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

Monday, December 01, 2008

Gems from December 2008

December 1

"It (the body) is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption." (1 Corinthians 15:42)

Years ago, I heard a story about a man looking for flowers for spring planting. At the greenhouse he came across a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. To his surprise, it was hidden in a corner and growing in an old, dented rusty bucket.

"If this were my flower," he said to himself, "I would place it in a beautiful pot and display it proudly! Why is it confined in this old bucket and hidden away in this concealed place?"

When he remarked to the owner about the flower, she explained, "Oh, I started the plant in that old bucket until it blossomed. But it's just for a short time. Soon I'll transplant it to my garden."
The man laughed, and imagined such a scene in heaven. "There's a beautiful one," God will say, "the product of My loving kindness and grace. Now it's confined in a broken body and in obscurity, but soon, in My garden, how tall and lovely this soul will stand!"

So we may now be "planted" in bent and battered containers for a short time while our Lord beautifies our souls. But, "as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man." (1 Corinthians 15:49). Then He will display His handiwork and our loveliness for all to see. This is our assurance and delight. (David Roper)

In bodies that will ne'er grow old,
We'll reign with Him through years untold;
O precious thought: We all shall be
With Christ through all eternity
. (Watson)

While God is preparing a place for us, He is preparing us for that place.

Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 2006, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission.

N.J. Hiebert # 3540

December 2

"They weave the spider's web . . . Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works . . ." (Isaiah 59:5,6)

The spider's web is just foam, and proceeds from the spider himself. It looks very beautiful. Many preachers like those spiders spin the webs out of themselves, out of their own heads. They do not bring them from the Word of God. And people who try to clothe themselves with their own righteousness are like those who might try to make garments out of spiders' webs. It has been tried, but found impossible. What a contrast there is between a spider's web and a silk cocoon, though both come out of the creature itself, one from the spider and one from the silkworm. Yet the cocoon furnishes the material that makes the most beautiful and lasting clothing for kings and princes while the other is a bit of foam that soon disappears.
Christ, and Christ alone, can save. His gospel is unfailing and peace-giving. It is no spider's web, "but the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." (H.A. Ironside)

N.J. Hiebert # 3541

December 3

"Now faith is the substance (substantiation) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen."

(Hebrews 11:1)

This is not a definition of faith, but rather an explanation of what faith does; it enables one to lay hold of the things hoped for, as though he possessed them. It gives real conviction of things that are not seen with the natural eye. Thus it brings the things we anticipate by faith into present realities and substances to be known and enjoyed now. "Whom having not seen ye love." (1 Peter 1:8) Do we love one who does not exist? but we do love One who has first loved us, One whom we know and have proved. Ask a true believer if he would give up Christ; his answer will be a firm and unequivocal, "Never." And so all that we are to have and share with Christ can be enjoyed now. The Christian lays hold of the unseen by faith, and his hope is sure; his hope is not an uncertainty, but merely delayed certainty. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 3542

December 4

"And now abideth faith, hope, charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is charity." (1 Corinthians 13:13)

As great as faith and hope are now, there is coming a time when we will actually possess that which to us is now delayed certainty. We will no longer require faith or hope when all this comes to fruition - is an actuality. And when in possession of that which we now enjoy by faith, love will still be there; for we will dwell in the Father's house, in the reality of love, for "God is love." Love will always abide; therefore it is greater than faith and hope. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 3543

December 5

"The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." (Psalm 46:7,11)

When "The Lord of hosts is with us" we can be at peace in the midst of the storm, but when in spirit we are with Him we are where the storms come not. What a change! - from the waters roaring and troubled, and the mountains shaking, to the peace that surrounds Him. We read in the next verse: "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved."
What a contrast! We are across the bar of the open tempestuous sea, and have reached the clam, sweet haven of rest. The storm and the raging waters are exchanged for the river of God - calm, peaceful, gladdening, refreshing! (A.J.Pollock)

N.J. Hiebert # 3544

December 6

"O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
(Matthew 14:31)

