Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5600 posted here) sent daily for 18 years -- njhiebert@sympatico.ca

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Gems from August 2018




“. . . who is sufficient for these things? (2 Corinthians 2:16)
“. . . our sufficiency is of God”. (2 Corinthians 3:5)

It is not my ability, but my response to His ability, that counts.
It is not what happens to me that matters, but what I do with what happens to me.
(This day is the Lord’s - Corrie Ten Boom)

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July 31


"Jonah . . . arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; 
for their wickedness is come up before me.” 
(Jonah 1:1-2) 

“And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.”
(Jonah 3:1-2) 

The message is a little more peremptory, without the explanation of the reason for the warning, as given at first. The prophet had shown himself unworthy of that intimacy of communion that the first command contained. 

The first message told of God’s “ways” and gave the reason for His “acts”.  The second time, there was no such explanation given, and simple, implicit obedience is what is called for.  This was right. 

It was in simple, implicit obedience that the prophet had failed: and the second opportunity offered to him is a test of whether he would obey, without being told the reason.

How important for us are the last words of that first verse: "Preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.” 
How often those of us who preach are tempted to preach what we like.  Perhaps the Lord has in the past blessed certain subjects, and we like to preach from these, instead of listening to hear what He may bid us preach.

There are those who have certain subjects that they use over and over again: it saves that exercise of soul, perhaps, that new subjects would require.  There are others who make it a boast that they never preach the same sermon twice.

How different from Jonah, who only had one sermon, and preached it over and over again for days on end.

“The preaching that I bid thee” sums it all up for every preacher today.  May the Lord give us that quiet, hearing ear that is ready listening for His bidding as to the subject, as well as His bidding as to the place!
(G. C. Willis)

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August 1


Midnight Rememberings

"When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches.”
(Psalm 63:6)

Memory is never so busy as in the quiet time while we are waiting for sleep; and never, perhaps, are we more tempted to useless recollections and idle reveries than "in the night watches”.

Perhaps we have struggled against them; perhaps yielded to effortless indulgence in them, and thought we could not help it, and were hardly responsible for ‘vain thoughts’ at such times.

But here is full help and bright hope.  This night let us ‘remember Thee.’  We can only remember what we already know; oh praise Him, then, that we have material for memory!

There is enough for all the wakeful nights of a lifetime in the one word ‘Thee.’  It leads us straight to ‘His own self;’ dwelling on that one word, faith, hope, and love, wake up and feed and grow.

Then the holy remembrance, wrought by His Spirit, widens.  For 'we will remember the name of the Lord our God,’ in its sweet and manifold revelations.  ‘I will remember the years' and the 'works of the Lord.’  

'Surely I will remember Thy wonders of old.’  Most of all ‘we will remember Thy love,’ the everlasting love of our Father, the 'exceeding great love of our Master and only Saviour,’ the gracious, touching love of our Comforter.

And the remembrance of all this love will include that of its grand act and proof,  'Thou shalt remember that . . . Jehovah thy God redeemed thee.”  (Royal Bounty - Frances Ridley Havergal)

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August 2


“And a man shall be as an hiding place . . . as the shadow 
of a great rock in a weary land.”
(Isaiah 32:2)

Major Andre was a dashing young British Army Officer engaged in the American Revolution. He was sentenced and hanged as a spy.

Before his execution, he read the Bible and wrote a poem that testified of his conversion. The Bible and poem are in the custody of Phipps Manor, Tarrytown, New York.

Major Andre’s body was removed years later and now rests in Westminster Abbey.  
(Edwin Fesche)

The last stanza of his poem reads:

Should sevenfold storms of thunder roll, and shake this globe from pole to pole, No thunderbolt shall daunt my face, for Jesus is my Hiding Place.”

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August 3


“That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:7)

We may well thank God for precious memories, but there is a danger of being too attached to them so that we cling to them and idolize them and map measure our future according to the likelihood of their repetition.

But our future will always be better (in God’s purposes) than our past:

But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect way” 
(Proverbs 4:18)

The future of the elect is but the eternal unfolding of the depths of the love and wisdom and power of God.
Today is better than yesterday, and tomorrow will always be better. 
We cannot comprehend it, but we can enjoy it if we will.

