Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5320 posted here) sent daily for 17 years -- njhiebert@sympatico.ca

Monday, August 01, 2011

Gems from August 2011

July 28

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."
(2 Timothy 3:16)

Careful examination reveals that there is nothing in inspiration that conflicts with the unfettered play of the individuality of the writers of the Book of God. When God made a prophet, He did not unmake the man. The personality, mental traits, and even the forms of literary expression of the divine penmen, were left perfectly free.

- The burning sarcasm of Isaiah.
- The tender, melancholy pathos of Jeremiah.
- The homeliness of the herdsman's son and the gatherer of figs.
- The deep philosophy of John.
- The clear and sharp logic of Paul.

All these were truly and really their own. As every pipe of the organ is so fashioned that it might give one note and not another - and yet all are filled by the same breath - so , these souls, fashioned by the conditions of humanity and the circumstances of their lives, were made each to give out his own note, yet all were filled by the breath of the Divine Spirit, that has made these human and yet divine utterances ring with a melody unquenched and unquenchable. (The Wonderful Word - George Henderson)

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July 29

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world . . ."
(1 John 2:15)

This universe is but the expression of the Father's wisdom and goodness.

Heaven above is softer blue,
Earth beneath is sweeter green!
Something lives in ev'ry hue
Christless eyes have never seen:
Birds with gladder songs o'erflow,
Flow'rs with deeper beauties shine,
Since I know, as now I know,
I am His, and He is mine!"

The Lord loved the lilies of the field. He drew attention to the beauties of nature, they stirred His own soul, and He would have His people see in them the evidences of the wisdom and goodness of the Father. But what, then, is the world? It is that system that man has built up in this scene, in which he is trying to make himself happy without God. You get it away back in Genesis, where Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and built a city, and there what we call the world really began. It was a wonderful world; they were exercised in all kinds of arts, sciences, business, and pleasure, anything and everything to make them happy without God; but it ended in corruption and violence, and God had to sweep the whole thing away with a flood.

The principles of the world that caused the corruption and violence before the flood were carried into the ark in the hearts of some of Noah's children. They brought the world into the ark, and when the new world was started after the judgment of the flood, they brought the world out of the ark with them, and again set it up. (H.A. Ironside)

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July 30

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. . . ."
(Acts 16:31)

The famous French tightrope walker Charles Blondin's greatest fame came in June of 1859 when he attempted to become the first person to cross a tightrope stretched over a quarter of a mile across the mighty Niagara Falls.

It was a sunny day. Large crowds had gathered on both sides of the great Niagra Falls. The mighty waters crashed on the rocks below. Above the Falls, a long tightrope stretched from one bank to the other. In a few minutes the world's greatest tightrope walker would cross it.

Carefully he balanced his long pole and stepped onto the rope. The crowd watched silently. He started across. One dangerous step, and then another, and then... Finally, he stepped upon the bank on the other side. The crowd cheered.

He followed that by standing on a chair precariously balanced over the most turbulent part of the falls. Next he pushed a wheelbarrow full of sandbags across – acting the whole time as if he was in the middle of a wide country road.

Finally, he turned to the crowd and asked, “Do you believe that I can push this wheelbarrow across the rope with a man in it and arrive safely on the other side?” The crowd roared, “Yes, we believe!” “Okay,” Bondin replied, “then who will be the volunteer?” The roar of the crowd turned to utter silence.

"What about you?" Blondin asked a man standing nearby. "Will you trust me?" "No way, not me." The man answered! Not one person volunteered. (During a repeat performance in August 1859, his manager, Harry Colcord, did ride on Blondin's back across the Falls.)

Believing about someone - and trusting in someone, are two different things. It’s the difference between heaven and hell!

“…Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1:12-13

If you have never trusted in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior then trust in Him now!

“…if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved
.” Romans 10:9,10,13

(From the writings of S.L.)

