Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Sunday School Teachers Grave

It has no costly monument. There are only a few plain, simple flowers growing upon it. But there is a monument to her memory, not sculptured in marble which shall never crumble. There are flowers of sweetness and beauty growing in many a heart which shall never fade, and which God shall some day gather in his hand and entwine into a wreath for her glorified brow.

She was in the fullness and freshness of youth when she went out from us at the close of a sweet Sabbath never to return to us again. When we look at the dead form of one cut down so early in life, and in the midst of such usefulness we think that death came too soon.

Oftentimes in cemeteries we see, over the graves of the young, the sculptured symbols of incompleteness. But there are no such symbols in Heaven, for everyone is immortal, until his work is done. The Master takes none of his servants home, until every task is fulfilled. Even the babe of an hour that merely opens its eyes to gladden the mother's heart, and then closes them again  finishes the work God gave it to do. This teacher's work was done.

Thirty moons have waxed and waned since her gentle, tired hands were folded to rest but her memory is fresh as ever; and her work is going on. The noblest work which God gives to mortals was hers fashioning the hearts and lives of little children. The artist's canvas will crumble but it was her blessing, to paint hues of fadeless beauty in immortal spirits.

She was one of earth's lowly ones, but in Heaven bright honors will be hers, when God gathers up all the lessons she taught, all the good words she spoke, all the blessings she left in infant hearts, all the beautiful things she did, and all the children's tears, and all their love and weaves all together into an immortal crown of glory for her head. She is resting from her labors and her works are following her!


[J. R. Miller]


1 Corinthians 3:8 ... Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

The Best Family Bible

In many houses you will see beautiful Bibles bound handsomely in morocco leather, with gilt edges, and full of bright pictures. I love to see a beautiful Bible in a home especially if it is not kept too clean and unsoiled. But the most beautiful form in which a household Bible can be bound, is in the holy life of godly parents. There is no tinted, gold-edged paper so fair as the pages God gives us on which to write our daily record.

The precepts and lessons of the inspired Word sound very sweetly, when read out of a richly-covered volume but they sound far more sweetly, when the child can spell them out of the parent's daily life.

It is well for a parent to read to his child from the inspired page, about the beauty of holiness; but it is better still when the child can see that beauty shining out transfigured in every feature of his parent's character.

It is well for him to read of the patience, gentleness, meekness, forbearance, and love of Christ; but it is better when he exemplifies all of these traits.

It is well for him to teach the child what the Bible says about lying, profanity, intemperance, and all sins; it is better when his life proclaims all these lessons.

No family Bible is so well printed and bound, as the one that is printed on the heart, and bound up in the life of a godly parent. I would recommend all parents to get this kind of Bible and to keep the dust off it always by constant use. This is the best kind for a lamp to the children's feet.

A beautiful Christian life is a living epistle written by the hand of God, which the youngest child can read before it has learned to spell out the shortest words of the language. It is a sermon that preaches Christ all day long seven days in the week.

There is no heresy so dangerous to childhood as heresies lived in the home!

[J. R. Miller]

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Psalm 119:105 ... Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.


2 Samuel 22:31 ... As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.


Proverbs 30:5 ... Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

How God Prepares His Jewels

One of the many lessons I get from the life of Peter is the value of defeats, humiliations, and trials. None of the disciples had so rough a time, or so many hard knocks, as he had. He was always in trouble. He was always being defeated. None of the disciples received so many stern, humiliating rebukes from the Master's lips as he. Every little while, we find him covered with shame. Then on the night of the betrayal, he was terribly sifted by Satan!

There is a meaning in all this. Diamonds are dug out of the earth in a rough state, with no apparent beauty, and covered with a hard, ugly, crust. They are cut, sawn, split, and put upon the grinding-wheel, and ground, and ground, and ground, until they have the right form, until all the blemishes are ground out, and they shine in beauty fit for a king's crown!

Peter was a diamond, a great Koh-i-noor; but when the Lord found him, he was a very rough diamond, and had to be kept long upon the grinding-wheel, until every speck was ground off. It was through trials, humiliations, and defeats that he became such a noble Christian. The only way to break down a man's pride, is by defeats and mortifications. The only cure for self-confidence, is the cure Christ applied to him. He let him fall into the mire, and sink into the sea, and let Satan tumble him up and down!

There are some characters that are like summer fruits which ripen early in the season, under the warmth of the sun. But there are few such, except those whom God plucks and gathers, like early summer fruits, in the days of infancy, childhood, and youth.

There are other fruits that ripen not until the sharp autumn frosts come. All through the summer they are sour, bitter, and unfit for food. The keen frosts make them luscious and mellow.  In the same way, there are many of Christ's disciples who bear just such fruits. They are very unripe Christians. They are sharp, acrid men. They are severe, selfish, harsh, bitter, censorious. There is no sweetness, gentleness, kindness in them. They may be good men or women; they are good at heart but they are not beautiful. People cannot love them and yet they are God's dear children.

