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

Monday, February 01, 2010

Gems from February 2010

February 1

"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

"When He had given thanks, He broke it (bread), and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me."
(1 Corinthians 11:24)

Doing is an active thing. Symbols are only representations. So at the Lord's Supper, the Lord Jesus graciously emphasized the doing. The symbols, though precious, are not the essence of the matter. Why then, "This do"? It is to help us to remember Him. The Lord realized that our minds, though now willing and loving, are apt to be feeble and forgetful and so He instituted the precious feast, not as an end in itself, but to help us to remember Him in His death on the cross. Do you love the remembrance feast as you should? (Choice Gleanings - Mark Fenn)

Only bread, and only wine, but to faith the solemn sign;
Of the heavenly and divine. We give Thee thanks O Lord
!
(Horatius Bonar)

N.J. Hiebert - 3967

February 2

"Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
(Matthew 18:3)

This is what is wrought in a soul when it is converted: there is a new life given, even Christ. Hence there is much more than a change. That would be very far short of the truth as to a Christian. Of course the Christian is a changed man; but then the change is because of something still deeper. A Christian is a man born again, possessing a life now, that he possessed not before. I do not mean merely that he lives after a new sort, but that he has a new life given to him which he had not before. It is in this way that he becomes a little child. Then this new life has to be cultivated and strengthened. Our natural life as men develops, or it may be checked and hindered by various circumstances. So it is with the spiritual life. (William Kelly - Lectures on the Gospel of Matthew)

N.J. Hiebert - 3968

February 3

"Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days."
(Ecclesiastes 11:1)

If we literally throw bread into the water, can we expect to find it again? Certainly not! It may seem to us just as useless to give the bread of life, the gospel of God's grace, to the world that is like the troubled sea. But this is far from useless. God tells us, "Be ye steadfast, unmoveable, 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). If we faithfully give the gospel to souls, even if we see no results all our lives, there will be results, though those "many days" may take us to the judgment seat of Christ. (The Lord is Near)

N.J. Hiebert - 3969

February 4

"Cease to do evil; learn to do well."
(Isaiah 1:16,17)

Do you seek to pursue the steady, onward, upward path of pure and elevated discipleship. And, whether or not you thereby condemn others, is no concern of yours. "Cease to do evil." This is the first thing for the true disciple to do. When he has yielded obedience to this golden precept, he may expect to "learn to do well." "If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light."

When God speaks, I am not to turn round to see how my obedience to His voice will affect my neighbours, or to consider what they will think about me. When the voice of the risen and glorified Jesus fell upon the ear of the prostrate Saul of Tarsus, he did not begin to enquire what the chief priests and Pharisees would think of him were he to obey. Surely not. "Immediately," he says, "I conferred not with flesh and blood." (Galatians 1:16) "Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision." (Acts 26:19) This is the true spirit and principle of discipleship. "Give glory to God, before He cause darkness, and your feet stumble upon the dark mountains."

Nothing can be more dangerous than to hesitate, when, divine light shines upon the path. If you do not act upon the light, when you get it, you will, assuredly, be involved in thick darkness. Hence, therefore, as another has said, "Never go before your faith, nor lag behind your conscience." (C.H. Macintosh - Vol. 2)

N.J. Hiebert - 3970

February 5

"Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts."
(Hebrews 4:7)

It was a wild night for our family. At 11:30 p.m., I got a call from my son Steve. "Dad, I'm going to Iraq." "Right now?" I asked in disbelief. "Yes, I'm ready to go." Earlier that day, our navy corpsman (medic) son had told me he thought it would be several months before he would go.

We talked a little more until he had to hang up. Then family phone calls followed as we let his sisters know what was happening. They called him to wish him well and pray for him - and that was it.

A couple of restless hours later, Steve sent a text message: "We're not going. We're headed back." A helicopter ride to another state and back was the extent of Steve's trip that night, but it was still a valuable experience. It tested their readiness. The military had to know that when the call came, the corpsmen would be mentally ready to go.

When it comes to being ready for eternity, we won't get that kind of practice. No one knows when we will depart this earth through death or to be called home at Jesus' return.

