Reflections by the Pond

#735: Into the Word

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November 23, 2015

Most people's knowledge of God is as thin as the skiff of fragile ice across a mild-winter pond. One step with the full weight of their misguided belief system and they go crashing through the film of misconceptions they hold about God. Thoroughly dunked, wet and humiliated, they haul themselves out of the cold bath of reality—only to turn their back on a God that would so rudely deceive them. But the deception is of their own making.

Working through the Bible in its entirety brings the reader smack against the truth about God the Father—His truth; in His own words. The reader learns that His immensity will not fit into the simplistic cubbyholes created by man for His dwelling...

#734: This One Will be Our Peace

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November 16, 2015

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."
John 14:27

It is far too common that people think the peace of Jesus represents some sort of universal nirvana. Every Christmas they hear the truncated message of the angel host to the shepherds, "And on earth peace," never hearing the accurate rendering of the rest of the line: "among men with whom He is pleased." Those preferring the simpleton flavor of Christianity believe Christ came to inaugurate a feel-good, touchy-feely, kumbaya paradise. But He did not...

#733: The Change

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November 9, 2015

But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Matthew 19:14

The boy does not yet comprehend what has happened. Too young to grasp the process, the subtle progression, he knows only that something has happened to him. He is now different. It feels as if part of his body has been removed, and replaced by part of someone else's.

In a moment his life—no, he has changed.

The boy could not explain it better than the slightly disorienting, grandly exhilarating sensation that part of his body had been removed, and replaced by part of someone else's. But in a heartbeat he realized that it was not just "someone else."

And in that same heartbeat he understood that it was not at all the whims of unseen fate. It was not by chance.

It was Jesus...

#732: Raised for Him

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November 2, 2015

But when Jesus heard this, He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it."
John 11:4

How very small are our earthly minds; how little we see of the grand vista set before us. Even acknowledging the lordship of Christ, and His equality with Father God, we still think it is all about us. Physical death? Cessation of breathing and the pulsing of the heart? The grave? These are nothing. The first death is nothing. This flesh we inhabit is but a temporary tent in which to house our true self—our eternal self.

The first portal to that eternity is the grave: We must die to this world before we can live in the next. The second portal to our eternity is our resurrection—but that raising from the grave is only to Christ if we are in Christ....

#730: Groanings

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October 19, 2015

Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my groaning.
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to You I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to
You and eagerly watch.
Psalm 5:1-3

In the early morning hours we often retrace in our minds what occurred the day before, and contemplate the challenges awaiting us in the new day. In the morning we take stock of where we have been, what our condition is at the moment, and what obstacles, trials or fears lie before us. And for many of us that process begins on our knees.

Please hear me, O Lord, and make sense out of my stumbling words. Incline your ear, my God, to hear better my cry. For my prayer is to You—the only One who can help. O God, at break of dawn You are already attentive to my needs; even as I rise, I am listening for Your reply...

#729: Looking in All the Wrong Places

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October 12, 2015

And He said to them, "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?"
Luke 2:49

Ever since the first woman proffered the forbidden fruit to the first man, people have been looking for the Messiah in all the wrong places. In fact they seem to hold a perverse fascination with searching for the Christ (hence, their salvation) in the strangest places imaginable. Over the millennia man has conjured and crafted an unabridged dictionary of means to attain enlightenment, fulfillment, comprehension, wisdom, immortality, holiness, deliverance, redemption. The mind of man has agonized over the means by which any or all of this might be attained—all the while dismissing the easiest, most direct path to all this and more...

#728: Adversary

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October 5, 2015

"And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed."
Genesis 3:15a

The dramatic evidence in God's word reveals the futility of playing both sides, of trying to have it both ways. If Satan cannot, mere humans cannot stand astride this divide. When the beautiful and highly favored cherub of heaven turned evil, he had to leave heaven and the presence of God. And when we accept the Holy Spirit's leading and are born anew through the blood of Christ, we cannot remain the friendly familiar with our previous father, that dust-choked serpent. Though the cursed sin nature remains so long as we inhabit flesh, believers are sanctified in Christ, and have relinquished their place in the household of the enemy...

#727: The First Gospel

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September 28, 2015

And he said to them,"O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!"
Luke 24:25 ESV

Those who limit their reading and study to the New Testament books are missing half the story of their own miraculous salvation. Those who are bored by the Pentateuch or the prophets are ignoring fundamental descriptions of the Messiah. And those who dismiss the Psalms as just "ancient Hebrew poetry," and thus not worthy of their consideration, are rejecting some of the most eloquent, artful teaching about the One they claim as Savior.

What is truly remarkable is that this is not just some haphazard laundry list of isolated, teasing clues, but a systematic, artfully woven tapestry that continues its intricate weave seamlessly into the New Testament. It reveals, from beginning to end, God's plan of salvation for man. The entire Bible from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 literally shouts, "Messiah! Christ!"

#726: First Love

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September 21, 2015

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10

During my earliest years, I certainly knew about God, but I did not yet love Him. My parents began taking me to church when I was still in a basket. A few years later, I was old enough to sit upright in the wooden pew, but was utterly bored with the proceedings, requiring some sort of amusement during the hour-long service. I wasn't paying much attention, but I was there, soaking it all in. I was steadily hearing about God, but I did not yet love Him.

I did not know it at the time, but He already loved me. In fact, he knew and loved me before I was even conceived...