It was to Peter that the Lord said these words. At the Lord's command, Peter had left the boat and "walked on the water, to go to Jesus." There was faith in operation that he would actually go forth on the water at the Lord's bidding, but the wind and waves got his eye off the Lord; and he began to sink. How much like Peter we are! He could no more walk on smooth water than rough, and if, in this scene of trials and temptations, we assay to go forth in our own strength, we will meet the same disappointing experience. We need our eyes fixed on Him whether the seas are calm or rough. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 3545

December 7

"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father." (1 John 1:3)

Fellowship with the Father is the soul's highest exercise. It is that most excellent and spiritual occupation wherein the believer loses himself in wonder, love and praise, as the Father unfolds to the child:

- All the purposes of His love,
- All the treasures of His wisdom,
- The possibilities of His power, and
- The exceeding riches of His grace.

Here it is I find my best
Seasons of delight and rest;
With His love my heart o'erflowing ,
And His peace passeth knowing -
This, ah, this, is heavenly joy,
Which doth now my soul employ
(Choice Gleanings)

N.J Hiebert # 3546

December 8

"But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."

(1 Peter 1:25)

"The Bible is an anvil that has worn out many hammers." This saying has been around for a long time, so long that its author has been lost to anonymity. And yet it remains true, for that anvil still stands today, impervious to the blows of another generation of hammer wielding infidels. And yet it seems today that its enemies have begun to use different tactics. If the anvil cannot be reduced to rubble by beating it with human reason or melted in the furnace of doubt, perhaps its strength can be reduced by chipping small pieces away, or its influence weakened by putting it away in the corner of the church's shop in favour of more modern machinery. Thankfully, we know that God's Word is indeed his, and man's efforts to destroy, corrupt, or subvert it will continue to come to naught. God himself declares it so in Isaiah 55:11. "My word...shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Yet we are also given this solemn warning in Revelation 22:18,19. "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."

I would like to use the following as one small example among many of the importance of the accuracy of scripture, and how it could easily be twisted if even slightly changed.
The passage comes from Matthew 6:19 20. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." In other words, just as there are thieves on earth, there are thieves in heaven, but with one big difference--they do not steal in heaven! This is because the thief has been redeemed by and regenerated in Christ. What if verse 20 instead said something like this? "...where there are no thieves to break through or steal." With only a cursory glance it appears very similar, but upon closer examination it opens a tiny crack of doubt as to the salvation of thieves.
Thankfully, it is written as it is so that no thief has any doubt as to their eligibility for salvation, but can be assured of paradise just like the first thief to be saved as he hung beside the Lord himself on Calvary. It is an amazing thought to consider that save for the Godhead and the angels, all of heaven will be populated by sinners whose sins are covered and no longer sin!
(Submitted by a reader of the "Gems" - Alex Scharf)

N.J. Hiebert # 3547

December 9

"What shall I say? He hath both spoken unto me, and Himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul." (Isaiah 38:15)

Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge aright, and is imparted by the Spirit, and He alone gives true understanding. Therefore, if we would learn the mind of God as revealed in His Word, there must be subjection of heart to the divine Teacher, and that self-judgment and self-distrust which leads one to walk softly before God; not in self-will or egotism, but in humility and lowly dependence on the One who inspired the Holy Scriptures, which alone can make wise the simple. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 3548

December 10

"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to beashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)

There are two things in this exhortation. First, Timothy is to use diligence to commend himself, not to his hearers, but to God. This principle is the safeguard of all who are engaged in public service. As the Apostle says elsewhere, "If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10) And again, "As we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts." (1 Thessalonians 2:4) Nothing else will keep the servants of God but to have Him before their souls, for then they will remember in all their service that it is His verdict of approval alone they have to seek. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 3549

December 11

"The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister,and to give his life a ransom for many"
(Matthew 20:28)

In Matthew 20 the Lord takes occasion to explain the sentiments that become His followers, the perfection of which they had seen in Himself. In the world, authority was sought for; but the spirit of Christ was a spirit of service, leading to the choice of the lowest place, and to entire devotedness to others. Beautiful and perfect principles, the full bright perfection of which was displayed in Christ. The renunciation of al things, in order to depend confidingly on the grace of Him whom we serve, the consequent readiness to take the lowest place and thus be the servant of all - this should be the spirit of those who have part in the kingdom as now established by the rejected Lord. It is this that becomes His followers. (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 3550

