March 25 - 28
"Because He laid down His life for us . . . we ought to lay down
our lives for the brethren." (1 John 3:16)
What does it mean to "lay down our lives"? It does not mean to be willing in a crisis to die for our brethren, but it speaks of something we have the opportunity to do continually. Our "opinions," "preferences," "traditions," "comforts," "pleasures," "time," and "material goods" are all included in "our lives" which we ought to lay down out of love for one another. Our "rights" came to an end in the cross of Christ!
In first Corinthians 13, we see this love acting as the perfect antidote, to all the attitudes and actions of our sinful flesh which all destroy the harmony among God's children and bring dishonor upon the Lord:
FLESHLY ATTITUDES LOVE
impatience has long patience
malice is kind
envy envieth not
pride is not puffed up
selfishness does not seek what is its own
anger is not quickly provoked
criticism, suspicion does not impute evil
hatred does not rejoice at iniquity
dishonesty rejoices with the truth
resentment bears all things
unbelief believes all things
discouragement hopes all things
bitterness endures all things
We should take note: fleshly attitudes repel - divine love attracts!
N.J. Hiebert # 2562
"Fear not." (Luke 2:10)
We see the glory coming out of the opened heaven, and not one angel, but a host of them. When the poor shepherds tremble at the sight, we hear that word unchanged on the lips of heaven, "fear not." Again, and again, and again, heaven echoes its own words in speaking to trembling sinners. Do not pass them by as commonplace, unnecessary words, but drink them in. What title had the poor shepherds to them that you and I have not? They were poor sinners. Faith entitled them to it.
And the angel said, "Unto you is born . . . a Saviour." Not a judge , not a lawgiver. The grace of God, as the apostle tells us, brings salvation. The angel talked of salvation. From beginning to end of the book - from the woman's seed down to "Whosoever will, let him come" - salvation is the burden. So here - "And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." Though very easy to us, it cost Christ everything. It brought the Son from the Father, to be made flesh; and the beginning of the story of His sorrows is here. The poor weak Infant, lying in a manger! The moment He touched the flesh, the story of what His days were to be, began to tell itself out. (J.G. Bellett)
N.J. Hiebert # 2563
"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 7:24,25)
Spurgeon once said, "every new man is TWO men." When a person is saved God does not fix up the "old man," but He puts within him a "NEW man." The old nature is still there, but must ultimately yield to the new. The old man is potentially dead, but we must still "carry" him around.
It was the custom of ancient conquerors, in order to prevent their prisoners from escaping, to tie upon their backs the dead body of one of the slain. With such gruesome burdens on their backs these poor wretches then could not run away. Paul may have had this in mind -- "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this dead body?"
Every believer experiences to some degree a struggle within him between these two natures. Paul admitted that he felt such a "warring" in his members (Romans 7:23). Victory consists in yielding to the Holy Spirit.
An Indian once bought some supplies from a white man. Arriving home he found a sum of money had accidentally been included in his goods. That night he could not sleep as he thought about it, so early the next day he went to the white man and explained how he had found the misplaced cash. "Why didn't you keep it?" asked the man. Pointing to his breast, the Indian replied, "In here two men. One say keep money, the other say no. So I don't know what to do; but the longer I keep, the badder I feel, so I bring back. Now I feel good. Thank you!" Christian victory is like that. It depends on which voice we heed: the voice of the flesh, or the voice of the Spirit. Victory is easy if we let Christ, the VICTOR, take over! (M.D.R.)
Oh, touch my heart, that it may be
Alive to nothing else but Thee;
Oh, may my soul cry out to know
The way that Thou wouldst have me go!
If you take care of the "DO'S" of sanctification, the "DON'TS" will take care of themselves!
Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright (1966), Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission.
N.J. Hiebert # 2564
"If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31,32)
"That which is true will only gain its hold on us by every fresh examination."
There is no gain but by a loss,
You cannot save but by a cross.
The corn of wheat to multiply,
Must fall into the ground and die.
Where ever you ripe fields behold,
Waving to God their sheaves of gold,
Be sure some corn of wheat has died,
Some soul there has been crucified.
Someone has wrestled, wept and prayed,
And fought hells legions undismayed!
(By William Kelly, Bible Treasury, vol 7 New Series - E-Mail from Walt Porter - January 30, 2004 -compiled by Dick Gorgas in Gems for the Singing Pilgrim)
N.J. Hiebert # 2565