Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5200 posted here) sent daily for 17 years -- njhiebert@sympatico.ca

Friday, January 01, 2010

Gems from January 2010

January 1

Something New Tomorrow

"Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
(2 Peter 3:13)

The year ends with a world in turmoil, sudden destruction possible. Peter tells us of a coming catastrophe that sounds like an atomic holocaust. How up-to-date, ". . . the elements shall melt with fervent heat . . ." (2 Peter 3:10)! But the Christian is looking not just for a new year but a new age - new heavens and earth where righteousness dwells. "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be. . . . diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless" (2 Peter 3:11,14). While the world drinks and dances into the New Year to spend tomorrow with a hangover, let the Christian meet it on his keens and meet tomorrow with a hallelujah! (All the Days by Vance Havner)

N.J. Hiebert - 3936

January 2

"His delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night."
(Psalm 1:2)

Many of our New Year's resolutions may actually accelerate our pace of life instead of helping us to slow down. In our quest for greater productivity and efficiency, we over schedule our days, then rush through meals, drive impatiently, and wonder why the joy of living eludes us.

Slowing down can positively affect our lives at work and at home. Rushing can cloud our judgment and cause us to overlook important things and valuable people. We should slow down and even consider the radicle idea of welcoming red traffic lights and using the waiting time to meditate.

In Psalm 1, there is no hint of a frenzied pace. It describes a person who enjoys the blessing of God. Instead of thinking and acting like those who rarely consider spiritual matters, "His delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night." (v.2) The result is a fruitful life and a well-nourished soul (v.3).

Isaiah wrote, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusted in Thee." (Isaiah 26:3). Just for today, try thinking about that verse whenever you have to wait. Isn't it time for all of us to slow down and live? (Adapted)

N.J. Hiebert - 3937

January 3

"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Be bold in what you stand for - and be careful for what you fall for.

***

"For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again."
(Proverbs 24:16)

If you fall seven times stand up eight.

***

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."
(Hebrews 12:1)

Running with patience is perseverance in the long run.
(Selected)

N.J. Hiebert - 3938

January 4

"And He touched his ear, and healed him."
(Luke 22:51)
"Ye are complete in Him."
(Colossians 2:10)

In a moment of passion, Peter had drawn his sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest. We are sure that the Jewish authorities would have loved to have arrested and charged Peter as well as the Lord. However, they lacked evidence. Doctor Luke tells us that the high priest's servant's ear was restored to pristine condition - not even a scar to indict Peter. Spiritually, we have been healed and forgiven completely through the same wonderful Physician. God sees no evidence of our scars when we are seen in Christ. What a salvation! What a Saviour! (Brian Russell)

N.J. Hiebert - 3939

January 5

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36)

I have often had people come to me and say, "Oh, I do long for the assurance of my salvation. I have come to Christ, I have asked God to save me. I do believe that Jesus died for me. But I am so miserable about my sins. I have no assurance, I have no peace, I have no realization that God has accepted me." I say to people like that, "Don't you fear, dear friend; no natural man seeks after God. The fact that you are going through all these exercises is, in itself, a proof of your regeneration."

Take a corpse lying here and put 500 pounds of lead upon the breast of that corpse. There is not a sign of distress. Why? Because the man is dead. But if you put the 500 pounds upon a living man, what then do you have? Groans of anguish, crying for deliverance. Why? Because there is life there.

That is why people are so troubled about their sins. Because there is life there, divine life. God has already begun to work. Therefore, if that is your case, thank God that His Spirit has begun to work in your soul, and be persuaded that, "He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ."

Now take God at His word, believe what He has said about His blessed Son, and receive the peace that is rightfully yours. No natural man receives the testimony of God, but "He that hath received His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true." That is faith - nothing more nor less than believing that God means what He says. (Gospel of John - H.A. Ironside)

N.J. Hiebert - 3940

January 6

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

George Mueller was asked what was the secret of his service? There was a day when I died, utterly died: Died to George Mueller, his opinions, preferences, tastes and will, died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends, and since then I have studied only to show myself approved to God!

