Scriptural meditations on God's precious Word (6850 posted here) sent daily for over 20 years from njhiebert@sympatico.ca - see also biblegems1.blogspot.com or else biblejewels.blogspot.com 2016-2022 and going forward ; this blog address stays with limited updates

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Gems from January 2022

 . . . Jesus said, let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on Me...She hath done what she could.  Mark 14:6,8


A striking storey of W W II was recounted by an airman who was part of a crew that flew a B-17 bomber over Germany during that awful conflict.  The particular bombing run which he recounted was targeted over the German city of Kassel.

As usual, the flak from German antiaircraft weapons was heavy and terrible.  The shells most often used were 20mm,  armour piercing shells with explosive charges in their tips.  If they hit an aircraft in the right place the exploding charge would set off a far greater explosion, destroying the aircraft.  During the raids, many allied bombers were lost after being hit by these shells.  Yet, on this particular mission, though the shells actually pierced the fuel tanks of the bomber the airman was in, strangely, the aircraft did not explode.  It was able to complete its mission and get back to its base before it ran out of fuel.

The pilot later told his aircrew the amazing story of that particular bombing run.  The morning following the bombing run, he had requested that the air crew ground chief who was in charge of repairing the bomber's fuel tanks would give him one of the enemy shells as a souvenir of the what seemed a miracle.  It was them the pilot learned that eleven shells had been found in the fuel tanks!  All eleven shells were un-exploded even though just one should have caused the bomber to explode in flames.

The shells had been sent to the armorers to have their explosive tips defused, but then, Allied intelligence men had taken them away.   Eventually the pilot received word that when the armorers opened each of the shells to defuse them, they found no explosive charges in any of shell tips.  All eleven shell tips were empty.

Yet, not all of the shells were really empty!  They found one shell which contained in its hollow tip a carefully rolled piece of paper with a note scrawled on it in the Czech language.  The Allied intelligence people located a man who could read Czech and was able to decipher the note.  It caused the whole bomber crew to marvel!  The translated note read: This is all we can do for you for now.  
TCS - July 2013

N.J. Hiebert - 8712  

January 1

The night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer,
Paul.  Acts 23:11 


Some think Paul should not have gone up to Jerusalem on this visit.  Some think he should not have taken a vow as he was advised to do.  Still others think that his behaviour on trial compares poorly with that of our Lord.  Be all that as it may, the Lord knew Paul's heart and so stood by him to cheer him up and to assure him that he would witness also in Rome.

God does not measure us by by isolated incidents.  "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart"  (1 Samuel 16:7).  A good man may blunder and fall far below the standard, but God looks at the real motive, the general purpose of the heart.  Some may do exceedingly well at times whose true heart is undependable.  Others may fail at times, but their inmost self is right with God.  God knew that Paul meant business with those who mean business.  God knew that Paul meant business, and that is what counts with Him.    
Day by Day with Vance Havner  

When we walk with the Lord in the Light of His word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His sweet will, how our hearts He can fill With His love as we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
When in paths of self pleasing we stray;
For the favour He shows, and the joy He bestows
Are for those who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet let us sit at His feet,
Or walk by His side in the way;
What He says may we do, where He sends may we go-- Never fear, only trust and obey. 
(J. H. Sammis)      

N.J. Hiebert - 8713 

January 2

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
John 3:16   

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


On a beautiful summer day each one of us can stand in the sunshine, feel its warmth and enjoy it to the full.  While all have a share of the sun, we realize also that all have a sun to themselves.   It is for all!  It is for me!  So is the love of God: vast, immense, wonderful!  
Alex Ross

Was it for me for me, alone, The Saviour left His glorious throne; The dazzling splendours of the sky, was it for me He came to die?

Was it for me sweet angel strains came floating o'er Judea's plans? That starlight night so long ago, was it for me God planned it so?

Was it for me the Saviour said, pillow thy weary aching head, Trustingly on thy Saviour's breast? was it for me can I thus rest?

Was it for me He wept and prayed my load of sin before Him laid; That night within Gethsemane, was it for me, that agony?

Was it for me He bowed His head, upon the cross, and freely shed His precious blood-that crimson tide, was it for me the Saviour died?  

Chorus  It was for me, yes, all for me, O love of God, so great so free, O wondrous love, I'll shout and sing.  He died for me, my Lord and King!

J. M. Whyte 

N.J. Hiebert - 8714 

January 3

Lo, I am with you alway.   Matthew 28:20 

    Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear.  Rather look at them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them.  He has kept you hitherto; do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms. 
    Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow.  The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of your tomorrow, and every day.  Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.  Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations. 
 Frances de Sales
     The Lord is my Shepherd.  Psalm 23:1     Not was, not may be, nor will be.  "The Lord is my Shepherd," is on Sunday, is on Monday, and is through every day of the week; is in January, is in December, and every month of the year; is at home, and is in China; is in peace, and, is in war; in abundance, and in penury.  J. Hudson Taylor 

HE will silently plan for thee, object thou of omniscient care;
God Himself undertakes to be thy Pilot through each subtle snare.

He WILL silently plan for thee, so certainly, He cannot fail!
Rest on the faithfulness of God, In Him thou surely shalt prevail.

He will SILENTLY plan for thee some wonderful surprise of love. Eye hath not seen, nor ear hath heard, but it is kept for thee above.

He will silently PLAN for thee, His purposes shall all unfold;
The tangled skein shall shine at last, a masterpiece of skill untold.

He will silently plan FOR THEE, happy child of a Father's care,
As though no other claimed His love, but thou alone to Him wert dear.
  
E. M.Grimes 

N.J. Hiebert - 8715 

January 4

Forgetting the things which are behind. 
Philippians 3:13 
Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee. Deuteronomy 8:2

Forgetting ills behind me, the sorrows past and gone,
Forgetting all my wanderings, too sad to dwell upon,
Remembering God's great goodness, in times of stress and strain, Remembering His restorings, I praise my God again.

Forgetting all my doubtings, which dimmed faith's vision bright, Forgetting all the earth-clouds, the darkness, gloom and night, Remembering God's bright sunshine, and radiance of His face, Remembering His long patience, I praise my God for grace.

Forgetting all unkindness which friends and foes have shown, Forgetting and forgiving the wrongs that I have known, Remembering God provided, unsought, each faithful friend, Remembering love's devotion, I'll praise Him to the end.

Forgetting my repinings when disappointments came, Forgetting all the murmurings, which filled my soul with shame, Remembering God was ever true to His Holy Word, 
Remembering He was faithful, I praise my sovereign Lord.  A. G.

N.J. Hiebert - 8716  

January 5

 Let us lay aside every weight . . . Looking unto Jesus . . . (Hebrews 12:1,2) I press toward the mark . . . (Philippians 3:14)

We stand together at the gateway of another year.  It may be a year of many blessed experiences.  Follow Him who goes before--the One who went before His people of old--a guiding light, a constant protection, an unfailing Friend and Counselor, an almighty  Saviour. 

When shadows deepen, and fear rides on the moaning wind; when sorrow comes, and we wander in the misty vale of grief; when joy beckons, and our way is sunlit--"remember"  His past leading and know that all is well. 

When spectres rise hauntingly from the past, when old heartaches and sorrows seem to weigh us down and blot out the sunshine forget  "Those things which are behind," and reach forward to  the joys before us.   Paul says, "I press toward the mark"-- here there is urgency, and nothing must be allowed to hamper the runner's progress.

We make our own hindrances many times--our Master has done all He can to free us from every weight, giving us forgiveness  for the past, help in the present, and assurance for the future.  So, dear pilgrim, as we face the coming days of a new year, knowing that each one brings our Master's return nearer, let us "lay aside every weight . . . and press toward the mark," with singleness of heart "looking unto Jesus."  
A. G.

N.J. Hiebert - 8717

January 6

Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith I thirst.  Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar: and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth.  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said IT IS FINISHED: and He bowed His head and gave up the ghost". Then "one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side and forthwith came there out blood and water." (John 19:28-34)  "And behold, the veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom." (Matthew 27:51) 

The Lord Jesus, having done the will of God in laying done His life, (He had power to lay it down and power to take it again), "Made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death." (Isaiah 53:9)  In fulfillment of this Scripture, a rich man named Joseph went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre and departed.

But alas! man, not satisfied with what he has done, comes and seals the stone, and sets a watch, to keep the Lord there.  But how could death and the grave hold Him?  He came from heaven to abolish death and to bring life and incorruptibility to light.  But He came as a servant, to do it all for God, being "Obedient even unto death" for the glory of God.  Therefore God Himself steps in. "And behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it." (Matthew 28:2) 

This was not for the Lord to come out; no great stone sealed could keep HIM there!  He was risen, but God had sent an angel from heaven to roll away the stone, so that His own loved ones might see that the tomb was empty. "Come, see (said he) the place where the Lord lay." (Matthew 28:6)   
The Ways of God With Man - W. M. Sibthorpe 

N.J. Hiebert - 8718

January 7

"Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price." 
1 Corinthians 6:20 

We were hopeless to redeem ourselves. We had brought the curse on ourselves, but we had no way to escape from it. Then "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." Galatians 3;13

Perhaps it seems a contradiction to say that we are slaves of Jesus Christ, and yet He has bought us out of the slave market to make us free men. There is an old story about a slave market in the south of the United States, many years ago.  An Englishman was walking past the slave market when he noticed that there was a sale of slaves taking place.  He went over to watch, as they did not have slaves in England, and he had never seen such a thing before.

As he watched, a very fine young man was brought out for sale.  He was young and strong, and had a fine head and face.  The bid went high for him, and as the Englishman watched, his heart was stirred with great pity for this man.  At last he also began to bid; the price went higher and higher, but the Englishman determined that he should buy that slave.  At last his bid was the highest, and the slave was handed over to him.

The slave came to him with chains on his hands and his feet, and a look of fury in his face.  He cursed the Englishman with all the  power he possessed.  He said, "You call yourself an Englishman.  You say you do not believe in slavery, and yet you buy me.  Curses be be upon you!"   The Englishman did not say one word, until at last the man, having no more breath to curse, stopped.   Then the Englishman stepped forward, unlocked the chains on his hands and his feet, and threw them away, saying to him, "I bought you to set you free.  You are a free man!"  The slave fell down at his feet and cried out with tears, "I am your slave forever!"  He became the faithful slave of that Englishman, but he was also a free man.  
G. C. Willis - Meditations on Galatians.

