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

Friday, February 01, 2013

Gems from February 2013

The Lord's Second Coming in 1 Thessalonians

"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout . .
The dead in Christ shall rise first . . .
We which are alive and remain shall be caught up together
with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air:
And so shall we ever be with the Lord."

It is the great incentive to service-----------------------(Chapter 1)
It is the time of reward for soul-winning -------------(Chapter 2)
It establishes the heart in holiness---------------------(Chapter 3)
 It is the bereaved Christian's supreme comfort-----(Chapter 4)
It is the consecrated Christian's glad hope-----------(Chapter 5)
(The Wonderful Word - George Henderson)

N.J. Hiebert - 5056

February 1

"But Peter said unto Him, although all shall be offended, yet will not I."
(Mark 14:29)
But he (Peter) began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak." 
(Mark 14:71)

It has been pointed out that Peter made four errors, which we often make.
He boasted too much.
He prayed too little (Mark 14:32-42).
He acted too hastily (Mark 14:46-49).
He thought too late (Mark 14:70-72). 
When he heard the cock crow, he realized where his impulsive life had led him.
By God's grace may we seek to avoid Peter's mistakes.
(W. Ross Rainey)

Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Saviour, know my thoughts I pray.
See if there be, some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from ev'ry sin and set me free.
(J. Edwin Orr)

N.J. Hiebert - 5057

February 2

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
(Philippians 4:13) 

"Many Christians estimate difficulty in the light of their own resources, and thus they attempt very little and they always fail.
All giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His power and presence to be with them." 
(Hudson Taylor - 1832-1905 - China Inland Mission - SL)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 N.J. Hiebert - 5058

February 3

"And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them."
(Luke 24:15)

There is something very comforting about that: Jesus was there!  But they did not know it.  They did not realize it, and I think often times the same is true with us.  Sometimes we are going through trials, bewilderments, sorrow, disappointments, and we feel so utterly alone, we fee as though no one cares, but if our eyes could only be opened - like the eyes of that servant of Elisha in Dothan, so long ago, when he saw the angels of the Lord encamped around them to protect them from their enemies - we might have a similar experience.

The eyes of these two disciples (on the road to Emmaus) were holden so that they did not know who the Stranger was.  They were not expecting Him and did not recognize Him.  That He was marvelously changed there can be no doubt.  He was no longer the Man of Sorrows, but the triumphant Christ, every trace of care and grief having vanished from His face.  They thought, perhaps, He was a visitor, a mysterious Stranger, walking close to them.

Drawing near He put the question to them, "What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another?"  He knew well, but He would draw them out, have then express themselves in order that He might open to them the truth of the Word of God in regard to the great matters of His death and resurrection.

They had overlooked in the Bible the very things they were wondering about.  The prophet had testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow His resurrection. 

Our Lord would have us bring to Him our griefs and our burdens.  He delights to have us come to Him and tell Him everything that is on our hearts, and He is ever ready to comfort, lead, instruct, and help.  (H.A. Ironside)

N.J. Hiebert - 5059     

February 4

"By reason of breakings they purify themselves."
(Job 41:25)

Do you know the lovely fact about the opal gem:
that, in the first place, it is made of desert dust, sand and silica,
and owes its beauty and preciousness to a defect?
It is a stone with a broken heart.
It is full of minute fissures, which admit air, and the air refracts the light.
Hence, its lovely hues and that sweet "lamp of fire" that ever burns at its heart;
for the breath of the Lord is in it.
You are only conscious of the cracks and desert sand, but so He makes His precious opals.  
We must be broken in ourselves before we can give back the lovely hues of His light,
and the lamp of the temple can burn in us and never go out.
(Ellice Hopkins - Springs in the Valley)

N.J. Hiebert - 5060

February 5

"I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."
(John 9:4)

How constant was Jesus in the service of His heavenly Father!
"And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, 
and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed" (Mark 1:35).
When His communion was over, His public work began.  It mattered not to Him where He was,
". . . gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth" (Luke 4:22).
We find that, while crossing the Lake of Tiberius after a day of unremitting duty, exhausted,
"He fell asleep" (Luke 8:23).   He redeemed every precious moment.  Oh that we would follow 
His example, remembering that each of us has some mission to perform for God.
Religion is not a thing of dreamy sentimentalism, but of energetic practical action!
We believe that God thinks, regarding the attempt of many a humble Christian to serve Him,
"I saw that effort, that feeble effort to serve and glorify Me; it was the very feebleness of it that I loved!"

Did it ever strike you that, notwithstanding the dignity of Christ, and the activity of Christ
He met with so little apparent success with his public work?
May not this well encourage us in the absence of great outward results?
The Lord has set up no higher standard that this:
"She hath done what she could" (Mark 14:8).
(J.R. MacDuff - The Lord is Near)

N.J. Hiebert - 5061

February 6

"Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."
(John 15:8)

Lord Jesus, make Thyself to me,
A living, bright reality,
More present to faith's vision keen
Than any outward object seen;
More dear, more intimately nigh,
Than e'en the dearest earthly tie. 

Fruit is produced rather by rest than by motion.
It is enjoyment rather than employment.
It is produced by abiding - 
staying where you are - 
in the enjoyment of the fullness of His love.
Fruit is really what you are instead of what you do.
It is character rather than conduct.
Fruit is produced by abiding.
And "abiding" is when you are more aware of His presence than of that of others around you; 
when it seems strange to talk of Him in the third person as if He were not present.
(A. Van Ryn) 

N.J. Hiebert - 5062

February 7

"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." (John 7:24)

These words of the Lord Jesus make us question our attitude toward others.

It is so easy to come to conclusions about other believers' spiritual integrity by relying on superficial appearances or hearsay gossip.

Spend time listening and getting to know people, and you may well find that they have an inner depth and sincerity which far outweighs your own!
(Brian Russell)

N.J. Hiebert - 5063

February 8

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
(1 Corinthians 10:31)  

For those who say "I don't see any harm in it."
- Is the dust of worldliness in your eyes?
- Are you willing to see any harm in it?
- Will you see any harm in it on a dying bed?
- Would you like Christ to see you in the act?
- Do the best Christians you know see harm in it?
- Is it consistent with "The World is crucified unto me and I unto the world"? 
- Can you commune with God as freely after it?
- Can you look to God for blessing in the midst of it?
- How will it look at the judgment seat of Christ?

Should I do it?  Should I say it?  Should I think it?  Answer me!
Should I hear? or write? or read it? Should I go? or should I see?
So the endless "Ors" or "Why nots?" seek an answer to their probe;
Yet God's Word is all-sufficient, all these reasonings to disrobe.
(M.Carter)

N.J. Hiebert - 5064

February 9

“Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” 
(John 13:23)

And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory." 
(Romans 9:23)

We make a most serious mistake, when, in any time of need or pressure, 
we turn to the creature for help or sympathy. 
We are sure to be disappointed. 
Our Father will allow us to prove the vanity and folly of all creature-confidences, 
human hopes, and earthly expectations. 
And on the other hand, He will prove to us, in the most touching and personal manner, 
the truth and blessedness of His own Word, 
“They shall not be ashamed that wait for Me” Isaiah 49:23. 
No, never! He, blessed be His name, never fails a trusting heart. 
He cannot, nor would He, deny Himself. 
He delights to take occasion from our needs, our woes and weaknesses, 
to express and illustrate His tender care and loving-kindness, in a thousand ways.  
(C.H. Mackintosh - SL)
“One there is above all others
Oh how He loves!”

N.J. Hiebert - 5065

February 10

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is."
(1 John 3:2)

The Father's house, the Father's bosom, was to be the resting-place of the church:
nothing could satisfy that Son, but her being there where He had rested from all eternity.
But we have this place of rest now - we shall never be more sons than we are now
else, where were the force of that word: "NOW are we the sons of God"?
I have got the best part now, He has made me a son, 
has given me to see and enter in the communion of the Father and the Son,
to take the delight of the Father over His Son, as a fresh taste of heavenly joy in my soul every day.
If I am in trial down here, I know the Father is in perfect rest up there,  
and my fellowship is with Him and with His Son.
(Gleanings From the Teaching of G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert - 5066 

February 11

"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
(2 Timothy 2:1,3)

From dullness to a friendly word,
From deafness to the song of bird,
From blindness to the birds and flowers 
That grow among the rocky hours,
From all that would ungratefully
Becloud my sky, deliver me.

From craven inner selfishness
Whatever be its outward dress,
From fainting when the goal is near,
From faltering in my song of cheer,
From all that is unsoldierly,
Captain of souls, deliver me. 
(Amy Carmichael)

N.J. Hiebert - 5067

February 12

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
(John 3:16)

In the deepest sense, love is a prerequisite of the whole Christian faith.  It begins with God since His basic attribute is love (1 John 4:8).  The Father then supplied a model of sacrificial love by providing salvation for man through the atoning work of Christ.  Also He gave us the indwelling Holy Spirit so we could respond to Him and seek to imitate His love in service to others.  How our society languishes for a living demonstration of God's love by Christians in every relationship of life!

Reflecting seriously on God's redemptive love in sending His only Son to suffer and die for each of us personally should create within us a deep sense of unworthiness and devotion.  Why should the Creator of the universe do all this for me?  I was rebellious, a sinner, an enemy of God . . . yet He pursued and loved me.  The amazing thrill of the gospel is that we do not have to become good first in order to be loved by God.  We are already loved just as we are.  It is impossible to define and describe divine love and the transformation it produces in the life that receives it by faith.  But this love can be experienced by anyone who desires it.

Author and composer Robert Harkness (1880-1961) was an  Australian gospel musician . . . He wrote several hundred gospel songs.

Love sent my Saviour to die in my stead-why should He love me so?
Meekly to Calvary's cross He was led-why should He love me so?

Nails pierced His hands and His feet for my sin-why should He love me so?
He suffered sore my salvation to win-why should He love me so?

O how He agonized there in my place-why should He love me so?
Nothing withholding my sin to efface-why should He love me so?

Chorus:  Why should He love me so?  Why should He love me so?
Why should my Saviour to Calvary go?  Why should He love me so  
(Amazing Grace - Kenneth W. Osbeck)

N.J. Hiebert - 5068

February 13

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."
(Psalm 23:4)

Must not there be light where there is shadow?
Can you get a shadow without light?
If you doubt it, go down into the cellar tonight without a light,
and find your shadow if you can.
All that death can do to a true believer is to throw a shadow across his path.
Shadows never hurt anyone.
You can walk right through them as you can through fog.
There is nothing to fear.
I pity down deep in my heart any man or woman that lives under the bondage of death!
If you are under it, may God bring you out today!
May you come right out into the liberty of the blessed Gospel of the Son of God!
(D.L. Moody)

N.J. Hiebert - 5069 

February 14

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
(1 Corinthians 13:11)

"I understood as a child."  
The faculties by which understanding is possible lay undeveloped in the little Tarsus boy (Paul)
but at the end of his earthly life the great apostle had reached noble conceptions of God; 
had attained to deep understanding of His ways, and had experienced things which 
the language of earth was incapable of expressing (2 Corinthians 12).

The difference between earthly childhood and the most exalted type of developed manhood 
is not greater than the difference between our life on earth and our life in heaven.  
"Time is but a school for eternity, and our life on earth a nursery."  
Faced as we are, from time to time, with the great problems of life and destiny, 
we are frequently baffled, perplexed, puzzled; we are

"Like infants crying in the night,
Like infants crying for the light,
And with no language but cry."

But that too will pass away. 
Just as imperfection of knowledge will give place to a nobler and wider intelligence, 
so well our present immature conceptions be corrected, adjusted, expanded.  
The partial will lose itself in the complete, as the dawn merges into the perfect day. 
(George Henderson)

N.J. Hiebert - 5070

February 15

"Satan hath desired to have you."
(Luke 22:31)

It is a common temptation of Satan to make us give up the reading of the Word
and prayer when our enjoyment is gone;
as if it were of no use to read the Scripture when we do not enjoy them,
as if it were no use to pray when we have no sprit of prayer.
While the truth is, in order to enjoy the Word, we should continue to read it,
and the way to obtain a spirit of prayer is to continue praying;
for the less we read the Word of God the less we desire to read it,
and the less we pray the less we desire to pray
(Choice Gleanings - G.M)

This is the time to listen to what the Lord will say:
This is the time to gather the manna for the day;
New enemies to conquer, new victories to win;
Come, gain a march on Satan - come, gain a march on  sin! 

N.J. Hiebert - 5071

February 16

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
(Matthew 5:9) 

It is very easy, if you are talking to one who has a little distrust of another 
or a little bitterness against another, 
to say a word which will increase the distrust or add to the bitterness.
We like to approve and justify the one with whom we are speaking,
and in doing so we are apt to confirm him in his bitterness or sense of wrong.
Let us be on our guard that we do not unintentionally widen little rifts into great breaches.
Let us seek ever to be peacemakers.
There is no other beatitude whose blessing is more radiant than that of the PEACEMAKER -
"They shall be called the children of God."
Praised by my Lord for all those who pardon one another for His love's sake.

Let me be severe toward myself, Tender toward others, And loving toward both.
(Traveling Toward Sunshine)

N.J. Hiebert - 5072

February 17

"O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth! 
 Who hast set Thy glory above the heavens. . . . 
When I consider  thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, 
the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; 
 What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?
and the Son of Man, that Thou visitest Him?"
(Psalm 8:1 -4) 

President Theodore Roosevelt had a routine habit, almost a ritual.  Every now and then, along with the naturalist William Beebe, he would step outside at dark, look into the night sky, find the faint spot of light at the lower left-hand corner of Pegasus, and one of them would recite: 

"That is the Spiral Galaxy of Andromeda.  It is as large as our Milky Way.  It is one of a hundred million galaxies.  It is seven hundred and fifty thousand light years away.  It consists of one hundred billion suns, each larger than our own sun."  

There would be a pause and then Roosevelt would grin and say, "Now I think we feel small enough!  Let's go to bed."  (Recapture the Wonder - Ravi Zacharias)

N.J. Hiebert - 5073 

February 18

"And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book.  And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in they mouth sweet as honey."     
(Revelation 10:9-10)

In the case of John that which was sweet in his mouth was bitter in his belly.
The opening out of some new truth to the soul,
the perception of its character and beauty,
is ever a delightful experience,
but when it is accepted in the power of the Spirit 
it gradually brings death in upon all that we are,
and then it becomes bitter as it discovers to us the real nature of many things 
which we had hitherto cherished, and,
in separating us from them, 
produces in us a growing conformity to Christ. 
(Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert - 5074

February 19

"Be careful for nothing" (Philippians 4:6).
"Rejoice in the Lord alway" (Philippians 4:4)

What sweeping words, 
leaving us without excuse for not being happy!
For "nothing" takes in everything,
and "always" leaves no time out,
only it must be "in the Lord."
(J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert - 5075

February 20

"Now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face." (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Face to face - and that forever;
Face to face, where naught can sever;
I shall see Him in His beauty, face to face;
I have caught faint glimpses here,
Seen through many a falling tear,
But - what glory when I see Him face to face!
(Annie Johnson Flint)

N.J. Hiebert - 5076

February 21

Things We Know

"And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (1 Peter 5:4)

In these days of relativism, situational ethics, and changing mores, 
it does a Christian good to note the many things in Scripture we can know,
things we can count on, things that do not change. 

We can know that Christ is God: "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30).
We can know that we are saved: "He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life" (John 6:47).
We can know we are His dear children: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God" (1 John 3:2).
We can know His protection: "And they shall never perish, 
neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand" (John 10:28).
We can know He answers prayer: "If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it" (John 14:14).
We can know He will help us through temptation: "In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted,
 He is able to succour them that are tempted" (Hebrews 2:18).
We can know how we should act: "For I have given you an example, 
that ye should do as I have done" (John 13:15).
We can know He desires us to speak on His behalf: "Be ready always to give an answer 
to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15).
We can know that He will come again: "I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; 
that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3).
We can know of our eternal rewards: "To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled,
 and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:4). 
(Daily Devotions)

N.J. Hiebert - 5077

February 22

"Wherefore then serveth the law?  It was added because of transgressions . . ."
(Galatians 3:19)

We needed a wall outside our house, and I called a mason to build it.  He made a very poor foundation, and I said to him, your wall will not stand up.  However, he guaranteed it, and insisted on his own way.

Soon the wall appeared to me to be leaning, but I was not sure, so I got a plumb line.  I found that the wall was more than a foot out of plumb.  I called for the mason.  He looked at the wall, and said, "That wall is all right.  It is quite straight."

