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

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Gems from May 2016

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.”
(Psalm 55:22)

If we set out to serve God and do His work but get out of touch with Him, the sense of responsibility we feel will be overwhelming and defeating. 

But if we will only roll back on God the burdens He has placed on us, He will take away that immense feeling of responsibility, replacing it with an awareness and understanding of Himself and His presence.

Many servants set out to serve God with great courage and with the right motives. But with no intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ, they are soon defeated. They do not know what to do with their burden, and it produces weariness in their lives. 
(Oswald Chambers)

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May 1

TIDINGS OR TUMULT?

“Thou hast no tidings ready? . . . I saw a great tumult.”
(2 Samuel 18:22, 29)

AHIMAAZ WANTED TO RUN when he had nothing to report.
Consequently, he could only say, “I saw a great tumult.”  The messenger who runs too soon in the ministry has only a tempest in his head and in his heart.

Smitten as we are today with the delusion that we are doing most business when we are busiest, we need to learn John Wesley’s maxim, “I do not have time to be in a hurry.” 
God is saying to some of us,“Stand thou still awhile 
that I may show thee the Word of God” (1 Samuel 9:27).

We are not to wear out or to rust out, but to live out, and
God has as much to say about being still as about being busy.

In this age of aspirin and angina a preacher may have to offend somebody in order to eliminate enough nonessentials to make time to get his tidings ready.  Otherwise, he will have seen only a tumult, and this poor world needs no more tumults.
(Day by Day - Vance Havner)

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May 2

“It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 
They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.”
(Lamentations 3:22-23)

How thankful we should be for the freshness and beauty of each new day!
Even more impressive than the features of the planet on which 
we live are the Father’s daily supply of “compassions”,
freshly provided for the needs of the unfolding day.
Let us guard against unnecessarily carrying
yesterday’s anxieties into 
the new morning!
(G. Hall)

Why should my heart then be distressed, by dread of future ill?
Or why should unbelieving fear my trembling spirit fill.
(H. A. Caesar Malan)  

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May 3

Pruning the branches of my vines.

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk ye in Him: rooted and built up in Him, and stablished 
in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Colossians 2:6-8)  

On Friday I spend a good part of my day restructuring supports for my grapevines on the West side of our homestead, once that was completed I began the task of pruning. As I was cutting away or purging old, dead unproductive branches, I noticed something very peculiar.

Two rather large branches, supporting numerous smaller branches had come into contact with the ground, grasses had composted around them and these two rather large branches sent a new root system into the ground with which they had made contact. I trimmed off both sides of these branches, setting the new root system in drenched soil to preserve them for another planting. 

"Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction."
(Proverbs 24:32)

The foods of Egypt were listed as root vegetables, Leeks, Garlic and Onions, being nourished in the soils of Egypt; The food of the Land of Canaan was that which was grown suspended above the earth, Grapes, Figs, Pomegranates.

Considering what I saw, I thought of this lesson for my soul; If I permit my soul to make contact with the soils of this world, my soul will send down roots and the soil of the world will be the source of my nourishment and I will take on the thoughts, habits and character of the soil in which I am rooted. 
"According to their pasture, so were they filled" (Hosea 13:6).
(Dan Hopkins)

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May 4

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” 
(Proverbs 25:11)

- We’re much safer when we are “abhorring” ourselves.

- When Job had been brought to that, it made him speak
instead of “laying his hand upon his mouth”.
(Job 40:4, 42:6)

- The Lord would not have Job dumb before Him.
The voice of worship and thanks is what He desires.

-The first claim is, to own God as God.
(Hunt’s saying)

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May 5

“Thy word is truth.”  (John 17:17)

It is the water allowed inside the ship which sinks it.
(Ivan Panin)

Never was a faithful prayer lost.
Some prayers have a longer voyage than others; 
but then they return with their richer lading at last,
so that the praying soul is a gainer by waiting for an answer.
(William Gurnall --1617-1679

Pain,  Passion,  Purity, Prayer and Power are companion P’s [Pea’s] in God’s pod.

Submission and obedience form the best translation of God’s Word,
the best exposition of it, and the best commentary on it.
(NUGGETS—FOOD FOR THOUGHT - JOHN KAISER)    

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May 6

"Power Provided by the Lord"

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.“  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Paul expresses his revelation that it was only when he gave up his will to the Lord, that the Lord's power was made perfect in his personal weakness.  In other words, the Lord shows to us His great strength when we end our demands of Him and yield to Him. It's the way Christ's power is revealed and demonstrated in our lives.

