Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5200 posted here) sent daily for 17 years -- njhiebert@sympatico.ca

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Gems from April 2004

April 1

"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." (Ephesians 1:18)

" Preparation heart (this comes from the Lord) is everything, whether for the study of the Word, for prayer, or for worship.



"There is yet another thing. If Ezra prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, it was not therefore to increase his knowledge, to add to his repute as a teacher; but it was that his heart, life, and ways might be formed buy it - that his own walk might be the embodiment of the truth, and thus Well pleasing to the Lord. ...where teaching does not flow out of a heart that is itself subject to the truth, it is not only powerless to influence others, but it will also harden the heart of the teacher himself. This is the secret of many a failure in the Church of God." (Edward Dennett - Ezra)

N.J. Hiebert # 1841

April 2

"Wherefore receive one another, even as the Christ also received you unto [the] glory of God." (Romans 15:7) (WK)

"Certainly Christ did not receive souls for settling points of difference. He who died and rose for us is above the controversies and the scruples and the self-importance of men. Our best wisdom is to worship and serve Him, who glorified God here below and is now glorified by Him on high." (William Kelly - Romans)

N.J. Hiebert # 1842

April 3

"...greater than the temple ...greater than Jonah ...greater than Solomon ..." (Matthew 12:6,41,42)

"The Lord Jesus is greater in mercy, for He came not to demand sacrifice, as required at the temple, but to show mercy by becoming the sacrifice for sins. He is greater in message, for Jonah preached judgment, but Jesus preached salvation from judgment. He is greater in mind, for Solomon, even with all his wisdom, became self willed, but Jesus always did the will of His Father, even to the death of the cross." (Tom Steere)

N.J. Hiebert # 1843

April 4

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105)

"It may seem like an ancient relic today, but not too many years ago people in all kinds of trades and vocations found a slide rule to be indispensable. This ingenious instrument was used to make complex mathematic computations quickly.
"Dr Burt Nanus recalls that on his first day in engineering school in 1953, a professor advised the entering freshmen to buy the best slide rule they could afford. The professor told them, 'You will be dependent on it all your professional life.' Nanus dutifully bought a slide rule. Yet after he graduated and went on to MIT, he never used it. The calculator had taken its place.

"Things that today we consider indispensable may quickly become obsolete. Tomorrow they may be discarded as relics that cannot provide the help we need. But at least one thing from the ancient past will always be needed and never become obsolete. It is the BIBLE, God's Holy Word. No matter how much technological change and progress takes place, that Book will remain the one sure means for getting the right answers to the complicated questions of our origin, our purpose, our behavior, and our ultimate destination.

"So keep a Bible handy. You'll always need it." (VCG)
The Bible is a treasure house, Where we will always find
The things we need from day to day For heart and soul and mind
. (Anon)

The Bible May be old, but its truths are always new.
(Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 1994, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission)

N.J. Hiebert # 1844


April 5

"Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven." (Psalm 119:89)

"His word is settled forever in heaven, and all the malice of man and Satan combined can never remove one jot or tittle of divine truth. God's word abides, His truth abides, and He who is the Truth, Christ Jesus, is '... the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.' We need not fear for the safety of the ark, but, oh, what shall we say of those who profess to be the people of God and who are thus giving up His glory into the enemy's hands? What will the end be of that testimony which has been entrusted with such priceless treasure, and which has allowed it all to be so ruthlessly taken away?" (S. Ridout - The Bible...The True University)

N.J. Hiebert # 1845

April 6

"God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

(Genesis 6:5)

"Yes, 'God saw.' It does not tell us what man thought, but what 'God saw.' There is no deceiving God. God sees all that takes place under the sun. Just think of God seeing the imagination of the thoughts of the heart. Could we bear to be in the presence of a fellow-man if he knew every thought we ever had in our heart. And what was the wickedness of man then, compared to the wickedness of man now? Has not man murdered the Son of God, and for (2000) years rejected Him? And Jesus foretells that this wicked rejection of Him will go on until the very day Christ is revealed." (Charles Stanley [Yorkshire Village 1821-1888] - Selected Writings - Vol. 1)

N.J. Hiebert # 1846

April 7

"Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." (Luke 18:16)

"The mothers brought their little ones to Jesus that He might touch them. If you are a parent, you can readily understand that statement. It is according to the nature of a mother to wish the very best for her small bundle of life. Here was one in their midst who combined in His Person all that was lovely. The mothers felt instinctively that the mere touch of His holy hands upon the head of a little one would do it good. So they brought the children to Him.



