Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5750 posted here) sent daily for 19 years --

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Gems from January 2009

December 31

"Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given." (Isaiah 9:6)

Here clearly the prophet distinguishes the wonder of our Lord's incarnation. As a Child He was born, wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger, and held in His mother's arms. As a Son, He was given as heaven's gift by God who so loved the world, the eternal Son of God by whom the worlds were framed and by whom our salvation was secured. Why a child and a Son? So that we, through His death, burial and resurrection, could be born again as God's dear children and one day he presented as the sons of God (Romans 8:19) (Rex Trogen)

N.J. Hiebert # 3570

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was NO ROOM for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7)

All the circumstances were pre-arranged yet there was no comfort for the Lord Jesus. The journey, trauma and birth of the Lord Jesus were all clothed in hardship. The event of all time was heard by heaven and earth, in heaven the angels announced it, on earth a few shepherds received it. A premonition of how God's choice through Christ would work being spiritually promoted but only a few receiving it. Sad reflection on the heart of man.Such a wonderful secret to keep. God is so wonderful in allowing us brief glimpses of His grace and mercy which He allows us to treasure. They provide strength for the future and memories to cherish in troubling times. He often uses simple people to do great things - shepherds. How amazed the angels must have been to look down upon a helpless babe. (B.R. - Submitted by a reader of the "Gems.")

N.J. Hiebert # 3571

"Christ us all in all." (Colossians 3:11)

When you are down to nothing.... God is up to something!

“…O LORD…I flee unto thee to hide me.” Psalm 143:9

Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Faith looks away from circumstances to the God of circumstances.

“…in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.” Psalm 143:9

And there you will find perfect peace

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3

Then, stand and watch what the Lord is going to do!

“…Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you…” Exodus 14:13

(Submitted by a reader of the "Gems.")

N.J. Hiebert # 3572

January 1

"The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him." (Psalm 25:14)

I am not competent to discern the will of God if I am not with Him. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him." I have to be before God Himself, or else I shall never keep straight; and for that, I must be in the path of God for Him to lead me. I cannot realize God's presence out of the path of His will. The instant I lose the sense of dependence, I am in danger. Obedience and dependence are the two living principles of the new man. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4) (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 3573

January 2

"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." (Psalm 51:5)

The unconverted sinner sins constantly. Every act, word, and deed springs from a defiled source. We are conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9). It is a corrupt fountain from which a stream of sin flows continually. And that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and remains flesh to the end (John 3:6). And "the carnal mind" (or the minding of the flesh) "is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." (Romans 8:7). But God in His great love to us gave His Son. Jesus the Lamb of God died on Calvary, glorified God, broke Satan's power, and bore the judgment of sin. God raised Him from the dead, and gave Him glory, thereby showing His perfect satisfaction in His finished work. On the ground of that work all who believe are pardoned, justified, reconciled, saved - the children of God. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (children) 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 3:1,2) (E.H.C.)

N.J. Hiebert # 3574

January 3

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16)

Mystery indeed!

- The Eternal came into time;
- The Son of the Father became the Son of the virgin;
- The Son of God became the Son of Mary;
- The Omnipotent became dependent;
- The Creator became a carpenter;
- The God of glory became a Man of Sorrows.

We are not asked to understand or to explain or expound, but only to trust. We bow in wonder and when we cannot comprehend, we worship nevertheless! (Jim Flanigan - Choice Gleanings)

N.J. Hiebert # 3575

January 4

"He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He." (Deuteronomy 32:4)

When I was coaching high school freshman girls basketball in the fall of 2005, I was surprised at how many times I heard, "That's not fair!" The girls' motivation seemed to depend on whether or not they thought what I asked then to do was fair. If I asked some girls to do a defensive drill while others shot free throws, I heard, "Not fair!" If I allowed one group to play offense longer than another group, I heard, "Not fair."

So many situations in life shout, "Not fair!" I observe Christian couples who struggle to have babies while others are blessed with children and then abuse them. I look at families whose children are all alive and well, while I go through life without one of mine. I see friends who long to serve God but can't because of health issues.

