Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5500 posted here) sent daily for 18 years --

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Gems from December 2012

"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

December 1

"Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges?"
(1 Corinthians 9:7)

Whoever goeth to warfare at his own charges?
No; He who calls, equips and sustains;
and the servant has only to learn how to avail himself of what is provided.
The Lord expects nothing from us, except looking to Him, and even for that He will give the power.
(Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert - 4995

December 2

"A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer that a brother." 
(Proverbs 18:24)

A true friend loves and accepts us just as we are, stays close to us in good or in bad, and is always ready to help in time of need.  Because the author of this hymn text found just such a friend in his Lord, he decided to spend his entire life showing real friendship to others.

Joseph Scriven had wealth, education, a devoted family, and a pleasant life in his native Ireland.  Then unexpected tragedy entered.  On the night before Scriven's scheduled wedding, his fiancee drowned.  In his deep sorrow, Joseph realized that he could find the solace and support he needed only in his dearest friend, Jesus.

Soon after this tragedy, Scriven dramatically changed his lifestyle.  He left Ireland for Port Hope, Ontario, Canada, determined to devote all of his extra time in being a friend and helper to others.  He often gave away his clothing and possessions to those in need, and he worked - without pay - for anyone who needed him.  Scriven became known as "The Good Samaritan of Port Hope."

When Scriven's mother became ill in Ireland, he wrote a comforting letter to her, enclosing the words of his newly written poem with the prayer that these brief lines would remind her of a never-failing heavenly Friend.  Sometime later, when Joseph Scriven himself was ill, a friend who came to call on him happened to see a copy of these words scribbled on scratch paper near his bed.  The friend read the lines with interest and asked, "Who wrote those beautiful words?"

"The Lord and I did it between us," was Scriven's reply.

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!  
What a privilege to carry ev'rything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we  bear, 
All because we do not carry ev'rything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?  Is there trouble anywhere?  
We should never be discouraged - take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? 
 Jesus knows our ev'ry weakness - take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden, cumbered with a load of care? 
Precious Saviour, still our refuge - take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, foraske thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer; 
In His arms he'll take and shield thee - thou wilt find a solace there. 
(Amazing Grace - Kenneth W. Osbeck)

N.J. Hiebert - 4996

December 3

"One thing thou lackest."
(Mark 10:21)

"Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold."
(Frances Ridley Havergal) 

When Christ told this very wealthy man, "there is one thing you don't have,"
what do you suppose went through his mind?
The latest sports chariot?
That great Arabion stallion he craved?
The Lord's answer must have surprised him - what he lacked was his great wealth!
It was hindering a complete commitment to God.
What the rich man thought was on the positive side of the ledger was actually on the negative.
May God help us to see things in the light of eternity and use whatever we have simply as tools for Hm.
(Choice Gleanings - D. Logan)

N.J. Hiebert - 4997

December 4

"Me (Paul), who am less than the least of all saints."
(Ephesians 3:8)

Paul could never forget how far God had lifted him.
He was now a part of God's family,
ennobled with an utterly undeserved commission to take the gospel to the Gentiles.
As he meditated on these wonderful facts, he burst out with this statement,
which although grammatically questionable,
is spiritually true.
God cannot use us if we become proud, but delights to use those who see themselves as
"less than the least of all saints."
(D.B. Crudace)

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.
(C.H. Gabriel)

N.J. Hiebert - 4998

December 5

"And they followed vanity, and became vain." 
(2 Kings 17:15)

We will be that which we follow.
It does not matter where we are, or what work we are doing.
What we follow, that will we become.
Follow what is worthless, and we become worthless.
Follow truth, love, righteousness, faithfulness,
and we will become true, loving, right-living and faithful.
Each one of us has a choice.
"Choose you this day" (Joshua 24:15), 
for every day we live we become more and more like that which we choose to follow.  
(Whispers of His Power - Amy Carmichael)

N.J. Hiebert - 4999

December 6

"I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand."
(Exodus 33:22)

God has set us in His Son, hidden us in Him.
As Moses was put into the cleft of the rock,
so God has put us into Christ.
(G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert - 5000

December 7

"Do good . . . hoping for nothing again."
(Luke 6:35)