May we be able to say:
The service of Christ is the business of my life.
The will of Christ is the law of my life.
The presence of Christ is the joy of my life.
The glory of Christ is the crown of my life.
(Selected)

N.J. Hiebert - 3941

January 7

"Behold I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book."
(Revelation 22:7)

The first thing that His near return should effect in our hearts is renewed obedience to His precious Word. How sad it would be if when the Lord returns in the clouds to rapture His redeemed, they were found walking in sin and disobedience to His precious Word. He told His disciples (and tells all believers) in John 14:15; "If ye love Me, keep My commandments". Thus our Lord's first promise to come quickly is connected with our obedience to Himself through His Word.

We should expect Him to come at any moment. What a wonderful motive for obedience. Oh! that when He comes He will find His beloved saints walking obediently. "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee" (Psalm 119:11). (TCS)

N.J. Hiebert - 3942

January 8

"Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high."
(Hebrews 1:3)

All power in heaven and in earth is His, but the way He manifests that power is by His word. For instance, when He came up to the tomb of Lazarus - Lazarus had been lying there corrupting for four days. As the Son of God (Jesus) approaches that tomb, the power is all there, but it is the word that makes it effective. The word that said, "Lazarus, come forth," was in itself that which gave that carcass to be suddenly transformed into life - real, pulsating, human life - and come forth into light and life and joy, and association with the best that this world had - back to his loved ones, back to his home, and back to the side of the Son of God.

It was the power manifested by the word. Is that not wonderful? Someday that same power is going to be manifested on behalf of every one of us who knows the Saviour. Oh, yes, it is going to work in you mightily, and when it works in you it is going to take you right up into the glory of God (heaven); and you will inhabit that place for ever and ever with him. (C.H. Brown - 1944)

N.J. Hiebert - 3943

January 9

"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (Galatians 6:14)

A born again Christian need never be disappointed by this world. Do you ask, How? Never expect anything from it. Always remember that it is the same world - even the polite and amiable part of it — that crucified your Saviour. The Apostle Paul was never disappointed by it. He said, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (P.Wilson)

N.J. Hiebert - 3944

January 10

"I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you."
(1 Corinthians 15:1)

Did you ever notice how quickly things get old or outdated?

I thought about this the other day as I taught my class at a Christian college. They're on the cutting edge by providing a laptop computer for each student. It wasn't too long ago when it was innovative for a college to have computers for students in the library. Then it was cutting edge to provide them for dorm rooms. But someday even personal laptops will become obsolete as well.

Everything man creates will eventually go out of date. Everything, that is, but the gospel. The gospel is over 2,000 years old. . . . the gospel is still as relevant today as it was when it was written.

The gospel is this: (1 Corinthians 15:1)
- Jesus Christ came to earth.
- Jesus Christ lived a perfect life.
- Jesus Christ gave up His life by being sacrificed on a cross.
- Jesus Christ was buried in a borrowed tomb.
- Jesus Christ was raised from the dead 3 days later.

Because He took our punishment for sin on Himself, He can forgive our sins and make us children of God if we put our faith and trust in Him (Acts 13:38-39).

Let the greatest story ever told make you brand-new - forever. It's the story that never grows old. (Adapted)

N.J. Hiebert - 3945

January 11

"Let them also that love Thy name be joyful in Thee!"
(Psalm 5:11)

Do we hold dear the Lord's name? The apostle found joy in declaring and suffering for His name. The early church enjoyed fellowship in the name of Jesus Christ. Bearing the Lord's name is not easy! Paul was selected to suffer for Christ's name. The Lord warned His disciples that they would be hated because of His name, but it they continued praying in His name, that His joy would abide in them. The Lord chose not to make a name for Himself in His first advent. Let us endeavor to joyfully make a name for Him now. What a privilege to communicate the very name on earth which the Father has already exalted above all in heaven! (Warren Henderson)

Name of Jesus! Highest Name!
Name that earth and heav'n adore!
From the heart of God it came,
Leads me to God's heart once more
. (G.T.)

N.J. Hiebert - 3946

January 12

"And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."
(Acts 11:26)

Antioch in Syria (not in Pisidia) is where the name "Christian" was coined. This was a Gentile city and the location of an early assembly composed of believers from among the Gentiles. The city was notoriously famous for witty or scurrilous nicknames, and the name "Christians" was one of reproach and contempt. These followers of the Man whom the world crucified were a despised lot. In those days it cost something to be Christians, and they were indeed a marked and separated people. As soon as mere professors came into the ranks, and it became less odious to be named a follower of Christ, the real truth of what a Christian is was lost.