N.J. Hiebert - 8719   

January 8

And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, He looked up to heaven, and blessed and break the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided He among them all.  Mark 6:41   

And when they were filled, He said unto His disciples, gather up the fragments 
(broken pieces) that remain, that nothing be lost.  John 6:12  

In England we cut a loaf, and if there is anything over, it is a cut end of a loaf, or there may be a few slices.  There are never "fragments" (literally broken pieces).  But in India people break bits off a loaf or cake, and I suppose it was so in Palestine, as broken pieces, not slices, were left over of what the Lord had first blessed and broken and given

Some of us may be much more like poor broken pieces than nice tidy cut slices.  At any rate we feel so.  Is it not a comfort then, to read that not only did our Lord bless and break and give, but every morsel of what He had blessed was, in His sight, worth gathering up for use?

We may be only the odds and ends of things, not worth calling anything, but what He has blessed He uses, that nothing, even such nothings as we are, be lost.   
Edges of His Ways - Amy Carmichael  (1867-1951)

N.J. Hiebert - 8720 

January 9

Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!  That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever.  For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the later day upon the earth.  Job 19:23-25 

Monuments of stone will wear away and their inscriptions perish.  The words of Christ spoken and written in the Scriptures, are not only remembered on earth, they are forever settled in heaven.  There the beauty of those precious words will never wear away. 

They had a way of preserving fruit a hundred years ago that I understand is now lost.  I have seen a dish of oranges and apples that look as lovely as though freshly plucked from the trees. That fruit was seventy-five years old.  It looked nice but it was as hard as rock.  It was only good to look at; it could not be eaten.

This is like the preserved words of ancient men; the volumes look nice on library shelves, but not one in a hundred would take the trouble to read them, or to listen to them being read.  Their power and life are gone.

The ancient writings are mostly heavy, dead, and uninteresting; but the souls of men still feed on the words of Christ today as they did a thousand years ago.  "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)  In this His words are different; they are fresh and satisfying, like fruit from our orchards in the summertime.  Truly, "Never man spake like this Man."  (John 7:46) 

A Plant of Renown - Leonard Sheldrake.

N.J. Hiebert - 8721

January 10

VARIANT  OR  PERMANENT

    Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy Name give glory, for Thy mercy, and Thy truths sake.  Psalm 115:1

    January 2022, the Omicron variant is getting scary!  The pressure is on to be vaccinated because the only alternative is to catch it; so say our medical officials.  Hospital staff by the hundreds are testing positive and that greatly strains the hospital and long-term care systems.  These people have been valiant and dedicated fighters in this battle for over two years now; we need their continued help.
    We believe that God is speaking in an ever-louder voice to all; and the vast majority are either ignoring or refusing God's message.  He doesn't promise to protect any one from catching Covid, but does offer a new life that extends beyond the one we were born with; and while we are yet living on this troubled planet, assures us of peace in our souls whatever happens.
    And that is the meaning of Permanent.  Everything in this world and our lives is variant, subject to change without notice.  We know how quickly we can tumble from joy to sorrow, from affluence to poverty, from daily work to soup kitchen line-up.  By contrast God offers something Permanent, stable, unchangeable, that is, once received, can never be taken away or altered, either in this life or beyond.  And who wouldn't want that?  "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent (John 17:3)
    The beauty of it is that you don't have to "DO" anything to earn it.  God has taken care of all the "doing" that was necessary, and now, our part is to simply accept the gift  and say "Thank you" to the Giver.   "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift." (2 Corinthians 9:15)   
    The major stumbling block is our innate pride.  We have been brought up to be self-sufficient, to be masters of our own destiny, and to count on our good health and science to protect us from Covid.  But with each new development, God is trying to teach us that He is ultimately in charge of everything, right down to the small details of our lives.  He doesn't bring on wars, illness, famine or hurricanes to punish us, but does allow them to show how feeble we are at world management, and how powerful  are the forces at His command.  "Our God is in the heavens: He has done whatsoever He hath pleased.  (Psalm 115:3)  
    Jesus Christ, God's Son, is the door of entry into permanent blessing.  At the cross of Calvary, 2000 years ago, He bore the judgment of God, while bearing there all our sins upon Himself.  The price of salvation was fully paid then and there.  Millions have believed that the blood that  flowed there was to wash away all their personal sins; why not you?  "Now once in the end of the world hath He (Jesus) appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself  (Hebrews 9:26).
    Don't wait any longer.  No one can name the exact date when this "limited time offer" will end, but we believe it will be very soon.  "Behold, now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).   "Repent ye, and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15)"   Lorne for Vision 2020 (in 2022)

N.J. Hiebert - 8722  

January 11

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2 

I've seen the face of Jesus...it was a wondrous sight! Oh, glorious face of beauty, Oh gentle touch of care;  If here it is so blessed, what will it be up there?  
W. Spencer Walton 

In our fast-paced daily life, how easy it is to get caught up in the "things of earth" so that eternal values become blurred and almost forgotten.  As we conclude the first month's journey through this new year, we need today's hymn to remind us that we must continue to make Christ the central core of our lives--to pursue the kingdom of God and His righteousness--if we are to be victorious believers.

In 1918, Helen Howarth Lemmel (1864-1961) the author and composer of this hymn, was given a tract by a missionary friend.  As she read it, Helen's attention was focused on this line: "So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face, and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness."  She wrote the following hymn the same week.  
Kenneth W. Osbeck

O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There's light for a look at the Saviour, and life more abundant and free!

Thru death into life everlasting He passed, and we follow Him there; over us sin no more hath dominion--for more than conq'rors we are!    

His word shall not fail you--He promised; believe Him, and all will be well: then go to a world that is dying, His perfect salvation to tell!


Chorus: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. 

N.J. Hiebert - 8723

January 12

CURE  FOR  SELF-PITY

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.  For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.  Psalms 103:13,14
.  


Self-pity can become a ruinous habit.  We weaken our powers feeling sorry for ourselves and defeat ourselves in advance before the battle begins.  We do not know all the facts anyway and may be lamenting something that may be God's providence working things out for our good, as they always do to them that love God and are called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28)

He knows our frame and He expects from us only what His grace will enable us to do.  Do not count on yourself and then you will not be disappointed.  Count on God and again you will not be disappointed! 


Our Father pities His children. Let Him do it--don't pity yourself. 
All the days - Vance Havner 

Our times are in Thy hand, Father, we wish them there;
Our life, our soul, our all, we leave entirely to Thy care.

Our times are in Thy hand, whatever they may be, 
Pleasing or painful, dark or bright, as best may seem to Thee.

Our times are in Thy hand, why should we doubt or fear? A Father's hand will never cause His child a needless tear. 

(W. F. Lloyd - 1835) 

N.J. Hiebert - 8724

January 13

When Jesus...went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where there was a garden, into which He entered, and His disciples. ...and, Judas also, which betrayed Him, knew the place...having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches  and weapons."  John 18:1-3.

The Lord comes forth to the band of cruel officers and soldiers, as they were, with this word, "Whom seek ye?"--thus addressing them, as in the repose of heaven, which was His.  And He comes forth in the power of heaven, as well as in its repose--for on His afterwards saying to them, "I Am He," they go backward, and fall to the ground.  No man could take His life from Him.

He has even to show them their prey; for all their torches and lanterns would not otherwise have discovered Him to them.  Every stage in the way was His own.  He laid down His life of Himself.  They that would eat up His flesh must stumble and fall.  They that desired His hurt must be turned back, and put to confusion.  The fire was ready to consume this captain and his fifty.
(See 2 Kings 1:9-16) 

Had the Son of God pleased, there, on the ground, the enemy would still have lain.  He had come, however, not to destroy men's lives, but to save; and therefore He would lay down His own.  
(J. G. Bellett - The Evangelist)

His be "the Victor's name," who fought the fight alone;
Triumphant saints no honour claim, His conquest was their own. 

"By weakness and defeat, He won the meed and crown;
Trod all our foes beneath His feet by being trodden down.

Bless, bless the conqueror slain, slain in His victory;
Who lived, who died, who lives again--for thee, His church, for thee!   
(
Whitlock Gandy)   
 
N.J. Hiebert - 8725 

January 14

And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed...there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine...and, behold, seven other kine came after them out of the river, ill favoured and lean fleshed...And the ill favoured and lean fleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine.  And Joseph answered Pharaoh...Genesis 41:1-4,16-44

This dream is God's plan for the future government of the world.  Not by parliaments, or cabinets, nor by counsellors and ministers, will God govern, but by "a Man discreet and wise" set over all. And all will be brought under His sway either by the day of grace or in the day of judgment -- the years of plenty or the years of famine.  For over two thousand years God has been meeting man's deepest need according to the riches of His grace, and many have thus been brought under the sway of Christ by confessing Him as Lord to His glory and their blessing. But the world at large that has neglected God's grace and rejected the claims of Christ will be brought to bow in the day of judgment that will follow the years of grace.  "For when Thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness" (Isaiah 26:9)

All being good in the eyes of Pharaoh, he proceeds to carry out the God given counsels of Joseph.  Thus it came to pass that the man "that was separate from his brethren" (Genesis 49:26) is exalted to a place of supremacy "over all the land of Egypt."  The rejection by his brothers, the humiliation he had borne, the lowly positions he had filled, and the sufferings he has endured, all led to the place of exaltation, and have an answer in the varied  glories that fall to him as lord of all.

Moreover, if the days of his sorrows were a foreshadowing of the yet deeper sufferings and rejection of Christ, so too the supremacy of Joseph foreshadows the still greater glories of Christ as the the exalted Man.  In story after story of great saints of old the Spirit of God delights to anticipate the supremacy of Christ; by glowing Psalms and thrilling prophecies His exaltation is foretold, and when at last -- His sufferings all fulfilled -- He is glorified at God's right hand, with yet greater delight the Holy Spirit takes the things of Christ and unfolds before us His varied glories as the One exalted over all.   Hamilton Smith

N.J. Hiebert - 8726

January 15


The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18 
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.  Philippians 1:29


All the gifts that a man has will never enable him to drink deep of this cup for Christ; such is the pride of man's heart, he had rather suffer any way than this, rather from himself, and for himself, than from Christ, or for Christ.