Look not behind thee.”  Remember Lot’s wife.  The glory shines before us. Let us press toward the mark, looking unto Jesus.

Tomorrow is indeed bigger and better—to faith.
Have a Good Day Indeed!

Living in the past paralyzes the present and bankrupt the future. 
(Morsels for Meditations - John Kaiser)

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August 4


“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3)

"I cannot tell”, said the humblest shepherd’s wife, “what sermon it was that led to my conversion. I cannot explain even the scriptures, but I know that something has changed me.

Last summer John and I washed the sheep in yonder stream. I cannot tell you where the water went, but I can show you the clean, white fleece of the sheep.”

And so, I may forget the doctrines, but I have the blessed fruit in my heart and life.
~~~~~~~~~~
A backwoods preacher who knew little of books or theology, but who had what was a vast deal better, a practical knowledge of salvation through Christ, was before a committee for examination.

"Will you please name some of the evidences of the divinity our Lord Jesus Christ?” said one of his wise examiners.

The preacher’s face wore an expression of puzzled bewilderment and he was silent. The examiner repeated his question, “What makes you think Christ is divine?”

Now there was a response from the whole man! With tears in his eyes, he started to his feet and stretching out his arms and hands he exclaimed, “How do I know He’s divine? Why bless you, 
He’s saved my soul and I love Him for it.” 
(Traveling Toward Sunrise)

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August 5


COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”
(Psalm 103:2) 

His benefits” means all the good things he has done for you, and all the good things He has given you. Try to count up “His benefits” of this one day; and then think of those of yesterday, and last week, and all the year, and all your life. 

You will soon find that there are more than you can count, and you will begin to see how very much you have to thank Him for.

And then recollect His still greater benefits—the great gift of Jesus Christ Himself to be your Saviour and Redeemer, and the great gift of salvation through Him, and all His promises of grace and glory!

David speaks of "the multitude of Thy tender mercies(Psalm 69:16), and Isaiah tells of the multitude of His loving-kindnesses” (Isaiah 63:7).  Are not these true and beautiful words?

Will you not turn them into a song of thanksgiving,  and say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: . . . who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies!
(Psalm 103:2,4)  
(Frances Ridley Havergal)

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
(Johnson Oatman - 1897

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August 6


LOVE WILL BE MANIFESTED

“By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples:
if ye have love one to another.”
(John 13:35)

Here is a sign which looms large among all who love the Lord, and by means of which they can be picked out anywhere. 

The Editor of an American paper offered a thousand dollars, to any of its readers who would invent a badge that could be worn by all Christians, and that would identify them as such.

One reader replied saying that he did not know much about badges,
but asked how John 13:35 would do?

By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

The only way in which this witness can be given to men is for us individually to live close to our Lord; for Christians are like the spokes of a wheel: the nearer they get to the Centre, the nearer they get to one another.
(In Pasture Green - George Henderson)

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August 7

"But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.” 
(Luke 15:22)

The prodigal’s father brings out the “best robe” and puts a “ring upon his hand.”  These were not part of the original inheritance, but something the father had hidden away in reserve.  Had it been part of the original inheritance the son would have squandered it as well.

Man in his sin has forfeited his place in the original paradise—we can never go back to that.  But since sin came in through Adam, God has now brought out something much higher.  We have an intimate connection with the Last Adam (Jesus) and an eternal inheritance reserved for us in the heavenly paradise.

The prodigal, although forgiven, could not enter the house in the garments of the far country.  And he could not provide his own robe, but it was given to him.  This is a picture of the doctrine of justification. The believer has been declared to be righteous, which is more than mere forgiveness. Christ is our righteousness and we stand in Him, in perfect acceptance before God.

The ring is a picture of our eternal glory with Christ; we are secure in Him (1 Peter 1:4; 5:10). The sandals testify of sonship; servants did not wear shoes. This is all according to the “riches of His grace”! 
(Brian Reynolds)

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August 8

“She hath done what she could . . .”
(Mark 14:8)

Though we may not be important to the affairs of state, and though we work only in the most obscure of places, where we will never hear a praising word from human voice, there is still a record of our deeds.

Some “golden daybreak” a rich and grand reward will await us.
