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

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Gems from July 2004

July 1

"For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)

"The Word, living and powerful, is as a sword; it possesses a dividing, separating, piercing energy, which penetrates into the very depths of man, and discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart. With a most faithful accuracy and searching minuteness it analyses our motives. It distinguishes between nature and grace, spirit and flesh, the old life and the resurrection life. It divides, where we in our blindness and self-sufficiency imagine that all is pure and pleasing to God." (Dr. Adolph Saphir)

N.J. Hiebert # 1932

July 2

"What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea and will rejoice." (Philippians 1:18)

"Loving to preach the Word is good.Loving the ones to whom you preach is better.Loving the One of whom you preach is excellent." (Michel Payette - Le Lien Fraternal - Meditation 97)

N.J. Hiebert # 1933

July 3

"We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." (Romans 8:37)

"What can be more than a conqueror? A ship driven out of its course by the tempest, with anchor dragging or cable parted, is no 'conqueror' at all, but the reverse. That ship riding out the gale, holding fast to its anchorage, is truly a conqueror; but that is all. But the vessel being driven by the very tempest to the haven where it would be, is better off still, and thus 'more than conqueror.' So is it with the saint now; the tempest drives him the closer to Him who is indeed his desired haven, and thus he is more than conqueror." (F.C. Jennings - Meditations on Ecclesiastes)

N.J. Hiebert # 1934

July 4

"What will this babbler say?" (Acts 17:18)

"Ridicule is often a means in the hands of the enemy to turn away souls from the truth, because men are afraid to identify themselves with what others despise. Conscience and moral courage are the very last things to be found in the heart of man; grace awakens conscience, and gives strength to follow it." (J.N. Darby - Meditations on the Acts)

N.J. Hiebert # 1935

July 5

"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

What simplicity, yet what reality and power are here! "Faith cometh by hearing," whether it be faith of the gospel, or of the news of some temporal calamity or good. There are no two ways of believing anything. And hearing comes - the true hearing - by the Word of God: not by reasonings founded on it, it may be rightly founded on it; not by "enticing words of man's wisdom," (1 Corinthians 2:4) but by the Word of God. And here is where the difference lies, not in the character of the faith, but in the object of it. The sinner is brought into the presence of God. He hears God, he believes God, and he is blest with believing Abraham, and just on the same ground, for "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him fro righteousness" (Romans 4:3). (Sir Robert Anderson - The Gospel and its Ministry)

N.J. Hiebert # 1936

July 6

"And they said one to another, did not our hearts burn within us, while HE talked with us by the way, and while HE opened to us the scriptures?"
(Luke 24:32)

"It is written" was a favorite sentence with our divine Master and Lord. He ever obeyed the Word. He yielded a hearty and unqualified submission to its holy authority in all things. He lived on it and by it from first to last. He walked according to it and never acted without it. He did not reason or question, imply or infer, He did not add or diminish or qualify in any one way - He obeyed. Yes; He, the eternal Son of the Father - Himself God over all blessed for ever - having become a man, lived on the Holy Scriptures and walked by their rule continually. He made them the food of His soul, the material and the basis of His marvelous ministry - the divine authority of His perfect path. (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 1937

July 7

"I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord... O magnify the Lord with me... I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." (Psalm 34:1-4)

The first four verses, which is the first section of the Psalm, celebrate what the Lord is - Jehovah. Of course, when things are all nice, and smooth with us, we can sing like nightingales. Then we are such a happy people! But then, the storm comes, and trouble arises, and difficulties cross our path, and we do not sing. "I will bless the Lord at all times," expresses a beautiful state of soul. "Giving thanks always for all things" (Ephesians 5:20) is the New Testament echo. "Is any merry? let him sing psalms," says the apostle James (5:13). No matter what the circumstances be, this will always be true, if a saint is right with God, "I will bless the Lord at all times." (W.T.P. Wolston - Handfuls of Purpose)

N.J. Hiebert # 1938

July 8

"... who shall change our vile body, according to the working whereby HE us able even to subdue all things unto Himself." (Philippians 3:21)

