Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5700 posted here) sent daily for 18 years -- njhiebert@sympatico.ca

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Gems from December 2018

December 1

“Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with 
many tears, and temptations.” 
(Acts 20:19)

The apostle Paul puts before us here what should characterize every true minister of Christ: 
“Serving the Lord with all humility (lowliness) of mind.” 

If there is any position, any calling where pride should have no place, 
it is in connection with the ministry of the Word of God, for, the minister of Christ is one who was just a poor, lost, needy sinner, but who has been saved by grace and entrusted with a message to the world and to the people of God.  He does not receive this because of any merit of his own. It is all because of the goodness of the Lord. Certainly therefore he has nothing to be proud of.

When people used to crowd around George Whitefield and praise him because of his marvellous preaching, he would stop them like this: “The devil told me that, just before I came down from the pulpit.”
Then he would add, “There are many who can preach the gospel better than I can, 
but none can preach a better gospel.”  It is the message that counts.

The servant is really nothing, and the more we realize this and are willing to take the place of nothingness, the more God delights to come in and work through His servants.
(H. A. Ironside)

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December 2

“And the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim.”
(2 Chronicles 17:3)  

One frequently observes this history of Christians; the evils which in after life prove their greatest snares are those against which there is the greatest watchfulness at first.  Most happy is it when the spirit of watchfulness increases with our increasing knowledge of the tendencies and capabilities of our hearts.

But this, alas! is not always the way: on the contrary, how frequently do we find Christians of some years’ standing indulging in things which at first their consciences would have shrunk from. This may seem to be but a growing out of a legal spirit; but should it not rather be viewed as a growing out of a tender and sensitive conscience?

It would be sad if the result of more enlarged views were to be a careless spirit or a a seared conscience; or if high principles of truth did but tend to render those who were once self-denying and separated, self indulgent, careless, and worldly.  But it is not so.

To grow in the knowledge of truth is to grow in the knowledge of God, and to grow in the knowledge of God is to grow in practical holiness.  The conscience that can let pass without reproof things from which it would formerly have shrunk is, it is much to be feared, instead of being under the action of the truth of God, under the hardening influence of the deceitfulness of sin.  
        (C. H. Macintosh)

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December 3

Growing Through Adversity

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

The growth of character is possible only under adversity. It is something that can be produced only under the inexorable stress and strain of stormy weather.

The tree which responds vigorously to the wrenching winds and bending snow grows tough and strong and durable.

Inwardly there is the continuous, quiet, unspectacular growth in godliness. The inner life becomes rich, lustrous, and mellow.

Built into the very fibre and grain of the soul are charm and beauty that only blustery weather could possibly produce.

Most of us want to avoid the hard things, the adverse winds, the testing times. Let us not.  They are God’s method of making special timber.
(Songs of My Soul - W. Phillip Keller)

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December 4

He borrowed the bread when the crowd He fed, on the grassy mountain side;
He borrowed the dish of broken fish
with which He satisfied;
but the crown He wore and the cross He bore...were His own.

He borrowed a ship in which to sit to teach the multitude;
He borrowed the nest in which to rest,
He had never a home so rude;
but the crown He wore and the cross He bore...were His own.

He borrowed a room on the way to the tomb the passover lamb to eat;
They borrowed a cave; for Him a grave;
and they borrowed the winding sheet;
but the crown He wore and the cross He bore...were His own.

The thorns in His head, were worn in my stead,
for me the Saviour died.
For the guilt of my sin the nails drove in,when HIM they crucified;
though the crown He wore and the cross He bore were HIS own,
...were rightfully mine.
(Anonymous)

"Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance."
2 Peter 1:15
(With thanks - Dan Hopkins)

December 5

“And when he had apprehended him (Peter), he (Herod) put him in prison . . . but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.”
(Acts 12:4-5)

The assembly besought God for Peter “without ceasing” and "many were gathered together, praying" when he appeared in their midst.

What shape these earnest supplications took we are not told.  God interpreted the desire, as well as answered the faith of His people.  The day for the carrying out of Herod’s settled purpose was allowed to draw near.  The morrow was to see the end of the imprisoned apostle.  So had man proposed, but God disposed, in a marvellous manner, of the wicked king’s intentions.

