Thursday, April 18, 2019

Feel? Real!

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

(Sending this out the night before because we have a storm coming that may affect our electricity.  And pardon to those who don't care for golf! :)  )

"Feel?  Real!"

    In the game of golf, feel is often not real.  That is, the best way to swing a golf club is often counterintuitive to what the player thinks he or she should do.  For example, most beginners think that to hit the ball high, one must swing up.  This is exactly the opposite of the case.  One swings down to cause the golf ball to ascend (based on the angled construction of the face of the golf club).  Other factors follow the same protocol of "feel is often not real."  Now, enough golf!

   "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).
   "Why standest Thou afar off, O Lord?  Why hidest Thyself in times of trouble?" (Psalm 10:1).

   Why the seeming contradiction?  The same David who declared God to be "a very present help in trouble" nevertheless despaired over the Lord's absence in trouble.  Which perspective was true, and again, why did David contradict Himself? (especially when we consider that the Holy Spirit inspired David's words - II Timothy 3:16).  The answer lies is that which was real, and that which was feel.  God's presence in trouble - His very present help - constitutes the reality of our Lord's loving and involved presence in every aspect of our existence.  This is the real.  Our Heavenly Father draws especially close when we hurt, doubtless nearer than our next breath.  We matter more to Him than words can express, and while He must at times allow or even determine painful challenges in our lives, we can be sure He takes no pleasure in our necessary difficulties and hurts.  "He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men" (Lamentations 3:33).

    Regarding David's mention of God's seeming absence in trouble, his words  reflected his emotional reaction, his feel.  It wasn't real, or rather it wasn't true  (except in the fact that David actually felt as if God were absent).  The man declared by the Lord in the New Testament to be "after Mine own heart" nevertheless experienced fleshly contradictions to that which he knew to be true in his heart (Acts 13:22).  His feel did not align with God's real.  Surely every born again believer experiences the same conflict on a daily basis.  "The flesh lusteth against the spirit" (Galatians 5:17).  Regardless of how well we know and believe the Scriptures, contrary inclinations, impulses, and sensibilities challenge our faith and confidence in God and His Word.  Remembering that feel is often not real prepares us for the required internal determinations to believe and affirm "Thus saith the Lord" and "It is written" in the face - or the feeling - of anything that contradicts.

   Oh yes, one final thought: Fore!

"As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing."
(II Corinthians 6:10)
"What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee."
(Psalm 56:3)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "Without Me ye can do nothing."
 (John 15:5).


Saturday, April 6, 2019

"Applied Resurrection"

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

"Applied Resurrection"

   As long as the tomb wherein the body of the Lord Jesus Christ once lay remains empty, every challenge of life becomes opportunity to know yet again that our Savior supplies the provision of every need, the Light in every darkness, the comfort in every heartache, the joy in every sorrow, and indeed, the Life in every death.

   "In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer.  I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

   Note that the Lord Jesus uttered these words before His resurrection.  What would He say to us now, having overcome sin, death, and the grave?  The Apostle Paul answers…

   "Ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead" (Colossians 2:12).
   "What is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:19-20).

   To what challenges do the risen life and "mighty power" of the Lord Jesus apply?   Simply to matters of overtly spiritual nature?  Or to all things?  Paul again provides the answer: "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).  Thus, the needs, problems, and difficulties of this present hour are all subject to the applied resurrection life of Christ through the working of God and our faith that affirms, "He is risen."  Be it physical, mental, emotional, financial, relational, circumstantial, or whatever, the empty tomb assures us that the Lord Jesus is present, involved, and able to reveal yet again that "God always causeth us to triumph in Christ" (II Corinthians 2:14).  Only a resurrected Christ can be for us all we need Him to be.  Thankfully, only a resurrected Christ exists.  His empty tomb bears witness, as does the Word of God that assures us "He is risen" in every challenge we will ever face.  Our Lord beckons us to the applied resurrection that results in "the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead."

"His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness."
(II Peter 1:3)
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
(Philippians 2:9-11)

Weekly Memory Verse
   The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him."
(Lamentations 3:24-25)



Friday, April 5, 2019

"As Moons"

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

"As Moons"

   We all know people whose lives are dominated by the spiritual and moral temptation of "Look at me!"  Moreover, we have all doubtless ourselves fallen victim to the temptation, albeit in likely more subtle ways than the aforementioned servants of that which the Bible terms "vainglory."

   "They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43).

   Glory is indeed vain, unless directed toward the only One truly worthy of attention, affirmation, and adoration.  "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31).  No greater slavery exists than the fleshly and devilish longing for the admiration of others.  We must rather live as moons (orange ones if possible!) that reflect the sun's (Son's) light in full knowledge that we bear no illumination of our own.  No greater peace graces our hearts than building an altar within whereupon we sacrifice the carnal desire for attention that even if achieved, does not and cannot satisfy.  

   Certainly as we live loving, godly, and responsible lives through Christ, a measure of proper respect and approval from others may come our way.  In the New Testament epistles, the writers affirm many believers who lived well toward God and others by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The sixteenth chapter of Romans, for example, references by name twenty seven Christians deemed by Paul as worthy of mention.  However, such ones did not seek approval or appreciation.  They rather sought the glory of God, as opposed to the Apostle John's indictment of a man named Diotrephes, "who loveth to have the preeminence among them" (III John 1:9).  What emptiness of heart must have characterized Diotrephes, who sought the vanity of glory and found his way into Scripture as a lesson of futile self affirmation rather than Christ-honoring faith.

   Let us often visit the altar within our hearts where we may breathe the sweet sigh of relief that fills our spirits when the glory of God governs our sensibilities and determinations.  Again, our Heavenly Father made us as moons that absorb Light, and then reflect it to bring attention and honor to Another.  This is peace, the peace of the Christ who Himself declared, "I honor My Father" (John 8:49).  As He lives in us, the same determination will govern our attitudes and actions, leading to a heart that glimmers with glory, the glory of the Son.

"Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy and Thy truth's sake!" 
(Psalm 115:1)

Weekly Memory Verse
   The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him."
(Lamentations 3:24-25)