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

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Gems from September 2004

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

September 8

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:32)

Love does not store up the memory of any wrong it has received. The word translated "store up" is an accountant's word. It is the word used for entering up an item in a ledger so that it will not be forgotten. That is precisely what so many people do. One of the great arts in life is to learn what to forget.

A writer tells how "in Polynesia, where the natives spend much of their time in fighting and feasting, it is customary for each man to keep some reminders of his hatred. Articles are suspended from the roofs of their huts to keep alive the memory of their wrongs - real or imaginary." In the same way many people nurse their wrath to keep it warm; they brood over their wrongs until it is impossible to forget them. Christian love has learned the great lesson of forgetting. (W.B.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2001

September 9

"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Someone said to Sir Isaac Newton, "Sir Isaac, I do not understand; you seem to be able to believe the Bible like a little child. I have tried, but I cannot. So many of its statements mean nothing to me. I cannot believe; I cannot understand."

Sir Isaac Newton replied, "Sometimes I come into my study and in my absent-mindedness I attempt to light my candle when the extinguisher is over it, and I fumble about trying to light it and cannot; but when I remove the extinguisher then I am able to light the candle. I am afraid the extinguisher in your case is the love of your sins; it is deliberate unbelief that is in you. Turn to God in repentance; be prepared to let the Spirit of God reveal His truth to you, and it will be His joy to show the glory of the grace of God shining in the face of Jesus Christ." (H.A.I)

N.J. Hiebert # 2002

September 10

"Lord, save me." (Matthew 14:30)

There is rarely a prayer too short; often a prayer too long (especially in the prayer meeting). Peter didn't have time for a long prayer. Had he prayed long, he would have sunk beneath the waves. But his prayer was certainly fervent! No preliminaries; no flowery theological language - just an urgent cry for help. His cry was addressed to the right Person; he knew who alone could meet his instant need. And his prayer was effective, for immediately the Lord's hand was stretched forth to catch him. He is the same today; your fervent cry to Him will keep you from sinking beneath the waves. How is your prayer life? (Doug Kazen)

N.J. Hiebert # 2003

September 11

"Call upon Me in the day of trouble." (Psalm 50:15)
"My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Psalm 22:1)

The promise of our great God to His people is their deliverance when they call. Sadly, that was not the case for His only Son, our Saviour, who was abandoned by God on Calvary's tree. Although He knew no deliverance then, He now offers deliverance to us today in His sovereign will. Call on Him. Soon it may be too late, and then you will find yourself forsaken." (Arnot P. McIntee)

N.J. Hiebert # 2004

September 12

"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I had to see about some work being done the other day, and asked the contractor how much it would cost.
"It won't cost very much," said he, "because we can use all the old material."

Now that is precisely what God could not do. There must be a new start altogether, with new material.
If there is to be anything for God in man, or any capacity to estimate things according to God, a man "must be born again." There must be an effectual operation of God by His Word and Spirit producing a new moral being in man, the effect of which is that he begins to think God's thoughts about himself." (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2005

September 13

"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." (Galatians 6:1)

Our first thoughts, on hearing of a brother's sin, should be of self-judgment. In what way have we contributed to the general weakness of the body, which results in the failure of one of its members? How often and earnestly have we prayed for that one? and in what way have we shown our care that his walk may be such as becomes the gospel? (John 13.) It has been said that our unconscious influence is greater than that we are conscious of exerting over others, and on this account the powerful influence of example will have a place in our consideration.

It is a remarkable fact, and little to our credit, that those who owe their present and prospective blessings to divine mercy alone, are sometimes most unmerciful in their judgment of others. Do we not often credit others with motives which we should be most indignant to have imputed to ourselves? (Christian Truth - Vol. 13)

N.J. Hiebert # 2006

September 14

"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." (Romans 7:18)

Do you honestly say, I know that in me, that is, in my flesh - dwelleth no good thing? Do you believe that of yourselves? You will never get full liberty till you do, and you will never know what it is to be settled and steady in your soul till you have learned it; for them you get not only forgiveness and justification, but deliverance. (J.N.D.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2007

September 15

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
(1 Timothy 1:7)

In Tamil we have a polite word, which tells someone who asks for something, that we have nothing to give; we have run short of it - Poochiam.

One day, I felt like saying Poochiam about love, I had run short of it. I was in the Forest, and I had just read a letter which was hard to answer lovingly. I was sitting by The Pool at the time, and presently began to watch the water flow down through the deep channel worn in the smooth rocks above it. There was always inflow, so there was always outflow. Never for one minute did the water cease to flow in, and so never for one moment did it cease to flow out; and I knew, of course, that the water that flowed out was the water that flowed in. The hollow that we call The Pool had no water of its own, and yet all the year round there was an overflow.

"God hath not given you the spirit of fear,... but of love". If love flows in, love will flow out. Let love flow in.

