Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5560 posted here) sent daily for 18 years --

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Gems from December 2010

November 29

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
(Philippians 4:8)

A.W. Tozer listed seven rules for self-discovery. He stated that we may be known by the following:

1. What we most want.
2. What we think about most.
3. How we use our money.
4. What we do with our leisure time.
5. The company we enjoy.
6. Whom and what we admire.
7. What we laugh at.

In view of these rules may we apply to ourselves the words of today's verse - "Think on these things." (Choice Gleanings - W. Ross Rainey)

May the mind of Christ, my Saviour, live in me from day to day,
By his love and pow'r controlling, all I do and say
(Kate B. Wilkinson)

N.J. Hiebert - 4267

November 30

"Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God."
(Hebrews 10:7)

There is but one place of anchorage for the soul, and that is faith in Jesus. But even where there is that faith, there may not be settled peace of conscience, and that is why it is so important to have a right understanding on the question of works. It is not the question only of getting peace on first coming to God, but of abiding in God's presence with unbroken peace ever after; and this cannot be unless God's idea of works be clearly understood. . . .

Man's thoughts throughout is that he can do something for God. But the thought of our being able to do anything cannot exist with peace of conscience in God's presence. One only could stand there and say, "All that thou requirest I can and will do. In the volume of the book it is written of me, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God."

Paul had thought by his own resources in works to meet God's demands, but when converted, a new principle broke in upon him, he found that that Nazarene was in heaven telling him of gratuity of grace, and he took salvation, not of works, but by faith. (Gleanings of G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert - 4268

December 1

"A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed some . . . fell on good ground . . . that on good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience."
(Luke 8:5,8,15)

It has often struck me how much one needs the "honest and good heart" in receiving the Word of God - an honest and true purpose of heart to carry out into expression every idea communicated to one. To such, more would surely be given. I cannot be spiritual without becoming practically unworldly.

The life of Jesus in me saps, if I may so say, the principles of the world in me, so that they lose their influence on me almost imperceptibly, but yet very manifestly; and then I am enjoying the power which displaced them. The beautiful plants are yielding to me their value and sweetness; they connect me with their own region and atmosphere; and the more at home I find myself there, the more quietly and easily, because seeking nothing here, do I pass through the contrarieties of this evil scene. The Christian who can listen to, and enjoy for the moment, the beauties of the heavenly kingdom, and yet, in spirit, seek this world, is worse than if he had never known of them; for tastes awakened and never fed must, if the experiment be repeated, decline and ere long be utterly dormant.

Love the spiritual idea, and be prepared to give it expression, and you will have the joy, the light, and the strength of it in your soul; and better still, you will be given more; and the more you have, the more you will realize your place with your absent Lord. (Christian Truth - Volume 14 - July 1961)

N.J. Hiebert - 4269

December 2

"According to my expectation and my hope . . . so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death."
(Philippians 1:20)

Expectation and faith, though alike, are not identical. An instructed Christian will not confuse the two.

True faith is never found alone; it is always accompanied by expectation. The man who believes the promises of God expects to see them fulfilled. Where there is no expectation there is no faith.
It is, however, quite possible for expectation to be present where no faith is. The mind is quite capable of mistaking strong desire for faith. Indeed faith, as commonly understood, is little more than desire compounded with cheerful optimism.

Real faith is not the stuff dreams are made of; rather it is tough, practical and altogether realistic. Faith sees the invisible but it does not see the nonexistent. Faith engages God, the one great Reality, who gave and gives existence to all things. God's promises conform to reality, and whoever trusts them enters a world not of fiction but of fact!

Expectation has always been present in the church in the times of her greatest power. When she believed, she expected, and her Lord never disappointed her. His blessings accorded with their expectations, "and blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord." (Luke 1:45) (A.W. Tozer)

N.J. Hiebert - 4270

December 3

"As they were increased, so they sinned against Me: therefore will I change their glory into shame."
(Hosea 4:7)

As man increases in knowledge and technology he seemingly decreases in his dependence upon God. Along with this goes his obedience, thankfulness and increasing, his self reliance and self righteousness. The balance changes towards evil and ignorance instead of goodness, leaning towards the twisted desires of man's natural heart. Man seeks to fill his mind, but not his heart, filling his need with all manner of wickedness and empty unsatisfying endeavors in an effort to avoid God and and His judgment, never desiring relationship, but religion, formal and foreign to reality. (Meditations in Hosea - B.R.)