If you were called into eternity today, would you be prepared to meet God face-to-face? Have you opened your heart to Him? (Hebrews 4:7). Are your sins forgiven? Are you ready to go? (Dave Branon)

Ready to speak, ready to warn,
Ready o'er souls to yearn,
Ready in life, ready in death,
Ready for His return
.
(Tillman)

God's call may come at any time - so be ready all the time!

Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 1982, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission.

N.J. Hiebert - 3971

February 6

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
(Hebrews 11:1)

It is often a source of sorrow to the heart to mark how the children of God dishonour Him, and as a consequence, lower themselves before the world by losing the sense of His sufficiency for every emergency. So long as we live in the realization of the truth that all our springs are in God, so long shall we be above the world in every shape and form. There is nothing so elevating to the whole moral being as faith: it carries one entirely beyond the reach of this world's thoughts; for how can the men of the world, or even worldly-minded Christians, understand the life of faith? Impossible.

The springs on which it draws lie far away beyond their comprehension. They live on the surface of present things. So long as they can see what they deem a proper foundation for hope and confidence, so long they are hopeful and confident; but the idea of resting solely on the promise of an unseen God, they understand not. But the man of faith is calm in the midst of scenes in which nature can see nothing. Hence it is that faith ever seems, in the judgment of nature, such a reckless. improvident, visionary thing. None but those who know God can ever approve the actings of faith; for none but they really understand the solid and truly-reasonable ground of such actings. (C.H. Macintosh)

N.J. Hiebert - 3972

February 7

"This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven."
(Acts 1:11)

"I will come again."
(John 14:3)

When General Douglas McArthur left the Philippines for Australia in mid - 1942, in advance of approaching Japanese forces, he said, "I will return." He kept his promise on October 22, 1944. Those were the words of a mortal. Believers, however, have the written words of the eternal Son of God. He said, "I will come again". With keen anticipation we await the summons to the skies. Instantaneously, we will be glory bound and His promise will be kept. What a day that will be! (Arnot P. McIntee)

Christ the Lord will come again, none shall wait for Him in vain,
I shall then His glory see: Christ will come and call for me
.
(J. Swain)

N.J. Hiebert - 3973

February 8

"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."
(Hebrews 10:22)

FAITH AND TROUBLE

Faith does not always change our circumstances but it does change us.

Many have entered the Christian experience expecting quick rewards in health, position, and possessions. They have been led to believe by certian detached Bible verses skillfully manipulated by immature enthusiasts that faith easily smashed all barriers, insured against trouble, and led invalids to abounding health and beggars to riches. They grabbed at faith as a sure-fire result to visible rewards and earthly prosperity - and they have been disappointed. They still are poor, sick, or troubled, and very disillusioned.

Spiritual salvation does not mean temporal safety. It is no vaccination against trouble, nor does it immunize us against adversity. Sometimes we have more hardship after we set out to live the Christ life than before. Jesus promised His disciples persecution. Ananias was told in regard to the newly converted Paul, "I will show him how great things he must suffer for my names sake." God does not guarantee robust health, financial fortune, and earthy success to those who believe. It is well that He does not, else faith would become a cold business proposition and cease to be faith. (Vance Havner)

(Continued under Gem # 3975)

N.J. Hiebert - 3974

February 9

"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
(Hebrews 11:3).

Faith and Trouble # 2
(Continued from Gem # 3974)

Faith does not promise ideal circumstances. It does master every outward condition and move mountains as Jesus said it would, but it changes them by changing us. It builds in us a spirit that no outward condition can bother, and when a man is victorious within, the without does not matter. Objective realities may be what they were before, but the man is different; his attitude has changed, and for him that changes everything. It is not things themselves but our way of looking at them that matters. Faith gives him the right perspective, and when he sees things as they really are thy lose their terrors.

- Fanny Crosby had a sublime faith, but she remained blind all her life.
- Spurgeon kept his gout.
- Sydney Lanier's tuberculosis continued.
- Paul was not saved from hardship (2 Corinthians 11:23).
- Adoniram Judson, the great missionary, lived in adversity until death.

