Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5500 posted here) sent daily for 18 years --

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Gems from June 2006

June 1

"For ever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven."
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee."
(Psalm 119:89 & 119:11)

The one grand point for the people of God, now and at all times, is obedience. It is not a question of power, or of gift, or of external show, or of numbers; it is simply a question of OBEDIENCE. "To obey is better than sacrifice." To obey what? The Church? No, the Church is a hopeless ruin, and cannot therefore be an authority. Obey what? The Word of the Lord. What a rest for the heart! What authority for the path! What stability for the whole practical career! There is nothing like it.

It tranquilizes the spirit in an ineffable manner, and imparts a holy consistency to the character. It is a divine answer to those who talk of power, boast of numbers, point to external show, and profess reverence for antiquity. Moreover, it is the divine antidote for the spirit of independence so rife at the present day, for the haughty uprisings of the human will, the bold assertion of man's rights. The human mind is tossed like a ball from superstition to infidelity, and can find no rest. It is like a ship without compass, rudder, or anchor, driven hither and thither. (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 2630

June 2

"I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus. . . . Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me." (Philippians 2:25,29,30)

There are some who are not content unless they are at the head and tail of everything. They seem to think that no work can be rightly done unless they have a hand in it. They are not satisfied to supply a missing link. How repulsive are all such! How we retire from them! Self-confidence, self-sufficient, ever pushing themselves into prominence. They have never measured themselves in the presence of God, never been broken down before Him, never taken their true place of self-abasement.Epaphroditus was not of this class at all.

He put his life in his hands to serve other people; and when at death's door, instead of being occupied with himself or his ailments, he was thinking of others. "He longed after you all, and was full of heaviness" - not because he was sick, but - "because that ye had heard that he had been sick." Here was true love. He knew what his beloved brethren at Philippi would be feeling when informed of his serious illness - an illness brought on by his willing-hearted service to them. (Things Old and New)

N.J. Hiebert # 2631

June 3

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."
(2 Timothy 3:16)

It is no uncommon weakness in the child of God that the non-reception of the truth by others leads him to question it. Aroused to the apprehension of the coming of the Lord, he is chilled by the torpor and indifference of those about him. This sensibility to external impression may arise because walking too little in the power of individual communion. The Spirit's witness through the Word is the fullest persuasion; and we depart from His guidance when the heart asks for collateral testimony. (Christian Truth - Vol. 23 - September 1970)

N.J. Hiebert # 2632

June 4

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." (Psalm 14:1)

There is in the Bible a vast reservoir of testimony for the honest, searching heart; but all its proof and detailed evidences cannot convince a man against his will, when his will is set against God. "Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life." (John 5:40)

The Bible is unjustly criticized on many points, but it is doubtful if it has ever been accused of vagueness or wishi-washiness. In fact, its out-spokenness has probably been the greatest single contribution to its unpopularity. It takes an honest and opened heart to accept the Bible's testimony; for those who are inclined toward flattery, or who close their eyes to their true selves as guilty sinners, won't like what the Bible says to and about them. Yet, it is the only source - the only Book that really "tells it like it really is." (Jim K - From the Christian Newsletter - C.T. - Vol. - 23 - August 1970)

N.J. Hiebert # 2633

June 5

"And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know." (1 Corinthians 8:2)

You have been led to see that you know very little of God's Word - so all of us should candidly admit. Then search daily to find in the Scriptures a deeper acquaintance with the Person to whom you are brought. You know what the work has done for your conscience; now learn about the divine Object for your heart. In this day of confusion and lawlessness the saint of God needs, as ever, to be commended "to God, and to the word of His grace." (Acts 20:32) (C.J.D. - 1900)

N.J. Hiebert # 2634

June 6

"Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2)

It is of little use to split hairs about the harm of this or that particular thing. The question is, What is our real purpose and object? Do we merely want to get on as men, or do we long to live as true disciples of a risen Saviour? (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2635

June 7

"Looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!"
(John 1:36)

There was something precious about the walk of Christ. It was a walk of true obedience and was marked by perfection. It was a walk which never faltered, stumbled, or wandered. He never had to retrace. Every step He took had a sense of purpose and took Him closer to Calvary. Indeed all the way to Calvary He went for me. Never man walked like Him. (John M. Clegg)

O Lord, when we the path retrace,
Which Thou on earth hast trod,
To man Thy wondrous love and grace,
Thy faithfulness to God
(James G. Deck)

N.J. Hiebert # 2636

June 8

"Thou shalt make no covenant with them (nations)." (Deuteronomy 7:2)

Nothing can ever afford a warrant for lowering, the breadth of a hair, the standard of obedience to the Word of God. If there are difficulties in the way, if perplexing circumstances come before us, if things crop up for which we are not prepared, and as to which we are unable to form a judgment, what are we to do? Reason? Jump to conclusions? Act on our own or on any human judgment? Most certainly not.