December 12

"And he (Abraham's servant) said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the Lordhath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master."(Genesis 24:56)

Lips without life will not suit Abraham's servant, nor will it suit the Holy Spirit. He is here with one definite object, and whether that object is accomplished in you and in me or not, He will not tarry here. He will commence His journey at once, for He must return to His Master. He is here in grace, in the world as it is, but not to sanction it, and surely not to rest in it. No, neither of these; but He is here to lead out of it. (H.C. Ansty)

N.J. Hiebert # 3551

December 13

"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made your overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood." (Acts 20:28)

Led of the Spirit of God to hold up his own example for their imitation, Paul proceeded to found thereon an appeal to themselves; and let every one who holds any position of responsibility among the saints of God ponder well and prayerfully its terms. "Take heed therefore" - to be diligent in your work? No, but "unto yourselves." As he afterward wrote to Timothy, it is, first of all, "Take heed unto thyself." This is the primary responsibility, the neglect of which has rendered so many servants powerless, and has caused so many shipwrecks. (1 Timothy 1:19) (The Christian Truth - Vol. 21)

N.J. Hiebert # 3552

December 14

"But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy." (2 Chronicles 36:16)

"I love my job," said Maggie, a young nurse, "but it's so frustrating when I tell people what they need to do to stay healthy and they don't follow my advice."

I smiled in empathy. "I felt that way when I started my editorial career," I told her. "It was frustrating when authors would disregard the advice I gave them about improving their manuscripts."Then I realized the spiritual implication. "If you and I feel frustrated when people don't follow our professional advice, " I said, "imagine how God feels when we ignore His." He's the only One with perfect knowledge of what's good for us, yet we often behave as if we know better.This was the case in ancient Israel. Thinking that they knew more than God did, the people followed their own way. (Note the verse quoted above.) As a result, Jerusalem and the house of God fell into the hands of the Babylonians.This is also the case with us when God's instructions seem difficult. We may conclude that He had exceptions in mind for our particular circumstance.God graciously teaches what is best (Isaiah 48:17-18) but doesn't force us to do it. He patiently presents what is right and good, and allows us to choose it. (Julie Ackerman Link)

What freedom lies with all who choose
To live for God each day!
But chains of bondage shackle those
Who choose some other way. (D. DeHaan)

God's teaching may not always make sense,but it's always senseless to think we know better.

Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright (2006), Grand Rapids, MI. - Reprinted permission

N.J. Hiebert # 3553

December 15

"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." (Philippians 3:13")

What are the things behind that the Apostle says he forgets? He does not tell us: he does not say if they were the victories or the failures. But I think it is anything and everything that would take our eyes off Christ. I think it is like Psalm 45:10: "Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thing ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty." When Rebecca was going through the desert she would have had nothing if she had forgotten Isaac. Isaac was the attraction, the object before her heart, and I doubt not her heart was filled with thoughts of him; and in a sense she forgot her own people and her father's house: but I do not suppose the Lord meant that she should never think of them again: but Isaac was the supreme object of her heart.

We find the Apostle, when occasion served, remembered both his victories and his failures; but his heart was not set on either. To remember our victories tends to make us proud: to remember our failures tends to cast us down and discourage us, so we are tempted to give up. If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. He knows the failure and the sin; and He knows if we have confessed it, and it is all forgiven: He does not cast it up against us. So let us take Him at His word, and forget it: not surely to make us careless: but to magnify His grace. (Christopher Willis - Sacrifices if Joy)

N.J. Hiebert # 3554

December 16

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation (judgment) but is passed from death unto life." (John 5:24)

The believer never comes into judgment as our Lord Himself laid down in John 5; if he did he must be LOST. Life and judgment are incompatible. He that refuses Christ and life in Him will assuredly be judged. He is lost, and it will be manifest then.Thus is the honour of Christ vindicated by God on such as have spurned His Son. Those who believe in Him are called to no such compulsory and ruinous homage; they gladly bow even now to Him their Lord and life. They will give account to God; they will receive according to the things done in the body, as they will be manifested before the judgment-seat of Christ; but they will never come into judgment, having already faith and eternal life in Him. They exercise themselves, therefore, to have a good conscience now. (William Kelly - Notes on the First Epistle to the Corinthians)

