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

Friday, August 01, 2008

Gems from August 2008

August 1

"God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

A young man, the son of a wealthy Christian gentleman, had become wayward and extravagant in his habits. Finally, after quarreling with his father because he refused him the money he demanded, he left home in anger, and gave himself to a reckless life. For a long time he continued an abandoned wanderer, eventually finding himself in financial straits. Being brought to the verge of desperation, he determined to break into his father's house in the absence of the family, thinking that he could find means to relieve his necessity.

He succeeded in entering the house and breaking open the safe. He searched among some valuable papers and found his father's will. With curious eye he began reading it, and to his utter astonishment he found his name among the heirs, and a large bequest set against it. At first he could hardly believe his eyes. The father with whom he had quarreled, against whom he had cherished such bitterness and hatred, loved him still!

"Can it be that in spite of all the dishonour I have brought upon him, he is still ready to treat me as a son?" And such was the effect of these thoughts, that it was the means of binging him to repentance and reconciliation with his father.

There are many whose thoughts of God have been just the same. But oh, if only you knew that He is longing to embrace you, and to cleanse you, and to assure you of full and free forgiveness of ALL your sins and to tell you of the inheritance which is waiting for you in heaven.
(Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 3418

August 2

"But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ." (Philippians 3:7)

When they buried the blind preacher, George Matheson, they lined his grave with red roses in memory of his love-life of sacrifice. And it was this man, so beautifully and significantly honoured, who wrote,

"O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee,
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be."

"O Light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to Thee,
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be."

"O joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee,
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And know the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be."

"O cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from Thee,
I lay in dust life's glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red,
Life that shall endless be
."

N.J. Hiebert # 3419

August 3

"Believe ye that I am able to do this?" (Matthew 9:28)

God deals with impossibilities. It is never too late for Him to do so, when the impossible is brought to Him, in full faith, by the one in whose life and circumstances the impossible must be accomplished if God is to be glorified. If in our own life there have been rebellion, unbelief, sin, and disaster, it is never too late for God to deal triumphantly with these tragic facts if brought to Him in full surrender and trust. It has often been said, and with truth, that Christianity is the only religion that can deal with man's past. God can "restore . . . the years that the locust hath eaten" (Joel 2:25); and He will do this when we put the whole situation and ourselves unreservedly and believingly into His hands. Not because of what we are but because of what He is. God forgives and heals and restores. He is "the God of all grace." Let us praise Him and trust Him. (Sunday School Times)

N.J. Hiebert # 3420

August 4

"They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." (Titus 1:16)

Christianity in the practical sense works outwardly from within: unless the soul be purified in obeying the truth, as with all that believe, there is neither the Father's name hallowed, nor sin truly judged, nor unfeigned love of the brethren. Neither can there be the worship of God in spirit and truth, any more than drawing near to the Father. All must be superficial and of the natural man. There can be nothing divine till one is born of the Spirit; whereas the gospel carries the soul, in the sense of God's favour in Christ, far beyond into peace, liberty, and power. For Christ is not only life but the deliverer in the fullest sense, as He is the revealed object before the soul from first to last. (William Kelly - The Epistle of Paul to Titus)

N.J. Hiebert # 3421

August 5

"In the beginning God." (Genesis 1:1)

1. The Bible begins with God: "In the beginning God." Indeed, these few words constitute the key, not only to the Bible, but to all created things.

2. The Bible ends with man - the last of all God's creations: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all." (Revelation 22:21)

3. But the Bible is a message from God to man, and its object is to bring man to God. Hence, although the division into verses was not of Divine origin, it is, nevertheless, interesting to note that the verse which stands exactly in the middle of our Bible - Psalm 118:8, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man" contains the essence of all Bible teaching, as it brings man to God, by calling him to renounce all earthly confidence and "to trust in the Lord."
Again, at the beginning of the Bible, we have man's first recorded words addressed to his Maker - "I was afraid . . . and I hid myself" (Genesis 3:10). Here is man's attitude, as the result of sin.
At the end of the Bible, we have man's last recorded words addressed to the same Lord: - "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." (Revelation 22:20) Here is man, restored by grace, longing for the presence of Him, from whom he once fled and hid! (Sidney Collett - All About the Bible)

N.J. Hiebert # 3422

August 6

"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God."
(Colossians 3:1)

