What does it mean to have a pure heart before God?

Today in prayer I cried before Jesus, asking Him to give me a pure heart before Him. And it hit me: wanting to please Him is pure-hearted. 

How many of us come to Christ and then begin thinking of how we can live in a way that pleases Him? 

How often do you ask yourself if what you’re about to do, say, wear, hang with, date, pleases Him? 

I think often, many of us accept Christ and then, since we know we are accepted, we stop there and continue behaving the way we did before we “surrendered” to Him–except maybe now we go to church service more often. 

But do we even do that to please Him or because we just feel good when we go, i.e., it pleases us. Christians aren’t supposed to behave like the world, to copy their patterns which can often be boiled down to: do what makes you happy, and to hell with everyone else.

If others’ desires and plans don’t align with making them happy, those people just need to be disposed of (or have their reputation ripped to shreds and be sued royally and then suffer with their family in poverty and hopefully die fast, but I digress). 

As children of God, the Father of Jesus Christ, we’re actually supposed to first think of ways to please/make Him happy. It’s totally counter to our selfish, sinful nature, I know. 

But one way you can really gage if you’re becoming more and more like Jesus is how much you desire to live to please the Father. Jesus was all about pleasing His Father. He listened to God on a regular basis by getting alone with Him in prayer early each morning and in the evening; He knew God’s word perfectly and He obeyed His Father’s commands. 

Are you doing that?

If you don’t at all, or just rarely think of ways to please the one who died for you and gave up everything for you, then ask yourself why that is?

Now, I’m not saying to seek to please God so you can earn heaven, or seem like a goodie-two-shoe in front of others. It should just be a genuine desire birthed and fueled by a growing love and appreciation for Jesus and all He’s done for you. Period. No strings attached. Just pure love. 

And when you get to that place, you’re not perfect, but your heart is truly pure, and then you’ll begin experiencing this promise like never before:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see [experience] God.”-Matthew‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

blog_love_natasha

When you’re in a perpetual funk…

Almost everyone annoys you. Your patience is like 0.2%. Regular happiness is a distant memory. I’ve battled this and I still have my bouts with this, but when I remember the truths I’m about to share with you, sisters, I’m able to break through this bulwark before it becomes a vicious cycle.

As Christians, if we think we’re entitled to a bad attitude because we have bad health, we’re gravely mistaken.

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”-Philippians 11-14

Whether it be sleep deprivation (which is me every day), physical ailment (I’ve got chronic neck pain; haven’t been to the chiropractor in over three months) or weakness, we cannot allow our emotional state to remain in a place of anger and a funky attitude because, in essence, that’s bitterness, beloved. And the Bible warns:

Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. “-Hebrews 14:14-15

An unchecked bad attitude and bitterness is what begins the erosion of our closest relationships; this is especially true in marriages. If we believe the lie that because we are sick, or weak, or tired continually that we then have the license and permission to be mean, joyless, and emotionally unstable, damaging and hurting those around us because we’re suffering, we are not practicing love, but selfishness. Too many are hurting others because they’re hurting and as Christians, this is point blank unacceptable.

I’m not talking about having a bad day. I’m talking about when your bad day turns into bad weeks and months and years. You’re allowed to be human and experience discouragement and anger. It’s when you let anger give the devil a foothold over your life and remain in that state of being for lengthy periods of time that you’re now being destructive to yourself and others.

Let’s pray for one another and bear one another’s burdens, and not allow our physical weaknesses to cause us to be in a perpetual state of bitterness that abuses those around us. Let us choose to love no matter what state we’re in physically, and when it’s hard to do that, instead of justifying our bad attitudes, let’s confess to one another and humbly ask for prayer. A bad attitude ignored or justified is like radioactive gas to those around us; it’s toxic and destructive. Christians can live in victory, so let’s not accept continually defeated mindsets for if we allow ourselves to be beat down, then we’re useless to help lift others up.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.-1 Corinthians 13:4-7

blog_love_natasha

How to become best friends with Jesus

When you’re knocked down…

I lie in the dust; revive me by your word.-Psalm 119:25

When you’re crying from heartache…

I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word.-Psalm 119:28

When you need advice…

Your laws please me; they give me wise advice.-Psalm 119:24

Sometimes–often times–when we aren’t regularly, daily in the Bible, we lie to ourselves…

Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.-Psalm 119:29

We think our sins are better or more pleasurable than obeying God. We don’t realize that it’s a privilege to know His instructions. God isn’t a corrupt, selfish boss. He’s perfect in every way; perfectly good, perfect in truth, perfect in love, perfect in wisdom; so when He gives us an instruction or command, it comes from perfect knowledge and unfathomably good intentions. Literally, God is so good, we cannot even comprehend every aspect of just how good His purposes and plans for us are. I can always come up with a number of reasons as to why God commands us the things He does, but knowing how much higher He is than me and how much holier, and perfect, and wise, I know I’m missing tons more.

