Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5270 posted here) sent daily for 17 years -- njhiebert@sympatico.ca

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Gems from November 2012

"So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places."
(Philippians 1:13)

Paul viewed his bonds as being "in Christ."
His incarceration was the result of God's will, not a tragic byproduct of inflexible Roman jurisprudence.
This is why during his imprisonment, he could write:
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4).
No matter what adverse circumstances believers face, they can rest in the knowledge that 
God controls the world and is working its history, as well as their own, toward His desired end.
(Keith Keyser)

N.J. Hiebert - 4962 

November 1

"What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
(Mark 8:36)

What are all the schemes and undertakings which begin, continue, and end in time, when compared 
with eternity and the salvation of your never-dying soul?
They are as the small dust of the balance.

"What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

If you had the wealth of a Rothschild - the money-king,
If you stood on the loftiest pinnacles of literary fame or political ambition,
If your name were adorned with all the honour which the universities of this world could bestow,
If your brow were wreathed with the laurels and your breast covered 
with the medals of a hundred victories, what would it profit you?

You must leave all - you must pass through 
the narrow arch of time into the boundless ocean of eternity.
Men of princely wealth, 
Men of literary fame, 
Men who have ruled by their intellectual power the House of Lords and commons,
Men who have held thousands hanging entranced upon their lips,
Men who have reached the very highest point of naval, military, and forensic distinction,
have passed into eternity; and the awful question as to such is,
"WHERE IS THE SOUL?"
(C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert - 4965

November 2

"We have an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens."  (Hebrews 8:1)

"Thy right hand shall hold me."
(Psalm 139:10)

Our Lord occupies a special position - "On the right hand."  
His is the place of utter supremacy for "angels and authorities and powers [are] made subject unto Him" (1 Peter 3:22).
And what of our place?
Why, we are held in His right hand, so ours is the place of utter security.
Recently, I visited a man who was to have surgery.
As the nurse came for him, he put his left index finger into his right hand, and with a confident smile,
said "God is holding me here.  I know He will take care of me."
What a Priest! What a promise!
(Bob Cretney)

"God will take care of you, through every day, o'er all the way;
He will take care of you, God will take care of you."
(W.S.M)

N.J. Hiebert - 4966

November 3

"Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
(Philippians 4:6)

How far from this our daily life,
How oft disturbed by daily strife,
By sudden, wild alarms;
O, could we but relinquish all 
Our earthly props, and simply fall 
On Thine almighty arms.
(Joseph Anstice) 

How simple:
Careful for nothing;
Prayerful for everything;
Thankful for anything.
Result:
"The peace of God which passeth all understanding, 
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
(W.T.P.W.)

N.J. Hiebert - 4967

November 4

"Many believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them."
(John 2:23-24) 

Man is a creature whom the Lord the Creator cannot trust.  
Adam's breach of allegiance in the garden made him such.  
Man did all he could to sell God's glory into the hand of another.  
The dispensation of the law has proved him to be still unworthy of the confidence of God, 
and this character is here stamped on him by the Lord Himself.
"Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men." 
 He knew what was in man, and He could find nothing that He could trust.  

What a sentence!  Nay, more than this.  Man, as he is, can never be so improved as to be trusted again by God. 
Man's affections may be stirred, man's intelligence informed, man's conscience convicted; but still God cannot trust man.  

Thus we read, that 
"many believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did. 
But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them."  
Man in this was putting forth his best; he was moved by the things which Jesus did; 
but still the Lord could not trust him.  Hence, 
"Ye must be born again."  
(J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert - 4968  

November 5

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time."  (1 Peter 5:6)

"Just For To-Day"

Lord, for tomorrow and its needs, I do not pray;
Keep me, my God, from stain of sin, 
Just for today.

Let me both diligently work, and duly pray;
Let me be kind in word and deed, 
Just for today.

Let me be slow to urge my will, prompt to obey;
Help me to mortify my flesh, 
Just for today.

Let me no wrong or idle word unthinking say;
Set Thou a seal upon my lips, 
Just for today.

Lo, for tomorrow and its needs, I do not pray -
But keep me, guide me, love me, Lord, 
Just for today.
(Anon.)

