Bible Gems

Nov 24, 2005 at 04:52 o\clock

Monthly Gems

An archive of Bible Gems (~950) by month and year has been created, currently dating back to spring 2003 (32 months).

The web address for previous Bible Gems is http://biblegems.blogspot.com/

Nov 24, 2005 at 04:46 o\clock

Gems for the Week

November 16 - 26

"[Christ] became the author of eternal salvation unto all them
that obey Him."  (Hebrews 5:9)
 
    Are you a Christian Oh you say, that is a very plain question.  Then let it have an honest answer now.  But what do you mean by a Christian? you ask.  I mean by a Christian a person that really knows Christ - not a person that knows something about Him but a person that really knows Christ as his own Saviour.  A Christian is one who knows the rejected and once slain, but now raised and glorified, Saviour at God's right hand, and is connected with and united to that risen Saviour, where He now is.  A Christian is one who is born again of God, whose sins are all forgiven - all blotted out - and who has received the Holy Spirit, and knows it.  If you can only say, "I hope this is all mine," you are not a true Christian in the proper sense of the word; and, frankly you have not got hold of the real essence of Christianity yet.
    A Christian is one that is indissolubly connected with the victorious risen Saviour.  He is linked to the One who went down first of all into death for him, bore his sins, blotted them all out, and met all the claims of God in righteousness in respect of those sins.  That Saviour is risen without a single sin, and has gone into God's presence to prepare a place and take him to it.
    The blessing of the believer is this - he knows his sins are forgiven, he knows he is saved, and he knows God is his Father; he has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him, and he is a person standing on the other side of death and judgment, waiting, at the return of the Bridegroom, for glory.
    Are you a Christian?  Have you that title to glory without a flaw?  What is that title?  The precious blood of Christ - nothing more, and nothing less.  (W.T.P. Wolston)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2433
 
"This is the day that the Lord hath made,
we will rejoice and be glad in it."  (Psalm 118:24)
 
Sigh of the breezes or sob of the tempest,
Skies of pure azure or clouds hanging low,
Sunshine or frost or the last of the storm wind,
Veiling of mist or the white whirl of snow;
Welcome the day! for the Lord, He hath made it,
Cometh it golden or cometh it gray.
Bringeth it burden or giveth it guerdon,
Let us rejoice and be glad in His day.
(Annie Johnson Flint - Flint's Best Loved Poems)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2434
 
"Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves . . . and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee." (Luke 11:5-7)  
 
Christ speaks of a man going to a friend at midnight, and asking for three loaves, "And he from within shall answer," etc.; these are pregnant words, are you within?  It is a dangerous condition in this world.  What I mean by that is, losing your sympathies with the joy and sorrows around you. (J.G. Bellett)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2435
 
"And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came BETWEEN the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud of darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that one came not near the other all the night. (Exodus 14:19,20)  
 
Between the circumstance and me  A Father's loving hand,
Is working all things for my good - All moves at His command.
 
Between the circumstance and me  A father's loving heart,
Knows all the problems of the path,  And bears a Father's part.
 
Between the circumstance and me,  A Father's holy will,
Is over-ruling everything  With wisdom and with skill.
 
Behold the Saviour on the cross,  In deepest agony,
Who suffered to atone for sin,  In love for you and me.
 
The Love that held Him to that cross  To suffer and to die,
That love remains the same today,  And hears His people's cry.
 
The power that raised Him from the dead,  That resurrection power,
Is working for His people's good,  Each moment and each hour.
 
O why be burdened then with care?  The love that set thee free,
Such love is evermore between  The circumstance and thee.
 
And when above the circumstance,  We see God's hand and ways,
In comfort, peace and blessing gives,  And cause for endless praise.
 
