Reflections by the Pond

#711: Living by the Word

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June 8, 2015

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16

All around those who are perishing is the shouting and tumult of a world gone mad, a world that whispers sweet lies while sticking a knife between the ribs. It is an inhospitable place that plays by dark rules based on deceit. It is ruled by a dark lord who masquerades as a lord of light, a master of evil who presents himself as the master of all that is reasonable and good. And they are part of it; they do not stand on the periphery, but dwell in its midst. They subscribe to its logic. They reason by its wisdom.

And all the while they are going down...

#710: Perfect Obedience

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June 1, 2015

When the Son was still in heaven, still in His pre-incarnate state, He was not ready. When the Son became flesh, born of a virgin in lowly estate, He was not ready. When He passed through days of torment, fasting, and temptation in the wilderness He still was not ready. When He selected and trained up disciples to carry on His work He was not ready. When the rulers sought His capture and death, but He slipped away unharmed, He was not ready. But there came a day when events in heaven and on earth were aligned; a day when the unending tape measure of time reached its predetermined mark; a day when the man Jesus, God in flesh, was everything He needed to be—then, and only then, was He ready...

#709: So Live

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May 25, 2015

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.
Colossians 2:6

It is common to those of the human condition that after we are saved by Christ we live as if we have forgotten how. Trapped for a time in the same flesh with which we were clothed in our unjustified state, we forget that the rules have now changed for the soul and the spirit. The strictures of that previous life no longer apply. We are now free, but we live as if still enslaved...

#708: Condescension

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May 18, 2015

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

There is no earthly instrument sufficient to the task of measuring the profound depth of Christ's love for fallen man. We cannot answer why such love exists. It just does. It is a love more steady and deep than a mother's love for her child, more mysterious than a husband's love for his wife.

It really is not possible for mere man to understand the measure of Christ's love for His creation. The best we can do is measure it against the highest example of human love we can imagine—and then double it. But even that misses the point...

#707: Due Honor, Due Respect

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May 11, 2015

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
Psalms 96:8-9 ESV

The psalmist calls us to a special occasion: the worship of a holy and glorious God. And he tells us to give Him what He is due. We are to enter His sanctuary not with our hands empty, but with an offering. More than that, in our worship we are to acknowledge and proclaim the full weight of who God is. That is, we are to give God the glory due Him...

#706: All of Grace

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May 4, 2015

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

In the movie Hawaii (1966), based on the James A. Michener novel of the same name, the story is told of a zealous missionary from New England going to the Hawaiian islands to save the "pagan heathen." But the man (played by Max von Sydow) is so strident, so unbendingly legalistic that he repels more people than his preaching attracts. For him the Bible is a bludgeon with which to browbeat the prospective converts into Christianity, rather than a message of hope in the good news Christ offers. In the face of such abusive preaching, ultimately even his own wife rebels against his dictates...

#705: His Unspeakable Glory

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April 27, 2015

Man cannot comprehend the mystical glory of the Son of God. It lies far beyond our senses. For Him, it is a precious, natural condition. It is high and exalted, majestic. It is other-worldly, pristine, holy. Its worth cannot be calculated by mere flesh. Yet, in eternity past, when the Godhead determined that mere flesh would need a Savior, the Son of God set its salvation above His priceless glory...

#704: The Other-worldly Aspirations of the Soul

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April 20, 2015

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.
Psalms 27:4

As we, over time, learn of God through the sanction of the Son and the translating Spirit; as we listen to His voice and experience His gracious answers to ours; as His ways gradually become more comfortable, more "natural" to us, the thought of dwelling with God is replaced by a true longing for it. And our passion for Him is at last joined to His passion for us...

#703: The Root

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April 13, 2015

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
John 1:3-4

At some moment back in the furthest reaches of time, the triune God decided that He would both create man and love him. The raw material of man's creation would be earth's soil, but the raw material of God's love for him would come solely from His heart. God's heart-generated love would be expressed in, of all things, flesh. For God to commune with man, the sin of man would require atonement—a blood sacrifice—and only God Himself could supply the one, spotless, perfect Lamb that would atone for man's sin. God would send down to earth the Son to become that sacrifice.

Thus the circle would be complete. Flesh for flesh...

#702: All this--and More

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April 6, 2015

Jesus Christ has made two entrances into this world, and both were played against type.

Because Christ is the fullness of God, in Him we see and experience the fullness of God's character: the God who loves and serves His people; the God who patiently waits, working quietly in a life; the God who chastises, corrects, disciplines His erring children; the righteous, holy God who hates sin...