(J.R. Miller) “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles!” Isaiah 40:31
A gentleman had an eagle which had been caught when young, and brought up in a cage like a domestic bird. At length the owner was going away over the sea, and decided to give the eagle its freedom. So he brought it out of its cage, and it walked about, but seemed to have no thought whatever of flying away. The gentleman was disappointed. At length he lifted the great bird to the garden wall. It stood there a moment, and then looked up toward the sun. It seemed suddenly to remember that it was an eagle, whose home was amid the crags and the cliffs. A moment more and it lifted one wing, then the other, and was gone–soaring away into the blue of the sky! Continue reading
“It is appointed for man once to die–and after that comes judgment!” Hebrews 9:27
There was a mediaeval dungeon of singular construction. When the prisoner first entered it–it seemed very bright and pleasant. It had a cheerful appearance. But in three or four days, he saw that the walls, which were of iron, were slowly contracting. On oiled hinges and in silent grooves, the metal plates were ever drawing nearer and nearer to each other.
By and by the prisoner could hardly move. Then the place was too small for him to lie down in. The next day, there was only room for him to stand. Now he put his hands frantically against the iron walls to keep them from crushing him. But all was in vain. The walls silently and remorselessly closed upon him. Continue reading
(J.R. Miller, 1893)
A California stagecoach driver had held the leather reins for so many years, that when he began to grow old, his hands were crooked into hooks, and his fingers were so stiffened into that shape–that they could not be straightened out.
There is a similar process that goes on in men’s minds and souls, when they continue to do the same things over and over. If you are trained, and train yourself, from childhood . . .
to be gentle and patient,
to control your temper,
to resist all wrong–
your life will grow into moral beauty, and the peacefulness of your heart will at length shine upon your very face.
James Smith, “The Way of Salvation Set Forth”
“Then Agrippa said to Paul: You almost persuade me to become a Christian!” Acts 26:28
There are many who conclude that they are Christians, because they have been enlightened to see something of their state, danger, and deserved doom. But many are only lighted to Hell, for light in the mind–is not life in the soul. Hebrews 6:4, 10:20.
A person may be awakened to feel, to tremble, to desire salvation–as did Felix and Balaam, Acts 24:25, Numbers 23:10.
He may be reformed, and turn from open profanity to strict morality–as did some in Peter’s day, 2 Peter 2:20.
“Set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12
“In everything set them an example by doing what is good.” Titus 2:7
“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands, so that if any of them do not believe the Word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” 1 Peter 3:1-2
Unbelievers do not read the Bible, nor come to church to hear the gospel message. All that they learn about Christ and the Christian life–they must learn from those who bear Christ’s name and represent Him–as they view our character.
“I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your Word.” Psalm 119:101
We must not merely read the Bible–but strive that we may obey it. If the Bible is not the guide of our life–it is nothing to us. Its truths are to be applied. If we read the Beatitudes, we are to compare ourselves with their Divine requirements–and seek to be conformed to them. Continue reading
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son!” Romans 8:29
No sooner do we begin to behold the beauteous face which looks out at us from the gospel chapters, than a great hope springs up in our hearts–we can become like Jesus! Indeed, if we are God’s children, we shall become like Him. We are predestined to be conformed to His image!
It matters not how faintly the Divine beauty glimmers now in our soiled and imperfect lives–some day we shall be like Him! As we struggle here with imperfections and infirmities, with scarcely a trace of Christlikeness yet apparent in our life, we still may say, when we catch glimpses of the glorious loveliness of Christ, “Some day I shall be like that!”
“We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is!” 1 John 3:2