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."
(Romans 8:28)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2436
 
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord,
and He shall lift you up."  (James 4:10)
 
The Christian is humble . . . because he has given up seeking good in himself, to adore the One in whom there is nothing else.  (J.N. Darby) 
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2437
 
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  (Romans 6:23)
 
True, death came from the entrance of sin, but, if it should overtake me, I shall be borne upon the crest of the wave right into the presence of the Lord, one leap into the bosom of Christ."   (G. V. Wigram)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2438
 
"Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not His sisters here
with us?  And they were offended at Him."  (Mark 6:3)
 
How true were the words of Isaiah when he wrote "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him" (Isaiah 53:2).  To men He was only the son of the carpenter.  How refreshing to hear heaven's assessment of Christ, "And lo a voice from heaven saying, this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).  Little wonder that the Bride could say concerning her beloved, "Yea, He is altogether lovely." (Song of Solomon 5:16)  (W.H. Burnett)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2439
 
"Then saith He to the man, Stretch forth thine (shriveled) hand.  And he stretched it forth: and it was restored whole,
like as the other." (Matthew 12:13)
 
The Scripture is plain that obedience is the way of blessing; and that we are not to wait for power to obey a command, but to obey it that we may find power.  The Lord did not restore the hand that he might stretch it out and show it, but ordered the man to stretch it out, that it might be restored.  (Christian Truth - Vol. 19) 
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2440
 
"And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.  Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.  For I have not  shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."  (Acts 20:25-27)  
 
Now, If you are going to be in the good of Paul's ministry, you will desire the whole counsel of God; and if you deliberately refuse it, you are cutting yourself off from what God has for you.  And if you refuse it to others, you are like a man who wraps a cord around the arm of another and stops the circulation.  If you rob the saints of some of the truth of the counsels of God for them, you are you are doing damage to them.  Paul said that if he had done it that way he would be guilty of the blood of those people.  He means to say that he would be responsible spiritually for their being left lame, sickly, and puny, and lacking in normal growth; but he says, "I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsels of God."  Should we seek less?  Should we be satisfied with less than the whole counsel of God?  (C.H. Brown) 
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2441
 
"What concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel. . . .wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord." (Corinthians 6:15)
 
Plausible reasons are easily found for indulging in a carnal "liberty," which leads into taking part in the works planned for the betterment of a world already condemned and soon to be destroyed, and into companionship  with those who shun the offense of the cross, and who "mind earthly things."  (Anon) 
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2442
 
     "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  (Philippians 1:21)
 
"To me to live is Christ."  He thought of nothing but Christ; if it was a question of himself, to him to die was "gain."  But he did not think of himself at all; he left everything to the Lord.  If we think of ourselves, and take ourselves in hand, we take upon ourselves the responsibility which God keeps Himself if we leave all to him.  The vantage ground of the Christian is, that he has not to think of himself.  The Apostle could say, "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  Some have tried to say that on a deathbed, but they left out the first part altogether.  He was "in a straight"; he was sorry he had to stay, though he was willing to stop a little longer for their sakes; to die was positive gain to him.  Nor did he speak of going to a place; it was a Person he was gong to.  Nor was it a relief, as some say, when the body is racked with pain (even a worldly man can say that); it was no relief to him, but positive gain, to be with that Person, though, even then, not yet in the state of perfection, for that would not be till he had his glorified body.  (The Remembrancer - October 1902)  
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2443

Nov 14, 2005 at 07:03 o\clock

Gems for the Week

November 11 - 15

"And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpha kissed her mother in law . . . thy sister in law is gone back unto her people,
and unto her gods . . ."  (Ruth 1:14,15)
 
O, how many part with Christ at the crossways! like Orpha, that go a furlong or two with Christ, until He goes to take them off from their worldly hopes, and bids them prepare for hardship, and then they fairly kiss and leave Him; loath indeed to lose heaven, but more loath to buy it at such a rate.  (William Gurnall - The Christian in Complete Armour - 1665)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2428
 
"And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy, seven times, and shall proclaim him clean . . ."
(Leviticus 14:7)
"Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures;
and that He was buried,
and that he rose again the third day,
according to the Scriptures. "
(1 Corinthians 15:3) 
 
