"And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto Him, Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head."
Christ puts him to the test. You cannot go if you do not take up your lot with One who had not where to lay His head; for you may sooner go to the birds of the air for a nest, or to the foxes for a hole, than to the Son of Man for a home in this world. They were not now to come to Him as the One who had the promises, but to One whose portion was utter and entire rejection. Following Him could not be accompanied with ease and comfort here. He was to be delivered into the hands of men. At His birth we see the same things. Every one found room in the inn save He, but any who wanted to find Him whom angels celebrate must go to the manger. (J.N. DARBY)
N.J. Hiebert - 3924
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?
The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?"
(1 Corinthians 10:16)
How simple is the truth as to the remembrance of the death of our Lord as given us in 1 Corinthians 10:16, quoted above.
When we as Christians partake of the loaf and the cup, we remember the Lord as He requested. We do so in loving remembrance of Him in death.
"No blood, no altar now,
The sacrifice is o'er!
No flame, no smoke ascends on high,
The lamb is slain no more.
But richer blood has flowed from nobler veins,
To purge the soul from guilt,
And cleanse the reddest stains."
(Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889)
(From - Christian Truth - Vol. 19 - January 1966)
N.J. Hiebert - 3925
"Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, and you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't quit!
Life is tough with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the Victor's cup;
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close to the over comer's crown.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worse that you mustn't quit.
For we know the Father above looks down,
He sees our struggles and holds a crown
He knows the way, though it's rough and drear,
He will give us strength, so we need not fear.
He offers to you the refreshing cup
Of the water of life; then in faith look up,
And struggle on till the crown is won,
Which He will give when our work is done.
N.J. Hiebert - 3926
The Eraser of Confession
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins."
(1 John 1:9)
From the time that Joseph Dixon (1827-1869) began producing the pencil during the US Civil War, the only substantial change in its design has been the addition of an eraser. Consider for a moment this unique little writing stick. At one end is a hard black point and at the other a small rubber tip. This simple instrument can be used to scribble, sketch, compute complicated formulas, or compose lofty poetry. But it can also quickly correct an error, change a figure, or start all over.
Each day the Christian inscribes words and deeds on the record of his personal history. But as he reflects upon what he's said and done, he becomes aware that some of what's been written is not of the quality that will please the Saviour. He remembers attitudes and actions that should never be part of a believer's life. Yet these sins are forgiven and fellowship with God restored through honest confession and repentance.
In John's first epistle, he told us how to walk uprightly and enjoy fellowship with Christ and with one another. But John was a realist, knowing that some of the pages of our composition would be marked by daily flaws and failures. That's why 1 John 1:9 is such a blessed promise. It tells us we can use the eraser of confession and start over. (DENNIS DE HAAN)
We're thankful, Lord, that when we fall
We can begin anew
If humbly we confess our sin,
Then turn and follow Thee.
Confession is the soil in which forgiveness flourishes.
Our Daily Bread, RBC ministries, Copyright (2006), Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission.
N.J. Hiebert - 3921
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."
There is no short cut to the life of faith, which is the all-vital condition of a holy and victorious life. We must have periods of lonely meditation and fellowship with God. That our souls should have their mountains of fellowship, their valleys of quiet rest beneath the shadow of a great rock, their nights beneath the stars, when darkness has veiled the material and silenced the stir of human life, and has opened the view of the infinite and eternal, is as indispensable as that our bodies should have food. Thus alone can the sense of God's presence become the fixed possession of the soul, enabling it to say repeatedly, with the psalmist, "Thou art near, O God." (F.B. MEYER - DAIY MEDITATIONS FOR PRAYER)
Conscious nearness to God, entering into the inner sanctuary where His glory shineth, is both the inestimable privilege and the indispensable essential of true prayer. To pray without a consciousness of God, without fellowship with Him is to make prayer empty and powerless.
N.J. Hiebert - 3922
" . . . all things work together for good to them that love God."
Fanny Crosby in her autobiography comments concerning the doctor who unwittingly caused her blindness as follows: "I have heard that this physician never ceased expressing his regret at the occurrence; and that it was one of the sorrows of his life. But if I could meet him now, I would say, 'Thank you, thank you, over and over again for making me blind.' . . . Although it may have been a blunder on the physician's part, it was no mistake on God's. I verily believe it was His intention that I should live my days in physical darkness, so as to be better prepared to sing His praises and incite others to do so." Thus by a doctor's apparent mistake, God gave to the Church the wonderful heritage of a blind Fanny Crosby who, with her increased spiritual insight, was able to write thousands of enduring hymns.
