Thursday, March 31, 2022

Orange Moon March 31, 2022 "Corrected"

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



    I had written today's devotional and was preparing to send it out.  As I edited the message, however, I realized that one of the main points seemed questionable in the light of Scripture.  I went back and did some research on the point, and while I do not believe I was completely in error, I also realized I may not have been completely in truth.

   "O LORD, correct me" (Jeremiah 10:24).

   Thank God for delete buttons.  You will never read the message I wrote with good intentions, but with questionable Biblical accuracy.  How good our Lord is to correct us!  How much we need Him to do so!  Whether in matters of understanding, thought, motive, word, or deed, we all need our Heavenly Father's ongoing examination and reproof.  The Apostle Paul declared of himself and of all that we know nothing yet as we ought to know (I Corinthians 8:2).  Thus, we must ever seek to remain open to God's correction, and responsive when He clearly points out we have wandered from the path of righteousness and truth.  "Happy is the man who findeth wisdom" wrote Solomon, meaning not only the wisdom of discovering truth, but also of realizing error (Proverbs 3:13).

    I do not believe you would have been deceived by my original message.  Again, I do not think the point in question was completely wrong.  However, truth matters too much to knowingly compromise to any degree whatsoever.  Moreover, human hearts are easily misled, sometimes by minute deviations from God's Word and light.  So, I am glad our Heavenly Father faithfully pointed out my misstep before it became something that might have become a misleading notion planted in your heart and mind.  I pray that He will do so day by day, and that by His grace, you will benefit and not be harmed by the messages.  It is a privilege to write and send them to you, and one that I do not take for granted.

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."
(II Timothy 3:16)

Weekly Memory Verse
    If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:25)







Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Orange Moon Wednesday, March 30, 2022 “Live and Walk. Be and Do.”

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

"Live and Walk.  Be and Do."


    This week's memory verse speaks to the matter of spiritual sequence.

   "If we live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).

    Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ do, in fact, live in the Spirit.

   "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit… Ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you" (John 3:6; Romans 8:9).

    The entrance of the Holy Spirit at the time of our new birth constituted us as spiritual in our innermost being and nature.  We are spirits united to the Holy Spirit therein.  Thus, we "live in the Spirit."  Whether we walk accordingly, however, is another matter.  In our present existence, being does not always lead to doing.  Living temples of Christ can look quite ramshackle if we fail to affirm and respond to the truth of who our Lord is in us, and who we are in Him.  A "law of sin" remains in our earthly faculties and members that, like the physical law of gravity, will always direct us downward if allowed to have reign upon our thoughts, words, and actions (Romans 7:23; 25).  Yes, we can "live  in the Spirit," which we do by God's freely given grace in Christ.  But we can walk after the flesh.

   Faithfulness to God not only requires being in the Spirit.  We must also know and affirm the truth thereof, yielding our spiritual selves and mortal bodies to the Lord (the sixth chapter of Romans speaks powerfully to this truth).  We present our spiritual selves to God "as alive from the dead," that is, as united to the Spirit of the risen Christ (Romans 6:11).  We present our mortal bodies to our Heavenly Father as "dead because of sin," that is, our earthly faculties and members require His enlivening if we are to walk in faith and obedience (Romans 8:10-11).  God promises this infusion of the life of Christ as we walk in His truth, trusting in His mighty work already accomplished in our spirits, and trusting also in His promised work of imparting the power of Christ to our faculties and members.  "He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (enliven) your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Romans 8:11).

   The sequence of being and doing must be established in both our doctrinal understanding and our outworking of God's grace in Christ.  We live and walk, never the reverse.  We are and we do.  Never the reverse.  God irrevocably changed the spiritual essence of who and what we are when we believed.  Much work remains to be done in how we think, speak, act, and relate.  We can live and not walk.  We can be and not do.  However, nothing changes the miracle of grace that occurred within us when the Spirit of God entered our innermost being.  This we must believe because it is true, and because our Father calls us to walk in the Spirit by walking in His truth.

"Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord… Yield yourselves unto God, as those which are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."
(Romans 6:11; 13)
"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.  Old things are passed away, behold, all thing are become new."
(II Corinthians 5:17)

Weekly Memory Verse
    If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:25)







Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Orange Moon Tuesday, March 29, 2022 "The Greatest Reality"

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

"The Greatest Reality"

    When the Lord Jesus Christ walked upon the planet during His earthly lifetime, He was certainly the greatest reality thereof.  Yes, the God who made all things became human and experienced life in the world He brought into existence.  In the first chapter of his Gospel, the Apostle John proclaims the wonder:  

     "The Word was God… All things were made by Him… The Word became flesh" (John 1:1; 3; 14).

