Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dear Orange Moon Friends. . .


     Today concludes our 14th year of sending out the Orange Moon devotionals. 

     I shake my head as I write those words, wondering where the time has gone!  It marches on, as they say, and as Frances and I often remind each other, thank the Lord it’s always early in eternity.

      We thank you also for allowing us to invade your emailbox each weekday.  So many of you have become dear friends, some of whom we’ve had the privilege to meet face to face, and others who remain known only by printed words in Cyberspace.  Either way, you’re all great blessings to us, and the day approaches when we will all be together forever with our blessed Lord, and with each other.

     We look forward to year 15, and to continued fellowship with you.  You’re all in our hearts and prayers, and thanks so much for your prayers for us.  We feel their effect, and rejoice in the grace given to us all in the Lord Jesus.

    “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5).

From His Victory,

A Heartbeat In Heaven

(For all who have lost little ones)

There's a heartbeat up in Heaven,

that wasn't there before.

It slipped beyond the bounds of earth

and found an open door...


Into the arms of Jesus,

the One who loves it so.

There's a heartbeat up in Heaven,

I will hear one day, I know.



There's a lovely face in Heaven,

that just arrived, you see.

It looks upon another Face

with joys we can't conceive.


Into the eyes of Jesus,

these eyes gaze evermore.

They see such glorious wonder,

such beauty to explore.



There's a part of me in Heaven,

part of my heart went there

when Jesus came and took you home,

my blessed child so rare.


So in this world I'll miss you,

you will never leave me, love,

Yes, there's a heartbeat up in Heaven,

a new child up above...

My child up above.


(“Little ones to Him belong…”)




“Suffer the little children to come unto Me… for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.”

(Mark 10:14)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

“Imposters and Pretenders”

     A place exists deep in the heart of every human being that cannot be fulfilled by money, possession, place, career, hobby, entertainment, friend or family.

    “He is thy life” (Deuteronomy 30:20).

    The history of humanity, from the first man until the present moment, chronicles the sad attempt by Adam’s offspring to fill the holy place of our spirits with something or someone other than the Lord Jesus Christ.  Futility, frustration and fear ensue, with the ultimate end too often resulting in a life wasted, and an eternity of separation from the sublime and singular One for whom God made our hearts: “To live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).

     Born again believers believe and affirm the truth of Christ as the rightful proprietor and fulfillment of our hearts.  However, we also acknowledge the ongoing temptation to pursue imposters and pretenders to our heart’s throne.  The Apostle John, recognizing this fleshly tendency, closes his first epistle, written to believers, with the admonition, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (I John 5:21).  Wise is the Christian who reads into John’s command the implicit message that we will continually face the challenge of the imposter and pretender as long we live in world filled with them.

     Wise also is the believer who often asks his Lord to frequently examine the throne, as it were, ensuring that Christ dwells thereupon as the sole occupant of the most holy place within us.  Our Heavenly Father will faithfully respond, whether in confirmation or correction, and we will grow in the awareness that only One can fill and fulfill us.  Or, as Frances often says, “having Him, we have all.”

“Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
(I Corinthians 1:30-31)

Monday, October 29, 2012

“What Time I Am Afraid”

    “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 4:18).
    “God hath not give us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7).
    “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee” (Psalm 56:3).

     I rarely remember my dreams, and when I do, they tend to be of the weird variety.  I mean, really weird!

      Last night, however, I awoke from a fearful dream.  The details are not important, but it was one of those ones from which you awaken with gratitude that you’ve experienced a nightmare rather than reality.

     “Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.  In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake” (Job 4:12-14).

     Upon awakening, I felt the pangs of fright that accompany such bone-rattling “visions of the night.”  They lingered for awhile as I got my bearings and rubbed the sleep from my eyes.  I remembered with vivid detail the fearful events of the dream, feeling quite disturbed.  It was definitely one of the Psalmist’s “What time I am afraid” moments.

     Thankfully, the Holy Spirit faithfully brought to mind the remedy for temptations to fear, regardless of the nature or measure of the challenge.  David’s “I will trust in Thee” came to mind.  I also remembered the truth that our personal challenges provide opportunity to pray for others experiencing similar temptations.  I asked the Lord to comfort and reassure fellow believers who might be facing fear, whether from dreams or from more substantive issues.  The Lord set my own heart at peace as I trusted and prayed, and I trust He also responded to the intercessions for others He had motivated and enabled.

     It is not sin to be tempted to fear.  Our humanity reacts to danger, whether perceived or real, with emotional and physical responses beyond our control.  The temptation to fear, however, can lead to sin if we do not recognize the opportunity and responsibility for faith that presents itself in “What time I am afraid.”  Feelings of initial trepidation pave a path for the ongoing determination of  “I will trust in Thee.”  Upon this basis of receiving God’s personal bestowal of peace, we then venture forth from ourselves with the prayer that others will avail themselves of our Lord’s heart-settling assurance.  I suspect that my own experience of grace this morning resulted from some fellow believer somewhere praying from his or her own altar of faith, built upon the recognition that feelings of fear provide blessed opportunity to trust God, and to prayerfully minister His peace to others.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.”
(II Corinthians 1:3-5)

Friday, October 26, 2012

“The MusicMaker”


     I began playing the guitar when I was 28 years old.  That was now half a lifetime ago.

