Monday, March 20, 2023

Orange Moon Monday, March 20, 2023 "The Life of Our Lives, the Hope of Our Hearts"

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

"The Life of Our Lives, the Hope of our Hearts"


    Our fellow human beings can be and are such blessings to us.  Be it family, friends, colleagues, or people we simply meet in passing, much of the happiness in our lives comes to us through others like ourselves.  We do well to give thanks for all, realizing God's gift to us of people, and also how He shines to us through them.

   "I exhort, therefore, that… giving of thanks be made for all men" (I Timothy 2:1).

   This being said, we do not fail to realize that people cannot fulfill the deepest requirement of our hearts.  They cannot be our peace, our joy, our love, or our life.

    "He is thy life" (Deuteronomy 30:20).
    "To live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21).

    We do injustice to fellow human beings and to ourselves when we look to them for that which only God can give.  The delusion began long ago when Adam looked to fallen Eve as the hope of his heart, distrusting and disobeying God by hearkening to her voice as she offered the fruit God had forbidden (Genesis 3:6-17).  Eve could not be the fulfillment of Adam's heart, any more than any human being can fulfill ours.  Adam chose poorly, however, and passed along to his race a deception that runs deep in us and must be overcome.  Yes, people, blessed as they are to us as gifts of God, cannot be our God.  "I am thy God" (Isaiah 41:10).
   Through the Lord Jesus Christ, God offers to all the salvation whereby He becomes the realized Life of our lives.  By definition, the new birth involves the redemption whereby "ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God" (I Thessalonians 1:9).  People can be those idols, that is, false gods of the heart to whom we look for a satisfaction and fulfillment they cannot possible provide.  Again, this does not minimize the blessing of God others are to us.  However, the truth maximizes the Blesser, who must become maximum and primary in our hearts.  "Christ… is our life"  (Colossians 3:4).

   Great peace awaits as we build an altar within our hearts whereupon we sacrifice the deception that something or someone other than the living God can rightly occupy the innermost sanctum of our spirits.  That holy of holies exists only for One.  The Life of our lives alone fulfills our hearts because they exist for His vital presence, working, and infusion of Himself as the content for which He made them.  To live is Christ, that is, His indwelling us through the Holy Spirit, and His Person as the hope of our hearts…

"God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father."
(Galatians 4:6)
"Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; Him shalt thou serve, and to Him shalt thou cleave."
(Deuteronomy 10:20)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; Him shalt thou serve, and to Him shalt thou cleave."
(Deuteronomy 10:20)







Saturday, March 18, 2023

Orange Moon Saturday, March 18, 2023 "My Father and Your Father"

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

"My Father and Your Father"


    My father passed away when I was two years old.  My mother reared me, making countless sacrifices for my well being, and being more than I could ever ask for as a loving and devoted parent for whom I could never give enough thanks.

    This being true, I still missed having a father during my childhood.  When I became a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I therefore first experienced what it means to have a father, in this case, the greatest of all patriarchs - "Our Father, which art in Heaven" (Matthew 6:9).  This initiated the discovery of fatherhood and what it means, albeit in spiritual rather than earthly terms.  Through the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, fellow believers, personal experience, and being a father myself, many truths about God's perfect way in this most vital role have blessed my heart and mind.  One, however, stands out, and interestingly, has nothing to do with either myself or any other earthly father.

    "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).

    The greatest truth of fatherhood involves the eternal reality that God has always been a Father, and has always had a Son.

    "From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God" (Psalm 90:2).
    "I am the Lord.  I change not" (Malachi 3:6).
    "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father…Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:1; 24).

   Truth always begins with the God who is truth, and always with the Christ who serves as the central theme and determination of the Father's "eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (John 14:6; Ephesians 3:11).  Thus, to know fatherhood in its truest meaning, we look to the Heavenly Father and His Son, as revealed by the Holy Spirit.  This leads us primarily to the Gospels, wherein Scripture provides many accounts of the Father and Son's relationship and fellowship with one another (although we certainly see the truth revealed throughout both Old Testament and New).  How do we see the Father relating to the Son in the pages of the Bible?  How did the Son respond?  Primary light shines upon us as we behold the beauty of such Parental and Filial devotion.  The Apostles John and Paul confirm this truth of grace in their dual declaration of a gift we may not consider often enough…

    "I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:26).
    "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us… God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Romans 5:5; Galatians 4:6).

    First, the Lord Jesus prayed that the love of the Father might descend upon us and dwell within us.  Then He suffered, died, rose again, and ascended to Heaven to make possible provision of the gift to all who believe.  "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:12).  Thereby, we become part of "the whole family of Heaven and earth" no less than the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 3:15).  Knowing the truest meaning of fatherhood therefore directs us to God's fathering of the Son who made possible our being birthed into family relationship with Him.  "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever" (I Peter 1:23).

