Tag Archives: J.R. Miller

These rare pictures!

Grace logo

These rare pictures!

(J.R. Miller)

“Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things!” Isaiah 40:26 

They miss many a tender joy–who do not have a heart in sympathy with nature. 

They lose many a whisper of love which drops from God’s lips–who do not have ears open to hear the voices of nature. 

They fail to see many lovely visions of beauty–who have not learned to use their eyes in admiring the exquisite things that God has scattered everywhere in such glorious variety. 

Yet most of us walk amid these inspirations, these rare pictures, these sweet voices–and neither feel nor see nor hear them! God meant us to get comfort and joy from the lovely things with which He has filled our earth.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. 
 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world!” Psalm 19:1-4 

We must test all our pleasures and amusements by this rule:

Grace logo

We must test all our pleasures and amusements by this rule:

(J.R. Miller)

“Lovers of pleasure–rather than lovers of God; having a form of godliness–but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:4-5 

Is the love of pleasure and amusement growing on you–gaining the power and authority over you? 

Is it dulling the keenness of your zest for spiritual pleasures? 

Is it making Bible study, prayer, communion with Christ, and meditation upon holy themes–less sweet enjoyments than they once were? 

Is it making your hunger and thirst for righteousness and for God–less intense? 

Is it interfering with the comfort and blessing which you used to find in church services, or in Christ’s work? 

If so, there is only one thing to do–hurry . . .
  to return to God,
  to abandon the pleasure or amusement which is imperiling your soul, and
  to find in Christ, the joy which the world cannot give, and which never harms any aspect of life. 

We must test all our pleasures and amusements by this rule: Are they helping us to grow into Christ-likeness and spiritual beauty?

“All things are lawful–but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful–but not all things edify.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 

Yay….11th Wedding Anniversary & The Marriage Altar—and After

Yay…..It’s Our 11th Wedding anniversary!!

Hi all…..Today is a really long post as it’s a special day for Sarah & i. I really hope you read through to the end and be blessed! 

Ephesians 5:25-27 The Voice (VOICE)

Husbands, you must love your wives so deeply, purely, and sacrificially that we can understand it only when we compare it to the love the Anointed One has for His bride, the church. We know He gave Himself up completely to make her His own, washing her clean of all her impurity with water and the powerful presence of His word. He has given Himself so that He can present the church as His radiant bride, unstained, unwrinkled, and unblemished—completely free from all impurity—holy and innocent before Him.

My Thoughts…

Each time our wedding anniversary comes round, i can’t believe how much our marriage has grown more and more fruitful. Our love keeps blossoming through every season and i thank God for Sarah who is not only my best friend, but my amazing wife! 🙂 

I thank God for sustaining our marriage in Purity and Truth. 

I thank God for not leaving us alone to figure out what to do, but for giving us, teaching, correction, training and a perfect Holy example to follow through the Holy Spirit…to reflect the personal and intimate union between Christ and His Church. The mystery of marriage is its reflection of the oneness of Christ, the Husband, and His Church, the Bride of Christ.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Amplified Bible

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

Love never fails…

Sarah i wedding photo

Sarah on wedding day png1

Grace logo

The Marriage Altar—and After

J. R. Miller, 1880

preparations are all at last made. The bridal dress is completed. The day has been fixed. The invitations have been sent out. The hour comes. Two young hearts are throbbing with love and joy. A brilliant company, music, flowers, a solemn hush—as the happy pair approach the altar, the repetition of the sacred words of the marriage ceremony, the clasping of hands, the mutual covenants and promises, the giving and receiving of the ring, the final “Whom God has joined together—let not man put asunder,” the prayer and blessing—and the twain are one flesh. There are tears and congratulations, hurried good-byes, and a new bark puts out upon the sea, freighted with high hopes. God grant it may never be dashed upon any hidden rock and wrecked!

Marriage is very like the bringing together of two instruments of music. The first thing, is to get them keyed to the same pitch. Before a concert begins you hear the musicians striking chords and keying their instruments, until at length they all perfectly accord. Then they come out and play some rare piece of music, without a discord or a jar in any of its parts.

No two lives, however thorough their former acquaintance may have been, however long they may have moved together in society or mingled in the closer and more intimate relations of a ripening friendship, ever find themselves perfectly in harmony on their marriage-day. It is only when that mysterious blending begins after marriage, which no language can explain—that each finds so much in the other that was never discovered before. There are beauties and excellences that were never disclosed, even to love’s partial eye, in all the days of familiar intimacy. There are peculiarities and blemishes which were never seen to exist—until they began to make themselves manifest within the veil of the matrimonial temple. There are incompatibilities that were never dreamed of—until they were revealed in the abrasions of domestic life. There are faults which neither even suspected, in the temper and habits of the other!

