Reflections by the Pond

#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...

#627: Knowledge of the Holy: Making it Work

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October 28, 2013

The Godhead, comprised of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is—if it had been invented by someone else—a marvelous creation. It is a supernatural, all-powerful, three-legged stool: all three parts are required for it to fulfill its intended purpose.

But, of course, the Godhead was not invented by someone else. To be clear, it was not created at all, but always has been, and always will be.

While it is true that no third party created God, we can still marvel at His design, for His relationship with man does indeed depend on all parts of Himself...

#626: Knowledge of the Holy: A New Creature

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October 21, 2013

The Christian is someone who has been converted from one type of being to another. He is born a person of the earth, trudging along day by day with dirt between his toes. The gravity of his birthplace holds him firmly within its grasp; his outlook is earthen, his perspective, at best, global. Events around him are interpreted through an earthen filter—through a mind and heart that are firmly in the grasp of their natural condition.

The point at which he believes in the saving power of Christ, however, marks his conversion from an earthly to a spiritual being—not just "spiritual," for anyone born of man can have a spiritual bent, but Holy spiritual. He has been reborn, and is no longer a child of the earth, but now a child of God—who is a spiritual being. He has been remade from flesh-kind to spirit-kind...

#625: Knowledge of the Holy

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October 14, 2013

Far too many of us don't know what we don't know. And most of the rest that do know what they don't know, don't care that they don't.

Many of us claim to know God, or claim to know His Son, Christ Jesus. But do we? Do we really? The word "know" has been just as dumbed-down as so many other parts of our language. Like its cousins, "love," "understand," and "best friend," it has been diminished to a mere shadow of what it is supposed to represent. In this chromium and plastic world in which we live, the word "know" is tossed around with abandon, salted into diaphanous, paper-thin relationships until it now means very little at all. The truth is, you don't really know someone until you've lived with them for a while. You don't really know someone until you have invested much of yourself in their lives...