Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith... Heb 12:1-2
The Cloud of Witnesses is Christians in Heaven. They have run their races and are now with the Lord. Some have been gone for centuries; others decades; still others have recently departed this earth. No matter the years, their words of wisdom, encouragement, hope, and joy live on and inspire us to know Jesus better, to love Him more, and to be encouraged and hopeful as we run our race to the finish line. Their words strengthen our souls and sharpen our minds, equipping, encouraging, and empowering us to stand firm in our faith and be motivated, ready, and willing to share the hope we have in Jesus.
People like to make lists, such as task lists, shopping lists, pros and cons lists, favorites lists, bucket lists, best-of lists, brainstorming lists, books-I’ve-read or books-I-want-to-read lists, checklists, sometimes even list of lists– you get the idea! A saint of old, from the mid-1700s, was fond of making lists. But his lists were intended to generate spiritual growth, by renewing the mind and centering the heart.
James Meikle (1730-1799) was a surgeon and devotional writer in England. In 1758, he began writing meditations and devotional writings. A man of strong religious convictions, deep understandings, and profound joy and cheerfulness, Meikle continued to write for more than 41 years until his sudden death on 7 Dec. 1799.
The Value of Things by James Meikle, August 1,1765.
The value of things are best known by comparisons. Let me, then run a comparison between this present life I now enjoy, in all its best things, as well as its worst things—and that better life I expect after death.
In this life, I may have at times—
- A measure of health.
- Some tainted pleasures.
- A few friends for a few days.
- Some acres of ground.
- Fine clothing.
- A wealthy house.
- Bread to eat, and water to drink.
- A portion of the good things of time.
But—in eternity I shall have always—
- Eternal vigor.
- Pure delights and holy raptures.
- All my godly friends with me forever.
- An unbounded inheritance in the heavenly Canaan.
- Robes of righteousness and garments of glory.
- A house not made with hands.
- The hidden manna, and the river of life.
- The glorious treasures of eternity.
In this life, I may have—
- Communications of grace.
- Freedom from the reign of sin.
- A measure of faith.
- God in his ordinances.
- Manifestations of love.
- Access to the throne of grace.
But in eternity I shall have—
- Deliverance from the being of sin.
- Immediate vision of God.
- Uninterrupted communion.
- All the transports of eternal assurance, and everlasting bliss.
- Uninterrupted attendance at the throne of glory.
Now, what a wide difference is there between my best state here—and the better, the blessed state above! But how will it still widen, when my worst condition is brought into one side of the comparison with this melancholy addition that I am often in my worst state.
Things I Do
In this life, then—
- I often sin against God.
- I go mourning without the sun.
- I dwell in the valley of Achor, and my exercise is lamentation and mourning, and my daily attendants are sorrow and woe.
- Death snatches away my nearest and dearest friends, and with them crops all the joys of life.
- My knowledge of divine things is very lame.
- My graces often are baffled by prevailing corruption and a tempting devil.
- Disease attacks me often, and death awaits me always.
- I am often too ready to say—what a weariness is it to serve God.
- I daily see transgressors and am grieved with self-destroyers.
- Both vain and wicked thoughts often, alas! too often rise, rage and ravage in my mind.
- Often my society is among those who seem to have no fellowship with the Father nor his son Christ Jesus.
But in eternity—
- I shall never offend God’s holy eyes.
- My sun shall go down no more, and the days of my mourning shall be ended.
- I shall dwell on the mount of communion, and my exercise be praise and worship; and my attendants transport and joy.
- Jesus, my best Friend, shall forever cheer my ravished eyes, and fill my folded arms.
- I shall know—even as I am known.
- All my graces shall wear the crown of perfection.
- I shall never complain of sickness, being above the reach of sin and death.
- I shall serve him day and night with rapture and delight.
- There shall not be one Canaanite in all the house of God. There shall not be one sinner in all the land of glory.
- My soul shall be swept of all the trash of sin, and all my thoughts shall soar in adoration, and dissolve in love.
- I shall associate myself with the general assembly and church of the first-born.
Comparison and Reflection
Seeing the difference is so wide, what a wonder that I am not daily longing for the better! If Joseph’s felicity made him forget, not only his toil—but his father, and his father’s house, surely, when I arrive at the kingdom of my heavenly father, all the tender fondness of friend and brother, of parent and husband, will be swallowed up in nearer relations, and lost in a divine love.
Would not the prisoner venture out of a dark dungeon—to the broad day? So, though death be a dark step, yet the inviting glories of an eternal world lie beyond it, the dawning beams of which enlighten the dreary shadow.
Be Ready Always...
to give a reason for the Hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). When you can’t share the gospel with your words, share it by leaving tracts that tell people about God's grace.
When leaving a tract, always be diligent to pray about the short gospel message. Pray that it be found by someone who is in need of Jesus’ saving grace, and pray that the person will have a tender heart and open ears to receive the gift Jesus desires to give them.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, even a small tract can help in turning a broken sinner from darkness to light.
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The Top Ten from 2018
- JESUS WEPT. Why? And…it’s not the shortest verse in the Bible!
- The GATE OF THE YEAR: A Message to a Troubled Nation
- TWO WOMEN—Two Stories—Two Songs
- “LAUGHTER is the Best Medicine” Who Said That?
- The WIZARD OF OZ and God
- Following the Good, Great, and Chief SHEPHERD
- The best EULOGY to remember a father!
- ISRAEL Celebrates 70 YEARS As A Nation & the Significance for Christians
- HELLO DARKNESS, My Old Friend: The Sounds of Silence
- CHARLIE BROWN THEOLOGY
Our Ministry’s Two Favorite Articles from 2018:
Facing Terminal Cancer with Hope & Joy
When the Battle is Lost but the Victory is Won — Saying Goodbye to a Friend
- The Meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
- The Meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
- Is my TATTOOa sin?
- What do the 12 stones UNDER the JORDANRiver mean? (Joshua 4)
- What Does It Mean toTASTE & SEE That God Is Good? (Psalm 34)
- Where did OT Saints go at death?ABRAHAM'S BOSOM? Where was that?
- Why Does the LGBT Use God’s Rainbow For Its Flag?
- Should we call HIS NAME Jesus?Or Yahweh?Or Yeshua?
- Jesus said, I NEVER KNEW YOU. Why?
- CanJEWS go to HEAVENwithout knowing Jesus?
Other Popular Questions:
- Is Satan’s Real Name LUCIFER? Or Should We Call Him Satan?
- If BAPTIZED as an Infant, Do I Need to Be Baptized Again?
- Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
- Why Is PRAYER Important?
- Is There a Hidden Message in Revelation 7?
- What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS?
- Is It a Sin to Drink ALCOHOL?
- What Did Jesus Say About HEAVEN (and HELL)?
- Is SUICIDE an Unforgivable Sin?