Category Archives: Philemon

2 Kings 18; Philemon; Hosea 11; Psalm 132-134

It’s preposterous. It’s quite outrageous that Paul would ask such a thing. Asking Philemon to take back his runaway slave and, not only forgive him, but accept him as a brother. And that Paul would pay for whatever the slave Onesimus owed? The very notion is absurd.

“So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.” Philemon 17-18

It’s extravagant. The Lord continues to love and have mercy on a nation that turns its back on Him again and again.

The Lord declares: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me.” Hosea 11:1-2a

“I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man – the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath.” Hosea 11:9 (emphasis added)

Jesus’ love for me is just as extravagant. He continues to love me no matter how many times I pull away, no matter how many times I am willfully disobedient.    He provides far beyond what I deserve.

In many ways what Jesus does is preposterous as well. He intercedes with the Father on my behalf, pleading my case and presenting me as his beloved sister. Jesus stands up for me, the way Paul stood up for Onesimus. Jesus pays what I owe.

Why does He do such things?  Because He is the Holy One among us.




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Numbers 2; Psalms 36; Ecclesiastes 12; Philemon 1

“I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon, because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people. And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. That is why I am boldly asking a favor of you. Consider this as a request from me-Paul, an old man and now also a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus. I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison…He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.” Philemon 1 NLT

I don’t know what I would do without my brothers and sisters in Christ. Just like Paul was sending Onesimus to Philemon, God has been faithful to put people in my life. A mentor in my path when my world was shaking…friends to do bible study with and dig deeper into God’s word. I pray that I can be that for others. I pray that my kids would have deep friendships and mentors to encourage them in their faith. There is nothing that brings more joy to my heart than to watch my twelve year old daughter worship God. She sits in the front row at church raising her hands in surrender, not concerned about how she might look to others. It took me all of my 41 years to reach that point. But, I am thankful that God is still working on me.

“Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky…Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken.” Ecclesiastes 12:1&2;6 NLT

Thank you Father that it is never too late to turn back to you. You have good plans for my life. Help me not to look back in regret, but forward in hope. I love you. Amen.

“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.” Psalms 36:5-7 NLT


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2 Chronicles 15-16; 1 Kings 16; Philemon

…The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you obey the Lord, you will find him2 Chronicles 15:2

The Lord searches all the earth for people who have given themselves completely to him. He wants to make them strong… 2 Chronicles 16:9

Two verses stood out to me within the reading for today. Though obviously pulled out of the context of the Old Testament histories of the Kings they are still statements of truth, regardless of the contrast of what would happen to the Israelites if they chose to ignore these truths.

These verses are reminiscent of two of my favorite “go-to” verses:

“Be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid of them. Don’t be frightened. The Lord your God will go with you. He will not leave you or forget you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“I can do all things through Christ because he gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

When I follow God, obey His commands to love Him and love others, read His Word, pray, worship…I will find God in everything. I won’t be alone. He will be right there with me. He will strengthen me, encourage me, and lead me through life with wisdom.

What does it mean to give myself completely to God? To obey Him?

Onesimus was separated from you for a short time. Maybe that happened so that you could have him back forever— not to be a slave, but better than a slave, to be a loved brother. I love him very much. But you will love him even more. You will love him as a man and as a brother in the Lord. Philemon 1:15-16

Onesimus was a man who gave himself to God. It’s understood that he was a runaway slave, who most likely stole some of his master’s property before he fled. In most circumstances, once caught, it would have been a death sentence. When he crossed paths with Paul, he became a believer in Jesus’ saving grace and became like a son to Paul.

Whether Paul encouraged him to return to Philemon’s house or he felt convicted in his own heart by Holy Spirit, he decided that it was time to do the right thing. It might cost him everything, including his life, but it might bring change to a household: uniting men in Jesus’ name, creating a bond of brothers, instead of a relationship between master and slave.