How many times have you gone to your mom or best friend for advice? Why do you go to them? When seeking advice, you usually go to the people you trust the most and believe love you the most. These people typically have only lived as long as we have, or a few decades more, but still sin, make mistakes, fail, forget, disappoint. But Jesus is perfect. He never fails, forgets, sins, makes mistakes. He loves us in such a more full and perfect and complete way than anyone on this earth possibly can. He died for us when we were still sinners and cleanses those who trust in Him alone for their salvation and brings them to heaven. So if He is SUCH a better advice-giver, why do we so often side-step or walk past Him and run to a faulty sinner instead?

The best reason would have to be a lack of knowledge. We don’t really KNOW Him like we THINK we do. Just because you believe you have a neighbor living down the street, doesn’t mean you KNOW that neighbor. You may even know her name, but how much time do you spend with her? How often do you talk to her?

Now what about your best friend? How often do you hang out with her? How often do you speak with her? Who do you trust more? Your neighbor down the street or your best friend? Who do you love more?

See, the same outcome is true for our relationship with God. Just because we believe or know He’s there, doesn’t mean we know Him closely, like a best friend. We may know Him more like a distant neighbor, and so it’s no wonder we don’t go to Him first or often for advice. Trust is built more and more over time, isn’t it? Did you instantly entrust all of your deepest and darkest secrets with the person who is now called your best friend? Even if you trusted her after your first conversation, you grew to trust her more the better you got to know her, right?

If you don’t regularly spend time getting to know God through reading the Bible, He will always be that last resort, distant neighbor you call on when no one else is available. Since the majority of your advice is coming from imperfect, sinful humans with knowledge limited to a few decades of life and loaded with bias, your life and decisions will often be fueled by lies rather than the truth. But the more truth you know, the more Jesus you know, the more your choices will be guided by truth and the clearer and more certain your path will be.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.

 Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
    and strength for your bones.-Provers 3:6-8

I pray you begin to regularly open your bible and make an effort to become best friends with Jesus for your own good, and for His glory! Here’s how to begin:

How can a young person stay pure?
    By obeying your word.
 I have tried hard to find you—
    don’t let me wander from your commands.
 I have hidden your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
I praise you, O Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
I have recited aloud
    all the regulations you have given us.
I have rejoiced in your laws
    as much as in riches.
I will study your commandments
    and reflect on your ways.
 I will delight in your decrees
    and not forget your word.-Psalm 119:9-16

1.) Try hard.

2.) Hide His Word in your heart by reading it regularly.

3.) Recite His Word, read it aloud, and quote it to others and yourself.

4.) Rejoice in His Word; be thankful for His precious promises and instructions to you.

5.) Study His Word; ask Him to teach you about something you want wisdom for and search for the answers in the Bible.

6.) Delight in His Word. Remember, reading the Bible is an absolute privilege; it’s the wisdom and knowledge of God! And not everyone has it so easily accessible, and many get imprisoned or killed for reading the Bible!

Keep me from lying to myself;
    give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.
 I have chosen to be faithful;
    I have determined to live by your regulations.
I cling to your laws.
    Lord, don’t let me be put to shame!
I will pursue your commands,
    for you expand my understanding.-Psalm 119:29-32

In essence:

Choose, determine, cling, and pursue. What guy, dream, school or career is better than Jesus? So choose and determine to pursue Him, and then keep clinging to Him all of your days. Trust me, the only thing you’ll regret is not having done so sooner.

Here’s what to do if your boyfriend is hurting you.

Sister, you’re sad, you’re hurting, you’re upset, you are more angry than you are happy.

“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down.-Hosea 14:1

You blame your boyfriend, but who is deciding to be in a relationship with him? Who is choosing to stay with him? Your free will and choice to remain where you’re at–your sins–have brought you down. (I love you, that’s why I’m so real! So hang tight, sisters and know this is tough-love speaking, not angry judgement.)

So what should I do, Natasha? I’m glad you asked, princess:

Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises.-Hosea 14:2

This is a simple two-step process to SERIOUS restoration, deliverance, and supernatural empowerment!

1.) Bring your confessions to God.