Their faith gave them sturdy souls that no outer circumstances could quench; carried them through their troubles to victory beyond. We know now that they were real successes here and are hereafter.

Many believers continue to have reverses. Sickness is theirs and grief and hardship. They lose their loved ones, banks close with their money, storms devastate their fields, and dark, dismal days threaten their faith. But if they are well grounded they will not whimper and whine. They will know that circumstance is purely incidental; that reality is not what we see but how we see it; that if we look at life from Christ's point of view no adversity can disturb us.

I pity the man whose faith can be swamped by one thunderstorm or one funeral. He still is a creature of circumstance, governed by earth's shifting moods. How much he needs "the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4). (Vance Havener - February 15, 1931)

N.J. Hiebert - 3975

February 10

"If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light."
(Matthew 6:22)

If it is so with you there is sure to be light in the path - light not for ten
years hence but for this one step that is before you, and then for the next.
(J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert - 3976

February 11

(In waiting,) "I waited, for the Lord."
(Psalm 40:1)

Waiting is much more difficult than walking. Waiting requires patience, and patience is a rare virtue. It is fine to know that God builds hedges around His people - when the hedge is looked at from the viewpoint of protection. But when the hedge is kept around one until it grows so high that he cannot see over the top, and wonders whether he is ever to get out of the little sphere of influence and service in which he is pent up, it is hard for him sometimes to understand why he may not have a larger environment - hard for him to "brighten the corner" where he is. But God has a purpose in all HIS holdups.

"The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord," reads Psalm 37:23 On the margin of his Bible at this verse George Mueller had a notation, "And the stops also." It is a sad mistake for men to break through God's hedges. It is a vital principle of guidance for a Christian never to move out of the place in which he is sure God has placed him, until the Pillar of Cloud moves. (Streams in the Desert - Sunday School Times)

N.J. Hiebert - 3977

February 12

"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice."
(Philippians 4:4)

It isn't our position but our disposition that makes us happy.

A discussion seeks what is right; an argument who is right.

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.

The surest way to get somewhere is to know where you are going.

Be careful when you speak your mind you don't say something that you haven't thought of yet.

(A Collection of Wise Sayings - RK)

N.J. Hiebert - 3978

February 13

"In Him was life; and the life was the light of man. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."
(John 1:4,5)

THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL

The value of light is to display what exists; more than that it cannot declare; but if I am in the light, I shall see what exists. Hence, when the light shines, the question of interest is, What does it declare.

The light of the gospel displays all that has been accomplished by Christ. It takes its rise from the glory of God - from the consummation of Christ's work; not from the beginning of His work, but from the climax of it. The light from thence, sent of god into the soul, illuminates Christ's whole course, and comprises His whole work, from His first descent from the glory, to His ascension in glory. The light now is the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ; now, for the first time, light can come to us from the glory. The light declares the relation in which God is to the believer. (Thoughts for this Day - Reprinted from "A Voice to the Faithful.")

N.J. Hiebert - 3979

February 14

"There is that witholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat."
(Proverbs 11:24,25)

He that is not liberal with what he has, deceives himself when he thinks he would be liberal if he had more.

****

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service."
(Romans 12:1)

When you make a sacrifice, you do more that is expected of you without complaining.

****

"He that hath pity unto the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will He pay him again."
(Proverbs 19:17)

He that wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own.
(Selected)

N.J. Hiebert - 3980

February 15

"If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."
(Romans 5:10-11)

Surely every day of our life is immersed in the mercy of God. When His children stumble on the rocks and roots of their earthly walk, He raises them up and sets them on their way again. Thankfully no aspect of our salvation is dependent on our merit, but on what the Lord has already done. When God sees His children, He does not see their sin, He sees the blood of the Lord Jesus. May we seek to walk worthy of His mercy day by day. (John Mark Bjorlie)

N.J. Hiebert - 3981

February 16

"Sarah conceived and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him." (Genesis 21:2)

