Thursday, March 27, 2014

God works in our darkness and weakness so that we will take Him and His Word as our life

Is anything impossible for the Lord? I will return to you when the season comes round again and Sarah will have a son.” — Gen 18:14

by J.R. Miller

The Lord will make us feel that though his arm is not shortened that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear, yet he is to be inquired of. He is indeed a God that works wonders; apparent impossibilities are nothing with him; he has but to speak and it is done. But he will make us know his power by making us feel our weakness. He will often keep at a great distance, and for a long time, in order to make us value his presence. He will make us sink very low that he may lift us very high. He will make us taste the bitterness of the gall and wormwood of sin that we may know the sweetness of manifested pardon. He will teach us to abhor ourselves in our own sight, and loathe ourselves for our abominations, before we shall see and know ourselves washed in his blood, clothed in his righteousness, and to stand before him without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

The Lord in one sense is easy of access upon his throne of grace, but in another very hard to be got at. He invites his dear people to come and spread their needs before him; he encourages them with a thousand promises; he says in our text, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” But he will make us set a due value upon his visitations; they shall not be given to us very easily or very frequently that we may not hold them cheap. It is not “ask and have” immediately. We have to learn what sin cost our dear Redeemer; we have to see the holiness and majesty of God; we have to learn that though mercy is free, and grace superabounds over the aboundings of sin, yet it must be got at after many a struggle, many a cry, many a sigh and groan, and many a fervent petition; that though all fullness dwells in the Lord the Lamb, and he invites us to come and take of the water of life freely, yet it is guarded on every side by many things that would drive us back.

And thus he teaches us to put due value upon his grace, upon the visitations of his countenance and the words of his lips. They cost the dear Redeemer the deepest agonies of body and soul, and sufferings of which no finite mind can form a conception; and, therefore, are not to be given out without teaching us to know through what channel they came, nor what it cost the blessed Son of God to give out of his fullness those supplies of grace by which he enriches our need.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Relatives of Redeemed Saints: Comfort for Faithful Mourners

It shall come to pass that at evening time, it shall be light
by William Thoseby, 1869

Let us "be still and know that He is God." "We know" says the apostle, "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

We do not always see the bright light in the clouds, but it "shall come to pass that at evening time, it shall be light!"

Child of sorrow! Mourning over the withdrawal of some beloved object of earthly affection — dry your tears! An early death has been an early crown! The tie sundered here, links you to the throne of God. You have a Christian parent, a brother, a sister, in Heaven! You are the relative of a redeemed saint. "He shall enter" (he has entered) "into peace" — the "rest which remains for the people of God!"

We can only see one side of a Christian's death — the setting side, the expiring breath, the vanishing life, the cold clay corpse. We cannot see the risings on the other side — the angel convoy, Heaven's open gate, the Savior's welcome of the enraptured departed one. Yet it is none the less real.

Death to the Christian, is a birth into heavenly life — a life more real, more sweet, more calm, more pure than could be enjoyed on earth.

"Beloved! think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, but rejoice!" Soon you shall hear the sweet chimes wafted from the towers of the heavenly Jerusalem, "Enter into the joy of your Lord!" "The Lord God shall wipe away all tears from off all faces!"

Christian Mourner! Do not go to the grave to weep there. The devourer shall be devoured! The resurrection shall restore to you, all that death snatches away. And then, Oh! joyous hope, "death shall be swallowed up of life!" Glorious day! "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection!"

Alleluia! Alleluia!


William Thoseby, Footprints on the Sands of Time; Or, Words of Hope and Comfort for Hours of Sorrow, 1869.

Monday, March 24, 2014

God knows me better than I know myself, yet chose me as His child!

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ’s blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure! — 1 Pet 1:2

 by J.R. Miller

Foreknowledge of the persons of the elect in the divine economy precedes election. “Whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate.” This foreknowledge was not any eternal foreview of their faith or love in time, as if that were the ground of God’s choice of them; but it implies, first, that thorough knowledge which God had of them, and of all that should concern them, of all the depths of sin and rebellion, disobedience and ungodliness, of which they might be guilty before called by grace, and of all their grievous backslidings, slips, and falls, with all the base returns that they should make for his goodness and mercy toward them after he had touched their hearts by his finger.

And secondly and chiefly, it signifies the good will and pleasure, with that everlasting love of God the Father, whereby he foreknew them with a holy approbation of them, a divine affection toward them, and a holy and unalterable delight in them as viewed in his dear Son, chosen in him and accepted in the Beloved. And thus election is not, if we may use the expression without irreverence, a dry choice of them in Christ, but a choice of them as foreknowing, with a holy approbation, each of his elect family, personally and individually, and however they might differ among themselves in the infinite variety whereby one man varies both naturally and spiritually from another, yet that his approving knowledge of each and all of them in Christ Jesus was in sweet harmony with his determinate choice. To realize this in soul feeling, is very sweet and precious.

We do not know ourselves. We may have seen a little into our fallen state by nature, and may know something of the dreadful evils that lurk and work within; we may have had some passing skirmishes, or even some hot battles with our proud, rebellious, unbelieving, infidel, and desperately wicked heart, but we do not know ourselves as God knows us. And though we may cry, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts,” yet how shallow for the most part and superficial is that knowledge and experience of ourselves! How little do we measure our sinfulness by the holiness of God, or look down into the depths of our nature as they lie naked and open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do! When, then, we think that he who knew from the beginning all that we ever should be in the depths of the Adam fall, yet chose us by determinate decree in his dear Son unto eternal life, what a blessed lift does it give to the soul out of all those sinkings into which a sight and sense of sin is continually casting it.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!


