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

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Gems from October 2005

October 1

"The king said . . .Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem." (2 Samuel 19:33)

The offerings that were presented in the Old Testament speak of the Lord Jesus. The offerings were "food" given to God - that which satisfied and delighted Him. The Lord was the One who delighted the Father. Is He also that which feeds us, which delights us?

On the last night before the Israelites left Egypt, they were given the Passover lamb to eat. The lamb along with unleavened bread was the food that gave them the strength to start their march out of Egypt into the wilderness. We too will have strength if we feed on Christ first and always.
The Israelites, while walking in the wilderness, ate manna every day for 40 years. This manna was to be gathered in the morning and then eaten throughout the day. (Exodus 16:14) They did not just gather some in the morning and eat it all immediately. Throughout the day they enjoyed what they had gathered in the morning. For us the Lord is this manna, the true bread from heaven. Many of us may find it difficult to take sufficient time each morning, but we can follow the example of the Israelites with the manna. We can gather our measure in the morning. Then at various opportunities throughout the day we can reflect on that which we gathered in the morning, working it through our hearts. We need it so much.
One has said that we today are a generation of restaurant Christians: we go to meetings every Sunday and expect to be fed; we expect someone else to do all the preparation and work for us and give us something to eat, according to our liking. But we ourselves need to enjoy the Lord every day. The Lord told Peter to "feed My sheep." What was the food that he was to give them? It could only be the Christ Himself. But we can only give to others the things that we ourselves have enjoyed and applied. (A. Blok)

N.J. Hiebert # 2387


October 2

"Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (1 Peter 2:24)

A father warned his young son that if he were naughty that day he should have no cake for dinner. Now his mother had baked an especially fine cake. The child disregarded the warning, and was naughty. Dinner was served and the father noticed the wistful look in the boy's eyes. When the cake was cut, the boy's eyes filled with tears. (I think his father had a "catch" in his throat). So his father said, "We cannot cut a piece for you, son. Father cannot go back on his word. But I'll do this, Bobby, I'll take the punishment instead, and you can have my piece of cake."

They both cried! What wisdom.

N.J. Hiebert # 2388


October 3

"Whosoever shall smite thee on they right cheek, turn to him the other also." (Matthew 5:39)

Jesus' words have bothered many people. We can best understand them when we remember that the custom in Jesus' day was to give a light, left-handed slap on the face of an adversary to show disdain for him. This was not meant as a painful blow, but as an insult. Our Lord must have startled His listeners when He said, "Whosoever shall smite thee on they right cheek, turn to him the other also." He was not suggesting that force must never be used to restrain evil. Rather, He was saying that by offering the other cheek we reject the spirit of retaliation toward those who mistreat us, and we offer them forgiveness.
Sir Walter Scott had difficulty with the idea of "turning the other cheek." But Jesus' words took on special meaning one day when Scott threw a rock at a stray dog to chase it away. His aim was straighter and his delivery stronger than he had intended, for he hit the animal and broke its leg. Instead of running off, the dog limped over to him and licked his hand. Sir Walter never forgot that touching response. He said, "That dog preached the Sermon on the Mount to me as few ministers have ever presented it. "Scott said he had not found human beings so ready to forgive their enemies.
The world needs to see Jesus' likeness in every believer. We are to pardon those who treat us unfairly. By the power of the Holy Spirit let's exhibit a Christlike attitude toward those who hurt us. (H.G.B.)

In our daily life and service
Let us true disciples be;
Being meek when others hurt us,
Lord, in us may they see Thee
! (H.G.B.)

To return good for good is human; to return good for evil is divine.
(Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright (November 1998), Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission.)
N.J. Hiebert # 2389


October 4

"And it came to pass, that while he (Zacharias) executed the priest's office before God . . . there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense . . . he was troubled, and fear fell upon him." (Luke 1:8,11,12)

The earth may not be so prepared to receive such visitations, as heaven is to make them; but Gabriel has for both Zacharias and Mary the same healing and gladdening word, "fear not." And joy, the most satisfying joy, diffuses itself everywhere - old men and maidens, young men and children, join in. Mary, and Elizabeth, and the child in the womb, and Zacharias, in their several ways attest their joy; and in principle all creation is lighted up in gladness. Here is more than earlier days had known or voices of prophets foretold. (J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2390


October 5

"If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." (2 Timothy 2:12)

Lines Found in an Old Bible
(Author unknown)

Crushed by an adverse world of sin,
Dull grief, and heavy care;
Then glows the treasury within,
Celestial, bright, and fair.

