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

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Gems from February 2014

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
(Romans 12:2)

Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
Is this our simple purpose?
In any common act of life, our question should be,
is this acceptable to the Lord?
In purchasing an article of clothing, it should not be simply,
will this suit me - but is it acceptable to the Lord, does it suit Him?
(J.N. Darby)

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"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word." (Psalm 119:9)

This is a very searching question and it is one which each believer needs to answer for themselves.
Later in the same Psalm we read
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee".

Oh! How much we need daily washing with the precious Word of God as applied by His Spirit to separate the grit which is inconsistent with God's holy nature.
Where it is done, washing of water by the word will result in a usable,
pliable clay body for the use of the Master Potter.
(In the Potter's Hands - Douglas Nicolet)

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February 1

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

Next to bread, the greatest longing of the human heart is for kindness.
Be kind, for every man is fighting a hard battle.
The greatest thing a Christian can do for our Heavenly Father,
is to be kind to some of His children".
I wonder, why it is that we are not all kinder than we are?
How much the world needs it!
How easily it is done!
How instantaneously it acts!
How infallibly it is remembered!
How superabundantly it pays itself back!

Try to cure fevered humanity, not so much with the barometer of prophecy, as with the thermometer of sympathy.
And when we begin to do this, everyone will will be much happier.
(Winsome Christianity - Henry Durbanville - adapted)

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February 2

"Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me." (Psalm 131:1)

David was the neglected one of the family. But he was content to be so. He would readily tend the sheep in the field, while his more esteemed brothers remained at home to receive the guests, and do the honours of the house.

On the arrival of the prophet Samuel he is called in. But as scorn had not dejected him, distinctions do not elate him. As soon as the occasion is over, he is back again among the flocks.
He is then summoned to the court of the king to do a service which none but he could do. But again, when the service is done, he is in the wilderness with his few sheep, despised but contented. (1 Samuel 17:15.)

A third time he is called for. He has now to go to the camp, as before to the court. But after achieving the greatest feats, he is willing to be still unknown, and without thought of resentment tells who he was to those whose ignorance of him was itself a kind of slight or indignity. (vv 17:55,58.)

What beauty, what true elevation of soul! And what was the secret of all of this? He found his satisfaction in Christ. The sheepfold was as important to him as the court or the camp, because "the Lord was with him."He did not live by excitement, nor pine under neglect. He let the world know that he was independent of what they could either give him or make him. Blessed attainment! It may remind us of those affectionate words from the Olney Hymns - (J.G. Bellett)

"Content with beholding His face, my all to His pleasure resign'd,
No change of season or place could make any change in my mind.
When blessed with a sense of His love, a palace a toy would appear;
And prisons would palaces prove if Jesus would dwell with me there."

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February 3

". . . 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 and actual grant of them." 
(William Cowper)

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February 4

"Him whom my soul loveth" (Song of Solomon 3:4).

Marvel not that Christ in glory all my inmost heart hath won;
Not a star to cheer my darkness, but a light beyond the sun.

All below lies dark and shadowed, nothing there to claim my heart,
Save the lonely track of sorrow where of old He walked apart.

I have seen the Face of Jesus - tell me not of aught beside;
I have heard the Voice of Jesus - all my soul is satisfied.
(T. P.)

The heart, not the head, is the parent of eloquence.
(J.G. Bellett)

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February 5

Genesis 22:8: "And Abraham said, my son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering. . . ."
Genesis 22:13: "And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket. . . ."
Genesis 22:14: "And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh (margin: The Lord will see or provide)." 

In Abraham's sublime faith self was forgotten.
The sacrifice was for the Lord, therefore he would provide.
Isaac was not his but God's.
Therefore it was certain that He would provide for Himself a lamb.

He will provide for Himself, in every work that He has planned, all that is needed.
All things, without a single exception, are in the hands of Jehovah-Jireh.
Nothing can hinder His purpose.