Paul had a lot of reasons to trust in himself, much more so than his critics. He had a great lineage, educational background, and very successful pastoral record. Yet, Paul had learned the lesson of not relying upon his own experience and ability.  In fact, he counted all his accomplishments as dung (Philippians 3:7-8). Paul was totally dependent upon Christ living in him. 
He learned to accept weakness (becoming weak in himself) so Jesus could emerge as his strength. 

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, 
but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh 
I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” 
(Galatians 2:20)

The Lord may not always intervene in any problem or persecution we may encounter; however, 
He will always provide us with the strength to endure.
Capturing the essence of this thought, 
Phillip Brooks (1836-1893) once wrote: "Do not pray for easy lives.
Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. 
Pray for power equal to your tasks.” 

The true power we need to persevere, overcome or endure can only come from the Lord.
(Daily Devotions - Robert Lucas)

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May 7

“And He [Jesus] said unto them, come ye yourselves apart [with Meinto a desert place, and rest a while.”
(Mark 6:31)

There is one pause in music of which the untrained singer does not know the value—the pause:
it is not the cessation of the music; it is a part of it.
Before the tide ebbs or flows there is always a time of poise when it is neither ebbing nor flowing.
In a Christian life that is to be effective, there will always be the pause and the poise

The desert has been God’s training-school for many of His prophets—Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Paul.
But not all who come from Arabia are prophets; and God has other schools.
Before the years of witness, there were the years of stillness.
Every witness with a great message has these years.
Let not the saints shrink from the discipline and training!

The sightless days will mean a grander vision; the silent years, the sweeter song.  If the Lord puts you in the dark, it is but to strengthen your eyes to bear the glory that He is preparing for you; if He bids you be silent, it is but to tune your tongue to His praise.
Remember that the pause is part of the music.

The great Composer writes the theme and gives us each a part to play;
To some a sweet and flowing air, smooth and unbroken all the way;

They pour their full heart’s gladness out in notes of joy and service blent;
But some He gives long bars of “rests,” with idle voice and instrument.

He who directs the singing spheres, the music of the morning stars,
Needs, for His full creation’s hymn, the quiet of the soundless bars.

Be silent unto God, my soul, if this the score He writes for thee,
And “hold the rest,” play no false note to mar His perfect harmony.

Yet be thou watchful for thy turn, strike on the instant, true and clear,
Lest from the grand, melodious whole thy note be missing to His ear.
(Annie Johnson Flint)

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May 8

“The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, 
and His ears are open unto their cry.”
(Psalms 34:15)

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?
Oh yes I know He cares.
(Frank Graeff)

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May 9

“And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.  And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians,who had the charge of all her treasure, and hath come to Jerusalem to worship . . . heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? . . . Philip opened his mouth and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.”
(Acts 8:26:35)

Recently my 5-year old grandson, Dallas, asked, “Why did Jesus die on the cross?  So we had a little talk. I explained to him about sin and Jesus’ willingness to be our sacrifice.  Then he ran off to play.

A few minutes later, I heard him talking to his 5-year old cousin, Katie, explaining to her why Jesus died.  Katie said to him, “But Jesus isn’t dead." - “Yes He’s dead.” - Grampy told me.  He died on the cross.  

I realized I hadn’t completed the story.  So we had another talk as I explained to Dallas that Jesus rose from the dead. We went over the story again until he understood that Jesus is alive today, even though He did die for us.

What a reminder that people need to hear the whole gospel.
When a man from Ethiopia asked Philip about a portion of Scripture he did not 
understand, Philip "opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him” (Acts 8:35)

Tell others the good news about Jesus: that we are all sinners needing salvation; that the perfect 
Son of God died to save us; and that He rose from the grave, showing His power over death.
Jesus, our Saviour, is alive and is offering now to live His life through us.

When someone wants to know about Jesus, let’s make sure to tell the whole story
(Dave Brandon)
-------------------------------------------------
"Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright (2015), Grand Rapids, MI.  Reprinted permission.”
________________________________

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May 10

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, 
a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, 
rightly dividing the word of truth.”
(2 Timothy 2:15)

I supposed I knew my Bible, reading piecemeal, hit or miss,
Now a bit of John or Matthew, now a snatch of Genesis,
Certain chapters of Isaiah, certain Psalms (the twenty-third!)
Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs—yes, I thought I knew the Word!
But I found that thorough reading was a different thing to do,
And the way was unfamiliar when I read the Bible through.

