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

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Gems from December 2009

December 1

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 3:14)

Sir Thomas Lipton, the English sportsman, won many yachting prizes, but he never could capture the the American cup. One day, showing a friend his glittering collection of trophies, he suddenly said, with a wave of the hand, "And I'd give then all for the one I didn't get!" So, however many of earth's awards and crowns we may gain, if we miss the reward of God's approval, the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, we shall feel at the close of our day that we would gladly give them all for the one we missed. Woodrow Wilson spoke of "being defeated by one's secondary successes." Verily, we are cheated when we choose our own way, whatever we may attain in it, if we miss the purpose of God. (THE BEST OF VANCE HAVNER)

N.J. Hiebert - 3905

December 2

"To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, He said unto them, why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon Me."
(Matthew 26:8-10)

A man may pursue a quiet, humble, lowly path of service, unknown and unnoticed. His name may never be heard, his work may never be thought of; but what has been done, has been done in simple love to Christ. He has wrought in obscurity, with his eye on his Master. The smile of his Lord has been quite enough for him. He has never thought for one moment of seeking man's approval; he has never sought to catch his smile or shun his frown; he has pursued the even tenor of his way, simply looking to Christ, and acting for Him. His work will stand. It will be remembered and rewarded, though he did not do it for remembrance or reward, but from simple love to Jesus. It is work of the right stamp - genuine coin which will abide the fire of the day of the Lord. (CHRISTIAN TRUTH - FEBRUARY 1967 - VOL. 20)

N.J. Hiebert - 3906

December 3

Snapshots of Time

"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." (Psalm 90:12)

The designers of an innovative Web site call their creation a "snapshot" of our world. Every hour, computers monitor international news sources, select the most frequently occurring words and pictures, then display them as an interactive image. Over time, these hourly snapshots compose a mosaic of unfolding world events.

If a computer could track our words and and actions, what would a snapshot of yesterday reveal? Over the weeks and months, what patterns would emerge? And what theme would dominate the final mosaic of our lives?

Psalm 90, a prayer of Moses the man of God, is a powerfully honest look at the brevity and significance of life. The writer compares an entire lifetime to a dream or a blade of grass, and cries out to God: "So teach us to number our days , that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Our days often seem so insignificant, yet they add up to so much. The Message renders verse 12: "Teach us to live wisely and well." It is a prayer for the snapshots of life with the final image in view.

When all the pictures of our life are laid on the table, they will reveal our recurring words and actions. What story will they tell? It's worth considering as we make our choices each day. (DAVID McCASLAND)

God has given life abundant -
Live it fully every day:
Though our time on earth is fleeting,
He goes with us all the way
. (HESS)

It's not how long you live that counts, but how you live.
Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 2007, Grand Rapids, MI, Reprinted permission

N.J. Hiebert - 3907

December 4

"And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when He had taken him in His arms, He said unto them . . . "
(Mark 9:36)

The little boy might have been shy, standing alone among thirteen grown-up men, perhaps strangers. Most children would be. But there is nothing too small for the love of our Lord Jesus to understand and to remember. Before he spoke words that would naturally cause the men to look at the little boy, thus making him feel observed and uncomfortable, He took him in His arms.

Perhaps this day is going to hold some especially trying things. There are sure to be things that we would not wish to have to face. Before they happen - if we are little enough to let Him do it - our Lord Jesus will do for us just what He did for that child long ago. We need never stand alone among our troubles. We need never be lonely at all. We need need never be afraid. (AMY CARMICHAEL - WHISPERS OF HIS POWER)

N.J. Hiebert - 3908

December 5

"A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards."
(Proverbs 29:11)

The heart of a fool is in his mouth - but the mouth of the wise man is in his heart.

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

Real love stories never have endings.

"Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins."
(Proverbs 10:12)

Love reduces friction to a fraction.