     This is hard to believe on so many levels, and in so many ways.  I cannot remember not playing, and yet I spent as much of my life apart from the instrument as I have with it.  I never dreamed when learning to play that the guitar would become an object so precious that it would be the first non-human (or canine) thing I would seek to save if our house caught fire.  Nor did I imagine songwriting, a blessing that landed on me so seemingly out of the blue that I remember the night of the first song I ever wrote (27 years ago) as if it were yesterday.  Without the guitar, that would not have happened.

    Most of all, I had no way of knowing how “instrumental” the guitar would become in our ministry.  I was unaware that a day would come in our lives when Frances and I would sing together in 300 services a year.  And, speaking of that, I never imagined that Frances and I would sing together!  I knew, of course, that she is a stunningly sublime harmony singer.  Those of you who have heard her sing on our CDs and website, or in person, know that Frances’s voice is literally ethereal (how does she do that??).  Myself, I am, at best, a stunningly ordinary singer.  Our voices together, however, unite to enable us to do some things that we hope minister the Spirit of Christ in a way that reveals Him musically.  Honestly, when traveling to a meeting where we will sing, I literally wonder if I am in a weird but wonderful dream from which I will soon awaken (hope not!).

     It also thrills me that all three of our children own guitars.  Marie has played for years, and does so amazingly well (you’ll hear some of her musical prowess on our next CD).  Our son Noah began playing last year, at the familiar age of 28 years old (no intentional following of Dad there.  It just “happened”).  He’s already playing well, and just bought a new guitar that will take him much further down the musical road.  And Emmie, our youngest, has yet to find time to learn and play her instrument.  But she will, and who knows, she may surpass us all (don’t tell Marie and Noah I wrote that! J).

    I share this with you because… well, I’m not quite sure I know why I share this with you!  But yes, actually, I do.  The realization I mentioned at the beginning of this essay overwhelms me with gratitude to the One who created music because He is Himself a musical Being.  The Bible teaches that one day God will sing to the redeemed.  It also commands the redeemed to sing to God (Zephaniah 3:17; Psalm 30:4).  We can do so in our hearts, in our voices, or in both.  A particularly unexpected privilege of this came to me a half lifetime ago.  So, I write to simply say “Thank You” to the MusicMaker who, in some way for us all, infuses His melody into our hearts when the Spirit of His Son enters therein…

“He hath put a new song in our mouth, even praise unto our God.”
(Psalm 40:3)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

“Bread and Oil; God and Man”

    On a trip to Europe last year, our youngest daughter Emmie purchased a bottle of sublime Italian olive oil for me (Cassiano Chianti Classico, if you ever have the blessed opportunity to obtain some).

    Last week, our eldest daughter Marie, while on a trip to New York City with Emmie, returned with a loaf of wonderful rustic bread from a bakery considered by many to be the best bread purveyor in the nation (Amy’s, in Greenwich Village).

    By themselves, the oil and bread are both so good that one could consume them by themselves (yes, the oil is of such quality you can actually drink it!  Emmie says that some Italians actually do this, and I fully understand).  Together, however, they create a glorious amalgam for which I literally have no words.  Indeed, before the loaf was finished, I ran out of the oil, an almost traumatic experience! 

     This blessed union of bread and oil reminds me of another and far more wondrous bond produced by the union of two components. 

     “Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh” (I Timothy 3:16).

     Perfect God and perfect man unite in the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is wonderful as either, but Divinity and humanity joined in one glorious Person creates a “mystery of godliness” beyond full understanding and comprehension.  Indeed, in both Heaven and on the earth, there is no one like the Lord Jesus.  He is the chief delight of God, and He should be the chief delight of humanity.  When, in trusting hearts, both God and man together rejoice in the Son of God, glorious joys ensue.

      Our Heavenly Father would have us share His pleasure in the Lord Jesus.  Indeed, the Christian life involves increasing awareness of how the Father views the person and work of the Lord Jesus on our behalf, and our increasing determination to share His perspective.  The more our opinion of Christ coincides with that of our Father, the more we will avail ourselves of the  “spiritual blessings in Christ” given freely to those who believe (Ephesians 1:3).  Faith, godliness, and a life that is actually the risen life of our Savior will flow unto, within, and from us in God-pleasing and man-fulfilling measure

     A long eternity will not suffice in revealing the wonders of the God who is man, and the man who is God.  Heaven and earth unite in the Lord Jesus, producing a singular Being of wonder, fascination, and most of all, belovedness by both Divinity and humanity…

“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
(Matthew 3:17)
“Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
(I Peter 1:7-8)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

“Great Days Ahead”

      “There are great days ahead.”  The quote from a favorite writer, penned in the 1950s concerning scientific advances, always reminds me of the far greater hope known by born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

    “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever” (Isaiah 32:17).

     Such conviction flows from the truth that wherever we are going, the Lord Jesus Christ awaits us there (and travels with us as we journey).  Whatever will happen to us, be it blessing, difficulty, or mundane everyday reality, He will enable us to rejoice, endure, and honor Him.  Whoever crosses our path, whether friend, foe, or anonymous passerby, will provide opportunity to give and/or receive the Lord Jesus in by example, word, or deed.  We journey to a future in which the great fact will be the same reality that graces this moment: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).