It's then that I must go back to a basic truth. We are not the arbiters of fairness. God is, and He knows far more than we do about His plans and purposes. The question isn't about fairness. In the end, it's about trust in a faithful God who knows what He is doing. "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice" (Deuteronomy 32:4).

Life will never look fair. But when we trust God, we always know that He is faithful.
(Dave Brandon)

If you feel that blessings pass you by,
And for you life seems a bit unfair,
Just remember, Christ was born to die,
And in His great salvation you can share. (Hess)
Life is not always fair, but God is always faithful.
Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright (2006), Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission. _______________________________________________________

N.J. Hiebert # 3576

January 5

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35)

Sometimes an earnest Christian will, after some remarkable encounter, withdraw himself from his fellow believers and develop a spirit of faultfinding.This is a dangerous state of mind, and the more dangerous because it can justify itself by the facts - it may easily be true that the professed Christians with whom he is acquainted are worldly and dull and without spiritual enthusiasm. It is not that he is mistaken in his facts that proves him to be in error, but that his reaction to the facts is of the flesh! His new spirituality has made him less charitable, and we must be cautioned that any religious experience that fails to deepen our love for our fellow Christians may be safely written off as spurious.The Apostle John makes love for our fellow Christians to be a test of true faith, insisting that as we grow in grace we grow in love toward all of God's people: "Every one that loveth Him that begat loveth Him also that is begotten of Him" (1 John 5:1). This means simply that if we love God we will love His children. All true Christian experience will deepen our love for other Christians!

Therefore we conclude that whatever tends to separate us in heart from our fellow Christians is not of God, but is of the flesh or of the devil. Conversely, whatever causes us to love the children of God is likely to be of God! (A.W. Tozer - Renewed Day by Day)

N.J. Hiebert # 3577

January 6

"Thou shalt know the Lord." (Hosea 2:20)

Not Knowing

I know not what shall befall me, God hangs a mist o'er my eyes;
And so, each step in mine onward path, He makes new scenes to rise,
And every joy He sends me comes As a strange and sweet surprise.

I see not a step before me, As I tread on another year;
But the past is still in God's keeping - The future, His mercy shall clear.
And what looks dark in the distance, May brighten as I draw near.

For perhaps the dreaded future Has less bitter than I think;
The Lord may sweeten the waters Before I stoop to drink;
Or, if Marah must be Marah, He will stand beside the brink.

Oh, restful, blissful ignorance! 'Tis blessed not to know!
It keeps me so still in those arms Which will not let me go,
And hushes my soul to rest On the bosom that loves me so.

So I go on, not knowing - I would not if I might!
I'd rather walk in the dark with God Than walk alone in the light.
I'd rather walk with him by faith Than walk alone by sight.

My heart shrinks back from trials That the future may disclose;
Yet I never had a sorrow But what the dear Lord chose;
So I send the coming tears back With the whispered words, "HE KNOWS."

N.J. Hiebert # 3578

January 7

"Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised: there hathnot failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised."
(1 Kings 8:56)

So many promises are made and broken. Hearts are devastated, relationships are severed and hurts are deep. Is this your experience today? Then rest on the many promises given to you and me.

- We have eternal salvation.
- We have the promise that He is with us all through life's journey.
- We have the promise that He will never leave us or forsake us.
- We have the promise that He will meet every need.
- We have the promise of Heaven and "Home."

Claim these promises. Lean hard upon them. Not one of them can fail. (James Comte)

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love's strong cord.

N.J. Hiebert # 3579

January 8

". . . Freely ye have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8)

"Take heed therefore . . . for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have."(Luke 8:18)

As we give our time, our substance, our very lives for others, so shall we be blessed. To receive and take and hold, without an outflowing, is to be as dead and dismal as the Dead Sea. Though watered by the dew of Hermon and the rain of Lebanon, the Dead Sea to this day is so bitter and vile that not a single living thing can be found in it. How loud is its message to us! The Dead Sea has no outlet. The waters of the many rivers would soon purify the Dead Sea did it but have an outlet to the ocean. But all the fresh and sparkling water flowing into it cannot heal its death and vileness while it does not pass on the blessing which comes into its basin. (L.S. - Mountain Trailways for Youths)

Hearken then thou deep, thou Dead Sea,
I have now thy secret learned!
Why in thee the dew of Hermon
Is to gall and wormwood turned.

