Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5170 posted here) sent daily for 17 years -- njhiebert@sympatico.ca

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Gems from June 2017

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”  Ephesians 1:3)

It is good for each of us periodically to take time to rediscover  the simple but profound truths expressed by Johnson J. Oatman Jr, in the four stanzas of this hymn. In the first two stanzas’ he develops the thought that counting our blessings serves as an antidote for life’s discouragements and in turn makes for victorious Christian living.

The third stanza teaches us that counting our blessings can be a means of placing material possessions in proper perspective when compared to the eternal inheritance awaiting believers.
As we review our individual blessings, we certainly would have to agree with Mr. Oatman’s fourth stanza: The provision of God’s help and comfort to the end of our earthly pilgrimage is one of our choicest blessings.

Each of us could spare ourselves much despair and inner tension if we would only learn to apply the practical teaching of this hymn to our daily living. 

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings-name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings-every doubt will fly, and you will be singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold, think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;  Count your many blessings-money cannot buy your reward in heaven nor your home on high.

So amid the conflict, whether great or small, do not be discouraged-God is over all;
Count your many blessings-angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Chorus:  Count your blessings, name them one by one; count your blessings, see what God hath done.  Count your blessings, name them one by one; count your many blessing, see what God hath done. 
(Amazing Grace - Kenneth W. Osbeck)

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“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual,
restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering
thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
(Galatians 6:1)

Observe that word “restore”. 
It is the translation of a word which 
means to mend that which is broken, or rent.

Dr. Lightfoot says that it is a surgical term—used of
the  re-setting of a fractured bone, or joint.

Tender work that!  Who is to do it?
“Ye which are spiritual.”

This physician must be Spirit-filled.
What is he to do?  "Restore such an one”;
to bind up the broken heart.  How is he to do it? 
“In the spirit of meekness.”

"Softly he touches for the reed is tender,
Wisely enkindles for the flame is low.”
(In Pastures Green - George Henderson)

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June 1

“He answered . . . never a word.”
(Matthew 27:14)

Not railing  for railing; not a word.
How much is lost by a word!  Be still!  Keep quiet!
If they smite you on one cheek turn the other also.  Never retort!
Hush—not a word!

Never mind your reputation or your character; they are in His hands;
you mar them by trying to retain them.
Do not strive.  Open not your mouth.  Silence!
A word will grieve, disturb the gentle dove.  Hush—not a word! 

Are you misunderstood?  Never mind!  
Will it hurt your influence and weaken your power for good?
Leave it to Him—His to take care and take charge. 

Are you wronged and your good name tarnished?  All right!
Be it yours to be meek and lowly; simple and  gentle—not a word!
Let Him keep you in perfect peace; stay your mind on Him; trust in Him.

Not a word of argument, debate, or controversy.  Mind your own business.  Be still!

Never judge, condemn, arraign, censure.  Not a word!  Never a disparaging remark of another.
As ye would others should do to you, so do ye.

Pause!  Be still!  Selah!  Nor a word, emphatically; 
not even a look that will mar the sweet serenity of the soul.  
Get still!   Know God!  Keep silence before Him!  Stillness is better than noise.
(Stephen Merritt

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(PART - 1)

June 2

"Every word of God is pure:
He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.”
(Proverbs 30:5)

"Every word of God is pure.”
There is no repetition.

One cause of so much head-knowledge is that there is so little meditation;
and Divine things float through the mind and become intellectual,
whereas they were meant for our joys.

As to effects, and as to results, we need never to be anxious;
they are not ours to produce.

Hunt’s Sayings - Rochfort Hunt

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June 3


"Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree."
(1 Peter 2:24)

He leadeth me, O joy divine! The glory His, the cross be mine,
Since He who suffered on the tree in tender mercy leadeth me.

****

And many women were there beholding afar off,
which followed Jesus from Galilee ministering unto Him. 
Matthew 27:55

Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord, 
To the cross where Thou  hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.

****

In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David 
and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.
Zechariah 13:1

Jesus keep me near the cross, there a precious fountain
Free to all—a healing stream flows from Calvary’s mountain.

****

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 6:14

In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.

The Treasures of Fanny Crosby

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June 4

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”
(James 1:2-3) 

Endurance is so precious, and of such inestimable value, that we may count it all joy when we fall into these trials, because we know they work endurance.

"But let endurance have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-3).

"We also boast in tribulations, knowing that tribulation works endurance; and endurance, experience; and experience, hope; and hope does not make ashamed” (Romans 5:3-5.)

“His love in times past forbids us to think
He’ll leave us at last, in trouble to sink.”

This is experience, and it was endurance taught it. Do you think Shamma would have missed the experience he gained by that fight in the lentils field? (2 Samuel 23:11-12).  Never!  

When we get home, we will see that some of these hard places on the road were the bits we would not have missed for anything.  
They work endurance.
(Hid Treasures - G. C. Willis)

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June 5

PART 2 - Please note Gem # 6735
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“He answered . . . never a word."
(Matthew 27:14)

Not a word of murmuring or complaining in supplication; not a word of nagging or persuading.
Let language be simple, gentle, quiet; you utter not a word, but give Him 
opportunity to speak.  Hearken to hear His voice.

This is the way to honour and to know Him.  Not a word—not the least word! Listen to obey.
Words make trouble.  Be still! This is the voice of the Spirit

Restlessness, fret, worry, makes the place of His abiding unpleasant. 
He is to keep in perfect peace; take it not out of His hands.
(Stephen Merritt)

“Let me no wrong or idle word unthinking say;
Set Thou a seal upon my lips, just for today."

