Friday, October 29, 2021

Orange Moon Friday, October 29, 2021 "Influence"

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




   Throughout my childhood, I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ - but not in the sense of "believing" as the Bible commands.

    My inclinations involved an emotional and mental affinity for the person of Christ and the story of His life, death and resurrection. I rarely attended church as a child, and much of my spiritual awareness revolved around sermons on television, movies that depicted the Savior (usually shown during the Christmas season), and bits and pieces from other sources, including an occasional reading of the Bible.

   All this led to a "faith" that had little real influence in my life, or as the Apostle Paul termed, a belief  "in vain" (I Corinthians 15:2).  Thankfully, this changed on September 17, 1975 when by God's grace I trusted the Lord Jesus with my heart.  "With the heart, man believeth unto righteousness" (Romans 10:10).  This led to a changed life in more ways than I realized then, or realize now.  Moreover, being God's chief problem child (!), the change continues to this day.  Indeed, no more glorious promise exists in the pages of God's Word than our Lord's assurance, "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).  Hallelujah!

    Herein lies the issue of genuine Biblical trust, as opposed to the fool's gold of false and vain believing. True faith, as fostered in us by exposure to the living and written Word of God, brings life-changing Divine influence in all who "know the grace of God in truth" (Colossians 1:6). Such consequence establishes the glory, supremacy, and centrality of the Lord Jesus as the great issue of our existence. "He is thy life" (Deuteronomy 30:20). Our experience and outworking of this foundational reality is far from perfect, of course, and we all sometimes find ourselves asleep at the wheel regarding the great fact of life as known in Christ. However, the true believer also discovers that he can never venture far from the hub of his heart because the influence of the Holy Spirit results in contentment  or discontentment based on how well or poorly we walk with our Lord.  Indeed, it was to and about believers that the Apostle Paul wrote, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

   If we could quantify or measure genuine happiness, the most joyful person in the world at this moment would be the believer most aware of the wondrous influence of the Lord Jesus in all things.  Situation, circumstance, or condition would not be the issue. If we could likewise find the most miserable person in the world at this moment, it would again be a believer, a truly born again Christian who has forgotten or disbelieved the Christ-saturated influence of his life.  Again, situation, circumstance or condition would not be the issue. "To live is Christ" declared Paul (Philippians 1:21).  Thus, the Christian cannot escape the influence of the Lord Jesus.  He can forget or ignore it.  But the truth ever abides, based on the faithfulness of God.   "I am with you always… I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Matthew 20:28; Hebrews 13:5).

   For believers, the course of our lives completely involves the Lord Jesus.  As we walk by faith and in determined expectation of His presence and working in our lives, peace and joy accompany our steps.  Conversely, in times of forgetfulness and unbelief, our Lord ensures that we feel and experience the emptiness that always results when we stray from the path of remembrance.  InfluenceGod's influence.  It governs all things in our lives, and becomes more joyfully influential as we remember and affirm the truth of our Lord's presence and working.

"We have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will."
(Ephesians 1:11)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "The way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."
 (Jeremiah 10:23)



Thursday, October 28, 2021

Orange Moon Thursday, October 28, 2021 "Flowing Waters, Stable Rocks"

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

"Flowing Waters, Stable Rocks"

   Nearly everyone loves to see and hear flowing water over stable rocks.  The sight and sound speak deeply to our hearts, bearing witness to the existence and nature of God.

    "The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and godhead" (Romans 1:20).

    The waters and rocks beautifully mirror God's Spirit and Truth:

   "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24).

   Rushing waters reflect the perpetually active Holy Spirit who "moved upon the face of the waters" in the original creation, and who moves upon the hearts of human beings in the new creation of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 1:2; II Corinthians 5:17).  Stable rock speaks to God's Scriptural truth, the Word of God that "abideth forever" and remains ever unchanging in its content and intent (I Peter 1:23).  Both realities unite to lead born again believers in living relationship with God, based on doctrinal truth that provides solid footing for walking with Him on the path of righteousness.  We know Him in the light of His written Word, the Scriptures.  We know the Scriptures in the light His living Word, the Lord Jesus.  "In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).

      The Bible identifies God Himself in terms of both water and rock.

   "He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (but this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive" (John 7:38-39).
   "He is the Rock… and that spiritual Rock that followed them was Christ" (Deuteronomy 32:4; I Corinthians 10:4).