It is no longer a reproach in so called Christian countries, to be called a Christian, because professed Christianity and the world are almost indistinguishable. King Agrippa used the name when he addressed Paul (Acts 26:28). Peter in his first epistle says that to "suffer as a Christian" is a cause for thanksgiving (1 Peter 4:16). May our thoughts of what a Christian is be formed by the Word of God, and may we be more marked as a people separated from the world that crucified Christ Jesus our Lord. (Christian Truth - Vol. 22 - July 1969)

N.J. Hiebert - 3947

January 13

"Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
(Matthew 16:18)

You cannot see the foundation, but that is what determines how long a building will stand.

******

"It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
(Matthew 4:4)

The study of God's Word for the purpose of discovering God's will, is the secret discipline which has formed the greatest characters.

******

"The Pharisees which were with Him - said unto Him, are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, if ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, we see; therefore your sin remaineth." (John 9:40,41)

The blind with their hand in God's can see more clearly than those who can see who have no faith.
(Selected)

N.J. Hiebert - 3948

January 14

". . . the holy Scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

There is but one supreme and paramount authority, and that is the Word of God. Scripture is all-sufficient. We want absolutely nothing in the way of guidance and authority beyond what we possess in the holy Scriptures - that peerless, precious volume which our God has written for our learning.

No doubt it is only by the Holy Spirit we can understand, appreciate, or be guided by Scripture; and moreover, God may use a human voice or a human pen to help us; but Scripture is divinely sufficient. It can make a child wise unto salvation; and it can make a man perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Now, having such a guide, such an authority, what becomes us as Christians - as children of God and servants of Christ? Why, clearly to submit ourselves absolutely and unreservedly to its teachings in all things; we are bound, by every argument and every motive which can possibly sway the human heart, to test everything in which we are engaged, or with which we stand associated, by the Word of God; and if we find aught, no matter what, which will not stand that test, to abandon it at once and forever. (C.H. Macintosh )

N.J. Hiebert - 3949

January 15

"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world."
(Philippians 2:15)

We can see the reality of this New American Famine all around us. Our culture - and the Christian subculture - has lost touch with Biblical knowledge and values.

What has been the result of this Biblical illiteracy? We are experiencing a kind of spiritual lethargy and disorientation caused by lack of nourishment. Unhealthy and unsatisfying cultural junk food - drugs, sensuality, moral relativism, non-theistic humanism and New Age ideas, to name a few - have moved in to fill the void. Unfortunately, this is occurring not just in the society at large, but in churches and Christian families as well. The question is no longer, "What do we believe?" but "Do we really believe in anything anymore?"

The tragic irony is that all of this is happening at a time when there are more Christian books, magazines and broadcasters than ever before. As another has said, "We're over-preached and under practiced." The real application of Biblical principles in daily life needs to be brought center stage once again. But where do we begin?

We begin with you and me. It isn't enough for us to shake our heads at this "crooked and perverse generation." We need to examine ourselves. How committed are we? Is God's revealed truth the central reality of our lives? Or have we, too, been numbed to its power? (Selected - CNL March - April 1992)

N.J. Hiebert - 3950

January 16

"But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat . . . then appeared the tares also. . . . He said unto them, an enemy hath done this."
(Matthew 13:25,26,28)

It is evident that the tares were sown almost immediately after the good seed. No matter what the work of God is, Satan is always close upon its heels. When man was made, he listened to the serpent, and fell. When God gave the law, it was broken even before it was committed into the hands of Israel. Such is always the history of man. (W. Kelly)

N.J. Hiebert - 3951

January 17

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." (Colossians 3:23)

With God

To talk with God no breath is lost; - Talk on!
To walk with God no strength is lost; - Walk on!
To toil with God no time is lost; - Toil on!
Little is much, if God is in it;
Man's busiest day not worth God's minute:
Much is little every where,
If God the business doth not share.
So, work with God, - then nothing's lost;
Who works with Him does well and most.
(Submitted by a reader)

N.J. Hiebert - 3952

January 18

"I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep."
(John 10:11)

It is not enough when I wring my heart when I see Christ the Son of God becoming Son of man to bear all that He bore down here? And then He went back to God. Can I see Him here and see Him there, and not fall down and worship? Oh, what a revelation of God in the Nazarene! Can I know Christ and not know God? Impossible! And that Christ is my life, and the keeper of it. He is my anointed Saviour. I belong to Him. Is it in the sheep to keep itself? No, but in the Shepherd. (Gleanings From the Teaching of G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert - 3953

