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

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Gems from February 2011

"Ye ask, and receive not because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume if upon your lusts."
(James 4:3)

Here is, in my judgment, the explanation of all unanswered prayer. When prayer is the voice of the self-life, the lust of the flesh, the lust of avarice (greed), of ambition, of self-advantage, coming into the front, God does not heed it, for to heed it would be the worst thing for you and me. But, as I grow into Christ and come to know His thought, and as He grows into me and comes to subdue and control my thought, His will becomes my will, and the words of my prayer become the expression of His will and His word through me, and the Father hears the Son in the supplication of His disciple. (A.T. Pierson)

The prayer life is not the self-life, but the Christ-life within the soul.
What we need therefore for the fullest development of the prayer-life is,
"None of self and all of Jesus." The question, "Am I asking for this to gratify my own pleasure" will help us decide whether we are praying amiss.

N.J. Hiebert - 4330

February 1

"He (Abraham) 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. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness."
(Romans 4:20-22)

God is the God of resurrection. He works when nature is powerless. He so wrought in the case of Abraham and Sarah, both beyond the time when they could naturally be the parents of a child. He so wrought when He raised up Christ, the true Seed, first by bringing Him into the world contrary to nature, of a virgin mother; and second by bringing Him up from the dead. Abraham believed in the God of resurrection, and staggered not at the divine promise though fulfillment seemed impossible. God delights to do impossibilities! What He promises He performs. Fully persuaded of this, Abraham believed God and it was imputed to him for righteousness. In the same way we are called upon to believe on Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead - He who was, in infinite grace, delivered up to death to make atonement for our offenses, and who, upon the completion of His work to God's satisfaction, was raised again for our justification. His resurrection is the proof that God is satisfied. The divine justice has been appeased. The holiness of God has been vindicated. The law has been established. And so the believing sinner is declared justified from all things. (H.A. Ironside - Lectures on Romans)

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February 2

Simply clinging

"He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them and blessed them." (Mark 10:16)

This is what He does when there is no conscious strength, but simple clinging. It is more than turning to His power or His mercy; it is simple repose in the arms of Christ. It just lies there, and has the satisfaction of being taken care of. Here, then, I get confidence. I feel that I simply could not do without the Lord. Is it not pleasant for the heart to be able thus to delight in God? - to be able to say: I am a poor creature, without means, but He has taken me up in His arms, laid His hands upon me, and blessed me; whereas, if I were a man of great natural resources, perhaps I should find it very difficult to give up everything for Christ. (Comforted of God - A.J. Pollock)

N.J. Hiebert - 4332

February 3

"I will bless the Lord at all times . . . "
(Psalm 34:1)

"Continue in prayer and watch in the same with thanksgiving."
(Colossians 4:2)

The twin keys that unlock the doors to His treasure chest: Praise and Prayer! Keys that open the windows of heaven and let the showers of heaven descend! Oh, the power of prayer and praise! It can open every prison door and set the prisoner free.

What it did for Peter and Paul and Silas it can do for us no matter where that confinement may be. Show me a more wretched captive than a worrying Christian whose song has been stilled by Satan. The song of praise and the voice of prayer would open the prison for him, even though it might be midnight in the soul.

To the natural man, "In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving," may seem an impossible injunction. But the Christian deals with the supernatural!

In the Lord's care - in the grasp of His love, all is safe, all is utterly safe.
(Traveling Toward Sunrise)

N.J. Hiebert - 4333

February 4

"Then cometh He to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto Him, Lord, dost Thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him,
what I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter
." (John 13:6,7)

If others accept the Lord's service in wondering silence, Peter, impelled by his forceful character, utters all his thoughts. Three times he speaks, each time exposing his ignorance of the Lord's mind. His first utterance deprecates the Lord's lowly service: the second utterance declines it absolutely: the last utterance impulsively submits to the service, but, in a way that would rob it of all its deep significance. Yet, as one has said, "if we are admonished by the mistakes of the disciples much more we are instructed by the answers which correct them." In the Lord's answer we learn the deep spiritual meaning of this last act of service.