Then the frosts come, sharp, biting frosts. Afflictions enter their homes sorrows break in upon them. Bereavements turn the green leaves to sere and yellow. Humiliations come. They are defeated and crushed. God allows them to suffer great temptations. And out of these sad and painful experiences, these troubles and trials, these humiliations and failures they come, like the autumn fruits after the frosts mellow, luscious, rich, and ripe!

Frost opens the chestnut-burr, and the rich nut rolls out of its prickly envelope. In the same way, sorrows and trials strip off the burrs from many a beautiful soul.  Without these painful processes, many a man would never reach glory.   It was the rough knocks and sorry tumbles of his early discipleship, which made the Peter of the Gospels, the Peter of the Acts and Epistles.  It was scourging, imprisonment, and persecution which made Paul the brightest jewel of the world.  David learned his psalms in the wilderness, when hunted and chased.  Bereavement, loss, and sore sickness fitted Job to write that wondrous poem which bears his name.  John Bunyan got the "Pilgrim's Progress" out of prison walls, and from the clanking of chains.  It was a good thing that Satan sifted Peter, he winnowed out the chaff, and left only the pure wheat.


Christian! God must burn out your dross, winnow out your chaff, mellow your fruits by sharp frosts, and grind off the roughness of your character on the wheel of affliction.  Some day, when you get through, and shine in the glory of Heaven loudest amid your praising, will be thanksgivings for your trials. A diamond lay sleeping quietly in its dark bed in the earth. A pick, plunging into its pillow, disturbed its slumber. "What does this mean?" cried the little stone in terror, as it was crudely torn out.   But the workman heeded not its cry. It was carried away into a strange room, and there it was cut and sawn, and then put upon the wheel and ground.

"Why is all this? Why are they destroying me? Why are they cutting and grinding me all away?" Thus groaned the stone, but the men heeded not its complaining.   It is a grand day in the palace, it is a coronation day. The king is to be crowned. Amid the shouts and acclamations of the multitude, the new crown is brought forth and put upon his head. It is all aglitter with diamonds. But there is one stone that is brighter than all the rest. Its beam flashes out like a ray of glory.

"Now I understand it!" says the little stone. "Now I know why I was dug out, and cut, and ground, and polished. They were not destroying me. They were only preparing me to adorn this crown!"  In the same way, God knows how to grind his jewels. He knows how to prepare them for his own eternal crown!


[ J. R. Miller]






Isaiah 48:10 ...  Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.


Malachi 3:3 ... And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.


Job 23:10 ... But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Regulation of All Our Conduct

"You shall meditate on it day and night."  Only thus will its injunctions be fixed in the memory; only thus shall we be able to ascertain our duty; only thus shall we discern the rightful application of the Divine precepts to all the varied details of our daily lives.


The more I am regulated by the Divine Rule, the more I shall be preserved from the mistakes and follies which characterize those who follow a course of self-pleasing. But in order to do God's commandments, I must be conversant with them; and in order to perceive their breadth and specific application unto any problem or decision confronting me, I must "meditate on it day and night." Meditation stands to reading as mastication does to eating. Spiritual prosperity eludes the slothful and careless.



"That you may be careful to do everything written in it." This must be the dominating motive and object. God's Word is to be appropriated and masticated fed and meditated upon not for the purpose of understanding its prophecies, or obtaining an insight into its mysteries but in order to learn God's will for myself, and having learned it to conform thereunto. God's Word is given to us chiefly not to gratify curiosity or to entertain our imagination but as  a lamp to our fee and a light unto our path in this dark world. 


It is a Rule for us to walk by it is a heavenly standard for the regulation of all our conduct. It points out the things to be avoided the things which would harm us. It tells of the things to be followed and practiced the things which are for our good and our peace. It contains not only good advice but is clothed with Divine authority, commanding implicit and unqualified obedience.


[A.W. Pink]



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Joshua 1:8 ... This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success




Psalm 119:105 ... Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Friday, January 12, 2018

She Left Her Heart Behind Her

Lot's wife went far in religious profession. She was the wife of a "righteous man." She was connected through him with Abraham, the father of the faithful. She fled with her husband from Sodom, in the day when he escaped for his life by God's command.


But Lot's wife was not really like her husband. Though she fled with him, she left her heart behind her! She willfully disobeyed the strict injunction which the angel had laid upon her. She looked back towards Sodom and was at once struck dead! She was turned into a pillar of salt, and perished in her sins! Remember her says our Lord, "Remember Lot's wife!"


Lot's wife is meant to be a beacon and a warning to all professing Christians. It may be feared that many will be found like her, in the day of Christ's second coming. There are many in the present day, who go a certain length in religion. They speak the "language of Canaan." They use all the outward ordinances of religion. But all this time, their souls are not right in the sight of God. The world is in their hearts and their hearts are in the world. And by and bye, in the day of sifting their unsoundness will be exposed. Their Christianity will prove rotten at the core! The case of Lot's wife will not stand alone.