From shaken flowers sweet odours fly,
When tempests sweep the dell;
And the rich, purple Tyrian dye
Drops from a bruised shell.

O God! how wondrous is Thy way!
The wisdom surely Thine!
'Tis from a breaking vase of clay
That rays of glory shine.

N.J. Hiebert # 2391


October 6

"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." (Colossians 3:1)

When we first receive the knowledge of life in Christ, we are absorbed; we readily admit all else to be "dung" and "dross" (Philippians 3). But when decline comes in, we get old motives into action again. Little by little, we are not absorbed, and then a hundred things begin to be motives - things of which I took no notice, which did not act before. People say, "What harm is there in it?" When I begin to inquire, "What harm is there in this or that?" there is the tendency to decline. There may be no harm in the thing, but the thought about it shows that I am not absorbed with that which is heavenly. "Thou hast left thy first love." It is not in great sins, but here, that decline in the saints is manifested. (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 2392


October 7

"Thine they were and Thou gavest them me. . ." (John 17:6)
"And supper being ended. . ." (John 13:2)

What a blessed thing to be one of the Lord's very own! How we are valued by Him! First, "Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me." How can we measure the preciousness of such a gift? Second, redeemed with His precious blood - His own that way. And third, His own as sealed by the Spirit! How blessed to think of ourselves as His own in this threefold way! And it is very blessed too to think of His love which never gives up its object.

Not "supper being ended," but "supper being come," or "during supper" (verse 2). The thought of betraying the Lord had already been instilled into Judas's heart, but Satan had not yet taken possession of him. What a contrast between Peter's love at the beginning, and his love at the end of this chapter! Poor, impetuous Peter! What a breakdown must ensue when pressure is brought to bear, if we are trusting to our own love! But there was all the difference between Peter and Judas. The latter was an apostle and a disciple, but he was not born again. Peter, on the contrary, was truly born again, besides being an apostle. (The Christian Truth - Vol. 15)

N.J. Hiebert # 2393


October 8

"Jesus saith . . . He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." (John 14:9)

God prohibited man's making any image of God; but He presented Himself to us in the face of Jesus His Son, so perfectly, so identically, so completely one with Himself, that the Son could say, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." Wonder of wonders! In a Man was presented down here all that could delight the Father! To think that my feet tread the earth that His feet trod, who came out from the Father! How very close He comes to men, leaving them without excuse; but men care not for Him! (Anon)

N.J. Hiebert # 2394


October 9

"Why am I thus?" (Genesis 25:22)
"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

(Psalm 30:5)

Many a child of God afflicted and cut off by infirmity from some of the sweetest joys of life, and often looking with envious eyes on others, may sorrowfully ask, "Why am I thus?" We can only answer, I cannot tell you; you will know some day. But let me ask you, Why are you what you are? Why are you, who were a vessel of wrath, a guilty sinner, afar off, without hope, why are you now a vessel of mercy, a child of God, pardoned, brought nigh, and blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ? Why has your poor body with its infirmities yet been made a temple of the Holy Ghost? Why did the Father give you to the Son to be one of "his own," whom He loves to the end?

These questions may well be pondered. In thinking of them we may forget our sorrows, and our souls be filled with the joy of the Lord. (J.G.D.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2395


October 10

"But the Word of the Lord endureth forever." (1 Peter 1:25)

The narratives of the Bible are not merely inspired records of what actually occurred, but presentations of great principles of action and types of character; living illustrations of human nature and of the world; mighty moral truths which have their application in all ages of man's history, and in all stages of man's condition. It is of the utmost importance that we should take this large and comprehensive view of Holy Scripture, else we shall regard the inspired volume merely as a book of one age, instead of THE BOOK for all ages. (Extract)

N.J. Hiebert # 2396


October 11

"I (Paul) kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you,
and have taught you publickly, and from house to house." (Acts 20:20)

The Apostle Paul was no man's hired servant; he was not in the field of God's husbandry on a monthly salary basis. He was there as sent of God; he was there to speak forth the mind of Christ, so he can say, "I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you."