N.J. Hiebert - 4969

November 6

"The joy of the Lord is your strength."
(Nehemiah 8:10)

Don't let your mind dwell on sadness as it saps the soul of strength.
There is more blue sky overhead than clouds.
The clouds will pass.
I often think how sad we shall be at the end, if we have failed in joy.
I don't want to fail.
(Amy Carmichael)

N.J. Hiebert - 4970

November 7

"Occupy till I come."
(Luke 19:13)

Which is most worthy to occupy our thoughts -
the littleness of our love
or the fullness of that love which passes knowledge?
(G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert - 4971

November 8

"When I am weak then am I strong."
(2 Corinthians 12:10)

If any of us look for power or acceptance from anything that is of man, 
from manner, learning, fervour or eloquence . . .
we are at once off the ground of dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit, 
because we are calling in to our aid that which has its source in man and natural abilities.
(Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert - 4972

November 9

"Pray without ceasing."
(1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Often people think that working for the Lord,
as a missionary or a pastor or an evangelist, is a matter of ability.
Because they have no special gifts in that respect, they think they cannot do anything.
But working for the Lord is far more a matter of availability, and we are called to take our share.
God gave a gift to each one of us.

It is our responsibility to make it available to Him.
One thing every child of God can do is PRAY.
However weak or young or old we are, we can always pray.
And it might well be that prayer is, in God's eyes,
the most important thing.
(Corrie Ten Boom)

N.J. Hiebert - 4973

November 10

"The Lord reigns! Let the nations tremble!."
(Psalm 99:1)

The whole system of my politics is summed up in this one verse
The times look awfully dark indeed; and as the clouds grow thicker - - -
the stupidity of the nation seems proportionally to increase.
If the Lord had not a remnant here, I would have very formidable apprehensions.

But He loves His children; some are sighing and mourning before Him,
and I am sure He hears their sighs, and sees their tears.
I trust there is mercy in store for us at the bottom;
but I expect a shaking time before things get into a right channel - - -
before we are humbled, and are taught to give Him the glory.

The state of the nation, the state of the church - - - both are deplorable!
Those who should be praying - - - are disputing and fighting among themselves!
Alas! how many professors are more concerned for
the mistakes of government - - - than for their own sins!
(Letters of John Newton 1725-1807 - R.L.)


N.J. Hiebert - 4974

November 11

"He that is washed all over needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit."
(John 13:10 - N. Tn.).

In scripture water is often used as a symbol of the cleansing effect of the Word of God.
At conversion the Word is applied by the power of the Spirit, producing a thorough change,
and imparting a new nature, which entirely alters the thoughts, words, and actions of the believer -
a change signified by the Lord's words "washed all over."
There can be no repetition of this great change,
but those thus washed all over may oft-times grow dull of spirit.
As the travelers' feet are soiled and wearied by the dust of the road, so the believer, in contact with the
daily round, the duties of the home-life, and the pressures of business life,
as well as the continual conflict with evil,
may often be wearied in spirit and thus hindered from having communion with Christ in His things.
It is not that he has done anything that conscience would take account of,
calling for confession and the work of the Advocate, but his spirit is wearied and needs to be refreshed,
and such refreshment Christ delights to give if we will but put our feet into His hands.
Turning to Him He will refresh our souls by presenting Himself before us,
in all His perfection's, through the Word.
(The Last Words - Hamilton Smith)

N.J. Hiebert - 4975

November 12

"Fear not, Zacharias."
(Luke 1:13)

"Fear thou not for I'll be with thee; I will still thy Pilot be;
Never mind the tossing billows, Take my hand, and trust in Me."
(Emily D. Wilson)

"Fear not" is a most familiar exhortation in Luke's Gospel.
It is the word of the angel to Zacharias, to Mary, and to the shepherds.
It is the Saviour's word to Peter, to Jarius, and to His disciples.
Whether to an old priest in Jerusalem, 
or a young maiden in Nazareth,
to shepherds of Bethlehem,
to the ruler of the synagogue,
or to fearful disciples,
the word is the same.
And to troubled saints today He still says, 
"Fear not."
(Jim Flanigan)