I did not say a word, but hung the plumb line on it.  The plumb line showed how far from true was the wall.  The mason's mouth was shut, he could not say a word; his pride and self-confidence were clearly shown forth.  But it was necessary to use the plumb line in order to do this.

Just so, it was necessary to use the law, in order to show forth man's pride and self-confidence.  But the plumb line could not make the wall straight; it could only show how bad it was.

So the law cannot make us righteous, but can only show how bad we are.  (G. Christopher Willis - Meditations on Galatians)

N.J. Hiebert - 5078

February 23

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
(Psalm 119:105)

The Best book to read is the Bible!
If you read it every day, it will help you on your way,
Oh the best book to read is the Bible!
(Author Unknown) 

If at the next coronation ceremony in Britain historical protocol is followed,
then at some point in the proceedings a Bible will be presented to the 
new monarch with the words 
"We present you with this Book, the most valuable thing this world affords.
Here is wisdom.
This is the Royal Law.
These are the living oracles of God."

There are millions of people in the world who would like to be 
able to read a copy of the Bible in their own tongue.
Pray that this will happen and if you own a copy, you should treasure it and read it daily.
(Brian Powlesland)

N.J. Hiebert - 5079 

February 24

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
(Ephesians 6:18)

The consciousness of our nothingness as instruments keeps us in constant dependence on the hand which makes use of us, and this is the pathway of power.
It was thus at Jericho, but the people had yet to learn that 
without dependence they became the prey of Satan.

In closing the description of the armour, the apostle adds,
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, 
and watching thereunto with all perseverance." 

Prayer is the expression of dependence
continual, persevering prayer is the 
expression of of habitual dependence.
(H.L. Rossier - Meditations on the Book of Joshua)

N.J. Hiebert - 5080

February 25

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."
(1 Peter 1:7) 

The exercise, the trial, and the sifting, have, by His grace, had the effect of establishing hearts 
more and more in His eternal truth, - 
of making the word of God and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ more precious - 
of demonstrating more clearly, that, if we want to advance in the divine life - 
if we desire an extension of God's kingdom within - 
if we would rise above the chilling atmosphere that enwraps the professing Church - then, truly, 
- we must make the Lord Christ our paramount object; 
- we must trust in Him, 
- wait on Him, 
- look to Him, 
- live for Him,
- and Him alone; 
- we must get rid of more of the dross of nature and of earth, 
and enter more experimentally into the meaning of fellowship with 
Christ in death and resurrection.
These are valuable results, for which we may well praise our God,
 And to reach which we need not regret having travelled over a 
rough stage of our wilderness journey.
(C.H. Macintosh)

N.J. Hiebert - 5081

February 26

"By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter."
(Hebrews 11:24)

Moses' faith got the victory over the world.  
He was a foundling, picked up from the Nile and adopted as the son of Pharaoh's daughter.
This was personal degradation translated into adopted magnificence.
What did he do with it?
He "refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter."
What victory over the world that was!
We like those things that put worldly honour on us.
Moses would not have it; and sure I am faith is set to the same battlefield and 
challenged to get the like victory to this day.
(J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert - 5082

February 27

"Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil."
(1 Timothy 3:6)

Before taking up public service, 
the Christian should have made progress in his own soul 
in the knowledge of the Lord and of the character of the calling; 
the absence of these generally accounts for our service being so contracted, 
our hearts are so little occupied with heavenly things.
H.L. Rossier - Meditations oh the Book of Judges

N.J. Hiebert - 5083

February 28

"The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished; but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government, presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities."
(2 Peter 2:9-10)   

Our wills belong either to self or to God.
It may seem a small and rather excusable sin in man's sight to be self-willed,
but see in what a category of iniquity God puts it (2 Peter 2:10).
And certainly we are without excuse when we have such a promise to go upon as,
"It is God that worketh in you both to will and and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13)
How splendidly this meets our very deepest helplessness -" worketh in you to will."
Oh, let us pray for ourselves and for each other that we may know 
"what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe."

It does not say, "to usward who fear and doubt"; for if we will not believe, 
neither shall we be established.
If we will not believe what God says He can do, 
"we shall see it with our eyes but we shall not eat thereof" (2 Kings 7:19).
"They could not enter in because of unbelief." (Hebrews 3:19).
(Kept for the Masters Use - Francis Ridley Havergal)

N.J. Hiebert - 5084

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