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

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Gems from December 2015

The Aroma of Christ

"For we are unto God a sweet Savour (Aroma) of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish.” (2 Corinthians 2:15)

When the Magi came with their offerings to Jesus, what did they bring? 
They brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 
This scene captured the imagination of English royalty. Every January 6, the date commemorating the coming of the Magi with their gifts, the King or Queen of England takes to the Royal Chapel an offering of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 
The monarch recognizes that the privilege, responsibility, and position as the ruler of England is by God's grace, and brings an offering of a "sweet-smelling savour" to the King of Kings! 
What a wonderful gesture of love, adoration, and recognition of their place before Almighty God.

Have you ever wondered where myrrh came from? It comes from a tree in North Africa. 
It is stripped and then stabbed with a knife until it bleeds large opaque tears that are dried and ground then dissolved in a solution until it becomes a fragrant perfume. How symbolic this is of what needs to take place in our lives before we can be a "sweet smelling aroma" to God. 
(Adapted - B.L.)

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“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
(Philippians 2:13)

Once Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) came to see the great Freiburg organ.  
The old custodian refused him permission to play upon the instrument, not knowing who he was.  
At length however, he reluctantly granted him leave to play a few notes.  
Mendelssohn took his seat, and soon the most wonderful music was breaking forth from the organ.  
The custodian was spellbound.  
He came up beside the great musician and asked his name.  
Learning it, he stood humiliated, self-condemned, saying, 
‘And I refused you permission to play upon my organ!’  

There comes One to us, who desires to take our lives and play upon them.  
But we withhold ourselves from Him, and refuse him permission, when, 
if we would yield ourselves to Him, He would bring from our souls heavenly music.
(Streams in the Desert)

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December 1

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the kingas supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”
(1 Peter 2:13-14)

As loyal subjects of the State, Christians are to be obedient to the laws passed, even though they may feel that in some instances they are unnecessarily arbitrary and even actually unjust.
By their submission they honour Him whom they recognize as their Lord and Saviour.
Whatever form of government may prevail, so long as it is recognized as the 
constituted authority of the country, we are to be in subjection,
whether to a king or by whatever name the supreme executive is known.

Human government has been established by God that evil may be checked and righteousness 
encouraged.  The fact that some rulers act contrary to the divine ideal does 
not absolve the believer from obedience to the powers that be.

All human government manifests imperfection, but without its restraints 
society would be shipwrecked and anarchy would prevail.
In principle, all constituted authority is intended to prevent 
crime and encourage honesty and good living.
(H.A. Ironside)

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December 2

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, 
or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . Nay, in all 
these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” 
(Romans 8:35, 37)    

“No condemnation; blessed is the word!
No separation; forever with the Lord,
By His blood He bought us, cleansed our every stain;
With rapture now we’ll praise Him.
The Lamb for sinners slain.”
(J. Denham Smith)

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December 3

"Your heart shall rejoice, 
and your joy no man taketh from you.”
(John 16:22) 

I am so thankful that I have a joy that the world cannot rob me of;
I have a treasure that the world cannot take from me;
I have something that is not in the power of man or 
Devil to deprive me of—
the joy of the Lord.
No man taketh it from you.
(D.L Moody)

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December 4

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of KNOWLEDGE:
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
(Proverbs 1:7)

Einstein said, Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited.”
He was wrong.
Imagination is limited because man is finite.
Knowledge is infinite because its source is God.
God does not imagine anything.
He knows everything—and shares His knowledge with us.
(Nuggets of Truth - J.K.)

