Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5560 posted here) sent daily for 18 years --

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Gems from December 2004

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8)

A familiar saying among us is, "Man's extremity is God's opportunity." No doubt we fully believe it; but yet when we find ourselves brought to our extremity, we are often very little prepared to count on God's opportunity.

It is one thing to utter or hearken to a truth, and another thing to realize the power of that truth. It is one thing, when sailing over a calm sea, to speak of God's ability to keep us in a storm, and it is another thing altogether to prove that ability when the storm is actually raging around us.

And yet God is ever the same. In the storm and in the calm, in sickness and in health, in pressure and in ease, in poverty and in abundance, (Hebrews 13:8) the same grand reality for faith to lean upon, cling to, and draw upon, at all times and under all circumstances. (Christian Truth - December 1960 - Vol. 22)

N.J. Hiebert # 2080

November 27

"Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)

The little child is not self-confident; it fears the untried and unknown; it seeks the companionship of mother or friend, and it is willing to be led. O for the child-heart, with its simplicity and trust - its unbounded faith and lovely guilelessness! Many strong men may read these words, who glory in their strength, and they must be converted and become as little children if they would learn the secret of abiding in Him. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2081

November 28

"... wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." (Psalm 51:7)

These words are part of the contrite prayer of King David after he committed the gross sins of adultery and murder. Truly repentant, he pleads in agony of soul, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." This expression is not an exaggeration; for although snow appears to be perfectly clean, each flake has at its core a tiny speck of dust - a dirty heart - around which its lacy pattern is formed. The implication is that the psalmist wishes to be thoroughly cleansed from every vestige of sin.

When King Edward Vll was still the Prince of Wales, he went to visit a country nobleman. The little daughter of his host soon climbed up on his knee and quickly charmed the prince by her loving attitude. Though just a youngster, she had already come to know the Saviour and enjoyed talking about Him. After a few moments, in her childlike way she inquired, "Do you like to make guesses?" Yes," he replied with a smile. "Please, sir, can you tell me what is whiter than snow?" Unprepared for such a strange remark, the royal visitor looked confused and finally gave up. The little maid said with a sweet rebuke in her eyes, "O Prince, I'm sorry, but every soul washed in Jesus' blood should know that he's been made 'whiter than snow'!"

Are you burdened by unconfessed sin? If you turn to Jesus and ask His forgiveness, you too will experience the wondrous cleansing He imparts. Christ alone can put your feet on the highway to Heaven and make your heart "whiter than snow." (H.G.B.)

Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Sin stains are lost in its life-giving flow -
There's wonderful power in the blood

(Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright (1974), Grand Rapids, MI - Reprinted permission)
N.J. Hiebert # 2082

November 29

"What is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom." (Esther 5:3)
"Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom." 

(Mark 6:23)

Two offers, two requests, two kingdoms. Esther was willing to face death to bring life to her people. Herodias' daughter used her life to bring death to John the Baptist. Satan offers the kingdoms of this world at the cost of your own soul. God offers His kingdom at the cost of His own Son. In the final analysis, the latter is a kingdom of light, life and love; the former of darkness, destruction and dread. Which kingdom are you pursuing? (Tom Steere)

N.J. Hiebert # 2083

November 30

"There hath no temptation (trial) taken us, but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempter (tried) above that ye are able; but will, with the temptation (trial), also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 

(1 Corinthians 10:13)

Whenever we get into trial, we may feel confident that, with the trial, there is an issue, and all we need is a broken will, and a single eye to see (accept) it. (Food for the Desert)

N.J. Hiebert # 2084

December 1

"What time I am afraid, I will trust in THEE. In God I will praise HIS word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.... put Thou my tears into Thy bottle: are they not in Thy book?... God is for me.... In God have I put my trust; I will not be afraid what man can do unto me." (Psalm 56:3,4,8,11)

The word or promise of God is all His resource - not present strength, but the word of promise - God's remembrance of him.... The word is the hope of the sufferer here, and he assures himself that the chief occasion of his praise by and by will be the word also, or the accomplishing of what he now believes and hopes. As the apostle says, "I know whom I have believed." (2 Timothy 1:12) 
It is not that there is present deliverance, but there is promise, and faith can listen to that and receive it as the pledge of future praise.

