Tag: Pleasure

You have saved the best until now!

J.R. Millerby J.R. Miller

“Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ” 1890

“Everyone brings out the choice wine first . . . But you have saved the best until now!” John 2:10

The world gives its best first–and the worst comes afterwards! It is so in all sinful pleasures: first exhilaration–and then bitter remorse. It is so in the chase for wealth, power, and fame: gratification first–and then painful disappointment. At first money brings gladness–a sort of satisfaction. But as time rolls on and wealth increases–cares multiply, anxieties thicken, burdens grow heavier, and at last–the rich man finds that in all his riches, he has less satisfaction than he had in the days when he was just a poor boy!

It is so in all mere worldly ambitions: the first cups of fame are sweet–but soon they pall upon the taste. This truth holds especially in the sinful life: we need not deny that at the beginning, sin is sweet–but bitterness is found at the bottom of the cup!

In grace, however, this is reversed–the good wine is kept to the last! Christ Himself first had humiliation, darkness, and the shame of the cross–and then exaltation, power, glory!

In the Christian life, the same law holds: First there comes bitterness–but out of the bitterness, sweetness flows. There is first the deep sorrow of penitence–but this gives way to the blessed joy of forgiveness. First comes self-denial and cross-bearing–but out of these experiences comes a holy peace which fills all the heart. Sorrows are to be endured–but the good wine of comfort is poured into the emptied cup.

There is also a constant progression in the blessings of the divine life. We never get to the end of them! Indeed, we never get to the best! There is always something better yet to come. Christ keeps the really best wine until the very last–in Heaven! As sweet as Christ’s peace now is to the Christian–he will never know the fullness of the love of God, until he gets home to the Father’s house!

by J.R. Miller

 

The world’s pleasures

John MacDuffby John MacDuff

“Ripples in the Twilight” 1885

“Jabez called on the God of Israel saying: ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed!’ So God granted him what he requested.” 1 Chronicles 4:10

There is much apparent good not worth calling by the name. What the world speaks of as blessings are, some of them, often worthless; and many of them are undoubtedly evil and detrimental. They are counterfeits–they do not bear upon them the coinage and currency of Heaven. Satan has disguised them–stamped them as true metal–while they are base alloy!

Let us leave our blessings, and the method of their bestowal, with the Giver of every good and perfect gift–into His hand committing our earthly all, with this prayer of intense fervor yet of simple faith, “Oh that You would bless me indeed!” I want nothing which the world calls a blessing, unless You think it proper for me. I want no shadows–no baubles. I do not ask for riches–they may be a snare to me. I do not ask for . . . the cup running over, the barns full, the fig-tree blossoming, the home-nest without the thorn. These might alienate me from Yourself, and bind me only closer to earth!

I want blessings indeed. God, I am no judge of this. Whatever YOU give, will be a true blessing to me. And even if You take it away–I will strive to believe that the dark and painful dealing, is Your kindness to me also.

Yes, we repeat, the world’s pleasures are often curses in disguise–like Cleopatra’s viper, which was hidden in a basket of flowers. There is often . . . an adder lurking in the bed of roses, a fly in the ointment, poison in the wine-cup!

But the blessings of God are blessings bearing His own divine seal and signature. They may come . . . in frowning providences, in baffling dispensations, in strokes of the chastening rod. For the present they may seem not joyous, but grievous. But I am content to be in His hands–joyful or sorrowful, in health or in sickness, living or dying. O my Father, give Your own blessing, and I shall bow my heart in submission; for I can only hear in it accents of paternal love!

by John MacDuff