Monday, November 30, 2020

Orange Moon "Faithful and True - Perfectly and Forever"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon CafĂ©… 


"Faithful - Perfectly and Forever"


    No one has ever trusted in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and been disappointed for doing so.  And no one ever will.


    "He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded" (I Peter 2:6).


    While our Lord's ways often greatly challenge our understanding - and sometimes our comfort - those who believe His promises journey upon the only safe path that exists for human hearts.  All other roads lead to destruction, regardless of how pleasant and promising they may appear as we embark upon them.  God alone is perfectly true, perfectly faithful, and without the possibility of fabrication or dishonesty.  "God… cannot lie" (Titus 1:2).  Thus, even when trusting His heart and His Word leads us along steep and thorny trails, we can be completely sure that no matter what, our Heavenly Father will vindicate His assurances and fill our hearts with joy that we trusted the One, the only One, who does not disappoint.  "Our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name" (Psalm 33:21).


   I often think of my earthly father when sharing this truth regarding the Heavenly Father who does not disappoint.  My dad died when I was two years old.  I remember little about him.  However, my family has long told me how much he loved me and desired to rear me as the loving father he was.  Human weakness, however, made this impossible in the form of a heart attack that took his life at the age of 37.  He wanted to be faithful to me for a much longer time.  But he couldn't.  I also think of earthly fathers who possess the ability to be faithful to their children, but choose not to do so by desertion, neglect, or cruelty.  They can be trustworthy.  But they won't.  Thus, either by weakness or willfulness, many earthly fathers do not fulfill their responsibility (and no earthly father perfectly does so).  


   There is a Father who can and will be completely faithful to all who trust Him.  There is a Father who cannot lie.  There is a Father whose word cannot be broken.  There is a Father who keeps in the most intricate detail every promise He ever makes.  There is a Father whose Spirit bears witness in this moment that someone exists who can be trusted "with all thine heart" (Proverbs 3:5; emphasis added).  There is a Father who is perfectly faithful and perfectly true. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus is this holy one in whom we can rest our hearts with complete confidence and assurance.  Because no one has ever trusted Him and been disappointed for doing so.  And no one ever will.


"Great is Thy faithfulness… Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds."

(Lamentations 3:23; Psalm 36:5)

"Thy Word is truth."

(John 17:17)


Weekly Memory Verse

    He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded.

(I Peter 2:6)




















Saturday, November 28, 2020

Orange Moon "How??? That!!!

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


"How???  That!!! 


    Two parallel tracks presently run through the world.


    "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord" (Psalm 33:5).

    "The whole world lieth in wickedness" (I John 5:19).


     This raises a simple question: which is greater, God's goodness, or the devilish and human wickedness so prevalent throughout the earth?  Appearances and actual events often seem to argue for the supremacy of evil.  Truth, however, declares that no matter what we see or experience, "God… worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:11).  While not determining wickedness, or being in any way responsible for it, our Lord nevertheless works amid both good and bad to fulfill what Scripture refers to as "the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:11).


    Of course, this perhaps raises more questions than it answers.  How can God fit all things together for the glory of His Son, the redemption of sinners, and a gravely damaged universe?  Run far and fast from anyone who contends they have more than cursory answers to this inquiry.  Finite human understanding, even as illuminated by Biblical revelation, can only go so far in discovering our Lord's wondrous ways of coordination and synthesis.  Certainly, we can know some of His whys and wherefores in the light of His Word.  "In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).   Most importantly, however, we can know Him well enough to be completely confident that He presently and dynamically involves His heart and hand in all things.  And we can know that "all things work together for good to them that love God, and who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).


   That which we cannot know and understand must lead us to affirm that which we can know and understand.  Namely…


     God is God.


     His Word is true.


     He works all things after the counsel of His will.


     He works all things together for good to them that love Him.


     He can be completely trusted.


     We are on a need to know basis with Him.


     We can never know all, but we can know some, and we can know more as we seek and submit to our Lord.