     “My expectation is from Him” declared the Psalmist who discovered that in palaces of plenty, caves of hiding, battlefields of conflict, and gravesides of loss, one prevailing truth caused all to unite in ultimate good and blessedness: “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about His people from henceforth even forever” (Psalm 125:2).  “Round about” speaks not only of proximity, but of time.  We look back, and the Lord was there.  We open our eyes in the present, and He is here.  And we gaze toward the future with perfect assurance that He will be there.  Indeed, there are always great days ahead for believers in the Lord Jesus because a great God awaits us wherever we may be going.  As we join David in expectation, so will we join him in the joyous discovery that led him to pen so many psalms of praise, thanksgiving, and wonder, including this one…

“I have set the LORD always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.  Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
(Psalm 16:11)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

“Mercy Received, Mercy Bestowed”

    Problems in bestowingmercy always originate in problems with receivingmercy.  When it seems particularly challenging to forgive offenders, we either forget or do not realize the grace imparted to us regarding our own offences. 

      The familiar parable of the Lord Jesus Christ regarding the two debtors illustrates this challenging truth:

     “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt” (Matthew 18:23-30).

     The sins of others often loom large in our thinking, while our own sins pale in comparison.  This contradicts the Holy Spirit’s witness in our hearts regarding whose sins we should emphasize.  No less than the Apostle Paul declared himself to be the “chief” of sinners (I Timothy 1:15).  Had Paul actually distrusted and disobeyed God more than all others?  Not likely.  In his own heart and mind, however, the Apostle rightly perceived the measure and degree of sin.  Rather than emphasize the wrongs of others committed against him, the man of God responded to the Lord’s reminders of how much He had forgiven Paul.  Thus, his own failures and God’s wondrous mercy loomed large in our dear brother’s heart.  When such a sensibility reigns in us, we join Paul in being unlikely to cast others into the debtor’s prison whose deepest and dankest cell we believe ourselves to rightly deserve.

    In relative terms, I know very little of the sins of others.  On the other hand, I have lived with my own for more than five decades now, experiencing both the internal and external realities of too frequent forays into unbelief and disobedience.  Maintaining the focus on that of which I am most aware, namely,myself, places my heart in the proper place of humility toward both God and man.  Thereby I find myself far more enabled to bestow upon others the mercy of Christ so abundantly administered to me.  Indeed, no human being’s debt toward me begins to compare with the debit forgiven me by our Lord’s wondrous grace. This is the Holy Spirit’s emphasis in each of our hearts, making possible a rich experience of mercy personally received.  Upon this basis, we then go forth to share our Lord’s delight in pardoning the guilty…

“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christforgave you, so also do ye.”(Colossians 3:13)

Monday, October 22, 2012

“Vessels of Mercy”

    Left to itself, the tooth and the claw govern the human race, a sad truth that ultimate resulted in the savage murder of its Creator.
    “God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them” (Genesis 6:13).
     “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23).
    Conversely, left to Himself, the Garden and the Cross govern the heart of God, ultimately resulting in the giving of His Son to a torturous and forsaken death for those who rebelled against Him.

     “He was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.  And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening him.  And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:41-44).
     “Being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).

     Whereas murder dwells in the flesh of sinful humanity, mercy characterizes the heart of righteous Divinity.  The first offspring of Adam and Eve slew his brother for, of all things, religious reasons (Genesis 4:3-8).  The subsequent history of the human race proceeds until this hour in the hateful quest for a vengeance so ingrained in our earthly disposition that we would ultimately destroy ourselves, were it not for God’s gracious termination of sinful humanity’s bloody sojourn upon the earth.   “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh  be saved” (Matthew 24:22).   The Lord, on the other hand, longs to bestow grace upon all, reserving His wrath and vengeance only for those who stubbornly refuse to receive His overtures of love in Christ.  Indeed, the One most sinned against offers terms of peace to all, having made such reconciliation possible at the highest cost to Himself.

     In matters of mercy, how different are we than God!  Thankfully, the new birth reconstitutes born again believers as “vessels of mercy” (Romans 9:23).  First, we receive our Lord’s free pardon and forgiveness.  Then, He undertakes a work in us to make us conveyors as well as recipients of mercy.  Our flesh lusts against such Divine sensibility, but the Holy Spirit works in us “both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).  Thereby we increasingly discover the joy of mercy that governs the heart of God – “He delighteth in mercy” (Micah 7:18).  Our Heavenly Father loves to forgive, and He loves to transform those so innately different than Himself into those who share the same heart for blessing those who curse us.  “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36).

    That which begins in the worship of God for His mercy proceeds to a walk with God in His mercy.  Indeed, we must question any supposed Christian experience that does not include the dynamic and incessant working of the Holy Spirit to instill this quality in us.  Believers are “vessels of mercy” – mercy received and mercy bestowed.  The Lord so different than ourselves works to make us like Himself.  He could do nothing more wonderful for us, in us, or through us.

“The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy.”
(James 3:17)

Friday, October 19, 2012

“Beautiful Heart”

     It has been said that the only imperfections in Heaven will be the wounds that mar the body of the crucified, resurrected, and ascended Lord Jesus Christ.

     “Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith He to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:26-27).

     God allows the spear and nailprints that secured our salvation to remain upon His Son, doubtless to serve as the tangible evidence of our Savior’s sacrifice for us.  With Thomas upon the earth, the wounds elicited faith and assurance.  With the redeemed in Heaven, the wounds will foster love and eternal gratitude for the Christ who so desired our hearts that He gave His own to be pierced.  Even more, our presence is so dear to Him that on the cross of Calvary, He suffered forsakenness by His Father in order that believers might know the eternal presence of God (Matthew 27:46).  The wounds of the body remind us of this brokenness of heart, although we will forever know that we cannot fathom the horror of abandonment experienced by the Lord Jesus when the wrath of God fell upon Him so that it might never all upon us.