Friday, March 21, 2014

Your Heavenly Father knows what you need

Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. — Mat. 6:32

All as God wills, who wisely heeds
To give or to withhold; 
And knoweth more of all my needs 
Than all my prayers have told. 


Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee; Thou only knowest what I need; Thou lovest me better than I know how to love myself. O Father! give to Thy child that which he himself knows not how to ask. I dare not ask either for crosses or consolations; I simply present myself before Thee; I open my heart to Thee. Behold my needs which I know not myself; see, and do according to Thy tender mercy. Smite, or heal; depress me, or raise me up; I adore all Thy purposes without knowing them; I am silent; I offer myself in sacrifice; I yield myself to Thee; I would have no other desire than to accomplish Thy will. Teach me to pray; pray Thyself in me.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A broken Hallelujah is the real Hallelujah!

There is still medicinal ointment available in Gilead! There is still a physician there! Why then have my dear people not been restored to health? — Jer. 8:22 

J.R. Miller claims that the healing of God is related to our humility within the brokenness that necessitates the healing. When God allows His child to enter trial, pain and brokenness, it is only to humble the child in order of divine healing: to bind up the wounds on a higher level. Miller says that it is the "mysterious way in which the Lord gets honor to himself," and redeems the child from that which would turn it away from the divine path.

In other words, there is no greater healing than in true humility in brokenness. Humble obedience, knowing that we do not deserve the Balm of Gilead that He pours on us. Not proud obedience, which is simply another manifestation of self-will and self-assertion (the natural self exerting itself as the basis of success).

In other words, God allows trials in the child's life in order to strip away anything not of divine life. If this is true, then trials do not come to necessarily "make us stronger," as so many people say. It could that trials come in order to make us weaker, that the divine strength might have free reign in our lives. Yes, the effect of our lives will be infinitely stronger, but that doesn't mean that we will be *stronger* in ourselves. We will definitely be more humble, and just maybe, weaker too. But the inner reality of our lives will be the strength of heaven: We walk in the light of the One who redeems us, knowing every day that it is not of ourselves. We live with our faces turned toward His, ever reflecting His light, not our own. 

It's a paradox of healing, which Scripture details: In God's kingdom, when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor. 12:9-10). How is it that His power is made perfect in our weakness? Simply this: that in our weakness He strips away that which limits His power in our lives. The highest form of healing is in the utter humility of faith, whereby we live not for ourselves, but radically for Him, broken from the illusion of our own strength or goodness.

So, friends, do not despair in trial! Do not despair in a fuller awareness of your own sin. Just bow before the One who holds your holiness and healing in His almighty, loving Hands.

Truly, a broken hallelujah is the true hallelujah!


J.R. Miller on Jer. 8:22 There is still medicinal ointment available in Gilead! There is still a physician there! Why then have my dear people not been restored to health?

There is balm in Gilead, and there is a physician there. This is, and must ever be, our only hope. If there were no balm in Gilead, what could we do but lie down in despair and die? For our sins are so great, our backslidings so repeated, our minds so dark, our hearts so hard, our affections so cold, our souls so wavering and wandering, that if there were no balm in Gilead, no precious blood, no sweet promises, no sovereign grace, and if there were no physician there, no risen Jesus, no great High Priest over the house of God, what well-grounded hope could we entertain? Not a ray. Our own obedience and consistency? These are a bed too short and a covering too narrow.

But when there is some application of the balm in Gilead, it softens, melts, humbles, and at the same time thoroughly heals. No, this balm strengthens every nerve and sinew, heals blindness, remedies deafness, cures paralysis, makes the lame man leap as a deer and the tongue of the dumb to sing, and thus produces gospel sight, gospel hearing, gospel strength, and a gospel walk. When the spirit is melted, and the heart touched by a sense of God’s goodness, mercy, and love to such base, undeserving wretches, it produces gospel obedience, aye, a humble obedience; not that proud obedience which those manifest who are trusting to their own goodness and seeking to scale the battlements of heaven by the ladder of self-righteousness, but an obedience of gratitude, love, and submission—willingly, cheerfully rendered, and therefore acceptable to God, because flowing from his own Spirit and grace. It is the application of this divine balm which purifies the heart, makes sin hateful, and Jesus precious, and not only dissolves the soul in sweet gratitude, but fills it with earnest desires to live to God’s honor and glory.

This is the mysterious way the Lord takes to get honor to himself. As he opens up the depth of the fall, makes the burden of sin felt, and shows the sinner how his iniquities have abounded, he brings the proud heart down, and lays the head low in the dust; and as he makes him sigh and cry, grieve and groan, he applies his sovereign balm to the soul, brings the blood of sprinkling into the conscience, sheds abroad his mercy and love, and thus constrains the feet to walk in cheerful and willing obedience. This is obeying the precept from right motives, right views, right influences, under right feelings, and to right ends. This is the true Christian obedience, obedience “in the spirit and not in the letter,” an obedience which glorifies God, and is attended by every fruit and grace of the Spirit.



Saturday, March 08, 2014

Jesus is Victor!


I know the one in whom my faith is set and I am convinced that he is able. — 2 Tim 1:12
  • Able to do far beyond all that we ask or think. — Eph 3:20 
  • Able to make all grace overflow to you so that because you have enough of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow in every good work. — 2 Cor 9:8 
  • Able to help those who are tempted. — Heb 2:18 
  • Able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. — Heb 7:25 
  • Able to keep you from falling, and to cause you to stand, rejoicing, without blemish before his glorious presence. — Jude 1:24 
  • Able to protect what has been entrusted to me until that day. — 2 Tim 1:12 
  • Who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself. — Phil 3:21 

“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” … “Yes, Lord.” “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” — Matt 9:28-29

He went out into the wilderness to be tempted, and prevailed,
That we might go to Him for refuge, when we go out and fail.