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

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Gems from December 2007

November 30

"Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in (love), in spirit, in faith, in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12)

We can present Christ to the hearts of men in our lives as well as by our words. We may not be able to explain a single passage of scripture, but we can live Christ. You may teach a Sunday school, or visit among the poor, and that is all right and good, but there is something far better - live Christ, present Christ. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 3173

December 1

"The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head." (Matthew 8:20)

He was a divine visitor to this world, a heavenly stranger among men. . . . He had not where to lay his head while He was visiting their necessities with all the resources of God. This is the ideal of a saint of God - to be independent of all this world can give, while with open heart and lavish hand bestowing upon it all the benefits and blessings of God. (J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert # 3174

December 2

"The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary." (Isaiah 1:4)

His faithfulness to His church and people who trust in Him is infallible, and He cannot but help you in all for which you look to Him. (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 3175

December 3

"Serving the Lord with all humility (lowliness) of mind."
(Acts 20:19)

Happy the person who has an empty vessel and God ever ready to fill. Unhappy they who have no empty vessel . . . I doubt whether many know the sweetness of going into the presence of God as a channel or pipe to be filled in order to bring out what is wanted for others, saying, "I have got the ear and heart of Christ."
(G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert # 3176

December 4

"The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered His words." (Luke 24:7,8)

The women in their grief forgot the Lord's words and had to be reminded by the angels. God has many ways to bring His word to remembrance and it is often at times when we are at our lowest that He comforts us with thoughts of Him. Often we find that others are unable to share in our blessing for their hearts were not where ours were. God blesses us sometimes as individuals with thoughts only for ourselves and sometimes with thoughts for the blessing of others as we learn to be channels. (B.R.)

N.J. Hiebert # 3177

December 5

"And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren . . . and Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested."
(1 Chronicles 4:9,10)

Jabez was the child of sorrow; his name was the standing memento of the bitterness in which his mother bare him. He "was more honourable than his brethren" - not that he was honoured by them or by his nation, but the Spirit of God registered him as one of God's honourables. And why? Because his heart was toward God; he honoured the God of Israel, and called upon His name. He has no record but the sorrow of his conception, and his prayer to Jehovah. His parentage, his genealogy, his locality - all are denied us. He sprang out of Judah, and was closely connected with Bethlehem - a passing shadow thus of One that was to come. More we do not know, except the breathings of his heart God ward. He cries, with deep earnestness and with touching pathos, to the God of Israel.
His resource is in God, nor has he any other. It is He whom he counts upon for blessing indeed, and to enlarge his coast, and to give him His presence, and to keep him from the evil. He has learned, at least, that every good and perfect gift, is from above. This alone he values, the gift which comes from God; and this alone he dreads, the evil which God hates. His heart was right with God. He was in fellowship with the heart of God; he honoured the God of Israel, and God honoured him, and he being dead yet speaketh.

"And God granted him that which he requested," for he met the heart of God and refreshed His spirit in a dry and thirsty land more than the hosts of Israel; and the Spirit of the Lord has given an eternal testimony of his words; the child of his mother's sorrow is ennobled by the God of Israel, and his honour shall never decay! (W.R. - Christian Truth - Vol. 23 - September 1970)

N.J. Hiebert # 3178

December 6

"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers." (1 Peter 3:12)

The Lord always hears our prayers, but He does not always say, "Yes!" Sometimes He says, "Wait." Sometimes He says, "No," for He has something better for us. But -

God's delays are not denials, He has heard your prayer;
He knows all about your trials, knows your every care.

God's delays are not denials, help is on the way;
He is watching o'er life's dials, bringing forth the day.

God's delays are not denials, you will find Him true,
Working through the darkest trials, what is best for you
. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 3179

December 7

"Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him." (Matthew 6:8)

"If the outlook be dark, try the uplook."

Circumstances may be perplexing. The path may be filled with apparently insurmountable difficulties. The future may be dark with threatening clouds. At such hours, "Try the uplook."

Your Father knows what things ye have need of. His wisdom and power and love are all exerted on your behalf. He makes "all things work together for good" to them that love Him. He knows the end from the beginning. And He cares for you. He is more concerned for your true welfare than you are, and He who shapes the courses of the stars will shape circumstances for the blessing of His child.