In Micah 7:10 we read: "He shall subdue our iniquities." And the day is coming when this will be true in all its fullness, even though now we need to pray that He may "break the power of cancelled sin." But even now He is able to bring "into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5). "He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under His feet." (1 Corinthians 15:25-27). And though "now we see not yet all things put under Him," yet let us remember the fight has been fought and won: the foes that are left are vanquished foes. When on the cross our Lord cried "Tetelestai!" - "It is Finished!" He knew then that the mighty victory was won: "It is Finished!" The fight was over: even death must yield its prey.When a conquering Roman general returned to Rome, he would lead a march of triumph through the city: and would shout "Tetelestai!" - "It is Finished" and the crowd would answer in triumph: "Tetelistai!" It was the cry of the Conqueror: and this is just what the last words of Philippians 3 tell us." (G. Christopher Willis - Sacrifices of Joy)

N.J. Hiebert # 1939

July 9

"It is expedient (profitable) for us, that one man should die for the people." (John 11:50)
"Hereby perceive we the love of GOD, because HE laid down HIS life for us." (1 John 3:16)

During the Falkland Islands War, a 500-pound bomb landed in the engine room of the H.M.S. Antelope, but failed to explode. The crew miraculously escaped death and fled to safety. One man went down to the heart of the ship and attempted to defuse the bomb. However, it exploded, killing him and six others standing ready to assist. Is there not a striking resemblance between this and God's gracious dealings with man in relation to sin and its condemnation? This world was under judgment and fit for destruction because of man's sin. God in grace sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to this earth to save us from God's wrath. He asked that this cup be removed from Him, but added, "But not My will, but Thine be done," and went to Calvary. There in the lowest place man could afford Him, He bore the full load of God's righteous judgment. Others, in full fellowship with His sufferings, have subsequently died bearing witness to Him, the One who died for the many. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 1940

July 10

"In the midst of a crooked and perverse (generation), among whom ye shine as lights in the world." (Philippians 2:15)

The lighthouses first caught our eye because of their prominence as guardians dotting the rocky coastline. But we soon discovered they were not constructed to look good, but to save lives. They are a perfect example of the old saying that "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." By day, the lighthouses of Nova Scotia did not stand out much at all when compared to the brightly colored houses that dotted the landscape. Someone told us that the fishermen along the coast enjoy these bright exteriors because they add some brightness to the otherwise often grey and dreary days along the seacoast; but these colorful houses can't be seen at night or in dense fog. While seamen may enjoy the colors of the houses by day, they love the light from the lighthouse that pierces the darkness, because it provides security, gives direction, and has lifesaving value. it guides them to the safety of the harbor.

Shouldn't Christians be like this as well? Shouldn't we be more interested in saving lives for eternity than in looking good before the eyes of the world? Shouldn't we be more concerned that the inner beauty of Christ shine forth from us in the darkness, than that we be simply another colorful item on the landscape?I have spoken to many tract distributors in Nigeria recently. You wouldn't know the depth of their beauty unless you saw the light streaming forth from them in the darkness of this world. At a glance, they look just like everyone else; but when their light shines forth in the darkness all around them, they are beautiful - not because they themselves are beautiful, but because the light that shines forth from them is lifesavingly beautiful. (L.J. Ondrejack - The Lord is Near - 1995)

N.J. Hiebert #1941

July 11

"Remember NOW thy creator in the days of thy youth." (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

It is said that the young must be allowed to sow their "wild oats." I have noticed that those who sow their wild oats seldom try to raise any other kind of crop. (T. De Witt Talmage)

N.J. Hiebert # 1942

July 12

"Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make know to him the interpretation." (Daniel 5:17)

What would (King) Belshazzar and his lords have thought of Daniel's interpretation if they had seen him clutching at power and place in the city whose overthrow he had foretold? And what can the world think as it sees believers grasping at the empty distinctions of a scene on which the shadow of approaching judgment already rests? Surely it is for those who can read the handwriting to be solemnly warning the world instead of chasing its fleeting honors or bidding for its worthless applause. (T.B.B.)