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December 5

“For Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy name.”
(Psalm 138:2)

How sublime and wonderful are the Scriptures!
This verse is one of many that extols their worth.
Essentially it means that beyond all other previous manifestations of 
His divine character and will,
God’s written Word revealed the Eternal.
This was affirmed by the incarnation of God in Christ,
the Living Word, and the record of the Living Word 
is expressed in the pages of the written Word.
How majestic and marvellous is the Bible!
What treasures are to be found in its pages.
Is the Bible a dull book to you, read
only from a sense of duty?
To dig is to discover and delight.
Try it today.
(F.W. Faber)   

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December 6

“They saw no man, save Jesus only.”
(Matthew 17:8)

When Samuel Rutherford (1600 - 1661) lay in Aberdeen prison, 
we are told he used to write at the top of his letters,
God's Palace, Aberdeen.

When Madam Guyon (1648 - 1717) was imprisoned in the castle at Vincennes, she said:
It seems as though I were a little bird whom the 
Lord has placed in a cage, and that I have 
nothing now to do but sing.”

And prisons shall palaces prove
If Jesus abides with me there.

I never had in all my life so great an inlet into the Word of God as now; 
those scriptures that I saw nothing in before, are in this place 
and state (in Bedford Jail) made to shine upon me;
Jesus Christ also was never more real and apparent than now;
Here I have seen and felt Him indeed!
(John Bunyan  1628 1688)

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December 7

Prayer & Fasting 

“When Thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” (Psalm 27:8)   

It means a determined effort to put first things first,
even at the cost of some inconvenience to oneself.  
It means a setting of the will towards God.
It means shutting out as much as possible all interrupting things.
Don’t be discouraged if at first you seem to get nowhere.  
I think there is no command in the whole Bible
so difficult to obey and so penetrating in power, 
as the command to be still—“Be still, and know that I am God.

Ah dearest Lord! I cannot pray, my fancy is not free;
Unmannerly distractions come, and force my thoughts from Thee.

The world that looks so dull all day glows bright on me at prayer,
And plans that ask no thought but then wake up and meet me there.

All nature one full fountain seems of dreary sight and sound,
Which, when I kneel, breaks up its deeps, and makes a deluge round.

My very flesh has restless fits; my changeful limbs conspire
With all these phantoms of the mind my inner self to tire.

This is true.  Let the tender understanding of your God enfold you.
He knows the desire of your heart. 
Sooner or later He will fulfil it. `
Don’t feel it necessary to pray all the time; LISTEN.
Solomon asked for a hearing heart.  
It may be that the Lord wants to search
the ground of your heart, not the top layer, but the ground.  
Give Him time to do this.  And read the Words of life.  Let them enter into you.

Don’t forget there is one other person interested in you—extremely interested; he will talk, 
probably quite vehemently, for there is no truer word than the old couplet,

Satan trembles when he sees 
The weakest saint upon his knees.

As far as I know the only way to silence his talk is to read
or say aloud (or recall to mind) counter-words, 
“It is written, . . . It is written, . . . It is written, . . ." (Matthew 4:4,7,10);
or sing, for the devil detests song.  
"Singing . . . in your heart” (Ephesians 5:19),
“singing . . . to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16) - 
Either or both are too much for him.   
(Edges of His Ways)

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December 8

“But Jonah had gone down into the lower part of the ship;
and he lay, and was fast asleep.”
(Jonah 1:5)

This was the third  step down for Jonah: 
down to Joppa, 
down into the ship, 
down into the lower part of the ship.
Alas, for Jonah, he was to go still further down.
In a downward pathway we cannot, as we suppose, stop when and where we will.
What a strange position to find the heathen mariners in their terrible danger, calling on their 
gods to save them, while the one and only man on board that ship who knew the true and living God,
did not trouble to call upon Him, but lay and was fast asleep.