"He knows, He love, He cares. Nothing this truth can dim;
He does the very best for those Who leave the choice with Him."

Seek His glory in everything. Leave the future in his hands. And "If the outlook be dark, try the uplook." (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 3180

December 8

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Sonto be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." (1 John 4:10,11)

It is easy to love those that love us, but what if someone doesn't love us? Do we still love them? It was this very type of love that Christ walked in. He loved us unto death while we hated Him and desired His death. His was a love that comes only from above. Is there someone today that you are finding it very hard to love? Ask the Lord to give you this love, this selfless love that He "manifested toward us" on the cross (v. 9). (Jason Betchel)

N.J. Hiebert # 3181

December 9

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

"Be (anxious) about nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplicationwith thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God."(Philippians 4:6)

I once wrote that God always answers us in the deeps, not in the shallows of our prayers. Hasn't it been so with you? One of the hardest things in our secret prayer life is to accept with joy and not with grief the answers to our deepest prayers. At least I have found it so. It was a long time before I discovered that whatever came was the answer. I had expected something so different that I did not recognize it when it came. And He doesn't explain. He trusts us not to be offended; that's all. (Amy Carmichael - Candles in the Dark)

N.J. Hiebert # 3182

December 10

"And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city [of] Lasea." (Acts 27:8)

Fair Havens - here was a place of safety. I want you to think of Fair Havens as a little picture of blessings of true Christianity. These blessings and safety will be found in Christian homes, the assembly where you live, and in the example of faith of the believers with whom you associate. Also think of this harbour as a little picture of the Christ of Christianity. The world sees nothing attractive in the Lord Jesus Christ, though it does willingly practice and embrace religion. But Fair Havens was the only place where protection from the coming storms of winter could be found - and it wasn't attractive. Even if you have not been raised in a "Christian family," if you know the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, then the grace of God has surely brought you, in Him, to a place of refuge from all you are sure to meet on your voyage. Ask Him - He who loves you with a Divine, eternal love - to make His Word good to you, that you might never stray from the place of safety that He has provided. "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine Heart." (Jeremiah 15:16) Oh! do accept the safe shelter of the Fair Havens. (D.N. - The Journey of Life)

N.J. Hiebert # 3183

December 11

"Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, saith, 'I thirst.' " (John 19:28)

The Lord one day was seated at Jacob's well (John 4). A woman came to draw water. "Give me to drink," was His request. We don't know if He ever got that drink, but we do know that she got a draught of the Living water and the promise that she would "never thirst again." In order to supply this, He must of necessity endure the agony of Golgotha and the thirst accompanying it. Because of the thirst He endured, we are able to say with David, "My cup runneth over." May we come today with overflowing hearts, ready to worship our wonderful Saviour. (Reg L. Jordan)

N.J. Hiebert # 3184

December 12

"Nevertheless afterward." (Hebrews 12:11)

There is a legend that tells of a German baron who, at his castle on the Rhine, stretched wires from tower to tower, that the winds might convert them into an Aeolian harp. And the soft breezes played about the castle, but no music was born.

But one night there arose a great tempest, and hill and castle were smitten by the fury of the mighty winds. The baron went to the threshold to look out upon the terror of the storm, and the Aeolian harp was filling the air with strains that rang out even above the clamor of the tempest. It needed the tempest to bring out the music!

And have we not known men whose lives have not given out any entrancing music in the day of a calm prosperity, but who, when the tempest drove against them have astonished their fellows by the power and strength of their music?

You can always count on God to make the "afterward" of difficulties, if rightly overcome, a thousand times richer and fairer than the forward. "No chastening . . . seemeth joyous, . . . nevertheless afterward . . ." What a yield! (Streams in the Desert)

N.J. Hiebert # 3185

December 13

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

If we are really, and always, and equally ready to do whatsoever the King appoints, all the trials and vexations, arising from any change in His appointments, great or small, simply do not exist. If He appoints me to work there, shall I lament that I am not to work here? If He appoints me to wait indoors today, am I to be annoyed because I am not to work out of doors? If I meant to write His messages this morning, shall I grumble because He sends interrupting visitors, rich or poor, to whom I am to speak them, or "show kindness" for His sake, or at least obey His command, "Be Courteous"? If all my members are really at His disposal, why should I be put out if today's appointment is some simple work for my hands or errand for my feet, instead of some seemingly more important doing of head or tongue? (Francis Ridley Havergal - 1902)

