Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems Chapter 26 – A Girl’s Questions

Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems

By J.R. Miller, 1898

Chapter 26 – A Girl’s Questions

Young ladies are precious. I’ve watched with amazement as they grow into womanhood, often wondering what is going on in their thoughts in the stages of their life.  J.R. Miller’s remarks, “Every girl has questions. Her brain teems with them — her heart too. She ought to have questions. If she had not, she would not be a living girl, at least she would be living to very small purpose. Questions are the keys which open doors within, which we find life’s better things.”

He continues, “Girls are not all alike. It would not be true to say that to answer one girl’s questions, would be to answer every girl’s questions. But certainly to answer one girl’s questions, will throw light upon the questions of many others. From a bright, interesting letter, bristling with interrogations,” Pastor Miller draws “a little handful of earnest inquiries, …in the belief that others may be helped by the answers that are given.”

So what are the questions this young girl asked?

  • What is expected of girls?
  • When a girl wakes up to the knowledge that she is disagreeable — what shall she do?
  • What should she do when feeling melancholy or depression?
  • How about the people [I] don’t like?

These are all good questions, and I hope you will read the full text to see how Pastor Miller answers each one. Remember as you read that each girl is unique, with unique trials and difficulties; so the answers must be tailored to each one’s needs. Moreover, there are many more questions swimming around in those little minds that need wise answers and loving council.

There is a key to all our advising and correcting: the necessity for encouragement. Miller writes, “These are some of the questions of one girl. Her closing sentences are: ‘Don’t forget the encouraging part. If people only knew how we long for it sometimes! A little praise occasionally would not make us vain, would not turn our head, and certainly would do us more good than harm. It would help us sometimes so much!’ This is very true. People need nothing so much as encouragement. An artist said his mother’s kiss made him a painter. Wise cheer is always full of inspiration. The man who writes or speaks discouraging words, is a doer of evil. We have no right ever to be discouragers; we should live always to be encouragers.”

He concludes, “In every girl’s heart, visions of beauty throng — and every one of these visions is a glimpse of something she may become. Her mission [and ours] is to get these holy visions wrought into her life and character.”

Find the full text on Grace Gems at: http://gracegems.org/Miller/young_peoples_problems.htm

Chapter 27 – What Is the Comfort?

(to be continued)

— Joe LoGiudice, Principal

 


read more

Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems Chapter 25 – The Blessing of Work

Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems

Chapter 25 – The Blessing of Work

“Some people have the impression that work is part of the curse which sin brought into the world. They imagine that if our first parents had not fallen into sin, that they would never have had anything to do, that they would have walked about forever among the trees of Paradise and by the rivers, having a good time. They suppose that they were doomed to work as part of the penalty of their sin. But this is a mistaken impression, which a careful reading of the story of Eden and the fall will quickly remove.”

I recall a statement made in a Sunday school class once, a comment that has lingered in my thoughts these many years: “TGIM, Thank Goodness It’s Monday.” Never heard it before? Neither had I, knowing it instead as TGIF.  But TGIM looks at work differently, as both a duty and a blessing, rather than as something to escape.

In this installment from J.R. Miller’s wisdom we see again the real problem—sin and the effects of sin on our view of the world. “No doubt the fall changed the character of work,” but “we must never forget that work was part of man’s lot, even in Paradise. Therefore work itself is not a curse—but a blessing.”

Miller has instructive words to teach us with comments like these: “Jesus sanctified labor, by working with his own hands…Paul [worked] at a common trade, …gloried in the fact that his own hands had ministered to his necessities.” He speaks at length about “the reproach of idleness.” Paul said, “If any will not work—neither let him eat!” In Scripture we find the command and exhortation that we should work quietly, and eat our own bread—bread earned with [our] own hands.

He quotes Henry Drummond: “The ideal perfect and divine life was not spent with a book—but with a hammer and a saw; …the shop is not the place for the growing of machines alone. They are the places for the growing of souls.” From my own experience there is much we can learn in the love, joy, satisfaction, patience, meekness and self-control gained in work and working well. This truth leads to a curious observation: “Work is one of the best means of grace.” How is that? Well, Miller explains, “Whatever helps in one’s growth and development of life and character, is a means of grace. Without work, one never can grow.” Think on that. Better yet, go and read his full comments on this point!

“We have no right to our daily bread.” “One cannot be a good Christian and be idle.”  “Prayer without work, is but one wing to the soul.” And he gives an apt example of what he means by each of these three statements, reminding us that “the kind of work we should do depends upon what we are divinely fitted to do;”  that “a large part of the blessing, is in the work itself”; that “it is better to find some task, than to sit with folded hands in unwholesome idleness.”

He closes with this: “Work builds up the character, and knits the sinews of manliness.”

“The young people are fortunate, who by the conditions of their early life, are required to engage in regular, uninterrupted, and even severe labor. Thus they are not only trained to self-dependence—but their abilities are developed, their character is formed into strength—prepared for happy, wholesome, useful living.”

Find the full text on Grace Gems at: http://gracegems.org/Miller/young_peoples_problems.htm

Chapter 26 – A Girl’s Questions

(to be continued)

— Joe LoGiudice, Principal

 


read more

Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems Chapter 24 – Your Little Brother

Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems

Chapter 24 – Your Little Brother

If J.R. Miller’s comments are not already very practical to your thinking, than what follows will prove to be!