N.J. Hiebert - 4271

December 4

"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 3:16,17)

It is important that we should see clearly that men must either deny that the Bible is the Word of God, or admit its sufficiency and supremacy in all ages, and in all countries - in all stages and conditions of the human race. Grant us but this, that God has written a book for man's guidance, and we argue that that book must be amply sufficient for man, no matter when, where, or how we find him. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God . . . that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." This, surely, is enough. To be perfect and thoroughly furnished, must needs render a man independent of all the boasted powers of science and philosophy, falsely so called (1 Timothy 6:20). (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert - 4272

December 5

"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man."
(Hebrews 2:9)

I don't look back, God knows the fruitless efforts,
The wasted hours, the sinning, the regrets,
I leave them all with Him who blots the record,
And mercifully forgives, and then forgets.

I don't look forward, God sees all the future,
The road that, short or long, will lead me home,
And He will face with me its every trial,
And bear for me the burdens that may come.

But I look up - into the face of Jesus,
For there my heart can rest, my fears are stilled,
And there is joy, and love, and light for darkness,
And perfect peace, and every hope fulfilled.
(Annie Johnson Flint)

N.J. Hiebert - 4273

December 6

"Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel."
(Joshua 1:2)

We need the courage that will compel us to move forward.

We may have to go against the advice of luke-warm Christians; there are some who never seem to do anything but object because the work is not carried on exactly according to their ideas. They are very fruitful in raising objections to any plans that can be suggested. If any onward step is taken they are ready to throw cold water on it, and suggest all kinds of difficulties. We want to have such faith and courage as shall enable us to move forward without waiting for these. (D.L. Moody)

N.J. Hiebert - 4274

December 7

"He hath made me a polished shaft; in His quiver hath He hid me."
(Isaiah 49:2)

There is a very famous "Pebble Beach" at Pescadero, on the California coast. The long line of white surf comes up with its everlasting roar, and rattles and thunders among the stones on the shore. They are caught in the arms of the pitiless waves, and tossed and rolled, and rubbed together, and ground against the sharp-grained cliffs. Day and night forever the ceaseless attrition goes on - never any rest. And the result?

Tourists from all the world flock thither to gather the round and beautiful stones. They are laid up in cabinets; they ornament the parlor mantels. But go yonder, around the point of the cliff that breaks off the force of the sea; and up in that quiet cove, sheltered from the storms, and lying ever in the sun, you shall find abundance of pebbles that have never been chosen by the traveler.

Why are these left all the years through, unsought? For the simple reason that they have escaped all the turmoil and attrition of the waves, and the quiet and peace have left them as they found them, rough and angular and devoid of beauty. Polish comes through trouble.

Since God knows what niche we are to fill, let us trust him to shape us to it. Since He knows what work we are to do, let us trust Him to drill us to the proper preparation.

"O blows that smite! O hurts that pierce
This shrinking heart of mine!
What are ye but the Master's tools
Forming a work Divine?"

"Nearly all God's jewels are crystalized tears."
(Streams in the Desert)

N.J. Hiebert - 4275

December 8

"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
(Galatians 6:1)

The Apostle tells the brothers who have undertaken the work of setting to rights the fallen ones, that it must be done in a spirit of meekness, or gentleness, or tenderness. There is no other way to treat a wound or a fracture. We must be gentle, or we cannot restore it at all; and what skill is needed. But not half so much skill as is required to restore the fallen one of Galatians 6:1. A hard and legal spirit will never restore such an one, but only drive him further away. (Meditations on Galatians - G. Christopher Willis)

N.J. Hiebert - 4276

December 9

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength."
(Isaiah 40:31)

Occupy yourself with Christ that you may be refreshed and strengthened. . . . It is a great thing to pass through sorrows with him; they are then turned to a well, and grace comes down too. Pray for the saints - all of them - carry the sorrows to Christ, and in your own spirit bring Christ to the sorrows. (Pilgrim Portions for the Day of Rest)

N.J. Hiebert - 4277

December 10

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

- Seek to find the best in the worst, discover the great in the small, seek beauty in the plain and detect the elegant in the simple.

- The more you count the blessings you have, the less you crave the luxuries you don't have.

- There is a bridge to cross when I get to the stream, but not until then.
(From - A Collection of Wise Sayings - R.K.)