Such should just be the state of our souls. They should rest in the promises, knowing that they will be made good, and become the theme of constant delight. We are never straitened in "the word" or the promises. They are all we want. We need only the faith to enjoy them with fulll ease of heart. As this poor sufferer anticipates occasions of praise and the payment of his vows, in the light of the living. (J.G. Bellett - Short Meditations on the Psalms)
N.J. Hiebert # 2085

December 2

"Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night. (Nehemiah 4:9)

"Here," said George Muller, "is the greatest secret of success; work with all your might but trust not in your own power to achieve. Pray with all your might for God's guidance and blessing. Pray, then work, work and pray; and again pray and work. Whether you see much fruit or little fruit, remember that God delights to bestow real blessing. This comes generally in answer to earnest, believing prayer.

While working for my Saviour here, the devil tries me hard;
He uses all his mighty power, my service to retard;
He's up to every move, and yet through all I prove,
A little talk with Jesus makes it right, all right

N.J. Hiebert # 2086

December 3

"Oh that I were, as in months past." (Job 29:2)

It is always a bad sign when people look back to dwell on the past. Are people not to grow? Are children of God merely to be occupied with the immense favour of God? No doubt it is very true that one is plucked out of the teeth of Satan; but what is that compared with the positive knowledge of God? It is a great thing for us; but is not the knowledge of God infinitely greater than merely the action of divine grace in rescuing a poor wretched sinner? It is an admirable thing for the sinner always to feel it; but it is a sad thing when he looks back to it as the brightest of all things. Why, that means he has been making no progress at all; it means that he has been all these years afterwards looking back upon that as the divine moment. Surely divine life ought to be a growing enjoyment; and the more so as you know of Christ and of God. (William Kelly - Lectures on the Book of Job)

N.J. Hiebert # 2087

December 4

"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord." (2 Corinthians 4:5)

We have an excellent touchstone by which to try all sorts of teaching and preaching. The most spiritual teaching will ever be characterized by a full and constant presentation of Christ. The Spirit cannot dwell on aught but Jesus. Of Him He delights to speak. He delights in setting forth His attractions and excellencies. Hence, when a man is ministering by the power of the Spirit of God, there will always be more of Christ than anything else in his ministry. There will be little room in such ministry for human logic and reasoning. Such things may do very well when a man desires to set forth himself; but the Spirit's sole object - be it well remembered by all who minister - will ever be to set forth Christ. (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 2088

December 5

"Being in an agony, He (Jesus) prayed more earnestly." (Luke 22:44)

Challenges and difficulties are an inevitability in this life. However, when trials and temptations come our way, too often we become disheartened or distracted and we pray less. But with our Lord it was so different. In the depths of His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed more earnestly. Instead of them being barriers to our prayer life, may our problems become blessed reasons for praying even more earnestly. (John M. Clegg)

Oh, what peace we often forfeit;
Oh, what needless pain we bear -
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer
(Joseph Scriven)

N.J. Hiebert # 2089

December 6

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

The Bible - There it stands
Century follows century - There it stands.
Empires rise and fall and are forgotten - There it stands.
Dynasty succeeds dynasty - There it stands.
Kings are crowned and uncrowned - There it stands.
Storms of hate swirl about it - There it stands.
Atheists rail against it - There it stands.
Profane, prayerless punsters caricature it - There it stands.
Agnostics smile cynically - There it stands.
An anvil that has broken a million hammers - There it stands.
The flames are kindled about it - There it stands.
The arrows of hate are discharged against it - There it stands.
Radicalism rants and raves against it - There it stands.
Fogs of sophistry try to conceal it - There it stands.
The tooth of time gnaws, but makes no dent in it - There it stands

N.J. Hiebert # 2090

December 7

"As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness." (Psalm 17:17)

Dear friends of Gems,
Richard (Dick) K. Gorgas, a man who loved his wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, but still had room in that large heart of his to love those of the family of God, has gone "home". Those in his assembly, community, prisons and numerous others were touched by his love for his Lord and the desire that others would also get to know HIM. Many did! The Spanish community is feeling the loss intensely. It was mentioned at the funeral, "who will come in to replace a fallen soldier?" His work is finished and he is "With Christ which is far better.

