Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5500 posted here) sent daily for 18 years --

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Gems from August 2004

August 1

"What concord hath Christ with Belial?..." (2 Corinthians 6:15)

God will be God, however His people may fail; and hence we see that when Israel had utterly failed to guard the ark of His testimony, and allowed it to pass into the hands of the Philistines, - when all was lost in man's hand, - then the glory of God shone out in power and splendour: Dagon fell, and the whole land of the Philistines was made to tremble beneath the hand of Jehovah. His presence was intolerable to them, and they sought to get rid of it as soon as possible. It was proved beyond all question to be utterly impossible that Jehovah and the uncircumcised could go on together. Thus it was, thus it is, and thus it ever must be. (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 1963

August 2

"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (mark the mighty moral force of this appeal) "that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." (1 Corinthians 1:10)

Now the question is, How was this most blessed result to be reached? Was it by each one exercising the right of private judgment? Alas! it was this very thing that gave birth to all the division and contention in the assembly at Corinth, and drew forth the sharp rebuke of the Holy Spirit. Those poor Corinthians thought they had a right to think and judge and choose for themselves, and what was the result? "It hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided?" (1 Corinthians 1:11-13) (Christian Truth - Vol. 15 - March 1962)

N.J. Hiebert # 1964

August 3

"And it (Manna) was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey." ( Exodus 16:31)
"And the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil." (Numbers 11:8)

What was it that preceded this change in the taste of the manna in Numbers 11? "We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic." (Numbers 11:5) Was it not a dangerous retrospect? We cannot be thus engaged, even for a moment, unless self-judgement is promptly exercised, without suffering from it. It should be ever "forgetting those things which are behind." (Philippians 3:13) If we allow our desires to go back to the domains of our old taskmaster, we too shall be led to imagine that the food we there sought after was eaten "freely," being blinded to the recollection of the vexation of spirit and cruel bondage that the prince of that land laid upon us, while we earned it. Let us not tarry at such an occupation, or we shall loathe the manna. "The serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety," and "we are not ignorant of his devices." Lot's wife only "looked back." We are on slippery places, while our eyes look not right on, with our eyelids straight before us, unto Jesus, who is in the glory. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 1965

August 4

"That disciple whom Jesus loved." (John 13:26)

If I look at a brother whose way savours much of that which I know Jesus must delight in, being meek, and self-renouncing, and unaffectedly humble, and withal devoted and unworldly, I may remember John, and see that disciple whom Jesus loved reflected in my brother. But then how happy it is to remember that John himself was but one of a company whom the same Jesus had chosen and called, and bound to Himself forever! Did John exclude Thomas or Bartholomew? Thomas and Bartholomew, in the great evangelical sense, were as much to Christ as John. The one was not a whit more accepted man than the other. This is sure and blessed, as well as plain and simple. I may rejoice in it with all certainty. And if I have any love to Him who has called me to such assured and eternal blessedness, will I not rejoice in this, that He has an object in which He can take more delight than I must well know I and my way can afford Him? (J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert # 1966

August 5

"...On the absence of the multitude." (Luke 22:6)
"Not on the feast day..." (Matthew 26:5)

Human plans and divine order seldom harmonize (Isaiah 55:7-9). But it is always God's plan which triumphs. Despite the intentions of both Judas and the rulers, the sacrifice of the Lamb of God did coincide with the Passover. In His fulfillment of the prophecies and types established on that Passover night in Egypt, the eternal counsels of God were performed (Acts 2:23). Are we sensitive to His guidance in our lives - and do we submit to it? (Choice Gleanings)

N.J. Hiebert # 1967

August 6

"The merciful man doth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh."
(Proverbs 11:17)

One night in 1935, Fiorello H. La Guardia, mayor of New York, showed up at a night court in the poorest ward of the city. He dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench. One case involved an elderly woman who was caught stealing bread to feed her grandchildren. La Guardia said, "I've got to punish you. Ten dollars or ten days in jail." As he spoke, he threw $10 into his hat. He then fined everyone in the courtroom 50 cents for living in a city "where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat." The hat was passed around and the woman left the courtroom with her fine paid and an additional $47.50.