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June 6

“He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.”
[A sensible man bears up under many things.]
(Proverbs 14:17)

There are days when all sorts of things go wrong one after the other;  I expect that some of you know 
what such days are like, and also the temptation to feel you cannot bear 
up under anything more.

At such times a plain word like this can help very much; it is so matter-of-fact 
and unfussy. Take it or leave it, it seems to say, there is the fact: 
“A sensible man bears up under many things.”

But often we want something that goes deeper.
Here is the word then:
For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, 
lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:3). 
(Edges of His Ways - A. Carmichael)

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June 7

Broken Vessels Mightily Used of God

"I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark.”
(Job 16:12)

Job said, "I was at ease, but he hath broken me.God permitted Satan to attack Job at every point in his life, except to take his life.  Satan was determined to prove that Job only followed God because He had been gracious unto him. Take all these things away and "he will curse you to your face." 

It's interesting to notice that Job says, "I was at ease.” Surely, after all of his suffering and loss, when he says, "but now mine eyes have seen you,” he realized more than ever how he had been "at ease.” 

What took place happened between the time Satan was permitted by God to attack this upright man and the time when he says, "but now mine eyes have seen you.”  There were times when he was "utterly broken.”  We read that "he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces.”   As his faith was steadfastly fixed on God, his eyes now saw God in an "entirely new dimension.” 

The majesty of God had penetrated his heart, and he said, "Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”  God permitted Job to be broken of "everything that hindered him from seeing God." God must have "broken" vessels.

J. Hudson Taylor returned to England from China "broken in health.” No one ventured to say he would return. But return he did in the might of God and with a perseverance of faith and passion for the lost in China. 

During the next 40 years the China Inland Mission was founded and, under the blessing of God,  ministered beyond all human comprehension, through prayer and faith. 
It was a faith mission with over 1,000 missionaries.

C. T. Studd returned as a missionary from China "broken in health," only to volunteer to be a missionary to Africa when every doctor told him he would die before he would get there. He "dared to believe” that God was able to meet his needs. He founded the Heart of Africa Mission, 
and had seventeen glorious years of fruitful ministry there.

The Auca Indians in Ecuador martyred Jim Elliot and four other missionaries as they sought to plant the seeds of the Gospel with tribesmen who had never encountered the white man.
God uses "broken vessels" that are "possessed and empowered" by Him for His glory.

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 16:25). 
(E. P. - Daily Devotions)

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June 8

“The Father’s Care"

“Your Father knoweth.”
(Luke 12:30)

“The Father Himself loveth you.”
(John 16:27)

“He careth for you.”
(1 Peter 5:7)

He knows, He loves, He cares,
Nothing this truth can dim,
He does the very best for those,
Who leave the choice with Him.
(Comforted of God - A.J. Pollock)

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June 9

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee,
and thou shalt glorify Me.”
(Psalm 50:15)

Many of God’s brightest saints have know full well the meaning of “the day of trouble.” Abraham, when he had to cast out Ishmael, and when called upon to offer up Isaac.

Joseph, when hated by his brethren, and sold to the Midianites, who took him down into Egypt, where he became a servant, “Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him.”  

Moses, when rejected and obliged to flee.  But they were all delivered, and God was glorified.

And it was not otherwise with David.  Think of him at Ziklag on that day when he and his men found it burned with fire, and their wives and children carried away.  The people, too, spake of stoning him.
And this coming upon the top of all he had been suffering for years at the hands of Saul.

Surely never did a mere man suffer more acute anguish than David at that moment.

But we read he “Encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”  Yes, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.

This was eminently true in his case, for he was delivered, and shortly after ascended the throne. One day to be stoned; the next, we might say, crowned.  Such are the variations of God’s people.
(Angels in White - Russell Elliott)

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June 10

“For by grace are ye saved through faith
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
(Ephesians 2:8)

Through faith,” this is the agent. 
Faith is simply the hand that lays hold of the gift that God presents to me.

Believing the gospel, I am saved.

Some people, I think, are in danger of making a saviour of their faith, for they say, “Well, if I could only believe firmly enough, if I could believe in the right way, I think I would be saved.”

It is not a question of how you believe; it is a question of whom you believe.

I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have
committed unto Him against that day(2 Timothy 1:12).

Do not make a saviour of your faith.  The Saviour is Christ, and faith lays hold of Him. Then lest there should be any idea in the mind of the redeemed one that in some sense at any rate he deserves credit for coming to Christ and believing this message, the apostle immediately adds,

And that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”  
(H. A. Ironside)

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June 11

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee thee with the right hand of My righteousness.”
(Isaiah 41:10)

Instead of a river, God often give us a brook—
which may be running today, and dried up tomorrow.

Why? - To teach us not to rest in our blessings—but in the 
Blesser Himself. "Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe!” (Psalm 119:117)
(Arthur Pink - 1886-1952)  (Daily Devotions - R.L.)

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June 12

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time—are not worthy to be compared
with the glory which shall be revealed in us!”
(Romans 8:18)

Whether from trouble of mind, sickness of body, trials in business, family difficulties, or persecution for Christ’s sake—all suffer, and most believers suffer much!

