Reflections by the Pond

#770: Taking God Seriously: Meaning

(Last in a Series)

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July 25, 2016

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Romans 11:36

The morality and ethics of the culture in which we now dwell are soft and pliable—and grossly unserious. Nothing means anything, while anything goes. It is a plastic world: cheap, brittle, easily broken and easily thrown away. The more modern man strives to bring meaning to life, the less life means.

If everything is anything, then nothing means anything...

#769: Taking God Seriously: The Motives of the Heart

(Twelfth in a Series)

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July 18, 2016

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Romans 13:8-10

Let's be honest: Wouldn't we all rather have fewer rules in our lives? Wouldn't we all rather drive the speed of our choosing on the freeway, and not have to be tied in with a seat belt? When we were younger, did we enjoy the rules set down by our parents? Wouldn't we rather have stayed out as late as we wished, gone to parties without chaperones, not bothered doing our homework, ate or drank whatever we liked whenever we liked?

Few people actually like the inconvenience of some rules in their lives, but most of us attain a level of maturity that understands that we, and society as a whole, are better off with certain fundamental laws and regulations. It is in our nature to rebel against laws, but it is also in our nature to require them...

#768: Taking God Seriously: The New with the Old

(Eleventh in a Series)

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July 11, 2016

Once we are heading down the healthy path of taking God seriously, and begin to examine what God has to say about the real Jesus in His word, we must glean from that Scripture how Jesus described Himself. And here again, the truth is often contrary to what we may think.

For Jews and much of the unsaved populace, the Old Testament's "Ten Commandments" represent the pinnacle of moral and ethical law; that is, good and righteous people obey them—or at least make an effort to obey them. In contrast to this position, many Christians believe that, in Christ, the Ten Commandments no longer apply; that they have been superseded by "grace." Thus, they believe, faith in Christ Jesus replaces the Ten Commandments.

But that is not what Jesus said...

#767: Taking God Seriously: The Real Jesus

(Tenth in a Series)

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July 4, 2016

"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left."
Matthew 25:31-33

Today there is a veritable industry built around the ear-tickling line: "What Would Jesus Do?"—more often than not represented by the acronym "WWJD." It can be a laudable injunction when one is faced with a choice, a fork in the decisional road, that one considers how Christ Jesus Himself might decide. The sticky part of this is that for one to make the same decision Jesus would, one must have a working knowledge of what Jesus actually did—how He behaved, what He thought, what His decisions were based on—in short, who and what He really was. And if one bases his decision on what the world's culture tells him Jesus would do, then he will almost surely be taking the wrong path...

#766: Taking God Seriously: Regarding Angels

(Ninth in a Series)

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June 27, 2016

For by [Christ Jesus] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
Colossians 1:16

Ignorance never dies, it just keeps changing its shape.

One of the saddest things to see is how angels have become associated with the likes of New Age spirituality, harmonic convergence, aroma therapy and healing crystals. Today they have been wrapped into the whole feel-good, warm fuzzies, Transcendental Meditation, peace and love, flower child nonsense—a resurgence of something that should have died a quick death in the late 1960s.

These people wouldn't recognize a real angel if his wings slapped them in the face...

#765: Taking God Seriously: Listening to our Father

(Eighth in a Series)

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June 20, 2016

...therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.
Genesis 3:23

The language of heaven has no word for "mostly good"; it has no word for "sort of bad." In God's aspect, one is either good or evil; since man is born not-good, he is born evil. And since in himself he cannot make himself good, he remains evil so long as he remains apart from God through Christ. And, maddeningly, even then the Christian struggles against the lingering influence of his base nature...

#764: Taking God Seriously: God's Diary

(Seventh in a Series)

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June 13, 2016

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
John 8:31-32

Can we possibly imagine that the God who is so powerful as to create the entire universe from nothing, and yet is so intimately involved in the lives of His followers as to answer their private prayers, would at the same time be clueless regarding changes to societal mores and not understand "what it is like living today"? How can we possibly think that He would buy our humanistic rationales for our disobedience?

#762: Taking God Seriously: Taken as a Whole

(Fifth in a Series)

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May 30, 2016

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Colossians 1:9

To take God seriously we must be filled with Him. To be truly filled with God we must take all of Him. We cannot pick and choose what we want of God. He cannot be broken down into compartments, bins filled with His various character attributes, bins from which we may, at our personal discretion, choose to select or reject. He is of a piece, unified, inseparable.

He is to be taken as a whole...

#761: Taking God Seriously: A Transaction of Trust

(Fourth in a Series)

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May 23, 2016

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Like many other teenagers and young adults, I passed through a period of rebellion. It was a time when I rejected the wisdom and instruction of my earthly father, declaring them to be both insignificant and immaterial. Happily, before he went to live with my heavenly Father, I realized the utter stupidity of that position and spent good, productive times filling myself with more of my dad's life, learning more about his history, more about what lay in his heart.

Just so, before it is too late, we are to spend good, productive times with our heavenly Father, filling ourselves with more of His life.

It is a matter of trust. Filling ourselves with more of God is as profound, yet also as simple and direct, as that. It is as direct as deciding who we will trust; it is as simple as putting down our busyness to spend quiet time with Him. It means getting out of the kitchen and curling up at His feet...