     The Apostle Paul concurred - "Great is the mystery of godliness.  God was manifest in the flesh" (I Timothy 3:16).  No more wondrous miracle has ever occurred than the Infinite taking upon Himself the finite, and the Eternal, the temporal.  Again, the Lord Jesus surely constituted the greatest reality of the world during His earthly lifetime.

    But what about now?  Christ no longer resides upon the earth.  Or does He?

    "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 3:16).

    Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christ returned to His disciples on the day of Pentecost, and has since then spiritually inhabited all who have trusted in Him.  "Christ in you, the hope of glory" declared Paul of the ongoing miracle of Christ's presence in His world (Colossians 1:27).  Thus, the great Reality that traced footsteps upon Galilee long ago now treads upon the earth as an even greater influence and power.  This likely explains what our Savior meant by an intriguing statement made to His disciples:
   "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).

    The Lord Jesus walked in one physical body during His earthly lifetime.  He has walked in millions who have comprised His spiritual body since that time.  He thereby has been - and is - the greatest reality of the world He made.  It often doesn't look this way, even as it did not when He was here physically.  It always is this way, however.  If we could see reality more clearly, we would witness our Savior administering His glorious and risen life through His spiritual body, the church (or as Paul termed it, "the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" - I Timothy 3:15).

   Part of our ministry involves conducting services in retirement communities and nursing facilities.  I sometimes think of the truth we consider when standing before these congregations.  I see aging bodies, stilled limbs, and wheelchairs that hold many of these dear people.  However, if I open the eyes of my heart, a greater reality glimmers before me.  Yes, I look upon Christ as He dwells in His people, in those who believe.  I must be careful when pondering such truth because it  completely overwhelms me.  However, I do try to remember.

    I seek to do the same when pondering the planet and its conditions, circumstances, and situations.  Our Lord has been in His world a long time.  He has traversed the trails of His globe by His own feet physically, and by believers spiritually (and He will one day set His feet again on the earth).  Therefore, no matter what happens in a world that "lieth in wickedness," the greatest reality ever abides.  Yes, the risen Christ is here.  He is here in us.  Nothing compares with this "hope of glory," nor can anything transcend the wonder and power of His presence.  As we open the eyes of our hearts by faith, we will behold His light shining in the darkness.  Long before the advent of the Lord Jesus, the Psalmist affirmed,  "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord" (Psalm 33:5).  Little did he know how much brighter the illumination of the greatest reality would one day become…

"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
(Matthew 1:23)

Weekly Memory Verse
    If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:25)





Monday, March 28, 2022

Orange Moon Monday, March 28, 2022 “Heavenly Citizenship, Earthly Good”

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

"Heavenly Citizenship, Earthly Good"


    How do we live today in the light of tomorrow, or rather, of eternity?

    "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:1-3).

   First, note the Apostle Paul's fascinating reference to a present truth regarding Heavenly realities: "Hid with Christ in God."  Paul also speaks to this wonder in his letter to the Ephesians:

    "But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-6).

   The Apostle encourages born again believers to realize we are Heavenly beings who already, as the Apostle John declared, "have eternal life" (I John 5:13).  We live upon the earth, of course, in fleshly temples amid realities we must address in terms of applied personal responsibility and attention.  This means that Christians of Heavenly substance and citizenship will be the most earthly good to others as we bring to bear glories of eternity upon time.  We will realize and act upon the truth that genuine spiritual experience infuses our hearts, minds, hands, and feet with the determination to be and do all that we can to reflect our Lord's glory of "the Word… made flesh" (John 1:14).  Heaven's values, protocols, and power revealed along earthly pathways - this was the incarnation of Christ long ago, and this is His present purpose as He now lives and walks in us (II Corinthians 6:16).

   Setting our affections on Heaven, or rather, the Christ of Heaven, leads us to set our earthly aspirations to honor and reveal Him in our countenance, demeanor, attitude, words, actions, and self sacrificial devotion to the needs of others.  The power of Heaven for such a life indwells us in the Person of the Holy Spirit, whose vital presence leads us to bring God's reality to bear on a fallen world and its needy citizens' hearts and lives.  Yes, we "sit together in Heavenly places"  for the purpose of ministering His Heavenly graces upon the earth.

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
(Galatians 5:25)

Weekly Memory Verse
    If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:25)







Friday, March 25, 2022

Orange Moon Friday, March 25, 2022 "Our Needs, His Supply"

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

"Our Needs, His Supply"


    As our perfect and loving Heavenly Father, God promises to provide for His trusting sons and daughters in Christ.

   "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).


   Note the abundance promised: "all your need."  This means we can trust our Lord about matters concerning every aspect of our existence.  It also means we must trust Him regarding how He administers such provision.  That is, God defines both our need and how best to supply.