That woman, like the servant in Jesus' parable, certainly had reason to show mercy to others. Showing mercy because we have received it is what Christ was teaching in Matthew 18. The servant whose enormous debt was cancelled showed no mercy to one who owed him a small amount. When the master heard about it, he had the heartless man arrested and punished. Receiving God's mercy obliges us to show mercy to others. If we refuse, we may be giving evidence that we don't understand what Christ has done for us. People who have received mercy should become merciful people. (H.V.L.)

There's a wideness in God's mercy Like the wideness of the sea;
There's a kindness in His justice, Which is more than liberty. - Faber


(Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 1991, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission.)

N.J. Hiebert # 1968

August 7

"He that watereth, shall be watered also himself" (Proverbs 2:25).
"If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37,38).

A little boy five years of age said to his teacher, as they went to walk one day. "Tell me a story." As this was his daily request, the teacher said to him, "How can you expect me to have so many stories to tell you? You know, no matter how full a pitcher may be, if you are always drinking from it, it will be empty at last." The little boy understood her meaning very well, and quickly replied, "Oh, but you should put the pitcher under a spout." May we not all take a lesson from the little boy, and remember that no human vessel can ever be a fountain in itself; the best filled vessel will become exhausted unless it is constantly refreshed from the Word of God. If we cannot, in the first instance, teach the love of God in Christ, without having tasted ourselves, and seen that Christ is precious; no more can we be the means of instructing and refreshing others without daily drinking at the fountain of eternal love, and constant study of the Word of God. (TCN - Number 72)

N.J. Hiebert # 1969

August 8

"As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" (2 Corinthians 6:10)

"Jesus wept" is the shortest verse in our English Bible. In the original Greek it has three words and 16 letters.... "Rejoice evermore" has two words and 14 letters, so it is the shortest.... It is remarkable that these two shortest verses should give us the picture of the sympathy of the heart of Christ in fellowship with all our sorrows, and give us the key to a triumphant Christian life. Rejoicing always and in all circumstances, even while sorrowing! Though it is the shortest verse, it never ends. (selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 1970

August 9

"And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive" (Acts 27:15)

Many have listened to the world that encourages them to do things their own way - do whatever pleases them. Ever since the garden of Eden, man has rebelled against God, spending life's journey going his own way and doing his own thing. That is the normal course and desire of fallen man. But when a soul is saved and has made the Lord Jesus Master (Lord) of their life, then the safe and joyful path is truly saying each day, not my will but Thine be done. Yet, sad to say, how many dear young believers (and older ones too!) have traveled life's journey according to their own thoughts, desires, and will. Unexpected storms - serious difficulties, trials, pressures - will always come (God will not continue to allow a dear child of His to live happily in self will and disobedience), and the ship is caught. The so called freedom and liberty of will is suddenly, harshly swept away - and the sad realization comes - "I'm not in control of my life anymore!". "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6).

What a terrible price to pay - to realize that self will has brought storms of difficulties, which cannot be controlled. Finding that they cannot face life's storms brought on by self-will and refusal to stay in Fair Havens, believers have to give up and let her drive. It is no longer their will that is directing events, but the will of forces out of their control - how solemn. This is what comes of refusal to listed to God's loving warnings. The freedom of will that may have seemed so pleasant, so desirable, only brings a storm in which life is out of control, and all of our efforts are found unable to regain what has been lost. Do not leave the safe harbour, the restraining influences that Christianity has exerted in Fair Havens. Remain there and seek grace to submit to His perfect, loving will for your life. (The Journey of life - Douglas Nicolet)

N.J. Hiebert # 1971

August 10

"When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him" (Luke 15:20).

Slow are the steps of repentance, but swift are the feet of forgiveness. God can run where we can scarcely limp, and if we are limping towards Him, He will run towards us. These kisses were given in a hurry; the story is narrated so that there is a sense of haste in the very wording of it. His father "ran, and fell on his neck and kissed him" - eagerly, he did not delay, for though he was out of breath he was not our of love. Your Father's many kisses will make you forget your brother's frowns. (C.H. Spurgeon)

Two things the prodigal would never understand: Why he had fled love for the dark streets and the black wine, Or why, when he quit the swinecote, Love ran to meet him on the road.

