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

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Gems from August 2006

August 1

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

Themistocles, who led the Greeks in the famous naval battle of Salamis, for some reason unknown to his troops, delayed the engagement. It was expected that he would avail himself of the early morning hours; and when what seemed the golden opportunity had gone in inactivity, there were many who suspected him of being a traitor to his country. But he was waiting for the land breeze, which he new would begin to blow at nine o'clock in the morning. He proposed to harness the very winds to his war-galleys, and make them waft his boats to sea; and so, save the strength of his men for the fighting. Thus, those who would have been only rowers, became warriors. Happy is the servant of God, who, waiting for power from on high, thus uses in the work of the Lord, energies that would otherwise be wasted.

"Why labour at the dull mechanic oar,
When the strong winds are blowing ?"
(George Henderson - In Pastures Green)

N.J. Hiebert # 2691

August 2

"Occupy till I come." (Luke 19:13)

There is no time to let up as long as the doors are still open to the preaching of the gospel.Strength! Rowing against the tide, or swimming against the tide, gives strong, firm muscles, and working for God against the tide of this world will make us strong in Him and in the power of His might. Do we really want to "Be strong"?Work makes a strong man, and idleness a weak one. Besides, God always looks for a worker, a busy toiler, when He wants something done for Him.

- MOSES was busy with his flocks at Horeb, when God called him.
- SAUL was busy searching for his father's lost beasts.
- ELISHA was busy plowing with twelve yoke of oxen.
- DAVID was busy caring for his father's sheep.
- AMOS was busy following the flock.
- PETER & ANDREW were busy casting a net into the sea.
- JAMES & JOHN were busy mending their nets.
- MATTHEW was busy collecting customs.

"When He calls me, I will answer; I'll be somewhere working when He comes?" (Garments of Strength - Zelma Argue)

N.J. Hiebert # 2692

August 3

"Behold he prayeth." (Acts 9:11)

The Lord informed Ananias to go to a certain place and find a man who was praying. This was convincing confirmation that Paul was a true believer. He was praying - not just reciting prayers, but in vital communication with heaven. This opened the way to great things for Paul. The scales on his eyes fell off, and he received his sight. He was baptized, and filled with the Holy Spirit. He had fellowship with the disciples, and began to preach Christ as the Son of God. May we emulate him. "Lord, teach us to pray!" (Luke 11:1) (Milton Haack)

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray
This is my heart's cry day unto day;
I long to know Thy will and Thy way -
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray (Albert S. Ritz)

N.J. Hiebert # 2693

August 4

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)

How we value a gift which was the giver's own personal possession: what a special token of intimate friendship we feel it to be. The peace which our Lord wants us to enjoy is that which He Himself enjoyed: the same restfulness in danger, the same equanimity in troublous circumstances, the same freedom from anxiety about the happenings of the hour. This He makes over to His people; this is His gift to us all. In the glad possession of it we share His unruffled serenity amid the direst happenings and deepest mysteries of life. The three things which will characterize the "times of the end" - distress, perplexity, fear (Luke 21:25-26) - will be kept at bay from our hearts; and we shall rejoice to find "God's greatness flowing round our incompleteness; round our restlessness, His rest".(Henry Durbanville - from the book - His Last Words)

N.J. Hiebert # 2694

August 5

"Yield . . . your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."
(Romans 6:13)

What are your members? Hands, feet, lips, eyes, ears, and so on. What are we to do with them? "Yield" them, that is, give them up altogether, hand them over to God. What for? That He may use them as instruments of righteousness. That is, just as we should take an instrument of music, to make music with it, so He may take our hands and feet and all our members, and use them to do right and good things with. If we have given ourselves to God, every part of our body is to be God's servant, an instrument for Him to use. All our members will leave off serving Satan, and find something to do for God, for it we yield them to God, He will really take them and use them. We will be surprised to find in how many ways He will use our members, if we give them and our whole self to Him. We will never be miserable again with "nothing to do!" (Francis Ridley Havergal - Open Treasure)

