Friday, May 31, 2019

“Christ In Print. The Bible In Person”

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

"Christ In Print.  The Bible In Person"


   The Bible can be considered the Lord Jesus Christ in print form.  The Lord Jesus can be considered the Bible in personal form.

    "Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life.  And they are they which testify of Me" (John 5:39).
    "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).

   Genuine worship involves both spirit and truth (John 4:24).  We must know God through the Lord Jesus in both personal and doctrinal terms.  It is not enough to simply believe Biblical truths.  However, we cannot rightly relate to our Heavenly Father apart from those truths.  Thus, the living Word, Christ, and the written Word, the Bible, beckon us to journey on the parallel rails of reality.  As believers, we know Somebody and we believe something.  "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent… Thy Word is truth" (John 17:3; 17).

    Few understandings more provide sure and stable footing for our walk with the Lord.  God made us as creatures of both heart and mind.  Our knowledge of other conscious beings transcends mere factual knowledge.  When we say we know God or people, we suggest something far more than simply knowing about them.  We may not be able to define or explain it, but we realize that genuine relationship involves personal realities of the heart.  Conversely, our knowledge of others does involve truths and facts based on tangible things that form and sustain structure in our relationships.  This is particularly true regarding our fellowship with God.  We must know Him as the living Person He is.  He will not be satisfied otherwise.  However, we cannot genuinely know Him apart from the principled Truth of Scripture.  We will not be sanctified otherwise.  

   The Word in print and in Person.  Spirit and truth.  Heart and mind.  Parallel rails of reality.  However, we term it, the Light of God beckons us unto the realization that He must be known and His truth must be understood.  The Apostle Paul prayed accordingly, and we close with his intercession for the Ephesians…

"After I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened."
(Ephesians 1:15-18)

Weekly Memory Verse
   "As it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
(I Corinthians 1:31)



Thursday, May 30, 2019

“The Two Edged Sword”

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

"The Two Edged Sword"


 How do we deal with temptation?  The Lord Jesus Christ provides both the model and the means whereby we discover the answer in personal and doctrinal terms.

   "And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve" (Matthew 4:3-10).
   "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (Ephesians 6:10).

    In the wilderness temptation, the Lord Jesus Christ pulled the sword of the Spirit from the sheath of His heart, slashing and piercing each devilish enticement with "It is written."  The living Word, Christ, overcame by the written Word, the Scriptures.  Thereby He showed us the way of dealing with temptation.  We affirm the Word of God to counter challenges to our faith and faithfulness.  Consider, for example, the temptation to fear regarding material or financial matters.  Thoughts, emotions, and perhaps even physical sensations confront our peace of mind.  How might we respond, in light of our Lord's example?

   "It is written, My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus….  It is written, "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them It is written, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you" (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:26; 33).

   Such affirmation fortifies our hearts to walk in Truth and its blessed tranquility.  "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee" (Isaiah 26:3).  However, the Lord Jesus provides not only the example, but also the enabling for dealing with temptation.  "I am the way" He  declared (John 14:6).  The Spirit of Christ dwells in born again believers to empower us to "walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6).  Our capacity to "fight the good fight of faith" flows from the truth that "the Captain of our salvation" literally lives within us to empower us for the confrontations we face in our present earthly lives (I Timothy 6:12; Hebrews 2:10).  Thus, we trust Him to enable our execution of the way He showed us to overcome challenges.  We rely on the double edged sword of the living and the written Word, walking in the Spirit and the Truth of the Lord Jesus.

    We do well to hide the Scriptures in our hearts to enable our overcoming.  "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee" (Psalm 119:11).  We also do well to remember and affirm the living Word that dwells within our hearts.  "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts" (Galatians 4:6).  Such a sharp and two-edged sword leads us to face every challenge with the confidence whereby through Christ, we walk in consistent and growing faithfulness…

"This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
(I John 5:4)
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 
(I Corinthians 10:13)

Weekly Memory Verse
   "As it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
(I Corinthians 1:31)



Wednesday, May 29, 2019

"Young Men"

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

"Young Men"

    I am blessed to know a number of really fine young men, quite a few of which are on the mailing list for these devotionals.  I trust you all know who you are, and lest I omit someone worthy of mention, I'll refrain from naming names.  But again, you all know who you are.

   "I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong and the Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one" (I John 2:14).