   Why is flowing water over stable rock so beautiful, fascinating, and calming to our hearts?  The wonder of sight and sound certainly provides answers.  However, the most important involves the imagery of the freely flowing Spirit of God, "the Water of life," moving upon the unshakable Scriptural foundation of God's eternally enduring Rock of Truth (Revelation 21:6).  Remembering that such scenes and sounds speak of our Lord and His light makes our experience all the more blessed, and all the more revealing of His continual working, founded upon His changeless Word.

"He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers."
(Psalm 78:16)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "The way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."
 (Jeremiah 10:23)


Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Orange Moon Wednesday, October 27, 2021 "His Ways and His Whys"

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

"His Ways and His Whys"


    "As for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31)

    God's "way is perfect" because His "Why? is perfect.

    "The works of His hands are verity and judgment; all His commandments are sure. They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness" (Psalm 111:7-8).

   The methods of God's hand often challenge our understanding.  Never in question, however, are the motives of His heart.  He works all things according to His character of love, His eternal purpose of exalting the L0rd Jesus Christ, His gracious desire to redeem a fallen creation, and the absolute impossibility of His acting in any manner other than pristine virtue and integrity.  "All His works are done in truth" (Psalm 33:4).

   Trustworthiness requires purity of motive.  Indeed, in human relationships, if we trust someone whose methods seem fine, but whose motives do not meet the test of virtue, we will ultimately find ourselves disappointed and perhaps damaged.  This is especially challenging since we are all imperfect in our ways and our whys.  Not so with God.  We can heed Solomon's counsel to "trust the Lord with all thine heart" because our Father's heart is perfectly and infinitely faithful to a degree for which even eternity will not suffice in allowing our full exploration of God's moral integrity.  "His greatness is unsearchable" (Proverbs 3:5; Psalm 147:5).

    There is someone - Someone - to trust in this lifetime, this day, and this moment.  We can cast ourselves fully upon the God and Father of our Lord Jesus because His ways and His whys perfectly correlate in truth.  Yes, God's heart is true.  "Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds" (Psalm 36:5).  He does all in a perfect way, and all with a perfect reason and intent.  Thus, we can fling our souls upon Him with complete abandon, and with absolute confidence in His perfect Word.   He will not disappoint us.  He cannot disappoint us because His ways and His whys will forever - and in this moment - glimmer with a perfection beyond all our capacity to know and imagine.  Yes, there is Someone to trust.

"He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He."
(Deuteronomy 32:4)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "The way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."
 (Jeremiah 10:23)



Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Orange Moon Tuesday, October 26, 2021 "Heart and Mind"

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

"Heart and Mind"     
   God's Scriptural truth provides the structure of relationship and fellowship with Him.  "Lead me in Thy truth" (Psalm 25:5).  His Spirit provides the living knowledge whereby we walk with our Heavenly Father in personal fellowship.  "The communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (II Corinthians 13:14).

   Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ "worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).  We know Somebody.  We believe His Word.   We are people of the heart and of the mind.

    "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart… and with all thy mind" (Matthew 22:37).

    This dual nature of our relationship with God proceeds from His own nature of both Heart and Mind.  "The counsel of the LORD standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations" (Psalm 33:11; emphasis added).  Our Lord exists as a being of both character - the qualities of His heart - and intellect - the infinite understanding of His mind.  The former constitutes Him in terms of the personal, while the latter reveals Him in terms of principle.  Fellowship with God therefore involves His heart and mind, and also, our heart and mind.  Or, as the Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers, "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened" (Ephesians 1:17-18).

   We are to know God's heart and mind, which leads and empowers us to love Him with our own heart and mind (I John 4:19).  This will involve both the personal and the practical in ways both unique and common.  Believers will read and ponder the Scriptures, and be blessed and challenged by the same promises and commands.  The outworking of God's grace, however, will proceed in ways distinct to each of us, and according to His personal working in each of us.  Being aware of this path marked by the tracks of both heart and mind prepares to walk with our Lord in loving and thoughtful devotion, and in the genuine worship of spirit and truth.

"God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
(II Timothy 1:7)

Weekly Memory Verse   
  Weekly Memory Verse
    "The way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."
 (Jeremiah 10:23)



Monday, October 25, 2021

Orange Moon Monday, October 25, 2021 “Challenge? Opportunity!”

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

(a repeat from 2017)

"Challenge?  Opportunity!"