But what of Peter all the time he lay chained in his cell?  No record is given of the exercises he doubtless passed through, but this we read, that the night before he was to be led forth to execution on the morrow, he had unbound his sandals, loosed his girdle, cast off his garment, and laid down to sleep.

All this bespoke sweet confidence in the Lord, an easy conscience, and a restful heart. Sweeter far, I believe, was the sleep of the  manacled man of God in the dreary prison cell, than that of Satan’s servant, Herod; although he might lie on a sumptuous couch, amid the splendour and luxury of a palace.

Better far be God’s man in a prison, than Satan’s man in a palace!
(W. T. P. Wolston)

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December 6

“Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith . . .”
(Hebrews 12:2)

UNTO JESUS and not to the spiritual gifts which we have already received, 
or which we are now receiving from Him.

As to yesterday’s grace, it has passed with yesterday’s work;
we can no longer make use of it, we should no longer linger over it.

As to today’s grace, given for today’s work, it is entrusted to us,
not to be looked at, but to be used.

We are not to gloat over it as a treasure, counting up our riches,
but to spend it immediately, and remain poor,
“Looking unto Jesus.”
(Theodore Monod)

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December 7

FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE

“And now abideth faithhopecharity, these three;
but the greatest of these is charity."
(1 Corinthians 13:13)

In the writings of the apostle Paul one whole chapter is devoted to the 
exposition of each of Faith, Hope and Love.
Hebrews 11 is his outstanding exposition of Faith;  Romans 8, of Hope; and 1 Corinthians 13, of Love.
They form the three great cardinal subjective forces of Christianity.

Faith is the strongest shield in the world (Ephesians 6:16);
Hope is the safest anchor in the world (Hebrews 6:19);
Love is the greatest thing in the world.
(1 Corinthians 13:13)

To have faith, is to believe that in the midst there is "One like unto the Son of God” (Daniel 3:25).
To have hope is to expect that in His own time the Lord will unveil 
Himself in grace and glory.  

 To have love is to take Christ’s life and live it with all children of the mist 
whom we may meet along the cloudy way.

With that faith, and that hope, and that love, we can pass through the time of mystery 
with the walk of kings and queens, waiting for the glorious 
unveiling when we shall see Him face to face.
(A Trinity of Christian Graces)

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December 8

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
(Galatians 6:14)

Beethoven was in the habit of playing his symphonies on an old harpsichord, as a test.  They would thus be made to stand out in their true character, with nothing to hide their faults, or exaggerate their beauties. 

Thus wisely may we test our character, endeavouring to ascertain how it manifests itself—not on great and rare occasions, or before the public eye, where there is a chance for display and applause—but in private, in the little, homely everyday duties, which attract no particular attention and reward us with no praise.

If in the retired nook of your own breast, in the regulation of your thoughts and feelings; if in the bosom of your family, in the monotonous round of home life each day, you preserve a sweet, serene temper, and go forward cheerfully, taking a real pleasure in duty as duty, and in all these little matters honestly strive to serve and please the heavenly Master; if, in a word, your piety sounds well on such an unpretending harp, it is good, genuine, tested; it will one day win acclamation from a vaster and nobler throng than ever was thrilled by 
the genius of Beethoven.
(Mountain Trailways for Youth)

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December 9

December 10

December 11

December 12

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Gems from November 2018

November 1

“But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour:
yet what I shall choose  I wot not.”
(Philippians 1:22)

The Scriptures speak of fruit in various senses. For instance, Paul wished to go to Rome that he 
“might have some fruit among you”

In Matthew 3:8 we read of fruits meet for repentance.
This no doubt referred to the general walk and behaviour.

John 15 speaks much of fruit: and we do well to give good heed to it:
yet at the same time remember the subject is fruit-bearing, and not eternal life.

Then we have the fruit of the Spirit: “Love, Joy, Peace,“ etc., Nine lovely graces, yet only spoken of as “fruit”, not fruits: for they all have one Source.

In John 4:36 we read, “He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal”.
This fruit would appear to be souls for their hire.
(G. Christopher Willis)

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November 2

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him . . . Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
(Luke 23:33-34)

Those who sat around the cross to watch the Saviour die thought that
His death was His utter and irretrievable defeat. 
Our Lord had said,

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament,
but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful,
but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”
(John 16:20)     

The cross for the time blasted all the hopes of the chosen disciples; they forsook Him and fled.
They mourned and wept, hiding away for fear of the Jews. Some were so filled with black despair that even the report of His resurrection did not sufficiently interest them to take them to the grave to see for themselves.

