Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5200 posted here) sent daily for 17 years -- njhiebert@sympatico.ca

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Gems from December 2016


“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”  (1 Peter 1:7-8)

JOB - Above this book you may write:
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace:
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.” (Cowper)
Its keywords are found in two New Testament texts: 

Patient in tribulation” (Romans 12:12). 
Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10).

The noble book of Job, that gave to the ancient world the first hint of the solution of
the mystery of pain, by detaching from it the hitherto inescapable association  
of a curse; which teaches man to believe that the divine author of all 
we suffer and all we enjoy is our ever blessed Lord.

For there is no strength without trial, no wisdom without experience of God and evil;
no refinement without pain; no progress without self-dissatisfaction;
nothing permanent that costs us nothing.
(The Wonderful Word - George Henderson)

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December 1

“Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble;
Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.”
(Psalm 32:7)

Storms often hit the northern coast of England bringing distress to the many small fishing vessels that ply the coastal waters.  It is reported that “A Shelter in the Time of Storm” has long been a favourite song of many of the fishermen in this area, and they are often heard singing it as they approach their harbours during a storm.

The vivid wording of this hymn assures us that we too are safer during life’s storms with Christ in control than in the calm times without Him.  We as Christians must rest assured that “no fears alarm, no foes affright” in the shelter of His safe retreat.

Just as a young bird would never fly if not pushed out of its nest, we would never develop spiritual strength if we did not learn to handle—with absolute confidence in God—the storms He allows to come our way.

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide-a shelter in the time of storm;
secure whatever ill betide-a shelter in the time of storm.

A shade by day, defence by night-a shelter in the time of storm;
no fears alarm, no foes affright-a shelter in the time of storm.

The raging storms may round us beat-a shelter in the time of storm; 
We’ll never leave our safe retreat-a shelter in the time of storm.

O Rock divine, O Refuge dear-a shelter in the time of storm;
Be thou our helper ever near-a shelter in the time of storm.

Chorus:  
O Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, a weary land, a weary land;
O Jesus is a Rock in a weary land-a shelter in the time of storm.
(VernonJ.  Charlesworth)

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December 2

“Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”
(Jonah 3:4)

As we read the story of Jonah, bearing in mind the greatness and magnificence of which
these old stone relics tell us, it needs no great stretch of the imagination to 
see the prophet Jonah standing on those palace steps,
or beside the great winged bull preaching
his short sermon:

Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 

How striking is the difference between Jonah’s message and ours!
Jonah’s message was altogether one of judgement without a word of mercy.
Yet both preacher and hearers read in this message, and read correctly, an offer of mercy.

Otherwise, why send the warning of judgment?
It is well for us to remember that in every message of judgment,
there is hidden an offer of mercy, if the guilty ones will but 
take warning and repent.   
(G. C. Willis)

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December 3

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”
(Ephesians 4:14-15)

A childlike Christian does not lose the wonder.
There ought to be in every child of God a sense of surprise, a glad expectancy.
This is his Father’s world and anything can happen.

We live on a miracle level and faith is not believing that God can, but that He will do wonderful things. But we do not look for miracles, and we do not see many. We pray for rain, 
and do not carry our umbrellas.

We ought never to start for a meeting without saying, “This may be the great night!”
We get used to being Christians; we take it for granted and we lose the wonder.
We work at it harder than ever, but we are shorn Samsons in treadmills. 
“Christian activity” becomes a battle of wits and a bustle of works.

Nothing else under the sun can be as dry, flat, tedious, and exhausting as religious work without the wonder.We may dread going to “church".  We are bored by the message.  The Sunday school lesson puts us to sleep.
We are weary in well-doing.

Once we stood amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene; now we want to sit amused.  
Once we were edified; now we must be entertained.
It is all work and no wonder.
(Vance Havner)

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December 4

“As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”
 (Deuteronomy 33:25) 

“Sometimes,” says John Newton, 
”I compare the troubles we have to undergo in the course of a year
to a great bundle of sticks far too large for us to lift.