    Every word of Scripture has either already been perfectly fulfilled, or will be perfectly fulfilled.


    God is so intimately involved in our lives that He numbers the hairs of our heads.


    Grace and mercy governs His heart toward humanity, but truth, justice, and righteousness will be vindicated.


    God will complete His historical and ultimate purposes. "And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him, and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.  And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign forever and ever" (Revelation 22:3-5).


    These and many other assurances of Scripture provide what we can know always, that while good and evil presently coexist in God's creation, the former transcends the latter by an infinite measure.  This is especially vital to remember when we face things beyond our understanding.  We may not know or understand how our Lord works in all things.  But we can be absolutely sure that He does.


"As for God, His way is perfect."

(II Samuel 22:31)

"I will trust in Thee."

(Psalm 55:23)


Weekly Memory Verse

   In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

(I Thessalonians 5:18)




















Friday, November 27, 2020

Orange Moon "Forgiven Forever, Faithful Forever"

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


"Forgiven Forever, Faithful Forever"


    "For the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endureth to all generations" (Psalm 100:5).


   Perpetual mercy and truth flow from God's perfect goodness.  The former references His great desire to forgive rather than condemn.  The latter assures us that His character, nature, and ways do not change.  


    "For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive" (Psalm 86:5).

    "I am the Lord.  I change not" (Malachi 3:6).


   When we trust the Lord Jesus Christ, God bestows a mercy of pardon He promises never to rescind.  Indeed, He does not place the sins of Christians on our account.  "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Romans 4:8).  He rather relates to us as a loving Father, meaning He will certainly administer discipline as necessary in our times of waywardness.  "Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Hebrews 12:6).  Never, however, must we be concerned that He will unforgive, as it were, sins God deems as forever atoned for by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.  The goodness of enduring truth accompanies the goodness of everlasting mercy.  "God shall send forth His mercy and His truth" (Psalm 57:3).


     This security of relationship with God through Christ, rightly understood in the light of Scripture, bestows the only solid foundation for faith and faithfulness available to human hearts.  A lesser salvation could never motivate genuine and abiding love for God, based on His genuine and abiding love for us.  "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19).  The faithfulness of His truth must accompany the forgiveness of His  mercy if we are to have any hope whatsoever.  Only in the Lord Jesus do we find this blessed union that promises eternal relationship with God for all who receive His saving grace.  "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Psalm 85:10).


   The believer's relationship with God rests solely and forever on the Person and work of the Lord Jesus on our behalf.  "Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (I Corinthians 1:30).  So long as it remains true that "Christ died for our sins" and that "He ever liveth to make intercession for them," our sins will remain forgiven and our relationship with God secure (I Corinthians 15:3; Hebrews 7:25).  Upon this solid rock of assurance, we first kneel in wonder.  Then we arise to walk in the worship that fosters joyous gratitude, but also the solemn determination that we cannot take advantage of the grace that comes freely to us, but which cost our God far more than we will ever know.  Yes, mercy flows from Calvary upon the floodtides of truth.  Forgiven forever, this is the assurance of mercy and truth that alone motivates our desire to be faithful forever to our God whose goodness can never be fully fathomed.


"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

(Psalm 23:6)


Weekly Memory Verse

   In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

(I Thessalonians 5:18)




















Thursday, November 26, 2020

Orange Moon Thanksgiving 2020 - Part 8 - "The Observer"

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


Thanksgiving 2020


Part 8 - "The Observer"


     Were it possible for some being to exist outside God and humanity who witnessed the relationship of the Divine and the human, the observer would come away with several perspectives.  First, he would determine, "This God is a being of immeasurable lovingkindness, grace, and mercy.  He gives and gives and gives."  Conversely, the witness's view of human beings would be far less respectful.  "Even the most devoted among them fall far short in genuine appreciation and gratitude for a God so possessed of wondrous generosity.  And some never give thanks at all!"


    "He is kind unto the unthankful" (Luke 6:35).


