Friday, July 31, 2020

Orange Moon Cafe "A Promised Life"

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


  "A Promised Life" 


    In the Old Testament, God promised His earthly people Israel a land.


    "And the Lord appeared unto Abram and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land" (Genesis 12:7).


    In the New Testament, God promises His heavenly people the church a life.


    "The promise of life which is in Christ Jesus" (II Timothy 1:1).


   God will keep His promise to Israel, which will one day fully and forever occupy the promised land under the rule of the Lord Jesus (Micah 4:1-7).  God has already kept, and continues to keep, His promise of life in Christ to all who believe.  "Christ… is thy life" (Colossians 3:4).  Indeed, in the moment a person believes in the Lord Jesus, His Spirit births and enlivens us into living relationship with God so near and vibrant that His Spirit becomes our life.  "To live is Christ" declared the Apostle Paul (Philippians 1:21).  Nothing else qualifies as life in terms of the spiritual vitality that constitutes the essence of God's own being, and the essence of who He made us to be.


    "God is a spirit… That which is born of the Spirit is spirit… Ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you" (John 4:24; 3:6; Romans 8:9).


   "The promise of life" is actual and factual in every believer through Christ's living presence in us, and our being alive in Him.  However, the promise also involves our doings, that is, how we think, speak, act, and relate to God and people.  "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).  Christ lives in us, dwelling within us as the Life of our lives.  We also live through Him by trusting and submitting ourselves to God in the confidence He will empower us to "walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6).  Indeed, consider that whatever this moment and this day involves, we do not have to live as if we are merely ourselves.  We rather live as if we are ourselves inhabited by the abiding and dynamic presence of the living God.  Again, His indwelling life is factual and actual.  Our confidence in such freely given grace determines whether our walk will reflect the reality of "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27).


   "I will dwell in them, and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16).  This is the dual promise of life, the "dwell" already fulfilled in every Christian, and the "walk" more and more fulfilled as we believe the assurance of Christ's motivating and empowering presence.  The blessed reality is all encompassing, meaning we can trust God regarding every aspect of our lives.  "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31).  A promised life, the life of Christ, graces every born again believer in the Lord Jesus with His Person, presence, and power.  We do not live alone, and we do not have to live by merely our human faculties…


"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son."

(I John 5:11)

"Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might."

Ephesians 6:10).


Weekly Memory Verse

    We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

(Romans 5:2)



































Thursday, July 30, 2020

Orange Moon Cafe Ponder? Wonder!

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


  "Ponder?  Wonder!" 


     All that is or ever will be of God's tangible creation has always existed in His heart and mind.


     "Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18).


   "His understanding is infinite" confirms the Psalmist regarding the Divine consciousness for which we have no frame of reference (Psalm 147:5).  Indeed, we think in linear, chronological terms of past, present, and future.  God, conversely, thinks in ways so transcendent that no real description or definition is possible.  As one writer beautifully  expressed, "The flutter of an angel's wing a thousand years hence is as known to God as if it happened in this moment."  


    Theologians often make the attempt to explain our Lord's infinite understanding.  Some offer interesting possibilities.  Personally, however, I find it more beneficial to simply accept the fact of God's knowing (and our unknowing).  This results, as it were, in far more wonder than ponder. The Psalmist agreed: "Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me" (Psalm 131:1).


  I do find interesting the truth that all created things are simply the outward expression of inward glories that have always been in the heart and mind of God.  We might say that time and space existed as eternal blueprints in our Lord before His plans became His execution.  Beauty dwelled within Him before bursting forth in substantive sight, sound, fragrance, texture, and taste.  Most importantly, conscious beings, whether angelic or human, have forever been known by name and personhood before their creation and birth.  This includes you and me.  Our Heavenly Father knew we would be.  He knew believers would believe.  And He knows how He will forever bless us with the love of Christ, and how we will forever respond by being a blessing to Him and to others.  


   This is written as an affirmation, with little or no intention of explanation.  Certainly we can understand much of God and His ways, as revealed in His Word and His working in creation.  "With all thy getting, get understanding" commanded Solomon (Proverbs 4:7). Some things, however, are best understood in the realization we cannot understand.  Our Lord's infinite and eternal knowledge fits into this blessed category, beckoning us not to crane our necks to see more and higher, but to bow our knees and hearts to wonder more deeply and gratefully.


