Monday, July 15, 2024

Orange Moon Monday, July 15, 2024 “Son of David, Son of Abraham”

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




"Son of David, Son of Abraham"



      

    "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Matthew 1:1).


    The Lord Jesus Christ descended through the line of a king and of a believer.


    "They anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years" (II Samuel 5:3-4).

    "What saith the Scripture?  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness" (Romans 4:3).


   This is just as we would expect in our Lord's heritage depicting the relationship between God and Christians.  Human beings are, in our natural state, "as sheep gone astray" (Isaiah 53:6).  We bear no independent capacity to successfully govern ourselves in a manner that glorifies God, fulfills our heart, and makes possible our eternally beneficial service to others.  We must have a king, or rather, we must be rightly related to "the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God" (I Timothy 1:17).  However, we do not innately desire someone to rule over us, Satan and sin having deceived us into the delusion that "ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5).  We cannot change our own hearts from self rule unto the governance of Christ's Lordship for which we exist.  We must have a Savior to trust in order to receive a heart devoted to obeying our primary calling: "He is thy Lord, and worship thou Him" (Psalm 45:11).  We therefore trust the King who also serves as Savior to make possible our life of devotion to His rule.


    We require a ruler perfectly aware of our plight, and who can institute His governance by changing our heart from unbelief to faith, pride to humility, and death to life.  We require "Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."  The King we must serve is also the King we must trust.  When we receive the Lord Jesus by faith, He occupies both offices for us, redeeming us from the consequences of sin by grace, and changing our hearts by the entrance of the Holy Spirit into newness of life as sons and daughters enabled to serve God.


    "God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you… God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Ephesians 4:32; Galatians 4:6).


    That which our King requires, He first supplies.  Christ's own heart of devotion to the Father dwells within us through Holy Spirit, who "worketh in you both the will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).  As we trust Him, we find the power to serve that comes through the King who knelt to wash His disciples' feet, and then hung on a cross to redeem them (and all who believe) from the sin of seeking to rule themselves.  We must know the Lord Jesus as our King to serve - the son of David - and as our Savior to trust - the son of Abraham.  


   Ever and always, Christ serves as our Heavenly Father's abundant supply in all things.  "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).  We desperately require a king.  We no less desperately require a heart willing to submit to a king.  Let us look to the son of David for the former, and the son of Abraham for the latter.  We will find Him one and the same, the Lord Jesus who serves as our Master, and the Lord Jesus who provides His own heart as the power whereby our own service to God becomes the joy of our lives.


"Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."

(Matthew 11:28-30)


Weekly Memory Verse

    He is thy Lord, and worship thou Him.

 (Psalm 45:11)




















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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Orange Moon Saturday, July 13, 2024 "Not By Sight"

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




"Not By Sight"



"In our present existence, seeing, hearing, and touching the Lord Jesus would not guarantee genuine faith, as defined by God and inspired by the Holy Spirit.  In fact, it might well hinder our trust."


      

    After His resurrection, the prints of nails remained on the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, along with the wound of a spear (Luke 24:39-40; John 20:27).


    Why would this be the case?  Perhaps eternity will not allow a complete answer regarding the reasons for this abiding and tangible evidence of our Lord's physical suffering for us.  Certainly, the marks provided confirmation to so-called "doubting Thomas," who became trusting Thomas as He confessed of the Savior, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28).  In grace and mercy, the Lord Jesus accommodated the need of Thomas.  He then, however, spoke of the vast majority of believers through the ages who would not behold the wounds, as did Thomas - "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" (John 20:29).  


   "We walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7).


   Unlike Thomas, we cannot see the prints of nails and a spear, but rather encounter them on the pages of Scripture.  However, we no less believe because we read rather than see.  In fact, as presently constituted, genuine faith apart from the senses involves a greater confirmation than sight, sound, fragrance, touch, and taste.  The disciples confirm this seemingly unlikely truth.  They lived three years in sensory contact with the Lord Jesus.  However, when He died on the cross, "all forsook Him and fled" (Mark 14:50).  In our present existence, seeing, hearing, and touching the Lord Jesus would not guarantee genuine faith, as defined by God and inspired by the Holy Spirit.  In fact, it might well hinder our trust as our flesh is so prone to emphasizing tangible things rather than the unseen, but vitally present, involved, and active God.  "The just shall live by faith" because such a life of trusting with the heart is far more evidential in our present existence than that which our physical senses process (Romans 1:17).  "The Spirit of God beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:16).


    I recall a young man once saying to me what seemed obvious to him: "If only I could see and hear the Lord, I would trust and obey Him more!"  That will be true in our glorified state to come, when our perfected senses will not be a hindrance to knowing our Lord.  Presently, however, this is not at all the case.  As currently constituted, we require the unseen, the unheard, and the untouched to pave the path of "the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Philippians 3:9).  Indeed, in the moment when the glory of our Lord was perhaps most tangibly revealed on the cross of Calvary, the disciples fled rather than trusted.  We would follow them if our Lord made Himself too plainly known by our senses.  This will not always be the case as a day approaches when "we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (I John 3:2).  Until them, we recognize that to "trust and obey Him more" best occurs as the Spirit of God and the Word of God work in our hearts to foster and further faith in our Heavenly Father's heart.  Thereby, the eyes may not see.  The ears may not hear.  The hands may not touch.  But our spirits can know, and our minds can understand that in this present hour, "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."


"He (Moses) endured, as seeing Him who is invisible."
(Hebrews 11:27)

"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."