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July 31

"Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."
(Philippians 1:2)

The Epistle to Philippians begins with , "Grace to you," and ends with, "The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (be) with your spirit." And in verse 7, Chapter 1, Paul writes that they were all his "Joint-partners" in this grace. In this grace we all have a share. Well may every one of us sing:

GRACE IS THE SWEETEST SOUND
That ever reached our ears,
When conscience charged, and justice frowned,
'Twas Grace removed our fears.

As we grow older, and learn to know ourselves more and more, perhaps we learn to value more highly that Grace that picked us up, gave us the privilege of hearing the Gospel, and believing it; and, perhaps most wonderful of all, to know the Grace that has borne with us all along the way, through all these years, and has never cast us off, or given us up, but will perform that work, that "good work," begun in us; right on to the Day of Jesus Christ. (Verse 6). It has all been Grace; All must be Grace; right from start to finish. Grace means "Free, undeserved favour." (G. Christopher Wills - Sacrifices of Joy - Being Meditations on Philippians)

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August 1

"If it Were Not So"

"In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
(John 14:2,3)

I thought I heard my Saviour say to me,
My love will never weary, child, of thee.
Then in me, whispering doubtfully and low,
How can that be?
He answered me,
But if it were not so I would have told thee.

I thought I heard my Saviour say to me,
My strength encamps on weakness - so on thee.
And when a wind of fear did through me blow,
How can that be?
He answered me,
But if it were not so I would have told thee.

O most fine Gold
That nought in me can dim,
Eternal love
That hath her home in Him
Whom seeing not I love,
I worship Thee.
(Amy Carmichael)

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August 2

"Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He arose again the third day according to the scriptures."
(1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

We marvel that the Son of God ever left His home above, but He did!
We wonder more at the way He came by virgin birth, but He did!
It amazes the heart that He came to save sinners, but He did!
In order to save us, He died on a cruel cross and shed His precious blood to atone for our sins.
It is beyond human words to explain how He triumphed and rose from the dead, ascended to heaven and now lives forever.
He has promised to come again and receive us (believers) to Himself in heaven.
For you He came.
Come to Him in true repentance, asking Him to forgive you. HE WILL!
(Adapted)

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August 3

"And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmovable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves."
(Acts 27:41)

Had they not given up control of the ship to the storm, those on board would have experienced a far more pleasant landing. The very same thing happens when a believer tries to follow the Lord, while at the same time listening to worldly advice. Children of God walk by faith not by sight, so when a Christian tries to do both, the result is they get stuck - no real progress in the Christian pathway can be made. "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8).

There are two seas which frequently beat upon a believer, hindering spiritual progress by faith. They are the religious world and the natural world. Neither world can help a child of God walk by faith through life. Not only are they opposed to the life of faith, but they often violently oppose each other. A believer who gets caught up in them can receive serious damage in life. Just as part of the ship broke up in the violence of these two opposing forces, so the life of faith cannot be fully and properly lived if following these "two seas" of man's opinions and standards.

Of course the Christian is safe. A believer can never lose his salvation. But the ability to walk through the storms of life, by faith, can be lost in the violence of "two seas." (The Journey of life - D.N.)

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August 4

"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
(Ephesians 4:31,32)

The prayer must wait for its answer until some wrong is taken out of the way. The wrong feeling toward another, the quarrel the bitterness of which remains, the transaction which we are not willing to review calmly because afraid we may have to say that there is sin in it, the plea whereby we justify conformity to the world - are all to be considered when we stand waiting for the answer that does not come. We are made to ask whether the cause is not in something we have done or not done. It will not take a large sin. A small bit of iron will disturb the magnetic needle on a compass. A small grain of sand will grate harshly in the delicate mechanism of the eye. (D.W. Faunce)

The vessel must be clean into which God would pour His richest blessings.

