Today’s Reading: Philemon
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Key Verses: Philemon 15-16
For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave — a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
This was written as a personal letter in Paul’s own handwriting, a one-to-one letter to his friend Philemon whom he led to Christ several years before (19b). The letter had to do with a runaway slave named Onesimus, who had belonged to Philemon, perhaps before Philemon had become a believer in Jesus Christ. Now, Paul has found Onesimus in Rome and led him to receive Jesus as his Saviour and Lord.
The content of this short letter reveals that Paul had a great love for each of these men, master and slave. He knows that the love of Jesus, which changes everything, will alter their relationship forever. They are now linked in the Holy Spirit as true brothers! We learn from this letter that God’s love in Christ is the only means whereby we find true freedom, ultimate respect for each other, and genuine love! In another letter, not to an individual but to us all, Paul writes, “In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3b). This is truly revolutionary!!!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father God, I thank You for Jesus, Your Son and my Saviour and Lord! He, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, is continuing the revolution in my life. I pray for grace to love others as Paul loved Philemon and Onesimus. I know that this is only possible by Your indwelling Holy Spirit. Fill me again, Holy Spirit, with the love of God, I pray fervently in the Name of the Person who loved all of us with a perfect love, Jesus Christ. Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
Paul’s personal letter to Philemon has inspired me throughout 53+ years of television ministry. The highest number of personal letters I wrote in any one day was 50. Most days I would average 10 letters. I would record them on what was called a dictaphone, and my secretary, Valerie James Battaglia (now these indispensable people are called assistants), would transcribe them; I would sign them, and then they would be mailed. For some of my letters she would take shorthand and then type them. Ron just calculated for me what may be true, that I’ve written over 100,000 personal letters through the years. Just to think of this makes me feel very much fulfilled. One personal letter, the memory of which I cherish, was in answer to a 14-year-old boy named David Boyd from St. Catherines, Ontario. David wrote to me in the late sixties asking for our Crossroads Bible Correspondence Course, which we used to offer to new believers. I remember marking his examination paper and giving him 100%. Later, after years of study and ordination as a minister, he became Dean of Men at the Bible College from which I had graduated years before. He helped found a Bible College in Israel, and much more!
Yours for the joy of personal letters, phone calls, e-mails, texts, etc.,
P.S. Here is the world’s oldest city gate through which one can still walk. It’s in the wall of a 4,000-year-old Canaanite city, Ashkelon. It dates to the time of Abraham. Pictured in front of the gate are some of my friends from a past tour to Israel.