Reflections by the Pond

#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...

#636: Earnest

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December 30, 2013

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

The Lord has entrusted special gifts and abilities to each of us. He does this not lightly or haphazardly, but with purpose. He expects us to use these in His service, for His glory.

But then, under the influence and tutelage of a fallen world, we use God's gifts not by His standards (they do, after all, belong to Him) but by the standards of those in opposition to Him and His ways. We use them randomly, haphazardly, instead of earnestly. We use them lazily, sloppily, instead of by the driving force of the Spirit...

#635: Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne

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December 23, 2013

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
John 1:10-11

We were the least lovely, but the Loveliest of all came for us anyway. We were drenched with sin, but the One without sin came for us anyway. We were proud, arrogant, brimming with love for ourselves, but in humility He who judges the universe came for us anyway. He knew we would not love Him, that we would reject and kill Him, but He came for us anyway.

From the very beginning He was unwelcome, but He came anyway...

#634: As With Gladness Men of Old

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December 16, 2013

The magi chapter of the Christmas story, eloquent and profound, is a compressed allegory for the change that takes place in the life of the unredeemed when he comes to Christ.

Just as the light of that star compelled the magi, the Holy Spirit quickens in the heart of the unbeliever, compelling the elect to seek out the source and purpose of this wonder. The Spirit is an informing light, a beacon, a goad who directs us toward the One who desires our soul for Himself...

#633: Silent Night, Holy Night

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December 9, 2013

The holy radiance of God was either invisible or lethal to mankind—until Christ. Finally we had a visible, touchable part of God—God without death.

The light of Jesus not only is a light that saves, it is a light that reveals. Jesus reveals God to man through His personality and through his integrity. Jesus manifests the personality of God in flesh.

If darkness represents mystery, bleak foreboding, and evil, then the light of Christ represents revelation, hope, and righteousness. Jesus came into the world not to emphasize the mysteries of God, but to explain them. In Him we have the essential truth of God...

#632: O Come, All Ye Faithful

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December 1, 2013

When we answer the call, when we come and bow down before our Savior and Lord in unembarrassed and unreserved adoration, it is then we come to full realization—the immensity—of our salvation in Him. This is beyond the ken of mortal man. This is other-worldly. That holy God would voluntarily take on the same flesh of man, presenting Himself real and touchable yet pure, could only have been orchestrated in the glories of heaven. That there could be a love so sublime, so utterly unselfish, as to depart those glories for a lowly stable—and a cross—this, this is why we answer the call to worship Him...