Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5270 posted here) sent daily for 17 years -- njhiebert@sympatico.ca

Monday, June 02, 2008

Gems from June 2008

June 1

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God . . . took upon Him the form of a servant . . ." (Philippians 2:5,7)

"The form of a servant" was a reality just as much as "the form of God" in Christ Jesus - as truly an assumed reality as the other was an essential, intrinsic reality. And being such, His ways were those of a servant; just as, being the Son, His glories and prerogatives were those of God. He prayed; He continued whole nights in prayer. He lived by faith, the perfect pattern of a believer, as we read of Him, "the leader and completer of faith" (Hebrews 12:2; JND Translation). In sorrow He made God His refuge. In the presence of enemies He committed Himself to Him who judged righteously. He did not His own will, perfect as that will was, but the will of Him who sent Him. In these and in all kindred ways was "the form of a servant" found and proved and read and know to perfection. It is seen to have been a great and living reality. The Life of this Servant was the life of faith from beginning to end. (J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert # 3356

June 2

"For we are labourers together with God." (1 Corinthians 3:9)

May the Lord stir up the hearts of His own to excel more and more in this work of faith and labour of love. Shepherding and feeding the flock of God may be a service little desired or thought of, but the Lord's words to Peter are, "Feed My lambs, " "Shepherd My sheep," "Feed My sheep" (John 21:15,17) Comforting the sorrowing and tried, encouraging the weak, and bearing the burdens of the afflicted; searching out the straying, gathering the scattered; instructing those who oppose themselves; speaking a word in season to the weary, and to those out of the way; visiting the sick; helping out all, and exhorting one another - these are indeed services of love to the Lord. What a wide field of labour for Him all this is! The promise to such labourers is "a crown of glory that fadeth not away," to be given them at the appearing of "the chief Shepherd." May we earnestly covet this pastoral gift; let us encourage all who are engaged in this service, because the flock of God is very dear to Christ (1 Peter 5:4). A cup of cold water may not seem to be of much account, but the Lord says, "And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." (Matthew 10:42) "For who hath despised the day of small things?" (Zechariah 4:10) (W.E.Sibthorpe)

N.J. Hiebert # 3357

June 3

"One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in His temple." (Psalm 27:4)

As we come together to worship, what is the focus of our attention? Do we meditate upon the beautiful character and person of our Saviour? He never sinned and never had to ask forgiveness for His words or actions. His words were full of grace and truth. His life was a life fragrant with love for all. His loving hands healed the sick. His loving lips spoke words of forgiveness to the broken sinner. His agonizing death for sinners proclaimed the amazing love of God. He is a beautiful Saviour! Behold the beauty of the Lord! (Donald Norbie)

N.J. Hiebert # 3358

June 4

"Born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible."
(1 Peter 1:23)

God has not only adopted us, but we are His by birth: We have been born into His kingdom. My boy was as much mine when he was a day old as now that he is fourteen. He was my son: although it did not appear what he would be when he attained manhood. He is mine; although he may have to undergo probation under "tutors and governors (guardians & trustees)." (Galatians 4:2). The children of God are not perfect; but we are perfectly His children. (D.L. Moody - Daily Gems)

N.J. Hiebert # 3359

June 5

"When Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me." (Matthew 14:29,30)

Peter had a little faith in the midst of his doubts, says Bunyan; and so with crying and coming he was brought to Christ.
But here you see that sight was a hindrance; the waves were none of his business when once he had set out; all Peter had any concern with, was the pathway of light that came gleaming across the darkness from where Christ stood. If it was tenfold Egypt beyond that, Peter had no call to look and see.
When the Lord shall call to you over the waters, "Come," step gladly forth. Look not for a moment away from Him.
Not by measuring the waves can you prevail; not by gauging the wind will you grow strong; to scan the danger may be to fall before it; to pause at the difficulties, is to have them break above your head. Lift up your eyes unto the hills, (Psalm 121:1), and go forward - there is no other way. (Streams in the Desert)