To Peter it was incomprehensible that the Lord of glory should stoop to wash those wayward feet. Hence his first utterance is one of protest mingled with surprise - "Lord dost Thou wash my feet?" The Lord answers, "What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter." Thus we learn that, at the moment, it was not possible for the disciples to discern the spiritual significance of the Lord's act. Hereafter, when the Spirit has come, all will be made plain.

Clearly then we learn that this service was not, as is often said, to teach a lesson in humility by an act of supreme humility on the part of the Lord. There would be no need for Peter to wait for a further day to discern the humility of the act. . . . Now that the Spirit has been given, we can see that it presents the spiritual significance of feet washing. It symbolizes the present service of the Lord. We too are given the privilege of ministering Christ to one another, for only a ministry of Christ will bring refreshment to a wearied soul. (The Last Words - Hamilton Smith)

N.J. Hiebert - 4334

February 5

". . . Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross."
(Hebrews 12:2)

"A soldier can never fight successfully in another man's armour."
(A.W. Tourgee.)

Taking up ones cross means simply that you are to go to the road which you see to be the straight one; carrying whatever you find is given you to carry, as well and stoutly as you can; without making faces, or calling people to come and look at you. Above all, you are neither to load or unload yourself, nor cut your cross to your own liking. Some people think it would be better for them to have it large; and many, that they could carry it much faster if it were small; and even those who like it largest are usually very particular about its being ornamental, and made of the best ebony. But all that you have really to do is to keep your back straight as you can, and not think about what is upon it - above all, not to boast of what is upon it." (John Ruskin - from Thoughts for the Thoughtful)

It is not His cross that is heavy;
It is those that our hands have made
That hinder us on our journey,
On our aching shoulders laid;
There is strength for the load He gives us
And balm for the thorn He sends,
But none for the needless burdens,
And none for our selfish ends.

For His yoke is easy to carry
And His burden is light in weight;
He will do His share of the labour,
For He is a true yoke-mate.
Are we weary and heavy-laden?
Are we anxious and full of care?
That is not the cross of His giving
But the one we make and bear.
(Author Unknown)

N.J. Hiebert - 4335

February 6

"For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."
(John 3:17)

The Divine Intention

The compelling message of John 3:17 is more that a statement of God's intention towards the human race, for in actuality it constitutes a "proclamation extraordinary!" It is a three-part proclamation joined beautifully to John 3:16. We are thus assured that (1) God sent His Son into the world; (2) that He did not send Him to condemn the world; and (3) that He sent Him in order that the world might be saved.

Because I have been so involved with this passage in my preparation, waking up to it, walking with it, meditation over it, I have a burning question within me that I must ask. I suspect that it might be called "the unanswered question." It is not a question about any interpretation of this portion of John's Gospel. It is rather a question about our human reactions to such a moving proclamation from the living God:

Why is there a blank kind of indifference and why is there an incredible apathy to such an extraordinary proclamation of God's best intentions for us? It is not a sufficient answer to say that unregenerated people are indifferent to spiritual things. It needs to be said plainly that there is also an amazing apathy and dullness even among professing Christians. This is a gravely significant message from the heart of God Himself, yet even in the full light of it, people are indifferent.

Upon our eyes there seems to have fallen a strange dimness. Within our ears there seems to have fallen a strange dullness. In our minds there is a stupor, and in our hearts, I am afraid, there is a great callousness. It is a wonder, and and a terrible responsibility, that we should have this message from the heart of God in our possession and be so little stirred up about it! (Christ the Eternal Son of God - A.W. Tozer)

N.J. Hiebert - 4336

February 7

"Ye have not passed this way heretofore."
(Joshua 3:4)

Did you ever notice this verse in any special way? As each new day begins it is true to say, I have not passed this way heretofore; joys that I never met before will meet me to-day; surprises are awaiting to delight me. But other new things will meet us: new temptations, or old ones with new faces, new difficulties, too, perhaps new trials. We have not met any of them before, but look at verse 11: "The ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the earth" passed over before all the people into Jordan. That was enough to make everything right then. It is enough to make everything right now. "If Thy Presence go not with us, carry us not up hence." "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." Strength and peace are in that kind of rest.