Most men are more tender of their skin than of their conscience, and had rather the gospel had provided armour to defend their bodies from death and danger, than their souls from sin and Satan.  All the pieces are to defend the Christian from sin: (Ephesians 6:12-17) none to secure him from suffering. 

Here is the true reason why so few come at the beat of Christ's drum to His standard, and so many of those few that have enlisted themselves by an external profession under Him, within a while drop away, and leave His colours; it is suffering work they are sick of.

Sufferings for the gospel are no matter of shame.  Paul does not blush to tell, it is for the gospel he is in bonds.  The shame belonged to them that put on the chain, not to him that wore it.  "If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf" (1 Peter 4:16)

The apostles rejoiced that "They were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name" (Acts 5:41).  Shall the wicked glory in their shame, and you be ashamed of your glory?

Heaven is but little worth if you have not a heart to despise a little shame, and bear a few taunts from profane people for your hope of it.  A martyr, when asked how he came to prison, he showed his Bible, and said, "This brought me here".    
The Chrisitian in Complete Armour Willaim Gurnall (1617-1679)

N.J. Hiebert - 8727

January 16

The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.  He coveteth greedily all the day long; but the righteous giveth and spareth not. 
Proverbs 21:25,26

Like a drone in the hive, the slothful man covets the fruits of labour but detests the work which produces them.  He is occupied with himself, full of desire, but opposed to effort.  Selfishness is his strongest characteristic. 

The righteous man is a producer.  He loves to acquire, but only in order that he may "provide things honest in the sight of all men," (Romans 12:17) properly meeting the need of those dependent upon him, and having plenty to give to any who are in need.

In this he is an imitator of God "who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not."  (James 1:5) 

N.J. Hiebert - 8728

January 17

Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.  John 15:4 

The rest is in Christ, and not something He gives apart from Himself, and so it is only in having Him that the rest can really be kept and enjoyed.

It is because so many a young believer fails to lay hold of this truth that the rest so speedily passes away.  With some it is that they really did not know; they were never taught how Jesus claims the undivided allegiance of the whole heart and life; how there is not a spot in the whole of life over which He does not wish to reign; how in the very least things His disciple must only seek to please Him.

They did not know how entire the consecration was that Jesus claimed.  With others, who had some idea of what a very holy life a Christian ought to lead, the mistake was a different one: they could not believe such a life to be a possible attainment.  Taking, and  bearing, and never for a moment laying aside the yoke of Jesus, appeared to them to require such a strain of effort, and such an amount of goodness as to be altogether beyond their reach.

The very idea of always, all the day, abiding in Jesus, was too high,--something they might attain to after life of holiness and growth, but certainly not what a feeble beginner was to start with.  They did not know how, when Jesus said, "My yoke is easy," He spoke the truth; how just the yoke gives the rest, because the moment the soul yields itself to obey, the Lord Himself gives the strength and joy to do it. 

These two, consecration and faith, are the essential elements of the Christian life--the giving up all to Jesus, the receiving all from Jesus.  They are implied in each other; they are united in one word--surrender.  A full surrender is to obey as well as to trust, to trust as well as to obey.   
Abide in Christ - Andrew Murray        

N.J. Hiebert - 8729

January 18


Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.  
Matthew 6:34 

There are two golden days in the week upon which we need not worry about.  One of these day is Yesterday; yesterday, with its cares and frets, all it pains and aches, all its faults, mistakes and blunders, has passed forever beyond my recall.  I cannot undo an act that I wrought; nor unsay a word that I said. 

All that it holds of my life, of wrong, regret and sorrow, is in the hands of our Mighty Lord that can bring honey out of the rock and sweetest waters out of the bitterest desert.  Save for the beautiful memories--sweet and tender--that linger like the perfume of roses in the heart of the day that is gone, I have nothing to do with Yesterday.  It was mine!  It is God's.

And the other day that I do not worry about is Tomorrow; tomorrow, with all its possible adversities, its burdens, its perils, its promise and poor performances, its failures and mistakes, is as far beyond my mastery as its dead sister, Yesterday.  It is a day of God's.  Its sun will rise in roseate splendor, or behind a mask of weeping clouds--but it will rise

There is left, then, but one day in the week--Today.  With God's help we can fight the battles of today.  We can resist the temptations of today! It is when we willfully add the burdens of those two awful eternities--yesterday and tomorrow--such burdens as only  our God can sustain--that we break down.  It isn't the experiences of Today, it is the remorse that happened yesterday; or the dread of what tomorrow may disclose that drives to despair. 

"Did I not die for thee?  Do I not live for thee?  Leave Me the "tomorrows"!

Tomorrow is God's secret--but today is yours to live.  All the tomorrows of our lives have to pass Him before they get to us. 
 Bob Burdette

N.J. Hiebert - 8730

January 19

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  Philippians 4:13

The story is told of a beloved servant of the Lord who, in his own right, was very wealthy.  One night in the prayer meeting he asked prayer for a brother who had had a great calamity. 

A friend walking home with him enquired who the brother was for whom they had been praying.  He replied, "Myself".  "Oh," the other asked, "if it is not too inquisitive, may I know what the calamity is?"  "I have just had word of a large legacy that has been left to me and the responsibility to use it aright is so heavy."

I believe that brother had learned the lesson how to abound.  He and his devoted wife had a large and beautiful home in London, where they lived on the top floor, devoting the rest of the house to the Lord's people who were in need. My mother has told me how her widowed mother, with a young family, homeless for Christ's sake, were taken into that home and tenderly cared for. 

But these are lessons that we may see in perfection only in Him "though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9)  How it bows our hearts in adoration to know that  "Though He were a Son, yet learned HE obedience by the things which He suffered."  (Hebrews 5:8). 

In (Philippians 2:8) We have the same word: "to run low:" but there it is He Himself who made Himself low.  It is one of those amazing steps downward that we saw our Lord voluntarily take, for our sakes.  So if we, like Paul, must learn the lesson of being brought low: let us remember our Lord knows all about it:  He has walked that road before us; and none ever went so low as He.   

G. Christopher Willis 

N.J. Hiebert - 8731

January 20

And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, if Thou be the Christ, save Thyself and us.  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss.
Luke 23:39-41 


Is not the testimony of this recent convert beautiful? "This Man hath done nothing amiss." (Luke 23:41)  He confesses his own sin, and judges it too, and at the same moment gets a glimpse of, and proclaims the glories of the Saviour's character.  This man, in the very jaws of death himself, and when every possible evidence was against Christ, discovers His worth, and proclaims alike His excellences, His Lordship, and His Kingly rights, "...He hath done nothing amiss."  (Luke 23:41)  He is Lord and King, and although He is dying now, He will rise and come in His kingdom.  Splendid testimony of faith!

The next moment he says, "Lord remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom." (Luke 23:42). That is all the length his faith got then; but mark the Lord's answer, "Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in paradise." (Luke 23:43).  

Oh! look at the Saviour's grace to the man who confides in Him.  That other thief, hand and glove with the world, was railing against Him--infidelity, rationalism, and reason were working in all save one, as they stood, or hung, taunting Him to save Himself, if He were the Christ, and if He were the King.  The poor thief sees that He is a King; sees that He is the Christ the Son of God, and then owns that He is his Lord!   
Seekers for Light - W. T. P. Wolston, M. D

N.J. Hiebert - 8732

January 21

Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from Heaven.  For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.  John 6:32-33

Of the manna, we read that "they gathered it every morning" (Exodus 16:21). Viewed typically and spiritually, these words present a philosophy of life for the Christian believer.  They constitute the secret of safety, of certainty, and of enjoyment.  To the holy habit of daily feeding on the heavenly manna, which is set before us in the sacred page of Scripture, is attributable our joy (Jeremiah 15:16), our peace (Psalm 119:165), our fruitfulness (Psalm 1:2,3), our security in the hour of peril (Psalm 17:4).

Christian men and women must read and study the Word of God.  No pressure of Christian work, in all the manifold activities of the present day, should prevent the daily, devotional perusal of God's Holy Word.  Christian effort cannot be substituted for thoughtful and serious attention to what we are taught of God in His Holy Book, and by which we are to be renewed and sanctified.  We must be filled with divine truth if we are to grow in the divine life.  Our Christian activities, furthermore, can only be sustained and enlarged by much communion with Christ through His Word. 

The sources of great rivers are hidden away in mountain and glen. Fountains burst out in secluded places, and gentle brooks run through shaded ravines.  They meet at length, and, mingling in their onward flow, set at work industrial activity in a thousand shapes and forms.  But would keep all these activities  in motion if the fountains should fail, and the brooks be dried up?  What shall sustain steadily the long-continued effort of the Church of Christ to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, save the feeding of each member of the elect body in the green pastures of the divine Word?  The real power to do great things for Christ must come from secluded places, where men commune with God and gather motives, convictions and incitements to effort, from His word.   
 The Pearl of Psalms - George Henderson

N.J. Hiebert - 8733 

January 22


And when he came to himself, he said, how many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  I will arise and go to my father . . .  Luke 15:17,18

The eager father welcomes back the returning prodigal.  But we should not overlook the fact, that it was when the ungrateful youth "came to himself"  (Luke 15:17) and took the position of self-judgment because of his wicked folly, and actually turned his face homeward, that the father ran to him, though still a great way off, and fell on his neck and kissed him.

He did not wait for his boy to ring the door bell or knock in fear and anxiety on the gate.  But, on the other hand, he did not offer him the kiss of forgiveness while he was down among the swine.  He hastened to meet him when, in repentance, he turned homeward with words of confession in his heart. 

Does all this becloud grace?  Surely not.  Rather it magnifies and exalts it.  For it is to unworthy sinners who recognize and acknowledge their dire condition  that God finds delight in showing undeserved favour. H.A. Ironside 

In rags and in ruin, without and within, one terrible mass of pollution and sin;
By false friends deserted, of fortune bereft, he turns to the home he once eagerly left.

O! none can restore, nor such deep sin efface, but the One who comes forth in such infinite grace;
For grace is above all his sin and distress, and he's nothing to do--save his sin to confess!

What an earnest and seal of unspeakable bliss Is conveyed in the Father's affectionate kiss!  
The lost one is found, and the servants must bring, at the Father's command, the shoes and the ring.