     It would be embarrassing if such a watcher of Divine/human affairs did actually exist.  Thankfully, this is not the case.  The disturbing implication of the illustration remains, however.  Every honest human heart must acknowledge the vast deficit that exists in our giving of thanks.  In one sense, this is inevitable because our Heavenly Father "gives and gives and gives" to the degree we could never fully express our appreciation for the "wonders without number" He bestows upon us (Job 9:10).  However, it remains true that none of us have begun to feel gratitude or express thanksgiving in adequate response to the undeserved goodness of God.  "What hast thou that thou didst not receive?" asked the Apostle Paul (I Corinthians 4:7).  We all know the answer - or we should.  Moreover, as considered in yesterday's message, we all know that God's giving comes to us only because the sacrifice of His Son purchased everything He will ever bestow upon us.  "He that spared not His own Son, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).


    This is written first as a reminder and challenge to my own heart.  My deficit of thanksgiving is vast in light of both God's gracious generosity and my neglect.  Perhaps you share the sense of wonder and remorse.  If so, we do well to remember that our Lord's giving includes His longsuffering patience with us.  He does not condemn His trusting children in Christ for our failure to adequately realize and respond to His kindness.  He does, however, desire that we better know His provision and our need.  Thereby we more and more walk in truth, and thereby we also more and more access His abundant supply of "all things."  Genuine thanksgiving inevitably results, and if that observer did exist, hopefully he might say of us: "Well, at least they seem to know to some degree how good is their God, and how much more and better they need to give Him thanks." So be it, and may we all grow in our own personal observation of the Lord's measureless generosity, and that we must join the Psalmist in his desire to better appreciate the wonder...


"I… will yet praise Thee more and more."

(Psalm 71:14)


Weekly Memory Verse

   In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

(I Thessalonians 5:18)




















Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Orange Moon Thanksgiving 2020 - Part 7 - "All Things"

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


Thanksgiving 2020


Part 7 - "All Things"


    "He that spared not His own Son, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:3 ).


    The "all things" God will eternally - and in this moment - freely give to us cost Him far more than we will ever know.  "He… spared not His own Son" not only to deliver us from eternal judgment, but also to purchase the "life and breath and all things" with which He will bless us forever (Acts 17:25).


    We correctly think of salvation upon first consideration of the Lord Jesus and His sacrifice.  God forgives, indwells, and assures all who believe that He will bestow upon us "everlasting habitations" in His presence (Luke 16:9).  Certainly, this is primary in our understanding of God's "unspeakable gift" through the Lord Jesus (II Corinthians 9:15).


    However, Paul references "all things" regarding the gift of Christ.  The measure of such grace involves more than salvation.  Our Savior's sacrifice purchased everything God has ever given or ever will give to us.  In our Heavenly Father's infinite perspective, the Lord Jesus is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8).  God has always related to the human race in the light of Christ's sacrifice, either as the promise to come, or the promise fulfilled.  He could give us nothing but judgment apart from the Lamb. Through Him, He instead reveals His longsuffering patience to all, presently giving "life and breath and all things" even to those who reject Him, and the provision of a loving Father to those who receive Him (Acts 17:25).   "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19)


    No more significant or solemn truth graces the pages of Scripture.  The Lord Jesus suffered and died to make it possible for God to "freely us all things."  This applies to everything God has given, or ever will give to us.  Everything. All things were were purchased by the suffering, forsakenness, and death of the Lord Jesus.  When we thank God for His gifts, whatever their nature or measure may be, we thank Him for the price He paid to make possible His bestowal, be it our next breath, or some grace we will know far yonder in our Heavenly eternity.  Nothing will more motivate our deepest gratitude and the desire to give thanks to our wondrous Lord.  Nor will anything more bear witness to what we know most deeply within, namely, we can never God thanks well enough, or often enough.


"We Thy people and sheep of Thy pasture will give Thee thanks forever."

(Psalm 79:13)


Weekly Memory Verse

   In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

(I Thessalonians 5:18)