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Lord God Almighty, I'm Free at Last! . . .

Lord God Almighty, I'm Free at Last! . . .

 

"Stand therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)

 

The epistle to Philemon is an intensely personal letter from Paul to Philemon.  It concerns the latter's runaway slave, Onesimus.  Slavery was acceptable in the Imperial City.  Over 1/3 of the slave population composed the labor force.  Philemon was a wealthy man with a large house who was saved through Paul's preaching.  Onesimus stole money and then ran away to Rome.  God's grace led him to the Roman prison where Paul led him to Christ.  Paul wrote this letter to Philemon to praise Philemon and his family, plea for Philemon to forgive Onesimus, and pledge to restore whatever the slave had stolen.

 

PRAISE.  The writer identifies himself as "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ" (See Philemon 1:1).  This letter was written in a Roman prison along with Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.  "Grace and peace" are typically "Pauline."  Paul praised Philemon's love for Christ and the saints (See Philemon 1:4).  The Colossian church met in Philemon's house, which one writer called "a Holiday Inn" for believers.

 

PLEA.  Onesimus' name means profitable or useful.  Paul reminded Philemon that in the past, Onesimus was useless to him.  He stole money and ran away from his master, clear violations of the law.  He was gloriously saved . . . and he ministered to Paul in prison.  Paul praised Onesimus because he was "useful" to him in the ministry.  Paul issued a plea to Philemon to accept the former slave as a brother in Christ, to grant him freedom, and to forgive his past.

 

PLEDGE.  Paul reminded Philemon of the great debt he owed to God and also to Paul.  This is one of the finest illustrations of forgiveness (and the word was never used), substitution, or imputation found in the Bible.  If Onesimus owed anything, Paul told Philemon to "put it on my account and I will repay it" (See Philemon 1:7).  Anticipating his freedom, Onesimus was probably singing,"Lord God Almighty, I'm free at last."   Paul instructed Philemon to prepare the guest room.  "I plan to come see you when I get out of this prison!" (See Philemon 1:22).

 

Historians claim this newly found freedom promoted Onesimus to pastor at Ephesus and then bishop of Ephesus.  Bishop Onesimus was finally martyred by Emperor Trajan.  This slave was free at last!

 

Charles Foxworth

 

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Education (Ret.)--Louisiana Tech University -- Ruston, Louisiana

Supply Minister for Concord/Union Baptist Association -- Ruston, Louisiana  

 

 

eThoughts Team -- Extended Week-day Free Devotionals -- Vol. XIII, No. 05-40G -- Archived 

Dr. Nelda Hughes Spinks, Professor Emerita -- Editor and Publisher

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Scripture is taken from THE NEW KING JAMES VERSION, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All Rights

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Annie Armstrong: A Devoted Life . . .

Annie Armstrong: A Devoted Life . . .

 

"And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature . . . So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.  And they went out and preached everywhere.'" Mark 16:15, 19-20a (NKJV) 

 

Southern Baptist churches celebrate the life of Annie Armstrong with an annual Easter offering featuring requests for prayers and money to assist North American missions.  In our early history, the role of women in missions was not encouraged.  Annie Armstrong ignored the nay-sayers and said, "It is better to obey God than men" (See Acts 5:29).  In fact, Armstrong said, "What a glorious thing it is to be a co-worker with God in winning the world for Christ!" (See Bobbie Sorrell's biography).

 

This mission visionary was born on July 11, 1850, in Baltimore, Maryland . . . and died on December 20, 1938, which was the 50th anniversary of the Women Missionary Union (WMU).  Her former pastors said, "Miss Annie was indefatigable."  She was baptized at age 19.  Her biographer, Bobbie Sorrels, described her as tall, stately, out-spoken, and a strong-willed leader.

