Friday, March 31, 2023

Orange Moon Friday, March 31, 2023 "From Everlasting"

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

"From Everlasting"

    Only of God can it be said that He exists "from everlasting."  He alone exists eternally in the most complete sense.  Other conscious beings, which He made, will forever exist in the future - "to everlasting" (Psalm 90:2; Ecclesiastes 3:14).  Only the triune living and true Lord, however, can be referenced in terms of "from everlasting."

   No truth more stills our minds than the eternality of God, particularly that He has always been.  Because we exist as created beings who had a beginning, we have no frame of reference whatsoever for the everlasting "from" of our Lord.  Of many realities about Him that bear witness to the truth that He is God and we are not, this distinction regarding His and our very existence takes a back seat to none.  We can acknowledge and affirm the fact of our Lord's "from everlasting" existence, that is, the truth that He has always been.  Beyond that, however, contemplation quickly begins to break down, leaving us with the most beneficial understanding, namely, that we cannot understand.  "Thou art God alone" declared the Psalmist (Psalmist 86:10).  

    A race of beings long ago misled by the devilish lie that "ye shall be as gods" requires such truth to overcome the darkness with the truth that, as a good friend often suggests, "God is God, and we ain't! (Genesis 3:5).  We need - and the Bible offers - much light about this most basic of truths.  Of course, believers know in principle and doctrine that we are not God.  Resident in our flesh, however, remains the deception that we can do what gods do, namely, govern our own existence and provide for our own needs.  "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit" (Galatians 5:17).  We cannot, but we can seek to live as if we can.  Indeed, every giving in to controlling fear of any sort bears witness to the fleshly deception that we think ourselves to be the arbiters of our destiny, whether short term or long term.  By definition, those who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ have committed to Him their well being.  Succumbing to fear indicates something still remains in us that whispers or shouts, "ye shall be as gods."  No, we will not, and the truth of God's eternal "from everlasting" confirms His ability to care for us - He has seen a thing or two :) - and our absolute need to trust Him for our present and future because God is God, and we are not.

   A final point.  Scripture does speak on one occasion to the most blessed of all God's from everlasting realities, namely, in terms of relationship.  Just before the cross of Calvary, the Lord Jesus spoke these words to His Father: "Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24).  What was God doing when He alone existed?  He was being who He is - "God is love" - and He was doing what He does by nature - "The Father loveth the Son… I love the Father… the fruit of the Spirit is love" (I John 4:8; John 3:35; 14:31; Galatians 5:22).  Thus, a truth that stills the mind proceeds to thrill the mind with glories of loving devotion in the triune God that have always been, and will always be.  Moreover, the Lord Jesus prayed the most wondrous of prayers for us regarding the "from everlasting" love of God that by grace will forever be our "to everlasting" experience of the most wondrous of answers...

"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."
(Romans 5:5)
"Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen."
(Psalm 41:13). 

Weekly Memory Verse
   Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God."
 (II Corinthians 3:5)







Thursday, March 30, 2023

Orange Moon Thursday, March 30, 2023 “I Don’t Know” Or… “The Sanity of Humility”

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

"I Don't Know"


"The Sanity of Humility"

    "I don't know."  The wise among us often think this in heart and mind, and also openly express their lack of complete knowledge.  They realize that, regarding every subject, they know such a minuscule amount of what can be known.  This truth especially applies to God and His spiritual reality and truth.

   "His understanding is infinite" (Psalm 147:5).
   "If any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know" (I Corinthians 8:2).

    Long ago, Satan infected Adam with the lie in which he himself exists.  "Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5).  The falsehood dominates the hearts of unbelievers, and remains in the flesh of believers (Proverbs 21:4; Galatians 5:17).  Thus, we are all susceptible to thinking we know more than we do, and particularly for believers, that we know enough about God and His truth.  Of course, most of us would not openly affirm such a notion, and we might even properly think in our hearts and minds that we need to learn so much more.  In our attitudes and actions, however, fleshly pride and arrogance can tempt us to consider that we know than we actually do.