N.J. Hiebert # 1972

August 11

"My grace is sufficient for thee" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

So many burdened lives along the way! My load seems lighter than the most I see, And oft I wonder if I could be brave, Patient and sweet if they were laid on me. But God has never said that He would give Another's grace without another's thorn; What matter, since for every day of mine Sufficient grace for me comes with the morn? And though the future brings some heavier cross I need not cloud the present with my fears; I know the grace that is enough today Will be sufficient still through all the years. (Annie Johnson Flint)

N.J. Hiebert # 1973

August 12

"My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

* We need God's power to be little. * Our very helplessness is our resource. We find that God Himself must come in because we can do nothing. (J.N.D.)

N.J. Hiebert # 1974

August 13

"He would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him." (Luke 15:16)

We have lost, in a great degree, the power of measuring good and evil. Would not the young man have known it was unseemly to be feeding on the husks the swine did ear, if he had been living happily in his father's house? (Collected Writings - Vol. 25, Expository No 4 - suggested by Walter Porter)

N.J. Hiebert # 1975

August 14

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Galatians 6:7)

What solemn words are these. If a man sows rice, he reaps rice. If a man sows turnips, he reaps turnips. Day by day we are sowing - sowing what? We are sowing thoughts, words, deeds! What shall we reap? What will the harvest be?

What we sow: "Whatever a man soweth, that very thing he shall reap."

Where we sow: "The one sowing unto (in the interests of) the flesh..." "The one sowing unto (in the interests of) the Spirit..."

How we sow: "He which soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly; He which soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully." (2 Corinthians 9:6) (G.C. Willis - Meditations on Galatians)

N.J. Hiebert # 1976

August 15

"And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah (Micah) the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the Lord: but I hate him: for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so." (1 Kings 22:8)

Ahab has but one thought: to show proof of Micah's malice toward himself (v.18). Promptly he has him sent for. The man of God naturally kept himself apart from the four hundred prophets - a good example for the king of Judah who had joined himself to the profane king. The very sad but necessary result of this alliance is that he follows Ahab instead of following Micah. Such is the effect of "evil communications" upon the believer. Never does one see the opposite effect produced, that is to say, that the world follows the example of God's children. One has well said: "There is no equality in an alliance between truth and error, for by the very alliance itself, truth ceases to be truth and error does not become truth." (H.I. Rossier - Meditations on 1 Kings)

N.J. Hiebert # 1977

August 16

"... in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:6)

Are you so living to Christ that you take up all the duties that lie in your path and do what your hands find to do unto Christ? Satan often blinds the eyes to the omnipotency of Christ, leading one to say, "I cannot expect Christ to come into such a little thing." What! does not Christ fill little things as well as great? All the omnipotency and might of God is found in the heart of that risen Man. If not, prayers could not be heard. I get His whole attention when I speak to Him in prayer, as if there were not one more save me. If I say that anything small cannot occupy Him, it is only pride denying His omnipotency." (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 1978

August 17

"Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
(Romans 3:24)

To be justified is to be declared righteous. It is the sentence of the judge in favour of the prisoner. It is not a state or condition of soul. We are not justified because we have become righteous in heart and life. God justifies first, then He enables the justified one to walk in practical righteousness. We are justified freely. The word means "without price!" It is the same as in John 15:25, "They hated Me without a cause." There was nothing evil in the ways or life of Jesus, for which men should hate Him. They hated Him freely. So there is no good in man for which God should justify him. He is justified freely, without a cause, when he believes in Jesus. (H.A. Ironside)

N.J. Hiebert # 1979

August 18

"Make us a king to judge us like all the nations" (1 Samuel 8:5).

