Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5400 posted here) sent daily for 17 years -- njhiebert@sympatico.ca

Monday, January 01, 2018

Gems from January 2018

The Humble Christian 

"By the grace of God, I am what I am!” 
(1 Corinthians 15:10)

The humble Christian will not be easily angered--nor will he be dogmatic and judgmental. 

He will be compassionate and tender towards the infirmities of his fellow-sinners; knowing, that, if there is any difference between himself and others--it is grace of God that has made it. He knows that he has the seeds of every evil in his own heart!

Also, under all trials and afflictions, the humble Christian will look to the hand of the Lord, and lay his mouth in the dust--acknowledging that he suffers much less than his iniquities have deserved. 

These are some of the advantages and good fruits which the Lord enables us to obtain from that bitter root, indwelling sin.
(John Newton)

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January 1


“So will not we go back from thee . . .” 
(Psalm 80:18)

Oh, there are heavenly heights to reach in many a fearful place, While the poor, timid heir of God lies blindly on his face; Lies languishing for light Divine that he shall never see
’Til he goes forward at Thy sign, and trusts himself to Thee.
(C.A. Fox)  

When Mallory and Irvine were last seen on Mt Everest— the highest peak in the world—they were "going strong for the top.”

Bitter cold, raging winds, blinding blizzards, engulfing avalanches of snow and rock— all these dangers stood between these brave climbers and the top of that towering mountain. Nothing could turn them back!

What a great way to close the old year, and crossing the threshold into the new to say with these heroic climbers, “We will not go back from Thee!”

Let us fare forth bravely, our feet on solid ground, our eyes to the stars, for we walk with Him whose promise is: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age.” 

Press on!  Surmount the rocky steeps, climb boldly o’er the torrent’s arch;
He fails alone who feebly creeps, he wins who dares the hero’s march.
Be thou a hero! Let thy might tramp on eternal snows its way
And through the ebon walls of night hew down a passage unto day.
(Park Benjamin

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January 2


Happy new year . . .

“. . . Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”  (Philippians 3:13)

The New Year is not present with us.  Only a new day!  So it will be continually.
We shall see but one day at a time.

. . . If each day is lived right, the whole year will be right;
if each day is wrong, the year will be all wrong.

Each day is a white page to be written.
Write it beautifully, and the year will be beautiful.

Lord, Thou hast given me a clean, new year.  Help me to keep its pages pure, unspoiled;
To write upon its scroll but kindly thoughts, with no unsightly blots to have it soiled.

Let me not mar, in thought or word or deed, this page, so white, so pure, unsullied, fair, 
Help me to know that when I stand in need of help from Thee, thou’rt always standing there.

When duty calls me, Lord, let pleasure wait.  Let me fulfill my calling. Let Thy will,
Not mine, be done.  Oh, let me ever hear Thy calm, approving voice, Thy guidance still.

Lead me, dear Lord, in paths of peacefulness.  But if, perchance, Thy paths should ever lie
O’er mountain trails, though they be rough and bleak, then may I answer, “Master, here am I.”
(I. S. Ellis)       

An artist who was asked, “What is your best picture?” answered, 
 “My next.”  Make tomorrow your best day!
"Yesterday ended last night.”
(Mountain Trailways)

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January 3


“They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” 
(Malachi 3:17) 

What do God’s children as jewels remind us of?

1. Like jewels, they are rare.
2. Like jewels, they are beautiful, brilliant, ornamental.
3. Like jewels, they are found in strange and unlikely places.
4. Like jewels, they are obtained only with much risk and trouble.
5. Like jewels, they have to be cut and polished to bring out their beauty and value.
6. Like jewels, they are very valuable; hence they cost a great deal.
7. Like jewels, they are carefully preserved.
8. Like jewels, they will be collected 
and exhibited.
Sapphires, rubies, opals, precious every one;
The great Lapidary sees His work begun.
He will not relax His care 
till His work is finished there.
(E. E. T.)

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January 4


"Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”
(Isaiah 53:4,5)

That covers the days and the deeds that are gone.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” (Psalm 23:6)

These are the two shining ones from the upper sanctuary who are commissioned to look after needs as we journey to the heavenly land.

Surely I come quickly.”
(Revelation 22:20)

There we are pointed on to the glad event, at the fulfilment of which, we shall be translated from the place of sin and sorrow to one into which sin shall never entered in which all tears are wiped away.
(Revelation 21:4)   

(Heaven’s Cure for Earth’s Care)

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January 5

“And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.” (Mark 9:8)

Christ is the key to the puzzle of this world.

May God give us to be anything or nothing, so that the Lord Jesus may be everything.

The magnet always turns towards the pole;
the needle always trembles a little when the storm and tempest roar,
but its direction changes not; the needle of the Christian heart always points towards Christ.

The only thing which can be truly blessing to our brethren, 
so precious because they belong to Him, 
is that which we reproduce of Him.
(Pilgrim Portions for the Day of Rest)

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January 6


“The Holy Scriptures . . . are able to make 
thee wise unto salvation.”
(2 Timothy 3:15)

I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God . . .  I want to know one thing, the way to heaven . . . 
God Himself has condescended to teach me the way . . . 
He hath written it down in a book.

O give me that book!
At any price give me the book of God!
I have it; here is knowledge enough for me.

