September 27 - 30
"Blessed is that man who maketh the Lord his trust." (Psalm 40:4)
Years ago a military officer and his wife were aboard a ship that was caught in a raging ocean storm. Seeing the frantic look in her eyes, the man tried unsuccessfully to allay her fears. Suddenly she grasped his sleeve and cried, "How can you be so calm?" He stepped back a few feet and drew his sword. Pointing it at her heart, he said, "Are you afraid of this?" Without hesitation she answered, "Of course not!" "Why not?" he inquired. "Because it's in your hand, and you love me too much to hurt me." To this he replied, "I know the One who holds the winds and the waters in the hollow of His hand, and He will surely care for us!" The officer was not disturbed because he had put his trust in the Lord.
Only wishful thinking would cause us to believe that no storms will ever come to us. Life is crowded with varied and recurring problems. The calm of today may be battered by the fury of tomorrow's troubles. The psalmist David was not immune to difficult trials. Surrounded by foes and distressed by the disloyalty of those who were supposed to be his friends, he could still praise Jehovah for His enduring mercy. His confidence had been placed in the sovereign God who controls all the affairs of His children.
A friend sent me a greeting card on which were inscribed these comforting words: "The Lord never guides us amiss. Our God is at work in the world; therefore we need not become frantic. He is ever at the helm!"
"Blessed is that man who maketh the Lord his trust." (P.R.V.)
God is before me, and He'll be my guide;
God is behind me, no ill can betide;
God is beside me to comfort and cheer;
God is around me, so why should I fear?
No trouble can come so near that God is not nearer!
Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright (1978), Grand Rapids, MI (Reprinted permission)
N.J. Hiebert # 2384
"Though the fig-tree shall not blossom,
neither shall fruit be in the vines . . .
and the fields shall yield no food. . .
and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
yet I will rejoice in Jehovah,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
In our language today we would say: "There is nothing in the refrigerator, the cupboards are bare, the grocery stores have all been closed up, and I have no money." Could we then say with Habakkuk: "I will rejoice in the Lord?"
What can we do when we are not experiencing the joy of the Lord in our lives? We can do the following:
1. Confess the sins we are aware of, so that we might be restored to fellowship with the Lord`(compare 1 John 1:9). David confessed his sin and prayed: "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation" (Psalm 51:12) and God did as he asked!
2. Take time to sit at Jesus' feet and hear Him speak from His Word. The morning is the best time to do this. If we wait until the cares and pressures of the day are upon us, we often find it harder to meditate upon the Word and find enjoyment in it. Jeremiah said that God's words caused "the joy and rejoicing of my heart" (Jeremiah 15:16).
3. Obey God's Word. The Lord says: "Keep My commandments . . . that My joy may be in you, and your joy may be full" (John 15:10-11)
4. Pray. Our joy will be full through answered prayer. The Lord Jesus tells us: "Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full"
5. Look to the future. We may be passing through trials, sorrows, and disappointments, but when we look forward to the appearing of our Lord Jesus, believing, we can "exult with joy unspeakable" (1 Peter 1:8)
True joy is not dependent on good things happening to us!
N.J. Hiebert # 2385
"[The Bereans] searched the Scriptures daily
[to see] whether those things were so.
Therefore many of them believed (Acts 17:11-12)
There are two attitudes that act to rob the soul of the authority, preciousness, and power of divine revelation. The one boldly denies that there is a divine revelation. Such infidels maintain that they can write books to tell us their mind and will but that God cannot! The other attitude admits that there is a divine revelation, but denies that ordinary people can understand it, save by the interpretation of the clergy or the Church. Is it not strange that man should undertake to interpret the Scriptures to his fellow, and yet deny that God could do the same?
We see no real difference between denying that God has spoken and maintaining that He cannot make us understand what He is saying. One is as bad as the other! Both claim that man can do something that God cannot do, and both reduce God below the level of the creature! Both alike shut our God and rob the soul of communion with Him through His Word.
We also believe that there is an appalling amount of rationalism in the professing Church and that the Word of God has only a very slender hold on the minds of many who occupy leadership positions. Divine revelation is being gradually lowered and human reason exalted. Indeed, rationalism clothes itself in very attractive robes.
We are extremely anxious that all should seize these facts. These attitudes are agencies by which the devil is seeking to remove our feet from the solid rock of Holy Scripture. Are we prepared to see the Bible reduced to the level of classics, such as the works of Homer, Horace, or Virgil? We trust not. (C.H. Mackintosh)
N.J. Hiebert # 2386
"The king said . . .Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem." (2 Samuel 19:33)
The offerings that were presented in the Old Testament speak of the Lord Jesus. The offerings were "food" given to God - that which satisfied and delighted Him. The Lord was the One who delighted the Father. Is He also that which feeds us, which delights us?
On the last night before the Israelites left Egypt, they were given the Passover lamb to eat. The lamb along with unleavened bread was the food that gave them the strength to start their march out of Egypt into the wilderness. We too will have strength if we feed on Christ first and always.
The Israelites, while walking in the wilderness, ate manna every day for 40 years. This manna was to be gathered in the morning and then eaten throughout the day. (Exodus 16:14) They did not just gather some in the morning and eat it all immediately. Throughout the day they enjoyed what they had gathered in the morning. For us the Lord is this manna, the true bread from heaven. Many of us may find it difficult to take sufficient time each morning, but we can follow the example of the Israelites with the manna. We can gather our measure in the morning. Then at various opportunities throughout the day we can reflect on that which we gathered in the morning, working it through our hearts. We need it so much.
One has said that we today are a generation of restaurant Christians: we go to meetings every Sunday and expect to be fed; we expect someone else to do all the preparation and work for us and give us something to eat, according to our liking. But we ourselves need to enjoy the Lord every day. The Lord told Peter to "feed My sheep." What was the food that he was to give them? It could only be the Christ Himself. But we can only give to others the things that we ourselves have enjoyed and applied. (A. Blok)
N.J. Hiebert # 2387