Do we desire teachers that will speak to us smooth things, things that tickle our ears? If we do, we are not in the mind of the Spirit of God. In second Timothy we read of a time ". . . when they will not endure sound doctrine; but . . . heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth." What is the penalty for such an attitude? They "shall be turned unto fables." If we resist the truth of God - if we say, "I'll not have that" - then we shall have to have Satan's substitute. We shall be turned aside to something that is not the truth of God. (C.H. Brown)

N.J. Hiebert # 2397


October 12

"Looking unto Jesus." (Hebrews 12:2)

"UNTO JESUS" and not at what we are doing for Him. Too much occupied with our work, we can forget our Master, - it is possible to have the hands full and the heart empty. When occupied with our Master, we cannot forget our work; if the heart is filled with His love, how can the hands fail to be active in His service? (Translated from the French of Theodore Monod by Helen Willis)

N.J. Hiebert # 2398


October 13

"Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron . . .
and from there he went against the inhabitants of Debir;
now the name Debir before was Kirjath-sepher
."

(Judges 1:10-11)

Hebron means communion, and Kirjath-sepher, the name of the nearby city associated with it, means "city of the book." This calls to mind the precious Book, the Bible, which we are to conquer. Conquer the Bible? Yes, we are to take possession of it and make it for ourselves a Book of delight, a Book that speaks to us of God.
When this city of Kirjath-sepher was taken, its name was changed to Debir, which means "word of God." To have the Bible become the word of God to us, that is a victory! When we take possession of the Word of God, make its doctrines a living reality, use it as the voice of God speaking to His people, then praise, worship, and joy are unhindered, and we will have power being made increasingly manifest. Alas! the Church has not done that and has forsaken the doctrines right away. As a result, darkness and failure have come in.

So it is also for us personally. Suppose you or I keep the Book closed, or cling to the mere letter of the Word instead of to its living reality. What is the result? There is no further progress, no further growth, and the preaching we solicit is that which will cater to the taste of the natural man. That is the sad state of the Church.
Thank God for every exception to this. Remember then, this one point, namely, that what makes anything secure for us is the supremacy of truth. Truth must be supreme if there is to be recovery to God and power for God. We must get the truth again, that is, the Word of God, and make it a living reality in our souls. (S. Ridout)

N.J. Hiebert # 2399


October 14

"For I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11)

Until I learned to trust, I never learned to pray,
And I did not learn to fully trust, Till sorrows came my way.

Until I felt my weakness, His strength I never knew;
Nor dreamed till I was stricken, That He could see me through.

Who deepest drinks of sorrow Drinks deepest too of grace;
He sends the storm so He Himself can be our hiding-place.

His heart that seeks our highest good Knows well when things annoy;
We would not long for Heaven, If earth held only joy
.
(Barbara C. Ryberg)
(With permission from Water of Life From Outside the Camp - Fall 05)

N.J. Hiebert # 2400


October 15

"In My Father's house are many mansions: If it were no so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)

The place which Christ prepared for them is prepared for every believer in Christ today. Our place was prepared the moment Christ went in as a man. If Christ is your Saviour, where He goes you go. Christ never goes anywhere that the believer has mot a place with Him. As a man on the ground of accomplished redemption, He goes up into glory and there prepares a place. We have a place in heaven, not among men, but a place, a present place, in heaven. The moment Christ is our Saviour, God is our Father, and, in virtue of what Christ has done, we are brought into the family of God; and that which is proper to the family, is the home. (E.P. Corrin)

N.J. Hiebert # 2401


October 16

"Ye believe in God, believe also in Me." (John 14:1)

We have God before us as an object of faith. The invisible God, they had believed in; now the Lord was going away, and He was to become an invisible object likewise, but He claims their faith. The Saviour who stood upon this earth is now up in heaven, but He is just the same Lord Jesus and, in the midst of our sorrow, we can know how real a thing it is to be brought into personal acquaintance with Christ in heaven. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2402


October 17

"Their sins and iniquities (lawlessness) will I remember no more."

(Hebrews 8:12)

God's knowledge is complete. He knows what He has always known. There is nothing new to Him, there is nothing that surprises Him, and there is nothing that comes up that necessitates a change in plans. He knows the end from the beginning.

