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Weekly Devotional from April 25, 2005

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Women in Discipleship (sm)
Devotionals for 2005
Week 16

The Scripture for this week is from the New Testament, and it is about a lesson in forgiveness.

Scripture to ponder: Philemon 20 - "Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ."

As I reflect on these words, penned by the apostle Paul to his beloved friend Philemon, I see a great lesson for healthy Christian unity and the continuing work of the Lord in our family life. Do you see it?

This brief letter, written by Paul while in chains, came to Philemon, the master of Onesimus. Onesimus was a slave who had run away. In the process of running, he just "happened" to meet Paul. Paul, of course, shared his testimony of Jesus, Onesimus was saved, and all the time God was working out the details of His plan in the lives of all three men.

Paul knew Philemon was active in Colosse as a Christian brother. Now came the test of the true work of his faith. Paul's love for the brethren compelled him to ask Philemon to forgive Onesimus and to receive him as a brother. This is huge! Brothers in Christ are equal in status in God's eyes, and equally worthy of forgiveness. In offering forgiveness to Onesimus, Philemon would refresh Paul's heart and promote unity in the church at Colosse.

Paul wrote Philemon and reminded this brother of his faith and joy in the forgiving work of Jesus on his behalf. In the process of forgiveness comes joy. Did you see how it came about? It was "in the Lord." Read it again. "In the Lord." We can't! He can!

The true joy of forgiveness brings the joy of fellowship in the Lord, and heaven rejoices. Paul's heart was refreshed because the Lord is faithful to forgive, and when we demonstrate forgiveness to one another, there is unity.

We each need to examine our hearts today and be willing to forgive as Jesus does.
May our hearts be sensitive toward one another today.
Blessings from Sandra Davis and the Women in Discipleship team


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