HOW To Live a Pure Life

According to Psalm 15:1-5 (ERV), in order to live a PURE life, to do what is right, and to speak truth from one’s heart, means:

  1. Don’t say bad things about others.
    • Don’t do things to hurt your neighbors
    • Don’t tell shameful things about those closest to your neighbors
  2. Hate those who fail to please God, and honor those who respect the Lord.
    • If you make a promise to your neighbor, then do what you promised.
  3. If you loan money to someone, do not charge them interest.
  4. Refuse to testify against an innocent person, even if someone offers them money to do it.

WHOEVER lives like this, the Lord says they will ALWAYS stand strong!

This seems like such a simple, short list to live by in order to live a pure life in God’s eyes. And in reality, it really is short and simple. Sometimes, if not more often than not, we make things WAY too complicated and difficult.

What is the blessing that comes from living a pure life?

Matthew 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (ERV)

Matthew 5:8 – “Your blessed when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” (The Message)

If you are blessed, aren’t you happy? Pure in heart people don’t allow anything bad into their hearts that would make them unhappy, for example, a heart full of unthankfulness, unbelief and wrong suspicions about others. However, a person with a pure heart has good thoughts about others, such as, thoughts of being grateful, and how they can bless others.

Psalm 119:9 – “How can a young person live a pure life? By obeying Your Word.”

I love the way The Message puts Psalm 15…

God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do we get on your guest list?

“Walk straight, act right, tell the truth.

“Don’t hurt your friend, don’t blame your neighbor; despise the despicable.

“Keep your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, never take a bribe.

“You’ll never get blacklisted if you live like this.”

 

~ Tracy

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Let It Go!

I was 14, I had just gotten my first guitar, and this was the first song I wrote.

Psalm 138:8 is my favorite verse: “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me. Thy mercy, oh Lord, endures forever!” Even at 14, this verse meant a lot to me. And now, years later, it means even more.

You know, there is nothing that you go through that the Lord cannot take care of for you. Everything that concerns you, the Lord wants to take off your shoulders and take care of it. The issue isn’t whether or not He can, or will. The issue is whether or not you’re going to leave it in His hands and walk away from it. 

As the movie “Frozen” says, “Let It Go!”

~ Tracy Villatoro

The Misconception That Life is Hard

We’ve all heard it…”Life is so hard!” Not only have I heard it, but I’ve also said it. However, in actuality, LIFE is not hard. What’s hard is DEATH. From the time we are born, we are dying. Correct? The longer we live, the closer we get to a physical death.

When people cry and complain that life is hard, what they’re really saying is that fighting against “death” is hard. There are many happy moments in all of our lives: falling in love, getting married, having children, doing and succeeding at what God has called us to do, and on and on. Then there are those moments that are seemingly so unbearable, being a care giver of a loved one that is soon to die, going through a divorce, loving your children so much and not being able to help them because they won’t heed your advice, which has been achieved only by experience, watching your child being deployed overseas to defend our country, watching your parent deteriorate day by day, being torn down by those that “supposedly” love you, being told how bad of a person you are, and the list goes on and is different for each and every person.

So what does a person do? The first thing we, as Christians, must do, is:

1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

We have to learn to let things go! My favorite verse is Psalm 138:8 – “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.” Only He knows what is the answer to the issues that truly concern me. What I think is the answer is not the answer! Only He has the answer.

Something else that is imperative is to stop tearing others down. Sometimes all we care about is to “prove” ourselves. We’d rather be right, or should I say, make it appear we are right, rather than strive for peace, instead of turmoil. Who really cares if we are right if it means being hurt constantly? I’d rather have peace than be right!

Romans 14:19 – “So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bing peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith.”

Are we truly trying to help “others” be better? How selfish of a people we are! The Lord Jesus came to serve others. Why do we think we shouldn’t do the same?

There is a scripture that is considered the “golden rule”. Maybe we should heed what the Lord says:

Matthew 7:12 – “Do for others what you would want them to do for you.”

