Tag Archives: blessing

A time to laugh

(J.R. Miller)
“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13
“All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast!” Proverbs 15:15
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
“I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.” Ecclesiastes 3:12
“There is a time to weep–and a time to laugh; a time to mourn–and a time to dance” Ecclesiastes 3:4

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Spiritual Beauty!

(J. R. Miller, "Counsel and Help" 1907)

yfcrmz2i"But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language." Colossians 3:8 All the precepts of the Bible are aimed towards the fashioning of spiritual beauty in every redeemed life.

We are to put away . . .

  • all that is sinful,
  • all that is marring,
  • every blot and blemish,
  • every unholy desire, feeling, and affection,
  • everything that would defile.

And we are to put on whatever is lovely and Christ-like.

The one great work of Christ in Christian lives–is the fashioning of holiness in them. We are to grow away from our deformities, our faults and infirmities, our poor dwarfed, stunted life–and into spiritual beauty! The mark set before us is the likeness of Christ, which, at last, we shall attain! "We shall be like Him, because we will see Him as He really is!" 1 John 3:2

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A glance into heavenly bliss

(“Solitude Sweetened” by James Meikle, 1730-1799)

All at once I find myself in an unbounded flood of bliss, a spacious sea of glory; lost in wonder amidst ineffable delights, and transported with the raptures of seraphic harmony! While all His saints rejoice in His excellent glory–what ardor glows in every soul–what rapture swells in every song! O the adorable displays of His perfections–the manifestations of His goodness–the outlettings of His love!

Here we received out of His fullness–grace upon grace and glory upon glory. Our possession is worthy of our liberal Giver. We have . . .
a kingdom which cannot be moved,
an undefiled inheritance, which does not fade away,
a city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God,
garments of glory,
a crown of righteousness,
the tree of life to feed upon,
the fountain of life to drink of,
the garden of God to walk in,
life above the reach of death,
health secured from sickness,
pleasure without pain.

Our bodiesare immortal,
our soulsimmaculate,
our sensessanctified,
our conceptionsspiritualized,
our facultiesenlarged, and
our whole soulreplenished by divinity.

Our past bliss is with us in the sweet remembrance, our present bliss entrances in the enjoyment, and our future bliss is present with us in the full assurance of our eternal felicity.

Thus we are forever blessed to the highest degree.

We are above all fear, beyond anxiety and doubt, and fixed above all change.

Our service is sincere,
our adorations ardent,
our knowledge profound and satisfying.

Rapture rushes in at every part!

Our eyesare ravished with seeing the King in His beauty;
our earsare ravishedwith hearing the songs of the inner temple;
our nostrilsare ravishedwith the fragrance of the Rose of Sharon, the plant of renown;
our feetare ravishedwith standing in His holy place;
our handsare ravishedwith handling of the word of life; and
our mouthsare ravishedwith the wine of our Beloved, which goes down sweetly, causing our souls to shout aloud, and the lips to sing, and never cease.

Our experience of His fullness, our vision of His perfections and glory–constitute our most exalted bliss, and are the heaven of heavens!

O what torrents of eternal love teem from the throne into our souls!

O the pleasure that is in His presence!

O the exuberant rivers of joy that flow at His right hand!

O love! never to be forgotten–which has brought me safely through so many winding labyrinths and crooked paths, in sight of so many enemies–in spite of . . .
a tempting devil,
the accusations of my sins,
the rebellion of my lusts,
the carnality of my affections, and
the weakness of all my graces–
to dwell at last forever in heavenly bliss!

O eternity! once the comfort of our longing expectations–now the transport of our enlarged souls! For we are . . .
forever with the Lord,
seeing His unclouded face,
wearing His divine name,
drinking at the streams of His pleasures,
eating of His hidden manna,
sitting beneath the Tree of life,
basking under the beams of the Sun of righteousness,
singing hallelujahs to Him who loved us, who washed us from our sins in His blood, and brought us here to be with Him forever!

O state of complete happiness and consummate bliss!

The man who never laughs

(J. R. Miller, “The Duty of Laughter”)

“The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13:52

“The fruit of the Spirit is joy” Galatians 5:22

The Wise Man says that there is “a time to laugh.” That is, there is a time when laughter is right, when it is a duty–and when it would be wrong not to laugh. Perhaps we have not been accustomed to think of laughter in this way. We regard it as an agreeable exercise–but are not apt to class it among duties, like honesty or kindness.

It would be a sad thing, however, if laughter should be altogether crowded out of life. Think of a world of human beings with no laughter–men and women always wearing grave, serious, solemn faces. Think of the laughter of childhood,departing from the world–how dull and dreary life would be! Nothing on earth is more beautiful, than the merry laugh of childhood.

Laughter has its place in every wholesome, healthy, holy life. The man who never smiles–is morbid! He has lost the joy chords out of his life. He has trained himself to think only of unpleasant things, to look only and always at the dark side. He has accustomed himself so long to sadness–that the muscles of his face have become set in hard, fixed lines–and cannot relax themselves. His thoughts of life are gloomy–and the gloom has entered his soul and darkened his eyes!

Where there is no laughter–all evils nest. Demons do not laugh!

The man who never laughs, must not blame his fellows if they think there is something wrong with his life, something dark within.

If the streams which flow out are only bitter–the fountain cannot be sweet!

The Wise Man says:
“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13
“A cheerful heart has a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace” Romans 15:13

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

God does not deal with us in this sentimental way

God does not deal with us in this ‘sentimental’ way!

(J. R. Miller, “The SILENT Christ“)

“A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to Him, crying out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession!’ Jesus did not answer her a word!” Matthew 15:22

We are apt to forget that the aim of God with us, is . . .
not to flood us with tenderness all the time,
not to keep our path always strewn with flowers,
not to continually give us everything we want,
not to save us from all manner of suffering.