You who like to play at Bible, dip and dabble here and there,
Just before you kneel, aweary, and yawn through a hurried prayer,
You who treat the crown of writings as you treat no other book—
Just a paragraph, disjointed, just a crude, impatient look—
Try a worthier procedure, try a broad and steady view;
You will kneel in very rapture, when you read the Bible through!
(Selected)

Mark your Bible. It will emblazon glorious truths.  
Well-springs of inspiration will stand out like electric signs in the night.

“Commit something to memory every day.  Thus train the waters of 
the great reservoir of wisdom to irrigate your life.”
(Dr. Frank Crane)

Today may I discover riches which have hitherto been hidden from me!

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, 
throughly furnished unto all good works.
(2 Timothy 3:16,17)    

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May 11

“For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)

SOMEWHERE or other in the worst flood of trouble, there is 
always a dry spot for contentment to get its foot on;
and if there were not, it would learn to swim.
This is learning to be content, whatever 
the circumstances may be.

Strong grows the oak in the sweeping storm,
Safely the flower sleeps under the snow,
And the farmer’s hearth is never warm
Till the cold wind starts to blow.
(Josiah Gilbert Holland)

It has been said that no man is safe unless he can stand anything that can happen to him.
The Christian is more than safe, for he can use 
anything that can happen to him.
Everything is grist to his mill.

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May 12

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
(Hebrews 4:12)

THE BIBLE

The Bible contains: the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers.  Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. 

Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.
It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.
It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrims’s staff, the pilot’s compass, 
the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. 

Here, heaven is opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.
Christ is the grand subject, 
our good its design, and the glory of God its end.
It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet.

Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. 
It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure.
It is given you in life, will be opened at the Judgment, and be remembered forever.
It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour, 
and condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.

“Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven.”
(Psalm 119:89)
(The Lord is near- 1995)

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May 13

“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 4:19)

Years ago when horse-cabs were the custom in Canada,
it was usual to give the cabman a tip of 25 cents.
The story is told of of one of Canada’s richest men who drove home one night in a cab.
When he got out he handed the cabby the correct fare and a 25 cent tip.
The cabby turned it over in his hand, and said,
“You know, Sir, when I drive your son home, 
he always gives me half a dollar tip.”
“Yes,” the wealthy man replied, 
“But he has a rich father.”

The son was was giving in some measure “according to his wealth.”
I regret to say the father was not doing so: but our ‘rich Father’ will never treat us so;
He gives according to His wealth.”
And we might bear in mind that our ‘rich Father’ has said,
Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
(G. Christopher Willis - Sacrifices of Joy)

Love ever gives, forgives, outlives;
And ever stands with open hands,
And while it lives it gives.
For this is Love’s prerogative—
To give, and give, and give.
(Straight Talks)

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May 14

GOD'S REVELATION

"...the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”  
(1 Corinthians 1:21) 

Salvation is something that comes altogether from God. 
And when we put it like that, do we not see very clearly why it is that so many people reject it? 
The natural man dislikes the whole idea of revelation. Why? 
Because he thinks he is wise and prudent. He feels so full of his own intellect and understanding. 

1 Corinthians 1:21 (Quoted above)
Here is a great principle, and if we are wrong at this point, how can we be right anywhere else? 
The gospel starts by proclaiming that it is the way of salvation. 
Its message is not something that man has thought of or achieved, 
but something that comes out of the mind of God. 
It is something that God shows and gives, that He has revealed; 
it is altogether from His side, and man contributes nothing to it. 

Why is God’s way of salvation a matter of revelation? 
One of the reasons why it must be revelation and not discovery is the greatness of God. 
“I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast…revealed them unto babes….” (Luke 10:21) 
Oh, how easy it is to talk cleverly about God and to understand the philosophy of God, to have our religious arguments and discussions. 
But isn’t half our trouble that we forget altogether who God is and what He is? From eternity to eternity, He is the Creator and sustainer of everything that is. 

The gospel is altogether from God’s side, and man contributes nothing to it. 
(Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

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May 15

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you.”
(John 14:27)

Peace and suffering are closely linked together in the New Testament.
The words quoted lead on to Gethsemane and Calvary. 

