Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5330 posted here) sent daily for 17 years -- njhiebert@sympatico.ca

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Gems from August 2013

August 1

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
(1 John 1:9)

I spent an hour making adjustments to the carburetor but still the lawn mower would not run.  Finally after dismantling it I found a single hair blocking the main jet.

Often we make small adjustments to our lives, when actually there is some sin, which needs to be removed by repentance and confession.  Keep the channels open dear brother and sister.  (David Croudace)

Search all my thoughts, the secret springs,
The motives that control;
The chambers, where polluted things,
Hold empire o'er the soul.

(F. Bottome)

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August 2

"These (Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
(Acts 17:11)

The Noble Bereans

Many Christian groups and organizations call themselves Bereans, but it is surprising how few people know what a true Berean is.

The 17th chapter of Acts relates how Paul called upon his kinsmen at Thessalonica and for three sabbath days "reasoned with them out of the Scriptures," trying to show them that Jesus was the Christ.

Steeped in their own religion, however, the majority were unwilling even to consider the truths Paul proclaimed. Indeed, they resented the fact that some did believe and, in their bigotry, "set all the city on an uproar."

Finally Paul’s life was in such peril that the Christians there sent him away by night to Berea, a town about forty miles away.

At Berea Paul again sought out his "kinsmen according to the flesh"

and what a different reception! Here is what the record says:

Note Acts 17:11 quoted above.

These people did not immediately close their eyes to further light. On the contrary, they gave Paul an interested hearing, listening with open minds to what he had to say.

But they were not gullible either for, having listened to Paul, they subjected his word to God’s Word, searching the Scriptures daily to see whether those things were so.

For this God called them "noble."

(Daily Meditations - B.L.)

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August 3

LIFE OR DEATH?

"Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life."
(John 5:40)

So long as you are not willing, i.e. not actually or actively willing to come (for that is the meaning of the original), of course you cannot come.

And without coming to Jesus you cannot have life.
And if you do not have life, there is nothing but death for you - the second death with all its unknown terrors, into the realities of which any moment may plunge you.

Your not believing this makes no difference as to the fact.

Your doubting it makes no difference to its certainty.

I assert it on the authority of the Word of God.

"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, 
that I have set before you life and death . . . therefore choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:19).
For in not willing life, you are willing death, and "why will ye die?'

(Opened Treasures - Frances Ridley Havergal)

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August 4

"Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth, where Thou feedest, where Thou makest Thy flock to rest at noon; for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of Thy companions?"
(Song of Solomon 1:7)

"Rest at noon."!  How inviting it sounds!  
The songs we have culled the expression from is rich in oriental images.
To gain some idea of the simile we must transport ourselves in imagination to Eastern lands.
It is noon, and the rays of the scorching sun are beating upon the parched and wearied earth.
There is no escape from its pitiless glare.
But there is One in our passage who is skillful in finding rest even at noon for His flock.
He is addressed as the One "whom my soul loveth."

Dear troubled anxious Christian, let me apply the simile to what you know something of.
Has it been noon with You?
Have the scorching rays of tribulation, of trial, of weakness of body, of shattered hopes and 
broken spirit reached you, till you have felt you could not bear more?
What you need is REST.  

There is One, whom thy soul loveth, who can give it.
That One loves you well, and He it is who has given you the tribulation, the weakness of body,
the broken spirit in order that, parched and weary, 
you might at length turn to Him and find "rest at noon."
There is a spot even then of perfect peace.  What a rest it is!

To lie perfectly passive in His hands, knowing that The Love, the perfect divine love,
which has planned out your pathway, has measured in its omniscience the weight of your sorrow. 
He is engaged in working out the purposes of His love in you for His own glory first,
and then for your exceeding gain.
In the knowledge of that love your heart may rest -
"Rest at Noon."
("Comforted of God" - A.J. Pollock)

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August 5

"Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood." (Revelation 1:5)

"Faint not, Christian! Though within there's a heart so prone to sin;
Christ, thy Lord, is over all, He will not suffer thee to fall." 

