Friday, September 30, 2022

Orange Moon Friday, September 30, 2022 "Millions of Prayers, Trillions of Answers"

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


               "Millions of Prayers, Trillions of Answers"

     Millions of prayers presently ascend to the God of Heaven, offered by born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ for the people of the state of Florida (USA).  A strong hurricane passed through the state this week, leaving in its wake terrible destruction and, at the time of this writing, at least one death.

   Trillions of answers to these prayers will be forthcoming in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead by the God and Father of the Lord Jesus, whose promised response to our intercessions measures "exceeding, abundantly above all we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20).  Well more than 99% of our requests will be fulfilled in ways we will never know as the Spirit of God moves amid tragedy to administer help, comfort, healing, provision, and triumphs of the risen Christ known only in the tragedies of a fallen world.  Indeed, our desire for God's working pales in comparison to His desire to act as He privileges us to be a praying conduit through which the River of life flows in grace and mercy.  "He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38).

    We must learn to love the reality that we do not see the vast preponderance of God's answers to our prayers.  How limited would His heart and hand be if He had to display all His works to us!  Conversely, if He promises to work through our requests according to the measure of "exceeding, abundantly above," we can bow our heads in amazed gratitude, rejoicing by faith in the "wonders without number" He performs as we pray (Job 9:10).

    We cannot not begin to know the vast measure of help and supply that will flow from Heaven because we have responded to the Holy Spirit's leading us to the throne of grace.  What will matter is that our Father will have honored us to play a role in His rescue and redemption, and that for time and eternity, the Lord Jesus alone will be glorified thereby.  "Exceeding, abundantly above" - let us be sure that our simple prayers will be answered according to the eternal and infinite measure of our Father's grace.  Yes, millions of prayers, trillions of answers.

"Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD?  Who can show forth all His praise?"
(Psalm 106:2)

Weekly Memory Verse    
  "Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy and Thy truth's sake!"
(Psalm 115:1)


Thursday, September 29, 2022

Orange Moon Thursday, September 29, 2022 "Journey To Christlikeness"

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

(Thanks to my son Noah for inspiration on this one)


               "Journey To Christlikeness"

     No possibility exists of overstating the wonder of Scripture, or of the infinite beauty of its holy light.  We can never give enough thanks for the gift the Bible is to us, or of the vital necessity of its place in our salvation and subsequent walk with God by faith.

    "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).
    "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).
   "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts"' (Jeremiah 15:16).

    This being said, it remains true that mere knowledge of the Bible, or memorization of its passages, does not suffice in our relationship and fellowship with our Heavenly Father.  Christ must be "formed" in us, that is, the truths of Scripture must become infused into the very depths of our being by God's working along often difficult pathways of our lives (Galatians 4:19).

   "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" (II Corinthians 4:10).

   He who dwells within our trusting spirits must become manifest in the temple of our earthly humanity.  This requires our fellowship in "the dying of the Lord Jesus," not in atonement for our sins - a fully accomplished reality - but rather in the formation of His character in us.  The Apostle Paul referred to this as "the fellowship of His sufferings" (Philippians 3:10).  We will refer to it in no lesser terms as our Father works in us to conform us to the spiritual and moral image of the Lord Jesus.  No possibility exists regarding this holy process  that does not involve pain and sorrow felt in the most visceral terms deep in our souls and bodies.  "We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).

   Every believer sometimes wonders, "Why is this happening to me?"  In detail, we may never know.  In the larger picture, the eternal picture, we can always know.  God works in us to make us like His Son, first, for the glory of the Lord Jesus, and then to enable us to further others in their own challenging, but glorious journey to Christlikeness.  This requires both sublime blessing and necessary sorrow and pain.  A wounded Savior returned to Heaven, bearing the prints of nails.  To be made like Him, we must bear our own scars, imprinted by the particular "nails" of our own woundings.  God could do nothing better for us.  But the way will not be easy, and we will sometimes look to Heaven and wonder why the pathways of earth must often be so rocky and treacherous.  This is why...

All things work together for good, 
in the hearts and lives of those who love the Lord.
The pleasures and the pains, 
the sunshine and the rains,
all things work together for good.