N.J. Hiebert # 1943

July 13

"Come unto ME all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

The Christian cannot be in a difficulty for which Christ is not sufficient, nor on a long, dark road where he cannot find Him enough. God's rest is where he can find perfect rest. Do you think God could find rest in this world? Have you ever found rest in it? Though He was perfect love above all the evil, yet He could not rest. When the Jews charged the Lord Jesus with breaking the Sabbath, He said that sweet and lovely word "My Father worketh hitherto and I work" (John 5:17). Could love rest in the midst of woe? When all the saints are perfectly conformed to Christ in glory - when, as is expressed in Zephaniah (and we may apply it to ourselves), "He (God) will rest in His love" - He will see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. There will be nothing that hinders the enjoyment of the love and glory of God. Oh, the blessed future that is before us! The full result of redemption will be accomplished, and God will rest, because His love has no more to do to satisfy Himself." (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 1944

July 14

"Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.... Until I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end."
(Psalm 73:13-17)

I have been impressed with the fact that many saints are unusually tried at the present time, and I wonder if it is an effort of the Spirit of God to loosen our hold on things down here, so that there will be a longing for His coming? The Lord's people are a tried people at the present time. The testings are various, but a tested people they are. You can go into hardly a home of the people of God today, and get into the inner life of their home, but what you will find burdened hearts. You will find hearts that are weighed down with care. That tells us that the people of God are a tried people now....There is a place to get the answer; it is in the sanctuary of God, getting into God's presence. The one who is speaking here went into God's presence about this thing; and then he says, "Then understood I their end." It may not be always that we get the full explanation, but it sets our poor hearts at rest, and they are at rest in silence. (The Young Christian)

N.J. Hiebert # 1945

July 15

"Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath (bush) in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land, and not inhabited." (Jeremiah 17:5,6)

Such is the sad result of leaning on the creature - barrenness, desolation, disappointment - like the heath in the desert. No refreshing showers - no dew from heaven - no good - nothing but drought and sterility. How can it be otherwise when the heart is turned away from the Lord, the only source of blessing? It lies not within the range of the creature to satisfy the heart. God alone can do this. He can meet our every need and satisfy our every desire. He never fails a trusting heart. (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 1946

July 16

"And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses." (Mark 11:25)

A person says: "I cannot feel right toward Mr. A." That is, he has hard feelings toward Mr. A. But can I think of God in this way? Can I speak of Him as having "hard feelings" toward anyone? Never. When we were enemies, He gave His Son. Now my heart is to be in the same state as His; that is, my feelings and desires are to be formed by what flows down in communion through the Word from His heart into mine. And if this is my state when I pray, I will forgive, if I have anything against anyone; and my heart will be free in God's presence. And, however my brother may have erred, I will be able to seek his blessing and restoration.In case of personal difficulties among saints, if this state is reached in God's presence, it is wonderful how soon difficulties melt away, because it is God Himself coming in to act in grace. (A.H. Rule)

N.J. Hiebert # 1947

July 17

"Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him."
(1 Samuel 7:9)

It is important for us to consider and apprehend how prayer is used in times of difficulty, and we see it strikingly set forth in the case of Samuel. He is himself the gift of prayer, as his name declares (heard of God), and in his service toward Israel he uses prayer above any of his predecessors; in fact he introduces and proves to us the power of prayer. Other servants of God were distinguished for works of another kind - Samuel, peculiarly for prayer. Great works had been wrought by devoted servants in the times of the Judges, but now the failure of Israel is so deep that all service that made something of man is set aside. What God can be and what He can do for them when called on is now declared and shown forth through Samuel, whose power and the secret of whose success in his service, is prayer. Hence His example is one of great encouragement to us at the present time." (Christian Truth - Vol. 21)

N.J. Hiebert # 1948

July 18

"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though HE was rich, yet for your sakes HE became poor, that ye through HIS poverty might be rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9)

It is the happy portion of every Christian to know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Man by nature knows not this grace; his every thought is foreign to it. Sin made man a coward and a stranger from God, and his innate thoughts are that God is a hard master. He is, as the poet so aptly expressed it, "A stranger to grace and to God." Grace is not only unknown but unwanted. It is strangely sad that man should be so desperately in need of grace and yet be a total stranger to it, while all the time the heart of God is yearning to show grace. But there are those who have "tasted that the Lord is gracious"; they have touched, as it were, the hem of His garment and found an exhaustless river of grace flowing forth. Every true Christian knows the "grace of our Lord Jesus Christ"; he may not know much of its soundless depths, but unless he knows that grace he is lost, in his sins, and on the road to the pit. So then, we may divide mankind into two classes: those who know that grace and are saved, and those who do not. He who knows it can joyfully sing those well-known words: (P.W.)

"Grace is the sweetest sound that ever reached our ears;
When conscience charged and justice frowned,
'Twas grace removed our fears."

