Reflections by the Pond

#784: A Very "Different" Messiah

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October 31, 2016

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Because He did not come in power and might, Israel rejected Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. He came to this world by means of a grubby, smelly stable—a peasant born in peasant surroundings. His teaching was, for the most part, rural; Jesus trod the dusty roads of Judea, speaking to common people and leading a rather motley, unkempt group of disciples. He did nothing to ingratiate Himself to the power elite; He did nothing to overthrow Roman tyranny; and He died an excruciating, humiliating death. This, in the eyes of Israel's religious leaders, could not possibly have been the promised Messiah or Prophet...

#782: "Where are You?"

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October 17, 2016

Wrapped in this ungainly flesh it is easy to forget how sweet are the hours spent with Him, those cool, refreshing moments of communion in which we share our lives with Him, and He shares His with us. These are moments of revival, of reawakening. Yet our flesh would pull us away from that, away from the blithe innocence we enjoy in His company...

#781: A Delightful Path

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October 10, 2016

Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
Psalms 119:35

Is it any wonder that those without Christ look so contemptuously on those of us with Him? Is it at all surprising that they might, at least, scratch their heads with befuddlement over the philosophies and ways of the redeemed?

#780: From a Glass Darkly

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October 3, 2016

Humility is an unappetizing meal that few voluntarily select from the menu. We would far rather expound on the small chapbook we know, than confess to the vast libraries we do not. Man's brain may be larger than a sparrow's, but in its earthbound form it is still too small to hold much of anything at all.

The brain's limited capacity is further reduced by all the dubious information we pour into it every day. Even when we pay a visit to today's digital storehouses of knowledge, the information we come away with is often so corrupted as to be of questionable worth. Pick a topic, any topic, and listen to the mindless drivel people think they know about it...

#779: Face to Face

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September 26, 2016

As wonderful as it is having Christ in our heart and head, He remains invisible to us. No one on earth today has the slightest idea what He looks like, and except for a handful of disciples, even those who did see Him on earth, have any idea what He looks like now. Today He is our Master and Lord—but not one of us has ever heard His audible voice. We worship Him—but it is always in absentia; we are with Him in spirit, but never in person. We have to imagine Christ Jesus upon His throne; we have to imagine the One before whom we bow in adoration...

#778: What Does He Want

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September 19, 2016

For this is the will of God, your sanctification.
1 Thessalonians 4:3a

Among those who acknowledge that He exists, there are perhaps an infinite number of opinions or questions regarding what God is all about. Who is He, really? What is He really like? and Why does He do the things He does?

Whatever He is, whatever He is like, whatever He does—why? Why does He bother?

#777: Time Away

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September 12, 2016

People often use a vacation to break away from the steady, unrelenting rigors of their occupation—something to break the monotony, or bring physical or mental relief. People sometimes need a break from troublesome people, but God is not troublesome. He is not a weight upon our shoulders. He is not someone who drags us down, but someone who lifts us up...

#775: Living Seriously: A Glorious Ascent

(Last in a Series)

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August 29, 2016

The Dance begins at the cross, and it is there that our love is periodically renewed. But beyond this, our Life-Dance with Christ is conducted in the mundane normalcy of everyday life. The Dance is played out amidst business meetings, changing diapers, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, mending children's clothing, taking out the garbage, working the third shift, and in the marriage bed. The Dance is a tapestry of spiritual love woven intricately throughout the highs and lows, the disappointments and ecstasies of the believer's life.

The Dance is a glorious ascent from the leaden soil of earth into the gravity-defying arms of Jesus. It is not escapism, but a re-energizing of truth in a Maelstrom of lies; it is a raft of peace in a churning sea of discontent. For the Christian, eternal life with God and the present indwelling of the Holy Spirit are automatic; the Dance with Christ, however, is optional...