"Ye have not passed this way heretofore." This is a new day for you, but He Who loves you meets you at the gate of the day, and at the gate of the new month, and He says, Fear not, the Lord will give you strength: the Lord will bless you with peace. (Edges of His way - Amy Carmichael)

N.J. Hiebert - 4337

February 8

"For we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Romans 8:15)

The child-dry, "Abba, Father," is most suggestive, The one term is Hebrew in the text, the other Greek. For those who are in Christ, the middle wall is broken down. All are one in Him. Together we cry, "Abba, Father." Our Lord Himself used the double term in Gethsemane (see Mark 14:36). Some one has aptly suggested that "Abba" is a word for baby lips, whereas the Greek pateer, or the English equivalent, Father, is a word for the more mature. But young and old join together in approaching the Father by the Spirit. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert - 4338

February 9

"Then one said unto Him, Behold, Thy mother and Thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with Thee. But He stretched forth His hand towards His disciples, and said, Behold My mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother."
(Matthew 12:47,49,50)

- Spiritual ties, if sometimes slighted, are never sundered.

- I feel increasingly that the bond which knits our hearts together is indestructible because it is Christ. Human affection is beautiful in its place, and the heart gets at times very hungry for it, but Christ alone can satisfy.

- Domestic happiness is sometimes a great barrier to waiting for the Lord. It may come between the soul and Christ, and thus the Lord strips some of us, and we wait, and are solitary while waiting, because He cannot trust us with too much affection in this world. He loves us so much that He is jealous over us, and wants us for Himself.
(Edward Dennett)

The circle of Thine own
My heart must hold most dear,
The dwelling of the HOLY ONE,
Who represents Thee here.

But oh! when this is past,
"Far better" lies beyond
With Thee, who mad'st that circle loved,
Who art Thyself its bond.

N.J. Hiebert - 4339

February 10

"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up." (James 4:10)

Low at Thy feet, Lord Jesus, This is the place for me,
Here I have learned deep lessons - Truth that has set me free.

Free from myself, Lord Jesus, Free from the ways of men;
Chains of thought that have bound me, Never shall bind again.

None but Thyself, Lord Jesus, Conquered this wayward will;
But for Thy love constraining, I had been wayward still.

We never get God's fullest blessing till we are where the flesh is brought down and destroyed . . .
We cannot get into the simple joy and power of God till we accept the place of lowliness and humiliation - till the heart is emptied of what is contrary to the lowliness of Christ.
(J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert - 4340

February 11

"He (Uzziah) was marvelously helped, till he was strong. But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction."
(2 Chronicles 26:15,16)

- First note that though a man's obedience is imperfect, God may bless him. This is encouraging. If it were not true, none would be blessed.

- Secondly, God's blessing is not proof that God approves of all my conduct. His precepts, and not my prosperity, are to be my guide.

- Thirdly, because my heart is deceitful, today's blessings may provoke tomorrow's downfall.

Safety lies in walking with God every day.

"The Lord bless thee, AND keep thee" (Numbers 6:24)
(C.F. Anderson)

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February 12

"I Believe God"

"I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me."
(Acts 27:35)

"I believe" - but, do I? Am I sure?
Can I trust my trusting to endure?
Can I hope that my belief will last?
Will my hand forever hold Him fast?
Am I certain I am saved from sin?
Do I feel His presence here within?
Do I hear Him tell me that He cares?
Do I see the answers to my prayers?
Do no fears my confidence assail?
Do I know my faith will never fail?

"I believe" - ay, do I! I believe
He will never fail me, never leave;
I believe He holds me, and I know
His strong hand will never let me go;
Seeing, hearing, feeling - what are these?
Given or withheld as He shall please.
I believe in Him and what He saith;
I have faith in Him, not in my faith;
That may fail, tomorrow or today,
Trust may weaken, feeling pass away,
Thoughts grow weary, anxious or depressed;
I believe in God - and here I rest.
(Annie Johnson Flint)

N.J. Hiebert - 4342

February 13

"To know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."
(Ephesians 3:19)

Love is Silence - when your words would hurt.
Love is Patience - when your neighbour's curt.
Love is deafness - when a scandal flows.
Love is Thoughtfulness - for others' woes.
Love is Promptness - when stern duty calls.
Love is courage - when misfortune falls.