N.J. Hiebert # 2695

August 6

"He hath done all things well." (Mark 7:37)

"Our Jesus hath done all things well" has long been our song. And so it must be, whatever we may feel; for if the Father of an only-begotten Son settles everything for us which is for the glory of that Son, surely all is well. (G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert # 2696
August 7
"And they did all eat and were filled." (Matthew 15:37)
It is not always that there is much food where is much ministry. Food is that which feeds, and you know that often the Lord's crumb is more than a long discourse. (Footprints for Pilgrims)

N.J. Hiebert # 2697
August 8
"Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." (Hebrews 10:37)

If we once really tasted the loving-kindness of God we never enjoy it so much as when we have nothing else to enjoy. (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 2698

August 9

"Shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits,
and live
? " (Hebrews 12:9)

You are of no use to God until your will is broken. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2699

August 10

"Let us go on unto perfection." (Hebrews 6:1)

I believe the practical difficulty with us all is to say - not Adam in any form or quality, but Christ liveth in me! . . . Every believer likes to advance himself spiritually, but hardly any one likes to exchange himself for another Man. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2700

August 11

"I can do all things through Christ Who strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)

The hand of God can do the business of God, though it have but a sling and a stone, or the jaw-bone of an ass, or lamps and pitchers; and the Spirit of God can do the business of God with souls, though He use but a word, or a look, or a groan. (J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2701

August 12

"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:12)

There is but one place for the flesh - the only proper receptacle for the flesh is the grave of Christ. (E.P. Corrin)

N.J. Hiebert # 2702

August 13

"His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord." (Psalm 112:7)

In heavenly love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear,
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here.

The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid,
But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed

N.J. Hiebert # 2703

August 14

"Ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss (wrong motives), that ye may consume it upon your lusts." (James 4:2,3)

True prayer is not asking God to do what we want, but first of all it is asking Him to enable us to do that which He would have us do. Too often we endeavor by prayer to control God instead of taking the place of submission to His holy will. Thus we ask and receive not; because if God answered by giving what we desire we would but consume it on our lusts, or pleasures. To pray aright there must be a separated life, with God Himself before our souls as the supreme object of our affections. (H.A. Ironside - Notes on James and Peter)

N.J. Hiebert # 2704

August 15

"Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quick sands, strake sail, and so were driven." (Acts 27:17)

Often when believers find themselves in great difficulties caused by self-will and disobedience, there is an urge to make promises to do better or to be more watchful the next time. Perhaps renewed efforts are made to read the Bible or pray or to be more faithful in attending the (prayer, Bible reading, etc.) meetings. All of these things, good in themselves, are examples of the helps and undergirdings that those on the centurion's ship used, trying to lessen further damage.

Making resolutions to do better, after the hurt and sorrow your self-will has marked your life - is not the happy and peaceful way to journey. Seeking the Lord's help to please Him before the storms come and so that they do not come, is far preferable. (Douglas Nicolet - The Journey of Life)

N.J. Hiebert # 2705

August 16

"Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
(Romans 5:20-21)

1. To "hope to be better" is to fail to see yourself in Christ only.
2. To be disappointed with yourself is to have believed in yourself.
3. To be discouraged is unbelief - as to the Father's purpose and plan of blessing for you.
4. To be proud is to be blind! For we have no standing before God in ourselves.
5. The lack of divine blessing, therefore, comes from unbelief, and not from failure of devotion.
6. Real devotion to the Father arises, not from man's will to show it; but from the discovery that blessing has been received from Him while we were yet unworthy and undevoted.
7. To preach devotion first, and blessing second, is to reverse God's order and preach Law, not Grace. The Law made man's blessing depend on devotion; Grace confers undeserved, unconditional blessing: our devotion may follow, but does not always do so - in proper measure.