How like us! 
In a day when trouble seems about to overwhelm all about us,
men’s hearts failing them for fear, how often do we find the people of the Lord asleep, 
content to go on in their own immediate circle, without a care for the sorrows and troubles of 
those about them, without a thought of those on every hand who do not know the true and living 
God whom we know, and yet we are content to sleep on through it all! 
(G.C. Willis)

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December 9

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 2:3)

What was the mind that was in Jesus?
It was always coming down. . . .
The more He humbled Himself, the more He was trampled on. . . .
He goes down. . . . till He can go no lower, 
down to the dust of death. . . .
Are you content to do this?
Are you content to have the mind that was in Christ Jesus,
content to be always trampled on?
(Pilgrim Portions for the Day of Rest - JND)

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December 10

“And they said, thou has saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my Lord, 
and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.”
(Genesis 47:25)

"Thou hast saved our lives.”  But there is something higher than this.  As I see these Egyptians crowding round Joseph with these words upon their lips, it makes me think of Him of whom Joseph was but a type.  Joseph lay in the pit; and from the pit was raised to give bread to the brethren who had rejected him, and to a nation of Gentiles.

Jesus lay in the grave; and from its dark abyss He was raised to give salvation to His brethren the Jews, and to the millions of Gentile people.  Already I hear the sound of countless myriads, as they fall before the sapphire throne, and cry, “Thou hast saved us!” 

The Egyptian name of Joseph meant, “the Saviour of the world”; but the salvation wrought by him is hardly to be named in the same breath with that which Jesus has achieved.  Joseph  saved Egypt by sagacity;  Jesus saved us by laying down His life.  Joseph’s bread cost him nothing; but the bread which Jesus gives cost Him Calvary.

Joseph was well repaid by money, cattle, and land; but Jesus takes His wares to the market of the poor, and sells them to those who have no money or price.  He can supply all our need.  His only condition is that he should do it freely.

To offer Him anything in exchange is to close all dealings with Him.  But if you are willing to go without gold in your hand, and with an empty sack, He will give without stint, with both hands, pressed down, and running over. "He will fill the hungry with good things; but the rich He will send empty away.”  “Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.” (F.B. Meyer)

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December 11

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
(Matthew 11:28) 

Nearly twenty years ago I was told by my doctor that I was suffering from a a certain disease.
From what I knew of that disease, I believed that I could not live more than six months.
How did the doctor’s information affect me?  I did not want to die.  I was young.
Life was sweet to me.  The physical process of death was not inviting.
But one thought filled my heart with an ecstasy of joy,
“In six months’ time I shall actually see my Saviour.”

God raised me up.  For two years I had a strenuous fight for life.
Death contested stubbornly every inch of ground on the road to recovery.
During those two very grave years the knowledge that my eternal 
future was assured was my stay and comfort and joy.

I can conceive of nothing more terrible than to be in sorrow, especially as 
to one’s own physical condition, without the knowledge of a personal Saviour

There came a moment in my history, over forty years ago, 
when I learned that I was a guilty sinner before God, that I could not save myself,
nor help to save myself; that if I were to be saved, God must do it.
I learned that the Lord Jesus Christ had died on the cross for sinners— 
for me, there to atone for sins, and enable God righteously to forgive the repentant sinner.
(A.J. Pollock)

"I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad,
I found in Him my resting place, and He has made me glad.” 
(H. Bonar) 

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December 12

"A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking (dimly burning) flax shall 
He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment (justice) unto truth.”
 (Isaiah 42:3)

What a gentle Servant our Saviour was.
The bruised reed He would not crush.
The dimly burning flax He would not extinguish.
How many are weakened with illness and age, 
or bruised by grief and problems today?
The gentle Servant takes even the weakest into 
His tender hands and seeks to encourage them. 
Think of His gentleness with the children, 
with the broken ones of society, and with you and me.
He truly is the gentle Servant!
(James Comte)

“Saviour, like a shepherd lead us, much we need Thy tender care.
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us, for our use Thy folds prepare." 

