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.