The man of the people's choice - the man who personated their carnal tastes - now appears. Remarkably, he first comes before us in connection with (donkeys), in striking contrast with the man of Jehovah's choice, who had the care of sheep and lambs (Psalm 78:70-72). Even the (donkeys) Saul lost, and although they were ultimately recovered, it was not he who found them (1 Samuel 9:20). David, on the other hand, at serious risk to himself, recovered a lamb from two ferocious enemies, a lion and a bear (1 Samuel 17:37). How suggestive are the lessons here! The (donkey) is the symbol of poor, turbulent flesh, "For vain man would be wise, though man be born a wild (donkey's) colt" (Job 12:12); and the offspring of man in Israel had to be redeemed with a lamb equally with the offspring of the donkey (Exodus 13:13). Sheep and lambs, on the contrary, are the symbols throughout the Word of God of God's own true people. For these, Saul had neither the heart not the fitness to care. A captain he might be; a shepherd he was not.

He came too of Benjamin - a tribe notorious for its stubbornness in evil (Judges 19:21), and now the smallest of Israel's tribes in consequence (1 Samuel 9:21). His name means "asked," for he was the answer to the people's carnal demand. He thus represents the flesh in a remarkable way; but was such a one really fitted to curb the restless evil of a revolted people? Flesh can never put down flesh; have we learned this in our Assembly difficulties? But that which flesh can only aggravate, the power and grace of the Holy Spirit can entirely remove. How often the Church of God has proved this? (W.W. Feredy - Samuel God's Emergency Man)

N.J. Hiebert # 1980

August 19

"Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe [not ask] are justified from all things." (Acts 13:38,39)

If I am continually asking a person for something that person is offering me, and I overlook the offer, is it any wonder if I miss getting what I want? This is just what thousands of people are doing in regard to forgiveness of sins. They think that forgiveness is to be had by asking,whereas it is to be obtained by TAKING; they think it is to be obtained by prayers and sighs and tears, or religious observances, whereas it is to be obtained by FAITH. They plead with God about it, and do not see it is something God offers them.

"Thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem' (Luke 24:46,47). The weary, sin-stricken soul needs to learn that God can never forgive on the ground of asking, but on the ground that Christ has once suffered for sins, and through faith in Him. (Russell Elliott.)

N.J. Hiebert # 1981

August 20

"Minister... to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." (1 Peter 4:10)

Our major highways are crawling with huge trucks, vans, and trailers. When we feel rushed, it's easy to see them as nothing more than a hindrance to those of us traveling in smaller vehicles. We forget that the drivers of these mighty carriers are stewards, serving you and me. Having collected all sorts of manufactured goods needed by people everywhere, they have only one aim: Deliver the goods. How impoverished we would be without their service!

The apostle Peter wrote that believers are called to be good stewards of God's vast resources. He called these resources "the manifold grace of God." The vehicle for receiving and delivering "God's goods" is a yielded life. And the uniqueness of that vehicle is determined by the particular ability God has given the individual. Once we dedicate that ability for His use and for Christ's glory, our aim should be to deliver the goods. If we fail to do so, others will not be blessed by our lives but will be starved instead. Peter emphasized that the use of our gifts is a two-way ministry as we serve one another. As you journey life's road, don't look at other vehicles of God's grace as a hindrance. You could end up starving yourself and them. (JEY)

How good to be an instrument
Of grace that He can use
At any time, in any place,
However He may choose!


N.J. Hiebert # 1982
(Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 1997, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission)

August 21

"Even there shall Thy hand lead me." (Psalm 139:10)

Thoughts of the Lord's omniscience were too wonderful for the Psalmist. Every movement, every thought, every word, were all known to the Lord. The Lord's omnipresence staggered him. There was no place where the eyes of the Lord were not, whether in the glory or the grave, on the wings of the morning or the uttermost bounds of distance and depths. "Even there" the child of God is assured that the power of His hand is for him and the preciousness of His thoughts are towards him. (J. Boyd Nicholson)

Though I forget Him and wander away,
Still He doth love me wherever I stray;
Back to His dear loving arms would I flee,
When I remember that Jesus loves me
. (P.P. Bliss)

N.J. Hiebert # 1983

August 22

"All Thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made Thee glad." (Psalm 45:8)

Swaddling bands, a seamless robe, a slave's apron, a purple cloth, and linen grave clothes. Whatever the Saviour wears, all is fragrant. Whether garments of humility or mockery or purity, He makes all fragrant with the fragrance of His lovely Person. (Jim Flanigan)

