Reflections by the Pond

#741: Forgetting to Fear

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January 4, 2016

Immersed in the grace, and gracious behavior, of Father God, the Christian can, over time, become anesthetized to His unapproachable holiness. Immersed in grace we forget to fear. The mistake we make is imagining we must choose between the two; we think that in fearing holy God we must relinquish His grace, or that by living under His grace there is no more need of fear. But He meant for both to be qualities in every believer...

#740: Beginning

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December 28, 2015

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
Revelation 22:13

More often than not, earthly "beginnings" are little more than comforting tent pegs driven into the temporal sod, one more loving embrace of the here and now over the unknown and unseeable. And such things seem inordinately trivial when one is living an eternal life...

#739: Immanuel: 3

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December 21, 2015

Our God has many voices, and He has the right to use any of His choosing—including a shout. More often than not, however, He speaks in the quietness, the softly spoken language of the heart. God need not shout: real power speaks softly. So when we wish to hear what He has to say, it is best to come away from the din of this world, to a quiet place of hushed reverence...

#738: Immanuel: 2

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December 14, 2015

The Holy Spirit, the gift we receive in Christ, is not just a prettily wrapped, all-inclusive package—an attractive ornament we set in a place of honor upon the mantle and, sighing contentedly, mutter, "Wasn't that nice of God to give me this." The Spirit is not a pretty but useless gewgaw, but a golden key who unlocks all the wonder and wealth of heaven even in the here and now. He unlocks every door left bolted to those who reject Christ. He is our umbilical to heaven, feeding us with the nutritious word and mind of God. He is our translator, converting our groans into the language of heaven, then translating God's reply into a language we can understand. He is the comforting hand and impulse of the heavenly Father...

#737: Immanuel

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December 7, 2015

The incarnation of God in the person of Jesus would represent, in two steps, a return to the sweet communion the Godhead first enjoyed with Adam and Eve in the garden. He would first have to do something about our sins. Since Adam's fall, our sin nature had separated us from God. Holy God can have no communion with sin; it is repugnant to Him.

Through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, salvation—the once and forever atonement for sin—would be accomplished. Then, as a result, Immanuel would, for those who believe on His name, usher in a renewed period of sweet communion with God. Made possible by Jesus' sacrifice, and implemented by the indwelling Holy Spirit, man would once again enjoy a personal intimacy with the Father.

God with us...

#736: Knowing the Way

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November 30, 2015

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."
John 14:6

Jesus Christ, the incarnated Son of God, was not just a wise teacher or healer or prophet. He was not just a sacrificial lamb, dying for the sins of mankind. He was not just an example for those who wish to live a life pleasing to God. He was not just someone pointing the way toward eternal life with God. He was—and still is—all of that, but more than anything else He is the way!

#735: Into the Word

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November 23, 2015

Most people's knowledge of God is as thin as the skiff of fragile ice across a mild-winter pond. One step with the full weight of their misguided belief system and they go crashing through the film of misconceptions they hold about God. Thoroughly dunked, wet and humiliated, they haul themselves out of the cold bath of reality—only to turn their back on a God that would so rudely deceive them. But the deception is of their own making.

Working through the Bible in its entirety brings the reader smack against the truth about God the Father—His truth; in His own words. The reader learns that His immensity will not fit into the simplistic cubbyholes created by man for His dwelling...

#734: This One Will be Our Peace

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November 16, 2015

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."
John 14:27

It is far too common that people think the peace of Jesus represents some sort of universal nirvana. Every Christmas they hear the truncated message of the angel host to the shepherds, "And on earth peace," never hearing the accurate rendering of the rest of the line: "among men with whom He is pleased." Those preferring the simpleton flavor of Christianity believe Christ came to inaugurate a feel-good, touchy-feely, kumbaya paradise. But He did not...

#733: The Change

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November 9, 2015

But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Matthew 19:14

The boy does not yet comprehend what has happened. Too young to grasp the process, the subtle progression, he knows only that something has happened to him. He is now different. It feels as if part of his body has been removed, and replaced by part of someone else's.

In a moment his life—no, he has changed.

The boy could not explain it better than the slightly disorienting, grandly exhilarating sensation that part of his body had been removed, and replaced by part of someone else's. But in a heartbeat he realized that it was not just "someone else."

And in that same heartbeat he understood that it was not at all the whims of unseen fate. It was not by chance.

It was Jesus...

#732: Raised for Him

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November 2, 2015

But when Jesus heard this, He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it."
John 11:4

How very small are our earthly minds; how little we see of the grand vista set before us. Even acknowledging the lordship of Christ, and His equality with Father God, we still think it is all about us. Physical death? Cessation of breathing and the pulsing of the heart? The grave? These are nothing. The first death is nothing. This flesh we inhabit is but a temporary tent in which to house our true self—our eternal self.

The first portal to that eternity is the grave: We must die to this world before we can live in the next. The second portal to our eternity is our resurrection—but that raising from the grave is only to Christ if we are in Christ....