Monday, June 10, 2019

"Walking and Working"

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


"Walking and Working"



    Many years ago, I read a Gospel tract that encouraged new Christians to think of God as sitting on the throne of their hearts.  I didn't take issue with the imagery then, nor do I presently disagree with those who affirm the Lordship of Christ in such terms.

    However… 

    "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16).
    "It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).

    Again, with no disrespect or disagreement intended toward those who suggest the image of the throne, I find it more directly Scriptural and encouraging to perceive God in the dynamically active terms of our Lord's walking and working.  As the Holy Spirit moved upon the face of the waters in Genesis 1, we do well to consider Him moving upon the face of our hearts in the ongoing determination to empower our minds, mouths, hands, and feet to glorify the Lord Jesus.  Indeed, our Savior declared that the Holy Spirit dwells in the world and in believers to honor and reveal the Son (John 16:14; 15:26).  We can therefore expect the Spirit's moving within us to effect His purpose, calling us to share in the determination to bear witness to Christ: "He shall testify of Me… Ye also shall bear witness" (John 15:27).

   For some, the image of the throne may be powerful and practical in its motivation, encouragement, and challenge to respond to the Lordship of Christ.  This is more than fine, and I rejoice in those who seek to honor their Lord in its holy light.  For others, including myself, the truth of the Holy Spirit's active walking and working more thrills, fills, and fulfills our hearts.  Yes, the One who moved upon ancient waters in dynamic creative activity now moves within spirits in the newness of His redemptive activity in Christ.  Let us trust that such Truth is true.  Because it is.  And let us expect that glories of God's grace and truth will spring forth within us and through us as the Spirit of God mightily walks and works to honor the Son of God in the children of God.

"Wherefore I also, 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; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and 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 1:17-20)


Weekly Memory Verse
  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name.  Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
(Psalm 29:2)




  






















5620

Sunday, June 9, 2019

"The Lord's Day - An Affirmation"

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

(Over the years, we have rarely sent out a message on Sunday.  I feel inclined to send this out today, however, not because Sunday is any more the Lord's day for Christians than Monday, Tuesday, etc.  Every day is the Lord's day for us, and these affirmations apply to all.  Oh yes, and thanks to Fred C. for inspiration regarding this.  Thanks, Glen)



"The Lord's Day - An Affirmation"



    This is the Lord's day.  Nothing more.  Nothing less. Nothing else.  He dwells with me as the Life of my life, the peace of my heart, the joy of my spirit, the strength of my hands, the guide of my feet, the provision for my need, the protection for my preservation, and the love that fills and fulfills every aspect of my existence.   

   He purposes that I honor His Son, fulfill His will, further His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus, and find the journey an adventure to enjoy amid its many challenges.  He will be with me as I go, and will be awaiting me at every destination.  I live for Him by living from Him.  He works in me both to will and to do of His good pleasure, granting me more than enough grace to work out that which He works in.   

   He anticipates my temptations and challenges, assuring me that triumph is assured as I remember and affirm that I live from victory rather than for it.  If I fall or fail, He will call me to arise quickly by acknowledging Christ's atonement on my behalf, admit my sin, avail myself of promised forgivenness and cleansing, affirm His mercy, and forge ahead without interruption.  He will abide no crippling paralysis that might ensue if I failed to affirm the power of Christ's death, resurrection, and eternal intercession on my behalf. 

   He will delight in my prayers more than I will delight to pray them.  He will answer according to my best interests, and the benefit of those to whom He calls me to minister.  When possible, He will provide according to my desires, as wrought in my heart by the Holy Spirit.  If I pray amiss, He will work to correct and redirect my understanding and response to His presence and working in my life. 

    He will grant me the privileged responsibility to love friend and foe, and will empower me by His love abundantly present and active in my heart through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  The needs of others will be paramount, and the purest joy will flow within me as through Christ, I esteem others and their needs as more important than my own. 

   Finally, my Father will be that which He is, the Great Fact of my heart, life, and existence.  He will live in me by His Spirit, I will live through Christ, and nothing can possibly separate me from the wonder of His love.  He will meet me along every pathway, whether I see, acknowledge, or recognize Him or not, and He will be exceeding, abundantly above all I can ask or think.  This is who He is.  He can be no other.  This is what He does.  He can do no other.  And this is my acceptance of the day for the glory of His Name, the day which the Lord has made.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Nothing else. 