Let me be “homo unius libri” (a man of one book).

Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men.  I sit down alone; only God is here.  
In His presence I open, I read His book; for this end, 
to find the way to heaven.
(J. Wesley)

The Bible tells us Jesus died, a sacrifice for sin;
The gates of heaven to open wide that we may enter in.

The Bible tells us Jesus rose, and left the silent grave,
Triumphant over all His foes, the mighty One to save,

The Bible tells us all may come, and drink at mercy’s stream;
That Jesus soon will share His home with all who trust in Him.

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January 7


A weak, defenseless, thoughtless creature--and prone to wander!

"I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep." 
(John 10:11) 

This great and good Shepherd has a flock, whom He loved from everlasting—and whom having loved, He will love to the end. He . . . humbled Himself for their sakes, submitted to partake of their nature and their sorrows,
took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. 

He died for His sheep, "the just for the unjust," to redeem them . . . from the curse of the law,
  from the guilt and dominion of sin, from the power of Satan--and to bring them to God. 

They, by nature, are all "gone astray, every one to his own way".  But having thus bought them with His blood--in His own appointed time He seeks, finds, and restores His sheep. By the power of His Word and Spirit--He makes Himself known to their hearts, causes them to hear and understand His voice, and guides them into His fold. They are under His immediate protection and government.

Considered as individuals, they are fitly described by the name of sheep. A sheep is a weak, defenseless, thoughtless creature— and prone to wander! If once gone astray--it is seldom known to return of its own accord.

A sheep has neither strength to fight with the wolf, nor speed to escape from him; 
nor has it the foresight of the ant, to provide its own sustenance. 
(John Newton)

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January 8


“Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth,
that we should be a kind of first 
fruits of His creatures.”
(James 1:18)

Look at yonder tottering babe, the object of ceaseless care and solicitude, wholly unable to promote his father’s interests in any one way, yet so loved by the father that he would not exchange him for ten thousand worlds;
and if it be thus with an earthly father, what must it be with our heavenly Father? 

He loves us, not for aught that we are able to do, but because we are His children.
He has begotten us, of His own will, by the word of truth. 

We could no more earn a place in the heart of the Father than we could satisfy the claims of the righteous Judge.

All is of free grace.

The Father has begotten us; and the Judge has found a ransom (Job 33:24).
We are debtors to grace for both the one and the other.
(C. H. Mackintosh)

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January 9


CHRIST OR ANTICHRST

“He that is not with Me is against Me; 
and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.”
(Matthew 12:30)

AFTER ALL IS said and done, the real issue today, as always, is Christ or Antichrist.
We try to move the focal point elsewhere, 
but here is where the battle rages.

And if Christ is the issue, then for us the supreme matter is—

(1) to become a Christian;  
(2) to become a better Christian daily;
(3) to help other Christians to be better Christians, and 
(4) to help those who are not Christians to become Christians.

We gather with Him, or we scatter abroad.

This is our real “program,” faith in Christ, fellowship with Christ, 
faithfulness to Christ, fruitfulness for Christ.

It simplifies life to one thing, just to be a Christian, a believer in Christ, 
a follower of Christ, a witness of Christ.

Anything less is not enough.  Anything more is too much.
With Me”— there is our position; “gathering"— there is our practice.

“Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” 
Following and fishing!

Are you Christian or Anti-christian?
(Vance Havner)


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January 10


“Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment."
(Ecclesiastes 11:9)

“The God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are 
all thy ways, hast thou not glorified."
(Daniel 5:23) 

What though I might live without the Saviour,
When I come to die, how would it be?
O to face the valley’s gloom without Him!
And without Him for eternity!

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January 11

“Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37)

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord to Thee.

“Take my life!” We have said it or sung it before the Lord, it may be many times; but if it were only once whispered in His ear 
with full purpose of heart, should we not believe that He heard it?  And if we know that He heard it,
 should we not believe that He has answered it, and fulfilled this, our heart’s desire? 

For with Him hearing means heeding
Then why should we doubt that He did verily take our lives when we offered them—our bodies when we presented them?
Have we not been wronging His faithfulness all this time by practically, even if unconsciously,
doubting whether the prayer ever really reached Him?

And if so, is it any wonder that we have not realized all the power and joy of full consecration? 
By some means or other He has to teach us to trust implicitly at every step of the way.

And so, if we did not really trust in this matter, 
He has had to let us find out our want of trust by withholding the 
sensible part of the blessing, and thus stirring us up to find out why it is withheld. 
(Kept for the Master’s Use - Frances Ridley Havergal)

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January 12

The one indispensable book!

“Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for My mouth it hath commanded, and His Spirit it hath gathered them.”
(Isaiah 34:16)

The Bible is the oldest--and the newest of books.
The Bible surveys the whole field of time--and it looks farthest into the infinite depths of eternity. 

The Bible lends the most vivid and absorbing interest to the scenes and events of the past—and 
it keeps us in the most active sympathy with the time in which we live.
The Bible gives us the most reliable record of what has been—and it affords us our only means of knowing what is yet to be. 

The Bible is holy enough to denounce the very shadow and semblance of sin—and it is merciful enough to save the chief of sinners.
The Bible is full of God--and must therefore be read with a pure heart, 
or its true glory will not be seen.
The Bible is full of man--and must therefore always be interesting and 
instructive to all who would know themselves.