Many will remember his generosity. The needy found a friend who provided practical help and sought to meet their spiritual needs as well.
We will remember the many encouraging e-mail messages, including scriptural portions, poems and hymns. He was known as the "SINGING PILGRIM." His songs are now even sweeter but we no longer hear the voice. The hands that once poured out messages, are no longer on the keyboard. His memory will linger on in our hearts.
I can still hear his voice teaching us the following song while at a hymn sing some years ago. I believe it portrays one of the many admirable characteristics of a friend who "cared" and "shared".

I'll Be a Friend to Jesus

They tried my Lord and Master, With no one to defend;
Within the halls of Pilate He stood without a friend
Refrain I'll be a friend to Jesus, My life for Him I'll spend;
I'll be a friend to Jesus, Until my years shall end
The world may turn against Him, I'll love Him to the end;
And while on earth I'm living, My Lord shall have a friend.
I'll do what He may bid me; I'll go where He may send;
I'll try each flying moment, To prove that I'm His friend.
To all who need a Saviour, My friend I recommend;
Because He brought salvation, Is why I am His friend

N.J. Hiebert # 2091

December 8

"Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee."

(Psalm 119:11)

The word of God is sufficient for every possible condition. Acquaintance with it is the one way of being fortified against every insidious effort of the enemy.

May God in His mercy cause us to direct our attention to it more and more, with unceasing prayer.
Let it be the subject of meditation day and night while, with unremitting desire and patience, we study and search the sacred page. It is the diligent soul that is made fat. (Christian Truth - Volume 21 - May 1968)

N.J. Hiebert # 2092

December 9

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world...the world passes away."

(1 John 2:15,17)

Forty years ago veteran missionary Mr. E.H. Sims said to me, "The stores today are full of so many things one can do without!" A brother once heard him having a conversation in his tent and wondered who could be with him? No one! He was just talking with his Saviour! "Uncle Bert's" life was so uncluttered with the things of this world that he was able to enjoy constant communion with his Lord. Are the things which are "passing away" cluttering up my life and taking up my time and affection? (David Croudace)

Vanity, then, of vanities, all things for which men grasp and grope!
The precious things in heavenly eyes -
Are LOVE, and TRUTH, and TRUST, and HOPE

N.J. Hiebert # 2093

December 10

"He made the stars also." (Genesis 1:16)

In Moses' Spirit-inspired account of the creation, he tells us that God made the sun and the moon. Then it's as though he says, "Oh, incidentally, He made the stars also." Earth's galaxy alone is computed to have some 100 billion stars. Beyond our galaxy are at least several hundred thousand other galaxies, each doubtless containing billions of stars. The psalmist tells us that God knows "the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names" (Psalm 147:4). What an infinitely great God we have! (W. Ross Rainey)

O Lord, my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy pow'r throughout the universe displayed

N.J. Hiebert # 2094

December 11

"By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:10)

Commenting on this verse, the erstwhile slave runner John Newton exclaimed, "I am not what I ought to be! Ah, how imperfect and deficient! I am not what I wish to be! I abhor that which is evil, and would cleave to that which is good. I am not what I hope to be! Soon, soon I shall put off mortality and with it all sin and imperfection. Yet though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say I am not what I once was!"

Then we shall be where we would be,
Then we shall be what we should be;
Things that are not now nor could be
Soon shall be our own

N.J. Hiebert # 2095

December 12

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights." (James 1:17)

The grateful heart receives all as from God, knowing that every good and perfect gift (everything that He gives answers to this description) comes down from heaven, from the Father of lights. He knows what is in the darkness, but the light dwells with Him (Daniel 2:22), with whom is neither changeableness not shadow cast by turning. Every blessing for time and eternity we owe to the unfailing goodness and unalterable purpose of grace. (H.A. Ironside)

N.J. Hiebert # 2096

December 13

"...when He was reviled, [He] reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not."