    Consider matters of disagreement with fellow believers.  We may hold a correct position about a Biblical matter, having pondered the matter enough to justifiably have an opinion.  If so, we may rightly state our case, and in fact, we should "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 1:3).  Do we, however, perceive ourselves to know everything about any matter of God and His Word?  If not, arrogance and proudful aggressiveness should not accompany the assertion of our position.  We must not follow the example of the preacher whose sermon notes included the comment, "Point weak here.  Pound pulpit!"  Indeed, even if we believe our position to be strong in Biblical truth, we do far better to heed the Apostle Paul's avoidance of pulpit pounding.  "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves" (II Timothy 2:24-25).

    Maintaining the realization that regardless of how much we know, an eternal God beckons us with infinite knowledge and understanding will go far in maintaining the sanity of humility to which He calls us.  Moreover, even the best and brightest among the human race know nothing as they ought to know.  This does not disqualify their imparting of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.  It does, however, direct our attention to those sane enough to couple their "I know" with the humility of "I don't know."  To such ones, let us give heed, pay our respects, and seek to follow their example.

"The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about.  And, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.  And He said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live?  And I answered, O Lord GOD, Thou knowest."
(Ezekiel 37:1-3; emphasis added)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God."
 (II Corinthians 3:5)







Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Orange Moon Wednesday, March 29, 2023 “Days of Old, Prayers of Today”

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

"Days of Old, Prayers of Today"

    I awoke in the middle of the night with thoughts and memories of high school classmates, most of whom I have not seen in nearly a half century.  I also pondered God's involvement in my life during the times with those people, realizing His working in my life to bring me to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ not long after graduation.

    "I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Thy works; I muse on the work of Thy hands" (Psalm 143:5).

   I knew some believers during high school, and remember the witness of their lives and words.  I also remember others who somehow played a role in God's working in my life.  Most of all, I did the one thing I can presently do for people with whom I spent four years of my life, but whom I will likely never see again.

  "I give myself unto prayer" (Psalm 109:4).

   People of the our past must evoke prayers of our present.  I did not know the Lord Jesus when attending school with Henry, Ronnie, Ben, Cindy, Tanya, Paul, Portia, James, Mona, and so many others.  I know Him now, however, and am called by our Heavenly Father to remember "the days of old" with intercessions in these days.  Of course, I don't remember every person or name from my high school days.  God does, however, and He gives privileged responsibility to pray "for the ones I cannot remember, Lord."  

    I find this calling of God to our trusting hearts one of the most overwhelming realities of the Christian life.  That we can approach the living, infinite, and eternal God with requests to work in the live of others boggles the heart and the mind.  I liken it to knowing a rich benefactor who places his wealth at my disposal, and who tells me, "If you encounter someone in need, you may request my bestowal upon them, and I will respond accordingly."  The Benefactor we know possesses, of course, "unsearchable riches" (Ephesians 3:8).  Moreover, He can supply not only bread for the table, but redemption of the heart.  What a joy to pray accordingly, seeking God's grace and truth in this day for the companions and classmates of "days of old."  What a greater joy to know my remembrance and interest in them proceeds from His great love for them, a love that "passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19).  

   I was a bit groggy in the middle of the night, and thus prayed a fairly general prayer for my classmates.  Sometime today, however, I plan on naming as many of them as I can recall, asking our Father to work in their hearts and lives.  He knows them all, of course, and knows precisely what they need in either walking with Him, or coming to know Him.  Yes, the Benefactor we approach for others and for ourselves is both willing and able to answer the requests of our hearts, motivated and administered by His heart.  Wondrous indeed, and a responsibility that, rightly perceived, seems far more like the most amazing of privileges.  Because it is.

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men." 
(I Timothy 2:1)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God."
 (II Corinthians 3:5)







Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Orange Moon Tuesday, March 28, 2023 "The Consignatory

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

"The Consignatory"

    Not only were God's promises fulfilled through the Lord Jesus Christ.  They were made to Him.

   "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ" (Galatians 3:16).