Sooner or later we shall see what we now by faith believe.
We shall see the end intended by the Lord, who is very pitiful and of tender mercy (James 5:11).
We shall see and we shall sing.
Let us sing now.
(Amy Carmichael)

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February 6

"I am among you as He that serveth."
(Luke 22:27)

May our own hearts be bowed in lowly subjection before Him,
and may we truly yield ourselves unto Him as the One now risen front the dead, to serve in the same lowly spirit that characterized Him when He was in this scene, content with the approbation of the Father,
even thought we pass through this world comparatively unknown and unregarded.
(Adapted)

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February 7

Meekness

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, MEEKNESS, temperance: against such there is no law."
(Galatians 5:22,23)

There are some persons towards whom one must be unusually careful
because they take offence so easily.
Such persons have very little meekness.
This fruit seems to be especially valuable in the sigh of God;
for He tells the Christian women to wear the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,
which is in the sight of God of great price (1 Peter 3:4).

I knew one lady who feared to pray for meekness,
because she felt sure that such a prayer would bring many trials to teach her this lesson.
But she prayed that the Lord would make her willing to pray for meekness,
and soon she found that she was asking the Lord to make her meek.
Let us remember that our Lord Jesus say:
I am meek and lowly of heart” (Matthew 11:29)
 (Meditations on Galatians  G. Christopher Willis)

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February 8

"And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it." (Numbers 11:9)

The manna was so pure and delicate that it could not bear contact with the earth.
It fell upon the dew, and had to be gathered ere the sun was up.
Each one, therefore, had to rise early,
and seek his daily portion.
So it is with the people of God now.
The heavenly manna must be gathered fresh every morning.
(Food for the Desert)

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February 9

"And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.  And Peter remembered the word of the Lord . . . And Peter went out, and wept bitterly." (Luke 22:61-62)

Poor Peter!
Had it said, "And the Lord turned and lectured Peter,"
we could have understood it.
But Jesus simply looked on him and that look broke his heart.
Perhaps if we always remembered that
He was looking on us we might be careful what we do, what we say, and where we go.
Such carefulness might save us from many a tear.
(Jim Flanigan)

'Tis the look that melted Peter,
'Tis the face that Stephen saw,
'Tis the heart that wept with Mary,
Can alone from idols draw.
(Ora Rowan)

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February 10

“My earnest expectation and my hope . . . Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” 
(Philippians 1:20-21)

True Christian devotedness is embodied in this brief sentence, “For to me to live is Christ.”  Paul does not say “For to me to live is work” or “For me to live is religion or benevolence, or morality.”  Who was ever as devoted as the Perfect Workman?  Who was more religious, more benevolent or more moral that Paul.  It is not that he loved these things less, but that he loved Christ more!

The devil’s grand object is to keep Christ out of the heart, and he cares not by what means he attains his object.  Satan hates Christ and will use any means to keep souls away from Him.

He will use a man’s lusts or he will even let a man be religious, benevolent, amiable, and moral, but he will not, if he can help it, let a man become a Christian devoted to Christ.  Satan’s one aim is to draw a man’s heart away from Christ.  Hence we see the importance of having one object ever before the heart, and that object Christ.

The secret of all acceptable service is to have as its object to enable Him to say, “Ye have done it unto Me” (Matthew 25:40).  (C.H. Mackintosh)

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February 11

“The promise is unto you, and your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”  
(Acts 2:39)

It is not only our privilege to have our names written in Heaven,
but also those of the children whom God has given us;
and our hearts ought to go right out for them.
The promise is not only to us, but to our children.
Many a father’s and many a mother’s heart is burdened with anxiety
for the salvation of their children.
If your own name is there, let your next aim in life be to get your children's there also.
(D.L. Moody)

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February 12

His Blood and His Bidding

“Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
“Come unto Me” (Matthew 11:28).

Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

We do not come on the ground of His teaching, His character, His life, but rather on the ground of His death. The problem of our sin was not taken care of until Calvary.
There is a salvation offered today on the ground of Christ the Example,
Christ the Teacher, Christ the Ideal, but the sinner does not come on the plea that "Thy life was lived for me,” or “Thy example was revealed for me.”
Christ’s life and example and teaching have their place and a great and glorious place it is, but I come in my sins because His blood was shed for me.