But God does not require us to carry to the whole at once. 
He mercifully unties the bundles, and gives us first one stick, 
which we are able to carry today, and then another, which we are able 
to carry tomorrow, and so on.

This we can easily mange, if we could only take the burden appointed for us each day; 
but we choose increase our trouble by carrying yesterday’s stock over again 
today,and adding tomorrow’s burden before we are required to bear it.”

Apart from the woes, that are past and gone and the shadow of future care,
The heaviest of the present hour is easy enough to bear.
(Heaven’s Cure for Earth’s Care - George Henderson)

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December 5

“Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven,
all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment:  and those
that walk in pride He is able to abase.”
(Daniel 4:37)

How utterly vain it is for man to harden and exalt himself against God;
for truly, He can grind to powder the hardest heart, and
bring down to the dust the haughtiest spirit.

"Those that walk in pride, He is able to abase.”
(Food for the desert

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December 6

“May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, 
and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love
of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might
be filled with all the fulness of God.”
(Ephesians 3:18-19)

We live in a three dimensional world.
Why then does Paul use four dimensions to measure the love of Christ?

Imagine you are in the depths of the ocean.
If you could be in the very centre, there would not only be
a breadth  and length to the mighty waters, but there would be a
depth below you and height above you.

God desires that we comprehend the measureless dimensions 
of His love and realize we are in its very centre.
(Ken Gross)

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast unmeasured, boundless, free;
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me.
(S. Trevor Francis

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December 7

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”
(Romans 8:37)

“Lest I should be exalted above measure . . . there was given to me a thorn in the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 12:7)

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

God did not take away Paul’s thorn;
He did better—He mastered that thorn, and made it Paul’s servant.
The ministry of thorns has often been a greater ministry to man than the ministry of thrones.
(Streams in the Desert)

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December 8

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, REJOICE.”
(Philippians 4:4)

When first we were married, life was full of joy:
as well expect the soaring lark to keep silent, as expect the joyous 
saint not to sing God’s praise,’ so there was not a day passed that we did not 
have singing in out little home: but the time came when the cares of this world crowded 
out the songs of Heaven, yet, I grieve to say, we hardly noticed it.

For a wedding present a beloved friend had given us a beautiful canary in a brass cage,
and its songs were a constant delight:  but one day they stopped, and how we missed them:
then our eyes were opened to the fact that our own songs had stopped also: and what was our shame, 
when our neighbours opposite remarked how thy missed the singing they had grown to love. 
(Philippians - G. Christopher Willis)  

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December 9

“But I trusted in Thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in Thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant: save me for Thy mercies' sake.”
(Psalm 31:14-16)

It is good to be reminded that our times are in His hand—all the things that are packed into what we call our time.

Whether we are old or young, ill or well; whether we are doing the desired or the undesired, the expected or the unexpected—our times are in His hand today and every day.

The Lord has delivered us from the hand of our enemies.
We are His sheep, and He has said,

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.
My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able
to pluck them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29)   

So not only our times, but we ourselves, are safe in His hands today.
(Whispers of His Power - Amy Carmichael  1867-1951)

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December 10

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

The Christian cannot be in a difficulty that Christ is not sufficient for, 
nor on a long dark road where he cannot find Him enough.

We may pass through strait and difficult places, but He is not the less faithful;
only let us look to Him, and He is there, even when He seems to forsake us,
in order to put faith to the proof, and to make us known to ourselves.
(Footprints for Pilgrims - J. N. Darby)

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December 11

“Let us lay aside every weight,  and the sin 
which doth so easily beset us.”
(Hebrews 12:1)

Cares are more subtle things, because they enter as necessary duties
and there is no sin in doing one’s duty.

