Image by doug88888 via Flickr
“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Mic. 6:8 NIV)
“More than sacrifice or offerings, God desires these three things from us. The solution Paul sought in the conflict between Philemon and his fugitive slave, Onesimus, met all these requirements:
- Paul acted justly! Onesimus had run away from his legal owner and possibly had stolen from him. In Paul’s estimation the restoration of two Christian men was priority. Paul insisted that Onesimus take responsibility for wrong-doing, yet Paul took on the debt (vs. 18)
- Paul loved mercy! He lived the concepts he taught! Paul didn’t just preach to him about the mercy of God, he showed it to him. He took Onesimum’s debt not only out of justice but also out of mercy, because a sinner needed grace! Both Christ and Paul concentrated on getting people into a right relationship with God! Paul told Philemon he was returning Onesimus to him “no longer as a slave, but more than a slave – as a dear loved brother.” (vs. 16) Paul’s proposal was to let mercy reign!
- Paul walked humbly with God! The closer we draw near to God and the more we behold His majesty, the more we relate to the psalmist who said, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” (Ps. 8:4) Like the psalmist, Paul recognized the pit from which God had pulled him.”
“The hollowness of works without love becomes evident to all who seek to serve God. We cannot serve God wholeheartedly without the whole heart.
Hollowness can follow us anywhere until we bridge the gulf with grace!
Paul, 90 Days on His Journey of Faith / Beth Moore / B & H Publishing
Image via Wikipedia
“When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.” (Acts 21:5-6 HCSB)
“Although Paul had the opportunity to stretch his legs as several ports on his way to Jerusalem, he disembarked twice for a number of days. His first length trip was not by choice.’ ‘Have you ever noticed how often God has a blessing on the unscheduled stops along our way? God had a blessing waiting for Paul and the others on their unscheduled stop.’ ‘The disciples in Phoenicia opened their homes to Paul and his fellow travelers. Their hearts were so instantly bound with his, they begged him not to go to Jerusalem.’” (2) It says in verse 4 that “through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.” Was this a heavy heart or the Lord’s will?
Think about Paul’s initial journeys and where he had traveled. He had faced so many hardships along the way from stoning to almost being left for dead. Remember at one stop along the way the prison doors were unlocked and the captives were set free! What a treat now for the last few times to have been loved and appreciated so much by those around him!
They didn’t want him to leave! All of them (men, women and children) followed them to the beach and there they knelt and prayed! Can you picture this? Everyone was out in the open with no distractions around them. There was just the sky, the sand, maybe a palm tree or two, and the ocean in full view of God looking down upon them.
(1-2) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith / Beth Moore / B & H Publishing
“And now I commit you to God and to the message of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified.” (vs. 32 HCSB)
It was time for Paul to go and he wanted to share with the Ephesians one last time. “He shared his sincere affection for them. The final picture painted at the end of Acts 20 touches my heart so much. Paul was a man of many words, but the primary message of his affection for the Ephesians came more in action than in words. Any man as beloved as Paul had most assuredly loved. He was the very one who taught others, “Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:8 NIV). I wonder if at this moment he thought love also never fails to hurt. He committed them to God, said a few last words, then knelt with them and prayed.” (1)
“And embracing Paul, they kissed him” (vs. 37) One by one each man hugged him and said good-bye. With every embrace I’m sure he remembered something special – a good laugh shared, a late night over a sick loved one, a baptism in a cold river, a heated argument resolved. He had been their shepherd. Now he would leave them to tend their flocks on their own. In the midst of painful good-byes, perhaps Paul thought the same thing I’ve thought a time or two when my heart was hurting; “I will never let myself get this involved again.” But of course, he did. And so will we, if we continue to walk in the footsteps of our Savior. To extend hands of service without hearts of love is virtually meaningless.” (2)
“Obviously the Ephesians had some idea how blessed they were to have the kind of leader Paul was to them. He was a leader who kept watch over himself and his followers. In nautical terms, he was the best kind of captain – one who kept the vessel on course even if his compass took him far from those he loved. He had given them all he had. The best kind of good-bye is the kind with no regrets.” (3)
It’s never easy to say good-bye to those you have loved! Some will accept it with open arms and embrace you and others may not give you the time of day. But no matter what, serve well in love and ALWAYS remember “God’s Love never fails.”
Have a beautiful day!
(1-3) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith / Beth Moore / B & H Publishing