N.J. Hiebert # 3360

June 6

"It came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land." (1 Kings 17:7)

Week after week, with unfaltering and steadfast spirit, Elijah watched that dwindling brook; often tempted to stagger through unbelief, but refusing to allow his circumstances to come between himself and God. Unbelief sees God through circumstances, as we sometimes see the sun shorn of his rays through smoky air; but faith puts God between itself and circumstances, and looks at them through Him. And so the dwindling brook became a sliver thread; and the silver thread stood presently in pools at the foot of the largest boulders; and the pools shrank. The birds fled; the wild creatures of field and forest came no more to drink; the brook was dry. Only then to his patient and unwavering spirit, "the word of the Lord came, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath." (1 Kings 17:9)

Most of us would have gotten anxious and worn with planning long before that. We should have ceased our songs as soon as the streamlet caroled less musically over its rocky bed; and with harps swinging on the willows, we should have paced to and fro upon the withering grass, lost in pensive thought. And probably, long ere the brook was dry, we should have devised some plan, and asking God's blessing on it, would have started off elsewhere.

God often does extricate us, because His mercy endures forever; but if we had only waited first to see the unfolding of His plans, we should never have found ourselves landed in such an inextricable labyrinth; and we should never have been compelled to retrace our steps with so many tears of shame. Wait, patiently wait!
(F.B. Meyer)

N.J. Hiebert # 3361

June 7

"He hath brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me; because He delighted in me." (Psalm 18:19)

And what is this "large place"? What can it be but God Himself, that infinite Being in whom all other beings and all other streams of life terminate? God is a large place indeed. And it was through humiliation, through abasement, through nothingness that David was brought into it. (Madame Guyon)

N.J. Hiebert # 3362

June 8

"I bare you on eagle's wings, and brought you unto Myself." (Exodus 19:4)

Fearing to launch on "full surrender's" tide,
I asked the Lord where would its waters glide
My little bark, "To troubled seas I dread?"
"Unto Myself," He said.

Weeping beside an open grave I stood,
In bitterness of soul I cried to God:
"Where leads this path of sorrow that I tread?"
"Unto Myself," He said.

Striving for souls, I loved the work too well;
Then disappointments came; I could not tell
The reason, till He said, "I am thine all;
Unto Himself I call."

Watching my heroes - those I loved the best -
I saw them fail; they could not stand the test,
Even by this the Lord, through tears not few,
Unto Himself me drew.

Unto Himself! No earthly tongue can tell
The bliss I find, since in His heart I dwell;
The things that charmed me once seem all as naught;
Unto Himself I'm brought.
(Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 3363

June 9

"Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the Lord He is God; there is none else beside Him . . . Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord He is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else." (Deuteronomy 4:35,39)

It is an amazing thing that God, the creator of all things, takes an interest in man. His purpose for Israel is rehearsed here, established at present but formed in the past through the patriarchs. Chosen not through any particular strength or merit of their own, merely because He declared it to be and made it so. They were chosen because of the faithfulness of their fathers much like the believer is chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. (B.R. - Meditations on Deuteronomy)

N.J. Hiebert # 3364

June 10

"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12)

See how mightily God wishes us to rest in His forgiveness; the complete removal of our sins - cast into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19); placed upon the head of the scapegoat, which was let go to wander in the wilderness, "in a land not inhabited." The God of all mercy says, "Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:12, 10:17) He does not want to remember them. For the righteous God, the question was settled for eternity at Calvary, and we rest in His satisfaction. Worship Him who alone is worthy! (R.E. Harlow)

N.J. Hiebert # 3365

June 11

". . . I (Paul) persecuted the church of God and wasted it . . . but when it pleased God, who . . . called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood . . ."
(Galatians 1:13-16)

