Reflections by the Pond

#690: An Awful Thing

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January 12, 2015

To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
Colossians 1:2

It requires an atypical thought process for us to think of ourselves as "holy," "sacred," "consecrated." Such a perspective goes against everything we know about ourselves. But Paul uses a word that reminds us that we are, indeed, holy things because we are in Christ. And that astounding truth should inform our every waking minute...

#689: A Special Affection

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January 5, 2015

"The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you..." Deuteronomy 7:7-8a

Everything God does is based on His own righteousness, not the imperfect merit of others. He loved us before we were even a twinkle in our dad's eye—because God's love for us is based on Himself, not us. He loved us before we knew Him, when we hated Him, when we considered Him brutishly unfair—because God's love for us is based on Himself, not our future faith. He loved us when we ignored Him, thinking Him ineffective, even impotent—because God's love for us is based on Himself, not our behavior. He loved us even when in our anger we rebelled against His lordship, His decisions that didn't square with ours—because God's love for us is based on Himself, not our faithfulness in loving Him...

#688: For Goodness Sake

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December 29, 2014

"Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you."
Isaiah 60:1

Every person must decide for himself: Is the child of Christmas really God incarnate, or is he just another cute baby?

Do you want to see God's glory? Look in the manger. Do you want to see God's love? Look to the cross...

#687: Shadows & Light

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December 22, 2014

The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
Isaiah 9:2

Who can argue that this world does not remain in darkness? Who among us can make the case that humanity has finally "seen the light" and emerged from the shadows? For a simple, unembellished recitation of each day's headlines borders on the pornographic: terroristic violence of unimaginable depravity; vast swathes of humanity rising up in arms over something provably a lie; corruption and duplicity brazenly paraded by national leaders; perverse sexuality forced, even legislated into the norm.

We still live in a world that grows darker by the day...

#686: Shedding the Inferior

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December 15, 2014

Jesus answered them, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him."
Matthew 13:10-13

As one grows old in Christ, the things of God become more permanently affixed to one's life. Heavenly things that were, at first, alien and strange become, over time, familiar and comfortable. Instead of aging, withering, and falling away, they become, eventually, more strongly—even permanently—a part of us. And as heaven becomes more firmly attached, the things of earth begin to wither before our eyes...

#685: Ye of Little Faith

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December 8, 2014

They said to her, "You are out of your mind!" But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, "It is his angel."
Acts 12:15

We like to think that faith has never been so fragile as it is in this modern age. At the same time we imagine that faith has never been so strong as it was in the first century, a time vibrant with the ministries of the men who had walked and talked with the Lord Himself.

Both, however, are misconceptions. As the wise but cynical King Solomon wrote, "There is nothing new under the sun."

#684: Quality Time

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December 1, 2014

"And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,"
Says the Lord Almighty.
2 Corinthians 6:18

God the Father welcomes us into His garden to spend quality time with Him. He wants to be our Father. He wants us to walk with Him in His garden, to bring Him our sorrows and joys, our anger and questions. And, as a loving dad who can now speak openly with an adult son or daughter, He eagerly takes the opportunity to share from His own life, and the immense wealth of His wisdom...

#683: The Right Messenger

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November 24, 2014

As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting..."
Acts 9:3-5

Who will reach your neighbor for Christ? Who will reach your cousin, your sister, your child? Because some heads and hearts are harder than others, the Lord's messengers are many and diverse. For some a simple invitation will be sufficient, a casual chat over a cup of coffee. For others it will require a traumatic, life-altering event they will not be able to ignore. It may take persistence, it may be painful, it may require loss. But in every case the Lord will send just the right messenger to add one more soul to His Book of Life...

#682: To God Be the Glory

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November 17, 2014

"Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord God, "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went."'"
Ezekiel 36:22

Life in Christ means that we bow before Jesus as our Savior, our Lord, our brother and fellow heir. In that there is not just security, not just joy, but order. The problem with this fallen world is its disorder. Marriage, family life, even the process of giving birth have become twisted and perverse. The schooling of children, once a place for instruction in the basics, is now a center for indoctrination; university life for young adults, instead of a place for intensified higher learning, has become a moral cesspool, an unbridled Bacchanalia.

And the root of it all is the worship of self...

#681: Dependable Permanence

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November 10, 2014

His radiance is like the sunlight;
He has rays flashing from His hand,
And there is the hiding of His power.
Before Him goes pestilence,
And plague comes after Him.
He stood and surveyed the earth;
He looked and startled the nations.
Yes, the perpetual mountains were shattered,
The ancient hills collapsed.
His ways are everlasting.
Habakkuk 3:4-6

We all need something on which to depend—something that will never change. We all want to rise in the morning with the assurance that things around us will be as they were when we pulled up the covers last night. We want our house still to be standing; we want our husband or wife still by our side; we want our children still to be in the next room and still loving us. But none of these things are permanent.

We must look somewhere beyond this temporal plane for something absolutely dependable, unchangeable, permanent...

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