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J.R. Miller – Bio

j-r-millerIn 1840 a baby boy named James Russell was born in Frankfort Spring, Pennsylvania, to his parents James Alexander Miller and Eleanor Creswell (both were of Irish-Scottish ancestors). Frankfort Springs is in the southern portion of Beaver County, on the banks of the Big Traverse which was a small mill steam which drained what is said was a very beautiful valley. James Alexander and Eleanor had ten children, of which their oldest child a daughter died before James Russell their second child was born. James and Eleanor had three boys and seven girls, of which one brother and two sisters died in infancy. The children went to the regional school in Hanover Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. When James was around fourteen, the family moved to a farm near Calcutta, Ohio, where the children attended the regional school in the winter time, however during the summer and harvest time they helped their father on the farm, gardening, doing chores and bringing in the fall crops. In 1857 James Russell was accepted by Beaver Academy.

In 1861 The Christian Commission (YMCA) was organized at a convention in New York City and James would later become a delegate for the organization. This group was created to minister to the troops during the civil war.

James then went to Westminster College, Pennsylvania in 1862 and graduated from Westminster College that same year.  The fall of that year he entered the United Presbyterian Church theological seminary at Allegheny, Pennsylvania. In 1863 James took a break from his studies at the seminary and agreed to serve The Christian Commission as a delegate for six weeks, however upon the end of his service he became an Assistant Field Agent and later he was appointed to the office of General Field Agent, of which he served until July 15, 1865

In 1865 he resumed his studies at the seminary and completed them in the spring of 1867. In the fall of 1867 he was ordained and installed (on September 11, 1867) by the First United Presbyterian Church of New Wilmington, Pennsylvania where he had accepted a call. In two years as the pastor of the church of the First United Presbyterian Church he added almost two hundred people to the church membership. He was raised in the United Presbyterian Church and held strongly their views. Although he did not agree with singing the Psalms only and therefore decided to leave because he could not profess this as part of his beliefs. He then resigned from his office and began the process to join the Presbyterian Church (USA).

On November 12, 1869 both the old and new Presbyterian churches joined together as the Presbyterian Church USA, of which nine days later Reverend Miller was called as their pastor to the church called Bethany Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. The congregation grew from 75 members to around twelve hundred and was the largest church in Philadelphia. In 1878 he resigned this position and accepted a call as pastor with the new Broadway Presbyterian Church out of Rock Island, Illinois.

James, now thirty years of age, married Louise E. King of Argyle, New York on June 22, 1870. The couple had three children named William, Russell, and Mary.

In 1875 he began to write Christian articles while at the seminary in Allegheny, Pennsylvania of which he did for some time. Then in 1880 Pastor Miller resigned his position at Broadway Presbyterian Church and was given the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Westminster College, they then invited him to assume editorial work for the Presbyterian Board of Publication in Philadelphia, where he became the assistant to the Editorial Secretary for the said board of publication.

While in Philadelphia he became involved with the Hollond Mission and later became their pastor. He was their pastor for sixteen months and while there the membership increased greatly. Then in 1899 a new church was organized with sixty-six members. They named themselves St. Paul Church in West Philadelphia and asked Miller to become their pastor. He was there from 1899 to 1912, which was the year he died. This congregation grew from the 66 members to 1,397.

In 1911 he retired his positions due to health issues. On July 2, 1912 in the afternoon, James was resting quietly and without warning he quietly passed away, with his wife Louise and his daughter by his side. He passed so quickly there was not time to call Louise and James sons to the bedside of their father.

James Russell Miller wrote numerous articles and books. Under his direction 66 million copies of the periodicals were printed by the Presbyterian Board of Publications. His books had a circulation of over two million copies during just his lifetime. It is in hopes that many of his articles and books will continue to be republished, as so many good solid Christian writers of the past books need to be reprinted, not for money sake but for building the Church.

In the USA all James R. Millers works before 1923 are out of copyright and all of his poems are out of copyright.

Gleaned from J.R. Miller’s Archives, and Wikipedia

Do You Understand What You Read?


