Bible Gems

Feb 28, 2005 at 14:10 o\clock

Gems from February 10-11, 2005

February 10

"What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God."  (1 Corinthians 2:11)

I remember looking at a busy ant colony on a broiling summer day in Australia.  My thoughts ran as follows.  The distance between a man and an ant is very great, but after all it is but a finite distance.  You can weigh the substance of a man and that of an ant, and you can find out how much heavier a man is that an ant.  But can an ant understand what is passing through a man's mind?  Can an ant understand the achievements of men?  We know it cannot.  But the distance between God and man is infinitely greater than that between man and ant.  God is the Creator.  Man is the creature.  The distance between them is infinite.  No arithmetic is of any use here.  Is it possible that the mind of man can understand and comprehend God?  "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find our the Almighty unto perfection?  It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?  The measures thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea."  (Job 11:7-9) (A.J. Pollock - Why I Believe the Bible)

N.J. Hiebert # 2156

February 11

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  (Matthew 29,30)

     Is the Christian life after all, what its enemies take it for - an additional weight to the already great woe of life, some extra punctiliousness about duty, some painful devotion to observances, some heavy restriction and trammelling of all that is joyous and free in the world?  ...Did you ever stop to ask what a yoke is really for?  Is it to be a burden to the animal which wears it?  It is just the opposite.  It is to make its burden light.

    A yoke is not an instrument of torture; it is an instrument of mercy.  It is not a malicious contrivance for making work hard; it is a gentle device to make hard labour light.  It is not meant to give pain, but to save pain.  And yet men speak of the yoke of Christ as if it were a slavery, and look upon those who wear it as objects of compassion?

   ... The mistake has arisen from taking the word "yoke" here in the same sense as in the expressions "under the yoke." ... in Christ's illustration it is not the jugrum of the Roman soldier, but the simple "harness" or "ox-collar" of the Eastern peasant.  (Henry Drummond) 

N.J. Hiebert # 2157

Feb 27, 2005 at 22:00 o\clock

Gems from February 7-9, 2005

February 7
 
"Gather of it (manna) every man according to his eating."  (Exodus 16:16)
 
The appetite governed the amount collected.  How strikingly true this is of the believer!  We all have as much of Christ as we desire - no more, and no less.  If our desires are large, if we open our mouth wide, He will fill it....   On the other hand, if we are but feebly conscious of our need, a little only of Christ will be supplied.  (J.N. Darby) 
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2153
 
February 8
 
"In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."  (Philippians 4:6)
 
The presence of God settles everything even in every-day life....  We have cares; take them to God, and how they are changed in a moment....  You never come out of God's presence as you go in.  You see things in their true character.  (E.P.C.)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2154
 
February 9
 
"...let my brother Ammon go with us.  And the king (David) said unto him, Why should he go with thee?  But Absalom pressed him, that he let Ammon and all the sons go with him.  Now Absalom had commanded... smite Ammon; then kill him... David mourned... Absalom fled... the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom... bring the young man Absalom again.... Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel... David said... let us flee for we shall not else escape from Absalom." (2 Samuel 14,15)
 
David's inordinate tenderness only paved the way for Absalom's open rebellion.  Terrible warning!  Deal tenderly with evil, and it will assuredly rise to a head, and crush you in the end.  On the other hand, meet evil with a face of flint, and your victory is sure.  Sport not with the serpent, but at once crush it beneath your foot.  Plain, unflinching decision is, after all, the safest and happiest path.  It may be trying at first, but the end is peaceful.    (C.H.Mackintosh)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2155

Feb 25, 2005 at 14:40 o\clock

Gems from February 4-6, 2005

February 4

"He that believeth shall not make haste."  (Isaiah 28:16)

How little we realize the magnitude of the fact that God is our Father.  If a man had an emperor for his father he would not go to a peasant to ask for help.  We cannot naturally bear the delay and suspense to which we are subjected in turning to God.  But the delay is simply to test our faith.  (Footprints for Pilgrims) 

N.J. Hiebert # 2150

February 5

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."  (Galatians 6:2)

 The eye that is most anointed will not be the first to see failure in others, and the soul that knows most of walking under the yoke with the Master will not be the first to undertake the putting right, according to its own mind, of what halts and limps in others. (G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert # 2151

February 6

"And when He rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping."  (Luke 22:45)

They were His thought, not He theirs.  He their thought!  They could not watch with Him one hour.  So it is now. "He ever liveth to make intercession for us"; do we "ever live" to love Him, to serve Him?  He ever lives for you; do you live ever for Him?  (J.G. Bellett) 

N.J. Hiebert # 2152

Feb 24, 2005 at 14:19 o\clock

Gems from February 1-3, 2005

February 1

"Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before."  (Philippians 3:13)     

    The flesh in the saints is as bad as any flesh; therefore, watch, continue in prayer, be clothed with humility.  Live no more by memory than by sense, but live by faith, forgetting the things which are behind, and pressing forward.  It was not when Paul was in communion with the glory that he was in danger of being puffed up, but when he came down in the memory of it.  Memory has its own work, and so has sense; but conscious, present communion with God is the power and glory of the saint, and his special privilege.  Here he gets everything, for here he has God; and here he has everything safely, for he has everything in God - with God.

    When Christ is working in a heart, there will be the tenderest consideration; there will be straight paths made for lame feet.

    Wherever you go, endeavour to carry with you a sense of God's presence, His holiness, and His love; it will preserve you from a thousand snares.  (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2147

February 2

"Behold the days come saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it." (Amos 8:11,12) 

    Some believers may be ready to say about this, If we are deprived of all the Lord's "gifts," we still have the Bible.  True, but there is another side to this, How many are there who read the Bible as a routine and get nothing for their souls?  Why is this?  Are we not told that Moses and the prophets were read in the Jewish synagogue every Sabbath day? so that with the Scriptures in their hands, and read at stated intervals, there was such a famine of the Word of God, that they knew not Him of whom the Scriptures which they read spake, but actually fulfilled the same in condemning Him.  "If any man hear MY voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with ME." (Revelation 3:20)   (H.H.S.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2148

February 3

"Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges?"  (1 Corinthians 9:7)

 No; He who calls, equips and sustains; and the servant has only to learn how to avail himself of what is provided.  The Lord expects nothing from us, except looking to Him, and even for that He will give the power.  (Edward Dennett)  

N.J. Hiebert # 2149

Feb 23, 2005 at 15:17 o\clock

Gems from January 29-31, 2005

January 29

"Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." (Luke 18:17)

The little child comes in all the simplicity of unquestioning faith.  How did you come?  How did I come?  Surely not in the sense of personal merit.  Not in virtue of a breast decked with badges, ribbons, and medals.  No! nor with a list of degrees after my name.  How did we get into the kingdom of God?  If we entered at all, it was through that lowly gate of childlike faith.  "A little child shall lead them." (Matthew 18:3)  There are no private entrances, so we must all come through that narrow gate of faith.  (C.H. Brown)