An unseen Hand weaves all the threads,
a Heart of grace works for our best.
To make us like His Son, 
He leaves nothing undone.
All things work together for good...
All things work together for good.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified." 
(Matthew 8:28-30)

"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 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. So then death worketh in us, but life in you."
(II Corinthians 4:6-12"
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
(II Corinthians 3:18)

Weekly Memory Verse    
  "Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy and Thy truth's sake!"
(Psalm 115:1)


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Orange Moon Wednesday, September 28, 2022 "The Song of the Redeemed"

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


               "The Song of the Redeemed"

     As we concluded the singing of a hymn in a service yesterday, I proposed that angels in Heaven might be listening and, "Wishing we could sing like that!"  Frances followed with the thought, "They cannot sing the song of the redeemed."

    "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Spirit sent down from Heaven; which things the angels desire to look into" (I Peter 1:12).

   Only one passage of Scripture suggests that angels sing.

   "Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened?  Or who laid the cornerstone thereof, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:6-7).

    If, as many students of Scripture surmise, the "morning stars" are synonymous with angels, we may ponder what it must have been like to have heard them rejoice in song when God made the physical creation.  What wondrous sound must have reverberated through newly formed galaxies, worlds, and the immensity of space.   But how much more wondrous that former rebels now rescued from sin by the Lord Jesus Christ sing in our hearts and in a fallen world "the song of the Lamb" (Revelation 15:3).  

    Nineteenth century pastor John East beautifully depicted the beauty of grace-composed strains sung by human hearts that angels can never voice.

"Angelic worlds around Thee sweetly rolled
their strains o'er harps of pure, ethereal gold.
They sung Thee, God - creation's fount and end,
their sovereign Benefactor, Lord, and Friend.
Their 'Holy Holy' pealed around,
deep echoing through immensity's profound.
Yet none, amidst their shining hosts of light,
e're hailed Thee Savior!  That supreme delight
reserved for guilty man - for guilty me! - 
to sing through time, and through eternity."

   Many believers do not care to hear their own voices in song.  I understand that and often feel the same way.  However, God loves the voices of the redeemed as we sing the songs reserved only for human hearts.  We alone have known His grace in a measure and degree of which all other created entities can only wonder.  So, whether quietly in the heart or resoundingly with the voice, let us sing the songs reserved for the forgiven, the pardoned, the enlivened, and the spiritually birthed sons and daughters in whom the Spirit of God moves to orchestrate music we alone can make…

"Be filled with the Spirit,  speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."
(Ephesians 5:18-19)

Weekly Memory Verse    
  "Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy and Thy truth's sake!"
(Psalm 115:1)


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Orange Moon Tuesday, September 27, 2022 "His Cold"

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


               "His Cold"

     The first genuinely cool morning of autumn in the subtropics where we live brings to mind the coldest night of our lives.  During a hike on the Appalachian Trail, a cold rain during the day soaked my wife Frances and me, preparing us for an extremely cold night as we attempted to sleep in our tent.  I don't know how much we actually slept, although Frances remembers getting warm enough to drift off to dreamland far more than I did.  It was quite an experience, and I shiver a bit just thinking about it.

    "Who can stand before His cold?" (Psalm 147:17).

    Scientists tell us that cold involves the slowing down of molecules through the loss of energy.  The Psalmist tells us that God involves Himself in the process, doubtless alluding to spiritual rather than physical experience.  "Who can stand when the Lord slows things down?" might be another way to express the question referenced in the passage above.

   "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).

    In and of itself, the human heart exists as a restless place of frenetic energy that does not lead to God.  The world is much with us, demanding that we race to and fro just to survive, and much more if we are to thrive.  Moreover, an even more restless devil "going to and fro in the earth" tempts us to move so incessantly that we race by the stillness required to know the Lord Jesus Christ (Job 1:7).  This means He must administer His "cold" in our lives, orchestrating and allowing events and experiences that slow and hinder our mad dash into oblivion.  "For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; in returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength" (Psalm 30:15).

   As in our time of physical cold in the mountains, many of the Lord's stilling administrations of spiritual cold will not be pleasant.  Loss of comfort, opportunity, relationships, possessions, and physical health may be required to slow down our racing spirits.  If we fail to recognize our Heavenly Father's working in all things, cold will simply be bitter.  However, if being stilled causes us to realize the opportunity to know the Lord Jesus, "His cold" becomes the sweetness of rest to our needy hearts.  

   We will never forget that night in the mountains.  We smile (and shiver!) when thinking about it now, adding the experience to the chronicle of our hiking journeys through the years.  Thankfully, in all our lives, an even colder cold works to slow things down in a far more vital way as God graciously seeks to reveal Himself to us.  He must still our hearts if we are to know Him.  And we must realize His purpose in doing so when He slows us down in ways that may seem uncomfortable, but which promise great blessedness to those who will rest and trust before "His cold."

Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.
(Psalm 116:7)

Weekly Memory Verse    
  "Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy and Thy truth's sake!"
(Psalm 115:1)


Monday, September 26, 2022

Orange Moon Monday, September 26, 2022 "Not Unto Us"

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

(Thanks to Urbane for inspiration on this one)


               "Not Unto Us"

     Most born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will quietly live out their earthly sojourn known only to a relative few family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and fellow Christians (statistically, far more than 99% of us).  Little fanfare will accompany our departure, just as little accompanied our journey of faith during our lifetime.  

     Consider Urbane, mentioned in Romans 16 as the Apostle Paul's "helper in Christ" (Romans 16:9).  What do we know about him other than this mention in Scripture?  Precious little.  His name means "of the city" (from which we derive our common word, "urban").  We also know he served the Lord by serving  Paul.  This fact tells us much about Urbane in terms of being a devoted believer, as does Paul's mention of him in an epistle destined to become a part of the Biblical canon.  Beyond this, however, we know nothing.  In which city was Urbane born?  Rome?  Certainly a possibility, but we cannot be sure.  What of his family?  His education?  His calling and career?  His service to God and people?  His passing?  We do not have answers to any of these questions, again, regarding a man so notable to the Apostle Paul that he bore him witness for his faithful service.  Indeed, while writing this, I thanked God for Urbane, something I had never considered doing before.

   I also thanked the Lord for the vast multitude of Urbanes who lived and live their lives unknown to all but those blessed to be in their sphere of influence and ministry.  Statistically, this includes just about every believer who ever lived.  This is just as it should be.  Christians must not succumb to the temptation of self importance that lures us to seek notoriety.  If it comes as the natural course of things, so be it.  However, ambition for reputation has no place in the heart of any believer.  The notables will be far and few in God's purposes, even in the Internet generation wherein one can instantly become known, for good or ill, to billions.  The Spirit of God rather works in every true believer to direct all praise and honor to the Christ who alone is worthy of it.  Indeed, if one can look upon his hands and feet without seeing the prints of nails suffered while dying for the sins of others, one must renounce every devilish and fleshly notion of seeking a name, place, and reputation.  "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" (II Corinthians 10:17).

   I look forward to meeting Urbane on some Heavenly street of gold, along with so many other faithful brothers and sisters known only to God and a few.  The vast bulk of the Lord's work happens through such ones, resulting in Christ alone receiving honor and glory.  This is just as they would have it, even as the Psalmist confirmed in his longing to shine light and the spotlight on the one One worthy to receive it…

"Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy and Thy truth's sake!"
(Psalm 115:1)

Weekly Memory Verse    
  "Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy and Thy truth's sake!"
(Psalm 115:1)


Sunday, September 25, 2022

Orange Moon Sunday, September 25, 2022 "Truths That Abide"

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


               "Truths That Abide"

     We began yesterday's message with "Find the most faithful believer on the planet," addressing the humility of whomever that might be.

    Today, let us track another path, this one dark and tragic.  "Find the most failing believer on the planet, and …"

    What is true of such a one?  Much, of course, that speaks of unnecessary and unfortunate wanderings from the path of righteousness.  Failure to honor and please the Lord characterizes  unbelief and disobedience, along with God the Father's discipline of love (Hebrews 12:6).  The wayward Christian may well discourage other believers, as well as failing to provide an influence that leads unbelievers to faith in the Lord Jesus.  Nothing sadder exists in the world than a fallen son or daughter of God in whom the Spirit of Christ lives, but without the mighty effect that should be present.  "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat" (Hebrews 5:12).

    Amid the tragedy, however, realities concerning "the most failing believer" abide.  Consider the Corinthians, the most wayward fellowship of believers mentioned in the New Testament epistles.  To such "carnal" ones, the Apostle Paul wrote…

    "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (I Corinthians 3:3; 16).  

   The context of this affirmation reveals one of the most profound realities of God's grace and truth in the Lord Jesus, namely, that when the Holy Spirit enters the spirit of a convert at the time of the new birth, He comes to stay.  Forever.  Paul confirms this truth in his epistle to the Romans, where he reveals that the spiritually enlivened believer can no more die again than can the risen Lord Jesus (Romans 6:9-11).  Indeed, the great tragedy of the fallen Christian is that he descends into carnality with the Spirit of Christ no less the Life of his life than in times when he ascended to the highest summit of faithfulness.  To Corinthians lying wounded and broken along the path, Paul saw them united to Christ, making their waywardness all the more mournful and tragic.