In an old churchyard cemetery you may read this epitaph and epigram:

"What I gave, that I have;
What I kept, that I lost."

God might have used His sunset gold sparingly;
He might have put but one wee star in all the sky -
He might have doled His blossoms out quite grudgingly;
But since He gave so lavishly, why should not I

N.J. Hiebert # 3580

January 9

"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)

Very little is said in scripture about the Father's house, save what we find in John 14. One is never weary of those verses, because they tell of the personal love of the Lord Jesus to His church; but locality is not defined, nor the thought of heaven introduced as meaning any particular locality. Jesus lifts up His eyes to heaven. Many found their ideas of heaven on some early association in their mind of a place of glory beyond the clouds, and connect it with all that the word of God has made familiar to them. Breaking down all this, would leave them with this blessed thought of the Son upon the Father's throne, and the Father setting them there together with Him. Whenever my faith goes up there, what does it find realized? The thought of One there who was once in all my circumstances of sorrow down here; the thought of home up there with Him. Oh, what a warm happy feeling the heart experiences at that thought - not the circumstances of that home, but the being there with Him. A man's heart is in his home, notbecause of its circumstances, but because the object of his affection is there. The same with regard to heaven; I find uncommonly little of detail as to circumstances there, but I find unfading reality in one of two simple verses, "If ye love Me ye would rejoice,because I go to my Father." What a volume in that! (Gleanings from the Teaching of G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert # 3581

January 10

"Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you, in prayers,that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God."
(Colossians 4:12)

We are all servants of Christ in a sense. If you are a Christian, you are a servant of Christ. What a privilege! There is no such thing as an unnecessary member of the body of Christ, as a useless member. In biology they try to tell us that we have certain things in our bodies that once were functional, but they have ceased to be so - they do not mean anything any more. I am not saying that I agree with the biologists. There are no needless remnants hanging to our bodies. So in the body of Christ, every member has a functional responsibility. We are all servant of Christ - not servants of men, but servants of Christ - and our orders come from up there. You cannot go to a brother and ask him what you should do. You have to get your directions from Christ. Epaphras was a servant of Christ. What did he do? He was a mighty man of prayer. He was a labouring brother in a very special sense, and you can be a labouring brother or a labouring sister in this sense. This is an avenue of service open to every Christian, and it is a most valuable one. (C.H. Brown)

N.J. Hiebert # 3582

January 11

"Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof." (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

Look at David's Lord and Master; see His beginning. He was despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Would you see the end? He sits at His Father's right hand, expecting until His enemies be made His footstool. "As He is, so are we also in this world." You must bear the cross, or you shall never wear the crown; you may wade through the mire, but in heaven walk the golden pavement. Cheer up, then, poor Christian. "Better is the end of a thing than than the beginning thereof." See that creeping worm, how contemptible its appearance! It is the beginning of a thing.

Mark that insect with gorgeous wings, playing in the sunbeams, sipping at the flower bells, full of happiness and life; that is the end thereof. That caterpillar is your self, until you are wrapped up in the chrysalis of death (if the Lord doesn't come first); but when Christ shall appear you shall be like Him, for you shall see Him as He is. Be content to be like Him, a worm and no man, that like Him you shall be satisfied when you wake up in His likeness.That rough looking-diamond is put upon the wheel if the lapidary. He cuts it on all sides. It loses much-much that seemed costly to itself. The king is crowed; the diadem is put upon the monarch's head with trumpet's joyful sound. A glittering ray flashes from that coronet, and it beams from that very diamond which was just now so sorely vexed by the lapidary. You may venture to compare yourself to such a diamond, if you are one of God's people; and this is the time of the cutting process. Let faith and patience have their perfect work, for in the day when the crown shall be set upon the head of the King. Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, one ray of glory shall stream from you. "They shall be Mine." saith the Lord, "in the day when I make up My jewels." "Better is the end of a thing that the beginning thereof." (Charles H. Spurgeon)