N.J. Hiebert # 2144

 

January 30

"...kill it (the lamb) in the evening.  And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it." (Exodus 12:6,7)

If an Israelite had been asked as to his enjoyment of peace, what would he have said?  Would he have said, "I know there is no other way of escape but the blood of the lamb, and I know that to be a divinely perfect way; and, moreover, I know that the blood has been shed and sprinkled on my door post; but somehow I do not feel quite comfortable.  I am not quite sure that I am safe.  I fear I do not value the blood as I ought, nor love the God of my fathers as I ought"?  Would such have been his answer?  Assuredly not.  And yet hundreds of professing Christians speak thus when asked if they have peace.  They put their thoughts about the blood in place of the blood itself, and thus, in result, make salvation as much dependent on themselves as if they were to be saved by works alone.  (C.H. Mackintosh)    

N.J. Hiebert # 2145

January 31

"Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid.  How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein."  (Romans 6:1,2)

In divine things people forget (what they see every day and which is as simple as possible in human things) that duties flow always from the relationship in which we are already placed; putting a person into a relationship, puts him as naturally as possible into the duties belonging to that relationship.  If the place is a constant one, the duty is a constant one, as with parents and children, husband and wife.  The statement often made, that if I am saved I may do as I like, is thus disposed of.  Can my child say that because he is my child he may do as he likes?  No; the duty flows from the relationship.  If I am a child of God, duty is always there.  I may fail in it and be chastened as a naughty child - quite true - but the duty is there.  That is what redemption does; on the total failure of man under responsibility, it brings me the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus.  Thus praise, service, obedience - whatever belongs to the child of God - flows from it.  (Christian Truth - Volume 14)

N.J. Hiebert # 2146

Feb 22, 2005 at 15:14 o\clock

Gems from January 26-28, 2005

January 26

"And the next [day] we touched at Sidon.  And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave [him] liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself."  (Acts 27:3) 

    We look at Julius as a picture of each on the journey of life.  He was given the charge of getting the prisoners to Rome safely and he will answer to Nero-Caesar for how he carried out that responsibility.

    Julius had to decide how he was going to act towards Paul on the journey.  Would he listen to and believe him, or despise him?  He is openly courteous towards Paul in just the same way as many who are on life's journey are reverent - courteous, we might say - towards God and towards religion.  But though respectful of these things, they do not attach themselves by faith to Christ.  Julius was polite to Paul, gave him a certain amount of liberty to have fellowship with his friends, but he was not interested in listening to Paul or going with him.  

    It is not enough to be respectful of God and to treat His servants courteously.  You must submit your thoughts to God's thoughts.  You must, if you are to have a happy life's journey, fully and unreservedly attach yourself to and by faith embrace, the revealed mind of God as it has been given to us in the Bible.  (Douglas Nicolet - The Journey of life)

N.J. Hiebert  # 2141

January 27

"Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:15) 

    Someone has wisely said, "Bad habits are like comfortable beds - easy to get into but hard to get our of."  While the word "habit" doesn't appear in the Bible, the above verse seems to capture the idea expressed by it.  James says that lustful thoughts lead to sinful acts, which in turn leave their mark on one's character.  Good habits are wonderful servants, but evil habits become dreadful taskmasters.

    The Heidelberg Herald published this thought-provoking story: "An elderly teacher, with a pupil by his side, took a walk through a forest.  Suddenly he stopped and pointed to four plants close at hand.  The first was just beginning to peep above the ground, the second had rooted itself pretty well into the earth, the third was a small shrub, while the fourth was a full-sized tree.  The tutor said to his young companion, 'Pull up the first plant.'  The boy did so eagerly, using only his fingers.  'Now pull up the second.'  The youth obeyed but found the task more difficult.  'Do the same with the third,' he urged.  The boy had to use all his strength to uproot it. 'Now,' said the instructor, 'try your hand with the fourth.'  The pupil put his arms around the trunk of the tall tree and couldn't even shake it leaves.  'This, my son, is just what happens with our bad habits.  When they are young, we can remove them readily; but when they are old, it's hard to uproot them, though we pray and struggle ever so sincerely.' "

    The holding power of sinful habits cannot be overemphasized.  Take warning!  Only the supernatural power of God can enable you to uproot them.  (H.G.B.)  

Most sinful habits gather

By small unseen degrees,

As brooks create large rivers,

So rivers run to seas. 

(Dryden, alt.) 

First WE make our habits, then our habits make US.

(Our Daily Bread, RIB Ministries, Copyright (1980), Grand Rapids, MI.  Reprinted permission) 

N.J. Hebert # 2142

January 28

"What shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the age?... Be ye also ready."  (Matthew 24:3,44)

"What are the signs of Thy coming,  And when shall the end-times be?"

Anxious, they questioned the Master,  Curious, even as we. 

 

Are these the signs of His coming  That loom over sea and land,

That darken the earth and the heavens?  Is the day so near at hand?

 

We know not; He hath not told us  This secret of the Lord,

But all we need He hath left us  To read in His sacred word.

 

And pulsing through the silence  Like the far, faint throb of a drum;

"Watch, be ye also ready,  For ye know not when I come."

 

Sweet as a sliver trumpet  Through tumult and clamour clear;

"Watch, be ye also ready,  For the time is drawing near."

(Annie Johnson Flint) 

N.J. Hiebert # 2143

Feb 21, 2005 at 15:01 o\clock

Gems from January 23-25, 2005

January 23

"Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat... my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven."  (John 6:31,32) 

-  If I am walking with God through the desert, I shall be satisfied with the food which He provides, and that is Christ.

-  The only provision which God has made, is the heavily manna, and on this the true believer should ever feed.

-  As in nature the more we exercise, the better the appetite; so in grace: the more our renewed faculties are called into play, the more we feel the need of feeding each day upon Christ.  (Food for the Desert) 

N.J. Hiebert # 2138

January 24

"To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved."  (Ephesians 1:6)

Has it ever come into your mind what sort of a thrill the delight of God in Christ must cause in heaven?  And is it indeed true that we are accepted in the Beloved, and that God loves us as He loves Christ, because we are in Him and He is in us?  What in you can interfere with the delight of God in His Son?  His delight in believers is not in themselves, but in connection with Christ and redemption.  His blood has washed all my sin away, my soul is in Him - one with Him; all my guilt and misery judged on the cross.  Oh, it makes one feel very little; it sinks one into insignificance as being nothing and Christ everything; God looking on His Son with ever the same delight, seeing His members and loving them as such!  It is pure grace from first to last.  (G.V. Wigram - Gleanings)

N.J. Hiebert # 2139

January 25

"And Jonathan (King) Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God."  (1 Samuel 23:16) 

God make us all His Jonathans.  There is a great hunter abroad in the world.  Like Saul who sought David every day, he seeks souls every day, never a day's respite, always the hunt is on.  Although the words stand for ever, "but God delivered him not into his hand" (v.14), yet sometimes souls tire of being hunted, and like David they are in a wilderness in a wood.  Then is Jonathan's chance.  But notice what he does, he does not so comfort David that he becomes necessary to him.  "He strengthened his hand in God."  He leaves his friend strong in God, resting in God, safe in God.  He detaches his dear David from himself and he attaches him to his "Very Present Help" (Psalm 46:1).  Then Jonathan went to his house, and David abode in the wood - with God.    (Amy Carmichael - Edges of His Ways)

N.J. Hiebert # 2140

Feb 18, 2005 at 14:13 o\clock

Gems from January 20-22, 2005

January 20

"...ye are dull of hearing..." (Hebrews 5:11)

There is a great deal of love in the heart when first converted.  And there is another thing.  When first converted, all these things are easier to understand than when more used to hearing them, and the world comes in.  When there is freshness in the heart, the understanding goes with it. ...Freshness of affection and intelligence go together.  When it is bright sunshine, things at a distance are easily seen.  If it is dark, there is more difficulty.  In the day one may walk through the streets without thinking about the way - one knows it; but at night one has to look and think which way.  Just so with spiritual things; there is less spring, less apprehension, less clearness when our hearts are not happy.  My judgment is clear when my affections are warm.  Motives that acted before cease to be motives when my heart is right.  I can count all dross and dung, when force is given to my affections.  "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."  (J.N.D.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2135

January 21

"Acquaint now thyself with HIM, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee."  (Job 22:21) 

    Often people ask me, "Why do I not hear God's answer?  When I ask for guidance, it is as if the Lord is not willing to answer."   My answer then can only be a question:  "Do you honestly expect an answer?"  And they admit they don't.  (Corrie Ten Boom - This Day is the Lord's)

N.J. Hiebert # 2136

January 22

"For with God nothing shall be impossible."  (Luke 1:37)

    Far up in the Alpine hollows, year by year God works one of His marvels.  The snow patches lie there, frozen with ice at their edge from the strife of sunny days and frosty nights, and through that ice crust come, unscathed, flowers that bloom.

    Back in the days of the bygone summer the little soldanel plant spread its leaves wide and flat on the ground to drink in the sun's rays, and it kept them stored in the root through the winter.  Then spring came and stirred the pulses even below the snow shroud, and as it sprouted, warmth was given out in such strange measure that it thawed a little dome in the snow above its head.

    Higher and higher it grew, and always above it rose the bell of air till the flower bud formed safely within it; and at last the icy covering of the air-bell gave way and let the blossom through into the sunshine, the crystalline texture of its mauve petals sparkling like snow itself as if it bore the traces of the flight through which it had come.

    The fragile thing rings an echo in our hearts that none of the jewel-like flowers nestled in the warm turf on the slopes below could waken.  We love to see the impossible done; and so does God!

    Face it out to the end, cast away every shadow of hope on the human side as an absolute hindrance to the Divine, heap up all the difficulties together recklessly and pile as many more on as you can find; you cannot get beyond the blessed climax of impossibility.  Let faith swing out to Him.  He is the God of the impossible.  (Selected - Mountain Trailways for Youth)

N.J. Hiebert # 2137

Feb 17, 2005 at 15:18 o\clock

Gems from January 16-19, 2005

January 16

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men... who will have all men to be saved." (1 Timothy 2:1,4)

    We are to pray, not only in view of the good of all saints, but also in view of the blessing of all men.

    The world may at times persecute God's people and seek to vent upon them all the hatred of their hearts towards God.  Unless we walk in self-judgment, such treatment would arouse the flesh in resentment and retaliation.  Here we learn that it is "good and acceptable in the sight of God"  to act and feel towards all men, as God Himself does, in love and grace.  Thus we are to pray for "all men", not simply for those who govern well, but also for those who use God's people despitefully (Luke 6:28).  We are to pray, not for retributive judgment to overtake the persecutors of God's people, but that in sovereign grace they may be saved.  (Hamilton Smith)

 N.J. Hiebert # 2131 

January 17

"There they crucified HIM."  (Luke 23:33)

The ultimate crime!  The supreme blasphemy!  The vilest obscenity!  The grossest stupidity!  Sinners defiled and dead to God, actually nailed "Him" to the wood.  He, the loveliest Man who ever walked the dust of earth.  He healed their broken-hearted, dried their tears, and blessed their little children.  He brought the Word of heaven to their hearts and would open heaven to their souls.  Who were "they"?  People like you and me.  But, praise the Lord, He did it to procure forgiveness for people like you and me.  (J. Boyd Nicholson) 

N.J. Hiebert # 2132

January 18

"Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."  (Colossians 4:6)

 John Wesley found himself in a coach travelling with an officer who was an agreeable conversationalist except that profanity punctuated his talk.  When they stopped to rest the horses, Wesley took the officer aside and said he had a great favour to ask.  The officer was willing to do what he could.  Replied Wesley "As we have to travel together some distance, if I should so far forget myself as to swear, I beg that you will kindly reprove me."  The officer immediately saw the force of the request.  The reproof acted like a charm.  (Selected) 

N.J. Hiebert # 2133

January 19

"...even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."  (Colossians 3:13) 

    The following story is told about Sir Eardley Wilmot, an English baronet, widely known as a leader and a man of great personal dignity and force of character:  "Having been a distinguished chief of justice of the Court of Common Pleas, Sir Wilmot was often consulted in regard to perplexing social questions.  On one occasion a statesman came to him very excited over an injury inflicted upon him.  He used strong epithets in describing the malicious attack. 'Is not my indignation righteous?' he asked impetuously.  'Will it not be manly to resent such an injury?'  'Yes,' was the calm reply, 'it will be manly to resent it, but it will be godlike to forgive it!' "

    These words were well spoken.  If practiced in our daily relationships they would soothe irritations and remove misunderstandings which mar our fellowship as believers and hinder our testimony before the world.  The Bible says, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:31, 32).   This example of forgiveness silences every objection and excuse we might raise.  In view of God's great love and His offer to pardon the very ones who crucified His Son, who can refuse to forgive another!  And, when forgiveness is granted, we should also forget!  Dear old Dr. William Pietsch used to say, "Too many folks bury the hatchet with the handle sticking out."  That isn't the way God forgives.  He has promised that  "their sins and iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 10:17)!  This is true forgiveness.  (Selected) 

N.J. Hiebert # 2134

Feb 16, 2005 at 14:48 o\clock

Gems from January 11-15, 2005

January 11

"Be ye also enlarged."  (2 Corinthians 6:13)

Oh to have Christ so before the eye as to be able to judge everything in His light!  Do not think it is great learning; no, there may be the lust of the mind as well as the lust of the flesh; but if in communion with God, it discerns all things.  (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 2126

January 12

 

"And the disciples were called Christians."  (Acts 11:26)


    What is a Christian?  The disciples were divinely called Christians - those who received the Word of God in their hearts; they received the gospel and therefore were born again through the power of the risen Christ in heaven.  They were Christians because they belonged to Christ.