God’s praise is far better than man’s stuttering words of appreciation.

It is true that Mary’s ointment was wasted when she broke the alabaster box and poured it upon her Christ. Suppose she did not break the container nor pour out the ointment?
Could there have been a remembrance of her act of love?

It surely would not have been recorded within the gospel story.
Surely her deed would not have then been told over the whole world.
She broke the vase and poured it out.  She lost it, all of it.  It was her sacrifice. Now the perfume from the precious ointment fills all of the earth.

"Our lives must be kept, carefully preserved from waste,” say those who are not close enough to their Lord to stoop down and anoint His feet.  Little they know that the reward will be not theirs to claim.
They will not have honour to cherish.

Only if life is poured out in loving service will it be a blessing to 
the world.  Then and only then will there be reward.
God will remember such a giver forever.
(Streams In The Desert

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August 9

“The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; 
and there He put the man whom He had formed.”
(Genesis 2:8)

"In the place where He was crucified there was a garden;
and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was 
never man yet laid.  There laid they Jesus.” 
(John 19:41-42)

The Father sent the Son a ruined world to save;
Man meted to the Sinless One the cross—the grave;
Blest Substitute from God, wrath’s awful cup He drained;
Laid down His life, and e’en the tomb’s reproach sustained.
(H. K. Burlington)

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August 10

“Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 
and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord.”
(Luke 12:35-36)

Your Father . . . your treasure . . . your loins . . . your lights . . . yourselves:
here in this section of the Gospel are things that are ours 
and instructions for appropriate deportment. 

Having such a Father and such treasure,
we should be ready for worship and service, for witness, 
and for a personal welcome for our returning Lord.

He is coming back again. Let us be found fulfilling our responsibilities.  
(Roy Hill)

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy from His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning!  Send a gleam across the wave!
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights along the shore. 
(P. P. Bliss)

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August 11


“Take heed unto thyself . . .”
(1 Timothy 4:16)

Let nothing come between my soul and God.
Keep nothing back from God — tell Him everything as if He knew nothing about it.
_____________________________

Be mercilessly true to yourself, and have everything out with God; none will ever treat you so tenderly as He. 
___________________________

The measure of my love for God’s Word is the measure of my love for God; 
as you reverence Him, so you reverence it. 
__________________________

There is no halting-place short of conformity to Christ; but there is no need to be disheartened,
the Holy Spirit is here to work this out in us.  
(Comforted of God - A. J. Pollock)

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August 12
Worship of God

“Is there no balm in Gilead?”
(Jeremiah 8:22)

’Tis the blessed hour of prayer, when our hearts lowly bend,
And we gather to Jesus, our Saviour and friend;
If we come to Him in faith, His protection to share,
What a balm for the weary, O how sweet to be there! 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”
(1 Peter 5:7)

’Tis the blessed hour of prayer, when the Saviour draws near,
With a tender compassion His children to hear;
When He tells us we may cast at His feet every care,
What a balm for the weary, O how sweet to be there!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched
with the feeling of our infirmities.”
(Hebrews 4:15)

’Tis the blessed hour of prayer, when the tempted and tried 
to the Saviour Who loves them their sorrow confide;
With a sympathizing heart He removes every care;
What a balm for the weary, O how sweet to be there!
(Treasures from Fanny Crosby)

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August 13


“And he that reapeth receiveth  wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”
(John 4:36)

Life is neither game nor dream, but true as God who gives it.
Life is more than it may seem; and he who knows God lives it.

Lost is neither thought nor deed, time’s record God is keeping;
Time we have for planting seed—eternity for reaping.
(With thanks - John Kaiser)

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”
(Mark 8:35)

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August 14


“Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”
(1 Peter 5:7)

I have little, little of Him; yet I long for more.
~~~~~~
Scare not at suffering for Christ: for Christ hath a chair, and a
cushion, and sweet peace for a sufferer. 
~~~~~~
He taketh the bairns (children) in His arms
when they come to a deep water; at least, 
when they lose ground, and are put to swim, 
then His hand is under their chin.
~~~~~~
My shallow and ebb thoughts are not the compass Christ saileth by.
I leave His ways to Himself, for they are far, far above me. . . .
There are windings and to’s and fro’s in His ways,
which blind bodies like us cannot see. 
(Samuel Rutherford 1600-1661)

