Monday, February 28, 2022

Orange Moon Monday, February 28, 2022 "The Prince (of Peace)"

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

"The Prince (of Peace)"


   Our spiritual enemies ever seek to discourage us.  Our Heavenly Father ever works to counter their attacks on our confidence by pointing us to the presence and working of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives.

    "Consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" (Hebrews 12:3).

   Upon first consideration, we might think the writer of Hebrews directs attention to the Lord Jesus as an example to follow when facing challenge.  Certainly, our Savior does provide a model - the model - for enduring hardship.  However, merely providing a pattern for how to overcome temptations to discouragement would not begin to suffice in leading us to peace.  The Lord Jesus also serves as the power of our faith and faithfulness - "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).  That which God calls believers to do proceeds from that which He motivates and empowers by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

    "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).

   Unlike Pharaoh, who commanded the Israelites to make bricks without straw, God provides infinitely abundant provision in Christ for a walk with Him in peace and faithfulness.  This we must believe, first because it is true.  We also recognize that our awareness and experience of our Heavenly Father's provision flows upon the current of our chosen confidence.  "As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee" (Matthew 8:13).  Vast measures of grace for overcoming discouragement exist within the spirit of every believer in the Person of the indwelling Christ.  We must believe such provision to be available within us in order to experience the power thereof.  Peace aplenty ever abides for the believer, as accessed by "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith," and  as we "consider Him lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."

    Living by faith greatly challenges us in countless ways.  The Apostle Paul rightly referred to our walk as "the good fight of faith" (I Timothy 6:12).  Evil entities ever seek to discourage us by tempting us look away from the Lord Jesus rather than unto Him.  Let us get our spiritual dander up when feeling discouraged.  The issue involves far more than merely human feeling and sensation.  Somebody seeks to divert our gaze from the Christ who so perfectly exemplified what it means to walk by faith.  However, He did so much more.  He does so much more.  The Prince of peace serves as the power of our peace.  We fight the good fight and overcome discouragement by fixing the gaze of our hearts on the promise of the prophet, the Prince now dwelling with and within us as the enabler of our confident assurance…

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee."
(Isaiah 26:3)
"Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 4:6-7)

Weekly Memory Verse
   "Consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
 (Hebrews 12:3)




Saturday, February 26, 2022

Orange Moon Saturday, February 26, 2022 "The Heart of It All"

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

"The Heart of It All"


   The world was known to be incredibly complex long before the invention of the microscope, and now, many other devices and measures that allow us to better understand the vast world of the small.  However, the discoveries of the nature of the atom and the molecular wonders it constructs reveal a universe far more staggering in its glory of being, intricacy, and power. 

    "By Him all things consist" (Colossians 1:17).

   At the atomic and molecular level of creation, things exist and activities proceed so intricately complex and so powerfully effective that nothing of humanity's technology and engineering begins to compare.  In fact, one field of technological research involves discovering how things work in the subatomic realm for the purpose of incorporating the technology found therein for developing machines and protocols to be used in human endeavors.  

   Two responses always impact my heart and mind when pondering such things.  First, I find myself feeling a deep sense of affection for the God who "made all things" (Proverbs 16:4).  This surprises me.  It would seem our Lord's divine technology would first amaze with wonder.  However, my initial response seems to be more of how I remember feeling when my children accomplished things (still feel that about their achievements as adults!).  I was proud of them, and that pride (which I don't think is the kind against which Scripture warns us) bore as much loving affection as it did admiration for what they had done.  That seems to be the closest I can come to explaining what I first experience when pondering God's wondrous creative and operational activity in His creation.  Perhaps the Psalmist felt this when he proclaimed with both mind and heart, "God… hast done great things!  O God, who is like unto Thee?" (Psalm 71:19).

   Fascination also overwhelms my mind when pondering God's wisdom and way in His creation.  He not only made laws, energy, and matter, all of which boggle the brain by their complexity.  He also moment by moment involves Himself in the process - "upholding all things by the word of His power" (Hebrews 1:3).  The speaking voice of the Word Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, sounds and resounds in the workshops and assembly lines of every atom, making creation not just principled and powerful, but also personal.  When we view the complexities and cannot fathom how things can possibly work, we must also "see" that which cannot be seen.  A Designer, Engineer, and Operator dwells amid all, communicating His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding as the creative, directing, and empowering reason for the realities.  This thought brings me back to the personal, and yet again to a sense of affectionate pride (reverently speaking, of course) in the God so amazing in mind, and even more winsome in heart.

   Some people "look" into the atom and fail to see the Heart of it all.  Wonder still fills their mind.  However, they miss the rapture of the soul that accompanies the gaze of all who "hear" the speaking Voice present and powerfully engaged in working "all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:11).  I feel for those unable to see and hear.  They miss so much.  They miss the personal nature of all things.  They miss the Person therein.  They miss His love, the great reality of who He is and of all He does (I John 4:8).  I think this is what I see when pondering the Creator's wonders.  Therein, more than the the marvel of His mind and the power of His hand, He reveals the goodness of His heart.  He makes it all personal, and all the more powerful thereby.  Yes, the love of God dwells in the universe and its every atom, revealing His wondrous capability thereby, but far more, His glorious character.

