Friday, March 6, 2020

“Hearts Made Large (the Indwelling of the Infinite)”

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

"Hearts Made Large (the Indwelling of the Infinite)" 

      Endurance athletes typically have larger hearts than most people.  Increased blood flow in the upper and lower chambers of the heart results in their expansion, along with increase in the muscle due to exertion.

    The Psalmist knew and expressed such truth in spiritual terms many centuries ago.
     "I will run the way of Thy commandments when Thou shalt enlarge my heart" (Psalm 119:32).
     The ultimate fulfillment of the Psalmist's hope came through the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, after the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ through His death, resurrection, and ascension.  The mystery and the miracle of "Christ in you, the hope of glory" spiritually enlarges the hearts of all who believe by an infinite measure (Colossians 1:27).  Our knowledge thereof also provides a vital component as we access the grace of our Savior's living presence by believing the wonder that He dwells within us.

    "We have access by faith into the grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Colossians 1:27).

    The entrance of the Spirit of Christ into our hearts changed who and what we most deeply are.  "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).  After the new birth, believers no longer must navigate the paths of life as if alone.  We live Life as a we rather than simply a me.  Christ lives in us, we live in Him, and the potential for running the way of God's will results from our hearts enlarged to overflow with His living presence.  "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).  Our Heavenly Father made us for this hope that became factual in our being when we believed, and actual in our practice as we affirm with the Apostle Paul, "To live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21).

   What if in this day we will enjoy the blessings of life with the Lord Jesus?  We will.  "I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20).  What if the challenges of life will also find Him nearer than our next breath?  They will.  "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5).  This we must believe, first because it is true, and then because our role in running the race of life with enlarged hearts involves the faith that affirms our Lord's motivating, guiding, and empowering presence.  To be alive in God's life through Christ means we ever and forever journey with Somebody, namely, with the One who made us, redeemed us, and filled us with Himself when we trusted the Lord Jesus.  We need not live this, or any day, as if alone.  What a tragedy if we do.  But what "hope of glory" if we run with hearts made large by the indwelling of the Infinite.  This the gift given to all who believe, and the gift realized and accessed when we remember the magnitude of our spirits united to the Spirit of Christ…

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

Weekly Memory Verse
       "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility."
 (Proverbs 15:33)


Thursday, March 5, 2020

"Acknowledge Him"

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

"Acknowledge Him" 
     "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Psalm 3:6).

    The light of God shines along very pathway of born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our walk thereupon requires recognition of the blessed influence of our Lord and His illumination.  We must "acknowledge Him" in order to be guided, meaning we must see, perceive, and recognize Him as the Life of our lives and the great fact of every condition, circumstance, and situation.  "In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).

   We must acknowledge the Lord in our pleasant and happy experiences.  "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights" (James 1:17).  To truly enjoy the blessings of life, we must realize their Source.  Indeed, it is one thing to rightly use our senses and emotions to happily appreciate family, friends, things, events, and experiences.  It is another thing altogether to remember the God who provides such goodness.  "The Lord is good to all… He giveth to all life and breath and all things" (Psalm 145:9; Acts 17:25).  Grateful acknowledgement of the Giver provides a fuller experience of things that bring happiness and pleasure.  Indeed, we miss something when we allow a happy moment to simply be a happy moment.  At the very least, a deep sense of inner thanksgiving must grace our hearts, and we also do well to frequently look toward Heaven with a conscious and expressed "Thank You!"  Yes, acknowledging our Father for the blessings of life must consistently and increasingly accompany our journey both now and forevermore.  "I will give thanks to Thee forever!" (Psalm 30:12).

    We must also "acknowledge Him" along thorny pathways.  This presents great challenge because pain and difficulty tempts us to divert our focus from the One who promises Himself as "a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).  Our flesh resists viewing difficulty as what one author called, "the strange garb of the Divine."  Of course, the cross of our Lord Jesus should tell us that God does wondrous things in sorrow, loss, suffering, and even death.  Our very salvation depends on our acknowledging Calvary not only as the horrific injustice it was, but far more, as the hope of our eternal redemption.  "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).  All other trouble pales in comparison to the cross, and thus we must "acknowledge Him" in troubles as being present - "very present" - and working to fulfill His good purposes in our lives.

    Finally, much of life may seem to offer neither blessing or trouble, but rather the everyday matters of home, work, travel, and other repetitive functions that can seem mundane.  Perhaps they are.  However, acknowledging our Heavenly Father along well worn pathways of the ordinary opens our eyes to sometimes see glories we miss if we forget His working in "all thy ways."  Much of life may continue to seem mundane, ordinary, and repetitive.  However, something happens in our hearts when we "acknowledge Him" as the Life of our lives who shines His light into those who open their eyes to see...

"I will look for Him."
(Isaiah 8:17)

Weekly Memory Verse
       "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility."
 (Proverbs 15:33)


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

“Truth and Praise”

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

"Truth and Praise" 
     Many things lead born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to praise God.  Experiences, emotions, the example and encouragement of other Christians - all have their place in motivating and empowering affirmation of our Lord's goodness and greatness.  However, the most powerful prompting of praise involves truth, that is, the more we know God and understand His Word, the more consistently we realize the rightness of expressing our admiration for Him.

    "I will praise Thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned Thy righteous judgments" (Psalm 119:7).