    "The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works" (Psalm 145:17)

    After my father died, my mother worked extremely hard to be sure I had a roof over my head, food on the table, clothing, and whatever else she could provide.  She attended to my needs by the grace of God and much effort on her part.  I did not appreciate this enough, but I did know my mother did everything she could in providing the basic necessities and whatever pleasures she could afford.  However, she also met my needs by requiring personal responsibility on my part, and by executing discipline in times when I did not act as I should.  I needed her firm hand no less than the more pleasant administrations of her love.  I did not understand this at the time, but I know it now.  And how thankful I am that my mother loved me enough to supply for my needs in ways that served my truest well being.

  "Whom the Lord loveth, He chastened, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Hebrews 12:6).
  "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." 
(Hebrews 12:11).

   God's administers His provision in ways both blessed and challenging.  He alone perfectly knows the needs of every aspect of our being and existence.  Most of all, our Heavenly Father knows our greatest need, namely, that we glorify the Lord Jesus, fulfill His will, and serve as His blessing to others.  He supplies in love for us so that He might lead us in love for others.  Thus, His provision of both the pleasant and the difficult serve His holy purposes of conforming us to the spiritual and moral image of the Lord Jesus (Romans 8:28-29).  He could do nothing better for us than to make us like His Son.  Such a glorious purpose requires that He meets our needs in ways that often bring smiles to our faces, but sometimes difficulties to our souls and bodies that no less serve as His provision.  We will one day give thanks for such wise administration, that one day best being this day as by faith we offer our gratitude for God's perfect supply, executed by His perfect love and wisdom.

"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  For after all these things do the Gentiles seek, for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
(Matthew 6:31-33)
"Ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations, that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."
(I Peter 1:6-7)

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

Weekly Memory Verse
   We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead."
 (II Corinthians 1:9)





Thursday, March 24, 2022

Orange Moon Thursday, March 24, 2022 "The Most Beautiful Thing"

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

"The Most Beautiful Thing"

   I want to share with you today the most beautiful thing I know and believe about God, that is, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit who comprise the triunity of our Creator and Redeemer.  

   "Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high, who humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!" (Psalm 113:5-6).

   "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself" (Philippians 2:5-7).

   "When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me……He shall glorify Me" (John 15:26; 16:14).

   Upon our arrival in Heaven and first direct encounter with our God, His majesty, power, awe, wonder, and even fearfulness will cast us to our faces in proper astonishment, reverence and veneration.  Isaiah the prophet declared himself "undone" by the vision.  John the Apostle "fell at His feet as dead" (Isaiah 6:5; Revelation 1:17).  The infinite God of eternity elicits such response, even as "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge… wisdom" (Psalm 11:10; Proverbs 1:7).

   We shall not long be in our Lord's presence, however, before a companion wonder begins to shine forth from the throne of Heaven.  Perhaps the sight of nailprints and the wound of a spear will capture our attention.  Perhaps the countenance of the face of Christ will bear a sublime witness that cannot be missed.  Perhaps the first sound of His voice will reveal the hints of a quality in the almighty God beyond any  goodness we could have imagined during our earthly lives.  Indeed, perhaps the simple fact of grace that we are there in His presence will open our hearts to the most beautiful light proceeding from God's character of love...  

   "I am meek, and lowly in heart" (Matthew 11:29).

   The humble Christ who spoke these words plainly stated, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."  The same Christ declared of the Holy Spirit, "The Spirit of truth… will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself… He shall glorify Me" (John 14:9; John 16:13-14).  Thus, in the triune God, we see humility in the Father, humility in the Son, and humility in the Holy Spirit.  We see the purest expression of what it means that "God is love" (I John 4:8).  We see what the Lord Jesus tried to tell His disciples by showing them the heart of service and ministry to others that proceeds from God's authority, power, and rightful place as Master, King, and Lord:

   "Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God, He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded… Ye call me Lord and Master, and ye say well. For so I am" (John 13;3-5; 13).

   Perhaps in some manner we will experience a similar observance as our Lord establishes His full governance of our hearts and lives.  Or perhaps such a glory of goodness will be innately known by His presence in our glorified hearts.  Whatever the case, if we have risen from our knees and faces upon seeing His majesty, power, and wonder, we will fall to them again when realizing the humility, meekness, and selflessness of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  We can know nothing more beautiful about the glorious One both "fearful in praises" and "abundant in goodness" (Exodus 15:11; 34:6).  Moreover, nothing will more cause us to humble ourselves for the purpose of honoring our God, and of loving Him with a devotion of humility in our hearts that proceeds from the most winsome wonder of His heart. 

"The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and give His life a ransom for many."
(Matthew 20:28)
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 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 2:5-11)
"We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
(I John 3:2)

Weekly Memory Verse
   We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead."
 (II Corinthians 1:9)