   It is a wonderful thing for an older man to know younger men you seek to emulate.  I have long said about my son Noah that I want to be more like him.  I feel the same about so many others of his generation.  Certainly we elders (not elderly!) hope to provide some mentoring, based on experience.  However, when men of my generation can benefit from the example, encouragement, and exhortation of younger men, it adds a richness of blessing that fills our hearts with hope for days to come regarding God's purposes and work.  I feel that hope, again, based on so many I am blessed to know and who I also consider dear friends.

   The world grows darker in many ways, as Scripture prophesied of the days in which we live (II Timothy 3:1-5).  However, God's "true light" shines all the more brightly against the backdrop of increasing apostasy (John 1:9).  Based on the young men I know, much confidence fills my heart that they will acquit themselves well in the challenges to come.  Far more, they will honor the Lord they love, trust, obey, and seek to communicate to their world.  Godspeed, gentlemen, and thank you for the encouragement and challenge your strength and devotion to God and His Word provide to my heart.  I am forever grateful for all of you.

"The glory of young men is their strength… Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might."
(Proverbs 20:29; Ephesians 6:10)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "As it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
(I Corinthians 1:31)


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

"The Miracle"

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

(A repeat from 2014)

"The Miracle"

    In his poem, "My Sweetest Comfort," Edward Caswall beautifully depicts the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, the God who became man, the man who remains God.

It is my sweetest comfort, Lord, 
And will forever be,
To muse upon the gracious truth 
Of Thy humanity.
Oh joy! there sitteth in our flesh, 
Upon a throne of light,
One of a human mother born, 
In perfect Godhead bright!

Though earth's foundations be removed, 
Down to their lowest deep;
Though all the trembling universe 
Into destruction sweep;
Forever God, forever man, 
My Jesus shall endure;
And fix'd on Him, 
my hope remains eternally secure.

   The poet's sublime offering beautifully illuminates the truth that a Being exists in whom Heaven and earth perfectly unite.   Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ exists unlike any other.  One with the Father and Holy Spirit, He nevertheless comprises a substance unlike the other Persons of the triune Godhead.  He is human.  However, He remains Divine to the degree that His Father addresses His Son in the most direct terms possible regarding Deity: "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever!" (Hebrews 1:8).  Our Savior is the God who became man, and the man who remains God.  His very existence as the holy synthesis of Deity and humanity constitutes a miracle and a marvel.  How can He even be?  Long ago, Solomon wondered how God could dwell in an earthly temple - "the Heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee!  How much less this house that I have builded!" (I Kings 8:27).  What would Solomon have said had he known that the wonder of God dwelling in a material temple of brick and mortar foreshadowed His inhabiting a human temple of spirit, soul, and body?

   In Heaven and earth, there is no one like the Lord Jesus Christ.  This does not preclude the Biblical truth that believers "shall be like Him" in character, nature, and way on that Day when "we shall see Him as He is" (I John 3:2).  It does, however, reserve for our Savior a place that He alone occupies both now and forever.  Again, He is the God who is man, and the man who is God.  Of no one else will this ever be true.  Yes, the Lord Jesus is a miracle.  He is the miracle against which all other mighty acts of God pale in comparison.  Thus, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit direct attention to the Son in whom God works His "eternal purpose in Christ" (Ephesians 3:11).  We must do the same because in both Heaven and earth, there is no one like the Lord Jesus.  Nor will there ever be.  

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

Weekly Memory Verse
    "As it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
(I Corinthians 1:31)


Monday, May 27, 2019

"Bart Starr"

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

(Bart Starr, retired quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, and fine Christian gentleman, went to be with the Lord this past weekend.  I am both sad and happy, for reasons expressed in the following, a repeat from more than decade ago.   The thought occurs to me on the occasion of sending this out again that from his Heavenly vantage point, Bart would remind us that a life well lived originates and proceeds from the Lord Jesus who so well lives in those who trust Him.   Thanks, Glen).

"Bart Starr"

   When I was growing up, I loved professional football, I loved the Green Bay Packers, and I loved Bart Starr.  As an adult, I've lost interest in pro football and the Packers.  However, I still greatly admire Bart Starr as a person, now far more than as a football player.