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December 13

“Behold I come quickly."
(Revelation 22:12)

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death,
neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be anymore pain:
for the former things are passed away. ”
(Revelation 21:4)

Blessed are they who love Him and they who keep His word:
They shall enter into the city and dwell in the house of the Lord;
And oh, the joy of knowing, as the Lord’s redeemed can know,
While often sad and lonely, through this earthly life they go,
There shall be no more sickness; there shall be no more pain;
There shall be no more parting, loved from the loved again;
There shall be no more weeping, kneeling beside earth’s biers;
There shall be no more dying through the eternal years!”
(Annie Johnson Flint)

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December 14

“God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”
(1 John 1:5) 

You cannot have fellowship with God in darkness, for God is light.

Natural darkness, “having  the understanding darkened” (Ephesians 4:18) — 
this is true of all men by nature.
No man by nature understands God.
No man naturally loves holiness and purity.

Have you ever noticed that you do not have to teach little children to tell lies, 
but you do have to teach them to tell the truth;
You never have to teach them to lose their temper, 
but you have to teach them to control it;
You never have to teach them to be disobedient, 
but you do have to teach them to be obedient?

Why is this?  
Because men naturally are children of darkness.
As we look into the faces of babes we do not like to think that in their little hearts 
there is the same sinful tenancy that we find in ourselves, but it is there nevertheless, 
and therefore there is the necessity of regeneration:
Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). 

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December 15

“The Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind . . . and the children of 
Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground.”
(Exodus 14:21, 22)

The ancients feared the hot, dry east wind from the desert.
In the Bible it frequently spoke of impending disaster.

Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, 
the wind of the Lord shall come up from the wilderness, 
and his spring shall become dry, and his fountains shall be dried up: 
he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels.” 
(Hosea 13:15) 

But in Exodus 14, it is the agent by which God’s people 
were delivered from the power of their enemy.
Trouble will come to the believer as well as the unbeliever, 
but God tempers our trials and uses them for His glory and our blessing. 

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).
(C.F. Anderson)

“Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take, the clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break in blessing on your head.”
(Cowper - 1779)

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December 16

“The angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, 
and shalt call His name Jesus. . . . Son of the Highest.”
(Luke 1:30-32)   

In Nazareth, that despised place, there was found a young virgin, unknown by the world, whose name was Mary.
She was espoused to Joseph, who was of the house of David; but so out of order was everything in 
Israel that this descendant of the king was a carpenter.
But what is this to God?
Mary was a chosen vessel; she had “found favour in the eyes of God.”

We must remark that the subject here is the birth of the child Jesus, as born of Mary.
It is not so much His divine nature as the Word which was God and which was made 
flesh (though, of course, it is the same precious Saviour presented here as in John’s gospel); 
But it is Jesus as really and truly man, born of a virgin.  His name was to be Jesus, i.e., Jehovah the Saviour.
He shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David,”
still looking at Him as man born into the world.
But He was God as well as man.
Holy by His birth, conceived by the power of God, this blessed One,
who even, as born of Mary, is spoken of as “that Holy thing,” 
was to be called “the Son of God.” 
(The Man of Sorrows - JND)

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December 17

“The Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”
(Galatians 2:20) 

In our happy home above, not only shall we be known personally to the blessed Lord, but to each other.
Peter seems to have had no difficulty in recognizing, on the mount of transfiguration, 
which was Moses and which was Elias.

So must it be in the resurrection state, where all is perfection.
A thorough distinction of persons will be manifest there.
Paul will never be taken for Peter, nor Peter for Paul; 
and each will have his own crown and glory.

Blessed, yet solemn thought! each saint will have his own crown.
All will be known there for what they are in the estimation of the Lord.
Yet all will be perfect, all happy, all in the full joy of the Lord,
and all shining brightly in His glorious image, 
which all shall then perfectly bear.
(Andrew Miller)

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December 18

“The meek will He guide in judgment: and 
the meek will He teach His way.”
(Psalm 25:9)

It is commonly held that a strong will aids in the development of a strong character.
In reality, an unbroken will impedes growth.
An active will is not teachable.
If we do not hear, we can not believe.
If we do not believe, we can not understand,
and we remain in the dark.
(Nuggets of Truth - J.K.)