 

“Feelings of Heaviness”

Do any of you feel like a blanket of darkness is covering you? Like you are so deep in struggles, troubles, loneliness, helplessness, depression, feelings of hurt, grief? These feelings come to everyone at one time or another. Having someone tell you, “Everything is going to be ok. Just trust in the Lord.”, is not something you want to hear.

Let me ask you this. Is any human being perfect? Of course not. So WHY do we put our trust in someone when we KNOW there is not one perfect human being? Ludicrous when you think about it, isn’t it? So what DO we do?? Well, there is only ONE person that we know IS perfect. Yes, that’s right, the Lord. But that shouldn’t be said so meaninglessly, with no significance, with no importance. The Lord God created the Heavens and the earth! He MADE the earth! That should mean something! Maybe I have gone down a rabbit trail, but what I am simply trying to say is it’s absolutely ridiculous to think that we can put our trust in another human being, that there is anyone but the Lord that can help us. Wouldn’t you agree? There is also no “thing” that can help you: not alcohol, not drugs, not sex, nothing! When all that wears off, all those feelings of heaviness rushes right back.

There are so many verses in the Bible that come to mind:

  • Isaiah 12:2 – “God is my savior; I will trust Him and not be afraid.”
  • Isaiah 41:10 – “Fear not, for I am with you.”
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”
  • Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic.”

These are all wonderful Scriptures! But there is one Scripture that helps me more than any other:

Psalm 46:10 – “Be STILL, and KNOW that I am God!”

There is simply something about that verse that is so comforting to me. If I can make myself still, and simply, and completely, make my mind and heart stop it’s madness, and force it to focus on Him alone, that is when His peace appears.

When you find yourself within that spirit of heaviness, or if you are in it right now, stop what you are doing. Go to your quiet place, be it your bedroom, your bathroom, or as funny as it seems, your closet. Get away from all distractions, close your eyes, and picture the Lord on His throne, right smack in front of you. Many times I simply say, “Jesus.” Or I say, “Lord, please speak to me. I need to hear from You.” I guarantee you, if you are truly sincere and are truly listening, He will speak to you. His presence WILL embrace you.

Now…close your eyes…say His name…ask Him to talk to you…wait, and don’t leave until He speaks.

“The Power of Singing To the Lord!”

My husband, Gian, and I did our devotion this morning on Psalm 71. Such great Words from the Lord in this chapter!

Psalm 71:2 – “You always do what is right.”

No matter who may be attacking us, the Lord is our salvation and deliverance!

Psalm 71:7 – “You are my source and strength, so I have been an example to others.”

He is our source for everything! We need to be an example of His goodness to everyone.

Psalm 71:9 – “Don’t throw me away just because I am old.”

It doesn’t matter how old I am, praise God!

Psalm 71:15-16 -“I will tell people how good You are. I will tell about all the times You saved me – too many times to count. I will tell about Your greatness, my Lord God. I will talk only about You and Your goodness.”

He has saved us from so many things, there are just too many times to even count. Our talk and speech must be always telling about His greatness.

Psalm 71:18 -“I must tell the next generation about Your power and greatness.”

If we don’t tell our children, grandchildren, about the Lord, who will? Even if they do not want to listen, tell them anyway! Doing this can and will change their future!

Psalm 71:23-24 – “I will SHOUT for joy, singing songs of praise to You for saving me. My tongue will sing about Your goodness all the time, because those who wanted to kill me have been defeated and disgraced.”

So many people do not feel that SHOUTING, and SINGING songs of praise to the Lord, is that important, or needed. Even the Scriptures say that the Lord shouts for joy! When we declare His word, it’s powerful. But singing is twice as powerful! Why is that?

Acts 16:25 says that Paul and Silas were in prison, simply because they were sharing the gospel. How did they get out of prison? By singing!

Acts 16:26 – “Suddenly there was an earthquake so strong that it SHOOK the foundation of the jail. ALL the doors of the jail opened, and the chains on all the prisoners FELL OFF!”

How many of you sing when you feel imprisoned? Of course we don’t “feel” like being joyful and singing, but look what the power of singing does!

Begin singing and shouting to the Lord today, and watch those chains fall off!