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August 5

The Permanent and the Passing Away

"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you."
(1 Peter 5:10)

Doubting and inconsistency and unbelief are but passing away. Sorrow and pain and trial are not permanent. A few more turns of the clock and swings of the pendulum, and then farewell for ever to sin and failures. Farewell to doubts and fears - a final farewell. We are to be conformed to the image of His Son. We shall be ushered into the reign of light and of eternal realities. Then goodbye Faith. Farewell Hope. I am launched out into one great eternal sea of love. Faith and Hope make very good companions on the road, but not for eternity. They go with us to the gate, but Love is inside. GOD is LOVE.

We shall be plunged into the ocean of love, lost in it, never to come out. It is shoreless, bottomless, and infinite. We shall soon be in a region where we shall know as known, and there will not be a thought or a feeling, which will be unlike Christ. No trouble or sorrow, all will have passed away. The first thousand years in glory will roll along with Hallelujah to the Lamb! Another comes, and we are still praising the Lord together. The pendulum of praise never ceases to swing.

He will be the object of our adoring praise and worship for ever. Eternity! Eternity! Eternity! How long art thou? Not too long to gaze on the Lamb. Then the permanent. Nothing but Christ - the Christ of God, for ever, for ever, and for ever. Amen. (A.J. Pollock)

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August 6

"The Lord delayeth His coming."
(Luke 12:45 )

It is according to what a man has heard and holds with God that there can be any growth. For what is the use of teaching me that the Lord may come tomorrow if I am going on living as though He were not coming for a hundred years? Or where is the comfort and blessedness of the truth to my soul if I am saying in my heart "My Lord delayeth His coming." Though I cannot lose my eternal life, yet if I am losing the truth and light I have had I shall be merely floating on in the current of life, half world and half Christ, and all power of Christian life will be dimmed in my soul. (J.N.D)

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August 7

". . . Even so Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight."
(Luke 10:21)

One day Bramwell Booth went to his aged father and told him that the doctors said they could do no more for his eyes. "Do you mean that I am blind and must remain blind?"

"I fear it is so," said Bramwell."

"Shall I never see your face again?" asked the old man.

"No, probably not in this world."

The General moved out his hand until he felt and clasped the hand of his son. "God must know best. Bramwell, I have done what I could for God and the people with my eyes. Now I shall do what I can for God and the people without my eyes."

Physical handicaps are often a blessing. Edison could have had his hearing restored by an operation. However, he refused; he said his deafness shut out noises and a lot of nonsense and enabled him to concentrate better on his work. Alfred Adler, psychologist, maintains that nearly all civilization is the outcome of efforts to overcome feelings of inferiority, often caused by physical weakness. (Traveling Toward Sunrise)

It must be that when the Lord took from me one faculty, He gave me another; which is in no way impossible.
I think of the beautiful Italian proverb: "When God shuts a door, He opens a window."
(Helen Keller)

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August 8

Prove Anything By Scripture?

". . . no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation."
(2 Peter 1:20)

"You can prove anything by the Bible," is an expression we hear all too often. It is not true - it is a lie! You cannot prove just anything by the Bible if you take the Bible as a whole and remember that no part of it can contradict any other part. There are several hundred so-called Christian sects, denominations, and organizations in America, all claiming to be based on the Bible and able to quote texts to prove it. But we cannot build a doctrine or system of faith on an isolated passage of the Bible. It must be viewed and interpreted in harmony with all the rest of Scripture. Yes, you can "prove" anything by an isolated text taken out of its context. For instance the Bible says, "There is no God." That statement is found in Psalm 14. But the rest of the verse is: "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." That makes quite a difference.

If you are confused by the many different sects, churches, and denominations, study the whole Bible. If a "church" builds its theology on isolated verses and pet doctrines instead of on the Book as a whole, beware of it.

A man asked his friend this riddle: "There was a donkey tied to a rope only four feet long. Eight feet away was a bale of hay which the donkey wanted because he was hungry. How did he get it?" His friend said, "I've heard that one before. You want me to say, 'I give up - and you'll say, thats what the other donkey did too.' " "Not at all," said the man. "It's really quite simple. You see the donkey just walked over to the hay and ate it." The friend, now confused, replied, "But you said the rope was only four feet long." "Very true," was the reply, "but the rope wasn't tied to anything. You mustn't jump at conclusions before you have all the facts.

