Saturday, December 4, 2021

Orange Moon Saturday, December 4, 2021 "The Things of Others"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…

"The Things of Others"  

     The Christian faith began with the sufferings of One resulting in the redemption of many.

    "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" (I Peter 3:18).

    The Spirit of this same Lord Jesus now dwells within the hearts of born again believers.

    "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6).

    In the light of our Lord's indwelling presence, we might expect that He would replicate the quality of His life in us.  He does, which means that God purposes our challenges to serve as a conduit of ministry to others. 

   "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" (II Corinthians 1:3-6).
   "So then death worketh in us, but life in you" (II Corinthians 4:12).

    Of the reasons believers experience pain, problems, difficulties, heartaches, and heartbreaks, the presence of the Christ devoted to the needs of others constitutes one of the most vital.  As happened in His earthly lifetime, our challenges grant us opportunity to minister His grace to our sphere of influence.  The simplest expression of such devotion involves prayer.  When we hurt, our initial human reaction will likely be to focus on ourselves.  "Why is this happening to me?"  Love, however, asks a different question: "Who is this happening for?"  That is, for whom can I pray, based on the challenge I now face?  We likely know others who hurt, and can seek God's grace for them.  Or, we may simply pray a general prayer for those facing challenges. Whatever the case, prayers for others offered from the altar of our own sufferings reflects the love of Christ in our hearts and His sublime devotion to His Father's glory and the needs of others.

   "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).

   The Lord referred to His earthly lifetime, of course.  However, His Spirit comes again to all who receive His saving grace.  Thus, we must expect our Heavenly Father to lead us along the same paths as He did His Son.  This involves our sufferings, which offer us the privilege to "walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6).  Rather than descend into the black hole of self centeredness when we hurt, the Holy Spirit beckons us to "shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15).  Prayer for others, ascending to the Heavenly throne of grace from the rough and rocky paths of a fallen world, reflects the wonder of Christ's redeeming presence in our hearts.  "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).

    We will rarely know in this lifetime God's answers of comfort, restoration, healing, and help administered to others when we pray from our pains.  This does not matter.  What does matter is that we can know the Christ who physically walked in this world long ago now spiritually walks in us.  "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16).  Thus, we expect our Heavenly Father to lead us in His love, as He led the Lord Jesus.  The Apostle Paul confirms such truth, and we close in the light of Christ's devotion to others once revealed to us, and now, in us…

"Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor."
(Ephesians 5:2)
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
(Philippians 2:4)

Weekly Memory Verse
    He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
 (John 7:38)


Friday, December 3, 2021

Orange Moon Friday, December 3, 2021 “Matters of the Heart”

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…


"Matters of the Heart"  

     No one who stands before God in the day judgment will be able to say, "I did not see.  I could not understand."

    "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness, because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:18-20).
   "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9).

   God and His truth shine as the brightest lights in all creation - "clearly seen."  The problem with trust and submission to God is never primarily intellectual, but rather involves the indictment plainly stated by the Lord Jesus Christ:

   "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).

   Matters of the heart rather than a faulty or unconvinced mind most hinder sinners from repentance and faith.  Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ also sometimes allow fleshly allowances to tempt us with rationalizations and excuses for not doing the will of God.  Certainly, this does not suggest the mind does not play a vital role in both salvation and the Christian life.  The Bible is the most rational of all documents, the only perfectly rational treatise that exists.  "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God… with all thy mind" (Matthew 22:37).  We can never begin to understand it all, of course.  However, we can comprehend enough to come to the Lord Jesus in salvation, and subsequently walk with Him in fellowship through the leading and enabling of the Holy Spirit.  "The true light… lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9).  This renders all excuses for unbelief null and void as it directs primary focus to the heart.  

   If we know unbelievers who say they cannot understand, we seek to offer cogent Biblical answers and explanations.  However, we also remember the "deeds issue" declared by the Savior, namely, something(s) exists in the heart and life of the unrepentant they know will be addressed by God if they enter by faith into relationship with Him.  The same principle holds true for the Christian.  If we walk in darkness, lack of understanding never constitutes the primary cause, but rather accommodation of fleshly desire(s).  Certainly, the mind matters much.  The heart matters more, however, and we must exercise it in choosing to heed the counsel of Solomon…

"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
(Proverbs 4:23)

Weekly Memory Verse
    He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
 (John 7:38)


Thursday, December 2, 2021

Orange Moon Thursday, December 2, 2021 "This Time"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…


"This Time"  

     "My times are in Thy hand" (Psalm 31:15).

     Few more reassuring rays of light glimmer upon the pages of Scripture than the Psalmist's affirmation of our "times" being in the hand of God.  

    If we could look back with perfectly perceptive vision, we would see our Lord's presence and working as the greatest influence of our past.  The same would be true if we could peer into the the future, wherein God's hand awaits us with the promise of His dynamic involvement and activity.  Perhaps most encouraging of all, this time rests in our Heavenly Father's promised care.  Whatever our circumstance, condition, or situation, the greatest truth of all can and must be found in the reality of "in Thy hand."

    "In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).

    This often presents great challenge to our understanding.  Life involves countless complexities of blessing, challenge, and the mundane.  The hand of God sometimes seems far away, if we remember it at all.  Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ often comes to us in mangers that seemingly belie His royal presence, authority, and power. We fail to see Him at times because God's working so often operates in ways and means we cannot comprehend.  As Jacob acknowledged at Bethel, "Surely the Lord is in this place.  And I knew it not!" (Genesis 28:16).

   Our times have always been in God's hand.  This time also rests safely therein, as will all to come.  Born again believers in the Lord Jesus can rest our hearts in this, the safest of all havens.  We can trust Him in this particular epoch, believing that whatever it holds for us, the greatest truth involves He who holds us.   "Our times… this time."

"Your life is hid with Christ in God."
(Colossians 3:3)

Weekly Memory Verse
    He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
 (John 7:38)