"Our Lord Jesus Christ, which in His times He shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, 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 6:14-16)


Weekly Memory Verse

    We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

(Romans 5:2)



































Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Orange Moon Cafe "Why Grace?" Part 10 - The Finisher

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


  "Why Grace?" 


Part 10 - The Finisher


      Why grace?  Because God's freely given favor in the Lord Jesus Christ finishes what it starts.


    "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).


    Are we "confident of this very thing?"  We should be.  "God is faithful" (I Corinthians 1:9).  We must.  "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17).  Indeed, to the degree we trust in the faithfulness of God significantly determines our own faithfulness to Him (II Corinthians 3:18).  Our enemies ever seek to dampen such confidence, knowing better than we do how much our expectation affects our response to the Lord.  If we forget His promise to finish the work, or if we reverse the emphasis of godliness from Him to ourselves, discouragement inevitably ensues.  This fosters disbelief and disobedience, and the sad fruit of a lesser experience of God's dynamic presence in our lives.  "He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief" (Matthew 13:58).


   "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Ephesians 2:10).  We do well to remember, affirm,  and encourage each other with the blessed truth of being God's project to maintain and finish rather than our own.  We certainly play a significant role of response in the blessed matter, and our confidence enables our access of the Divine power source of all faithfulness.  However, we will not venture far down the path of righteousness apart from maintaining awareness that we are "His workmanship."  Why grace?  Because God finishes what He starts, and we most faithfully play our role in the blessed matter by...


"Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith."

(Hebrews 12:2)

"The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of Thine own hands."

(Psalm 138:8)


Weekly Memory Verse

    We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

(Romans 5:2)



































Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Orange Moon Cafe "Why Grace?" Part 9 - To Us, Through Us

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


  "Why Grace?" 


Part 9 - To Us, Through Us


    How do we best know and grow in the grace of God as revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ?  


    "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18).


    First, we must never fail to be amazed by the grace we have personally received that, as the most familiar of hymns proclaims, "saved a wretch like me."  Every believer should seek to follow the example of the leper who returned to give thanks in wonder that the grace of God found and healed him (Luke 17:12-19).  Indeed, the more we know the undeserved favor that has come to us in the Lord Jesus, the more we will seek to serve as "good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (I Peter 4:10).


However, the most brilliant light whereby we know God's freely given gift of salvation and "the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus" involves not the grace that comes to us, but rather that flows through us (II Timothy 1:1).  


    "The Lord Jesus... said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).


   The grace we have "freely received" becomes the grace we "freely give" through the leadership and enabling of the indwelling Spirit of Christ (Matthew 10:8).  Throughout our Christian life, people in our sphere of influence will need God's undeserved favor as administered through us.  Be if family, friend, or foe, countless opportunities present themselves whereby the words of the Lord Jesus are fulfilled along our personal pathway:


   "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:43-45).


   When we trust and submit to the Lordship of Christ, miracles of grace happen within our hearts whereby we find ourselves giving that which we have received.  The Holy Spirit enables us to bestow grace rather than vitriol and vengeance.  We may initially react to wrongs committed against us in old ways of the flesh.  The Spirit of God turns us inside out, however, reminding us of Christ's loving presence in our hearts, and then enabling us to overcome fleshly response with godly resolve to be those "good stewards of the manifold grace of God."  We find ourselves loving rather than resenting, blessing rather than cursing, and performing acts of grace we know beyond all doubt do not originate in ourselves.  Wonder ensues, then worship, and finally the realization that the grace we received in Christ did far more than merely rescue us from sin.  It also redeemed us unto growing conformity to the spiritual and moral image of Christ. "Walk even as He walked" (I John 2:6).


   God could give us no greater gift than to make us like His Son.  Only His grace accomplishes such transformation and triumph, and only His grace both rescues from, and redeems us unto.  "From" will thrill us forever as we forever rejoice in the grace "that saved a wretch like me."  "Unto," however, reveals even more the answer to "Why grace?"  To make us like His Son - this is the ultimate purpose of God's freely given favor in Christ, and the way we best discover the glory and wonder of grace…


"Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

(II Corinthians 3:18)


Weekly Memory Verse

    We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

(Romans 5:2)