They turned their backs sadly on Jerusalem and went home to Emmaus.  The companionable Stranger who walked with them made their hearts burn within them as He opened to them the Scriptures.

Complete despair so filled their spirits that they even told the Stranger of the witness of the angels to the women at the grave, and ended with the hopeless words, “but Him they saw not.”
(Plant of Renown - Leonard Sheldrake) 

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November 3

“Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father . . . comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

The more one ministers Christ Himself the more you can count upon divine assistance. To exalt Christ is to be in communion with the mind of God. This will be our sole employment in heaven.

One lesson is our absolute dependence upon the power of God every time we speak; it is not our liberty nor our words, but it is the power of God that affects the souls to whom we speak.

A preacher will be so conscious that only divine power can touch a soul
that he will rest in God about it.
(Edward Dennett) 

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November 4

“And said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.”  (Revelation 6:16)

"The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”
(Proverbs 18:10)

It is a normal reaction to run from danger and usually that’s the safest thing to do. Upon advance warning we’ll endeavour to get out of the path of tornadoes, hurricanes and other storms.

However many today are in danger of the storm of God’s wrath (Romans 1:18) and are choosing to run from Him.

Yet unlike natural disasters it’s impossible to escape.
The only choice is to turn around and run directly to Him.
Which direction are you running?
(George Ferrier)

When I soar to worlds unknown see thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.
(A. M. Toplady)

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November 5

“What is it then?  I will pray with the spirit and I will
pray with the understanding also.”
(1 Corinthians 14:15) 

The New Prayer

Long have I prayed this prayer to Thee—
According to my need, give me
A little strength from day to day,
A little light along the way,
A little trust when fears are nigh,
A little peace when waves run high,
And with Thy love and joy fill up
The blessing in my little cup.

So have I prayed for long, but now—
According to Thy grace, giveThou!
Of my small measure take no heed,
Above, around my puny need
Pour out the treasures of Thy good,
Let Thy great goodness, like a flood, 
My meagre life fill and o’erflow
Till I unto Thy gifts shall grow,
Give joy exceeding all I sought,
And love beyond mine utmost thought;
Thy riches for my poverty,
According to Thy grace, give me.
(FlLINT’S BEST-LOVED POEMS

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November 6

“Even to your old age I am He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you:
I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.”
 (Isaiah 46:4)
 


“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
(Hebrews 13:5)




“Don’t let go, Dad!”
“I won’t. I’ve got you. I promise.”
I was a little boy terrified of the water, but my dad wanted me to learn to swim. He would purposefully take me away from the side of the pool into a depth that was over my head, where he was my only support. Then he would teach me to relax and float.
It wasn’t just a swimming lesson; it was a lesson in trust. I knew my father loved me and would never let me be harmed intentionally, but I was also afraid. I would cling tightly to his neck until he reassured me all would be well. Eventually his patience and kindness won out, and I began to swim. But I had to trust him first.
When I feel “over my head” in a difficulty, I sometimes think back on those moments. They help me call to mind the Lord’s reassurance to His people: “Even to your old age I am He; and even to hoary hairs will I carry, and will deliver you. (Isaiah 46:4).
We may not always be able to feel God’s arms beneath us, but the Lord has promised that He will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5). As we rest in His care and promises, He helps us learn to trust in His faithfulness. He lifts us above our worries to discover new peace in Him. 
By James Banks - Our Daily Bread
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                  "Our Daily Bread,  RBC Ministries,  Copyright (2018)  Grand Rapids, MI.  Reprinted permission." 
November 7

"I am the the way, the truth, and the life, 
no man cometh unto the Father but by Me."
(John 14:6)

His Way

God bade me go when I would stay
('Twas cool within the wood);
I did not know the reason why.
I heard a boulder crashing by
Across the pathway where I stood.

He bade me stay when I would go;
"Thy will be done," I said.
They found one day at early dawn,
Across the way I would have gone.
A serpent with a mangled head.