Before marriage young people are on their good behavior. They do not exhibit their infirmities. Selfishness is hidden under garments of courtesy and gallantry. Each forgets SELF—in romantic devotion to the other. The voice is softened and made tender, and even tremulous, by love. The music flows with a holy rhythm mellowed by affection’s gentleness. Everything that would make an unfavorable impression, is scrupulously put under lock and key. So there is harmony of no ordinary sweetness made by the two young lives, unvexed by one discordant note.

Marriage is a great mystery. “The twain shall be one flesh” is no mere figure of speech. Years of closest, most familiar, most unrestrained intimacy, bring lives very close together—but there is still a separating wall which marriage breaks down. The two lives become one. Each opens every nook, every chamber, every cranny, to the other. There is a mutual interflow, life pouring into life.

There may have been no intention on the part of either, to deceive the other in the smallest matter, or to cloak the smallest infirmity. But the disclosure could not, in the very nature of things, have been any more perfect. Each stood in the porch of a house, or at the most sat in its parlor, never entering any of the inner rooms. Now the whole house is thrown open, and many hitherto unsuspected things are seen!

Too often the restraint seems to fall off, when the matrimonial chain is riveted. No effort is longer made to curb the bad tempers and evil propensities. The delicate robe of politeness is torn away, and many a rudeness appears. It seems to be considered no longer necessary, to continue the old thoughtfulness. Selfishness begins to assert itself. The sweet amenities of the wooing-days are laid aside—and the result is unhappiness! Many a young bride cries herself sick half a dozen times, before she has been a month a bride, and wishes she were back in the bright, happy home of her youth! Oftentimes both the newly-wedded pair become discouraged, and think in their hearts that they have made a mistake!

And yet there is really no reason for discouragement. The marriage may yet be made happy. There is need only for large and wise patience. The two lives require only to be brought into harmony, and love’s sweetest music will flow from two hearts in tender unison. But there are several rules which must always be remembered and observed.

Why, for instance, should either party, after the wedding-day, cease to observe all the sweet courtesies, little refinements and charming amenities of the courtship-days? Why should a man be polite all day to everyone he meets—even to the porter in his store, and the bootblack or newsboy on the street—and then less polite to her who meets him at his door with yearning heart hungry for expressions of love? If things have gone wrong with him all day, why should he carry his gloom to his home to darken the joy of his wife’s tender heart? Or why should the woman who used to be all smiles and beauty and adornment and perfume when her lover came, meet her husband now with disheveled hair, soiled dress, slovenly manner and face all frowns? Why should there not be a resolute continuance of the old politeness and mutual desire to please—which made the wooing-days so sunny?

Then love must be lifted up out of the realm of the passions and senses—and be spiritualized. There should be converse on the higher themes of life. Many people are wedded only at one or two points. Their natures know but the lower forms of pleasure and fellowship. They never commune on any topic, but the most earthy. Their intellectual parts have no fellowship. They never read nor converse together on elevated themes. There is no commingling of mind with mind; they are dead to each other, in that higher region. 

Then still fewer are wedded in their highest, their spiritual natures. The number is small, of those who commune together concerning the things of God, the soul’s holiest interests and the realities of eternity. No marriage is complete—which does not unite and blend the wedded lives at every point. Husband and wife should be wedded along their whole nature.

This implies that they should read and study together, having the same line of thought, helping each other toward higher mental culture. It implies also that they should worship together, communing with one another upon the holiest themes of life and hope. Together they should bow in prayer, and together work in anticipation of the same blessed home beyond this life of toil and care. I can conceive of no true and perfect marriage, whose deepest joy does not lie forward in the life to come.

Perfect mutual confidence is an element of every complete marriage. Husband and wife should live but one life, sharing all of each other’s cares, joys, sorrows and hopes. There should not be a corner in the nature and occupation of either—which is not open to the other. The moment a man has to begin to shut his wife out from any chapters of his daily life he is in peril; and in like manner her whole life should be open to him. There should be a flowing together of heart and soul in close communion and perfect confidence. No discord can end in harm—while there is such mutual inter-sphering of lives and such inter-flowing of souls.