But if these duties choke the word and a man loses 
his soul through it, what then?
(Footprints for Pilgrims)

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December 12

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

The nearer we are to God the more we lose sight of ourselves and the better 
we are able to apprehend and to communicate His mind.
(Edward Dennett)

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December 13

“His brethren therefore said unto Him . . . for there is no man that doeth any thing in secret,and He Himself seeketh to be known openly.  If Thou do these things, show Thyself to the world.”
(John 7:3-4)

“But He answered, an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.”
(Matthew 12:39

Excellent, indeed, are these traces of God’s perfect Servant.
David and Paul, standing, as it were, on either side of 
Him, like Moses and Elias on the holy hill, reflect
this Servant thus hiding of Himself.

David slew the lion and the bear, and Paul was caught up to the third heaven; 
but neither of them spoke of those things.

And lovely reflections of the perfect Servant such actings 
were.  But they, and all like them which we may find in Scripture, or among
the saints, are more distant from the great Original than we have measure to measure. 

He hid "the form of God" under "the form of a servant."
Jesus was the strength of David when he killed the lion and the 
bear; and He was the Lord of that heaven to which Paul was caught up; but
He lay under the form of one who had "not where to lay His head" (Matthew 10:20.)
(J. G. Bellett)

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December 14

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
(1 Peter 1:18-19)

The blood of Christ is precious  because of its infinite value to God and to the redeemed.
It is precious because it will never lose its power in cleansing the vilest of sinners.

Never depreciate the value of the precious blood.
What a great dishonour we bring to God and 
to the Lamb when we limit its value, its
effectiveness and its atonement!

He could give no more than when He sacrificially shed His precious 
blood for you, for me and for the whole world!
(Jim Comte)

Precious blood, whose full atonement, bringeth us to God!
Precious blood, our song and glory, praise and laud!
(Francis R. Havergal)

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December 15

“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)

We tend to be shortsighted, and consequently discouraged or fearful.
If we look back, let us look back to Calvary and see the infinite 
love which God has had for us from eternity past.

If we look forward, let us look forward to the glory which shall be revealed in us at the
 appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ and to us throughout eternity future.

Faith takes the long view.
(Nuggets of truth - J. Kaiser)

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December 16

“In Whom (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made know unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself.”
(Ephesians 1:7-9)

It is obvious that nothing but the highest condition and position in 
which a man can be found is adequate for such great ends.
When angels and principalities “see a poor sinner, and the whole Church, in the same
glory as the Son of God, they will understand, as much as it is possible for them 
to understand, the exceeding riches of the grace that  has set them there.”

All is brought to pass by the grace of God, and every blessing 
we enjoy is the gift of God.

The very faith by which salvation is received is the gift of God.

The works of man have no place in securing this blessedness; all is of God,
and hence there is no room for man to boast.
(Hamilton Smith)

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December 17

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh 
away: and every branch that beareth fruit, 
He purgeth it, that it may bring 
forth more fruit.”
(John 15:1-2)

Ed Lawrence, a prominent Canadian horticulturist, 
gave five principle for pruning plans: anything 
that is dead, damaged, diseased, 
dangerous, or not desirable 
must be removed.

The result is a healthier, stronger, more beautiful and more fruitful plant.

What a comfort to know that, as the Master Gardiner tends to us, 
He only removes what He knows is for our good.
He is growing us into what He desires us to be, 
conformed to the image of His Son.
(L. Shatford)

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December 18

"Jesus answered and said unto him (Nicodemus), Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 
(John 3:3)

This was very humiliating to “a man of the Pharisees”—
“a ruler of the Jews”—“a master of Israel.”

There is nothing of which man is so tenacious as his religion and his learning;   
and, in the case of Nicodemus, it must have sounded passing strange 
upon his ear when “a teacher come from God” declared to him, 

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, 
he cannot see the kingdom of God.”   

Being by birth a Jew, and, as such, entitled to all the privileges of a son of Abraham, it must have involved him in strange perplexity, to be told that the must be born again—that he must be the subject of a new birth, in order to see the kingdom of God.

This was a total setting aside of all his privileges and distinctions.  It called him down at once from the very highest to the very “lowest step of the ladder.”
This was deeply humbling.
(C.H. Mackintosh)

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December 19

Weeping in Heaven

I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open
and to read the book, neither to look thereon.”  
(Revelation 5:4)

What, tears in heaven!  Can it be, a saint in tears in that glad place?
Yes, I could weep, as well as he, if there I missed my Saviour’s face.