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August 15


“I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, 
and over all the power of the enemy:
and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
(Luke 10:19)

Our Lord Jesus said this to the seventy:
and yet we know that all down the ages 
His servants have been hurt in a thousand ways.

So the words must mean, and we know they do mean,
something that goes far deeper than bodily hurt,
deeper even than disappointment—
that hardest hurt the mind can be asked to bear.

It must mean that our spirits shall tread on serpents and scorpions
and have power over all the enemy.

Nothing shall be able to sting our spirit, poison it, or paralyze it.
It is one of the magnificent promises of the Bible.
We cannot take it too literally.

There is no need to be overcome, whatever happens.
O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength” (Judges 5:21).
(Edges of His Ways - Amy Carmichael)

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August 16

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men,
whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

 “Peter’s statement, evidently staggered the august council
before whom he and his fellow - apostle stood.
They paused in their opposition,
and have a secret conference what to do.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, 
and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, 
they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, 
that they had been with Jesus.  
And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, 
they could say nothing against it."
(Acts 4:13-14)

They were silenced.
Faith and facts are two stubborn witnesses.  Both attest God’s grace.

The outcome of the conference was— 
That indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them 
is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; 
and we cannot deny it.

They admit defeat, and then, calling in the apostles,
Commanded them not to speak at all 
nor teach in the name of Jesus.” 

This command raised the most important question possible:
Was God to be obeyed or man?
The apostles permit of no ambiguity
as to the course they judge right to adopt.
"Peter and John answered and said unto them, 
whether it be right in the sight of God 
to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.” 

The prohibitory injunction of man had no weight with them.
God had commanded them to preach Christ - to preach the gospel, 
and “We cannot but speak the things 
which we have seen and heard.”

The religious leaders of Israel were not now the expositors
of the will of God—they were opposed to His will.
The path of Peter and his companions is plain
God must be obeyed rather than man.
(W. T. P. Wolston)

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August 17

“Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs.” (Ezekiel 31:3)

The cedars of Lebanon are unique in possessing properties that make their wood resistant to insects, virtually impervious to decay, and extremely durable. This is why they are capable of growing into fine, fragrant timber suitable for the temple.

In the economy of God, He saw clearly that because death dominated the earth, the only way its power and domination could be broken was for Himself, in Christ, to enter directly into the cycle of birth, growth, life, and death on our planet.

Christ Jesus was born of a virgin, grew up among men, lived and moved among us, then died for us. But, marvel of marvels, His body did not decay (Psalm 16:10). Instead of being chained to the cycle, He shattered its power and rose directly from the dead. 

No wonder Christians shout, 
Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death where is thy sting?
O grave, where is thy victory?” 
(1 Corinthians 15:54-55).

What a triumph!

The shackles that had chained men to the wheel of death on this planet have been snapped. This is the magnificent overcoming life made available to man through the resurrection of Christ.
(Songs of My Soul - W. Phillip Keller)

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August 18


“That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which HOPE we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.” (Hebrews 6:18-19)

In ordinary use by men of the world, HOPE has in it the elements of uncertainty and transcience. 

In the Scriptures, HOPE is spoken of as an anchor both sure and steadfast, and is thus set forth as the equivalent of an absolute certainty.  The essential difference between an uncertain hope and one which is absolutely sure, therefore, is that the former precedes faith in God, and the latter follows it.  

The elements of HOPE are three in number: desire, expectation, and patience.  Not desire only, for we may desire what we do not expect; not expectation only, for we may expect what we do not desire; but desire and expectation combined and exercised with that patience which can wait for the full realization.
(George Henderson)

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August 19


“By faith they . . .”  (Hebrew 11:29)

Guard the citadel of faith, sleep not, 
but watch and pray.