Love never looks to see what it is going to get in return.
I have generally found that those workers who are all the time looking to see how 
much they are going to get from the Lord are never satisfied.
But love does its work and makes no bargain.
(D.L. Moody)

N.J. Hiebert - 5001

December 8

"Faith which worketh by love."
(Galatians 5:6)

An old writer has said: 
"Faith first worketh love, and then worketh by it.
Just as at first the workman sets an edge on his tools,
and then carves and cuts with them;
so faith sharpens the soul's love to God and then acts by it.
Faith brings the soul to the meditation of the peerless, matchless love of God in Christ,
and at this fire stays the Christian's thoughts till his affections begin to kindle;
after which he bestirs himself for God with might and main."
(George Henderson)

N.J. Hiebert - 5002

December 9

"For we are labourers together with God; ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building."
(1 Corinthians 3:9)

One day in Edinburgh, as the new minister was making his initial calls, he called at the cobbler's shop.  He talked loftily to the cobbler, as we preachers are wont to do when when certain fits of stupidity possess us!  When the cobbler answered back, the preacher in astonishment said, "Man, you should not be cobbling shoes, you, a man with such thoughts and such a manner of expressing those thoughts!  You should not be doing secular work."
The cobbler said, "Sir, take that back!"
"I am doing secular work.  Do you see that pair of shoes there?"
"I do."
"They belong to Widow Smith's son.  Her husband died in the summer.  She nearly died too, but she was kept alive by her boy.  Now her boy has a paper route to help the widow keep the roof over heir heads, and the bad weather is coming on; and God Almighty said to me, 'Will you cobble Widow Smith's boy's shoes so that he won't catch pneumonia and die this winter?'  And I said, 'I will!'  Now you preach your sermons under God Almighty's direction, as I trust you may; and I will cobble Widow Smith's boy's shoes under God Almighty's direction; and in the day when the rewards are given out, He will say to you and to me the same sentence, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.' "  (Walter Binwell Hinson)

There are strange ways of serving God;
You sweep a room or turn a sod,
And suddenly to your surprise,
You hear the whir of seraphim,
And find you're under God's own eyes,
And building palaces for Him,
(Herman Hagedorn)

N.J. Hiebert - 5003

December 10

"Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."
(Matthew 12:36)

God is the sovereign ruler of the world.  He gives no account of any of His matters.  He puts down one and sets up another.  Kingdoms, thrones, governments are all at His disposal.  He acts according to His own will, in the ordering and arrangement of human affairs.  But at the same time, He holds men responsible for their actings, in the various positions in which His providence has placed them.

The ruler and the ruled, the king, the governor, the magistrate, the judge, all classes and grades of men will have, sooner or later, to give account to God.  Each one, as if he were the only one, will have to stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, and there review his whole course, from first to last.  Every act, every word, every secret thought will there come out with awful distinctness.
There will be no escaping in a crowd.  The Word declares that they will be judged  "every man according to his works."  It will be intensely individual, and unmistakably discriminating.  In a word, it will be a divine judgment, and therefore, absolutely perfect.  Nothing will be passed over.

Kings, governors, and magistrates will have to account for the way in which they have used the power with which they were entrusted, and the wealth which passed through their hands.  The noble and the wealthy who have spent their fortune and their time in folly, vanity, luxury and self-indulgence will have to answer for it all, before the throne of the Son of man, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, to read men through and through; and His feet as fine brass, to crush, in unsparing judgment, all that is contrary to God.  (C.H. Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert - 5004

December 11

"Now thanks be unto God, Which always causeth us to triumph in Christ."
(2 Corinthians 2:14)

There is not the faintest expectation of defeat here, 
so when we say or feel that we cannot help giving way, 
we are going straight against the expectation of the Spirit.
Sometimes when we read about victory and peace and so on, 
we find ourselves wondering what the writer has been through.
Is he writing from his armchair or from the thick of battle?

