Thursday, February 29, 2024

Orange Moon Thursday, February 29, 2024 "Perspective"

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




      If we look into the sky and see a commercial airplane flying at normal cruising speed (500-600 mph), it appears to be moving swiftly, but at a pace we can somewhat comprehend.  However, if it were possible for that plane to fly by us near ground level at the same speed, it would appear as little more than a blur as it passed by.  This reveals the importance of perspective in physical terms, which is even more important regarding the spiritual realities of God and His involved presence in creation, and in our lives.

   "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).

    Appearances can at times reveal and confirm reality.  Sometimes, however, they deceive and mislead us.  Consider a torn, battered, dying man hanging on a Roman cross long ago.  Few had any notion that the Creator of all things occupied the device of execution that far more served as the means of redemption for all who throughout history would see beyond appearance unto "God… reconciling the world unto Himself" (II Corinthians 5:19).  Indeed, one cannot be saved apart from such faith whereby we determine to "judge not according to the appearance."   Nor can one live the Christian life without consistently making the same determination.  

    Where might opportunity for such perspective presently exist in our lives?  Are there matters we see only as surface realities, and have yet to look into the depths  wherein "God worketh all things after the counsel of His own will?" (Ephesians 1:11).  Have we heeded Solomon's mandate - "in all thy ways acknowledge Him" - or might there be matters we have yet to view in terms of "righteous judgment?" (Proverbs 3:6).  The privilege and the challenge of such perspective based on God and His Word lie ever before us.  "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17).   God's trusting sons and daughters in Christ must make daily determinations to see by faith the presence, involvement, and working of our Lord in all things.  "I will look for Him" (Isaiah 8:17).

    Looking into the sky and seeing from the ground yield entirely difference evaluations of a rapidly moving jetliner.  The illustration is obvious.  Which will be our chosen perspective regarding the matters of our lives in this present earthly sojourn?  About the matters presently at hand?  Will we focus on the Heavenly or the earthly?  The Apostle Paul long ago answered for himself and his believing contemporaries.  Let us join them in our day…

"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

(II Corinthians 4:16-18)

Weekly Memory Verse

    Pray without ceasing.

(I Thessalonians 5:17)


Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Orange Moon Wednesday, February 28, 2024 "Honor All"

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

"Honor All"



      When we must disagree, we must not dishonor.

      "Honor all men" (I Peter 2:17).

      If we could measure shame and degradation, and then find the human being most guilty of having cast all dignity to the wind, the Apostle Peter's mandate would remain.  We assign value - "honor" - to people based not on who they are, but rather on who God is, and who they are in context of Him.  

    "He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things, and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation, that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us. For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring" (Acts 17:25-28).

    The Apostle Paul did not address these words to believers, but rather to philosophers who considered Paul a "babbler" and communicator of  "strange gods" (Acts 17:25).  He nevertheless spoke to them with respect, based on his conviction of their being "not far" from God and His desire that they should come to know Him through the Lord Jesus. The Apostle viewed the philosophers through the lens of Christ rather than the perspective of human eyes, thoughts, and evaluations.  "Henceforth know we no man no man after the flesh" (II Corinthians 5:16).

    Certainly, Paul did not ignore the fact and extent of human wickedness, particularly because it had led to the suffering, forsakenness, and death of the One he so loved.  "Him… ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts 2:23).  However, Paul learned to see human beings as those for whom the Lord Jesus suffered the cross.  He viewed "wicked hands" in the sacred light of nail-pierced Hands.  The Apostle honored human beings as the expression of honoring their Maker and the One who desired to be their Redeemer.  Indeed, that "most guilty" one mentioned can became a most forgiven one, and one who may love in a most devoted manner.

   "There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?  Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And He said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged" (Luke 7:41-43).

    We do not ignore sin and degradation.  Nor do we fail to define and challenge evil in God's terms revealed in Scripture.  "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (II Timothy 4:2).  We do so, however, in the light of the cross whereupon the Lord Jesus revealed God's redeeming intentions for human hearts.   Honor all?  Impossible - unless we affix our hearts and set our gaze toward Calvary, where the One worthy of all glory bore the shame of our sin.  Through His lens, in plain view of His sacrifice "for all," Peter's command illuminates our eyes and hearts to see that those we may rightly view as the most guilty and degraded can become the most forgiven - and, the most loving (II Corinthians 5:15).