Only as you study the Bible with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, can you get all the facts and get the true message. Study for Yourself! (M.R.D.)

Lamp of our feet, whereby we trace
Our path, when wont to stray,
Stream from the fount of heavenly grace
Refresh us on our way!
(B. Burton)

"When you have studied the WHOLE Bible you will have found in it the key to your own heart, your own happiness, and to all truth!"

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries. Copyright (1962), Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission."

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August 9

Organ of Knowledge

"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)

The organ of knowledge is not nearly so much mind, as the organ that Christ used, namely, obedience; and that was the organ which He Himself insisted upon when He said: "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God. . . ." It doesn't read, "If any man do His will," which no man can do perfectly; but if any man be simply willing to do His will - if He has an absolutely undivided mind about it - that man will know what truth is and know what falsehood is; a stranger will he not follow. (A thought for Every Day - Henry Drummond)

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August 10

"And He is the Head of the Body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence."
(Colossians 1:18)

May the Lord teach us this lesson - that HE is the only thing that is indispensable to us.

There is always a response to the ministry of Christ.

Christ in some aspect is suited to the need of every soul.

The only object of the preacher is to exalt and make much of Christ. The Spirit's testimony is Christ, and His work is to glorify Christ, and I desire to be in the line of the Spirit, otherwise one could not count upon being used in blessing.

Half the preaching in the world today might be done away with to advantage. Nothing can meet the need of the people but Christ.
There is nothing worth ministering but Christ. (Footprints for Pilgrims - Edward Dennett)

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August 11

Jesus Loves Me this I Know

"Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the Kingdom of God. Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein."
(Luke 18:16-17)

The story is told of a brilliant professor at Princeton who always left the graduation class with these words: "Gentlemen, there is still much in this world and in the Bible that I do not understand, but of one thing I am certain - 'Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so' - and gentlemen, that is sufficient!"

Without doubt the song that has been sung more by children than any other hymn is this simply stated one by Anna B. Warner. Written in 1860, it is still one of the first hymns taught to new converts in other lands.

Miss Warner wrote this text in collaboration with her sister Susan. It was part of their book Say and Seal, one of the best selling books of that day. Today few individuals would know or remember the plot of that story, which once stirred the hearts of many readers. But the simple poem spoken by one of the characters, Mr. Linden, as he comforts Johnny Fax, a dying child, still remains the favorite hymn of countless children around the world.

Jesus loves me! this I know, for the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.

Jesus loves me! loves me still, though I'm very weak and ill;
From His shining throne on high, comes to watch me where I lie.

Jesus loves me! He who died heaven's gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin, let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me! He will stay close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me, I will henceforth live for Thee.

Chorus: Yes, Jesus love me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes. Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.
(Amazing Grace - Kenneth W. Osbeck)

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August 12

"Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity."
(Ecclesiastes 12:8)

The worship of pleasure is slavery. (King Solomon tried pleasure, and found bitter disappointment, and down the ages has come the bitter cry, "All is vanity.")

There is no rest in sin. The wicked know nothing about rest. The Scriptures tell us the wicked "are like the troubled sea that cannot rest." Man, like the sea, has no rest. He has had no rest since Adam fell, and there is none for him until he returns to God again, and the light of Christ shines into his heart.

Rest cannot be found in the world, but thank God, the world cannot take it from the believing heart! Sin is the cause of all this unrest. It brought toil and labour and misery into the world. (D.L. Moody)

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August 13

"Go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you."
(Mark 16:7)

"Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry."
(2 Timothy 4:11)

"Tell . . . Peter" - the man who with oaths and curses had denied all knowledge of the Lord.
"Take Mark, and bring him" - the man who had dropped out of serving the Lord, and had gone home.
The specific naming of these two highlights the Lord's graciousness towards those who have been sidetracked.
He longs to restore such to Himself, and to give them a new sphere of usefulness.
He knows all that has happened, yet He does not cast us off. (G. Hall)

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August 14

"Love covereth." (Proverb 10:12)

Rehearse your troubles to God only. Not long ago I read in a paper a bit of personal experience from a precious child of God, and it made such an impression upon me that I record it here.