The word "washed" is rendered as "freed" or "loosed" in some translations.  
How wonderful to know that a Christian is one who has not only been forgiven for his past sins,
but also freed from the power of them.
Christ died to save us from sin - not just the penalty of sin but also, praise God,
from the power of sin day by day.
Am I enjoying that freedom?
(David Croudace)

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August 6

"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." (Psalm 32:8)

How far is Christ practically formed in our hearts and minds? . . . so that His thoughts are our thoughts,
His cares our cares, His subjects of interest our subjects of interest, and none other.
You would not be easily startled by events if you saw all that you 
have in Christ to enable you to meet everything calmly.
Has the restorative power of the Lord's coming got possession of your hearts?
No sin the believer brings to God but when it comes to be weighed is not outweighed by the blood.
(G.V. Wigram)

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August 7

"God is love." (1 John 4:8).

There is no pillow like love, and we have the Lord's perfect love to rest upon.
"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want." (Psalm 23:1)  
"I shall not want."
This conclusion flows, 
not from what we are to Him, but what He is to us. 
To desire blessing is easy, 
but the path to blessing is through waves and clouds and storms -
that is, through the deepest exercises.
(Edward Dennett)

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August 8

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

God will never be a debtor to any one, only let us throw our whole souls into His work,
 and the end will declare how far we have acted upon sound principles.
(C.H. Mackintosh)

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August 9

"O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!"
(Psalm 107:8)

On my daily commute to and from the office, I have plenty of time for reading - bumper stickers on cars, that is.  Some are surly, others clever, and still others downright distasteful.  One bumper sticker I saw recently,  however, gently challenged my heart about the way I often engage life.  The sticker simply said, "Too blessed to complain."

I must confess that I felt convicted as I pondered those words.  Too often I find myself lamenting moments in life that don't go my way, rather than focusing on the wonderful gifts my heavenly Father has given me.  Reading that simple message that day brought me a renewed commitment to be more actively and intentionally grateful because my God has been good to me in more ways than I could ever count.

Psalm 107 is a song that seeks to rectify thankless thinking.  The psalmist (who many think was King David) makes a plea to hearts grown cold with ingratitude, repeating four times, "Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" (vv.8,15,21,31).  Even in the worst of times, we have much to be thankful for.  May we learn to thank God for His goodness to us!
(Bill Crowder)

Count your blessings - name them one by one;
Count your blessings - see what God hath done;
Count your blessings - name them one by one;
Count your many blessings - see what God hath done.
(Oatman)

We don't need more to be thankful for, we just need to be more thankful.
______________________________________________________________________
Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 2013, Grand Rapids, MI.  Reprinted permission.  
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August 10

Home Before Dark

"The night cometh, when no man can work."
(John 9:4)

When I was a boy growing up in the hills, it was a law of the Medes and Persians that I should be home before dark. That was understood and there were no exceptions.

Night is settling on the world today and the time is short. We must work the works of God while it is day. We Christians are not of the night nor of darkness. God is going to gather His children home before the final storm breaks.

I want to get home before darkness settles on my little day. But the darkness precedes the dawn even as it follows the day. I want to get home where it is never dark for there is no night there. (All the Days - Vance Havner)

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August 11

"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, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."  
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

What more can we need?  Nothing.  If Scripture can make a child "wise unto salvation," and if it can make a man "perfect," and furnish him "thoroughly unto all good works," what do we want of human tradition or human reasonings?  

If God has written a volume for us, if He has graciously condescended to give us a revelation of His mind as to all we ought to know and think and feel and believe and do, shall we turn to a poor fellow-mortal - be he ritualist or rationalist - to help us?  Far away be the thought!

As well might we turn to our fellow-man to add something to the finished work of Christ, in order to render it sufficient for our conscience, or to supply some deficiency in the Person of Christ, in order to render Him a sufficient object for the heart, as to betake ourselves to human tradition or human reason to supply some deficiency in Divine revelation.  (The All-Sufficiency of Christ - C.H. Mackintosh)

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August 12

" . . . for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." 
(Romans 7:18)

Many Christians do not understand that to have the desire to do for the Lord and the power to do for the Lord are not the same thing.

They think because they now have the desire, to do, it is enough, and that because they have the desire, to do, they are also able to do.

But this is just not so.

The new desire, to do, originates from the new nature, which is a permanent gift, and is an attribute of our new life in Christ. 

However the power to carry out this new desire, to do, is not a permanent gift, but must be each moment received by faith in dependence upon the indwelling Holy Spirit.
It is only the believer who is conscious of his own utter powerlessness, who knows that it is by 
the power of the Spirit alone he can live a true victorious Christian life.  
(Author Unknown)  (With thanks from S.L.)

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August 13

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." (Proverbs 9:10)

The simple fact that the moral stature of a man is found in his conduct relative to God is especially forgotten in our days.  
A man may be a  freethinker, even an atheist; if he conducts himself morally and renders service to humanity, even Christians will regard him as an excellent man, as though God could accept something from him or in some way exempt him from believing in Him on account of His good conduct. 
This is a fatal error for such a man, but it is especially distressing when one sees it sanctioned by 
Christians who thus are not recognizing that without the fear of God there cannot be even the beginning of wisdom for man.  
When these unbelievers appear before God, they will be convicted by Him - alas! too late for them - of having done that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Christians who have excused their unbelief will be responsible for having by their guilty approbation of them 
closed the path of repentance.
(C.H. Macintosh)

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August 14

One By One


"Philip . . . preached Jesus to him."
(Acts 8:35)
Edward Payson was a famous preacher in a bygone era. One stormy Sunday, he had only one person in his audience.  Some months later, his lone attendee called on him: “I was led to the Savior through that service,” he said. “For whenever you talked about sin and salvation, I glanced around to see to whom you referred, but since there was no one there but me, I had no alternative but to lay every word to my own heart and conscience!”
God saves us one by one. If you have access to one, that is your mission field.

“Every soul with Christ is a missionary; every soul without Christ is a mission field,” the slogan goes. One person cannot reach the entire world, but we can love our neighbor. “Who is my neighbor?” we ask. The next person we meet along the way. 
The Spirit brought Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch who was reading the Scriptures and needed someone to explain them to him (Acts 8:26-35). The Spirit gave Philip the right words to say, and the eunuch confessed his faith in Christ (v.37).

Ask God to bring you to the one He has prepared. He’ll get you to the right place at the right time to speak to that individual. He will speak through your lips, work through your hands, and fulfill in you the great purpose of His will.  (Adapted - R.L.)

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August 15

“My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” 
(Psalm 34:2) 
“In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.”
(Psalm 44:8)
". . . without faith it is impossible to please Him . . ."
(Hebrews 11:6)
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
(Romans 10:17)

If we act upon the Word, and nothing else, we shall find God with us. 
It will be called bigotry; (or pride) but this is part of the reproach of Christ.  
Faith will always appear proud to those who have none; 
but it will be proved in the day of the Lord to be the only humility, 
and that everything which is not faith is pride, or no better.  
Faith admits that he who has it is nothing - 
that he has no power nor wisdom of his own, and he looks to God.  
May we be strong in faith, giving glory to Him!  
(William Kelly)

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August 16

Work For The Night Is Coming

"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)

John Wesley once said: "Never be unemployed and never be triflingly employed."  See your work as a sacred trust from God.

Do you pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger men!  Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.  Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle.  (Philips Brooks)

Diligence is a law of life.  We are to put forth our very best effort into whatever work God gives us to do.  For the Christian, every occupation is sacred when it is done for God's glory.  What counts in God's sight is not only the actual work we do, but the attitude with which we do it.

This hymn, which emphasizes the joy and dignity of work, especially Christian service, was written in 1854 by an 18 year old Canadian girl, known then as Annie Louis Walker.  (Annie married a wealthy merchant, Harry Coghill, in 1883.)   Her poem was first published in a Canadian newspaper and later in her own book, Leaves From the Back Woods.  

Philosophers and writers have made many profound statements about the intrinsic value of labour; but none has been able to state more simply and meaningfully the joy of being coworkers with God in worthy labour than has Annie Louis Coghill in this hymn text.

"Work for the night is coming.  Work thru the the morning hours; 
Work while the dew is sparkling, work 'mid springing flow'rs.  
Work when the day grows brighter, work in the glowing sun; 
Work for the night is coming, when man's work is done.

Work, for the night is coming.  Work thru the sunny noon
Fill brightest hours with labour - rest comes sure and soon.  
Give ev'ry flying minute something to keep in store, 
Work for the night is coming when man works no more.

Work, for the night is coming, under the sunset skies: 
While their bright tints are glowing, work for daylight flies.  
Work till the last beam fadeth, fadeth to shine no more; 
Work, while the night is dark'ning, when man's work is o'er."  
(Amazing Grace - Kenneth W. Osbeck)

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August 17

"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me."
(Psalm 66:18)

It does not require what the world pronounces a great sin to break up 
the serenity of of the soul in its devotional hours.  
The experience of prayer has delicate complications.  
A little thing, secreted there, may dislocate its mechanism and arrest its movement.