My Lord has garments so wondrous fine,
And myrrh their texture fills;
Its fragrance reached to this heart of mine,
With joy my being thrills
. (Henry Barraclough)

N.J. Hiebert # 1984

August 23

"Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you." (Deuteronomy 4:1)

Here we have, very prominently before us, the special characteristic of the entire book of Deuteronomy. "Hearken," and "do," that ye may "live" and "possess." This is a universal and abiding principle. It was true for Israel, and it is true for us. The pathway of life and the true secret of possession is simple obedience to the holy commandments of God. We see this all through the inspired volume, from cover to cover. God has given us His word, not to speculate upon it, or discuss it; but that we may obey it. And it is as we, through grace, yield a hearty and happy obedience to our Father's statutes and judgments, that we tread the bright pathway of life, and enter into the reality of all that God has treasured up for us in Christ. "He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him." (John 14:21)

It would be a very serious mistake to suppose that the privilege here spoken of is enjoyed by all believers. It is not. It is only enjoyed by such as yield a loving obedience to the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ. It lies within the reach of all, but all do not enjoy it, because all are not obedient. It is one thing to be a child, and quite another to be an obedient child. It is one thing to be saved, and quite another thing to love the Saviour, and delight in all His most precious precepts." (C.H. Mackintosh - Deuteronomy)

N.J. Hiebert # 1985

August 24

"What doth the Lord thy God require of thee?" (Deuteronomy 10:12-13)

"What doth the Lord require of thee?" (Micah 6:8)

Because the Lord God owns us by creation and redemption, He has the right to "require" of us. Because we are His creatures and children, we have a responsibility to respond to His requirements. According to the texts, the Lord's requirements are: to fear the Lord; to walk in all His ways; to love Him; to serve the Lord wholeheartedly; to do justly; to love mercy; to walk humbly. The Lord never requires anything from us without giving the grace and strength for us to perform. Are we fulfilling His requirements? (Milton Haack)

N.J. Hiebert # 1986

August 25

"Thy Word IS..." (Psalm 119:105)

When I am tired, the Bible is my bed;
Or in the dark, the Bible is my light.
When I am hungry, it is vital bread;
Or fearful, it is armour for the fight.
When I am sick, 'tis healing medicine;
Or lonely, thronging friends I find therein.

Does gloom oppress? The Bible is the sun;
Or ugliness? It is a garden fair.
Am I athirst? How cool its currents run!
Or stifled? What a vivifying air!
Since thus thou giv'st thyself, Great Book, to me,
How should I give myself, Great Book, to Thee
--A.R. Wells

When we walk in uprightness, the Scriptures seem full of promises; but when we walk in unrighteousness, they appear replete with threats.

N.J. Hiebert #1987

August 26

"All things were made by HIM..." (John 1:3)

The various created objects in the world are designed to reveal various aspects of God's character. As theologian John Frame has said, everything in creation bears some analogy to God. It is for this reason that Scripture can use extensive symbolism and picture language in describing God. Inasmuch as a created object reveals an aspect of its Creator, it can be used as a symbol to emphasize that aspect of our Creator.

In Scripture we find aspects of God's nature symbolized using inanimate objects - God is the rock of Israel, Christ is the door of the sheep, the Spirit is wind and fire. We find God symbolized by plants - God's strength is like the cedars of Lebanon; Christ is the vine. God can be represented by animals - the lion of Judah, the Lamb of God.

He can perhaps best be compared to human beings - to a father, master, landowner, husband, prophet, priest, king, shepherd. Scripture even says God "is" several abstract concepts - love, truth, light, righteousness.
All this can be boiled down to a single fact: The universe and everything in it reflects some aspect of God's character, points to God. The world does not exist for it's own sake, but as a revelation of its Maker." (Bible-Science Newsletter)

N.J. Hiebert # 1988

August 27

"...they laid many stripes upon him, they cast him into prison... thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God..." (Acts 16:23-25)

What a difference it makes when God is brought in! Many a servant might well be daunted when he views the opposition and difficulties by which he is confronted; but the moment he raises his eyes to the Lord, he measures everything by what He is, and immediately the obstacles he deplored become to his faith but occasions for the display of His power in whom he was trusting. Our only concern therefore should be to see that we are working with God. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 1989

August 28

"O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel." (Jeremiah 18:6)

The skill of the potter is revealed in the variety of vessels he is able to make. He could, no doubt, make every vessel of exact proportion, design and usefulness if He chose, but this is not His method.
Remember that the Potter has a variety of vessels. Do not be an imitator of some other vessel. Maybe you have said, "I wish I could sing like ----," or preach like ----," or "teach like ----." This, my friend, may not be the vessel God wants you to be.

