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

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Gems from April 2006

April 1

"Let your lights so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

If Satan can get a Christian to give an unchristian testimony to the world, he is satisfied. If he can dim the heavenly testimony for Christ here, his object is gained. Christ was God's testimony here. We ought to be so now; and what Satan is striving at now is to dim it. (The Young Christian - February 1947 - Vol. 37 - No. 2)

N.J. Hiebert # 2569

April 2

"Christ is all, and in all." (Colossians 3:11)

Christ is all and all is of Christ.

Built on Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11-12) and by Christ (Matthew 16:18)
Built up and growing in Christ (Ephesians 2:21-22)
Increasing from Christ (Ephesians 4:16)
Strengthened through Christ (Philippians 4:13)
Growing up into and unto Christ (Ephesians 4:13,15)
Crucified, dead and risen with Christ (Galatians 2:19-20, Colossians 2:20, 3:1)
Becoming like Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Conformed to Christ (Romans 8:29)
Going to be with Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:17, Philippians 1:23)
Surely without Him we are nothing and can do nothing! (Michel Payette - Le Lien Fraternal - Meditation 39)

N.J. Hiebert # 2570

April 3

"Ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3)

The Christian teaching is not in process of evolution; it is not passing from one stage to another as theologians and religious philosophers devise new systems. It is "the faith once delivered to the saints." That which is new and not "from the beginning" is but a deceit and a delusion. (H.A. Ironside)

N.J. Hiebert # 2571

April 4

"Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry." (Luke 15:21-23)

The poor prodigal would never have known such high communion, had he not known the humiliating depths of the far country. The grace which decked him in the best robe would not have shone so brightly, had he not been clad in filthy rags. God's grace is magnified by man's ruin; and the more keenly the ruin is felt, the more highly the grace is valued.

The elder brother never got a kid that he might make merry with his friends; and why? Because he imagined he had earned it. "Lo," he says, "these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment." Vain man! How could he expect the ring, the robe, or the fatted calf? Had he obtained them, they would have been but the trappings of self-righteousness, and not the ornaments with which grace decks the believing sinner. (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 2572

April 5

"He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered." (John 18:1)
"Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher." (John 19:41)

Man's history began in a garden. Sadly, so did his ruin. But at last the Redeemer came. In a garden He fell on His face and anguished with Calvary in view. On the next day, crucified, He was laid in a garden tomb, but three days later, in that same garden, He showed Himself alive to one who loved Him. Eden's garden of guilt had been eclipsed by Gethsemane's garden of gloom and Mary's garden of glory. (Jim Flanigan)

N.J. Hiebert # 2573

April 6

"He giveth His beloved sleep." (Psalm 127:2)

Rest, tired heart, within those arms eternal,
Like cradled child upon its mother's breast;
Oh, lean on Him who giveth to the weary,
After the day is over, blessed rest.

Rest, troubled heart, oppressed by care and sorrow,
Let every fear and vague foreboding cease;
Oh, rest in Him who giveth to the burdened,
After the day is over, blessed peace.

Rest, anxious heart, take no thought for the morrow,
Thou needest not wake, for He His watch doth keep:
Oh, rest in Him who giveth His beloved,
After the day is over, blessed sleep

(Annie Johnson Flint)

N.J. Hiebert # 2574

April 7

"As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love." (John 15:9)

Impress on saints as much as you can how Christ loves them, and that they have to continue in His love; then you will have a practical company, for continuing in the happy sense of His love is everything. You need not then trouble your soul about how much you obey, for it you continue in His love you must obey, and the more you continue in the love the better you will obey. (Footprints for Pilgrims)

N.J. Hiebert # 2575

April 8

"Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done." (Luke 22:42)

You cannot expect an answer from God unless your will is gone. You shut out answers to prayer because you have a will about the thing for which you are praying. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2576

April 9

"I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully."
(1 Timothy 5:14)

Moms are specially seen in Scripture as nurturers. How vitally important, dear moms, that you daily seek wisdom and energy from the Lord to fulfill this role. The Western World, where the light of Christianity once shone so brightly, has taken the lead in teaching mothers to forsake their God-given role as nurturers at home.

