Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Orange Moon “The Imperfections of Perfection"

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


   "The Imperfections of Perfection"


    Battle scars, as it were, mar the resurrected, glorified body of the Lord Jesus Christ.


    "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 20:27).


    Some have suggested the wounds of the Savior will forever be the only imperfections in Heaven.  This poignant thought bears much truth, although believers will also affirm that the Savior's scars speak to our hearts of a perfection of love, grace,  mercy, and holy righteousness too wondrous to ever fully comprehend


    "For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings" (Hebrews 2:10).


    How could the second Person of the triune Godhead, who eternally dwelled in pristine perfection before His advent, and who lived without sin during His earthly lifetime, be "made perfect?"  The answer lies in God's redeeming purposes for us.  Someone had to suffer, be forsaken, and die for sins and sinners.  Someone "without spot or blemish" had to serve as the righteous bearer of our iniquities for God to be "just and the justifier of Him which believeth in Jesus" (I Peter 1:19; Romans 3:26).  Someone had to so identify with fallen humanity that He could serve as the intercessor between ourselves and an infinite, holy God (Hebrews 7:25).  Yes, someone - Someone - had to be wounded and remain wounded even in His risen glory if we are to have hope for eternal favor, acceptance, and relationship with our Heavenly Father.  The Lord Jesus is that someone, and He "became perfect" by making the sacrifice that alone can "save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).  His wounds make Him complete in the sense of fulfilling His office of salvation for us in accordance with the eternal purpose of God.


   Thereby "By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14).  When we become God's spiritual son or daughter through faith in Christ, our Heavenly Father forever sees us thereafter as "complete in Him" (Colossians 2:10).  Of course, we are not yet perfect in our doings, but we are perfect in the sense of being united to Christ and enrobed in His justifying righteousness.  "Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us… righteousness" (I Corinthians 1:30).  Indeed, God sees us through the lens of His beloved Son.  He sees the wounds, and then sees us as "justified by His grace" (Titus 3:7).


    Imperfections?  Yes, it can be said that the only ones in Heaven will forever be the prints of nails and a spear on the body of One.  However, myriads of Blood-washed and Spirit-renewed saints will contend forevermore that nothing more bears witness to the pristine perfection of our beloved Savior than the wounds inflicted when He suffered and died for our sins.  He is "the Lamb that was slain" and the Lord whom we love because with our own glorified eyes, we will forever see in Heaven the imperfections of Perfection.


"We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren."

(Hebrews 2:9-11)


Weekly Memory Verse 

     If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.

(I John 1:7)




















































Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Orange Moon "The Wages of Sin"

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


   "The Wages of Sin"


    "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23)


    While sin will take its terrible and eternal toll on multitudes who do not repent and believe, the greatest consequence of sin involves not sinners, but rather the One who "bore our sins" and was "made to be sin for us" (I Peter 2:24; II Corinthians 5:21).


    "Christ died for our sins" (I Corinthians 15:3).


    The Prince of life experienced death for our sake.  What would this have involved in His vibrant, eternally alive spirit?  What horror would the Lord Jesus Christ have known by bearing our sins, and even more, by the Apostle Peter's incomprehensible description of our Savior "made to be sin?"  The Christ who "loved righteousness and hated iniquity" somehow became on the cross of Calvary that which utterly conflicts with His pristinely holy nature (Hebrews 1:9).  Thus, He died as the object of God's wrath against sin.  Little wonder He cried out "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46).  And little wonder our Lord will "never forsake" those who believe when He paid such a price to secure our eternal redemption (Hebrews 13:5).


    "But none of the ransomed ever knew 

how deep were the waters  crossed, 

nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through 

'ere He found His sheep that was lost." 

(from The Ninety and Nine, Elizabeth Clephane)


   How terrible the consequences of sin regarding the lost and unbelieving sinner, of whom the Lord Jesus declared, "If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24).  But how much more terrible that the One who did nothing to deserve "the wages of sin" nevertheless received them as administered by the Father who loved Him.  How deep the waters?  How dark the night?  We will never know.  But we can believe, and in this moment we can join the throng of praise depicted in the book of Revelation to express our loving devotion to so wonderful a Savior...


"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth forever and ever."

(Revelation 5:11-14)


Weekly Memory Verse 

     If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.

(I John 1:7)




















































Monday, September 28, 2020

Orange Moon "Trusting Hearts, Humble Repentance"

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


   "Trusting Hearts, Humble Repentance"


    We can all look back on our lives and think of things we should and should not have done.  Some involve sins, while others were simply mistakes based on inadequate knowledge, poor preparation, or misjudgment.  We may bear scars from some of our wayward steps, especially if our detours affected others.  Surely a healthy regret is in order regarding our wrong decisions and actions, or in Biblical terms, a holy repentance and godly sorrow.


