Reflections by the Pond

#760: Taking God Seriously: A Cosmic Love Affair

(Third in a Series)

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May 16, 2016

From the beginning of man's existence, God has condescended to minister to him on the earthly plane. One need not rise into the heavenlies to meet God; He is pleased to meet man where he lives. But God is not of the earth; He only meets with man here for man's benefit. God is spirit, and dwells in a spiritual place. For man to apprehend the fullness of what God has to offer, he must release his hold on the familiar and dare to soar in spiritual realms...

#759: Taking God Seriously: The Center

(Second in a Series)

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May 9, 2016

How deeply do men err who conceive of God as subject to our human will or as standing respectfully to wait upon our human pleasure. Though He in condescending love may seem to place Himself at our disposal, yet never for the least division of a moment does He abdicate His throne or void His right as Lord of man and nature. He is that Majesty on high.
A. W. Tozer

Where do we begin? Where do we begin the process of taking God seriously? We begin by taking hold of—by believing, by practicing, by living—one fundamental truth. It can be stated in a number of ways, but means the same no matter the arrangement of the words...

#757: All in All

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April 25, 2016

It isn't that we find ourselves bumping into Father God at every turn; it is not necessarily like running into an old friend we might happily meet on the street. Rather, it is like seeing and experiencing everything in our life as if through our own private "God filter." The Holy Spirit, in residence in our body, receives and translates every experience into a form that both glorifies God and illumines His character for us. It begins with God's omnipresence, but then expands and matures into His omni-influence...

#756: Allured Further On

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April 18, 2016

Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21 niv

There is nothing inherently wrong with power or wealth; most individuals born of woman, of any economic level, wouldn't mind having a bit more of either or both. But those who dwell in that heady atmosphere, who rarely step outside its gilded portals, will inevitably acquire a skewed perception of what life is like for the common man. While they remain cloistered in their marbled halls, the power elite can repeatedly make bad decisions that harm those not of their ilk, those they claim to represent.

And when Christians cling stubbornly to the perspective and mindset of this impermanent earth, when they form their opinions and base their decisions on what seems right to them, they distance themselves from the One to whom they profess devotion...

#755: Life from Death

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April 11, 2016

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God.
Job 19:25-26 nkjv

In the natural world, whatever is truly dead, remains dead.

In that tomb near Calvary, however, where the lifeless body of Jesus was shrouded and sealed away, true life returned where before there had been true death. No natural phenomenon; this was the eternal Son of God fulfilling His promise...

#754: Not All There

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April 4, 2016

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."
Deuteronomy 6:5

If we choose to conduct our lives by long distance, rather than in person; if we deny ourselves the tactile and sensory pleasures of the immediate for the superficial inanities of strangers; if we willingly enslave ourselves to a plastic existence, played out in a world beyond our reach—if we choose to live this way, we are only diminishing the quality of our own life.

But when we bring the same attitudes and behavior into our relationship with holy God, we are offending—we are sinning against—Him...

#753: Life With Him

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March 28, 2016

"I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you..."
Hebrews 13:5b

The human mind has a difficult time wrapping itself around the resurrection and the events that followed. On one level, we must abandon our inherent disbelief regarding the very concept of bodily resurrection—that someone who has thoroughly and completely died could come back to life. On another level, we struggle to grasp that that body, though corporeal, might still pass through walls and closed doors, and instantaneously be in one place and then another. On yet another level, after we finally accept the truth of the first two, we are then left wondering why Jesus, now raised from the dead and having fulfilled His reason for coming, would linger on earth forty more days. Putting ourselves in His position, we imagine we would have wasted no time racing back to heaven, and sweet reunion with the Father.

But then, we are not God...

#752: Life Without Him

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March 21, 2016

And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away. And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the grave.
Matthew 27:59-61

We look upon the death and resurrection of Christ as an epochal, historic moment—a turning point in God's relationship with man. We see it from the hazy distance of two millennia: a moment of great import, yet one that often takes second place to the tyranny of the immediate. We gather together and proclaim the truth of Christ's atoning death on the cross; we gladly declare it to be both historical and doctrinal truth. We rightly worship a Savior who would sacrifice Himself for fallen man. Our hearts fill with gratitude and praise for one so unselfish and kind—then, come Monday morning, we get back to our "real" lives: back to the factory, the office, the children, housecleaning and laundry...

#751: Beast of Burden

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March 14, 2016

"Say to the daughter of Zion,
'Behold your king is coming to you,
Gentle, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'"
Matthew 21:5

Here is the anguished poetry of heaven. Christ Jesus, to illustrate for the crowds His true nature and calling, rode a humble beast of burden into the city of Jerusalem. But at the cross, He Himself became a "beast of burden" when He bore on the cross the load of sin for all humanity...