Morning & Evening e-Sword Study Bible

February 16
“I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.” — Php_4:11
These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. “Ill weeds grow apace.” Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us. Paul says, “I have learned … to be content;” as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave-a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon at Rome. We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him, if we too might by any means attain unto his good degree. Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented with learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content.
“Thy good Spirit.” — Neh_9:20
Common, too common is the sin of forgetting the Holy Spirit. This is folly and ingratitude. He deserves well at our hands, for he is good, supremely good. As God, he is good essentially. He shares in the threefold ascription of Holy, holy, holy, which ascends to the Triune Jehovah. Unmixed purity and truth, and grace is he. He is good benevolently, tenderly bearing with our waywardness, striving with our rebellious wills; quickening us from our death in sin, and then training us for the skies as a loving nurse fosters her child. How generous, forgiving, and tender is this patient Spirit of God. He is good operatively. All his works are good in the most eminent degree: he suggests good thoughts, prompts good actions, reveals good truths, applies good promises, assists in good attainments, and leads to good results. There is no spiritual good in all the world of which he is not the author and sustainer, and heaven itself will owe the perfect character of its redeemed inhabitants to his work. He is good officially; whether as Comforter, Instructor, Guide, Sanctifier, Quickener, or Intercessor, he fulfils his office well, and each work is fraught with the highest good to the church of God. They who yield to his influences become good, they who obey his impulses do good, they who live under his power receive good. Let us then act towards so good a person according to the dictates of gratitude. Let us revere his person, and adore him as God over all, blessed for ever; let us own his power, and our need of him by waiting upon him in all our holy enterprises; let us hourly seek his aid, and never grieve him; and let us speak to his praise whenever occasion occurs. The church will never prosper until more reverently it believes in the Holy Ghost. He is so good and kind, that it is sad indeed that he should be grieved by slights and negligences.

Rylisms e-Sword Study Bible

February 16
The Greatest Mystery Ever Uncovered
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col_1:27).
By now the Great Hall of Truth had filled with several other groups who had also journeyed to this place called Grace; a great host from every tribe and nation, eager to hear the truth about God’s Grace.
“Our next speaker is a man from the great city of Colossae,” the Moderator said. “He is a widely traveled and very successful businessman. He also has the distinction of having started a church in his home, which grew into a thriving community of believers who are known and loved around the world.
“Please join me in welcoming Philemon of Colossae, follower of Jesus and friend of Paul.”
Respectful applause filled the auditorium.
“Thank you; thank you so very much,” Philemon started. “It is my great honor to be one of the invited speakers for today’s forum, and I would like to use my time to openly tell you a great secret – one that has now been made known far and wide.
I learned about this from my dear friend, Paul, while I was on a business trip to the port city of Ephesus. It was there that I became a follower of our Lord Jesus, and a lifelong friend to Paul.
He wrote me a letter, and also one to the church that met in my home. I would like to read a brief passage from that letter.
‘God has given me the responsibility of serving His church by proclaiming the word of God in its fullness.’ Paul wrote. ‘This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. And the secret is this — Christ in you is the hope of glory!’” (Col_1:25-27)
“The hope of glory?” I asked Paul when I read this.
“Yes!” he eagerly replied, “Christ in you — His presence and power in your life — is the only way you will ever become all that God has created you to be. That is the great secret that is now made known to all!
“And this is why we proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully grown, mature and complete in Christ. It is to this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me.” (Col_1:28-29).
“My friends,” Philemon said to all of us in the Hall, “This is the great Life Lesson I learned from Paul; and it has made all the difference for me in everything I do.”
Perhaps this illustration will help you see it clearly for yourself.
I am holding a glove in my hand. It is made of the finest Corinthian leather, and stitched together with hand-woven silk thread from the Orient. The attention to detail is impeccable in every way.
But this glove was made for a purpose; it was made to be worn on my hand. Apart from me this glove can do nothing. Despite its high quality of design and materials, its fashion and its form – it is nothing until I place my hand inside of it. Once that occurs, then and only then does the glove fulfill its purpose. And with my hand placed securely inside the glove, the glove can now do whatever my hand can do while wearing it.
Thus it could be said that my hand in the glove is the glove’s hope of glory; that is, the glove’s only opportunity of fully becoming what it was made to be.
The same is true and you and me. We were made for a purpose; one that will never be realized apart from our Lord Jesus Christ. Once Christ puts His presence and power into our lives – then we can do whatever Christ can do through us! Paul’s timeless words become our very own, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!’
This is our hope of glory!
In Christ – the defeated become victorious; the weak become strong; the poor become rich! In Christ – the lame are made to leap and dance; the blind are made to see; the enslaved are set free and rejoice!
In Christ – the lowly are raised up; the brokenhearted are healed; sinners are forgiven, and backsliders are restored! In Christ –dreamers are envisioned; builders are empowered; and all are strengthened with might in their inner man!
In Christ – in Christ alone! By Grace – by Grace alone!!
The Great Hall of Truth erupted into a thunderous ovation, and great grace was upon us all.

