October 16 - 19
"Ye believe in God, believe also in Me." (John 14:1)
We have God before us as an object of faith. The invisible God, they had believed in; now the Lord was going away, and He was to become an invisible object likewise, but He claims their faith. The Saviour who stood upon this earth is now up in heaven, but He is just the same Lord Jesus and, in the midst of our sorrow, we can know how real a thing it is to be brought into personal acquaintance with Christ in heaven. (Selected)
N.J. Hiebert # 2402
"Their sins and iniquities (lawlessness)
will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:12)
God's knowledge is complete. He knows what He has always known. There is nothing new to Him, there is nothing that surprises Him, and there is nothing that comes up that necessitates a change in plans. He knows the end from the beginning.
The trees did not hide Adam and Eve when they tried to escape His presence, and He knew what Cain did to Abel. God knew that Achan took the silver and gold from Jericho and that he hid them in his tent. He knew too, even though she denied it, that Sarah laughed at the news that she would bear a son. He also knew of the suffering of His people under the cruel hand of Pharaoh. He knew Judas would betray Jesus. He also knew that Peter would deny Him three times, and yet He knew too that Peter loved Him. He knew the condition of His own who were in various assemblies; their work and labor and hope, but also their loss of first love, their being neither hot nor cold, their sufferings and exaltation.
He knows us too. He knows our failures, our secret sins as well as our open sins. They are all the same to Him. How wonderful to remember that He, knowing all our rebellions, failures, and backslidings, so loved us and gave Himself for us. What security we have and what peace we should enjoy understanding that God, knowing all our sins, laid them all on the Lord, who made atonement for all these sins. "He knoweth the way that I take" (Job 23:10). He "Knoweth our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14). He knows our unbelief, our discouragements, our sorrows, our needs and circumstances. None of us knows what the day will bring and what the needs of today or tomorrow are, but He does. How this should encourage us and draw us out to dependence upon Him. (A. Blok)
N.J. Hiebert # 2403
"Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south;
blow upon my garden,
that the spices thereof may flow out."
(Song of Solomon 4:16)
There is a little plant, small and stunted, growing under the shade of a broad-spreading Oak; and this little plant values the shade which covers it, and greatly does it esteem the quiet rest which its noble friend affords. But a blessing is designed for this little plant.
Once upon a time there comes along the woodman, and with his sharp axe he fells the oak. The plant weeps and cries, "My shelter is departed; every rough wind will blow upon me, and every storm will seek to uproot me!"
"No, no," saith the angel of that flower; "now will the sun get at thee; now will the shower fall on thee in more copious abundance than before; now thy stunted form shall spring up into loveliness, and thy flower, which could never have expanded itself to perfection shall now laugh in the sunshine, and men shall say, "How greatly hath that plant increased! How glorious hath become its beauty, through the removal of that which was its shade and its delight!"
See you not, then, that God may take away your comforts and your privileges to make you the better Christian? Why, the Lord always trains His soldiers, not by letting them lie on feather-beds, but by turning them out, and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long march with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. This is the way in which He makes them soldiers -- not by dressing them up in fine uniforms, to swagger at the barrack gates, and to be fine gentlemen in the eyes of the loungers in the park. God knows that soldiers are only to be made in battle; they are not to be grown in peaceful times. We may grow the stuff of which soldiers are made; but warriors are really educated by the smell of gun powder, in the midst of whizzing bullets and roaring cannonades, not in soft and peaceful times. Well, Christians, may not this account for it all? Is not thy Lord bringing out thy graces and making them grow? Is He not developing in you the qualities of the soldier by throwing you into the heat of battle, and should you not use every appliance to come off conqueror? (Spurgeon - received from a reader of the "Gems")
N.J. Hiebert # 2404
". . . the Lord upholdeth the righteous." (Psalm 37:17)
Botanist tell us that certain plants are too weak to stand up by their own stems, so they must be supported by stronger plants or objects in order to grow properly. Some of them put out special twining stems that attach themselves to their hosts. The tips of these tendrils are constantly spiraling upward. The pole bean is a good example. In its early stages of development its tendrils may complete only one full circle a day; but as the plant continues to grow, these shoots make as many as eight revolutions in a 24-hour period. A leading naturalist recognized 25 different families of these climbers in which the twining motion is always toward the left, and 10 others in which it is toward the right. But in order to thrive, all of these vines must be supported by something stronger than themselves. Those which trail on the ground are usually stunted, unlovely, and fruitless.
What a marvelous illustration of the Christian life! Deep in his heart the believer realizes his own weakness and searches instinctively for support. Those who do not put forth the effort through prayer and study of the Word remain undeveloped and spiritually useless. They bring "no fruit to perfection" (Luke 8:14).
Are you depending on God to uphold you and help you to become a productive believer? Can you say with the psalmist, "My soul followeth close behind Thee; Thy right hand upholdeth me"? (Psalm 63:8). Are you climbing Heaven-ward each day? If so, then you know the strength and joy that comes only to those who rely on Divine support. (H.G.B.)
What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms! (Hoffman)
YOU CAN HAVE AN UPRIGHT LIFE ONLY AS YOU LEAN ON JESUS. (H.G.B.)
(Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 1978, Grand Rapids,MI. Reprinted permission)
N.J. Hiebert # 2405