The three cardinal virtues of the Christian life are faith, hope, love, with love as the greatest (1 Corinthians 13:13). These virtues in a person's life are the most convincing evidences of a personal relationship with Christ. True faith must always lead to a life of love for God and others. It also gives purpose for this life and glorious hope of spending eternity with our Lord Jesus Christ. Our love relationship with others should be characterized as sacrificial, sensitive and sharing. We should relate to people even as Jesus did. He loved individuals simply for themselves and met and accepted them at the place of their personal need.

Love divine, all praise excelling, joy of heaven, to earth come down!
Bless us with Thy rich indwelling, all Thy faithful mercies crown!
Saviour, Thee we'd still be blessing, serve Thee here as soon above,
Praise Thee, Saviour, without ceasing, glory in Thy dying love
(Charles Wesley)

N.J. Hiebert - 4343

February 14

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

It is said that George Muller kept on his desk a motto bearing the central words of our text, "AND TODAY." Well might he do so and surely few men have demonstrated better the truth of it. It is not difficult to believe in Jesus Christ the same yesterday. And He will prove one day that He is the same forever. But "Jesus Christ the same today" - what a time we have with that middle span! Amid the dull monotony of things as they are, when the skies seem leaden and nothing breaks on the uninteresting scene, it is easier to visualize the Christ of the Galilean Past or the Christ of the Glorious Future than to expect great things from the Christ of the Glamour-less now.

But our text stoutly insists "and today." We may not see Him in the flesh as they saw Him yesterday, and we see not yet all things put under Him as one day we shall, but He said He would be with us "all the days," and that includes today.

Is not many a Christian experience like this verse with "and today" in very fine type - strong in faith in the Christ of yesterday and forever, but very weak in faith in His presence and power today? (Day by Day with Vance Havner)

N.J. Hiebert - 4344

February 15

"A little child shall lead them."
(Isaiah 11:6)

- One of the most influential handclasps is that of a grandchild around the finger of a grandparent.

- You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

- The smallest light is seen in the darkest night.

- The roots grow deep when the winds blow strong.

- Tomorrow is God's secret, but today has been given to you.
(A Collection of Wise Sayings - R.K.)

N.J. Hiebert - 4345

February 16

"Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Him (Jesus): and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead . . . And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see Him."
(Luke 9:7,9)

Do you think you have done with sin, when you have committed it? One thing is certain: It has not done with you. The charm of sin is gone, the moment it is perpetrated. That is your way of disposing of sin, but conscience which "makes cowards of us all," lets you know that it has not done with you. Herod had beheaded John long before, but now it was said of some that John was risen from the dead, and he is perplexed. Here the worm that never dies was doing its business. I am not of course determining its eternity, but the Lord in such cases lifts the veil from hell, and shows us the worm at its work and the fire at work (Mark 9:44). Herod could not rest. How could he? The murderer of the great witness of God in the world at that moment! If the sinner does not fly to the fountain opened for sin, it will never have done with him. (The Present Testimony - August, 1866)

N.J. Hiebert - 4346

February 17

"Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee." (Psalm 119:11)

Satan has but One desire

Just as he desires but one thing for the unbeliever - to keep him away from Christ and His Cross, so he desires but one thing for the believer - to nullify his life and his testimony. This can be done in two ways. Satan will try both on the believer if one fails. First he will seek to keep the believer from advancing in the Christian life. This can be done in many ways. SIN will do it; INDIFFERENCE will do it; CARELESSNESS will do it; WORLDLINESS will do it. For all these things keep men away from the Bible and it is only by the Word of God that we can advance in true Christian character.

We read that we are like new born babes and so are to desire the sincere milk of the Word that we may grow thereby. Tell me How much time you spend with the Word of God in the course of a day or a week and I will be able to make a pretty accurate estimate of the value of your Christian life. D. L. Moody had written in the front of his Bible: "This Book will keep you from sin: and sin will keep you from this Book." David wrote: "Thy Word have I hid in heart, that I might not sin against Thee." Christ proved this by defeating Satan with the flashing sword: "It is written"; "It is written." (Happy Though Poor - Donald Grey Barnhouse)

N.J. Hiebert - 4347

February 18

"The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
(1 Corinthians 1:18)