N.J. Hiebert # 3555

December 17

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

Good Rules for Keeping Happy

Among them are these: "Never allow yourself to complain of anything, even the weather, for God overrules all for good. Never dwell with dread upon to-morrow; God will then be as much as now."Another man, when asked how he always seemed happy, answered that he had learned to look three ways:

- First, he looked up to Heaven that he might remember that he was going to spend Eternity there;
- Second, he looked to the earth that he might remember that one day (if the Lord didn't come first) his body would return to dust, stripped of all earthly possessions;
- Third, he looked within his heart, that he might realize how many people were worse off than he was.

The Christian must not forget that worry is sin. He must be sorrowful yet always rejoicing. If he is worrying, he is denying the care of God over his life. He has been give a peace and joy that are full. (Donald Grey Barnhouse - Happy Though Poor)

N.J. Hiebert # 3556

December 18

"Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter. . . ." (Revelation 1:19)

When I was a boy in school, my record in arithmetic was deplorable. But I always remembered that the answers were all in the back of the book! In my Bible, there are many things I do not understand and "the things which are" puzzle me these days. But this little Book of Revelation tells me not only about that, but also that which is to be. If we know where we are going, we are better prepared for where we are today. This little book closes with the victory of Christ, the new heaven and earth and all things made new. I read in the papers what man is doing, but I read in this little book what God is going to do. I may not fully comprehend all I read, but I get the message. The answers are all there and they are good! (Vance Havner - All the Days)

N.J. Hiebert # 3557

December 19

"JOSEPH is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall. . . ." (Genesis 49:22)

"This God shall be my God for ever and ever; He shall be my Guide even unto death." If this were so, these impressions were deepened by three deaths in Joseph's life. When they reached the family settlement they found the old nurse Deborah dying. She was the last link to those bright days when her young mistress Rebekah came across the desert to be Isaac's bride; and they buried her with many tears under an ancient but splendid oak. And he could never forget the next. The long caravan was moving slowly up to the narrow ridge along which lay the ancient village of Bethlehem: suddenly a halt was called; the beloved Rachael could go not another step; there as the sun was westering, amid scenes where in after-years Ruth met Boaz, and David watched his sheep, and the good Joseph walked beside the patient donkey with its precious burden - there Rachael, Joseph's mother, died. This was the greatest loss that he had ever known . . . after a space of twenty seven years, he was to place the remains of his father, Jacob in the same grave.These things made Joseph what he was. And the little sympathy that he received from his family only drove him more apart, and compelled him to live "by the well" and to strike his roots deep into the life of God.It may be that these words will be read by youths of seventeen who have passed through experiences not unlike Joseph's. - They have lost sainted friends. - They have been emptied from vessel to vessel. - They feel lonely in the midst of their home. Let me solemnly ask them if they have entered into covenant with God. Have you avouched God to be your God? Have you put your hand into the hand of "the mighty God of Jacob"? It is an urgent question, for the answer to it may mark the crisis of your lives. Choose Christ; and, in choosing Him, choose life, and blessedness, and heaven. And when you have chosen Him, cleave close to Him, and send the rootlets of your existence deep down into the hidden wells of communion and fellowship. (F.B. Meyer - Joseph - Beloved - Hated - Exalted)

N.J. Hiebert # 3558

December 20

"Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign."
(Isaiah 7:14)

"It shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." (Isaiah 55:13)

"I will set a sign among them." (Isaiah 66:19)

Here are three signs for good:

- The first is about the birth of the Lord Jesus: the virgin shall conceive.
- The second is about His resurrection: He died unto sin once and He ever lives to make intercession, never to be cut off.
- The third is about His return. When all the nations are gathered around Jerusalem, He will come to rescue His city and shall establish His glory there.