And the very best robe, and the fatling and wine, What a change from the rags, the husks, and the swine
With music and dancing-tis something so new, such a fullness of blessing-and nothing to do! 
 

N.J. Hiebert - 8734

January 23

A PROMISE  TO  MEET EVERY  FEAR

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.  Isaiah 54:17

Man's curse shall be turned into God's blessing: Jehovah Himself, watering His vineyard every moment, says: "Lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day." (Isaiah 27:3)  Again, the promise, with a solemn condition, takes an even stronger form: "Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing."  (Ecclesiastics 8:5)

Is not all this enough?  It might well be, but His wonderful love has yet more to say--not only that nothing shall hurt us, but that "all things work together for our good; (Romans 8:28) not merely shall work, but actually are working.  All things, if it means all things, must include exactly those very things, whatever they may be, which you and I are tempted to think will hurt us, or, at least, may hurt us. 

Now will we trust today our own ideas, or God's Word?  One or the other must be mistaken.  Which is it?  Christ, my own Master, my Lord, my God, has given a promise which meets every fear; therefore, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, Lord, only makest me to dwell in safety." (Psalm 4:8)  Opened Treasures - Francis Ridley Havergal  

N.J. Hiebert - 8735

January 24

Lord, dost Thou not care?  Luke 10:40 

Could the man in the inn have addressed such words to the Samaritan? (Luke 10:33-35)  Had he not heard the injunction "take care of him"?  Had Martha known the teaching of that parable could she have ever used the words she did?  Can we, who profess to believe that Christ was really drawing a picture of Himself, ever question His care?

Is not the whole parable of the Good Samaritan just an answer to this touching appeal of Martha's? And in the light of this fact, the story Christ tells assumes a meaning wonderful and grand in the extreme.  For does it not assure us there is One Who cares, and that the deepest cry of the human heart has been anticipated?  There is One Who thinks of us and is capable of providing for our every need. 

Another point in connection with Martha's utterance is anticipated by the parable.  She felt her loneliness. "Dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?"  Alone and uncared for!  This is what she felt at that moment; and hers is not an isolated case. Deep down in the innermost recesses of every human spirit the same thing is felt, until the truth is known that God cares.  Man has lost God, and he is bound to feel alone until God is met with again.  He is to be met with in the person of the One Who portrayed Himself as the Good Samaritan. 

"A certain Samaritan, as He journeyed, came where he was."  The underlying truth here is that God is ever seeking man, and seeking him in order to help.  Martha's utterance therefore expresses the truth, however much we try to disguise it.  A feeling of loneliness and neglect will steal over us some time or other, and it is just this feeling of loneliness  and neglect that is the fruitful source of all care.  Life is too great for us alone, its strain too severe, its demands more than we can meet, and the final issue too wonderful and far reaching for any of us unaided.    
Angels in White - Russell Elliott 

N.J.Hiebert - 8736

January 25

Friday, December 03, 2021

Gems from December 2021

December 1

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Psalm 23:5

The ordinary interpretation of Psalm 23 is that it brings before us a three-fold picture-- the Shepherd and His sheep in verse 1the traveller and his Guide  in verse 4; and the Host and His guest in verse 5.  But, while that may be true by application, it is not the  primary significance of this portion of scripture.  From start to finish Psalm 23 sings of shepherd life.

"The valley of the shadow of death" of which it speaks refers to those places of deadly peril through which the flocks have sometimes to pass, and in which they are cast entirely on the guidance and protection of the  shepherd.  This symbolizes  the darker and more difficult portions of the path over which the flock of God travels to the heavenly land. 

Then, as regards the "preparing of a table before me in the presence of mine enemies", it has been said by one who is familiar with shepherd-life in oriental lands, that "There is no higher task of the shepherd  in Eastern countries than to go from time to time to study places, and examine the grass, and find a good and safe feeding-place for his sheep.  There are many poisonous plants in the grass, and the shepherd must find and avoid them."  

Then there are viper's holes, and the reptiles bite the noses of the sheep if they are not driven away.  And round the feeding place, which the shepherd thus prepares, in holes and caves in the hill-sides, there are jackals, wolves, hyenas and tigers; and the bravery and skill of the shepherd are at the highest point in closing up the dens with stones, or slaying the wild beasts with his long-bladed  knife.  Of nothing do you hear the shepherds boasting more proudly than of their achievements in this part of their care of their flocks.   

The Pearl of Psalm - George Henderson.  

N.J. Hiebert - 8681

  

HIS DESIRED DESIRE

With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer. Luke 22:15  

With Gethsemane and Calvary in fullest view, His heart's desire was to spend those few last hours in closest fellowship with His disciples.  Now, if we take the King at His word, and really believe that He thus desires us, can we possibly remain cold hearted and indifferent to Him?

Can we bear the idea of disappointing His love--such love--and meeting it with any such pale, cool response as would wound any human heart,  "I do not know whether I love your or not!" 

Oh, do let us leave off morbidly looking to see exactly how much we love (which is just like trying to warm ourselves with a thermometer, and perhaps only ends in doubting whether we love at all), and look straight away at His love and His desire! 

Think of Jesus actually wanting you, really desiring your love, not satisfied with all the love of all the angels and saints unless you love Him too--needing that little drop to fill His cup of joy!  Is there no answering throb, no responsive glow?  


Within an "upper room" are met a small, yet faithful band,
On whom a deep yet chastened grief hath laid its softening hand. Among them there is One who wears a more than mortal mien, 'Tis He on whom in all distress the weary one may lean.

Opened Treasures - Frances Ridley Havergal

N.J. Hiebert - 8682 


December 2


Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.  John 13:23 

The first time John is called the "disciple whom Jesus loved" is in the Upper Room.  What a scene for the heart to contemplate!  Jesus is there with a love that can never break down, for "having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end." John 13:1 

John is there delighting in the love of Christ, resting his head on the bosom of Jesus. He describes himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved.  
Peter is there with real, ardent love for the Lord, but trusting in his own love to the Lord rather than resting in the Lord's love to him.  Lastly, Judas is there, with no love to the Lord--with the bag at his side and the devil in his heart, ready to betray the Lord and pass into the long dark night .

In Jesus we see how very near His love has brought Him to men like ourselves,
as John can rest his head on the bosom of the One who dwelt in the bosom of the Father.  In John we see what the heart of the Saviour can do for a sinner, bringing him to perfect rest in perfect love.  In Judas we see what the heart of a the sinner can do with the Saviour--betray Him, for thirty pieces of silver.

The feet washing is over and the time has come for the Lord to utter His farewell words; but His spirit is troubled by the presence of the betrayer.  The Lord unburdens His heart to His disciples, 
"One of you shall betray Me" (John 13:21).2 Immediately they look one on another, doubting of whom He spoke. 

Looking at others will never solve difficulties that arise among believers.  We must look to the Lord, but looking to the Lord demands nearness to the Lord, and in the circle of the upper room, the disciple that was nearest to the Lord was the one whose feet had been in the hands of the Lord, whose head was resting on the bosom of the Lord and whose heart was delighting in the love of the Lord.   
H. Smith      

N.J. Hiebert - 8683

December 3

The coming of the Lord draweth nigh.  James 5:8  

It is a good thing to understand prophecy; it is better to have the intended purpose for which it was given.  Today more Christians have some idea of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ than two centuries ago.  But that does not mean that the hearts of Christians long for Him more than they did then. 

Whenever the coming and the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ are mentioned, there is a practical importance attached to it. In John 14 it is so that the disciples' hearts may not be troubled  in view of His imminent departure.  In Romans 13:12, so that we may cast away the works of darkness and walk becomingly.  In 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, so that we may be firm, immovable, and abounding always in the work of the Lord. 

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, so as to know that we sorrow not as others who have no hope. In 2 Timothy 4:6-9, so that we may fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith.  In Titus 2:12, so that we may live soberly, justly, and piously.  

In 1 John 3:2-3 we have this most precious promise that "We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is!"--a statement that should never cease to fill our hearts with joy and lead us always to worship Him. "every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure."

Finally, in Revelation 22:20. we are told this so that our hearts may respond to His, saying, "Amen. Even so. come, Lord Jesus."  
A. M. Behnam     

We go to meet the Saviour, His glorious face to see;
What manner of behaviour doth with this hope agree?
May God's illumination guide heart and walk aright,
That so our preparation be pleasing in His sight.
  
 P. Gerhardt

N.J. Hiebert - 8684  

December 4

THE POWER OF FAITH IN THE TIME OF DIFFICULTY 
Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?    John 11:40 

In our Lord's reply to Martha we have one of the most blessed utterances that ever fell on the human ear: "Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?"  What living depth, what divine power, what freshness and comfort in these words!  They present to us the very gist and marrow, the essential principle of the divine life.  It is only the eye of faith that can see the glory of God.  Unbelief sees only difficulties, darkness, and death.  Faith looks above and beyond all these, and ever basks in the blessed beams of the divine glory.

Poor Martha saw nothing but a decomposed human body, simply because she was under a spirit of dark and depressing unbelief.  Had she been swayed by simple faith she would have walked to the tomb in company with Him who is the resurrection and the life, assured that, instead of death and decomposition, she should see the glory of God.

This is a grand principle for the soul to grasp.  It is utterly impossible for human language to overstate its value and importance.  Faith never looks at difficulties, except indeed to feed on them.  "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen." (2 Corinthians 4:18)  It "endures as seeing Him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27).  It takes hold of the living God.  It leans on His arm; It makes use of His strength; it draws on His exhaustless treasury; it walks in the light of His blest countenance, and sees His glory shining forth over the darkest scenes of human life.  C. H. Mackintosh  

When sorrows assail us, or terrors draw nigh,
His love will not fail us, He'll guide with His eye;
And when we are fainting, and ready to fail, 
He'll give what is wanting, and make us prevail.
  John Fawcett

N.J. Hiebert - 8685

December 5

Make thee an ark of gopher wood. Genesis  6:14 
Come thou and all thy house into the ark. Genesis 7:1 
Go forth of the ark.  Genesis 8:16


When we think about Noah and the overwhelming task he carried out, we wonder how did he do it?  It was simple.  He just followed God's plan. God instructed him each step of the way.  God said build, come, go and Noah responded in faithful obedience.