No one and nothing can replace a mother who nurtures her precious flock at home. The best day care centres, the finest preschool environments can't provide mothering nurture, for your precious little ones. God has entrusted them to your care in the home mom (1 Timothy 5:14), and if you don't fulfill your role as mother, none else can. (TCS - April 2006)

N.J. Hiebert # 2577

April 10

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18)

We are so apt to look for deliverance in suffering, but I suspect that God's object with each of us is to teach us to expect a fresh revelation of Christ and to learn His mind in the trial. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2578

April 11

"There are eleven days journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadesh-barnea." (Deuteronomy 1:2)

Eleven days! And yet it took them (Children of Israel) forty years! How was this? We need not travel far for the answer. It is only too like ourselves. How slowly we get over the ground! What windings and turnings! How often we have to go back and travel over the same ground again and again! We are slow travelers, because we are slow learners. It may be we feel disposed to marvel how Israel could have taken forty years to accomplish a journey of eleven days; but we may, with much greater reason, marvel at ourselves. We, like them, are kept back by our unbelief and slowness of heart; but there is far less excuse for us than for them, inasmuch as our privileges are so very much higher. (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 2579

April 12

"And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death, of the cross." (Philippians 2:8)

The whole life of our blessed Lord as man is compressed into the words, "He humbled Himself." (Footprints for Pilgrims)

N.J. Hiebert # 2580

April 13

"The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord. . . Then the channels of waters were seen . . ." (Psalms 18:2,3,15)

We are but leaden pipes to let the water down from the cistern above - dry till it flows in above and dry if it ceases to flow in. It is good to remember this at all times and to walk humbly in the truth of it. . . . I found it useful (the remembrance of it) in praying before speaking. Often not a word seemed with me to give, and the spreading out before the Lord His estimate of the worthiness of His Son to be spoken about, and His will that He should be announced, has been followed by a full fresh flow of water of the word of life. (G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert # 2581

April 14

"He said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest."
(Exodus 33:14)
"In Thy presence is fullness of joy." (Psalm 16:11)

Graham Faulkner, a missionary from New Zealand to Guatemala, was once asked if it was dangerous to serve the Lord in that land. To which he replied, "Safety is not in the absence of danger, but in the presence of the Lord". Wherever we serve the Lord today, how wonderful it is to know His two-fold promise, My presence shall go with thee and in His presence there is fullness of joy. May we know both today! (Arnot McIntee)

N.J. Hiebert # 2582

April 15

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Men had dared to call the preaching of the cross of Christ foolishness. But who and what were they? Those that perish! Was it wise to follow such? They might vaunt of their wisdom, but this would not save them from perdition.

Need we wonder it was to them foolishness, if they saw not the glory of the person of Christ who was given to die in God's love to sinners? For what could seem less reasonable to the natural mind than for a crucified man to be the only Saviour from sins and the wrath of God? Men naturally despise the cross, men who do not believe either that their sins deserve divine judgment or that He in grace bore that judgment on the cross.

There is nothing a man is so slow to acknowledge as his own badness. When a man is in such a state, religion is only a blind for the soul and a sop for God - of all vanities the greatest and most pernicious. (W. Kelly)

N.J. Hiebert # 2583

April 16

"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)

One has said, "our business is to act according to the Word, come what may; the result will show that the wisdom of God was in it". The one using the Word may be weak, and have little natural intelligence, but he will find that the Word of God is quick and powerful, and that through it every wile of the enemy is exposed. (Hamilton Smith - Gems for the Singing Pilgrim)

N.J. Hiebert # 2584

April 17

"When ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

Rest assured that God does more in us than we for Him; and what we do is only for Him just insofar as it is Himself that works it in us. (Christian Truth - Volume 15 - January 1962)

N.J. Hiebert # 2585

April 18

"Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matthew 6:34)

Faith, though it has a large stock to draw from in God, has no purse or scrip in man wherein to carry about the expenses of the journey." (Extract)

N.J. Hiebert # 2586

April 19

"Behold My Servant, He shall act wisely,
Raised shall He be . . .
High shall He be; yea, the Highest!
As there were many astonished at Thee,
(So marred was His visage,
More than that of a man,
More marred was His form
Than all of Adam's sons)."

(Isaiah 52:13-14. Hebrew poetry - free metrical rendering by F.C.J.)

He ever acted wisely; His wisdom led Him to infinite suffering and that "wise" path of suffering was terminated only by the cross. Then, we have the steps resulting from that wise doing. First, He is raised up from the depths of humiliation to which that path had led Him, the tomb, and then finally He is given the highest place in all the universe.