N.J. Hiebert - 3909

December 6

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
(Philippians 2:13)

When we know that it is God who works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure, ought there not to be fear and trembling, and a solemn feeling - not on the ground of what we are, but of what God is doing in us? If He has taken me up for Christ, and is blessing me and working in me, to make me like Christ, there ought to be a very practical feeling in my soul as to walk. (G.V. WIGRAM - GLEANINGS)

N.J. Hiebert - 3910

December 7

"Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me."
(Luke 22:42)

What anguish in Gethsemane drew the blood-like sweat from the Man of Sorrows as He contemplated "this cup." Peering into its sable depths, He knew it's loathsome consequence, to be "made sin." In that cup, He "saw the place afar off," the "land not inhabited" where He must go to bear away the sin of the world. This was not a battle of two disparate wills, but the blending of two individual wills, eternally in perfect and holy harmony, to fulfill the divine purpose, "I come to do Thy will, O God." (J. BOYD NICHOLSON)

N.J. Hiebert - 3911

December 8

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think . . . be glory . . . throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
(Ephesians 3:20,21)

Many gaze in wonder at the pyramids of Egypt. Contemplate with wonder and amazement this Scripture pyramid:

All that we ask
All that we ask or think
Above all that we ask or think
Abundantly above all that we ask or think
Exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think
Able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.
My heart rejoices in God's will, 'tis ever best - I do not doubt;
He may not give me what I ask, but gives me grace to do without.
O blessed, hallowed will of God, to it I bow with heart devout.

N.J. Hiebert - 3912

December 9

"The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will."
(Proverbs 21:1)

"Man's goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?"
(Proverbs 20:24)

There is no monarch so great that he can act in independence of God. Whether He owns it or not, Jehovah is controlling him as He controls the flow of the water brooks. He who "hath His way in the whirlwind and the storm" can make the wrath of man to praise Him, and restrain the remainder thereof.

N.J. Hiebert - 3913

December 10

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

The whole business of Christian education is summed up in two brief sentences: Count on God for your children, and, train your children for God. The first without the second is lawlessness; the second without the first is legality; to take both together is sound, practical Christianity.

It is the privilege of all Christian parents to count upon God for their children with all confidence. There is, however, in the government of God, an inseparable link connecting this privilege with solemn responsibility as to training. For parents to speak of counting on God for the salvation of their children and for the moral integrity of their future career in this world while the duty of training is neglected is simply a miserable delusion.

We press this solemnly upon all Christian parents, especially upon those who have just entered upon the relationship. There is great danger of shirking our duty to our children, shifting it over upon others, or neglecting it altogether. We do not like the trouble of it; we shrink from the constant worry. But we shall find that the trouble, worry, sorrow, and heart-scalding arising from the neglect of our duty will be a thousand times worse that all that can be involved in the discharge of it.

To every true lover of God there is deep delight in treading the path of duty. Every step taken in that path can always count upon the infinite resources that we have in God when we are keeping His commandments. We have simply to take ourselves, morning by morning, hour by hour, to our Father's exhaustless treasury, and there get all we want in the way of grace and wisdom and moral power, to enable us to discharge aright the holy functions of our responsibilities as Christian parents. (C.H. MACKINTOSH)

N.J. Hiebert - 3914

December 11

"I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies."
(Psalm 119:59)

Seeing God's work in our lives puts a new song on our lips.

As we draw near to Christ we are drawn near to each other.

No one is beyond the reach of God's love.

If you're searching for nuggets of truth, the Bible is a gold mine.

We don't need more of the Spirit; the Spirit needs more of us.

Living daily for Christ requires dying daily to self.

If God didn't have a purpose for us, we wouldn't be here.

N.J. Hiebert - 3915

December 12

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

"The God of Jacob." Why not the God of Israel? "The Lord of hosts" gives us the sense of His power; "the God of Jacob" tells us the kind of people He shows mercy to, and the omnipotence of that mercy. None but God could have gone on with Jacob, and at the last brought him to worship as, in the weakness of death, he leaned upon his staff.