Note too that God was with him through it all.  God had to go in the ark before Noah did or He couldn't say "Come."  God had to have stayed with Noah or He couldn't have ended the journey by saying "Go."  To us He says, "I am with you always" ( Matthew 28:20.) 
 Ken Gross

All the way my Saviour leads me. 
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,           
Who through life has been my guide?

Fanny J. Crosby


N.J. Hiebert - 8686


December 6

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.  
Psalm 27:14   

Wait on the Lord, He shall save thee.  Proverbs 20:22 

 
BUT GOD 

I know not, but God knows;  Oh, blessed rest from fear!
All of my waiting days To Him are plain and clear;
Each anxious, puzzled "Why?" From doubt or dread that grows,
Finds answer in this thought: I know not but He knows. 
 
I cannot, but God can; Oh, balm for all my care!
The burden that I drop His hand will lift and bear.
Though eagle pinions tire -- I walk where once I ran --
This is my strength, to know, I cannot but God can.  

I see not, but God sees; Oh, all-sufficient light!
My dark and hidden way to Him is always bright.
My strained and peering eyes may close in restful ease,
And I in peace may sleep; I see not, but He sees.

Annie Johnson Flint 

N.J. Hiebert - 8687


December 7

And it came to pass after awhile, that the brook dried up...and the word of the Lord came unto him, (Elijah) saying, arise, get thee to Zarephath...I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.  
1 Kings 17:7-9 

Though Elijah was happily alone by the brook  Cherith, he was not exempt from the deep exercise of soul consequent upon a life of faith.  The ravens, it is true, in obedience to the divine command, paid him their daily visits, and Cherith flowed on in its tranquil and uninterrupted course, so that the prophet's bread was given him, and his water was sure, and thus, as far as he was personally concerned, he might forget that the rod of judgment was stretched out over the land.

But faith must be put to the test.  The child of God must pass through the school of Christ, and having mastered, through grace, the difficulties of one, he must be called to grapple wth those of another.  It was, therefore, needful that the soul of the prophet should be tried in order that it might be seen whether he was depending upon Cherith, or upon the Lord; hence, It happened after awhile that the brook dried up.

We are ever in danger, through the infirmity of our flesh, of having our faith propped up by circumstances, and when these are favourable, we think our faith is strong, and vice versa.  But faith never looks at circumstances; it looks straight to God; it has to do exclusively with Him and His promises.

Thus it was with Elijah; it mattered little to him whether Cherith continued to flow or not.  God was his fountain, his unfailing exhaustless fountain.  No drought could affect God.  Elijah's faith must still rest upon the same immutable basis. "I have commanded."  How truly blessed is this!   Circumstances changed; human things failed; creature streams are dried up, but God and His Word are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8)  C. H. Mackintosh   

N.J. Hiebert - 8688  

December 8

O send out Thy light and Thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring unto Thy holy hill.  Psalm 43:3 

I am a creature of a day.  I want to know one thing--the way to Heaven;  how to land safely on that happy shore. 

God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end He came down from Heaven.  He hath written it down in a book. O give me this Book!  At any price, give me the Book of God!

I have it; here is knowledge enough for me.  Let me be a man of one Book.  Here, then, I am, far from the busy ways of men.   I sit down alone; only God is here.  In His presence I open, I read His Book; for this end--to find the way to heaven. 

John Wesley

There is a chart whose tracings show
The onward course when tempests blow--
'Tis God's own Word!  There, there is found 
Directions for the homeward bound. 

H.J.B

N.J. Hiebert - 8689

December 9

This is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me.
1 Corinthians 11:24 


Take notice of the word "remember."  It is not a Christ as He now exists.  His body is now glorified.  That is not a remembrance.  It is a remembrance of what He was on the cross, a body slain, shed blood, not a glorified body. 

It is remembered, though, by those who are now united to Him in glory into which He is entered.  As risen with Him in glory, they look back to that blessed work of love which gave them a place there.  They drink also the cup of remembrance of Him.

In a word, it is Christ looked on as dead.  There is not such a Christ now: it is the remembrance of Him.  It is not only the value of His sacrifice, but also the remembrance of Himself.  The apostle then shows us who it is that died.  Impossible to find two words, the bringing together of which has so important a meaning--dead Christ. 

How many things are comprised in that.  He who is called the Lord has died!  What love!  What purpose!  What efficacy!  What results! The Lord Himself gave Himself up for us.  We celebrate His death.  
J. N. Darby

We hear Thy voice, blest Saviour, "This do, remember Me"
With joyful hearts responding, we do remember Thee.
  
G. W. Frazer

N.J. Hiebert - 8690


December 10


Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be soldier.  2 Timothy 2:3-4

To maintain the truth and pass it on to others is only possible as we are strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  The maintenance of the truth in a day of general departure will involve suffering.  Naturally we shrink from suffering.  Therefore, Timothy is exhorted, and each one that desires to be true to Christ, to "Take thy share in suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." 

Compared with Paul the "share" of suffering we may be called to take will be small; but, wherever there is a saint to-day that refuses error and stands for the truth, he must be prepared in some measure to face opposition (ii.25), persecution (iii 12), desertion (iv. 10), and malice  (iv. 14); and, as with the apostle, these things may come even from his brethren.  This, however, involves suffering, and naturally when suffering unjustly we are inclined to retaliate.

Therefore, we are reminded to take our share in suffering, not as a natural man, but "as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." A good soldier will obey his Captain and act as  he does.  Christ is the great Captain of our salvation, and He has reached His place of glory "through sufferings." 

And He has left us this perfect example of suffering in patience, for "When He suffered He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously" (1 Peter 2:23).  To act  in a way so contrary to nature will indeed demand that we should be "strong the in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."  (2 Timothy 2:1).  
2 Timothy - An Expository Outline - Hamilton Smith

N.J. Hiebert - 8691

December 11

A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.  Isaiah 42:3

The poorest shepherd boy  on our south Indian hills is careful to choose, for the making of his flute, a reed that is straight and fine and quite unbruised.


But our Heavenly Shepherd often takes the broken and the bruised, and of such He makes His flutes.  But life, like His Book, is full of parables of tenderness; and one of these parables has often come into this room of late.  For a visitor whose name means "God's Peace" has brought his autoharp to play to me, and has first tuned it while I expectantly  waited for the music which I knew would follow the tuning. 

Is music to come from our harp?  Music of prayer, of praise, of consolation?  The strings are relaxed, or perhaps too tensely stretched.  Illness can cause either condition. But we have a Tuner.

Tune Thou my harp;
There is not, Lord,  could never be,
The skill in me.

Tune Thou my harp,
That it may play Thy melody,
Thy harmony.

Tune Thou my harp;
Thy Spirit, breathe His thought through me,
As pleaseth Thee. 

Rose From Briar - Amy Carmichael

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December 12

SOWING AND REAPING

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap...but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  
Galatians 6:7-9

The story is told of two young men working their way through Leland Stanford University many years ago.  Their funds got desperately low, tuition was coming due, and they badly needed financial help.

One of them had an idea.  They would engage the great pianist, Paderewski for a recital.  He figured that the profits from the concert would be enough to pay both board and tuition for the two.  The great pianist's manager demanded a guarantee of two thousand dollars for the recital.

It was a huge sum but the two students, undaunted, proceeded to stage the concert.  After many hours of hard work, it was held.  Sadly however, the concert had raised only sixteen hundred dollars.  The two disconsolate young men met with the great artist, telling him of their efforts and poor results.  Giving him the entire sixteen hundred dollars, they included with the funds a promissory note for four hundred dollars promising  to pay him the balance as soon as possible.

"No," replied Paderewski, "That won't do."  Tearing the note to shreds, he handed the money back to them with the following instructions.  Take out of this money your tuition and board.  Keep 10 % of the balance for your work on the recital, then give me the rest."

Several years rolled by after this event.  Mr Paderewski became Premier of Poland.  An awful war and famine struck.  He desperately worked to feed the many starving thousands of his beloved Poland but it was futile.  Only one man in the world could help Paderewski and his people. He pled for help from that man and soon thousands of tons of food began to pour into Poland for distribution by Premier Paderewski.

After the people were fed and the famine over, he journeyed to Paris to thank US President Herbert Hoover for the relief sent to his country.  Mr Hoover quietly replied, "That's all right, Mr Paderewski.  You don't remember it, but you helped me once when I was a student at college and was in a hole."  
TCS  D. Nicolet - June 2012

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December 13

The song of songs, which is Solomon's.  Song of Solomon. 1:1 

But why call this precious little book, "The Song of Songs"?  Just because it is Solomon's, or rather, Christ's who will in due time be King in Jerusalem, in true Solomon glory.  On the same principle He is called "King of kings, and Lord of lords." (1 Timothy 6:15)  Preeminence in all things is His.

There are many sweet songs in scripture.  Moses, Miriam and her maidens, Deborah, and David, all sang sweetly of the Lord's goodness.  It is said of Solomon himself that "his songs were a thousand and five" (1 Kings 4:32); but this one he styles "The Song of Songs."  It far surpassed them all.

It is the deep melody of hearts filled with holy love, and finding their supreme delight in its full and free expression.  "We love Him because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19)  Oh!  to be able at all times to sing the song of the Saviour's love, with the heart and with the understanding also.

May each, may all, that master-key of truth--
Its reference to Christ--through grace attain,
And, holding firm the torch of scripture-light,
Comparing book with book, and text with text,
Enter the precincts, otherwise obscure,
Of meditation on "The Song of Songs."

Andrew Miller - Song of Solomon

Oh! I am my Beloved's and my Beloved's mine!
He brings a poor vile sinner into His house of wine!
I stand upon His merit, I know no safer stand,
Not e'en where glory dwelleth, in Immanuel's land.
  
Mrs. Cousins  

N.J. Hiebert - 8694 

December 14

Over the camels also was Obil the Ishmaelite.  1 Chronicles 27:30 

Have you to try to help people who are rather like camels?  You want them to go one way, and they go another.  You try persuasion and they turn sulky.  It is difficult to be patient with an animal that never looks pleased.  It is very difficult to be patient with human camels. 

But God knows all about you and your difficulties, and your name is not forgotten by Him.  He thought the name of a camel driver who lived three thousand years ago worth writing in HIs Book.