Psalm 67:5-6 – “Let the peoples praise You, oh God; Let all the peoples praise You. THEN the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.”

Psalm 34:11 – “Worship God if you want the best; worship OPEN doors to all His goodness!”

~ ŦɌⱭƇƳ

“He Is Our Source”

Isaiah 63:9 – “In His love…He bore them and carried them all the days of old.”

We all have needs, that’s for sure. And many times those needs seem humongous, and simply impossible to be met. To word it as Yoda would, “Human beings we are!” Very often people go seek help from relatives, friends, and a host of other sources – some helpful, others harmful to our spirits – rather than look to God. The Lord is the only One who can help. He is perfect. He has a plan to handle things, and we must trust in Him, and be WILLING to wait on Him. There are reasons why He does things, or doesn’t.

The following words are from a devotion I read, and hits the nail on the head:

“The ultimate source for meeting all need is God. He uses a variety of methods, and instruments to meet our needs, but he is the Author and Originator of all that we need, both in the outer material, natural, and physical realm, and in the inner emotional, mental, and spiritual realm.”

I encourage you to go directly to the source of the One who can help you. Get down on your knees, enter into His throne room, and pray. Come to Him with thanksgiving first. Thank Him for all He’s doing. He is doing great things in your life, He truly is. If you do not see anything good in your life, then your focus is only on your problems and circumstances. But when we put our eyes on Him, and Him alone, we know He hears us, and will answer our prayers. (1 John 5:15 – “He listens to us every time we ask Him. So we know that He gives us whatever we ask from Him.”)

Below are some scriptures that have really helped me over the years. I pray they will help you, as well. 😊

  • Joel 2:21 – “Be happy and full of joy. Then the Lord will do great things!”
  • Philippians 2:14 – “Do everything without complaining or arguing.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus.”
  • Mark 11:23-24 – “The truth is, you can say to this mountain (which is your need, or problem, that you are facing), ‘Go, mountain, fall into the sea.’ And if you have no doubts in your mind and believe that what you say will happen, THEN God will do it for you. So I tell you to ask for what you want in prayer. And if you believe that you have received those things, THEN they will be yours.”
  • This is probably THE verse that has helped me more than anything else… Joshua 1:8 – “Always remember what is written in that book of law (the Word of God). Speak about that book and study and meditate on it day and night. Then you can be sure to obey what is written there. If you do this, THEN you will be wise and successful in everything you do.”

 

~ ŦɌⱭƇƳ

What are YOU concerned about?

Psalm 138:8 – “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever!”

When I was 14, I had a strong desire to learn how to play the guitar. I had one 30-minute lesson from my pastor, and then the rest was left up to me. I practiced every single day, sometimes for 3 hours at night after getting home from school.

After a few months, I began writing songs. Psalm 138:8 is one of my favorite verses. Even though I was only 14, there were things that I was worried about, just like any other person. I found myself in my room one night, reading my bible, reading Psalm 138-139. Words to my very first song were penned that night. Actually, I “composed” my first song that night, as the “words” came straight from the Word of God. I hope this speaks to your heart, just as it did mine years and years ago. These words are still speaking to me today, healing me, setting me free, letting me know that HE is perfecting every little thing in my life, providing, protecting, and showing me grace and mercy…

“YOUR MERCY, OH LORD”

Verse 1:
You have searched me and You know everything about me.
You even know when I sit or stand.
You chart the path ahead of me, and tell me when to stop and rest.
You know my every thought. And every moment, You know where I am.

Chorus:
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me. 
Your mercy, Oh Lord, endures forever. 

Verse 2:
Though I am surrounded by a sea of troubles,
You will bring me through them all.
And when I pray, You answer and encourage me,
b
y giving me the strength I need.
You’ll clench Your fist against my angry enemies.
And by Your power, You save me!

(Chorus)

Bridge:
I will praise You with my whole heart.
Before the gods will I sing unto Thee.
I face Your temple as I worship, giving thanks.
For Your promises are backed by all the honor of Your name.

(Chorus)

~ ŦɌⱭƇƳ