N.J. Hiebert # 3186

December 14

"Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall."
(1 Corinthians 10:12)

Had anyone told Peter on the day of his enthusiastic confession of the Master as "the Christ, the Son of the living God" that the moment would come when he would repudiate Him with oaths and curses, he would have been disposed to reply, in the words of another: "What, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?" (2 Kings 8:13). But he did!
It was first a simple denial, in answer to the challenge of the maid who kept the High-Priest's door (Matthew 26:69-70). In answer to the questions of several in the porch, he added an oath to his second denial. Then, being identified by a relative of the man whose ear he cut off in the garden (John 18:26), he broke out into a regular volley of oaths and curses. "I know not this man of whom ye speak" (Mark 14:71).

Surely the Spirit of God had His reasons for giving us a fourfold (recorded in all the four gospels) account of Peter's miserable fall. It is an abiding warning against self-sufficiency in any of us. What Peter did yesterday, we may do tomorrow, unless upheld by infinite grace. (W.W. Fereday - Peter The Apostle)

N.J. Hiebert # 3187

December 15

"And they gathered it (manna) every morning, every man according to his eating." (Exodus 16:21)

There is no time like the early morning hour for feeding on Christ by communion with Him, and pondering His words. Once lose that, and the charm is broken by the intrusion of many things, though it may be they are all useful and necessary. You cannot remake the broken reflections of a lake swept by wind. How different is that day from all others, the early prime of which is surrendered to fellowship with Christ! Nor is it possible to live to-day on the gathered spoils of yesterday. Each man needs all that a new day can yield him of God's grace and comfort. It must be daily bread. (F.B. Meyer)

N.J. Hiebert # 3188

December 16

"She looketh well to the ways of her household . . ."
(Proverbs 31:27)

It isn't the chairs, and the books, and things,
Or the pictures that hang on the walls;
And it isn't the bird, although gaily he sings,
It's the laughter that rings in the halls.

It's the smile on the face of the mother at night,
And the joy in the little ones' eyes,
And our love for each other with all its delight
That make up the home that we prize

(Taken from "The Christian Home" by R.K. Campbell)

N.J. Hiebert # 3189

December 17

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

I see in the cross the power which meets everything in me. If I turn to the cross, saying, "How horribly unlike I am to that Christ who died there!" the answer is, it is because you are so that He died there. Was not the death of Christ the perfect expression of God's holiness? All the perfect attributes of God shine out through the cross of Christ. If Satan had got man into a position in which it was impossible for God to bless him, and all was broken up in connection with the first Adam, it was only that it might all drop into the hands of the last Adam (Christ). All was accomplished at the cross. (Gleanings From the Teaching of G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert # 3190

December 18

"Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

The rest that the Lord Jesus gives freely to all who come to Him is rest of conscience in regard to the sin question. The distressed soul, burdened with a sense of guilt, comes to Him and finds peace when he trusts Him as the great Sin-Bearer. The second rest is rest of heart. Adverse circumstances may rise up to alarm and fill the heart with fear and anxiety, but he who takes Christ's yoke and learns of Him is able to be calm in the midst of the storm. He finds perfect rest as he trusts all to Him who sitteth over the waterfloods and is Lord of all the elements. These two rests are the same as the two aspects of peace presented in the epistles. Rest of conscience is the equivalent of that peace with God which is the portion of all who are justified by faith (Romans 5:1). Rest of soul is the same as that peace of God which passeth all understanding (Philippians 4:6,7) , and is enjoyed by all who learn to commit everything to the Lord. (H.A. Ironside - Notes on Matthew)

N.J. Hiebert # 3191

December 19

"He hath set the world (eternity) in their heart." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

You may cage the eagle in the most spacious of aviaries, but the infinite expanse of the heavens is in his heart, and he will pine for it. You may imprison the little fish in the most beautiful water vessel, but the ocean is in his being and he will yearn for it. You may make the rabbit as comfortable as possible in his little hutch, but at the first opportunity he will, to the dismay of the children, demonstrate that the veld (open country) is in his very nature. Which things are a parable.