Next, we are told that many were astonished by the depths of His humiliation - this astonishment was caused by the extent to which His face and form were marred! The words point beyond all question to some unparalleled depth of suffering and its effect on that blessed Face and Form. For three hours He did so suffer that he was marred "more than any of the sons of men."

It would not do to limit the scope of the astonishment solely to those men who witnessed it, for angels might well be struck with deepest marvel that He, their Creator, should voluntarily endure such vicarious agony! (F.C. Jennings)

N.J. Hiebert # 2587

April 20

"Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." (2 Corinthians 4:16)
Those bygone days, tho' days of joy,
We wish them not again.
Were there not also many days
Of sorrow and of pain?
But in the days awaiting us,
Those days beyond the tomb,
Sorrow shall never find a place,
But joys eternal bloom.

For though in truth the outward man
May perish and decay,
The inward man shall be renewed
By grace from day to day.
They who are planted by the Lord,
Unshaken in their root,
E'en to old age shall flourish still,
And even bring forth fruit.


N.J. Hiebert # 2588

April 21

"God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." (James 4:6)

The humble man may have Satan at his right hand to oppose him; but be sure the proud man shall find God Himself there to resist him. We must either lay self aside or God will lay us aside. . . . A proud scholar and a humble master will never agree; Christ is humble and lowly, and so resists the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. (William Gurnall - 1665)

N.J. Hiebert # 2589

April 22

"The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd." (Ecclesiastes 12:11)

There are two ways of learning the emptiness of the world and the true character of sin. One, and by far the commonest way, is to tread the thorny path each for himself. To do so is to taste to the full the bitterness of departure from God. The only right way is to learn it all in His presence, accepting His word regarding it; and thus enabling the obedient disciple to say, "Concerning the works of men, by the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer." (Psalm 17:4) (H.A. Ironside - Notes on Proverbs.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2590

April 23

"He is the rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment (righteousness): a God of truth (faithfulness) and without iniquity (deceit), just and right is He." (Deuteronomy 32:4)

It was when Satan succeeded by his lies in making Eve believe that God was withholding something good from her, something that she felt to be desirable, that she began to distrust God. She thought she knew better what was desirable than He. God had said of the forbidden fruit, "The day that thou eatest of it thou shalt certainly die" (Genesis 2:17). But Eve looked at the forbidden tree and judged it to be "good for food, and that it was a pleasure for the eyes, and the tree was to be desired to give intelligence." (Genesis 3:6) She relied upon her own judgment instead of God's. And what unhappiness she plunged herself into by doing so and not confiding in God!

This is still the root cause of all the unhappiness in the world today. Get this fact clearly in mind and face it squarely. If you want happiness and peace of heart and mind, you must begin right here. Deal in your own life with this root of all unhappiness, this lack of confidence in God's wisdom and goodness towards you. Stop thinking you know better than He what is needed to make you happy, confiding in your own judgment and thoughts instead of His. Are you unwilling just to yield to Him and let Him have His own way? His infinite knowledge assures you that He knows what is the very best for you, and His infinite power guarantees His ability to bring it to pass for you if you are willing to yield to Him with simple confidence in His love, wisdom, and power. (E.C. Hadley)

Have Thine own way, Lord! have Thine own way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

(A.A. Pollard)

N.J. Hiebert # 2591

April 24

"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." (Ephesians 6:16)

An unsatisfied heart is a source of danger, and a divided heart is the continual cause of inconsistency of walk. On the other hand, when Christ possesses and engrosses the affections we are superior to every temptation of the enemy. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2592

April 25

"And they remembered His words." (Luke 24:8)

How much mischief do we get into by not remembering God's words! When the Lord Jesus was tempted He had the word of God at hand, and by that simple word He could claim the victory in the battle. (J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2593

April 26

"It is finished." (John 19:30) "It is enough." (Genesis 45:28)

In His own body on the tree the Lord Jesus finished the work. Redemption is complete. Nothing remains to be done, for nothing can be added to a finished work. The holy Sin-bearer has paid the penalty in full and has exhausted the judgment which was due to us. In confirmation of His acceptance of the sacrifice, God has raised Him from the dead, and, like old Jacob, we see the evidence of this and exclaim, "It is enough." (Jim Flanigan)

N.J. Hiebert # 2594

April 27

"And they (Orpah & Ruth) said unto her (Naomi), Surely we will return with thee unto thy people." (Ruth 1:10)

Naomi's daughters-in-law accompany her, moved by the thought of returning with her to her people. But this good intention is not enough, for nothing less than faith will do in order to enter into relationship with grace. The behavior of Orpah and of Ruth illustrates this principle. In appearance there is no difference at all between them. Both leave with Naomi and walk with her, thus demonstrating their attachment to her. Orpah affection is real: she weeps at the mere thought of leaving her mother-in-law; and full of sympathy, sheds still more tears when she finally leaves her. Orpah, the Moabite, also loves Naomi's people: "They said to her, We will certainly return with thee to thy people."

But it is possible to have a very amiable character without having faith. Faith makes a gulf between these two women who are so similar in so many ways. Confronted with impossibilities, the natural heart draws back, whereas faith is nourished on impossibilities and so increases in strength. Orpah gives up a path which has no outcome. What could Naomi offer her? She was ruined, stricken by God, and filled with bitterness; did she yet have sons in her womb to give as husband to her daughters-in-law? Orpah kisses her mother-in-law and returns to her people and to her gods (v.15) (H.L. Rossier)

N.J. Hiebert # 2595

April 28

"The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Corinthians 1:25)

The cross of Christ is the fullest display of God's judgment of sin and of His love to the sinner. What men taunted as foolishness and weakness, the incarnate Word suffering on a cross, equally proves man's utter ruin and God's saving mercy. So did the Saviour endure the judgment of sin that the believer might be saved. Is it not then wiser and stronger than men? Did not the resurrection prove, does not the gospel proclaim, it to be so? (William Kelly - Notes on 1 Corinthians)

N.J. Hiebert # 2596

April 29

"Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." (Daniel 12:4)

"How many of you are living too fast?" Everyone is quick to acknowledge that we have been pulled into the "fast lane" and that everyone is running to and fro! One of the reasons for this running to and fro is the emptiness so many people are experiencing. They go to every imaginable extreme to discover something worth living for. But for us who know Christ, that should not be!

So what has happened to us? Our calendars are packed full of events, activities, and programs, and we are failing to distinguish what is essential. With full schedules there is not time for families to enjoy doing things with one another; many families seldom sit down together, but instead eat on the run because everyone has to be somewhere doing something; also family worship has been crowded out. All our knowledge has not helped either - TV, videos, CD players, and computers have done more to create restlessness than we would like to admit. Is there an answer? Can we salvage something that has been taken away from us by our high-tech, high speed society?

1. First, we must recognize and acknowledge what has happened to us and our families, and then do something about it.
2. Second, we must determine what really matters and then get rid of what doesn't.
3. Third, we must spend much time in studying the Word, in prayer, and in the family spiritual life.

If you do these things, you may be criticized by other Christians and even by your own family, but remember that your family is your greatest earthly treasure. You will answer to God, not others, for what you do with it. Don't be afraid to be different! (J. Palmer)

N.J. Hiebert # 2597

April 30

"God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)

"Remember one is given strength to bear what happens to one, but not the 100 and 1 different things that might happen." (C.S.L.)

Have you ever looked at someone else's misfortune and thought, "I couldn't handle that"? If so, you were exactly right. God has not given us the grace to handle what He has not yet asked us to bear. The grace promised to us in Scripture is available only in the present, and only when it is needed. After reminding us that Christ can sympathize with our weaknesses, the writer of Hebrews invites, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) A literal (albeit awkward) rendering of this verse from the Greek promises the Christian "grace for a well-timed help."

What does a well-timed help look like? More often than not, He chooses to help us endure rather than removing the trial.

The same Greek word translated as "help" (Hebrews 4:16) is translated as "ropes" in Acts 27:17. In this scene, Paul travels on a ship that gets caught in a violent storm. The wind and waves are so fierce that the sailors fear the ship will split apart. They pass ropes ("helps") under and around the creaking vessel in order to hold it together like a net. Sometime, the well-timed help that God provides doesn't calm the waves, but it holds us together until the storm dies down.

The psalmist describes God as "a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). He will not give us the help before we need it, and He may not remove us out of trouble, but He will be there with us to hold us together. When the troubles do come, we can approach His throne with confidence, fully expecting to receive the grace of his well-timed help. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2598


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