The Bible is the plainest of books--and yet it has depths of wisdom 
which no created mind can fathom. 

The Bible is set up as a beacon to show all wanderers the safe way--and yet its light shines 
forth from thick clouds of mystery, and from abysses of infinite darkness. 

The Bible describes all conditions of life--and it gives utterance 
to all desires and emotions of the soul. 

The Bible has a song of triumph for the overcomer—and 
a wail of defeat for the overcome. 
(Daniel March - 1870)

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January 13


“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

There is no neutral ground when we face the cross:  Either we accept its atoning work and become a new person, or we reject it and remain in our sinful self centred state.

When we take our stand with Christ and His redemption accomplished at Calvary, we are compelled to make two profound confessions: "The wonders of His glorious love and my own worthlessness.”

This hymn (Beneath the cross of Jesus) was written by a frail woman, Elizabeth Clephane, who, despite her physical limitations, was known throughout her charming community of Melrose, Scotland, for her helpful, cheery nature. Among the sick and dying in her area she won the name of “Sunbeam.”

“Beneath the Cross of Jesus” was written in 1868, one year before her early death at the age of thirty nine. She wrote eight hymns, only another has endured—“The Ninety and Nine,” made popular by the tune composed for it by Ira D. Sankey.
(Kenneth W. Osbeck)

Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand, the shadow of a mighty Rock within a weary land; a home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way, from the burning of the noon-day heat and the burden of the day.

Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see the very dying form of One who suffered there for me; and from my smitten heart with tears two wonders I confess—the wonders of His glorious love  and my own worthlessness. 

I take O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place—I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face; content to let the world go by, to know no gain nor loss, my sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.
(Eliabeth Clephane)

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January 14

TRIUMPHANT SUFFERING

"Behold, my master . . .  hath committed all that he hath to my hand . . . how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
(Genesis 39:8-9)

It is not, however, to be expected that the devil will leave unmolested a life that is beautiful in the sight of God and man.  Devotion to the Lord exposes Joseph to the hatred of the devil.  Having entirely failed to overcome Joseph by the frowns of the world and the trials of hard circumstances, the devil alters his tactics and seeks to overcome Joseph by the pleasures of sin.

In the person of Potiphar’s wife he had a ready instrument whereby to tempt Joseph, combined with circumstances that favour her evil designs.  In result the temptation only serves to bring out the moral excellence of Joseph.

Here is the secret of Joseph’s consistent life before his master. He served faithfully in the presence of man, because he walked continually in the presence of God;  and walking in the fear of God he was kept in the hour of temptation.

Well for each one of us, if the moment of fierce temptation finds us walking so near to God, that at once we ask, “Can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?"
To ask that question is to escape the snare.

The only thing we have really to be afraid of is fearing anything, or anyone, more than God.   
(Hamilton Smith)

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January 15

“He that spared not His Own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.” (Romans 8:32)

Do you ask for some proof that God really loves you?  How would you have Him prove it? Would you ask Him to give you everything this world affords—friendship, fame, riches, pleasure? That would be no proof that He cared for you. It would cost Him nothing.

Do you ask that He would create a new world, and give it to you to be all your own? Would you believe then that He really loved you? It might not be for your real happiness, and—It would cost Him nothing!

By a word He could create a thousand worlds and present them to you.  But what would they cost Him? Nothing! And until we find that which has cost Him something, we have no proof of whether He loves, or how much He loves. 

Where shall we find this?  Where shall we discover the final proof the heart craves for? God Himself alone can disclose it.  Blessed be His name, He has done so— “He that spared not His own Son.”  

The choicest and the best, the closest and the dearest, the object of His eternal love and pleasure, has been given. Had God said, “I would like to save; I am ready to do a great deal for my creatures, sinful as they are, but I must spare my Son all suffering, I cannot allow Him to enter that dark, sin-stained world, and die," the final proof of His love would have been wanting.

But "He that spared not His Own Son”—this reveals all we need to know.  God has given that which cost Him most to give.  If we think of all the ills of humanity, let us think of this too— “He that
spared not His Own Son.” 
(Russell Elliott)

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January 16

“They that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. . . .  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Romans 8:8,9,13)

The instant I believe in Jesus, I am called on to reckon myself dead. I am never told to die, but I am told to mortify my members that are upon the earth.

A man under the law will be trying to die with all his might, but he will never succeed.

A Christian is dead, and his life is hid with Christ in God, and therefore he mortifies his members which are upon the earth, as living in the power of the life he has in the Son of God.
(J.N. Darby)

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January 17

“And behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, 
And a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter 
on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly.
And his chains fell off from his hands.”
(Acts 12:7)

If we fear the Lord, we may look for timely interpositions when our case is at its worst. Angels are not kept from us by storms, nor hindered by darkness.

Seraphs think it no humiliation to visit the poorest of the heavenly family. If angels’ visits are few and far between at ordinary times, they shall be frequent in our nights of tempest and tossing. 

Is this an hour of distress with you? Then ask for peculiar help.

Jesus is the Angel of the Covenant, and if His presence be now earnestly sought it will not be denied.
What that presence brings is heart cheer.
(Spurgeon)

And a light shined in my cell, and there was not any wall,
And there was no dark at all, only THOU, Emmanuel.