   Discovery of our Lord's character, nature, and way, as revealed in His Word and His corollary working in our lives, results in praise as He amazes us with wonder.  Emotion may be involved, but is not necessary.  Experience surely has a place as the Holy Spirit applies the principles of His Word in faithful application to the events of our lives.  Seeing His work in others also leads to the appreciation that fosters admiration and our expression thereof.  However, the most prevalent motivator for praising God remains the Psalmist's confession that learning God'"righteous judgments" (e.g., - perfectly correct decisions, manner, execution, ways) leads to praise.  "As for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31).  Truth, as revealed to our hearts and minds by the Scriptures and Holy Spirit, inspires us to the consistent affirmation for which our Lord is so worthy, and which has such mighty impact in our hearts.  

   Who is God?  What has He done?  What is He doing?  What will He do forevermore through the Lord Jesus, and by His Spirit?  Learning the answers to these primary inquiries of our existence cannot fail to ignite and perpetually fuel a Christ-admiring heart in all who respond to God's light regarding Himself.  Thus, a consistently read and pondered Bible leads to praise.  Prayer also leads us to extol our Heavenly Father as it prepares us for discovery of how present and involved He is in our lives, and in His working in all things.  Essentially, Truth most motivates and empowers a heart of praise as we learn the determinations and ways of God that lead to "I will praise Thee."

"Teach me Thy way, O LORD; I will walk in Thy truth.  Unite my heart to fear Thy name. I will praise Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify Thy name for evermore."
(Psalm 86:11-12)

Weekly Memory Verse
       "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility."
 (Proverbs 15:33)


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

“Expectation and Wonder”

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

"Expectation and Wonder"
     Infinite glories of God's Person and work await born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, both now and forevermore.  "The unsearchable riches of Christ" will never be exhausted, revealing the eternal magnitude of who our Lord is and what He does.  This should thrill our hearts with grateful remembrance of wonders already viewed, and joyful anticipation of wonders to come (Ephesians 3:8).

    "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).

    We will never fully plumb the depths of God's goodness.  Nor will we ascend to the summit of His greatness.  No horizon awaits us that concludes our journey into His abounding grace, and our Lord's truth will perpetually illuminate and stimulate our minds with Light that "shineth more and more" (Psalm 31:19, Psalm 145:3; Romans 5:20; Proverbs 4:18).  Our Heavenly Father made and redeemed us for this journey into forever, and into "wonders without number" (Job 9:10).  

    "Call unto Me, and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3).  

   Our role in the journey begins with the expectation of faith.  We must believe that God purposes to reveal Himself and His truth to our hearts and minds.  Scripture refers to the Lord Jesus in terms of communication - "the Word" - not merely as an exalted title (John 1:1).  It rather promises that faith in the Savior gives us eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to receive the "great and mighty things" God desires His children to discover.  The Holy Spirit illuminates His Word, the Bible, and His world, God's creation, to all who anticipate by faith that God desires His dynamic presence and involvement to be known and experienced.  "Thy Word is truth… The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen" (John 17:17; Romans 1:20).  

    How present and involved is He?  "God… worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:3; 11).  How much do we see?  Little, compared to what can be known and perceived.  However, we can always know more, and the expectation of faith prepares our hearts to be enlightened and enthralled as the Psalmist's promise graces our expectant hearts, "In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).  This day offers the possibility in the Word of God as we ponder and apply its truth, and in the world of God as our Lord walks with and within us along every pathway.  Presently, "we see through a glass, darkly" (I Corinthians 13:12).  But we do see as we anticipate God's Person and work.  David realized this blessed life of expectation resulting in wonder, and may we join in his affirmation…

"My expectation is from Him."
(Psalm 62:5)   

 Weekly Memory Verse
       "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility."
 (Proverbs 15:33)


Monday, March 2, 2020

“Search Me”

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

"Search Me"
     I recently read a book by a fairly well known Christian communicator of the mid 20th century.  Many of his thoughts blessed me with their Scripturally reasoned insight and sometimes brilliant analysis.  However, I also found myself disturbed by a recurring feature that raised questions about the gentleman's perception of himself and others.  When referencing positive aspects of Christian life and experience, he tended to use the pronouns "we" and "us".  Conversely, when mentioning occasions of sin, wandering, and failure, "you" and "your" characterized his rhetoric.   

    "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility" (Proverbs 15:33).

   I mean no disrespect to the brother in Christ I reference.  However, I found his focus disconcerting and even disturbing.  Certainly we all see imperfections in fellow believers as we journey together through this present lifetime.  Moreover, Scripture calls us to sometimes serve as God's correcting agent when brothers or sisters stumble (Galatians 6:1).  We do so, however, with the attitude of humility that acknowledges our own susceptibility to sin and too many occasions of unbelief and disobedience.  No believer perfectly orders his steps along the path of righteousness.  Note the Apostle John's use of the proper pronoun regarding this reality: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8).  Certainly sin is never inevitable or excusable in the Christian's life and experience.  It does happen, however, and if my primary focus involves the wandering of others, my attitude reveals my need to humble myself before the Lord in personal repentance.  Again, David expressed the proper pronoun in his cry for the Lord's correction and restoration: "Search me, o God, and know my heart.  Try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).

   Pride ever lurks as the deceiver and destroyer it is.  Satan and his minions are not above using devotion to God as an enticing influence, tempting believers who sincerely seek a faithful walk with God with pride of accomplishment rather than gratitude for the grace that motivates and enables godliness.  The temptation also involves our forgetting how often we have not availed ourselves of such freely given provision in Christ.  Regarding the brother mentioned, I again mean no disrespect, and I realize that my notice of his focus must lead me to emphasize my own need for the Lord's ongoing work of growth and correction. "Search me, o God…"

"Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
(Luke 18:10-14)

Weekly Memory Verse
       "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility."
 (Proverbs 15:33)