Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Orange Moon Tuesday, August 31, 2021 "The Good Fight"

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

"The Good Fight"


    "Somebody is trying to discourage me!"


    It could be said that three races of beings exist.  First, the Divine race of God, consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Then, the human race to which we belong.  And finally, the angelic race, composed of spiritual beings that include both devoted ministers of God, and also fallen angels who joined Lucifer in his rebellion.

   The third race refers to the opening statement above.  We do well to remember that we live our lives not only with God, people, and faithful angels said to be "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Hebrews 1:14).  Satan and his minions also exist in the present realm wherein they ever seek to cast us down.  They likely know better than we do the monumental nature and extent of the salvation God gives to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Moreover, they can do nothing to steal our relationship with God and His mighty presence within our hearts and our lives.  They can, however, tempt us to discouragement by distraction and deception, as allowed by God (Job, of course, being a prime example of such devilish attacks).  Thus, when we feel cast down and tempted to focus on ourselves and how we feel, we do well to realize we presently live not only in the presence of God, people, and faithful angels, but also with devilish foes who ever seek to divert us from God and His empowering and encouraging truth.

    Somebody is trying to discourage us!  This should get our spiritual dander up!  Far more, it should call us to engage and "fight the good fight of faith" (I Timothy 6:12).  We do this not by directly confronting our enemies, but rather by humbly and confidently seeking our Heavenly Father.  As James taught, we "resist the devil" by submitting ourselves to God (James 4:7).  We remember who our Lord is, what He has done, is doing, and will forever do for us.  We also realize that unseen, malevolent beings seek to do us harm in the only way they can, by distracting us from "so great salvation" and so great a Savior (Hebrews 2:3).  Such awareness should lead us to refuse to be cast down, and to arise as "a good soldier of Jesus Christ" to do battle through Him (II Timothy 2:3).  

     Yes, we must fight the good fight.   "By God's abounding grace, I am not going to let my Lord's enemies succeed!  I will gird on the sword of His Word, trust in the power of His Spirit, and arise in the realization that a defeated foe seeks to discourage me."  Again, this motivates a different sensibility and reaction than we often initially experience in times of challenge.  Indeed, it is one thing to think, "Why do I feel down and discouraged?"  It is quite another to consider, "Enemies who hate my Lord and who hate me seek to divert my focus to myself and how I feel.  I must fight the good fight and not allow them to succeed!"  Thus, we look to "the Captain of our salvation," and thus, we overcome by realizing the nature of the conflict in which we must presently do battle through Him (Hebrews 2:10).  Yes, somebody ever seeks to discourage us.  They can only do so if we fail to recognize their attack, and if we fail to stand with and by our Captain.  Let us arise, therefore, and fight the good fight, the good fight of faith!

"Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty."
(Psalm 45:3)
"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
(Ephesians 6:16-17)
"This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
(I John 5:4)

Weekly Memory Verse
   To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 
(Romans 8:6)








Monday, August 30, 2021

Orange Moon Monday, August 30, 2021 "Spiritually Minded"

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

"Spiritually Minded"


    "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6).

    Spiritual mindedness means our thoughts are led and enabled by the Holy Spirit who indwells all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  As we trust and submit to God, seek Him in His Word, and fellowship with like-minded Christians, our Heavenly Father enables us to think in terms of Himself and His truth.  

    "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established" (Proverbs 16:3).