    The plan of deliverance was divine; the provision of the sacrifice was divine; the shedding of the blood was divine; the sprinkling of the blood was divine; the record as to the result was divine: in short it was all divine.
    It is not that we should undervalue realization, or, to speak more correctly communion, through the Holy Spirit, with all the precious results of Christ's work for us. . . . But then, we are no more saved by realization, than the leper was cleansed by it.  The gospel, by which we are saved, is that "Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; and that He was  buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures."  There is nothing about realization here.  No doubt, it is happy to realize.  It is a very happy thing for one, who was just on the point of being drowned, to realize himself in a life-boat; but, clearly, he is saved by the boat and not by his realization.  So it is with the sinner that believes on the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is saved by death and resurrection.  Is it because he realizes it?  No; but because God says it.  It is  "according to the Scriptures."  Christ died and rose again; and, on that ground, God pronounces him clean.  (C.H. Macintosh)   
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2429
 
"They shall take to every man a lamb . . . shall kill it."  (Exodus 12:3,6)
"I (Jesus) am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth
His life for the sheep."  (John 10:11)
 
    Observe the wondrous contrast suggested in the verses quoted; for while under the old economy (order) the lamb died for the shepherd, under the new one, the Shepherd died for the lambs.  While it is true that all we like sheep had gone astray and thus merited only wrath, still the sword awoke, not against us, but against the Shepherd - the Man Who was Jehovah's Fellow; and by a lovely parable Christ makes known to us the joy which He has in the salvation of the lost.  And while it is also true that "none of the ransomed ever shall know how deep were the waters the Saviour crossed", yet, through grace, they all may know that the waters have been crossed, that the judgment has been borne, and that in consequence "Justice now withstands no more and mercy yields her boundless store."  (George Henderson - The Pearl of Psalms) 
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2430
 
"Salute Apelles approved in Christ." (Romans 16:10)
"Look not every man on his own things, but  . . . on the things of others." (Philippians 2:4)
 
    "Salute Apelles, approved in Christ."  Nothing more is known of Apelles then this.  It is enough.  His was the ministry of the unnoticed - obscure, unseen, but approved.
    We once knew a poor old Christian man who trudged miles to repair the country stiles that they might be a little easier for the aged and infirm.  The people voted him mentally strange but, in the Great Day he will outshine Napoleon.
    To take a stumbling block out of our brother's way and to help the cripple over the stile, is to reveal the mind that was in Christ Jesus.  (Traveling Toward Sunrise) 
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2431
 
"I have seen the affliction of my people . . . I have heard their groaning and am come down to deliver them."  (Acts 7:34)
"Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)
 
    Driving along the African forest road, Nenuco encountered an old woman carrying a large basked of firewood on her back.  Desiring to help her he stopped and offered the lady a ride.  Thankfully she mounted the back of the truck and off they went.  Looking in the mirror Nenuco noticed that the old lady was standing, carefully holding onto the side racks of the truck, but still had her heavily loaded basket strapped on her back.  He stopped and told the old woman to take the basket off and set it down, there was no need to carry it any longer.  "Oh, thank you, my son," was her reply, "But I do not wish to be too much of a burden to you.  You have been so kind to help me so I wanted to do my share and carry the load, so that it would not be too much for you."
    We may chuckle at this woman's simplicity and misunderstanding, but do we not do the same?  We have a burden that is heavy for us, we go to the Lord, He helps us, but we do not entirely discharge the load we are carrying.  We may leave it there with Him briefly but soon, for whatever reason, we pick it up again.  Is it ignorance on our part or lack of faith?  The Lord desires that we give Him all of our burdens, not only every one, but also the whole of each burden.  Nothing is too difficult for Him.  Not only is nothing too difficlt for Him;  He cares for us, He wants to carry our burdens.   He did it on the cross in relation to our sin.  There we were unable to help, we could only surrender that burden to Him, He is the only One capable of delivering us from that burden.  It is the same with our daily burdens, too.  He desires to take them, to free us from them.  He cares for us.  (A Blok) 
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2432

Nov 10, 2005 at 02:08 o\clock

Gems for the Week

November 5 - 10

"Nevertheless the centurion believed
the master and the owner of the ship,
more that those things
which were spoken by Paul."
(Acts 27:11)
 
    Poor, foolish, Julius!  A Roman centurion would normally be a very cautious, though exceedingly brave person.  Yet we see that even this courageous, intelligent soldier listened to the wrong advice!  His decision to listen to others instead of the Apostle (who was the only channel of truth that was available to him), was going to cost him everything, even the ship on which he traveled.  Is that not a very steep price to pay, for not listening to the entreaties and warnings of the God who loves you?
    Do not trust in your intelligence or strength in the decisions you make in Life.  Listen to the One Who is the way, the truth and the life.  Will you, like the centurion,  loose everything (except your eternal salvation) that God has given for your journey of life, because you listened to the wrong advice?  (The Journey of Life)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2422
 