"To live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21). 

(Psalm 118:24; Deuteronomy 30:20; Isaiah 26:3; I Peter 1:8; Psalm 144:1; Proverbs 3:5-6; Philippians 4:19; Proverbs 21:31; Romans 5:5; John 5:23; Ephesians 3:11; Philippians 4:4; Isaiah 43:2; I John 4:9; Philippians 2:12-13; I Timothy 1:4; Acts 15:18; II Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 5:14; Romans 4:8; I John 1:9; Micah 7:18; Hebrews 7;25; Proverbs 15:8; I John 5:14; II Corinthians 4:15; Proverbs 37:4; Proverbs 3:12; Galatians 6:10; Matthew 5:44; Philippians 2:3; Acts 17:28; II Corinthians 6:16; Philippians 4:13; Matthew 28:20; Ephesians 3:20-21; Romans 8:38-39; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8)


Weekly Memory Verse
  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name.  Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
(Psalm 29:2)




  






















5619

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Orange Moon Cafe "Instead"

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


"Instead"



He could have let us go,
to make our own way.
He could have watched us flee,
and then turned away.

"Good riddance!" might an angel 
have heard Him to say.
And none could think ill,
or cast any blame…

But instead He suffered
and bore our sad shame, 
and then rose from the dead
our hearts to reclaim.


He could throw up His hands 
at how often I've strayed.
Oh the patience He's shown me,
I cannot explain.

If He chose not to bless me,
I'd understand why.
 I couldn't complain if He 
ignored my cry.

But instead He bears with me,
and turns not away,
ever bestowing
such mercy and grace.


What kindness must dwell
in this most wondrous of Hearts.
Devotion so pure,
as love He imparts.

Oh how it would be
almost more than expected,
if we found that our souls
He completely rejected.

But instead He sees us 
as worth His Son's life.
By grace He redeems us
and calls us His child.

For He suffered and bled,
and bore our sad shame.
And then rose from the dead
our hearts to reclaim.


"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;), and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
(Ephesians 2:4-7)
"For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, how much more shall we be saved by His life."
(Romans 5:10)     


Weekly Memory Verse
   "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)




  






















5618

Friday, June 7, 2019

"The Most Terrible Consequence"

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


"The Most Terrible Consequence"


     Why does God hate sin so much?  Why must we join Him with the same revulsion regarding unbelief and disobedience to Him?  Many Biblical answers address this question.  One, however, surely provides the primary reason our Father finds sin so reprehensible, and why we must share His view.

    "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all… We did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God… My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Isaiah 53:4-6).

   Sin not only resulted in humanity torturing the Lord Jesus Christ to death on the cross of Calvary.  It also led God the Father to pour out the fury of His wrath on His eternally beloved Son.  Moreover, God abandoned His Son to suffer and die utterly alone for our sins.  "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46).  Little wonder that our Father despises the sin that resulted in His acting completely contrary to His love for the Lord Jesus.  Indeed, we do well to consider the loving affirmations from Heaven that sounded at our Lord's baptism and transfiguration: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17; 17:5).  Then, ponder the wrath that descended upon our Savior as He died on the cross.  How could God not hate that which led Him to smite the Son He so loves?

    A further consideration takes the matter even further into both the light and the darkness of our Lord's suffering death at the hands of God and man.  "It hath pleased the Lord to bruise Him" (Isaiah 53:10).  How can such a thing be?  How can the Father who finds so much pleasure in His Son also have found pleasure in pouring out wrath upon Him?  The Apostle Paul provides a possible answer:

   "He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21).

   Paul reveals that the Lord Jesus not only bore our sins on the cross.  He also became sin - "made to be sin."  What does this mean?  Only God knows.  Somehow the Lord Jesus became everything He was not as He suffered and died at Calvary.  Only thereby could His Father have been "pleased... to bruise Him."  Moreover, what did our Savior who so loves righteousness experience as He suffered not only the bearing of sin, but also the be-ing of it?  We will never know.  "He is... a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).