When we read these amazing words we have no such question.
Think about 2 Corinthians 11 of the eight floggings that Paul endured.
Apart from the clamour and misery and injustice, there was severe pain.
One such experience would be enough for a life-time, so we should feel.
Paul had EIGHT.
It makes one feel ashamed of ever making much of anything.
But this is the one who could write,
"Thanks be to God Which always causeth us to triumph in Christ."
(Amy Carmichael - Edges of His ways) 

N.J. Hiebert - 5005

December 12
"Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, 
and He shall strengthen thine heart: 
wait, I say, on the LORD." 
(Psalm 127:14)
Waiting is one of the most difficult things to do.

The world tells us it’s better to do something, 
even if it’s wrong, than to wait “doing nothing.” 
God’s word tells us that waiting on the Lord 
is exactly the right thing to do.  
Those who truly wait on the Lord are not “doing nothing.”   
In fact they are obeying their Lord's direct command.  
When He says wait, we are to wait, 
when He says go, then we are to go.

" . . . hope that is seen is not hope: 
for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 
But if we hope for that we see not, 
then do we with patience wait for it." (Romans 8:24-25) 

Never was a faithful prayer lost. 
Some prayers have a longer voyage than others, 
but then they return with their richer lading at last, 
 so that the praying soul is a gainer by waiting for an answer.  
(W. Gurnall ) (S.L.)

N.J. Hiebert - 5006

December 13

Refined worldliness

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
(1 John 2:15) 

The multitudes of professors among us want as much religion as will save them from Hell--
and not an atom more. 
The world is their real God; gold is their idol--it is in mammon's temple that they worship. 
They are, in fact, worldly men varnished over with religion--that is all. 
Oh, do not trifle with religion. 
Do not mock God and Christ. 
Refined worldliness is the present snare of the Church. 
The young are trained and encouraged by their parents to be "lovers of pleasure."
Parties, dancing, theaters, and such like, are no longer forbidden things to the followers of the Lamb!
Parents! Beware of giving your children a taste for the world's gaieties
(Horatius Bonar)

N.J. Hiebert - 5007

December 14

"And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely ... And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bands were loosed."
 (Acts 16:23,26)

The believer has the joy of knowing that his life is "hid in Christ." He has the choice of living day by day with confidence in the ONE who orders his steps and will direct him in the paths of righteousness for HIS name's sake. There are no circumstances in his life that have not first passed through the permissive will of God, and are formed in the providence of His plan and purpose

In the life of a believer, who is committed and loyal to God, there is no such thing as chance or luck. God often brings us into circumstances that we do not understand, among people that we do not know, into places we have never been that we may trust him in these strange encounters, and bring them before Him in unwavering faith, that the Holy Spirit may work to glorify God through it all. God does not ask us to understand these circumstances, but to trust Him in them, and see His mighty power being manifested in ways beyond our finite resources.

Such encounters challenge the depth of our faith which must be tried before the reality of faith is actual. God brings these circumstances into our lives for many reasons. One that is foremost is to turn our "head faith" into a personal possession. In this, we get constant opposition from Satan himself. It is not a fight sometimes, but always. But God has a purpose in these trying circumstances. He wants to show us that the nature of faith is to make its object real. Faith is the whole man rightly related to God, that activates an unwavering trust in Him, in whatever circumstance he finds himself by the power of the Holy Spirit. God wants the focus of our faith to be centered in Him, regardless of the measure of our circumstances, large or small. The smallest detail in which we follow in simple obedience and child-like faith has all the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it. (Adapted - Daily Devotions)

N.J. Hiebert - 5008

December 15

"Who is sufficient for these things?"
(2 Corinthians 2:16)

"God is able to make all grace abound toward you;
that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things,
may abound to every good work."
(2 Corinthians 9:8) 

Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, 
You will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. 
But if God be for you, who can be against you? 
Are all of them together stronger than God? 
O be not weary of well doing!   
(John Wesley -1703-1791)

N.J. Hiebert - 5009

December 16

Days Gone By

“Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me.” 
(Job 29:2)

Why is it that we are so prone to living in the past?  
Why is it so easy for us to remain shackled to our failure and enamoured by our success 
at the cost of foregoing victory in the present?
 It is a common theme even amongst the great examples of faith in the Bible.  
Job despaired of his life when calamity hit;
Abraham followed his wife’s advice and turned to Hagar (Gen 16) and, 
Elijah despaired of his life after the overpowering evidence of God’s power at Mount Carmel. (1 Kings 19)
 There is no easy answer to that, but God wants us to live in victorious faith in the present, knowing that 
“the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.”  (Ps 100:5) 
 We do well to remember the faithfulness of God in days gone by, knowing that God STILL preserves us today!
 (A. N. Scharf)