No! God’s aim with us, is . . .
to make something of us,
to build up strong and noble character in us,
to mature qualities of grace and beauty in us,
to make us more like Christ!
To do this–He must ofttimes deny us what we ask for, and must seem indifferent to our cries. “Jesus did not answer her a word!

There are ‘sentimental ideas of God’ prevalent, which are dishonoring to Him. There are those who imagine that God’s love means tenderness that cannot cause pain. They think that He cannot look a moment on suffering, without relieving it; that He must instantly hear and answer every cry for the removal of trouble.

Not such a God–is the God of the Bible! When suffering is the best thing for us–He is not too sympathetic to let us suffer–until the work of suffering is accomplished in us. He is not too kind to be silent to our prayers–when it is better that He should be silent for a time, to allow . . .
faith to grow strong,
self-confidence to be swept away, and
the evil in us–to be burned out in the furnace of pain!

There is a danger with all of us–our tenderness lacks strength. We cannot tolerate to see people suffer, and so we hasten to give relief–before the ministry of suffering is accomplished. We think of our mission to others, as being only ‘to make life easier for them’. We are continually lifting away burdens, which it were better to have left resting longer on our friend’s shoulder! We are eager to make life easy for our children–when it were better if it had been left hard.

We must learn that God does not deal with us in this ‘sentimental’ way. He is not too tender to see us suffer–if more suffering is needed to work in us the discipline that will make us like Christ!

Here we have the key of many of the ‘mysteries of Providence’. Life is not easy for us–and God does not intend it to be easy!

Suppose for a moment, that God immediately gave us everything we ask for–and immediately removed every little pain, trouble, difficulty, and hardness that we seek to have removed; what would be the result on us? How selfish it would make us! We would become weak, unable to endure suffering, to bear trial, to carry burdens, or to struggle. We would be only children always–and would never rise into manly strength. God’s over-kindness to us–would pamper in us all the worst elements of our nature, and would make us only poor driveling creatures!

On the other hand, however, God’s wise and firm treatment of us, teaches us the great lessons which make us strong with the strength of Christ Himself.
He teaches us to yield our own will to Him.
He develops in us–patience, faith, love, hope and peace.
He trains us to endure hardness–that we may grow heroic, courageous and strong.

It is well for us to make careful note of this–that in all God’s delays when we pray–His aim is some good in us.

Perhaps we are willful, asking only for our own way–and must learn to say, “May Your will be done.”

Perhaps we are weak, unable to bear pain or to endure adversity or loss–and we must be trained and disciplined into strength.

Perhaps our desires are only for earthly good, not for heavenly blessings–and we must be taught the transitory character of all worldly things, and led to desire things which are eternal.

Perhaps we are impatient–and must be taught to wait for God. We are like children in our eager restlessness–and need to learn self-restraint.

At the least, we may always know that silence is not refusal–that God hears and cares, and that when our faith has learned its lessons–He will answer in blessing!

“The Lord disciplines the one He loves, and punishes every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6

“God disciplines us for our good–that we may share in His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10

We begin to be like Christ

We begin to be like Christ

(J. R. Miller, “The Life of Jesus”)

“I am among you as one who serves.” Luke 22:27

“He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.” John 13:4-5

Serving is not an easy lesson to learn. But it is a lesson we must learn–if ever we would become like our Master. He did not come to be served–but to serve. He served to the uttermost, just as He loved to the uttermost. Anything that needed to be done for another, He did as naturally and as simply as He breathed. He loved people, and was interested in them, and was ready always to be helpful to them. It never mattered what the service was, whether it was the saving of a soul, the curing of a grievous sickness, or the giving of a cup of water–He did the least as graciously and as divinely, as the greatest.

The washing of feet was the lowliest service any man could do for another. It was the work of the lowliest slave. Yet Jesus without hesitation, did this service for His own disciples. Thus He taught them that nothing anyone may ever need to have done–is unfit for the whitest hands. We begin to be like Christ–only when we begin to love others enough to serve them.

There is no surer test of the genuineness of Christian life, than in this matter of serving others. When we see the Son of God washing His disciples’ feet–no service is too menial for us to do. A king may do the lowliest kindness to the poorest peasant in his realm, and his honor will only be enhanced by it.

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet–you also should wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14

The Sword of God’s Truth

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The sword of God’s Truth

(Arthur Pink, "Faithfulness")

"Their speech is filled with flattery." Psalm 5:9

This is the identifying mark of the "hireling," the false pastor. He aims at pleasing his hearers, making them feel satisfied with themselves, ever patting them on the back.

"But he who has My Word–let him speak My Word faithfully" (Jeremiah 23:28), no matter how unpalatable it may be to the flesh, how much of a weariness to those who wish to have their ears tickled with novelties, or how loud the outcry against it is!

Ministerial faithfulness includes loyalty to his Master, devotion to His interests, steadfast adherence to the preaching of His Word, dispensing the Truth unto those whose souls are committed to Him–not mixing it with his speculations, much less substituting false doctrine. A far higher motive than the pleasing of his hearers must actuate and regulate ministerial service. Faithful preaching will render the minister unpopular, and will ’empty’ churches–not ‘fill’ them!

"Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free." (John 8:32) Souls are caught fast in the meshes of Satan’s lies–and nothing but the sword of God’s Truth can cut them free!

"A faithful man–who can find?" (Proverbs 20:6). Why is this? Because it is the part of fallen human nature to take the line of least resistance, and choose the path easiest to the flesh. But remember, my reader, whoever you are, that, "Lying lips are abomination to the Lord; but those who deal ‘faithfully’ are His delight." (Proverbs 12:22)

"Be faithful unto death–and I will give you a crown of life!" (Revelation 2:10)

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