Once more, no third party should ever be taken into this holy of holies. No matter who it is—the sweetest, gentlest, dearest, wisest mother; the purest, truest, tenderest sister; the best, the loyalest friend—no one but God should ever be permitted to know anything of the secret, sacred married life, that they twain are living. This is one of those relations with which no stranger, though he be the closest bosom friend, should intermeddle. Any alien touch is sure to leave a blight.

There are certain influences that bring out all the warmth and tenderness needed to make any marriage very happy. When one is sick, how gentle and thoughtful it makes the other! Not a want or wish is left unsupplied. All the heart’s affections—long slumbering, perhaps—are awakened and become intent on most kindly ministry. No service is thought a hardship now, or done with any show of reluctance. There is not a breath or look of impatience. Love flows out in tone and look and word and act. There is an inexpressible tenderness in all the bearing. Even the coldest natures become gentle in the sick-room, and the rudest, harshest manners become soft and warm at the touch of suffering in the beloved one. 

Or let death come to either, and what an awakening there is of all that is holiest and tenderest and sweetest in the heart of the other! If the dead could be recalled and the wedded life resumed, would it not be a thousand times more loving than ever it was before? Would there be any more the old impatience, the old selfishness? Would there not be the fullest sympathy, the largest forbearance, the warmest outflow of the heart’s most kindly feelings?

And why may not married life be lived day by day, under the power of this wondrous influence? Why wait for suffering in the one we love—to thaw out the heart’s tenderness, to melt the icy chill of neglect and indifference, and to produce in us the summer fruits of affection? Why wait for death to come—to reveal the beauty of the plain life that moves by our side, and disclose the value of the blessings it enfolds for us? Why should we only learn to appreciate and prize love’s splendors and its sweetness—as it vanishes out of our sight? 

Why should the empty chair—be the first revealer of the real worth of those who have walked so close to us? Why should sorrow over our loss—be the first influence to draw from our hearts, the tenderness and the wealth of kindly ministries that lie pent up in them all the while? Surely, wedded life should call out all that is richest, truest, tenderest, most inspiring and most helpful in the life of each. This is the true ideal of Christian marriage. Its love is to be like that of Christ and his Church. It should not wait for the agony of suffering or the pang of separation to draw out its tenderness—but should fill all its days and nights with unvexed sweetness!

There are many such marriages. Few more beautiful pictures of wedded love were ever unveiled, than that which was lived out in the home of Charles Kingsley. His wife closes her loving memoir with these words, “The outside world must judge him as an author, a preacher, a member of society—but those only who lived with him in the intimacy of every-day life at home—can tell what he was as a man. Over the real romance of his life, and over the tenderest, loveliest passages in his private letters—a veil must be thrown—but it will not be lifting it too far to say that if in the highest, closest of earthly relationships, a love that never failed—pure, patient, passionate—for thirty-six years—a love which never stooped from its own lofty level—to a hasty word, an impatient gesture or a selfish act, in sickness or in health, in sunshine or in storm, by day or by night, could prove that the age of chivalry has not passed away forever—then Charles Kingsley fulfilled the ideal of a ‘most true and perfect knight’ to the one woman blessed with that love in time, and to eternity. To eternity, for such love is eternal, and he is not dead. He himself, the man, the lover, husband, father, friend—he still lives in God, who is not the God of the dead—but of the living.” 

And why should, not every marriage in Christ, realize all that lies in this picture? It is possible, and yet only noble manhood and womanhood, with truest views of marriage and inspired by the holiest love, can realize it.

Sarah & i in Love Heart

Christian liberty


Grace logoChristian liberty

(J.R. Miller)

We should keep watch over our words and deeds, not only in their intent and purpose — but also in their possible influence over others. There may be liberties which lead to no danger for us — but which to others with less stable character, and less wholesome environments — would be full of peril. It is part of our duty to think of these weaker ones, and of the influence of our example upon them. We may not do anything in our liberty, which might possibly harm others. We must be willing to sacrifice our liberty — if by its exercise, we endanger another’s soul. This is the teaching of holy Scripture:

“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” Romans 14:19 

“Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.” Romans 14:20-21 

“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience — you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.” 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

Our thorn!

Grace logo

Our thorn!

(J. R. Miller, “The Blossoming of Our Thorns” 1905)

“To keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud.” 2 Corinthians 12:7

We do not know how much of Paul’s rich, beautiful life, and his noble work for his Master — he owed to his thorn. Just so, we do not know how much we are indebted to our sufferings and sorrows. Our richest lessons — are the fruit of pain, of weakness, of sorrow.

There is not one of us who has not his own thorn. With one it may be a bodily infirmity or weakness. With another it is some disfigurement which cannot be removed. It may be some difficulty in circumstances, something which makes it hard to live beautifully. 