"How different was the judgment of the disciples! They would stem the tide of love in the heart of both the mothers and the Lord. But our Lord would not brook their interference. He told out the love of His heart when He said, 'Suffer little children to come unto me...' He invited them to come. You and I in our self-complacence are disposed to discount the work of God in the hearts of the little ones. But may we not learn something from them? When we talk to the children about the Lord Jesus, we do not find it necessary to reason with them.

They do not require a multitude of proofs as to the inspiration of the Scriptures, or of the deity of Christ. We repeat the story in simple words such as a little child can comprehend. Those little eyes look right into our eyes, and we can discern that they believe what we tell them." (C.H. Brown - From an address.)

N.J. Hiebert # 1847

April 8

"When I see the blood, I will pass over you." (Exodus 12:13)

"It is most needful to be simple and clear as to what it is which constitutes the ground-work of peace. So many things are mixed up with the work of Christ, that souls are plunged in darkness and uncertainty as to their acceptance. They know that there is no other way of being saved but by the blood of Christ; but the devils know this, and it avails them naught. What is needed is to know that we are saved - absolutely, perfectly, eternally saved. 


There is no such thing as being partly saved and partly lost; partly justified and partly guilty; partly alive and partly dead; partly born of God and partly not. There are but two states, and we must be in either one or the other."The Israelite was not partly sheltered by the blood and partly exposed to the sword of the destroyer. He knew he was safe. He did not hope so. He was not praying to be so. He was perfectly safe. Why? Because God had said, 'When I see the blood, I will pass over you.' He simply rested on God's testimony about the shed blood. He 'set to his seal' that God was true. He believed that God meant what He said, and that gave him peace." (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 1848

April 9

"But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish." (Jonah 1:3)

"Jonah might have deemed it a very remarkable opening of Providence to find a ship going to Tarshish; but in truth it was an opening through which he slipped off the path of obedience." (Christian Truth - Vol. 14)

N.J. Hiebert # 1849

April 10

"...if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of Him." (1 John 5:14,15)

"Some prayers never will be answered - at least, not in the form in which they are presented. There is the well-known case of Paul. He besought the Lord three times that the thorn in the flesh might depart from him, and yet the request was not allowed. It was better for him that it should not be granted; and so it may be in your case. David's history affords another instance. He greatly desired to build a house for the Lord. It was a right thought, and he would only have been too glad to obtain permission; but it could not be. And yet both Paul and David did receive answers - Paul received grace so that he could glory in his infirmities, and David had the satisfaction of knowing that Solomon would build the Lord a house. The answers came in unexpected ways. May it not be so in our case? We have received an answer, but the answer assumed a somewhat different shape from the request; and for want of attentiveness we failed to recognize it. John Newton describes an experience akin to this. He says:

"
I asked the Lord that I might grow In faith and love and every grace,
Might more of His salvation know, And seek more earnestly His face.

" 'Twas He who taught me thus to pray, And He, I know, has answered prayer;
But it has been in such a way As almost drove me to despair."
(R.E.)

N.J. Hiebert # 1850

April 11

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

For all Thy blessings given there are many to thank Thee Lord,
But for the gifts withholden I fain would add my word.
For the good things I desired that barred me from the best,
The peace at the price of honour, the sloth of a shameful rest;
The poisonous sweets I longed for to my hungering heart denied,
The staff that broke and failed me when I walked in the way of pride;
The tinsel joys withheld that so content might still be mine,
The help refused that might have made me loose my hand from Thine;
The light withdrawn that I might not see the dangers of my way;
For what Thou hast NOT given, I thank Thee, Lord, today
. - Annie Johnson Flint

N.J. Hiebert # 1851

April 12

"...what thing? And they said unto Him (Jesus), concerning Jesus of Nazareth... and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and have crucified Him... " (Luke 24:19-20)
"He is not here, but is risen..." (Luke 24:6)

"Instead of listening only to the distinct testimony of the eternal Spirit in the Word they had allowed their minds to get thoroughly down under the action and influences of outward circumstances. Instead of standing with firm foot on the everlasting rock of divine revelation, they were struggling amid the billows of life's stormy ocean. In a word, they had for a moment fallen under the power of death so far as their minds were concerned, and no marvel if their hearts were sad and their communications gloomy.