N.J. Hiebert # 3583

January 12

"Let him that is athirst COME." (Revelation 22:17)

Living water is for ever streaming from that Rock. In the ten commandments it is, "Thou shalt not;" but to whom was it ever said by God, "Thou shalt not touch the waters which I have caused to flow from the Smitten Rock?" No! but He says, "Whosoever will, let him take of the waters of life freely." (Revelation 21:6) God has found a living stream in Christ in Christ for poor sinners, and while the world lasts living waters will still be gushing forth. As long as the Spirit and the bride say, "Come," those life-giving waters will be flowing. (Gleanings of G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert # 3584

January 13

"O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called." (1 Timothy 6:20)

The late Oswald Chambers made a very pertinent remark. "If the Bible agreed with modern science, it would soon be out of date, because in the very nature of things modern science is bound to change." The late Professor Thomas H. Huxley said, "The great and frequent tragedy of science is a beautiful hypothesis killed by an ugly fact." Never were there truer or more devastating statements. Science is always changing for the simple reason that a large proportion of so-called science is not really science, but merely theory unsupported by facts. It was so even in ancient times, for the Apostle's advice to young Timothy was, "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust avoiding profane and vain babblings, and opposition of science falsely so-called." What shattering expressions - "PROFANE AND VAIN BABBLINGS" and "FALSELY SO-CALLED"!

Science, if it be really science, cannot change, for really ascertained knowledge must remain knowledge. One thing is certain. God is the Author alike of true science and the Bible. Therefore there can be no contradiction between them. (A.J. Pollock - Why I Believe the Bible)

N.J. Hiebert # 3585

January 14

"They crucified Him . . . and sitting down they watched Him there. (Matthew 27:35-36)
"Behold their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their music."
(Lamentations 3:63)

When we see Thee as the Victim
Nailed to the accursed tree,
For our guilt and folly stricken,
All our judgment borne by Thee,
Lord, we own, with, with hearts adoring,
Thou hast washed us in Thy blood,
Glory, glory everlasting,
Be to Thee, Thou Lamb of God! (J. G. Deck)

N.J. Hiebert # 3586

January 15

"It is good for me to draw near to God." (Psalm 73:28)

The absolutely perfect and living rule is the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him all written rules are united in one solitary living example. . . . Happy is he who keeps by His side to learn how one ought to walk. The great point is to be nearer Him in heart than even the work, and then we do the work from Him an din some measure as He would. A time of retirement is a very good thing in our service. it puts us before God instead of our work before us, and makes us feel, too, that our work is in His hands and not our own. I remember when I used to be ill every year, I always felt if I had been near enough to God I should no t have needed it.When one is near heaven, when Jesus is all, one place scarcely differs from another; God remains God, holy and love, and man remains man. (J.N.D. - Pilgrims Portion for the Day of Rest)

N.J. Hiebert # 3587

January 16

"For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth." (Job 19:25)

Job's life was full of unimaginable pain. He lost everything that men count dear: his family, his health, and his wealth. His friends misunderstood all that was going on. But amidst all the trials and misunderstandings, one bright hope lifted Job above his circumstances - one day, his Redeemer would appear. This certainty kept Job from slipping beneath the waves: He shall appear! Centuries have past since Job's day, but the message of hope remains. Amidst all our trials, the blessed hope of the coming of the Lord keeps us pressing on. He has said, "I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:3)

N.J. Hiebert # 3588

January 17

"Their eyes were opened, and they knew Him." (Luke 24:31)
"They said . . . He opened to us the Scriptures." (Luke 24:32)
"Then opened He their understanding." (Luke 24:45)

This lovely chapter begins with an opened sepulcher and ends with an opened heaven. Between these two we have:

- The opened Scriptures,
- An opened home,
- Opened eyes, and,
- Opened understanding.

