Saturday, December 31, 2022

Orange Moon Saturday, December 31, 2022 "I Can. I Will"

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


              "I Can.  I Will"     



   How able is God to provide for our every need and be everything we require Him to be in any circumstance, condition, or situation?  This able: "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth… By Him all things consist" (Genesis 1:1; Colossians 1:17).

   How willing is God to provide for our every need and be everything we require Him to be in any circumstance, condition, or situation?  This willing: "They crucified Him" (Matthew 27:35).

    The God who merely spoke and created a universe vast beyond measure, complex beyond understanding, and beautiful beyond description can fill and fulfill every need of our spirit, soul, and body.  "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" asked the Lord of Himself, rhetorically.  He allowed the prophet to answer, joyfully: "Ah Lord God… there is nothing too hard for Thee!" (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17).  Yes, God can, by the power of His word.

    The same God wills to be all we need Him to be, by the perfection of His heart.  The cross of Calvary most confirms this truth, where our Heavenly Father willingly sent His beloved Son to meet our greatest need, namely, our alienation from Him due to sin (Ephesians 4:18).  At the greatest cost to Himself, God made possible our redemption from sin and its consequences by imputing our sin and its consequences to the Lord Jesus.  "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21).  Who can think a thought about the Lord of Scripture in this holy light without realizing the willingness of His lovingkindness?  He gave His beloved to Calvary so that He might freely give Him to our hearts.  Yes, God will, by the gracious goodness of His nature of mercy.  "But My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

   In God, "I can" and "I will" unite to reveal wonders of who He is and what He can do.  We see His trustworthiness, which must result in our trust.  Indeed, His faithfulness forever serves as the ground and the grace of our own faithfulness.  To the degree we know God's integrity by Scriptural revelation, the Holy Spirit's illumination, and our history of faith will be the degree to which we find ourselves enabled to trust His willingness and ability to be everything we will need in both time and eternity.  Long ago, a leper discovered the wonder of both glorious realities in the Lord Jesus, and we close with his joyous experience of the Lord's "I can" and "I will."

"And there came a leper to Him, beseeching Him, and kneeling down to Him, and saying unto Him, If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed."
(John 1:40-42)


Weekly Memory Verse
  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
(I Timothy 1:14)












Friday, December 30, 2022

Orange Moon Friday, December 30, 2022 "Five Miles"

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

(thanks to Frances for the inspiration on this one - and of a lifetime)


              "Five Miles"     



   The Apostle Paul declared a truth of God's grace and enabling we certainly attribute to our brother's life and ministry.

   "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to 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).

   Do we apply this truth to ourselves as well as Paul?  He did, referencing "the power that worketh in us."  The Holy Spirit indwells every born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:9).  He is no different in one Christian than in another.  Of course, our response to God plays a role in the experience and outworking of such enabling.  Primarily this involves faith, as confirmed by a passage that contains some of the most tragic pathos recorded in the Bible: 

   "And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief" (Matthew 13:58).  

    Matthew references the Lord's home town of Nazareth in this indictment. This speaks to believers because we are now the Lord's spiritual home.  "Ye are the temple of God" wrote Paul to even the wayward, carnal Corinthians (I Corinthians 3:16).  The Apostle strongly reproved the many fleshly failings of his brethren.  He did so in the context of God's presence in them to empower a life of loving service to others, as opposed to the self-centeredness that characterized their attitudes and actions.  Paul did not call his brethren to make bricks without straw.  He rather reminded the Corinthians of Who dwelt within them to empower change and godliness.  Thankfully, the Corinthians repented and responded, as evidenced by Paul's second epistle to his restored brothers and sisters (II Corinthians 7:11).  