Perhaps you wonder why God has not given you a bigger task, a more "worthy" job, or a more prominent position. The question, though, is, "Have you been faithful in the place He has put you?" God will never give you a bigger job until you have done that which He has already given you to do. Get your eyes off men, quit imitating other vessels, and determine by His grace that you will be the vessel of His choice. Let Him have His way with you.The plan of the Potter is a personal plan. He has a plan for you, a place for you to fill, and no one else can fill it. Many of us have missed the joy of being the vessel He wanted us to be in our vain efforts to be the vessel He chose someone else to be. (J.C.B.)
N.J. Hiebert # 1990

August 29

"Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (Acts 20:30)

Paul tells the elders that, after his departure, grievous wolves should enter in among them, and that even of their own selves perverse men should arise, and draw the disciples away. Till Satan be bound, and the Lord come to do it, there will ever be conflicts. Since the beginning of the world, whenever God has established anything good, man's first act has been to destroy it. First, there was man himself; then, in the world after the flood, Noah got tipsy, and his authority was lost. Israel made the golden calf before ever Moses came down from the mountain. Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire the first day after their consecration, for which cause Aaron could no more enter into the inner sanctuary with his priestly garments of glory. Solomon having loved strange women, his kingdom was divided. So in the assembly established on the earth, soon after the apostle's departure, evil presents itself; and it is of this that the elders are forewarned." (J.N. Darby - Meditations of the Acts of the Apostles)

N.J. Hiebert # 1991

August 30

"And (Gideon) said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you?" (Judges 8:2)

Gideon took the lowest place and acknowledged the zeal for God which, after all, they had shown to their honour; and the humility of this servant of God is thus the means of removing a great difficulty. Let us act in a similar way, and, when we speak of our brethren, let us enumerate, not their failures, but what God has wrought in them. Can I not admire Christ in my brother when I see how God is dealing with him, breaking him down so that, at all costs, what characterized the Lord may be manifested in Him? Nothing so appeases contention as seeing Christ in others; it is the result of a normal Christian condition in the children of God. (H.L Rossier -Meditations on the Book of Judges)

N.J. Hiebert # 1992

August 31

"Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do." (Acts 9:6)

Do we go to Him with all our desires and problems? Do we ask in everything, "Lord, what wilt Thou that I do?" Do we ask Him about what kind of employment He wants us engaged in, or how we should make preparation for the future, or with whom we should have companionship, or where we should live, or how we ought to furnish our homes, or how we must bring up our children, or about what kind of Work they should do? Indeed, do we ask Him about everything that pertains to our lives, whether it be a physical, mental, or spiritual need? Hour by hour and minute by minute we should ask, "Lord what wilt Thou have me to do?" (H.L. Heijkoop)

N.J. Hiebert # 1993

September 1

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." (1 John 5:1)

Here we get the link between God and the family. When anyone is born of God, he is my brother. If the question is asked, "Who is my brother? How am I to know my brother?" Everyone that is born of God is my brother. I may have to sorrow over him sometimes, but still he is my brother, because I am related to him by the same divine nature. (JND -The first Epistle of John)

N.J. Hiebert # 1994

September 2

"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed" (John 8:31)

"Great peace have they which love Thy law, and they shall have no stumbling block (nothing can make them stumble)" (Psalm 119:165).

Here is my greatest secret for everyday common folks, known through the ages, and yet ever needing to be restated and learned afresh as generation succeeds generation. It is this: The very best way to study the Bible is simply to read it daily with close attention, and with prayer to see the light that shines from its pages, to meditate upon it, and to continue to read it until somehow it works itself, its words, its expressions, its teachings, its habits of thought and its presentations of God and His Christ into the very warp and woof of one's being.

