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.
(Newman Hall, “Follow Jesus”)
There are many variations in the Christian’s path. Sometimes it is smooth and flowery, with sunny slopes, and sylvan shades, and prospects which entrance the soul with loveliness. There are seasons when no doubts perplex the spirit, and when our circumstances in life are in harmony with duty, so that the right path is an easy path.
But this is the exception.
(James Smith) Your trials, though many, painful, and tedious–are but proofs of your heavenly Father’s love! They are sent in mercy–to convince you that this poor world is not your rest.
Your Father’s wisdom chose them,
His love sent them, and
His mercy will sanctify them to you!
Tried believer–are you looking to Jesus? He can hush the storm, and still the tempest. He is always near in trouble. Is your eye fixed upon Him? Does your heart repose on His tender love and faithful Word?
(J. R. Miller, “The Sacredness of Opportunity“)
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16
“Gather up the fragments that are left over. Let nothing be wasted!” John 6:12
“Time is short!” 1 Corinthians 7:29
Time is made up of golden minutes–not one of which we should allow to be wasted! The Master said that for every idle word that men speak–they must give account. This can be no less true of idle minutes or hours.
Most of us live as if we had a thousand years to stay here in this world! We loiter away the golden hours of our little days–as if the days were never to end! We do not see how swiftly the sun is whirling toward his setting, while our work is but half done, our task perhaps scarcely begun!
We fritter away days, weeks, months–not noticing how our one little opportunity of living in this world is being worn off, as the sea eats away a crumbling bank until its last shred is gone! We set slight value on time, forgetting that we have only a hand-breadth of it–and then comes eternity!
(J. R. Miller, “Life’s Byways and Waysides”)
The women had brought spices, expecting to find Jesus’ body wrapped in burial garments, lying in the tomb. “He is not here–He has risen!” said the angel. Matthew 28:6
Too many Christians look yet for their Christ, among the dead. They do not get beyond the cross and the grave. They see Christ, as only the Lamb of God who takes away their sin. They think of Him as accomplishing in His sufferings and death, the whole of His work of human redemption. They do not think of a living Christ who intercedes for them in Heaven, and who walks with them on earth in loving companionship.
(James Smith, “The Pastor’s Morning Visit”)
“You, too, must be patient. And take courage, for the coming of the Lord draws near.” James 5:8
Our God is a God of patience.
The Lord Jesus is the great Example of patience.
The Holy Spirit is the Agent producing patience.
Trials, troubles, and disappointments, are the means which exercise and strengthen patience. Continue reading
(J. R. Miller, “Losing SELF in Christ” 1903)
“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
Only as we learn to die to self–do we become like Christ.
Human nature seeks all for self–and none for Christ. Becoming a Christian is the taking of Christ into the life–in the place of self. Then all is changed. Life has a new center, a new aim. Christ comes first. His plan for our lives is accepted, instead of our own. It is no more what we would like to do–but “What does the Master want us to do?” It is no longer the pressing of our own will–but “May Your will, not mine, be done.”
This is the foundation of all Christian living–the dying of self–and the growing of Christ in the heart. So long as there remains any self-will, any unsubmission, any spirit of disobedience, any unconquered self, asserting its authority against the will of Christ–just so long, is our consecration incomplete. Continue reading