Reflections by the Pond

#651: Painting Over the Inconvenient

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April 14, 2014

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Romans 1:25

The contemporary acceptance of homosexuality as something perfectly normal is just one example of how we have painted over the truth of Eden. Heterosexuals have done much the same thing with divorce and carnality; the church has done it by loosening the standards by which leaders and elders are selected; society as a whole has done it by so easily winking at deceit and corruption. When our sins become too burdensome, instead of repenting we just change the definition of sin. Soon there will be no sin left; we will all have evolved—by mutual acclimation—into perfect little angels...

#650: What We Know

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April 7, 2014

Wisdom shouts in the street,
"How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing
And fools hate knowledge?"
Proverbs 1:20a,22

One cannot truly love and obey what one does not know. Indeed, it is by knowing Jesus that we love Him. When we learn not just that He "died for our sins," but the true depth and meaning of that sacrifice; His absolute devotion to each of His followers as advocate, friend and brother; His true personality—not defined by Hollywood and the ignorant, but by His word; His relationship to the Father and the Spirit—then and only then are we able to love Him and dedicate our lives to Him...

#649: Living Water

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March 31, 2014

"Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
And shudder, be very desolate," declares the Lord.
"For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns,
That can hold no water."
Jeremiah 2:12-13

It is a convulsive, seismic event in the universe when a people turns away from God. Just as there is rejoicing in heaven when just one individual turns away from a life of sin to embrace the Lord, its foundations tremble when His chosen people forsake Him....

#648: God

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March 24, 2014

Then Moses said, "I pray You, show me Your glory!" And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion." But He said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!"
Exodus 33:18-20

God the Father is the root of all that is holy. He is not just holy; He is holiness. If we could only say, "God is holy," and no more, then that would permit the interpretation that God is in part what someone else is in whole—that He is what someone else has defined.

When we say "God is holy," we speak the truth, but it may be inferred from that that someone else has set the standard for God's holiness—that His holiness is only a subset of the whole. Which, of course, is not true...

#647: Meaning What we Say

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March 17, 2014

But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man. John 2:24-25

We take comfort in the truth that Christ Jesus, having experienced the fragility of flesh for Himself, is now able and willing to comfort us in our sorrow and sympathize with our own weaknesses regarding temptation. Jesus knew sorrow beyond what we will ever experience, and He was tempted more acutely than we will ever be tempted. So He ministers to us not just from the wisdom of deity, but from the scars of experience.

But there is also an uncomfortable truth that accompanies the first: A Savior so intimately acquainted with our innermost needs will also be intimately acquainted with our moments of rebellion and disobedience. He knows when we hedge our bets, He knows when we are lying to Him...

#646: Picking up the Song

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March 10, 2014

Let the sea roar and all it contains,
The world and those who dwell in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
Let the mountains sing together for joy
Before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth.
Psalms 98:7-9a

Ask the trees who it is due our honor and praise. Ask the granite mountains and fertile plains who it is that made and controls them. Ask the sea and all that dwell there; ask the coursing rivers who it is due exaltation and glory.

And if man refuses, if man be so puffed up that he has praise only for himself with none left over for the one true God, then the trees and birds and mountains and rivers and streams will pick up the song. The ocean depths, in their watery baritone, will sound forth psalms of praise. The very air we breath will issue eloquent cantatas to the glory of its Maker. And even the lowly pebbles upon which man so blithely trods will send forth cries of worship and glory and praise...

#645: Family Treasures

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March 3, 2014

"Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord."
Leviticus 19:32 niv

He is just your average old man. He served in the army during World War II.
He was a farmer until he retired from it and turned the work over to his sons.
His physical stature and countenance are unremarkable.
Just your average old man.
The church is filled with them...

#644: a Tangible Solace

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February 24, 2014

But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.
2 Corinthians 7:6 niv

God—in one or more of His parts—is as much at work in the comfort of a brother or sister as if He were bodily standing before us. He is the one placing the impulse in the human heart. He is the one sending forth His holy messengers to be His hands, His voice, His heart. He is the one loving us through them...

#643: Spotting Fakes

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February 17, 2014

These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved.
2 Peter 2:17

The more familiar the jeweler is with diamonds of quality, the better he is at recognizing glass and paste. The one accustomed to a diet of gourmet food has a palate too refined for Spam. The regular reader of classic literature has little patience with poorly written pulp fiction.

And the one familiar with God's truth can spot a fake a mile away...

#642: the Essentials

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February 10, 2014

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:11-12

Once we are born, we immediately begin our journey to the eternity of our choice—we begin the journey to whatever lies on the other side of our ultimate earthly demise. The only difference between the youth and the adult, is that the adult knows this; the misguided youth considers himself immortal...