N.J. Hiebert - 4278

December 11

"Lord, teach us to pray." (Luke 11:1)

Communication is a two-way process. We speak to God in prayer and in return He speaks to us. To hear His reply we have to turn our spirit, our inner being, toward Him. He speaks through the Scriptures, and sometimes through events in our lives. He may also speak through someone He sends to us, through nature, or by any other means suitable to Him.

Because God is a spirit, we can only perceive Him spiritually - spiritual things are "spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we perceive what God has said to us in His Word and we perceive what the will of the Father and the Son is for us. In short, we have a blessed and sure way of knowing the will of God.

Then, helped by the Holy Spirit, our prayers will be according to God's will and will be pleasing to Him. We are assured that He wants to be taken into all the longings and desires of our hearts - He wants every desire turned into a prayer! (The Lord is Near)

N.J. Hiebert - 4279

December 12

"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)

We do not read Scripture with sufficient intimacy of heart. We read it as if we were acquainting ourselves with words and sentences. If, by Scripture, I do not get into nearness to God in heart and conscience, I have not learned the lesson it would teach me. (J.G. Bellett)

"Draw nigh to God, and He will draw night to you."
(James 4:8)

N.J. Hiebert - 4280

December 13

"He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, he was able also to perform."
(Romans 4:20-21)

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith . . ."
(Hebrews 12:2)

When God says something, when God makes a promise, true faith is that trust that staggers not when faced with difficult circumstances and long odds. True faith looks beyond the odds to the One who made the promise and rests upon Him. (Submitted by a reader, S.L.)

N.J. Hiebert - 4281

December 14

"And He came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of His disciples, and a great multitude of people . . . which came to hear Him, and to be healed of their diseases."
(Luke 6:17)

After the choosing of the twelve, He comes down into the plain, and great multitudes came to Him and He healed all their diseases. He was a divine visitor to this world - a heavenly stranger among men - a divine visitor to men. He had not where to lay His head, while he was visiting their necessities with all the resources of God. This is the ideal of a saint of God: to be independent of all that the world can give, while, with open heart and lavish hand, bestowing upon it all the benefits and blessings of God. If He is a mere heavenly stranger, He may be an ascetic (recluse); if a visitor only to the world, he may get involved in its corruptions. (Notes From Meditations on Luke - from The Present Testimony - August 1866)

N.J. Hiebert - 4282

December 15

"Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"
(Matthew 7:3)

There are two ways to look at a mirror. This fairly unoriginal thought crossed my mind as I stood before my bathroom mirror focused on the spots I was wiping away, when my gaze suddenly shifted to a dark smudge under my eye. With one hand still cleaning the spots on the mirror, I tried to remove the spot under my eye with the other. It didn't work; or at least, as I attempted to do both, I didn't do either job well. You can't look in a mirror and at a mirror at the same time. . . .

Earlier that day, as I was reading a passage I can't remember now, I thought to myself self-assuredly: "If only [so and so] were reading these verses, they would see their situation more clearly and the thing they're completely overlooking." It is little wonder why I can't remember the verses; I wasn't looking in the mirror. My eyes had shifted elsewhere.

Jesus once asked (note verse above). His question at once uncovers a familiar behaviour, exposing our tendency to focus on the faults of others while remaining blind to our own. Jesus isolates the motive we disguise as concern - like a sword dividing bone and marrow. It obviously made an impression on the ones who first heard Him say it; all four gospel writers make note of Jesus' words.

To approach a speaking God with eyes searching and ears listening for everyone but ourselves is to cease to hear and see as God intended. "For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a (mirror): for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was" (James 1:23-24). The choice before us is crucial. Of all the spotted reflections around us, there is only one you can really examine and see changed. Putting ourselves, and our spots, in God's able hands is the most urgent use of the mirror. (J.C. - A Slice of Infinity - adapted)

N.J. Hiebert - 4283

December 16

"For Christ hath also once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit."
(1 Peter 3:18)

I do not believe that hurry in acting is the way of God.

Christ as man was born of the Holy Ghost: His life was the expression of the Holy Spirit. He cast out devils by the Holy Ghost. His words were spirit and life. . . . By the Holy Spirit He offered Himself without spot to God. . . . Finally, the power of the Holy Spirit was shown in the greatest and most perfect way in the Lord's resurrection. "Being put to death in the flesh, He was quickened by the Spirit." (Footprints for Pilgrims)

N.J. Hiebert - 4284

December 17

"O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my down-sitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off."
(Psalm, 139:1-2)

To say that God is omniscient is to say that He possesses perfect knowledge and therefore has no need to learn. But it is more: it is to say that God has never learned and cannot learn.