N.J. Hiebert # 2706

August 17

"The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how He was know of them in breaking of bread. And as they thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you." (Luke 24:34-36)

The voice and realized presence of Jesus rallied, reassured and encouraged them all, and brought all together around His own blessed Person in worship, love and praise. There was an indescribable power in His presence to meet every condition of hear and mind. Thus it was; thus it is; thus it ever must be, blessed and praised be His precious name! There is power in the presence of a risen Saviour to solve our difficulties, remove our perplexities, calm our fears, ease our burdens, dry our tears, meet our every need, tranquillize our minds and satisfy every craving of our hearts. (C.H. Mackintosh - Life and Times of David (A Risen Saviour's Challenge) - Vol. 6)

"Jesus! Thou art enough The mind and heart to fill;
Thy patient life - to calm the soul Thy love - its fear dispel
." (L.F. 174)

N.J. Hiebert # 2707

August 18

"I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; that is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me." 
(Romans 1:11,12)

On one occasion, the housemaid was called to attend to the fire in the sitting-room. . . . Instead of collecting the few dying embers together, she flung in a huge block of coal, and completely quashed the dying embers. In a few moments all was black and cold. The block could not help the embers; and the embers could not help the block. It was a complete failure. The block of coal was very good, but it was out of place. The embers were not in a condition to profit by it.

Now, I learned a lesson from this. I said, that block is like a "big brother" coming into a feeble little (Bible reading) meeting and, instead of seeking to strengthen and develop the little modicum of life in the feeble few, he takes the place of a factotum, and sets them entirely aside.

Think of this blessed servant of Christ (Paul), the greatest teacher the church has ever had, longing to be comforted by the faith of the very feeblest saint in the assembly! He longed for fellowship - he was ready to help, but he did not want to monopolize. He would not quash the dying embers, but gather them together and edify them, that he and they might be "comforted together."

There is danger on both sides. Some are in danger of taking too much upon them, others of taking too little. May we all be in such a condition of soul, such an attitude of heart as will fit us for any little work in which our gracious Lord may be pleased to use us - not seeking a place for ourselves, but lovingly serving all. (Provided by a Friend of Gems, Marlin Schmidt, as written by CHM)
N.J. Hiebert # 2708

August 19

"Choose you this day whom ye will serve." (Joshua 24:15)

The Lord's work must be done, and if we do not do it, He often has to set others to do our work; but, of course, if the hand is paralyzed, and the foot has to act in its stead, it cannot do the work as well - especially as it has its own besides. Idleness, therefore, is a great evil, causing not only some to suffer from neglect, but others who are willing, to be overworked, and, after all, the work is not so well done. Consider, then, if ever you are tempted to criticize the work of another, whether that servant may not be doing double duty for some lazy Christian who will do nothing, and it may be that "thou art the man."
Let us, then, encourage one another in the work of the Lord, and see that none of us are mere lookers-on, for a looker-on is generally a faultfinder. Let us remember, too, that our labour is not in vain in the Lord, but that our loving Master is only too glad to give each one His full reward of praise for every bit of work done in His name, and that will therefore stand the fire.The time is short, and much has been wasted by all of us; before the Lord's return, then, let each of us be found steadily at out posts, working for Christ. (The Christian Newsletter (Number 72)
N.J. Hiebert # 2709

August 20

"But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him . . . Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands." (Exodus 17:12)
"Bear ye one another's burdens . . ." (Galatians 6:2)

Moses was the key figure in this battle with Amalek. Aaron and Hur were role players, yet if they would have been more interested in their own comfort, schedule and recreation, the battle would have been lost, for on this particular day Moses was not able to bear all the burden himself. Look around. Do you know someone who is struggling under a burden? "Then lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees" (Hebrews 12:12), because they may be in a serious battle and you could make the difference. (Charlie Tempest - Choice Gleanings)

O may we feel each brother's sigh, and with him bear a part:
May sorrows flow from eye to eye, and joy from heart to heart

N.J. Hiebert # 2710

August 21

"And you yourselves be like men who wait for their Master." (Luke 12:36)

Dean Frederic Farrar was a personal friend of Queen Victoria of England. On one occasion he told of a conversation he had with Her Majesty after she had heard one of her chaplains preach a message on Christ's return. She said, "Oh, Dean Farrar, how I wish the Lord would come during my lifetime!" When he asked why she desired this, her countenance brightened, and with deep emotion she replied, "Because I would love to lay my crown at His blessed feet in reverent adoration!"