  Mr. Starr is legendary here in his home state of Alabama. Certainly Bart's on the field exploits in a football-crazy state have much to do with his notoriety.  Even more, however, he is known for the life he has lived and the things he has done as the expression of God's grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. I recall the story told by a gentleman whose car broke down on the highway.  Many drivers passed by without stopping to help. Finally, a car pulled over to the side of the road behind the stalled vehicle.  The driver of the car who stopped to offer aid was Bart Starr.  Again, this is one of many stories told by Alabamians about a man honored as the 1960s Player of the Decade in the National Football League.  Mr. Starr has quietly honored his Lord with a life of self sacrificial devotion to God and people.

   I have a personal Bart Starr story. A few years ago our family stopped at a fruit stand in central Alabama as we returned home from vacation. The stand is known for its peach ice cream, and we went in to enjoy a treat.  As I stood in line, a man passed by, leaving the store. I took little notice, but later, through the plate glass windows of the building, I realized that Bart Starr had crossed my path.  I could see him getting into his car where his wife waited.  Rather than immediately leave, they sat in the car, enjoying their ice cream.

    I faced a dilemma.  A strong inclination gripped me to go out to the car and tell Mr. Starr what a blessing he had been to me, both as a football player and as a Christian gentleman.  For nearly a half century, he has held a special place in my heart.  I finally had an opportunity to tell him so.  However, another thought came to mind, which eventually guided my actions.  People of prominence such as Bart Starr have a difficult time finding private moments to simply enjoy the small things of life.  Moreover, I could say nothing to him he hasn't heard a thousand times.  Most importantly, he shared an interlude with his wife that did not need to be interrupted.  I therefore decided to thank the Lord for a nice blessing, and allow Mr. and Mrs. Starr their privacy.

    I've always been glad I did that.  It would have been nice to actually meet Bart Starr.  I found it far nicer, however, to exercise the same respect he would likely have shown, given the same situation.  In fact, I think my actions in that moment were guided to some degree by the things I knew to be true of Mr. Starr.  He serves as a prime example of a Christian gentleman.  I want to be the same.  It says much about Bart Starr that he could inspire such a determination, and it says even more about the Lord Jesus who so lives in God's trusting children that they can have such profound influence on each other.  Indeed, I am sure that Mr. Starr would give all glory to His Savior for the life he has lived.  Wonderfully, those who of us who have been blessed by Bart are also inspired to give glory to the same Savior who shines so brightly in those who trust and submit to Him.  People like Bart Starr.

"As it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
(I Corinthians 1:31)

Weekly Memory Verse
   "As it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
(I Corinthians 1:31)



Memorial Day, 2019

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

(Friends, on this Memorial Day, 2019, when the United States pauses to remember the patriots who have sacrificed so much to provide and protect our freedom, we send this forth again, a video dedicated to our patriots, and to the memory of Marine Corps Sgt. Foster Harrington, our son Noah's comrade and friend.  Sgt.  Harrington gave his life on September 20th, 2004 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  We will not forget.   Thanks, Glen).

"To the Fallen"

Oh fallen ones, who died to give
this liberty in which we
so freely live.

We'll not forget your sacrifice,
we'll not forget 
the bloody price.

We'll think of land, and sea, and air.
We'll think of 
unknown places where,

You gave your life,
that this dear land
might ever live, might ever stand.

To the fallen,
to the fallen:
we'll remember.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

"Unsearchable Riches"

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

(Friends, the following was inspired by fellowship with a dear Orange Moon friend, Pastor Randy Reed.  He lives and ministers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and has been a great blessing to me for many years.  We fellowshipped by email yesterday, and as I concluded my note to Randy about "the unsearchable riches of Christ," these words flowed.  Thanks, Glen).

"Unsearchable Riches"

Unsearchable riches await us in Christ!
Even eternity will not suffice
to fully reveal the love and the glory,
to plumb the depths of the old, old story!

For marvels and wonders beyond compare
will thrill and fulfill us forever Up There.
And wherever we go in God's vast creation,
Christ's beauty will bless us with glad celebration

Of grace that redeemed us from sin and the grave,
of mercy whereby our Father forgave
all who came by way of the cross,
to trust in the Lamb who suffered such loss.

Such wondrous salvation so free to us,
but for our dear Savior, how high the cost!
Yes, even forever will not be enough
to bless Him with praise, devotion, and love.

Unsearchable riches indeed,
immeasurable wonders to see
await us in Christ forevermore,
His glory to seek, His heart to explore.

Unsearchable riches await us in Christ!