But compare their present sufferings—with their future glory: 

Glory which will exclude all pain and suffering, all sin and sorrow!
Glory beyond the reach of all foes and the cause of all trouble!
Glory which includes happiness—perfect, perpetual, never ending happiness! 
Glory which includes honour—the highest, holiest, and most satisfying honour!
Glory, or splendour—which will fill the soul, clothe the body, and dignify the entire person forever!

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
(1 Corinthians 2:9)
(Adapted - Daily Devotions - R. L.)

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June 13

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
(2 Peter 1:21)

The writings of these inspired men are the record of divine revelation. What God revealed, they recorded.

The persons receiving it could not have discovered it by human means.  In many instances, the writers confessed that they did not fully understand the full meaning of the message, but under the guidance of the Holy Spirit they recorded it.

In the providence and protection of God we have in our hands and hopefully in our hearts, all that we need to live for the glory of the One who gave His life for us.
(Drew Craig)

Holy Bible, book divine, precious treasure, Thou art mine;
Mine to tell me whence I came, mine to teach me what I am.
(John Burton)

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June 14

“A glad heart maketh a cheerful countenance: But by sorrow 
of heart the spirit is broken.”
(Proverbs 15:13)

The happy man is the one who has a heart at rest, and who can therefore rejoice at all times. Such a one is the soul who has found in Christ not only a Saviour, but a daily portion.

He who casts all cares upon Him, who has learned to commit all his affairs into His hand, will ever have a glad heart and a cheerful countenance.

A burdened heart is the portion of the one who tries to carry his own sorrows and daily cares, and fails to turn all over to Him who so delights to bear them for us.

Nothing breaks the spirit like hidden grief; but such need not be the portion of any saint who will allow the Lord Jesus to be not only his Sin-bearer, but his Burden-bearer too.
(H. A. Ironside - Notes on Proverbs)

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June 15

“. . . giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue knowledge . . . ” (2 Peter 1:5)

The apostle turns here in verse 5 to the practical state of the believers. Having given them what would comfort and refresh their hearts, he says, That is not all, now I look at  your own state practically.

"Besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; 
and to virtue knowledge.” 

He knew how easy it was to get slothful, and so he exhorts them to give all diligence in thus adding.
Virtue is that energy and courage of soul, that knows how to refuse, as well as to choose, like Moses, 

who “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season,” and so we read, "Add to your faith, virtue.”

You have the faith that connects you with God, and you believe in what as yet you do not see, but now you must add virtue, that courage, which knows how to say “No” to the thousand things that come up day by day, and to press on unswervingly in the pathway that is set before us. 
(Simon Peter - W. T. P. Wolston)

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June 16

“While I was speaking in prayer, even the [angel] Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.”
(Daniel 9:21)

It is said that in one of Spurgeon’s prayer meetings,  
a little boy rose and asked prayer that his father might read the Bible.

After prayer was offered Mr. Spurgeon looked for the boy and could not find him.

At the conclusion of the meeting he saw the lad and asked him why he had left the meeting.
He replied, “After you prayed for my father to read the Bible,  
I ran home to see him do it.”

"Did he do it?” Mr Spurgeon asked.
“Yes, there he was reading it; and I came back to tell you.”

God makes a promise,  Faith believes it,
Hope anticipates it,  Patience quietly awaits it.
(Traveling Toward Sunrise

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June 17

“For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured (helped) thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
(2 Corinthians 6:2)

As an emergency room physician, I saw patients soon after they were injured. "What happened?”  I would ask.  Commonly they responded: “Well, it was so stupid, I was just . . . “ In other words, they knew better, but did not take the time or care to prevent an injury.

How tragic and terrible would it be for one who knew Christ died for their sins, and who knew that accepting Him as Saviour and Lord would mean eternal life; how tragic indeed for such a one to be cast into the lake of fire.  
Forever.  
(David Logan)

Come to the Saviour, make no delay;
Here in His Word, He’s shown us the way.
(George F. Root)

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June 18

“For Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the, storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is a storm against the wall.” (Isaiah 25:4)

How often in the loneliness and strain of our work, when foes, seen and unseen, beset us,
we have been conscious of an invisible wall, the angel of the Lord encamping round about us to deliver us.

Often we have been helpless, with no strength of our own against the enemy.
Yet we have been able to lie down and sleep, conscious that our Keeper never slumbers.

"The wall” is a good figure, for we need not be roofed in overhead.  
Satan can surround us but he cannot roof us over, and we need the upward look unobstructed. 

Never has God’s wall broken down, nor has the adversary breached it.  
Because it is invisible, the devil would have us fear it is not there; 
but it is.  He can come so far but no farther.

If ever we needed a wall, it is now.
The hosts of evil are making their worst mad assaults, 
and no ramparts of our own can avail.

But we have a fortress, a hiding place, a Rock of Ages.
Are you hid with Christ in God?
(Day by Day with Vance Havner)

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June 19

“I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever: yet hast Thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.”
(Jonah 2:6)

Jonah had gone down of his own accord, down to Joppa, down into the ship, down into the sides of the ship: three sad steps down, God had brought him down into the sea, then down into the fish, and now God brings him down further still:

I went down to the bottoms of the mountains.” 

Now Jonah was down about as far as he could go.
It is well for us when we are down.

I was brought low, and He saved me" (Psalm 116:6).

It is when we are brought down, when our pride is brought low, that He is able to save us.  As soon as Jonah got down to the very bottom, he said,

I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the bars of the earth closed upon me forever;” 

Then, immediately we read, “But Thou hast brought up my life from the pit, O Jehovah my God.” 