Let us remember Lot's wife, and resolve to be real in our religion. Let us never rest until we have the true grace of God in our hearts and have no desire to look back to the world.


[J. C. Ryle]






Luke 17:32-33 ... Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. ❤

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Behold Him!

Behold the beloved Jesus, perfectly spotless and holy yet made an example of the severest justice.   Behold Him prostrate and agonizing in the garden; enduring the vilest insults from wicked men; torn with whips, and nails, and thorns; suspended, naked, wounded, and bleeding upon the cross, forsaken by God!


Sin was the cause of all His anguish. He stood in the place of sinners, and therefore was not spared.   Not any, or all, the evils which the world has known afford such proof of the dreadful effects and detestable nature of sin, as the knowledge of Christ crucified!


[John Newton]



2 Corinthians 5:21 ... For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.


John 19:17-18 ...  And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:  Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.


Ephesians 2:16 ... And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:❤


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

My Responsibility

The best thing any man can do toward the cultivation of a state or county  is to cultivate well his own farm, or his own field or garden. He would not be a very useful man who would spend his time in finding fault with his neighbor's farming, or with the general state of agriculture and allow his own field to become overgrown with weeds and thorns.

And the same is true in the church. The only revival that will bless the church  is that which shall begin in the individual hearts of the church membership. And the very first thing for every Christian to do, is to secure the quickening and reviving of his own spiritual life.


[J.R. Miller]


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Philippians 2:12 ... Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.



Mark 12:30 ... And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.



Jude 21 ... Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Hamutal



Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.  Jeremiah 52:1 


Hamutal [Hebrew] ~ Like the dew. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Prone To Wander

This great and good Shepherd has a flock, whom He loved from everlasting and whom having loved, He will love to the end. He humbled Himself for their sakes,
submitted to partake of their nature and their sorrows,took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh.  He died for His sheep, "the just for the unjust," to redeem them from the curse of the law, from the guilt and dominion of sin, from the power of Satan and to bring them to God.


They, by nature, are all "gone astray, every one to his own way". But having thus bought them with His blood in His own appointed time He seeks, finds, and restores His sheep. By the power of His Word and Spirit. He makes Himself known to their hearts, causes them to hear and understand His voice, and guides them into His fold. They are under His immediate protection and government.


Considered as individuals, they are fitly described by the name of sheep. A sheep is a weak, defenseless, thoughtless creature and prone to wander! If once gone astray, it is seldom known to return of its own accord.  A sheep has neither strength to fight with the wolf, nor speed to escape from him; nor has it the foresight of the ant, to provide its own sustenance.


Such is our character, and our situation  unable to take care of ourselves, prone to wander from our resting-place, exposed to enemies which we can neither withstand nor avoid, without resource in ourselves, and taught, by daily experience, the insufficiency of everything around us.


Yet, if this Shepherd is our Shepherd, as weak and helpless as we are, we may be of good courage. If we can say with David, "The Lord is my Shepherd" then we may make the same inferences which he did, "Therefore I shall not want. Therefore I need not fear."




[John Newton]




John 10:11 ... I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.




John 10:27-28 ... My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.


Psalm 23:1 ... The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.❤

Sunday, January 7, 2018

And Then He Turns the Picture!

What a withering exposure our Lord makes of the folly of worldly-mindedness. He draws the picture of a rich man of the world, whose mind is wholly set on earthly things. He paints him scheming and planning about his property, as if he was master of his own life, and had but to say, "I will do a thing" and it would be done.  And then He turns the picture and shows us God requiring the worldling's soul, and asking the heart-searching question, "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?"


"Folly," he bids us to learn, nothing less than "folly," is the right word by which to describe the conduct of the man who thinks of nothing but his money. The man who "stores up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God" is the man whom God declares to be a fool!


It is a solemn thought, that the character which Jesus brings before us in this parable, is far from being uncommon. Thousands in every age of the world have lived continually doing the very things which are here condemned! Thousands are doing them at this very day! They are laying up treasure upon earth and thinking of nothing but how to increase it. They are continually adding to their hoards, as if they were to enjoy them forever and as if there was no death, no judgment, and no world to come!


And yet these are the men who are called clever, and prudent and wise! These are the men who are commended, and flattered and held up to admiration! Truly the Lord does not see, as man sees! The Lord declares that rich men who live only for this world, are utter fools!  Let us pray for rich men. Their souls are in great danger!  "Heaven," said a great man on his death-bed, "is a place to which few kings and rich men come."


Even when converted, the rich carry a great weight, and run the race to Heaven under great disadvantages. The possession of money has a most hardening effect upon the conscience. We never know what we may do, if we were to become rich.


Poverty has many disadvantages but riches destroy far more souls than poverty!


[J. C. Ryle]

 




Luke 12:16-21 ...  And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:  And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.



1 Timothy 6:10 ... For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.