No more I ask the reason why,
Although I may not see
The path ahead, His way I go;
For though I know not, He doth know,
And He will choose safe paths for me.
(The Sunday School Times)

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November 8

"The righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. . . Christ Jesus whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”
(Romans 3:22-23,25)

- The righteousness which is by faith is “unto all,” like the Sun shining in the heavens: but the application is individual, “upon all.”

- When a man gets into the truth of his position Godward, he finds God in the truth of His grace.

- The Cross is like a lighthouse,—casting its light before and behind. 
- True separation does not go on a legal basis, but goes along with the path of faith.

- To entertain legal thoughts, is as much as to say that He need not have gone so far in His grace.
(Hunt’s Sayings - Rochfort Hunt)

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November 9

The door of the Word can only be opened with the key of diligence!

"Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.” John 5:39

The Greek word here rendered "search" signifies a strict, close, diligent, thorough search— such as men make when they are seeking gold. 

We must not rest content with having given a superficial reading to a chapter or two, but with the candle of the Spirit, we must deliberately seek out the spiritual essence of the Word. Holy Scripture requires searching—much of it can only be learned by careful study.  There is milk for babes, but also meat for strong men.

We must dig and mine, until we obtain the hidden treasure.  The door of the Word can only be opened with the key of diligence! 

The Scriptures warrant searching. They are the writings of God—
dare we treat them with levity?

He who despises them—despises the God who wrote them. 
God forbid that any of us should leave our Bibles to become 
swift witnesses against us in the great day of account. 

The Word of God will repay searching. 
Scripture grows upon the student. It is full of wonders!

The Scriptures reveal Jesus: “They are they which testify of Me." 
No more powerful motive can be urged upon Bible readers than this: He who finds Jesus finds life, Heaven, all things.  Happy is he who, searching his Bible, discovers his Saviour!
(Charles Spurgeon)

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November 10

“. . . bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

A soldier must obey.
He cannot serve his country if he does his own will.

Jesus was obedient.
He, the Creator of the world, always submitted to His Father’s will. He set His face toward Jerusalem, to be crucified. He was obedient unto the death of the cross.

That was His way to resurrection.
It is also the way for His followers, 
for only the way of obedience, the way of crucifixion, 
leads to resurrection.  
(Corrie Ten Boom)

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November 11

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

“For sin shall not have dominion over you . . .”
(Romans 6:14)

I do not get rid of sin till Christ changes this vile body, but sin has no longer dominion over me. In being made a new creature in Christ, the body is not changed, but a new nature is communicated, and we are brought into the light; and while walking in the light, we have a good conscience.  

The root of sin is there still, but the heart occupied with Christ does not go out to see sin. But if a saint leaves that place, and gets occupied with things down here, he wil lose the power which, being in the light, gives the heart to detect everything contrary to it.

If I get out of that blessed place to which the Father brought me when He sought me out, I am back where evil reigns, I get where every one has likes and dislikes, then sorrow comes and chastisement.
(Gleanings - G. V. Wigram)

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November 12

“The gift of God is eternal life.”
(Romans 6:23)

Our eternal life is the sum of what we have been given.
Our temporal life is the sum of what we give.

Ultimately, we can only give what we have received; and so the essence of our temporal life is also an expression of what we have received.

We enrich others and ourselves as well as we give with a sense of the 
wealth of grace we have received.

Every circumstance is a gift and test—a gift to be used for God’s glory,
and a test of our faith and of our character.
(Nuggets—Food for Thought - John Kaiser)

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November 13

“Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart.”
(1 Kings 3:9)

A man filed a lawsuit against a woman, claiming she had his dog.
In court, the woman said her dog couldn’t be his and told the judge where she had purchased it.

The  real owner’s identity was revealed when the judge released the animal in the courtroom. Tail wagging, it immediately ran to the man!

Solomon, a judge in ancient Israel needed to settle a somewhat similar issue. Two women each claimed to be the mother of the same baby boy. After considering both arguments, he requested a sword to divide the infant in half.

The real mother begged Solomon to give the baby to the other woman, choosing to save her son’s life even if she could not have him (1 Kings 3:26). Solomon gave the baby to her.

Wisdom is necessary as we decide what’s fair and moral, right and wrong. If we truly value wisdom, we can ask God for a discerning heart like Solomon did (v. 9).