The names of thousands of great kings are buried and forgotten, but the name of David's camel driver is remembered to this day: Over the camels was Obil

Obil means "driver" or "leader."  I expect he sometimes found leading better than driving, and so sometimes shall we.  God give His Obils patience to deal with their camels.   
Whispers of His Power  -  Amy Carmichael 

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o'er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.

Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
Waiting the penitent child to receive;
Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
He will forgive if they only believe.

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter, 
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.
    Fanny Crosby
 

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December 15

Jesus being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well...there cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink...then saith the woman of Samaria unto Him, how is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? John 4:6-9 

In no gospel (John) is Jesus seen so near the sinner.  He is alone with the Samaritan, alone with the adulteress, alone with the outcast beggar.  And this gives its highest interest to this precious portion of the Word of God.  The joy and security of being alone with the Son of God, as is here exhibited, is beyond every thing to the soul.

The sinner thus learns his title to the Saviour, and discovers the blessed truth, that they are suited to one another.  The moment we learn that we are sinners, we may look in the face of the Son of God, and claim Him as our own.  And what a moment in the very days of heaven that is!  He came to seek and to save sinners; and He walked as a solitary man on the earth, save when He met a poor sinner.

Such alone had title, or even power, to interrupt the solitude of this heavenly Stranger.  The world knew Him not.  His paths were lonely among us, save when He and the sinner found their way to each other.  The Leper outside the camp met Him, but none else. 

Being alone with Jesus is the sinner's first position.  It is the beginning of His joy; and no one has the right to meddle with it.  That which has called itself the Church, in every age of Christendom has sought to break in upon the privacy of the Saviour and the sinner, and to make itself a party in the settlement of the question that there is between them.  But in this it has been an intruder.  Sin casts us upon God alone.   
J. G. Bellett

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December 16

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come.   
1 Corinthians 11:26

'Twas on that night of deepest woe, 
When darkness round did thicken, 
When through deep waters Thou didst go,
And for our sins wast stricken;
Thou, Lord, didst seek that we should be
With grateful hearts remembering Thee.

How deep the sorrow, who can tell,
Which was for us endurèd?
O love divine, which broke the spell 
Which had our hearts allurèd.
With heart and conscience now set free,
It is our joy to think of Thee.

O Lord, how precious is Thy thought,
How wondrous Thy desire,
To win our hearts, once worse than naught,
Who now by grace aspire
To seek Thy glory, bear Thy shame,
To keep Thy word, and love Thy name.
 
We know Thee now exalted high,
Ourselves in Thee accepted;
We wait the hour which now draws nigh,
Thy coming long expected.
Till Thou dost come we still would be
With grateful hearts remembering Thee.

(G. W. Frazer)

N.J. Hiebert - 8697



December 17

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus. 
1 Timothy 2:5 

Two great truths are brought before us as the ground on which God deals with men in sovereign grace.  First, there is one God; secondly, there is one Mediator.  That there is only one God had been fully declared before Christ came.

The unity of God is the great foundation truth of the Old Testament.  It was the great testimony to Israel, as we read,  "Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord" (Deuteronomy 6:4). It was the great testimony that was to flow out to the nations from Israel, as we read, "Let all the nations be gathered together . . . let them hear, and say, it is truth. Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.  I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no Saviour."  (Isiah 43:9-11)   

Christianity, while fully maintaining the great truth that there is one God, further presents the equally important truth that there is one Mediator between God and men.  This latter truth is the distinctive truth of Christianity. If God is one it is equally important to remember the unity of the Mediator.  There is one Mediator and no other.  

The One Mediator is a Man in order that God may be known to men.  Men cannot rise to God; but God in His love, can come down to man.  This Mediator gave Himself a ransom for all.  God's majesty, righteousness, love, truth and all that He is, have been glorified in the work brought by Christ.  He is a propitiation for the whole world.  All has been done that is needed.  His blood is available for the vilest whoever he may be. "Whosoever will let him come".  In this aspect we may say Christ died for all, gave Himself a ransom for all...an available sacrifice for  sin, for whosoever would come "tasted death for every man."  
Hamilton Smith

N.J. Hiebert - 8698

December 18

I will give thee the treasures of darkness.   Isaiah 45:3

In the famous lace shops of Brussels, there are certain rooms devoted to the spinning of the finest and most delicate patterns.  These rooms are altogether darkened, save for a light from one very small window, which falls directly upon the pattern.

There is only one spinner in the room, and he sits where the narrow stream of light falls upon the threads of his weaving.   "Thus," we are told by the guide, "do we secure our choicest products.  Lace is always more delicately and beautifully woven when the worker himself is in the dark and only his pattern is in the light."

May it not be the same with us in our weaving?  Sometimes it is very dark.  We cannot understand what we are doing.  We do not see the web we are weaving.   We are not able to discover any beauty, any possible good in our experience.  Yet if we are faithful and fail not and faint not, we shall some day know that the most exquisite work of all our life was done in those days when it was so dark.

If you are in the deep shadows because of some strange, mysterious providence, do not be afraid.  Simply go on in faith and love, never doubting.  God is watching, and He will bring good and beauty out of all your pain and tears.  J. R. Miller

The shuttles of His purpose move to carry out His own design;
Seek not too soon to disapprove His work, nor yet assign
Dark motives, when, with silent tread, you view some sombre fold;
For lo, within each darker thread there twines a thread of gold.

Spin cheerfully, not tearfully, He knows the way you plod;
Spin carefully, spin prayerfully, but leave the thread with God.


N.J. Hiebert - 8699 

December 19

I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid.  I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.  Psalm 32:5 

The story is told of a little girl who broke one of her mom's favourite demitasse cups.  The little girl came to her mom sobbing: "O Mama," she said," I'm sorry I broke your beautiful cup." 

The mother said. "I know you're sorry, and I forgive you.  Now don't cry anymore."   The mother then swept up the pieces of the broken cup and placed them in the trash can.

But the little girl apparently enjoyed the guilty feeling.  She went to the trash can and retrieved some of the pieces.  She brought them to her mother and sobbed, "I'm so sorry that I broke your pretty cup."

This time the mother spoke firmly to her: Take those pieces and put them back in the trash, and don't take them out again.  I told you I forgive you, so don't  cry anymore."

Do you find, yourself dredging up things from the past that the Lord has already forgiven?  Do you beat yourself up about them...again?  Re-read  the verse above, and remember that God has put them behind Him.  They are forgiven, and He choses to remember them against us no longer. "...their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:12).   He wants us to move on.  When we re-focus on them, we give them life again, which is not good.

Jesus said to the woman who had been caught in adultery: "Jesus said unto her neither do I, condemn thee: go and sin no more." (John 8:11).  When God forgives us, we are forgiven and freed to live a new life in Christ.  May we stop carrying around guilt for things that are washed away in the blood of Christ.  If they've been confessed, let us move on.  L.L. (Daily Devotions).

N.J. Hiebert - 8700 

December 20


I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.  
Luke 7:8 

"Arise, Go." (Jonah 1:2) Not only was Jonah to arise, but he had the very same orders that we have, "Go!"  This centurion Luke 7:8 understood authority.  When the Lord said "Go!" to Jonah, Jonah decided he would not go.  The soldier did not dream of complaining that the way was too long, or to rough, or too dangerous, or the time was not convenient; he did not suggest that he did not want to go, or that he was too busy with other work.  No, the soldier understood authority, and went.  When the captain says, "Go!" he goes. 

The same word is used of the prodigal in Luke 15. "I will arise and go to my father."  He may have often said, "I ought to go to my father," or, "I must go to my father," but it was not until he did finally arise that he ever reached his father.  It took the energy of faith to arise.  A believer understands and experiences what it means to arise and go to their Father.  May God help us to understand what it means for us arise and go to them that sit in darkness!   


How many there are of us to whom the Lord has said "GO!" and we have been like Jonah and refused.  It may be that we have been so busy with our own affairs, that we have hardly heard Him say "GO," or it may be that we know so little of authority, that we decide that there is no need to obey, but think we may chose our own will instead.  May the Lord give us each one to hear His voice, speaking with Divine authority, that we dare not question, saying to us, "ARISE! GO!"  ARISE, GO TO NINEVEH."

Not only did the Lord tell Jonah to "Arise, Go," but He told him just where he was to go.  He did not say, "Arise, go anywhere you like"; but he told him just where to go. The Lord will tell us where to go. It may be that the Lord will send us to someone in our own family, or to our neighbours, or it may be to those of a different nation, and language, at the other end of the earth.  C. Willis - Jonah

N.J. Hiebert - 8701

December 21

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place. 
(2 Corinthians 2:14) 


There is one other thing which we would do well to note, namely, that a fragrance is the same everywhere.  "For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you."
(2 Corinthians 2:4)
 

A rose smells as sweetly in the kitchen as in the living room; in the house of  business as in the prayer meeting or on the playground.  

Lord Jesus, in the busy mart, the hurrying crowd, the anxious strife, Maintain Thy throne within my heart, be thou to me my very life.

The wild pursuit of paltry wealth, the craze and lure of wrong desires, The world that lives without Thyself, and all for self alone aspires--

Let these all leave me undismayed, untouched, unstained, by sin or shame, Calm, and at all times unafraid, indifferent quite, to worldly fame.

But filled alone with Thee, my Lord, and all of Heaven's joy beside, Thus walk with Thee in glad accord, and find my Heaven at Thy side.

One look of love from Thy kind eyes, one pressure of Thy nail-scarred hand, Are more than earth's most thrilling prize, acclaimed abroad in every land.

Winsome Christianity - Henry Durbanville

N.J. Hiebert - 8702

December 22

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse . . . and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  Malachi 3:10 

The truth of this verse is well illustrated in nature where the farmer who sows 
liberally, reaps liberally, and the farmer who sows sparingly will reap sparingly.

So it is with us.  If we hoard our resources  and give to God in a skimpy fashion, we cannot expect to see His hand open in blessing upon us.  But if we yield our all to Him, we can expect to see returns that will go beyond our ability to conceive it.


There shall be showers of blessing: this is the promise of love:
There shall be seasons refreshing, sent from the Saviour above.

There shall be showers of blessing, precious reviving again;
Over the hills and the valleys, sound of abundance of rain.