Devotional Sermons e-Sword Study Bible

February 16
Showing It Before Him
“I showed before him my trouble.” Psa_142:2
What the trouble of the psalmist was it is impossible for us to say. It was so bitter in its onset that his spirit was overwhelmed within him.
In one of his sermons, Mr. Spurgeon touched on our ignorance of Paul’s thorn in the flesh. He suggests that perhaps it is unspecified so that each of us may apply it to ourselves. And I think that the vagueness of the Bible is often of a deliberate intention in order that room may be left within its words for every variety of human need.
When Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled,” He was not contemplating exemption for His own followers. He knew there would be troubles in their lives; what He enjoined was an untroubled heart. And one great help to an untroubled heart amid the thronging troubles of our lives is to be found in this practice of the psalmist. A brave man does not show his troubles before all the world. He tries to hide them and keep a smiling face in order that he might not be a discouragement to others. But to show before the Lord our troubles in the quiet moment when the door is shut is one of the secrets of serenity.
The Comfort of Having a Friend to Listen
In one sense, one of the duties of friendship is just to lend an ear. It is an untold comfort when troubles are depressing us to have someone in whom we can confide. A brother is born for adversity, not just that he may lend a helping hand. A helping hand may be a blessed thing, but a helping heart is often better. To have somebody to whom we can open our hearts in the certainty of perfect understanding is one of the choicest gifts of human life. Visitors among the poor have experienced that. How often they bring comfort by just listening! Poor folk, toiling away bravely, discover an easing of their trouble when they can pour it all, if only for an hour, into a listening and appreciative ear. Now it was that easing which David found in God. He showed before Him his trouble. He did not brood on it in solitary bitterness; he quietly laid it before God. And though the trouble didn’t disappear any more than the thorn of the Apostle, he gained a sweet serenity of spirit which made him capable of bearing anything.
And, indeed, that is the real victory of faith and of all who quietly wait on God. It may not banish all the trouble, but it always brings the power to bear it beautifully. There is a deep-rooted feeling in the heart that if we are God’s, we ought to have exemption. Troubles that afflict the faithless soul ought to be averted from the faithful. But the age-long experience of God’s children and all the sufferings of His beloved Son proclaim that this is not so. David was not protected from life’s troubles, nor was Paul or our blessed Savior. David knew, in all its bitterness, what a thing of trouble our human life may be. His victory, and that of all the saints who have learned to show their trouble before God, was an inward peace that the world can never give and the darkest mile can never take away. God does not save His children from that dark mile. He saves His children in that dark mile. Whenever they show their trouble before Him, He shows His lovingkindness to them. He keeps them from an embittered heart; He puts beneath them the everlasting arm; He makes them more than conquerors in Christ.
God Cares
One feels, too, that David, like Abraham, had seen the day of Christ. His personal trouble was of concern to God. One hears it said so often that in the Old Testament the nation was the unit, and one remembers right through the Old Testament the insistence on the majesty of God. Yet here is a troubled and persecuted soul who dares to think that the God of all the earth has a heart responsive to his very own trouble. He never dreamed it was a thing too petty for the concern of the infinite Jehovah. With a quiet confidence he showed it before Him who was the Maker of heaven and earth. And the wonderful thing is how this faith of David in the individual loving care of God was confirmed by great David’s greater Son. Not a sparrow can fall without our Father. The very hairs of our head are numbered. If we, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto our children, how much more our Father? There would be no surprise in that precious teaching for one who could write in childlike trust, “I showed before him my trouble.”