Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Orange Moon Wednesday, May 31, 2023 "Why?" Part 2 - The "Why?" of Love

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


Part 2 - The "Why?" of Love 



    Considering the glory and revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ as the answer to God's "Why?" in all things leads us to consider the most important reality of all in Him, namely, His love.

      "Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24).

    The blessed truth and reality of God's "eternal purpose" centered in the Lord Jesus Christ delivers us from the temptation to view ourselves in what could be the most dangerous and spiritually paralyzing focus of all, namely, "God loves me" (Ephesians 3:11).  We rather seek to establish as primary in our hearts and minds that, as the Lord Jesus affirmed, "the Father loveth the Son" (John 3:35).

   As one who loves the old hymn, "Jesus Loves Me," this almost seems counterintuitive to suggest.  God does love us, to the degree of numbering the hairs on our head.  Of far greater magnitude, He  sent His Son to bear ours sins on the cross of Calvary, and even more, to bear God's wrath against sin.  Never for all eternity will we fully comprehend this "love of Christ, which passeth knowledge" in terms of the personal devotion our Father directs toward us (Ephesians 3:11).  We do well to embrace and absorb the Holy Spirit's imparting of assurance to our hearts regarding God's love, as known through the Scriptures and His personal working in our lives.  "We have known and believed the love that God hath to us.  God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (I John 4:16).

    It remains true, however, that we must not view our Heavenly Father's love for us as central in Him, or most important to us.  Indeed, such a focus would leave us more narcissistic and egocentric than any other perspective.  God loves His Son, an eternal "from everlasting, to everlasting" reality that has always been, and will forever abide as primary and central in His heart.  "Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world" declared the Lord Jesus to His Father (John 17:24).  Indeed, love must be defined in eternal terms, meaning it existed when only God Himself existed.  This cannot involve us, since we had a beginning and could not have been the objects of our Lord's love before we came into being.  Only the "from everlasting" Lord Jesus can occupy this centrality of love in God the Father, and in our understanding of the glorious reality (Psalm 90:2). ***

    That God's love for His Son serves as central and primary in His heart and purpose does not minimize His devotion to us in the least.  The Lord Jesus prayed that we would know the Father's love for Him as the measure and mode of His love for us.  "And 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 eternally ancient glory of a Father's love for His Son has been bestowed and become resident in all who trust the Lord Jesus.  Writing the last sentence causes me to realize it is time to conclude this consideration.  We arrive at wonder and the greatest of all mysteries when pondering that the love of God for His Son has become the love with which He will forever grace His trusting children in Christ.  Why does God love us?  The simplest, but most wondrously complex, answer is because He loves His Son.  Maintaining this Christ-exalting and Christ-centered understanding of the love of God will lead us into wonders of grace and truth for which even eternity will not be long enough to discover.

"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, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
(Ephesians 2:4-7)

*** The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the triune godhead, must certainly be viewed as no less present and involved in the eternal love of God than the Father and the Son.   Scripture, however, provides little direct insight regarding His role and participation in the current topic, possibly because of the Holy Spirit's beautifully self-deferential inspiration of Scripture, wherein He clearly seeks to honor and reveal the Father and the Son (John 16:13).

Weekly Memory Verse
     If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 
(John 8:36)






Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Orange Moon Tuesday, May 30, 2023 "Why?"

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




    Why does God do everything He does?  This might seem an audacious question to ask, and even more, to which we might believe an understandable answer exists.  Actually, however, the Bible addresses the matter in a simple expression of truth about our Lord, namely, involving "the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:11).

    From everlasting to everlasting, our Heavenly Father works to reveal and exalt His beloved Son.  This is purpose.  This is motivation. This is intention.  The Apostle Paul affirms this as eternal determination, that is, one that has always been, will always be, and that completely forms and informs every doing of our Father.  Thus, in ultimate terms of "Why?," we can always know that God's purpose flows with His consistent, persistent, and relentless objective to honor the Lord Jesus, revealing Him as the heart of His intention, and the intention of His heart.

    "This is My beloved Son whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).

    We do well to make this personal.  If we ask, "Father, why are You working in my life in this way?," His ultimate and most pointedly precise answer will always be, "To glorify and reveal My Son."  Of course, this will often not answer another question:
"How?".   We do not always see the ways and means by which Christ will be known in God's determinations and allowances executed in our lives.  We will likely not see most of them.  However, if God's "eternal purpose" ever flows with the current of the Lord Jesus' glory, we can always know that somehow, in some way, the exaltation of our Savior directs the course of our Father's working in our heart and life.  