A visitor once went to see an old lady who had very few earthly possessions - just a bed, an old chair, a table, a stool, and a cupboard. After a little while the guest asked, "Do you never feel like murmuring at your difficult lot?" "Well sometimes Satan does tempt me to complain, but then I just ask the Lord to put me into my easy chair, and to keep me quiet." The visitor looked around to see what she could mean, but all he saw was the hard stool and the broken armchair. "I don't see any easy place for you to sit," he said. "No, you misunderstand me," said the precious old saint. "My easy chair is Romans 8:28. It is always close by. When I need it the Lord just sets me into it, and I am at rest and say to Satan, 'Now you be quiet!' "
Someone has said that in eternity we will probably thank God more for the difficulties of this earthly life than for some of the experiences that we now consider to be pleasant and desirable. (SELECTED)
Stop sitting on the edge of the stool of worry; go and relax in the restful rocker of Romans 8:28
"God often empties our hands in order to fill our hearts; He gives us crosses here that we may wear crowns over there."
N.J. Hiebert - 3923
"The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will." (Proverbs 21:1)
"Man's goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?"
There is no monarch so great that he can act in independence of God. Whether he owns it or not, Jehovah is controlling him as He controls the flow of the water brooks. He who "hath His way in the whirlwind and the storm" can make the wrath of man to praise Him, and restrain the remainder thereof.
(H.A. IRONSIDE NOTES ON PROVERBS)
N.J. Hiebert - 3913
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
The whole business of Christian education is summed up in two brief sentences: Count on God for your children, and, train your children for God. The first without the second is lawlessness; the second without the first is legality; to take both together is sound, practical Christianity.
It is the privilege of all Christian parents to count upon God for their children with all confidence. There is, however, in the government of God, an inseparable link connecting this privilege with solemn responsibility as to training. For parents to speak of counting on God for the salvation of their children and for the moral integrity of their future career in this world while the duty of training is neglected is simply a miserable delusion.
We press this solemnly upon all Christian parents, especially upon those who have just entered upon the relationship. There is great danger of shirking our duty to our children, shifting it over upon others, or neglecting it altogether. We do not like the trouble of it; we shrink from the constant worry. But we shall find that the trouble, worry, sorrow, and heart-scalding arising from the neglect of our duty will be a thousand times worse that all that can be involved in the discharge of it.
To every true lover of God there is deep delight in treading the path of duty. Every step taken in that path can always count upon the infinite resources that we have in God when we are keeping His commandments. We have simply to take ourselves, morning by morning, hour by hour, to our Father's exhaustless treasury, and there get all we want in the way of grace and wisdom and moral power, to enable us to discharge aright the holy functions of our responsibilities as Christian parents. (C.H. MACKINTOSH)
N.J. Hiebert - 3914
"I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies."
Seeing God's work in our lives puts a new song on our lips.
As we draw near to Christ we are drawn near to each other.
No one is beyond the reach of God's love.
If you're searching for nuggets of truth, the Bible is a gold mine.
We don't need more of the Spirit; the Spirit needs more of us.
Living daily for Christ requires dying daily to self.
If God didn't have a purpose for us, we wouldn't be here.
(SOME THOUGHTS TO CONSIDER - R.K.)
N.J. Hiebert - 3915
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
When we know that it is God who works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure, ought there not to be fear and trembling, and a solemn feeling - not on the ground of what we are, but of what God is doing in us? If He has taken me up for Christ, and is blessing me and working in me, to make me like Christ, there ought to be a very practical feeling in my soul as to walk. (G.V. WIGRAM - GLEANINGS)
N.J. Hiebert - 3910
"Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me."
What anguish in Gethsemane drew the blood-like sweat from the Man of Sorrows as He contemplated "this cup." Peering into its sable depths, He knew it's loathsome consequence, to be "made sin." In that cup, He "saw the place afar off," the "land not inhabited" where He must go to bear away the sin of the world. This was not a battle of two disparate wills, but the blending of two individual wills, eternally in perfect and holy harmony, to fulfill the divine purpose, "I come to do Thy will, O God." (J. BOYD NICHOLSON)
N.J. Hiebert - 3911
"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think . . . be glory . . . throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
Many gaze in wonder at the pyramids of Egypt. Contemplate with wonder and amazement this Scripture pyramid:
All that we ask
All that we ask or think
Above all that we ask or think
Abundantly above all that we ask or think
Exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think
Able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.
My heart rejoices in God's will, 'tis ever best - I do not doubt;
He may not give me what I ask, but gives me grace to do without.
O blessed, hallowed will of God, to it I bow with heart devout.
N.J. Hiebert - 3912
Snapshots of Time
"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."
The designers of an innovative Web site call their creation a "snapshot" of our world. Every hour, computers monitor international news sources, select the most frequently occurring words and pictures, then display them as an interactive image. Over time, these hourly snapshots compose a mosaic of unfolding world events.
If a computer could track our words and and actions, what would a snapshot of yesterday reveal? Over the weeks and months, what patterns would emerge? And what theme would dominate the final mosaic of our lives?
Psalm 90, a prayer of Moses the man of God, is a powerfully honest look at the brevity and significance of life. The writer compares an entire lifetime to a dream or a blade of grass, and cries out to God: "So teach us to number our days , that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Our days often seem so insignificant, yet they add up to so much. The Message renders verse 12: "Teach us to live wisely and well." It is a prayer for the snapshots of life with the final image in view.
