Mornings With God

Certain which went out from us have troubled you with words.

~ Acts 15:24

There are some people who are always troubling others with words, as “certain” had been doing at Antioch. There are contentious persons still, who are never so much in their element as when they are picking a quarrel.

There are those who think they are fond of Bible study, but who really are fond only of quibbling over controverted passages. Those who are set to instruct such Christians should deal with them most gently and patiently. The religion of Christ never lays needless burdens on any disciples.

There are certain essential things, and these should be plainly set forth. Then there are things not essential, and these should not be bound on the backs of the followers of Christ.

A distinguished clergyman says that the text, “Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with thy God,” is the greatest saying of the Old Testament. It presents in the simplest words the whole of what God requires. Surely men need not require more of others than God does!

Mornings With God

Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

~ Acts 13:2

The live church is always a missionary church. It is not content to have the gospel only for itself, but wants others to have it, too. The church at Antioch was prosperous.

The people showed their love for Christ by sending money to Christians in Palestine who were suffering from famine. They showed it further by sending missionaries. Barnabas and Saul were chosen for this mission. The Spirit named the missionaries, and then the church ordained them and sent them out.

We have in this chapter a sad story of a young missionary helper who belonged to the party sent out from Antioch. For a time he was faithful, while there was no danger and while they were in a civilized country. But when they passed over into a wild region, among rough people, John Mark left the missionaries and returned home.

We should never abandon any work we begin for our Master. When it begins to cost, we should begin to rejoice.

Mornings With God

If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me; but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee.

~ 2 Sam 10:11

Here we get a good lesson on the duty of helping each other.  

If one army saw that the battle was too much for their brethren in another division, they were to hasten to their help. The duty is the same always. If I am strong and you are struggling in weakness, I must hasten to your help.

Loving our neighbor as ourself means helping him when he is in trouble. There is a Christian communism, which uses its abundance of whatever kind to supply the lack in others.

“If I should see  
A brother languishing in sore distress,  
And I should turn and leave him comfortless,  
When I might be  
A messenger of hope and happiness –  
How could I ask to have what I denied,  
In my own hour of bitterness supplied?”

Mornings With God

I with the finger of God cast out devils.

~ Luke 11:20
We need to have One stronger than the strongest to guard us against danger. There are robbers who go about seeking to take from us the treasures of our lives. It will not do to have a pigmy on guard. If we do, the robbers will overpower him and rob us. The only safe thing is to have Christ as the Guardian of our lives. He is able to defend us against all enemies.

It is not enough to have the devil in us driven out; an empty house is not protected. The evil will return and take possession again. That is the way some persons try to change their lives. They cease doing things that are wrong, but put nothing in the empty place. Soon they tire of the new way of living, and go back to the old evil things. The only way to give up the evil and fill life and heart with good things. Empty the heart of hatred, bitterness, envy, and jealousy, and let Christ in and live there and make it His home. Napoleon used to say, “to replace is to conquer.”

Mornings With God

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.

~ 1 Pet 5:5

Perhaps there is special need for this counsel in these days. Nothing is more beautiful than to see young persons attentive and respectful to the old. It may not be easy to take slow steps with an infirm aged person, but the time lost in the journey is well spent.

Max O’Rell somewhere has a word about the attention of a daughter to her father. He speaks of it as one of the most beautiful things one sees, and perhaps as rare as beautiful. Mothers get a great deal more attention from their children than fathers do. That is well – they deserve it; but fathers, too, hunger for love and for kindness from their children, and it is well worthwhile for a bright girl or a happy boy to give a tired father a measure of care and attention now and then.

Humility is the keynote of this chapter. The young are exhorted to be the subject to the elder.

We are all exhorted to gird ourselves with humility; then we are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.

Mornings With God

The Lord my God hath given me rest on every side.
~ 1 Kings 5:4

This was part of the preparation for the building of the temple. Times of quiet in one’s life should not be idle times. There is other work to do then. These are days for temple building.

True living is not all activity struggle, conflict, gathering money, toiling with one’s hands.

Building of character is the great work of life. This goes on best in the quiet. We ought not to wait for idleness to compel us to be still; we should get the quiet into our life even in our busiest times. We must have a restful spirit if we would build up the inner temple. There should be “silent times” in every day’s life.

The secret of Daniel’s noble character, while carrying a great part of the burden of the kingdom of Babylon was that he never forsook the place of prayer. Not even fear of the lion’s den could make him neglect devotion.

There is no other secret of a true and noble life amid the world’s strifes and trials. We must keep quiet within, that we may build up in our hearts the temple of God.

Mornings With God

He saith unto them, Come ye after Me, and I will make you fishers of men.

~ Matt 4:19

We must be ready to break any ties which Christ bids us to break, in order to become one with Him. We must become His disciples before we can become workers.

The first thing always is personal attachment to Christ, the disengaging of ourselves from all other masters, and the devoting of ourselves altogether to Him.

When we have entered His company we receive from His hand a work to do. The world is like a deep, black sea, its black waters of sin being full of lost souls. The work of Christ and His followers is to draw these lost ones out of the dark floods and save them.

Sometimes the waters in which these lost ones lie are very foul, but we ought not to shrink from our work on this account. Christ Himself went down into the blackest waters of sin to find and save the lost. Once He drew out a “woman that was a sinner”; another time it was a publican; and again, it was a thief dying on a cross.

Mornings With God

As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.

~ Isa 66:13

Every one knows how a mother comforts her child. It is not so much by words as by love’s tenderness.

In great sorrow we do not care to hear arguments and reasons – not even verses of Scripture; we want simply to rest in silence on the bosom of love. Jesus put God’s comfort among the Beatitudes: “Blessed are they that morn, for they shall be comforted.” There must be something very precious, very rich in comfort that makes it worth while even to have sorrow to get it.

Some of us think we are comforting people when we sit down beside them in their trouble and sympathize with them, as we call it, going down into the depths with them, but doing nothing to lift them up. To comfort is to strengthen.

We comfort others truly when we make them stronger to endure, when we enable them to pass through their sorrows victoriously. That is the way Christ comforts. He sympathizes with them, but it is that He may make them strong to endure.

Mornings With God

We know that all things work together for good to them that love God.

– Rom 8:28

People often ask how there can be good in everything.

Here is the answer. “We know that to them that love God, all things will work together so as to bring good to us.

It may not seem that this or that particular experience can yield good. But God is able to combine this seemingly harmful thing with other things, and from the combination bring good. The selling of Joseph by his brothers was a black crime, and an observer would have said the evil never could be turned to good. Yet we know the sequel. “The Lord meant it for good.”

A lady showed Mr. Ruskin a handkerchief on which some careless person had dropped a drop of ink. Mr. Ruskin took the handkerchief away and returned it in a few days with an India ink engraving on it, using the ugly blot as the basis of the design.

So God will take the blots in our lives and change them into beauty, if only we love Him and are faithful.

Mornings With God

For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, have not ceased praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

[Col 1:9 NET]

Some people pray for their friends, but ask only for things of lower or less important – that they may have good health, that they may get on well in worldly affairs, that they may prosper socially.

These are proper enough blessings to ask for our friends, but they are not the first things.

Paul, in praying for his friends, asks for them the highest and greatest things. He requests that they may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding; that they may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing; that they may bear fruit in every good work; that they may increase in the knowledge of God; and that they may be strengthened with all power unto all patience and long–suffering with joy.

Could we do better than to pray Paul’s prayer for our friends? These are blessings, which we know they need, and which God is willing to give them.

We need never fear that in asking for such things we are seeking for blessings that will perish in the using.