The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"From God… For God"
"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).
Before calling Philemon to show mercy to his escaped slave Onesimus, now a brother in Christ, the Apostle Paul pointed Philemon to the "acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus." The administration of such good things proceeds from the indwelling Holy Spirit who reveals the character qualities of the Lord Jesus in believers.
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Galatians 5:22-23).
Paul called Philemon to love Onesimus not as an act of discipline or determination, but as a response of faith to the presence of God's love in his spirit. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5). Indeed, Philemon could have disciplined and dedicated himself with as much passion as he could have mustered, but never have found it within himself to love Onesimus as "a brother beloved" (Philemon 1:16). Conversely, trusting response to the presence and truth of God doubtless empowered Philemon to serve as a tributary of his Lord's grace and mercy in Christ. Paul himself testified to such enabling: "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).
God conveys grace before commanding obedience. Always. "Without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). We live for God by living from God. The tiniest act of our faithfulness proceeds from the mighty infusion of His faithful leading and enabling. Long ago, Paul knew his brother Philemon would be greatly challenged by the request to lovingly receive Onesimus with grace. He therefore first reminded Philemon of the grace of "every good thing" that would enable him to respond. The same blessed truth applies in our day to God's callings. He first supplies, then He calls us to avail ourselves of such provision of power by walking in faith and obedience. The sequence never changes. For God… from God. Remembering and affirming such truth will result in the love that indwells us becoming the love that leads us to "walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us" (Ephesians 5:2).
"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue."
(II Peter 1:2-3)
Weekly Memory Verse
The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.