We have been taken up from the depths of our ruin, and set among the princes of God's people. Should we not, therefore, love our Master? should we not desire to see His face? should we not regulate our present conduct by constant reference to Him? Would that we were more like Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 19:24,30). But we are all too well disposed to minister to our odious (old) nature - too ready to walk in the unchecked enjoyment of the things of this life - its riches, its honours, its comforts, its refinements, its elegancies, and the more so because we imagine we can do all these things without losing our enjoyment of the name and privileges of Christians. Vain, detestable selfishness! Selfishness, which shall be put to the blush in the day of Christ's appearing (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). (C.H. Macintosh - The Life and Times of David - The Conspiracy)

N.J. Hiebert # 3423

August 7

"A woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself." (Luke 13:11)

This woman's testimony would focus on three things: one, she had a definite need; two, she had had this need for a long time; and three, she wanted this need taken care of. She was ready for the touch of the Lord! No doubt she had lost all sorts of opportunities - marriage, employment, a social life - but she remained diligent in her search for help. The seeking Saviour and the seeking sinner will always meet! Friend, you have a definite need. Perhaps you have been in your sins for a long time; and while things may seem hopeless, the Saviour is waiting to save you right now. (Craig Funston)

N.J. Hiebert # 3424

August 8

"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:12-14)

When I first went to a large boys' school, it was Easter time, and in a few weeks they held the annual school races and other athletic sports. The various events were listed, and the boys invited to enter their names for the races on which they wished to take part. The prizes were also put on view: they fairly took away my breath: never had I seen such a collection of beautiful silver cups and trophies. I was only just twelve, and most of the boys were older, so I knew I had not much chance: but there was one little silver cup*** for the Hundred Yard Dash, for boys of twelve and under: and, Oh, how I longed for that cup! I had not already obtained it, but I could train and practice for that race, and then, so run that I might obtain! And I often went and looked at the little cup, and that stirred me to more earnest efforts.

I think that is something the way the dear Apostle felt, as he gazed on Christ, and all the treasures found in Him. But then Paul was still running the race, and the prize does not come until the race is finished: so I think that is what he means when he says: "Not that I have already obtained, or am already perfected; but I press on, or, - I am pressing on!"

"I did not win that beautiful little silver cup." ***
(G Christopher Willis)

N.J. Hiebert # 3425

August 9

". . . receive him as myself. If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account ." (Philemon 17,18)

It doesn't make any difference what our past has been, if the grace of God comes into our lives, all the privileges that belong to any children of God lie before us. We can appropriate them. Don't be discouraged by thinking how bad you have been. Onesimus certainly had a bad name. Probably they said some very harsh things about him where he came from, but here the Spirit of God is pleased to record, "Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother." (Colossians 4:9) His name means "profitable."

He certainly had not lived up to his name in the early part of his life. He had been unprofitable. He had been a liability to his master (Philemon). Now he goes back - no longer unprofitable, but profitable. I wonder how the Lord would write you up - as profitable, or unprofitable? In one sense we are all unprofitable servants, but we want to distinguish between things that differ. That doesn't mean that we are to slump down, fold our hands, and say, "I am an unprofitable servant," and stay still. That scripture does not mean that we should not have an earnest desire that we might be enabled to do something to please the Lord, something that He can own as for Himself. (From an address by C.H. Brown)

N.J. Hiebert # 3426

August 10

"In the beginning God, created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)

The mind of man cannot conceive of anything in existence that has not had a maker - such a thing would be unthinkable. There must be a cause for every effect. I ask, Who made that table? You reply, the carpenter. Then I asked, who made the carpenter? Somebody must have made him; and so you get back to the first original cause, and that is GOD. Hence the first of Genesis opens, sublime in its grandeur and simplicity - "In the beginning God." This commends itself to every man's reason; he knows there must be a God. Yet no uninspired man would have written that first chapter of Genesis as it stands.

What gropings in the dark have we in the philosophy of the ancients, and the scientific hypotheses of moderns! What voluminous treatises on cosmogony (theory of creation)! What changing theories as fresh light breaks in exposing the fallacy of earlier conclusions!