"The God of Jacob." How it appeals to us, for is there not something of Jacob in each of us? Scheming, plotting, covetous man! As Jacob, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, to commend him. He took advantage of his brother's dire need to deprive him of his birthright. He deceived his blind old father to secure it. His aftercourse was marked by intrigue and weakness. And yet the psalmist at a later date could write, "The God of Jacob is our refuge."

Was it that God condoned Jacob's plotting and wickedness? Far be the thought. And if we find, even as Christians, the tendency to evil within and constant failure that only our God knows, is it that He can go on with sin? We may be outwardly irreproachable in conduct; but how many, nay, all of us, mourn over our weakness and inconsistency? How, then, can God be the God of Jacob - our God?

Is it not that He breaks down the Jacob in us? Do we not all halt upon our thighs more or less? Step by step God weakened Jacob till at length, in the very weakness of death, he could, leaning on his staff, worship.

And so "The God of Jacob" deals with us.

May we trust "The Lord of hosts" more - may we submit to the way of "the God of Jacob" with us, and blessing will result. What a God is ours! How perfect are His ways! (A.J.P.)

N.J. Hiebert - 3916

December 13

"He shall stand upon the earth."
(Job 19:29)

Greater Than Walking on the Moon

Colonel James Irwin, related how he stood on the moon seeing Planet Earth suspended in space, glowing like an iridescent jewel. He said that as he walked on the surface of the moon his thought was - "Man walking on the moon - this is the greatest event of human history!" But at that very moment he heard an inner voice quietly speak to his heart; "I did something greater than that - I WALKED ON THE EARTH!"

Colonel Irwin returned from the moon a different man - not with a desire to be a celebrity but to walk as a servant of the Lord of the universe - the Lord Jesus Christ - who came from glory and walked on earth.

The greatest event this world has ever experienced is the incarnation - God manifest in flesh in the Person of the Son. The fullness of the Godhead clothed in the garb of humanity. The infinite becoming the humble Servant. The Sovereign becoming the Saviour. Another expressed: "The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ into the world is the most stupendous event of human history."

"He shall stand upon the earth" (Job 19:29). This remarkable declaration of Job, anticipated centuries in advance of our Lord's coming to earth, was for Job his great hope. It enabled him to endure and maintain his faith amid the fiercest of trials as God lovingly dealt with His dear child.

What a grand realization! Our redeemer has come to earth and given His life a ransom for many. Because He came, died on the cross and rose again the third day, we can say with even greater confidence than Job, "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God" (Job 19:26). (ANON, ADAPTED - TCS - DECEMBER 2008)

N.J. Hiebert - 3917

December 14

"When they were come unto the place called Golgotha. . . they crucified Him."
(Matthew 27:33,35)

Golgotha: the place of the skull. If one approaches this holy, awful place with human reasoning alone, the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus would seem to be the most mindless act of all time. But for those whose hearts having been opened by the Spirit of God, we can see that through this greatest miscarriage of justice ever enacted, our sins were put away - in perfect justice. As we draw near to Golgotha today, may our hearts be open to the Spirit of God and may we worship in spirit and in truth. (DREW CRAIG)

Can it be true that Thou didst bear, upon the accursed tree,
My load of sin, its curse, its sting, its stripes, instead of me

N.J. Hiebert - 3918

December 15

"All Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over Me."
(Psalm 42:7)

Here is profound truth for the heart and conscience of a believer. "All God's billows and waves" passed over the spotless Person of the Lord Jesus when He hung upon the cross; and, as a most blessed consequence, not one of them remains to pass over the person of the believer. At Calvary, we see, in good truth, "the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven opened."

"Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of Thy waterspouts." Christ drank the cup, and endured the wrath perfectly. He put Himself, judicially, under the full weight of all His people's liabilities, and gloriously discharged them. The belief of this gives settled peace to the soul. If the Lord Jesus has met all that could be against us, if He has removed out of the way every hindrance, if He has put away sin, if He has exhausted the cup of wrath and judgment on our behalf, if He has cleared the prospect of every cloud, should we not enjoy settled peace? Unquestionably. Peace is our unalienable portion. To us belong the deep and untold blessedness, and holy security, which redeeming love can bestow on the righteous ground of Christ's absolutely accomplished work. (C.H. MACINTOSH)

N.J. Hiebert - 3919

December 16

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
(1 Corinthians 15:58)

You who have put your faith in the Saviour, are you still going on for Christ? Have you been distracted by the things of this world and thus now find yourself floundering in the Sea of Life, discouraged and distracted? It's time for a fresh look at the Saviour. Even after he witnessed the Lord's resurrection, the apostle Peter turned back to fishing and his old ways. With a fresh look to the Saviour he turned his eyes from this earthly scene and went on in the Lord's work again - stronger, more steadfast and unmovable. (JERRY PROCTOR)

N.J. Hiebert - 3920

December 17

The Eraser of Confession

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." (1 John 1:9)

From the time that Joseph Dixon (1827-1869) began producing the pencil during the US Civil War, the only substantial change in its design has been the addition of an eraser. Consider for a moment this unique little writing stick. At one end is a hard black point and at the other a small rubber tip. This simple instrument can be used to scribble, sketch, compute complicated formulas, or compose lofty poetry. But it can also quickly correct an error, change a figure, or start all over.

Each day the Christian inscribes words and deeds on the record of his personal history. But as he reflects upon what he's said and done, he becomes aware that some of what's been written is not of the quality that will please the Saviour. He remembers attitudes and actions that should never be part of a believer's life. Yet these sins are forgiven and fellowship with God restored through honest confession and repentance.

In John's first epistle, he told us how to walk uprightly and enjoy fellowship with Christ and with one another. But John was a realist, knowing that some of the pages of our composition would be marked by daily flaws and failures. That's why 1 John 1:9 is such a blessed promise. It tells us we can use the eraser of confession and start over. (DENNIS DE HAAN)

We're thankful, Lord, that when we fall
We can begin anew
If humbly we confess our sin,
Then turn and follow Thee

Confession is the soil in which forgiveness flourishes.

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

N.J. Hiebert - 3921

December 18

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."
(Psalm 91:1)

There is no short cut to the life of faith, which is the all-vital condition of a holy and victorious life. We must have periods of lonely meditation and fellowship with God. That our souls should have their mountains of fellowship, their valleys of quiet rest beneath the shadow of a great rock, their nights beneath the stars, when darkness has veiled the material and silenced the stir of human life, and has opened the view of the infinite and eternal, is as indispensable as that our bodies should have food. Thus alone can the sense of God's presence become the fixed possession of the soul, enabling it to say repeatedly, with the psalmist, "Thou art near, O God." (F.B. MEYER - DAILY MEDITATIONS FOR PRAYER)

Conscious nearness to God, entering into the inner sanctuary where His glory shineth, is both the inestimable privilege and the indispensable essential of true prayer. To pray without a consciousness of God, without fellowship with Him is to make prayer empty and powerless.

N.J. Hiebert - 3922

December 19

" . . . all things work together for good to them that love God."
(Romans 8:28)

Fanny Crosby in her autobiography comments concerning the doctor who unwittingly caused her blindness as follows: "I have heard that this physician never ceased expressing his regret at the occurrence; and that it was one of the sorrows of his life. But if I could meet him now, I would say, 'Thank you, thank you, over and over again for making me blind.' . . . Although it may have been a blunder on the physician's part, it was no mistake on God's. I verily believe it was His intention that I should live my days in physical darkness, so as to be better prepared to sing His praises and incite others to do so." Thus by a doctor's apparent mistake, God gave to the Church the wonderful heritage of a blind Fanny Crosby who, with her increased spiritual insight, was able to write thousands of enduring hymns.