N.J. Hiebert - 4976

November 13

"My soul thirsteth for God."
(Psalm 42:2)

Man seeks rest in his surroundings;
God gives rest within. . . .
Why those lines of care?
Oh, you know it - insubjection to God, and insubjection to His will -
it is the source of all the care and unrest around us.
(E.P. Corrin)

N.J. Hiebert - 4977 

November 14

"Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied."
(Proverbs 27:20)

"Thou, Lord, hast borne for me, more than my tongue can tell;
Of bitterest agony, to rescue me from hell."
(F.R. Havergal)

The Fraser River in the Canadian Rocky Mountains is named after Simon Fraser who in 1808 said 
that the 200 million gallons of water that flowed every minute through a narrow gorge in its path, 
reminded him of the thousands every day entering the gates of hell.  
He called the gorge "Hell's Gate".  
On passing by this gorge on a train, I took comfort to observe that a few miles down stream
 was a little village called "Hope".  
The Gospel message brings hope for all.  
The gates of hell can be avoided by trusting in Jesus Christ as Saviour. 
(Brian Powlesland)

N.J. Hiebert - 4978 

November 15

"I hate vain thoughts: but Thy law do I love."
(Psalm 119:113)

Hugh T. Kerr, in referring to the story that Napoleon once stabled his cavalry in Cologne Cathedral,
comments: "But that is of little or no account in comparison to giving hospitality to evil imaginations, 
profanity, vulgarity, and all the demons of the house of shame within the sacred inclosure of 
the temple in which the Spirit of God dwells."  
A young man once said with anguish in his voice,
"My chief trouble is with my mind; if only I could control my thoughts!"  
The counsel he received was this:  
"Remember that it is impossible to think two thoughts at the same time.  
Run a good thought in, and the bad one is bound to leave.  
Keep practicing this habit, and, by God's help, you will slowly but surely be 
'transformed by the renewing of you mind.' "

"Let vain thoughts no more thy thoughts abuse,
But down in darkness let them lie."

Think truly, and thy thoughts
Shall this world's famine feed.
(Bonar)

N.J. Hiebert - 4979 

November 16

"He gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability . . ."
(Matthew 25:15)

Which is greatest, gifts or grace?  Gifts are given "to every man according to his several ability." That is, we have just as much given as God knows we are able to use and what He knows we can best use for Him. "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Claiming and using that royal measure of grace, you may, and can, and will do more for God than the mightiest intellect in the world without it.  For which in the clear light of His Word is likely to be most effectual, the natural ability which at its best and fullest without Christ "can do nothing"  (observe and believe that word), or the grace of our Almighty God and the power of the Holy Spirit, which is as free to you as it ever was to anyone?

If you are responsible for making use of your limited gift, are you not equally responsible for making use of the grace and power which are to be had for the asking, which are already yours in Christ, and which are not limited? 

Also, do you not see that when there are great natural gifts people give the credit to them instead of to the grace which alone did the real work, and thus God is defrauded of the glory?  So that, to say it reverently, God can get more glory out of a feeble instrument because then it is more obvious that the excellency of the power is of God and not of us.  Will you not henceforth say, 

"Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me?"  (Kept for the Master's Use - Frances Ridley Havergal)

N.J. Hiebert - 4980

November 17

"The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; But a broken spirit who can bear?"
(Proverbs 18:14)

It was when Jehoshaphat put the singers in the forefront of the army that victory hovered over his host.
When the spirit of praise fills the soul, 
one is enabled to rise above the infirmities of the body and the trials of the way.
But let the joy be lost and the spirit be broken, then defeat is certain.
The saint can rejoice in the Lord, whatever his circumstances
if the line of communication is unbroken,
and the conscience is free.
This will make a victor of the feeblest.
(H.A. Ironside)

N.J. Hiebert - 4981

November 18

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

It was a tiny chick that had gotten away from its mother.
It appeared dead apart from one eye which was slightly open.
I held it in my hands and watched again.
It opened its beak.
As I went about my tasks I held that chick in my pocket.
One hour later it stood and the next day I couldn't pick it from the rest.
How many brothers and sisters might be still following the Lord if a fellow 
Christian had shown them warmth and encouragement?
(Janet Fleming)

N.J. Hiebert - 4982

November 19

"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
(2 Corinthians 12:9)

This is another verse to "How Great Thou Art" which I found in my archives:

When burdens press, and seem beyond endurance,
Bowed down with Grief, to Him I lift my face;
And then in love He brings me sweet assurance
"My child! for thee sufficient is My grace." 

Then sings my soul,
My Saviour God to Thee;
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee;
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

N.J. Hiebert - 4983

November 20

"O Lord my God, I cried unto Thee, and Thou hast healed me.
(Psalm 30:2)

David sent up prayers for himself and for the people when visited with the pestilence.
He went at once to headquarters, and not round about to fallible means.
God is the best physician even for our bodily infirmities.
We do very wickedly and foolishly when we forget God.
It was sin in Asa that he trusted to physicians and not to God. 
If we must have a physician let it be so, but still let us go to our God first of all;
and, above all, remember that there can be no power to heal in medicine of itself;
the healing energy must flow from the divine hand.  
If our watch is out of order, we take it to a watchmaker;
if body or soul be in an evil plight, let us resort to Him who created them,
and has unfailing skill to put them in right condition.
(C.H. Spurgeon)

There is a wider realm for the exercise of prayer than we are wont to imagine.
Surely our bodies which are the temples of the Holy Spirit may well 
be taken to God in prayer when sickness befalls them.

N.J. Hiebert - 4984

November 21

Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word."
(Ephesians 5:25-26)

One may no longer be equal to the heavy physical tasks once undertaken so easily.  
The eye may have become dim, 
The ear dull, the breath short, 
The heart faint, 
The hand unsteady, 
and the golden bowl of life seem nigh to breaking.
But what distresses even more than these, perhaps, is the failing of the memory: 
one cannot remember even the promises or the precepts which, 
in one's younger days, one could repeat so easily.  
A Christian once complained to an aged man,
that he was much discouraged in reading the Scriptures, 
because he could not fasten on his memory what he had read.  
The older friend bade him take a pitcher and fill it with water.  
This being done, he bade him empty it out and wipe the pitcher. 
The other wondered to what this tended.  
"Now," said the older man, "though no water remains in it, yet the pitcher is cleaner than it was before; 
and though thy memory retains not what thou readest
yet thy heart is the cleaner for God's Word having passed through it."  
(Heaven's Cure for Earth's Care)

N.J. Hiebert - 4985

November 22

"For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." (Ephesians 4:12)

It is also the business of every believer to help other Christians to become better Christians. If a brother be overtaken in a fault we are to pray for him, not persecute him. Jesus was out to restore backsliding Peter, to fire him up - not fire him out. Peter was marked "Special"; "Go tell his disciples and Peter."

The New Testament abounds in instructions to love One another, exhort one another, comfort one another, forgive one another, prefer one another, provoke one another to love and good works. We provoke one another, but not to love and good works!

The gifts of our Lord to the church, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, are not for display but "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God." To know Him ourselves and to help others to know Him better!

And as we help in the perfecting of others we are perfected ourselves. Working on ourselves all the time produces a warped saint. Our best improvement comes roundabout, indirectly, as we help one another along. (Day by Day with Vance Havner)

N.J. Hiebert - 4986

November 23

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most high."  (Psalm 92:1)

Nothing so pleases God in connection with our prayer as our praise, and nothing so blesses the man who prays as the praise which he offers.  

I got a great blessing once in China in this connection.  I had received bad and sad news from home, and deep shadows had covered my soul.  I prayed, but the darkness did not vanish.  I summoned myself to endure, but the darkness only deepened.  

