Mary’s Heart in Martha’s Body

She couldn’t go back to sleep. Why did they say that? Did they think her friend loved Jesus more than she did? And here she was carrying the greater load in serving them? It was totally upsetting and hurtful to her and she resented them for it.

To be honest, she didn’t really get that bible story anyway. If Martha didn’t serve, who would? Certainly not Mary, who didn’t even lift a finger to help. Actually, she had always thought of Mary as being lazy and self-centered – she wanted to spend time with Jesus so she did, not caring in the least that she had left everything for her sister to carry. Forcing her sister to carry more than she should have had to carry. If Mary had stayed with Martha to help finish the preparations, they both could have sat at Jesus’ feet.

And she was being called a Martha? Like she would rather stay in the kitchen serving than be with Jesus? Like she didn’t love Him enough to want to spend time with Him?

She still didn’t get it – but what she did get was a revelation of her resentment towards people who forced her into the Martha role.  It wasn’t fair for them to do that to her. The injustice of it hurt her. That and other injustices done to her over the years, especially when she was a young child, kept returning to her as she lay in bed not sleeping.

So she did the only thing she knew to do. She prayed.

“Jesus, I don’t understand all this. All I know is it hurts. But I forgive them for saying what they did and ask that You deliver me from the resentment and pain that has filled me.”

She fell back asleep and dreamed of a barracuda. A poor innocent barracuda that was about to be sacrificed in the name of entertainment. Upset at the injustice, she went to the people in charge and told them it was wrong and that she would tell the authorities about it if they didn’t stop it.

She woke again, puzzled.

“Lord, what’s this about?”

“Injustice. You have been treated unfairly in life.  I can release you from the past, to free you for the future. Just don’t worry about things so much.”

“So I really am like Martha?” she asked, heart sinking.

“Yes, daughter. Sweet daughter,” He said, voice full of love. “You are like Martha in that you get so worked up about things. You don’t need to worry if things will get done.  I’ll make sure what needs to be done does get done. I am here, involved, and I will bring about all that needs to be done. Relax in Me. I will give you the desire to do the things I want you to do. The rest I can handle. Don’t sweat over it. ”

“Do I at least have Mary’s heart? I love listening to You.”

“Yes, you have Mary’s heart. I know your love for Me. But you have been forced into a role I didn’t create for you. IMG_20180511_161925872As you are freed from the past, you will be free to be who I made you to be.”

“How do I get free?”

“Give it to Me -your resentments , your pain. Continually give it to Me. Forgive those involved. Listen for My directions. Practice letting go. I won’t treat you unfairly. As you see My faithfulness, you will be able to relax more.”

As she got ready for the day, she thought about His words. And came up with a plan. When things had to get done, instead of trying to get everything to happen herself, she would say…

“I wonder how Jesus is going to make this happen.”

Then all she needed to do was wait and watch and listen. Like Mary.

Three Day Quote Challenge – Day One

I was nominated for this challenge by BIBLEBLOGGERGIRL  from Teen, Meet God  Thanks so much for the nomination, Shae.

As you may have guessed, this challenge takes place over three days. Each day, I will share a quote I love and explain why I love it, then I will nominate one blogger per day.

My first quote is this…

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“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” by Jack Canfield

I can’t think back far enough to know a time that I wasn’t full of fear. From my earliest days, I was terrified of the unknown. That included people, places, and events. If one of my few friends suggested a new game, fear would immediately fill me. If my family visited a new place, I would be nervous until the trip ended. Joining girl scouts was too scary to stay for long. Making new friends? Impossible. Fear kept me from so many things for so long that it became a intricate part of me. I couldn’t imagine not being afraid. Even after I met Jesus and He had time to work in me, fear remained. It’s been over 40 years now, and I’ve been set free in so many areas. Yet fear still rises its ugly head when I’m faced with something new. Like writing a blog. And publishing my first book. And meeting with a local writing group.

Sounds hopeless?

No way! Fear may still rise up at times, but it no longer incapacitates me.  Quotes like the one by Jack Canfield help me remember I’m not the only one who has to deal with fear, and that fear doesn’t have to hold me back. And best of all, Jesus is slowly teaching me to replace fear with faith.  He doesn’t want me – or you – or anyone – to live in fear.

And that’s the greatest hope of all because what Jesus wants Jesus eventually gets!

 

And now for my nominee… I choose William Pierce aka wordcoaster8550 at Walk With God. I love his artwork and poetry!

Sometimes Muddy Water is a Good Thing

 

Emotions churned inside her as she bowed before the Lord in prayer.

