The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Bricks With Straw"
The Apostle Paul called Philemon to receive the escaped slave Onesimus back as a brother in Christ by encouraging Philemon before making the request.
"I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; that the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus" (Philemon 1:4-6).
Paul avoided challenging Philemon to make bricks without straw, as it were (Exodus 5). He affirmed his brother's love and faithfulness for God and people, and then reminded Philemon of Christ's enabling presence - "every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus". God provides, reveals His provision, and then calls us to live in accordance with who He is within us. Illumination - encouragement - challenge. This is the Biblical pattern whereby we live for God by living from God. "By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (I Corinthians 15:10). Anything else or anything less leads to futile brickmaking by our own empty and inadequate devices. "Without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).
We can be quite sure that Philemon responded to Paul's request, to the degree that he released Onesimus to serve the Apostle in ministry (Colossians 4:9). Philemon remembered and availed himself of the love of God that dwelled within his Christ-inhabited spirit (Romans 5:5). Thereby the power of his Lord's character and nature energized his heart to receive Onesimus "not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved" (Philemon 1:16). Through the wondrous love of Christ, the man he once owned became the brother he served. This is the glory of a bricks with straw Gospel, that our Lord calls us to "walk even as He walked" (I John 2:6). Before He does, however, He encourages and empowers us by the indwelling presence of His character, nature, and way…
"I will dwell in them and walk in them."
(II Corinthians 6:16)
"Thou art my strength."
Weekly Memory Verse
He that is mighty hath done to me great things, and holy is His name.