There are at least two ways in which Christians "wait" for the Lord's return. Some are completely unmoved by this coming event because they have only a cold, theological knowledge of the facts. This attitude is superficial - a mere mental assent to a doctrine that does not cause them to be faithful to the Lord. Other believers, however, look expectantly as did Queen Victoria, longing for the Saviour's second advent with holy zeal. They are living for his glory and want to give Him praise and adoration for all He has done for them. This way of thinking touches the heart and motivates a person to godly living and a hopeful expectation of seeing Jesus face to face. The apostle John said that everyone who has the hope of Christ's return burning brightly in his heart "purifies himself, just as He is pure." (1 John 3:3) Is that true of you? (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2711

August 22

"Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue." (Psalm 120:2)

Overheard recently, when someone spoke of a friend's long absence, "It's been forever and a day since I saw her." Another phrase glibly spoken and often heard is, "I was scared to death." Really? These idioms may seem insignificant, but often exaggeration takes the form of willfully speaking beyond the bounds of truth. Joni Eareckson Tada says, "We play into the hands of Satan, the Father of lies, when we distort the facts." God is pleased when we say what we mean and mean what we say. May our prayer be, "Set a watch, O Lord, at my mouth; keep the door of my lips" (Psalm 141:3). (E. Dyck)

N.J. Hiebert # 2712

August 23

"Why should be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?" (Acts 26:8)

In our childhood days we were taught to sing, "Pity my simplicity." Simplicity of the right kind calls not for pity, but for admiration and imitation, and most assuredly it will receive the Lord's commendation at the last. Men are becoming too wise to be simple; this explains why some find it hard to credit the story of Peter walking on the sea. To all such we are disposed to say in the words of Paul; "Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you?" (Acts 26:8). Take God into account, and every difficulty disappears; leave Him out, and difficulties bristle around us hopelessly. (W.W. Fereday - Peter the Apostle)

N.J. Hiebert # 2713

August 24

"Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." (Romans 12:15)

Do you like organ recitals? It all depends on what kind we're talking about, doesn't it? The ones I have in mind, however aren't usually considered very enjoyable; in fact, most folks find them quite exasperating. In many cases, they do more good for the performer than for the audience. A friend gave me a clipping about the type of "concert" most people would rather avoid. "After a week in the hospital for examination and observation, an aged woman cornered a neighbour one day and told him the results of her experience. Her heart was the worst the doctor had ever examined; her kidneys were ruined; her liver was shot; her stomach was in a terrible condition, etc. 'Before I could get away,' said the neighbour to a friend later, "I'd listened to a complete 'organ recital.' "

We've all encountered such situations, and our selfish nature looks for an escape from a boring and seemingly endless recitation of minute physical details. But we should possess enough Christian love to be interested in that person's problems. There's a tremendous need in this old troubled world for concerned friends who will be good listeners. What comfort and encouragement is imparted by just being willing to give a ready ear to some soul suffering under the pressures of hardship and affliction! This can be a real service for Christ.
The Lord Jesus had a "healing ministry." Every one of us with a compassionate and understanding heart can have a "hearing ministry"! (R.W.D.)

Give me a heart sympathetic and tender,
Jesus, like Thine; Jesus, like thine;
Touched by the needs that are surging around me,
And filled with compassion divine
. (Anon)

We can measure our likeness to Christ by the range of our sensitivity to
the pain and trials of others.
Our Daily Bread - July 21, 1972

N.J. Hiebert # 2714

August 25

"Thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet (room), and when
thou hast shut thy door, pray
." (Matthew 6:6)