Jonah’s pride was broken; he was just as low as he could get.  It was then Jehovah, his God, brought up his life from the pit.
(Lessons from Jonah the Prophet - G. C. Willis)  

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June 20

“And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fastings, and sackcloth, and ashes: and I prayed unto the Lord my God . . . We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from Thy precepts and from Thy judgments . . .” 
(Daniel 9:3-5)      

Daniel was a man of prayer. . .he paid for his consistent prayer life, even to being cast into the den of lions. In Daniel chapter 9, we have a rare insight into Daniel at prayer.

There are so many things we can learn, as we see how he approached prayer,
the basis upon which he made his petitions, and the manner
in which his prayers were answered.

Prayer is is one of the most neglected exercises of the church of God today.
It is easier to read, to study, to write articles or to preach, 
than it is to pray.

Prayer is foreign to our old nature and whenever we exercise ourselves in this way,
we meet with resistance.

Satan is the “Prince of the Power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), so when saints pray,
he is there to interrupt the communication with heaven wherever he can.

Prayer puts us into conflict with spiritual forces that are intent on keeping us from 
being on our knees, and so we often succumb.
 (William Burnett)

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June 21

“See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.”
(Ephesians 5:15)

“Circumspectly”  means “looking all around,” like one who is walking in a very dangerous place.
There are pitfalls on this side, quagmires on that side, traps and snares all about.

And so this person as he walks is constantly observing where he should next place his feet.
That is a circumspect walk, a walk looking all around.

Christian, your path leads you through a world of sin, a world of folly, 
a world where you are exposed to all kinds of temptations and unholy influences.

Snares and traps abound for your unwary feet. Therefore, walk circumspectly, 
be careful where you put down your feet, be careful as to the company 
you keep, be careful as to your behaviour in any company, so that 
there be that which will bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Walk not as fools, not as simple ones, not as those who are still darkness,
but walk as wise men—made wise by the wisdom of God.
(H. A. Ironside)

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June 22

“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that 
we should walk in them.”
(Ephesians 2:10)

“Doing good” for you may mean the pouring out of the wealth of a sympathetic spirit,
the imparting of encouraging words to the downcast and the sorrowing,
the pouring forth of the sunshine that radiates from a heart
in the enjoyment of the smile of God.

You are indeed a profitable Christian if everyone is glad to see you coming, if eyes light up at your
approach, especially if little children love to be with you and are sorry when you must go.

You are a profitable Christian if you are making happy those whom Christ came to make happy—
particularly the poor, the sick, the lonely, the sorrowing, the sinful, the oppressed.

These six classes of people were closest to the heart of Jesus, because their need was the greatest;  
and He is best pleased when they are closest to the hearts of His disciples.

Care for these and your lives will exhibit the pure gold
of the kingdom of heaven.
(Heaven’s Cure for Earth’s Care - George Henderson)

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June 23

June 24

June 25

Monday, May 01, 2017

Gems from May 2017


“Not as though I have already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended for Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 3:12 

In 1856, Charles Spurgeon, the great London preacher, founded the Pastors’ College in 1923. Today’s college crest shows a hand grasping a cross and the Latin words, Et Teneo Et Teneor, which means, I hold and am held.

In his autobiography, Spurgeon wrote, “This is our College motto . . . hold forth the Cross of Christ with a bold hand because that Cross holds us fast by its attractive power.  Our desire is that every man may both hold the Truth, and be held by it; especially the truth of Christ crucified. 

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he expressed this truth as the bedrock of his life. "Not that I have . . . already [arrived] . . . but I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (PHILIPPIANS 3:12).

As followers of Jesus, we extend the message of the cross to others as Jesus holds us fast in His grace and power.

“I am crucified with Christ: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (GALATIANS 2:20).

Our Lord holds us in His grip of love each day—and we hold His message of love to others.
(DAVID MCCASLAND)

“Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright (2016), Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted pwemission.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~      

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May 1

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night . . . and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
(2 Peter 3:10)

Talk about global warming!  Our world and everything in it is temporary and soon to be dissolved, melted, burned up, finished . . .  gone.  It vividly remind us of the temporary existence of earthly things.

It makes you wonder why we so passionately expend our lives to attain things that will one day be burned up.

So what does Peter want us to learn? Considering the world’s temporal nature, we should be people of "holy conduct and godliness” (3:11).
(Sid Halsband)

When this passing world is done, when has sunk yon glaring sun,
When I stand with Christ on High, looking o’er life’s history:
Then, Lord, shall I fully know, not till then, how much I owe.
(R. M. M.)

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May 2

“Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together 
for the faith of the gospel.”
(Philippians 1:27)

The Apostle (Paul) would have his beloved Philippian brethren standing 
together as a regiment of soldiers, not one giving way.

‘In the faith.’ (1 Corinthians16:13).
‘In the liberty!’ (Galatians 5:1).
‘In one spirit.” (Philippians 1:27).
‘In the Lord.’ (Philippians 4:1 & 1 Thessalonians 3:8).
‘In the instructions of Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:15). (N. Trans.)

“To his own Master the servant stands fast or falls." Romans 14:4

Notice how often we get the word ’stand’ in connection with 'the whole armour of God’ in Ephesians 6. It plainly shows how important it is to stand.  A beloved brother once said to me, 
“All giving up is of the devil.” And I believe he was right.

Let us never give up: for remember we are exhorted to ’stand fast in the Lord.’

