Reflections by the Pond

#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...

#631: In Everything

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November 25, 2013

Why is it one person can build something with his own two hands and say, "Look what I did," while another person can do the same and say, "Thank you, God!"? Why is it one person can labor and sweat over a productive garden and say, "Look what I grew," while another person can labor just as much but say, "Thank you, God!"? Why is it one person can have good fortune and say, "Look how lucky I am," while another person can experience the same and say, "Thank you, God!"?

This kind of thanksgiving is not born in the act, or the possession, or the accomplishment. This kind of thanksgiving comes not from man's experience upon the soil, but from man's experience with the unseen world. For such odd behavior is not born here, but from above...

#630: In Ruins

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November 18, 2013

What was once a nation of decency and light is now just a fading ruin. America is now a place where the abnormal is being forced upon the populace as normality, where perversity is celebrated. Goodness and righteousness have become suspect. In America today not even the rule of man's law is honored, and far less the rule of God's law.

In America, God's light is being extinguished. God and His truth are being systematically stripped out of our culture. His eternal precepts have become not just subject to ridicule, but are being actually outlawed by the legal precepts established by a darkened society...

#629: Knowledge of the Holy: God the Father (last in a series)

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November 11, 2013

God the Father is uncomfortably real. It is almost a lie to see Him as the white-bearded grandfather dandling His little ones upon His knee. Though certainly a component, that image more often masks the true complexity of God's personality, leaving even those who adore Him with a thinly veiled impression of who He is. It is like receiving an exquisitely wrapped Christmas gift, and refusing to mar its exterior beauty by opening it—thus doing without the useful, helpful item lying inside. God is beautiful. God is love. God is an attentive, giving Father. But He is also so much more.

For the Godhead to have a relationship with man, the Father is as necessary as the Son and the Spirit. Because of his sinful bent, were man to have only the Son and Spirit, he would soon forget the utter, untouchable holiness of God. His disciples lived with Jesus day after day for three years; they soon forgot—even though they used the right words—that He was more than just flesh, but God. Man too easily forgets the inconvenient truth. We need God the Father to remind us of God's sovereignty, His unimaginable power, His holiness...

#628: Knowledge of the Holy: Touchable God

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November 4, 2013

If we are to walk the path of Jesus, we must enter the path His way, and His way for us is the same as it was for Him: through obedience. If we are serious about truly knowing Jesus, we will have to do more than just observe Him from a distance. We will have to get our feet dirty on the same path He treads; we will have to see the things He sees, through His perspective; we will have to touch and feel and experience the things in His life. Only then will we truly know Jesus as He would have us know Him...

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