Just then I went to an inland station and saw on the wall of the mission home these words: "Try Thanksgiving."  I did, and in a moment every shadow was gone, not to return.  Yes, the Psalmist was right, "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord."  (Henry W. Frost - 1893-1929 - China Inland Mission) 

N.J. Hiebert - 4987

November 24

"O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me."
(Isaiah 38:14)

"The Saviour can solve every problem,
The tangles of life can undo,
There is nothing too hard for Jesus,
There is nothing that He cannot do." 
(Oswald J. Smith 1889-1986)

N.J. Hiebert - 4988

November 25

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
(Romans 8:37)

Have you ever tasted 90% cocoa chocolate?
Its pretty bitter.
Most people don't like it because they are use to milk chocolate that has a comparatively low proportion of cocoa in it.
Life at times can be pretty bitter as well.
Most of us have been in tough bitter spots when gagging it down wasn't a fun or simple task.
Most of us just want the "Milk Chocolate" life -smooth and easy to take, but life just isn't that way.
Life has its twists and turns, so how are we supposed to handle it?
"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." 
(Colossians 1:27) 
(Mud in Your Eye - Gord Penner - Permission granted)

N.J. Hiebert - 4989

November 26

"Whom seek ye?" 
 (John 18:7)

The Lord comes forth to the band of cruel officers and soldiers, as they were, with this word, "Whom seek ye?" - thus addressing them, as in the repose of heaven, which was His.  And He comes forth in the power of heaven, as well  as in its repose - for on his afterwards saying to them, "I am He," they go backward, and fall to the ground. 

No man could take His life from Him.  He has even to show them their prey; for all their torches and lanterns  would not otherwise have discovered Him to them.  Every stage in the way was His own.  He laid down His life of Himself.  They that would eat up his flesh must stumble and fall.

They that desired His hurt must be turned back  and put to confusion. . . .  Had the Son of God pleased, there, on the ground the enemy would still have lain.

He had come, however, not to destroy men's lives, but to save; and therefore he would lay down His own.   (J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert - 4990

November 27

"Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners."
(1 Corinthians 15:33)

Beware of old companionships and associations.  
Sometimes when a convert himself starts brightly, confesses the Lord, 
and seeks to break with his old companions, they, for reasons of their own, 
are not willing to part with him, and move heaven and earth to retain him.
Sometimes it happens that after years love begins to grow cold, and a believer 
begins by slow degrees at first, more rapidly as time goes on, 
to drift back to people and things he once forsook.
Sometimes, most subtle and dangerous of all, 
we entertain the idea that if only we join with our former ungodly associates,
we shall thereby more effectually gain their ear and influence them for good.
This is a great mistake. 
We shall not lift them up. 
They will drag us down.
Experiences universally confirms this statement, and so does scripture.
(F.B. Hole)

N.J. Hiebert - 4991

November 28

"I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
(John 14:3)

Second Coming of Christ 

The truth connected with the return of our Lord can be presented in a way that will make 
the Lord's people so heavenly-minded that they will be of no earthly use.
I knew of an editor who, about seventy years ago, announced that he would not take subscriptions 
to his magazine for the whole of the ensuing year, 
because he was convinced that the Master would return before its close.

That viewpoint would cut the nerve of effort completely.
The opposite attitude is that expressed in the words:
"My Lord delayeth His coming."
Both of these are wrong;
and they will be corrected only if we observe the Saviour's promise and His command.

His promise is : "I will come again," which we most surely believe.
His command is: "Occupy till I come," which we should implicitly obey.
Live as if He were coming today;
Plan and work as if He were not to come in your life-time.
(The Wonderful Book - George Henderson)

N.J. Hiebert - 4992 

November 29

"He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
(John 3:18) 

"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
(Romans 14:12)

Eternity

Once on a time I heard a preacher say:
"Suppose an angel were to start today
From some far star ten trillion miles away,

And wing his way to earth through trackless space,
And pick one grain of sand, and then retrace
His weary journey to its starting place,

Each trip eons of time! So on and on,
'Till earth's last tiny grain of sand was gone,
And still eternity was just begun!"

The mind reels back from such immensity
Of time! . . . Undying soul, where will you be,
Where will you spend your long eternity?
(Martha Snell Nicholson)

N.J. Hiebert - 4993

November 30

"They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness."
(Lamentations 3:23)

Many are the wanderings of our hearts!
But what else can we expect of our hearts?
To His redeemed people, the Lord abides faithful, 
despite the ebb and flow of our feelings and natural inclinations.
We are kept by His faithfulness, not by the efforts of our fickle, wayward hearts.
God's faithfulness is great indeed.
(M. Fern)

N.J. Hiebert - 4994

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