There shall be showers of blessing: send them upon us, O Lord; Grant to us now a refreshing, come, and now honour Thy Word.

There shall be showers of blessing: oh that today they might fall, Now as to God we're confessing, now as on Jesus we call!


CHORUS 
Showers of blessing, Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead.
  (El Nathan)

N.J. Hiebert - 8703  

December 23

In the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate.  And Pilate asked Him, Art Thou the King of the Jews?  And He answering said unto him, thou sayest it. ...The multitude  crying aloud began to desire (Barabbas)...who had committed murder...will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews...And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify Him." (Mark 15:1-15)

By their Roman conquerors the Jews had been deprived of the right to inflict capital punishment.  The Jewish rulers lead Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor, that he may pronounce and execute the sentence of death.  Mark pictures all the essential features of the scene: the malice of the rulers, the fickleness of the people, the moral cowardice of Pilate, and above all the supreme majesty of Jesus.  As to the character of the rulers in this supreme crisis they exhibit their power over the people and so emphasize  their guilty abuse  of the sacred trust of leadership and influence.  

As to the people, their change of sentiment is incredible, and their choice is fatal.  Throughout the whole story they have been enthusiastic in their support of Jesus; they have thronged about Him continually, and recently, as He entered the city, they hailed Him joyfully as their Messiah and King.  Suddenly all is changed, when they demanded the release of a murderer (Barabbas) and demand that Jesus be crucified.  

How deceitful the rulers must have been, "the chief priest moved the people that Pilate should rather release Barabbas unto them." (Mark 15:11) This furnishes the tragic example of Pilate who lacked the courage of his convictions; when absolutely convinced of the innocence of Jesus. Barbarous torture of a Roman scourging was ordered, thinking that this would satisfy the malice of his enemies.  All is in vain; the multitude more loudly demanded that the sufferer should be crucified.  Fearing the consequences of treason, Pilate pronounces the sentence of death.  Charles R. Erdman 

N.J. Hiebert - 8704  

December 24

". . . the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will. " Ephesians 1:11 

The purposes of the eternal Sovereign can be challenged, but never changed.  He has a plan and purpose for each of His people and He "worketh all things" to the accomplishment thereof.

Our peace, pleasure, and profit require that our highest aspirations be subject to His perfect will.  Our own purposes will lead to discipline, and perhaps suffering and loss as He brings us to conformity to His divine plan for us.

Therefore, it is wise to surrender ourselves entirely to His will now, and without detour reach our decisions in conformity to His unerring and loving purposes.  
Doug Kazen

Since all the downward tracts of time
God's watchful eye surveys,
O, who so wise to choose our lot 
Or regulate our ways? 

Good when He gives, supremely good,
Nor less when He denies;
E'en crosses from His sovereign hand
Are blessings in disguise. 

Why should we doubt a Father's love,
So constant and so kind? 
To His unerring, gracious will
Be every wish resigned.

James Hervey (1714 - 1758)

N.J. Hiebert - 8705 

December 25

ON MEEKNESS AND WEAKNESS

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.  
Titus 3:1-2


Meek men are not weak men.  The meek are gracious, congenial individuals who are easy to get along with.  These genial, good-natured  souls win friends on every side because they refuse to shove, push, and throw their weight around.  They do not win their wars with brutal battles and fierce fights.  They win their way into a hundred hearts and homes with the passport of a lowly, loving spirit. 

Their unique genius is their gentleness.  This quality of life does not come from a position of feeble impotence, but rather from a tremendous inner strength and serenity.  Only the strong, stable spirit can afford to be gentle. 

It is the sublime Spirit  of the living God who bestows upon us the capacity to express genuine concern and compassion for others.  His self-less self-giving enables us to treat others with courtesy and consideration. This quality is much more than a thin veneer of proper propriety or superficial politeness. . . .   Rather, it is the epitome of a laid-down life, poured out, laid out, lived out on behalf of others. 

Songs of My Soul -W. Phillip Keller.

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December 26

And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.  2 Corinthians 1:7 

Once I heard a song of sweetness, as it cleft the morning air, Sounding in its blest completeness, like a tender, pleading prayer; And I sought to find the singer, whence the wondrous song was borne; And I found a bird, sore wounded, pinioned by a cruel throne.

I have seen a soul in sadness, while its wings with pain were furl'd, Giving hope, and cheer and gladness that should bless a weeping world; And I knew that life of sweetness, was of pain and sorrow borne, And a stricken soul was singing, with his heart against a thorn.

Ye are told of One who loved you, of a Saviour crucified, Ye are told of nails that pinioned, and a spear that pierced His side; Ye are told of cruel scourging, of a Saviour bearing scorn, 
And He died for your salvation, with His brow against a thorn.

Ye are not above the Master.  Will you breathe a sweet refrain? And His grace will be sufficient, when your heart is pierced with pain. Will you live to bless His loved ones, tho' your life be bruised and torn, Like the bird that sang so sweetly, with his heart against a thorn?

Mike's comment, "My mom loved this hymn." 

Submitted by - Mike O'Brien (severely handicapped brother in Christ)  

N.J. Hiebert - 8707  

December 27

Then they sought to take Him: but no man laid hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come. John 7:30

It is a principle that runs through scripture, that God's servants are indestructible until their service is over.  God protects and preserves His servants until His purpose for their lives is complete; then He takes them to Himself.  Daniel and his friends were exposed to the ruthless decree of an uncaring king, and could have been swept away along with the other wise men of Babylon, but God had other plans for them. Neither Nebuchadnezzar nor any other, could thwart these plans. 

We also see this exemplified in the life of the Lord Jesus.  For example, in John 7:30, "His hour was not yet come."  Men could not  take Him and kill Him at their whim, because the life of the Lord Jesus was being ordered according to His Father's timing. 

We can rest secure that He will keep us right to the end, and His purposes for our lives will be fulfilled.  Only when His purposes for us are complete will we be taken to His presence.  Until then, our lives are invincible. 

Paul also rested secure in this knowledge.  
"For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:20,21.  "Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death." Life and death for Paul were in the hands of the Lord.  Even when it became evident that God's purposes for him were nearing completion, and he was to die on Nero's execution block. "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand" 2 Timothy 4:6 Daniel - W. Burnett  

Our times are in Thy hand, Father, we wish them there; 
Our life, our soul, our all, we leave entirely to Thy care .

Our times are in Thy hand, we'd always trust in Thee;
Till we have left this weary land, and all Thy glory see.
  (W. F. Floyd -1835)

N.J. Hiebert - 8708

December 28

But Thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.  Micah 5:2 

Then took he (Simeon) Him (Jesus) up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,  Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word: For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.  Luke 2:28-30 


Hark the herald angels sing, "Glory to the newborn King; peace on earth, and mercy mild-God and sinners reconciled!"  Joyful, all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies; with th' angelic hosts proclaim, "Christ is born in Bethlehem."  Hark the herald angels sing, "Glory to the newborn King!"  (Luke 2:8-14)

Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord: late in time behold Him come, offspring of a virgin's womb.  Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail th' incarnate Deity!  Pleased as Man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.  Hark! the herald angels sing, "Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness!  Light and life to all He brings, ris'n with healing in His wings.  Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die; born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.  Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King!"
  (Charles Wesley)

N.J. Hiebert - 8709 

December 29

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David  a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:9-11

"Unto you is born this day a Saviour" 
Which is Jesus Christ the wondrous Lord;
Not a "teacher," not a "good example,"
But the Son of God, the Living Word.

No "philosopher," his fancies weaving,
Warp of dreams and woof of visions vast,
Not a "prophet," peering down the future,
Not a "scholar," delving in the past. 

"Unto you is born this day a Saviour";
Shine, O star! and shout, O angel voice!
Unto you this precious gift is given;
Sing, O earth! and all ye heavens, rejoice! 

Long the world has waited such a Saviour,
Sunk in sin and torn by fear and doubt;
Long in darkness groped for truth and wisdom;
Glory, glory, now the light shines out!

"Unto you is born this day a Saviour,"
Earth's one hope, the Life, the Truth, the Way,
Mighty God and glorious Redeemer, 
Jesus Christ the Lord is born today.

Annie Johnson Flint


N.J. Hiebert - 8710 

December 30

Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father.  
John 10:17-18 

He was free, and yet under commandment. Strange all this, again I admit, to reasonings and unbelief, but perfect in the judgment of faith.

The Son of God died on the tree, where the wicked hand of man had nailed Him, and  the eternal purpose and grace of God had appointed Him.  There He died, and died because He was there.  The Lamb was slain.  Who would think of of gainsaying such a thought?  Wicked hands murdered Him, and God provided Him as His own Lamb for the altar.  Who would touch for a moment so needed and precious a mystery?  And yet the Lamb gave up His own life.

No exhaustion under the suffering, no pressure of the cross, led Him to the death; but His life He yielded of Himself.  In token of being in full possession of that which he was rendering up,  "He cried with a loud voice," and then "gave up the ghost." (Mark 15:37).  The history of the moment admits of no other thought; and I will add, neither should the worshipping affections of the saints.

Pilate marvelled that He was dead already; he would not believe it;  He had to satisfy himself of it.  No time had been passed on the cross sufficient to extort the life, so that the legs of the others had to be broken.  But He was dead already,  and Pilate must make inquiry, and call for the witness, ere he would believe it.    
The Son of God - J. G. Bellett

N.J. Hiebert - 8711  

December 31

. . . Jesus said, let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on Me...She hath done what she could.  Mark 14:6,8

A striking storey of W W II was recounted by an airman who was part of a crew that flew a B-17 bomber over Germany during that awful conflict.  The particular bombing run which he recounted was targeted over the German city of Kassel.

As usual, the flak from German antiaircraft weapons was heavy and terrible.  The shells most often used were 20mm,  armour piercing shells with explosive charges in their tips.  If they hit an aircraft in the right place the exploding charge would set off a far greater explosion, destroying the aircraft.  During the raids, many allied bombers were lost after being hit by these shells.  Yet, on this particular mission, though the shells actually pierced the fuel tanks of the bomber the airman was in, strangely, the aircraft did not explode.  It was able to complete its mission and get back to its base before it ran out of fuel.