“Jesus, I don’t know what’s happening inside me. It’s such a mess. And I don’t even know why. Everything seems to be going well right now – job, family, health. So why all this turmoil?”

“Just a little cleaning up.”

She frowned, not understanding. How can cleaning up make her feel bad? She thought about it for a while. What exactly WAS she feeling? So many emotions all mixed up inside her. Pain and confusion from her teen years that still plagued her. Doubts that she was actually hearing from God and that it wasn’t just her imagination, and fear that she would lead others wrong as she began speaking out for Him.  Depression that seemed to cling to her no matter how hard she tried to fight it.  Very low self-esteem, more like no self-esteem.  The list seemed endless. She struggled to put a name to it.

“Muddy water.”

Muddy water?

She thought of her small garden pond. She enjoyed going outside to sit by it each day and watch the fish swim around. The pond looked beautiful – clear shiny water with green flowering plants growing in and around it. From time to time she would add a little water to compensate for the water that had evaporated.

She remembered a time she had not gone outside to the pond for several weeks. When she had finally made it there, she had been dismayed to find the water level to be as low IMG_20180510_000206722as it was. So she had taken the hose and watched as the water refilled the pond. Almost immediately the clear water had gotten cloudy as the running water churned up the dirt that had settled at the bottom.  Within minutes she could see leaves and pine straw swirling around in the very muddy water. Yuck. She decided to keep the water flowing and as the water flowed over the top, it had taken the mud, leaves and pine straw with it until all that had remained was clear clean water. Her pond was beautiful again, only this time it wasn’t hiding a bunch of dirt and debris at the bottom.

She made the connection. She might look good on the outside, but deep inside her heart,  a lot of dirt and debris had settled over time. Jesus had turned on the hose in her heart, filling her to overflowing with living water!

Amazed at the way He helped her understand, she thanked Him for the work He was doing. It might not look so good at the moment, she thought, but when He gets done, my heart will be clean and clear and truly beautiful!

OK, Lord, Let Me Have It!

She knew she deserved it. But she wasn’t looking forward to it. “How badly does God yell at someone anyway? As bad as my dad?” she wondered.  “God could get pretty rough with the Israelites.”

She thought back to what she had done earlier that day. God had told her not to share a particular book with a friend. But she thought she knew better and argued with Him. “She needs this message, Lord! I AM going to share it with her today at church!” But her friend hadn’t been at church. So God had won. And she felt really bad. Not just a sad or disappointed bad, but a distance-from-God kind of bad.

He was angry at her, she was sure. She could feel something unpleasant in her spirit. Probably Him scolding me, she thought. She tried to ignore it but it wouldn’t go away. In fact, it grew stronger as the day progressed until she couldn’t avoid dealing with it anymore.

She took a deep breath, and prayed, “OK, Lord, I’m ready to listen. Let me have it.”

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His answer was not what she expected. Instead of the angry voice she was expecting, He spoke in a gentle whisper.

“I won’t ever ‘let you have it’. I will never scold you. But I will let you know when you’ve strayed. The feeling you got today was caused by your rebellion – not My scolding. I was not withholding My love. However, our connection was broken when you closed your ears. You didn’t want to listen so I had to get stronger until you couldn’t ignore Me any longer. I have promised to help you stay on the path, to not stray. So when you do, I will let you know. Others who have not given their lives so completely to Me – who have not given Me the permission you have – can sometimes wander a while before calling on Me. But you have given yourself to Me completely, and in return, I made you a promise. Do you want Me to change this?”

She was amazed at the sense of security that filled her with His words. She belonged to Him and He would always be there looking out for her. Even when she was the one to cause the problem.

“No, Lord. I don’t. I am completely Yours, whatever the cost. Thank You for Your promise, and for Your tight rein on me. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Fear

Fear filled her. Unknown fear. Nameless fear. Fear she couldn’t connect to a source. All she knew was she was afraid.

“Lord, speak to me. Tell me what I need to know to relieve this fear.” she prayed.

“We are one.” came the swift reply.

We are one? She frowned. She and God were one? What did that even mean? How were they one? She wasn’t God. It sounded nice, but she couldn’t figure out what He was talking about.

He broke into her thoughts. “Listen. We are one. You and me. Forever.”

OK, she got the ‘you and me’ part. She knew when she gave her life to Him, she became His – His property, His follower, His friend, His daughter, etc.  And the forever part – she knew she would be with Him forever. So maybe that’s what He meant by ‘we are one’, that they were joined and would never be separated. That was good for the future. The problem was now. How was knowing that going to help her with the present day fear problem?