- The soul that has found all its springs in God, can, without any demur, retire from all creature streams.
- The moment we confer with flesh and blood, our testimony and service are marred, for flesh and blood can never obey.
- If we merely act from impulse, when the impulse subsides, the acting will subside also.
- True devotedness will ever be founded upon, and governed by, divine principle.
- Whenever devotedness passes beyond divinely appointed bounds, it is suspicious.
- It is easy to make a show of devotedness, when there is no demand for it.
- Nothing can be more thoroughly worthless than a spirit of empty pretension.
(Food for the Desert)

N.J. Hiebert # 3366

June 12

"I (Jesus) will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:3)

In the Father's house above, there is no distinction. People often say to me, "Oh, if I can just get into Heaven and get a seat behind the door, I can be satisfied. I know I don't deserve anything better."

You don't deserve to get there at all. I don't deserve to go there. But I am not going there because I deserve to go, but I am going to Heaven because I have been born again and the Lord Jesus Christ has prepared a place for me, and the Father's house has the same welcome for all the Father's children.
(H.A. Ironside - Gospel of John)

N.J. Hiebert # 3367

June 13

"In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:2,3)

The description of Heaven - "In my Father's house are many mansions."
The assurance of it - "If it were not so, I would have told you."
The furnishing of it - "I go to prepare a place for you."
The safe conduct to it - "I will come again, and receive you unto Myself."
The glory of it - "That where I am, there ye may be also."

The manna and the springing well
Suffice for every need:
And Eschol's grapes the story tell
Of where our path doth lead
."
(From - His Last Words - Henry Durbanville)

N.J. Hiebert # 3368

June 14

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." (Isaiah 43:2)

We are never staying in the valley or the rough waters; we are always only passing through them, just as the bride in the Song of Solomon is seen coming up from the wilderness leaning upon her Beloved. (Song of Solomon 8:5) So whatever the valley is, or however rough the waters are, we won't fear. Leaning upon our Beloved we shall come up from the wilderness and, as Psalm 84:6 says, "Passing through the valley of weeping they make it a place of springs (make it a well)." even use the valley as a well, make it a well. We shall find the living waters there and drink of them. (Amy Carmichael - Candle in the Dark)

N.J. Hiebert # 3369

June 15

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

It is delightfully easy to thank God for the grace we ourselves have received, but it requires great grace to thank God always for the grace which is given to others. Even Christians are apt to be jealous and envious, thinking themselves better fitted to serve God than their neighbours. Such selfishness can never walk in the fellowship of the Spirit. We are unfit to be used of God as long as we are unwilling to acknowledge and thank God for the grace and gifts He has bestowed on others for the edifying of the body, the Church. The readiness to thank God always for the grace given to others shows a spirit in full and sweetest fellowship with the mind and purposes of God. (Attitude of Grace)

N.J. Hiebert # 3370

June 16

"For whom He did foreknow He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son . . ." (Romans 8:29)

- Only melted gold is minted.
- Only moistened clay is molded.
- Only softened wax receives the die.
- Only broken hearts can take and keep the impress of heaven.

If that is your condition, wait beneath the pressure of the Holy Spirit. He shall leave the image of Christ upon you. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 3371

June 17

"My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him." (Hebrews 12:5)

The famous oriental philosopher, Lokman, while a slave, being presented by his master with a bitter melon, immediately ate it all. "How was it possible," said his master, "for you to eat so nauseous a fruit?" Lokman replied, "I have received so many favours from you, it is no wonder I should, for once in my life, eat a bitter melon from your hand." The generous answer of the slave struck the master so forcibly, that he immediately gave him his liberty. Unlike Lokman's master, however, our God never chastens arbitrarily or unnecessarily. He always chastens for our profit, "For they verily for a few days chastened us (as they thought best); but He for our profit, that that we might be partakers of His holiness." (Hebrews 12:10); and the recognition of that grand fact will act as a mighty deterrent in the soul that is in danger of "despising the chastening of the Lord". (George Henderson - The Pearl of Psalms)

N.J. Hiebert # 3372

June 18

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."
(1 John 4:11)

Love cannot help loving, any more than water can help flowing. It is pure joy just to love. The love of God follows us wherever we go and whatever we are doing. That we know nothing of it does not matter. That we are wholly occupied in our work does not matter.