     Forever will not be long enough for adequate response to such love.  No amount of adoration, praise, thanksgiving and devotion can requite “the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19).  His enduring wounds bear witness, wounds that we cannot presently see.  One day we will, however, and the sight will enrapture our hearts with the knowledge of His heart.

Beautiful Heart

Oh beautiful Heart, I see Thee now…
 the sight is too wondrous to describe!
Oh beautiful Heart, I see Thee now…
 the glimpse is the joy of my life!

Oh beautiful Heart, I see Thee now,
pierced by a blade,
The blood and water flowed
As our sins were washed away.

(And when I think that forevermore, the holy scene will amaze me,
 enthrall me, enrapture me,
I fall to my knees, and in wonder I think of Thee,
O beautiful Heart, beautiful Heart.)

Oh beautiful Heart,
from death and sorrow raised,
Your life and Spirit flows,
as upon Your face we gaze.

O beautiful Heart, I come to Thee,
in this moment of grace that You give to me.
And the sweetness of this time,
Oh, the moment is sublime, as beautiful Heart you come to me.

(And when I think that forevermore, the holy scene will amaze me, 
enthrall me, enrapture me,
I fall to my knees, and in wonder I think of Thee,
O beautiful Heart, beautiful Heart.)

“And one shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in Thine hands?  And He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends.”
(Zechariah 13:6).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"The Process of Love"

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

     When we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, He comes again in the person of the indwelling Holy Spirit to instill in us the same quality of unselfish devotion to God and man that characterized His earthly life.

     Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians 2:4).

    As did our Lord, we find our blessing in the blessing of others.  God lavishly fills us with His love when we believe – “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5).  Thus, our joy results from the same sensibility and sacrifice known by the joyful Christ who “pleased not Himself,” but who rather revealed that true fulfillment lies in devotion to “the things of others” (Romans 15:3).

     This runs counter to our fleshly understanding and feeling.  Temporary pleasure, “for a season,” results when we succumb to the temptation of selfishness (Hebrews 11:25).  It doesn’t take long in the born again believer, however, for the thorns of the world’s carnal rose to prick our hearts from within.  A grieved Holy Spirit always results in a grieved believer because the new heart He births in us when we believe is “created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).  Whether we know it, believe it, or act like it, the current of our born again hearts flows in the same direction of unselfishness as that of our God.  This is why emptiness and misery quickly find us when we think, speak, act and relate in a manner contrary to His nature, and ours.  “Now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).

      God undertakes a work of turning us inside out, as it were, when we trust in the Lord Jesus.  The primary facet of this internal revolution involves our full transformation from selfishness to unselfishness.  The work won’t be finished in this lifetime.  It will, however, always be ongoing.  “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).  Recognizing the process of love in which we are involved with God makes it far more likely we will submit ourselves to a work both blessed and challenging.  Indeed, our Heavenly Father has given to His trusting sons and daughters in Christ the greatest gift and honor He could bestow.  He is making us like Himself in character, nature and way.  Perfect unselfishness will be the end result.  Progressive unselfish is the ongoing process.

“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more.”
(I Thessalonians 4:9-10)

"A Third Party"

     "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly" (Proverbs 18:24).

     Reciprocity characterizes all good and genuine relationship. To paraphrase Solomon's wisdom, we must be a friend in order to have a friend.

     This includes every relationship in the born again believer's life. "How can I glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and how can I be a blessing of His grace and truth to _____ ?"  Such a sensibility and determination must govern family relationships, friendships, fellowship with other believers, work associations, involvement with neighbors, and even those casual contacts we see in everyday life that are actually not casual at all.  Our Heavenly Father ordains our relationships to reveal the person and work of the Lord Jesus in us and by us.  Not only do we show ourselves friendly by this devotion to the glory of God.  More importantly, we show Himas friendly to our world. We reveal His desire for living and involved relationship with every person as we acknowledge and submit ourselves to the primary purpose of our bonds with people.

     How we show ourselves friendly to other rests in our Lord’s wisdom, leading and enabling.  Our role involves the acknowledgement of this sublime purpose, and the devotion of ourselves to God and people.  We expect our Lord’s leadership, and the power of Christ to enable us to be what people in our sphere of influence need us to be.

     "I am yours, Lord, for ______." We do well to consciously  affirm this truth regarding every person in our lives. Upon this basis, our Heavenly Father illuminates a path wherein we rejoice in the truth that our relationships are never merely human or casual in their origin and significance.  The Divine graces all, as an unseen Third Party involves Himself for the glory and revelation of His Son.

"O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together."

(Psalm 34:3)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

“God and God Alone”

     When we look to other human beings for the fulfillment and satisfaction of our hearts, we place upon them a pressure to perform they can never fulfill.  We also set ourselves up for crushing disappointment and disillusionment.  Moreover, we erect an altar to a pagan idol that deceives and distracts us from the living and true God.

      “I am thy God… He is thy life… O Lord, Thou art my refuge and my portion (Isaiah 41:10; Deuteronomy 30:20; Psalm 142:5).