The Master told Paul that his thorn was necessary to him — to save him from becoming proud. We may think of our thorn, too — as something we need. Instead of allowing it to irritate us or to spoil our life — its mission is to make us sweet, patient, loving. Many people beseech the Lord to take away their thorn. Yet it may be, that the prayer is not answered, will not be answered, should not be answered. It may be, that the thorn is necessary to keep them humble at God’s feet.

God sends some of our best blessings to us in our thorns, and it will be a sad thing if we thrust them away and miss them.

He will sustain you!

Grace logo

He will sustain you!

(J.R. Miller)

“Cast your burden upon the Lord — and He will sustain you.” Psalm 55:22

The promise is not that the Lord will remove the load we cast upon Him, nor that He will carry it for us — but that He will sustain us so that we may carry it.
He does not free us from the duty — but He strengthens us for it.
He does not deliver us from the conflict — but He enables us to overcome. 
He does not withhold or withdraw the trial from us — but He helps us in trial to be submissive and victorious, and makes it a blessing to us. 
He does not mitigate the hardness or severity of our circumstances, taking away the difficult elements, removing the thorns, making life easy for us — but He puts Divine grace into our hearts, so that we can live sweetly in all the hard, adverse circumstances.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13


Our plans and dreams

Grace logo

Our plans and dreams

(J.R. Miller)

“In his heart a man plans his course — but the LORD determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart — but it is the LORD’s purpose which prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

There are few entirely unbroken lives in this world; there are few men who fulfill their own hopes and plans, without thwarting or interruption at some point. Now and then, there is one who in early youth marks out a course for himself — and then moves straight on in it to its goal.

But most people’s lives turn out very different from their own early dreams. Many find at the close of their life, that in scarcely one particular, have they realized their own life-dreams; at every point God has simply set aside their plans — and substituted His own. There are some people whose plans are so completely thwarted, that their story is most pathetic. Yet we have but to follow it through to the end, to see that the broken life was better and more effective, than if their own plans had been carried out.

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!” Romans 8:28

Think about such things!


Grace logoThink about such things!


(J.R. Miller)

“The cheerful heart has a continual feast!” Proverbs 15:15 

We pretty much see just what we are looking for. If our mind has become trained to look for troubles, difficulties, problems, and all gloomy and dreary things — then we shall find just what we seek. On the other hand, it is quite as easy to form the habit of looking always for beauty, for good, for happiness, for gladness — and here too we shall find precisely what we seek.

It has been said that the habit of always seeing the bright side in life, is worth a large income to a man. It makes life a great deal easier. 

None of us are naturally drawn to a gloomy person, who everywhere finds something to complain about — but we are all attracted to one who sees some beauty in everything. Joy is a transfiguring quality. Its secret is a glad heart.

“Finally, brothers, 
 whatever is true, 
 whatever is noble, 
 whatever is right, 
 whatever is pure, 
 whatever is lovely, 
 whatever is admirable — 
 if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — 
think about such things!” Philippians 4:8 

Black seeds without beauty

Grace logo

Black seeds without beauty

(J.R. Miller)

“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42

“Lord, what do You want me to do?” Acts 9:6

The first condition of consecration, must always be entire readiness to accept God’s will for our life. It is not enough to be willing to do Christian work. There are many people who are quite ready to do certain things in the service of Christ, who are not ready to do anything He might want them to do. 

God does not send us two classes of providences
 — one good, and one evil. All are good. Affliction is God’s goodness in the seed. It takes time for a seed to grow and to  develop into fruitfulness. Many of the best things of our lives — come to us first as pain, suffering, earthly loss or disappointment — black seeds without beauty — but afterward they grow into the rich harvest of righteousness!

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 

What are you doing with your time?

Grace logo

What are you doing with your time?

(J.R. Miller)

“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise — making the most of the time” Ephesians 5:15-16 

Our days, as God gives them to us — are like beautiful summer fields. 
The hours are like trees with their rich fruit, or vines with their blossoms of purple clusters. 
The minutes are like blooming flowers, or stalks of wheat with their golden grains. 

Oh the endless, blessed possibilities of our days and hours and minutes — as they come to us from God’s hands! 

But what did you do with yesterday? How does the little acre of that one day look to you now? 

What are you doing with your time? Every moment God gives you, has in it a possibility of beauty or usefulness — as well as something to be accounted for. 

Are you using your time for God?