The Scriptures teach that God has never learned from anyone. "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and showed to Him the way of understanding?" (Isaiah 40"13-14) "For who hath know the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor?" (Romans 11:33-34) These rhetorical questions put by the prophet Isaiah and the Apostle Paul declare that God has never learned.

From there it is only a step to the conclusion that God cannot learn. Could God at any time or in any manner receive into His mind knowledge that He did not posses and had not possessed from eternity, He would be imperfect and less that Himself. To think of a God who must sit at the feet of a teacher, even though that teacher be an archangel or a seraph, is to think of someone other than the Most High God, maker of heaven and earth. (The Knowledge of the Holy - A.W. Tozer)

(# 1 of 3 authored by A.W.T.)
N.J. Hiebert - 4285

December 18

"Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?"
(Isaiah 40:28)

"I am the Lord, I change not . . ."
(Malachi 3:6)

The method of trying to make men see what God is like by showing them what He is not like is used also by the inspired writers in the Holy Scriptures. (Note scriptures quoted above.) These scriptures tell us more about the divine omniscience than could be told in a ten-thousand word treatise, were all negatives arbitrarily ruled out. God's eternal truthfulness is stated negatively by the apostle Paul, "God cannot lie" (Titus 1:2) "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17); and when the angel asserted that "For with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37), the two negatives add up to a ringing positive.

That God is omniscient is not only taught in the Scriptures, it must be inferred also from all else that is taught concerning Him. God perfectly knows Himself and, being the source and author of all things, it follows that He knows all that can be known. And that He knows instantly and with a fullness of perfection that includes every possible item of knowledge concerning everything that exists or could have existed anywhere in the universe at any time in the past or that may exist in the centuries or ages yet unborn.

God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit and all spirits, all being and every being, all creature-hood and all creatures, every plurality and every pluralities, all law and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feeling, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell.

Because God knows all things perfectly, He knows no thing better than any other thing, but all things equally well. He never discovers anything. He is never surprised, never amazed. He never wonders about anything nor (except when drawing men out for their own good) does he seek information or ask questions.

God is self-existent and self-contained and knows what no creature can ever know - Himself, perfectly. "The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God" (1 Corinthians 2:11). Only the infinite can know the infinite. (The Knowledge of the Holy - A.W. Tozer)

(2 of 3 authored by A.W.T.)

N.J. Hiebert - 4286

December 19

"Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? . . . If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day."
(Psalm 139:7,11,12)

In the divine omniscience we see set forth against each other the terror and fascination of the Godhead. That God knows each person through and through can be a cause of shaking fear to the man that has something to hide - some unforsaken sin, some secret crime committed against man or God. The unblessed soul may well tremble that God knows the flimsiness of every pretext and never accepts the poor excuses given for sinful conduct, since He knows perfectly the real reason for it. "Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance" (Psalm 90:8). How frightful a thing to see the sons of Adam seeking to hide among the trees of another garden. But where shall they hide? (Note the verses quoted above)

And to us who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope that is set before us in the gospel, how unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us, no enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us. "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee" (Isaiah 54:10).

Our Father knows our frame and remembers that we are dust. He knew our inborn treachery, and for His own sake engaged to save us (Isaiah 48:8-11). His only begotten Son, when He walked among us, felt our pains in their naked intensity of anguish. His knowledge of our afflictions and adversities is more than theoretic; it is personal, warm, and compassionate. Whatever may befall us, God knows and cares as no one else can. (The Knowledge of the Holy - A.W. Tozer)

(3 of 3 as authored by A.W.T.)

N.J. Hiebert 4287

December 20

"Be ye followers (imitators) of me, even as I also am of Christ."
(1 Corinthians 11:1)

A Christian role-model is not someone who just shows us how to act, but why to act that way. We must determine what the godly response is in a given situation, what will be profitable, and what will be up-building. "All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient . . . all things edify not" (1 Corinthians 10:23). We cannot answer by only asking, "What would Jesus do?" but we must also decide why He would do it. We are told: "Be ye therefore followers (imitators) of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and has given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour" (Ephesians 5:1-2).