The spirit of prayer is to the soul what the eye is to the body,
the eye so limpid in its nature, of such fine finish and such intricate convolution in its structure,
and of so sensitive nerve, that the point of a needle may excruciate it make it and weep itself away.
Even a doubtful principle of life harboured in the heart, is perilous to the peacefulness of devotion.
(Austin Phelps)

"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place?
He that hath clean hands and a pure heart."
(Psalm 24:3-4)
"He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, 
even his prayer shall be abomination."
(Proverbs 28:9) 

Disobedience effectually hinders prayers.

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August 18


"God SAW everything He had made, and, behold, it was very good."
(Genesis 1:31)
"God SAW that the wickedness of man was great on the earth."
(Genesis 6:5)
"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."
(Genesis 6:8)

These are the first two times the word "SAW" is used in relation to God.
In the first instance God saw that all of His work was very good.
In the second, He "SAW" that all of man's works were wicked.
It seems so much so in our lives too.
What He does is so good and what we do falls so far short.
But He doesn't give up on us.
The Lord sought out Noah.
He rested His eyes upon him and Noah found grace in that gaze.
Look to Him today and you will find grace in His eyes too.
(S. McEachern)

"Grace taught my wandering feet, to tread the heavenly road;
And new supplies each hour I meet, while pressing on to God."
(P. Doddridge)

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August 19

"Behold I come quickly . . .  even so, come, Lord Jesus."
(Revelation 22:7,20)

"Behold I come quickly."  Oh hasten Thy coming,
And fly on the tempest and ride on the cloud;
Around us the rage of the storm is increasing,
The menacing roar of the billows is loud;
The earth holds no refuge, the world has no helper,
And men's hearts are anxious and failing with fear;
Repeat the assurance that fills us with comfort
When death and despair and destruction are near.
(Annie Johnson Flint - Best Loved Poems)

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August 20

"I have called you friends" (John 15:15)

Whatever makes Christ more precious to us is of God.
Whatever comes between us and Christ is of the devil.
(J.N. Darby)

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August 21

"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
(Romans 7:24-25)

Deliverance is found, just as salvation is found, not through self, and the labours of self, but through Christ."
(Edward Dennett)

'Tis only in Thee hiding we feel ourselves secure;
Only in Thee abiding, the conflict can endure:
Thine arm the victory gaineth O'er every hateful foe;   
Thy love our hearts sustaineth in all their cares and woe."
(J.G. Deck)

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August 22

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

Whenever we are confronted with suffering, we immediately ask, "Why?"
Might it not be that God wants to show us what He can do?
Suffering drives us to our knees,
and isn't that just where God wants us?
Then His strength is most obvious.
The Apostle Paul knew the value of being weak:
God uses weak people.
(Corrie Ten Boom)

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August 23

"And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man."
(Genesis 39:2)
The submissive man will ever be a prosperous man.  Nature would say that slavery and prosperity must be an impossible combination, but if we submit to His ways, the presence of the Lord can turn days of adversity into days of prosperity.  All the world would admit that Joseph was a prosperous man in the day of his exaltation, but faith sees, and God declares, that he was a prosperous man in the day of his humiliation.

He will, in due time ride prosperously as the ruler of Egypt, but first he must live prosperously as the slave of an Egyptian.  The prosperity of the prison must precede the prosperity of the palace.  The trials and the  sorrows, the losses and the crosses, the rough ways and the dark valleys, will all become occasions of the greatest soul prosperity if we remember that God has a settled purpose for us in glory, and in the mean time all His ways with us are in view of all His purpose for us. 

In the Light of His purpose we shall be be able to submit to His ways, and submitting we shall find the Lord with us, and if the Lord is with us we shall prosper with that prosperity that is above all - the prosperity of the soul.  Hamilton Smith)

"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper, and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth" (3 John 2).  

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August 24

"Think not that I came to destroy the law or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17)

The law is God's perfect standard reflecting His own holy character.
What hope do we have to ever keep God's perfect Law?
The answer - the Lord Jesus came "to fulfill" the law.
In His life He became our perfect example;
"I always do always those things that please Him" (John 8:29
"The Law says,"the soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20).
"Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
The Lord Jesus Christ fulfills the Law perfectly!  
He is our substitute, example and our daily Sanctification.
(Milton Haack)

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August 25

"God . . . who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
(2 Corinthians 1:4)