    Spiritual mindedness involves seeing challenges as opportunities.  

    "But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: He is their strength in the time of trouble" (Psalm 37:39).

    To know "the power that worketh in us," namely, the power of God, we must experience circumstances, situations, and conditions that motivate us to consciously seek our Lord's enabling (Ephesians 3:20).  The challenges of life in our present earthly existence help us to see our great need for God's presence, involvement, and working on our behalf.  The world, the devil, and the flesh tempt us to believe we can make our way by our own devices.  The Word of God, however, declares that "the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23).  Without challenge, we would all ignore or forget the plainly-stated Scriptural declaration of how dependent we are on the Lord Jesus Christ.  "Without Me, ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).  Apart from Christ and our realized requirement for His enabling, we rely on illusions of our own abilities, even as the devil tempted Eve, "Ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5).  We can blindly live as if we are self sufficient creators rather than utterly dependent creatures so needy of Divine grace that "in Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).

    Great opportunity lies in troubles both great and small.  In these challenges, our Lord beckons us to know His presence, provision, and power.  Without challenge, we wouldn't avail ourselves of such grace, even as the Psalmist confessed: "Before I was afflicted, I went astray" (Psalm 119:67).  Thankfully, our brother of old proceeded to also confess, "But now have I kept Thy Word."   Challenge, understood and perceived as opportunity to trust and submit to God, provides an altar whereupon we sacrifice the darkness of self sufficiency with the bright light of God's faithful promises.  How little we would know of Him apart from pain, difficulty, and the perplexity that directs our gaze away from ourselves and unto the Life of our lives and the Hope of our hearts…

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth."
(Psalm 121:1-2)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "The way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."
 (Jeremiah 10:23)



Saturday, October 23, 2021

Orange Moon Saturday, October 23, 2021 "One Certainty"

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

"One Certainty"

"My soul, wait Thou only upon God, for my expectation is from Him."
 (Psalm 62:5)

    What do we know for absolute certain about the future?  Regarding our present existence and earthly reality, Solomon answers the question:

   "Thou knowest not what a day may bring forth" (Proverbs 27:1).

    Nothing at all is guaranteed regarding the circumstances, conditions, and events of our natural lives.  The chronicle of human history abounds with surprise, both blessed and difficult, to the degree that only the fool believes he knows for certain what will happen in the next moment.  Of course, this does not mean we do not plan and prepare for the future as it often arrives according to our expectations.  "He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame" (Proverbs 10:5).  We rightly make ready according to the best knowledge we have of what this day and all others will bring.  However, we also smile and wink at ourselves inwardly as we realize that the poet's "best laid plans of mice and men" often founder on the rocks of uncertainty.  What then can we know for certain?  

   "I AM… Thy Word is truth… He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded" (Exodus 3:14; John 17:17; I Peter 2:6).

     God, His truth, and His involved presence in our lives provide the only absolute certainties of our present lifetime.  He forever is who He is, and He forever does what He does.  Of no one, and of nothing else can this be said.  Thus, as we make those imperfect, but proper plans and preparations, we do well to also make ready in light what we know for absolute certain:

    "I will be with thee.  I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" (Joshua 1:5).    

    We plan and prepare in the light of this absolute assurance: in the next moment, the Lord Jesus Christ will be for us who He is, and He will be "exceeding, abundantly" more than we need Him to be (Ephesians 3:20).  Every moment that follows will find our faithful Savior the same.  This is truth.  This is assurance.  This is peace.  Look nowhere else to find such vouchsafing of your heart.  None other exists.  "Thou art my hope, o Lord God" (Psalm 71:5).

    Through the years, my wife Frances and I have often reminded each other of this truth (she reminds me more than I do her!).  If one of us express fear or worry about tomorrow, the other will smile and say, "Oh, so the Lord has appeared to you and told you for absolute certain you will be here tomorrow to face the challenge you imagine?"  Neither of us have ever been able to answer that question in the affirmative.🙂  Far more importantly, however, neither of us have ever found our Heavenly Father to fail in being for us the faithful God of Scripture, and the faithful God of our hearts.  Indeed, no one has ever trusted in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and been disappointed in doing so.  And no one ever will.   Yes, this is certainty, the only certainty of yesterday, today, and forever.  Let us look nowhere else to find it.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusted in Thee."
(Isaiah 26:3)
"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."
 (Psalm 18:2)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
(Proverbs 30:5)