N.J. Hiebert - 5010

December 17

"And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach."
(Mark 3:14)

There are two things here - companionship with Jesus, and the ministry of the Word,
the first being immeasurably the more important and blessed.
We are reminded of the Saviour's words to Peter in John 13:8:
"If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me."
It is one of the most marvelous fruits of His grace that men should be 
called to be the companions of the Son of God.

In two distinct senses the present day believer in Jesus has "part with Him":
(1) in spiritual communion now, and
(2) in actual presence in the Father's house eternally.
"Part with Him" now has reference to the inner life of the soul.

The inward is ever more important than the outward.
A man might preach as with the tongue of an angel, to the great admiration of the multitude,
 and yet be spiritually starved within.

To be in hourly touch with Jesus by faith is more important to one's well-being 
than to be in touch with men, however appreciative.
Let every preacher of the Word of life pay careful attention to this.
(Peter the Apostle - W.W. Fereday)

N.J. Hiebert - 5011

December 18

"All the works of a man are clean in his own eyes."
(Proverbs 16:2)

The Lord is just and kind,
The meek shall learn His ways,
And every humble sinner find
The methods of His grace.
(Isaac Watt)

It is remarkable how we see the faults and failures in others and not in ourselves.
We see the splinter in another's eye while we have a plank in our own.
Consider the Lord Jesus Christ who, because there was no sin in Him, 
had the right to expose our sins.
Yet, He bore our sins upon the tree and said, 
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." 
Why not "confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another?" (James 5:16).
We need to stop pointing at others and start cleaning up the man in the mirror.
(Ben Tuininga)

N.J. Hiebert - 5012

December 19

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name."
(Psalm 100:4)

 The place of prayer is a humble place and ere we enter there
We must leave outside our garb of pride and our load of worldly care.

The place of prayer is a quiet place. And at the outer gate
The voice of our will we must firmly still. And bid our wishes wait.

The place of prayer is a holy place, and ere we step therein,
With unshod feet our God to meet, We must put away our sin.

But the place of prayer is high enough to bring heaven's glory nigh,
And our need speaks clear to our Father's ear, and is open to His eye.

And the place of prayer is wide enough for Christ to enter there;
And the humble heart need not depart without that vision fair.

And the place of prayer is large enough to hold God's riches stored,
And faith is the key of the treasury that opens the secret hoard.
(Annie Johnson Flint)

N.J. Hiebert - 5013 

December 20

"He said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel."
(Ezekiel 3:1) 

Resting on the word . . . we are on a sure rock, 
against which all the waves of error dash themselves only to be scattered as mist and foam.
The unchanging God imparts His own character to His own truth, 
and it thus abides through all times as changeless in its perfections as He whose word it is.
(Ezekiel 3) -  Ezekiel was commanded to eat the book 
which contained the subjects of his future testimonies. . . . 

By eating we understand that the word was to be appropriated.
He was to make the message he was commissioned to deliver to his own. . . .
Even eating, or appropriating, is not sufficient: 
there is also the digesting of what we have appropriated. . . . 

Most of us know from our own experience that the process of digesting the truth 
we have really received is often a slow operation;
and also that the truth is never effective in us, or through us, until it has been digested.

N.J. Hiebert - 5014

December 21

We Need a Lift

"Looking unto Jesus. . . ."
(Hebrews 12:2)

We need to lift up our eyes, our heads, our hands. our voices.
All is commanded in the Scriptures.
There are too many downcast disciples, eyes down; 
Too many defeated saints, heads drooped;
Too many hands not lifted in worship;
Too many silent saints who need to cry aloud and spare not,
lifting their voices like a trumpet.
We need a great uplifting!
(Vance Havner)

N.J. Hiebert - 5015

December 22

"We grope for the wall like the blind; and we grope as if we had no eyes; we stumble in noon day as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men." (Isaiah 59:10)

A little mother, leading a baby girl about four years of age, boarded a street car. . . . She sat down and took her daughter upon her lap. Beside her sat a woman who held a lovely bouquet of roses; and attracted by the sweet face of the child with the big blue eyes, the woman took one flower from the bouquet and offered it to the little tot. "Here is a rose for you, darling," she said.

The child looked strangely at her and then drew back. Puzzled, the woman repeated her offer, and this time touched the child's hand with the petals of the rose. The child seemed frightened, for in confusion she quickly reached up and touched her mother's face to attract her attention. The mother turned to the kindly woman beside her and spoke just four words. Upon her careworn face there was a sweetly sad little smile that told an eloquently tragic tale of a mother heart. "My darling is blind."

Blind! Oh yes, physical blindness arouses the emotion of pity in the hearts of all of us, but how much more tragic is the plight of countless thousands of men and women whose spiritual eyes are blind. Oh that men might see and admire the beauties of the lovely Rose of Sharon. (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert - 5016

December 23

"Lord if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean." (Luke 5:12)

The leper was sure of the power, but did not know the love that was there. He carries the love right up to the leper, "and touched him saying, I will; be thou clean."
If man touched the leper he was unclean and put out of the camp.
But He cannot be defiled. . . .
Holiness undefiled and undefilable carries to sinners the love they need.

(Pilgrim Portions for the Day of Rest)

N.J. Hiebert - 5017

December 24

"I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory." (Exodus 33:18)

I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire.

Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth.

Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people.

He waits to be wanted.

Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.

(The Pursuit of God - A.W. Tozer)

N.J. Hiebert - 5018

December 25

" . . . before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." (Isaiah 65:24)

"He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,
how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:23)

He has promised to hear and He has promised to answer!

“How happy it is to believe, with a steadfast assurance,  that our petitions are heard even while we are making them; and how delightful to meet with a proof of it in the effectual and actual grant of them.”

(William Cowper)

“Assurance grows by repeated conflict, by our repeated experimental proof of the Lord's power and goodness to save; when we have been brought very low and helped, sorely wounded and healed, cast down and raised again, have given up all hope, and been suddenly snatched from danger, and placed in safety; and when these things have been repeated to us and in us a thousand times over,
we begin to learn to trust simply to the word and power of God, beyond and against appearances:
and this trust, when habitual and strong, bears the name of assurance; for even assurance has degrees.”

(John Newton)

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”
(Fanny Crosby)


N.J. Hiebert - 5019

December 26

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."  (Luke 2:14).

"The angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: 
and they were sore afraid. . . . Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great 
joy which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day. . . 
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." 
Luke 2:9-11)

In late 2010, 33 Chilean miners emerged from a two month journey of being trapped beneath the earth.  For them, the journey was indeed astounding, but the arrival was everything.
Over seventy years ago from a pulpit in London, Dietrich Bonhoeffer described the image of a man trapped after a mining disaster: Deep in the earth, dark as night, the man is cut off and alone.  The supply of oxygen is limited.  Food, water, and options are scarce; silence and fear are not.  He knows his situation, and he can do nothing but wait.  Writes Bonhoeffer, "He knows that up there, the people are moving about, the women and children are crying - but the way to them is blocked.  There is no hope."

But what if just then, in the distance, the sounds of tapping are heard - the sound of knocking, the sound of friends, the sounds of drills, rescue capsules, and deliverance?  This, said Bonhoeffer in December of 1933, is the hope of Christian Advent: the coming of a deliverer, the drawing near of God to humankind, the arrival of Christ our rescuer.  

Like the Chilean miners, elated at the arrival of Manuel Gonzalez, the rescuer sent 2,040 feet underground to coordinate the procedure, Christ's arrival into our dark world matters most profoundly.  His descent assures our ascent.  But His arrival is not the end of our waiting.  The journey continues.  "Can and should there be anything else more important for us than the hammers and blows of Jesus Christ coming into our lives?" asks Bonhoeffer.  Indeed, no.  Yet even with the hope of Christ in our midst, Advent teaches us how to wait and to watch, how to experience the journey expectantly, though we remain in the dark, though we find ourselves impatient pedestrians anxious for new scenery.  We learn to be pedestrians bent on arrival, but alert on the journey nonetheless:"When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28). 

