Reflections by the Pond

#757: All in All

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April 25, 2016

It isn't that we find ourselves bumping into Father God at every turn; it is not necessarily like running into an old friend we might happily meet on the street. Rather, it is like seeing and experiencing everything in our life as if through our own private "God filter." The Holy Spirit, in residence in our body, receives and translates every experience into a form that both glorifies God and illumines His character for us. It begins with God's omnipresence, but then expands and matures into His omni-influence...

#756: Allured Further On

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April 18, 2016

Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21 niv

There is nothing inherently wrong with power or wealth; most individuals born of woman, of any economic level, wouldn't mind having a bit more of either or both. But those who dwell in that heady atmosphere, who rarely step outside its gilded portals, will inevitably acquire a skewed perception of what life is like for the common man. While they remain cloistered in their marbled halls, the power elite can repeatedly make bad decisions that harm those not of their ilk, those they claim to represent.

And when Christians cling stubbornly to the perspective and mindset of this impermanent earth, when they form their opinions and base their decisions on what seems right to them, they distance themselves from the One to whom they profess devotion...

#755: Life from Death

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April 11, 2016

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God.
Job 19:25-26 nkjv

In the natural world, whatever is truly dead, remains dead.

In that tomb near Calvary, however, where the lifeless body of Jesus was shrouded and sealed away, true life returned where before there had been true death. No natural phenomenon; this was the eternal Son of God fulfilling His promise...

#754: Not All There

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April 4, 2016

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."
Deuteronomy 6:5

If we choose to conduct our lives by long distance, rather than in person; if we deny ourselves the tactile and sensory pleasures of the immediate for the superficial inanities of strangers; if we willingly enslave ourselves to a plastic existence, played out in a world beyond our reach—if we choose to live this way, we are only diminishing the quality of our own life.

But when we bring the same attitudes and behavior into our relationship with holy God, we are offending—we are sinning against—Him...

#753: Life With Him

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March 28, 2016

"I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you..."
Hebrews 13:5b

The human mind has a difficult time wrapping itself around the resurrection and the events that followed. On one level, we must abandon our inherent disbelief regarding the very concept of bodily resurrection—that someone who has thoroughly and completely died could come back to life. On another level, we struggle to grasp that that body, though corporeal, might still pass through walls and closed doors, and instantaneously be in one place and then another. On yet another level, after we finally accept the truth of the first two, we are then left wondering why Jesus, now raised from the dead and having fulfilled His reason for coming, would linger on earth forty more days. Putting ourselves in His position, we imagine we would have wasted no time racing back to heaven, and sweet reunion with the Father.

But then, we are not God...

#752: Life Without Him

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March 21, 2016

And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away. And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the grave.
Matthew 27:59-61

We look upon the death and resurrection of Christ as an epochal, historic moment—a turning point in God's relationship with man. We see it from the hazy distance of two millennia: a moment of great import, yet one that often takes second place to the tyranny of the immediate. We gather together and proclaim the truth of Christ's atoning death on the cross; we gladly declare it to be both historical and doctrinal truth. We rightly worship a Savior who would sacrifice Himself for fallen man. Our hearts fill with gratitude and praise for one so unselfish and kind—then, come Monday morning, we get back to our "real" lives: back to the factory, the office, the children, housecleaning and laundry...

#751: Beast of Burden

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March 14, 2016

"Say to the daughter of Zion,
'Behold your king is coming to you,
Gentle, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'"
Matthew 21:5

Here is the anguished poetry of heaven. Christ Jesus, to illustrate for the crowds His true nature and calling, rode a humble beast of burden into the city of Jerusalem. But at the cross, He Himself became a "beast of burden" when He bore on the cross the load of sin for all humanity...

#750: Not Just Words

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March 7, 2016

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

The Christian life, by reputation and in fact, is based on faith in Christ Jesus and belief of the written word of God. To be a Christian one must believe both: if one's faith is based on a Jesus not found in Scripture, then that faith is in vain, and one cannot believe God's word without believing as well in Jesus the Christ, who is the principal character from beginning to end. Both are essential components of Christian faith.

But faith does not stop there. It is based on more than just believing in the ancient atoning sacrifice of a Savior, and the words in an even more ancient book that speaks of Him. Faith is more than a sterile, determined belief-system—it is active and real, it is existential...

#749: The Path of Life

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February 29, 2016

I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Psalms 16:8

For Jesus—and because of Him, for all of us—after the grave there will be only the fullest measure of joy with the Father. This is the path of life for the Son, as well as for all who believe: we are not abandoned at the grave; it is only the door opening onto paradise. And ultimately, even the physical is restored. For us there will come a day when that weak and dying earthly body that did decay will be replaced by one new and eternal...

#748: Surprising Things

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February 22, 2016

The most crooked tree will make timber for the temple,
if God be pleased to hew it.
Thomas Fuller

One of the more remarkable discoveries made by reading through the Bible is how a perfect, holy God repeatedly uses rather ordinary, imperfect people to accomplish His plan for this earth. In fact, one may deduce from Scripture that it is God's chosen method to employ the most disreputable, conniving, contemptible characters He can find.

Few professions are as low as that of the prostitute, yet one of the surprises discovered in the Bible is that God chose to include one in the family line that would lead directly to a lowly stable in Bethlehem...

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