Light of love shined in my cell, turned to gold the iron bars,
Opened windows to the stars, peace stood there as sentinel.

Dearest Lord, how can it be that Thou art so kind to me?
Love is shining in my cell, Jesus, my Emmanuel.
(Amy W. Carmichael)

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January 18

“I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me:
Thou art my help and my deliverer;
make no tarrying, O my God."
(Psalm 40:17)

He thinks upon me!  What does He think about?
Verse 5 says that His thoughts are too many to number.

He knows me inside out.  
Lonely?  He knows.  Afraid?  He knows.  In trouble?  He knows.

Whatever our circumstances, let us rest assured that our Lord is quite aware of all the details.

He will save.  He will help.  He will deliver.
Isn’t He wonderful?
(M. Peters)

Why should I feel discouraged?  Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home?
When Jesus is my portion, my constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He cares for me.
(C. D. Martin)
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January 19

“But I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will,
but the will of Him that sent me."
(John 6:38)

When he was crossing the Irish Channel one dark starless night, says Dr. F. B. Meyer, he stood on the deck by the captain and asked him, “How do you know Holyhead Harbour on so dark a night as this?”  He said,  “You see those three lights?  Those three must line up behind each other as one, and when we see them so united we know the exact position of the harbour’s mouth."

When we want to know God’s will there are three things which always concurthe inward impulsethe Word of Godand the trend of circumstances!  God in the heartimpelling you forwardGod in the Bookcorroborating whatever He says in the heartand God in circumstanceswhich are always indicative of His will.

Never start until these three things agree. Stand still at the cross-roads ready to walk or run, and you will not be kept waiting long.  

When we’re not quite certain if we turn to left or right—Isn’t it a blessing when a signpost looms in sight!  If there were no signposts we should wander miles astray—in the wrong direction if we didn’t know the way.

God has set His signposts on Life’s strange and winding road.  
When we’re blindly stumbling with the burden of our load—
He will lead our footsteps though the pathway twist and bend—
In some form He guides us, through The Book, a song, a friend . . .
In the dark uncertain hours, we need not be afraid—
When we’re at the crossroads, and decisions must be made . . . 
Though the track is unfamiliar, and the light is grey—
Rest assured, there’s bound to be a signpost on the way
(Patience Strong)

Let us be silent unto Him, and believe that, even now, messengers are hastening along
the road with the summons, or direction, or help which we need.  

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January 20

“It was the king’s commandment concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day.”
(Nehemiah 11:23)

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:19)

Well may we sing! With triumph sing
The great Redeemer’s praise!
The glories of the living God,
Revealed in Jesus' face.

Then gladly sing, and sound abroad 
The great Redeemer’s praise;
The glories of the living God,
The riches of His grace!
(G. V. Wigram)

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January 21

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30)

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.” (John 7:37)

Christ, therefore, is the key to all the Bible.  He is its central Figure. It all speaks of Him Who is at once our Prophet, our Priest, and our King. We can hear His voice in the Old Testament if we read it in the light of the New.

The New Testament has a richer meaning when we read it as the completion and fulfilment of the Old. It is when we see Christ in this way in all the Scriptures that the Bible becomes to us the living voice of the the living God.

In the Old Testament, the New lies hid; in the New Testament the Old lies open. In the Old Testament the New lies concealed; in the New Testament, the old is revealed.

What is enfolded in the Old Testament is unfolded in the New. The New is in the Old contained; the old is by the New explained.

These all indicate that the two principal parts of the Bible are like the two sides of the human body, organically one—the two hands and feet both by their likeness and unlikeness, contributing to mutual efficiency.
(The Wonderful World - George Henderson)

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January 22

January 23

January 24

Friday, December 01, 2017

Gems from December 2017

“Fear not, thou worm Jacob . . .  I will make thee a new sharp, threshing instrument having teeth.” (Isaiah 41:14,15)

Could any two things be in greater contrast than a worm and an instrument with teeth?

The worm is delicate, bruised by a stone, crushed beneath the passing wheel; an instrument with teeth can break and not be broken; it can grave its mark upon the rock. And the mighty God can convert the one into the other.

He can take a man or a nation, who has all the impotence of the worm, and by the invigoration of His own Spirit, He can endow with strength by which a noble mark is left upon the history of the time.

And so the “worm” may take heart.  The mighty God can make us stronger than our circumstances.  He can bend them all to our good.

In God’s strength we can make them all pay tribute to our souls.  We can even take hold of a dark disappointment, break it open, and extract some jewel of grace.  

When God gives us wills like iron, we can drive through difficulties as the iron share cuts through the toughest soil.

"I will make thee,” and shall He not do it?
(Streams in the Desert)

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November 30

“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine whereunto thou has attained.”
(1 Timothy 4:6)

All who minister, whether in the gospel, or in the church of God, should
lean continually and exclusively on the power of the Holy Spirit! 
He knows what soul need, and He can supply it.

We must really get to the bottom of all that belongs to self,
if we are to be the vessels of the Holy Spirit.

It would be a fatal mistake for a man to use professed dependence upon the Spirit as a plea for neglecting prayerful study and meditation.

Let it ever be remembered that the Holy Spirit is the ever living,
never failing spring of ministry. It is He alone that can 
bring forth in divine freshness and fulness 
the treasures of God’s word.