   Many other truths of God's salvation in Christ remain fixed in the fallen.  Space does not allow for a full consideration at present, but suffice it to say that our Father's grace in His Son provides irrevocable gifts based not on our faithfulness, but rather on that of the Lord Jesus.  Our experience of such abundance will surely reach a low ebb when we fall into unbelief and disobedience.  More importantly, our capacity to reflect well upon the Savior and lead others to Him suffers greatly.  The atoning work and enduring intercession of our Savior nevertheless secures many realities of God grace in us apart from our response (Romans 5:1-2; Hebrews 7:25; I Corinthians 1:1-9).

   The most failing believer can and must be rescued from his inexcusable failure to access the presence and power of Christ for a life of faithful godliness.  One powerful aspect of our seeking to help involves reminding him of truths that abide in his heart and relationship with God, secured by his ever faithful Savior.  Paul's example in his dealings with the carnal Corinthians guides us in this aspect of restoration.  Those who truly know the Lord Jesus cannot fail to be touched by such reminders of grace.  This appears to have been the case with the Corinthians, as evidenced by Paul's second epistle to them (II Corinthians 7:9-11).  Most of all, we exalt the Lord Jesus in His Person and work for both the faithful and the failing.  Yes, saints may fall from grace and its power to enable godliness.  The Savior, however, eternally abides in faithfulness and the power to restore even the most fallen believer to a vibrant walk along the path of righteousness.

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
(Hebrews 12:1-3)

Weekly Memory Verse    
   Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
(John 14:6)


Saturday, September 24, 2022

Orange Moon Saturday, September 24, 2022 "If You Have Time"

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

               "If You Have Time"

     Find the most devoted and faithful believer on the planet.  We can be sure that even if he or she does not precisely express these words, their attitude strongly bears the intent:

    "Search me, Lord, and after that, if you have time left for anyone else…".

   The longer and better we know the Lord Jesus Christ, the more we realize how far we have to go in being conformed to His image.  The most devoted and faithful believer is what he is because he knows better than others that much remains to be done in his walk with the Lord.  He therefore ever seeks to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and he knows he has wasted much opportunity in the process:  "And if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know" (I Corinthians 8:2).  As a noted seminary professor and author beautifully responded upon his retirement, when asked how he wanted to be remembered, "As a man who had a merciful and patient Lord."

   The infinite character and nature of Christ provides the primary reason we will always need growth and change.  Even a cursory reading of Scripture reveals a Being of goodness and integrity beyond our highest contemplation.  To be progressively made like Him in this present life requires the ongoing work of God, which He promises to perform in every believer.  "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).  Christlikeness does not just happen, nor does it involve a completely smooth and uninterrupted journey from our native self-centeredness.  The most godly among us know that "the flesh lusteth against the spirit," even as they affirm the delight of their redeemed spiritual selfhood for the will of God (Galatians 5:17; Romans 7:22).  They know "the good fight of faith" will be required throughout our earthly sojourn in order to conform us to the glorious spiritual and moral likeness of the Lord Jesus (I Timothy 6:12).  Thus, they consistently seek our "merciful and patient Lord's" searching of their hearts and response to Him.

   The Lord, of course, has more than enough time regarding His work of administering in all "doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness" (II Timothy 3:16).  We nevertheless do well to maintain the attitude of being the particular project so involved and challenging that "if you have time for anybody else" provides a  proper framework of heart and mind.  The godliest among us know this.  We do well to follow their example of humility and recognition of need.

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect (mature), be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you."
(Philippians 3:13-15)
"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted."
(Galatians 6:1)
"Search me, o God, and know my heart.  Try me and know my thoughts.  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
(Psalm 139:23-24)

Weekly Memory Verse    
   Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
(John 14:6)


Friday, September 23, 2022

Orange Moon Friday, September 23, 2022 "God's Perspective and Our's"

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


               "God's Perspective and Our's"

     To a large degree, faith involves the discovery of how God views matters, and then joining Him in His perspective.  This begins with our salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.

   "This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).
   "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God" (I John 4:15).

   We continue in such faith after becoming believers.

   "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).
    "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (I John 5:5).

     If we could audibly hear the voice of our Heavenly Father, He would direct us to His Son as the source and supply He provides, and which we must receive.  In lieu of such communication at present, His Word and His Spirit bear witness to this truth (John 5:39; 15:26).  Thus, to join the Father in His perspective and walk by faith, we seek to discover who Christ is to both Him and to ourselves.  The Father's focus must increasingly become our focus, resulting in a shared fellowship of love for the Lord Jesus, and a subsequent life of seeking to exalt, love, trust, and obey the One who serves as the heart of God's "eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:11).