And then His Bidding.
He invited me.
He bids me come, just as I am.
I don’t have to dress up.
He will dress me up after I come.
My righteousness - the best I am and can do - are but filthy rags, 
rags because they do not cover me and filthy because they only defile me.

HIS BLOOD:  “But that Thy blood was shed for me.”
HIS BIDDING:  “And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee."

May your answer be, “O Lamb of God, I come!”
(Day by Day _ Vance Havner)

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February 13

“Some of the chief of the fathers . . . offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place:  they gave after their ability.” (Ezra 2:68-69)

Jacob promised to give the Lord a tenth (Genesis 28:22);
Zacchaeus gave the half of his goods (Luke 19:8);
The widow gave all that she had (Luke 21:2);
Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna ministered unto Him of
their substance (Luke 8:2-3);
Barnabas sold his land and gave the money to the Lord (Acts 4:36-37).
Mary of Bethany gave the Lord a pound of spikenard worth a year’s wages (John 12:1-3).
The Gentile disciples at Antioch gave according to their ability to the needy Jewish
saints in Jerusalem (Acts 11:29).
What have you purposed in your heart to give?
God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
(R. Surgenor)

Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use, every power as Thou shalt choose.
(F.R.Havergal)

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February 14

“O that thou hadst harkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:18)

Our gift of salvation includes more than pardon from sin, deliverance from hell, and a guarantee to heaven.  It includes everything we need to live victorious lives of “perfect peace and rest” here and now.

An untroubled mind is one of life’s greatest goals.  Many seek it by pursuing money, success, drugs, or alcohol, but all such roads end in failure and frustration.

Contentment has been described as that inner satisfaction that enables us to live in quietness, peace and acceptance.  The secret of contentment does not depend on our material possessions; rather, it depends on our spiritual awareness and the appropriation of what we possess by being members of the heavenly family.

This hymn text by Frances R. Havergal, often called “England’s Consecration Poet, ”reflects so well her personal lifestyle.  Her brief life of forty-three years was said to be completely dedicated to God and His service.

Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious in its bright increase; 
Perfect, yet it floweth fuller ev’ry day,
Perfect, yet it growth deeper all the way.

Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.

Ev’ry joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust  Him fully all for us to do -
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

Chorus:
Stayed upon Jehovah, Hearts are fully blest -
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
(Amazing Grace - Kenneth W. Osbeck) 

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February 15

“The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.”
(Romans 16:20)

If there is but the steadfast adherence to God and His truth, the workings of Satan will in due time be exposed.  Three times did these instrument of his “withstand” Moses.  But when the plague of lice was brought in, a question of producing life from the dust of the earth, the magicians were powerless, and compelled to confess that it was “the finger of God” (Exodus 8:18,19).

Life belongs to God; He only is its source; and hence here the efforts of Satan are baffled, and we read of no further attempt on the part of his instruments to intercept the force of the divine signs. . . .  we find that they "could not stand before Moses because of the boils.” (Exodus 9:11). 

They themselves have fallen under the punitive hand of God.  We may therefore rest confidently, whatever the present seeming success of the evil one; for ”the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” (Edward Dennett)

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February 16

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose, under the heaven.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

In winter there are no roses blooming in the deserted, wind-swept snow-covered garden.  Nor in summer do crystal snowflakes fly.  Each season has its own work, its own beauty,  and by hands of another season this work cannot be done, this beauty cannot be breathed.

And so of man’s life.  Each season has its own duties and its own joys, and if they are not laid hold of, no other season can make up the loss; they are gone down the dim, untraveled river of Forever.

Each day, indeed, has its own duty, its own smile, its own tear, its own heart throb.  If only it be lived in for itself, life would be fuller and richer in everything; and the clusters of blessedness hanging from the boughs of each day would proclaim life’s every season to have wrought well, and to deserve well, for what lies before.