(1 Peter 2:23)

I am not sure it ever happens exactly like this, but you'll recognize the point: Four-year old Angelo wakes up and discovers that his new beagle puppy has chewed up his plastic guitar. The little fellow has a fit of grief. Mom's nerves tighten. Yesterday's headache starts coming back, and she snaps at husband Tony as he leaves for the office. Still feeling the unhappy sendoff, he greets his secrtary with some cold and unreasonable instructions. She immediately picks up the mood, and at coffeebreak tells off a fellows secretary in a way that puts the whole pool on ice. Fifteen minutes before the office closes, the second put-down secretary vents her anger at her boss and tells him she's had it. About an hour and a half later, he walks into his house after fighting heavy freeway traffic. Seeing his wife, he blurts out an angry word because little Nelson has left his bike in the driveway again. Mom turns around and yells at their 5-year old son. Nelson's eyes fill up with tears, he rushes to his room, slams the door, and kicks his Scottish terrier.

Where does it all end? Every reaction is understandable. Each person had a reason for being upset. But what that little world of people needed that day was someone who could absorb unjust treatment without lashing out. And this is where a Christian has a unique opportunity. By knowing the Father's will, by heeding the Son's example, and by relying on the Spirit's help, he can put up with bad treatment in order to show others a better way. In terms of a chain reaction of anger, he can be where it all ends. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2097

December 14

"He said to them, go ye into all the world..." (Mark 16:15)
"Jesus... saith unto him go home to thy friends, and tell them..." (Mark 5:19)

William Carey, pioneer missionary to India, first heard the gospel from a fellow apprentice in a shoemaker's shop. Carey made light of his co-worker's testimony, but secretly became convicted of his deep need: "I found myself a sinner, whose only hope was to trust Jesus."

Once saved, he really got into God's Word. he also read books and listened to preachers that expounded it. As he began preaching, the Lord burdened his heart for the lost in India. He also discovered that he had a gift for languages, and easily taught himself Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French, Dutch, and Italian. He became convinced that translating the Bible into native tongues was a key to taking the gospel to all the world. But when he shared his burden for the lost in India, he was told, "When God pleases to convert the heathen, he'll do it without your aid." Undaunted, he took as his motto, "Attempt great things for God, and expect great things from God." With his whole family, he departed for India in 1793.

Overcoming great set backs, Carey eventually established 26 churches, translated the whole Bible into six languages and the New Testament into 23 languages. Shortly before his death in 1834, he characterized himself as a "plodder - one who simply persevered in what he undertook for God." The gospel is not spread today so much by miracles as by "going" and "telling." This is what Carey did in India, but just as importantly, this is what his co-worker did in the shoemaker's shop in England. Whose was the greater work? If God calls you to do great things for Him in India, by all means go! But if He calls you to serve with your co-workers, friends, and neighbours right where you are, do that! (Taken from "The Lord is Near")

N.J. Hiebert # 2098

December 15

"Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him." (Acts 12:5)

This verse tells us that there was a much stronger force at work than the squadron of soldiers under Herod. While Peter was in prison, earnest, ceaseless, urgent supplication was being made by the Church to the living and true God. It was sure, united and in the unction of the Holy Spirit. As the prayers rose, chains slid off manacled wrists. Vigilant guards saw nothing. Iron gates yielded. Prayer worked then, and it works today. Learn to engage in and enjoy prayer. Then watch what God will do. (Choice Gleanings)

N.J. Hiebert # 2099

December 16

"She hath wrought a good work upon Me." (Matthew 26:10)

Christ Himself was the immediate object of this woman's soul; and it was this which gave value to her act, and sent the odour of her ointment straight up to the throne of God. Little did she know or think that untold millions would read the record of her deep-toned personal devotedness. Little did she imagine that her act would be stereotyped by the Master's hand on the very pages of eternity, and never be obliterated. She thought not of this. She sought not, nor dreamed of such marvellous publicity; had she done so, it would have robbed her act of all its charms, and deprived her sacrifice of all its fragrance. (Christian Truth - Vol. 20)

N.J. Hiebert # 2100

December 17

"Grace reign[s] through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." 