Sister, God already KNOWS all about your sinful relationship, but there are several reasons why He wants you to confess it to Him. For one, it places you in a position to receive closeness and intimacy with God. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. He draws near to those who draw near to Him. And even in all your sin, with all the dirt covering you, He tells you to come close to Him so He can wash you clean. Think about that. God isn’t trying to expose your nakedness to anyone (but if you keep hiding from Him, after a while, He will expose you. Why would He do that? Because tough love is better than no love, and if it takes big consequences or firm punishment to get you to stop sinning i.e. destroying yourself, He will do what is necessary. But that’s why me–AND GOD–plead with you NOT to push Him to that point. He’d MUCH rather clean you up behind closed doors rather than have you stripped naked for all to see and come to Him completely broken in shame).

God is VERY patient, but like I said, there comes a time where that patience turns to punishment. Do you wanna be like those protestors who start pushing against the authorities, who at first just try and push them back with those clear shields, but after a while, the authority has the right to start swinging his knight stick. Don’t force God to knock you out, to lay you flat, to push you so hard you break because you won’t listen to Him otherwise. Bring your confession to Him instead and don’t wait another day.

2.) Return to the Lord.

Turn back to Him. That means you need to turn from your boyfriend who is standing in front of you, who is all you see right now, and walk away. And you’re not just walking away to nowhere, you’re leaving his selfish arms and walking back into the arms of TRUE Love Himself, Jesus Christ!

3.) Praise Him.

Once Jesus takes you back into His loving arms i.e. “graciously receives you” your natural response should be praise. You’ll finally have this joy that wells up inside of you and causes you to thank God. You will experience forgiveness, cleansing, and healing and this will be the full result of doing all three of these commands:

The Lord says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon. My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon. “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”-Hosea 14:4-9

Natasha nugget: You’re in the arms of a man who hurts you more than he helps you because you have yet to run to and remain in the arms of the Perfect Man who holds you and heals you and never lets you go.

Sisters, you don’t know what you’re missing, but I’ll give you the scoop.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.-Ephesians 1:3-4

In Jesus’ name, I PRAY you sisters gain some more understanding of how amazing God is and how much you’re loved by the most incredible and perfect person in existence. Let the unpacking begin!

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 

Quick debunking: God DOES NOT promise to give us every earthly so-called blessing. Many THINK mansions, luxury cars, extravagant vacations, etc. are all earthly blessings God will give if we just ask Him to or bribe Him enough with generous church donations to greedy wolves. God promises to give us every earthly need: food, clothes, water etc. but He does NOT promise to give all Christians health and wealth.

However, He DOES promise that He has ALREADY blessed us with EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING in the heavenly realms. Can we see the heavenly realms? No. Are we in the heavenly realms? Not yet. So then clearly, this again, is not talking about things of the earth, things we can see and feel and handle. HOWEVER, we can SEE the evidence of the Holy Spirit, who is spiritual. God has gifted us with ALL the spiritual blessings He has to offer and MANY of those blessings are given to us through the power of the Holy Spirit who was given to us after we repented of our sins and trusted in Jesus Christ’s perfect life and sacrifice to save us–NOT TRUSTING OURSELVES, our good deeds, our donations, our church dedication and service, etc.

Here’s NINE spiritual blessings we CURRENTLY possess and HAVE ACCESS TO as believers in Christ as Lord:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!-Galatians 5:22-23

Now if you’re not experiencing much of these realities in your life, there’s a simple reason for that:

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.-Galatians 24-25

You haven’t nailed your sinful passions and nature to His cross. You haven’t left them there, but instead, you’re holding onto them. And you’re not allowing the Spirit to lead EVERY part of your life. You don’t get to hold on to some serious separating sins such as any forms of sexual immorality (adultery, pornography/impurity/lust, fornication aka sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, etc.)  and still get to experience the above blessings of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You MUST let God lead EVERY area of your life by listening to Him, going to Him for advice by reading His word, getting to know what He wants for and from you, and then applying it every day–putting His commands to practice. It’s not impossible to obey God. I’m not saying you’ll be perfect, but He has gifted you His Holy Spirit for a reason: so you have the supernatural power to overcome your sinful desires and instead choose to hear and obey HIS voice and live to please HIM rather than yourself or anyone else.