   Why does God hate sin?  Why must we share His utter rejection of unbelief and disobedience?  Look no further than Calvary for the answer that most explains the horrors of sin, and its most terrible consequence…

"Christ died for our sins."
(I Corinthians 15:3)
"Ye that love the Lord, hate evil."
(Psalm 97:10)


Weekly Memory Verse
   "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)




  






















5617

Thursday, June 6, 2019

"Demolition"

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


"Demolition"


     We are currently having work done on our house that involves some significant demolition.  It is really something to see an exterior wall removed, and a portion of your home simply not there anymore.

    "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Timothy 3:16).

   "Reproof" and "correction" administered by the Word of God speak of spiritual demolition.  Throughout the born again believer's earthly lifetime, walking with our Lord involves the removal of things that do not correlate with the character and nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This includes patterns of thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, words, and faulty ways of relating to God and people.   We require our Heavenly Father's ongoing work to expose and remove anything that hinders our experience and expression of Christ's loving presence within us.  God called the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah not only "to build and to plant," but also "to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down" (Jeremiah 1:10).  The same process applies to Christians as the Holy Spirit works in us to demolish as well as to construct.  

   As difficult as it may be, we do well to consistently seek our Father's exposure and removal of fleshly distractions and deceptions that hinder the peace of our hearts and our calling to honor our Lord in every aspect of our life.  Another Old Testament saint, David, greatly helped us in this matter by including a prayer in the Psalms that should reflect our ongoing submission to the Lord's demolition:

    "Search me, O God, and know my heart.  Try me and know my ways, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).  

    It may disturb us when our Heavenly Father must "root out… pull down… destroy… throw down."  However, the end result of such destruction is newness in Christ whereby the presence of His life that indwells us becomes known, experienced, and expressed to the glory of God, the blessing of others, and the joy of our hearts.

"Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults."
(Psalm 19:12)


Weekly Memory Verse
   "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)




  






















5616

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

“The Best He Can"

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

(a repeat from 2011)


"The Best He Can"


     "I'm doing the best I can!"  We've all likely said it, responding to pressures from others or even from ourselves to do more or better.  Certainly it's true that we can only do what we can do, and no more.  Or is it? 

    "We shall live with Him by the power of God" (II Corinthians 13:4). 

    Rather than the best we can, God enables born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to do the best He can.  We trust in God's understanding and abilities rather than our own.  We see ourselves as branches of a Vine that that teems with the life of Christ Himself (John 15:5).  "My expectation is from Him" exulted the David who would never have slain Goliath had he merely lived by the paltry power of his own best (Psalm 62:5). 

   "Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee" (I Samuel 17:45-46).

     The best God could do against the giant was to deliver a mere stone slung by the mere hand of a mere boy directly into the forehead of the mighty Philistine champion.  He then led David to draw his sword, resulting in the removal of Goliath's head.  David clearly did God's best.  "For by Thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall" (Psalm 18:29). 

     What will God's best be for us in this day?  We don't know as yet, but we will as we trust and submit ourselves to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The living God dwells within us, and He loves to reveal His strength in our weakness (II Corinthians 12:9).  As did David, we must expect that this will be the case in the particular arenas of challenge where our own Goliaths await us.  We do not live by the best of our own wisdom, but by the wisdom of God.  We do not live by the best of our own willingness, but by the willingness of God.  We do not live by the best of our own planning, but by the planning of God.  And we do not live by the best of our own ability and strength, but "we shall live with Him by the power of God."  Such is the grace bestowed upon all who believe in the Lord Jesus, and such is the gift of a life lived not by the best we can, but by the best He can.

"We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead."
 (II Corinthians 1:9).


Weekly Memory Verse
   "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)




  






















5615

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

"A Place of Grace"

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


"A Place of Grace"

   God made the human heart to be a place of grace, as the Apostle John illustrates in his account of the Lord Jesus Christ purging the temple of moneychangers.

   "And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting.  And when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables, and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not My Father's house a house of merchandise" (John 2:13-16).

   No buying and selling can be tolerated in the temple of God, which now constitutes our trusting hearts in Christ. 

     "Ye are the temple of God… For by grace are ye saved by faith, and that not of yourselves.  It is the gift of God, and not of works, lest any man should boast… As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (I Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Colossians 2:6).  