   The Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, the saints, and the universe all exist for this infinite and eternal motivation of the Father's love for His Son, and His purpose in Him.

    "Search the Scriptures… they are they which testify of Me" (John 5:39).
    "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).
    "Now unto the principalities and powers in Heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:10-11).
   "His dear Son… by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him, and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist" (Colossians 1:13:16-17).

   Why?  The glory of the Lord Jesus and the revelation of Him throughout creation forevermore ever supplies the answer.  This has been, and always will be God's answer to every inquiry regarding the reason for the "wonders without number" He performs (Job 9:10).  This does not always answer how His doings fit His purpose.  Indeed, in this moment, we likely wonder about particular circumstances, conditions, and situations we face in our journey along the path of righteousness.  The Bible is replete with such inquiries of God's people.  How does this fit, or how does that align with our Father's promised working in our lives?  We may or may not find answers to His ways and means.  Of this, however, we can always sure: God's "Whys" and motives always - always - proceed and continue with His from everlasting, to everlasting intention to reveal and glorify the Lord Jesus.  We must establish this within our own hearts as our shared purpose with Him if we are to live in truth and reality, and if we are to "walk in the light, as He is in the light" (I John 1:7).  No purpose so wondrous can be found other than this, the "Why?" of our own existence and very being.  Nor will any other purpose be found that so fills and thrills our hearts than the determination to join our Father in glorifying and bearing witness to His beloved Son, and our beloved Savior.

"The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand."
(John 3:35)
"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 2:9-10)

Weekly Memory Verse
     If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 
(John 8:36)






Monday, May 29, 2023

Orange Moon Monday, May 29, 2023 "To The Fallen"

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

"To The Fallen"           



     On this Memorial Day in the United States, May 29, 2023, we remember those who have sacrificed so much to obtain our freedom long ago, and to maintain it until this day.

    How many have died for the gift they purchased and we have received?  However many have given up comfort, mobility, and a life of being able to do what so many take for granted?  How many have sacrificed time, career, and the everyday things of life to risk their well being for the preservation of American liberty?  We do not know.  Such things transcend measure.  Of this, however, we can be sure:  I write as an American citizen, and many of you read as the same.  We do so in a freedom founded and resting upon the price of blood, tears, loss, pain, and death.  Liberty is never free.  The so-called "American experiment" originated in the Founding Fathers bestowal of  political freedom.  However, it became a tangible reality and abides so by the patriots' sacrifice to preserve it.   

    Such sacrifice points, of course, to the greater sacrifice made by the Lord Jesus Christ to redeem human hearts from the bondage of sin that required His suffering, forsakenness, and death on the cross of Calvary.  "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners… If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (I Timothy 1:15; John 8:36).  Our Lord liberated us from the slavery of sin and unto the freedom of righteousness.  Through Christ, we can live in the true liberty of faith and devotion to God, wherein our hearts soar "with wings as eagles" and the Holy Spirit serves as the blessed wind upon which they arise and take flight (Isaiah 40:31).  The hearts of born again believers in the Lord Jesus bear those wings, and while we still feel earthly confines of soul and body, our spirits may always arise unto our Heavenly Lord in the freedom of faith.  "Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

    We give thanks for our Lord Jesus in this day, and for the patriots who reflect His sacrifice.  At the link below, you will find a video of commemoration and appreciation Frances and I produced in 2011 for all those who have given so much for our liberty, and particularly, for Marine Corps Sgt. Foster Harrington, a comrade and dear friend of our son Noah.  Sgt. Harrington gave his life serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The video is the second in the list, entitled "To The Fallen."

"I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts."
(Psalm 119:45)

"To the Fallen"

Weekly Memory Verse
     If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 
(John 8:36)






Saturday, May 27, 2023

Orange Moon Saturday, May 27, 2023 "Grace and Truth"

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

"Grace and Truth"           



     "Ye… knew the grace of God in truth" (Colossians 1:6).

    There is no other way to know it.  That is, the grace and truth of God in the Lord Jesus Christ can only be known together.  "The truth is in Jesus," that is, our Lord is the truth in living, personal terms, and He is also the means by which we know truth in principled, doctrinal terms (Ephesians 4:21).  Christ serves as the supply for both heart and mind.  He does not merely settle upon and within our hearts as a vaguely wafting mist of grace, apart from the directed, living waters of defined reality as found in His Word, the Bible.