A letter, which begins with persecution and tribulation, 
and prays that those who read it might be counted worthy of the 
Kingdom of God for which they suffer, ends with -
Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means.” [peace at all times]
(2 Thessalonians 3:16

We do not know what the Thessalonians had to endure;  we only know it was a thousand times more than anything we have ever experienced, for the New Testament words always contain the most, not the least, possible meaning, so a great scholar has said.

Beside these immense trials what are ours? They mays seem large to us for the moment, and perhaps no one knows of them. That does not matter, for He Who loves best of all knows all about that, and He says,  “My peace I give unto you.
His peace is not the easy, natural peace of the level road.
It is the peace of the steep and difficult mountain climb.

Make us Thy mountaineers . . . that undefeated we may climb the hill
As seeing Him Who is invisible.
(Edges of His Ways - Amy Carmichael)

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May 16

“The Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.”
(Luke 12:40)

SOMETIMES I SEE the little sign, PERHAPS TODAY.
It means that today may be the time our Lord shall return.
It may be at dawn or at dark, midday, or midnight.
And we want to be not only waiting but watching.

Again, perhaps if He does not come for us, this may be the day when we go to Him.
It may be the day when great tragedy, sorrow, bereavement will befall us. It may be the most glorious day we ever knew when heaven opens and God pours out a blessing we have not room enough to receive. The bible says, “Sanctify yourselves against to morrow”. 
(Numbers 11:18)  

It is also well to be sanctified against today. Life is a string of surprises, good and bad.
God lives in the Everlasting Now and makes much of Today.
It is the only day we have.  Yesterday is gone and “tomorrow’s sun may never rise” for us.
Do not live as though He might return tomorrow.
Perhaps TODAY!
(Vance Havner - All the Days)

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May 17

"Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins. 
By Him all that believe are justified from all things.”
(Acts 13:38-39)

Satan has whitewashed sin.
Human society smiles upon evil and readily indulges in it.
But God has not changed.
The sinner must be washed, not whitewashed,
by the fountain that was opened through the death of Christ at Calvary.

That washing justifies; so that the sinner is made clean;
and is seen by God as being in Christ.
If you are in Christ, you know it.
If not, you are in your sins, and far from God.
(Doug Kazen)

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin; not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, oh my soul!
(Horatio G. Spafford)

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May 18

“Dost Thou not care?”
(Luke 10:40

“He careth for you.”
(1 Peter 5:7)

Care is the result of the present condition of the world;
and the present condition of the world is the result of a wrong attitude towards its Maker.

The evil thing called CARE flows from want of harmony with the Author of our being.

Sin introduced the element of distrust; man became alienated from his Maker, and as a 
consequence has lost the sense of His goodness and protection; and the baneful effect is CARE, with all its gloom, unhappiness, and unrest.
(Angels in White - Russell Elliott

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May 19

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order, Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.
(1 Corinthian 15:20-23)   

The subject of 1 Corinthians 15 is the resurrection of the body; and yet not the resurrection of the bodies of all, but only that of believers. This may be seen at a glance.
After then showing the consequences of the false doctrine—that there 
was no resurrection—the apostle states the truth. 
(1 Corinthians 15:20-23 - noted above.)

Language could not be more exact or explicit.
So also in 1 Thessalonians 4 it is said
The dead in Christ shall rise first
(No others are within the apostle’s view):
then we which are alive and remain . . .” 

There is not a thought of unbelievers being included.
It is this fact which explains this same apostle’s expression in another epistle:
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” [from among the dead].
(Philippians 3:11)
(The blessed Hope - Edward Dennett)

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May 20

“And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and Thou shalt glorify me.” 
(Psalm 50:15)   

In Time of Trouble . . .

SAY - 

FIRST:  He brought me here; it is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest.

NEXT:  He will here keep me in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as HIs child.

THEN:  He will make the trial a blessing—teaching me the lessons He means me to learn, 
     and working in me the grace He intends for me.

LAST:  In His good time He can bring me out again — how and when, HE KNOWS.