“Stand fast in Christ;” ah! yet again He teacheth all the band;
If human efforts are in vain, in Christ it is we stand”.
(G. Christopher Wilis)

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May 3

Small Stuff

"Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.” (Proverbs 17:24)

"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” (Luke 16:10)

As one might look upon his huge and sublime statue by Michael Angelo, and find it difficult to realize so great and god-like a figure being fashioned by such a common-looking uncomely old man; so it is difficult to realize so mighty and stupendous a nature shaped by persons and things thus humble and mean.  They were however, but chisels of the divine Sculptor, and little knew what vast eternal work they were doing.

But how little any of us know what we may be doing when we are fulfilling the humblest duty that lies nearest to hand!

Poor Jochebed thought she was only making a rush basket,
when she was in reality making an ark that would save one 
nation, and carry an argosy of blessing to all others. 

Little Miriam thought she was only ”minding the baby” 
when she was watching over the destinies of the world. 
(J. C. Bayley - Thanks to John Kaiser)

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May 4

“I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich.”
(Revelation 3:18)

“Pure gold, like unto clear glass.”
(Revelation 21:18)

When God, the Creator of metals, chooses a metal to signify something He wants us to possess, His thought includes all which that metal is.

“Of all metals gold is the most malleable and ductile.  It can be beaten into plates of leaves so thin that it takes 300,000 of them placed one above another to make one inch, and the gold then is transparent enough to allow rays of light to pass through.”

The word malleable comes from the Latin and means a metal that can be hammered out. Ductile is also from the Latin and means capable of being drawn out into wire; the dictionary gives “tough, tractable, docile” among its meanings.

It is only beaten gold that is like unto clear glass. The hammer has fallen on that gold till there is nothing left but a golden transparency.  I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire—pure gold, like unto clear glass.

The fire comes first, then the hammer.  Is the price to be paid to buy such gold a willingness for the fire and the hammer?

And ductile, leadable.  An Indian goldsmith can draw out a piece of gold in wires as fine as a hair. That quality which Paul calls the meekness and gentleness of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:1) is not naturally in us.

We are not “tough” yet “tractable” and “docile.”

I counsel thee to buy of Me.
(Amy Carmichael)

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May 5

“Ye shall received power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” (Acts 1:8)

It is only by the Lord’s own power that the smallest of His precepts can be translated into practice; while it is equally true that His largest requests are as easy of performance as the smallest, inasmuch as adequate power is always at the service of faith.  

Unconscious testimony is always the most powerful. At the judgment seat of Christ we shall find a word we have spoken casually, a little sentence dropped, has been more used than all our preaching and lectures.

The humblest believer walking in obedience to the Lord and dependence upon Him is displaying the greatest spiritual power.  Power is displayed by the coming out of Christ in daily life. 

To be full of the Holy Ghost is the normal state of the believer, and if this is not so with us we should humble ourselves before God.

There is no power except in the Spirit of God, yet how often we depend on human power—eloquence, learning, etc.  It is so easy to resort to human expediency when not in a right state of soul.
(Edward Dennett)

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May 6

“As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.”
(John 20:21)

If any of us look for power or acceptance from anything that is of man, from manner, learning, fervour or eloquence . . . we are at once off the ground of dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit, because we are calling in to our aid that which has its source in man and natural abilities.

A preacher has never to be anxious about results; that is God’s concern.
He has only to be anxious about three things:

(1) the state of his own soul;  
(2) being in communion with the mind of God as to those to whom he is speaking; and (3) fidelity in delivering the message.
(Edward Dennett

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May 7

“But when His disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, 
To what purpose is this waste?”
(Matthew 26:8)

The Western world is, rightly, concerned about waste and 
governments are taking action to reduce it.
It is a major problem. 

When the Lord fed 5,000 people, and later 4,000, He took care to ensure nothing was wasted.
The disciples gathered up all the fragments that remained.

But when Mary anointed the Lord’s feet with ointment some cried, “Why this waste?”
They were mistaken: time, effort and gifts to the Lord are never wasted.

He appreciates them.
However, we do need to be careful not
to waste our time or spiritual gifts and talents.
(Roy Hill)

Let every thought, and work, and word, to Thee be ever given;
My life shall be Thy service Lord, and death the gate of heaven.
(M. Bridges)

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May 8

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, 
restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering 
thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
(Galatians 6:1)

Paul does not suggest that it is necessary to fall, for it is not.
But he says, “Brothers, if haply a man should even be overtaken by a fall.”  
It is as if he said, I do not suppose it will really happen, but even if it should . . .

What grace, what kindness there is in these words.
It reminds us of David’s words in Psalm 103:8,
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” 

Who knew better than David the Lord’s mercy?
David had, indeed, been overtaken by a most terrible 
fall, which caused him to commit adultery and murder. 
A worse fall could not have overtaken David; yet that is his testimony.

Those of us who have fallen by the way learn to love these words.
Mercy is what we need, and mercy is what we find in the heart of God.

Nothing but mercy will do for me, nothing but mercy, full and free!
Of sinners chief—what but the blood could calm my soul before my God?
(G. C. Willis - Meditations on Galatians)

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May 9

"So will I also be for thee.”
(Hosea 3:3)

CHRIST FOR US

The typical promise, “Thou shalt abide for me many days,” is indeed a marvel of love.
For it is given to the most undeserving, described under the strongest possible figure of utter worthlessness and treacherousness— the woman beloved, yet an adulteress.

The depth of the abyss shows the length of the line that has fathomed it, yet only the length of the line reveals the real depth of the abyss. The sin shows the love and love reveals the sin.

