Reflections by the Pond

#607: O Worship the King

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June 10, 2013

No matter where we are, no matter who we are around, our current circumstances inevitably become to us the standard for normal. Given time, we grow accustomed to everything and everybody around us. Concomitantly, given time, that which we are not regularly around becomes abnormal, foreign.

So when, day after day, year after year, our immediate environs consist of the people and things of this temporal world, the things of God—and God Himself—will inevitably become foreign to us. Our standard of goodness becomes the good of this world. Our standard of generosity becomes the generous of this world. Our standard of beauty becomes the beautiful of this world.

Because even believers remain flesh, and thus tied to the things of flesh, it is necessary for us to nurture with purposeful intent the things outside flesh: things of spirit...

#606: Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

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June 3, 2013

When people speak to us we appreciate hearing our own language. An English-speaking person traveling in a foreign land will be drawn to a native who knows and speaks the English tongue, just as the native will be pleased with the tourist who uses some of his language.

God is spirit-kind; His native language is spirit language. Our attempts at worship in the flesh too often carry with them the baggage of self, for the language of flesh is self-centric. But worship of God must be God-centric; for that we need the Holy Spirit to translate our stumbling words into the spirit language of heaven. Only then do we rightly honor and glorify our King...

#605: When All Thy Mercies, O My God

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May 27, 2013

Grace is a loving God giving us what we don't deserve; mercy is a forgiving God not giving us what we do. And, soul to soul, contemplation of both lifts us out of the banalities of temporal life, lifts us into the heavens of eternal God.

It is a paradox of faith that grounding ourselves in the realities of God results in our feet being lifted off this earth's soil. To discover God we must look upward, to commune with God we must gaze upward. The earthly philosopher, the psychiatrist, the nihilist—all gaze inward, ultimately failing to find mercy, for they hope to manufacture it from flesh.

But the child of holy God gazes upward, and is immediately overwhelmed by the mercies and grace of God flowing into his life from above...

#604: Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts

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May 20, 2013

Jesus wants us to live with Him as He lives with the Father: close, intimate, as one. Our relationship with Him is a marriage, and where intimacy and oneness are absent, there is no marriage. But where these exist, where the bond between husband (Christ) and wife (believers) is fused and cherished, we yearn for Him, gladdened by His "gracious smile" no less than man and woman yearn for each other.

Worship and praise of Christ Jesus is the believer's spiritual marriage bed. The physical intimacy between man and woman is essential to the sustaining health of a marriage. Just so, intimate adoration of his Savior is the necessary, regular energizing of the holy relationship between believer and Lord...

#603: Ancient of Days

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May 13, 2013

We begin with God. That is the easy part. Then, after a while we realize God is rather more than that: Trinity. Three in One. But then, even deeper, we understand that it all distills down, once again, to God.

It is the child in us that wants to keep things simple. We begin with that which is basic: the Ancient of Days. In the blood of Christ we push open the doors to His throne room and, bowed but confident, we press toward Him to kneel at His feet. And what is it we say to God? What are the words of our adoration?

#602: Holy, Holy, Holy

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May 6, 2013

Nothing correctly orders the believer's world so much as the contemplation of God's holiness.

Nothing else brings alignment, perspective, balance to the God/man relationship like the acknowledgement that He is, in His Triune completeness, holy.

Of all God's attributes, His holiness is set apart from the rest. All others, such as His mercy, His grace, His justice, find their diminished but real counterparts in this world. But we know instinctively that nothing in this world is holy. Man, machine, philosophy, even the creation itself groan under the weight of Adam's sin...

#601: Come, Thou Almighty King

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April 29, 2013

The first words of our worship and praise must be to invite the triune Godhead to attend, to fill our heart, our spirit, our mind and soul with the very language of holy devotion. For that language is not of this earth; it is born and perfected in the heavenly Tabernacle, then disseminated and translated by the members of the Godhead. Without it our words are too leaden with clay, too introspective, too base to reach higher than ourselves. With it, however, we are immediately and effectively speaking one language with the object of our adoration...

#600: Passing Through the Pitch of Night

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April 22, 2013

There was no light: no moon, no stars—nothing. The world had disappeared and left in its wake a black, empty void. Fingers held before the eyes were as invisible as if they were not even there. In that blackness I stood motionless, sweating and sand-dusted, afraid to move—afraid to move in any direction—afraid that I might somehow step off the edge of the universe...

#599: Christ, the Head

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April 15, 2013

As if seen "through a glass darkly," the earthly church is the faint reflection of the community of saints gathered around the throne of heaven. That eternal congregation does not look to itself, but to Christ seated upon His throne and, on His left, Father God.

This is what should set Christians apart from the rest of the world: We have a Lord, a Head, a King. We, even as a group, do not tell Him what to do; He tells us what to do. And when explaining the priorities of faith, we place Jesus Christ first. My allegiance is not to my church; my allegiance is to my Lord Jesus Christ. If in any point the two part company, I will go with my Lord, not the church...

#598: Standing

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April 8, 2013

We can sometimes feel as if we are in a tug of war between the forces of heaven and the battalions of earth. Like the tree, our feet are planted in the soil, but our heads—our spirit and spiritual purpose—are reaching toward the brilliance of God in the clouds. Our spirit aches to dwell with His.

Meanwhile the soldiers of the soil hack away at us, struggling to bring us down to their level, trying to pull us out of the light of righteousness. And we hold on, tenaciously refusing to join them...