“Don’t you get it yet?” He asked gently. “When you hurt, I hurt. Come to Me with your problems, your pain, your fears. I can take them from you. Do you understand?”

She shook her head. In her head, she understood what He was telling her. But in the nitty gritty of everyday life, she wasn’t so sure it worked like He said. All she had to do was go before Him with whatever problem or fear she had, and He would take it from her? She had tried that in the past without success.

“Do you believe me?” He asked.

She wanted to. And to a degree she did. But deep down? Did she believe He could take her fear from her? Thinking of her attempts to believe her fear away in the past, she wasn’t so sure.

“Do You trust Me?” He asked, getting to the root of the issue.

Oh no. Not that question. She knew He was trustworthy and that she should trust Him.  And she WAS working on it. But she had been let down or betrayed by everyone in her life – family as well as friends. And there was still so much doubt clouding her heart and mind that she was sure she didn’t trust Him like He wanted her to. And that made her feel bad.

“I love you. I will not hurt you. Ever.” He reassured her.

She wanted desperately to believe that. Maybe deep down, where He had planted His Spirit, she did. But it was covered with layers of fear and pain and distrust.

“Oh, God, help me!” she cried out. “I want to trust You!”

“Follow Me. We’ll walk this path together. ” He invited. “Take it one step at a time. As I prove my trustworthiness to you day by day, your trust will grow. And when you can trust Me, when you can believe Me at My word, when you know My love for you and all that means, then your fears will be gone. For perfect love casts out fear.”

“I’ve read that scripture,” she told Him. “It says fear has to do with punishment. I don’t think that’s the same kind of fear I struggle with. I’m not afraid that You will punish me.”

“The bottom line is the same. Let’s look at your fear. What are you afraid of?”

“That’s just it. I don’t know.”

“OK. Let’s say it’s about feeling you’re in danger. Would that be realistic?”

“Yes, since I live and travel alone, I do fear for my safety at times.”

“Why would being alone make you fear?”

“There’s no one to protect me.”

“I’m there to protect you.”

“I know You can but I’m afraid You won’t for whatever reason.”

“So it’s a trust issue.”

“I guess so.”

“What if your fear was in having to do something outside your comfort zone? Like speaking in front of hundreds of people? What would you be afraid of?”

“I would be afraid I would mess up, or make a fool of myself.”

“Would it help if you didn’t have to do it alone? If someone was standing there with you, giving you suggestions and reassurances?”

“Definitely.”

“I would be standing there with you.”

“But would I be able to hear You.”

“So it’s a trust issue again. You don’t trust that I could make myself heard by you. One more example. What if your fear had to do with illness. What if you were just diagnosed with cancer. What would you be afraid of?”

“I would be afraid of dying. Of what would happen to my family if I did die. Of not knowing how bad it would get. Of the side effects of the treatment I would have to have. Mostly, I would be afraid of not having control.”

“What if you knew dying only meant being with Me? What if you knew your family would be taken cared of? What if you knew someone would be there every step of the way with your treatments? What if you knew someone who could not only control it all, but do so in your favor?”

“Yeah, I see what You’re saying. It does come down to trust.”

“The same goes with other fears. They all boil down to trust.”

Thinking about it, she saw that He was right.

“And why can’t you trust Me?” He asked her.

“Because I see and read about people who got hurt even though they were Your followers. If You let them get hurt, You could let me get hurt.”

“So your faith is in what you see, not in Me. Why is that?”

“Because I know what I see better than I know You.”

“Do you really know what you see? Do you really know why they got hurt? Why it appeared that I let them get hurt?”

“No,” she had to admit.

“So knowing is not the issue. It’s trust.”

“So how do I learn to trust You?”

“Like I said. Walk with Me one step at a time. As You experience My faithfulness, your trust will grow. As You experience My unconditional love for you, your trust will grow.

What really gives fear a handhold in your heart is your fear to let fear go. The thoughts IMG_20180430_181558737and reasons you have about why you need that fear make you take it back every time I try to take it from you. But over time trust in Me will grow until it’s bigger than your fear. Then all you’ll need to do when a fear appears is to ask Me to take it and I will. And your belief, your trust in Me, will make it possible for you to let go of it for good.

Got it?”

And she did. And He was right. Over time, her trust in Him did increase, and the fears in her did decrease. Amazing.

A Bus Full of Angels

“Is that what I think it is?” she asked the girls next to her, pointing up at the sky. “Is that a … foot?”