The Bible has few words more touching though seldom quoted than those just preceding this wonderful promise: “The love of the Lord towards the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.” 
(Hosea 3:1).

Put that into the personal application which no doubt underlies it and say, “The love of the Lord towards me, who have looked away from Him, with wandering, faithless eyes to other helps and         hopes and have loved earthly joys and sought earthly gratifications—the love of the Lord towards even me.” 

And then hear him saying in the next verse, “So I bought her to me”,  stooping to do that in his unspeakable condescension of love, not with the typical silver and barley, 
but with the precious blood of Christ.
  
Then having thus loved us and rescued us and bought us with a price indeed he says, still under the same figure, “Thou shalt abide for me many days.”
(Kept for the Master’s Use - Frances Ridley Havergal)

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May 10

“I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my 
fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”
(Psalm 91:2) 

I will put My trust in Him” (Hebrews 2:13), 
may be said to have been the language of the life of Jesus.

But His faith was gold, pure gold, nothing but gold.
When tried by the furnace, it comes out the same
mass as it had gone in, for there was no dross.

Saints have commonly to be set to rights by the furnace.
Some impatience or selfishness or murmur has to be 
reduced or silenced, as in Psalm 73 and 77.

Job was overcome: trouble touched him, and he fainted, 
though often he had strengthened the weak
hands, and upheld by his word them that were falling. 

"The stoutest are struck off their legs,” as an old writer says.
Peter sleeps in the garden, and in the judgment hall 
tells lies, and swears to them; but there has been 
One in whom the furnace, heated seven times 
proved to be precious beyond expression.
(The Son of God - J.G. Bellett)

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May 11

“Hast thou not known? mast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding.” (Isaiah 40:28)

“I know that Thou canst do everything,
and that no thought can be withholder from Thee.”
(Job 42:2)

His love has no limit; His grace has no measure;
His power ha son boundary known unto keen;
For our of His infinite riches in Jesus, 
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!
(Annie Johnson Flint)

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May 12

“In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
(Ephesians 1:7)

We have been redeemed through Christ’s blood, and our sins forgiven according to the riches of His grace.

The riches of His grace meets all our need as sinners; the glory of His grace meets the good pleasure of God to bless us as saints.

A rich man could bless a beggar out of the abundance of His riches, and this would be great grace; but if the rich man went further, and brought the poor man into his house and gave him the place of a son, it would not only be grace to the poor man, but to the honour and glory of the rich man.

The riches of grace met the prodigal’s need and clothed him with a robe from the father’s house: the glory of grace gave him the place of a son in the house. The glory of God’s grace has made believers sons, not servants. 
(Hamilton Smith)

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May 13

The Other Four

“Five smooth stones out of the brook.”
(1 Samuel 17:40)

Young David chose five smooth stones from the brook.
To slay Goliath just one stone he took.
So he who seemed so ill-equipped before,
Has weapons now enough, and four times more.

Thus is it ever; God’s resources still
Surpass the needs of all who wait His will.
Nor when His last proud foe is overthrown,
Will half His strength exhaustless yet be known. 
(Bells & Pomegranates - James M. S. Tait)

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May 14

“Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: 
for I am God, and there is none else.”
(Isaiah 45:22)

Such was the precious lesson which Nicodemus was called to learn—such the reply to his “how?” 
If a man begins to reason about the new birth, he must be confounded; but if he believes in Jesus, he is born again.

Man’s reason can never understand the new birth; but the Word of God produces it.
Many are astray as to this.  They are occupied with the process of regeneration, instead of the Word which regenerates. Thus are they perplexed and confounded.

They are looking at self, instead of at Christ; and as there is an inseparable connection between the object at which we look and the effect of looking at it, we can easily see what must be the effect of looking in upon oneself.

What would an Israelite have gained by looking at his wound?  NOTHING.
What did he gain by looking a the serpent?  HEALTH.
What does a sinner gain by looking at himself?  NOTHING.
What does he gain by looking at Jesus?  “EVERLASTING LIFE.” 
(C.H. Mackintosh)

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May 15

“When saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?
And the king shall answer and say unto them, Verily I
say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto 
one of the least of these my brethren, 
ye have done it unto Me.”
(Matthew 25:39-40)  

A practical measure of our true love for Christ is the kindness we continue to show to the least attractive of His elect.

This is the more challenging when we consider that we do not know for sure who is not one of His elect.  (Matthew 25:40)

A practical measure of our likeness to Him is our demonstrated willingness not only to bear with the faults of others but also to accept, without murmuring, the unjust implication of guilt and the application of consequences for the failures and faults of others as well.
(Nuggets of Truth - John Kaiser)

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May 16

“And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and He saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!  But they cried out, away with Him, away with Him, Crucify Him."
(John 19:14-15) 

In mockery the soldiers gave Him the trappings of a king.  For a royal sceptre, they gave Him a reed; a blood stained, purple robe as a kingly garment; for a diadem, a crown of thorns and for His throne, a cross!

Kneeling down in front of Him, the Creator of the universe, they mocked Him, taunting Him as King of the Jews.

In a coming day those same soldiers, along with all the rest of creation will bow their knees again, but this time to acknowledge Him as King of kings and Lord of Lords.