Men naturally despise the cross, who do not believe either that their sins deserve divine judgement or that He in grace bore the judgment thereon. Their depth of need is unfelt, and hence other and lesser objects occupy them. The world is preoccupied or turns elsewhere: "since both Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek wisdom." Visible tokens were vouchsafed (guaranteed) of God when He sent the Lord Jesus to the land of Israel. Never since the world began had there been such a cloud of witnesses in this kind; but what can satisfy the heart where all is alienated from God? The Jews overlooked all He gave and asked for a sign as if none had appeared. Greeks expected nothing from God; but, if the object of their search was wisdom, they never learned its first lesson in the fear of Jehovah. (William Kelly - Notes of 1 Corinthians)

N.J. Hiebert - 4348

February 19

"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it know unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." (Daniel 3:17,18)

Those Hebrews spoke respectfully, but firmly. And mark, they did not absolutely say that God would deliver them from the burning fiery furnace; but they declared that He was able to deliver them. They had no doubt about His ability to do it. They believed that He could do it; but they did not hide from themselves the possibility of King Nebuchadnezzar being allowed to carry out his threats. Still, that did not greatly move them. "But if not" - if in His inscrutable purposes He allows us to suffer - "still our resolve is the same: we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." They were not afraid to pass from the presence of the king of Babylon to the King of kings. (Daily Gems - D.L Moody)

N.J. Hiebert - 4349

February 20

"Believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
(1 Peter 1:8,9)

The biggest telescope in the world is an 8,000 kilometer-wide radio telescope stretching from the Virgin Islands to Hawaii. The VLBA (Very Long Baseline Array) telescope consists of a series of 10 computer-steered antennas, each weighing 240 long tons and standing 25 meters wide and nearly 30 meters tall. It can record high resolution images of celestial bodies that are billions of light-years away. With this telescope you could read a newspaper in Los Angeles from Washington, D.C., 5000 kilometers away!

Christians also have their own most powerful telescope. F.B. Hole has written that "faith is the telescope of the soul, bringing into the field of our spiritual vision what is unseen to mortal eyes." By faith we are able to discern the great blessings of our God and Father towards us. There are three such blessings among others:

1. A living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
2. An inheritance that can never perish, kept in heaven for us, and,
3. The salvation of our bodies, ready to be revealed at the Lord's coming (1 Peter 1:3-5).

We are already receiving the salvation of our souls. A telescope is not needed to bring closer an object already being held in our hands! So it is with the salvation of our souls. That salvation is something we have forever, something the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ cannot lose because the price for our redemption has been paid by Christ Himself. May we bless the Lamb of God and, with thankful hearts, cherish such great salvation. (The Lord is Near 2007 - (E.R. Pigeon)

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February 21

"He hath . . . determined the times before appointed."
(Acts 17:26)

Our life is determined for us, and it makes the mind very free when we give up wishing, and only think of bearing what is laid upon us and doing what is given us to do.
(George Eliot)

N.J. Hiebert - 4351

February 22

"God the Father, Who raised [Christ] from the dead."
(Galatians 1:1)

All the Godhead was involved in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, but this verse specifically mentions God the Father. By raising Christ from the dead, the Father emphatically declared that the work of His Son was acceptable in every detail: sufficient, complete, and victorious; never to be repeated. We rejoice in His accomplishment and praise God for such a risen, conquering Lord. Nothing can be added or subtracted from His finished work. (G.F. Wyley)

N.J. Hiebert - 4352

February 23

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God: and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God."
(1 John 4:7)

To love is a commandment and we are given everything by God to carry it out:

- An object - Christ,
- A channel - the Holy Spirit,
- A subject - others.

The witness of His Spirit settles whether our love is of God or not. He enlarges our capacity greatly to love others, we being so small hearted and self-centered. As we journey through life we begin to see and feel the needs that He did and given guidance, comfort and power to meet them as we remember and present Christ's love for us. The mark of our maturity is the measure of our love for others, ignoring barriers both natural and physical, social, etc. and meeting all needs spiritually.

God demands practicalness from His own. When He abides in us, He provides power to become like Him and do what He does. The proof of His existence is found in us and our behaviour towards others. We cannot claim to love God and ignore those that He loves. (Meditations in 1 John - B.R.)