“Many young people have younger brothers, little brothers sometimes, in their home. In every such case, there is a responsibility which is not always recognized. If older brothers and sisters knew the influence they have over their little brothers, it would make them very thoughtful.”

“It is no doubt true, that older brothers and sisters are divinely appointed guardians for younger children. The story of Miriam and little Moses is one of the most charming stories of the Bible. While the baby lay in the ark among the bulrushes, by the water’s edge, the young girl with quick ear and keen eye stood not far away — near enough to see all that went on, and to be of instant help in case of danger.”

“In many a home, older sisters have played the role of Miriam to perfection.” As such it is “worthwhile to call the attention of older brothers and sisters to the little brother at home, who needs guidance, encouragement, and stimulus. Far more than you know, he watches you, and is influenced by your every movement. He will be impressed much more also, by what you do and what you are — than by any teaching he may receive from you.”

“It is important that you know just how to make the most of your influence over him. You cannot do it by perpetually nagging at him; nagging is one of the most mischievous vices of the home-life. It is all the worse, because it is practiced in the name of piety and virtue. The best you can do for him is first of all to be good yourself.”

I am so tempted to just print all Pastor Miller’s comments here. But space does not allow; you must go to the full text to learn from his wisdom regarding the importance of daily “influence,” establishing a “close and trusting friendship,” the need for “respectfulness” and “patience.”

“Never laugh at him. Do not hurry his development: it is like trying to hasten the opening of a flower; only harm can be done by such a process.”

He speaks to “answering his questions” patiently. We see here a good lesson as to what it means to communicate at eye level: “If your own heart is right, and if you keep yourself in the spirit of childhood, you will be able to lead him in safe ways. The goal is to turn him to noble things in disposition, in conduct, in character, thus quietly inspiring in him the desire to fill his own life with such worthy things.”

“There is a great responsibility in having a little brother. He is always around, and you cannot get out of his sight. He has keen eyes too, and sees all that you do. Your influence over him will be almost unbounded; you must see to it that this influence is pure and wholesome in every way.”

“The older brother [or sister] must answer for [their] little brother; [they] are his keeper. [They] must make [themselves] worthy of his sacred trust.”

Here again I’m reminded of the axiom that we cannot lead another any further then we have gone ourselves. Oh that we may all be truly “worthy to be a friend of Christ’s little ones” in our TEAM2work goal of instilling a godly Christian Character!

Find the full text on Grace Gems at: http://gracegems.org/Miller/young_peoples_problems.htm

Chapter 25 – The Blessing of Work

(to be continued)

— Joe LoGiudice, Principal


read more

Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems Chapter 23 – About Your Shadow

Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems

Chapter 23 – About Your Shadow

Have you ever noticed someone walk into a room, and suddenly it seems brighter, more pleasant? Or maybe it has seemed just the opposite—uncomfortable and unsettling? Pastor Miller’s message in this chapter is important for each of us character advocates.

“There is in the New Testament a beautiful story which tells of the power of a good man’s shadow. The people brought out their sick, and laid them along the sides of the road when the apostle Peter was to pass, that his shadow might fall upon them; and we are told that they were healed — every one… Of course it was a supernatural power which wrought so wondrously in Peter’s shadow. God was pleased to use it in this way to impress the people with the divineness of Christianity.”

“We cannot expect that we shall be able to work miracles of healing through our shadow. But we all cast shadows wherever we go, and our shadow has either wholesome or unwholesome influence over other lives. So Miller urges us to ask ourselves, “What kind of shadow do I cast? What influence do I bring to the lives others?”

Here are some of the observations Miller expands upon at length:

“We think of a shadow as something DARK. It is made by an object coming between us and the light. It is therefore an intercepting, a cutting off, of brightness. Night is a shadow…” But “even night has its compensations.” What are they? Read carefully the full text to discover.

Then, “there are other people whose shadow is WHITE. Instead of intercepting the light, the brightness appears to stream through them and to be all the brighter. The rainbow is a kind of glorified shadow. A sunbeam falls upon a drop of water, and its wonderful threads are unraveled, disentangled, as it shines through, and we have seven beautiful colors spread abroad.” Miller shows the rich meaning of this, that “every Christian should cast a rainbow shadow, always [being] inspirers of the good possibilities in those whom we influence.”

I was taught years ago that we cannot take another any further then we have already gone ourselves. In that vein, Miller writes, “We must be overcomers ourselves — before we can help others to overcome… One who himself yields to discouragement cannot be an encourager of others. One who is crushed by sorrow, and does not get God’s comfort for himself — cannot be a comforter of others in their sorrow… If you would have a healing shadow, you must learn the secret of Christ’s victoriousness.” When we are “filled with the mind that was in Christ Jesus … then our life will be full of wholesome and healthful inspirations” … and aspirations!

Thus our TEAM2work prayer ought to be: “May every soul that touches mine, be it the slightest contact, get there from some good, some little grace, one kindly thought, one aspiration yet unfelt, one bit of courage.”

Learn, teach, encourage, advocate, mentor & model “the secret of the healing shadow.”

Find the full text on Grace Gems at: http://gracegems.org/Miller/young_peoples_problems.htm

Chapter 24 – Your Little Brother

(to be continued)

— Joe LoGiudice, Principal


read more