There is such a thing as God's "set time" - His "due season," and for this the faithful must be content to wait. The time may seem long, and hope deferred may make the heart sick; but the spiritual mind will ever find its relief in the assurance that all is for the ultimate display of God's glory. "For the vision is for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will assuredly come, it will not tarry." (Habakkuk 2:3,4) (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert - 3982

February 17

"Strengthen ye the the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees." (Isaiah 35:3)

To slow down as we get nearer to the end of the path due to physical and mental ability is normal. Is slowing down spiritually ever our instruction? In these days when there are many aged among us it is a reminder to those who are able bodied not to forget those who have been an example for many years. Seek to be an encouragement and help both spiritually, and practically whenever the opportunity arises, no matter your age or theirs.
(Submitted by a reader - MS)

N.J. Hiebert - 3983

February 18

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

JESUS LOVES ME

Jesus loves me, this I know,
Though my hair is white as snow
Though my sight is growing dim,
Still He bids me trust in Him.

Though my steps are oh, so slow,
With my hand in His I'll go
On through life, let come what may,
He'll be there to lead the way.

When the nights are dark and long,
In my heart He puts a song.
Telling me in words so clear,
'Have no fear, for I am near.'

When my work on earth is done,
And life's victories have been won.
He will take me home above,
Then I'll understand His love.

I love Jesus, does He know?
Have I ever told Him so?
Jesus loves to hear me say,
That I love Him every day.
(From Dick Gorgas)

N.J. Hiebert - 3984

February 19

"That He would grant you according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man."
(Ephesians 3:16)

This very day, many believers are passing through times of deep physical and mental suffering. Bodies are weak. Spirits are low. Take comfort. The Spirit of God within you knows no weakness or limitations. The inward strength He gives is because of the riches of Christ in glory. This prayer of Paul is for you today! He will carry you through. Be of god courage and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord (Psalm 31:24). (Jim Paul)

N.J. Hiebert - 3985

February 20

"By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac . . . in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure."
(Hebrews 11:17-19)

We may lay down the following principle: viz.,

- Whenever devotedness passes beyond divinely-appointed bounds, it is suspicious;
- If it comes not up to these bounds, it is defective;
- If it flows without them, it is erratic.

I quite admit that there are extraordinary operations and ways of the Spirit of God, in which He asserts His own sovereignty, and rises above ordinary bounds; but, in such cases, the evidence of divine activity will be sufficiently strong to carry home conviction to every spiritual mind; nor will they, in the slightest degree, interfere with the truth of the principle that true devotedness will ever be founded upon and governed by divine principle. To sacrifice a son might seem to be an act of most extraordinary devotedness, but be it remembered, that what gave that act all its value in God's sight was the simple fact of its being based upon God's command. (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert - 3986

February 21

"Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in Mine hand . . ."
(Jeremiah 18:6)

We need to be conscious of God's plan for our lives. We often by our own will go astray from all He has for us. He molds and shapes us to be a vessel for His use demanding that we conform to His shaping. Sometimes we must loose all that we have or were to become what He wants us to be sometimes requiring drastic action in His part being the controller of all things.

We often think we are in control of all things and that our lives serve no purpose. He is in control and uses all things to mold or shape us as He designs for us. We must associate all things that happen or don't as part of His plan for us. We can rely upon His gentle touch in our lives to bring about the treasure of Christ that He has placed inside. (Meditations - B.R.)

N.J. Hiebert - 3987

February 22

"And they departed quickly from the sepulcher with fear and great joy; and did run to bring His disciples word."
(Matthew 28:8)

In the world of men, fear and great joy are completely incompatible. Not so in the spiritual realm. Often our times of greatest joy are times when we are awe-struck by the demonstration of His power and glory. When we first came to Christ, fear filled our hearts as the terrors of law and of God took hold on our hearts, but almost simultaneously, surpassing joy was ours as we came to recognize that the Saviour had died to deliver us from all our sins. (W.H. Burnett)

When free grace awoke me with light from on high,
Then legal fears shook me I trembled to die.
No refuge, no safety, in self could I see,
Jehovah Tsidkenu my Saviour must be
.
(R. Murray McCheyne)