N.J. Hiebert # 1949

July 19

"Blessed are the meek" (Matthew 5:5)

To be meek is not to be weak, morally or spiritually. Moses, renowned for his meekness (Numbers 12:3), was also renowned for his inflexible faithfulness (v.7). The gracious lips of Him who is "meek and lowly in heart," blazed with fiery indignation against the scribes and Pharisees. We may safely follow our blessed Lord's steps, but with unshod feet, for we are prone to error. If so be that we must act in judgment, let it be on our knees in meekness and gentleness, for we ourselves need daily mercy as we need our daily bread. (Anon -)"The servant of the Lord must... be gentle unto all" (2 Timothy 2:24).

N.J. Hiebert # 1950

July 20

"The (boundary) lines are fallen unto me on pleasant places." (Psalm 16:6)

The Lord can speak of His path, and say, "The lines are fallen unto Me in pleasant places." In what sense could that be said? The Lord passed through trial and suffering here; what then could have made His lines pleasant? This is the secret - God was enough for His heart, Jehovah was His portion, His inheritance, and His cup. The Lord was during His whole journey moving, as it were, against a strong tide. He was never chafed in spirit, always calm, always dependent, and finding in God His resources. (F.C.)

N.J. Hiebert # 1951

July 21

"Therefore we labour (make it our aim)... that we may be accepted (well pleasing to) of HIM." (2 Corinthians 5:9)

A brilliant young concert pianist was performing for the first time in public. The audience sat enthralled as beautiful music flowed from his disciplined fingers. The people could hardly take their eyes off this young virtuoso. As the final note faded, the audience burst into applause. Everyone was standing - except one old man up front. The pianist walked off the stage crestfallen. The stage manager praised the performance, but the young man said, "I was no good, it was a failure." The manager replied, "Look out there, everyone is on his feet except one old man!" "Yes," said the youth dejectedly, "but that one old man is my teacher."


Do we have the same desire for God's approval as that pianist had for his teacher's praise? Our Lord's approving smile is what really matters. But what is it that delights His heart? First, there is faith (Hebrews 11:6). Then, there are two special sacrifices: "the sacrifice of praise," and remembering "to do good and to communicate (share)" (Hebrews 13:15,16). Such sacrifices please God.

Let's make it our goal as we enter each day to please the heavenly Father as Jesus did (John 8:29). Whether we work in the limelight or labor unnoticed behind the scenes, when we do our task with faith, diligence, thankfulness, and caring, God is pleased. But more wonderful still, He helps us by "Working in you that which is well pleasing in HIS sight, through Jesus Christ" (Hebrews 13:21). (D.J.D.)

Just live your life before your Lord,
Rise to that higher, nobler plane -
With single eye His glory seek,
And you shall His approval gain
. (Rae)

When you do what you please, does what you do please God?

N.J. Hiebert # 1952

(OUR DAILY BREAD, RBC MINISTRIES, COPYRIGHT (1988). GRAND RAPIDS, MI. REPRINTED PERMISSION)

July 22

"The Lord hath need of him." (Luke 19:31)

What an incredible gracious statement by the Creator God that He needed that young colt! In Psalm 50, He declares, "I am God... if I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is Mine, and the fullness thereof." To think that so great a God would say He needed anything, much less a little donkey for active duty, is amazing. It is also encouraging! No matter what our ability or inability, the Lord chooses to "need" us in His active service. Don't be ashamed of what little you might have. The Lord has need of it, and that is enough. What a privilege! (D.Logan)

N.J. Hiebert # 1953

July 23

"Not by might, nor by power, but My Spirit, saith the Lord." (Zechariah 4:6)

Zerubbabel knew days of great discouragement. The work of rebuilding the temple had come to a complete standstill. Zechariah's words came with perfect timing. The Lord's work is not done through human effort, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. Like Zerubbabel, we can think that our efforts will bring things to pass. Consequently, we become very frustrated when things do not happen as we supposed they might. At such times we need to humble ourselves, wait on the Lord, and seek the power of His Spirit. Then and only then will the work be done for His glory. (W.H. Burnett)

Not to the strong is the battle, nor to the swift is the race,
But to the true and the faithful, victory is promised through grace
.

