Reflections by the Pond

#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...

#680: Waiting

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November 3, 2014

"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I have hope in Him."
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:24-26

The incessant, inane babblings of modern society are a testament to our sense of self-importance—and disinterest in waiting silently before God. Modern man takes comfort in noise, be it the sound of his own voice or the frivolous tappings into his Twitter account, and is made profoundly ill-at-ease by silence. Human beings emerge from the womb loud and demanding, and for some that never changes. We want, and we want now. The idea of keeping the mouth shut and waiting is abhorrent to many of this day and age.

But how can we hear the voice of the Lord over the noise of this world or the insistent sound of our own voice?

#679: By Our Side

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October 27, 2014

This world does hold a few special people—those in whose presence we are profoundly energized or affirmed. It is not impossible for that quality to dwell in flesh, for we have encountered one or two along the way. Their numbers, however, are few and dwindling. Today's culture does not encourage excellence of character—indeed, it goes out of its way to encourage a bland sameness, an egalitarian uniformity at the lowest common denominator. But in spite of society's pressures, a few do rise to a high and extraordinary level of excellence, and our lives are the better for time spent in their presence.

Yet time spent with any of these special people cannot even approach in quality or depth time spent with the Savior. Others may be able to energize our spirits, but only Jesus can revive our very soul. Others may reignite enthusiasm, but only Jesus can restore our passion for living with and for Him. Others may comfort or console, but only Jesus can unite our spirit with His and give us hope, and thus raise us up to where He dwells...

#678: Nurturing the Priceless Gift

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October 20, 2014

For many people the grace of Jesus begins and ends at the cross. To them, "grace" is synonymous only with "undeserved salvation." But Jesus not only demonstrated God's grace in His sacrificial act at Calvary, He behaves graciously in His relationships with those who are friends with Him through that act. For those who live next door to Jesus, every day is filled to overflowing with His grace. Jesus never is too busy, never too distracted to be a part of our sorrows or joys. His friendship is constant, never wavering. His humanness means that His part of the relationship is compassionate and tactile; His deity means that He can be this perfectly, to everyone, beyond the limitations of place or time...

#677: Time with an Old Friend

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October 13, 2014

Come along with me on a trip to our past. It will be a journey of rediscovery, one in which old familiar sites are revisited and witnessed as if through new eyes.

Let us rediscover the essence of Christ. Let us return to our hometown, and find the street on which His family has always lived. The house will not be hard to find; the porch light will be on, since He has been expecting us. We will knock on their old screen door, and when He comes to the door and greets us with inviting affection (which He most certainly will), let us sit together and listen to Jesus tell us of His life, His ways, and His timeless ideas...

#676: Unyielding Security

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October 6, 2014

Then he said to them, "Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
Nehemiah 8:10

The strength and protection of earthly things are great only in respect to other things of earthly construct. But all stand in the shadow of things from above. Though his spirit may soar with the Spirit from heaven, the believer still treads the mire of this earth, so he may still be fooled into thinking that his strength may be enhanced by the strong things of his temporal home.

The only way to have true, unyielding security in this world is to be wrapped securely in the love of Christ. The only way to experience the inexpressible joy of that love is to obey the word of Christ...

#675: Standing Before the Word

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September 29, 2014

Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.
Nehemiah 8:5

The people standing before Ezra had a hunger for God's word. Would that today we had that same hunger to hear His voice.

Should we be so casual with a God so holy? Proper reverence does not forget His nearness to us—especially through His Son, our brother, Jesus Christ. The very purpose for which God sacrificed His Son was so that we would be able to draw near to Him, intimately. But He is still God, a most holy God, and, to paraphrase A. W. Tozer, when we fail to worship Him earnestly, we are most certainly worshipping ourselves...

#674: Uncommon Decency

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September 22, 2014

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 5:16

In a common world, the follower of Christ is to be uncommon. The Christian's path is challenging, for we are to thread our way through a minefield of temptations, distractions, and proffered compromises. We are not to permanently detach ourselves from this world, since it is, in Jesus' terms, a "field... white for harvest." We are always to be serving, reaching, "harvesting" those that do not yet know our Savior.

In a fallen world in which common decency has become uncommon, we are called to be different. We are called to reflect the image of Christ to those who may never have met Him...

#673: Job's Redeemer

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September 15, 2014

"As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth."
Job 19:25

It is always fascinating to read of a pre-incarnate appearance of the Son of God in the Old Testament. There were, for example, the several times He showed up during the life of Abraham: by the oaks of Mamre to announce that Sarah would bear a child, to Hagar after she had been banished with her son Ishmael, to stop the knife with which Abraham was about to kill his son Isaac.

Perhaps equally fascinating are those times an Old Testament figure recognizes a need for some one or some thing that can only be fulfilled in the person of the incarnate Son of God: Jesus the Christ. The lamenting Job is such a figure...

#672: Precious Metal

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September 8, 2014

"But He knows the way I take;
When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold."
Job 23:10

The Prosperity Gospel assumes that when we enjoy good health, plenty of money, and are happy, these blessings prove that God is pleased with us. Conversely, when we don't enjoy these blessings, it marks God's displeasure, and/or that Satan has been given too much free rein in our lives. Trials, sickness and disease, poverty, chronic unhappiness—all are signs that something is amiss in our relationship with God.

There is an ancient Greek term for that philosophy: twaddle...