    We forever exist as supplicants and recipients of God's giving.  His generosity transcends all understanding.  He loves to provide, supply, and bestow.  He loves for us to receive the innumerable expressions of His lavish liberality.  "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32).  We cannot buy such favor and provision by bartering with our Heavenly Father.  His gifts are too expensive.  Our means are too meager.  Thus, we must seek the Lord's aggressive cleansing of our heart's inner temple regarding any notion of relating to God other than by the grace and truth of the Lord Jesus.  As the Apostle Paul writes in the passages mentioned above, the grace that began our relationship with God must serve as the same dynamic whereby we "walk… in Him."

   A beautiful aspect of such freely given favor involves the truth that grace received becomes grace assimilated in our hearts, and then grace disseminated through us to others.  "Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8).  The Holy Spirit inhabits the inner temple of our spirits to initiate and progressively execute our becoming like the Lord Jesus.  His purely and perfectly unselfish disposition more and more shines forth within and through us as we "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18).  Ongoing reception of freely given favor results in a love for God and humanity that can only occur in our hearts so filled that they overflow back to our Father and out toward others.  "We love Him because He first loved us… And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men" (I John 2:6; I Thessalonians 3:12).

   A place of grace.  Our hearts became such a holy venue when we believed as our Savior purged the temple of our hearts from any notion of buying or barter.  Let us continue as we began by realizing God's perpetual provision and our persistent need.  Thereby the Holy Spirit empowers the life of devotion to God and others that only results when the Lord Jesus drives the moneychangers from the innermost temple of our being…

"Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear."
(Hebrews 12:28)
"But 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)


Weekly Memory Verse
   "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)




  






















5614

Monday, June 3, 2019

"In Secret"

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


"In Secret"

   

   The mother of a dear friend went to be with our Lord last week.  Mrs. Plash was 90 years old, and lived a life of devotion to the Lord and to people.  I saw her rarely, but she had such an impact that I told my friend, "Whenever I saw your mother, it made me want to toe the line a little closer!"  I know she had that effect on a lot of people as through Christ, Mrs. Plash encouraged and challenged us to climb higher, dive deeper, and go further unto a life lived for the glory of God.

   "Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24).

   Her obituary mentioned another powerful aspect of Mrs. Plash's ongoing legacy, this regarding her devotion to seeking God in prayer for others: "Many never knew of her prayers for them."  I find that one of the most powerful statements about prayer I have ever heard, and one that calls us to the privacy regarding communion with our Heavenly Father commanded by the Lord Jesus:

   "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly" (Matthew 6:6).

   Certainly there are times when it may be fine to mention to people that we are praying for them.  It can be a great encouragement to know that someone cares about us enough to name our names before the Throne of grace.  However, the preponderance of our praying should remain private.  A.W. Tozer once wrote that gaining a reputation for prayer can be one of the worst things that can happen to a believer.  Few can resist the temptation to pride and self importance that accompanies such notoriety.  Indeed, the reputation may originate in the pray-er frequently mentioning his or her communion with God that is best practiced "in secret."

   This was not the case with Mrs. Plash.  Allow me to repeat, "Many never knew of her prayers for them."  I find this completely, utterly sublime.  Even more, I find this to be yet another encouragement and challenge that blesses us by Mrs. Plash's legacy.  She prayed.  She prayed privately, thereby seeking His glory and the blessing of others in ways they never even knew.  Yet again, our dear sister makes me want to toe the line a little closer, this time to the Throne of grace to follow her example of private communion with God and intimate intercession for others.  

   A final point.  As I conclude, the thought occurs to me that I may be in trouble with Mrs. Plash.  She didn't want attention for her praying during her lifetime, and she may not be happy that I mention it now.  Uhoh!  I nevertheless take the chance, and will face the music with her when I see her in Heaven!  I find Mrs. Plash's  Christ-empowered legacy far too blessed to ignore.  "Many never knew of her prayers for them."  May we follow in the wake of our dear sister's influence, and the example she leaves of countless approaches to the Heavenly Throne where she secretly sought God's grace and mercy for those she loved.  

"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
   "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)




  






















5613