“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life!” Psalm 39:4 

Two men look at the same scene:

Grace logo

Two men look at the same scene:

(J.R. Miller)

“Be joyful always!” 1 Thessalonians 5:16 

“In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy!” 2 Corinthians 7:4 

Thankfulness or unthankfulness is largely a matter of the attitude of our heart. 
Two men look at the same scene:
 
  one sees the defects and the imperfections; 
  the other sees the beauty and the brightness. 

If you cannot find things to be thankful for today, and every day — the fault is in yourself, and you ought to pray for a changed heart — a heart to see God’s goodness and to praise Him. 

A joyful heart transfigures all the world around us! It finds something to be thankful for in the barest circumstances, even in the dark night of the soul. Let us train ourselves to see the beauty and the goodness in God’s world, and in our own circumstances — and then we shall stop grumbling, and be content and thankful in all situations.

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful!” Proverbs 15:13 

“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 

Do we understand what love is?

(J.R. Miller, “Help for the Day”)

Do we understand what love is? We like to be loved, that is, to have other people love us, and live for us, and do things for us. We like the gratifications of love. But that is only miserable selfishness, if it goes no further. It is a desecration of the sacred name, to think that love, at its heart, means getting, receiving. Nay, love gives.

That is what God’s love does — it finds its blessedness in giving. “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son.” That is what Christ’s love does — it pours out its very lifeblood, to the last drop!

The essential meaning of loving must always be giving, not receiving.

“Christ loved the church, and gave Himself up for her” Ephesians 5:25

Christlike

Countless little blemishes and flaws

(J.R. Miller, “Things That Endure”)

“Little things make perfection.” In nothing is this more true, than in character and conduct. There are many people who in great matters of principle, and in the cardinal virtues — are without fault; yet the luster of whose life is dimmed, by their countless little blemishes and flaws.

One man who is upright and steadfast, with the firmness of a rock — is hard to live with at home, because of his irritability or his despotic disposition.

Another is full of great benevolent and philanthropic schemes, doing good in many ways — yet those who know him most intimately, discover in him an almost utter lack of the sweet graces and amenities, which are the true adornment of a Christlike life.

It is in the little things, that most of our failures are made. Little faults thoroughly penetrate our characters.

Little sins ruin many a life.

There is a species of little white ants in Africa, which work desolation wherever they go. One may leave his chair at night and go to bed. In the morning the chair is there, apparently in good condition — but let him sit down on it, and it falls with him, in a heap on the floor! During the night, the white ants have eaten the inside out of the legs, seat and frame. Houses are in like manner destroyed. The timbers are bored through and through — until one day the building tumbles to the ground!

Just so, there are human lives which seem strong and right to men’s eyes — but countless infinitesimal faults and sins, eat away their substance, until they fall at last in hopeless ruin!

There is no doubt that the largest part of the pain and heartache endured in the world, is caused by multitudinous little failures in lovingness — by little, needless hurts and unkindnesses — rather than by life’s great and conspicuous sorrows.

It is not enough, therefore, that we seek to be true, honest and just, in all our life. We should learn all the lessons of love, so that in every disposition and temper and word, in every shade of expression — we shall be Christlike.

It is not our business to re-write Bible verses!

It is not our business to re-write Bible verses!

(J.R. Miller)

“I will praise the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.” Psalm 34:1

It is not hard to praise the Lord at some times.
There are days when all is bright.
There is no sickness in our house.
No recent sorrow has left our heart sad.
It is easy then, to praise the Lord.

But there are other times when things are different. Business is not prosperous — or health is broken.
We begin to say this verse — but we cannot get through it: “I will praise the Lord at . . . “

We cannot bless the Lord for the broken health — or for the empty chair. Yet there the words stand. We cannot make them read: “I will praise the Lord at some times; His praise will be on my lips on certain days — days when the sun shines.”

It is not our business to re-write Bible verses — but it is our business rather to bring our lives up to the standard of the inspired words. So we must learn to say the verse just as it is written.

We must learn to bless the Lord on the dark days — as well as the bright days.
We must learn to praise God in pain — as well as in pleasure.

Have we learned this lesson?

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!”

Another thought, is affection. The father’s arm drawn around a child–is a token of love. The child is held in the father’s bosom, near his heart. The shepherd carries the lambs in his bosom. John lay on Jesus’ bosom. The mother holds the child in her bosom, because she loves it. This picture of God embracing His children in His arms–tells of His love for them–His love is tender, close, intimate.