Do You Understand What You Read?” Acts 8:30

“We would be abler teachers of others, and less liable to be carried about by every wind of doctrine–if we sought to have a more intelligent understanding of the Word of God. As the Holy Spirit, the Author of the Scriptures, is He who alone can enlighten us rightly to understand them, we should constantly ask His teaching, and His guidance into all truth.

When the prophet Daniel would interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, what did he do? He set himself to earnest prayer that God would open up the vision. The apostle John, in his vision at Patmos, saw a book sealed with seven seals which none was found worthy to open, or so much as to look upon. The book was afterwards opened by the Lion of the tribe of Judah; but it is written first, “I wept much!” The tears of John, which were his liquid prayers, were, so far as he was concerned, the sacred keys by which the sealed book was opened!

Therefore, if, for your own and others’ profiting, you desire to be “filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding,” remember that prayer is your best means of study! Like Daniel, you shall understand the dream, and the interpretation thereof–when you have sought unto God; and like John you shall see the seven seals of precious truth unloosed–after you have wept much.

Stones are not broken, except by an earnest use of the hammer; and the stone-breaker must go down on his knees. Use the hammer of diligence, and let the knee of prayer be exercised–and there is not a stony doctrine in Scripture, which is useful for you to understand, which will not fly into shivers under the exercise of prayer and faith! You may force your way through anything–with the leverage of prayer. Prayer is the lever which forces open the iron chest of sacred mystery, that we may get the treasure hidden within! So shall you grow healthy, strong, and happy in the divine life!” (Charles Spurgeon)

Some 30 years ago our son was in Mississippi and was being tested by the Lord. After he was gone several months I found myself going into his bedroom where I flung myself onto his bed sobbing my heart out for our son uncontrollably. My husband tried to console me but nothing could comfort me.  I began to pray as the tears flowed down my face, that God would bring him home, when a thought came across my mind, “Pray for a changed heart” I was stunned by the thought but immediately stopped praying selfishly and prayed that God would change his heart. Two days later the phone rang and it was our son, his words were “Mom God changed my heart!” and our son though miles away had returned to himself!

We do know as Spurgeon says God hears our prayers and sees our tears. The Scriptures themselves state He bottles our tears in heaven. (Psalm 56:8) We have a God who cares about His sheep individually.


With permission from Grace Gems

A Portion For Each Day

c-spurgeon-2(Charles Spurgeon)

“Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes–and he dined regularly in the presence of the king of Babylon for the rest of his life. As for his allowance, a regular allowance was given to him by the king, a portion for each day, for the rest of his life.” 2 Kings 25:29-30

Jehoiachin was not sent away from the king’s palace with a ‘supply’ to last him for months–but his provision was given him as a daily pension. Herein he well pictures the happy position of all the Lord’s people. A daily portion is all that a man really needs. We do not need tomorrow’s portion; for that day has not yet dawned, and its needs are as yet unborn. The thirst which we may suffer in the month of June–does not need to be quenched in February, for we do not feel it yet. If we have enough for each day as the days arrive–we shall never know want. Sufficient for the day–is all that we can enjoy.

We cannot eat or wear more than the day’s supply of food and clothing. Any surplus gives us the care of storing it, and the anxiety of watching against a thief. One staff aids a traveler–but a bundle of staffs is a heavy burden. Enough is not only as good as a feast–but is all that the greatest glutton can truly enjoy. Enough is all that we should expect–a craving for more than this, is ungrateful. When our Father does not give us more–we should be content with His daily allowance.

Jehoiachin’s case is ours–we have . . .
  a sure portion;
  a portion given to us by the King;
  a gracious portion;
  and a perpetual portion.
Here is surely ground for thankfulness.

Beloved Christian reader, in matters of grace–you need a daily supply. You have no store of grace. Day by day must you seek help from above. It is a very sweet assurance–that a daily portion is provided for you. In the Word, by meditation, in prayer, and waiting upon God–you shall receive renewed grace and strength. In Jesus, all needful things are laid up for you. Never go hungry–while the daily bread of grace is on the table of mercy! Enjoy your continual allowance!