SAY -

I AM HERE:  (1)   By God’s appointment.
     (2)   In His keeping.
     (3)   Under His training.
                     (4)   For His time.
(Comforted of God - A.J. Pollock)

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May 21

“And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph’s house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground.”
(Genesis 44:14)

As they did so they unconsciously fulfilled Joseph's own prediction uttered when a boy.
How vividly that memorable dream of the harvest field must have occurred to Joseph’s mind!
Here were their sheaves making obeisance to his sheaf, standing erect in the midst.

But who was to be their spokesman

Reuben had always had something to say in self-justification, and had been so sure that all would be right that he had pledged the lives of his children to his father for the safety of Benjamin; but he is dumb.

Simeon was probably the cruel one, the instigator of the crime against Joseph; but he dares not utter a word.

Benjamin, the blameless one, the prototype of the young man whom Jesus loved, is convicted of sin, and has nought to say.  Who then is to speak?  There is only one, 

Judah, who at the pit’s mouth had diverted the brothers from their first thought of murder.
And notice how he speaks.
  
He does not attempt to hold up any extenuating circumstances, 
or to explain the past, or to excuse Benjamin or themselves.  
He throws himself helpless on Joseph’s mercy:

What shall we say unto my lord?  What shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves?
God hath found out the iniquity of they servants: behold, we are my lord(s) 
servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.
(Genesis 44:16)
(F.B. Meyer- Joseph (Beloved—Hated—Exalted)

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May 22

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:18)

Lot saw a well-watered plain and a city,
and then dwelt in it on the earth,
and consequently was in the midst of judgment;
while Abraham sought a city out of sight,
and he enjoyed the blessing and comfort of 
God being with Him, go 
where he might.
(Pilgrim Portions - J.N.D.)

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May 23

“And Moses said unto the LORD, 
O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, 
nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant: 
but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.”
(Exodus 4:10)

“I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth,
and will teach you what ye shall do.”
(Exodus 4:15)

Unlike his brother Aaron, Moses was not a powerful speaker.  God 
made it clear that both needed, and would receive, His help.
Whether we are overwhelmed by a responsibility,
or feel that we can handle it, we must not
forget to commit it to God, seeking His 
power.  Failure to do so can lead, 
in the one case, to a hopeless 
giving up, or in the other
case to proud success
 without reward.
(David Logan)

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.
(A.S. Hawks)

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May 24

“Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperanceand to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” 
(2 Peter 1:5-7)

Not the mere external restraint, but the cultivation of the inward history of the soul day by day, governing ourselves, keeping ourselves in order: and depend upon it if we cannot keep ourselves in order, we cannot keep any one else.

Temperance is that quiet gravity of spirit, that is equable in every circumstance, like Christ, never upset by any trial, or anything that provokes. 

"And to temperance patience.” 
Temperance will keep me from saying or doing a thing that will wound you, and patience will keep me from being upset by anything you may do that is likely to wound me.
Temperance is active, patience is passive!  

If you have not knowledge, you will not know how to meet the mind of God. If you have not temperance you will be sure to do something that will hurt some one else, and if you have not patience you will be upset by what some one else may be doing to you.
(W.T.P. Wolston - Peter His Life & Letters)

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May 25

“Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. ”
(2 Peter 1:5-7)

And to patience godliness”—God-likeness.
Walking through this scene, and possessing the divine nature, see that you illustrate it, 
exemplify it!  Show me a man’s company, and I will show you what sort of man he is.
If you are keeping company with God you will be a godly person, for 
we all resemble the thing we are occupied with.
It comes out in a thousand details of our everyday life.
(Simon Peter - W.T.P Wolston)

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May 26

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a 
man lay down his life for his friends. 
Ye are My friends.”
(John 15:13-14)

Jesus died on the cross in a supreme example of love for His friends,
even friends who turned away from Him, and “friends” 
who had no awareness of what He was doing.

He commanded His disciples to love their enemies and at a climactic 
moment near death, looked at His tormentors who crucified
Him and prayed; “Father forgive them for they know  
not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

While we may all be guilty of self-centredness, Jesus can make a change in 
our lives.  Opening our hearts, He pours His love into our lives.
Jesus gave Himself up for you and me and the
best response we could exhibit is to give 
back our lives to Him in gratitude, 
"It is more blessed to give 
than to receive.”
(Acts 20:35)
(Adapted)

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May 27

“He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself 
also so to walk, even as He walked.”
(1 John 2:6)

Here we enter on the ground of true christian responsibility.
Being a Christian, I am responsible to walk as one.
Not that I may become one, bless the Lord! 
but because I am one.