What then? Wait on God; wait patiently, humbly, believingly, and He will assuredly counsel and guide. "The meek will He teach His way." Had Joshua and the princes acted thus, they never would have made a league with the Gibeonites; and if we act thus, we will be delivered from every evil work and preserved unto the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (C.H. Mackintosh - Notes on Deuteronomy - 1879)

N.J. Hiebert # 2637

June 9

"The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you." (Deuteronomy 7:7,8)

Let us ask our hearts if we are as fresh as in the first weeks we were saved. Oh, you say, I know a great deal more now. Is the simple love of Jesus, the delight in Jesus, the practical holiness, and the desire to be anything and everything for Him the same as it was then? You may have forgotten that early thrill of affection, but God has not forgotten.

He says, I have not forgotten their early love. "I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after Me." Where? Into a wilderness. When they crossed the Red Sea they were in a desert. What was in the desert? Only two things. What were they? GOD and the SAND, nothing else. (W.T.P. Wolston)

N.J. Hiebert # 2638

June 10

"Refreshed by thee, brother." (Philemon 7)

I met a christian friend today; He's my brother;
We've each been cleansed in Jesus' blood; He's my brother.
Although we'd never met before There is a bond so true and sure,
And we'll be friends forevermore 'Cause he's my brother

There's meaning to that wondrous term, My brother;
And even though I chose him not, Yet he's my brother.
A billion years from now we'll be Together in eternity,
'Cause Jesus died to set us free; Yes, he's my brother.

Folks without Christ can't understand How he's my brother;
They think I'm just a little strange To call him brother;
But friend, there's deep reality In knowing Jesus set us free
In those dark hours on Calvary, To make us brothers.

Now in life's earthly pilgrim way I have a brother;
I share with him life's joy and woes 'Cause he's my brother.
We understand the path of life, We have the Word of God to guide,
Until we reach our Saviour's side; He'll be my brother.

Now when a trial comes my way I have a brother;
He stands beside me day by day; He is my brother.
God knew I'd need a special friend, One who would care and understand,
Who'd stand by me through thick and thin; Yes, he's my brother.

It's wonderful to have a friend Who is your brother;
One upon whom you can depend Like none other.
A brother loveth at all times, This bond is part of God's design;
The world knows nothing of this kind Of brother.

When Christ shall come again for me, And yes, my brother;
When I have reached my destined home With this, my brother;
Our memories of earth's day shall be Of heavenly mercies, grace so free;
Of fellowship, O Lord, with Thee; Thanks for my brother
(Written by a Friend of Gems - C.H.Krause - September 1996 - With permission)

N.J. Hiebert # 2639

June 11

"Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." (Hebrews 12:28)

An increasing number of evangelicals have a problem with the concept of "godly fear," but Scripture teaches it as a necessary ingredient to service. The absence of this fear produces unacceptable and irreverent service, that may please the flesh, but not God. People want to be "contemporary," but God wants us to be holy, reverent, and godly. A true knowledge of the Lord in His holiness, justice and wisdom will affect the way we serve. It will help us to consult Him and be driven by the desire to please Him according to His criteria, not ours. (Carl Knott)

N.J. Hiebert # 2640

June 12

"They have refreshed my spirit." (1 Corinthians 16:18)

Things to think about:

- Many a child waking frightened in the night has been comforted by a night-light. God's promises are night-lights to His people, and to their souls in the dark hours of bereavement and trial.

- Hudson Taylor was on one occasion lying very ill in Switzerland. To his wife he said, "I cannot read; I cannot pray; I can scarcely think." And then he added with a radiant smile, "but I can trust."

- Nothing satisfies love but the company of its object.

- It is not light that nourishes the soul, but love.