We find time, it may be, even to preach the gospel and minister to the saints while our own souls are barren for lack of secret prayer and communion with God! What saints we often appear before people! Oh, the subtlety of this Adam nature! When we go into our closet and shut the door, no one sees us, no one hears us, but God. It is not the place to make a fair show. No one is present before whom to make a little display of our devotion. No one is there to behold our zeal for the Lord. No one is there but God; and we know we dare not attempt to make Him believe we are different from what we really are. We feel that He is looking through us, and that He sees and knows us thoroughly. If evil is lurking within, we instinctively feel that God is searching us; for evil cannot dwell with Him (Psalm 5:4). It is a searching spot - alone in the presence of God. Little wonder so many beg to be excused from it. But it is the lack of it that is the secret of much of the lifelessness and carnality which abound. The prayer meeting will not suffice us, blessed privilege though it be.
How many there be who have gradually left off secret prayer, until communion with God has been as effectively severed as if for them there were no God at all! (Christian Truth - Vol. 21 - January 1968)

N.J. Hiebert # 2715

August 26

"For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21)

The heart is always upright when it says, "To me to live is Christ." Paul had no object but Christ, and he walked day by day by that - Christ, as object, Christ as motive, Christ as character. All the way through, Christ was his life, by the power of the Spirit of God; so the rage of man and Satan had no power over him. Self was practically gone. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2716

August 27

"In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
(Colossians 2:3)

Hidden things are not in plain sight. We must search for them - delve into secret recesses, and often dig deeply.
Then let us search the Scriptures - not satisfied with a mere surface reading, but seeking, with the Spirit's guidance, the rich and manifold treasures that are hidden in Christ and His precious Word. (Christian Truth)

N.J. Hiebert # 2717

August 28

"A certain man found him, and, behold, he (Joseph) was wandering in the field." (Genesis 37:15)
It is worth while, in our reading of the Scriptures, to observe the presence and working of God in the ordinary affairs of everyday life. For instance, in Genesis 37, Joseph is seen on his way to visit his brethren in obedience to his father's command, but is unable to find them.
It so happened that the "certain man" had heard Joseph's brethren say they were going to Dothan, and thus he was able to direct Joseph on his way. Now, what believer would dare to say that the finding and directing of Joseph as here recorded happened by chance, and that God had nothing to do with the "certain man" finding him in that field. (Selected)

"He everywhere hath sway
And all things serve His might

N.J. Hiebert # 2718

August 29

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee." (Isaiah 43:2)
Wendall Moore was wheeling his wife Florence to the surgical unit of a hospital when the nurse said, "You can't go in there; she must go in alone." He answered calmly, "She will not be alone, for the Lord will be there." It is true. He is with us in sickness; He tenderly healed so many. He is with us in sadness; behold His tears at the tomb of Lazarus. He is with us in solitude; Paul could say, "All men forsook me; notwithstanding the Lord stood by me." And He will be with you in whatever sorrow you have today. (Neil Dougal)

N.J. Hiebert # 2719

August 30

"Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me." (John 7:16)

It is a very serious thing to attach undue importance or give an undue place to men, how much they may be used in the Lord's work. We have seen the work marred and workmen morally ruined by this very thing. It is a fatal mistake. Men are taken out of the place in which God has put them. They are lauded, lionized, and gazed at as a sort of phenomenon. In this way, they are lifted into an entirely false position, like a person walking on stilts, and then some terrible fall comes, to bring them to their senses, and recall them to their true place.
See how the blessed Master ever retired from human applause and human excitement. When men wondered at His teaching, He said, "My doctrine is not Mine but His that sent me." Oh, to drink more of His spirit and walk in His footsteps! To be well content to be a nothing and a nobody, so that Christ may be magnified! (C.H Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 2720

August 31

"For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Forgiveness is not the same as the curse, and paying a debt is very different from demanding the money. It is quite just to demand payment, but if the debtor has nothing to pay, he is ruined; whereas, if he pays, he is set free. Christ has done more; not only does He pay the debt, but He has acquired glory for those that believe. Not only has He freed the debtor from his debts, but He has given him an immense fortune in God's presence." (J.N. Darby - Notes on Mark's Gospel)

N.J. Hiebert # 2721


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