When all the pictures of our life are laid on the table, they will reveal our recurring words and actions. What story will they tell? It's worth considering as we make our choices each day. (DAVID McCASLAND)
God has given life abundant -
Live it fully every day:
Though our time on earth is fleeting,
He goes with us all the way. (HESS)
It's not how long you live that counts, but how you live.
Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 2007, Grand Rapids, MI, Reprinted permission
N.J. Hiebert - 3907
"And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when He had taken
him in His arms, He said unto them . . . "
The little boy might have been shy, standing alone among thirteen grown-up men, perhaps strangers. Most children would be. But there is nothing too small for the love of our Lord Jesus to understand and to remember. Before he spoke words that would naturally cause the men to look at the little boy, thus making him feel observed and uncomfortable, He took him in His arms.
Perhaps this day is going to hold some especially trying things. There are sure to be things that we would not wish to have to face. Before they happen - if we are little enough to let Him do it - our Lord Jesus will do for us just what He did for that child long ago. We need never stand alone among our troubles. We need never be lonely at all. We need need never be afraid. (AMY CARMICHAEL - WHISPERS OF HIS POWER)
N.J. Hiebert - 3908
"A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards."
The heart of a fool is in his mouth - but the mouth of the wise man is in his heart.
"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."
Real love stories never have endings.
"Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins."
Love reduces friction to a fraction.
N.J. Hiebert - 3909
"And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings."
What is the letting down of the wings? People so often say, "How do you get the voice of the Lord?" Here is the secret. They heard the voice when they stood and let down their wings.
We have seen a bird with fluttering wings; though standing still, its wings are fluttering. But here we are told they heard the voice when they stood and had let down their wings.
Do we not sometimes kneel or sit before the Lord and yet feel conscious of a fluttering of our spirits? Not a real stillness in His presence.
A dear friend told me some time ago of a certain thing she prayed about, "But," said she, "I did not wait until the answer came."
She did not get still enough to hear Him speak, but went away and followed her own thought in the matter. And the result proved disastrous and she had to retrace her steps.
Oh, how much energy is wasted! How much time is lost by not letting down the wings of our spirit and getting very quiet before Him! Oh, the calm, the rest, the peace which come as we wait in His presence until we hear from Him!
Then we can go like lightning, and turn not as we go but go straight forward whithersoever the Spirit goes (Ezekiel 1:1,20). (STREAMS IN THE DESERT)
N.J. Hiebert - 3902
"And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse Him, saying, we found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ a king."
Religious iniquity had now only to lead on the world to finish the wickedness in which itself had taken the lead. The civil power must give in to the willful evil of the apostate people of God. This is the history of the world, and, of the two, the religious side is always nearest to Satan. The chief priests manifested their enmity by their accusation, which was calculated to arouse the jealousy of the governor, charging on Christ what was entirely false as to Caesar, but with the subtle groundwork of that which they knew (reckoning on His truth) He could not deny. (J.N. DARBY)
N.J. Hiebert - 3903
"Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe."
Never were a crown and purple robe offered more contemptuously, nor worn more majestically. As He stood a rejected King before His people, the symbol of the curse of sin that encircled, in mocking majesty, His head of flawless Deity, and the purple of royalty that covered His back, shredded by the Roman whip, combined as ghastly witness to the terrible darkness of human depravity and the magnificent glory of Divine grace. (GARRY W. SEALE)
A crown of thorns and a purple robe; I read the words with a sigh:
But when I remember my own misdeeds
My soul awakes, and my conscience pleads,
And I say to myself, "Is it I"
(JOHN PHILO TROWBRIDGE)
N.J. Hiebert - 3904
"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Sir Thomas Lipton, the English sportsman, won many yachting prizes, but he never could capture the the American cup. One day, showing a friend his glittering collection of trophies, he suddenly said, with a wave of the hand, "And I'd give then all for the one I didn't get!" So, however many of earth's awards and crowns we may gain, if we miss the reward of God's approval, the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, we shall feel at the close of our day that we would gladly give them all for the one we missed. Woodrow Wilson spoke of "being defeated by one's secondary successes." Verily, we are cheated when we choose our own way, whatever we may attain in it, if we miss the purpose of God. (THE BEST OF VANCE HAVNER)
N.J. Hiebert - 3905
"To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, He said unto them, why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon Me."
A man may pursue a quiet, humble, lowly path of service, unknown and unnoticed. His name may never be heard, his work may never be thought of; but what has been done, has been done in simple love to Christ. He has wrought in obscurity, with his eye on his Master. The smile of his Lord has been quite enough for him. He has never thought for one moment of seeking man's approval; he has never sought to catch his smile or shun his frown; he has pursued the even tenor of his way, simply looking to Christ, and acting for Him. His work will stand. It will be remembered and rewarded, though he did not do it for remembrance or reward, but from simple love to Jesus. It is work of the right stamp - genuine coin which will abide the fire of the day of the Lord. (CHRISTIAN TRUTH - FEBRUARY 1967 - VOL. 20)
N.J. Hiebert - 3906