Yesappa, Thank You for being there for me as I follow you, no matter how imperfectly. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to bridge the gap for our relationship and to bring master and slave together as brothers. Help me give myself to You completely. Give me strength and be with me as I walk the path You’ve set before me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Blessings – Julie


International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Filed under 1 Kings, 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Philemon

2 Chronicles 15-16; 1 Kings 16; Philemon

Then Azariah son of Obed, moved by the Spirit of God, went out to meet Asa. He said, “Listen carefully, Asa, and listen Judah and Benjamin: God will stick with you as long as you stick with him. If you look for him he will let himself be found; but if you leave him he’ll leave you. For a long time Israel didn’t have the real God, nor did they have the help of priest or teacher or book. But, when they were in trouble and got serious, and decided to seek God, the God of Israel, God let Himself be found. At that time it was a dog-eat-dog world; life was constantly up for grabs-no one, regardless of country, knew what the next day might bring. Nation battered nation, city pummeled city. God let loose every kind of trouble among them. “But it’s different with you: Be strong. Take Heart. Payday is coming!”2 Chronicles 15:1-7 MSG

When I read this, I can’t help but think of how the world is today. I wake up to disheartening news on the TV or social media on a regular basis. It is easy to grow numb to it, by distracting myself with other things. It forces me to ask myself…When life gets overwhelming, where will I turn? What/Who will I worship?

Asa and the people of Israel, “shouted out their promise to God, a joyful sound accompanied with blasts from trumpets and rams’ horns. The whole country felt good about the covenant promise-they had given their promise joyfully from the heart. Anticipating the best, they had sought God-and he showed up, ready to be found. God gave them peace within and without-a most peaceable kingdom!” 2 Chronicles 15:14&15 MSG

Than, I read in 1 Kings about the evil being done and it makes me more aware of the ugliness of my own heart. How it is prone to turn to evil, especially when I forget what Jesus saved me from.   I think about how distracted I have been lately.   Satan can even use the little, seemingly harmless things to take my focus off Jesus.

I took you from nothing-a complete nobody-and set you up as a leader of my people Israel, but you plodded along in the rut of Jeroboam, making my people Israel sin and making me seethe over their sin.” 1 Kings 16:1 MSG

Thank you Father for your promises. That You are unchanging and Your word never fails. Help me to keep seeking after your heart. I am so thankful for the friends that You have given me that encourage me in my faith… “And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it.”Philemon vs.6. Amen.


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2 Kings 18; Philemon; Hosea 11; Psalms 132, 133, 134

The field commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah this:

“The great king, the king of Assyria, says: What can you trust in now? You say you have battle plans and power for war, but your words mean nothing. Whom are you trusting for help so that you turn against me?

“Don’t listen to Hezekiah. He is fooling you when he says, ‘The Lord will save us.’ Has a god of any other nation saved his people from the power of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? They did not save Samaria from my power. Not one of all the gods of these countries has saved his people from me. Neither can the Lord save Jerusalem from my power.” 2 Kings 18:19-20; 32b-35 (NCV)

When I am in the midst of a struggle in life, I can hear two voices at war in my head.

The voice of the enemy screams at me, shouting half-truths about the struggle and solutions to the problem, taunting me with intimidation, threatening my life, and questioning the faithfulness of my God. The enemy tries to scare me into believing that I am all alone, that maybe the Lord really isn’t all-knowing, all-powerful, that He isn’t a loving God but an angry God. The enemy attempts to turn my heart, my mind, my soul against the only True and Living God, tries to weaken my trust in Him.

“Israel, how can I give you up?

How can I give you away, Israel?

I don’t want to make you like Admah

or treat you like Zeboiim.

My heart beats for you,

and my love for you stirs up my pity.

I won’t punish you in my anger,

and I won’t destroy Israel again.

I am God and not a human;

I am the Holy One, and I am among you.

I will not come against you in anger.

Hosea 11:8-9 (NCV)

The voice of God whispers, still and small, yet clear. He speaks kindness, love. He shares His heart for me, His child; He reminds me that He will never leave me nor forsake me, even when, according to the world’s standards, I may have done something to deserve punishment. He retells His Good News – He gave His Son, the final blood sacrifice, offered me the priceless gift of grace and mercy, and provided redemption and reconciliation. He shares His strength with me, shares His truth with me, shares His wisdom with me. He gives me the answer – Trust. In. Me.

It is up to me to decide who to trust, what voice to listen to. Sometimes it is hard to hear anything but the loud, clamoring noise from the enemy camp. It is hard to stand up to the heckling and there are moments in my human weakness when I succumb to the jeers and give in. I start to believe the lies of the enemy.

Maybe Onesimus was separated from you for a short time so you could have him back forever— no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a loved brother. I love him very much, but you will love him even more, both as a person and as a believer in the Lord. Philemon 1:15-16 (NCV)

Then, in my feebleness, in those moments of separation from my Heavenly Father, I feel a strength that is not my own lifting me up, strengthening me. His truth rings in my ear, reverberates into my heart. His low tones rumble encouragement to my spirit and I remember the choice I made years ago to trust in Him and lean not on my own understanding. I remember that He chose me first, before the beginning of time, before I ever cared for Him. The battle of the voices ends and God’s voice resounds clear.