   Greater realization of God's presence and "the power that worketh in us" goes far in our capacity to know the "exceeding, abundantly above" measure of grace He purposes to reveal in us.  Indeed, if I tell a man lying on the road he needs to journey five miles from his current location, and he should get up and walk quickly there, I may be suggesting a place he needs to be.  If the man does not realize he has legs, however, I have done him no service whatsoever.  I must inform, encourage, and challenge him to arise in the power he possesses, through the means that enable his journey.  I must instill confidence in order to encourage and challenge action.  In spiritual terms, believers must help each other to see God's abundant enabling to make possible a walk with Him in faithfulness and obedience.  "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16).

   Every believer currently alive on the planet can make his journey of five miles in this day.  Repentance may be required if we have fallen, interestingly, the repentance that rightly begins by acknowledging we did not avail ourselves to walk in faithfulness through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Every sin we ever commit flows on the murky current of failure to realize and affirm "the power that worketh in us" to enable faith and faithfulness.  The strongest fleshly allure and most devilish temptation bow before such enabling.  However, we must believe we possess the legs of the indwelling Christ to make our journey on the path of righteousness.  How could it be otherwise in a life wherein "the just shall live by faith?" (Romans 1:17).

   Is the Lord Jesus who Scripture declares He is?  Does He indwell us through the Holy Spirit to motivate, guide, and empower our faithfulness?  Is He presently working in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure?" (Philippians 2:13).  Do we "have sufficiency in all things" whereby "we may abound to every good work?" (II Corinthians 9:8).  Does "the power that worketh in us" meet the superabundant measure of "exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think" declared by the Word of God?  How we answer these questions of the heart determines how we walk with our feet - by the leading of His feet - to be where our Heavenly Father would have us to be.  How indeed could it be otherwise in our personal journey of five miles with One whose promises cannot be broken, and who walks in us that we may walk by Him?

"His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue, whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
(II Peter 1:3-4)

Weekly Memory Verse
  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
(I Timothy 1:14)












Thursday, December 29, 2022

Orange Moon Thursday, December 29, 2022 “Great Challenge, Great Enabling”

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


              "Great Challenge, Great Enabling"     



   The ability to communicate the Lord Jesus Christ to our world in life, prayer, and word involves much more than merely memorizing Bible verses and seeking to apply godly principles to our lives.

   "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed, always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh" (II Corinthians 4:7-11).

    The Apostle Paul reveals by personal testimony how God works to administer "the life of Jesus" in us and through us.  Challenges of trouble, distress, perplexity, persecution, and death working in us make possible the blessing of others.  This, of course, follows the pattern of the Lord Jesus Himself and His life of continual challenge.  "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?" (Matthew 10:24-25).

   Of course, the matter involves far more than mere imitation of our Lord.  He lives in us through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts" (Galatians 4:6).  As He leads and empowers us, we can therefore expect the same experience He knew during His earthly lifetime, namely, great challenge leading to great enabling to minister to others.  In Paul's terms, "the dying of the Lord Jesus" results in "the life also of Jesus made manifest in our mortal flesh."

  What if this trouble, or that challenge, or some difficulty, or any number of trials serve to make possible our service to God and others?  They do.  As we trust and submit to our Heavenly Father in our pains and difficulties, our Savior yet again walks the earth in loving devotion to God and others.  This time, He does so in us.  "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16).  Our Father privileges us to walk as did our Lord.  He graces us to walk by our Lord's indwelling presence and power.  He honors us by leading us down paths of pain in countless forms for the purpose of revealing His Son through us to others.  "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ" (II Corinthians 1:5).

   Certainly, let us memorize the verses and seek to apply the principles of godliness found on the pages of Scripture.  Let us not for a moment, however, believe this will be enough to prepare us for ministry to others.  Such calling is far too personal for mere memory and understanding to suffice in service to God and people.  The Christ who walked the winding, treacherous, and rocky paths of the present world now walks in us along those same ways of challenge.  We will share His experience in many and varied ways, making possible the sharing of His life with others in a manner that bears weight, substance, and authority.  The matter involves life and death, as the Apostle Paul testified of his Lord's "dying" and "life" yet again revealed in the glory of God's redeeming grace…

"So then death worketh in us, but life in you."
(II Corinthians 4:12)

Weekly Memory Verse
  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
(I Timothy 1:14)












Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Orange Moon Wednesday, December 28, 2022 "But Men"

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

              "But Men"     


   God created a race of beings given the freedom and capacity to deny His very existence.