Another thought suggested by an arm, is strength. The arm is a symbol of strength. His arm is omnipotence. “In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:4). His is an arm that can never be broken! Out of this clasp–we can never be taken. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish–ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand!” (John 10:28)

Another suggestion is endurance. The arms of God are “everlasting.” Human arms grow weary even in love’s embrace; they cannot forever press the child to the bosom. Soon they lie folded in death.

A husband stood by the coffin of his beloved wife after only one short year of wedded happiness. The clasp of that love was very sweet–but how brief a time it lasted, and how desolate was the life that had lost the precious companionship!

A little baby two weeks old–was left motherless. The mother clasped the child to her bosom and drew her feeble arms about it in one loving embrace; the little one will never more have a mother’s arm around it.

So pathetic is human life with–its broken affections, its little moments of love, its embraces that are torn away in one hour. But these arms of God–are everlasting arms! They shall never unclasp!

There is another important suggestion in the word “underneath.” Not only do the arms of God embrace His child–but they are underneath–always underneath! That means that we can never sink–for these arms will ever be beneath us!

Sometimes we say the waters of trouble are very deep–like great floods they roll over us. But still and forever, underneath the deepest floods–are these everlasting arms! We cannot sink below them–or out of their clasp!

And when death comes, and every earthly thing is gone from beneath us, and we sink away into what seems darkness–out of all human love, out of warmth and gladness and life–into the gloom and strange mystery of death–still it will only be–into the everlasting arms!

This view of God’s divine care is full of inspiration and comfort. We are not saving ourselves. A strong One, the mighty God–holds us in His omnipotent clasp! We are not tossed like a leaf on life’s wild sea–driven at the mercy of wind and wave. We are in divine keeping. Our security does not depend upon our own feeble, wavering faith–but upon the omnipotence, the love, and the faithfulness of the unchanging, the eternal God!

No power in the universe can snatch us out of His hands! Neither death nor life, nor things present, nor things to come–can separate us from His everlasting arms!

He Will Sustain You!

He will sustain you!

(J.R. Miller)

“Cast your burden upon the Lord–and He will sustain you.” Psalm 55:22

The promise is not that the Lord will remove the load we cast upon Him, nor that He will carry it for us–but that He will sustain us so that we may carry it. 

He does not free us from the duty–but He strengthens us for it.
He does not deliver us from the conflict–but He enables us to overcome.
He does not withhold or withdraw the trial from us–but He helps us in trial to be submissive and victorious, and makes it a blessing to us.
He does not mitigate the hardness or severity of our circumstances, taking away the difficult elements, removing the thorns, making life easy for us–but He puts Divine grace into our hearts, so that we can live sweetly in all the hard, adverse circumstances.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13

Their photograph flatters them!

Their photograph flatters them!

(J. R. Miller, “What God Thinks of Us” 1909)

One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves, is what God thinks of us.

One has pointed out that in every man, there are four different men:

the man whom the neighbors see,

the man whom one’s family sees,

the man whom the person himself sees,

and the man whom God sees.

The community knows us only in a general way, superficially. What people think of us, we sometimes call ‘reputation’—what we are reputed to be. It is a composite made up of all that people know about us, gathered from our conduct, our acts, our dispositions, our words, the impressions of ourselves we give to others.

The knowledge the community has of a man, is only superficial. It is evident that the world’s opinion about people is not infallible, is not complete, is not final.

A person may be better than his reputation; his external manner may do him injustice. Some men, by reason of their shyness, their awkwardness, or some limitation in power of expression, fail to appear at their true value. The world knows only a man’s outward life, and there may be good things in him which it does not know.

Then some people, on the other hand, are worse than their reputation. Their photograph flatters them! What they pretend to be—exceeds the reality. They practice tricks which give a glamour to their lives, so that they pass in public for more than they are. They wear veils, which hide defects and faults in them, and thus they seem better than they are.

Hence we cannot accept the judgment of the community, regarding anyone—as absolutely true, fair, and final.

But there is another man in us—the man GOD sees. And this is most important of all. We do not even know all the secret things of our own hearts. There is an Eye that sees deeper than ours! It is pleasant to have people commend us, when we have tried to do our duty. It gives us great joy to have the approval of our own hearts. But if we do not have the commendation of the Master, human praise and self-approval amount to nothing! “What does God think of me?” is always the final question.

Men are cruel. They judge often harshly. They know only part of the truth concerning us. They are not patient with our infirmities. But we are safe in the hands of God. He knows the worst in us—but He also knows the best. We may trust our lives, therefore, to God’s judgment, even if they are full of defects and flaws. He knows all, and will bring to light all the hidden things.