That was the word of the pool. There is no need for any of us to run short of love. We need never say Poochiam. (Amy Carmichael - Edges of His Ways)

N.J. Hiebert # 2008

September 16

"Casting all your care upon Him: for He careth for you." (1 Peter 5:7)

He assumes this relegation (to assign to a place of insignificance or of oblivion), in faith, of our every anxiety on our God and Father, who loves to bear burdens too great for His weak ones, for whom He has joys and service which demand freedom of spirit for their right aim and end. How enfeebling is the unbelief that fancies it our duty too be weighed down outwardly and inwardly! Why, Christian, have you not rolled upon Him the weight that oppresses you? Is not His word to us plain and certain? Does He not care for you - He that gave His Son for your sins, He that numbers all the hairs of your head? (William Kelly - The Epistle of Peter)

N.J. Hiebert # 2009

September 17

"... if ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods... and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve Him only and HE will deliver you... Then the Children of Israel did put away (the idols) and served the Lord only ... we have sinned against the Lord."

(1 Samuel 7:2-6)

"Repentance and remission of sins." Repentance is man's true place. Remission of sins is God's response. The former is the empty vessel; the latter, the fullness of God. When these meet, all is settled. (C.H. Mackintosh - Fullness From An Empty Vessel - Vol. 5)

N.J. Hiebert # 2010

September 18

"I am the Lord, I change not." (Malachi 3:6)

In regard to change, A.W. Tozer said, "In a world of decay and change not even men of faith can be completely happy." And the poet Frederick W. Faber wrote, "Lord! I'm sick... of this everlasting change." Instinctively we seek the unchanging and grieve at the passing of familiar things. Yet on the other hand, Tozer said, "... the very ability to change is a golden treasure, a gift from God." For the essence of repentance is a change so radical that the Apostle Paul refers to the man that used to be as "the old man" becoming the "new man" (by new birth) infused with new spiritual life. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation." (2 Corinthians 5:17) Thus, in Christ is found the eternal permanence every heart longs for. (E. Dyck)

N.J. Hiebert # 2011

September 19

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

Worry is the child of unbelief. Anxiety can never stay if the eyes of the heart behold the Man in Glory and faith realizes that all is in the hands of One "Who doeth all things well." Worry and anxiety accuse Him. Martha did that when she was encumbered with much service and then said to Him, "Dost Thou not care?" Each time we give way to anxiety, we act as if He did not care. But He does; and He would have us rest in faith and commit all to Himself. (A.C. Gaebelein - The Work of Christ)

N.J. Hiebert # 2012

September 20

"All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes: But Jehovah weigheth the spirits."
(Proverbs 16:2)

Ever since the Fall (in the garden of Eden) it has been second nature with man to justify himself. Till brought into the light of God's holiness there is nothing of which he is generally so certain as the defensibleness of his own conduct. His ways are clean in his own eyes, but he is not to be trusted in his own judgement, for the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Jehovah weigheth the spirits. His balances are exact. His judgment is unerring; and He it is who solemnly declares, "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting!"

Thus man is shut up to the salvation provided through the finished work of the Son of God on Calvary's cross. Other wise condemnation alone can be his portion. (H.A. Ironside - Notes on Proverb)

N.J. Hiebert # 2013

September 21

"And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS....and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that He said I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written." (John 19:19-22)

When the Lord Jesus was hanging as the Lamb of God on the accursed tree and over His bleeding brows was written the inscription in every language, "this is the King of the Jews," they sought to blot it out - but God would not have it blotted out. He would have the whole creation know that the cross was the title to the kingdom. The inscription that Pilate wrote on the cross, and God kept there, is very fine. (J.G. Bellett - Musings on the Epistle to the Hebrews)

N.J. Hiebert # 2014

September 22

"Teach me Thy way, O Lord;... unite my heart to fear Thy name."

(Psalm 86:11)

This prayer holds the secret to a well-integrated life. The psalmist asked the Lord to teach him His way and to unite his heart to fear His name. He wanted to know what God would have him do, but he also longed to maintain a relationship with Him so that he would walk faithfully in the way of righteousness. David's deepest desire was to have a commanding center in his life, around which everything else would revolve. It was to know and to do the will of God.

Madame Chiang Kai-shek (Wife of the head of the Nationalist Government of the Republic of China, 1887 - 1975) said, "life is very simple, and yet how confused we make it seem." She went on to say that in old Chinese art every picture has only one outstanding object. The artist deliberately subordinated everything else to that one beautiful thing. Drawing a lesson from this, Madame Chiang commented, "An integrated life is like that. What is the one beautiful flower? As I feel it now, it is doing the will of God. I used to pray that He would do this or that. Now I ask Him to make His will known to me." She had learned a very important spiritual lesson.

I'm sure we've all felt a deep longing within our souls for a simple, uncomplicated life. The many duties and demands that crowd in upon us and the various roles we have to fulfill often leave us bewildered and overwhelmed. Well, there's a solution to this frustrating state of affairs. We must ask ourselves, "Do I want to know and do God's will above ALL ELSE? What is the controlling center of my life?" If that question draws a blank, maybe the psalmist's prayer, "Teach me Thy way, O Lord," is the answer to your problem. (D.J.D.)

Lord, choose for me and make my will
Obedient to thine own, until
With strong assurance I shall know
That Thou art always where I go
. - Bernhardt

If Christ is at the center of your life, the circumference will take care of itself.

N.J. Hiebert # 2015

September 23

"Them that honour me I will honour." (1 Samuel 2:30)

These were the words of God once to a priest of Israel, and that ancient law of the Kingdom stands today unchanged by the passing of time or the changes of dispensation. The whole Bible and every page of history proclaim the perpetuation of that law. "If any man serve me, him will my Father honour" (John 12:26), said our Lord Jesus, tying in the old with the new and revealing the essential unity of His ways with men.

Sometimes the best way to see a thing is to look at its opposite. Eli and his sons are placed in the priesthood with the stipulation that they honour God in their lives and ministrations. This they fail to do, and God sends Samuel to announce the consequences. Unknown to Eli this law of reciprocal honour has been all the while secretly working, and now the time has come for judgment to fall. Hophni and Phineas, the degenerate priests, fall in battle; the wife of Hophni dies in childbirth; Israel flees before her enemies; the ark of God is captured by the Philistines, and the old man Eli falls backward and dies of a broken neck. Thus stark, utter tragedy followed upon Eli's failure to honour God. (A.W. Tozer - The Pursuit of God)

N.J. Hiebert # 2016

September 24

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

All that is outside of the Bible, all that presumes to come into competition with it and challenges the ears of men, is but a sea, an unformed mass, of opinions and reasonings. How welcome therefore to the soul, wearied in its quest after some stable foundation on which to rest in view of death and eternity, is the immutable basis laid for faith in the infallible scriptures. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2017

September 25

"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up"

(James 4:10).

Low at Thy feet, Lord Jesus,
This is the place for me,
Here I have learned deep lessons -
Truth that has set me free.

Free from myself, Lord Jesus,
Free from the ways of men;
Chains of thought that have bound me,
Never shall bind again.

None but Thyself, Lord Jesus,
Conquered this wayward will;
But for Thy love constraining,
I had been wayward still
. (J.N.D.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2018

September 26

"For me to live is CHRIST." (Philippians 1:21)

All that we pass through is that we may get a fresh view of Christ, or a deepening of a former one; but often we are so occupied with the circumstances, or ourselves in the circumstances, that we fail to learn the lesson God would teach us. (C.T.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2019

September 27

"Having loved His own... He loved them unto the end." (John 13:1)

Oh, how sweet this experience of Christ's love in this cold world! When the heart is chilled, and yearning for a little warmth, how sweet to turn to the Lord Jesus and feel the warmth of His love! Ah, looking up to Him, the heart is always warmed. (G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert # 2020

September 28

"We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand." (Romans 5:2)

It is not attainments, it is not watchfulness, it is not services or duties which... give the soul entrance into that wealthy place of divine favour - "By faith we have access into this grace wherein we stand." (J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2021

September 29

"The God of all encouragement." (2 Corinthians 1:3)

Though distant from the heavenly way
The souls you love, for whom you pray,
Ah! why need ye despair?
Plead on - and ye shall live to prove
That God is power, that God is love,
And loves to answer prayer
. (Sir E. Denny)

N.J. Hiebert # 2022

September 30

"Lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:24)

God sends rain and fruitful seasons, but though they come, they never come in the same way in any one year, and I find that, as a rule, when I need anything, that it comes from a quarter that I never expected, and that from the quarter where it had come before it does not now. Thus God keeps the eye on Himself and not on the donor. (J.B.S. - Footprints For Pilgrims)

N.J. Hiebert # 2023

October 1

"O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!" (Deuteronomy 32:29)

The following lines were found among the papers of the late Professor B---, at the close of a life of devotion to the quest of honour and fame, a life which would, no doubt, be highly commended by the children of the world. The lines speak for themselves with a seriousness and intensity which cannot be overstated, and stand as a solemn warning to all who would walk ambition's glittering highway.

Why labour for honour? Why seek after fame?
Why toil to establish a popular name?
Fame! aye, what is fame? a bubble - a word,
A sound, that's worth nothing, a hope that's deferred;
A heartsickening hope that's too often denied
Or withheld from the worthy, to pander to pride.

Then out upon fame! let her guerdon be riven,
Nay - hold - let me strive as I always have striven.
Out, out upon fame! too late will she come,
Her wreath mocks my brow, will it hang on my tomb?
Too much have I laboured, too willingly gave
My thoughts to the world AND HAVE EARNED BUT A GRAVE

(J.K. - Christian Truth - Vol. 23)

N.J. Hiebert # 2024

October 2

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see..." (Matthew 5:16)

Remember that your lamps are to be kept well trimmed and brightly burning. What is more dangerous than a lamppost with no light at the top on a dark night? The very thing which ought to be a guide, proves a stumbling block; so a Christian who is not letting his light shine, always proves a real hindrance to others. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2025


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