     Our Lord constituted us as social creatures, purposed to enjoy the presence, fellowship, cooperation and communication of other people.  Never, however, did He intend human beings to occupy a place in our hearts that He alone can fulfill.  Indeed, when we view someone other than God as “the joy and rejoicing of my heart,” we inadvertently mistake them as being that which only our Lord can be to us (Jeremiah 15:16). Certainly, people can serve as a blessed means ofexpressing His goodness to us, and should be appreciated accordingly. Never, however, can a human being serve as the essence of our heart’s fulfillment.  God reserves this singular role for Himself alone.  “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

     Wonderful things happen when we affirm God and God alone as source of our heart’s contentment.  First, we respond to Him in the love, worship, reverence and devotion for which He made and redeemed us. We also prepare ourselves for a life of inviolable joy and peace as we rightly confess with the Psalmist, “My expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5).  Finally, we begin to truly enjoy people, be it those closest to us, or mere passersby on the pathways of life. Since they no longer hold the key to our heart’s contentment, we can experience the joy known by our Lord.  He finds His joy and peace in Himself, and thus remains who and what He is regardless of the actions and reactions of others.  We also find our joy and peace in Him, and while others certainly influence us, they do not determine us.  God does, and for life, contentment, fulfillment, tranquility and purpose, we joyfully exult with the Psalmist…

“O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.  Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee. Thus will I bless Thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in Thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips.” (Psalm 63:1-5)


Monday, October 15, 2012

“With Reverence”

     Is the God of the Bible worthy of respect?  I almost hesitate to ask the question because the answer is so obvious, and because even raising it almost seems disrespectful.

     “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him” (Psalm 89:7).

      “Respect,” and even the Biblical term “reverence” are not big enough words for the place of honor God must hold in our hearts.  This leads to another and more proper inquiry:  do we hold and communicate a respectable view of God?  Do our beliefs and words reflect the perception of a Lord truly worthy of being “greatly feared” and “had in reverence?”

    A good friend often says that many people view God as being the kindly grandfather “who just wants the children to be happy and have a good time.”  Certainly, our Lord is keenly interested in our joy, and will not be satisfied until our hearts truly rejoice in Him.  However, any notion of a merely sentimental God belies the consistent Biblical refrain that our Lord’s primary interest rightly focuses on our holiness rather than our happiness.  Indeed, the former leads to the latter, but the latter can never foster the former.  We could never respect a God so shallow that He would sacrifice our best interests just so that we might “be happy and have a good time.”   Tears provide an integral portion of our Lord’s sanctifying work in us, no less than smiles.  “Before I was afflicted, I went astray.  But now I have kept Thy Word” (Psalm 119:67).  Our Heavenly Father knows this truth perfectly, and acts accordingly.  If such were not the case, He would not be worthy of our reverence.

    We also could not respect a God who tolerated or overlooked sin.  Being the rampaging destroyer that it is, sin would ultimately annihilate creation.  This was the reason for the flood in Noah’s time – “And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them” (Genesis 6:12-13).  Had the Lord failed to bring the judgment of the flood, the human race would have destroyed itself.  The same will be true at the end of time, when great outpourings of Divine wrath against sin will again be required to redeem humanity  – “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matthew 24:22).  A tolerant God would simply allow such demise to take place, so as not to hurt the feelings or discomfit “the children” and their happiness.  Moreover, He would not be worthy of respect.

     The Bible contains many hard, but necessary truths about God and His working in our lives.  We must be sure that we do not omit these Divine realities from our understanding, or from how we seek to communicate Him to others.  Scripture not only woos us to God by the blessed truths of His love, grace, mercy, kindness, and desire to establish and enhance devoted relationship with us.  It also warns us to “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).  We wouldn’t want Him to be any other way because we could never truly love or trust a God whom we didn’t also respect.  Yes, indeed, our Lord is worthy of our deepest reverence.  May we know and proclaim Him accordingly.

“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”
(Hebrews 12:28)

Saturday, October 13, 2012


    On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the surface of the moon.  In so doing, he initiated a rare fraternity in which twelve men can claim membership.  Only twenty four human feet have ever traversed the lunar landscape, leaving enduring footprints in the dust of a terrain where no wind exists to erase them

     Of even greater significance, twelve men walked with the Lord Jesus Christ throughout His earthly ministry.  One, of course, was a traitor.  The others fled when their Master faced the hour of his cross, but were later redeemed because their faithlessness resulted not from rebellious hearts, but from human frailty.  Peter, James, John and the other disciples went on to become those who walked not merely with the Lord Jesus, but whose hearts become the living receptacle of Christianity’s most sublime promise of grace: “I will dwell in them, and walk in them” (II Corinthians 6:16).

      Our Lord’s footprints, along with those of His disciples, long ago flew with the wind into oblivion.  However, His heartprints, as it were, endure forevermore, as do those of His disciples.  Indeed, it is hard to imagine a world wherein the Lord Jesus never walked in the redeeming love of God’s grace.  The same can be said of the eleven faithful men who themselves went on to live martyr’s lives, and die martyr’s deaths.  The world and the church would not be the same without these sons of God in Christ who saw great and wondrous things when their Lord walked with them, but who saw even greater and more wondrous things when He walked in them.

     This is written as an appreciation for Commander Armstrong, who recently passed away, and for all the brave men whose footprints grace the surface of the moon.  Even more, however, we remember and give thanks for Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Simon and Thaddaeus.  Their heartprints grace innumerable human spirits blessed by the eternal spiritual legacy of men who responded to their Lord’s call, “Follow Me” (John 1:43).  They followed, as do we because these disciples/apostles/martyrs walked with the Savior, and because He walked in them.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.”
(John 14:12)
“And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
(Revelation 21:14)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

“Faithful Son”

     We are blessed to have as a regular attendee in one of the services at the retirement community where we minister, the first pastor of a large Baptist church in our city.

     “Pastor Norman,” as we call him, served for more than two decades in his capacity at the church, before moving to another venue of service in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He’s 94 years old now, and still very sharp of mind, and even more, of heart. The following will confirm.