“Weep not.  Behold!” No matter where, our tears are dried if He appear.
Without Him, we’d be mourning there; with Him, we can be joyful here.
(James M. S. Tait)

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December 20

“And the Lord said unto him, what is that in thine hand? And he said, a rod.
And He said, cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and
it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the Lord
said unto Moses, put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. 
And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it 
became a rod in his hand.”
(Exodus 4:2-4)   

What is that in thine hand?”  Let us examine honestly whether it is something which He can use for His glory or not. If not, do not let us hesitate an instant about dropping it.

It may be something we do not like to part with; but the Lord is able to give thee much more than this, and the first glimpse of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus your Lord will enable us to count those things loss which were gain to us. 

But if it is something which He can use, He will make us do ever so much more with it than before.  Moses little thought what the Lord was was going to make him do with that rod in his hand!

The first thing he had to do with it was to cast it on the ground, and see it pass through a startling change.  After this he was commanded to take it up again, hard and terrifying as it was to do so.

But when it became again a rod in his hand, it was no longer what it was before, the simple rod of a wandering desert shepherd.  Henceforth it was “the rod of God in his hand” (Exodus 4:20), wherewith he should do signs, and by which God Himself would do marvellous things (Psalm 78:12). 
(Kept for the Master’s Use - Francis Ridley Havergal)

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December 21

“These all . . . confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
(Hebrews 11:13)

Lord, since we sing as pilgrims, O give us pilgrims’ ways;
Low thoughts of self, befitting proclaimers of Thy praise;
O make us each more holy, in spirit pure and meek;
More like to heavenly citizens, as more of heaven we speak.
(Mary Bowley)

The early Christians presented in a beautiful way the Nazarite character.
They walked as those whose hearts Christ had taken away with Him into heaven.

So immensely are our lives below the mark as nominal Christians that we have next to no idea of the distance  at which we walk from God, and when the soul is turned to seek . . . Him only . . . we discover with amazement how many false props we have had, and how often we have been leaning
on the love and approbation of others and not upon a Father’s love alone.
(G.V.Wigram)

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December 22

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that
ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand."
(Ephesians 6:13)

Satan wastes no ammunition on those who are dead in trespasses and sins.

Christians are far more strategic targets for him.

Travelling all over the world, I saw Satan,
with his timely shots, attacking 
Christians more than 
ever before.

What a joy that we have so many promises in the Bible.
We are holy, chosen, beloved, hidden in
the hollow of His hand. We
have a living Saviour, 
legions of angels.

Count your many blessings!
(Corrie Ten Boom)

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December 23

“And the famine was over all the face of the earth:
And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto  
the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt.  
And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn;
 because that the famine was so sore in all the lands."
(Genesis 41:56-57)

We have traced Joseph’s path to a position of exaltation and 
power, and we have seen how he used that power during the years of 
plenty.  But “the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt,
 were ended.  And the  seven years of dearth began to come.” 
(Genesis 41:53-54).

How will Joseph act in the years of dearth?

His brethren had consigned him to the pit, the Gentiles had flung him into 
prison.  Will Joseph take occasion by the world’s extremity, and his 
brethren’s need to use his power in taking vengeance?   

Nature might act thus, but grace will take another way.
Joseph will use his place of supremacy and power for universal blessing.

But while showing grace he will maintain righteousness, 
hence a cry of need will be wrung from the Gentiles
and they must submit themselves to Joseph
before the blessing is received. 

So too repentance must precede blessing in the case of the brethren.
(Joseph - Hamilton Smith)

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December 24

“. . . whether there be knowledge it shall vanish away.”
(1 Corinthians 13:8

We are a generation today of exhausted, overly particular people.
We are experts but not examples.    We know so much - too much.
We want to be thought of as philosophers, not little children; scholars 
not babes.  Childlike?  Never!  We miss the secrets God has hidden from 
the wise and prudent and revealed unto babes.

