Pastor’s Bible Reading Schedule: Exodus 27-28; Philemon
In Exodus 27-28 we once again see how detailed and exact our God is regarding worship. He was very particular in what the priest would wear and what each piece of material would represent. Maybe today we should put a little more thought into what we wear, how we talk, and what we do!
Philemon is a beautiful book about forgiveness. Onesimus was a slave to Philemon who ran away and ended up in prison with Paul. Paul led him to Christ and taught him the need to return to his master. Knowing the major offense to Philemon and the severity of the consequence, Paul writes this little letter to Philemon and asks him to forgive Onesimus. He appeals to him as a brother in Christ and asks that he treat Onesimus, first and foremost, as a brother in Christ. Verse 15 is an outstanding plea, “Maybe he left you as your slave that he might become your brother forever!” How sad that we live in a world that magnifies revenge and minimizes forgiveness. However, forgiveness is critical to the testimony of the Christian. Forgiveness does so much for the Christian. (1) Forgiveness frees the Christian from the past. Whether it is a failure in your own life or a hurt caused by someone else, forgiveness frees the person from the festering sore of the past. (2) Forgiveness frees the Christian from the pain. Bitterness destroys a person from the inside out. Bitter people replace kindness with harshness, tenderness with hardness, and affection with coldness. These replacements are a terrible reflection of who God is. (3) Forgiveness frees the Christian from the pressure. Forgiveness is really transferring someone from my hook and putting him or her on God’s hook. Forgiving someone never changes the morality of their behavior; it is just releasing them from you having the pressure to fix them and allowing God full autonomy to deal with them according to His will. Many will not forgive because they feel God will not deal with a person severally enough or soon enough. (4) Forgiveness frees the Christian from the penalty. Matthew 6:14-15 teaches us that to not forgive a brother breaks my fellowship with my Heavenly Father. I cannot be right with God if I have not forgiven my brother or sister. How sad that so many Christians struggle in their Christian walk because of unforgiveness. Paul did not want Philemon to be in bondage to his flesh, but to enjoy the freedom of forgiveness.
• Lord, please help me to respond to people the way you respond to me. Help me to show people Christ.
• Lord, please help me to demonstrate a gracious spirit. A spirit that is Spirit controlled and not behavior born out of my flesh.
• Lord, knowing how words, actions, and attitudes can hurt and offend people, please help me to behavior in ways that promote righteousness, holiness, and love.
• Lord, help me to partner, parent, and pastor in ways that magnifies forgiveness and a forgiving spirit. Help me to truly love people who have hurt me, knowing how much you love me though I hurt you so often.