But God's Word never changes. Though not intended as a handbook of science, it nevertheless alludes to scientific subjects, and in a miraculous manner is always right. Take such a chapter as Genesis 1, written between three and four thousand years ago, at a time when the science of geology was unknown, treating of a vast subject, the creation, and doing so in the briefest manner possible, yet invariably correct - how could this be accounted for apart from inspiration? (A.H. Barry)

N.J. Hiebert # 3427

August 11

"Yea the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle (dove) and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but My peopleknow not the judgment of the Lord. How do ye say, we are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made He it; the pen of the scribes is in vain. The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them." (Jeremiah 8:7-9)

Would you for a moment say that the instinct of a bird is more sure than the words of the Saviour? As this world's winter approaches, let us then dwell on the words of Jesus. He cannot fail to fulfill His promise. We may not know where the swallows go; but Jesus says to us, "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) Would you say, Yes; Jesus says so, but our educated wise teachers do not say so? Remember the word, "They have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?" (Charles Stanley - 1800)

N.J. Hiebert # 3428

August 12

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12)

We have three great enemies ever seeking to overcome us: the world, the flesh, and the devil. And in proportion as we give place to any of these, we depart from God. These three we find in Peter's case in Luke 22.

In verse 45 & 50 he is led away by the flesh:
1. In sleeping when he should have watched,
2 In striking when he should not have resisted.

In Verses 54 & 55 he is led astray by the fear of the world:
1. In straying far from Christ's side;
2. In fellowship with His enemies.

And, last, in verses 57, 58, and 60, he is thrice led astray by the devil: to deny Christ, to swear, and to deny Him again.
One might, indeed, say such a course is foreshadowed in Psalm 1:1.

1. "The counsel of the ungodly", the dictates of fleshly reason, led to the smiting with the sword (Luke 22:50);
2. "Standing in the way of sinners" is illustrated by standing and warming himself; (Mark 14:67)
3. "Sitting in the seat of the scornful" is found in Luke 22: 55. "Peter sat down among them." (A.T. Scofield)

N.J Hiebert # 3429

August 13

"And she (Anna) coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption." (Luke 2:38)
"For mine (Simeon) eyes have seen Thy salvation." (Luke 2:30)

Like Anna, let us continue to delight to speak of Christ to all those who are looking for Him to come; and like Simeon, let us be glad for Christ to come, for the joy of being with Him. May we ponder in our hearts the things concerning Christ, and seek to carry out in our daily walk the teachings of the sacred Scriptures, which through grace we have been taught to love and revere, because they testify of Christ. The test of our love to Him is keeping His words and obeying them. (John 14:15,23,24). (W.E.S. - Christian Truth - Vol. 23 - October 1970)

N.J. Hiebert # 3430

August 14

"For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." (Job 19:25-26)

Job was devastated. He had lost all his children and his earthly possessions. His health was gone, and he sat covered in boils from head to foot. His wife told him to "curse God and die!" Job's salvation was to see beyond this life, to lay hold on eternity. By faith he affirmed, "I know that my Redeemer lives. I shall see God." Being sure of a wonderful future kept him from sin and suicide. Are you discouraged today? Take Job's view. Every believer in Christ has a similar hope. One day you too will see Him. (David Croudace)

N.J. Hiebert # 3431

August 15

"Preach the Word; be instant (prepared) in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

Note the emphasis put upon teaching sound doctrine. Some people say, "I am not interested in doctrine; I like practical preaching, not doctrine." But we need to know the great truths of Scripture in order that we may learn how to behave in accordance with the revelation God has given. Sincerity of purpose is not enough. We are to be sanctified by the truth. David prayed, "Order my steps in Thy Word." (Psalm 119:133) We must know the Word in order that our lives may be as God would have them. The servant of Christ is therefore responsible to give out sound teaching. (H.A. Ironside)

N.J. Hiebert # 3432

August 16

"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come." (Revelation 22:17)

What hinders them from thus responding to our Lord?

- Is it from bad teaching, a lack of spiritual instruction on the subject?

- Is it worldliness of spirit? for eating and drinking with the drunken is associated in scripture with the unholy sentiment, "My Lord delayeth His coming."

- Is it carnal-mindedness? allowing fleshly lusts and tempers to grieve and quench the Spirit of God, and thus hinder His teaching. It may be that malice, guile, hypocrisy, and evil speakings, are not laid aside (for they are natural to us all), and spiritual desires and growth are checked, and thus hinder the cry in the soul, of COME, LORD JESUS!

