Reflections by the Pond

#743: Against an Exhaled Pestilence

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January 18, 2016

For there is no truth in their mouth;
their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
they flatter with their tongue.
Psalms 5:9 esv

As King Solomon so wisely yet wearily pointed out, there is nothing new under the sun. Man's behavior, even inventiveness, has been cooked into his DNA from the start, as has his bent toward evil.

There is nothing new about the depravity of this age. There is nothing new about an infantile penchant to shock with repellant behavior and scatological language. There is nothing new about apparent adults behaving and speaking in public as if they were school-age boys in a locker room. If there is anything new today, it is the scope and immediacy of that which is "public"...

#742: Old Devotion

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January 11, 2016

If new faith is to the church a breath of fresh air, old faith is the solid framework that holds it together.

Though the "old" Christian's faith may, at times, lapse into a too-familiar monotony, it is more often than not substantial, and deep. He has spent time with the Lord, and he knows Him well. God's written word is not just a book of wisdom, but a comfortable companion, a guidebook, and friend. He may not know every word, but he knows the sound of God's voice...

#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...