and lives. Is it possible for us to have pure hearts? Can you do that for us? We confess that our hearts have been stained and we ask you to transform our lives and cleanse us. Set us free from the guilt of our sins and help us to be more like Jesus we pray.

Question: What areas of your life do you need to ask God to help you with?

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10th Aug 2020

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Opinions are the authors own and not necessarily those of The Leprosy Mission Scotland.