January 19

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the the Word of God." (Romans 10:17)

If we act upon the Word, and nothing else, we shall find God with us. It will be called bigotry; but this is part of the reproach of Christ. Faith will always appear proud to those who have none; but it will be proved in the day of the Lord to be the only humility, and that everything which is not faith is pride, or no better. Faith admits that he who has it is nothing - that he has no power nor wisdom of his own, and he looks to God. May we be strong in faith, giving glory to Him! (William Kelly)

N.J. Hiebert - 3954

January 20

"Let your life so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
(Matthew 5:16)

Norman Angell once introduced a friend in this way.

"This is Harold. He doesn't do anything. He just is."

We shall be remembered more for what we are than for anything we do. Deeds are always the product of our nature, and accurately reflect what is in us. When we are judged by our deeds, it will be because the deeds wrongly done reveal the lack of Christian content in ourselves and not because of the deeds themselves. In a very real sense what we do is an indication of what we are.
(Traveling Toward Sunrise)

A Christian never is - he is becoming.

N.J. Hiebert - 3955

January 21

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think . . ."
(Ephesians 3:20)

God - Thou hast made the world so beautiful!
A flock of birds on pinions fleet and strong,
Then - though it were not yet enough to soar -
Gave to them a song.

God - Thou hast made the world so beautiful;
A bower of June with roses gay abloom,
Then - though it were not yet enough to grow -
Gave them perfume.

God - Thou hast made the world so beautiful;
A million beings, soul their priceless gem,
Then - though it were not yet enough to live -
Gave love to them.
(Theodosia Pearce)

All the wealth brought to earth from heaven above is yours as the gift of Christ's love.

N.J. Hiebert - 3956

January 22

"He . . . carried them all the days . . ."
(Isaiah 63:9)

The picture of Jesus with the little ones in His arms is very beautiful. Jesus takes a child in His arms is very beautiful. Jesus takes a child in His arms; there is love, tenderness, protection. The bosom is the place of warmth, of affection, of intimacy, of confidence. The encircling arms imply safety, support, shelter. He lifted up a child and held it in His arms; so he carries His people through this world. He does not merely tell them how to go, but He takes them on His shoulders, carrying not their burdens only, but themselves. Thus He bears them on through life and through death. (J.R. Miller)

Instead of trying to escape from our problems,
let us try encompassing them with God
.

N.J. Hiebert - 3957

January 23

"I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand."
(1 Corinthians 15:1)

Some time ago a poor weaver in Scotland preached a brief sermon on three texts:

- (1) "The Blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin." He said: "That's ma sin awa."

- (2) "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God. Ye are of more value than many sparrows." "That's ma cares awa."

- (3) "We shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air." "That's masel' awa."
(Heaven's Cure for Earth's Care - George Henderson)

N.J. Hiebert - 3958

January 24

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
(Matthew 5:16)

Annie Johnson Flint had no sympathy with those who made great profession of believing the whole Bible and yet were constantly manifesting a spirit contrary to all its deepest teaching. Her thought of the Bible was to have it transfered into the life that it transfigures. In one of her poems on "The World's Bible", she says,

We are the only Bible
The careless world will read,
We are the sinner's gospel,
We are the scoffer's creed,
We are the Lord's last message,
Given in deed and word.
What if the type is crooked?
What if the print be blurred
?
(Annie Johnson Flint)

N.J. Hiebert - 3959

January 25

"Grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

Wisdom and philosophy never found out God; He makes Himself known to us through our needs; necessity finds Him out.

The sinner's heart — yes, and the saint's heart too — is put in its right place in this way. I doubt much if we have ever learned anything solidly except we have learned it thus.

We never ought to be discouraged, because the Lord we trust in never fails, nor can. It is just in 2 Timothy, when all was in ruin and declension, that Paul looks for his dear son to be strong in the faith: there never is so good a time for it, because it is needed, and the Lord always meets need.