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

(II Peter 3:9)

Weekly Memory Verse

    Pray without ceasing.

(I Thessalonians 5:17)


Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Orange Moon Tuesday, February 27, 2024 "A Book. A Voice."

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

"A Book.  A Voice."



      "Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord He is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath. There is none else" (Deuteronomy 4:39).

    "Thou art God alone" (Psalm 86:10).

    Moses' fact became the Psalmist's faith.  Truth declared in principle translated into truth personally believed as "He is" resulted in "Thou art."  "Know" led to "consider it in thine heart."

   This process of illumination becoming inspiration characterizes the entirety of our relationship and fellowship with God.  We must know the revelation of His truth in order to respond to Him in faith.  "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).  It is not enough, however, to merely store facts, albeit even Scriptural revelation, in our minds.  The heart must engage. "I will trust in Thee" must arise within the depths of our being in response to "Trust the Lord with all thine heart" (Psalm 56:3; Proverbs 3:5).  God is personal.  We are personal.  Never will it be enough to simply know and understand.  By faith, we must look into His face so that fact may ignite and burn brightly in fueling our walk with Him in the light of both spirit and truth (John 4:24).

    The Bible no less exists as a Voice than as a Book.  We will not always be consciously aware of how present God is when we open and humbly read His Word, or when we remember and affirm it along the pathways of life.  "We walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7).  However, facts we read and ponder glimmer with "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" as the Holy Spirit illuminates the written Word He inspired to reveal the living Word He seeks to glorify (II Corinthians 4:6; John 16:14).  We may not consciously realize such grace.  Often, reading just seems like reading.  To the trusting, humble heart, however, reading and remembering the Word of God as written results in the presence of the Word of God as living.  "In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).

    A Bible may consist of leather, paper, and ink.  To many, it exists as a mere object to be honored, or vilified, or ignored.  To the trusting heart in Christ, conversely, the Bible is something so much more.  It exists in print as the means by which a Heart, a Mind, and a Voice cause words on pages to become light in the spirit.  Christ the living Word dwells in the Bible the written Word.  We open the pages to behold the Person known in the accounts of history, doctrine, and personal testimony of the saints mentioned, and the saints who wrote the Scriptures.  The Bible - a book?  Yes.  A Voice?  Yes.  We must recognize such a gift in both aspects of its truth, to be known with the mind, and to "consider it in thine heart."

"Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts."

(Jeremiah 15:16)

Weekly Memory Verse

    Pray without ceasing.

(I Thessalonians 5:17)


Monday, February 26, 2024

Orange Moon Monday, February 26, 2024 "Abounding Altars"

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

"Abounding Altars"



      Altars of prayer abound for born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ as we seek to "pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17).  Be it for praise and thanksgiving, intercession for others, requests for our own needs, or for matters in the world, the Holy Spirit beckons us to the throne of grace to commune with our Heavenly Father by directing our attention to His presence and promise...

     "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

    Particular altars can be found in life as we find it, or as it finds us.  When filling the reservoir in our coffeemaker, for example, I try to remember to pray for fellow believers and myself that we will "be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:18-21).  Or, when feeling the need for encouragement or strengthening, I hope to remember and pray for others who feel the same way, some who may not have as many hearts and voices who edify and help in times of challenge as do I.  As the day begins, there are also groups of people - including those of you who read these messages - for whom I approach the throne of grace in intercession.  Other signals to pray grace the paths upon which I walk, and I would appreciate your prayers that I might be far more faithful to see the altars and seek the God who loves to answer our requests far more than we love to ask them.  "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2).

    Altars abound in a lifetime and in this day, wherein our need for the Lord and His promised working and provision call us to approach Him in prayer.  All along our way, the practical matters of life beckon us to the prayerful manner of life whereby the Holy Spirit clues us to opportunities for seeking our Father's grace for others and ourselves.  The disciples' wise request - "Lord, teach us to pray" - includes this heightened sensitivity to realize the privileged responsibility of heeding the call to live in the "without ceasing" attitude and atmosphere of prayer (Luke 11:1).  Thereby, earthly things and experiences become open doors into Heavenly realities to be requested, and then known as God acts in response.  We may or may not see His answers, but we can know His assurance of acting as we recognize the altars to prayer that grace our pathways.

"Fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer."

(Romans 12:11-12)

Weekly Memory Verse

    Pray without ceasing.

(I Thessalonians 5:17)