    Had God's promises been made only to Abraham, they never could have come to fruition.  The narrative of Abraham's life indicates "a man subject to like passions as we are" (James 5:16).   God's covenants, particularly the administration of His saving grace in Christ, require a far more faithful consignatory than any human being born of Adam's race could begin to fulfill.  The Lord's standard - "His way is perfect" - would not allow for anything less than one perfectly aligned with His character, nature, and way as the cosigner of any agreement (II Samuel 22:31).  The Lord Jesus alone serves this holy purpose, having become human to represent humanity, and having lived a sinless earthly lifetime to ensure the successful fulfillment of the Divine/human bond in Him.  "All the promises of God in Him are yea" (II Corinthians 1:20).

   How "yea" (certain) are the promises of God?  The Father made them to His Son.  He fulfilled them by His Son.  He enacts them through His Son.  The Holy Spirit provided a document - the Scriptures - to bear witness to the family nature of the Father and Son's convenantal agreements.  Thus, all who enter into spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus by faith become cosignatories with Him, by Him, and through Him.  God's promises are therefore as assured to us as the integrity of both the Father's and Son's hearts, the blood shed by the Lord Jesus to make possible a righteous covenant, and the Holy Spirit's revelation of an eternal pact that cannot fail, and will never be violated.  "The Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).

    If ever, in a discouraged moment, we consider ourselves to be unworthy of God and His promises, we do well to acknowledge that such a notion is absolutely the case.  In that same moment, however, we do well to remember and affirm the One completely worthy of all that God has prepared for those who trust Him.  The Lord Jesus is Abraham's "seed" to whom God made His promises.  United to Him by grace, God's assurances are no less ours than His.  Our Lord's righteous worthiness suffices not only for Himself, but for us also.  The realization goes far in helping us to more consistently believe promises - made to Christ the Consignatory - that cannot and will not be broken.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ."
(Ephesians 1:3)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God."
 (II Corinthians 3:5)




Monday, March 27, 2023

Orange Moon Monday, March 27, 2023 "Upon the Knees"

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

"Upon the Knees"

   "For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet (fit) to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am" (I Corinthians 15:9).
   "They all forsook Him, and fled" (Mark 14:50).

    None of the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ were worthy to hold their positions.  All would have confessed the same as the Apostle Paul of their own merits and abilities fitting them to serve the Savior.  Paul, of course, "persecuted the church of God" in far greater intensity than we realize apart from careful reading of the book of Acts, along with his own confessions in the epistles.  The other apostles left the Lord Jesus to die alone in His hour of darkness.  Indeed, none were worthy.

   The same truth applies to all called to communicate the Gospel of the Lord Jesus.  Never once in the history of the church has God found and called even one who merited a place in His purposes.  Indeed, every Christian preacher, teacher, and author belong to a company whose sins made necessary the suffering, forsakenness, and death of the Lord Jesus.  All have His blood on their hearts and hands.  Moreover, all have had times even after salvation when practice both internally and externally did not align with profession.  Not one can step up to a pulpit, teach a Sunday school class, or pen a book as qualified by their own merit and performance.  At least figuratively, the pastor should crawl to his pulpit, the teacher to his podium, and the writer to his desk.  If we are what we are, or what God calls us to be, His grace alone allows us to speak or write even one word for His glory.  "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God" (II Corinthians 3:5).

    Paul would tell us this.  He did, in fact.  "By the grace of God, I am what I am."  As would John, Peter, James and the other apostles.  We do well to remember this.  While we gratefully appreciate those called to preach, teach, and write, we ever seek to remember the clay of their feet, and even more, the redeeming and completely unmerited grace bestowed upon their hearts.  The Lord Jesus does not direct our gaze toward glimmering trophies resting on a mantle as we seek His truth, but rather to those whose only glory lies in serving as reflections of His light.  We do well to look and listen only to those who give clear indication of this grace received, or, to those those who have made their way to pulpit, podium, and desk upon the knees of their hearts.

"And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."
(I Timothy 1:14-17)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God."
 (II Corinthians 3:5)