She wrote:
"I found myself one midnight wholly sleepless as the surges of a cruel injustice swept over me, and the love which covers seemed to have crept out of my heart.
Then I cried to God in an agony for the power to obey His injunction, 'Love covereth.' "

- Immediately the Spirit began to work in me the power that brought about forgetfulness.
- Mentally I dug a grave.
- Deliberately I threw up the earth until the excavation was deep.
- Sorrowfully I lowered into it the thing which wounded me.
- Quickly I shoveled in the clods.
- Over the mound I carefully laid the green sods.
- Then I covered it with white roses and forget-me-nots, and quickly walked away.
- Sweet sleep came.
- The wound which had been so nearly deadly was healed without a scar.
- I know not today what caused my grief."
(Steams in the Desert)

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August 15

". . . in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength."
(Isaiah 30:15)

Do you know what Luther said?
"Suffer and be still and tell no man thy sorrow; trust in God - His help will not fail thee."
This is what Scripture calls keeping silent before God.
Talk much of one's sorrow makes one weak, but to tell one's sorrows to Him Who heareth in secret, makes one strong and calm.
(Tholuck)

The little sharp vexations and the briars that catch and fret,
Why not take all to the Helper who has never failed us yet?
Tell Him about the heartache, and tell Him the longings, too;
Tell Him the baffled purpose when we scarce know what to do.
Then, leaving all our weakness with the One divinely strong,
Forget that we bore the burden, and carry away the song.
(Margaret Sangster)

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August 16

"He restoreth my soul" (Psalm 23:3).

What should I do if I had to carry the burden of last week's failure!
What, if only looking at yesterday's failure!
It would be like phosphorous eating into the tenderest part of one's body;
but I have got One who is able to restore my soul.
One who does continually and entirely.
You are finding how different you are from Christ,
but He is the propitiation all the way until you see Him and are like Him.
Love in you is very different from love in God,
acting in His own eternity,
showing love by giving His Son to give you life, and power, and love.
Love in God comes out with this thought of separating us from all that we are, into His own blessedness.
(G.V. Wigram)

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August 17

"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)

We greatly admire the answer of a pious, but, no doubt, very ignorant woman to some very learned man who was endeavouring to show her that the inspired writer had made a mistake in asserting that Jonah was in the whale's belly. He assured her that such a thing could not possibly be, inasmuch that the natural history of the whale proved that it could not swallow anything so large. "Well," said the poor woman, "I do not know much about natural history; but this I know, that if the Bible were to tell me that Jonah swallowed the whale I would believe it."

Now, it is quite possible that many would pronounce this poor woman to have been under the influence of ignorance and blind credulity; but, for our part, we should rather be the ignorant woman, confiding in God's Word, than the learned Rationalist trying to pick holes in it. We have no doubt as to who was in the safer position. (The All Sufficiency of Christ - C. H. Mackintosh)

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August 18

"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."
(2 Corinthians 7:10)

"Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of" - as was the case with Peter; "but the sorrow of the world worketh death" - as was the case with Judas. The devil tripped the backslider, and temporarily interrupted his usefulness and his joy; but he trapped the apostate, and led him to eternal doom.

Build on Christ and not upon regret
The structure of thy future. Do not grope
Among the shadow of old sins, but let
Thine own soul's light shine on the path of hope
And dissipate the darkness. Waste no tears
Upon the blotted record of past years,
But turn the leaf and smile, oh smile, to see
The fair white pages that remain for thee.
(Heaven's Cure for Earth's Care)

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August 19

"Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men."
(Psalm 12:1)

There are some who want to get away from all there past; who, if they could, would fain begin all over again. . . .
But you must learn, you must let God teach you, that the only way to get rid of your past is to get a future out of it.
God will waste nothing.
(Phillips Brooks)

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August 20

"Lord, what what wilt Thou have me to do?"
(Acts 9:6)

In order to do God's work rightly, it is necessary that he who does it should not only be diligent, but that he should know what the work is which God requires to be done. This wisdom comes from God only. Our natural reason will not help us in the matter. That which we think the right thing may be just the wrong thing.