"Does it not sometimes happen that you and I in like manner get down under the power of things seen and temporal, instead of living by faith in the light of things unseen and eternal? Yes, even we who profess to know and believe in a risen Saviour - who believe that we are dead and risen with Him - who have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, do not we at times sink and cower? And do we at such moments stand in need of a risen Saviour's challenge..."Does it not often happen that when we come together or when we walk by the way our "communications" are anything but what they ought to be? It may be gloomily moping together over the depressing circumstances which surround us - the weather - the prospects of the country - the state of business - our poor health - the difficulty of making ends meet - anything and everything, in short, but the right thing." (C.H. Mackintosh - Misc. Writings - A Risen Saviour's Challenge - Vol.6)

N.J. Hiebert # 1852

April 13

"Ask, and it shall be given; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." (Matthew 7:7)

"The Queen of Sheba had a long way to go and it was doubtful if she would ever reach him. She came, from the uttermost parts of the earth. It was a long way, a strange road, beset with inconveniences and difficulties, and even dangers. But she was not daunted, she was not to be turned aside. She had made up her mind and she went.



"To us success is pledged. "Ask, and it shall be given; Seek and ye shall find; Knock and it shall opened unto you." For us it is never a long way to go. He is ever nigh at hand and not afar off. Let those of us who shrink at the first rebuff, who yield at the first whisper of danger, find in this woman's example a new courage. It should shame us into resoluteness." (Mark Guy Pearse - The Gentleness of Jesus)

N.J. Hiebert # 1853

April 14

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

"Occupy till I come" (Luke 19:13)

"A traveler was once being shown over a beautiful estate in northern Italy. He was charmed with the beauty of the garden, and the perfect order in which it was kept. He was much surprised to learn that for twenty-five years the gardener had labored there, and during those years his master had visited the place only four times; and for the past twelve years he had not been there at all. Also, the steward who was responsible to give the master's orders lived at a distance and never came.
" 'One would think that you were expecting your master tomorrow,' observed the visitor.

" 'No, today, sir, today,' was the faithful servant's answer.
"Is this how we are acting? Are we doing our work in such a manner as though we were expecting our Lord today?
"Are we living as though we were not expecting Him at all, or can we say the thought before our hearts is, 'perhaps today'? (Christian Truth - Vol. 22 - 1969)

N.J. Hiebert # 1854

April 15

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves" (Philippians 2:3).

"When a soul that is in any measure spiritual, thinks of himself, what he feels, is his immense falling short of Christ. He has habitually before him how greatly he fails, even of that which he desires in his ways before God. But when he looks at his brother-Christian, let him be the feeblest possible, and sees him as a beloved one of Christ, in full acceptance in, and the object of, the Father's tender affections, this draws out both love and self-loathing!


"Thus if grace be at work, what is Christlike in another saint rises at once before the heart, and what is unlike Christ in himself. So it is not a question of striving to cultivate high feelings about one's neighbors, and to think them what they are not, but really believing what is true about them, and feeling rightly about ourselves too. If one thinks of what a saint is in Christ and to Christ, and what he will be through Christ, then one's heart takes in the wonder of His love, and how much the Lord makes of him; but when the eye is turned to oneself, all the unworthy ways and feelings and shortcomings come up in humiliating remembrance." (William Kelly)

N.J. Hiebert # 1855

April 16

"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen" (Romans 11:36).

"The only place of true moral security is to be at the blessed Master's feet, as instruments, ready for His work, whatever that work may be - vessels meet for His use, whatever that use may be. If we, in the mere energy of nature, and the restless activity of an unbroken will, rush hither and thither as wonderful doers and active workers, the consequences may prove disastrous in the extreme.



"... It is marvelous grace, most surely, that can stoop to take up such poor things as we are and use us in that blessed work which our God is carrying on, whether in gathering or feeding the flock of Christ; but the work is His, not ours; we are instruments, not doers. When a gardener waters his drooping plants, and causes them to emit their fragrance, who thinks of praising the watering pot? And yet the watering pot has its place. Truly so; but it is a watering pot, not a gardener - an instrument, not a doer." (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 1856

April 17

"God is love" (1 John 4:16). "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever beliveth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

"The great Swiss-German theologian Karl Barth delivered one of the closing lectures of his life at the university of Chicago Divinity School. At the end of the lecture, the president of the seminary told the audience that Dr. Barth was not well and was very tired, and though he thought Dr. Barth would like to be open for questions, he probably could not handle the strain. Then he said, 'Therefore, I'll ask just one question on behalf of all of us.' He turned to Barth and asked, 'Of all the theological insights you have ever had, which do you consider to be the greatest of them all?'