"I am my Beloved's, and His desire is toward me." (Song of Solomon 7:10)
"Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love." (Jeremiah 31:3)
"He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will
joy over thee with singing
." (Zephaniah 3:17)

Is it not utterly wonderful? He finds pleasure in loving us. To love is the joy of God. And this love, this very love, is the love He sheds abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit He has given us. (Romans 5:5)
Is there one of us who would wish to hurt or to ignore love like that?
(Amy Carmichael - Whispers of His Power)

N.J. Hiebert # 3373

June 19

". . . Esau came from the field, and he was faint: and Esau said to Jacob, feed me, I pray thee . . . for I am faint . . . and Jacob said, sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me . . . Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink . . . Esau despised his birthright." (Genesis 25:29-34)

Note the conduct of Esau in reference to the birthright, and all which it involved. The natural heart places no value on the things of God. To it, God's promise is a vague, valueless, powerless thing, simply because God is not known. Hence it is that present things carry such weight and influence in man's estimation. Anything that man can see, he values, because he is governed by sight and not by faith. To him, the present is everything; the future is a mere uninfluential thing - a matter of the merest uncertainty. Thus it was with Esau. "I am at the point to die; and what profit shall this birthright do to me?" What strange reasoning! - the present is slipping from beneath my feet, I will therefore despise and entirely let go the future! - Time is fading from my view, I will therefore abandon all interest in eternity! "Thus Esau despised his birthright."

Man has no heart for the things of God. The present is everything to him. Food is better than a title to Canaan. Hence, the very reason why Esau made light of the birthright was the very reason why he ought to have grasped it with the greater intensity. The more clearly I see the vanity of man's present, the more I shall cleave to God's future. (C.H. Macintosh - Notes on Genesis)

N.J. Hiebert # 3374

June 20

"Yet a little while, and the world seeth, me no more." (John 14:19)

We must be broken off from the world. He gives us everything needed in the way, but never presents that as our end. This world is neither Canaan nor Egypt, but a wilderness. By clinging to it we are not in the wilderness but in Egypt, and that is why we need chastening; for if we make a Canaan of this world, then it becomes Egypt to us. The moment we make it our home, and settle down in it, it is our Egypt.

The Lord must break our will. He says, "A little while and the world seeth me no more." It is all done with. He puts a distinction between Himself and the world; therefore if we take Him we cannot have the world, and if we take the world we cannot have the enjoyment of Him - we cannot have both. "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world." (2 Timothy 4:10) (J.N. Darby - Lectures on the First Epistle of John)

N.J. Hiebert # 3375

June 21

"No man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church." (Ephesians 5:29)

There is the special entrance of His mind, His careful interest in those that belong to Him. It is a great comfort that we know this to be true in the present state of the Church, when we think of the ruin of all around. Does Christ ever cease to nourish that which belongs to Him? Impossible. Spite of all the ruin, He has the same care for His people. We never can pray too much for the Church; but it is another thing to be troubling our minds as if the Lord forgot her, and were not taking adequate care of the saints in their need and sorrow. The Lord has never failed; and what He here tells us to do in our earthly relationships is no more than what He perfectly does towards His Church. He loves the Church; He nourishes and cherishes it, and He does this because ". . . we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones." (Ephesians 5:30) Just as Eve was a part of Adam, so the Church is of Christ. The Lord took out of Adam's side that which He built into his wife. So we stand in this nearness of relationship to Christ." (William Kelly - Lectures on Ephesians)

N.J. Hiebert # 3376

June 22

". . . a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood for twelve years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment. But Jesus . . . when He saw her, said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole." (Matthew 9:20,22)

