Sunday December 19, 2021

Sunday – December 19th – Philemon 1:22-25      -----    
1:22) But, meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you.
23) Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you,
24) as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers.
25) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

The Daily Walk Bible inspirational thought for today:

    Happy Sunday to you! Today is also the fourth Sunday in Advent and the candle for this weekend represents the love God expresses for us as individuals. Love is an important theme throughout the scriptures. In the New American Standard Version of the Bible love is mentioned 541 times. We are reminded in John 3:16 that “God so love the world”. Jesus stated the two greatest commandments are for us to “love God… and love our neighbors”. During this time of year, we sing about how love came down at Christmas. The Psalms instruct us to love God and hate evil. The love spoken of in the Bible is not a carte blanche to love without accountability or with a blind eye. If that were the case, then there is no need for a savior. Jesus comes because we have failed in how we love others, and as a result sin has overtaken humanity. I want others to love me enough to hold me accountability and to lovingly walk alongside me with encouragement, correction, and when necessary, discipline. To allow me to “do my own thing” when it is against God’s will - than that is actual the absence and opposite of love.
   In our pick verses today, Paul concludes his letter to Philemon. Convinced that Philemon will do as Paul has requested on based on their mutual Christian love for Onesimus, Paul moves on to his closing greetings. Paul’s request of a guest room to be made available is an indication that Paul is anticipation a release for prison and a return visit to Colossae and specifically Philemon’s home. Paul understands the power and importance of a praying church community and is setting in motion this heartful lifting of prayer on his behalf and Epaphras who was with Paul as a prisoner of the Gospel. This is a subtle reminder that Paul was not the only prisoner held by Rome under the suspicion of treason against the Empire. Countless and unnamed martyrs of Christianity have suffered at the hands of those opposed to the good news of God’s love for us. May we lean on the Holy Spirit and each other to remain strong in our faith when challenging times come our way.

  Pastor Jim
Monday – December 20th – Introduction to Hebrews
*Tyndale. The Daily Walk Bible NLT (Daily Walk: Full Size) (Kindle Locations 65566-65567). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.
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