"He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe."
(I Thessalonians 1:10)
"The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord."
(Psalm 33:5)
"Oh how great is Thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee, which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before the sons of men!"
(Psalm 31:19)

Weekly Memory Verse
    For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
(Romans 12:3).



Friday, February 25, 2022

Orange Moon Friday, February 25, 2022 “I Am With You”

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

(This one is for my mother, Evelyn Davis, born one hundred years ago today, on February 25, 1922.  She left us in 1995, but her legacy in my heart and our family's abides.)

"I Am With You"

   For born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, God is with us as we go, and will be awaiting us wherever we arrive.

    "I am with you always… I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5).

   We do well to remember and decisively affirm our Lord's promise of presence whenever our spiritual enemies tempt us to fear about tomorrow.  Such confidence prepares us to face anything with a deep assurance within our hearts, even as we may feel natural human emotions and sensations about challenges to come.  "I will be with thee" promised God to Israel even during times of their waywardness, and long before the advent of the indwelling Holy Spirit given to believers after Christ's redeeming work (Isaiah 43:2).  What would He say to us now?  We know.  He says it to on page after page of the New Testament that declares God's permanent presence and dynamic involvement in our lives.  "Emmanuel, or God with us" proclaimed the promise upon our Lord's birth.  "I will dwell in them and walk in them proclaims the promise after the cross, resurrection, ascension, and giving of the Holy Spirit to all who believe (Matthew 1:23; II Corinthians 6:16; emphasis added).

   From the within of our hearts to the environs of our circumstances, situations, and conditions, God can and must be known as present and accounted for.  Certainly, "we walk by faith and not by sight."  Appearances and perceptions may seem to counter our Lord's vital and living presence (II Corinthians 5:7).  Thankfully, we "judge not according to the appearance," but rather by the "righteous judgment" of the Word of God (John 7:24).  This way of faith is not easy, even as the Apostle Paul referred to it as "the good fight of faith" (I Timothy 6:12).  It is the way of peace, however, or rather, it is the way of the Prince of peace who is with - and within - us as we go, and will be there when we arrive.

I wait for you, My child, wherever you may go.
I'll be there when you arrive, I'll be with you as you go.
We live our life together, you venture not alone,
our hearts made one forever, united in My Son.
I wait for you, My child,
I am with you as you go.

I made you for such grace, to be My Spirit's home.
Oh look into My face and with assurance know
that we'll always be together, you'll never be alone.
We'll be as one forever, each other's love to know.
I wait for you, My child,
I am with you as you go.

Forever beckons to us, as does this day, this hour.
My Spirit's peace imparts the presence and the power
for you to journey with Me, in darkness or in light.
I am in your heart forever, and in this day, this night.
I wait for you, My child,
I am with you as you go…
I am with you as you go.

"I am with you, saith the Lord."
(Haggai 1:13)

Weekly Memory Verse
    For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
(Romans 12:3).



Thursday, February 24, 2022

Orange Moon Thursday, February 24, 2022 “That Which Should Be Written”

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

"That Which Should Be Written"


   The Lord Jesus Christ will perform billions of loving acts of goodness and kindness today as He walks in His spiritual body of those who trust in Him.  "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16).  This hearkens back to another walk, in another body.

   "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen" (John 21:25).

   The Gospels provide merely a brief glimpse into all the Lord Jesus did during His earthly lifetime.  Most of the Savior's doings occurred during three decades before His ministry of teaching and miracles began.  He lived in such quiet unobtrusiveness during that time that His coming forth as the promised Messiah surprised even His family (John 7:5).  However, we can be sure that much "that should be written" happened in obscure ways that no less revealed the presence and power of God than the mighty messages and miracles we encounter in the Gospels.  

    The Lord Jesus continues this journey along hidden and unknown pathways in His walk and working in us.  99.99% of all He accomplishes in His spiritual body of believers occurs with few knowing it has happened.  Again, literally billions of quiet and seemingly insignificant expressions of Christ's love will flow through us today, many unknown to even the believer through whom they streamed.  I think of Mrs. Liz, a dear departed sister who used to stop hurting people in the halls of the nursing home where she lived during the last decade of her earthly lifetime.  Mrs. Liz would ask, "Are you not feeling well today?"  She would then suggest, "Why don't we sing 'Jesus Loves Me' together?  It will help and encourage you."  I have no doubt the echoes from those times will sound and resound forever for the glory of God.  I can almost hear them now as they bear witness to Christ walking and working in forgotten places and forgotten people.  "But when His brethren were gone up, then went He also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, Where is He?" (John 7:10-11).

   God will part seas and stop the sun in its appointed rounds when necessary.  Most often, however, He performs His mighty acts in minute and mundane ways, and in the multitudes of His children known by few.  How many volumes would it require to record the acts of the Savior, performed in and through His people during the age of the church?  Only eternity will tell.  For now, we do well to realize that the question "Where is He?" will most often be answered in places where we might not think to find Him.  In our own lives and in those of others, the Lord Jesus will today add to the volumes of "that which should be written" as He walks in us along the everyday and ordinary pathways of our lives.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father."
(John 14:12)

Weekly Memory Verse
    For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
(Romans 12:3).