A visitor once went to see an old lady who had very few earthly possessions - just a bed, an old chair, a table, a stool, and a cupboard. After a little while the guest asked, "Do you never feel like murmuring at your difficult lot?" "Well sometimes Satan does tempt me to complain, but then I just ask the Lord to put me into my easy chair, and to keep me quiet." The visitor looked around to see what she could mean, but all he saw was the hard stool and the broken armchair. "I don't see any easy place for you to sit," he said. "No, you misunderstand me," said the precious old saint. "My easy chair is Romans 8:28. It is always close by. When I need it the Lord just sets me into it, and I am at rest and say to Satan, 'Now you be quiet!' "

Someone has said that in eternity we will probably thank God more for the difficulties of this earthly life than for some of the experiences that we now consider to be pleasant and desirable. (SELECTED)

Stop sitting on the edge of the stool of worry; go and relax in the restful rocker of Romans 8:28

"God often empties our hands in order to fill our hearts; He gives us crosses here that we may wear crowns over there."

N.J. Hiebert - 3923

December 20

"And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto Him, Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head." (Luke 9:57,58)

Christ puts him to the test. You cannot go if you do not take up your lot with One who had not where to lay His head; for you may sooner go to the birds of the air for a nest, or to the foxes for a hole, than to the Son of Man for a home in this world. They were not now to come to Him as the One who had the promises, but to One whose portion was utter and entire rejection. Following Him could not be accompanied with ease and comfort here. He was to be delivered into the hands of men. At His birth we see the same things. Every one found room in the inn save He, but any who wanted to find Him whom angels celebrate must go to the manger. (J.N. DARBY)

N.J. Hiebert - 3924

December 21

"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" (1 Corinthians 10:16)

How simple is the truth as to the remembrance of the death of our Lord as given us in 1 Corinthians 10:16, quoted above.

When we as Christians partake of the loaf and the cup, we remember the Lord as He requested. We do so in loving remembrance of Him in death.

"No blood, no altar now,
The sacrifice is o'er!
No flame, no smoke ascends on high,
The lamb is slain no more.
But richer blood has flowed from nobler veins,
To purge the soul from guilt,
And cleanse the reddest stains
(Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889)

(From - Christian Truth - Vol. 19 - January 1966)

N.J. Hiebert - 3925

December 22

"Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Revelation 3:11)
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
(Philippians 4:13)

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, and you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't quit!

Life is tough with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the Victor's cup;
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close to the over comer's crown.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worse that you mustn't quit.

For we know the Father above looks down,
He sees our struggles and holds a crown
He knows the way, though it's rough and drear,
He will give us strength, so we need not fear.
He offers to you the refreshing cup
Of the water of life; then in faith look up,
And struggle on till the crown is won,
Which He will give when our work is done.
(Author Unknown)

N.J. Hiebert - 3926

December 23

"Wherefore He is ABLE also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them."
(Hebrews 7:25)

God is Able

God is able to save sinners in need. (Hebrews 7:25)
Able to strengthen us saints when we plead. (Romans 14:4)
Able to shepherd through life's murky mire (Jude 24)
Able to satisfy life's deep desire. (Ephesians 3:20)
Able to succor at each time and place,
With supplies of His infinite grace. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
So in the doubting days common to man,
Faith quickly answers, "With God I can!"

