Philemon 1:8-25

Read Philemon 1:8-25

Such a short and poignant letter. What a personal touch for a specific moment in time, involving one single individual. The first seven verses, that were in the last post, really set the stage and soften up Philemon for what Paul was going to request, don’t you think?

So who is Onesimus? He’s not a common character that we remember, but perhaps we should. I did a little research. Whether or not Wikipedia is reliable, Philemon was a slave master, and Onesimus was a slave that had run away from him. At some point, Onesimus crossed paths with Paul and became a follower of Jesus.

We see from Paul’s words to Philemon that Onesimus is now coming back with Paul’s “own heart”. Onesimus is now a “beloved brother”. Paul believes Onesimus will be helpful to Philemon and encourages him to welcome Onesimus as more than a slave.  This will mean that Philemon will first need to forgive Onesimus for running away. Paul is intervening on Onesimus’ behalf, much like Jesus will intervene for us. 

Forgiveness can be difficult. Is there someone in your life that has hurt you or someone you love? Have you been able to forgive them? Forgiveness is not condoning the hurt or forgetting that it ever happened. Forgiveness is deeper than that and frees us from a bondage to the memory. We may see the person or we may just cleanse our self of the of hurt without face to face contact. Most importantly, we must forgive as our Father in heaven forgives.

You’ve probably heard it said that a hurt we feel from what someone else has done to us only hurts us. The person who hurt us is not wallowing or struggling. They may not even remember hurting us. We have to release the power of the hurt and be free. Forgiveness. It’s hard but so worth it.

The book of Philemon really illustrates the importance of forgiveness in our faithful living. It also strikes me as very special. God is a very big God, yet he works his miracles and changes the lives of the common people, one at a time. He cares for all of us.

Let’s pray. Lord thank you for Onesimus’ heart. As he sought after something different for his life, he found you. His heart was open and you orchestrated his redemption. May we have a hungry heart like Onesimus that searches for you. Find us Lord where we are. Cleanse us of the hurts we are holding on to. Help us to forgive those who have hurt us and who keep us in bondage. Refresh us today and fill us with your perfect peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Philemon 1:1-7

Read Philemon 1:1-7

Philemon is the shortest book of the Bible having only one chapter. We’ll go ahead and break this chapter into two readings. While it is a short letter, there are gems of wisdom we can glean from it. Amidst his chains, Paul writes with love and encouragement to Philemon. We should all show our gratefulness to our friends and family.

It is obvious from his greeting that Paul loves and admires Philemon for his work.  Philemon was a slave owner and only recently became a follower of Jesus during Paul’s missionary journey to Ephesus.  It is Paul’s prayer that Philemon will put into action the generosity that comes from our faith.

What would it look like if we were to take this hope and apply it to our life. How are we being generous because of our faithfulness? Think on that for a moment. We, by all that we have been given, should be the most generous of all.

Our faith gives us the assurance that we will have all that we need. It also gives us a grateful heart that prompts us into action.  We need to be in communication and fellowship with other believers and non-believers. That is crucial.  We support each other, we complement each other, we give generously to each other, and we share the truth of Jesus.

But what about the times when we struggle? We need to be like Paul and forge on despite our chains and rely on God’s provision. We have confidence in our God, and he will never leave us or forsake us. I feel sad for people who don’t have that assurance, especially when trials come.

Let’s pray. Lord you have given me so much. My time, my talents and abilities, and treasures are yours. Give me a generous heart. Chip away at my hard heart that I may see others like you do and love them despite their issues.Walk beside me today, give me the eyes to see and ears to hear. May I be bold and unafraid like Paul and ready for action. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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