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."
"Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD."
Weekly Memory Verse
That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
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."
Weekly Memory Verse
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