Let us freely do so today.
(Drew Craig)

The head that once was crowned with thorns, is crowned with glory now;
A royal diadem adorns the mighty victor’s brow.
(Thomas Kelly)

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May 17

“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: 
yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh,
yet now henceforth know we Him no more."
(2 Corinthians 5:16)

A great hinderance to Christians can be that they trust in orthodoxy
and the sufficiency of their religious knowledge.

When they sin and fail, they say, 
“if only we could be more earnest, more faithful.”

The disciples needed not to be more earnest and faithful in using 
the privilege of having such a Master.

More and more strenuous efforts would only have led to more and more bitter failures.
They had to die to their old way of knowing Christ and receive the gift 
of an entirely new way of fellowship with Him.
(This Day is the Lord’s - Corrie Ten Boom)

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May 18

“As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits;
afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming."
(1 Corinthians 15:22-23)

First-fruits of Thy new creation, faithful, holy, may we be,
Joyful in Thy full salvation, more and more conformed to Thee!
Changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place,
Then to worship and adore Thee, lost in wonder, love and praise!

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May 19

“And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.”
(Genesis 46:29)

In order to reach Joseph, Israel had to take his journey.
He had to leave the scene of all his natural affections.  And so with ourselves, if we are to reach Christ where He is, we must forget the things that are behind.

Thus Israel comes into the new land—the land of Goshen, and there meets with his son Joseph,
and Joseph “presented himself unto him”.

If on the one hand Israel longs for the company of his son, Joseph on his side is delighted to present himself to Israel.

Are we set for the company of Christ, we shall find that Christ is delighted to reveal Himself to us.

Do we seek like the two disciples of John 1 to know Christ in His own dwelling, we shall be welcomed by the gracious words of the Lord,
Come and see” (John 1:38-39).
(Hamilton Smith)

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May 20

“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulteress, or even as this Publican.”
(Luke 18:11)

Compare not thyself with those that have less than thyself,
but look on those that have far exceeded thee:
to look on our inferiors occasions pride.  

I am not as this Publican, ”saith the Pharisee; 
but looking on others more eminent than ourselves 
will both preserve humility, and be a spur to diligence.
(William Gurnall - 1617-1679)

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May 21

“There is no difference: for ALL have sinned,
and come short of the glory of God.”
(Romans 3:22-23)

That is one of the hardest truths man has to learn.
We are apt to think that we are just a little better than our neighbours,
and if we find they are a little better than us, we go to work and try to pull them down to our level.

If you want to find out who and what man is, go to the third chapter of Romans, 
and there the whole story is told.

“There are none righteous, no, not one.”
“All have sinned and come short.”

All!  Some men like to have their lives written before they die.
If you would like to read your biography, turn to this chapter, and you will find it already written.
(D. L. Moody)

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May 22

“I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning starAnd the Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that heareth say, Come.  And let him that is athirst come.”
(Revelation 22:16-17)  

Does God desire to see the Lord Jesus as the bright and morning Star? When the hour is come, God will give the word, and Christ will leave His throne, to bring up His bride.

But the morning star is not for God—it is a hope for a people in the dark night. This title does not come in once in the Old Testament; there we find the Son of righteousness. But this bright and morning star comes to usher in the morning without clouds.   

The Lord knows what the hearts of His people want here—it is Himself,  His own blessed person.

Ah! is the Lord Jesus looked for by us as the bright and morning star? It is not the glory, but Himself that is set forth. 

"I am the bright and morning star;” and, oh, it is Himself that I want.
What would glory be to me without my Lord?
(Gleanings - G.V. Wigram)

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May 23

For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD,
as the waters cover the sea.
(Isaiah 11:96)

What will it be like when the Lord Jesus is no longer hidden from view, but is seen and known by all?

What a contrast to today when the daily life of most is lived with little acknowledgement of the One who created them and cares deeply for them.

As Christians, we have been blessed to reveal the excellencies of the One who delivered us from the deception and darkness of this world.

May we share the light to that same dark world today.
R. Crawford

Jesus bids us shine, with a pure, clear light, like a little candle, burning in the night  In this world of darkness, so let us shine—you in your small corner, and I in mine.
S. B. Warner   

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May 24

LOOKING AND SEEING

Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth. . . . 
Isaiah 45:22

GOD PROMISED THAT all who looked upon the fiery serpent in the wilderness should live (Numbers 21:8).
Jesus said that is the way we are saved, not by seeing but by looking.

I do not think the Israelites on the back row of all that multitude could see the serpent very well, 
but they could look.

Alexander Whyte advised a troubled soul: “He does not say, ‘See’: He only says look.’ " 
We do not have to comprehend or understand salvation.
A course in theology is not required.
Just, “Look . . . and be ye saved.”
All the Days - Vance Havner 

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May 25

“COME” AND “BELIEVE”

For he that cometh to God must believe that He is.
Hebrews 11:6

The coming so hinges on that, as to be really the same thing.
The moment you really believed, you would really come;
and the moment you really come, you really believe.

Now the Lord Jesus is as truly and actually “nigh thee” as if you could see Him.
And He as truly and actually says “Come” to you as if you heard Him.
Fear not, believe only, and let yourself come to Him straight away! 

“Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto Him,
take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously.”

And know that His answer is, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”

Reality in greatest need, Lord Jesus Christ, Thou art indeed!
Is the pilot real, who alone can guide the drifting ship through the midnight tide?
Is the lifeboat real, as it nears the wreck, and the saved ones leap from the parting deck?
Is the haven real, where the barque may flee from the autumn gales of the wild North Sea? 
Reality indeed art Thou, My Pilot, Lifeboat, Haven now.