We go on trying to be wise, noble, mighty; but not many wise, 
noble and mighty have been chosen by God.

It is possible for a wise man too become as a little child, but not many of 
them do it.  How often preachers miss some deep truths but the simple soul among the
saints of God has received the hidden lesson
 and applied it and pressed through to heaven’s best.

"We know too much!”  

What does it matter if I go not to God’s Word to seek
The truth, of that which I so glibly speak,
And the need for His guiding hand on my earthly way — 
Does it really matter just what I may say?
(Selected - Streams in the Desert)

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“They that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee.”
(Psalm 9:10) 

A Gem From the Seventeenth Century

"The reason why God is trusted so little, is because He is so little known. 

We say of some men, "They are better known than trusted," and if we knew some men more, we should trust them less; but the truth is, God is always trusted as much as He 
is known, and if we knew Him more, we would trust Him more. 
Every discovery of God shows somewhat which 
renders Him more worthy of trust."
(Caryl, 1602-1672)

"Trust in Him ye saints, forever,He is faithful, changing never;
Neither force nor guile can severThose He loves from Him.”
(T. Kelly)
(Christian Truth: Vol. 4 - Dan Hopkins)

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“The words of the wise are as goads.”
(Ecclesiastes 12:11)

Christ passeth oft by palaces to visit the poor cottages. 
Pilate missed Christ on the bench, while the poor thief finds Him,
and heaven with Him, on the cross.

Ignorance is the mother of persecution.

We must come to good works by faith, and not to faith by good works.

It was a charge long ago laid upon Christianity, that it was better known in
pages of books than in the lives of Christians. 

It is easier to bow at the name, than to stoop to the cross of Jesus Christ.   
(William Gurnall -1617-1679)

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December 25

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes,
and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
(Luke 2: 7)

The natural human heart is like that inn at Bethlehem—no room for Christ!
Every true saint of God for four thousand years had been gazing out into the 
future, looking and listening that they might hear the footfall of the coming One.

Bible students think that when Eve brought forth her firstborn and said: 
I have got a man from the Lord,” (Genesis 4:1) she thought he was the promised One.
And right on for four thousand years the mothers in Israel had been looking for that child.

And now the time had arrived.  He appears on earth; 
and the first thing we read is that there is no room for Him! (Luke 2:7

He came on no secret mission.  He tells us what He came for, (Luke 19:10
to seek and to save that which was lost.”

He came to get His arm under the vilest sinner and lift him up to God; to bind up the 
broken-hearted, and to comfort those that mourn (Luke 4:18).

And yet from time to time it was announced in Jerusalem that He had come,
until He was put to death on the cross, the sword was not put back into
its scabbard until it had pierced the very heart of the God-man.
(D.L. Moody)

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December 26

“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin
to their charge.  And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
(Acts 7:59-60)  

In connection with the stoning of Stephen, Christ said,
"I am in the glory watching the whole scene.”

He is presented standing  up in the place of glory where He is, 
letting the glory down into the soul of a man.  

As knowing Christ in heaven, my life should, as it were, wrap itself round Him,
but in this scene I learn how His affections are wrapped around me; 
how, up there, His thoughts are occupied about me, not merely 
blessing me, but all His sympathy flowing down to me, 
as it did to the man who was being stoned. 
(G.V. Wigram)

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December 27

 “. . . Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see . . .”
(Luke 2:15)

IF HE HAD NOT COME

There would have been no salvation, 
there would have been no revelation of God in understandable human 
hearts, there would have been no living faith to encourage us each new day,
there would have been no everlasting doctrine of Peace-on-earth, Good will to men!

O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, 
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels, 
O come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord!

Sing Choirs of angel, sing in exultation, 
O sing, all ye bright hosts of heav’n above;
Glory to God, all glory in the highest
O Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!