The trees did not hide Adam and Eve when they tried to escape His presence, and He knew what Cain did to Abel. God knew that Achan took the silver and gold from Jericho and that he hid them in his tent. He knew too, even though she denied it, that Sarah laughed at the news that she would bear a son. He also knew of the suffering of His people under the cruel hand of Pharaoh. He knew Judas would betray Jesus. He also knew that Peter would deny Him three times, and yet He knew too that Peter loved Him. He knew the condition of His own who were in various assemblies; their work and labor and hope, but also their loss of first love, their being neither hot nor cold, their sufferings and exaltation.
He knows us too. He knows our failures, our secret sins as well as our open sins. They are all the same to Him. How wonderful to remember that He, knowing all our rebellions, failures, and backslidings, so loved us and gave Himself for us. What security we have and what peace we should enjoy understanding that God, knowing all our sins, laid them all on the Lord, who made atonement for all these sins. "He knoweth the way that I take" (Job 23:10). He "Knoweth our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14). He knows our unbelief, our discouragements, our sorrows, our needs and circumstances. None of us knows what the day will bring and what the needs of today or tomorrow are, but He does. How this should encourage us and draw us out to dependence upon Him. (A. Blok)

N.J. Hiebert # 2403


October 18

"Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out." (Song of Solomon 4:16)

There is a little plant, small and stunted, growing under the shade of a broad-spreading Oak; and this little plant values the shade which covers it, and greatly does it esteem the quiet rest which its noble friend affords. But a blessing is designed for this little plant.

Once upon a time there comes along the woodman, and with his sharp axe he fells the oak. The plant weeps and cries, "My shelter is departed; every rough wind will blow upon me, and every storm will seek to uproot me!"
"No, no," saith the angel of that flower; "now will the sun get at thee; now will the shower fall on thee in more copious abundance than before; now thy stunted form shall spring up into loveliness, and thy flower, which could never have expanded itself to perfection shall now laugh in the sunshine, and men shall say, "How greatly hath that plant increased! How glorious hath become its beauty, through the removal of that which was its shade and its delight!"

See you not, then, that God may take away your comforts and your privileges to make you the better Christian? Why, the Lord always trains His soldiers, not by letting them lie on feather-beds, but by turning them out, and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long march with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. This is the way in which He makes them soldiers -- not by dressing them up in fine uniforms, to swagger at the barrack gates, and to be fine gentlemen in the eyes of the loungers in the park. God knows that soldiers are only to be made in battle; they are not to be grown in peaceful times. We may grow the stuff of which soldiers are made; but warriors are really educated by the smell of gun powder, in the midst of whizzing bullets and roaring cannonades, not in soft and peaceful times. Well, Christians, may not this account for it all? Is not thy Lord bringing out thy graces and making them grow? Is He not developing in you the qualities of the soldier by throwing you into the heat of battle, and should you not use every appliance to come off conqueror? (Spurgeon - received from a reader of the "Gems")

N.J. Hiebert # 2404


October 19

". . . the Lord upholdeth the righteous." (Psalm 37:17)

Botanist tell us that certain plants are too weak to stand up by their own stems, so they must be supported by stronger plants or objects in order to grow properly. Some of them put out special twining stems that attach themselves to their hosts. The tips of these tendrils are constantly spiraling upward. The pole bean is a good example. In its early stages of development its tendrils may complete only one full circle a day; but as the plant continues to grow, these shoots make as many as eight revolutions in a 24-hour period. A leading naturalist recognized 25 different families of these climbers in which the twining motion is always toward the left, and 10 others in which it is toward the right. But in order to thrive, all of these vines must be supported by something stronger than themselves. Those which trail on the ground are usually stunted, unlovely, and fruitless.

What a marvelous illustration of the Christian life! Deep in his heart the believer realizes his own weakness and searches instinctively for support. Those who do not put forth the effort through prayer and study of the Word remain undeveloped and spiritually useless. They bring "no fruit to perfection" (Luke 8:14).
Are you depending on God to uphold you and help you to become a productive believer? Can you say with the psalmist, "My soul followeth close behind Thee; Thy right hand upholdeth me"? (Psalm 63:8). Are you climbing Heaven-ward each day? If so, then you know the strength and joy that comes only to those who rely on Divine support. (H.G.B.)

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms
! (Hoffman)

YOU CAN HAVE AN UPRIGHT LIFE ONLY AS YOU LEAN ON JESUS. (H.G.B.)
(Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 1978, Grand Rapids,MI. Reprinted permission)

N.J. Hiebert # 2405


October 20

"For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world."
(2 Timothy 4:10)

His heart had long been upon the present age, and the captivity of Paul and the consequent "afflictions of the gospel" were but the occasion of its manifestation. A time of persecution is always a time of searching, and Demas could no longer conceal his condition. He therefore forsook the Apostle - the Lord's prisoner - and followed his heart into the world. He might have been a real Christian, not merely a professor, but, lacking courage, he lost the opportunity of fidelity to the testimony at such a solemn crisis, and surrendered himself to the influences of the age, all of which were antagonistic to the truth, and to the devoted servant to whom the truth had been committed.