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December 19

"Negative Feedback from the Flesh"

"And he that died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them and rose again. " 2 Corinthians 5:15

One great temptation of the Christian life is to evaluate our faith 
based on how we feel at any particular moment. 
When we place too much importance on our physical or emotionally condition — 
and then try to prove faith based solely on what we're experiencing — 
it can be very deceptive. 
The victory lies in looking away from self and fixing our eyes upon Christ. 
Not on how we might be doing or feeling today, but on what 
He has done to ensure our present success and eternal destination.

Therefore, the power for victorious living is in Him, the indwelling Spirit of Christ. 

(2 Peter 1:3) "His divine power hath given unto all things that pertain unto life and godliness, 
through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3

We might be no match for the ploys of Satan, but he is no match for the living Christ.

Our death to sin is receiving by faith what is true in Christ — 
regardless of the deception and the negative feedback 
our flesh may give us from one day to the next.

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December 20

“The righteous considereth the cause of the poor.”
(Proverbs 29:7)

The year was 1780, and Robert Raikes had a burden for the poor, illiterate children in his London neighbourhood.  He noticed that nothing was being done to help these children, so he set out to make a difference.

He hired some women to set up schools for them on Sunday.  Using the Bible as their textbook, the teachers taught the poorest children of London to read and introduced them to the wisdom of the Bible.  Soon about 100 children were attending these classes and enjoying lunch in a safe, clean environment.

These "Sunday schools,” as they were soon called, eventually touched the lives of thousands of boys and girls.

By 1831, Sunday schools in Great Britain reached more than a million children—all because one man understood this truth: “The righteous considers the cause of the poor.” 

It’s no secret that Jesus cares greatly for those who struggle.  In Matthew 25: 35-36, He suggests that followers of Christ show a readiness for the Lord’s return by helping the hungry to get food, helping the thirsty to get a drink, helping the homeless to find a home, helping the naked to get clothes, and helping the sick or imprisoned to receive comfort.

As we bear witness that Jesus Christ is in our hearts, we honour our compassionate Saviour by considering those on God’s heart.  (Dave Brandon)
“Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright (2015), Grand Rapids, MI, Reprinted permission."  

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December 21

“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
(John 3:7)

The Lord Jesus, here speaking to the well respected leader of Israel, 
Nicodemus, brings before him his imperative need:
Ye must be born again.
On the outside Nicodemus was religious, devoted, a teacher of the law, 
but something was missing.
He needed new life—on the inside—not physical but spiritual, 
not earthly but heavenly, not material but eternal.
Where could he find it?
The Lord Jesus shows him the way!
The Lord Jesus Himself would be lifted up upon a cross to bear our sins.
You can have eternal life as a gift through Him who died for you.
By faith you can receive it today.
Trust Him and receive life—on the inside.
(Jim Paul)

"A ruler once came to Jesus by night to ask Him the way of salvation and light;
The Saviour made answer in words true and plain, 
Ye must be born again.
(William T. Sleeper 1819-1904)

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December 22

“And when they had seen Him, they made known abroad the saying 
which was told them concerning this child.”
(Luke 2:17)

The question asked in this well-loved carol must have been uppermost in the minds of those present at Jesus’ birth.
We can almost hear the question being asked from one to another as they gazed into the humble manger.
How difficult it must have been for them to understand that the Babe 
who lay in “such mean estate” was truly the promised Messiah.
And through the centuries men have continued to ponder who Christ really is—
how can He be fully God and still fully man?
Only through divine faith comes the revealed answer.

“He who is the Bread of Life began His ministry hungering.
He who is the Water of Life ended His ministry thirsty.
Christ hungered as man, yet fed the multitudes as God.
He was weary, yet He is our rest.
He prayed, yet He hears prayers.
He was sold for 30 pieces of silver, yet He redeems sinners.
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, yet He is the Good Shepherd.
He died, and by dying destroyed death."