The Habit of Encouraging Others

The Habit of Encouraging Others

J.R. Miller

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory!” 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12

In one of her books Miss Mulock tells of a gentleman and a lady walking one day in a lumber-yard beside a dirty, foul-smelling river. The lady said, “How good these pine boards smell!” “Pine boards!” sniffed her companion. “Just smell this foul river!” “No, thank you,” the lady replied, “I prefer to smell the pine boards.” She was wiser than he.

It is far better for us to find the sweetness that is in the air, than the foulness. It is far better to talk to others of the smell of pine boards, than of the heavy odors of stagnant rivers.

Yet too many people seem ever to have an instinct for the unpleasant things. They never see the beauty — but they always find the disagreeable. They have no eye for the roses — but they are sure to find even the smallest thorn. They never discuss the good qualities in those about them — but they instantly detect the faults.

It is a far nobler thing when one has learned to find the things that are lovely and good and true in those about one — and to be blind to the blemishes and defects. It is a pitiful waste of time and strength for one engaged in Christian work, for example, to do nothing but look for mistakes or imperfections in that which others are doing. It is far wiser to devote one’s life and energy to doing good in a positive way.

We do not have to answer for other people’s mistakes. We are not set to be judges of other people’s motives. The only true Christian course is to do our own part as well as we possibly can, having charity meanwhile for all about us who are engaged in the work of our common Master.

It shows a very narrow spirit to have nothing but evil to say of those who are working alongside of us in the same vineyard. Very likely they are quite as holy as we are, and are doing their work quite as well as we are doing ours. But if they are not, our sin in watching them with unkindly eye is worse than any ordinary mistake in their service could be.

We are told that once the disciples criticized very sharply another friend of their Master’s, calling her way of working a wasteful way. But we should not forget that it was Judas who led in this criticism and faultfinding, and that Jesus severely rebuked the censorious spirit in his disciples and spoke in warmest defense of the gentle woman who had done what she could.

We should train ourselves, therefore, to the utmost patience with those who work beside us in the service of the same Master. We should seek to encourage them in every possible way. There may be faults in their method — but, if so, the Master will look after these, and certainly it is no part of our duty to judge, to find fault, to condemn.

We are likely to overlook the unlovingness of this spirit of criticism and fault-finding. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another,” said the Master himself. Love implies not only patience with the infirmities of others — but also readiness to help them and to work with them in all kindly, sympathetic ways. Love sends us forth to be helpers of each other — not hinderers; encouragers — not discouragers.

It is very easy for us to go forth any day and make life harder for every person we meet. We do this when we assume a superior air, when we relate ourselves to others only as a critic, a fault-finder.

The worst of all heresies is the heresy of unlovingness. We understand the spirit of the gospel of Christ only when we get its thoughtfulness, forbearance, gentleness, into our life. We begin to be like Christ, only when in us is born the desire to be of use to everyone we meet. Many people go among others, however, bearing the name of Christ — yet lacking the spirit of Christ. Instead of making life easier for those among whom they mingle — they make it harder! They say discouraging things. Even when they imagine they are giving comfort — they are only adding to the burden of sorrow.

Some good people go into sick rooms, with true sympathy in their heart and desire to do good — but only add to the pain of those they would help.

Job’s three friends, the suffering and bereft man found to be “miserable comforters.” Scarcely any better comforters are many of those who come to people in these days as messengers of consolation. They go over all the sorrow, opening the wounds afresh — instead of saying cheerful, uplifting, inspiring things which would have made the sad hearts braver and stronger.

Shall we not train ourselves to speak only kindly words, to say only encouraging things, to give only cheer? It is a great thing to live so that everyone who meets us shall be a little happier, with a little more courage for life’s struggles, and with new hope in the heart. Words of encouragement and good cheer are better than angels’ visits to those to whom they are spoken.

Thackeray tells of an English nobleman who always carried his pocket full of acorns as he walked over his estate, and whenever he found a bare spot he would plant one of these. So should we carry with us ever a heart full of loving thoughts and impulses, and whenever we find a life that is sad, discouraged, or defeated — we should drop a seed of kindness which by and by will grow into something beautiful.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

A truly thoughtful person.

Steel Quote Logo

Some people seem to have a genius for making others miserable! They are continually touching sensitive hearts, so as to cause pain. They are always saying things which sting and irritate. If you have any bodily defect, they never see you without in some crude way, making you conscious of it. If any relative or friend of yours has done some dishonorable thing, they seem to take a cruel delight in constantly referring to it when speaking with you. They lack all delicacy of feeling, having no eye for the sensitive things in others, which demand gentleness of treatment.

