The GT Weekend! ~ Philemon Week 1
February 18, 2023
Rest your soul through reflective journaling,
and worshiping the Creator who
longs for intimacy with each of us!
This Week's Journeys
1 Thessalonians 5:14-21
Prayer Journal Entry
I’m so grateful to know I’m not strong enough to separate myself from You, Lord – nothing is – but sometimes the darkness of the world makes me forget truth. So many are struggling, including myself, and depression seems to cover society like a weighted blanket.
As I meditate on Your Word and Your character, Lord, I ask You to bring to mind verses of comfort for my soul and encouragement. I know that ultimately, I will triumph by Your hand (Psalm 92:4); I just need spiritual refreshment, as do my brothers and sisters.
As I await your whispers of comfort, I will do as You commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and rejoice in Your love, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything. Hear my prayer, oh Lord, and do not hide from my plea for help. (Psalm 55:1)
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Worship Through Song
Paul is particular with his letters when it comes to his greetings and closings. Like bookends, he illustrates unity in both. Philemon 1:1-4 is a great example of how Paul sees himself in relation to Christ, how he sees his intended audience as family in Christ, and how he remains in constant prayer for every brother and sister he encounters.
In just the opening sentences of his letter, Paul demonstrates the kind of attitude we are meant to have toward our believing brothers and sisters. He closes his letters with the same grace and reverence toward each believer.
It’s important to remember that churches in Paul and Philemon’s day didn’t own properties or buildings in which to meet, they gathered in homes for worship, preaching, and shared fellowship. These churches were intimate, tight communities that depended on one another and supported each other in daily life.
With this understanding, when we consider Paul’s terminology of “fellow laborers,” “fellow prisoners,” “coworkers,” and “sister/brother”, we gain a deeper appreciation for what these terms truly meant in real life. These terms support the intimacy of a small home church and the true compassion Paul had for these believers.
Are we seeing others this way when we show up to our local churches on Sunday? Are we compassionately loving one another by first seeing them as beloved family members? This weekend, ask the Lord to prepare your heart to see your church family through new eyes!
The Bible was written by men inspired by the hand of God. God wastes nothing in our lives and certainly wastes no words in the Bible. In studying Paul’s letter to Philemon, Rebekah noted how Paul directed his audience’s attention to God’s call for unity between Jewish and Gentile communities through Christ simply by combining two common greetings from both peoples: “grace to you” (Jewish greeting) and “peace to you” (Gentile greeting).
With the simplicity of a greeting, God reminds us of the work Jesus finished with His death and resurrection as He, the God of Peace and Grace, reconciled sinful humanity back to Himself by paying our debt.
Because of His perfect redemptive work on our behalf to bring us peace, we are then empowered to spread His peace and grace to others, along with His love. (Ephesians 2:14)
As we share His love in our everyday lives, we carry out Jesus’ command to love others in the same way He has loved us with grace, peace, mercy, forgiveness, and compassion. (John 13:34-35)
In God’s hands everything is connected and purposeful, especially including our surrendered life to Him. If that isn’t something worth rejoicing over, then I don’t know what is!
The story of the widow who feeds Elijah and her family on God’s provision fascinates me! (1 Kings 17:8-16) The physical drought their land was experiencing is interesting to me as I consider the spiritual, emotional, and mental drought of our post-COVID world. The widow in this story was on her last bit of food and prepared to die with her son once it was gone.
Many today are feeling that same devastation following the COVID pandemic. Depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and other mental health concerns are at an all-time high. Just as Elijah served as a vessel to rescue this woman and her son from a seemingly hopeless end, we too must be the instruments of rescue for those around us as we carry around the hope of Christ.
We are the vessels, like Elijah and even like the jars that held the flour and oil, and the Holy Spirit is God’s provision inside us. Under Christ’s leadership and by His Spirit, we have the power to bring restoration from spiritual drought one soul at a time, but this requires surrendering ourselves to God’s ways.
Join Us On The Journey!
on the daily?
Registration gives you free, every day access to encouragement, weekly worship prompts, and daily Bible study that applies to real life.
Can We Pray With You?
Prayer is central to our ministry as believers in Jesus as we carry eachother’s burdens and intercede for one another. Our team is honored to share the work of praying alongside you!