"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men."
The introduction of the cross changes the aspect of things entirely.
- There I find God dealing with sin in such a manner as to glorify Himself infinitely.
- I see the magnificent display and perfect harmony of all the divine attributes.
- I see love, and such love as captivates and assures my heart, and weans it, in proportion as I realize it, from every other object.
- I see wisdom, and such wisdom as baffles devils and astonishes angels.
- I see power, and such power as bears down all opposition.
- I see holiness, and such holiness as repulses sin to the very furthest point of the moral universe, and gives the most intense expression of God's abhorrence thereof that could possibly be given.
- I see grace, and such grace as sets the sinner in the very presence of God - yea, puts him into His bosom.
Where could I see all these things but in the cross?
Nowhere else. Look where you please, and you cannot find
aught that so blessedly combines those two great points, namely,
"glory to God in the highest," and "on earth peace."
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"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase."
(1 Corinthians 3:6)
"He that watereth shall be watered also himself."
Paul planted the gospel seed. Apollos watered the new believers by teaching the Word. Water is a picture of the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26). Christ gives the living water (John 4:10) that out of the believer may flow rivers of living water (John 7:38-39). Today we need people like Apollos who will water God's people with His Word. Even a cup of cold water will not be forgotten (Matthew 10:42) (R. E. HARLOW)
Blest river of salvation,
Pursue thy onward way;
Flow thou to every thirsty soul,
O bless Thy Word today!
(S. F. SMITH)
N.J. Hiebert - 3934
"Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. "
Without union there could be no living branch; without pruning there would be very little fruit. The chief tool of the vinedresser is his knife. Pruning looks merciless and wasteful, but it is done scientifically; there is no random cutting; nothing is cut away but what it is a gain to lose. Let us note carefully that it is the fruitful branch that is pruned, just as it is the one whom God loves, that He chastens. " For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth. " (Hebrews 12:6)
Pruning is thus the perfect philosophy of Christians suffering. Is there not an explanation here of many things in our lives difficult to understand? The spiritual meaning of it came home to Lord Cecil on one occasion with comforting power. In deep dejection of spirit, because of painful heart wounds, he was pacing to and fro in a botanic garden at Oxford, when he observed a fine specimen of the pomegranate, almost cut through the stem. On asking the gardener for the reason, he received the following answer: " Sir, this tree used to shoot so strong that it bore nothing but leaves. I was therefore obliged to cut it in this manner; and when it was almost cut through, then it began to bear plenty of fruit."
Let us ever remember that the One with Whom we have to do - infinite in holy wisdom, as well as boundless in compassionate love - orders our stops as well as our steps. "He breaks plans, quenches hopes, cuts off ambitions, denies comforts; nevertheless, every surgery, every mutilation of the living bough, is a deliberate design for richer, riper, clusters of holiness." That is the end to which all is directed. (HIS LAST WORDS by Henry Durbanville)
N.J. Hiebert 3935
Something New Tomorrow
"Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
(2 Peter 3:13)
The year ends with a world in turmoil, sudden destruction possible. Peter tells us of a coming catastrophe that sounds like an atomic holocaust. How up-to-date, ". . . the elements shall melt with fervent heat . . ." (2 Peter 3:10)! But the Christian is looking not just for a new year but a new age - new heavens and earth where righteousness dwells. "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be. . . . diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless" (2 Peter 3:11,14). While the world drinks and dances into the New Year to spend tomorrow with a hangover, let the Christian meet it on his keens and meet tomorrow with a hallelujah! (All the Days by Vance Havner)
N.J. Hiebert - 3936
"His delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night."
Many of our New Year's resolutions may actually accelerate our pace of life instead of helping us to slow down. In our quest for greater productivity and efficiency, we over schedule our days, then rush through meals, drive impatiently, and wonder why the joy of living eludes us.
Slowing down can positively affect our lives at work and at home. Rushing can cloud our judgment and cause us to overlook important things and valuable people. We should slow down and even consider the radicle idea of welcoming red traffic lights and using the waiting time to meditate.
In Psalm 1, there is no hint of a frenzied pace. It describes a person who enjoys the blessing of God. Instead of thinking and acting like those who rarely consider spiritual matters, "His delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night." (v.2) The result is a fruitful life and a well-nourished soul (v.3).
Isaiah wrote, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusted in Thee." (Isaiah 26:3). Just for today, try thinking about that verse whenever you have to wait. Isn't it time for all of us to slow down and live? (Adapted)
N.J. Hiebert - 3937
"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
(1 Corinthians 10:12)
Be bold in what you stand for - and be careful for what you fall for.
"For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again."
If you fall seven times stand up eight.
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."
Running with patience is perseverance in the long run.
N.J. Hiebert - 3938
"And He touched his ear, and healed him."
"Ye are complete in Him."
In a moment of passion, Peter had drawn his sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest. We are sure that the Jewish authorities would have loved to have arrested and charged Peter as well as the Lord. However, they lacked evidence. Doctor Luke tells us that the high priest's servant's ear was restored to pristine condition - not even a scar to indict Peter. Spiritually, we have been healed and forgiven completely through the same wonderful Physician. God sees no evidence of our scars when we are seen in Christ. What a salvation! What a Saviour! (Brian Russell)
N.J. Hiebert - 3939
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
I have often had people come to me and say, "Oh, I do long for the assurance of my salvation. I have come to Christ, I have asked God to save me. I do believe that Jesus died for me. But I am so miserable about my sins. I have no assurance, I have no peace, I have no realization that God has accepted me." I say to people like that, "Don't you fear, dear friend; no natural man seeks after God. The fact that you are going through all these exercises is, in itself, a proof of your regeneration."
Take a corpse lying here and put 500 pounds of lead upon the breast of that corpse. There is not a sign of distress. Why? Because the man is dead. But if you put the 500 pounds upon a living man, what then do you have? Groans of anguish, crying for deliverance. Why? Because there is life there.
That is why people are so troubled about their sins. Because there is life there, divine life. God has already begun to work. Therefore, if that is your case, thank God that His Spirit has begun to work in your soul, and be persuaded that, "He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ."
Now take God at His word, believe what He has said about His blessed Son, and receive the peace that is rightfully yours. No natural man receives the testimony of God, but "He that hath received His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true." That is faith - nothing more nor less than believing that God means what He says. (Gospel of John - H.A. Ironside)
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