     To live by faith means we join our Heavenly Father in exalting the Lord Jesus as the center and circumference of both time and eternity.    The Apostle John well knew this about the Father's devotion to His Son and His purpose in Him.  We close with John's affirmation that our faith ever involves God's Christ-exalting perspective that must increasingly become our perspective…

"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ."
(I John 1:3)
"All men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father."
(John 5:23)
"In Thy light shall we see light." 
(Psalm 36:9)

Weekly Memory Verse    
   Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
(John 14:6)


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Orange Moon Monday, September 22, 2022 "Spirit"

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



      "God is a spirit," meaning that in He dwells in a reality beyond and greater than material substance.  A spirit hath not flesh and blood" (John 4:24; Luke 24:39).  Of course, since the incarnation of the second Person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ, God can also be said to live in the material reality of the universe He created.  "The Word was made flesh… God was manifest in the flesh" (John 1:14; I Timothy 3:16).  However, God's spiritual being remains the primary essence of who and what He has forever been.

   Human beings are also spirits in our essence, which are either alive or dead.  Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are spiritually alive in the primary selfhood of our being.  "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… Christ is our life" (John 3:6; Romans 8:9; Colossians 3:4).  Conversely, unbelievers may be said to have spirits, but which exist in a death characterized by the absence of the life-giving Holy Spirit.  "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).

   God calls believers to "walk in the Spirit," that is, to order the steps of our lives in accordance with the Holy Spirit's presence and working in our spirits.  "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).  We seek to be guided by His motivation, leading, and enabling, as opposed to the fleshly impulses and inclinations of our natural souls and bodies (Romans 8:13-14; I Corinthians 15:45-49).

   We do well to consistently ponder these realities of our being and existence in the light of Scripture.  Indeed, how are to "walk in the Spirit" if we do not know we "are in the Spirit?"  If we fail to "reckon ye also yourselves to be… alive unto God," we will very likely consign ourselves to walk according to fleshly motions of death rather than being empowered by the Spirit of life who dwells within our spirits.  "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh" (Galatians 5:25).  This is written as a simple reminder of a most sublime and powerfully influential truth, namely…

"God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father."
(Galatians 4:6)
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
(Romans 8:2-4)

Weekly Memory Verse    
   Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
(John 14:6)


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Orange Moon Wednesday, September 21, 2022 "Small Matters"

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


               "Small Matters"

     Those of you who have been with us for awhile may recall a story I once shared with you about a dear Orange Moon subscriber and friend named Nancy.  Many years ago, Nancy responded to a message we sent out about honoring the Lord in matters that may seem small, but which which actually bear great spiritual significance.   Nancy said that one way she does this involves always placing grocery store shopping carts in their proper receptacles after she empties them.  "I don't want to make extra work for someone else."  This vividly illustrated the Christ-led and God-honoring behavior referenced in the message.  "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31).

   Over the years, Frances and I have returned many carts to their proper place in shopping center parking lots, remembering Nancy's example.  A particularly vivid opportunity happened for me the other day at a local store.  I parked a long way from the entrance of the building.  When I returned to my car and unloaded my shopping basket, I looked around for a receptacle and spotted one far off in the distance.  "Too far away this time" I thought.   Then it hit me.  "What does the Lord want me to do in this matter?"  And, of course, "what would Nancy do?" 

   I rolled the basket to the distant receptacle, and returned to my car with a smile on my face and thanksgiving for the Lord and for Nancy.  I also thought about the value of Christian brothers and sisters who serve as encouraging and challenging examples in our lives.  How often we see Christ in each other, especially as we realize and remember our shared calling to reflect His glory in practical ways that may seem earthly, but which actually proceed from Heavenly realities resident within our hearts.  "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord" (Colossians 3:23).

   Relatively speaking, few obviously big things happen in our lives.  Conversely, thousands upon thousands of seemingly little things occur.  Moments matter as the Lord's abiding presence offers countless opportunities to trust and submit to Him in circumstances that may seem insignificant, but which actually teem with the possibility of glorifying the Lord Jesus.  What a life God gives to us in Christ, wherein He fills all things with His involved presence and working.  I think about this when returning shopping baskets to their receptacles, and when pondering the many small matters that actually loom large in the light of eternity.

"Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
(I Corinthians 10:31)

Weekly Memory Verse    
   Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
(John 14:6)