    A Christian is Christ's representative here in this world.  Many years ago, when studying Cantonese, one of the branches of the Chinese language, I found the word used for a Christian was "Yasu-yan."  Yasu was their word for Jesus - and yan was man; and whenever my teacher would introduce me, he would say I was a "Jesus man."  That is what a Christian really is.   

    It is his high privilege to represent Christ in this world.  He belongs to Christ, is united to Christ, and now should seek to live out the life of Christ before men.  That is what Paul meant when he said, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)  God give us to be consistent Christians!  There is no greater testimony to the power of the gospel than that.  (H.A. Ironside)

 N.J. Hiebert # 2127 

January 13

"The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof."  (Psalm 50:1)

One morning as the sun cast its first shadows over a bed of flowers in our yard I noticed one perennial called a "Star Gazer" particularly attracted to the warm rays.  Beautiful, yellow daisy-like petals on long stems angled their faces as if reaching up towards the sun.  What really caught my attention was later that evening as the sun was setting, these flowers were still facing towards the sun!  They had fixed their gaze upon the sun and kept it there.  I felt God was telling me that we too need to fix out gaze upon His Son and to follow Him from the rising of the sun till the setting of the same. (Jerry Proctor)  

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 # 2128 

 

January 14

"Take heed that ye do not your alms (righteousness) before men, to be seen of them... When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth; that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly." (Matthew 6:1,3,4)

The first principle of all godliness comes out in its sweetest shape, namely, the having to do with our Father in secret; who understands us, sees all that is passing within and around us, hears and counsels us, as, indeed, He takes the deepest interest in us.  It is the inner, divine relationship of the saint - our spiritual bonds with God our Father, and the conduct that ought to flow from them.   (William Kelly)

N.J. Hiebert # 2129

January 15

"This Man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." (Luke 15:2)

"He saved others; Himself He cannot save."  (Mark 15:31)

Two of the most precious statements ever made about our Lord were said in contempt.  Yet how blessedly true they are.  We who know Him rejoice because He did receive us even though we were ungodly sinners, and He is pleased to dwell with us.  And how precious that, though He saved others in all kinds of need, He would not free Himself because His death was necessary to redeem us.  Love, not nails, held Him there.  (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2130

Feb 15, 2005 at 14:20 o\clock

Gems from January 6-10, 2005

January 6

 

"Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to ALL THE SAINTS..."  (Philippians 1:1)

 How often we forget "to all the saints."  How often out thoughts and prayers include only the saints in one little group, that is of special interest to us.  Let us remember that God's heart, God's thought, goes out to"all the saints."  When I was a child, every night and morning my father would pray for "the whole Church of God."  This is as it should be: and if we are walking down here as Christ would have us walk, we will not be content that our hearts should take in any smaller circle than "all the saints."  We may not be able to walk with them all, in the paths they have chosen, but we may love them, and pray  for them, all.  Before the Assembly at Ephesus had left their first love (Revelation 2:4): Paul could write of their "love unto all the saints." (Ephesians 1:15)  (G.Christopher Willis - Sacrifices of Joy)

 N.J. Hiebert # 2121

January 7

"...He will beautify the meek with salvation." (Psalm 149:4)

Once there was a brier growing in a ditch, and there came along a gardener with his spade.  As he dug around it and lifted it out, the brier said to itself, "What is he doing that for?  Doesn't he know that I am a worthless  brier?"  But the gardener took it into the garden and planted it amid his flowers, while the brier said, "What a mistake he has made, planting a brier like myself among such rose trees as these!"  But the gardener came once more with his keen-edged knife, made a slit in the brier and budded it with a rose, and by and by, when summer came, lovely roses were blooming on that old brier!  Then the gardener said, "Your beauty is not due to that which came out, but to that which I put into you."  That is just what Christ is doing all the time with our human lives.  (Mountain Trailways for Youth)

"Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,

All His wondrous compassion and purity;

By Thy Spirit Divine, may Christ from my life shine

Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me."

 

N.J. Hiebert # 2122

January 8

"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." (2 Timothy 1:12)

The vanity of the flesh likes to be popular and self-important and make itself prominent before the world and the saints, but in view of that day it is better to take a lowly place in self- effacement rather than a public place in self-advertisement, for then it will be found that many that are first shall be last; and the last first.  (Hamilton Smith) 

 N.J. Hiebert # 2123

January 9

"...He will beautify the meek with salvation." (Psalm 149:4)

 Once there was a brier growing in a ditch, and there came along a gardener with his spade.  As he dug around it and lifted it out, the brier said to itself, "What is he doing that for?  Doesn't he know that I am a worthless  brier?"  But the gardener took it into the garden and planted it amid his flowers, while the brier said, "What a mistake he has made, planting a brier like myself among such rose trees as these!"  But the gardener came once more with his keen-edged knife, made a slit in the brier and budded it with a rose, and by and by, when summer came, lovely roses were blooming on that old brier!  Then the gardener said, "Your beauty is not due to that which came out, but to that which I put into you."  That is just what Christ is doing all the time with our human lives.  (Mountain Trailways for Youth)

"Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,

All His wondrous compassion and purity;

By Thy Spirit Divine, may Christ from my life shine

Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me."

 

N.J. Hiebert # 2124

January 10

"I... sat chief, and dwelt as a king..."  (Job 29:25)

"But now they that are younger than I have me in derision."  (Job 30:1)

Thus it eve is in this poor, false, deceitful world.  All must, sooner or later, find out the hollowness of the world, the fickleness of those who are ready to cry out "Hosanna" today, and "Crucify Him" tomorrow.  Man is not to be trusted.  When the prodigal had plenty to spend, he found plenty to share his portion; but when he began to be in want, "no man gave unto him."  (C.H. Mackintosh) 

N.J. Hiebert # 2125

Feb 14, 2005 at 20:15 o\clock

Gems from January 1-5, 2005

January 1

"Men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself."  (Psalm 49:18)

Men love something.  Trace the course of Judas.  What was it that led him astray?  He loved money, not so uncommon an evil.  In this he was the world's prudent man. But observe the progress of corrupt nature; a little circumstance in John 12:3-6 may help us to see the connection.  Satan suggests a way to gratify the lust there.  Well, he goes on, and what is his next step?  Satan puts it into his heart to betray his Master.  Judas, it may be, thinking that the blessed One would have been delivered in some way, as at other times, and thus he get his money and yet save his character, consents.  Man will excuse himself by any folly.  Sin has its progress with a defiled conscience.  Hypocrisy now enters; he sits with Jesus at the table (goes on with religiousness) even after he had sold him.  Mark, too, it was "after the sop" that Satan entered, never nearer to Christ in form.  Now he is hardened against even the relentings of nature; he goes out and betrays the Son of man with a kiss.  Here then is the progress of corrupt nature toward this fearful consummation - first, lust; second, a means of gratifying it in his office of bearer of the bag (all this goes on along with religiousness, in the very company of Christ, from day to day); third, he is led to the ultimate character of his crime, at a time and in circumstances of most blessing to a true disciple; fourth, the heart is hardened, so that the betrayal takes place even with a kiss, the token of affection.  Sinning and religiousness go on together.  Where the power of godliness is not, nearness to godly things is only the more dangerous.  (Christian Truth - Vol. 13) 

 N.J. Hiebert # 2116

January 2

"For to me to live is Christ."  (Philippians 1:21)

It is exceedingly important in these days to have Christ the centre of everything to us, so as to be able to say, "to me to live is Christ;" to be walking in the light of His glory shining down upon our path, in everything that glory kept uppermost; not to be allowing two lives in us, the life of the flesh and the life of the Spirit, but to be sinking the life of the flesh, and having only the life of Christ living in us.  (G.V. Wigram - Gleanings from the Teaching of G.V.W.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2117

January 3

"It is written." (John 4:4)

 If we could put down self in every way and entirely, we should find rest in all circumstances.  If we walked as Christ did, we should see God and our Father in everything.  Privations, temptations, difficulties - God and our Father in all.  Subjection to His word in everything - saying, "It is written," makes the bitterest thing sweet.  Christ has pledged Himself that I shall have rest, He reveals the Father to me, that is the blessing He has shut me into.  All blessing comes from Christ teaching every day to find rest by seeing God and my father in everything. 

(G.V. Wigram)

 N.J. Hiebert # 2118

January 4

"And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you, ...Blessed are all thy that wait for Him." (Isaiah 30:18)

 Did you ever put these two "waits" together like that?  Perhaps there is a fear at the back of your mind just as a fear is sometimes at the back of mine.  Perhaps nobody knows of it, or would only smile if they heard it.  Never mind: read these words and let them lead you into peace.  (Amy Carmichael - Edges of His Ways)

 N.J. Hiebert # 2119

January 5

If any man thirst, let him come unto ME and drink"  (John 7:37).

     A nobleman about to be executed asked for a glass of water, but when it was handed to him he trembled so that he could not drink.  The prince said, "Your life is safe until you have drunk that water."  Taking the prince at his word, he dashed the glass to the ground.  The water could not be gathered up again, so the nobleman's life was saved.  This was faith; just simply receiving the words uttered, and acting upon them; the result was salvation to his body.

    Exactly in the same manner is it that we have to take God's words and act upon them.  Trusting God is not like a drowning man catching at straws.  It is no hanging on the words of a fitful, capricious prince, but trusting the faithful word of a gracious and faithful God, who means what He says, and who says what He means; who never makes a mistake, nor draws back from His word.  (The Sower - Vol. 23 - 1913)

"I heard the voice of Jesus say,

'Behold, I freely give

The living water - thirsty one,

Stoop down, and drink, and live." 

N.J. Hiebert # 2120

Feb 11, 2005 at 15:44 o\clock

Gems from December 27-31, 2004

December 27

"We have heard."  (Joshua 2:10)

Rahab said to the spies: "We have heard."  It was a word which assured grace and deliverance to some, and judgment to others.  Faith in this word places her immediately, as to her conscience, under the weight of the judgment.  "As soon as we heard it out hearts did melt." (Ver. 11)  Like her people she is filled with fear; but while they had lost all courage, for her this very fear is the beginning of wisdom, for it is the fear of the Lord, a fear which makes her look to God, and immediately she acquires the certainty ("I know," Ver. 9) that this God is a God of grace for His people.  She seeks her resources in this God who is the resource of His own.  Faith is not mere human imagination which likes to deceive itself, and which sees things in whatever light it pleases.  It is not the human mind building its conclusions on possibilities or probabilities; she says simply, "I know," because she had heard what the Lord has done.  (H.L. Rossier - Joshua)

 N.J. Hiebert # 2111

December 28

"Evening, and morning, and at noon will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice."  (Psalm 55:17) 

Dependence finds its natural and normal _expression in prayer.  The only perfect Nazarite (Jesus) was a Man of prayer.  Let us be assured that there is no greater peril than losing a sense of the need of prayer.  A neglected closet means the loss of the dependent spirit.... Is it the habit of our lives?  It is possible for even the knowledge of grace to be used by the enemy to lessen the sense of dependence and so to cause prayer to become less constant.

(S. Ridout - Judges)

N.J. Hiebert # 2112

December 29

"For from within... proceed evil thoughts... covetousness, wickedness, deceit."  (Mark 7:21,22)

    As Christians, we face strong foes that would bring us into spiritual  defeat.  Our greatest enemy, however, lurks within.  Even though we have been born again, we are deeply aware of our inclination toward evil.  The apostle Paul wrote, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find" (Romans 7:18).  He added, "For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (vv.22,23).

    In Victor Hugo's story, "Ninety-Three," a ship is caught in a storm.  The frightened crew hears a terrible crashing sound below.  Immediately the men know what it is:  a cannon has broken loose and is crashing into the ship's side with every smashing blow of the sea!  Two men, at the risk of their lives, manage to fasten it down again, for they know that the unfastened cannon is more dangerous than the raging storm.  Hillery C. Price made this application:  "Many people... are like that ship - their greatest danger areas lie within their own lives."

    Yes, if our "flesh" - that old tendency to envy, pride, malice, covetousness, and deceit - is not "fastened down" by yielding ourselves to God's Spirit, we will live under the constant threat of defeat.  So believer, let's be alert to that enemy within!  (R.W.D.)

If you desire the Lord Himself to fill you,

For Him alone you care to live and be,

Then 'tis not you, but Christ Who dwells within you;

And that, O child of God, is victory.  (Anon) 

 

Master that sin in your heart or it will master you.