When God has purposes of blessing for some soul, the devil of discouragement, 
who is one of Satan's most useful servants, is sure to come and whisper 
all sorts of sorrowful, depressing, miserable thoughts.
He drops these thoughts about, sometimes in one heart and sometimes in another.
If they take root and grow into feelings and words and deeds, 
he knows that a great deal has been done to hinder what our God intends to do.
Do not forget that discouragement is always from beneath;
encouragement is always from above;
God is the God of Encouragement.
(Edges of His Ways - Amy Carmichael)

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August 26


PROFESSION AND HYPOCRISY

"The hypocrite's hope shall perish."
(Job 8:13)

Such a generation there ever was and shall be, that mingle themselves with the saints of God;
who pretend heaven, with heavenly speeches, while their hearts are lined with hypocrisy,
whereby they deceive others, and most of all themselves;
such may be the world's saints, but devil's in Christ's account.
"Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (John 6:70)
And truly, of all devils, none so bad as the professing devil, the preaching, praying devil.
(The Christian in Complete Armour - William Gurnall 1617-1679)

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August 27

"Unto every one which hath shall be given."
(Luke 19:26)
Common duties do not rob us of Him;
from these the heart returns with fresh delight into its own centre.
It is the heart clinging to vanity that spoils our joy;
it is anything which exalts self and lowers Christ,
an idle thought, even if allowed in the heart.
(J.N. Darby)
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August 28

"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." 
(John 10:10)
When our children were teens, we repeatedly had the following discussion after the youth group meeting:  I asked,"how was youth group tonight?"  And they responded, "It was boring."  After several weeks of this, I decided to find for myself.  I slipped into the gym where their meeting was held, and I watched.  I saw them participating, laughing, listening - having a great time.

That night on the way home I asked about their evening and, once again, they said, "it was boring."  I responded, "I was there.  I watched.  You had a great time!"  They responded, "Maybe it wasn't as bad as usual."

I recognized that behind their reluctance to admit they were enjoying youth group were things such as peer pressure and a fear of not appearing "cool."  But then I wondered, Am I similarly afraid to get too excited about spiritual things?

Indeed, there is nothing in this universe more worthy of our enthusiasm than who Christ is and what He did for us.  Jesus said, "I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).  

That's the opposite of boring!  At any age, we have a gift from the Saviour that is worth celebrating.  Our salvation is something to get excited about!    (Bill Crowder)
If you know Christ, you always have a reason to celebrate  
______________________________________________________
Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright (2013), Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission.

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August 29

AN UNFAILING REMEDY

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

Franz Joseph Haydn (Austrian Composer 1732-1809) once was in the company of other noted artists when one of them asked how, after a period of great exertion, one might recover inner strength quickest.  Different methods were suggested, but when Haydn was asked what method he followed, he said: "In my home I have a small prayer room.  When I feel wearied because of my work, I go there and pray.  This remedy has never failed me."

Experience tells us that Haydn was right.  In believing prayer to God we tap the source of all strength.  (Mountain Trailways for Youth)

MY RENDEZVOUS WITH GOD
I have a rendezvous with God, where spirit doth with Sprit meet;
Where He enfolds me in His love, while I anoint His blessed feet:
I have a rendezvous with God - detain me not from its retreat.
For there He clasps me by the hand, and there I see Him face to face;
I tell him all my vexing cares, I have a rendezvous with God,
A Holy, happy meeting-place; no earthly thing dare enter there
To mar the fellowship we share.  
(Anna M. Waite)

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August 30

"But as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff [baggage]: they shall part alike."
(1 Samuel 30:24)

One part of David's forces went forward to bring the battle to the enemy.  
The other part stood faithfully behind and guarded the baggage of the army.  
But David's grace flowed by parting alike with them the spoils of victory.
There is no room for pride in God's work.  
We are all called to different tasks according to the ability God has given us. 
 Let us be of one accord in our labour and give Him all the glory. 
 (David J. Reed)

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August 31

"How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love for delights!"
(Song of Solomon 7:6)

The more perfectly Christ sees in us His own likeness, the more he will delight in us.  
This is necessarily true, yet a truth that is easily understood by all.
A strictly upright man can find no delight in one that is crooked in his ways.
An honest man can find no pleasure in one who is dishonest.
A morally pure person can have no fellowship with one who would 
drag him through all the impurities of a low and degraded nature.
Assuredly not.

The upright man can only delight in uprightness, 
the honest man in honesty, and the pure in purity.
So the blessed Lord can find His delight only in that 
which resembles His own moral perfections.
Andrew Miller)

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