What Child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?

Why lies He in such mean estate where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear—for sinners here the silent Word is pleading.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh—come, rich and poor, to own Him;
the King of kings salvation brings—let loving hearts enthrone Him.

Chorus:  This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring Him laud—the Babe, the Son of Mary.
(William C. Dix - 1642)

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December 23

“Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.”
(Ephesians 5:25)

He not only died for us in the past; He is living for us in the present.
Today He is sanctifying and cleansing the church with the washing of water by the word.
He is daily occupied with us, separating us from this evil world and practically cleansing us from the flesh.
This blessed work is carried on by the application of the word to our thoughts and words and ways.

He did not first make the church worthy to be loved, then love it and give Himself for it.
He loved it as it was, then gave Himself for it, and now works to make it suitable to Himself.
(Hamilton Smith)

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December 24

“Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.”
(Joshua 13:1)

MIND YOU, GOD  did not say to this veteran, “You are getting old and you’ve had it”!
On the Pillars of Hercules was a warning to sailors, 
Ne plus ultra, which means “no more beyond.” 
That was the limit beyond which mariners dared not venture.
But Joaquin Miller in his immortal poem about Columbus began,

Behind him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the Gates of Hercules.

That was really a starting point for Columbus.
He believed there was more beyond and we in North America are living on that more today!
For the Christian, there lies far more to be possessed here and now and beyond that,
new heavens and earth!
God grant the Church today some hardy souls who, 
while frightened or complacent saints rebel, know only one reply,
“Sail on! sail on! and on!”
And of such it shall be said, 
“He gained a world: he gave the Church its grandest lesson:
On! sail on!” 
(Vance Havner)

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December 25

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
(Luke 2:11)

In the spring of the year, the lambing season, shepherds in ancient times would sit all night beside their flocks, watching for wolves or other dangers and even feeding orphan lambs with milk on a soaked rag.  

No doubt this is why these shepherds were seated on the ground the night Jesus was born, for biblical scholars believe the event was actually some time in April.

It would be natural for these humble men to be fearful, not only for themselves but also for their flock, when the brilliant light and the voices of the angels pierced the silent night.

But with what wonder and exultation thy must have heard the astounding news!   
Are we surprised that they forgot their duty to their flocks and hastened joyfully, 
though perhaps doubtfully, to see the Holy Babe in the manger with their own eyes?

“While shepherds watched their flocks by night, all seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down, and glory shone around . . .

"Fear not!” said he, for mighty dread had seized their troubled mind;
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring to you and all mankind. . . .”

“To you in David’s town this day is born, of David’s line,
The Saviour who is Christ the Lord, and this shall be the sign . . .

“The heav'nly Babe you there shall find to human view displayed,
All meanly wrapt in swathing bands and in a manger laid . . .

“All glory be to God on high, and to the earth be peace:
Good will henceforth from heav’n to men begin and never cease . . . !”
(Nahum Tate -  George Frederick Handel (Music)

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December 26

“The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”
(1John 4:14)

What is Meant by the Incarnation?

We mean that God, who existed from eternity in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
desiring to make Himself known to men, to take upon Himself man’s sin and iniquity, and
to make full atonement for them, stooped in grace in the Person of the Son to 
identify Himself with humanity, and became incarnate by taking upon 
Himself flesh and blood.
But, remember, it was God who did that.

The Babe in Bethlehem was not merely a remarkable child who was born with a great 
religious instinct, but that BABE WAS GOD THE SON, who stooped in grace to 
tenant the virgin’s womb, and was born into this word as man,
but did not cease for one moment to be God.

Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God.” (1 John 4:2).