      Most mornings, during my daily walk, I pass by the church where Pastor Norman ministered.  I mentioned this in our service yesterday, commending our dear brother for his faithful service to the Lord and to His people.  Pastor Norman’s immediate response: “The Lord did it!”  He said this with much seriousness and in no uncertain terms, making sure that all glory rightly directed upward and away from himself.  “Let he that glorieth, glory in the Lord” (II Corinthians 10:17 ).

     Of course, our previous respect for Pastor Norman increased all the more in our hearts.  I did comment, however, that Pastor Norman had responded to the Lord’s working in order to serve as a means by which God’s will was fulfilled in his own life, and encouraged in the lives of others.  As the Apostle Paul was “not disobedient to the heavenly vision,” so did Pastor Norman follow the path paved for him by the Holy Spirit (Acts 26:19). The Lord Jesus receives all the honor and credit for our dear friend’s ministry, but we nevertheless affirm the faith and submission to God that characterizes Pastor Norman’s life and service.

     The New Testament frequently speaks of rewards to be administered for the works of believers motivated and enabled by the Holy Spirit.

     “Every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor” (I Corinthians 3:8).

     In this statement, the Apostle Paul references not our salvation, which the New Testament categorically reveals to be a free gift of God’s grace in Christ (Romans 5:15-18). He rather speaks to the issue of our response to the Lord’s abundant working upon us, and within us.  Believers are not programmed automatons, but rather spiritually enlivened sons and daughters in Christ who may or may not respond positively to the Holy Spirit’s moving and motivations.  At the judgment seat of Christ, we will be either rewarded or “suffer loss,” based on how faithfully we applied ourselves to the freely given grace of God (I Corinthians 3:15).  Our works will be judged, resulting in commendation or approbation in that Day when, with glorified sensibilities, the honor of the Lord Jesus will mean more to us than ever. 

     Pastor Norman serves as a blessed example of faithfulness to God, and to the people he served.  All glory belongs to the Lord Jesus, of course. Nevertheless, we hold our brother in great respect, and we remember and rejoice in his devotion. “The Lord did it!”  No doubt, Pastor.  But you trusted and submitted yourself to him, and we are the blessed beneficiaries of a faithful God, and the faithful son you are.

“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”(I Peter 5:2-4)







Wednesday, October 10, 2012

“In the Power of His Might”

     Frances and I both felt quite weary yesterday.  She had worked the night before, I had not slept well, and we seemed to have lead in our veins as the day began.

     Alas, however, our schedule included 4 services throughout the afternoon and evening.  On the way to the first meeting, I mentioned to Frances that I planned in one of my sermons to mention the Apostle Paul’s command, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).  “We’re going to have the chance to experience this truth today,” I wryly commented.  Frances completely agreed.   

     Of course, a faithful God did in fact strengthen us to fulfill our privileged responsibilities.  Before, in between, and after the meetings, we were limp as dishrags.  But during, we discovered yet again that Moses spoke truly when he declared of the Lord’s faithful enabling: “As thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).  This has happened so often over the years that it’s no longer surprising.  However, it is never less than awe-inspiring, and we always come away with fresh appreciation of God’s perfect trustworthiness and enabling presence.

     Tiredness of mind and body in the face of duties to be fulfilled provides conscious opportunity to experience the truth that born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ do not live by our own resources. 

    “By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (I Corinthians 15:10). 

     We “live through Him,” as the Apostle John exulted, discovering that human weariness and weakness provide the perfect environment for Divine power and strength (I John 4:9).  This we must believe, regardless of how tired we may feel.  The living God dwells with and within us, and He promises, “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9).  Yet again, Frances and I discovered yesterday that no one has ever trusted in the present and enabling Lord Jesus, and been disappointed for doing so.  And no one ever will…

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True.”
(Revelation 19:11)
“We shall live with Him by the power of God.”
(II Corinthians 13:4)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

“Confidence In the Relationship”

    A Christ-secured and sealed salvation makes possible a relationship with God based on assurance rather than uncertainty.

     “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (II Timothy 1:12).

    A significant aspect of confidence in God involves confidence in the relationship He provides to us through the Lord Jesus. We approach our Heavenly Father always and only by the person and work of His Son, as led and enabled by the Holy Spirit.  While our performance in the relationship certainly affects the consistency of our response to God, never do we come to Him through our own merits.

     “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having a High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:19-22).

    So long as we come to God with a humble and trusting heart in the Lord Jesus, we may always come.  It matters not how faithful we perceive ourselves to have been in the relationship, or how faithless.  We “enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He hath consecrated for us.”  The born again believer who increasingly recognizes this singular way of grace will find himself far more likely to avail himself of the bond with God that elicits growth in godliness and faithfulness.  The Lord Jesus originated our relationship with our Heavenly Father, He maintains it, and He calls us to have much confidence in our access to the very heart of God.  “We have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him” (Ephesians3:12).

      We all find ourselves at times having failed to avail ourselves of the amazing gift of communion with our Lord.    The temptation is great to believe that our failure to relate to Him in the past disqualifies us from communication in the present.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  So long as we come with a heart that trusts in Christ alone for our access, we may come.  Those things that need to take place once we arrive at the throne of God will be addressed, of course, and we recognize our need for correction.  Most importantly, however, we do not fail to come, and we do not fail to rejoice in the gift of relationship with God.  It is a gift.  It is always a gift, and with the hymnist, we joyfully and forever make our approach through Christ…

    “Nothing in my hands I bring, only to Thy cross I cling!”