I have learned at the cross what God was to me as a sinner; and now I have to learn how He meets my wants as a saint, by feeling my need and bringing it to Him. To be hungry is not enough, I must be really starving to know what is in His heart towards me. When the prodigal was hungry he went to feed upon husks; but when he was starving, he turned to his father's house, and then learned the love of the Father's heart. (Pilgrim Portions for the Day of Rest - JND)

N.J. Hiebert - 3960

January 26

"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you."
(2 Peter 1:2)

In grace and peace we have the Greek and Hebrew forms of greeting combined. But can we not also view them as cause and effect? Our Christian life only began when we came to know "the grace of God in truth," receiving "the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." Then were our hearts thrilled with joy and filled with peace, a peace which put a new complexion on life and delivered us from fear of judgment. Have you experienced grace? Do you have peace? (W.P.W. McVey)

Grace is the sweetest sound
That ever reached our ears;
When conscience charged and justice frowned,
'Twas grace removed our fears
.
(T. Kelly)

N.J. Hiebert - 3961

January 27

"And whatsoever ye do, do it HEARTILY, as to the Lord, and not unto men." (Colossians 3:23)

Integrity is more than not being deceitful or slipshod. It means doing everything "heartily as unto the Lord."

A year or so ago, a picture appeared in a magazine of the Statue of Liberty . . . taken from a helicopter and it showed the top of the statue's head. I was amazed at the detail there. The sculptor had done a painstaking job with the lady's coiffure, and yet he must have been pretty sure that the only eyes that would ever see this detail would be the uncritical eyes of seagulls. He could not have dreamt that any man would ever fly over this head. He was artist enough, however, to finish off this part of the statue with as much care as he had devoted to her face and her arms and the torch and everything that people can see as they sail up the bay. . . . When you are creating a work of art, or any other kind of work, finish the job off perfectly. You never know when a helicopter, or some other instrument not at the moment invented, may come along and find you out. (TCNL - March / April 1992)

N.J. Hiebert - 3962

January 28

" . . . ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus; that ye put off concerning the former . . . put on the the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
(Ephesians 4:21-24)

Nothing is more blessed than to have sympathy with Christ in His thoughts - to be able to say, "I know what Christ cares about, and that which is the care of His heart shall be the care of my heart." He is caring about a testimony on earth for God; and if I am only little enough in my own eyes, He will say, "I can bring out a ray in you, and place you exactly where it can shine." Christ has present thoughts about His sheep, - if rays of light shine on them, it is that they may shine from them. You may have very little light, but the glimmer of a glow-worm shines out brightly in a dark night. (Gleanings From the Teaching of G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert - 3963

January 29

" . . . about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; and sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms."
(Acts 27:27,28)

Those on board the ship, now having regained some hope after their seemingly hopeless ordeal, begin to show an interest in their progress. This ought to be found in the life of one who is restored. That is, there will be an increasing interest in where I am in my life - a concern as to whether I am making real spiritual progress. Where before, there was only a desire for freedom and liberty to do my own will, real desire to make progress in my Christian life will be evident. (The Journey of Life - Reflections on Acts 27 - DN)

N.J. Hiebert - 3964

January 30

"The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment."
(Proverbs 12:19)

Truth cannot be killed with the sword nor abolished by the law.

****

"The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."
(Psalm 34:18)

God listens to our hearts rather than to our lips.
(Selected)

N.J. Hiebert - 3965

January 31

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
(Matthew 11:29)

The godly Macarius of Optino was once told that his spiritual counsel had been helpful.

"This cannot be," Macarius wrote in reply. "Only the mistakes are mine. All good advice is the advice of the Spirit of God; His advice that I happen to have heard rightly and to have passed on without distorting it."

There is an excellent lesson here which we must not allow to go unregarded. It is the sweet humility of the man of God who was enabled to say, "only the mistakes are mine."

He was fully convinced that his own efforts could result only in mistakes and that any good that came of his advice must be the work of the Holy Spirit operating within him.

Apparently this was more than a sudden impulse of self-deprecation, which the proudest of men may at times feel; it was rather a settled conviction that gave set and direction to his entire life. His long and humble ministry which brought spiritual aid to many reveals this clearly enough.

It is our belief that the evangelical movement will continue to drift farther and farther from the New Testament position unless its leadership passes from the modern religious star to the self-effacing saint who asks for no praise and seeks no place, happy only when the glory is attributed to God and himself forgotten! (A.W. Tozer - Renewed Bay By Day)

N.J. Hiebert - 3966

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