Philemon’s Forgiveness

After our Lord and Savior ascended, the Word of the Lord spread throughout the Roman Empire. Paul touched many lives and his reputation followed him wherever he was, especially while imprisoned in Rome. He had visitors who sought many things. One such person was a bondservant of Philemon from Colossae in Phrygia named Onesimus.

Philemon was a rich and well known man throughout Colossae. He was stern yet compassionate man who did much throughout the community. Onesimus was a bondservant of Philemon and not a believer. He must have not liked something about his master so he stole money and fled to Paul. Paul writes to Philemon after a time seeking  forgiveness and release of Onesimus. 

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. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.

12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.

17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. Philemon 1:8-21

What Is So Special About This Onesimus

Onesimus was lost. His sin was thievery and disbelief until he sought Paul through whom he found the path. Paul sent him back to Philemon for forgiveness and he returned to Paul a free man. Paul became his mentor. God used Onesimus from then on, first to minister to Paul, then to spread the Gospel to the world. 

Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here. Col. 4:7-9

From Bondservant to Martyr

Onesimus had the power of the Holy Spirit and became an ardent preacher of the Gospel. His name and message was well known he preached the Gospel in many lands and cities: in Spain, Carpetania, Colossae, Patras. When Timothy’s season as bishop of Ephesus had ended, Onesimus was called to take his place. Onesimus was not without controversy as his teachings on celibacy infuriated a governor in Ephesus so he was sent to Rome, tortured and stoned.

He is celebrated in Greek Orthodoxy as his delivery of the gospel touched many lives and turned so many souls back to God.

What Does This Mean For Us

Why was this particular letter added to the canon of Scripture? Showing the backstory of a bishop and how he was saved through the forgiveness of his former master shows what it means to be a Christian of compassion. The key person in this letter is Philemon with Onesimus being the one who is saved. Paul’s letters tell of  his usefulness as he became a courier of letters while ministering others along the way. This letter opens the eyes and creates the story of how God works in our lives through seeing how God worked in his. Sins can be forgiven if you seek him who forgives and saves us. God calls the faithful to do His work on earth, shining the light on the path to glory.

Be blessed this season and shine your light upon others.

Rob, Servant of God

The Journey

Four years ago on this date I was officially ordained into the ministry of our Lord and Savior. This has been a journey of many ups and downs filled with joy and disappointments but I know it is all for God’s Glory. Each step is down the road towards Emmaus receiving instruction and seeking what was and is right by my side. Four years, a very short time in the greater scheme of things but every day is one more closer to seeing our Savior.

In preparedness for the Ordination I was given challenges that made me understand my place and that certain things I had enjoyed must no longer be a part of me. God changed my path and helped me grow. My mother spoke of Hannah and Samuel as she gave me back to God for His Will.

He sent me to a church to see what happens when people attempt to control the Pastor. The church was filled with greed, archaic traditions, closed doors, and false idealisms on membership which shaped my beliefs into understanding what needs to not happen in a Body of Christ. Don’t get me wrong, there were good people in the church but they were trapped as it was a family run church.

I began to grow, seeking other places to serve with no avail while writing and speaking the truths of Scripture. I had a real bad moment of being human and the temptation took me down a path that nearly destroyed the family but we recovered. I was forgiven  through God’s Grace and Mercy.

This is the Day that the Lord has made. Today we hope to complete the purchase of the land on which we will set up the Worship Center Retreat and Refuge. This has been a journey of finding the right place that God wants us to be and it was just over the hill and down the road.

God watches over us every step of the paths set before us. Jesus takes the steps where we should not tread and picks us up while (and sometimes after) we fall teaching us how to be closer to Him. I pray that this journey continues to Glorify God through showing His enduring Love, Grace, and Mercy in our lives and that we are a light in this world to expand the Kingdom wherever His Word reaches.

May God Bless and be present in your journey and you remain in Christ.

In His Love,

Rob, Servant of God

Reconciliation

O the Blessedness of the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God  Matthew 5:9

What a great quality of the heart is seeking peace. In fact the primary importance of the spiritual heart is having a peaceful existence with others. A person with a peaceful heart is a healing heart always seeking to obtain completeness and wholeness of self and those around him/her.

A person who strives to have a peaceful heart does not seek war or any strife but is seeking a peaceful reconciliation with those who have wronged or have been wronged at one point in the person’s life. The greatest reconciliation is between God and Man.

So, since we have come to be considered righteous by God because of our trust, let us continue to have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus the Messiah. Romans 5:1

We are reconciled through the saving grace and mercy found in the sacrifice of Jesus. There is no other way that we as human can obtain this blessing but through Him. However, once accepted, we are now obligated to no longer seek causing strife with others but to do our best to have peaceful relationships with mankind. We are also charged with seeking peaceful resolutions between others through the sharing of our faith and life in Jesus Christ. That is the way we demonstrate who we belong to.

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10

If we stay in the world our lives will be full of strife far above necessary but if we take the strife and deal with it in a godly manner then we are showing that we are children of God. Yes we will have pain and suffering in our life but if we depend on the healer as Lord and Savior instead of trying to deal with all things on our own we claim our dependence and freedom all in the same moment.

Independence in the world means death. Dependence on God means life. Independence in the world continues our slavery to sin. Dependence on God equals freedom from the bonds of sin. Dependence on God gives us our place in the Kingdom of Heaven. Dependence on the self keeps us apart from God.

Would you like to be reconciled with God and reignite the relationship that was lost due to sin? Would you like to be known as a child of God? It is a difficult direction to go because of our current life but the rewards are so much greater. Believe on Jesus and be dependent in Him. He will show you what it truly means to be free. Following His example and live the life as He desires for us and you will have peace.