"He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler." (Psalm 91:4)
After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's damage.
One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise.
She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. Then the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained stedfast . . . because she had been willing to die, so those under the cover of her wings would live. (Selected)
N.J. Hiebert # 3598
"Whatsoever things are true . . . honest . . . just . . .pure . . . lovely . . . good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
One of the tragic casualties of our age has been that of the contemplative life--a life that thinks, a life that thinks things through, and more particularly, thinks God's thoughts after Him. A person sitting at his or her desk staring out the window would never be assumed to be working. No! Thinking is not equated with work.
What is even more destructive is the assumption that silence is inimical (unfavourable or harmful) to life. The radio in the car, Muzak in the elevator, and the symphony entertaining callers "on hold" all add up as grave impediments to personal reflection. In effect, the mind is denied the privilege of living with itself even briefly and is crowded with outside impulses to cope with aloneness.
Is there a remedy? Nothing ranks higher for metal discipline than a planned and systematic study of God's Word, from whence life's parameters and values are planted in the mind. Paul, who loved his books and parchments, affirmed the priority of Scriptures: ". . . that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written." (Do not go above what is written) (1 Corinthians 4:6). And Psalm 119 promises that God's statutes keep us from being double-minded.
The Bible places supreme value on the thought-life as that which shapes all of life. "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). Jesus asserted that sin's gravity lay a the level of the idea itself, not just the act. Paul admonished the church at Philippi to have the mind of Christ, and to the same people he wrote,
The follower of Christ must demonstrate to the world what it means not just to think, but to think justly. The LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.
Let us serve God with both hearts and minds. After all, it is not that I think, therefore, I am, but rather, I Am has asked us to think and therefore, we must. (A Slice of Infinity)
N.J. Hiebert # 3599
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
In the love of God, redemption originated. Jesus did not die that God might love the sinner; Jesus died because God did love the sinner. But the gospel is more than a message of love; the cross is more than a revelation of love - it is a demonstration of righteousness also. And because it is a demonstration of righteousness, as well as a revelation of love, it meets the whole case - the whole moral and spiritual need - of the Spirit-convinced, conscience-stricken, seeking sinner. (Christian Truth - Vol. 15)
N.J. Hiebert # 3600
"Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you."
(1 Peter 5:7)
Adolph Monod said that the poor often ask how the promise of God about their daily bread will be fulfilled. But when they look back over the years, they are astonished to see that He has provided for every day, often in ways they cannot remember.
It is the same with those who are ill: "When they look back over weeks, months, years, they are surprised to see that God has given them each day the promised strength." And Adolph Monod adds that "we ought to practice ourselves in casting
away our anxieties."
That is a good word - practice ourselves. Practice will make us perfect in this. It will become natural to us to cast our care at once upon our Lord, instead of carrying it for a while ourselves, until tired out we turn to Him to find the rest that might have been ours at the beginning.
He cares for us. He who has loved will love; He who has led will lead; He who has kept will keep.
(Amy Carmichael - Whispers of His Power)
N.J. Hiebert # 3601
"What I (Jesus) do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter." (John 13:7)
Today at lunch a friend of mine told me that Spurgeon said that God is too good to be unkind, too wise to be mistaken, and when you cannot trace His hand, you can always trust His heart. I have been through much that I do not understand. God does not ask me to understand it but to accept it.
I cannot trace His hand but I can trust His heart. I know that God is love and back of all His doings is that love. It sent His Son into this world and reached its climax on Calvary. It is the hallmark of His disciples. "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren" (1 John 3:14). "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to to another" (John 13:35). WE know and ALL MEN know that we are his because His love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. It is inward evidence and outward evidence. I know that whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth. His corrective discipline proves my sonship.
Back of all the misery and mystery of this world beats that heart of love. I cannot trace God's hand in news reports and the happenings in this modern madhouse. Satan is on the loose. (Vance Havner - Though I walk Through the Valley)
N.J. Hiebert # 3602
"And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together." (Acts 20:7,8)
Two things are brought into contrast - "midnight" and "many lights." This is not without significance. The church was in the prime of its splendour. The "many lights" represent the many gifts - apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists. Yet as, in spite of "many lights" and also the memorial of Christ's sufferings upon the table, Eutychus fell into a "deep sleep," so the church was about to lapse into spiritual torpor and death, and in "due time" worldliness and temporal prosperity would eat out its very heart. This helps us to understand the reference to "midnight". After Paul's departure the Church would in due time reach her midnight. The Middle Ages found her apparently sleeping the sleep of death. Worldly alliance, spiritual arrogance and moral corruption had done their work. Gorgeous ceremonial, pomp and carnal display might be there, but spiritual life and power were absent. Like Eutychus she had sunk down with sleep, and to all appearance she was dead. (Russell Elliott - Break of Day)
N.J. Hiebert # 3603