“Give us each day–our daily bread.” Luke 11:3

“As your days–so shall your strength be.” Deuteronomy 33:25

With permission from Grace Gems

Predestination – Man’s View or God’s View?

autys-moon-13For those of you who are confused on the point of predestination, I wanted to do a little more explaining. Several young people have asked me if predestination meant that:  If you desire to be saved, you can say a salvation prayer, but you have to wait until judgment day to find out if you were predestined or not. If not, too bad, you weren’t saved all along.  Instead of looking at it from man’s point of view, let’s start with God’s before I answer the question.

Ephesians 1:4 ~ … He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…

Predestination was God’s choice of who should be saved, decided before the foundation of the world, before He said “Let there be light.”

In fact, “before the foundation of the world” means before God even laid plans for the whole world, and according to Ephesians 1:5, 9, & 11, it was according to the good pleasure of His own will. He predestined because He wanted to.

Also, we do not choose our salvation by our own will.

John 1:12-13 ~ But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Our sinful nature did not choose God (the will of the flesh) and our conscious minds did not choose God (the will of man). God chose us (Ephesians 1:4). Thus, from God’s point of view, only those who are predestined will desire to be saved, not the other way around.


Standing up for God’s Truths

thomas-watsonDo You Understand How Important It Is To Stand On God’s Word and His Truths?

If you go to a church that you know is not true to the Word of God – is not your participation in being seen as a member of that church a lie and walking against the truth of God?

What are you teaching your children? Are you grounding them in false doctrines, or are you fearful for their souls and running from false churches and teaching as fast as you can? 

Here is what Thomas Watson has to say about God’s truths. 

We glorify God, by standing up for his truths. Much of God’s glory lies in his truth. God has entrusted us with his truth, as a master entrusts his servant with his purse to keep. We have not a richer jewel to trust God with than our souls, nor has God a richer jewel to trust us with than his truth. Truth is a beam that shines from God. Much of his glory lies in his truth. When we are advocates for truth we glorify God. “That ye should contend earnestly for the truth” (Jude 3). The Greek word ‘to contend’ signifies great contending, as one would contend for his land, and not suffer his right to be taken from him; so we should contend for the truth. Were there more of this holy contention God would have more glory. Some contend earnestly for trifles and ceremonies, but not for the truth. If we glorify God, he will glorify our souls forever. By raising God’s glory, we increase our own: by glorifying God, we come at last to the blessed enjoyment of him.” -Thomas Watson

I hope God uses this to build you up in Him today.


When I was 12 or 13 – #3

auts-moon-16I apologize for the delay, though I admit, Florida makes for a very pleasant delay. =)

I wanted to tell you about how my transformation unto understanding began.  It began with the Lord, but Ms. Lynn was one of His instruments.  When I was about 12 or 13 years old, I was in an art class and I overheard her speaking with a friend about something new to me – predestination; and though I never meant to eavesdrop, Lynn did.  Our friend was quite as astonished as I was that God would pick and choose not only who would go to Heaven, but also who would go to Hell.  She kept reiterating “But I thought God loved everyone.”  She meant no argument, she was only confused as I was, and Lynn told us that the Bible was actually quite clear about predestination.  All we had to do was take a good look at Romans and Ephesians.

She explained that predestination is like adoption; when you go to an orphanage, you have a given right to choose whichever child you prefer, you don’t have to take them all.  And of course underlying that is God’s perfect sovereign right to do whatever He wants, partly because He is Master and Creator of all things.  Shouldn’t a great composer be allowed to design a masterpiece according to his own whims?  Those who play the symphony have no right to complain or decide what it should sound like.  Even more biblically, we can look at the potter who forms the clay to be an honorable vessel or a dishonorable vessel.  The clay cannot speak, the clay cannot move, only the potter shapes and controls it.

I’ve gotten a little carried away, but my point is that it’s not only possible for God to choose whom He wills to save, but that He does.