"At Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."  (Psalm 16:11)
 
You never had a pleasure that lasted.  You look forward to a great pleasure, and it comes, and then, very soon it is gone, and you can only look back upon it.  The very longest and pleasantest day you ever had came to an end.  How differently are the pleasures at God's right hand!  They are for evermore, and you cannot get to the end or see to the end of evermore, for there is no end to it.  And it is not one pleasure only, but pleasures, as manifold as they are unending.  We can only tell a few things about them.  They will be holy pleasures, never mingled with any sin.  They will be perfect pleasures with nothing whatever to spoil them.  They will lasting pleasures, for Psalm 16:11 says so.   They will be abundant pleasures for David says, "They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house, and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures."  They will be always freshly-flowing pleasures, for they are a river, not a pool.  They will be pleasures given by God Himself to us, for it does not say, "They shall drink," but "Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures."   (Francis Ridley Havergal - Opened Treasures)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2423
 
"Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff,
they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4) 
 
    Most labor unions when negotiating for new contracts seek to build many fringe benefits into the pay package.  Some of these are job security, complete health care, holiday pay, sick benefits, retirement pensions, finally, life insurance.  All this seems very appropriate and even necessary for this life.  Yet all that can be taken away in a moment.  Nothing is secure in this world
    But the sheep that follow the Shepherd have the assurance of the Lord's presence with them, and with that all the fringe benefits they need.  Following the Lord in the path He leads (and that is the only right path) may take me through the valley of the shadow of death.  But as the psalmist says, "I will fear no evil."  Why can he say this with such confidence?  Because the Shepherd is there with him, and there is nothing to fear.  In the first three verses the psalmist spoke about the Shepherd.  Now he speaks to Him.  He is just that close.
    With the staff the Shepherd pulls back the sheep from impending danger, with His rod  He wards off the enemies.  There are many mighty foes lurking about to scatter the sheep and devour those they can capture.  But the Lord is our safety and strength, our comfort, and our Guide.  Absolutely nothing can unsettle the saint of God who is walking in conscious sweet communion with the Shepherd.  What can be done to a man like the apostle Paul?  If men killed him he would only obtain what he desired: to be with Christ which is far better.  (J. Redekop - The Lord is Near - 1995) 
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2424
 
"What shall I do?
for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship:
I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed."  (Luke 16:3)
 
    If we cannot "dig" we can "beg;" and directly we take the place of a beggar, it is no longer a question of what we are able to earn, but of what God is pleased to give.
    How happy to take, when God is glorified in giving!
 
    It is well to be poor, when the knowledge of our poverty serves but to unfold to us the exhaustless riches of divine grace.  That grace can never suffer any one to go empty away.  It can never tell any one that he is too poor.  It can meet the very deepest human need; and not only so, but it is glorified in meeting it.  (Food for the Desert)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2425
 
"The Pharisee, stood and prayed thus with himself,
God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are,
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess." 
(Luke 18:10,11)   
 
    Self-occupation is a great mistake for the Christian.  Of course, until a sinner has learned the plague of his own soul, he must be turned in upon himself.  Thus he will cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner,"  and find salvation and peace in turning to God.  So too a Christian must be reminded of himself as long as he thinks there is anything good in him.  But when he can say with Paul, "I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing," he is privileged to turn from himself to Christ, to find his all in Him. 
    And what a relief it is!  Instead of thinking about my feelings, my attainments, my work, my dignity - to live in the joy of the Lord, in what He is for us, in letting Him work in us that which is well-pleasing in His sight, in the desire that He may be glorified.  This is what is meant by the words, "To me to live is Christ;" living is Christ. 
    Are you thinking of yourself?  Then you are in danger of being a Pharisee, or being miserable.  Do you long to be happy, or holy?  Turn to Jesus the Author and Finisher of faith; find your all in Him.  (TCN # 64) 
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2426
 
"But covet earnestly the best . . ."  (1 Corinthians 12:31)
 
"Like the straightness of the pine tree - Let me upright be!"
 