God may answer our request by helping us balance our needs and desires with the interests of others. He may also help us to weigh short-term benefits agains long-term (sometimes eternal) gains so we can honour Him in how we live. 

Our God is not only a perfectly wise judge, but He is also a personal counsellor who is willing to give us godly wisdom in great amounts.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth (reproaches) not: and it shall be given him”  (James 1:5).
(Our Daily Bread - Jennifer B. Schuldt)    

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November 14

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”  (1 Timothy 6:12) 

Exercise thy faith, if thou meanest to preserve thy faith.
We live by faith, and faith lives by exercise.

The devil is wily, thou hadst need be wary.

None long for heaven more than those that enjoy most of heaven.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”  (Proverbs 27:6).

God’s wounds cure; ---- sin’s kisses kill.  
The Christian in Complete Armour
William Gurnall - 1617-1679

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November 15

“Then said they unto him (Jonah), What shall we do unto thee, that the sea my be calm unto us? For the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.” (Jonah 1:11)

The matter is being pressed close home to Jonah now.  "What shall we do unto thee?” Well Jonah knew that the awful storm about them, every moment getting worse and worse, was all his fault.

Though Jonah had not “feared exceedingly“ when he ought to have done so, now he began to find out that God is not mocked, and that it is no light thing to try and trifle with Him.  I suppose that most of us are not in any position to say very many words of blame to Jonah. 

Have not most of us had to learn the same bitter lesson?  How natural to the heart of man is the thought, and how eager the enemy is to tell us, that we may sin with impunity and "get away with it." 

No, whether it was Jonah, or whether it is you or I, “God is not mocked.”
Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). 
Sin will surely bring bitter, bitter fruit.
(Lessons from Jonah the Prophet - G. C. Willis)

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November 16

“The poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb,
which he had bought and nourished up.” 
(2 Samuel 12:3)

“There was found in it a poor wise man, and he by 
his wisdom delivered the city.”
(Ecclesiastes 9:15)

“He is the Saviour of the body.
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh;
but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.
(Ephesians 5:23,29)

Abba’s purpose gave us being when in Christ, in that vast plan,
Abba chose the saints in Jesus long before the world began;
O what love the Father bore us! Oh how precious in His sight!
When He gave the church to Jesus! Jesus, His whole soul’s delight!
(Hawker - 1837)

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November 17

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

Nothing is impossible for the devil to attempt: nothing is impossible for the Lord to achieve;
for greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

Notice the difference in the verbs, attempt, achieve.
(Whispers of His Powers -  Amy Carmichael)

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November 18

MESSENGER OR SATAN

“There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me. . . .” (2 Corinthians 12:7)

It might have been embarrassing to Paul, who had been used to heal others, that he must carry a thorn in his flesh that God would not remove. He had healed others, but himself he could not heal.  

God works in strange ways to make us spiritually strong when we are weak, by making us physically weak when we were strong.

We are not to groan about it but rather glory in it—not glorify our infirmities but glory in them, and take pleasure in them if by them the power of Christ may rest upon us.

Moreover, we recognize the scourge for what it is—a messenger of Satan allowed in God’s permissive will.
(Vance Havner) 

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November 19

“Whom I shall see for myself . . .” (Job 19:27)

Tho’ the road may be rough where He leads me, still His footprints I plainly can trace,
And the trials I meet will seem nothing, when I look in my dear Saviour’s face.

So I keep my eyes fixed upon Jesus, while I’m running  life’s wearisome race;
I’ll forget the hard pathway I traveled, when I look in my dear Saviour’s face.

Tho’ the shadows around me may gather, safe I rest in my Lord’s secret place,
For I know there’ll be glorious sunshine, when I look in my dear Saviour’s face.

When I look in His face, His wonderful face, in heaven, that beautiful place!
All the hardships of earth will seem nothing—when I look in my dear Saviour’s face.

The path of sorrow and that path alone leads to the land where sorrow is unknown.
(Lizzie DeArmond - 1847-1936)

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November 20

The Perpetual Presence

“Lo, I am with you alway” (Matthew 28:20).

Some of us think and say a good deal about ‘a sense of His presence;’ sometimes rejoicing in it, sometimes going mourning all the day long because we have it not; praying for it, and not always seeming to receive what we ask; measuring our own position, and sometimes even that of others, by it; now on the heights, now in the depths about it.