Alas! that we let the burdening tomorrows crush the energy and strength out of today, so that its work is undone or marringly done.  Give your today a chance.  Give it only its own work to do, and evening will find you laughing over the beauty and faithfulness that smiles up to you from the well-done duties; and the eternal tomorrow will meet you with the kisses of tenderness, not with wounding blows.  (Traveling Toward Sunset)

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February 17

“Wherefore my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”
(James 1:19) 

Be slow to speak; but don’t be dumb!
God wants you to be able
To put a bridle on your tongue -
Not lock it in the stable!
(Bells & Pomegranates)
(James M.S. Stait)

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February 18

CHRIST OUR LIGHT

"I am the Light of the World: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
(John 8:12)

There are resting-times in our lives. God graciously arranges green pastures and quiet waters, and makes us to lie down. His voice sounds amid the turmoil of our existence, and bids us come aside and rest awhile. But often we fret against enforced rest, we persist in hurrying to and fro, and give way to bitter repining. When the cloud stays, remain where you are. When you do not know what to do, stop still until some indication points your path.

There are times for action. The trumpet is heard with its summons, to which we must give immediate attention. When the sleeper refuses to arise instantly at the whir of the alarm, he soon becomes so accustomed to it that it does not disturb him. So we shall gain keenness of hearing when we accustom ourselves to instant obedience. 

The peace and usefulness of our earthly life will be in direct proportion to our appropriation of the Lord Jesus for all the demands of our pilgrim condition. Nay, more, for as in the train, the electric light comes on before the dark tunnel is entered, and lingers after it is passed, so the presence of Christ will precede and follow times of special need. "I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight" (Isaiah 42:16).  (F.B. Meyer - B.L.)

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February 19

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, rejoice.”
(Philippians 4:4)
"Rejoice evermore” (1 Thessalonians 5:16

Am I happy?
It is because Christ loves me and 
He is happy.
Who, that is made one with the Lord, shall say,
I am not blest, if Christ is?
(Gleaning - G.V. Wigram)

“Happy they who trust in Jesus; sweet their portion is and sure
When the foe on others seizes, He will keep His own secure.
Happy people!  
Happy, though despised and poor.”
(T. Kelly)

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February 20

Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.
(Zechariah 10:1)

Do you have a need?
Ask the Lord.

Are you concerned about the necessities of life -
how you’re going to pay the bills?
Ask the Lord.

The prophet Zechariah instructed his people to
ask the Lord for rain in the springtime.

The Lord Jesus taught His disciples to pray, 
“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Are you overcome by trouble and sorrow?
Ask the Lord.

He is able to do exceeding 
abundantly above all that you could ask or think.
Just ask Him.

Have you a care within so deep, it chases from your eyelids sleep?
To your Redeemer take that care, and chafe anxiety to prayer.
(D.J.O. - Choice Gleanings)

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February 21

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28

“Our disappointments are but His appointments.”
“Howbeit your faith seeth but the black side of Providence, 
yet it hath a better side, and God shall let you see it. 
We know that all things work together for good to them that love God; 
hence I infer that losses, disappointments, ill tongues, loss of friends, houses or country, 
are God's workmen, set on work to work out good to you, out of everything that befalleth you.”  
(Samuel Rutherford)

 "The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.” 
(John Newton) 

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February 22

“Our God whom we serve is able to delver us . . . But if notbe it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” 
(Daniel 3:17-18) 

Many an overwhelming mistake has been made not because 
God’s guidance was not desired, but because it was not waited for.
For to take any step apart from unmistakable indication of His approval is to court disaster.
No man who tarries His leisure finds himself outstripped by opportunity;
for the cloud always lifts just at the moment most favourable to safe advance.
Refusal to move until it does is highest wisdom. 
(J. Stuart Holden) 

J. Stewart Holden (1874-1934) and his wife were booked on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, 
but were providentially hindered from making the trip, when his wife became ill.
In 1914, he preached a message on Daniel 3:18 entitled “But if not . . .” 
which was described as profound and prophetic concerning 
England’s  place in the upcoming World War 1.

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February 23

The Necessity of Daily Bible Reading

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly!” 
(Colossians 3:16)

It is in His Word, that God reveals Himself. We cannot know what He is like, nor what the attributes of His character are--unless we ponder the Scriptures. We cannot learn what God's will is, nor what He would have us to do and to be--if we do not look into His Word. There is nothing that we need more, than to hear God speaking to us every morning. This is possible, only as we open the Bible and let its words whisper their messages to us.