A man may speak a hundred times on the same portion of
scripture, to the same people, and, on each occasion, 
he may minister Christ, in spiritual freshness, 
to their souls. 

And on the other hand, a man may rack his brain to find out new subjects,
and new modes of handling old themes, and all the while there may 
not be one atom of Christ or of spiritual power in his ministry.
(Food for the Desert)

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December 1

“When he (Peter) saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him.”
(Matthew 14:30-32)  

But if from Him we turn the eye,
We see the raging floods run high,
Our hearts are full of fear;
Lord! we our unbelief confess,
Do Thou our little faith increase,
That we may fail no more—
But fix on Thee a steady eye, 
And on Thine outstretched arm rely,
Till all the storm is o’er.

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December 2

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
(Philippians 4:13)

Apart from Christ we have no power.  The Lord can say, “Without me ye can do nothing”, but, says the Apostle, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

It is, then, only as our souls are kept in secret communion with Christ that we shall be able to avail ourselves of the power that is in Him.

This being so, all Satan’s power will be directed to putting our souls out of touch with Christ, and seeking to keep us from feeding on Him and walking in communion with Him.

It may be that He will seek to draw us out of communion with Christ by the cares and duties of every-day life, or by sickness and weakness of the body.

He may seek to use the difficulties of the path, the contentions among the people of God, or the petty insults we have to meet, to depress the spirit and fret the soul.

If, however, instead of allowing all these things to come between our souls and the Lord, we make them occasions for drawing near to the Lord, we shall learn what it is to be strong in the Lord, while realizing our own weakness; and we shall learn the blessedness of the word —

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall  sustain thee” (Psalm 55:22). 
(Hamilton Smith)

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December 3

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

Everywhere, always, close by my side,
Faithful, unchangeable, Christ will abide;
Through sunshine and shadow, through good and through ill,
Seeing me, knowing me, loving me still.
(Bells & Pomegranates - James M. S. Tait)

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December 4

“All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of 
Caesar’s household.  The grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ be with you all.  Amen.”
(Philippians 4:22-23)

Tho’ vice, flagrant and unblushing, Nero’s palace boldly trod,
In that vile court’s baleful precincts there were some who walked with God.

Like the few souls who, in Sardis kept unspotted from the world,
So these saints of Caesar's household held their stainless flag unfurled.

Trusting in their Saviour’s merits, leaning on their Saviour’s might,
They were proof against temptation; now they walk with Hm in white!

Lord, Thy power can keep Thy children in the most unlikely place.
There is no temptation sent them which is greater than Thy grace."
(Author unknown)

But let us never forget that all the saints in Rome sent greetings to all the saints in Phillippi: and not the slightest distinction is made between a slave and one highborn.

All are ‘one in in Christ Jesus:’ ‘one spirit, one soul, one body, one loaf, one new man, one flock’: just as there is ‘one Spirit, one hope of your calling, 
one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all 
who is above all, and through all, and in you all.’
(G. Christopher Willis)

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December 5

The Voyage of Life!

" . . . who walketh upon the wings of the wind.”
(Psalm 104:3)

“Who hath measured the waters in the hollow His hand . . .”
(Isaiah 40:12)

All true believers walk by the same rule, and mind the same things:  the Word of God is their compass, Jesus is both their polar star and their sun of righteousness, their hearts and faces are all set Zion-ward. 

Thus far they are as one body, animated by one Spirit. Yet their experience, formed upon these common principles—is far from being uniform. 

The Lord, in His first call, and His following dispensations, has a regard to the situation, temper, and talents of each— and to the particular services or trials which He has appointed them for.
Though all believers are tried at times—
yet some pass through the voyage of life much more smoothly than others. 

But He "who walks upon the wings of the wind, and measures the waters in the hollow of His hand,” will not allow any of whom He has taken charge, to perish in the storms—though, for a season, perhaps, many of them are ready to give up all hopes.

We must not, therefore, make the experience of others, in all respects—a rule to ourselves. 
Nor are we to make our own experience—
a rule to others. 
(Adapted - John Newton’s Autobiography)

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December 6

"The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran.”
(Acts 7:2)

After Abraham had this experience with God, the brightest earthly glories were tawdry by comparison.

So it was with Moses at the burning bush;
Isaiah and his vision of the Lord “high and lifted up;”
Ezekiel and his vision of the one having the appearance of a man,
seated above the firmament.

Stephen, at the moment of martyrdom, saw the glory of God.

For all of these men, earthly glories had been eclipsed by the glory of Christ.

We take up the words of Moses, “Show me Thy Glory!”
The answer will surely come, if we are ready for it,
and our lives will never be the same.
(W. H. Burnett)

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth, will grow strangely dim,
in the light of His glory and grace."
(Helen Howarth Lemmel)    

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December 7

“. . . The time is short.”
(1 Corinthians 7:29)

“It is an ill time to caulk the ship when at sea, tumbling up and down in a storm: this should have been looked to when on her seat in the harbour.

And as bad it is to begin to trim a soul for heaven, when tossing on a sick bed.

Things that are done in a hurray are seldom done well.
These poor creatures, I am afraid, go in an ill dress to 
another world who begin to provide for it when on a dying bed . . .  