(Romans 5:21)

It is only in redemption that this reign of grace could be seen. We may see in creation the reign of wisdom and power; we may see in providence the reign of goodness and long-suffering; but only in redemption do we see the reign of grace, and that, too, on the principle of righteousness. (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 2101

December 18

"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much." (Luke 16:10)

There is a serving of one's time; that is, you will not be entrusted with very great works until you have proved your competency in small ones. It is impossible but that a star must shine, and it is equally so, that if your eye were single, your whole body would be full of light. The cause of idleness, or ignorance of one's mission is, either that one is not fit for it, or not free and humble in heart enough to begin at the little works appointed for one to do. (J.B.S.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2102

December 19

"Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them." (Luke 24:15)

Jesus Himself! Nothing less is offered to us. If we want Him, we can have Him. All that He is, and all that He has, may be ours. Our Christianity, to be all that it ought to be and may be, must be just this - Himself.
The true and perfect knowledge of Him really settles every difficulty. To know Him is to know God, and to know God is to end our doubts. Christ had none, because this knowledge was His; and it may be ours.
"In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power." (Colossians 2:9,10) (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2103

December 20

"The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23)

Man may seek to hide his humiliation in various ways; to cover his retreat through the valley of death in the most heroic manner possible; to call the last humiliating stage of his career by the most honourable titles he can devise; to gild the bed of death with a false light; to adorn the funeral procession and the grave with the appearance of pomp, pageantry, and glory; to raise above the mouldering ashes a splendid monument, on which are engraved the records of human shame. All these things he may do; but death is death after all, and he cannot keep it off for a moment, or make it aught else than what it is; namely, "the wages of sin is death; BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD." "THANKS BE UNTO GOD FOR HIS UNSPEAKABLE GIFT." (2 CORINTHIANS 9:15) (Selected)

Having read this, can you be of good cheer?
N.J. Hiebert # 2104

December 21

"Ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord.... Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching."

(Luke 12:36,37)

Our Lord would have us "watch" as well as "wait" for His coming. Both imply spiritual activity. Waiting souls are certainly not sleeping; for waiting according to our Lord's mind must be with girded loins, diligence in His service, and lights burning, thus bearing clear testimony to Him in the power of the Holy Spirit during the darkness of the night. (H.H.S.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2105

December 22

"The Lord gave the WORD: great was the company of those that published it." 

(Psalm 68:11)

Holy Bible, Book divine!
Precious treasure, thou art mine!
Mine, to tell me whence I came;
Mine, to teach me what I am.

Mine, to chide me when I rove;
Mine, to show a Saviour's love;
Mine thou art, to guide my feet;
Mine, to judge, condemn, acquit.

Mine, to comfort in distress,
If the Holy Spirit bless;
Mine, to show by living faith,
How to triumph over death.

Mine, to tell of joys to come;
Mine, to show the sinner's doom;
Holy Bible, Book divine!
Precious treasure, thou art mine
(Author unknown)

N.J. Hiebert # 2106

December 23

"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word."
(Psalm 119:9)We need to read the Word daily so that we might have that cleansing that is so needful. As we read and let the Word speak to our hearts and consciences, it exercises us. (A.M. Barry)
N.J. Hiebert # 2107

December 24

"Show me now Thy way." (Exodus 33:13)

May we so trust the love of God, the faithfulness of God, that we may have courage to say, "Show me Thy way"; faith in the full delight of God to bless us, so that we may do His will, even if it be the loss of everything; our souls so intimate with God, that we may seek His way and nothing else. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2108

December 25

"When the comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me." (John 15:26)

"Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall received of Mine and show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are Mine; therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine and shall show it unto you." (John 16:13-15)
The coincidence of these words with the testimony of Abraham's servant is instructive and interesting. It was by telling of Isaac that he sought to attract the heart of Rebekah; and it is, as we know, by telling of Jesus, that the Holy Ghost seeks to draw poor sinners away from a world of sin and folly, into the blessed and holy unity of the body of Christ. "He shall take of Mine and show it unto you." The Spirit of God will never lead any one to look at Himself or His work, but only and always at Christ. Hence, the more really spiritual any one is, the more entirely will he be occupied with Christ. (C.H. Mackintosh - Genesis)

N.J. Hiebert # 2109

December 26

"Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that led out and brought in Israel: and Jehovah said to thee, thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel."
(2 Samuel 5:1,2)

The time was now come for the just place of the king. Nevertheless it is solemn enough to observe that these men had known it all the time. It is not want of knowledge that hinders souls from acting according to God: I speak now of the general rule. But want of faith dulls the force of what we know, and makes it as if we knew it not. (William Kelly - 2 Samuel)

