Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

The power of habit!

(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.

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A silent personal influence

(J. R. Miller, “In Green Pastures”)

There is a silent personal influence, like a shadow, which goes out from everyone–and this influence is always leaving results and impressions wherever it touches. You cannot live a day–and not touch some other life. Wherever you go–your shadow falls on others, and they are either better or worse for your presence.

Our influence depends upon what we are–more than upon what we do. It is by living a beautiful life–that we bless the world. I do not under-estimate holy activities. Good deeds must characterize every true life. Our hands must do holy works. But if the life itself is noble, beautiful, holy, Christ-like, one that is itself a blessing and an inspiration–the worth of the influence is many times multiplied.

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The littleness of all earthly things

(William Law, “A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life“)
The Scriptures represent this life, and the greatest things of life . . .
  as bubbles,
  as vapors,
  as dreams,
  and as shadows.
Think upon the vanity and shortness of human life–and let death and eternity be often in your minds; for these thoughts will strengthen and exalt your minds, make you wise and judicious, and truly sensible of the littleness of all earthly things.
The greatness of those things which follow death–makes all that goes before it sink into nothing!

An arm that can never be broken!

An arm that can never be broken!

(J. R. Miller, “A Life of Character”)

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms!” Deuteronomy 33:27

The picture suggested, is that of a little child, lying in the strong arms of a father who is able to withstand all storms and dangers.

At the two extremes of life, childhood and old age–this promise comes with special assurance.

“He shall gather the lambs in His arms, and carry them in His bosom” (Isaiah 40:11), is a word for the children.

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He; I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you!” (Isaiah 46:4), brings its blessed comfort to the aged.

The thought of God’s embracing arms is very suggestive. What does an arm represent? What is the thought suggested by the arm of God enfolded around His child?

One suggestion, is protection. As a father puts his arm about his child when it is in danger–so God protects His children. Life is full of peril. There are temptations on every hand! Enemies lurk in every shadow–enemies strong and swift! Yet we are assured that nothing can separate us from the love of God. “Underneath are the everlasting arms!” Continue reading

Would Jesus do it?

(Thomas Sherman, “Divine Breathings; Or, a Pious Soul Thirsting after Christ”)

“I have set you an example–that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:15

When anything presents itself, think: if He were alive and in my place–would Jesus do it? Or if I were about to die–would I still do it?

I must walk–as He has walked; and I must live–as I intend to die. If the thing in question is not Christ’s will–it is my sin. And if I die in that sin–it will be my ruin.

I will therefore in every action so conduct myself–as if Christ were on the one hand–and death on the other!

“Leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:2

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They play with fire-and wonder why they are burned!

(J. R. Miller, “The Way of Safety“, 1912)

“Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” Psalm 19:12, 13

Here the Psalmist prays to be kept from committing presumptuous sins. He knows the danger there is in such sins–and so pleads to be held back from them, that is, from willful, conscious, high-handed sins.

Mark the teaching, too, that these presumptuous sins spring out of the minute hidden faults. From hidden, obscure, undiscovered faults–come presumptuous sins.

A slight moral weakness–grows into an evil tendency;
and the evil tendency indulged–develops into a loathsome vice;
and the loathsome vice–ripens into a presumptuous sin!

We need to guard against carelessness concerning ‘little sins’. The hidden fault lurking in the nature–may grow into a presumptuous sin!

Sow a thought–and you will reap an act;
sow an act–and you will reap a habit;
sow a habit–and you will reap a character;
sow character–and you will reap a destiny!

The course of sin is terrible! The little beginnings of sin–grow into appalling consequences! Be afraid of little sins and temptations.

There are some people who are always courting danger. Sin seems to have a fascination for them. One of the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer is, “Lead us not into temptation.” To expose ourselves needlessly to temptation, is presumption! Yet there are many who do this. They play with fire–and wonder why they are burned! They dally with ‘little sins’, and end in shameful degradation at the last! They pay the penalty in moral and spiritual ruin.

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For Final Revision And Approval

(J. R. Miller, “Readings from the Psalms”, 1912)

“No good thing will He withhold, from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

This may seem to be a surprising statement at first glance. Does God withhold no good thing from His people? We must focus on the word “good”. It is not merely the things which we want–that God always gives. Nor is it not the things which we think are good–that God gives. Perhaps they are not really ‘good things’–as God sees them. We must always leave to Him–to decide whether they are good or not. He is wiser than we are–and knows just what effect on us, the things we crave would have. We must submit all our requests to Him–for final revision and approval, when we make them.

This is the teaching about prayer, so prominent in the New Testament, which bids us to add to all our most earnest pleadings: “Nevertheless not my will–but may Your will be done.” If the thing we ask for does not come–we must therefore conclude that in God’s sight, it is not a “good thing” for us. Thus it is–that God’s withholdings are as great a blessing to us–as His bestowings!

There is another phrase here, which we must study. It is “from those who walk uprightly” that God will withhold no good thing. It is only when we are walking obediently, in God’s ways–that we have a right to claim this promise. For, “if I regard iniquity in my heart–the Lord will not hear me!” Psalm 66:18

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