He who came forth from the opened tomb and ascended into the opened heaven still delights to open the Word to the opened eyes of those who love Him. (Jim Flanigan)

N.J. Hiebert # 3589

January 18

"And He (Jesus) said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.'"(Mark 16:15)

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the word. Amen." (Matthew 28:19,20)

The post-office is not a source, it is only a medium. It does not create these potent messages, it only relays them from the Creator to you. You and I are human post-offices. We are daily giving out messages of some sort to the world. They do not come from us, but through us; we do not create, we convey. And they come either from evil or from good.Men study how to make their lives more interesting. Take a lesson from the post-office. It is interesting, not because of itself, but because of what it passes on to men. . . . What letters go through the window of your life? Letters of truth and hope, to cheer and console? Or do you hand out dirty trash, worthless drivel, selfish commercial circulars, black-edged missives of misery?

Every Christian is a postmaster for God. His duty is to pass out good news from above. If the postmaster kept all the mail and refused to give it out, he would soon be in trouble. No wonder some Christians are so miserable: they keep God's blessing within their own little lives, and soon there is congestion. God does not send us good things from the heavenly headquarters merely for our personal enjoyment. Some of them may be addressed to us, but most of them belong to our fellow-men, and we must pass them on. (Vance Havner)

N.J. Hiebert # 3590

January 19

"Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." (Isaiah 45:22)

How can God be just and a Saviour? The cross yields the glorious answer.

- There justice had all its very highest claims answered.
- There the majesty of heaven was vindicated.
- There sin was thoroughly condemned.
- There all the demands of the throne were perfectly met.
- There all the divine attributes were gloriously harmonized.
- There the most convincing evidence was afforded to all created intelligence, that God could never let sin into His presence.

The cross is the only platform on which we can behold "a just God and a Saviour." There we see how God can be just and the justifier of him that believes in Jesus. The atoning death of Christ forms the righteous ground on which God can receive back his "banished." Christ bore the just judgment of God against sin, in order that as a Saviour He might receive to His bosom the very vilest sinner that simply looks to Him. (Christian Truth - Vol. 15 - December 1962)

N.J. Hiebert # 3591

January 20

"Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?" (Luke 12:6)

"Not One of Them is Forgotten of God"

God spread out the heavens as curtains,
Placed boundary to ocean and sea;
But He does not forget for one moment,
The little brown sparrow and me.

The moon and the stars in their courses,
His hand guides unceasingly;
Yet He stoops to give each day a portion,
To the little brown sparrow and me. (Author unknown)

"But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippias 4:19)

N.J. Hiebert # 3592

January 21

"One if them, when he saw that he was healed , turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks . . . and Jesus answering said, 'were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?' . . . And He said unto him, 'Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole'." (Luke 17:15-19)

It is a poor miserable thing to be content with being saved, and then to go on with the world, and live for self-pleasing and self-interest - to accept salvation as the fruit of Christ's toil and passion, and then live at a distance from Himself. What should we think of a child who only cared about the good things provided by his father's hand, and never sought his father's company - preferred the company of strangers? We should justly despise him; but how much more despicable is the Christian who owes his present and his eternal all to the work of Christ and yet is content to live at a cold distance from His blessed Person, caring not for the furtherance of His cause - the promotion of His glory! (T.C.N.)

N.J. Hiebert # 3593

January 22

". . . Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these? He saith unto Him, 'Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love thee'. . . . He saith to him again the second time, 'Simon, son of Jonas, Lovest thou Me?' He saith unto Him, 'Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love thee'. . . . He saith unto him the third time, 'Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?' Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, 'Lovest thou Me?' And he said unto Him, 'Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee'. . . ." (John 21:15-17)

Light must make manifest. It could not hinder our joy because of our standing in such fullness of grace, and the grace too that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Peter never judged the self-confidence of his heart, that which had led to his fall, till the searching question of the Lord's which brought out his reply, "Thou knowest all things." Sadly as he had failed, yet at the bottom of his heart, the Lord's searching eye could see that he loved the Lord. Notwithstanding his going out and weeping bitterly, or or the love for his Master manifested by his visit to the sepulcher, and his casting his coat about him and going through the sea to Him, Peter was not restored till the searching of the Lord brought from him, at the third inquiry, "Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee."