There is but one heaven: miss that, and where can you take up your lodging but in hell?  One Christ that can lead you thither: reject Him, 
"and there remains no more sacrifice for sin.”  
(Hebrews 10:26)
(William Gurnall - 1617 - 1679)

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December 8


“For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all were created by Him and for Him.”
(Colossians 1:16)

In our days, man and his achievements are increasingly being 
brought into the center of people’s thinking.

This may seem to be the right thing, because man 
has indeed achieved much.

However, if we really think man is on top of 
everything, we make a mistake.

We forget that all man’s thinking is nothing but afterthought,
copying what God has originally thought long, long ago.
(This Day is the Lord’s - Corrie Ten Boom

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December 9

“The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal 
life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
(Romans 6:23)

If an angel came straight from the throne of God, and proclaimed that God has sent him to offer us any one thing we might ask—that each one should have his own petition granted—what would be your cry?  

There would be but one response, and the cry would make Heaven ring: "Eternal life! 
eternal life!"  Everything else would float away into nothingness.

It is life men want, and value most.  Let a man worth a million dollars be on a wrecked vessel, and if he could save his life for six months by giving that million, he would give it in an instant. But the 
gospel is not a six months’ gift; 

The gift of God is eternal life.” 

And is it not one of the greatest marvels that men have to stand and plead and pray and beseech their fellow men to take this precious gift of God?
(Dwight  L. Moody)

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December 10

“Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)   

Strange thought for the heart of man, 
that none but the very highest could go down low enough! 

None so high as He, but none other could stoop so low.

None save that One could measure out what sin is in
the creature; bear its penalty and settle our account with God.

The believer is brought before God in a way altogether peculiar.
A way, the peculiarity of which—! learned at His hand—turns out 
to be the most blessed way that could possibly have been conceived. 
(G. V. Wigram)

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December 11

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
They shall run, and not be weary; and
they shall walk, and not faint.”
(Isaiah 40:31)

“Brethren, be not weary in well doing.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:13) 

Yes! He knows the way is dreary, knows the weakness of our frame,
Knows that hand and heart are weary; He, in all points, felt the same;
He is near to help and bless; be not weary; onward press.

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December 12


Earnests of More and More“

"He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the later rain in the first month.” 
(Joel 2:23)

God keeps writing a commentary on His word in the volume of our own 
experience.  That is, in so far as we put that volume into His hands,
 and do not think to fill it with our own scribble.

We are not to undervalue or neglect this commentary, but
to use it as John Newton did, when he wrote—

His love in time past forbids me to think
He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review
Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.”

The keywords of what the Spirit writes in it are, 
“He hath,” and therefore “He will.”

Every record of love bears the great signatures, “I am the Lord, I change not;” “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.” 

Every Hitherto of grace and help is a Henceforth of more grace and more help. Every experience of the realities of faith widens the horizon of the possibilities of faith.

Every realized promise is the stepping-stone to one yet unrealized.
(Royal Bounty F.R.H.)

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December 13

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;  they
shall run and not be weary; they
shall walk and not faint.”
(Isaiah 40:31)

We smell of the smoke of this lower house of the earth,
because our hearts and our thoughts are here.

If we could mount up with God, we
should smell of heaven and of our country above,
and we should look like our country, and like strangers or
people not born or brought up here-away.

Our crosses would not bite upon us,
if we were heavenly minded. 
(From the Letters of Samuel Rutherford ~ 1600-1661)

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December 14

SEPARATION AND INVOLVEMENT

“In the world. . . . not of the world.”
(John 17:11,14)

THE CHRISTIAN HAS been saved out of the world.

He is in the world but not of it and he is sent into the world 
to win others out of the world, which is his business in this world.

He must keep separated from its defilements, yet he must be in the midst
of it for the salt must be mixed with whatever it is to purify.

Light is needed in a dark place, not in a light place.
We are to be separated from all that might hinder our 
witness, but we are to separate from sin and not from sinners.

The Pharisees would not even eat an egg that thad been laid on the Sabbath,
but they wrapped their robes of their super-sanctity around them
and would not touch poor sinners with a forty-foot pole.

How to be a separated mixer, both apart and involved, is a lesson learned 
in the school of our Lord who was both.
(Vance Havner)

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December 15

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
(Hebrews 4:15)

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

There is no other touch like the human touch, that touch of your hand and mine,
That means far more to the fainting heart, than shelter, or bread, or wine:
For shelter is gone when the night is o’er, and bread only lasts for a day; 
But the touch of the hand, and the sound of the voice, live on in the soul alway.
(In Pastures Green

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December 16


HEARTS AFLAME

“Philip findeth Nathniel, and saith unto him, we have found Him.”
(John 1:45)

When Jesus had found Philip, Philip knew that he had found Him.

And the next thing to knowing that we have found Him is to find someone else, and say, “Come and See! . . . We have found Him . . . We see Jesus!”

If you only knew the irresistible longing, the very heart’s desire that you should find, and see Him too, you would pardon all the pertinacity, all the insistence, with which again and again we say, “Come and see!”     

The woman of Samaria left her water pot, and went her way into the city with the same message: 
Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did.” And we to whom Jesus has said, "I that speak unto thee am He,” cannot do otherwise or less.

Come!” to those who never heard why the Saviour’s blood was shed;
Bear to them the message-word that can quicken from the dead;
Tell them Jesus “died for all,” Tell them of His loving call.”
(Opened Treasure - F.R.H.)