   Certainly, this does not preclude thoughts contrary to the glory and will of God.  Thinking rightly - spiritually - involves a fight in our present existence.  The Apostle Paul teaches that we must "cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:5).  This references thinking and thoughts that do not accord with truth.  Fighting "the good fight of faith" involves identifying carnal (fleshly) thoughts, and then putting them to death, as it were, by replacing them with thoughts of truth (I Timothy 6:12).  We face an ongoing conflict, and we do well to realize that regarding how and what we think, believers awaken to every new day on a battlefield whereupon enemies await to wield their weapons of falsehood against us.  We must, therfore, be ready to fight, to fight "the good fight" whereby we "think on these things," that is, on the truths God provides for us in His Word (Philippians 4:8)

    "Am I thinking rightly about this?"  We do well to frequently offer this vital inquiry to our Heavenly Father.  We then give ourselves to seriously consider whether our thoughts about matters accord with His truth, and the path leading from it.  Indeed, spiritual mindedness does not just happen in our present existence.  Certainly, the Holy Spirit works mightily to motivate and empower proper thinking about God, ourselves, people, events, blessings, challenges, and the world around us.  We, must, however, respond in faith and committed devotion if our thoughts are to be established in the Lord and His truth.  It is hard to imagine a more important aspect of what it means to walk with God in a fallen world.  In this regard, a well worn path leads to and from Psalm 139:23-24.  We do well to frequently make our journey upon it…

"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."


"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee."
(Isaiah 26:3)


Weekly Memory Verse
   To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 
(Romans 8:6)








Friday, August 27, 2021

Orange Moon Friday, August 27, 2021 "Barrabas or Christ?"

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

"Barrabas or Christ?"


    "Will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?   Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber" (John 18:39-40).

   Pilate made the people a simple offer:  Release Christ the giver, or Barrrabas the taker?  The people chose poorly.

   Lest we be overly critical of the foolish mob, we do well to consider how often in our lives we have opted for that which harms rather than benefits.  Indeed, every sin we have ever committed follows the pattern.

   "The wages of sin is death, but gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

   It matters not the nature of our distrust and disobedience.  All somehow robs from us at the very least, or as the Apostle declared, kills us at the worst.  By "death" in the context of Romans 6, Scripture does not allude to physical death, or in the case of believers, spiritual death.  It rather refers to the reality that when we disbelieve and disobey God, we forfeit the experience of Christ's life regarding the temptation to which we succumb.  If we lie, for example, we fail to know the blessedness of the One who declared, "I… the truth" (John 14:6).  Sin pays its wages, by taking something precious from us, namely, "the power of an endless life" that fills and fulfills our hearts with truth (even when overcoming the challenge at hand involves sacrifice).

    Conversely, God's grace supplies a gift, the gift of "eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  Again, the context of the Apostle Paul's declaration refers not to the "eternal life" of the hereafter, but rather to our experience of eternal life in the present.  We already "have eternal life" as believers in the Lord Jesus (I John 5:13).  We have Him, who proclaimed of Himself, "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25).  When we trust and obey God through the power of the Holy Spirit, we experience the risen Christ as the Life of our lives.  We know Grace the giver, and thus, the freely given provision of God rather than having such precious blessedness taken from us by sin the robber.

    We do well to think in these terms as we seek to walk with God in faith and faithfulness.  Like a mob that long ago rejected life and embraced death, we can foolishly opt for that which kills rather than enlivens.  Or, we can "choose life" through the trust and submission that engages our hearts, hands, and feet with the gracious life that dwells within us through the presence of the Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 30:19).  The correct decision seems obvious.  It is obvious.  In our present existence, however, we can still choose Barrabas rather than Christ.  May we then remember Grace the giver and sin the taker.  Or, as the writer of Hebrews enjoins…

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

Weekly Memory Verse
     Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
 (Psalm 90:1)







Thursday, August 26, 2021

Orange Moon Thursday, August 26, 2021 "A Name To Be Remembered"

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

"A Name To Be Remembered"

    I recently watched an interview from many years ago with a well known personality who professes faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  "Everybody knows my name!" she exulted.  I mean no disrespect by the thoughts that follow, and I do not question the genuineness of her relationship with God.  However, born again believers in the Lord seek not the notoriety of their own names, but rather the glory of Another:

   "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).