N.J. Hiebert # 2113 

OUR DAILY BREAD, RBC MINISTRIES, COPYRIGHT (1987), GRAND RAPIDS, MI. REPRINTED PERMISSION

December 30

"...but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord."  (Nehemiah 3:5)

 Pride was governing their hearts.  They could not stoop low enough. They were not accustomed to the yoke, and they thus preferred their own importance and ease to the Lord's work.  What a contrast to Him Who, though rich, became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich for ever!  He came into this world, to do the will of God, and was in the midst of His own "as One that serveth;" and having finished the work which the Father gave Him to do, He has, in His unspeakable grace and love, become for ever the servant of His people.  It is well for every child of God to learn the lesson, that it is only in bowing their necks to the Lord's yoke that rest to their souls can be found.  The nobles of Tekoa chose their own will, and lost by their stubbornness the blessing of the service offered to them, and at the same time procured for themselves everlasting exclusion from the commendation given to their brethren, as well as a mark of condemnation for their pride.  (Edward Dennett - Nehemiah)

 N.J. Hiebert # 2114

December 31

"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh  and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit." (John 3:8)

If we could look at it aright we should perhaps be impressed with the fact that there are few things connected with our life more wonderful than prayer.  It is the breathing of the hidden life - the _expression of the soul's intercourse with God.  "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof," said Christ when speaking of new birth; so prayer is the sound that often indicates that this mysterious operation in the soul has taken place - as was said of newly converted Saul of Tarsus, "Behold, he prayeth."  Prayer is one of two tangible links with the unseen.  The other is the BibleIn one God speaks to us; in the other we speak to Him."  (Selected)

 N.J. Hiebert # 2115

Feb 10, 2005 at 19:09 o\clock

Gems from December 22-26, 2004

December 22

"The Lord gave the WORD: great was the company of those that published it."  (Psalm 68:11)  

Holy Bible, Book divine!

Precious treasure, thou art mine!

Mine, to tell me whence I came;

Mine, to teach me what I am.

 

Mine, to chide me when I rove;

Mine, to show a Saviour's love;

Mine thou art, to guide my feet;

Mine, to judge, condemn, acquit.

 

Mine, to comfort in distress,

If the Holy Spirit bless;

Mine, to show by living faith,

How to triumph over death.

 

Mine, to tell of joys to come;

Mine, to show the sinner's doom;

Holy Bible, Book divine!

Precious treasure, thou art mine!

(Author unknown)

 

N.J. Hiebert # 2106 

December 23

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

We need to read the Word daily so that we might have that cleansing that is so needful.  As we read and let the Word speak to our hearts and consciences, it exercises us.  (A.M. Barry)

N.J. Hiebert # 2107

December 24

"Show me now Thy way."  (Exodus 33:13)

 May we so trust the love of God, the faithfulness of God, that we may have courage to say, "Show me Thy way"; faith in the full delight of God to bless us, so that we may do His will, even if it be the loss of everything; our souls so intimate with God, that we may seek His way and nothing else.  (Selected) 

 N.J. Hiebert # 2108

December 25

"When the comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me." (John 15:26)  "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come.  He shall glorify Me;  for He shall received of Mine and show it unto you.  All things that  the Father hath are Mine; therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine and shall show it unto you." (John 16:13-15)

The coincidence of these words with the testimony of Abraham's servant is instructive and interesting.  It was by telling of Isaac that he sought to attract the heart of Rebekah; and it is, as we know, by telling of Jesus, that the Holy Ghost seeks to draw poor sinners away from a world of sin and folly, into the blessed and holy unity of the body of Christ.  "He shall take of Mine and show it unto you."  The Spirit of God will never lead any one to look at Himself or His work, but only and always at Christ.  Hence, the more really spiritual any one is, the more entirely will he be occupied with Christ.  (C.H. Mackintosh - Genesis)

N.J. Hiebert # 2109

December 26

"Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.  Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that led out and brought in Israel: and Jehovah said to thee, thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel."  (2 Samuel 5:1,2)

The time was now come for the just place of the king.  Nevertheless it is solemn enough to observe that these men had known it all the time.  It is not want of knowledge that hinders souls from acting according to God: I speak now of the general rule.  But want of faith dulls the force of what we know, and makes it as if we knew it not.  (William Kelly - 2 Samuel) 

N.J. Hiebert # 2110

Feb 9, 2005 at 18:26 o\clock

Gems from December 17-21, 2004

December 17

"Grace reign[s] through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."  (Romans 5:21)

 It is only in redemption that this reign of grace could be seen. We may see in creation the reign of wisdom and power; we may see in providence the reign of goodness and long-suffering; but only in redemption do we see the reign of grace, and that, too, on the principle of righteousness.  (C.H. Mackintosh)    

N.J. Hiebert # 2101

December 18

"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much."  (Luke 16:10)

 There is a serving of one's time; that is, you will not be entrusted with very great works until you have proved your competency in small ones.  It is impossible but that a star must shine, and it is equally so, that if your eye were single, your whole body would be full of light.  The cause of idleness, or ignorance of one's mission is, either that one is not fit for it, or not free and humble in heart enough to begin at the little works appointed for one to do.  (J.B.S.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2102

December 19

"Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them."  (Luke 24:15)

 Jesus Himself!  Nothing less is offered to us.  If we want Him, we can have Him.  All that He is, and all that He has, may be ours.  Our Christianity, to be all that it ought to be and may be, must be just this - Himself.

The true and perfect knowledge of Him really settles every difficulty.  To know Him is to know God, and to know God is to end our doubts.  Christ had none, because this knowledge was His; and it may be ours.

"In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power." (Colossians 2:9,10)  (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2103

December 20

The wages of sin is death."  (Romans 6:23)

 Man may seek to hide his humiliation in various ways; to cover his retreat through the valley of death in the most heroic manner possible; to call the last humiliating stage of his career by the most honourable titles he can devise; to gild the bed of death with a false light; to adorn the funeral procession and the grave with the appearance of pomp, pageantry, and glory; to raise above the mouldering ashes a splendid monument, on which are engraved the records of human shame.  All these things he may do; but death is death after all, and he cannot keep it off for a moment, or make it aught else than what it is; namely, "the wages of sin is death; BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD."   "THANKS BE UNTO GOD FOR HIS UNSPEAKABLE GIFT." (2 CORINTHIANS 9:15)  (Selected)  Having read this, can you be of good cheer? 

 N.J. Hiebert # 2104

December 21

"Ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord.... Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching."  (Luke 12:36,37)

Our Lord would have us "watch" as well as "wait" for His coming.  Both imply spiritual activity.  Waiting souls are certainly not sleeping; for waiting according to our Lord's mind must be with girded loins, diligence in His service, and lights burning, thus bearing clear testimony to Him in the power of the Holy Spirit during the darkness of the night.  (H.H.S.)