What a mercy! we are not responsible to gain a place in the divine favour.
The blessed Jesus has accomplished this.

But being, through His precious blood, in the place of perfect favour—perfect peace, joy, and
acceptance, we ought to walk according to the position in which grace has set us.
Being a child of God, I ought to walk as a child of God.
And being a servant, I ought to walk as a servant.
(Andrew Miller)

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May 28

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
(Ephesians 6:11)

In this conflict we require the “whole armour of God.”
If one piece is missing Satan will be 
quick enough to detect the lack
 and attack us in the vulnerable place.

The armour has to be "put on.”
It by no means follows that because we are 
Christians we have put on the armour.
The armour is provided for us as Christians, but it 
remains with us to put it on. 

It is not enough to look at the armour, or to admire it,
or to be able to describe it, we must 
put on the whole armour of God.”
(Hamilton Smith)

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May 29

“Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.” 
(Acts 15:36)

The pastor has his work as well as the evangelist; and we are desirous to furnish a motto for him.
Such a motto we have in the words, 
Let us go again (return).”
We are not to regard this expression only as the narrative of what was done, 
but as a model of what ought to be done.

If the evangelist is responsible to preach the gospel in the regions beyond, 
so long as there are regions to be evangelized; 
the pastor is responsible to go again 
and visit his brethren, so long as there are brethren to be visited.

The evangelist forms the interesting connection; the pastor maintains and strengthens that connection.
The one is the instrument of creating that beautiful link; the other of perpetuating it.
(The Lord is Near - C.H. Mackintosh)

To serve the present age, my calling to fulfill;
O may it all my powers engage to do my Master’s will!
(Charles Wesley)

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May 30

“In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul.”
(Psalm 94:19)

O Thou who dry’st the mourner’s tears! how dark this world would be,
If, when deceived and wounded here, we could not fly to Thee.
(Thomas Moore)

Life is often filled with unexpected problems or crises.
Unrest and despair will darken the way of even the strongest saint.
Yet the Christian—because of the refuge he has in God—should strive to 
maintain composure and stability in spite of stress and difficulties.

We cannot escape the pressures and dark shadows in our lives;
but they can be faced with a spiritual strength that our Lord provides.
As we are held securely “near to the heart of God,” 
we find the rest, the comfort, the joy and peace that only Jesus our Redeemer can give.
Because of this, we can live every day with an inner calm and courage.

This is the message that Cleland B. McAfee (1866-1944) expressed in this consoling hymn at a time when his own life was filled with sadness.
Dr. McAfee was stunned to hear the shocking news that his two beloved nieces 
had just died from diphtheria.
Turning to God and the Scriptures, McAfee soon felt the lines and the 
tune of this hymn flow from his grieving heart.

There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God,
a place where sin cannot molest, near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet, near to the heart of God,
a place where we our Saviour meet, near to the heart of God.

There is a place of full release, near to the heart of God,
a place where all is joy and peace, near to the heart of God.

Chorus:  O Jesus, blest Redeemer, sent from the heart of God,
hold us who wait before Thee near to the heart of God.
(Amazing Grace - Kenneth W. Osbeck)

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May 31

“Should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more 
than six-score thousand persons that cannot discern 
between their right hand and their left hand;
 and also much cattle?” 
(Jonah 4:11)

There is something peculiarly touching in those last words, “And also much cattle.” 
Though not numbered, like the little children, the cattle had worn sackcloth along with the people, and God had seen it, (Jonah 3:8) and the God who does not let one sparrow fall to the ground without His knowledge, (Matthew 10:29) shows us here His tender care 
for the cattle who would have perished with their guilty owners. 

It is a grand truth that when a man is saved, all that pertains to him is under the dominion of a new master.  Pharaoh wanted Israel to leave their cattle in Egypt when they went out of that country, but the magnificent answer is, “There shall not a hoof be left behind.” (Exodus 10:26)  
That is the right way.

When you were converted, were your cattle converted, too? 
Was your business converted, and your bank account?
The little children who do not know their right hand 
from their left, are they they traveling 
the narrow way with you?  

All these were saved when the king of Nineveh and his people turned to God in repentance.
That is the only right way for us to be saved also.
If the little children and the cattle are not included there is something wrong.
(Lessons From Jonah the Prophet - G. Christopher Willis)

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