The Lord has chosen Jerusalem;

he wants it for his home.

He says, “This is my resting place forever.

Here is where I want to stay.

Psalm 132:13-14 (NCV)

I am in Him and He is in me forever and ever. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 2 Kings, 66 Books, Hosea, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Philemon, Psalms

2 Kings 18; Philem.; Hos. 11; Ps.132-134

It was 2008. I hadn’t talked to Onesimus in almost two years. Ok, her name isn’t really Onesimus, but the day I randomly opened to the book of Philemon, I saw our story speaking to me in between the lines.

Holding onto hurt–both of us–to the point I decided it was better to take a break. I did my best to write her out of my life, convinced we could live at peace … apart. But there never was peace. And it didn’t feel right living so fractured, no matter how I tried to justify it.

Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love.  (verses 8-9)

I have no doubt that day, in love, these words time traveled to tell me, and to teach me how, to forgive, even when I didn’t want to.

I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. (verse 12)

How many years would pass in estrangement? The rippling effects of our feud hurting hearts. If I would ever find peace, it would be through forgiveness.

Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. (verses 15-16)

When I swapped out Onesimus’ name and put hers in its place, the message became uncomfortably personal. Maybe it was good for me to try to work it out on my own (and fail), so that when the time came for us to reunite, it could be forever, as dear sisters.

So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. (verses 17-18)

The answer all the more clear: Paul’s example pointing to Christ’s work on the cross. That charge had been paid.

Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. (verse 21)

I sat there staring at a page that totally changed my life and asked aloud, “More than you ask? I have to invite her to Thanksgiving dinner, don’t I.”

There was no response, but I knew what I had to do: forgive. And then I called her.

It took years of dealing with my own stubbornness trying to find my own solution that had to do with anything else but reconciliation. Relationships can get messy. Comments can still hurt.  But unforgiveness hurts worse, and it hurts everyone involved–be it the person unforgiving, the one unforgiven, or the bystanders caught in the middle.

I invited her to Thanksgiving dinner that year. I welcomed her as if the Lord himself stood at my door. I felt freed from a grudge and a hurt … because of a page in my Bible written two thousand years ago and a message of love–and forgiveness–that is timeless.

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133:1


Looking forward to seeing her face at my dinner table again this year. It wouldn’t be the same without her. Thank you, God.

Courtney (66books365)

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Titus 1 – Philemon


So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.  If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.
(Philemon 17-18 NIV)


Philemon is a remarkable little letter from Paul to an early Christian slave owner named Philemon.  Philemon had a slave named Onesimus who ran away and probably stole from him as well.  Onesimus fled his master and made his way to Rome, no doubt hoping to lose himself in the crowds there.  When he got to Rome, though, he somehow encountered the imprisoned Paul.  Paul introduced the slave to Jesus, and Onesimus became a believer.

But now Paul is sending Onesimus back to his owner.  In the Roman world, Onesimus deserved death for running away.  However, while Philemon is still his master, he is now also his brother in Christ.  So Paul writes to Philemon personally on behalf of Onesimus, asking him to receive him back – “no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother” (16a).


Paul shows the gospel to be a great equalizer.  He leaves no room for social prejudice – or any prejudice at all – among believers.  Though not explicitly asking for Onesimus’ freedom, Paul makes it clear that the gospel leaves no room for slavery.  He does not overtly fight the establishment, but rather rests in the power of the gospel to change society.

There is also a remarkable parallel between Paul’s intercession for Onesimus and Christ’s intercession for us as sinners.  In justifying the slave before his master, Paul (like Christ) both pays the debt for wrongdoing (“charge it to me”) and imputes his own goodness to the wrongdoer (“welcome him as you would welcome me”).  In doing so, he provides a vivid picture of Christ and His infinite grace in providing salvation for mankind.


Dear Jesus, thank you for paying my debt and giving me your righteousness before the Father.  Without you, I was a slave to sin, and I deserved death.  But you died in my place, paying the price for my sin, and now when I stand before God He sees your goodness, not my dirtiness.  All I can say is – thank you.  Thank you for loving me when I was unlovable, for reaching out to me when I had no one, for giving me grace and peace that I did not deserve.  I’m blown away by the magnitude of your love.



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