Two signs have been fulfilled. Are you ready for the third? (Tom Steere)

N.J. Hiebert # 3559

December 21

"The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old." (Proverbs 8:22)

Nothing ever takes Him by surprise. Consequently, with Him, there can be no after-thought. All was foreseen long, long before its actual occurrence; everything was provided for. Satan, sin, and and their attendant evils, have in no wise interfered with His purpose, ". . . who worketh all things according to the counsel of His own will." Where had His grace found manifestation, had not sin been permitted? All the glory of the Cross must have had no place if the serpent's entrance into the garden of delight had been denied. Evil, dreadful as it is, is but the dark background that throws into relief His wondrous purposes of love and grace. (H.A. Ironside - Reflections on the Book of Jeremiah)

N.J. Hiebert # 3560

December 22

"Love worketh no ill to his neighbour . . ." (Romans 13:10)

You may have heard of the boy whose home was in a wood. One day he thought he heard the voice of another boy not far off. He shouted, "Hello, there!" and the voice shouted back, "Hello there!" He did not know that it was the echo of his own voice, and he shouted again: "You are a mean boy!" Again the cry came back, "You are a mean boy!" After some more of the same kind of thing he went into the house and told his mother that there was a bad boy in the wood. His mother, who understood how it was, said to him:"Oh, no! You speak kindly to him, and see if he does not speak kindly to you."He went to the wood again and shouted; "Hello, there!" "Hello there!" "You are a good boy." Of course the reply came, "You are a good boy." "I love you." "I love you," said the other voice.This little story explains the secret of the whole thing. Some of you perhaps think you have bad and disagreeable neighbours; most likely the trouble is with yourself. If you love your neighbours they will love you. Love begets love. (Dwight L. Moody - Moody's Anecdotes)

N.J. Hiebert # 3561

December 23

"Pilate then went unto them, and said, what accusation bring ye against this man? They answered and said unto him, if He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him unto thee." (John 18:29,30)

What an answer! Why did they not judge Him according to their law? It was because their hate outweighed their national pride. "It is not permitted to us to put any one to death" (John 18:31). Not stoning, therefore, as was prescribed by the law (Leviticus 24:16), but the accursed tree, the cross, was the "departure which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem" (Luke 9:31), "that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled which he spoke, signifying what death he should die" (John 18:32; 3:14; 12:32, 33). Everything serves to fulfill the Scriptures, even these humanly crafty but unworthy dealings. While the governor seeks a way of escape, they are ready to do anything in order to carry out their abominable plans.Thus their accusations here are of a different style than before the Sanhedrin; in Luke we find more precise detail recorded about this. "We have found this man perverting our nation" (Luke 23:2). How could the Lord ever have done this or have had such intentions? "And forbidding to give tribute to Caesar." We know from the mouth of the Lord that exactly the opposite was the case (Luke 20:22). "He stirs up the people," they say later, "teaching throughout all Judaea, beginning from Galilee even on to here" (Luke 23:5). False were the witnesses, and false were the accusations now; but they were not only false, they were all well considered. The chief priests and the elders had religious accusations ready for a religious court of justice, and political accusation for a political tribunal. (Fritz Von Kietzel - Behold the Lamb of God)

N.J. Hiebert # 3562

December 24

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee." (Psalm 119:11)

1. God speaks through His Word - take time to listen.
2. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
3. Prosperity may be a greater test of character than poverty.
4. Revenge imprisons us; forgiveness sets us free.
5. If you seek wise counsel, you multiply your chances for sound decisions.(R.K. - Some Thoughts to Consider)

N.J. Hiebert # 3563

December 25

"Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)

I look not back; God knows the fruitless effort,
The wasted hours, the sinning, the regrets.
Leaving them all with Him who blots the record,
And graciously forgives, I can forget. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 3564

December 26

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2)

"He hath made us accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:6)

