Saturday, January 27, 2018

January '18 Devotional "The Power of an Endless Life"

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.
John 11:25-26

We are not left of God
So long as a rose blooms at our window-pane;
So long as the sun shines and the soft rain
Calls forth the early violets from the sod.
If but a wild brier by our pathway nod,
After its winter death wakened again,
Seeing its life we may forget our pain
Of unbelief. Who brings forth life but God?
He stains with tender tint the lily's lip;
Feeds with incessant care the insect crew;
Drops honey for the wandering bee to sip
In a white chalice set with pearls of dew.
The glow-worm hath its lamp; the firefly's light
Is but a pledge of love writ on the night.

Did you ever climb the winding staircase in the interior of some great monument or tower? At intervals, as you ascended, you came to a window which let in a little light, and through which, as you looked out, you had a glimpse of a great expanse of fair and lovely world outside the dark tower. You saw green fields, rich gardens, picturesque landscapes, streams flashing like flowing silver in the sunshine, the blue sea yonder; and far away, on the other hand, the shadowy forms of great mountains. How little, how dark, how poor and cheerless, seemed the close, narrow limits of your staircase as you looked out upon the illimitable view that stretched from your window!
Life in this world is like the ascent of such a column. But while we climb heavily and wearily up its steep, dark stairway—there lies, outside the thick walls, a glorious world reaching away into eternity, beautiful and filled with the rarest things of God's love. And thoughts of immortality, when they come to us, are little windows through which we have glimpses of the infinite sweep and stretch of life beyond this hampered, broken, fragmentary existence of earth.
The doctrine of the resurrection is one of these windows. It opens to us a vista running way beyond the grave. Death is a mere episode, a mere experience, an incident on the way. Even the grave, which seems to quench all the light of life, is but a chamber in which we shall disrobe ourselves of the infirmities, blemishes and imperfections of mortality—and be re-clothed in the holy, spotless vesture of immortality.
Thus winter comes, and the leaves fall, the flowers fade, the plants die—and snow wraps the earth in a blanket of death. But spring comes again, and the buds burst out anew, the flowers lift their heads and the grasses shoot up once more. From beneath the great snowdrifts—the gentlest and most delicate forms of life come as fresh and fragrant as if they had been nourished in a conservatory. Nature rises from the grave of winter in new beauty and luxuriance. In place of the sere leaves, and faded loveliness, and exhausted vigor of the autumn—there is now all the splendor of new creation! Every leaf is green, every pore is flowing full of vital sap, and every flower pours sweetest fragrance on the air.
The grave is but life's winter, from whose darkness and chill we shall come with unwasted beauty. Then, way beyond this strange experience, as we look out at the window again—we see life going on, expanding, deepening, enriching.
When the truth of immortal existence comes into our personal consciousness, it opens a wonderful vista before us. It gives life a new glory. It furnishes one of the most powerful motives for noble living.
Life may seem a failure here—crushed like a lily under the heel of wrong or sin—broken, trampled, torn. But it may yet become a glorious success. Many of the truest and best of God's children, know only defeat in this world. They are evermore beaten back and thrust down. The burdens are too heavy for them. They are overmastered by sorrows. The world's enmity treads them in the dust. They are not worldly-wise, and while others march by to great earthly success—they live obscurely, oppressed, cheated, wronged, and lie buried away in the darkness….
If the vista did not reach beyond the bare and cold room in which these suffering ones breathe their last—we might drop a tear of pity over their sad story of defeat. But when the curtain is lifted—and we see millions of years of existence for them on the other side—we dry our tears. There will be time enough for them to retrieve the failure of earth. Through the love and grace of Christ, the defeated Christian life that goes out in the darkness here—may be restored to beauty and power, and in the long ages beyond death may realize all the hopes that seemed utterly wrecked in this world.
The translation of a Christian life from earth to heaven—is but like the removal of a tender plant from a cold northern garden, where it is stunted and dying—into a tropical field, where it puts out most luxuriant growths and covers itself with splendor!
Thus the glimpses we get through the little dim windows in the walls of our earthly life—should give a new meaning to our existence here, and to all our multiplied relationships. With immortality glowing before us, our brief years on earth should be marked by earnestness, reverence, love and faithfulness. Soon we shall break out of our narrow circle—and traverse the boundless fields that we see now only in the far-away and momentary glimpse. But it will be a blessed thing if we can get into our hearts even here, something of the personal consciousness of our immortality, with its limitless possessions and possibilities, and feel something in our souls—of the power of an endless life!

J.R. MILLER -1880
Glimpses at Life’s Window

This devotional is dedicated to Sue Whitely, missionary to Nepal, who has been transplanted to the Garden of Paradise in Heaven now.

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