The world of course is still dark and lonely.  But in it every day is the startling hope of a rescuer in our midst.  "There are actually 34 of us," wrote Jimmy Sanchez from underground, who at 19 years old was the youngest trapped miner, "because God has never left us down here."  The signs and sounds of this hope are all around: sounds of God's reign in unexpected places; signs of Christ in fellow pedestrians; the sounds of saints who have gone before us, and now stand on the solid surface of our hope. (Slice - Journey of Arrivals)

"I will come again and receive you unto Myself." (John 14:3) "Behold, I come quickly" (Revelation 22:12).  
"Even so come, Lord Jesus" Revelation 22:20).

N.J. Hiebert - 5020  

December 27

"I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins." (Isaiah 43:25)

I sat blotting spilled coffee from a pair of those new stain-repellent pants, and with child-like glee saw no evidence of my clumsiness on the trousers afterwards.
"These are perfect for someone like me!", I thought.

By faith we not only see our sins blotted out, as in being covered (Isaiah 44:22), but we rejoice to see them actually removed by the only One who can remove sins.

Daily repentance and confession keeps short accounts, and restores the wonderful joy of His salvation.

He's perfect for someone like me!

(Rick Morse)

N.J. Hiebert - 5021

December 28

"And the soldier's counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.  But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from [their] purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast [themselves] first [into the sea], and get to land: And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship.
And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land". 
(Acts 27:42-44)

Though they all lived (just as the Lord had assured Paul they would), their refusal to listen to his warnings, and their subsequent foolish decisions, cost them everything.  This is not God's desire for your life.
It is the goodness of of God that leads to repentance.  If you have passed through a storm in your life, have repented, and are now seeking to find a life full of meaning, satisfaction and joy, carefully consider the following portion of God's Word.  It so wonderfully and clearly reveals the heart of God towards you.  (The Journey of Life - Doug Nicolet)

"Prove Me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows 
of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
(Malachi 3:10)

"Unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us." 
(Ephesians 3:20) 
N.J. Hiebert - 5022

December 29

God Knows How Much Pressure We Can Take

"Looking unto Jesus  . . . who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame . . ."
(Hebrews 12:2)

Those who have gone through some "long night of the soul" realize that
there is a limit to man's ability to live without joy!
The strongest steel breaks if kept too long under unrelieved tension.
Believe it that God knows exactly how much pressure each one of us can take!
He knows how long we can endure the night, so He gives the soul relief, first by welcome glimpses 
of the morning star and then by the fuller light that harbingers the morning.

Slowly you will discover God's love in your suffering.
Your heart will begin to approve the whole thing.
You will learn from yourself what all the schools in the world could not teach you -
the healing action of faith without supporting pleasure!

You will feel and understand the ministry of the night; its power to purify, to detach, to humble,
 to destroy the fear of death, and what is more important to you at the moment, the fear of life.
And you will learn that sometimes pain can do what even joy cannot, such as exposing 
the vanity of earth's trifles and filling our heart with longing for the peace of heaven
(A.W. Tozer)

N.J. Hiebert - 5023

December 30

"And [Samson] awoke . . . and said, I will go out as at other times . . . and he [knew] not that the LORD was departed from him."
(Judges 16:20)

"When they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His mother knew not of it." 
(Luke 2:43)
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
(William D. Longstaff)

What a tragedy!
To be so busy with our plans that we don't notice that the Lord isn't even with us.
The rigours of daily life will never permit us to have time to be with the Lord,
we must take time
We are mistaken if we think the Lord is impressed with our leftovers.
Spiritually prosperous believers are not products of chance but 
products of disciplined habits.
Cultivating a habit of starting off the day with the Lord will never be wasted.
(Sid Halsband)

N.J. Hiebert - 5024

December 31

"We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
(Romans 8:37)

The grace in which we stand renders the flesh utterly void of power to lord it over us. (Romans 6)
If the law is "the strength of sin," grace is the weakness thereof.
The former gives sin power over us,
the latter gives us power over sin.
(Food for the Desert)

N.J. Hiebert - 5025


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