- The deeper the sense of the state from which we have been delivered, the more absorbingly intense our affection for the Deliverer.

- Delay in the things of God is always dangerous.

- There are some things we don't pray about - things that the Word plainly declares. (The Christian Newsletter)

N.J. Hiebert # 2641

June 13

"Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 18:10)

I must move softly, I must keep
A watch upon my words and ways:
My children are so small, but these
Are the dear memory-making days.

The days when their young minds will take
A clear-cut picture of my face;
Some little word I say will make
An imprint time will not erase.

My hands, swift moving through the hours,
My feet that tread their daily round;
My thoughts (God help me!) in their hearts
Through after years will still be found.

I must walk softly, I must keep
A watch on all I do and say -
Perhaps thus guarded, I shall make
Some lovely memory today
(Author not known)

N.J. Hiebert # 2642

June 14

"I think it meet . . . to stir you up by putting you in remembrance."

(2 Peter 1:13)
"Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die." (Revelation 3:2)

I remember coming into my room, one day, and seeing the fire very low, indeed, nearly out. On examining it more closely, I observed about half a dozen of dying embers scattered all over the bottom of the grate - quite too far apart to help one another, each fast fading away for want of a little help. What was to be done? To throw in a lot of fresh material would simply be to put the whole thing hopelessly out. The embers could not help the coals, and the coals could only quash the embers.

At once, I hit upon a very simple plan. I gently gathered the scattered embers close together, and the little bit of life in each soon made a good bit of life in all, and the little company of dying embers became quite a nice little collective fire, capable of acting on some fresh material.

Here, thought I, is a fine lesson for me. If I come to a place and find the Lord's beloved people in a very low, feeble, dying state, I must just seek to get them together for mutual help and blessing, in order that they may be in a condition to act on others outside.

This mutual help is of all importance. People are so prone to lean upon gifted men. And if they cannot have such, they get discouraged and scattered, instead of getting lovingly together and helping one another by their mutual faith. (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 2643

June 15

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

Are you growing taller? Are you able to overlook some things you were unable to overlook last year? To overlook the sneering remark, the selfish, unkind deed? To overlook failure when you have done your best? To overlook dark days and still darker frowns?

Are you getting broader? Are you able to see more of the other side of things than you could see last year? Does your vision reach to the other side of men's faults and see their difficulties, temptations, and struggles? Are you learning to look on all sides of your plans and of the designs proposed to you by others?

Are you really growing? "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:18) - a knowledge renewed by walking with our Lord. (Extract)

N.J. Hiebert # 2644

June 16

"Then said she, (Naomi) Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day." (Ruth 3:18)

Do we speak like Naomi? Do we have this blessed consciousness of the love of Jesus for us? Do we wait for Him as the One who will not rest until he will have completed the matter today? This "today" stands for the daily expectation of our Lord. He wants to have us with Himself. Yet a little patience, for He that is coming will come and will not delay! (H.L. Rossier)

N.J. Hiebert # 2645

June 17

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ."
(Galatians 1:6,7)

There are many men today who tell you they preach "another good news." Do not believe them. It may be different, but it is not "another good news." There is only one "good news" sent to us by God, and that is "Christ died for out sins." (1 Corinthians 15:3) Everything else that calls itself "good news" is false. It is counterfeit. It is not THE "good news" at all. Paul reminds them that it is God Himself who had called them, and He called them "in grace," not "in law," or "to law." They had quite forgotten their calling. If it is not God Himself who has called them, and if it is not in grace alone, then it is not the true "good news" but only a false imitation, for there "is not another." (G.C. Willis - Beautiful Grace)

N.J. Hiebert # 2646

June 18

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

That very heat that removes the fair traces of spring, produces the mellowed and matured fruits of autumn. Thus it is also in the christian life. (Food for the Desert)

N.J. Hiebert # 2647

June 19

"And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it."
(1 Corinthians 12:26)

When my sons were young, one of them stubbed his toe and grimaced with pain. Seeing him trying bravely to bear the agony of those moments, I said, "Son, I'm truly sorry. My toe hurts for you."

Lifting his head, he looked at me and responded, "Dad, your toe doesn't really hurt, does it?"
No, I didn't sense any physical pangs, yet I did share his suffering. I even wished his ache could somehow be transferred to my body.