“Through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”(Ephesians 2:18)


Monday, October 8, 2012

Saved “From,” Saved “To”

     Works do not justify us, nor do they maintain our right standing with God.  They do, however, reveal and confirm the presence of justification, as provided to trusting hearts through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

     “To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness, even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Romans 4:5-8).

     Note the origin of justification by grace through faith.  God “justifieth the ungodly” and “imputeth righteousness without works.”  Rejoice also in the maintenance of justification – “blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”  God accounts the redeeming work of the person and work of the Lord Jesus as so sufficient that He includes complete salvation in the “free gift” given when we believe (Romans 5:15-18).  “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5).

     Clearly, works do not establish our relationship with God, nor do they secure it.  They do, however, reveal that we have entered into such relationship, and that we are responding to our Lord’s presence with and within us.

    “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10).

     Never in the New Testament is salvation presented in terms of mere rescue from God’s wrath, as foundational and blessed as  such redemption from our sins may be.  Our Lord rather saves us “from,” as it were, in order to save us “to.”  A “new creature” results from the new birth, or as the Apostle Paul declared to the Ephesians, a “new man, created in righteousness and true holiness” (II Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24).  Thus, it is to be expected that a certain quality of life will proceed from the reality of a Christ-redeemed and Christ-inhabited heart.  “Now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).

    We do well to proclaim the saving grace of God in Christ as it is, that is, the freest gift ever given.  We also affirm the blessed truth that we are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” (I Peter 1:5).  However, we also do not fail to declare that any true experience of such grace will lead to a changed heart and life wherein genuine love for God and man increasingly characterizes our thoughts, words, attitudes, deeds and relationships.  The living God comes to dwell with and within us when we believe, providing grace “without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1).  He also comes to infuse us with Himself, and with the quality of His life whereby the Holy Spirit enables us to “walk, even as He walked” (I John 2:6).  This is the New Testament Gospel in its fullest intent and bestowal of grace.  Let us affirm and expect no less.

“His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who hath called us to glory and virtue.”
(II Peter 1:3)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

“Wondering”. . . Fascinated By God, and By His Truth

(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Conclusion – “Thoughts of Us; Thoughts of Him”

          We conclude our consideration of the wonder that is God by recalling the poet Faber’s stanza, mentioned previously in this series of essays:

“Shoreless Ocean, who can sound Thee?
Thine own eternity is round Thee,
Majesty divine!”

     Our minds were made to dive deeply, as it were, into the fact of God.  He provided our capacity to think for the primary purpose of pondering Him.  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

     A fallen world, fallen devils, and fallen flesh distract us much from this consideration and its promised tranquility.  Our earthly lives are much with us, requiring thought, concentration, analysis, application and decision.  Moreover, we live in a generation wherein mindless entertainment beckons us to amuse (Latin – “no think”) ourselves far more than is healthy for minds constituted to often ponder good and great thoughts of their Maker.  Even the most consecrated believer must frequently make conscious determinations to overcome the distraction by availing ourselves of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and the thoughts of other believers.  “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

     Mere determination to think about God, however, does not result in our doing so.  He must rather attract our attention by the revelation of Himself to our hearts and minds.  Proper thinking about our Lord begins with the truth that “Many, O LORD my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to us-ward” (Psalm 40:5).  Pondering God originates with the wonder of how devotedly and diligently He ponders us.  Indeed, when the distracted or discouraged believer recalls his Lord’s rapt attention and loving care, the likely result will mirror the Psalmist’s determination: “I will consider Thy testimonies” (Psalm 119:95).

    No subject approaches the fascination and mental fulfillment experienced when we attend our minds to their primary purpose.  God is both wonderful, and He is a wonder.  Hopefully, this series of messages has provided encouragement and challenge to journey more deeply into the reaches of that Ocean without shore, and whose depths cannot be fully plumbed.  We shall not be disappointed as we venture, and glories await our God- formed and God-functioning minds as His thoughts of us stimulate our thoughts of Him.  Such pondering inevitably elicits the wondering that fills, thrills, and fulfills our hearts and minds, made by our sublime Lord, for our sublime Lord.

“The Lord thinketh upon me.”
(Psalm 40:17)
“Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”
(Ephesians 4:23)

Friday, October 5, 2012

“Wondering” . . . Fascinated By God, and By His Truth

(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 29 – “Why Is God?”

     Having addressed the What, Who, Where and When of God, we conclude our series by raising the question, “Why is God?” Or, more literally, “why does God exist?”  Does the Lord have a reason for being?

     The answer is no.  God exists as an uncaused reality, the only such reality in existence.  No one, including Himself, willed Him to be in order to fulfill some purpose, or meet some need or desire. God simply is - “From everlasting to everlasting, “Thou art God” (Psalm 90:2).  Thus, the question, “Why is God?” cannot be logically asked or answered due to the eternality of His existence. 

     The primary implication of this truth promotes a keen sense of wonder and fascination regarding our Lord.  There is no one and nothing like Him in the sense of His primary existence and being.  “Thou art God alone” (Psalm 86:10).  Of course, the human race was originally created in His image, and born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are being progressively conformed to His spiritual and moral likeness (Genesis 1:26; Romans 8:29).  However, this speaks not to the issue of being, but rather of character, nature and way. Salvation in Christ ultimately produces sons and daughters who think, speak, act and relate like their Heavenly Father. Nevertheless, God’s uncaused existence remains unique to Him, and the more we become like Him, the more the truth of “Thou art God alone” fills our being with bright and illuminating light.