    "I will be sorry for my sin" (Psalm 38:18).


    Of course, we are not meant to be paralyzed by our remembrance of wrong, nor would our Heavenly Father have us to bear a burden the Lord Jesus Christ bore on the cross of Calvary when He died for our sins.  His sacrifice outweighs our sins in the sight of God so thoroughly that "of their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 10:17).  Seen through the shed scarlet blood of the Lord Jesus, God sees our wrongs "as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18).  We must join Him in the affirmation, rejoicing and affirming that "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Romans 5:20).  However, it remains true that some sins and mistakes affect us throughout our lifetime as scars that seem to hinder and even harm.  How do we deal with those?  


   Certainly our scars can and should have an educational effect.  We must learn from our sins and mistakes.  However, we also realize that our Heavenly Father knew the wrongs we would commit before we were even born.  Without minimizing their darkness and effect, and certainly without neglecting genuine repentance, we nevertheless may come to Throne of God's grace in the realization He can weave the threads of our lives into His purposes as we trust Him and honestly acknowledge our sins and mistakes.  This involves the most serious of issues in our walk with Him. Sin can never be taken lightly.  However, the wonder of God's mercy also promises that He often brilliantly reveals His glory where it seems it should not be.  Our Father is that loving, involved, and gracious, and His Son's person and work on our behalf is that triumphant, powerful, and efficacious in all who approach the Throne of grace with trusting hearts of humble repentance.


"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest…. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice.

(Psalm 51:1-4; 7-8)

"If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin."

(I John 1:7)


Weekly Memory Verse 

  If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.

(I John 1:7)




















































Friday, September 25, 2020

Orange Moon Cafe "Hesitant, But Holy"

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


(a bit longer than usual, but the subject matter is so vital to a consistent walk of faith and faithfulness to God that I am taking a liberty. Thanks).


   "Hesitant, But Holy"


    In our present existence, our immediate response to the will of God may involve hesitation.  This does not necessarily mean we are not submitted to the will of God, nor that we have disobeyed.  Two Biblical illustrations confirm this truth.


    "A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard.  He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first" (Matthew 21:28-31).


    As long as believers live with the flesh in which resides a "law of sin," impulses contrary to the will of God will remain with us even as we walk faithfully with God (Romans 7:22).  No less than the Apostle Paul testified accordingly: "When I would do good, evil is present with me" (Romans 7:21).  Like the first son who initially balked, but who ultimately obeyed, believers must often make choices of faith and submission to God while our fleshly inclinations flow in a very different direction.  "The flesh lusteth against the spirit" (Galatians 5:17). Indeed, the first son in the parable above serves as one of my favorite Biblical characters.  He was hesitant, but holy.  Another Biblical character, however, serves as a far greater and much holier example of overcoming keen internal challenge in order to do the will of God:


    "And 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" (Luke 22:41-42).


    The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, perfectly devoted and perfectly obedient to the will of God, nevertheless felt the natural human impulse to not do what He knew He had been sent by His Father to do.  He was "tempted in all points like as we are" (Hebrews 4:15).  He overcame, of course, and trounced the devil, the world, and the flesh every time they confronted His devotion to His Father. However, the Lord Jesus felt what it feels like to be tempted as a man, or as the writer of Hebrews described, He was "touched with the feeling of our infirmities."  What a wonder!  And what an example and encouragement to us!  Even our Savior found it necessary to overcome temptation.  His perfection did not preclude such challenge, nor does our imperfection keep us from overcoming such challenge.  Our great and faithful High Priest has journeyed upon the tempting paths we traverse every day.  And became He overcame, we can overcome through Him also.


   "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).  


   In times when some aspect of God's will seems like the thing we most want to do, let us rejoice in the Holy Spirit's working in our hearts "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).  However, we also do well to rejoice that all is not lost when obedience to our Father seems far removed from our human inclinations.  In fact, much can be gained when we realize that temptation is not sin, nor must it inevitably lead to sin.  Temptation rather affords blessed opportunity to "look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).  The One who overcame in His humanity now lives in us by His Spirit to provide overcoming grace in our humanity.  Recognizing the difference between temptation and succumbing to temptation will go far in leading us to follow the son who resisted and then obeyed, and even more, the only begotten Son who also knew what it means to be "hesitant, but holy." His overcoming of temptation resulted in our eternal salvation, and also in His complete awareness of the challenges we face...

"Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted."

(Hebrews 2:17-18) 

"We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

(Hebrews 4:15-16)


Weekly Memory Verse 

   "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe." 

(Proverbs 18:10)