Enemies at every gate are waiting night and day—to storm the walls, or to approach by guile and flattery—using wordy argument and high philosophy.  

Guard it well.  It’s worth the strain, 
the effort, and the strife.

It will be your tower of strength when come the storms of life,
a fortress that will stand against the worst that 
Fate can do, a citadel of faith that none 
can conquer or subdue.
(Patience Strong)

FEAR knocked at the door; FAITH opened it 
And—there was no one there. 
(Mountain Trailways for Youth)

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August 20


“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrimsabstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” 
(1 Peter 2:11)  

The truth needs not man: man needs the truth.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sweeping away snow is long work; if the sun is well up, 
it is gone.  A night covers the earth a foot deep—
what millions of men could not do, a day takes 
it all away if God’s warmth comes in.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Do not be afraid of . . . consequences.
If we do right God will take care of them.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
I cannot do the work I did, but I have His work to do
as long as He gives it to me.
~~~~~~~~~~~
We should like to go always with a full, favourable wind,
but this does not make a good sailor.
~~~~~~~~~~~
Not a single thing in which we have served Christ shall be 
forgotten . . . all shall come out that is real, and
what is real is Christ in us, and this only.
(Pilgrim Portions for the Day of Rest - JND)

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August 21


“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." (Titus 2:13)

“Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second 
time without sin unto salvation.”
(Hebrews 9:28)

Lamb of God! when Thou in glory shalt to this sad earth return,
All Thy foes shall quake before thee, all who now despise Thee mourn;
Then shall we at Thine appearing with Thee in Thy kingdom reign; 
Thine the praise and Thine the glory, Lamb of God, for sinners slain. 
(J. G. Deck)

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August 22


DOING BUSINESS WITH CHRIST: PILATE

“What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?"
(Matthew 27:22)

Pilate had to do business with Jesus, and so must we all.
We cannot wash our hands of the whole business
any more than could he.

We cannot leave Christ alone.
The question is not, “What will you do with Jesus?”
but "What are you doing with Him now?” We are for or against,
we gather with Him or we scatter abroad.

Pilate faced the alternatives of cynicism: “What is truth?”; criminality: “Barabbas or Jesus?; Caesar:
If thou let this man go thou art not Caesar’s friend.”
The question is always "Christ or. . . .

This unbelieving world, whether it choose the cynic, the criminal, or Caesar, must do something with Christ.  He is inescapable.
And men must settle with Christ, not with a church or a preacher.  

Let us never obscure the issue: what are you doing with Jesus the Christ?
(Vance Havner)

He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but He that beliveth 
not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in  
the name of the only begotten Son of God.” 
(John 3:18)

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August 23



“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Romans 4:7-8)

“. . . Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back.”
(Isaiah 38:17)

“. . . Son be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”
(Matthew 9:2)

At all times, forgiveness of sins was known with all the certainty which the Word of God could giveAny one of the cases adduced above is sufficient to overthrow the teaching of those who assert that no one can know that his sins are forgiven. 

If I find from Scripture that any one ever knew this marvellous precious blessing, that is quite enough for me. Now, when I open my Bible, I find persons, who had been guilty of all manner of sins, brought to the knowledge of forgiveness; and I therefore argue that it is possible for the very vilest sinner to know now, with Divine certainty, that his sins are forgiven

Was it presumption in Abraham, in David, in Hezekiah, in the palsied man, and in numbers besides, to believe in the forgiveness of sins?  Would it have been a sign of humility and true piety in them to doubt? It will, perhaps, be argued that these were all special and extraordinary cases.
Well, it matters not, so far as our present question is concerned,
whether they were ordinary or extraordinary.

One thing is plain, they completely disprove the assertion that no one can know that his sins are forgiven. The Word of God teaches me that numbers, subject to like passions, like infirmities, like failures, and like sins as the writer and reader, were brought to know and rejoice in the full forgiveness of sins, and hence those who maintain that no one can be sure on this momentous question, have no Scriptural foundation for their opinion.  
(C.H. Mackintosh)

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August 24

August 25

August 26 

August 27