    “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).  Our Lord’s apparent misapplication of tenses in His identification of Himself actually speaks to His transcendence of time and space.  We worship a God who draws nearer to us than our next breath through Christ, but who forever remains other than we are in His substance and being.  Both truths are necessary in our proper understanding of God, and in our attempts to rightly relate to Him. Indeed, the same Apostle John who once laid his head on the chest of the Lord Jesus also fell at His feet as dead when seeing the Savior in glory (John13:25; Revelation 1:17). 

    God is both imminent and transcendent to us. His uncaused existence provides the cause for our own.  We may not fully understand such mystery, nor is it necessary that we do so.  It is only necessary that we believe and submit ourselves to a Father whose very existence we cannot fathom, but whose heart we can know more intimately than we know any other.  The ancients referred to Him as “the Beyond in the midst.”  We can do no better, and we close our consideration in the hopes that these “Wonderings” have encouraged the awareness that no other subject offers the potential for rapt awe and thrilling fascination than the fact of God.  Our minds and hearts were made for such discovery, and may the Holy Spirit lead us ever on in our eternal exploration of the fact of God.

“The King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.”(I Timothy 6:15-16)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

“Wondering”. . .Fascinated By God, and By His Truth

(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 28 – “How Well We Lived”

     Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ concern ourselves not with the quantity of our earthly lifespan, but with its quality.

     “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15).

     The atoning death and victorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus provided both confirmation and fulfillment of His seemingly enigmatic pronouncement concerning those who trust Him:

     “Whosoever liveth and believeth on Me shall never die” (John 11:26).

     Upon receiving Christ’s salvation by faith, the spirits of born again believers spring to life through the entrance of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  This innermost essence of our personhood will never die, even as the Apostle Paul taught that Christians are as eternally alive as is our Lord:

    “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:9-11).

     Through the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit, a timeless Heavenly Father births timeless sons and daughters.  As is the case with God, there is no “When?” in our redeemed spirits.  Therein, we progress toward change, and ultimate glorification.  However, we do not face the prospect of death.  Thus, we are delivered from fear regarding our worst enemy. 

     Somewhere in this moment, believers are breathing their last earthly breath.  While we pray for the comfort of loved ones left behind, do we for even a moment mourn the passage of the Christian into the direct presence of God?  “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” declared the Apostle Paul (II Corinthians 5:8).  Indeed, the most beautiful mansion of earth becomes a squalid hovel in our perspective when compared with the glory of Heaven, and even more, of Heaven’s sublime King.  As a dear friend once told Frances, when hearing of her father’s passing: “I understand your dad moved to a better neighborhood!”

     No “When?” in God, and no “When?” in the Christ-quickened spirits of born again believers – such blessed truth provides the basis of fearlessness regarding our passage from this present life.  Moreover, our Lord delivers us from the focus on long earthly life that distracts from the far more important issue of a godly earthly life.  Very soon for all of us, it will not matter how long we lived on the earth.  But it will greatly matter how well we lived.  Remembering and affirming the truth of our timelessness in Christ enables us to seek the quality of life whereby we truly live both now and forevermore.

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?”
(I Corinthians 15:54-55)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

“Wondering”. . .Fascinated By God, and By His Truth

(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 27 – “The Timeless – In Time”

      In the person of His Son, the God who “inhabiteth eternity” entered into the realm of space and time.

     “Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh” (I Timothy 3:16).

     From the boundless freedom of the timeless into the realm of past, present and future, with its limitations – this is the sacrifice of love made by the Lord Jesus Christ for the eternal redemption of the faithful.  What this involved in the heart and mind of an infinite Being, we do not know.  We can only be sure that the price was inestimable, and that whatever the cost, the Lord Jesus paid it with an abundantly willing heart based on the greatness of His devotion to us.

     We are a race dominated by the clock.  Our lives dash from birth to death, and too many days seem composed of too few hours for the accomplishing of those things we need and desire to do.   “For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).  Indeed, in the first twinkling “moment” of passing from this temporal realm into the everlasting, believers will feel sublime relief from the burden imposed upon us by the constraints and restraints of time.  The past often taunts us, the future threatens, and the present flees before we have opportunity to experience more than a brief sample of the moment.  The older we get, the more we realize the “vanishing vapor” of a life in which time seemed to offer much in the beginning, but then raced away before we could fully grasp its fleeting promise.

     Our Savior took upon Himself this overwhelming burden of time.  It savagely and unmercifully crushed Him, but then He arose into that glory so beautifully described by the writer of Hebrews as “the power of an endless life” (Hebrews 7:16).  Just as wonderfully, He graces us with the same deliverance from the temporal when we believe, as the Spirit of the everlasting enters into the depths of our being.  There, in the born again spirits of the redeemed, the “endless life” of the timeless Christ provides increasing awareness and experience of a dimension without temporal limits.  We may not be able to verbally express the wonder, nor do we understand it.  However, the believer knows deeply within that the Lord Jesus has delivered him from the awful weight of time by taking upon Himself its ultimate consequence.  And, in the moment of such blessed relief and awed remembrance, we worship.

    We fast approach a “day” when there will be no days.  There will be no clocks and no calendars in Heaven.  May the thought bless us with anticipation of an experience of peace made possible by the Prince of peace.  May it even more bless us with the wonder of so great salvation provided by so great a Savior, the timeless One who entered time in order to deliver us from time.

“There should be time no longer.”
(Revelation 10:6)