- Is it the habit of carelessness and insubjection to Christ, not keeping His words? for the Church is supposed in Scripture to be subject unto Christ; and those true to Him, who keep His words, sayings, and commandments, are promised the enjoyment of sweet manifestations of Christ, and abiding fellowship with the Father and the Son.

Whatever it be that hinders the soul from truly giving utterance to the cry of "Come, Lord Jesus," it should be detected and judged; for the inspired declaration is, "Let him that heareth say, COME." (H.H. Snell - Notes on the Revelation)

N.J. Hiebert # 3433

August 17

"Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." (Revelation 3:10)

"God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him." (Psalm 89:7)

(IS NOT THAT A WORD TO THE HEART AND CONSCIENCE OF ALL THOSE THAT THAT LOVE THE BLESSED LORD!)

You know this is a day of lawlessness, and increasing lawlessness - a day of disregard of all authority, and all source of authority. It is just the forerunner of what is coming, and coming in a dreadful form, when a vast part of this world will be under the dominion of a man who knows no will but his own; he will do according to his will; he will exalt himself above all that is called God - that is what is developing. But in spite of all this sad failure of the world, God will be God; and we learn from His Word that those conditions shall not be in full until He allows them, and that lawless one is revealed. And these conditions are developing. In a certain place where I was recently I witnessed an incident that reminded me of the way these things will be fulfilled - the wife had prepared in a stove everything for a fire, so that when a fire was wanted she had but to put a match to it. God is preparing the fire; but He will never put a match to it while His beloved people are here. (Christian Truth - Vol. 23 - November 1970)

N.J. Hiebert # 3434

August 18

"In the day of adversity, CONSIDER." (Ecclesiastes 7:14)

- Instead of grumbling because you don't get what you want, be thankful you don't get what you deserve.

- When others think of you, do they think of Christ?

- To conquer your fears, surrender them to the Lord.

- It is difficult to stand on a pedestal and wash the feet of those below.

- The cross of Christ - the crossroads to heaven or hell.

- Fruitful service grows in the soil of faithful worship.(Submitted by a reader - R.K. - Some Thoughts to Consider)

N.J. Hiebert # 3435

August 19

"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:29-31)

"Two sparrows sold for a farthing." A farthing was an infinitesimal coin; yet two sparrows, dressed and spitted, were sold in the markets for this amount. They were used as food by the poorest of the people. Nevertheless, God took note of every sparrow's fall.
"The very hairs of your head are all numbered." Nothing is too insignificant for God to note, and His care extends to the minutest detail of our lives.
"Of more value than many sparrows." God cares for all His creatures, but man has a special place in His heart, and is valued above all other animate beings. (Harry A. Ironside - Notes on Matthew)

N.J. Hiebert # 3436

August 20

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:18)

It is said that there was a little boy who was constantly falling out of bed. No matter what the parents did, the boy could not sleep without rolling out of bed. Finally one night an uncle came to stay in the house, and in the middle of the night there was the usual thump and cry and Johnnie was on the floor again. In the morning the uncle teased him about it, and asked him how it happened that he was so frequently falling. The little boy thought a moment and then replied: "I don't know, Uncle, unless it is that "I stay too close to the place where I get in."

When you have believed in Christ, saturate yourself with this Book - the Bible. See that your children and those committed to your teaching get thoroughly saturated with the Scriptures. It is their armour plate for life.
(Donald Grey Barnhouse - Happy Though Poor)

N.J. Hiebert # 3437

August 21

"Go to now, ye that say, today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow."
(James 4:13,14)

It ill becomes the saints of God to boast of what they will do tomorrow, next month, or next year. We do not know what tomorrow will bring; but we know Him who knows and controls all the tomorrows, and we can without fear leave the future in His hands. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 3438

August 22

"Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour." (Ecclesiastes 10:1)