And all this April-like gleam and gloom instead of steady summer glow, because we are turning our attention upon the sense of His  presence, instead if the changeless reality of it! 

All our trouble and disappointment about it is met by His own simple word, and vanishes in the simple faith that grasps it.  For if Jesus says simply and absolutely, “Lo, I am with you alway,” what have we to do with feeling or “sense” about it?  We have only to believe it, and to “recollect” it. And it is only by thus believing and recollecting that we can realize it. 

It comes practically to this: Are you a disciple of the Lord Jesus at all?  If so, He says to you,  "I am with you alway.”  That overflows all the regrets of the past and all the possibilities of the future, and most certainly includes the present.  Therefore, at this very moment, as surely as your eyes rest on this page, so surely is the Lord Jesus with you. 

"I am,” is neither “I was,” nor “I will be.”  It is always abreast of our lives, always encompassing us with salvation.  It is a splendid perpetual “Now.” It always means “I am with you now,” or it would cease to be “I am” and “alway.”
(Frances Ridley Havergal)

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November 21

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

THE SHEPHERDS of Palestine will tell you the purpose for their staff.  One such shepherd was asked in what sense the staff could be said to be a comfort for his sheep.

The experienced leader of his flock proceeded to explain that in daylight he always carried the staff across his shoulder, and when the sheep saw it, it spoke of the presence of the shepherd (to guide), and thus it was a means of comfort.

On the other hand, if night overtook him with the sheep on the mountainside, or if they were caught in a heavy mountain mist so that the sheep could no longer see the staff, then he would lower it, and as he walked he would tap with it on the  ground, so that by hearing if not by sight the staff (to guide) comforted the sheep by speaking the presence of the shepherd.

If wild animals would prey upon his flock, he could use the rod (to protect) and ward them off. On occasion the lambs would fall into ravines and among brambles.  The shepherd would use the crook on the end of the staff for lifting the fallen one to safety. 

The person who is carrying the rod is the leader or ruler of his flock. The sheep know their shepherd by his rod and they follow him—not any gems other person who may pass by, or attempt to lead them astray. 

David remembered these things and said in effect to himself,
“It would be unreasonable to suppose that God has
less care for me than I had for the sheep!” 
(Streams in the Desert)

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November 22

“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
(Matthew 3:17)

Who can explain the riddle of this miserable world without Christ? Go into the alleys and lanes of this vast city, and see the woe and degradation even in this best and most civilized of countries, and learn there what sin does.

In the drawing-room you may philosophize about it, but it is not in a drawing-room that you will learn what the world is.

When you tell me it was because of all this sin and wretchedness that God’s Son came down into this world to put the sin away, then I can understand it; and God gives eternal life—not life for a moment, or a life we can
sin away, as Adam’s, but eternal life which is above and beyond sin altogether, being in His Son, and therefore as near to God as can be.

“This life is in His Son,” who was ever the object of His Father’s delight; for when Christ was down here God could not be silent in His expression of joy, “This is my beloved Son.”
(J.N. Darby)

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November 23

“To give knowledge of salvation unto His people by remission of their sins.” (Luke 1:77)

“Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
(Luke 24:46-47)

In the Lord we have redemption, 
Full remission in His blood;
From the curse entire exemption, 
From the curse pronounced by God:
What a Saviour Jesus is! 
Oh what grace, what love is His!
(T. Kelly)

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November 24

"Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth the people which Thou hast redeemed: Thou has guided them in Thy strength  unto Thy holy habitation.” (Exodus 15:13)

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!   Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; Redeemed through His infinite mercy, His child and forever I am.
(Treasures From Fanny Crosby)

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November 25

Cleave to the Lord

“ . . . exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.”
(Acts 11:23)

Do not let the world come in and distract your thoughts. I speak especially to you young ones. They who are older have had more experience in it, and know more what it is worth: but it all lies shining before you, endeavouring to attract you.  

Its smiles are deceitful; still it smiles. It makes promises which it cannot keep; still it makes them.

Your hearts are too big for the world; it cannot fill them. They are too little for Christ: He fills heaven, He will fill you to overflowing. “With purpose of heart . . . cleave unto the Lord.” 