"This was a remarkable question to ask of a man who had written tens of thousands of pages of some of the most sophisticated theology ever put on paper. The students sat with pads and pencils ready. They wanted to jot down the premier insight of the greatest theologian of their time.


"Karl Barth closed his eyes and thought for a while. Then he smiled, opened his eyes, and said to the young seminarians, 'the greatest theological insight that I have ever had is this: Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!' " (Anon)

N.J. Hiebert # 1857

April 18

"The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour... Go in this thy might..." (Judges 6:12,14).
"My grace is sufficient for thee for my strength is made perfect in weakness..."
(2 Corinthians 12:9).

"When the people of God, as such, have lost all power, it can still be found by the soul individually in quite as great and marvelous a measure as in the times of Israel's greatest prosperity. If this is true, how ardently should our hearts desire to possess this power! Are we among those who, settle down in their weakness, put themselves on a level with their surroundings, and accept the worldliness of the family of God as an inevitable or necessary state of things? Or, have we rather the ears of Gideon when God says to us: there is unlimited power at thy disposal." (H.L. Rossier - Meditations on the Book of Judges)

N.J. Hiebert # 1858

April 19

"He hath not dealt with us after our sins" (Psalm 103:10)

"What a comfort to the struggling Christian! Satan is always busy, and often successful at burdening us with the guilt of our past sins. But what do the Scriptures have to say regarding the believer's sins? To our astonishment and delight, God has put them out of reach (Psalms 103:12); out of sight (Isaiah 38:17); and out of mind (Hebrews 10:17). The basis of these wonderful truths is the finished work of Christ, accomplished on the cross of Calvary 2,000 years ago. Don't belittle that great work by living in the guilt of sins that God has fully dealt with and put away. (C. Mark Hogan)

N.J. Hiebert # 1859

April 20

"Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes

(Song of Solomon 2:15)

"Satan with his cunning will surely endeavor to mar the sweetness of communion and worship, probably not with any great temptation at first, but with "the little foxes, that spoil the vines." Some little extra pressure of business, some self-indulgence that takes up time we might have given to reading or prayer, some anxiety or care brooded over and magnified instead of being cast on the Lord, or even the veriest trifle to distract the mind. Let us then not spare ourselves, beloved brethren, in the matters of the 'little foxes.' Beware the beginnings of declension." (W.H.S.F.)

N.J. Hiebert # 1860

April 21

"The Lord your God, He it is that fighteth for you" (Joshua 23:10)

"When the outward props of divine order in the assembly (church) are taken from us, and those who were to the front in the fight are no more, everything is apparently gone; but in reality, to faith there is no lack. Leaders may depart, and it is a blessed thing to consider the end of their conversation (outcome of their way of life); but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Yes, nothing is lacking where there is faith; and where it is wanting, everything decays, as happened with Israel and the Church." (H.L.R.)

N.J. Hiebert # 1861

April 22

"For My thoughts are not yours thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord"
(Isaiah 55:8).

"I find more and more that His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. But all our blessing consists in our bending ourselves to Him, our ways to His, and counting our thoughts cheap in comparison to His. May God teach us more and more how to do this; for difficult as the lesson may seem, it is a learnable one, and one in which is all our peace and comfort while in the wilderness, to have it firmly in principle at least. When we come home (sweet word), His home and ours, then will every way of ours be conformed to His perfect mind; for we shall be like Him, seeing Him as He is." (G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert # 1862

April 23

"Daniel... went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime." (Daniel 6:10)

"Do not have your concert first, and tune your instrument afterward. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all in harmony with Him!" (Christian Truth - Vol. 22)

N.J. Hiebert # 1863

April 24

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (Romans 8:35).

"Since all the threats listed are inanimate, one would expect the pronoun 'what' not 'who' to be used. Trials in our lives are not episodes of random 'bad luck.' Nor is the true cause human, even thought they may be channels (Ephesians 6:12). It is Satan who seeks to separate us from the love of Christ. But be of good courage, beleaguered child of God, Satan is a defeated fore; he can do only what God allows (Job 1:12, 2:6). All power belongs to Christ (Matthew 28:18)" (Choice Gleanings - David J. Logan)

N.J. Hiebert # 1864

April 25

STRONG HANDS

"Now to Him that is able to keep your from falling (stumbling), ....be glory ...now and for ever. Amen" (Jude 24,25).