But is there not a time when the counsels of every heart will be made manifest? Yes; when this comes, every one will have praise of God. The counsels of each will have praise of God; for the desire of every saint's heart, however he may fail, is to glorify the Lord. We may make many mistakes and be drawn aside; but after all the counsel of his heart, his inmost desire is to glorify God.Peter could no longer appeal to his purposes (his acts of course not), but simply cast himself on the Lord's all-searching power. "Thou knowest all things." (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 3594

January 23

"Flesh and blood cannot . . ." (1 Corinthians 15:50)

The New Testament gives four negative statements regarding "flesh and blood." These give us four positive alternatives:

1. The Lord is known by revelation, not investigation
(Matthew 16:17).
2. Divine life is a gift of God, not from human effort
(1 Corinthians 15:50)
3. Valid guidance comes from the Lord, not from men
(Galatians 1:16).
4. The Christian's warfare, because it is spiritual, not carnal, requires the armour of God (Ephesians 6:12) (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 3595

January 24

"Then led they Jesus . . . unto the hall of judgment . . . and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled." (John 18:28)

This must have been one of the greatest acts of hypocrisy ever seen. The Jewish leaders claiming that they were holier than God. Hypocrisy is a simulation of virtue that is totally insincere. Remember that we also can be guilty of this in our hearts and lives, before God and the world. We cannot fool God, and nothing is more devastating to the cause of Christ than when the world sees God's people live hypocritically. May His Spirit help us to walk circumspectly before God and man. (Brian Russell)

Christian, rise, and act your creed;
Let thy prayer be in thy deed;
Seek the right, perform the true;
Raise thy work and life anew.

N.J. Hiebert # 3596

January 25

" . . . if thou mayest be made free, use it. . . ." (1 Corinthians 7:21)

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with theyoke of bondage." (Galatians 5:1)

A train is never so free as when it is running on its tracks.Set it on an interstate highway and all you will get are spinning wheels and a lot of sparks as it slides off the pavement into the ditch, a useless hunk of metal, sunk up to its axels in the dirt. Set it in a river of water and it will quickly sink out of sight, a useless wreck sunk into the muddy riverbed. Set it in the farmers field and it will quickly sink down to its axels stuck in the sod, a useless hunk of iron. When not on its tracks all the train's power to pull freight and haul great loads, is rendered useless. Why?. . . because it was designed to run only on tracks.Every true believer is never so free, as when they are set on the tracks of God's Word. Some Christians seem to think that following the teachings of the Bible restricts their freedom, but that s a lie from the devil. Like the train set on its tracks, all the Bible does, if we believe it and follow it, is set us free to be and do all God designed us to be and do. If we get off the tracks of God's Word, we like the train taken off its tracks, are rendered useless. In fact, far from being free we become bound, held by the very thing we thought would be a source of freedom. (Submitted by a reader - S.L.)

N.J. Hiebert # 3597

January 26

"He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler." (Psalm 91:4)

After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's damage.

One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise.

She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. Then the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained stedfast . . . because she had been willing to die, so those under the cover of her wings would live. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 3598

January 27

"Whatsoever things are true . . . honest . . . just . . .pure . . . lovely . . . good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:6)

One of the tragic casualties of our age has been that of the contemplative life--a life that thinks, a life that thinks things through, and more particularly, thinks God's thoughts after Him. A person sitting at his or her desk staring out the window would never be assumed to be working. No! Thinking is not equated with work.

What is even more destructive is the assumption that silence is inimical (unfavourable or harmful) to life. The radio in the car, Muzak in the elevator, and the symphony entertaining callers "on hold" all add up as grave impediments to personal reflection. In effect, the mind is denied the privilege of living with itself even briefly and is crowded with outside impulses to cope with aloneness.