They looked up and smiled.

“No, not really. It’s a hand.” they said together.

She looked again. Sure enough, now it looked like a hand. “That’s weird,” she said shaking her head. “I could have sworn it was a foot. Jesus’s foot.”

“No, not at all,” they answered together again.  They waved at the hand which waved back.

She tentatively waved also and watched the hand wave back at her as it descended through the sky.

Lower and lower it came until it reached the ground.

She decided better safe than sorry and ducked inside a nearby doorway. She waited a moment, then peeked around the door frame. She saw two angels and Jesus, all smiling as if proud of something. Or maybe very pleased about something.

Jesus?  Jesus! Feelings of love and want rose up in her. Jesus was there! But how could that be?

A girl pushed past her and ran outside, giving a big hug to the nearest angel.

She wanted to go outside also, but was afraid that all of this was in her head. She thought if she went outside, they would all just disappear like a puff of smoke. So she continued watching from behind the door frame.

The angels and Jesus just stood there, one angel with an arm around that girl. What were they waiting for?

Curiosity overcame her fear, and she emerged from the doorway. One of the angels got so excited seeing her that he gave Jesus a hug. It reminded her of when contestant winners who get so excited they hug anyone within arm distance.

As she slowly walked towards them, her attention was on Jesus. She noticed His medium brown hair and clear brown eyes. He looked young and beautiful. He watched her as she watched Him, and when she got within a few feet of Him, He pointed to something to her left. She turned and saw a huge bus.

Bus? She felt confused. First a hand descending from the sky, then Jesus and some angels standing in front of her, and now a bus? Did they want her to get on it or something? Why? Where would it take her?

Jesus motioned to her to follow Him. Sure enough, He led her to the bus.

OK, so He did want her on that bus. Well, she had trusted Him enough to approach Him. She was also going to trust Him now. And if He wanted her on the bus, she would get on the bus.

She climbed up the steps and sat down next to the girl that had run past her in the doorway.

“Hi, I’m Susan!” the girl said. “Isn’t this amazing? We’ve been invited to ride with Jesus! This is going to be so good!”

Well, amazing, yes. But good? She wasn’t so sure yet. IF this was real, and IF this was really Jesus, then yes, it had to be good. But what if it wasn’t? What if this was just a figment of her imagination and she was going insane? That wouldn’t be so good.

Not knowing what else to do, she grabbed Susan’s hand for security and waited for the bus to move.

Jesus climbed on and sat in the driver’s seat. The angels climbed on behind Him and sat in the only empty sea, which happened to be next to her. The rest of the seats held other angels. She was on a bus filled with angels! And Jesus was driving! She must be going crazy.

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“Everybody ready?” Jesus calls out. “We’re heading to the High Places.”

“What are the High Places?” she asked Susan. But Susan was not paying attention to her and didn’t respond.

Turning back to Jesus, she saw that He was looking into the rear view mirror towards the back of the bus. “I’m sorry,” He said to whoever He was talking to. “I must take these ladies to the High Places before I take you to your destination.” She turned to see who He was talking to. There were skeletons back there! She hadn’t noticed them when she got on the bus, but she sure did now.

Then Jesus looked at her and Susan. “This is going to be fun!”

“It already is!” Susan responded.

“Good,” he said with a smile. “But I have to warn you. Once there, you will be given a mission to accomplish that might not always be fun.”

She looked from Jesus to Susan and back to Jesus. A mission to accomplish? Not always fun? What did that mean? Did she really want to go there? Was it too late to change her mind?

He smiled reassuringly at her. “Yes, you want to be here. Because that is where I am. And what better place can you be than where I am?”

She had to agree with that. So she settled back in her seat and waited for the adventure to begin. As she waited, she got drowsy and began drifting into a pleasant sleep.

Suddenly a loud jarring noise startled her. She sat up and noticed two things. One, she was no longer on the bus. And two, her alarm clock was buzzing itself right off the side table. Had all that been a dream?

Disappointed, she got up. She wished she was still on that bus no matter where it was going because Jesus had been on it. Her heart hurt with longing to be in His presence again.

“You ARE in My presence, Little One.” She knew that voice. The still small voice.

“It’s not the same,” she told Jesus. “I can’t see You with my eyes. I can’t touch You with my hands.”

“You will one day,”

“What was that I experienced?” she asked. “Was it a spiritual experience or just a dream.” It had to be just a dream, right?  Jesus driving a bus full of angels and skeletons?