Moses might, for example, have reasoned thus, when in Egypt: "I am here among heathen people, having a knowledge of God which they have not. I am in a position of great influence. What can I do better than devote myself to the great work of making God known among the idolaters of Egypt?" How many of God's people might have been fully convinced that no greater and better work could be done than this. But God had another work for Moses, which was, in the eyes of man, perfectly useless and foolish.

It was a blessed thing for Moses that he understood this. Let us who believe in God look to Him for direction. Let us say, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" And till we have the Lord's direction as to our work, let us wait upon Him, rather than bestir ourselves in that which we call service, but which may really be for our own satisfaction, and to the dissatisfaction of God. Moses waited forty years in the land of Midian before God put the work into his hands; and when the right time came, God called him forth.

"My time is not yet come, but your time is alway ready" (John 7:6) were the words of reproof the Lord Jesus spoke to His unbelieving brethren. When God gives work, He gives the right work, and at the right time. (The Life of William Farel - Francis Bevan)

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William Farel (1489-1565)

August 21

"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ."
(Philippians 3:8)

The moment I get Christ as my object everything else will be as dross and dung, and there will be no want of lowliness, because the nearer we get to Christ the less we think of ourselves. I want to know Him, and the Spirit of God is not grieved. The path of the just grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day. His heart is more capable of knowing Christ, and he knows Him better - he is not thinking of self. It is a privilege held out to us that we shall be so perfect that we shall only think of the Lord, and in any measure as we are near Him now, we think of Him and not of ourselves. The Christian looks at himself not only as forgiven, as justified, but as perfect, and going to be like Christ and with Christ. He has a new place; he is in Christ; he has it by the Spirit in faith now, and he wants actually to possess it. (John N. Darby)

“More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love who died for me.”
(Eliza Edmonds Hewitt)
(Submitted by S.L.)

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August 22

"Prayer shall be made for Him continually; and daily shall He be praised."
(Psalm 72:15)

"Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice." (Psalm 55:17)

"He (Jesus) went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God."
(Luke 6:12)

- Sometimes we think we are too busy to pray. That is a mistake, for praying is a saving of time.
- Time spent in prayer is never wasted.
- When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words without heart.
- And help us, this and every day, to live more nearly as we pray.
- The best prayers have often more groans than words.
- We cannot all argue, but we can all pray;
- We cannot all be leaders, but we can all be pleaders;
- We cannot all be mighty in rhetoric, but we can all be prevalent in prayer.
- The whole meaning of prayer is that we may know God.
- Do not work so hard for Christ that you have no strength to pray,
for prayer requires strength.
(A Collection of Wise Sayings - R.K.)

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August 23

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me."
(John 14:1)

Disclosure of unsuspected evil in the circle of the Twelve disciples, the shadow of the great loss they were about to experience, the premonition of the coming denial, cast their gloom over the little company. One of the number - about to betray the Lord - has gone into the night; the Lord is going whither they cannot follow; Peter is going to deny his Master. Sorrow, if not confusion of soul, presses upon their troubled hearts as the dark shadow of coming events creeps over the disciples.

Peter, previously, so forward, is silent. Throughout these last discourses we shall hear his voice no more. For the moment all are hushed in the presence of the disclosure of the coming departure of the Lord, the coming betrayal of Judas, and the imminent denial of Peter. Then it is that we hear the voice of the Lord as He breaks the silence with these touching words, "Let not your heart be troubled." These words of infinite comfort and consolation must have come like balm to the hearts of this sorrow-stricken company.