Which, sisters, believe it or not, you were NOT created to be what YOU think is happy. You were created for these simple, but profound purposes: you were created by God and for God to:

God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.-Ephesians 1:12-14

You are literally created to please God by praising and glorifying Him, and bringing Him praise and glory! We were not created for ourselves, our dreams, our fun, our happiness. We were created for God’s dreams, God’s happiness, God’s pleasure! Seriously:

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.-Ephesians 1:5

Too many Christians said a prayer to accept Jesus, only to then go on with their lives, not reading the Bible much, and just continuing to pursue their dreams, desires, relationships, wants, happiness, career choice, etc. They’re not living to please the God they claimed to accept as their Lord, but instead are living to please themselves, to do whatever makes them happy. And many don’t even know this is what they’re doing, and that God DOES NOT WANT THEM TO, and literally has DIFFERENT PLANS for them that He wants and EXPECTS them to do! But we absolutely cannot do ANYTHING of eternal value, that is, do ANYTHING that is pleasing to God, if we do not seek Him and discover what pleases Him in the first place!

So I’m stopping here, because this blog will be very long if I continue to unpack these verses, but let’s start here: who are you living to please, yourself, someone else, or God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ? If you’re living for your own happiness, choose to stop, pick up your bible, and discover what God wants from you and desires from you. And guess what, His plans for you actually WILL be pleasing to you!

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.-Romans 12:2-3

Listen, just as your boyfriend or ex wanted sex from you, which was a selfish, lustful desire because he didn’t wanna wait or have to commit himself to you in marriage to earn all of you, and treated you like dirt, and didn’t trust and respect you, God wants you to do things for Him, but unlike your “man”, the Perfect Man, Jesus Christ’s desires for you are good and beneficial to both Him and you AND everyone else in your sphere of influence aka your neighbors–those close to you, your church family, your friends, biological family, coworkers etc. You just don’t know it yet because you haven’t sought those plans out by faithfully getting to spend time listening to God via His word, the Bible.

I’m a bible-thumper for a reason, and this is just one of hundreds of reasons. Do you want to know the plans God has for you? Read His word, pray, and ask Him to speak to you through it, to show you His desires for you, and then begin to choose to obey and you’ll swiftly experience many of the spiritual blessings He has already given you in Christ.

Natasha nugget: you’re probably settling for whacked out guys and friendships because you have yet to discover the awesome blessings Jesus Christ has given you. You’re looking around for what’s missing, all the while you’re just ignorant of what you already have. 

Are you praying about your relationship?

Yesterday at church service, the pastor quoted an amazing Christian woman, Corrie ten Boom:

“Is prayer your steering wheel, or your spare tire?”

There are countless bible verses about how God specifically has plans for people, and directs them…but, there’s a condition: they must SEEK His plan. That means God has a plan even for your relationships and especially for who you marry.

Early early on, me and Jonathan sought God for our relationship. Four months in, Jonathan really gave Him the steering wheel.

We began to pray and ask God about if He wanted us to get married. There were three times in particular that I cried (literally was crying) out to God about speaking to me on if I should be with Jonathan or not. Even though I loved Jonathan so much and believed he was who God wanted me to be with, I obeyed Proverbs 3:6-9, which says to trust in God with all your heart and to not to lean on your own understanding, but to acknowledge Him in all of your ways so that He can direct your paths.

Trust in God is more than saying you trust Him and believing that you trust Him. It is actually going to Him for advice, listening to that advice, and then applying it. Real trust is doing whatever God tells you to do, and great trust is listening to and obeying Him even when you don’t FEEL like it. 

So, my honest to God best advice I can give you precious princesses is to really really seek God by:

a) asking Him to really speak to you on if you should continue in this relationship or not/ask if this is really the man God wants you to marry and

b) ask God to make it clear to you by speaking clearly to you through the Bible. Go to your bible, open it, and ask God to speak, and I promise you, when you do that, suddenly those words become very very specific and personal to what you’re going through and you just KNOW God is speaking to you. Then,

c) once you have heard Him speak, you obey. You apply whatever it is He told you to do and TRUST that He TRULY knows BEST, better than you; that unlike you, He can see the future, and knows the very BEST path for your life.

Another good test of your trust is to see if you’re afraid of whatever God’s answer may be. It might be to stay with the guy, but it may be to not stay with Him. Can you trust that despite whatever the answer is, God knows best, and EVERY decision and plan He has for you is truly for YOUR best interest as well as everyone else’s who’s involved, and that God LOVES you more than you love yourself and more than anyone else loves you, and that His decision is literally motivated by both perfect love and perfect wisdom.

I don’t want you to miss out on the amazing plans God has for your life, and God is even more passionate that you don’t miss them. My prayer for you today is that you really come to trust and understand His incredible love for you, and that you grow more and more confident in it so that you become more and more obedient when He tells you to do something, knowing that He is good and deeply loves you, and whatever He commands you is for your good.

Until next time, know your worth. -Natasha