Christian men and women have begun to experience the thrill and the throb of a life which is eternal; and they will find deliverance from this sense of inner loneliness, which ever and anon overtakes them as they journey to its native sphere, only by living fellowship with Him Who is its source. Nothing can take the place of this; for it remains abidingly true that God has made us for Himself and that we are restless till we rest in Him. (George Henderson - Heaven's Cure for Earth's Care)

N.J. Hiebert # 3192

December 20

"Be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you." (2 Corinthians 13:11)

In our divided times, wherein there is so much difference of judgment, had there been less wrangling among ourselves and more wrestling with God, we had been in a fairer way to find the door of truth, which so many are yet groping for. The way of controversy is dusty, and contentious disputes raiseth this dust, and blows it most into their eyes that gallop fastest in it, so that they miss the truth, which humble souls find upon their knees at the throne of grace. . . . Sinning times have ever been the saint's praying times: this sent Ezra with a heavy heart to confess the sin of his people (Ezra 9). And Jeremiah tells the wicked of his degenerate age that his "soul should weep in secret places for their pride." (Jeremiah 13:17) (William Gurnall - The Christian in Complete Armour - 1665)

N.J. Hiebert # 3193

December 21

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

The poet, Cowper, was subject to fits of depression. One day he ordered a cab, and told the driver to take him to London Bridge. Soon a dense fog settled down upon the city. The cabby wandered about for two hours, and then admitted he was lost. Cowper asked him if he thought he could find the way home. The cabby thought that he could, and in another hour landed him at his door. When Cowper asked what the fare would be the driver felt that he should not take anything since he had not gotten his fare to his destination. Cowper insisted, saying, "Never mind that, you have saved my life. I was on my way to throw myself off London Bridge." He then went into the house and wrote:

"God moves in a mysterious way
His Wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps on the sea,
And rides upon the storm


N.J. Hiebert # 3194

December 22

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
(1 Peter 5:8)

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might." (Ephesians 6:10)

Now you are to use this power that has been acting towards you; you are to "be strong" in it, that you may be able to resist Satan; and that, too, not now as an open adversary - not coming forth as a roaring lion - but in the most subtle way possible he is going to try and divert you from the path you are in. (Food for the Desert)

N.J. Hiebert # 3195

December 23

"That ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." (Colossians 4:12)

His way is perfect, and it only needs that, with the knowledge of His love, we should repose in Him with unshaken confidence in all circumstances. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 3196

December 24

"God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."(John 4:24)

True worship . . . is the honour and adoration which are rendered to God by reason of what He is in Himself and what He is for those who render it. (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 3197

December 25

". . . there came a woman (Mary of Bethany) having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box and poured it on His (Jesus) head. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." (Mark 14:3,9)

I admire much her (Mary of Bethany) isolated path, because her affection for Him carried her outside and apart from every one here, and, as far as I can see it, it is this connection she should be spoken of in the gospel. As the Lord says, "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole word, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her." It is the memorial that our blessed Lord not only so loved a sinner, but could make a sinner love Him so much. (Footprints for Pilgrims)

N.J. Hiebert # 3198

December 26

"All my springs are in Thee." (Psalm 87:7)

It is the same for us; all the springs from which we drink are in Christ. He Himself is the spring of living water and can say: "If any one thirst, let him come to Me and drink." Our springs are the knowledge of Christ and fellowship with Him. This is what the world, the enemy of our souls, will ever seek to take away from us. The world knows only too well that a Christianity that does not drink at the fountain, that does not feed on Christ, will not sustain our life. The world's whole effort therefore consists in separating the Christian from Christ. It has a thousand means of occupying our hearts and our thoughts with anything but Him. Moreover, the world pretends to possess that which is exclusively the Christians. Let us not allow it to rob us of our springs, neither let us take the world's word that it possesses them. When we deal with the world, let us clearly prove to it the vanity of its pretensions. (H.L. Rossier - Meditations on 2 Chronicles)

N.J. Hiebert # 3199

December 27

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11)

"Unto you is born this day a Saviour
"Which is Jesus Christ the wondrous Lord;
Not a "teacher," not a "good example,
"But the Son of God, the Living Word.