The "age," as distinguished from the world, has generally a moral signification, and is expressive of the sum of the influences that are at work around us in the world at any given moment; and it is precisely these influences that constitute the danger of God's people, and to which so many, like Demas, succumb, and make "shipwreck" of their testimony. It is on this very account that the Apostle writes, "Be not conformed to this world (age)" (Romans 12:2) (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2406


October 21

"Jesus of Nazareth . . . who went about doing good." (Acts 10:38)

There is nothing negative about this verse; it does not say, "Who did no harm." There was One who, in His pathway through this world of misery and need, was actively engaged in doing good. His love was unwearied and, in spite of rebuffs and even hatred, He "went about dong good." The ungrateful response of those to whom He came is told in the words of the Psalm: "For My love they are My adversaries. . . . They have rewarded Me evil for good, and hatred for My love." (Psalm 109:4,5) (Paul Wilson)

N.J. Hiebert # 2407


October 24

"Trust in Him at all times." (Psalm 62:8)

"All times." includes the time when we almost fancy the salvation of a dear one depends on our little bits of prayers ad efforts. Not that this trust will lead to an easy-going idleness. It never does this when it is real. The deepest trust leads to the most powerful action. It is the silencing oil that makes the machinery obey the motive power with greatest readiness and result. It may seem a great trial of trust very often, but who is it that we have to trust thus unquestioningly and quietly? Jesus Christ! Cannot we trust the Good Shepherd about His own sheep? Why should it actually seem harder to trust Him about His own affairs than about our own? (Francis Ridley Havergal - Opened Treasures)

N.J. Hiebert # 2410


October 25

"Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. . . . God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able."

(1 Corinthians 10:12,13)

What we have to do, whether to Christians, to backsliders, or to sinners, is to maintain the attitude of God towards each of these classes. He never gives up one of His own, nor diminishes His love, though He does change His manner. As some one has said, we do not cease to love, but we do not caress a naughty child. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2411


October 26

"Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?"
(Song of Solomon 8:5)

- The tendency is to lose dependence when we are enjoying the results of dependence.

- I consider self-vindication unworthy of any one standing for the Lord and for His truth, and I never saw a case of it where the one in the right did not suffer loss.

- You ought to begin your day with this confidence, that you have enough in Christ to meet every difficulty that may befall you.

- I have One who loves me ten thousand times better than I love myself, and I am in His sphere. I belong to His house, and He cares for me. (Footprints for Pilgrims)

N.J. Hiebert # 2412


October 27

"Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my name sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." (Matthew 5:11,12)

Through evil report and through good report Paul had to pass, and so far as any accusation against me is known to me as not true . . . I do not think one need to be unhappy about it. . . . But there is a reward for our bearing false accusations. (G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert # 2413


October 28

"Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you."

(Acts 1:8)

It is a mistake to suppose that we can be endowed, so to speak, with spiritual power. God never gives a fund of strength to any of His servants on which they can draw from time to time until the whole is used. The power is always in Himself, and not in them, and only supplied moment by moment to those who are walking with and in dependence upon Him. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2414


October 29

"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith (apart) from the deeds of the law."
(Romans 3:28)

When we place our trust in Jesus, we are "justified." All our sins are forgiven, and we are fully accepted by God. We experience this tremendous spiritual benefit on the basis of Christ's sacrificial death as full payment for our sins. We don't deserve this; we can't work for it; we can't pay for it. Rather, we are "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24).

Nonconformist English preacher Rowland Hill (1744-1833) was attending a fair and noticed all the people selling their wares. He said, "I am going to sell what I have to offer, the blessings of salvation, without money and without price. The other merchants find it very difficult to get customers up to their price; my difficulty is to bring them down to mine, which is nothing. It's to be received by faith."
Commenting on this incident, C.H. Spurgeon said, "So it is with men. If I could preach justification to be bought, or to be had by walking a hundred miles, or by some torture, who would not seek it? But when it is offered freely, men turn away. . . . What poor ideas men have of the value of Christ's gospel if they think they can buy it!" Yes, we are "justified by faith."
Have you been declared right with God? If not, receive Christ as your Savior, and enjoy that "righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ" (Romans 3:22). (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2415


October 30

"But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee." (Luke 14:10)

When God gives me a place it is one of power and nighness to Himself; but when a man takes a place for himself it is one of weakness and alienation from God, because self is the object. (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 2416

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