 N.J. Hiebert # 2105

Feb 7, 2005 at 15:16 o\clock

Gems from December 13-16, 2004

December 13

"...when He was reviled, [He] reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not." (1 Peter 2:23)

    I am not sure it ever happens exactly like this, but you'll recognize the point: Four-year old Angelo wakes up and discovers that his new beagle puppy has chewed up his plastic guitar.  The little fellow has a fit of grief.  Mom's nerves tighten.  Yesterday's headache starts coming back, and she snaps at husband Tony as he leaves for the office.  Still feeling the unhappy sendoff, he greets his secrtary with some cold and unreasonable instructions.  She immediately picks up the mood, and at coffeebreak tells off a fellows secretary in a way that puts the whole pool on ice.  Fifteen minutes before the office closes, the second put-down secretary vents her anger at her boss and tells him she's had it.  About an hour and a half later, he walks into his house after fighting heavy freeway traffic.  Seeing his wife, he blurts out an angry word because little Nelson has left his bike in the driveway again.  Mom turns around and yells at their 5-year old son.  Nelson's eyes fill up with tears, he rushes to his room, slams the door, and kicks his Scottish terrier.

    Where does it all end?  Every reaction is understandable.  Each person had a reason for being upset.  But what that little world of people needed that day was someone who could absorb unjust treatment without lashing out.  And this is where a Christian has a unique opportunity.  By knowing the Father's will, by heeding the Son's example, and by relying on the Spirit's help, he can put up with bad treatment in order to show others a better way.  In terms of a chain reaction of anger, he can be where it all ends.  (Selected) 

N.J. Hiebert # 2097

December 14

"He said to them, go ye into all the world..."  (Mark 16:15) 

"Jesus... saith unto him go home to thy friends, and tell them..." Mark 5:19 

    William Carey, pioneer missionary to India, first heard the gospel from a fellow apprentice in a shoemaker's shop.  Carey made light of his co-worker's testimony, but secretly became convicted of his deep need: "I found myself a sinner, whose only hope was to trust Jesus."

    Once saved, he really got into God's Word.  he also read books and listened to preachers that expounded it.  As he began preaching, the Lord burdened his heart for the lost in India.  He also discovered that he had a gift for languages, and easily taught himself Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French, Dutch, and Italian.  He became convinced that translating the Bible into native tongues was a key to taking the gospel to all the world.  But when he shared his burden for the lost in India, he was told, "When God pleases to convert the heathen, he'll do it without your aid."  Undaunted, he took as his motto, "Attempt great things for God, and expect great things from God."  With his whole family, he departed for India in 1793.  

    Overcoming great set backs, Carey eventually established 26 churches, translated the whole Bible into six languages and the New Testament into 23 languages.  Shortly before his death in 1834, he characterized himself as a "plodder - one who simply persevered in what he undertook for God."  The gospel is not spread today so much by miracles as by "going" and "telling."  This is what Carey did in India, but just as importantly, this is what his co-worker did in the shoemaker's shop in England.  Whose was the greater work?  If God calls you to do great things for Him in India, by all means go!  But if He calls you to serve with your co-workers, friends, and neighbours right where you are, do that!  (Taken from "The Lord is Near") 

N.J. Hiebert # 2098

December 15

"Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him."  (Acts 12:5)

This verse tells us that there was a much stronger force at work than the squadron of soldiers under Herod.  While Peter was in prison, earnest, ceaseless, urgent supplication was being made by the Church to the living and true God.  It was sure, united and in the unction of the Holy Spirit.  As the prayers rose, chains slid off manacled wrists.  Vigilant guards saw nothing.  Iron gates yielded.  Prayer worked then, and it works today.  Learn to engage in and enjoy prayer.  Then watch what God will do.  (Choice Gleanings)

N.J. Hiebert # 2099

December 16

"She hath wrought a good work upon Me."  (Matthew 26:10)

 Christ Himself was the immediate object of this woman's soul; and it was this which gave value to her act, and sent the odour of her ointment straight up to the throne of God.  Little did she know or think that untold millions would read the record of her deep-toned personal devotedness.  Little did she imagine that her act would be stereotyped by the Master's hand on the very pages of eternity, and never be obliterated.  She thought not of this.  She sought not, nor dreamed of such marvellous publicity; had she done so, it would have robbed her act of all its charms, and deprived her sacrifice of all its fragrance. (Christian Truth - Vol. 20)

N.J. Hiebert # 2100

Feb 4, 2005 at 19:31 o\clock

Gems from December 7-12, 2004

December 7

"As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness."  (Psalm 17:17

 Dear friends of Gems,

    Richard (Dick) K. Gorgas, a man who loved his wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, but still had room in that large heart of his to love those of the family of God, has gone "home".  Those in his assembly, community, prisons and numerous others were touched by his love for his Lord and the desire that others would also get to know HIM.  Many did!  The Spanish community is feeling the loss intensely.  It was mentioned at the funeral, "who will come in to replace a fallen soldier?"  His work is finished and he is "With Christ which is far better.

    Many will remember his generosity.  The needy found a friend who provided practical help and sought to meet their spiritual needs as well.

    We will remember the many encouraging e-mail messages, including scriptural portions, poems and hymns.  He was known as the "SINGING PILGRIM."  His songs are now even sweeter but we no longer hear the voice.  The hands that once poured out messages, are no longer on the keyboard.  His memory will linger on in our hearts.

    I can still hear his voice teaching us the following song while at a hymn sing some years ago.  I believe it portrays one of the many admirable characteristics of a friend who "cared" and "shared". 

I'll Be a Friend to Jesus

They tried my Lord and Master,  With no one to defend;

Within the halls of Pilate  He stood without a friend

Refrain  I'll be a friend to Jesus,  My life for Him I'll spend;

I'll be a friend to Jesus,  Until my years shall end 

The world may turn against Him,  I'll love Him to the end;

And while on earth I'm living,  My Lord shall have a friend.

I'll do what He may bid me;  I'll go where He may send; 

I'll try each flying moment,  To prove that I'm His friend.

To all who need a Saviour,  My friend I recommend;

Because He brought salvation,  Is why I am His friend.   

N.J. Hiebert # 2091

December 8

"Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee."  (Psalm 119:11)

     The word of God is sufficient for every possible condition.  Acquaintance with it is the one way of being fortified against every insidious effort of the enemy.

    May God in His mercy cause us to direct our attention to it more and more, with unceasing prayer.

    Let it be the subject of meditation day and night while, with unremitting desire and patience, we study and search the sacred page.  It is the diligent soul that is made fat.  (Christian Truth - Volume 21 - May 1968)

 N.J. Hiebert # 2092

December 9

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world...the world passes away."  (1 John 2:15,17)

 Forty years ago veteran missionary Mr. E.H. Sims said to me, "The stores today are full of so many things one can do without!"  A brother once heard him having a conversation in his tent and wondered who could be with him?  No one!  He was just talking with his Saviour!  "Uncle Bert's" life was so uncluttered with the things of this world that he was able to enjoy constant communion with his Lord.  Are the things which are "passing away" cluttering up my life and taking up my time and affection?  (David Croudace)

Vanity, then, of vanities, all things for which men grasp and grope!