Yea Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning,
Jesus, to Thee be all glory given; Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing 
O come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord!
(John Wade)

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December 28

“I will lead them in paths that they have not known.”
(Isaiah 42:16)

Uphold my steps in Thy paths, that my footsteps may not slip!
(Psalm 17:5) 

No matter what corner I go around on the winding road of life . . .
I do not know what is around that next turn in this winding trail  
of life. But I know this--whatever there is around that corner I 
shall have my hand in Another's hand when I go and face it. 

And if I feel a little bit disturbed, I shall move my finger around in the palm of that 
hand till I find the scar, and then I shall know that Jesus Christ, who on the 
cross was wounded for my sins--is not going to leave me no matter 
what corner I go around on the winding road of life.
(W.B. Hinton)

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December 29

“The Word that I have spoken, the same shall  judge him in the last day.”
(John 12:48)

The written Word is the manifestation of Christ, and is a
discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 

Man cannot judge God’s word without judging himself;
so if he judges it to be wrong, he is judged himself.

"He that believeth not is condemned already.
(John 3:18)

He is incapable of seeing Christ, who was God manifested in the flesh,  
and the Word judges him.

You may talk about colours or light to a blind man; but if a man is blind he  
cannot understand you; it is his non-perception of light 
and colours that proves he is blind.

It must be so where God is manifested.
If I am incapable of discerning what manifests Christ,
and the Word does not reach my soul, it is that which judges me.
(J. N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert - 6483 

December 30

THROW OFF EVERYTHING THAT HINDERS

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”  (Hebrews 12:1)

What a tremendous challenge this verse is to every believer. There are many things in our lives that are not sin in themselves; however, when they dominate our lives they often become distractions and hinder our relationship with the Lord. 

Satan is very clever and infiltrates our mind and heart to make stumbling blocks of the
the very things that are good but supersede what should be of utmost importance. 

One of the tools Satan uses that becomes a heavy weight to us is despondency. . . to be discouraged and depressed. Our hearts become heavy, our countenance becomes sad, and our attitude becomes defeated. 

This becomes a weight that easily besets us and drags us down. 
We become discontent, critical, and spiritually useless. 

Such an attitude opens the door, ever so slightly, to Satan's insidious ways to disrupt, 
discourage, and defeat us at every turn. Let us not give ourselves any occasion 
to yield to self-pity or question those encounters that will hinder 
God's work of grace in our lives.

 Throw off everything that hinders!
(Selected - Daily Devotions)

N.J. Hiebert - 6484

December 31

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

“How can a young man keep his way pure?
by guarding it according it to Your Word.”
(ESU translation)

. . . how can youth keep its way shining through a dark world?
How can you reach the goal—Christ?

By taking heed thereto, by stepping carefully and guiding your
life by what your soul is learning of God in the text of Holy Scripture,
and by keeping company with Christ as your best Friend, and never ceasing
until you are on such terms with Him that you talk to Him more intimately than
to wife or child, lover or friend, and He talks with you.

That does not only mean you have a Bible in your pocket—thank God if you have—
but it means that you have Christ in your heart.
(Harold St. John - Portrait by his daughter)   

N.J. Hiebert - 6485

“And she (Ruth) went, and came, 
and gleaned in the field after the reapers.”  
(Ruth 2:3)

In Ruth’s day, gleaning was to gather the grain left by the reapers (Leviticus 19:9-10).
In its figurative sense gleaning means to gather knowledge and wisdom bit by bit.
As a young believer, my Christian friends and I greeted each other by asking,
"Where are you gleaning today?”

We wanted to encourage each other to be in the Word. Daily reading of God’s Word 
often brings “choice gleanings”, golden surprises from God’s heart to ours.
As we start a NEW YEAR, glean from the Word of God daily.
(Robert Gentile)

The Word of God, a river of pleasure;
The Word of God, ’tis food for the mind;
The Word of God, its light faileth never,
The Word of God, what treasure we find.
The Word of God, a message of love,
The Word of God, it came from above.
(Arthur E. Smith)

N.J. Hiebert - 6486  

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