"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I may preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."
(Ephesians 3:8)

Weekly Memory Verse
   "Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
(I Peter 5:8)



Friday, May 24, 2019

“God, In a Hurry”

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

"God, In a Hurry"

    A proper Biblical understanding of God suggests He never gets in a hurry.  His omniscience and foreknowledge leads Him to act with eternally calculated and reasoned responses to everything that happens in His creation.

    "His understanding is infinite" (Psalm 147:5).
    "God… worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:3; 11).

    On at least two occasions in the Bible, however, we see either directly or by implication our Heavenly Father rushing to reveal redemptive realities of His grace and truth in the Lord Jesus Christ.

   "And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him" (Luke 15:20).
   "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting" (Acts 2:1-2).

   First, the prodigal son's father, typifying God the Father, raced to meet his wayward son who returned in broken repentance.  The father hurried with mercy, forgiveness, and restoration.  Moreover, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit approached the company of believers as a "rushing mighty wind."  He hastened to indwell the hearts of those who waited for "the promise of the Father" (Acts 1:4).  The dual imagery shines with our Lord's inclinations of grace.  God hurries to forgive.  He rushes to indwell the beloved spirits of those born again through faith in Christ.  Indeed, He loves human hearts so dearly that "He delighteth in mercy" and desires to be so near to us that He dwells within us (Micah 7:18; I Corinthians 3:16).  

    We do well to perceive God as never caught off guard by anything that ever happens.  As A.W. Tozer once wrote, "The Lord sees the flutter of an angel's wing a thousand years hence as if it were happening in the present moment."  However, we also do well to consider our Heavenly Father's heart when it comes to administering His loving grace and mercy.  We never have to drag forgiveness from the heart of God if we come by the way He has made through the Lord Jesus.  He stands ever ready to pardon and cleanse.  He also loves our hearts to the degree that only dwelling within them satisfies His devotion to us.  God, God in a hurry.  A racing father and a rushing Spirit bear witness on the pages of Scripture to the haste our Father exercises when opportunities to bestow grace present themselves to His wondrous heart.

"For Thou, Lord, art ready to forgive and plenteous in mercy unto all that call upon Thee."
(Psalm 86:5)
"I will dwell in them and walk in them."
(II Corinthians 6:16)

Weekly Memory Verse
   "Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
(I Peter 5:8)



Thursday, May 23, 2019

“According To His Will”

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

"According To His Will"

    God doubtless loves to answer our prayers more than we love to pray them.  Our Heavenly Father's infinitely generous heart stands ever ready to respond, even as the hymnwriter exulted, "Out of His infinite riches in Jesus He giveth and giveth and giveth again." 

    "He shall call upon Me and I will answer him" (Psalm 91:15).
    "How much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask Him?" (Matthew 7:11).

     However, our Father must always answer in accordance with His character, nature, and "the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:11).    

    "If we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us and… we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him" (I John 5:14; 15).    

    In the light of both our Father's desire to answer and His requirements of righteousness, we must seek to discover His will as revealed in the Scriptures.  We must  endeavor to offer informed prayers that flow from knowing our Lord and His way in accordance with Truth.  We will not be perfect in our quest, and sometimes our prayers will either not be answered, or answered in a way that seems quite different than we expect.  In such times, we must maintain our confidence in God's willingness to respond to our requests, even as He works to maintain His perfect integrity and virtue.  The latter aspect of Truth is actually more important than the former.  Our Father must forever be Himself and act faithfully to His nature.  Indeed, if we could ever twist His arm, as it were, and convince Him to sentimentally answer a prayer that violates His character, nature, and way, the reality of all things would instantly dissolve into utter chaos and nothingness.  This will not and cannot happen.  "As for God, His way is perfect… I am the Lord, I change not" (II Samuel 22:31; Malachi 3:6).  Thus, God's desire to answer flows with the current of His determination to abide in the perfection of His Divine being.  We therefore do well to be grateful for prayers He doesn't answer as well as for those He does.

    Through Christ, let us pray with much confidence to a Father who loves to answer our prayers.  Let us also pray with much consciousness that even more than His answers, we need God to be and remain who He is.  This He will do, ensuring the reality of all things, and assuring us of a Father who loves us enough respond to our requests in a manner that supplies our most important need…

"The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works."
(Psalm 145:17)

Weekly Memory Verse
   "Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
(I Peter 5:8)