No there is nothing remarkable about that; it is wonderfully simple. But it works, and one does come in this way to know the Bible and to understand it.

What appears to a beginner as a great knowledge of the Bible is thus often only the natural result of a persevering use of the simplest of all means and methods, namely, reading the Book, day by day, until it becomes extremely familiar in all its parts. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 1995

September 3

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit."

(Ephesians 6:18)

As one of Africa's first explorers, David Livingstone loved its people and longed to see them evangelized. His journals reveal his spiritual concern and deep faith.

In late March 1872, he wrote, "He will keep His word - the gracious One, full of grace and truth - no doubt of it. He said, "Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out" and "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name I will give it." He will keep His word; then I can come and humbly present my petition, and it will be all right. Doubt is here inadmissible, surely."
Livingstone had rock-like confidence in the Father's promises. In our praying we too can exercise the trust that God will not deny our requests when they are in keeping with His will. (By the way, are we reading His Word so that we know His will?)

We can defeat doubt when we remind ourselves that no matter what happens in life, He cares deeply about us and longs to give us the wisdom to handle what comes our way ("Casting all your cares upon Him..." 1 Peter 5:7; "If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that... giveth liberally..." James 1:5). Our faith will grow stronger as we realize that our heavenly Father is gracious, delighting to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11). Humbly but confidently, we can come to Him with our requests. (VCG)

Thou art coming to a King,
Large petitions with thee bring,
For His grace and power are such,
None can ever ask too much
. - Newton

(Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 1997, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission)

N.J. Hiebert # 1996

September 4

"Buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding." (Proverbs 23:23)

It has been said, the first generation is characterized by conviction - buys the truth.
The second generation accepts truth as a "belief," but lacks conviction and takes lightly, or squanders the truth. The third generation considers "truth" as a matter of opinion.
Thank God, this is not always the case! But where are you and I? (Anon)

N.J. Hiebert # 1997

September 5

"And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we be brethren." (Genesis 13:80)

The ostensible cause of Lot's fall was the strife between his herdsmen and those of Abram; but the fact is, when one is not really walking with a single eye and purified affections, he will easily find a stone to stumble over. If he does not find it at one time, he will at another, - If he does not find it here, he will find it there. In one sense, it makes little matter as to what may be the apparent cause of turning aside; the real cause lies underneath, far away, it may be, from common observation, in the hidden chambers of the heart's affections and desires, where the world, in some shape or form, has been sought after. 

The strife between the herdsmen might have been easily settled without spiritual damage to either Abram or Lot. To the former, indeed, it only afforded an occasion for exhibiting the beautiful power of faith, and the moral elevation - the heavenly vantage-ground - on which faith ever sets the possessor thereof. But to the latter, it was an occasion for exhibiting the thorough worldliness of his heart. The strife no more produced the worldliness in Lot than it produced the faith in Abram; it only manifested, in the case of each, what was really there. (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 1998

September 6

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

Though hymns of praise in purest notes abound,
If only on the lips, these are but sound
Which melt away in air:
But when the heart to melody is moved,
Constrained by love divine, so richly proved,
As incense this to God's own throne ascends,
Nor loses fragrance as it heavenward wends,
And finds a welcome there
. (Christian Truth - Vol. 14)

N.J. Hiebert # 1999

September 7

"He leadeth me beside the still waters." (Psalm 23:2)

The place where the Shepherd guides His flock is "beside the still waters." The Lord would not have us to be unhappy and restless; He would have us enjoy His peace under all circumstances. "My peace I give unto you. ...Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." In these perilous times, how much we need that word. What restfulness of spirit and what contentedness of mind it gives us to lean confidingly upon His love and care. 

Nothing can separate us from His love. And if, because of sorrows and roughness of the wilderness journey, or by reason of the rapid progress of infidelity and worldliness, our spirits have drooped in sadness, and we have become discouraged, let us cheer up; there is enough in Him to make the heart rejoice. He is the all-powerful, loving, gracious, and tender Shepherd. His glory has not been tarnished a bit. He is the Brightness of Eternal Glory. (W.E.S.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2000


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