If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley -- but be the best little scrub
by the side of the rill:
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.
 
If you can't be a bush, be a bit of the grass,
Doing something for somebody's sake;
If you can't be a muskie, then just be a bass -
But the liveliest bass in the lake!
 
We can't all be captains, some have to be crew,
There's something for all of us here,
There's big work and little for people to do,
And the task we must do is the near.
 
If you can't be a highway, then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun, be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail -
Be the best of whatever you are!
(Douglas Malloch)
 
If you cannot be a lighthouse, be a candle.
(D.L. Moody)
 
"And He gave some, apostles;
and some, prophets; some evangelists;
and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints,
for the work of the ministry,
for the edifying of the body of Christ:" 
(Ephesians 4:11,12.)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2427

Nov 3, 2005 at 00:45 o\clock

Gems for the Week

October 31 - November 4

"And He is before all things,
and by Him all things consist."  (Colossians 1:17)
 
It is to make much of Christ we want - much of Himself, and His glorious achievements for poor sinners.  We want . . . the breathings of a soul content with Him, and the peace of a conscience for ever at rest in His unaided sufficiency.  (J.B. Bellett) 
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2417
 
"Let us go on unto perfection." (Hebrews 6:1)
 
I believe the one great hindrance to our progress is the limited measure of our desire and preparation.  We often think that we are wishing for and ready for much more that we are.  We always get what we value.  (Selected)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2418
 
"To this man will I look, 
even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit,
and trembles at my word." (Isaiah 66:2) 
 
-  I believe it is joy to the heart of Christ when He sees us, as it were, compelled to turn to Him. He loves us so much that He is jealous of our turning elsewhere.
 
-  When you are near Christ you cannot speak of your service.  The more we are with Christ, self will retire, and Christ will take His rightful place.  He has His place in heaven.  Oh, that He might have it in our hearts. (E.P. Corrin)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2419
 
"Walk in the Spirit,
and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." 
(Galatians 5:16)
 
    Sometimes we are like a person trying to run a car without gasoline.  Just as a car will not run without fuel, so a Christian cannot live for the glory of God without the power of the Holy Spirit.  So what happens when we fill up with gasoline - when we "walk in the Spirit."?
    First, we begin to avoid fleshly behavior.  The Spirit of God gradually replaces the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  Things like love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control begin to permeate our attitudes and actions.
    Second, we begin to enjoy the kind of life that God intended for us.  Jesus clearly taught that our lives are not to be characterized by stress, frustration, and worry (Matthew 6).  The Spirit of God desires to make this a reality in our lives by filling them up with Christ Himself.  He would replace our worry with His peace, our frustration with His joy, our irritability with His love, our stress with His rest.  This will also have an effect upon our family relationships, since vibrant and fruitful family life depends upon vibrant and fruitful individual lives.
    Third, we learn to pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20).  This does not mean to pray to the holy Spirit.  Rather, it means that the Holy Spirit within us directs and molds our prayers according to the will of God.  We can pray with confidence because God has promised that "if we ask Him anything according to His will He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of Him" (1 John 5:14-15).  ( G.W. Steidl)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2420
 
"But David tarried still at Jerusalem."  (2 Samuel 11:1)
 
    David, instead of being out at the head of his army, exercising himself in the hardships and fatigues of war, was quietly reposing at home.  This was giving the enemy a manifest advantage over him.  The moment a man absents himself from his post of duty, or retires from the place of conflict, he renders himself weak.  He has taken off the harness, and will, undoubtedly, be pierced by the arrow of the enemy. 
    While at work for the Lord, be the work what it may, nature is kept under pressure; but when at ease, nature begins to work, and feel the action and influence of external things.  We should seriously ponder this.  Satan will ever find mischief for idle hearts, as well as idle hands.  David was made to feel this.  Had he been at Rabbah with his army, his eye would not have rested upon an object calculated to act upon the corrupt principle within; but the very act of tarrying at home afforded an opening for the enemy to come in upon him.  (C.H. Macintosh)
 
N.J. Hiebert # 2421