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December 17

“While I live will I praise the Lord:
I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.”
(Psalm 146:2)

Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a living presence. 
This realization can turn any gloom into a song.”  
(S. T. Coleridge

Praise is our Lord’s most righteous due.  It is not an option whether we will offer praise—it is one of God’s commands.  Scriptures clearly teach that we are to offer a sacrifice of praise to God continually  (Hebrews 13:15-16).

Our daily sacrifice of praise should include joyful songs for who Christ is—“our blessed Redeemer.”
Then we need to praise God for all of His daily blessings, which are beyond number. We should offer praise even for the trials of life for they are often blessings in disguise. Finally, our sacrifice should include praise for His leading in ways yet to be experienced.

Praise Him! praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! Sing, O earth—His wonderful love proclaim! Hail Him! Hail Him! highest archangels in glory, strength and honour give to His holy name!  Like a shepherd Jesus will guard His children—in His arms He carries them all day long:

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus our blessed Redeemer! For our sins He suffered and bled and died; He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation, hail Him! hail Him! Jesus the Crucified.  Sound His praises—Jesus who bore our sorrows—love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong:

Praise Him! praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! Heavenly portals loud with hosannas ring! Jesus, Saviour, reigneth forever and ever, crown Him! crown Him! Prophet and Priest and King! Christ is coming, over the world victorious—power and glory unto the Lord belong: 

Chorus: Praise Him! praise! tell of His excellent greatness! Praise Him! praise Him! ever in joyful song!
(Fanny Crosby)

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December 18

“. . . for I called him alone, and blessed him . . .”
(Isaiah 51:2)

Whenever God has required someone to do a big thing for 
Him, He has sent him to a “lonely furrow.”

He has called him to go alone. 
What lonely men the great prophets of Israel were!

John the Baptist stood alone from the crowd!
Paul had to say, "all men forsook me."

And who was ever more alone than the Lord Jesus?

Victory for God is never won by the multitude.
The man who dares to go where others hold back 
will find himself alone, but he will see the glory of God. . . .”
(Gordon Watt)

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December 19


“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name.” 
(Malachi 3:16)

It is possible to be so busy that our souls become barren.  Too much activity causes us to be occupied too much with our work and too little with our God. 

Preachers who do not spend much time alone in meditation and communion with the Lord soon give out second-hand messages that have little or no spiritual power.

We should all pray, “Lord, deliver me from the barrenness of a busy life.” 
Many believers are afraid to be alone. They must be with others, talking, working or traveling. 

No time is spent in quiet contemplation. The pressures of modern life encourage us to be hyperactive, to be overachievers. We build up a momentum of activity and it is difficult to slow down. 

Life seems to be a continual push, push, push, go, go, go. 
The result is that we do not develop 
deep spiritual roots.
(Adapted - William MacDonald)

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December 20


“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart . . .
that I may discern between good and bad: . . ."
(1 Kings 3:9)

Hear the testimony of John Wesley’s mother:
Would you judge of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of pleasure?

Take this rule:  Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures
your sense of God, or takes off the relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself."

The North American natives have a saying among themselves which they use concerning a person who is keen of discernment and quick to detect secret dangers — “He hears a cataract.”

Guard your intuition or discernment as a gift from God.

And shall make him of quick understanding [keen of scent or smell, (Hebrew)] 
in the fear of the Lord: . . . (Isaiah 11:3)
(Mountain Trailways for Youth)

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December 21


“The light of the body is the eye: therefore 
when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light.”
(Luke 11:34)

A divided heart brings a disordered mind.
Much of what passes these days for “mental illness”
is largely the effect of a heart in rebellion against God’s hand.
(Nugget - John Kaiser)

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December 22

“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended?
Who hath gathered the wind in his fists?
Who hath bound the waters 
in a garment?
(Proverbs 30:4)

“And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
(Mark 4:39)   

Observe Him again in the vessel on the lake during the storm (Mark 4:39).
He was there as a tired labouring man whose sleep was sweet.

Such was His manifested form.  But underneath lay 
“the form of God” (Philippians 2:6).

He arose, and as the Lord who gathers the wind in His fists, and binds 
the waters in a garment, He rebuked the sea into a calm.  
(J. G. Bellett)

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December 23

“But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice.”
(Psalm 5:11)

How sweet the hour of praise and prayer, when our devotions blend,
And on the wings of faith divine our songs of joy ascend! 
’Tis then we hear in tones more clear the gracious promise given,
That, though we part from friends on earth, we all shall meet in heaven.
(Treasures From Fanny Crosby)

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December 24


Introducing Jesus

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith,
Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
(John 1:29)

John is introducing Jesus to his disciples.  He did not say, “Here comes my cousin, Jesus,” “Here comes Jesus, the carpenter.”

No, he went far beyond that; he declared Him to be “The lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” 

Here was Jesus, very near the beginning of His public ministry, a ministry that would take Him all the way to Calvary’s cross.

There He would become God’s sacrificial Lamb, and there lay down His life for you and for me.  Our sins would all be laid on His blessed head there, and Holy God would pour out His righteous wrath on the innocent Jesus for our guilty sins. 

Oh, how He suffered for you and for me!  Is He your Lamb; have you made it a personal matter with you?  Have you said, He died for me?