Yet though the Lord speaks to the Eleven, let us remember, as has been said, "The audience is larger than appears. In the foreground are the Eleven, behind them the universal Church . . . The hearers are men like ourselves, but they are representative men: dear to their Lord in their own persons, as His tender language shows: precious also in His sight as representing all 'who shall believe on Him through their word.' " (The Last Words - Hamilton Smith)

N.J. Hiebert - 4534

August 24

"He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
(2 Corinthians 5:21)

"And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
(Hebrews 10:17)

"Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes ye were healed."
(1 Peter 2:24)

The maitre d' at a classy restaurant refused to seat a couple because the man was casually dressed. However, in kindness, the host left and returned with a loaned jacket. God, too, has a standard of correct attire for us before entering heaven. We need a robe of righteousness. Martin Luther put it this way: "This is the mystery of the riches of divine grace for sinners; for by a wonderful exchange our sins are not ours but born by Christ, and Christ's righteousness is now ours." And unlike the jacket which was loaned for an evening, it is ours for eternity. What a Saviour! (E. Dyck)

N.J. Hiebert - 4535

August 25

"And be ye kind one to another, TENDERHEARTED, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
(Ephesians 4:32)

Tenderness of spirit cannot be borrowed or put on for special occasions; it is emphatically supernatural, and must flow out incessantly from the inner foundations of the life.

Deep tenderness of spirit is the very soul and marrow of the Christ-life.
- What specific gravity is to the planet.
- What beauty is to the rainbow.
- What perfume is to the rose.
- What marrow is to the bone.
- What rhythm is to poetry.
- What the pulse is to the heart.
- What harmony is to music.
- What heat is to the human body.
- All this and more, is tenderness of spirit to religion.

It is possible to be very religious, and staunch and persevering in all Christian duties; possible, even, to be sanctified, to be a brave defender and preacher of holiness, to be mathematically orthodox and blameless in outward life, and very zealous in good works, and yet to be greatly lacking in tenderness of spirit - that all-subduing, all melting love, which is the very cream and quintessence of Heaven, and which incessantly streamed out from the voice and eyes of the blessed Jesus. (Springs in the Valley)

N.J. Hiebert - 4536

August 26

"Giving thanks always for all things unto God" (Eph. 5:20).

We Need Minor Keys Too

No matter what the source of the evil, if you are in God and surrounded by Him as by an atmosphere, all evil has to pass through Him before it comes to you. Therefore you can thank God for everything that comes, not for the sin of it, but for what God will bring out of it and through it. May God make our lives thanksgiving and perpetual praise, then He will make everything a blessing.

We once saw a man draw some black dots. We looked and could make nothing of them but an irregular assemblage of black dots. Then he drew a few lines, put in a few rests, then a clef at the beginning, and we saw these black dots were musical notes. On sounding them we were singing,

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below."

There are many black dots and black spots in our lives, and we cannot understand why they are there or why God permitted them to come. But if we let God come into our lives, and adjust the dots in the proper way, and draw the lines He wants, and separate this from that, and put in the rests at the proper places; out of the black dots and spots in our lives He will make a glorious harmony. Let us not hinder Him in this glorious work! (C. H. P. - Shared by R. L.)

"Would we know that the major chords were sweet, If there were no minor key?
Would the painter's work be fair to our eyes, Without shade on land or sea?

"Would we know the meaning of happiness.
Would we feel that the day was bright,
If we'd never known what it was to grieve,
Nor gazed on the dark of night?"

Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties.
(C. H. Spurgeon)

When the musician presses the black keys on the great organ,
the music is as sweet as when he touches the white ones,
but to get the capacity of the instrument he must touch them all.
(Selected)

N.J. Hiebert - 4537

August 27

Three-Way Christians

"And believers were the more added to the Lord" (Acts 5:14).
"If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed" (John 8:31).
"Ye shall be witnesses unto Me" (Acts 1:8).