    In terms of eternally enduring worth and significance, the awareness by many or few of our own names means nothing.  Nobody can be redeemed from sin by our name.  No one can better walk with God because they know our name.  Nor will others knowing our name mean anything at all as we breathe our last earthly breath.   One Name only provides salvation, life, and righteous aspiration both now and forevermore:

    "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
    "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11).

   Nearly a half century after the personality mentioned has seen her name on marquees around the world, I wonder what it means to her now?  If she truly knows the Lord Jesus, the glimmer of seeing her name in bright lights must surely have faded in her heart and mind.  Indeed, the more one knows the Savior, and the more one discovers the sacrifice He suffered for our redemption and newness of life in Him, the more "Not unto us… but Thy name give glory!" becomes the guiding motivation of our hearts.  No name warrants glory that does not belong to the One whose body eternally bears the prints of nails and the wound of a spear.   May we then seek to further not our name's renown, but rather "that Name which is above every name."

"I will make Thy Name to be remembered in all generations: therefore, shall the people praise Thee forever and ever."
(Psalm 45:17)

Weekly Memory Verse
     Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
 (Psalm 90:1)




Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Orange Moon Wednesday, August 25, 2021 “Secret Things, Things Revealed”

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

"Secret Things, Things Revealed"


    Are there answers to all the questions of life regarding God, ourselves, others, the world, history, and our Lord's personal working in our lives?  Certainly, there are.  Will we, however, be privy to all the answers?  Certainly, we will not.

    "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us, and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 29:29).

   Only God possesses and knows the answers to every question.  "His understanding is infinite" (Psalm 147:5).  He alone knows both the "secret" and the "revealed" truth regarding all things.  Thankfully, He is willing to answer many inquiries for those who seek His light.

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

    Our Heavenly Father offers much light and insight to those who call upon Him for answers.  He loves for us to ask, and He loves to answer our questions by His Word, His Spirit, His church, and His involvement in the world and in our lives.  But He does not answer every question.  Our minds do not possess the capacity for infinite truth and understanding.  Indeed, the cumulative knowledge acquired by the entire human race throughout history would not amount to a period at the end of a brief sentence when compared with the innumerable volumes that grace the library of the mind of God.  He cannot tell us all because the shelves of our own minds would instantly collapse and disintegrate if the full weight of Divine truth could somehow be placed upon them.  

   Another reason we cannot know all involves the truth that God made us for a relationship with Him that involves dependence on our part, based on provision on His part.  "Secret things" He does not reveal may be sometimes be withheld not because we could not understand, but because answers might tempt us to pride.  "Knowledge puffeth up" (I Corinthians 8:1).  In our present existence, the desire for knowledge does not always constitute a noble pursuit.  Even the most godly among us can desire to know for fleshly rather than spiritual motivations.  "Every man is tempted" declared James, and we can be sure our spiritual enemies sometimes prod believers to gain knowledge that would lead us from dependence and trust to pride and self-sufficiency (James 1:14).

   We can know some.  We can know more.  But we can never know all.  The first two precepts call us to heed Solomon's counsel: "With all thy getting, get understanding" (Proverbs 4:7).  We can all doubtless know much more of God, truth, and reality than we presently do.  However, we make our pursuit with the humility of mind and heart that recognizes perhaps the greatest answer we can ever obtain: "His understanding is infinite."  So long as God knows all, we can rest in the peace and assurance that the One to whom we have committed our eternal well being will guide us in His brilliant light along the pathways of secret things and things revealed…

"O Lord God, Thou knowest."
(Ezekiel 37:3)
"The path of the just is as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day."
(Proverbs 4:18)

Weekly Memory Verse
     Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
 (Psalm 90:1)







Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Orange Moon Tuesday, August 24, 2021 “To Continue As We Began”

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

"To Continue As We Began"


    What is the first thing we should tell someone who has just believed in the Lord Jesus Christ?  While many possibilities present themselves as viable and heart-establishing answers, one seems most in line with what has just occurred.

    "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Colossians 2:6).