    Think of this when pondering the Gospels, or any other passage of Scripture wherein the fellowship of the Father and the Son shines forth.  To know how God relates to us as sons and daughters in Christ, we look to how He relates to Christ.  The Lord Jesus prayed for such a gift to be bestowed upon us, and suffered the wrath of God to be bestowed upon Himself on the cross to purchase such grace.  Thereby, He can and would say to us as He said to Mary Magdalene after He rose from the dead…

"My Father and your Father."
(John 20:17)

Weekly Memory Verse
     That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
(Luke 16:15)






Friday, March 17, 2023

Orange Moon Friday, March 17, 2023 “A Father’s Perfect Way”

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

"A Father's Perfect Way"


    I recently thought of a word I like, but which hasn't crossed my mind in quite a while.  "Mollycoddle" means to overindulge or overprotect, often referring to parents who seek to keep their children from discovering the realities of life, and learning by challenge how to deal with them.

   Our Heavenly Father does not work that way, does He?  "Thou hast shown Thy people hard things" (Psalm 60:3).  Our Heavenly Father unselfishly loves His trusting children, which includes both tender mercies and "hard things."  "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him" (Proverbs 13:24).  God is the greatest of all consolers, "the God of all comfort" (II Corinthians 1:3).  He does not, however, coddle - or mollycoddle - us.  Instead, He administers both comfort and challenge, often in ways that surprise us.  All believers have times when we look to our Lord, believing ourselves to require His tender caress, as it were.  Instead, He orchestrates events and conditions that swat us firmly on the backside, commanding and demanding that we get up and stop feeling sorry for ourselves.  On other occasions, just when we think we require a swift kick in the pants from our Father, He works to encourage us with the promise of forgiveness, cleansing, and restoration.  He knows us so much better than we know ourselves, comforting without coddling, and challenging without condemning.

   "But Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion… Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Psalm 86:5; Hebrews 12:6).

   I suppose Molly coddled her children.  Other parents exercise overbearing ways with their sons and daughters.  God does neither.  In perfect wisdom, with perfect motives and methods, our Heavenly Father ever works to fulfill His purpose of conforming us to the spiritual and moral image of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Be it comfort or challenge, we can be sure He administers what we need, when we need it.  Such a Father can be trusted completely, and submitted to wholeheartedly because…

"As for God, His way is perfect."
(II Samuel 22:31)
"Teach me to do Thy will, for Thou art my God.  Thy Spirit is good, lead me into the land of uprightness."
(Psalm 143:10)

Weekly Memory Verse
     That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
(Luke 16:15)






Thursday, March 16, 2023

Orange Moon Thursday, March 17, 2023 "Content and Confidence"

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

"Content and Confidence"


    Our spiritual enemies cannot remove the content of God's promised provision to born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ whereby "His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness."  Thus, they seek to damage our confidence in His provision and our possession of "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (II Peter 1:3; Ephesians 3:8).

    "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17).

    By "live," Scripture means that we are spiritually alive in Christ by faith, and also that we seek to avail ourselves of our Lord's promised enabling of His life.  "We... live through Him" (I John 4:9).  Our enemies well know this truth, perhaps better than do we ourselves.  They seek to discourage our trust in the promises and presence of God.  Such unbelief results in skirmish defeats despite our union with the Christ whose triumph has already assured the ultimate fulfillment of God's purposes.  We can lose battles despite our Savior already having won the war.  Discouragement places us in a gravely and unnecessarily weakened spiritual condition, requiring that we look to the Lord Jesus and thereby "lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees" (Hebrews 12:2; 12).

    Our confidence in God flows concurrently with how well we know Him and His truth.  Indeed, we trust someone to the degree we know them.  Realizing we live in a battle zone wherein enemies ever seek to thwart our faith provides motivation to avail ourselves of the gifts God has given to keep our heart empowered by His encouragement.  "Fight the good fight of faith" commanded the Apostle Paul (I Timothy 6:12).  Our foes will be all too successful if we fail to realize their incessant attempt to discourage us, and far more, if we fail to remember and affirm the promise of "all things that pertain to life and godliness" we possess in Christ.

   I like to think of this in terms of getting our spiritual dander up.  "Someone is trying to discourage me, someone I cannot fight myself.  However, Someone else seeks to encourage me, Someone far greater than my foes.  He has won the war, and can lead me in this battle as the Captain of my salvation, and as the indwelling power whereby 'we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us' " (Romans 8:37).  Realizing the nature of the conflict - "the good fight of faith" - goes far in our seeking to fight accordingly as as we realize that discouragement involves not only our flesh, but also enemies ever seeking to dampen our confidence in Him.  "There are many adversaries" (I Corinthians 16:9).

   We must smell the smoke, as it were, of the spiritual battlefield on which we live.  Enemies cannot win the war they have already lost.  They cannot take from us our salvation or "the unsearchable riches of Christ" whereby God equips us for all things.  Our content is secure.  However, our confidence may wax and wane, depending on how we look to our Lord and His Word as the life and light of our lives.  Again, our foes well know this.  They fight accordingly.   We must therefore fight affirmatively, "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith," and finding in Him the far more than adequate means to align our confidence with His content.

