Reflections by the Pond

#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...

#641: New Sight

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February 3, 2014

...and Jesus stopped and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?" They said to Him, "Lord, we want our eyes to be opened." Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.
from Matthew 20:29-34

O, Lord Jesus, open my eyes, too! Open my eyes to see all that You are to me.

We are born myopic and short-sighted. We see You as our Savior, but too often we understand that as little more than a foot inside the pearly gates. A ticket out of hell, a ticket to heaven. Lord, open my eyes to see the salvation—the sanctification, the purifying, the training in righteousness—you are working in me every day...

#640: Jesus Alone

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January 27, 2014

And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.
Matthew 17:8

They had just witnessed an amazing light show, a brief glimpse of their Master’s supernatural reality. They had seen the great transcriber and father of the Law, and the prophet so distinguished by God that he had not suffered death—both having left the soil of earth long centuries past. They had heard the thundering voice of very God and had cowered in holy fear.

The three Jewish fishermen had been raised on a fear of Jehovah, and a deep, abiding reverence for the Law and the prophets...

#639: God Undiluted

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January 20, 2014

Behold, the Lord God will come with might,
With His arm ruling for Him.
Behold, His reward is with Him
And His recompense before Him.
Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
Isaiah 40:10-11

Those who paint the Lord God in simple, primary colors, like little children finger-painting in Kindergarten, do Him a gross disservice. There is nothing simple or basic, or monochromatic about God.

To say God is multi-hued or multi-dimensional is to condemn with faint praise. There are more dimensions to Him than man can even imagine. For example, the Lord God is omnipotent: His strength and might are terrible; mere flesh quakes before it...

#638: Light

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January 13, 2014

Therefore justice is far from us,
And righteousness does not overtake us;
We hope for light, but behold, darkness,
For brightness, but we walk in gloom.
We grope along the wall like blind men,
We grope like those who have no eyes;
We stumble at midday as in the twilight,
Among those who are vigorous we are like dead men.
Isaiah 59:9-10

Man has lived so long in the tepid gloom of his habitation that he imagines it to be normal. He imagines the dim, gray light to which he is accustomed to be the pinnacle of brilliance, the best it can be. And so he is satisfied. He is as satisfied as the blind fish swimming so deep that light does not penetrate the gloom, so eyes are unnecessary. So man has become blinded by his own mediocrity.

But God calls that mediocrity, darkness; God calls our comfortable gray, black...

#637: a God Nearby

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January 6, 2014

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them..."
Revelation 21:3

There has never been a God like Jehovah. There has never even been a god like Jehovah.

The distinctive hallmark of all other gods in history has been their irreducible distance from those who worship them. Perhaps here and there a statue of a deity's imagined likeness would be erected in a temple or on a street corner, but the actual god would be somewhere else—assuming, of course, one believed in the fact of his or her being at all. A chasm of separation was fixed between god and supplicant, and it could not be spanned.

But Jehovah is and always has been different...