   The Apostle Paul declares that every step taken after salvation should be journeyed in line with the first step.  We realize and affirm that our hope for "the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ" flows with the same current of having been freely "made the righteousness of God in Him" (Philippians 1:11; II Corinthians 5:17).   We trust solely in the grace of the Lord Jesus for the power to live the Christian life, just as we trusted Him for the entrance of His redeeming life into our spirits.  Thus, we might say to the new believer:

    "What just happened will happen forever, over and over again.  Just as you looked to "the Author of your faith," now plan on looking with the same view toward "the Finisher of your faith" (Hebrews 12:2).   You trusted the Lord Jesus to be and do for you what you could never be and do in and of yourself.  You cast yourself upon His grace.  He thereby cast upon you and within you "the exceeding riches of His grace" as a free gift (Ephesians 2:7).  "So walk" then as you have "therefore received."  Or, as the writer of Hebrews commanded, 'Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear' " (Hebrews 12:28).

   Our spiritual enemies ever seek to move us away from the dynamic presence and enabling of the Spirit of Christ.  They tempt us by distraction, discouragement, and deception to forget the standard of life to which our Heavenly Father calls us, and to ignore the "power of an endless life" that alone enables us to consistently and increasingly fulfill the standard (Hebrews 7:16).  Indeed, the reception by faith that began our relationship with God through Christ paves the path for a life that reflects our having received the gift.  Our enemies well know this.  We must know it also.  We must ever "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18).  Thereby we "fight the good fight of faith" as the first step becomes the herald and harbinger of every step of trust and obedience we will ever tread with our faithful Lord (I Timothy 6:12).

   Whatever each new day holds, the path of righteousness beckons us to continue as we began.  We can tell the new believer nothing better, nor anything more invigorating and enabling.  Paul confirms with another pronouncement of a faith begun by the Lord Jesus, and a life filled with love and light as we continue to trust Him and Him alone as the Life of our lives…

"We are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."
(Philippians 3:3)

Weekly Memory Verse
     Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
 (Psalm 90:1)







Monday, August 23, 2021

Orange Moon Monday, August 23, 2021 "The Home of Our Hearts"

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

"The Home of Our Hearts"

       After Cain sinned in offering a false worship and then murdering his brother, God sentenced him to be a wanderer throughout the earth.

    "A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth" (Genesis 4:12).

    The same is true of the one who influenced Cain to sin so grievously against the Lord and His truth.

    "And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it" (Job 1:7).

   The inability to find a settled place reflects the inability to experience a settled heart.  This results from rejecting the only abode that exists as a home for hearts.

   "Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations" (Psalm 90:1).

   The Lord Jesus Christ alone provides sanctuary for the heart.  Our spirits wander in futility and restlessness until we enter into the refuge of the Savior.  Even after entering therein, a frustrated devil seeks to tempt us with his discontent and inability to settle.  As with Job, God allows our adversary to challenge the peace of our hearts in order to provide opportunity for remembrance and affirmation the come what may, our spirits found their home when we trusted in the Lord Jesus.  No other dwelling place exists for them.  No other is needed.  Thus, when tempted to discontent by our discontented foe, we remember and affirm with the Psalmist, "Thou art my refuge" (Psalm 142:5).


The heart's home - Christ alone.
The spirit's place - His grace.
No other home, no other place,
no other needed 
than the light of His face
ever shining upon us,
ever glimmering within.
Our hearts came home
when they came to Him.


   Let us expect a frustrated devil to tempt us with his restless dissatisfaction.  Let us even more expect a faithful Savior to remind us that He forever serves as the home of our hearts.  The raging and roiling seas of a fallen world notwithstanding, our spirits indeed came home when they came to Him.  Therein we rest, in the Home of our hearts.

"For we which have believed do enter into rest."
(Hebrews 4:3)
"Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
(Matthew 11:28-30)

Weekly Memory Verse
     Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
 (Psalm 90:1)