No matter how familiar we may be with the teachings of the Scriptures, we need to ponder them anew every morning to keep their pure ideals and lofty requirements ever before us, lest we allow our standard of holy living to be lowered.

A celebrated painter always kept some purely-coloured stones on his table. When asked by a visitor why he did so, he said it was to keep his eye up to tone. When he was working in pigments, unconsciously his sense of color was weakened. By keeping a pure color near him he brought his eye up to tone again, just as the musician by his tuning-fork brings himself up to the right pitch. In the same way, we continually need to turn to God's Word to keep our thoughts, and character, and life up to the true standard.

Rubenstein used to say that he could never omit his daily practice on the piano, for if he did, the quality of his playing would at once begin to deteriorate. He said that if he missed practice for three days--the public would know it; if he missed practice for two days--his friends would know it; and if he did not practice for even one day--he himself knew it!

It is no less true in Christian life, that in order to keep its holy tone up to what it should be, there must never be a break in the continuity of the study of God's Word. If we leave off for only one day, we shall become conscious of a loss of power in living. If for two successive days we fail to look into God's perfect law, our friends around us will notice the failure in the beauty, the sweetness and the grace of our character and disposition. If for three days we fail to study the Scriptures, to see how God would have us live, even the people of the world will see a lowering of the spiritual quality of our life!  (Living Victoriously - J.R. Miller — B.L.)

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February 24

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”  
(1 Corinthians 6:19)

The Spirit of God Who dwells in every true believer is the power 
Christians need to move along the journey of life.  
It is possible to grieve this Divine Guest through disobedience and self-will.  
When this happens in a believer’s life happiness is lost.
It is also possible for a Christian to try to walk on life’s journey listening to and using 
the world’s advice (the wind) rather than walking in the power of the Spirit of God.

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, 
and carried about  with every wind of doctrine,
by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, 
whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” 
(Ephesians 4:14)

When this happens, control is lost because a believer is at the mercy 
of every changing whim of worldly intelligence.  
How much better to allow the Spirit of God (by faith) 
to be the only source of power which takes us along our journey.   
(The Journey of Life - Doug Nicolet)

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February 25

“Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick.”
(John 11:3)

The sisters (Mary and Martha), in their time of trouble, turned to the true Source - their divine Friend: Jesus was a sure resource for them, as He is for all His tried ones wherever, however, or whoever they are.  

“Call upon Me in the time of trouble;
I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.”  

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.  Creature-streams are dry.  Creature props give way.  

Our God will make us 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 forcible manner, the truth and blessedness of His own word. (C.H. Macintosh)

“They shall not be ashamed that wait for Me.”

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February 26

“The lawless shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the treacherous for the upright.”
(Proverbs 21:18)

This is intrinsic justice.  
But when grace was being made know in Christ Jesus, 
the Righteous became a ransom for the lawless,
and the Upright for the treacherous!
Justice demands the punishment of the guilty, 
in order that the guiltless may be delivered;
but love gave the Guiltless to die that the guilty might be justified.
(H.A. Ironside)

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February 27

“And they found as He had said unto them.”
(Luke 22:13)

The actual provisions of His grace come from the inner vision.  

He who puts the instinct in the bosom of yonder bird to cross the continent in search of summer sunshine in the Southern clime is too good to deceive it, and just as surely as He has put the instinct in its breast, so has He also put the balmy breezes and the vernal sunshine yonder to meet it when it arrives.

He who reaches into our hearts the heavenly hope, will not deceive or fail us when we press forward to its realization.  (Selected)

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February 28

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
(Proverbs 3:5-6)

Hidden in the hollow of His pierced hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand.
Not a surge of worry, Not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry moves the spirit there.

Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love.
We may trust Him fully all for us to do,
They who trust Him wholly  find Him wholly true.

Chorus:
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest -
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest. 
(Francis Ridley Havergal  1836-1879)

N.J. Hiebert - 5449

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