He knew how treacherous the heart is, and how soon it would put anything in His place. You will have indeed to learn what is in your own heart.
(Comforted of God - A. J. Pollock)  
PART 1 

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November 26

“And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpha kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.”  (Ruth 1:14)

Abide with God, and you will learn it with Him, and with His grace.  If you do not, you will have to learn it with bitter sorrow, through the successful temptation of the devil.  But God is faithful. 

If you have been getting away from Him, and other things have come in, and formed a crust, as it were, over your hearts, you will not at once get back the joy.  God will have you deal with this crust, and get rid of it.

Remember Christ bought you with His own blood, that you should be His, not the world’s.  Do not let Satan get between you and God’s grace.

However careless you may have been, however far you may have got away from Him, count on His love. It is His joy to see you back again.  Look at the sin with horror, but never wrong Him by distrusting His love.  Mistrust not His work, mistrust not His love. He has loved you, and will love you to the end.  Talk much with Jesus.

Never be content without being able to walk and  talk with Christ as with a dear friend. Be not satisfied with anything short of close communion of soul with Him who has loved you and washed you from your sins in His own blood. 
(Comforted of God - A. J. Pollock) 
(Part 2)

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November 27

I know that Thou canst do every thing,
and that no thought can be withholden from Thee.”
(Job 42:2)

I believe that Jesus who is Head over all things to His Church,
has the program of my best possible future which involves these two elements—
His highest glory, through me, and my highest happiness in Him.
(Daniel Steele)

God’s plan for my life is undefeatable.

A soldier on service in the spiritual army is never off his battlefield.

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November 28

“And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9)

The great Master Gardener, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in a wonderful providence, with His own hand, planted me here, where by His grace, in this part of His vineyard, I grow; and here I will abide till the great Master of the vineyard think fit to transplant me.

If your Lord call you to suffering, be not dismayed; there shall be a new allowance of the King for you when ye come to it. 

One of the softest pillows Christ hath is laid under His witnesses’ head, though often they must set down their bare feet among thorns.

God hath called you to Christ’s side, and the wind is now  in Christ’s face in this land; and seeing ye are with Him, ye cannot expect the lee-side or the sunny side of the brae (hill).

He delighteth to take up fallen bairns (children)  and to mend broken brows: binding up of wounds is His office.

Wants are my best riches, for I have these supplied by Christ. 
(The Loveliness of Christ - Samuel Rutherford 1600-1661)    

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November 29

“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” (Proverbs 21:23)

“By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.”
(Proverbs 25:15)

A little word in kindness spoken, a motion or a tear,
Has often healed the heart that’s broken!  And made a friend sincere.

Then deem it not an idle thing, a pleasant word to speak;
The face you wear, the thoughts you bring, a heart may heal or break.

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November 30

“He maketh a path to shine after him . . .” (Job 41:32)

Let us light up the path as we go on; 
like a ship moving through the night let us leave a bright track behind.

No little patch of darkness, no tired mood, 
must find room in that path.

“They looked upon Him, and were lightened (radiant)”.
(Psalm 34:5)

“But we all with open face beholding [or reflecting] as in a glass the glory of the Lord are changed [transformed] into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
(2 Corinthians 3:18)

Such verses show how this life may be ours.
(Edges of His Ways - Amy Carmichael)

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December 1

“Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with 
many tears, and temptations.” 
(Acts 20:19)

The apostle Paul puts before us here what should characterize every true minister of Christ: 
“Serving the Lord with all humility (lowliness) of mind.” 

If there is any position, any calling where pride should have no place, 
it is in connection with the ministry of the Word of God, for, the minister of Christ is one who was just a poor, lost, needy sinner, but who has been saved by grace and entrusted with a message to the world and to the people of God.  He does not receive this because of any merit of his own. It is all because of the goodness of the Lord. Certainly therefore he has nothing to be proud of.

When people used to crowd around George Whitefield and praise him because of his marvellous preaching, he would stop them like this: “The devil told me that, just before I came down from the pulpit.”
Then he would add, “There are many who can preach the gospel better than I can, 
but none can preach a better gospel.”  It is the message that counts.

The servant is really nothing, and the more we realize this and are willing to take the place of nothingness, the more God delights to come in and work through His servants.
(H. A. Ironside)

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