The small boy, not quite 3 years old, skipped down the imposing corridors. Armed servicemen, the best of the best, took no notice of the child who ran past their assigned posts. The boy passed several staff members on his way, who likewise took little notice except for an occasional smile. Passing a secretary's desk, the little boy did not acknowledge her wave, intent as he was on his goal. In front of the door stood another armed sentry. But the guard made no movement to hinder the progress of the child who opened the door and went inside. With a grin, the boy ran across the carpet of the Oval Office and climbed into the lap of the most powerful man in the world. Influential cabinet members had to wait to continue their discussion as President John F. Kennedy and his son, John-John, exchanged good-morning hugs and kisses.The years of the Kennedy administration are memorable to me because they were one of the few times that there have been small children living at the White House. I remember seeing on the news how the President loved his children and delighted to include them in his day, even while attending to matters that concerned the future and safety of the entire world's population. The contrast has always struck me: the most powerful man in the world, and the little boy who could stroll past secretaries, staff members, and security guards and bound into his father's arms.Can you imagine someone objecting? "Now, wait just a minute! Don't you know who that man is? He is the President of the United States, the leader of the greatest nation on earth. You can't just waltz in here anytime you want. And you certainly can't be sitting in his lap! Who do you think you are?" John-John would have just looked up at his challenger with a surprised look. Then, with a grin of total confidence, he would have said, "He's my Daddy!" You see, John-John knew who his father was, and he knew who he was.The tragedy of modern-day Christians is our utter ignorance of who we are in Christ. After Jesus Christ has done everything necessary to make us acceptable to a Holy God, after He has given us His very life to experience every day, too many of us still thrash around in doubt as to whether God will really hear our prayers, whether we're "worthy" to be used by God in the ministry, or simply whether God really and truly loves us. "I mean, how could God love me, knowing what I am really like?" we think in our hearts. (Bob George)

N.J. Hiebert # 3565

December 27

"God hath tempered the body together . . . that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." (1 Corinthians 12:24-27)

If God sets a man in a certain position, and gives him a certain work to do, and his fellows think proper to quarrel with him simply on the score of his doing that work, and filing that position, then is their quarrel really with God, who knows how to settle it, and will do it in His own way. The assurance of this gives holy calmness and moral elevation to the Lord's servant, in moments when envious and turbulent spirits rise up against him.It is hardly possible for anyone to occupy a prominent place of service, or to be preeminently used of God, without, at some time or other, having to encounter the attacks of certain radical and discontented men who cannot bear to see any one more honoured than themselves. (Food for the Desert)

N.J. Hiebert # 3566

December 28

"And even as they (heathen) did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to reprobate mind:" (Romans 1:28)
"Because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved, . . . God shall send them strong delusion, that they might believe a lie; that they all might be damned." (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)

There is a vast difference between the divine method of dealing with the heathen (Romans 1) and with the rejecters of the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2), verses quoted above.
The heathen refuse the testimony of creation, and are therefore left to themselves. The rejecters of the gospel refuse the full blaze of light which shines from the cross, and therefore "a strong delusion" will, before long, be sent from God upon them. This is deeply solemn for an age like this, in the which there is so much light and so much profession. (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 3567

December 29

"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)

Two painters each painted a picture to illustrate his conception of rest. The first chose for his scene a still, lone lake among the far-off mountains.

The second threw on his canvas a thundering waterfall, with a fragile birch tree bending over the foam; and at the fork of the branch, almost wet with the cataract's spray, sat a robin on its nest.The first was only stagnation; the last was rest. Christ's life outwardly was one of the most troubled lives that ever lived: tempest and tumult, tumult and tempest, the waves breaking over it all the time until the worn body was laid in the grave. But the inner life was a sea of glass. The great calm was always there.At any moment you might have gone to Him and found rest. And even when the human bloodhounds were dogging Him in the streets of Jerusalem, He turned to His disciples and offered them, as a last legacy, "My peace."

Rest is . . . the repose of a heart set deep in God. (Drummond)

N.J. Hiebert # 3568

December 30

"The angel Gabriel was sent from God . . . to a virgin."
(Luke 1:26,27)

"The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35)

It is wonderful to see how God selected a respected doctor to record the intimate details surrounding our Saviour's birth. Having examined the facts in a comprehensive and clinical way, he concluded these are "things which are most surely believed among us" (Luke 1:1). At this time of year when we are often confronted with mere sentiment - the emotional aspects of the Lord's birth - it is good to know that it is not a fable. (Brian Russell)

N.J. Hiebert # 3569


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