    "Search the Scriptures… they testify of Me" (John 5:39).

   From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:20, the Lord Jesus awaits us in the Word inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Indeed, of the Spirit, the Savior declared, "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" (John 15:26).  The Holy Spirit did indeed proceed, to the hearts of believers by His indwelling presence, and and through the New Testament writers by whom He inspired His words to be read as living truth, revealing the living Savior.  Approached in faith and humility, the believer will find life for the heart, and light for the mind, all as known in He who declared, I am the light… I am the life" (John 8:12; 14:6).  Grace and truth, inseparable companions, present the Lord Jesus to us on every page of the Bible, whether indirectly through the history, prophecy, and allegory of the Old Testament, or the brightly shining and illuminating light of the New.

   Occasionally, believers utter the words, "It is all grace," referring to salvation in Christ, and the provision He supplies for living the Christian life.  This is true, but it is only half true.  "It is all grace and truth" actually expresses the reality we find in the Scriptures and their revelation of the Lord Jesus.  We cannot rightly know grace apart from truth.  We cannot survive truth apart from grace.  Both glories glimmer in the Person and work of Christ, as administered in our hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit, and declared by the Word He inspired to lead us in both personal and principled response to the God who made us to know Him, and to understand His truth.  As was written of the Colossians believers long ago, may it be said of us in our day that we know the grace of God in truth.

"Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
(John 1:17)
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth."
(John 1:14)

Weekly Memory Verse
   "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him."
(I John 4:9)






Friday, May 26, 2023

Orange Moon Friday, May 26, 2023 "This Grace Wherein We Stand

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

"This Grace Wherein We Stand"           



     Peace with God makes available access to God.

    "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:1-2).

    Faith in the Lord Jesus spiritually births the believer into family relationship with God (John 1:12).  We become His sons and daughters, and thus beckoned to living fellowship with our Heavenly Father.  Moreover, the Holy Spirit works within our hearts to draw us to communion with God (Philippians 2:13).  The door is open, the throne of grace available, and the heart of God desirous of fellowship with our hearts.  "The prayer of the upright is His delight" (Proverbs 15:8).

I made your heart to know My heart,
I made your spirit to journey far
into the glories of the light 
that glimmer so brightly
in the face of Christ.

    In the light of all that God has done and is doing to make fellowship with Him possible and actual, we also play a vital role of participation.  We must respond.  We must come.  We must seek.  We must avail ourselves of the access made possible by the Lord Jesus.  "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8).  David realized this, and responded accordingly:

  "When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek" (Psalm 27:8).

   Reciprocity characterizes all true relationship.  God would find our fellowship with Him meaningless if He merely programmed us to pray.  Certainly, He works in us to motivate, lead, and enable our communion with Him.  We would have no interest in prayer otherwise.  However, He does not drag us to the throne.  We come freely, or we do not come at all.  "But as for me, I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy, and in Thy fear will I worship toward Thy holy temple" (Psalm 5:7).

   Prayer involves a trusting and willed response to God's proactive and willed working in the believer's heart.  He made access to Himself, at the highest cost to Himself.  "Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:13).  He gave us His Spirit when we believed, His active Holy Spirit who ever moves upon the face of our hearts, even as He moved upon the waters in creation.  His Word illuminates the ways and means of prayer, including the subject matter of prayer, motivation to pray, and the promise of power to commune with God.  "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6).  Fellow  believers provide example, encouragement, and exhortation regarding communion with God through preaching, teaching, example, and the fellowship of the saints for motivation to pray.  

     In a sense, the ball of prayer lies in our court.  The gift has been given.  Access to God lies ever before believers.  The strength teems within us, through the guidance and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  All that is left is that we respond.  All that is left is to see the necessity of our response, and to pray in the confidence of our Lord's presence, leading, and enabling.  All that is left is that we must believe we can pray, we must pray, and we will pray as we look unto our Heavenly Father in the light of His looking upon us.  No greater gift could our Lord give us, the gift of Himself, and access into "this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

"In Thy presence is fullness of joy.  At Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore."
(Psalm 16:11)

Weekly Memory Verse
   "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him."
(I John 4:9)