“It was neither,” He answered gently. “It was an allegory. A dream with meaning.”

“What did it mean?”

“Can’t you figure it out? Think about it.

So she did. And slowly it dawned on her. It was another way to look at her salvation. Perhaps a bit bizarre but a pretty accurate allegory all in all.

She saw Jesus from a distance and was afraid He wasn’t real. That was before she was saved.

She overcame her fear and approached Him. That would be her seeking salvation.

The angel celebrated when she met Jesus.  Don’t angels celebrate as sinners repent?

Jesus drove the bus He led her on. He was the driver – leader – in her real life, only not with a bus.

Her fear that it was all her imagination. Yes, after her salvation, there had been times she thought all of it was just an imaginary game she and others were playing.

The bus was full of angels. God has placed angels all around His people, which included her.

He was taking her to the High Places. That was most likely representative of when she would be made whole and strong and able to do the things He calls her to do, which would be the mission the dream spoke of. As in the dream, she had not reached the High Places yet so she wasn’t too sure.

And the skeletons? She had no idea. Maybe she would figure that out later. Or maybe, since they had a different destination, she wasn’t meant to figure it out. Maybe the whole point of them was to show there are things in the spirit world she knew nothing about and didn’t concern her.

“OK, Jesus,” she said. “I have to admit. That was a pretty amazing dream. There’s no end to Your creativity, is there?”

“Nope,” He said with a smile. “Ready to have some fun?”

“Ready,” she answered, also with a smile. “Start that motor and let the ride begin!”

Just Leave Me Alone

It had been a long day. A very long day. And all day long, frustrated with things going wrong and the stress of so many people making demands on her, she had lashed out at Jesus.

“Why do You allow this to happen? Why won’t You do something about it? You’re all powerful, You could make things easier if You wanted. Is this how You take care of the people You love?”

Now that she was home, she was tired and wanted nothing more to do with anyone. Just let me be alone in peace, she thought, planning on going to bed early.

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But then she remembered this was church night. Great. Should she skip church this night? Or go even though she really didn’t want to?

As she considered her choices, she decided what she needed most was Jesus to refill her. Since she found it easiest to open herself to Him during worship music, she went to church.

Once there, she sat in the least occupied area she could find hoping that everyone would leave her alone. Maybe if she kept her eyes closed, they would assume she was praying and not want to disturb her. She didn’t open them until the music started and was promptly disappointed to find out the music chosen for the service were songs she didn’t like. Just my luck, she thought. I should have stayed home.

Near the end of the service, she decided good music or not, she needed a touch from IMG_20180428_202916014Jesus. So she closed her eyes and asked Jesus to totally fill her. She pictured herself kneeling in front of Him, not moving, not saying anything, just being in His presence. As she did, she began to feel lighter and lighter – like burdens were being taken off her shoulders. Enjoying the feeling, she didn’t want the service to end, but no one asked her and so it ended much too soon.

She was delighted to find that the feeling of lightness and peace went home with her.  As she prepared for bed, she smelled something burning. Sniffing, she tracked it down to the fuse box. She called the landlord who came over to check it out.

“The hot water fuses shorted out,” he reported. “It’s a good thing you caught it. Too much longer and it most likely would have caught fire.”

After he left, she remembered that she had wanted to go to bed early. And if she had, there’s a good chance she wouldn’t have noticed the burning smell while she slept. She knew who was responsible for her catching it. And she thanked Him for not leaving her alone, for taking care of her even after all her ranting and raving that day. His unconditional love was truly amazing!

Deep Inside a Flower

“There’s something very beautiful deep inside you,” her boyfriend told her.

“No, there isn’t,” she responded.

“Yes, there is. I can see God pouring His love all over you, watering you as if you were a flower. Only you can’t feel it.”

On the surface, she had come to know God’s love and presence, and to a degree could accept that, but deep down was a whole different story. She could feel the darkness that she believed was down there, and was afraid to find out that she was right.

“No,” she shook her head. “There’s nothing good in me.”

“I don’t believe that. I see you as a bud, closed up tightly around great beauty. And I see God slowly and gently opening your petals, one by one.”

Fear rose up in her. What if He really was doing that? What if He gets to the center of her IMG_20180416_204207978being and finds only darkness there? Maybe even evil. And demons.

“What if I’m afraid?”

“It’s OK. God knows that. And He will go only as fast as you are able. He won’t force you.”