N.J. Hiebert - 3927

December 24

"Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord."  (Psalm 27:14)

We are bent upon doing something which God does not want us to do at all; upon going somewhere that God does not want us to go. We pray about it, and get no answer. We pray again and again, and get no answer. How is this? Why, the simple fact is that God wants us to be quiet, to stand still, to remain just where we are. Wherefore, instead of racking our brain, and harassing our souls about what we ought to do, let us do nothing but simply wait on God. (FOOD FOR THE DESERT)

N.J. Hiebert - 3928

December 25

"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall HE come forth unto Me that is to be Ruler in Israel: whose goings forth have been from of old, from Everlasting."
(Micah 5:2)

"And the angel said unto them (shepherds) Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOUR, which is Christ the Lord."
(Luke 2:10,11)

It was night and the world was slumbering when Christ the Lord was born. . . . Mary's family were poor. Her poverty would naturally have kept her at Nazareth at such a time; hence all the world is set in movement to bring it about that Christ should be born at Bethlehem. The Roman Emperor makes a decree that all the world shall be enrolled. This evidences on the one hand the low estate of Israel as subject to the Gentile power; on the other hand, the faithfulness of God to His own word and promise, for it obliges Joseph to go up from Galilee to Judea "unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child." (Luke 2:4,5) The whole world is set in motion politically to accomplish prophecy.

But though this is true, yet how sad to see the utter unconcern not only of Gentiles, but of Jews as well. Bethlehem slumbered when Christ the Lord was born. A few humble shepherds were the only ones who were brought into proximity to the mind of heaven at this stupendous moment in the history of the universe.

While earth slept, all heaven was astir - "Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God . . ." (Luke 2:13). That moment revealed more than five hundred years years before to Daniel (Daniel 9:25-27) had come, the Messiah was born "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11)

The angels return to heaven, which seemed so near; and the shepherds go to Bethlehem where lay the holy Babe cradled in the manger, the emblem of that rejection at the hands of men which marked His entrance into a world which soon was to give Him but a cross. Yet all the counsels of God were centered in that Babe. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (A.H. BARRY - adapted)

N.J. Hiebert - 3929

December 26

"His name shall be called Emmanuel . . . God with us."
(Matthew 1:23)

"The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

A few years ago a striking Christmas Card was published, with the title, "If Christ had not come." It was founded upon our Saviour's words, "If I had not come." (John 15:22) The card represented a preacher falling into a short sleep in his study on Christmas morning and dreaming of a world into which Jesus had never come.

In his dream he found himself looking through his home . . . In his library he noticed that every book about the Saviour had disappeared!

A ring at the door-bell, and a messenger asked him to visit a poor dying mother. He hastened with the weeping child and as he reached the home he sat down and said, "I have something here that will comfort you." He opened his Bible to look for a familiar promise, but it ended at Malachi, and there was no gospel and no promise of hope and salvation, and he could only bow his head and weep with her in bitter despair.

Two days afterward he stood beside her coffin and conducted the funeral service, but there was no message of consolation, no word of glorious resurrection, no open Heaven, but only "dust to dust, ashes to ashes," and one long eternal farewell. He realized at length that "He had not come," and burst into tears and bitter weeping in his sorrowful dream.

Suddenly he woke with a start, and a great shout of joy ad praise burst from his lips as he heard the singing of a beautiful hymn:

"O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him, born the king of Angels,
O come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord

Let us be glad and rejoice today, because "He has come." And let us remember the annunciation of the angel,

"Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
(Luke 2:10,11)

"He comes to make His blessing flow,
Far as the curse is found

May our hearts go out to the people in many lands who have no blessed Christmas day.

"Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet and send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared." (Nehemiah 8:10)

N.J. Hiebert - 3930

December 27

I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.”
(Isaiah 44:22)

Sin is the blot which defiles the glorious works of God; it is the cancer which, if it were permitted to spread unchecked, would consume the beauty of the universe; it is the curse which pierces the life of man with a thousand sorrows, and bows his head in memory of a thousand shames. But it should be clearly understood that while God can never treat sin lightly, and while He may use even the devil's tauntings to increase our horror and hatred of it, He never harasses His people. When He forgives, He choses not to remember them and, having learned the solemn lesson which our failure has taught us, it is wisdom on our part also to chose not to remember them.