Thoughtfulness is the reverse of all this. It simply does not do the things which thoughtlessness does. It avoids the painful subject. It never alludes to a man’s clubfoot or humpback, nor ever casts an eye at the defect, nor does anything to direct attention to it or to make the man conscious of it. It respects your sorrow–and refrains from harshly touching your wound. It has the utmost kindliness of feeling and expression. A truly thoughtful person, is one who never needlessly gives pain to another.

Thoughtfulness does not merely keep one from doing thoughtless things; it also leads to continued acts of kindness and good will. It ever watches for opportunities to give pleasure and happiness. It does not wait to be asked for sympathy or help–but has eyes of its own, and sees every need, and supplies it unsolicited. When a friend is in sorrow, the thoughtful man is ready with his offer of comfort. He does not come the next day, when the need is past–but is prompt with his kindness, when kindness means something.

Thoughtfulness is always doing little kindnesses. It has an instinct for seeing the little things that need to be done, and then for doing them!

There are some rare Christians who seem born for thoughtfulness. They have a genius for sympathy. Instinctively they seem to understand the experiences of pain in others, and from their heart, there flows a blessing of tenderness which is full of healing. This is the highest and holiest ministry of love. It is not softness nor weakness; it is strength–but strength enriched by divine gentleness.

Thoughtfulness is one of the truest and best tests of a noble Christian character. It is love working in all delicate ways. It is unselfishness which forgets self, and thinks only of others. It is love which demands not to be served, to be honored, to be helped–but thinks continually of serving and honoring others. He who has a truly gentle heart, cannot but be thoughtful. Love is always thoughtful.

(J. R. Miller, “The Grace of Thoughtfulness” 1896)

When I grumble about the weather

Steel Quote Logo

“The Lord has heard all your grumblings against Him!” Exodus 16:8

Does God really hear every discontented word which I ever speak?

Does He hear when I grumble about the weather . . .
about the hard winter,
about the late spring,
about the dry summer,
about the wet harvest?

Does He hear when I grumble . . .
about the frosts,
about the drought,
about the high winds,
about the storms?

Does He hear when I grumble . . .
about my circumstances,
about the hardness of my lot,
about my losses and disappointments?

If we could get into our heart, and keep there continually, the consciousness that God hears every word we speak—would we murmur and complain so much as we now do?

We are careful never to speak words which would give pain to the hearts of those we love. Are we as careful not to say anything that will grieve our heavenly Father?

“I tell you this—that you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak!” Matthew 12:36

“He who complains of the weather—complains of the God who ordains the weather!” William Law

(J. R. Miller, “Miller’s Year Book—a Year’s Daily Readings”)

Love flowing out in little gentlenesses.

Please click the metal quote logo so view many more quotes on iChristian

“I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in My name because you belong to Christ — will certainly not lose his reward!” Mark 9:41

It seems indeed astonishing — that God should keep note of such a little thing, as the giving of a cup of water to a thirsty Christian. It shows how dear to Him His people are — since the smallest things done to one of them — He accepts, remembers, and rewards.

The mention here of the giving of a cup of water suggests that this promise is for little, commonplace acts — rather than for great showy deeds. We are too stingy with our helpfulness. God has put His gifts of love into our hearts — not to be kept locked up and useless — but to be given out.

We would call a man selfish — who would refuse a cup of water to one who was thirsty; yet many of us do this continually. It is the heart which ‘thirsts’ — and the ‘water’ we refuse to give, is human kindness.

Kindness is just the word for these small acts. Kindness is simply love flowing out in little gentlenesses. We ought to live our lives — so that they will be perpetual blessings wherever we go. All that we need for such a ministry — is a heart full of love for Christ; for if we truly love Christ — we shall also love our fellow-men; and love will always find ways of helping. A heart filled with gentleness — cannot be miserly of its blessings.

J.R. Miller, “Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ” 1890)


Love Joy Balance

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go. -Rumi

A New Life

Thoughts On Lessons Learned

Perfect Chaos

God's Perfect Purpose in a Chaotic World

TESSEROLOGY

A MOSAIC OF BITS AND PIECES ON TRAVEL, LIFE AND TIMES

Tri Fatherhood

The gentle art of balancing marriage, parenting, and triathlon

paytej

Let's seek the truth. Let's share in Christ.

take a walk

when Jesus meets me in the park

PASSIONATE CREATIVE CHRISTIAN

inspirationalmindsurges

Paul's Redemption

My recovery from obesity and mental illness

%d bloggers like this: