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

Monday, February 01, 2016

Gems from February 2016

February 1

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most high: To show forth Thy loving kindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night, Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.”
(Psalm 92:1-3)

It has been well said that “We learn in suffering what we teach in song,
and though only a very few can teach in song, 
yet it is true of us all that our songs 
are the fruit of our sufferings.

The children of Israel would never have sung with such triumph on the shores of the 
Red Sea but for their previous experience.
The furnace of affliction, the recollection of the taskmasters' lash, 
tuned their voices as nothing else could.

Indeed, ever since the entrance of sin into the world, 
nothing has been produced apart from toil and travail.

The word to the woman was, “In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children;” and to the man,
In sorrow shalt thou eat . . . all the days of thy life” (Genesis 3:16-19).

And the mystery wrapped up in that one word “sorrow” runs 
through all the ages and through all human experience.
(Russell Elliott - Angels in White)

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February 2

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom the world is crucified unto me,
and I unto the world.”
(Galatians 6:14)

Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.

Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess:
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by, to know no gain nor loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.
(Elizabeth C. Clephane - 1830-1869)

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February 3

“For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
(Hebrews 12:3)

He who is the Bread of Life began His ministry with hunger.
He who gives the water of life ended His ministry with thirst.
He became weary; however, He is our rest.
He paid taxes; however, He is the King.
They said that He had a demon, but He cast out demons.
He prayed to the Father, and He listens to our prayers.
He wept, but He is the one who dries our tears.
They sold Him for 30 pieces of silver, but He is the one who redeemed the world.
As a sheep He was led to the slaughter, but He is the Good Shepherd.
He died, giving His life, and by His death destroyed death:
King of Kings and Lord of Lords for all eternity!
(Author Unknown - With Thanks - P.H.)

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February 4

"Blessed is the man that 
walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor standeth in the way of sinners,
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
(Psalms 1:1)

“HE IS ABLE"

So we see we may “walk” and “stand” and “sit”, in the wrong way,
as well as “run” and “walk” and “stand” in the right way.
May the Lord help us to choose the right!
(G.C. Willis - Meditations on Philippians)

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February 5

“Go and search diligently for the young child . . . bring me word again, that I may come and worship Him also . . . Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem . . . from two years old and under.”
(Matthew 2:8,16)  

Nothing brings man’s evil into evidence like the presence of goodness.
It was the presence of Joseph that called forth the violence and corruption of his brethren;
even as the presence of perfect goodness in the Person of the Son of God became the occasion of the most furious outburst of man’s evil.
At His birth the enmity of man is ready to kill the child Jesus, 
and to cover its murderous intent with lying words.

But at the cross goodness is displayed as nowhere else only to call forth the greatest expression of man’s evil that the world has ever seen. There goodness rises to its supreme height, 
and evil sinks to unutterable depths.

The cross is the display of “hatred against God and good . . . the truest friend denies, the nearest betrays, the weaker ones who are honest flee; the priests, set to have compassion on ignorant failure, plead furiously against innocence; the judge, washing his hands of condemned innocence; 
goodness alone, and the world—all men—enmity, 
universal enmity against it.

Perfect light has brought out the darkness; perfect love, jealous hatred.”
(Joseph - Hamilton Smith

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February 6

“Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is none else.”
(Isaiah 45:22)

Looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) and not at the law.  
The law gives commands, and gives no strength to carry them out; the law always condemns, and never pardons. If we put ourselves back under the law, we take ourselves away from grace.

In so far as we make our obedience the means of our salvation, we lose our peace, our joy, our strength; for we have forgotten that Jesus is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Romans 10:4).  

As soon as the law has constrained us to seek in Him our only Saviour, 
then also to Him only belongs the right to command our obedience: an obedience which includes nothing less than our whole heart, and our most secret thoughts, but which has ceased from being an iron yoke, and an insupportable burden, to become an easy yoke and a light burden (Matthew 11:30). 

An obedience which He makes as delightful as it is binding, an obedience which He inspires, at the same time as He requires it, and which in very truth, is less a consequence of our salvation
than it is a part of this very salvation, —  and, like all the rest, a free gift.
(Theodore Monod - translated 
from French by Helen Willis)

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February 7

“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 18:3)

IT IS A MASTERPIECE of the Devil to make us believe that children cannot understand religion.
Would Christ have made a child the standard of faith if He had known that it was not capable of understanding His words? It is far easier for children to love and trust than for grown-up persons, and so we should set Christ before 
them as the supreme object of their choice. 
(D. L. Moody)

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February 8

“Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say?  Father, save Me from this hour: 
but for this cause came I unto this hour.” 
(John 12:27)

The Lord knew what trouble was;  His soul was bowed down with trouble; but the first word is, “Father.”
The first moment we are in sorrow, instead of looking around for comfort, for sympathy,
or to the actings of the flesh, as to what I have done, or what I have not done, 
and pouring forth our sorrow in nothing but fleshly murmuring, 
let us turn immediately to God; then the heart would be 
cast down in perfect submission to the will of God, 
and thus the sting of the sorrow 
would be removed.
The instant there is perfect submission there is perfect peace.
(J.N. Darby)

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February 9

GOD’S SUFFICIENCY MORE THAN ADEQUATE

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”
(2 Corinthians 3:5)

Of ourselves we may have but little weight, no particular talents or position or anything else; but let us remember that again and again God has shown that the influence of a very average life when once really consecrated to Him may outweigh that of almost any number of merely professing Christians.

Such lives are like Gideon’s three hundred, carrying not even the ordinary weapons of war, but only trumpets and lamps and empty pitchers by whom the Lord wrought great deliverance while He did not use the others at all.
For He hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.

Distrust thyself, but trust His grace; it is enough for thee!
In every trial thou shalt trace its all-sufficiency.
Distrust thyself, but trust His love; rest in its changeless glow:
And life or death shall only prove its everlasting flow.
(Francis Ridley Havergal)

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February 10

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling [stumbling], and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.  Amen.” 
(Jude verses 24,25)

Let the difficulties of the path be what they may—however thickly strewn with gins (nets)
and snares of Satanic devise—God is able to keep the trusting soul without stumbling.
David knew this when he sang, “Yea, though I walk thought the valley of the shadow 
of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.
  
This is enough for faith in the darkest and most trying hour.
I may not see a step before me, but He who is able sees 
the end from the beginning, and bids me confide in 
His love and wisdom, and thus implicitly trust 
myself to His guidance.
(H.A. Ironside)

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February 11

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) 

Recently I heard someone say “I’ve only ten more years to retirement.”
They clearly hoped that the years would quickly pass.
Assessing too highly an unknown future, can make 
us fail to cherish the moments we have.
Time is a valuable gift from God and it is so brief.

We’ll never know the status of our account until all our minutes are gone.
Beloved, seize the opportunity today to buy back time from your normal activities 
and use it to share the Gospel, pursue good works, 
and encourage the saints.
It will pay dividends now and for all eternity.
(George Ferrier)

"Only this hour is mine, Lord.  May it be used for Thee;
May every passing moment count for eternity."
(Avis B. Christiansen

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February 12

“If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.” 
(John 7:37)

SOME STOP TOO SOON in their quest for a satisfying experience of the Lord.
They get this blessing or that and settle down there and make their blessing 
an end in itself and a yardstick by which they measure everybody else.
The part becomes greater than the whole.
They major on the gift instead of on the Giver.

Others experience no “blessing” at all, give up and resign themselves to a dry faith,
and plod along through dull and mediocre years.

Others go too far.
They run past the Lord into delusions and excesses and fall into snares of demonism.
Pitiful cases they are, starting out honestly and earnestly, 
but not guided by the Word.

Jesus simply invites us to Himself, whether for rest (Matthew 11:28) or for the Spirit’s fulness, 
and guarantees that if we come He will not cast us out (John 6:37).
It is not difficult to get to Jesus if we really want to come.
And anyone who gets through to Him will be all right. 
"All the fitness He requires is to feel your need of Him."
(Day by Day - Vance Havner)

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February 13

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him: . . . He is a
rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
(Hebrews 11:6)  

BY FAITH

Ye children of promise, who are awaiting your call to glory,
take possession of the inheritance that now is yours.
By faith take the promises.
Live upon them, not upon emotions.
Remember feeling is not faith.
Faith grasps and clings to the promises.
Faith says, “I am certain, 
not because feeling testifies to it, but because God says it.”

"Our unbelief ties the hands of His omnipotence.”

All the scholastic scaffolding falls,
as a ruined edifice, before one single word—FAITH!
(Napoleon 1.)   

Standing on the promises of Christ my King, 
through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing, 
standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail, 
when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail, 
standing on the promise of God.

Standing on the promises I now can see perfect,
present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free, 
standing on the promises of God. 

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, 
bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword, 
standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I cannot fall, 
list’ning  every moment to the Spirit’s call,
Resting in my Saviour as my all in all,
standing on the promises of God.
(Russell K. Carter -1886)

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February 14

“But we see Jesus . . .”  (Hebrews 2:9)
“Looking unto Jesus . . .” (Hebrews12:2)

- Wondrous and glorious things are before us; and this Name (“Jesus”) is our passport to them.

- How important it is for us in this day to cleave to every word and letter, as it is in the Word.
We have not to think, we have to receive the thoughts of God.

- In reading the Scriptures, look for Christ and not for yourself; and when you find Him,
you will find you are in Him there too.
(Hunt’s Sayings)

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February 15

Blessed Is the Man God Chooses

"Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causeth to approach unto Thee.” 
(Psalm 65:4)

To most Christians their relationship to Christ means deliverance "from" difficulties. 
For those who seek to abide in Christ, it means triumph "in" our difficulties. 

What a world of difference! 
It is to our benefit to go "through" our trials with Christ,
rather than be delivered from our trials by Christ. 
Such an experience causes us to mature in our spiritual journey.
Seeing the Lord work in wondrous ways in our trial deepens our faith. 
We learn how to lean upon Him, trust Him, and commit our needs to Him. 
This process causes us to grow in grace and trust Him for even greater needs.

Our difficult encounters bring to reality whether we truly believe God and take Him at His Word, 
or whether our faith is but a shallow pretense of our profession. 
We do not receive an overcoming life, but life as we overcome in His strength. 
God does not give us strength for tomorrow, or the next hour,
but only and always, strength for the moment. 
It is "in" the trials that our spiritual character is strengthened. 
The trials are occasions for God, when we can experience His sufficiency in all things.

God seeks for us to come before Him in praise, worship, and thanksgiving, 
but also with the spirit of utter dependence on Him. 
(Daily Devotions - R.L. adapted)

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February 16

The Morning Cometh

“His going forth is prepared [certain] as the morning [dawn].” 
(Hosea 6:3)

A shout!
A trumpet note!
A Glorious Presence in the azure sky!
A gasp,
A thrill of joy,
And we are with Him in the twinkling of an eye!

A glance,
An upward look,
Caught up to be with Christ forevermore!
The dead alive!
The living glorified!
Fulfilled are all His promises that came before!

His face!
His joy supreme
Our souls find rapture only at His feet!
Blameless!
Without a spot!
We enter into heaven’s joy complete!

Strike harps,
Oh, sound His praise . . .
We know Him as we never knew before!
God’s love!
God’s matchless grace!
’Twill take eternity to tell while we adore!
(Anne Catharine White)

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February 17

“But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus,
And who is my neighbour?”
(Luke 10:29)

Although asked for the wrong reason, this was a good question.
What is the answer?
Anyone in need, who by the providence of God, 
crosses your path and you are in a position to help.
The need may be spiritual, physical or material.
Distance is not a factor and the person may be a stranger or an enemy.
Show him compassion because he is your neigbour.
Perhaps through it you will gain a brother or turn a sinner
from darkness to the light.
(Milton Haack)

They will not heed; they need to be sought,
They will not come; they need to be brought,
They will not know; they need to be taught.
(Unknown)

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February 18

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

“Friends,” is a lovely term that is quickly losing its true meaning.
What is true friendship and even further, how can we be friends with God?
The apostle James wrote;

Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness:
and he was called the friend of God” (James 2:23).

Jesus said: 
“Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14).

Faith and obedience are the keys to a relationship with
God and a good basis for earthly friendships too.
(Jerry Proctor)

"What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!"
(J. Scriven)

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February 19

“God shall hear.”  
(Psalm 55:19)

I was standing at a bank counter in Liverpool waiting for a clerk to come.  I picked up a pen and began to print on a blotter in large letters two words which had gripped me like a vice: “PRAY THROUGH.”

I kept talking to a friend and printing until I had the desk blotter filled from top to bottom with a column.  I transacted my business and went away.  The next day my friend came to see me, and said he had a striking story to tell.

A business man came into the bank soon after we had gone.  He had grown discouraged with business troubles.  He started to transact some business with the same clerk over that blotter, when his eye caught the long column of “PRAY THROUGH.”

He asked who wrote those words and when he was told exclaimed, “That is the very message I needed.  I will pray through.  I have tried in my own strength to worry through, and have merely mentioned my troubles to God; now I am going to pray the situation through until I get light."
(A personal testimony of Charles M. Alexander.  1867 - 1920)

All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for what I have not seen!

Don’t stop praying, but have more trust;
Don’t stop praying! for pray we must;
Faith will banish a mount of care;
Don’t stop praying! God answers prayer.
(C.M. Alexander)

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February 20

“Jesus . . . said unto her Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about 
many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that 
good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:41-42)

The Prayer of Martha

Lord, I am cumbered with so many cares, 
I needs must serve thro’out the livelong day,
Must keep the little clinging hands from harm, 
And guide the stumbling feet along the way,

Till weary head and heart may take their rest 
When prattling voices hush at set of sun.

O Jesus, Master! at Thy feet, for me, 
Keep Mary’s place till Martha’s work is done.
(Annie Johnson Flint)

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February 21

"Pilate answered, Am I a Jew?  Thine own nation and the chief priests 
have delivered Thee unto me: what has Thou done?"
(John 18:35)

“And he went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus,
Whence art Thou?  But Jesus gave him no answer."
(John 19:9)

During the trial of Jesus, Pilate asked these two questions:
What have you done?” 
and
Where are you from?
John’s Gospel gives the answers.
He came from eternity with God (John 1:1). 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” 
While here He turned water to wine, fed a multitude from very little,
gave sight to a blind man, raised a man from the dead, 
pointed people to living water and challenged them to be born again.
The Man from above has done all things well.
(Jack Innes

"All worlds His glorious power confess, His wisdom all His works express;
But oh! His love what tongue can tell?  
My Jesus has done all things well."
(Anon)

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February 22

“I know both how to be abased and I know how to abound."
(Philippians  4:12)

Cold is the affection, and small the energy; but in principle I know nothing at all worthy
 of such visions of faith, but that spirit of devotedness that can say with Paul,
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound,” 
(Philippians 4:12).

and that spirit of desire which looks after Him still, and says, 
Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Our God has joined Himself thus by links which never can be broken,
which His own delight and glory in them, as well as 
His counsel and strength, will secure for ever.
These links we have gazed at, 
mysterious and precious as they are.
  
Himself has formed them, yea, Himself constitutes them,
faith understand them; and on the Rock of Ages the 
believing sinner rests, and rests in peace and safety.
(J.G. Bellett)

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee.
(Sarah Flower Adams)

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February 23

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

The Lord speaks of two kinds of rest in Matthew 11.
Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
This is the immediate gift of His love through faith in Himself.
All who believe, without exception, have this rest.
All our weary and fruitless efforts after salvation are brought to a close when we come to Jesus,
and the heavy burden of sin under which we groaned is forever removed.

But the Lord further says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; 
for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls.” (v. 29)
Rest of conscience He gives through the forgiveness of our sins, when first we believe in Him.

Rest of heart we find in obedience and subjection to His will.
Take my you upon you, and learn of Me . . . and ye shall find rest”— (v. 29)
rest and peace in every circumstance, however trying. 
(Andrew Miller)

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February 24

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
(Hebrews 11:1)

In January 1915, the ship Endurance was trapped and crushed in the ice off the coat of Antarctica.  The group of polar explorers, led by Ernest Shackleton, survived and managed to reach Elephant Island in three small lifeboats.

Trapped on this uninhabited island, far from normal shipping lanes, they had one hope.  On April 24, 1916, 22 men watched as Shackleton and five comrades set out in a tiny lifeboat for South Georgia, an island 800 miles away.

The odds seemed impossible, and if they failed, they would all certainly die.  What joy, then, when more than four months later a boat appeared on the horizon with Shackleton on its bow shouting, “Are you all well?”  And the call came back, “All safe! All well!”

What held those men together and kept them alive over those months?  Faith and hope placed in one man.  They believed that Shackleton would find a way to save them.

This human example of faith and hope echoes the faith of the heroes listed in Hebrews 11.  Their faith in the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” kept them going through great difficulties and trials.”

As we look out upon the horizon of our own problems, may we not despair.  May we have hope through the certainty of our faith in the One Man—Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

My hope of Jesus shines brightly even on our darkest day.
(Randy Kilgore)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright (2015), Grand Rapids, MI - Reprinted permission." 

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February 25

“. . . God meant it unto good . . . “
(Genesis 50:20)

Trouble is a blessing; it brings out—it rough-hews us—
and its repeated blows chisel us into fair proportions and beauty.
Endure, be tested, tried and proven, rejoice and be glad. 
Trouble becomes triumph if rightly used.  
Rejoice in the midst of trouble.  
Be calm, still, quiet.  
Rest in Him.

Let the troubles work; don’t hinder, never complain.
Stillness is the way to take trouble; 
count it all joy.

We shall look some day with wonder at the troubles we have had.

When God ploughs, He intends to sow.     
(Traveling Toward Sunshine)

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February 26

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered  me from all my fears.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” 
(Psalm 34:4,6) 

My fear is not yours, but nearly everyone has,
somewhere inside, a weary little fear which keeps cropping up.
But every time the fear pushes out its head, there, waiting to end it,
is that glorious word, “delivered from all my fears.”
(Not from some, or from most, but from all.)  

Out of all his troubles:   
This may find someone in trouble.
We may have to pass through the waters,
but we shall be delivered out of them.
They will not overflow us.
(Isaiah 43:2)

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him,
and saved him out of all his troubles.” 

There again, it is not out of some, or out of most, 
but out of all.
(Edges of His Way - Amy Carmichael)

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February 27

The Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty 
tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.”
(Jonah 1:4)

We will have occasion to notice the various things that God “prepared” for Jonah’s sake.
There was the “great fish . . . a gourd . . . a worm . . .  and a sultry east wind. . . . 
It does not, however, say that God prepared the “great wind” (Job 1:4).

Psalm 135:7 tells us that God 
bringeth the wind out of His treasuries.”
So instead of saying He prepared the wind, it says:
The LORD sent out a a great wind into the sea.” 
Surely that word “sent” is not used here by accident.

What a sad and solemn contrast to Jonah does that “great wind” present!
Both were sent by the same Lord.  The stormy wind goes when and where it is sent,

fulfilling His word” (Psalm 148:8). 
Man, the highest work of His creation, deliberately chooses his own will, 
and refuses to go, when his Lord and Master sends him!
(Lessons From Jonah - G.C. Willis)

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February 28

“Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?”
(John 21:16)

Tradition has painted, by brush and pen, portraits of the man called Peter.
He is memorialized by magnificent cathedrals.
But we must look elsewhere for a memorial 
engraved where time cannot erase it.

These words move the heart of every sinner saved by grace 
who has felt the pulse of Peter’s passion, known some 
sad failure, and the pardoning grace of the Saviour. 

The words touch the wellsprings of our tears and we fain would make them ours:
Lord Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest I love Thee.
(J. Boyd Nicholson)

"I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow:
’Tis Thou who art worthy, Lord Jesus, ’tis Thou.
(W.R. Featherstone)

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February 29

Flying By Instrument

“The things which shall be hereafter. . . .”
(Revelation 1:19) 

When all is said and done, there is absolutely only one authority on the life to come.
Surmisings of pagans and speculations of philosophers mean nothing.
It is the Bible or else.

It may have its difficult passages, may leave questions unanswered, 
but all we know about the next world is told between 
the covers of this old Book.

Sometimes the airplane pilot can see nothing and must fly by instrument.
The Christian must often do the same and that instrument is the Word of God.
It guarantees a safe landing!
(Vance Havner)

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