Openened Treasure - Frances Ridley Havergal

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May 26

“. . . Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.”
(John 6:12)

ETERNAL issues hang upon fragments of time.
There is a proverb which says, “He that gathereth in summer is a wise son.”
Youth is a summer.  It is time for gathering knowledge.  
It is time for the formation of habits, for the knitting of the thews and sinews of character.  

Youth who improve their opportunities, who are diligent in the “summer-gathering for winter’s need,” will come up to the responsibilities of their later years prepared to accept them and meet them with honour.

Those who would shine as God’s fairest children must have no wasted years.  They must harvest time. All the prizes of life are taken by those who are earliest in the field.

The man who excels in the world of music is he who from childhood has yielded to the wizardry of minstrelsy. 

The man who figures prominently in the world of letters is he whose brain was disciplined in his school days; he who excels in godliness is he who in the springtime of his career was obedient to the heavenly vision

Early on God’s altar in youth’s springtime we can master the music of the Everlasting City, learn the dialect of the King’s country, graduate in divine wisdom, become proficient in spiritual knowledge,
adept in the things of grace.

A youth-time diligently improved prepares one for whatever may come in the stern days and mature years.  Let not a fragment of the precious gift of life be wasted!

“A noble life is not a blaze of sudden glory won,
But just an adding up of days in which God’s is done."

MOUNTAIN TRAILWAYS FOR YOUTH

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May 27

The dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
(Matthew 15:27)

Yet we are not fed with crumbs; we are seated at the full table,
with the richest provisions before us.

The prodigal, returning, asked only to be made a servant, 
as he felt unworthy to be restored to a son's place.

But father-love knew no such half-way restoration as that.
The white robe, the ring, the shoes, were given to him, insignia of sonship.

God puts the lowliest and unworthiest at once into the children’s place,
and feeds them abundantly.

Come Ye Apart - J. R. Miller

Not worthy, Lord, to gather up the crumbs with trembling hand that from Thy table fall,
A weary, heavy-laden sinner comes to plead Thy promise and obey Thy call

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May 28

“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, 
that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us.” 
(1John 5:14)

Here is a confidence in God that applies itself to all the details of life through which I may be called to pass.

This is the confidence we have in Him: His ear being open to us, we have what we ask for, when we ask according to God’s will.  How wondrous this is, that God’s ear is ever open to us; for surely we should not desire to ask for anything contrary to His will.

And if we know that He hears us; whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”  (1 John 5:15)

I am so made to know the love that, if I ask, I shall have.
If I am really in earnest to do God’s will, to preach the gospel for instance, and there are hindrances in the way—Satan in the way—I have only to ask, and I have all God’s power at my disposal, His ear being open to me. 

If you know what conflict and difficulty are, what a blessing is this, to have God’s ear open to you, and to know, if you are doing God’s will, you will always succeed in doing His will.
(1 John 1 - J. N. Darby)

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May 29

“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness.” 

(Isaiah. 45:3)

When God made this promise to Cyrus, He was speaking of material treasures 
from lands of darkness that Cyrus would conquer. 
But we are not doing violence to the verse when 
we take it and apply it in a spiritual sense.

There are treasures that are discovered in the dark nights of life that 
are never found in days of unrelieved sunshine.

For instance, God can give songs in the darkest night (Job 35:10) that would 
never have been sung if life were completely devoid of trials. 

That is why the poet wrote:


And many a rapturous minstrel among those sons of light
Will say of his sweetest music, “I learned it in the night;”
And many a rolling anthem that fills the Father’s home
Sobbed out its first rehearsal in the shade of a darkened room.

(Adapted - D.H.)

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May 30

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”
(Ephesians 1:3)

It is good for each of us periodically to take time to rediscover  the simple but profound truths expressed by Johnson J. Oatman Jr, in the four stanzas of this hymn. In the first two stanzas’ he develops the thought that counting our blessings serves as an antidote for life’s discouragements and in turn makes for victorious Christian living.

The third stanza teaches us that counting our blessings can be a means of placing material possessions in proper perspective when compared to the eternal inheritance awaiting believers.
As we review our individual blessings, we certainly would have to agree with Mr. Oatman’s fourth stanza: The provision of God’s help and comfort to the end of our earthly pilgrimage is one of our choicest blessings.

Each of us could spare ourselves much despair and inner tension if we would only learn to apply the practical teaching of this hymn to our daily living. 

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings-name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings-every doubt will fly, and you will be singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold, think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;  Count your many blessings-money cannot buy your reward in heaven nor your home on high.

So amid the conflict, whether great or small, do not be discouraged-God is over all;
Count your many blessings-angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Chorus:  Count your blessings, name them one by one; count your blessings, see what God hath done.  Count your blessings, name them one by one; count your many blessing, see what God hath done. 
(Amazing Grace - Kenneth W. Osbeck)

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May 31

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual,
restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering
thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
(Galatians 6:1)

Observe that word “restore”. 
It is the translation of a word which 
means to mend that which is broken, or rent.

Dr. Lightfoot says that it is a surgical term—used of
the  re-setting of a fractured bone, or joint.

Tender work that!  Who is to do it?
“Ye which are spiritual.”

This physician must be Spirit-filled.
What is he to do?  "Restore such an one”;
to bind up the broken heart.  How is he to do it? 
“In the spirit of meekness.”

"Softly he touches for the reed is tender,
Wisely enkindles for the flame is low.”
(In Pastures Green - George Henderson)


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