The pilot later told his aircrew the amazing story of that particular bombing run.  The morning following the bombing run, he had requested that the air crew ground chief who was in charge of repairing the bomber's fuel tanks would give him one of the enemy shells as a souvenir of the what seemed a miracle.  It was them the pilot learned that eleven shells had been found in the fuel tanks!  All eleven shells were un-exploded even though just one should have caused the bomber to explode in flames.

The shells had been sent to the armorers to have their explosive tips defused, but then, Allied intelligence men had taken them away.   Eventually the pilot received word that when the armorers opened each of the shells to defuse them, they found no explosive charges in any of shell tips.  All eleven shell tips were empty.

Yet, not all of the shells were really empty!  They found one shell which contained in its hollow tip a carefully rolled piece of paper with a note scrawled on it in the Czech language.  The Allied intelligence people located a man who could read Czech and was able to decipher the note.  It caused the whole bomber crew to marvel!  The translated note read: This is all we can do for you for now.  
TCS - July 2013

N.J. Hiebert - 8712  

January 1

The night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer,
Paul.  Acts 23:11 


Some think Paul should not have gone up to Jerusalem on this visit.  Some think he should not have taken a vow as he was advised to do.  Still others think that his behaviour on trial compares poorly with that of our Lord.  Be all that as it may, the Lord knew Paul's heart and so stood by him to cheer him up and to assure him that he would witness also in Rome.

God does not measure us by by isolated incidents.  "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart"  (1 Samuel 16:7).  A good man may blunder and fall far below the standard, but God looks at the real motive, the general purpose of the heart.  Some may do exceedingly well at times whose true heart is undependable.  Others may fail at times, but their inmost self is right with God.  God knew that Paul meant business with those who mean business.  God knew that Paul meant business, and that is what counts with Him.    
Day by Day with Vance Havner  

When we walk with the Lord in the Light of His word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His sweet will, how our hearts He can fill With His love as we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
When in paths of self pleasing we stray;
For the favour He shows, and the joy He bestows
Are for those who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet let us sit at His feet,
Or walk by His side in the way;
What He says may we do, where He sends may we go-- Never fear, only trust and obey. 
(J. H. Sammis)      

N.J. Hiebert - 8713 

January 2

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
John 3:16   

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


On a beautiful summer day each one of us can stand in the sunshine, feel its warmth and enjoy it to the full.  While all have a share of the sun, we realize also that all have a sun to themselves.   It is for all!  It is for me!  So is the love of God: vast, immense, wonderful!  
Alex Ross

Was it for me for me, alone, The Saviour left His glorious throne; The dazzling splendours of the sky, was it for me He came to die?

Was it for me sweet angel strains came floating o'er Judea's plans? That starlight night so long ago, was it for me God planned it so?

Was it for me the Saviour said, pillow thy weary aching head, Trustingly on thy Saviour's breast? was it for me can I thus rest?

Was it for me He wept and prayed my load of sin before Him laid; That night within Gethsemane, was it for me, that agony?

Was it for me He bowed His head, upon the cross, and freely shed His precious blood-that crimson tide, was it for me the Saviour died?  

Chorus  It was for me, yes, all for me, O love of God, so great so free, O wondrous love, I'll shout and sing.  He died for me, my Lord and King!

J. M. Whyte 

N.J. Hiebert - 8714 

January 3

Lo, I am with you alway.   Matthew 28:20 

    Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear.  Rather look at them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them.  He has kept you hitherto; do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms. 
    Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow.  The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of your tomorrow, and every day.  Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.  Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations. 
 Frances de Sales
     The Lord is my Shepherd.  Psalm 23:1     Not was, not may be, nor will be.  "The Lord is my Shepherd," is on Sunday, is on Monday, and is through every day of the week; is in January, is in December, and every month of the year; is at home, and is in China; is in peace, and, is in war; in abundance, and in penury.  J. Hudson Taylor 

HE will silently plan for thee, object thou of omniscient care;
God Himself undertakes to be thy Pilot through each subtle snare.

He WILL silently plan for thee, so certainly, He cannot fail!
Rest on the faithfulness of God, In Him thou surely shalt prevail.

He will SILENTLY plan for thee some wonderful surprise of love. Eye hath not seen, nor ear hath heard, but it is kept for thee above.

He will silently PLAN for thee, His purposes shall all unfold;
The tangled skein shall shine at last, a masterpiece of skill untold.

He will silently plan FOR THEE, happy child of a Father's care,
As though no other claimed His love, but thou alone to Him wert dear.
  
E. M.Grimes 

N.J. Hiebert - 8715 

January 4

Forgetting the things which are behind. 
Philippians 3:13 
Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee. Deuteronomy 8:2

Forgetting ills behind me, the sorrows past and gone,
Forgetting all my wanderings, too sad to dwell upon,
Remembering God's great goodness, in times of stress and strain, Remembering His restorings, I praise my God again.

Forgetting all my doubtings, which dimmed faith's vision bright, Forgetting all the earth-clouds, the darkness, gloom and night, Remembering God's bright sunshine, and radiance of His face, Remembering His long patience, I praise my God for grace.

Forgetting all unkindness which friends and foes have shown, Forgetting and forgiving the wrongs that I have known, Remembering God provided, unsought, each faithful friend, Remembering love's devotion, I'll praise Him to the end.

Forgetting my repinings when disappointments came, Forgetting all the murmurings, which filled my soul with shame, Remembering God was ever true to His Holy Word, 
Remembering He was faithful, I praise my sovereign Lord.  A. G.

N.J. Hiebert - 8716  

January 5

 Let us lay aside every weight . . . Looking unto Jesus . . . (Hebrews 12:1,2) I press toward the mark . . . (Philippians 3:14)

We stand together at the gateway of another year.  It may be a year of many blessed experiences.  Follow Him who goes before--the One who went before His people of old--a guiding light, a constant protection, an unfailing Friend and Counselor, an almighty  Saviour. 

When shadows deepen, and fear rides on the moaning wind; when sorrow comes, and we wander in the misty vale of grief; when joy beckons, and our way is sunlit--"remember"  His past leading and know that all is well. 

When spectres rise hauntingly from the past, when old heartaches and sorrows seem to weigh us down and blot out the sunshine forget  "Those things which are behind," and reach forward to  the joys before us.   Paul says, "I press toward the mark"-- here there is urgency, and nothing must be allowed to hamper the runner's progress.

We make our own hindrances many times--our Master has done all He can to free us from every weight, giving us forgiveness  for the past, help in the present, and assurance for the future.  So, dear pilgrim, as we face the coming days of a new year, knowing that each one brings our Master's return nearer, let us "lay aside every weight . . . and press toward the mark," with singleness of heart "looking unto Jesus."  
A. G.

N.J. Hiebert - 8717

January 6

Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith I thirst.  Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar: and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth.  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said IT IS FINISHED: and He bowed His head and gave up the ghost". Then "one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side and forthwith came there out blood and water." (John 19:28-34)  "And behold, the veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom." (Matthew 27:51) 

The Lord Jesus, having done the will of God in laying done His life, (He had power to lay it down and power to take it again), "Made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death." (Isaiah 53:9)  In fulfillment of this Scripture, a rich man named Joseph went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre and departed.

But alas! man, not satisfied with what he has done, comes and seals the stone, and sets a watch, to keep the Lord there.  But how could death and the grave hold Him?  He came from heaven to abolish death and to bring life and incorruptibility to light.  But He came as a servant, to do it all for God, being "Obedient even unto death" for the glory of God.  Therefore God Himself steps in. "And behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it." (Matthew 28:2) 

This was not for the Lord to come out; no great stone sealed could keep HIM there!  He was risen, but God had sent an angel from heaven to roll away the stone, so that His own loved ones might see that the tomb was empty. "Come, see (said he) the place where the Lord lay." (Matthew 28:6)   
The Ways of God With Man - W. M. Sibthorpe 

N.J. Hiebert - 8718

January 7

"Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price." 
1 Corinthians 6:20 

We were hopeless to redeem ourselves. We had brought the curse on ourselves, but we had no way to escape from it. Then "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." Galatians 3;13

Perhaps it seems a contradiction to say that we are slaves of Jesus Christ, and yet He has bought us out of the slave market to make us free men. There is an old story about a slave market in the south of the United States, many years ago.  An Englishman was walking past the slave market when he noticed that there was a sale of slaves taking place.  He went over to watch, as they did not have slaves in England, and he had never seen such a thing before.

As he watched, a very fine young man was brought out for sale.  He was young and strong, and had a fine head and face.  The bid went high for him, and as the Englishman watched, his heart was stirred with great pity for this man.  At last he also began to bid; the price went higher and higher, but the Englishman determined that he should buy that slave.  At last his bid was the highest, and the slave was handed over to him.

The slave came to him with chains on his hands and his feet, and a look of fury in his face.  He cursed the Englishman with all the  power he possessed.  He said, "You call yourself an Englishman.  You say you do not believe in slavery, and yet you buy me.  Curses be be upon you!"   The Englishman did not say one word, until at last the man, having no more breath to curse, stopped.   Then the Englishman stepped forward, unlocked the chains on his hands and his feet, and threw them away, saying to him, "I bought you to set you free.  You are a free man!"  The slave fell down at his feet and cried out with tears, "I am your slave forever!"  He became the faithful slave of that Englishman, but he was also a free man.  
G. C. Willis - Meditations on Galatians.

N.J. Hiebert - 8719   

January 8

And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, He looked up to heaven, and blessed and break the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided He among them all.  Mark 6:41   

And when they were filled, He said unto His disciples, gather up the fragments 
(broken pieces) that remain, that nothing be lost.  John 6:12  

In England we cut a loaf, and if there is anything over, it is a cut end of a loaf, or there may be a few slices.  There are never "fragments" (literally broken pieces).  But in India people break bits off a loaf or cake, and I suppose it was so in Palestine, as broken pieces, not slices, were left over of what the Lord had first blessed and broken and given

Some of us may be much more like poor broken pieces than nice tidy cut slices.  At any rate we feel so.  Is it not a comfort then, to read that not only did our Lord bless and break and give, but every morsel of what He had blessed was, in His sight, worth gathering up for use?

We may be only the odds and ends of things, not worth calling anything, but what He has blessed He uses, that nothing, even such nothings as we are, be lost.   
Edges of His Ways - Amy Carmichael  (1867-1951)

N.J. Hiebert - 8720 

January 9