Wednesday, November 3, 2021

 “Orange Moonrise”   



        As mentioned on Monday, this week begins our 24th year of  writing and sending out the 
Orange Moon devotionals.  Because we have a number of new subscribers on our mailing list, 
I thought I'd share the story of how this all began in November, 1998.  For those who have with 
us awhile, you've likely read this before, so pardon the repeat.

     Back in those days, Frances received a devotional book from a friend she enjoyed.  She 
decided to send excerpts to a few family and friends, and did so for several weeks.  During a 
service, however, I shared a message about the role of believers concerning our responsibility to 
obey not only God's authority, but also human government and laws.

    "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, 
as supreme, or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers,
and for the praise of them that do well.  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put 
to silence the ignorance of foolish men, as free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of 
maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. 
Honor the king" (I Peter 2:13-17).

    The message gave Frances pause about sending the excerpts, not being sure about copyright 
laws.  Again, she only sent the messages to a few people, but the Apostle Peter's mandate regarding
our God-ordained respect for authority concerned her.  She shared her thoughts with me, and I 
agreed with her hesitation.  Then a thought occurred to me.  "Hey, why don't we write and send 
our own messages?"  The more I thought about the matter, the more it seemed like the thing to do.
Moreover, we had a ready made name for the devotionals, or so it seemed to me.  "We'll call it 
The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe!” 

    Seems obvious, doesn't it?  Well, it did to us because during the previous year, Frances and I 
had considered opening a Christian coffeeshop called the Orange Moon Cafe.  We prayed about 
this, which led a friend to invite me to breakfast one morning.  "Glen", he said, "this is not a good
 idea.  You and Frances have no business experience, your lives are already full, and operating a 
coffeeshop would detract from the ministries God has called you to perform."  Our friend was 
right, of course, and we shelved the notion of an Orange Moon Cafe until the idea of sending out 
devotionals occurred to us.  So, “The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe” came to 
fruition, albeit electronically rather than in brick and mortar.  Whew!  Thank the Lord from 
deliverance from the brick and mortar, and unto the electronic!!

   The Orange Moon title originates in a song I wrote for Frances many years ago on her birthday
 as I witnessed a beautiful moonrise.  After returning from a celebration with her parents that 
evening, I sat on the back porch with my guitar.  A beautiful orange moon rose through the 
trees, and with it came music and lyrics for a song about our life together.  Since then, Frances 
and I have done a lot of things under that the light of that moon as a theme of our life and 
ministry (which reminds me to thank all of you who through the years have called or written to 
let me know you've seen an orange moon rising).

   So, here we are twenty three years later, and I have to confess I would never have expected to 
still be writing and sending the messages after such a time.  I don't know what I expected, 
actually.  But here's what has happened, in Biblical terms:

    "Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, according t
o the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all 
ages, world without end, Amen" (Ephesians 3:20-21).

    I literally cannot imagine the passing of the years without the Orange Moon.  Writing the 
messages has been and remains one of the most sanctifying experiences of my life.  I hope you 
benefit from them, of course.  But I know I do.  In fact, I consider that your reading the 
devotionals involves peeking over my shoulder to look at the product of my own devotional time 
with our Lord each day.  Most of the messages are written very early in the morning, and sent 
out on the same day I compose them (this is my excuse for typos, and for those days when you 
doubtless wish I had written the words in more intelligible language!).  I look forward to writing 
the messages each day, and rarely know the theme I'll consider until sitting down at my desk.  
The devotionals originate in three main sources, namely, the Bible, thoughts that occur to me in 
prayer, and the fellowship and prayers of like-hearted believers like yourself.  Regarding that 
last point, your example, encouragement, and insight have inspired so many of the words I have 
written over the years.  Indeed, I feel like a lot of folks actually write the messages.   I just have 
the pleasure and privilege of being the one who sits down to tap out the words on the keyboard.  
For that, I cannot begin to adequately thank the Lord and you.  I will be grateful forever.

   Finally, when thinking of the Orange Moon devotionals, I constantly ponder the people I would
 never have known if this endeavor had not existed.  I cannot imagine that, and don't want to!   
Simply know this: as soon as I send this message, I will literally descend to my knees to give 
thanks for all of you.  I would not have wanted to have lived without knowing you, whether face 
to face, or heart to heart.  You have been bright lights of the Lord Jesus Christ to me, and again, I will have no words as I pray to express my gratitude for the gift of your fellowship and friendship.  Yes, "exceeding abundantly above…"

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all 
making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now."
(Philippians 1:3-5)

Weekly Memory Verse
       “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends.”
 (Job 42:10)


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