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.

Mornings With God

If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with the Spirit.

[Gal 5:25 NET]

The best way to get evil out of our hearts is to let good in.

We have it in Paul’s counsel: “Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” If the Spirit leads us, it will be toward more and more of Christ; for He will kindle in our hearts more love for the Saviour, and we shall become more and more deeply interested in the work of Christ.

The result will be that we shall care less and less for the world.

Dr. Chalmers preached a sermon on these words of Paul’s, calling it “The expulsive Power of a New Affliction.” A great love for Christ in a heart will expel all other loves that are not holy and pure. The evil things that are to be expelled are named in this same chapter.

It is a terribly black list. The only way to keep them out is to get so filled with the things in the white list, that there will be no room for the evil things of the black list. Light drives out darkness. Love expels hate. Holiness displaces sin.

Mornings With God

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

[1 Cor 13:13 NET]

Love is the greatest of all the Spirit’s gifts.

The power to love is the best of all the powers God has bestowed upon us. The lesson of love is taught us in this chapter in words we should memorize and never forget. “Love suffereth long, and is kind.” Love is very patient with those who may not be gentle or thoughtful.

Nothing makes it bitter or resentful. It is kind, not to the good only, but also to the evil. “Love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly.” It is humble and lowly, not proud. It is not envious of those who seem to be more highly favored. It is sweet–tempered, does not fly into a passion, and never acts rudely. “Love seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil.”

It forgets self altogether, and seeks only the good of others. It sees the good in others, and not the faults and defects. It does not rejoice in the failure or misfortune of others, but in their success. It beareth all things, endureth all things – never faileth.

Mornings With God

Therefore you are without excuse, whoever you are, when you judge someone else. For on whatever grounds you judge another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge practice the same things.

[Rom 2:1 NET]

We are not judged according to our advantages, but by what we make of these advantages.

Indeed the more light we have the greater is our responsibility and the more will be required of us. If we sit apart, in the comfort of our superior privileges, and judge those who have not our privileges and live unworthily, we must beware, for in condemning others we condemn ourselves.

It is a good thing to be born in a Christian land and to be brought up in a Christian home, but if we do not live according to our advantages, it would have been better for us if we had been born in a heathen land.

That was what Jesus said about the people in Capernaum and the other cities where He had lived and preached and wrought, doing His works of love and grace. He said it would be more tolerable for Sodom than for those cities, because having the privileges, they had rejected them.

We need to lay the lesson to heart, for we have Christ ever on our streets.

Mornings With God

After the disturbance had ended, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them and saying farewell, he left to go to Macedonia.

[Acts 20:1 NET]

Driven from one place, Paul only went to preach in another. No persecution ever quenched his zeal. A Hindu said Christians were like certain fruit–trees – clubbing only brought down the fruit. This was true of Paul.

It ought to be true of every Christian. The more people oppose us and seek to injure us, the more love should be revealed in our lives.

Paul’s preaching might not have pleased some present–day congregations that insist on having abbreviated sermons. On one occasion at least Paul kept his congregation a good deal over the thirty–minute standard. It was well past midnight, and he would not have stopped then if something had not happened.

We can scarcely blame Eutychus for getting sleepy, and it must have made a great commotion when he fell. But even this did no more than interrupt the preaching – it did not stop it, for Paul continued till daybreak, and then they had the Lord’s Supper before he left them.

Mornings With God

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon,

[Luke 23:44 NET]

He died in darkness, that when we walk in the valley of the shadow of death, the light of glory may shine about us. Death for the Christian has no bitterness, because Jesus drained the curse from it.

Mrs. Browning has pictured, with rare beauty, the effect of Christ’s death upon two seraphim who lingered a little behind the hosts of heaven that had gathered about the cross. One of them is troubled by the thought that men will now have more reason to love God than even the angels have.

“Oh! Not with this blood on us – and this face,

Still, haply, pale with sorrow that it bore

In our behalf, and tender evermore

With nature all our own, upon us gazing –

Nor yet with these forgiving hands upraising

Their un–reproachful wounds, alone to bless!

Alas, Creator! shall we love Thee less

Than mortals shall?”

Mornings With God

He was committed to following the Lord; he even removed the high places and Asherah poles from Judah.

[2 Chr 17:6 NET]

There is a bad lifting up and a good lifting up. Some people are made vain by prosperity. The temptation for us when first called to do any work, if we accomplish it with some measure of success, is to become proud.

It ought to make us humble to learn that God is using us, is entrusting us with something of His to minister to others, and is blessing the work which we are doing for Him. Every favor we receive should make us more earnest in doing the will of God.

Too often, as money comes in, and prosperity increases, people get so absorbed in these new gifts of God that the Giver Himself fades out of their vision.

We should never forget that every new kindness which comes to us is a new evidence of God’s thought for us, and that because of it we should love Him the more and devote ourselves the more earnestly to His work.

If only we thus see the hand of God in every new mercy and goodness that comes to us, our hearts will be lifted up in the ways of the Lord.