No "philosopher," His fancies weaving,
Warp of dreams and woof of visions vast,
Not a "prophet," peering down the future,
Not a "scholar," delving in the past.

"Unto you is born this day a Saviour';
Shine, O star! and shout, O angel voice!
Unto you this precious gift is given;
Sing, O earth! and all ye Heavens, rejoice!

Long the world has waited such a Saviour,
Sunk in sin and torn by fear and doubt:
Long in darkness groped for truth and wisdom;
Glory, glory, now the light shines out!

"Unto you is born this day a Saviour,
"Earth's one hope, the Life, the Truth, the Way,
Mighty God and glorious Redeemer,
Jesus Christ the Lord is born today.

(Annie Johnson Flint)

N.J. Hiebert # 3200

December 28

"In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:6)

Some Thoughts to Consider as prepared by R.K.

- To lead others to Jesus, you must first learn to follow Him.
- There are no dead ends on the road of obedience to God.
- Spiritual growth requires the solid food of God's Word.
- Some people go through life standing at the complaint counter.
- What we know of God encourages us to trust Him in all we don't know.

N.J. Hiebert # 3201

December 29

"He (Jesus) riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples feet, and to wipe them with a towel wherewith He was girded."(John 13:4,5)

The whip and the scourge may be righteous, but there is no winning the heart of man with these. Nor is it righteousness which reigns among the saints of God, but grace, through righteousness, unto eternal life. Alas! how many sins that might have been washed away (John 13) have been retained! How many brethren alienated for all time, that might have been won back to God, because we have hammered at the conscience merely, with the heart ungained - with the heart, I might say, almost unsought! We have not overcome evil, because we have not overcome it with good. We have taken readily the judge's chair, and have got back judgment; but the Master's lowly work we have little done.

But how little yet do we understand that mere righteous dealing - absolute righteousness, as it may be - will not work the restoration of souls; that judgment, however temperate, and however true, will not touch and soften and subdue hearts to receive instruction, that, by the very facts of the case, are shown not to be in their true place before God. Man is not all conscience; and conscience reached, with the heart away, will do what it did with the first sinner among men - drive him out among the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:8), to escape the unwelcome voice. (J.N.D.)

N.J. Hiebert # 3202

December 30

"Remember them which have the rule (leaders) over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God . . . Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls . . . Salute all them that have the rule over you. . .

(Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24)

It is a fatal mistake to speak against the very feeblest and humblest of God's servants. If the servant does wrong - if he is in error, if he has failed in everything - the Lord Himself will deal with him; but let the fellow-servants beware how they attempt to take the matter into their hands, lest they be found like Miriam (Numbers 12:1), meddling to their own hurt. If we have not been able to discover the good thing in our brother and fellow-servant; if our eye has only detected the crooked thing; if we have not succeeded in finding the vital spark amid the ashes - the precious gem among the surrounding rubbish; if we have only seen what was of mere nature, why, then let us with a loving and delicate hand, draw the curtain of silence around our brother, or speak of him only at the throne of grace. ". . . speak evil of no man." (Titus 3:2) (Food for the Desert)

N.J. Hiebert # 3203

December 31

"Let us pass over unto the other side." (Mark 4:35)

Even when we go forth at Christ's command, we need not expect to escape storms; for these disciples were going forth at Christ's command, yet they encountered the fiercest storm and were in great danger of being overwhelmed, so that they cried out in their distress for Christ's assistance.

Though Christ may delay His coming in our time of distress, it is only that our faith may be tried and strengthened, and that our prayers may be more intense, and that our desires for deliverance may be increased, so that when the deliverance does come we will appreciate it more fully.

Christ gave them a gentle rebuke, saying, "Where is your faith?" Why did you not shout victory in the very face of the storm, and say to the raging winds and rolling waves, "You can do no harm, for Christ, the mighty Saviour is on board"?

It is much easier to trust when the sun is shining than when the storm is raging.

We never know how much real faith we have until it is put to the test in some fierce storm; and that is the reason why the Saviour is on board.

If you are ever to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might, your strength will be born in some storm. - Selected

"With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm."

Christ said, "Let us go to the other side" - not to the middle of the lake to be drowned. - Dan Crawford.

N.J. Hiebert # 3204


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