N.J. Hiebert # 2110

December 27

"We have heard." (Joshua 2:10)

Rahab said to the spies: "We have heard." It was a word which assured grace and deliverance to some, and judgment to others. Faith in this word places her immediately, as to her conscience, under the weight of the judgment. "As soon as we heard it out hearts did melt." (Ver. 11) Like her people she is filled with fear; but while they had lost all courage, for her this very fear is the beginning of wisdom, for it is the fear of the Lord, a fear which makes her look to God, and immediately she acquires the certainty ("I know," Ver. 9) that this God is a God of grace for His people. She seeks her resources in this God who is the resource of His own. Faith is not mere human imagination which likes to deceive itself, and which sees things in whatever light it pleases. It is not the human mind building its conclusions on possibilities or probabilities; she says simply, "I know," because she had heard what the Lord has done. (H.L. Rossier - Joshua)

N.J. Hiebert # 2111

December 28

"Evening, and morning, and at noon will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice."
(Psalm 55:17)

Dependence finds its natural and normal expression in prayer. The only perfect Nazarite (Jesus) was a Man of prayer. Let us be assured that there is no greater peril than losing a sense of the need of prayer. A neglected closet means the loss of the dependent spirit.... Is it the habit of our lives? It is possible for even the knowledge of grace to be used by the enemy to lessen the sense of dependence and so to cause prayer to become less constant. (S. Ridout - Judges)

N.J. Hiebert # 2112

December 29

"For from within... proceed evil thoughts... covetousness, wickedness, deceit." 

(Mark 7:21,22)

As Christians, we face strong foes that would bring us into spiritual defeat. Our greatest enemy, however, lurks within. Even though we have been born again, we are deeply aware of our inclination toward evil. The apostle Paul wrote, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find" (Romans 7:18). He added, "For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (vv.22,23).

In Victor Hugo's story, "Ninety-Three," a ship is caught in a storm. The frightened crew hears a terrible crashing sound below. Immediately the men know what it is: a cannon has broken loose and is crashing into the ship's side with every smashing blow of the sea! Two men, at the risk of their lives, manage to fasten it down again, for they know that the unfastened cannon is more dangerous than the raging storm. Hillery C. Price made this application: "Many people... are like that ship - their greatest danger areas lie within their own lives."

Yes, if our "flesh" - that old tendency to envy, pride, malice, covetousness, and deceit - is not "fastened down" by yielding ourselves to God's Spirit, we will live under the constant threat of defeat. So believer, let's be alert to that enemy within! (R.W.D.)

If you desire the Lord Himself to fill you,
For Him alone you care to live and be,
Then 'tis not you, but Christ Who dwells within you;
And that, O child of God, is victory
. (Anon)

Master that sin in your heart or it will master you.

N.J. Hiebert # 2113

December 30

"...but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord."

(Nehemiah 3:5)

Pride was governing their hearts. They could not stoop low enough. They were not accustomed to the yoke, and they thus preferred their own importance and ease to the Lord's work. What a contrast to Him Who, though rich, became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich for ever! He came into this world, to do the will of God, and was in the midst of His own "as One that serveth;" and having finished the work which the Father gave Him to do, He has, in His unspeakable grace and love, become for ever the servant of His people. 

It is well for every child of God to learn the lesson, that it is only in bowing their necks to the Lord's yoke that rest to their souls can be found. The nobles of Tekoa chose their own will, and lost by their stubbornness the blessing of the service offered to them, and at the same time procured for themselves everlasting exclusion from the commendation given to their brethren, as well as a mark of condemnation for their pride. (Edward Dennett - Nehemiah)
N.J. Hiebert # 2114

December 31

"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit." (John 3:8)

If we could look at it aright we should perhaps be impressed with the fact that there are few things connected with our life more wonderful than prayer. It is the breathing of the hidden life - the expression of the soul's intercourse with God. "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof," said Christ when speaking of new birth; so prayer is the sound that often indicates that this mysterious operation in the soul has taken place - as was said of newly converted Saul of Tarsus, "Behold, he prayeth." Prayer is one of two tangible links with the unseen. The other is the Bible. In one God speaks to us; in the other we speak to Him." (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2115


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