Love has a hem to its garment,
That reaches right down to the dust . . .
It can reach the stains of the streets and lanes,
And because it can, it must.
It dare not rest on the mountain . . .
It must come down to the vale . . .
For it cannot find its fulness of mind
Till it kindles the lives that fail. (Anon)

N.J. Hiebert # 3377

June 23

"Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus." (Hebrews 12:1,2)

There is nothing more dangerous to a Christian than to have "a name." It is a positive snare of the devil. Many a professor has fallen by means of being occupied with a name. Many a useful servant has been destroyed by the effort to keep up a name. If I have gotten a reputation in any department of service - as an active evangelist - a gifted teacher - a clear and attractive writer - a man of prayer - a man of faith - a person of remarkable sanctity, or great personal devotedness - a benevolent person - a name for anything, in short - I am in imminent danger of making shipwreck.

The enemy will lead me to make my reputation my object instead of Christ. I shall be working to keep up a name instead of the glory of Christ. I shall be occupied with the thoughts of men instead of doing all my work under the immediate eye of God. (The Christian Newsletter)

N.J. Hiebert # 3378

June 24

"I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."
(2 Timothy 1:12)

- He that knows not, and knows not that he knows not, he is a fool; shun him.
- He that knows not, and knows that he knows not, he is simple; teach him.
- He that knows, and knows not that he knows, he is asleep; awaken him.
- He that knows, and knows that he knows, he is wise; follow him. (W.P. Loveless)

NJ. Hiebert # 3379

June 25

"He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust." (Psalm 91:4)

There are four calls by which the hen calls in her brood. The first is the call of night, when they need a shelter from the dampness and from the darkness. The second is the call for food, when the hen would attract her little ones to pick up some dainty morsel that she has found for them. The third is the call of danger, when the hawk descends, or the brood is in peril. And the fourth is the call of love, when, with motherly desire and yearning, she would gather her brood where they may feel the softness of her breast-feathers and the warmth of her own body.
When the night shadows are falling, when the night hawk is descending, when food is needed by you in your hunger, or when my love yearns for a closer embrace, you shall find a safe and delightful shelter under the shadow of My wings. (A.T Pierson)

N.J. Hiebert # 3380

June 26

"And He (God) said, go (Elijah) forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." (1 Kings 19:11,12)

It is comparatively easy . . . to engage in the service of God when He intervenes in power to sustain His servants and to secure results, but it is only the man of faith who can labour on amid discouragements of every kind, who can trust to a power not seen to uphold and prosper, and is assured that the Spirit, who is invisible in His working to the natural eye, is even more mighty than manifested power. There are many Elijahs indeed who prefer the strong winds and the earthquakes to the all-efficacious still small voice of the Spirit of God. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 3381

June 27

"For who hath know the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:16)

The mind of a saint is full of light. It is the "mind of Christ." Even angelic nature is all life. Torpidity (loss of power) and dullness do not belong to it. "Winds" and "flames of fire" express that nature: and such things act constantly and fervently. And in like virtue, the mind of Christ, the divine nature in the saint, is full of affection and intelligence. (J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert # 3382

June 28

"Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth."
(John 17:17)

The truth of God is ever more precious; it strengthens and nourishes the soul, for it abides for ever, and because it reveals Jesus, and attaches us to Him, the source and power of all good. (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 3383

June 29

"In Thy light shall we see light." (Psalm 36:9)

Though trials and afflictions
May cast their shadows o'er us,
Thy love doth throw a heavenly glow
Of light on all before us.
That love has smiled from heaven,
To cheer our path of sadness;
And lead the way through earth's dark day,
To realms of joy and gladness
.
(H.W.)

N.J. Hiebert # 3384

June 30

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

Learning is very real work, and there is no maturing without it, and I do not believe that any one matures brilliantly who does not learn sufferingly. Easily got, easily gone, was never so corroborated as in the highest things. (Footprints for Pilgrims)

N.J. Hiebert # 3385

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