Reflections by the Pond

#793: God on a Shelf

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January 2, 2017

There comes a point in every person's life—every person, without exception—when this truth is either gloriously or painfully confirmed. The God of heaven will not be set aside, ignored or denied. He will not be treated as simply a handy resource for quick and painless absolution, for the way out of a bad situation, for wish fulfillment...

#792: A Life of Praise

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December 26, 2016

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
Psalms 150:6

By the breath of God the universe was spoken into existence, and by His breath man was given life. By the breath of God the apostles were given understanding; by His breath the written word was set down for all to read, and only by His breath can we understand it.

It all came from Him, and to Him alone it is to return...

#791: Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne

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December 19, 2016

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

From the very beginning He was unwelcome, but He came anyway. Having made us, Jesus knew well His creation. He was not surprised. If Jesus had been only human, He might have pushed back: He might have insisted on a more extravagant birth, a more cosmopolitan hometown, a more befitting reception.

But, being God, He understood the stakes...

#790: As With Gladness Men of Old

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December 12, 2016

As the believer's eternal life in Christ plays out on earth, as he sojourns in a foreign land upon the upward glide-slope toward heaven, the passion, the devotion, the giving, the worship—all work together to make him into a new creature. Thus the last step from earth to bliss, that one more step from darkness into the glories of his true home, bring the believer at last into the presence of his Lord and Savior.

And faith that began in the muck of a lowly stable is brought to fruition in a place where glory need not be imagined, where no clouds obscure our view of the Holy One...

#789: "Bring my soul out of prison!"

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December 5, 2016

The cry of every human being on the face of this earth should be, "Bring my soul out of prison!" Every person is born behind bars. We are not born good and innocent, then turn bad as we grow up because of external influences. No, we are born depraved and locked inside the prison built by the lord of all flesh: Satan. We come into this world his, and it is a miserable existence...

#788: You Are What You Worship

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November 28, 2016

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
The work of men's hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear;
Nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them.
Psalms 135:15-18 NKJV

We are what we worship. Give homage to the darkness of a fallen world and you will become one with it. Give honor and glory to very God and you will become His child.

#787: Thanksgiving: In Everything

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November 21, 2016

Why does beauty—especially that of nature—lead us into thoughts of God? Perhaps it is because of that deep and mystical yearning with which we are born: that yearning to commune with our Maker and Lord. As the heart and mind are drawn to earthly beauty, the spirit is drawn to a beautiful God.

Perfection is pleasing to the eye, and God is perfect. And even into this fallen world God has poured the essence of His perfect beauty. In every tree, every flower, every grain of sand on the ocean beach dwells some portion of a perfect God's beauty. In the small things we see the intimate qualities of His personality; in the larger things we see the grandeur of His royal throne.

And in everything we see His beauty.

And for everything we give Him thanks...

#786: Thanksgiving: Rainbow Colors

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November 14, 2016

Here in the midlands of the United States the colors of Thanksgiving are warm: trees painted deep, radiant oranges and yellows, burnished umber and glowing reds. It is a time of harvest, with mounds of orange pumpkins, variegated winter squash, fields an endless stream of yellowed and parchment-dry corn waiting to be gathered in.

One cannot dwell in a land of such bounty without giving thanks. The beauty and abundance of the harvest lift us out of ourselves to express appreciation for a God so generous and kind.

But as we lift our gaze heavenward, does not our thanksgiving flow naturally into praise, and then, as we contemplate the character and holiness of a God who would so graciously pour out His blessings upon us, does not our praise rise higher, even into worship?

#785: A Time to Pause

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November 7, 2016

As the warm nostalgia of autumn fades into the steely clarity of winter, our thoughts turn inward. So much of the Christian life is process; so much of it is just paying attention. What good is our stumbling, if we never look back to understand why we tripped? What good is a victory, if it doesn't leave us more humble? What good is life itself, if tomorrow doesn't find us better than we were the day before?