    "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 14:1).

    It requires consciousness to believe that God does not exist.  By definition, the "fool" who denies God believes that an unconscious universe brought into existence beings who possess consciousness (a notion that takes much faith, albeit not the right kind!).  By any measure, the human capacity for thought, awareness, and contemplation must be viewed in the most exalted terms, and something of much greater magnitude than merely the things, forces, and laws that comprise the physical universe.  To think involves something far more advanced than the existence of even the most vast and complex - but mindless - galaxy.  Thus, the fool, small and seemingly insignificant as he is in the vastness of the universe, actually makes himself something greater than the universe.  In Biblical terms, he makes himself a god.  Where might this strange notion have originated?

   "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die, for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:3-4). 

   The atheist and the agnostic perhaps most illustrate the devil's infusion into the human psyche the notion of being as a god.  The unbeliever uses his consciousness to contend the universe that evolved him is unconscious.  Again, as a conscious being, this can only lead to the conclusion that he is greater than the universe he perceives to have made him.  In Satan's terms, he must be a god.

   Of the countless fabrications foisted upon humanity by the devil, this is the most deadly and deceptive, because it directly proceeds from the devil's own personal deception.  "I will be like the Most High" boasted Lucifer at the time of his fall (Isaiah 14:14).  The Psalmist spoke to the matter, and to how we may prayerfully combat such delusion:

    "Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men" (Psalm 9:20).

   The atheist and agnostic may not consciously think in the terms we suggest.  The delusion nevertheless exists within them as a most devilish and pervasive master that rules everything in their wayward existence.  Whether directly or tacitly, they believe themselves to be gods, something greater than the creation in which they live.  Asking our Lord to directly involve Himself by leading them to fear Him and humble themselves may well go far in their coming to understand they are "but men."

"The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts."
(Psalm 10:4)

Weekly Memory Verse
  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
(I Timothy 1:14)








Orange Moon Tuesday, December 27, 2022 “To Be Remembered?”

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

 (a repeat from 2012)

              "To Be Remembered?"     


    I once heard a believer say he wanted to be remembered as "faithful to the end."

     Certainly, all born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ aspire to the gentleman's noble determination of faithfulness to God and people.  However, another Christian confessed what I believe to be a far greater and more Biblical hope when asked how he desired to be remembered.  "I want to be known as one who had a merciful, gracious, and faithful Lord."

     You see the difference.  While well meaning, the former aspiration directs attention to the Christian rather than to his Christ.  The latter recalls the beautiful image portrayed by the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation:

    "I saw Heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True" (Revelation 19:11).

     Our own faithfulness begins and continues with the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus.  We respond to His working in us, of course, applying ourselves to the power of His indwelling presence.  Never, however, does the God-aware and self-aware believer conclude that his own trustworthiness originates in himself.  "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" exulted the Apostle Paul, who also confessed, "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (I Corinthians 10:31; 15:10).  Yes, faithfulness to the end is certainly a thing to be remembered, that is, our Lord's enduring trustworthiness.  

There is a Heart, so faithful and true.
It bears a scar, for me and for you.
And we can know for a lifetime through,
it's faithful and true, faithful and true.

There is a grace that makes all things new,
born in that valley our Lord passed through.
Where He was smitten for me and for you,
so faithful and true, faithful and true.

Forever draws nigh, we'll see His face soon,
Shining in glory, so lovely the view.
And the glad anthem of our hearts will ensue,
so faithful and true, faithful and true,
faithful and true, faithful and true.

"Great is Thy faithfulness."
(Lamentations 3:23) 
"Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy and for Thy truth's sake."
(Psalm 115:1)

Weekly Memory Verse
  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
(I Timothy 1:14)