What is a New Testament Christian? He is a heart-believer in a crucified and risen Saviour and Lord. But churches are filled with believers who do not continue in His Word and so are poor disciples. Salvation is free - not cheap - and we have only to trust Christ to be believers. But discipleship calls for all we are and have.

We have unwittingly created an artificial distinction between trusting Christ as Saviour and obeying Him as Lord. The New Testament recognizes no such false compartments of experience. "Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ," said Paul to the jailer. No man can be a Christian by knowingly and willfully taking Christ on the installment plan, as Saviour now, as Lord later.

And we are all witnesses, witnesses unto Him (Acts 1:8) and witnesses to the truth about Him (Luke 24:48). We are witnesses of His death and resurrection in our own experience and witnesses to Him in testimony. By life and lip we declare Him; we know Him and make Him known. (Day by Day - Vance Havner)

N.J. Hiebert - 4538

August 28

"Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou."
(Jonah 1:8)

The presence of a Christian, a saint of God (for every true Christian is truly a saint) - the presence of such a one should be a blessing to any company of people. He should be like a light shining in a dark place, a little candle to give light to those about him; but Jonah was very different. Rather than being a blessing to the company of men on that ship, he brought a curse with him. It was he who brought that storm, or at least God sent it for his sake. How very solemn a thing it is if God in dealing with us for our unfaithfulness and sin must bring trouble and distress to those about us!

The Bible says truly, "None of us lives to himself" (Romans 14:7). "This is my own business and and makes no difference to anyone else." Jonah's disobedience made a great difference to those mariners. They got into a terrible storm, they lost their cargo by throwing it overboard in order to save the ship, and all because of the sin of a saint of God.

It is a very searching question to ask ourselves, "Am I a blessing or a curse in the circle where I move?" For certain it is, you have an influence one way or another. True it is that God brought blessing out of all this sin and trouble, and those sailors learned to know the true God through the disobedient prophet. That does not at all excuse him, however, and the sad, sad answer to the mariners' questions was just this, if Jonah spoke the truth: "It is entirely for my cause. It is my fault and only my fault that you have had all this danger and loss." May God deliver us from ever putting our friends and companions to sorrow and loss through our sin and unfaithfulness!
(G.C. Willis)

N.J. Hiebert - 4539

August 29

"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness."
(Lamentations 3:22-23)

Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
(Thomas O. Chisholm)

A jeweler displays a diamond only after he has made careful preparation. First the lighting is set for proper viewing. Next a black, velvet mat is placed on the counter. Only then, does he present the diamond. Against the darkness and gloom of Lamentations, God displays the diamond of His care. Notice the brilliance of His new mercies, unfailing compassions, and great faithfulness. Just look at His promises shining in this dark world!
(Rex Trogdon)

N.J. Hiebert - 4540

August 30

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork."
(Psalm 19:1)

In this new age of video technology, it might be hard to believe that some teachers still feel the best way to depict Bible stories is the low-tech flannelgraph board. I recall that my childhood Sunday School teachers used those flat boards covered with flannel, which enabled them to display cutouts of David, Daniel, Jonah, and all the other characters. The flannelgraphs helped my teachers capture the essence of the Bible story in an artistic way.

Those old-school flannelgraphs aren't the oldest graphic teaching devices, however. God has long had a kind of "flannelgraph" of His own, and and it is called creation. God uses the marvel of creation to instruct us and to display His power.

In Psalm 19:1, David wrote, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork." In creation, God has revealed Himself so clearly that Paul declared, "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen." Those who have the witness of creation are "without excuse" (Romans 1:20). Why? On the flannelgraph of God's creation, we see God's order and design. We see His power and glory. This should lead us to worship. "O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8:1). (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert - 4541

August 31

"Then took he (Simeon) Him (Jesus) up in his arms and blessed God." (Luke 2:28)

"And Simeon blessed them."
(Luke 2:34)

When you bless God you will be able to bless other people, for all service must be carried on in the spirit of worship.
No service is effective that is not the overflowing of the heart.
(Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert - 4542

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