The precious things in heavenly eyes -

Are LOVE, and TRUTH, and TRUST, and HOPE. 

N.J. Hiebert # 2093

December 10

"He made the stars also."  (Genesis 1:16)

 In Moses' Spirit-inspired account of the creation, he tells us that God made the sun and the moon.  Then it's as though he says, "Oh, incidentally, He made the stars also."  Earth's galaxy alone is computed to have some 100 billion stars.  Beyond our galaxy are at least several hundred thousand other galaxies, each doubtless containing billions of stars.  The psalmist tells us that God knows "the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names" (Psalm 147:4).  What an infinitely great God we have!  (W. Ross Rainey) 

O Lord, my God!  When I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,

Thy pow'r throughout the universe displayed. 

N.J. Hiebert # 2094 

December 11

"By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain."  (1 Corinthians 15:10)

 Commenting on this verse, the erstwhile slave runner John Newton exclaimed, "I am not what I ought to be!  Ah, how imperfect and deficient!  I am not what I wish to be!  I abhor that which is evil, and would cleave to that which is good.  I am not what I hope to be!  Soon, soon I shall put off mortality and with it all sin and imperfection.  Yet though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say I am not what I once was!"

Then we shall be where we would be,

Then we shall be what we should be;

Things that are not now nor could be

Soon shall be our own.

(T.Kelly) 

N.J. Hiebert # 2095

December 12

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights." (James 1:17)

 The grateful heart receives all as from God, knowing that every good and perfect gift (everything that He gives answers to this description) comes down from heaven, from the Father of lights.  He knows what is in the darkness, but the light dwells with Him (Daniel 2:22), with whom is neither changeableness not shadow cast by turning.  Every blessing for time and eternity we owe to the unfailing goodness and unalterable purpose of grace. (H.A. Ironside)  

 N.J. Hiebert # 2096

Feb 2, 2005 at 18:28 o\clock

Gems from December 1-6, 2004

December 1

"What time I am afraid, I will trust in THEE.  In God I will praise HIS word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.... put Thou my tears into Thy bottle: are they not in Thy book?... God is for me.... In God have I put my trust; I will not be afraid what man can do unto me."  (Psalm 56:3,4,8,11)  

     The word or promise of God is all His resource - not present strength, but the word of promise - God's remembrance of him.... The word is the hope of the sufferer here, and he assures himself that the chief occasion of his praise by and by will be the word also, or the accomplishing of what he now believes and hopes.  As the apostle says, "I know whom I have believed." (2 Timothy 1:12)  It is not that there is present deliverance, but there is promise, and faith can listen to that and receive it as the pledge of future praise.

    Such should just be the state of our souls.  They should rest in the promises, knowing that they will be made good, and become the theme of constant delight.  We are never straitened in "the word" or the promises.  They are all we want.  We need only the faith to enjoy them with fulll ease of heart.  As this poor sufferer anticipates occasions of praise and the payment of his vows, in the light of the living.  (J.G. Bellett - Short Meditations on the Psalms)

 N.J. Hiebert # 2085

December 2

"Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night. (Nehemiah 4:9)

 "Here," said George Muller, "is the greatest secret of success; work with all your might but trust not in your own power to achieve.  Pray with all your might for God's guidance and blessing.  Pray, then work, work and pray; and again pray and work.  Whether you see much fruit or little fruit, remember that God delights to bestow real blessing.  This comes generally in answer to earnest, believing prayer."

While working for my Saviour here, the devil tries me hard;

He uses all his mighty power, my service to retard;

He's up to every move, and yet through all I prove,

A little talk with Jesus makes it right, all right.

 

N.J. Hiebert # 2086

December 3

"Oh that I were, as in months past."  (Job 29:2)

 

It is always a bad sign when people look back to dwell on the past.  Are people not to grow?  Are children of God merely to be occupied with the immense favour of God?  No doubt it is very true that one is plucked out of the teeth of Satan; but what is that compared with the positive knowledge of God?  It is a great thing for us; but is not the knowledge of God infinitely greater than merely the action of divine grace in rescuing a poor wretched sinner?  It is an admirable thing for the sinner always to feel it; but it is a sad thing when he looks back to it as the brightest of all things.  Why, that means he has been making no progress at all; it means that he has been all these years afterwards looking back upon that as the divine moment.  Surely divine life ought to be a growing enjoyment; and the more so as you know of Christ and of God.  (William Kelly - Lectures on the Book of Job) 

 N.J. Hiebert # 2087

December 4

"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord."  (2 Corinthians 4:5)

 We have an excellent touchstone by which to try all sorts of teaching and preaching.  The most spiritual teaching will ever be characterized by a full and constant presentation of Christ.  The Spirit cannot dwell on aught but Jesus.  Of Him He delights to speak.  He delights in setting forth His attractions and excellencies.  Hence, when a man is ministering by the power of the Spirit of God, there will always be more of Christ than anything else in his ministry.  There will be little room in such ministry for human logic and reasoning.  Such things may do very well when a man desires to set forth himself; but the Spirit's sole object - be it well remembered by all who minister - will ever be to set forth Christ.  (C.H. Mackintosh)

 N.J. Hiebert # 2088

December 5

"Being in an agony, He (Jesus) prayed more earnestly."  (Luke 22:44)

 Challenges and difficulties are an inevitability in this life.  However, when trials and temptations come our way, too often we become disheartened or distracted and we pray less.  But with our Lord it was so different.  In the depths of His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed more earnestly.  Instead of them being barriers to our prayer life, may our problems become blessed reasons for praying even more earnestly.  (John M. Clegg) 

Oh, what peace we often forfeit;

Oh, what needless pain we bear -

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer!

(Joseph Scriven) 

N.J. Hiebert # 2089

December 6

"For ever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven."  (Psalm 119:89) 

The Bible - There it stands

Century follows century - There it stands.

Empires rise and fall and are forgotten - There it stands.

Dynasty succeeds dynasty - There it stands.

Kings are crowned and uncrowned - There it stands.

Storms of hate swirl about it - There it stands.

Atheists rail against it - There it stands.

Profane, prayerless punsters caricature it - There it stands.

Agnostics smile cynically - There it stands.

An anvil that has broken a million hammers - There it stands.

The flames are kindled about it - There it stands.

The arrows of hate are discharged against it - There it stands.

Radicalism rants and raves against it - There it stands.

Fogs of sophistry try to conceal it - There it stands.

The tooth of time gnaws, but makes no dent in it - There it stands.

(Anon)

 

N.J. Hiebert # 2090