In this final look at Paul’s letter to Philemon, I want us to focus on verses 21 through 25. It reads, “Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you. Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (ESV).
Forgiveness takes work. It’s hard to forgive. But what if there’s a work which takes place inside of us before we’re able to genuinely engage in the work of forgiving someone else?
There are times when, as Christians, we need to be reminded of God’s work in our lives. This week, I invite you to ponder Ephesians 2:1-10 with me. In this passage, we find what we have been saved from, how we have been saved, and why we have been saved.
My Fitbit watch tracks my sleep. I got 6 hours and 19 minutes of sleep last night. Not too bad. The National Sleep Foundation suggests 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night for people my age. But when I checked my sleep this morning, I was hoping it would be less, not more.
Getting rest might be the hardest thing I do each day. And I doubt I’m the only one. In a culture where productivity is praised, it’s harder than ever to rest.
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:7-10 ESV).
Shortly before writing this, the apostle Paul described a time when he was “caught up to the third heaven” (v. 2) and “heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter” (v. 4). Now, in response to those revelations, Paul talks about a thorn that keeps him humble and dependent on Christ. And that’s what I want to write about today.