First things, we will be starting off in Leviticus chapters 1-5 this week. I’ve never read Leviticus and am truly excited about it. I always avoided it thinking it would be a boring list of something or other. We’ll see. :)
I struggled with Philemon this week. I didn’t struggle in reading it, it’s so short I was able to read it sometimes a number of times a day. But I read it and read it and still nothing was ‘hitting’ me. I was actually wondering why God chose for this book to be included in the scriptures. Part of me is still wondering and will be pleased to read what you all learned, and part of me did see a few things. Nothing big and new, but convicting still. Here are a couple points I’ve pondered:
vs)6, ” that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” When people watch me they should see Christ working in me. That’s what makes it count when I witness to them. Whatever I might say is backed up in action. When others see that action in me it really does show the power of the gospel. They don’t just hear it, they see it.
vs)7, “For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.” By living out my faith and having that love for Christ and believers I am a tremendous encouragement to other Christians. It’s refreshing to me when I see someone else passionate about their walk with Christ, so I can assume that others would be encouraged by seeing the same thing in me.
vs)8&9, “Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, yet for loves sake I rather appeal to you…” The nice thing about when Christians live with Christ-like attitudes is that we need only to be asked. We see a need and we fill it. In a world where Christ is center Christians don’t’ have to be told or hounded to meet a need, because the love in them removes the need for commands and creates a willingness and desire to help.
vs11) ” who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me.” This perhaps was my favourite verse from the book. It’s just another testament to the fact that the gospel changes everything. You could know a person for years and not really have anything in common. You just know who they are and that’s about it, then they get saved and all of a sudden you have so much in common. Jenn of http://www.jennrambleson.wordpress.com is a perfect example of this. We went to the same school, my sister even played v-ball with her a few times but she was just another person in the hall at school or on the court. Now she’s saved and we’re friends and sharing notes and discussing verses, meeting up at church and different ministries. It’s like night & day. Love it.
Also, as many of you know, I tend to talk to people I don’t know when I’m out and about. For example, while at Frenchy’s with a friend I met up with an older lady and she was letting me know how to get a stain out of a tablecloth. She had an accent so I asked where she was from. Well, she’s from the Netherlands and she’s been here for 30 odd years and is best friends with her next door neighbour of the full 30 odd years, etc… She was a great lady and we enjoyed our little chat but that’s where it ended. When I mention something about the Lord providing the stuff I needed at Frenchy’s there is no recognition of spiritual things it seemed. But, me and my little family eating out in a restaurant and praying before our meal has caused us to meet a few people. There have been a few times when another couple has pulled up a chair beside us and asked us point blank if we were born again because they saw us pray, because they were too. Well there’s a conversation starter! :) Then we instantly feel a connection and proceed to have a great conversation and really get to know each other. Both the Frenchy’s lady and the restaurant people were very nice, it’s just that meeting one was more encouraging and more ‘profitable’ than the other.
I’ve walked into stores that were playing Christian music and made a point to ask them if they were Christians. When they are it’s encouraging to them to be asked and also encouraging to me.
I’ve stopped a guy in the airport who was wearing a Christian t-shirt and asked if he was saved. He wasn’t, he found the shirt in a second hand store, but he said he had been stopped and asked that a lot after putting it on. Not only does that open up a great witnessing opportunity but it also is encouraging to know there were others in that airport who were Christians and excited enough about it to ask someone else if they were too. Encouraging.
Onesimus was the same I guess. He left a non Christian and was returning home a completely different person able to encourage and connect with his former acquaintance in a totally new and meaningful way.
And finally vs 21) ” Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.” As a Christian I should be giving %110 to the things of the Lord, not my leftovers. Often we Christians chug-a-lug along each day and use whatever steam is left to get through our ‘ministries’. And to have it that people could count on us to give all we’ve got and more when asked to do something for the Lord is becoming a rarity.
Well folks, that’s all she wrote. Maybe I thought that the theme of Philemon was ‘encourage’. maybe. I’m just thinking that after writing all I did. Live for Christ like you mean to and you’ll encourage others and be encouraged yourself. Maybe that’s it. ;)
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