The Apostle Paul said that all believers in Christ are part of "one body" (1 Corinthians 12:13). And if one part suffers, "all the members suffer with it." (verse 26)

Are you grieved when a brother or sister in Christ is in trouble? Does it bother you when a believer stumbles into sin and is brought under the chastening hand of the Lord? Do you experience sorrow of heart when a child of God is passing through the deep waters of affliction and trial? If not, ask the Lord right now to help you become the kind of person who can share the heartache of others and sympathize with them.

Yes, to every Christian we meet who is in some kind of distress, we should be ready to say from our heart, "I hurt for you." (Richard De Haan)

The hurting ones need sympathy,
The need to know we're there;
A quiet word, tender touch
Assures them that we care
. -D. De Haan

Empathy = your pain in my heart.

Our Daily bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright (2005), Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission.

N.J. Hiebert # 2648

June 20

"Neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee."

(2 Chronicles 20:12)

Jehoshaphat was compassed about but not covered for the uplook was good. When Elisha was surrounded by the enemy, he looked up to behold the angels of the Lord encamping around about him from above. Satan can wall us around, but he cannot roof us over. When Isaiah looked back at the past and around at the present, he found hope in the upward look: "Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down." (Isaiah 64:1) Circumstances may limit our outreach but not our upreach. Keep looking up! (Vance Havner - All the Days)

N.J. Hiebert # 2649

June 21

"When He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him." (Hebrews 1:6)
"They fell down and worshiped Him." (Matthew 2:11)

What does it mean to worship? Originally the Greek word had the thought of prostrating oneself and kissing the feet or kissing the ground at the feet. It symbolized appreciation, loyalty, and submission to the person being worshiped. Jesus accepted such when He was here. It is still our privilege to worship Him. Let us do so in spirit and in truth today. (Donald Norbie)

Worship, honour, power, and blessing
Thou art worthy to receive;
Loudest praises, without ceasing,
Meet it is for us to give

N.J. Hiebert # 2650

June 22

"For I know nothing by myself . . ." (1 Corinthians 4:4)

It is ever a fatal mistake when we measure the difficulties of service by what we are. The question is what God is; and the difficulties that appear as mountains, looming through the mists of our unbelief, are nothing to Him but the occasion for the display of His omnipotent power. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2651

June 23

"Let your moderation be know unto all . . . the Lord is at hand."
(Philippians 4:5)

Make sure you put enough on, while making sure you don't put too much on, or put anything on that in any way would draw attention away from the Lord on to yourself. (Michel Payette - Le Lien Fraternal - Meditation 122)

N.J. Hiebert # 2652

June 24

"Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear My words." (Jeremiah 18:2)

As the potter slowly pulled the cylinder up from the ball of clay, he had to exert pressure both on the inside as well as the outside. Even pressure from both directions is required if the wall of a clay vessel is to acquire the necessary strength, smoothness and thickness it needs.

Often a believer the Lord is preparing for service in some special work is allowed to go through severe trials and difficulties (from inside and outside) as he or she is being formed for some special ministry.

We see this happening in many Old Testament Saints' lives such as Joseph, Nehemiah, Daniel, and others and in the New Testament we find the same. The Apostle Paul was beaten, hungry, the object of murderous plots - multitudes of pressures - yet all these outside trials were allowed by the Lord in the forming process of the beloved Apostle's life.
(Note 2 Corinthians 11:28) (In the Potter's Hands)

N.J. Hiebert # 2653

June 25

"And it came to pass when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there stood a man before him with his sword drawn in his hand. And Joshua went to him, and said to him: 'Art thou for us, or for out enemies ?'

And he said, 'No; for as captain of the army of Jehovah am I now come.' Then Joshua fell upon his face to the earth, and worshipped, and said to him, 'What saith my Lord unto his servant ?' And the captain of Jehovah's army said to Joshua, 'Lose thy sandal from off thy foot: for the place whereon thou standest is holy.' And Joshua did so." (Joshua 5:13-15)

How often we claim the Lord is for us, or on our side in an issue! Joshua had to learn that the man with the drawn sword he saw was not taking sides, but coming as the captain of Jehovah's host. Joshua's place was to fall on his face to the earth, and to ask "What saith my Lord unto his servant?"