Not that Jesus Christ began to be when He was born into the world, but that 
He came—came from where?  
From heaven.
Every spirit that confesseth this is of God.
This is the incarnation.
Did you ever stop to think what a remarkable expression this is,

Your were born into the world; 
you had no existence before you were born.
(H.A. Ironside)   
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December 27

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord.”
(Luke 2:11)

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

“The blood of Jesus Christ, His [God’s] Son 
cleanseth us from all sin.”
(1 John 1:7)

We join in sending our greetings.
May the Lord bless you and yours as we together 
anticipate the Lord's coming back again to take us home.
That moment is not far off - may we rejoice as did the shepherds
of old who came with great joy having seen the “Babe . . .returned 
glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen.”

May you be blessed in the Lord,

Norm & Lois Hiebert
Gems From My Reading     

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December 28

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
(Philippians 2:13)

An Exchange of Wills

I want my heart so cleared of self that my dear Lord can come
And set up His own furnishings, and make my heart—His home.

And since I know what this requires, each morning while it’s still,
I slip into that secret room, and leave with Him—my will,

He always takes it graciously, presenting me with His;
I’m ready then to meet the day and any task there is.

And this is how my Lord controls my interest, my ills,
Because we meet at break of day, for an EXCHANGE OF WILLS.
(Anna Jane Granniss)

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December 29

“Last of all he sent unto them His Son."
(Matthew 21:37)

In all the confusion and commercialization of Christmas these days we are more than likely to lose Christ.
Let us never forget that God sent not merely a prophet, 
a philosopher, a leader, to meet the world’s need.
He gave His only begotten Son. 

“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)

Like the man in the parable, He said “I will send my beloved Son” (Luke 20:13).
"He spared not His own Son” (Romans 8:32).

A little boy accustomed to seeing service stars in windows during the war 
exclaimed as he watched the evening star at sunset, “God must have a son in the war!”  
The story has been misapplied, but in the age-old struggle with sin
God truly gave His Son.

Remember at Christmas that the Gospel is not that 
Jesus came or that He lived or that He taught.
He could have done all that, but if He had returned to the 
Father some other way than by Calvary and the open tomb
we would still be in our sins.

Thank God He was born.
But He was born to die and live again, 
that we might live forever. 

N.J. Hiebert - 6116  

December 30

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, 
keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel 
of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of 
the Lord shone round about them: 
and they were sore afraid.”
(Luke 2:8-9)

An intelligence of the things of God comes from His revelation, and not from the reasoning of men.
Hence the simple go farther in spiritual understanding than the wise and prudent of the earth.
God acts here so as to set aside all appearance of human wisdom.
Happy is he who has so seized the intention of God as to be 
identified with it, and to want none but God!
This was the case with the shepherds.
They little entered into the great intent of the registration:
but it was to them, and not to the prudent, 
that God revealed Himself.

Our true wisdom is through what God reveals.
But we never get God’s fullest blessings till we are where the flesh is brought down and destroyed— 
I speak as regards walk.  We cannot get into the simple joy and power 
of God till we accept the place of lowliness and humiliation,
till the heart is emptied of what is contrary to the lowliness of Christ.

These shepherds were in the quiet fulfillment of their humble duty, and that is the place of blessing.
Whoever is keeping on terms with the world is not walking with God
for God is not walking with you there
From the manger to the cross all in Christ was simple obedience.
Christ did all in God’s way, and not only so, but we must do so too.
(J.N. Darby)

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December 31

“Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.”
(Exodus 14:13)

It will not do to say that we trust in the Lord; we must prove that we do, 
and that too when every thing apparently is the king's bearing in the eyes of the people; 
yea, rather, such is ever the bearing of faith, calm, self-possessed, dignified, in the presence of man; 
while, at the same time, ready to sink into the very dust in self-abasement in the presence of God. 
The man of faith can say to his fellow, 'Stand still, and see the salvation of God!' and, 
at the same moment, send up to God the cry of conscious weakness. 
Harken to Him while, in the retirement of the sanctuary, shut in 
with God, he pours out the anxieties of his soul in the ear 
of One who was willing to hear and ready to help. 
(C.H.Mackintosh - D.H.)

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