This earth could be a wonderful place for those who have plenty of money, if it were not for the flies of death in, ". . . the apothecary's ointment." So-called "Death Valley Scotty" lived out there in comparative luxury for years, but the one thing that ruined his outlook was the fact of death at the end of the road. His valley was well named, "Death Valley." Another man, Mr. Randolph Hearst, built himself a palace in California. He spent a million dollars a year in entertainment (1961), but was always embarrassed at the thought that at the end of his good time was death. He was offended if anyone mentioned that word "death" in his hearing. His close friends knew this and avoided the dreaded word. It was the end of the way that troubled him. I believe he had a fifty thousand dollar funeral (1961); but, you know, that only took him to a hole in the ground, or perhaps a crypt in a mausoleum; money cannot carry beyond death. (Taken from a talk by C.H. Brown - 1961)

(Will be continued in tomorrow's "Gems From My Reading" (# 3440)

N.J. Hiebert # 3439

August 23

"And a certain ruler asked Him (Jesus), Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 18:18)

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." (Isaiah 55:1)

The ruler came to the right Person, but he did not couch his question intelligently. There is a measure of self-confidence in that question. "What shall I DO?" This is innate in the human heart. And all religions of which man boasts are built upon that concept: "What shall I DO?" The thought that a salvation has been purchased and is offered on the terms of doing nothing, never seems to enter the heart of men. That is the reason that the plan of salvation as we find it in Scripture did not have its origin in this earth; it came from heaven. Man knows practically nothing of grace. It is not of works. It has its origin in the great heart of God, coming to man, not with a demand, but with an offer. God comes out with both hands full. He offers to man the best He has. He says, "Come. . ." (Isaiah 55:1). Yes, the wine of the joy of salvation is offered FREE.

Come and get it from a giving God, who is anxious to bless. How few there are who accept the offer! It is the old story of the fisherman trying to give away herring fish on London Bridge. "Herrings for nothing." but he could get no takers. Everybody thought they were soiled or that something was wrong with them. Herrings at a bargain, a dozen for a penny, that would be all right; but, herrings for nothing, no! God has come out in grace and is offering man salvation. (Taken from a talk by C.H. Brown)

N.J. Hiebert # 3440

August 24

"When I see the blood, I will pass over you." (Exodus 12:13)

The Israelite was saved by blood alone, and not by his thoughts about it. His thoughts might be deep or they might be shallow; but, deep or shallow, they had nothing to do with his safety; he was not saved by his thoughts or feelings, but only by the blood. God did not say, "When you see the blood, I will pass over you." No; but, "When I see. . . . " What gave an Israelite peace was the fact that Jehovah's eye rested on the blood. God saw it, and that was quite enough. The application of this to the question of a sinner's peace is very plain. Christ's blood has been shed as a perfect atonement for sin, and God's testimony assures the believer that everything is settled on his behalf. All the claims of justice have been fully answered, and the full tide of redeeming love rolls down from the heart of God along the channels which the sacrifice of Christ has opened for it. To this truth the Holy Spirit bears witness. He ever sets forth the fact of God's estimate of the blood of Christ. He points the sinner's eye to the accomplished work of the cross. He declares that all is done; that sin has been put far away and righteousness brought nigh - so nigh that it is to all them that believe. Believe what? Believe what God says because He says it, not because they feel it. (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 3441

August 25

"Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." (Acts 5:4)

One sunny day, four high school boys couldn't resist the temptation to skip classes. The next morning they explained to their teacher that thy had missed her class because their car had a flat tire. To their relief, she smiled and said, "Well, you missed a quiz yesterday." But then she added, "Take your seats and get out a pencil and paper. The first question is: Which tire was flat?" No one gets away with lying. In Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira thought they were lying only to Peter and the other believers. But the apostle said to them, "You have not lied to men but to God" (v.4). Truth is one of the attributes of God. So when we tell a lie, we offend Him. And sooner or later He will uncover every falsehood - if not in this life, then at the final judgment, when we each give an account of ourselves to God (Romans 14:10-12). We live in a highly competitive world, and sometimes we may be strongly tempted to shade the truth to get ahead. But the short-term gains from lying are worth little compared with the long-term benefits of telling the truth. If you have deceived someone, confess it to that person and to the Lord. It may be humbling, but it's the first step to restoring integrity in your life. (Dennis De Haan)

The road that leads to misery
Is caused by a tongue that wags;
Beware of lying lips, my friend,
And a mouth that boasts and brags. (Shade)

If you always tell the truth, you will never be trapped in a lie.

Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright (2006), Grand Rapids, Mi, Reprinted permission.

N.J. Hiebert # 3442

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