(Romans 10:17)


Weekly Memory Verse

   "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."

 (I Corinthians 13:1).





















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Friday, July 12, 2024

Orange Moon Friday, July 12, 2024 Friday, July 12, 2024 "The Praying Christ"

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




"The Praying Christ"



"We require the praying Christ as both teacher and as the motivating and enabling power of communication with God.  How could it be otherwise, considering the infinite magnitude of God's Person, and the finite limitations of our humanity?"


      

    What most leads us to pray, or more importantly, to pray well?  While Scripture offers many answers to this question, one of the most fascinating involves a statement by the Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Galatians:


    "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6).


    The praying Christ dwells within believing hearts.  He does so not merely in presence, but in prayerful communication - "crying Abba Father."  I never ponder this wonder without wonder, not knowing what it means beyond any cursory understanding.  However, I do believe Paul's assertion results in what every illumination regarding the Lord Jesus accomplishes.  It leads us to trust Him, in this case, about the life of prayer God so graciously privileges and commands us to fulfill.  "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint" declared the Savior (Luke 18:1).  Our Savior then suffered and died on the cross of Calvary, arose from the dead, and returned to Heaven so that He might send the Holy Spirit into our hearts.  Thereby, genuine prayer becomes possible and actual as we walk with God by faith.  "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure… the prayer of the upright is His delight" (Philippians 2:13; Proverbs 15:8).  


    True prayer does not come naturally to a race "like sheep gone astray" (Isaiah 53:6).  It must rather come supernaturally as a gift of grace supplied through the presence of the Spirit of Christ.  "Lord, teach us to pray" wisely requested the disciples.  He answered in principle - "Our Father, which art in Heaven…" (Luke 11:1-2).  Later, however, He would answer in presence - "the Spirit of His Son in your hearts, crying."  Thus, we seek to know everything the Bible declares regarding prayer.  We do so, however, in the realization that we require something - Someone - beyond ourselves if genuine communion with God is to take place.  We require the praying Christ as teacher, and as the motivating and enabling power of communication with God.  How could it be otherwise, considering the infinite magnitude of God's Person, and the finite limitations of our humanity?


   We ever do well to pray about our praying.  We affirm the gift of His presence, whereby communion with God makes prayer more than ritual or even the proper fulfillment of responsibility.  Prayer far more involves reality, namely, the living and true God beckoning us to Himself for the realization that He made and redeemed us for relationship and fellowship with Himself.  At present, the most godly among us barely place a toe in the vast ocean of fellowship with our Father.  They do so, however, in recognition that of all the grace bestowed upon believers through the Lord Jesus, the grace of prayer bestowed within us through His indwelling presence perhaps most personally pleases our Father's heart, and fulfills our own hearts.  


"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheth me."

(Philippians 4:13)

"The Lord taketh pleasure in His people."

(Psalm 149:4)


Weekly Memory Verse

   "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."

 (I Corinthians 13:1).





















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Thursday, July 11, 2024

Orange Moon Thursday, July 11, 2024 "More Blessed To Give" Part 2 - The Current of Love

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




"More Blessed To Give"


Part 2 - The Current of Love



"What Christ did - and does - tells us who God is.  We behold the beauty of His heart by remembering the sacrifice of His actions."


      

    "It is more blessed to give than to receive" serves as a governing principle in creation because it serves as a governing principle in the Creator (Acts 20:35).


    "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).

    "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared (revealed) Him" (John 1:18).


    The Lord Jesus Christ, eternally dear in the Father's heart, revealed the character and nature of that heart.  The most beloved and well known of all Scriptural passages bears witness to the wonder of God through a sacrifice we must not allow familiarity to minimize: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…" (John 3:16).  Indeed, if ever we seek the meaning of "It is more blessed to give than to receive," John 3:16 perhaps most clearly shines as the brightest of revealing illuminations.  The Apostle Paul adds further brightness to the glory:


   "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Romans 5:8-10).


    As we "walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and given Himself for us," we live in accordance with truth and reality (Ephesians 5:1-2).  We swim, as it were, with the current of God and His presence, involvement, and redeeming activity.  "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord" declared the Psalmist (Psalm 33:5).  In the midst of a world that also "lieth in wickedness," believers bear witness to the character of the God whose sublimely unselfish disposition led Him to execute wrath upon His beloved Son in order to secure our rescue from selfishness.  "Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted" (Isaiah 53:4).  What did it mean for the Father to smite the Son of His love as "He… made Him to be sin" for us? (II Corinthians 5:21).  We will never know.  Of this, however, we can be sure: the current of love that flows in the heart of God for others confirms the mystery and wonder declared by the Apostle Paul regarding a goodness even eternity will not allow us to fully discover - "the love of Christ passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19).


    What Christ did - and does - tells us who God is.  We behold the beauty of His heart by remembering the sacrifice of His actions (Psalm 27:4; I John 4:10).  It is more blessed to give, so much so that our Father bestowed the greatest of all gifts, made possible by remitting the highest of all prices.  This we must know about our Lord in the light of His Word, and by the life of His presence that ever moves within us to motivate and empower devotion to others.  Thereby, what we do through Christ reveals who God is as we witness in our own hearts the wonder of His heart, His way, and His truth of "It is more blessed to give than to receive."


"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us."

(Romans 5:5)

"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."

(Philippians 2:4)


Weekly Memory Verse

   "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."

 (I Corinthians 13:1).





















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