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February 24

"But he (Stephen), being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing, on the right hand of God." (Acts 7:55-56)

Looking at past failure, you will constantly find that it arose from settling things according to circumstances. I cannot settle anything myself; if I am in His presence, I get my guidance from the Lord in His circumstances - from the Son of God up there. It is a blessed fact that there is a Man in heaven, in the highest possible glory on the throne of God, and that Man has a heart to enter into everything, where His people would not be able to move for themselves. Is His heart less occupied, His eye less fixed on me than it was on Stephen? No; the curtain was drawn back for him, and I never expect that, but it is equally true to faith. (Gleanings From the Teaching of G.V. Wigram)

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February 25

". . . in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God."
(Philippians 4:6)

Skies seemed dark to me one morning
And my thoughts were tinged with gloom,
But my eye fell on a motto
That was hanging in the room;
Silvery letters in blue back-ground
Heavenly thought on shining wings,
Brought me hope in one brief message;
It was this: "Prayer changes things!"

Things surround like iron mountains
Things that make a thorny way,
Things that curtain clouds with doubting,
Things that make it hard to pray;
Dreadful things that never happen
Dog our steps, but faith still sings,
In our ears this hopeful message,
"Don't forget: Prayer changes things!"

When we think that our surroundings
Keep us from the heavenly way,
Or that wealth or chance will help us
In some distant place or day;
Let's remember 'tis our Saviour,
Not environment, that brings
Strength and blessing, peace and pleasure,
Here's the way: "Prayer changes things!"
(Raymond Browning)

N.J. Hiebert - 4355

February 26

". . . Neither is this a work of one day or two . . ."
(Ezra 10:13)

The Swedish Nightingale, Jenny Lind, said, "The greater part of what I can do I have myself acquired by incredible labour in spite of astonishing difficulty."

Paderewski stated that, "Genius is three-quarters drudgery. I at one time practiced day by day, year after year, until I became almost insensible to sound - became a machine, as it were."

The world called Paderewski a genius, but Paderewski was a drudge before he became a genius.

Beethoven surprised the world with his musical ability before he had reached his teens.

Triumph and toil are twins.
(Mountain Trailways)

N.J. Hiebert - 4356

February 27

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed."
(2 Corinthians 4:8)

Have you ever heard skeptics say that the Christian faith is nothing more than a crutch - that the only reason people claim to trust Jesus is that they are weaklings who have to make up "religion" to get by?

Apparently those skeptics haven't heard about the doctor in one Far Eastern country who spent 2 1/2 years in jail being "reeducated" because he professed faith in Christ. Then after his release, he was arrested again - this time for his efforts at his church.

And perhaps those skeptics haven't heard about Paul. After trusting Christ, he was arrested, flogged, mocked, and shipwrecked (2 Corinthians 11:16-29).

These believers were not looking for a crutch. No, they had something deep and essential in their hearts. They had a personal relationship with God - a relationship born of faith in the work of Jesus on the cross. As a result, they became children of God - eager to sacrifice everything for the privilege of proclaiming Him. They were not limping along looking for something to hold them up.

A crutch? Hardly. Faith in Christ is not about safety and caution. It's about believing Jesus and trusting Him no matter what. It's about taking up a daily cross (Luke 9:23) and living for the Saviour. (Dave Branon)

"Take up your cross," the Saviour said,
"If you would My disciple be;
Take up your cross with willing heart
And humbly follow after Me.

Because Jesus bore the cross for us, we willingly take it up for Him

Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 2010, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission.

N.J. Hiebert - 4357

February 28

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

We should be in the spirit of waiting pilgrims, not weary ones.

You must not call yourself old as if you were tired.
The Lord is never weary, yet the Ancient of Days;
you have to renew your strength as an eagle to bear fruit in old age.

The source of real strength is in the sense of the Lord's being gracious.
The natural man in us always disbelieves Christ as the only source of strength and every blessing.

His way is "in the sanctuary" if His way is "in the sea," and if we are with Him there, the sea bows to His power; but to none else . . . when he works all is soon still.

Oh, if the Lord Himself was not the workman, how hopeless would be the thought of reaching all the souls that are in need.
It is a comfort then to be able to look to Him, that His eye and grace may reach them.

I have only one precious word to say to you: keep close to Jesus, you know you will find there joy, strength, and that consciousness of His love which sustains everywhere and makes everything else become nothing, there is our happiness and our life.
(Pilgrim Portions for the Day of Rest - J.N.D.)

N.J. Hiebert - 4358


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