N.J. Hiebert - 3988

February 23

"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience."
(Ephesians 2:2)

"Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
(James 4:4)

Mark yon broad and rapid stream!
Brilliant though its surface seem,
Mingling in its depths below / Poisonous currents surely flow.
Christian parents, pause to think / On that treacherous river's brink,
Ere you launch your tiny bark / On those waters deep and dark.
Yours the path of Jesus here, / Seek it for your children dear.
Though you cannot life impart, / Cannot bow the stubborn heart,
Do not help to weave a chain / You would gladly break again.
Shall not He who for you died, / Food and raiment still provide?
He who has your children given, / He can bless for earth and heaven.
Seek then first His holy will, / Seek His pleasure to fulfill,
Constant still in faith and prayer / That this blessing they may share.
And when by the Spirit's power / Comes the gladly welcomed hour,
When the lips you love so well, / Of a Saviour's grace shall tell,
They will have no cause to say / That you turned their feet astray;
Rather, from their earliest youth, / Taught and nurtured in the truth,
May their light unhindered shine, /To the praise of grace divine.

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. . . . And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
(Ephesians 6:1,4)

N.J. Hiebert - 3989

February 24

"Mary . . . sat Jesus' feet." (Luke 10:39)
"Mary . . . fell down at His feet." (John 11:32)
"Mary . . . anointed the feet of Jesus." (John 12:3)

Mary of Bethany was always at the feet of the Saviour. Whether at the feet of the Prophet, learning; or at the feet of the Priest, weeping; or at the feet of the King, worshipping; she had learned the sweetness and joy of occupation with Him. Where do we spend our time? (Jim Flanigan)

N.J. Hiebert - 3990

February 25

"God is love."
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."
(1 John 4:8,11)

Whichever way the Wind Blows

Spurgeon went down into the country to visit a friend who had built a new barn, and on the barn was a cupola upon which they had put a weather vane with this text of Scripture on it: "God is love." Spurgeon said to the man:

"What do you mean by putting that text of Scripture on the weather vane? Do you mean that God's love is as changeable as the wind?"

"Oh, no," was the reply; "I mean to say that God is love whichever way the wind blows." (D.L. Moody)

N.J. Hiebert - 3991

February 26

"Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come unto you."
(Acts 1:8)

It is a mistake to suppose that we can be endowed, so to speak, with spiritual power. God never gives a fund of strength to any of His servants on which they can draw from time to time until the whole is used. The power is always in Himself, and not in them, and only supplied moment by moment to those who are walking with and in dependence upon Him. (Edward Dennet)

N.J. Hiebert - 3992

February 27

"How do ye say, we are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made He it; the pen of the scribes is in vain." (Jeremiah 8:8)

It is incredible how utterly unaware the learned of this world are of the wintry judgment about to be poured out on the nations of the earth.

Never was there a day of more boasting, "We are wise." It is quite true the Word of God is in men's hands; but who believes it? The rapture of the Church before the day of the Lord is clearly revealed. God has said it. He has made it perfectly clear? - both the departure of his saints to meet the Lord in the air, and the terrible judgments that shall follow. Has He made it clear? Yes; but, "Lo, certainly in vain made He it; the pen of the scribes is in vain." Yes, in vain has God spoken in His Word; men will not believe Him. "Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition" (Mark 7:13). (Charles Stanley - 1821-1888)

N.J. Hiebert - 3993

February 28

"Let us run with patience the race that is set before us."
(Hebrews 12:1)

Give us full-hearted souls, who love their Lord,
With a sparkle and flash in their eye;
Who are ready to fight, to work, to win,
Who are ready to do or to die
.

If we are going to be successful in this race, we need to ask ourselves: What is the state of our spiritual fitness? If we seem at time to be failures as Christians, it is probably because we have retired from the disciplined pursuits of the spiritual athlete, accepting a more relaxed position as a spectator. Unlike physical athletics, the beauty of the spiritual life is that it does not discriminate based on age, gender, physical prowess, race, or any exterior factor. The only limitation it knows is an unwilling heart. (S. Mathew)

N.J. Hiebert - 3994

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