We are to give priority to the needs of others not only in our actions but also in our hearts. Real righteousness lies not just in what we do, but why we do it! Real righteousness is not merely doing what God commands, but loving as God loves! (B. Springett)

N.J. Hiebert - 4288

December 21

". . . he (Paul) was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful (allowed to man) for a man to utter. . . . Lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh . . . lest I should be exalted above measure . . ."
(2 Corinthians 12:4,7)

The Lord Jesus was the reader of all hearts when down here, and He is doing the same in heaven. He does it in connection with His own people, and often they shrink from it. He is the searcher-out of all things in us, but if it makes us know what we are, it is only to make us cling more to Him. He brings us into the light, makes it shine into us, in order to show out and make us see the things that are wanting in us: and we never learn what there is in Him, contrasted with self, without its making us loathe our vessel.

Paul was caught up into the third heaven, and Christ took up what He saw was in him, and a thorn in the flesh discovered it to Paul. (Gleanings From the Teaching of G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert - 4289

December 22


"Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ . . ."
(Written from prison)
(Philemon 1)

It takes all the sting out of a disappointment if we see it as Paul did. Isn't it interesting that never once does he call himself Nero's prisoner, though he was chained by Nero's chain and in Nero's cell? This has been a great comfort to me. We don't admit the domination of Nero - no, not for an hour. We have to do only with the sovereign-ship of Christ. (Candles in the Dark - Amy Carmichael)

N.J. Hiebert - 4290

December 23

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever."
(Hebrews 13:8)

Christ's yesterday was the accomplishment of redemption.

His tomorrow is the having His church with Himself in glory,

But He is a living Christ for today.
(G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert - 4291

December 24

"As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things."
(2 Corinthians 6:10)

The Lord was "poor, yet making rich," - "Having nothing, and yet possessing all things." These high and wondrous conditions were exhibited in Him, in ways that were and must have been peculiar - altogether His own. He would receive ministry from some godly women out of their substance, and yet minister to the need of all around HIm out of the treasures of the fulness of the earth. He would feed thousands in desert places, and yet be Himself an hungered, waiting for the return of His disciples with victuals from a neighbouring village.

This is "having nothing, and yet possessing all things." But while thus poor, both needy and exposed, nothing that in the least savoured of meanness is ever attaching to His condition. He never begs, though He have not a penny; for when He wanted to see one (not to use it for Himself) He had to ask to be shown it. He never runs away, though exposed, and His life jeoparded, as we speak, in the place where He was. He withdraws Himself, or passes by as hidden. And thus, again, I may say, nothing mean, nothing unbecoming full personal dignity attaches to Him, though poverty and exposure were His lot every day. (J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert - 4292

December 25

"I exhort therefore, that . . . supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all . . ."
(1 Timothy 2:1)

"Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them . . ." (1 Timothy 4:15-16)

Young believers - Give the Word of God its proper place in your heart. Do not let a day go by in which you do not spend some time over your Bible. You cannot grow in grace without that. You are new-born babes and you need to be fed, and the Word is not only for our food but for our enlightenment. We cannot find our way through this world without the instructions we get from the Word of God. Not only should you be careful to meditate upon the Word of God each day, but see that you spend some time daily waiting upon God in prayer.

Prayer is the Christian's vital breath. A believer who is not given to prayer will never really count for God in this scene. We are told to be instant in prayer, to pray without ceasing. (H.A. Ironside)

N.J. Hiebert - 4293

December 26

"And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all." (Mark 10:44)

The insights into human nature that the Holy Spirit has included in the inspired Word are both interesting and instructive. One of these is the irritation of the disciples when James and John selfishly asked Jesus for a prominent position in His kingdom. Since man is envious by nature, we may presume that they themselves wanted to sit in the places of authority. The Bible says, "And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John" (Mark 10:41).

You may have heard the story of two friends who decided they would each have filet of sole for their evening meal in the restaurant. After a few minutes the waiter came back with their order. Two pieces of fish, a large and a small, were on the same platter. So one of the men proceeded to serve his friend. Placing the small piece on a plate, he handed it across the table. "Well, you certainly do have the nerve!" exclaimed his friend. "What is troubling you, old fellow?" asked the other. "Look what you've done. You've given me the little piece and kept the big one for yourself," he answered. "How would you have done it?" asked his friend. "If I were serving, I'd have given YOU the big piece." "Well," replied the other man, "I've got it, haven't I? What are you kicking about?" And at this, they both laughed."

Innate selfishness, however, is no laughing matter. How often our old nature demands the big piece! Like the disciples, we try to maneuver for places of authority and leadership. The example of the Lord, who took upon Himself "the form of a servant," is ours to follow. (PRV)

God pity him who lives for self -
That one who does not share
The griefs and joys of other men,
That one who does not care

Too many people conduct their lives cafeteria style - self-service only.

(Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, copyright 1979, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission.)

N.J. Hiebert - 4294

December 27

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered."
(Psalm 32:1)

"Oh! the blessedness; transgression forgiven; sin covered." This truly is blessedness, and without this, blessedness must be unknown. To have the full assurance that my sins are all forgiven, is the only foundation of true happiness. To be happy without this, is to be happy on the brink of a yawning gulf into which I may, at any moment, be dashed forever. It is utterly impossible that any one can enjoy solid happiness until he is possessed of the Divine assurance that all his guilt has been cancelled by the Blood of the Cross. Uncertainty as to this, must be the fruitful source of mental anguish to any soul who has ever been led to feel the burden of sin. To be in doubt as to whether my guilt was all borne by Jesus or is yet on my conscience, is to be miserable. (C.H. Macintosh - The All Sufficiency of Christ)

N.J. Hiebert - 4295

December 28

"If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."
(John 7:17)

Some say, I cannot believe the Bible; I cannot believe it is the Word of God. As a rule these are not the people who know the Bible, who read it thoughtfully and carefully. But if you do read it and you cannot believe it, it is because you are living in some sin the Bible condemns and you do not want to repent of it! Sin blinds men's eyes to the truth. Sin blinded the eyes of the people of Israel to the fact that God was manifest in Christ when Jesus was here on earth, and it is sin that keeps people from receiving Him today.

Jesus Himself said, "If any man will to do His will (that is, if any man desires to do the will of God), he shall know of the doctrine . . ." (John 7:17). If you want to know the truth, you may. If you are willing to obey God, willing to judge your sin, willing to repent of it and ask Him to make the truth known, He has pledged Himself to do it; but it is a very solemn fact that it may never grip the consciences of some people, for they are determined to go on in some sin the Word of God condemns. (H.A. Ironside)

N.J. Hiebert - 4296

December 29

"Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay."
(Jeremiah 20:9)

In this remarkable verse the prophet Jeremiah announces the impossible; he resigns and then declares immediately that he cannot resign; he quits but he cannot quit. Any true preacher can understand Jeremiah's crisis. Almost every man of God has had a spell when he was ready to resign, and knew all the time that he couldn't. A man cannot really preach until preach he must. If he can do something else, he probably should! Paul said, " . . . woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16). Necessity was laid upon him; he had to do it.

Becoming a preacher is not a matter of looking over an assortment of professions - law, medicine, physics, etc. - and then saying, "I think I'll be a preacher." God is not running a cafeteria where you choose your favorite piece of pie. Jeremiah had a holy bone-fire. He did not merely have to say something - he had something to say. There is a lot of difference between pouring out one's heart and getting something off one's chest. Many a preacher has spent an hour airing his pet grievances under the impression that he was speaking for God. Such men are ready to resign when things don't go their way. A preacher who runs a heavenly fever like Jeremiah's cannot resign, even though nothing goes his way.

We are hearing a lot about how hard it is to be a Christian in these perilous times. We sigh for "the good old days" and paint around them a brighter halo than they deserve. "Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou doest not enquire wisely concerning this" (Ecclesiastes 7:10).

When we look at former times, "distance lends enchantment to the view." When was it ever easy to be a Christian? The times have never been propitious . . . As the age draws near to its close, evil is intensified. The devil has pulled out all the stops and stepped up the pressure. But this world is not our rest; it is a training ground for Christian character. You cannot sharpen an axe on a pound of butter. (Vance Havner)

N.J. Hiebert - 4297

December 30

"The Father Himself loveth you."
(John 16:7)

Every . . . believer must hold fast the precious truth that the family of God is one, and that the hearts of the children of God must never move in a narrower circle than the heart of the Father Himself. . . . While joyfully remembering that all who are dear to the Father must also . . . be dear to us, we must at the same time not forget that the Father Himself must have the first place in our affections, and that true love for His children can only flow out when we are in obedience to His word.
(Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert - 4298

December 31

"How much better is it to get wisdom than gold!"
(Proverbs 16:16)

The hardest part of any job is getting started.

Crisis presents danger and opportunity.

We win by tenderness; we conquer by forgiveness.

Not everything that counts can be counted.

A ton of regret never made an ounce of difference.

Lost time is never found again.

Most entanglements are caused by vocal cords.

(A Collection of Wise Sayings - R.K.)

N.J. Hiebert - 4299


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home