"A mountain climber in the Alps had come to a treacherous place in his ascent. The only way to advance was to put his foot in the outstretched hands of the guide who had anchored himself a little way ahead of him. The man hesitated a moment as he looked below to where he would certainly fall to his death if anything went wrong. Noticing his hesitation, the guide said, 'Have no fear, sir. In all my years of service my hands have never yet lost a man!'


"The person who puts the destiny of his soul in Christ's hands can be sure that he will be held securely. By the Holy Spirit he is 'sealed for the day of redemption' (Ephesians 4:30).


"As the 'author and finisher of our faith' (Hebrews 12:2), Jesus spoke especially comforting words to His own when He said with divine finality, 'They shall never perish' (John 10:28). He then underscored this promise by assuring us that we actually have double protection to keep us from being plucked from His protecting care. Christ stated that we are safe not only in His omnipotent hand but also in the Father's eternal grip (John 10:28,29).


"If you have committed yourself for time and eternity into the loving care of God through faith in Christ, you need not fear. You are in His strong hands." (H.G.B.)

He who gave Himself to save me
Now will keep me to the end;
In His care securely resting,
On His promise I depend
. (H.G.B.)

OUR SALVATION IS SECURE BECAUSE GOD IS DOING THE HOLDING.

N.J. Hiebert # 1865

April 26

"...do as Thou hast said" (2 Samuel 7:25).

"Do you know that God wants you to take Him at His Word? When we think about the dark days in which we live or about ourselves and our continual need of grace, strength and guidance, we must always remember that God's promises are waiting for us, to meet our need. We do not need to say much, we only have to take Him at His Word. And He will give us rest." (Corrie Ten Boom)

N.J. Hiebert # 1866

April 27

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love..." (Ephesians 3:17)

"A young sapling gets firmer hold of the soil as the result of fierce winds loosening the roots. When the storm is over, the loosened roots have room to push farther out, and take a firmer grip. The life and safety of a tree lie in the fact that there is as much out of sight below the surface as there is above ground. The taller the tree the longer and more far-reaching the roots.


"So it is with the Christian. Nothing will stand the assault of the enemy save a true heart-knowledge of the Lord as Saviour, a true faith-grip of the Gospel of the grace of God. There must be an out-of-sight hold on divine realities before there can be effective Christian life and testimony." (A.J. Pollock)

N.J. Hiebert # 1867

April 28

"...ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Ephesians 5:13).

"There are many today, alas, who are trying to bring the Lord's people back to slavery. How many are teaching the law, some as a way of salvation, others as a rule of life. In either case, it is slavery once again. Every sect of Christendom has its own rules and regulations; and these all bring the Christian into slavery once more. Even when there are no written laws, or rules, or regulations, how often do we find unwritten traditions that bind the saint of God with mighty chains, and drag him down once more to slavery." (G.C. Willis - Meditations on Galatians)

N.J. Hiebert # 1868

April 29

"They poured out a prayer when Thy chastening was upon them"

(Isaiah 26:16).

"Affliction quickens the spirit of prayer; Jonah was asleep in the ship, but at prayer in the whale's belly.
"Perhaps in a time of health and prosperity we pray in a cold and formal manner, we put no coals to the incense; we were careless about our own prayers, and how could we expect God to answer them? God sends some trial or other, to make us take hold of Him.


"In times of trouble we pray feelingly, and we never pray so fervently as when we pray feelingly.
"When God puts His children in the school of affliction, He deals with them tenderly, because He does not leave them without a promise: 'God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able.' (1 Corinthians 10:13)


"He will not lay a giant's burden upon a child's back; nor will He stretch the strings of the instrument too much, lest they should break. If God sees it good to strike with one hand, He will support with the other; either He will make the faith stronger, or render the yoke lighter." (Anon.)

N.J. Hiebert # 1869

April 30

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).

"There are many people who do not believe in the Scriptures or in Jesus, and who yet believe that God created the world. To this my answer is twofold. First, where did they obtain this knowledge? Reason often adopts the teachings of Scripture, and then, like a conjuror, pretends to have brought them out without assistance, and out of an empty receptacle. All the philosophy of man could never have written the first verse of Genesis. But reason and science will ultimately acknowledge the first chapter of Genesis to be a perfect revelation of truth.


"But my second answer is more important, though sad. What is this belief worth, this rational, intellectual belief, that God is the Creator - a belief independent of Scripture, and independent of the God of salvation revealed in Christ Jesus? Soon - thus the history of human thought shows us - this belief vanishes, either before the lofty and alluring speculations of Pantheism (the worship of all gods), or the powerful and fascinating science of materialism." (Adolph Saphir)

N.J. Hiebert # 1870

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