"We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
(Ephesians 6:12-18)

Weekly Memory Verse
     That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
(Luke 16:15)






Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Orange Moon Wednesday, March 15, 2023 "Faith As Love"

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

"Faith As Love"


    Springtime, with all its renewed life, beauty, and vitality, brings with it the challenge of allergens.  Many people, including most of the people of our family, enjoy the wonders of God's creation at this time of year, while sniffling, sneezing, and trying to avoid the rubbing of itching eyes.

   "Unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life" (Genesis 3:17).

   Sin brought challenges into a world that also retains much beauty.  If thinking clearly, that is, Biblically, we would not want it any other way.  In our present state, we require trials and troubles, pains and perplexities, along with grace and gifts, in order to realize our need for God and His redeeming mercy in our hearts and lives.  "We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).  Of course, challenge does not automatically direct our attention to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Even devoted believers can be tempted to become bitter rather than better when facing sorrows and sufferings.  Choices of faith must be made when trouble comes our way, choices led and enabled by the Holy Spirit, but also exercised by the freedom whereby we function as persons rather than programs.  Only thereby can we love God in terms defined by Scripture.  "I will love Thee, o Lord, my strength" declared the Psalmist well aware of both need for God's enabling, and his own privileged responsibility to relate to the Lord in freely determined devotion (Psalm 18:1).

   Genuine faith, especially in times of trouble, constitutes one of our greatest opportunities to love God.  "Faith… worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6).  Indeed, somewhere in this fallen world, a believer in the Lord Jesus presently suffers greatly, while nevertheless looking toward Heaven to join the Psalmist in his affirmation, I will trust in Thee" (Psalm 56:3).  This is love, the love of God revealing His trustworthiness in a needy heart, and the believer's responding in love to bless the Lord's gracious heart.  A world such as the one in which we presently live offers continual opportunity, amid ongoing challenge, to love our Heavenly Father and to bless other people by affirming His faithfulness through our faith.  "Whoso offereth praise glorifeth Me" declared the Lord (Psalm 50:23).  

    A perfect and painless glory awaits those who trust the Lord Jesus, a realm wherein all praise will proceed from painless happiness.  This is not that realm, not yet.  Presently, the praise that glorifies God often ascends to Him from hurting hearts, pained bodies, and perplexed minds.  A possibility for love awaits us in such challenge, one that will not be available in the life to come.  We shall not pass this way again.  Let us therefore avail ourselves of the opportunity to love our Heavenly Father by trusting Him at all times, and especially when the world as presently constituted tells us otherwise.  He accounts such faith as love, and we can only imagine how much it must bless His heart.

"Glorify ye the Lord in the fires."
(Isaiah 24:15)
"Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD."
(Psalm 4:5)

Weekly Memory Verse
     That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
(Luke 16:15)



shared with a dear friend yesterday that 99.99% of the Bible involves God's revelation and glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We exist to know Him, and to find in such holy light the reality, reason, and ramifications of our existence (John 17:3).  The Holy Spirit who indwells us ever works to reveal and glorify the Lord Jesus (John 15:28; 16:14).  However, I also mentioned to my friend that a .01% place exists for the believer's self-knowledge and awareness.  To know God means we will know ourselves in the context of Christ, as it were.  "Ye are in Christ Jesus… He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (I Corinthians 1:30; 6:17).  Of all that God sees of us, we can be sure this is first and this is primary.  Indeed, how can it not be so when we consider…

    "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).

      If God gave His Son to the cross to make possible and actual His giving of the Holy Spirit to our hearts, could it be that He sees us with any other essential focus?  If He poured out His wrath on the Lord Jesus so that He might pour out the Spirit into our spirits, will He ever overlook this "hope of glory, which is Christ in you?"  And if He left His beloved Lord Jesus to die alone in utter abandonment to make possible His presence within us, will He ever take leave of seeing us in terms less than "Ye are the temple of the living God?" (II Corinthians 6:16).

   Find the most faithful believer on the planet in this moment, and you will find one viewed by God as united to the Spirit of His Son.  Find the most failing believer on the planet in this moment, and you will find one viewed by God as united to the Spirit of His Son.  Too much was sacrificed for the Divine gaze upon us to be other or less.  Certainly, our faithful or failing response to Him matters much, and He works to enhance the former, and correct the latter.  However, God's first gaze ever sees us in  light of the cross, the empty tomb, and the Spirit of the crucified and risen Christ within us.  We must see ourselves accordingly.  "In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).  

    This is the .o1% - how we view ourselves - based on the 99.99% - how we view God.  But how important it is.  To share God's view of Christ in us and ourselves in Christ will go far in motivating and empowering a corresponding life of faith and faithfulness.  Moreover, our Savior suffered agonized abandonment on the cross to bestow such grace upon and within us.  We will never throughout eternity, or in this lifetime, live a moment apart from the Holy Spirit's abiding and empowering presence within us.  Yes, God gave Himself to dwell within our hearts when we believed.  He will not leave.  This is how He views us.  This is how we must view ourselves.

"I am with you always… I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
(Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5)
"Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
(Romans 6:11)

Weekly Memory Verse