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Reading - Exhortation - Doctrine
Sunday, 4 January 2009
Gems for January 2009 - wk 1

January 1

"Christ us all in all."  (Colossians 3:11)

When you are down to nothing.... God is up to something!
“…O LORD…I flee unto thee to hide me.” Psalm 143:9
Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible!
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Faith looks away from circumstances to the God of circumstances.
“…in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.” Psalm 143:9
And there you will find perfect peace
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3
Then, stand and watch what the Lord is going to do!
“…Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you…” Exodus 14:13
 (Submitted by a reader of the "Gems.")

N.J. Hiebert # 3572

January 2

"The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him."  (Psalm 25:14)

I am not competent to discern the will of God if I am not with Him. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him."  I have to be before God Himself, or else I shall never keep straight; and for that, I must be in the path of God for Him to lead me.  I cannot realize God's presence out of the path of His will.  The instant I lose the sense of dependence, I am in danger.  Obedience and dependence are the two living principles of the new man.  "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."  (Matthew 4:4)  (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 3573

January 3

"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."  (Psalm 51:5) 

The unconverted sinner sins constantly.  Every act, word, and deed springs from a defiled source.  We are conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity.  "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9).  It is a corrupt fountain from which a stream of sin flows continually.  And that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and remains flesh to the end (John 3:6).  And "the carnal mind" (or the minding of the flesh) "is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." (Romans 8:7).

But God in His great love to us gave His Son.  Jesus the Lamb of God died on Calvary, glorified God, broke Satan's power, and bore the judgment of sin.  God raised Him from the dead, and gave Him glory, thereby showing His perfect satisfaction in His finished work.  On the ground of that work all who believe are pardoned, justified, reconciled, saved - the children of God.

"Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (children) of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." 

(1 John 3:1,2) 


N.J. Hiebert # 3574

Janaury 4

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16)

Mystery indeed! 

- The Eternal came into time;
- The Son of the Father became the Son of the virgin;
- The Son of God became the Son of Mary;
- The Omnipotent became dependent;
- The Creator became a carpenter;
- The God of glory became a Man of Sorrows.
We are not asked to understand or to explain or expound, but only to trust.  We bow in wonder and when we cannot comprehend, we worship nevertheless!  (Jim Flanigan - Choice Gleanings)

N.J. Hiebert # 3575

January 5

"He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He."   (Deuteronomy 32:4)

When I was coaching high school freshman girls basketball in the fall of 2005, I was surprised at how many times I heard, "That's not fair!"  The girls' motivation seemed to depend on whether or not they thought what I asked then to do was fair.  If I asked some girls to do a defensive drill while others shot free throws, I heard, "Not fair!"  If I allowed one group to play offense longer than another group, I heard, "Not fair."

So many situations in life shout, "Not fair!"  I observe Christian couples who struggle to have babies while others are blessed with children and then abuse them.  I look at families whose children are all alive and well, while I go through life without one of mine.  I see friends who long to serve God but can't because of health issues.

It's then that I must go back to a basic truth.  We are not the arbiters of fairness.  God is, and He knows far more than we do about His plans and purposes.  The question isn't about fairness.  In the end, it's about trust in a faithful God who knows what He is doing.  "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice" (Deuteronomy 32:4).

Life will never look fair.  But when we trust God, we always know that He is faithful.  (Dave Brandon)

If you feel that blessings pass you by,
And for you life seems a bit unfair,
Just remember, Christ was born to die,
And in His great salvation you can share

Life is not always fair, but God is always faithful.

Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright (2006), Grand Rapids, MI.  Reprinted permission.

N.J. Hiebert # 3576

January 6

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."  (John 13:35)

Sometimes an earnest Christian will, after some remarkable encounter, withdraw himself from his fellow believers and develop a spirit of faultfinding.