 

The Bay View Missions for the poor and addicted in Baltimore, Maryland, was her first missions' endeavor.  This effort increased to supporting . . . the Indians, Chinese, immigrants, and helping to establish the WMU.  Miss Annie served as the first Corresponding Secretary (Executive Director) of the WMU, the largest Protestant women's organization in the world.  Armstrong hand-wrote over 18,000 letters to churches in one year . . . advocating support for missions.  She refused a salary because she would never give to the Lord "that which costs me nothing" (See 2 Samuel 24:24).  (See "A Devoted Life," Word Press).

 

Southern Baptists honor Annie Armstrong's life by urging believers to follow her sacrificial example and give to North American missions.  All gifts support hundreds of missionaries in compassionate ministries across North America.  Annie Armstrong continues to serve as an example of a truly devoted life!

 

     

 

          

 

 

 

 Charles Foxworth

 

 Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Education (Ret.)--Louisiana Tech University -- Ruston, Louisiana

Supply Minister for Concord/Union Baptist Association -- Ruston, Louisiana  

 

 

 

eThoughts Team -- Extended Week-day Free Devotionals -- Vol. XIII, No. 04-31G -- Archived 

Dr. Nelda Hughes Spinks, Professor Emerita -- Editor and Publisher

If you received this email as a forward, we invite you to sign-up at   ethoughtsteam.com

Scripture is taken from THE NEW KING JAMES VERSION, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All Rights

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"Who Will Go for Me?" . . .

"Who Will Go for Me?" . . .

     . . . Mark 6:7-13, 30-32

 

"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here am I!  Send me!'" Isaiah 6:8 (NKJV)

 

After Jesus called, commissioned, and discipled the twelve . . . they became leaders in the first church. Jesus sent the twelve in pairs with a message and a ministry.  Why?  The disciples (learners) called Apostles ("sent-out-ones") were sent out in pairs.  Why?  The Old Testament said two witnesses were required to validate the truthfulness of a claim.  Also pairs shared a task which doubled their productivity (See Deuteronomy 17:6, Matthew 18:16).

 

You might want to review highlights of selected actions by Jesus in Mark 6 and 7.  Jesus wanted the first "sent-out-ones" to depend on God alone for their sustenance.   A staff was acceptable, but they were to carry no bread, no traveling bag, and no money.  They were to wear sandals but were not to carry an extra shirt which referred to a tunic or undergarment (See Mark 6:8-9).

 

They were to remain with their first hosts (See Mark 6:10).  Preaching the gospel had precedence over comfort and convenience.  "Shake the dust off your feet" as a testimony against those who rejected their message (See Mark 6:11).  These emboldened disciples went out and preached the gospel, healed the sick, drove out demons, and put oil on the sick and healed them.  This sounds like James 6:14 . . . doesn't it?

 

The disciples then gathered around Jesus and joyfully reported the results of their endeavors. Knowing they were tired, Jesus told them to find a remote place and to rest.   Many in the crowd had not eaten, and Jesus had compassion on them.  He multiplied the bread and fish and took up the remnants.  Jesus still has compassion on people who are lost in their sins, who are sick in spirit and body, and those who labor tirelessly in His vineyard.

 

Laborers are gravely needed in God's vineyard today.  Jesus continues to ask, "Who will go for me?"  Let each of us say in our hearts,"Here am I.  Send me!"

 

Charles Foxworth

 

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Education (Ret.)--Louisiana Tech University -- Ruston, Louisiana

Supply Minister for Concord/Union Baptist Association -- Ruston, Louisiana

 

 

eThoughts Team -- Extended Week-day Free Devotionals -- Vol. XIII, No. 03-28G -- Archived 

Dr. Nelda Hughes Spinks, Professor Emerita -- Editor and Publisher

If you received this email as a forward, we invite you to sign-up at    ethoughtsteam.com

Scripture is taken from THE NEW KING JAMES VERSION, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All Rights

Reserved. 

You are receiving eThoughts . . . either with your permission or by a friend's forward.

eThoughts Team | P. O. Box 605 | Ruston, LA  71273

Posted by Dr. Charles Foxworth with

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