The Bible makes a sevenfold declaration of what God has done with the sins of His people. It affirms that they are: Expiated (Isaiah 6:7); Remitted (Luke 24:47); Buried (Micah 7:19); Obliterated (Isaiah 44:22); Forgiven (Ephesians 1:7); Cleansed (1 John 1:7); Remembered no more (Hebrews 10:17). (Submitted by S.L., a reader of the "Gems.")

And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
Hebrews 10:17

N.J. Hiebert - 3931

December 28

"I will make him an help meet for him."
(Genesis 2:18)

"I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife."
(Revelation 21:9)

The Bible opens with a wedding and closes with a wedding. Not surprising, since a wedding is at the heart of God's plans for all of eternity. God the Father will have a bride for His Son. This is the reason why the sinless Son of God suffered, died, and rose again from the dead - to make ready a bride who would be righteous and would love Him for His great work to make her so. May our heart's affection today be directed toward Him who loved us and gave Himself for us - our future Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. (FRANK BURGESS)

N.J. Hiebert - 3932

December 29

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men."
(Luke 2:14)

The introduction of the cross changes the aspect of things entirely.

- There I find God dealing with sin in such a manner as to glorify Himself infinitely.
- I see the magnificent display and perfect harmony of all the divine attributes.
- I see love, and such love as captivates and assures my heart, and weans it, in proportion as I realize it, from every other object.
- I see wisdom, and such wisdom as baffles devils and astonishes angels.
- I see power, and such power as bears down all opposition.
- I see holiness, and such holiness as repulses sin to the very furthest point of the moral universe, and gives the most intense expression of God's abhorrence thereof that could possibly be given.
- I see grace, and such grace as sets the sinner in the very presence of God - yea, puts him into His bosom.

Where could I see all these things but in the cross?
Nowhere else. Look where you please, and you cannot find
aught that so blessedly combines those two great points, namely,
"glory to God in the highest," and "on earth peace."

N.J. Hiebert - 3933

December 30

"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase."
(1 Corinthians 3:6)
"He that watereth shall be watered also himself."
(Proverbs 11:25)

Paul planted the gospel seed. Apollos watered the new believers by teaching the Word. Water is a picture of the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26). Christ gives the living water (John 4:10) that out of the believer may flow rivers of living water (John 7:38-39). Today we need people like Apollos who will water God's people with His Word. Even a cup of cold water will not be forgotten (Matthew 10:42) (R. E. HARLOW)

Blest river of salvation,
Pursue thy onward way;
Flow thou to every thirsty soul,
O bless Thy Word today

N.J. Hiebert - 3934

December 31

"Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. "
(John 15:2)

Without union there could be no living branch; without pruning there would be very little fruit. The chief tool of the vinedresser is his knife. Pruning looks merciless and wasteful, but it is done scientifically; there is no random cutting; nothing is cut away but what it is a gain to lose. Let us note carefully that it is the fruitful branch that is pruned, just as it is the one whom God loves, that He chastens. " For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth. " (Hebrews 12:6)

Pruning is thus the perfect philosophy of Christians suffering. Is there not an explanation here of many things in our lives difficult to understand? The spiritual meaning of it came home to Lord Cecil on one occasion with comforting power. In deep dejection of spirit, because of painful heart wounds, he was pacing to and fro in a botanic garden at Oxford, when he observed a fine specimen of the pomegranate, almost cut through the stem. On asking the gardener for the reason, he received the following answer: " Sir, this tree used to shoot so strong that it bore nothing but leaves. I was therefore obliged to cut it in this manner; and when it was almost cut through, then it began to bear plenty of fruit."

Let us ever remember that the One with Whom we have to do - infinite in holy wisdom, as well as boundless in compassionate love - orders our stops as well as our steps. "He breaks plans, quenches hopes, cuts off ambitions, denies comforts; nevertheless, every surgery, every mutilation of the living bough, is a deliberate design for richer, riper, clusters of holiness." That is the end to which all is directed. (HIS LAST WORDS by Henry Durbanville)

N.J. Hiebert 3935


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