December 31 - January 2
"Let us pass over unto the other side." (Mark 4:35)
Even when we go forth at Christ's command, we need not expect to escape storms; for these disciples were going forth at Christ's command, yet they encountered the fiercest storm and were in great danger of being overwhelmed, so that they cried out in their distress for Christ's assistance.
Though Christ may delay His coming in our time of distress, it is only that our faith may be tried and strengthened, and that our prayers may be more intense, and that our desires for deliverance may be increased, so that when the deliverance does come we will appreciate it more fully.
Christ gave them a gentle rebuke, saying, "Where is your faith?" Why did you not shout victory in the very face of the storm, and say to the raging winds and rolling waves, "You can do no harm, for Christ, the mighty Saviour is on board"?
It is much easier to trust when the sun is shining than when the storm is raging.
We never know how much real faith we have until it is put to the test in some fierce storm; and that is the reason why the Saviour is on board.
If you are ever to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might, your strength will be born in some storm. - Selected
"With Christ in the vessel,
I smile at the storm."
Christ said, "Let us go to the other side" - not to the middle of the lake to be drowned. - Dan Crawford.
N.J. Hiebert # 3204
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not." (1 John 3:1)
The young believer revels in this - I was a lost sinner, at enmity with God, and now I am called a son of God, a child in God's family. Here is marvelous love indeed "that brings a poor, vile sinner into His house of wine." It, however, is not only for the young, because the more we mature in the things of the Lord, the more we marvel at the wonders of His love. No matter how old we are in the faith, may we never look on His love in any lesser degree. (Reg L. Jordan)
Behold what love, what boundless love, the Father hath bestowed
On sinners lost, that we should be now called the sons of God.
N.J. Hiebert # 3205
" . . . a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment." (Ecclesiastes 8:5)
It is said that the great cathedral of Milan has a beautiful triple-doored entrance. All three doorways are crowned by splendid arches, artistically carved with thought-provoking inscriptions. Over one is a wreath of roses etched in stone with the legend: "All that which pleases is but a for a moment." Over another is sculptured a cross accompanied by the words: "All that which troubles is but for a moment." On the largest doorway of all, however - the great central entrance to the main circle - there is this most telling of all the inscriptions: "That only is important which is eternal!" Indeed, as life moves inexorably onward there will come both passing pleasures and bruising sorrows. Only the spiritually wise recognize that all these experiences must be trustfully woven together so that the texture of life which results is well pleasing to God. . . .
Harleigh M. Rosenberger has written most poetically, "Life is like a fine piece of Oriental tapestry, put together with many exquisite strands. It has the gold of success, the crimson of suffering, and the somber hues of sorrow. Through the grace of God, all of these are made into a pattern of beauty. Through every experience, God can help the person weave a fabric of loveliness and wisdom."
The year ahead is untried - it is a beckoning tomorrow fraught with new experiences and possibilities. The wise in heart will enter it with faith, hope, and Scriptural optimism, determine to take advantage of every God-given opportunity.
"It is comforting to know that the God who guides us, sees tomorrow
more clearly than we see yesterday!"
N.J. Hiebert # 3206