Is there a remedy? Nothing ranks higher for metal discipline than a planned and systematic study of God's Word, from whence life's parameters and values are planted in the mind. Paul, who loved his books and parchments, affirmed the priority of Scriptures: ". . . that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written." (Do not go above what is written) (1 Corinthians 4:6). And Psalm 119 promises that God's statutes keep us from being double-minded.

The Bible places supreme value on the thought-life as that which shapes all of life. "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). Jesus asserted that sin's gravity lay a the level of the idea itself, not just the act. Paul admonished the church at Philippi to have the mind of Christ, and to the same people he wrote, The follower of Christ must demonstrate to the world what it means not just to think, but to think justly. The LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.

Let us serve God with both hearts and minds. After all, it is not that I think, therefore, I am, but rather, I Am has asked us to think and therefore, we must. (A Slice of Infinity)

N.J. Hiebert # 3599

January 28

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Himshould not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

In the love of God, redemption originated. Jesus did not die that God might love the sinner; Jesus died because God did love the sinner. But the gospel is more than a message of love; the cross is more than a revelation of love - it is a demonstration of righteousness also. And because it is a demonstration of righteousness, as well as a revelation of love, it meets the whole case - the whole moral and spiritual need - of the Spirit-convinced, conscience-stricken, seeking sinner. (Christian Truth - Vol. 15)

N.J. Hiebert # 3600

January 29

"Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you."
(1 Peter 5:7)

Adolph Monod said that the poor often ask how the promise of God about their daily bread will be fulfilled. But when they look back over the years, they are astonished to see that He has provided for every day, often in ways they cannot remember.It is the same with those who are ill: "When they look back over weeks, months, years, they are surprised to see that God has given them each day the promised strength." And Adolph Monod adds that "we ought to practice ourselves in casting away our anxieties."That is a good word - practice ourselves. Practice will make us perfect in this. It will become natural to us to cast our care at once upon our Lord, instead of carrying it for a while ourselves, until tired out we turn to Him to find the rest that mighthave been ours at the beginning.

He cares for us.
He who has loved will love;
He who has led will lead;
He who has kept will keep.
(Amy Carmichael -Whispers of His Power)

N.J. Hiebert # 3601

January 30

"What I (Jesus) do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter." (John 13:7)

Today at lunch a friend of mine told me that Spurgeon said that God is too good to be unkind, too wise to be mistaken, and when you cannot trace His hand, you can always trust His heart. I have been through much that I do not understand. God does not ask me to understand it but to accept it. I cannot trace His hand but I can trust His heart. I know that God is love and back of all His doings is that love. It sent His Son into this world and reached its climax on Calvary. It is the hallmark of His disciples. "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren" (1 John 3:14). "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). WE know and ALL MEN know that we are his because His love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. It is inward evidence and outward evidence. I know that whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth. His corrective discipline proves my sonship. Back of all the misery and mystery of this world beats that heart of love. I cannot trace God's hand in news reports and the happenings in this modern madhouse. Satan is on the loose. (Vance Havner - Though I walk Through the Valley)

N.J. Hiebert # 3602

January 31

"And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them,ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together." (Acts 20:7,8)

Two things are brought into contrast - "midnight" and "many lights." This is not without significance. The church was in the prime of its splendour. The "many lights" represent the many gifts - apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists. Yet as, in spite of "many lights" and also the memorial of Christ's sufferings upon the table, Eutychus fell into a "deep sleep," so the church was about to lapse into spiritual torpor and death, and in "due time" worldliness and temporal prosperity would eat out its very heart. This helps us to understand the reference to "midnight". After Paul's departure the Church would in due time reach her midnight. The Middle Ages found her apparently sleeping the sleep of death. Worldly alliance, spiritual arrogance and moral corruption had done their work. Gorgeous ceremonial, pomp and carnal display might be there, but spiritual life and power were absent. Like Eutychus she had sunk down with sleep, and to all appearance she was dead. (Russell Elliott - Break of Day)

N.J. Hiebert # 3603


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