This is a dangerous state of mind, and the more dangerous because it can justify itself by the facts - it may easily be true that the professed Christians with whom he is acquainted are worldly and dull and without spiritual enthusiasm.  It is not that he is mistaken in his facts that proves him to be in error, but that his reaction to the facts is of the flesh!  His new spirituality has made him less charitable, and we must be cautioned that any religious experience that fails to deepen our love for our fellow Christians may be safely written off as spurious.

The Apostle John makes love for our fellow Christians to be a test of true faith, insisting that as we grow in grace we grow in love toward all of God's people: "Every one that loveth Him that begat loveth Him also that is begotten of Him" (1 John 5:1).  This means simply that if we love God we will love His children.   All true Christian experience will deepen our love for other Christians!

Therefore we conclude that whatever tends to separate us in heart from our fellow Christians is not of God, but is of the flesh or of the devil.  Conversely, whatever causes us to love the children of God is likely to be of God!  (A.W. Tozer - Renewed Day by Day)

N.J. Hiebert # 3577

January 7

"Thou shalt know the Lord."  (Hosea 2:20)

Not Knowing

I know not what shall befall me, God hangs a mist o'er my eyes;
And so, each step in mine onward path, He makes new scenes to rise,
And every joy He sends me comes As a strange and sweet surprise.

I see not a step before me, As I tread on another year;
But the past is still in God's keeping - The future, His mercy shall clear.
And what looks dark in the distance, May brighten as I draw near.

For perhaps the dreaded future  Has less bitter than I think;
The Lord may sweeten the waters  Before I stoop to drink;
Or, if Marah must be Marah,  He will stand beside the brink.

Oh, restful, blissful ignorance!  'Tis blessed not to know! 
It keeps me so still in those arms  Which will not let me go,
And hushes my soul to rest  On the bosom that loves me so.

So I go on, not knowing - I would not if I might!
I'd rather walk in the dark with God  Than walk alone in the light.
I'd rather walk with him by faith  Than walk alone by sight.

My heart shrinks back from trials  That the future may disclose;
Yet I never had a sorrow  But what the dear Lord chose;
So I send the coming tears back  With the whispered words,  "HE KNOWS."

N.J. Hiebert # 3578

January 8

"Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised."  (1 Kings 8:56)

So many promises are made and  broken.  Hearts are devastated, relationships are severed and hurts are deep.  Is this your experience today?  Then rest on the many promises given to you and me.

- We have eternal salvation.
- We have the promise that He is with us all through life's journey.
- We have the promise that He will never leave us or forsake us.
- We have the promise that He will meet every need.
- We have the promise of Heaven and "Home."

Claim these promises.  Lean hard upon them.  Not one of them can fail.  (James Comte)

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love's strong cord

N.J. Hiebert # 3579

January 9

"Take heed therefore . . .  for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have." (Luke 8:18)  

As we give our time, our substance, our very lives for others, so shall we be blessed.  To receive and take and hold, without an outflowing, is to be as dead and dismal as the Dead Sea.  Though watered by the dew of Hermon and the rain of Lebanon, the Dead Sea to this day is so bitter and vile that not a single living thing can be found in it.  How loud is its message to us!  The Dead Sea has no outlet.  The waters of the many rivers would soon purify the Dead Sea did it but have an outlet to the ocean.  But all the fresh and sparkling water flowing into it cannot heal its death and vileness while it does not pass on the blessing which comes into its basin.  (L.S. - Mountain Trailways for Youths)

Hearken then thou deep, thou Dead Sea,
I have now thy secret learned!
Why in thee the dew of Hermon
Is to gall and wormwood turned

In an old churchyard cemetery you may read this epitaph and epigram:

"What I gave, that I have;
What I kept, that I lost."

God might have used His sunset gold sparingly;
He might have put but one wee star in all the sky -
He might have doled His blossoms out quite grudgingly;
But since He gave so lavishly, why should not I

N.J. Hiebert # 3580

Posted by dondegr0 at 8:40 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 6 January 2009 1:54 PM EST

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