A sense of the holiness of the ground we stand on becomes us, not claims of the Lord being for us, and not for others. (From "Gems From The Singing Pilgrims" by Dick Gorgas)

N.J. Hiebert # 2654

June 26

"As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." (2 Corinthians 6:10)

Our Exemplar here is our Lord. He was a man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3); yet He was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows (Psalm 45:7). To understand how that was possible, you will have to recognize the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness depends upon happenings; upon the hap of life. Joy is independent of these things; its thermometer is not at the mercy of outside atmospheres. It is a condition of heart; the music that flows from qualities that exist within the soul; the unconscious ripple of a life of which God has control. It may exist in times of prosperity (Psalm 45:15); or in times of adversity (Habakkuk 3:17-18); it may exist always (Philippians 4:4). Paul and Titus filled dungeons with doxologies (Acts 16); and flooded the darkest hours with heavenly light. Indeed, it will be found one day that trials form the basis of our sweetest songs:

"For many a rapturous minstrel Among the sons of light,
Will say of his sweetest music: 'I learnt it in the night'.
And many a rolling anthem That fills the Father's Home,
Sobbed out its first rehearsal In the shade of a darkened room

Now, let us remember, the next time we are up to the neck in hot water, to be like the kettle and sing! (George Henderson - In Pastures Green)

N.J. Hiebert # 2655

June 27

"For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:14)

Each day is like a furrow lying before us;
Our thoughts, desires, actions, are the seed that each minute we drop into it.
The furrow finished, we commence upon another - sowing, ever sowing.
And all we have sown springs up and bears fruit

How swift and how short is the span of life! Abraham declared "I am a stranger and a sojourner." David said, "My days are like a shadow that declineth." Job said, "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle." Isaiah writes, "My dwelling is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent; I have rolled up like a weaver my life. He will cut me off from the loom." James says, "What is your life? Even a vapour that appeareth for a little while and then vanisheth away."

We shall not always continue here. Life is transient. From cover to cover the Bible tells us of the shortness of our days. Once the fleeting moments are gone from us, they are gone beyond recall. Time is infinitely precious, with the golden opportunities it presents - just once, in so many cases. We cannot gain back one grain of sand once it has gone through the hourglass, nor can we call back one priceless opportunity to help a fellow mortal, once it has gone beyond our recall. (Zelma Argue - Garments of Strength)

N.J. Hiebert # 2656

June 28

"My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Psalm 22:1)

Crucifixion was the terrifying death of the Roman and far worse than the flaming stake, the shining sword, the awful axe, the poisonous hemlock or the swinging rope. At Calvary our Saviour met the cross and when He did, He took our place. The sharp clear ring of steel to steel was heard and the suffering substitute died, but not before His cry of abandonment rose to the heavens: "My God, My God, why ?" Greater than His physical suffering was that of being forsaken of God. Today may we adore, praise, and worship by faith at the nail-pierced feet of our beloved Saviour. (Arnot P. McIntee)

N.J. Hiebert # 2657

June 29

"Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be make known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6,7)

The Lord comfort your heart and teach you daily how to practice walking in dependence on Himself, without any subsidy or aid. Accustom yourself to look for it. Try to walk, with ever so small steps, in simple rest in Him, making known to Him all your heart. You may rest assured that the reason why our machinery is so often or ever out of working order, or dragging heavily, is because there is some pressure on our hearts, which we have not disposed of to Him. The finer the machinery, the more easily is its action impeded; a hair will interrupt the wheels of a watch. Every pressure on the soul must be disposed of to God, or its action will be clogged and interrupted, and the whole be out of gear. Unburden everything to Him. Dispose of every pressure to His keeping, and the peace of God through Christ Jesus shall keep your heart and mind. Make but His glory your concern; He will make your wants his care. (Helps for the Poor of the Flock - Vol 3 - 1898)

N.J. Hiebert # 2658

June 30

"He that hath My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord." (Jeremiah 23:28)

Preach simply. The word of God is too sacred a thing, and preaching too solemn a work, to be toyed and played with, as is the usage of some, who make a sermon but matter of wit and fine oratory. Their sermon is like a child's doll, from which if you take its dress, the rest is worth nothing. It is well indeed when the people can keep pace with the preacher. To preach truths and notions above the hearers' capacity, is like a nurse that should go to feed a child with a spoon too big to go into its mouth." (William Gurnall - The Christian in Complete Armour - Gleanings from the complete work published in 1665)

N.J. Hiebert # 2659


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