As Christians, how do we introduce Jesus?  Once it is personal, it is so different. The personal-ness of it is reflected in our choice of words, in our emotions, in our face.

He is my Saviour!  He is my Lord! He is my Keeper!  He is my advocate with the Father! and so on.
(With thanks - Lifelines - F. Pratt)

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December 25


“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
 (2 Timothy 2:15)

Differences of apprehension are mainly due to sluggishness and perversity on our part.

Dulness in a Christian is always the effect of having neglected the spiritual opportunities that have been given.

Unless there is growth there is always declension.

Satan goes right through every weapon that isn’t the Word of God.
(Hunt’s Sayings)

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December 26

“And the angel said unto them (shepherds), Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
(Luke 2:10-11)

"He shall stand upon the earth."

(Job 19:29)

Greater Than Walking on the Moon

Colonel James Irwin, related how he stood on the moon seeing Planet Earth suspended in space, glowing like an iridescent jewel.  He said that as he walked on the surface of the moon his thought was - "Man walking on the moon - this is the greatest event of human history!”  But at that very moment he heard an inner voice quietly speak to his heart; "I did something greater than that - I WALKED ON THE EARTH!"

Colonel Irwin returned from the moon a different man - not with a desire to be a celebrity but to walk as a servant of the Lord of the universe - the Lord Jesus Christ - who came from glory and walked on earth.

The greatest event this world has ever experienced is the incarnation - God manifest in flesh in the Person of the Son. The fullness of the Godhead clothed in the garb of humanity.  The infinite becoming the humble Servant.  
The Sovereign becoming the Saviour.  

Another expressed:
"The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ into the world is the most stupendous event of human history."

"He shall stand upon the earth" (Job 19:29).  
This remarkable declaration of Job, anticipated centuries in advance of our Lord's coming to earth, was for Job his great hope. It enabled him to endure and maintain his faith amid the fiercest of trials as God lovingly dealt with His dear child.

What a grand realization!  Our redeemer has come to earth and given His life a ransom for many.  
Because He came, died on the cross and rose again the third day, we can say with even greater confidence than Job,
"And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God" (Job 19:26).  “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15)

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December 27

DELIGHT YOURSELF IN THE LORD

"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” 
(Psalm 37:4)

Too often we read Scripture without concentrating on what we are reading and therefore miss completely what God has to say to us. We read quickly without delving into the depths of what has been written. 

We need to read God's Word slowly, thoughtfully, incisively with a desire, not only to understand what is being said, but to seek to apply to our lives the truth or principle before us. 

With this, we need to have eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts open to respond to all God wants to 
reveal to us. The Holy Spirit has been given to us, not simply to dwell within our 
hearts, but to teach and give us discernment to understand 
His Word and make it a reality in our daily walk.
(Adapted)

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December 28


“. . . It is enough . . .” (1 Kings 19:4)

“. . . It is finished . . .” (John 19:30)

When Elijah, depressed and alone in the wilderness under a tree,
 couldn’t withstand any more, he exclaimed,
It is enough!”

When Jesus, tortured and crucified, alone on the tree,
couldn’t give any more, He exclaimed, 
It is finished!”

"Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through 
our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians  15:57)
(R. M. B.)

I am unworthy to take of His grace, wonderful grace so free;
Yes, Jesus suffered and died in my place, e’en for a soul like me.
How can I help but love Him, when He love me so?
(Elton M. Roth)

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December 29


“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.”
(Psalm 55:22)

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

We all have "little tangles” in our lives, 
and are discouraged because we cannot make them straight;
so, instead of singing at our work, we are heavy-hearted and complaining.

But is there really so easy a remedy always at hand?
May we send directly to the King? 

Let us hear what He says about it Himself, for if it is true, why should we go on
carrying all our burdens, and keeping all our sorrows pent up within? 
(A.J. Pollock)

"Be careful for nothing; but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and supplication,
with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.”
(Philippians 4:6) 

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December 30


“The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, 
to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, 
to give them light; to go by day and night.”
(Exodus 13:21)

So cloud and fire are bound up with thoughts of guidance.
Each day for each Israelite began with the sight of the impenetrable Cloud.

What was the day to bring of journeying or of waiting?  He did not know.
He saw the Cloud, that was all.  So do our days begin.

We may have a time-table, even so,
we face the Unknown. 

We know not what a day may bring forth,
but if we are following our Leader we know that we shall be led.
The symbol of that leading is a Cloud, through which we cannot see.

Great Leader, guide me by cloud or fire, let me be loyal to Thy heart’s desire.
And lest I falter if the way be long, O let Thy joy be strength to me and song
(Edges of His Way - Amy Carmichael)

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December 31

The Humble Christian 

"By the grace of God, I am what I am!” 
(1 Corinthians 15:10)

The humble Christian will not be easily angered--nor will he be dogmatic and judgmental. 

He will be compassionate and tender towards the infirmities of his fellow-sinners; knowing, that, 
if there is any difference between himself and others--it is grace of God that has made it. 
He knows that he has the seeds of every evil in his own heart!

Also, under all trials and afflictions, the humble Christian will look to the hand of the Lord, 
and lay his mouth in the dust--acknowledging that he suffers much less than his iniquities have deserved. 

These are some of the advantages and good fruits which the Lord enables us to obtain from that bitter root, indwelling sin.
(John Newton)

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