“Maybe, but I can’t take the chance.” She really, really didn’t want to find out she had demons.  She had heard of plenty of people who had had demons cast out of them. She shuddered just thinking about it. What would that be like, having a demon cast out? Maybe like having a nasty worm in your stomach pulled out through your mouth. She had seen a video of that once. Or like having leprosy on the inside that would gross out anyone who saw it. She’d rather hide her darkness than subject others to it. Her petals would have to remain closed.

Later, they talked about it some more. She took in his words, hoping he was right, but knowing that he wasn’t.

The next night, they attended a prayer meeting together. She listened in amazement as the speaker for the night spoke about… she could hardly believe it… how God opens His people little by little, to reveal the beauty that is inside them.

No way, she thought. That has to be more than a coincidence. She got excited thinking that maybe… but no. That was true for other people but not for her. She knew there was nothing but darkness inside her. She could feel it.

The next night, she had an unexpected visit from a friend. This friend handed her a vase with a magnolia bud and a red rose in it. She thanked her friend and had a nice visit, but she didn’t think much about the flowers.

Until the next day.

The magnolia bud had opened during the night – and the flower was absolutely beautiful! Somehow she knew beyond a doubt that this flower was from the Lord. She could feel His love and presence and knew that He was doing something deep within her. As she yielded to Him, she began looking forward to finding out what that something was.

It would take years for her petals to fully open. But when they did, she found out she had been wrong all along. Instead of darkness, she found Light. Instead of evil and demons needing to be cast out, she found His great love for her. She realized  her fear had been lying to her all those years.

“There’s something very beautiful deep inside you,” her boyfriend, now husband, had told her those many years ago. Now she finally knew that it was true. There WAS something beautiful deep inside her. And that something was called Jesus.

Muddy Purity

She read, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

“God, I have a problem. My heart is not pure.”

“Yes it is.”

“It sure wasn’t when that driver cut me off in traffic.”

“True, you could have handled that differently. But your heart is still pure.”

“No way, not after I yelled at my kids for not cleaning up their stuff.”

“Yeah, they told me about that. It’s something to work on, but your heart is still pure.”

“How can You say that after the way I ignored that homeless person holding up that handwritten sign on the corner last week? I didn’t want to give anything to him so I pretended I didn’t see him. I’m so ashamed.”

“Now that you’ve experienced that sorrow, maybe next time you won’t ignore the pleas of the poor. But your heart is still pure.”

“How can my heart be pure if I’m doing all those things? No matter how much I don’t want to, I keep sinning.”

“Sinning is not the same as purity.”

“Huh?”

“Maybe this will help. Imagine holding a diamond, a pure diamond without any flaws. IMG_20180415_052040472Now picture dropping this diamond into some mud. Is the diamond still pure?”

“Yes. The diamond didn’t change. The mud is only on the outside. Inside, the diamond is still pure.”

“That’s right. The mud cannot get inside the diamond. The mud can make the purity hard to see, but it’s still there.”

“So, my heart is pure. But my sins make that hard to see.”

“Exactly.”

“I don’t know. That’s a good illustration, but my heart sure doesn’t feel pure.”

“Purity is not a feeling. It’s a fact.”

“How do You know that?”

“Because I’ve said so.”

“You did? When?”

“That night I ate supper with my disciples just before Judas betrayed Me.”

“Wasn’t that when you talked about the vine and branches, and when You prayed for us? I don’t remember You talking about a pure heart.

“Sure. Read John 15:3.”

“It says, ‘You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.'”

“What do you think I meant by that?”

“Um, I guess I thought that meant our sins were forgiven.”

“You guess? Maybe you should look it up in a dictionary.”

“OK, here it is. Clean. There’re two definitions. The first one says ‘free from dirt, marks, or stains’. That would be the mud, right?  My sins that you’ve forgiven?”

“Yes. What does the other definition say?”

“It says, ‘pure, innocent’. Oh wow, I never associated clean with pure.”

She thought for a minute.  “So in John 15:3, when you were telling them that they were clean – pure – you were talking about their hearts and not their behavior.

“Yes.”

“And nothing they did, no sin they commit, changes that purity?”

“Right. It can be hidden under a lot of mud, but it’s still there.”

“That’s all well and good for the apostles. But I wasn’t there.”

“It applies to you, too. Read the rest of the passage and you will see that it applies to everyone who abides in Me.”

“Oh, right.” She was embarrassed that she had already forgotten that connection. “So, You said it and my heart is pure.”

“I did and it is.”

“No matter how muddy I get.”

“No matter how muddy you get.”

“Amazing,” she thought as she pictured that diamond in a mud puddle. “Simply amazing!”