N.J. Hiebert # 1954

July 24

"He wakeneth morning by morning,
He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned." (Isaiah 50:4)
"Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth." (1 Samuel 3:9)

Dave was reading his Bible while riding the rapid transit to work. Someone must have noticed. When the train reached Dave's stop, a group gathered to exit. Just as the door opened, a stranger leaned over and asked, "Did He speak to you this morning?" Receiving an affirmative reply, the stranger disappeared in the crowd. Did He speak to you this morning? He can't if you don't give Him a chance. (William MacDonald)

N.J. Hiebert # 1955

July 25

"Look from the top." (Song of Solomon 4:8)

This is a splendid word for a busy day with its crush of work of all sorts. If we get caught in the crush and pushed down, so to speak, the next thing we know is that we are groveling in the dust. Things are on the top of us, we are not on the top of anything. So the word comes, "Look from the top". Come with Me from all that, come up the mountain with Me, "look from the top". In every-day life this simply means, look from everything up to the Lord Jesus, Who is our Peace, our Victory and our Joy, for we are where we look. From below, things feel impossible, people seem impossible (some people at least), and we ourselves feel most impossible of all. From the top we see as our Lord sees; He sees not what is only, but what shall be. He is not discouraged, and as we look with Him, our discouragement vanishes, and we can sing a new song. (Amy Carmichael - Edges of His Ways)

But when from mountain top,
My Lord, I look with Thee,
My cares and burdens drop
Like pebbles in the sea.

The air is clear,
I fear no fear,
In this far view
All things are new
.

N.J. Hiebert # 1956

July 26

"The high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth.
Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall." (Acts 23:2,3)

Brought before the Council, the apostle begins by declaring his innocence. "And the high priest Ananias, commanded them that stood by to smite him on the mouth." This undoubtedly was violence; yet produced not by testimony borne to Christ, but by self-justification. Paul replies with an insult, calling the high priest a "whited wall." He had merited this, it is true; but such an answer did not display the meekness of Christ. Being reproved, Paul owns his fault; but his defense tells us of the absence of the power and of the knowledge of the Holy Spirit. "I knew not," is not what the Holy Spirit would say. All is true; but we do not find the energy of the Spirit of God. Moreover, he is not now merely a Jew and a Roman, but also a Pharisee. Such a title he counts no longer dross and dung, it has become once more a gain. (JND - Meditations on the Acts of the Apostles)

N.J. Hiebert # 1957

July 27

"So then because thou art lukewarm,
and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:16)

We are familiar with the poem about the High Road and the Low. There is a third thoroughfare, the misty flats where the rest drift to and fro. They know neither height not depth, they are neither cold not hot. They are proud of their moderatism, which does not mean moderation; they know neither victory nor defeat. Life's greatest experiences do not come on the misty flats but on the heights, where we mount up as eagles, or the depths of adversity, where we walk and faint not, where stone walls do not a prison make not iron bars a cage. (Vance Havner - All the Days)

N.J. Hiebert # 1958

July 28

"A certain woman... had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had,
and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, when she heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment...and straightway... she was healed." (Mark 5:25-29)

When the Holy Spirit takes a soul in hand, He teaches effectually. He uncovers the filthy rags of self-righteousness, exposes the rotten patches of self-reformation, and gives us a true knowledge of our state before God. He is the Spirit of Truth. He convinces of sin. He lays bare the heart by so applying the written word as to show its desperate wickedness in the light of God's holy presence. He fastens upon the conscience the vile workings, unclean thoughts, desires, and intents of the heart.


"He never leads a man to say,
Thank God, I'm made so good;
But turns his eye another way -
To Jesus and His blood
."
(H.H. Snell -Steams of Refreshing)

N.J. Hiebert # 1959

July 29

"That in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness,
as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death." 

(Philippians 1:20)

False humility is pride in disguise. True humility can take the low place or any place as long as Christ is glorified. (Michel Payette - Le Lien Fraternal - Meditation 97)

N.J. Hiebert # 1960

July 30

"He that loveth not knoweth not God: for God is love." (1 John 4:8)

"God is love." What does this mean? God sent His only-begotten Son that we might have life in Him. We still carry about the old nature; but, blessed be God, many a time as Satan has caught me, he has never destroyed me; there is the propitiation (mercy), - I am inside, sheltered by the blood, and forgiven." (G.V.Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert # 1961

July 31

"I ... sat chief, and dwelt as a king ... (Job 29:25)
"But now they that are younger than I have me in derision." (Job 30:1)

Thus it ever is in this poor, false, and deceitful world. All must, sooner or later, find out the hollowness of the world, the fickleness of those who are ready to cry out "

N.J. Hiebert # 1962

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