Onesiphorus

Does the name Onesiphorus mean anything to you? Probably not in a personal way… But if you’d had the privilege of a personal conversation with Apostle Paul late in his life – in prison in Rome, just before his martyrdom – He’d have told you just how much this guy and his entire household (probably meaning the members of the church that met in his house) meant to him!

Here’s what Paul had to say about it in 2 Timothy (I just read it in my Bible during my time of “coffee with the Lord)…

“You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains! On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus!” (2 Timothy 1:15-18)

People who help others – especially older saints – in their time of loneliness and need are very special! Their concern is like a “cup of cold water” on a hot day to a parched throat! It’s like the healing hand of Jesus extended – more than that – it’s like His loving presence, His comforting voice in their time of deepest need. Not only did Onesiphorus get involved in helping Paul… his entire “household” (likely implying his congregation or the “church” that met in his house) ministered to his need! They were “the body of Christ” in Paul’s deepest need. How did Jesus Himself say it… “As you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to Me!” (Matthew 25:40, 45) How did the old gospel song put it… “Oh to be His hand extended!”

Oh what a challenge! What an honor to be an “Onesiphorus” kind of person (or a member of his household) to someone in need! Gotta tell you… I want to be one! And as passionately as I want to be a member of his household… I want to avoid like the plague being like those in the province of Asia… especially like Phygelus and Hermogenes who forsook Paul in His time of need… ashamed of him… ashamed of the gospel (see 2 Timothy 1:8)!

A Strong Conviction During Suffering

Suffering? Are there days you just don’t know if you can hold on or continue to stand strong? Apostle Paul had days like that!

It’s especially hard when you know that you’re suffering for the right thing – the right reasons! Paul urged Timothy, “Join me in suffering for the gospel!” and said, “That is why I am suffering as I am.” (2 Timothy 1:8, 12)

But in the middle of your suffering we can have the same conviction Apostle Paul did… He said, “I know Whom I have believed in, and am convinced that He is able to guard [keep] what I have entrusted to Him until that day [that he returns or calls me “home”]!

Hey, Praise the Lord! In our suffering we can have that firm conviction! He has promised to guard or keep what we’ve entrusted to Him! I’m glad I’ve entrusted who I am – all that I am – past, present and future to Him! Aren’t you?

Com’on, Wise Up!

Proverbs 3:1-12 is one of my absolute favorite passages of Scripture in all the Bible!  It was my Bible reading yesterday during my time of “coffee with the Lord.”  After reading it again I gave it this title: “Com’on, Wise Up! – 6 Keys to a Profitable, Fulfilling Life”

A couple of things to be kept in mind… This passage was written to a young person preparing for leadership.  Since it is Biblical (Hebrew) poetry it is characterized by a lot of vivid imagery.  And finally, since it is “wisdom literature” its roots are deep in reverence (‘fear”) for God and its implications impact all of life! (see the pic I’ve produced)

So here we go… “6 Keys to a Profitable, Fulfilling Life”…

1.  Give high priority to Godly teaching – remember it!  Heed it!  The promise?  You’ll enjoy a long, fulfilling life! (Verses 1-2)

2.  Make “steadfast love” [covenant love – Hebrew “Hesed”) and faithfulness the major adorning feature of your life!  The Promise? You’ll enjoy both God’s “favor” and the respect of others! (Verses 3-4)

3.  Trust God completely – acknowledge and honor Him in everything you do – every decision you make!  The promise?  He’ll lead you and work out all the details of your life! (Verses 5-6) [Note: This was my godly mother’s life verse!]

4.  Don’t be a “know it all!”  Reverence God and live the way He wants you to live!  The promise?  Your life will experience incredible physical, emotional and spiritual well-being! (Verses 7-8)

5.  Honor God with your income and all your possessions (Malachi 3:10b-12)!   The promise?  God will pour out blessings on your life that overflow (Malachi 3:10b-12)!  (Verses 9-10)

6.  When your Heavenly Father disciplines you as His child (and He will – Hebrews 12:5-11) – don’t resent it, complain or pout!  The promise?  God’s discipline is proof-positive of His love – He delights in you and wants only the best for you! (Verses 11-12)

Wow!  Good stuff eh (and it’s in your Bible!)?  As someone has said, “That’ll preach!” – No, better than that – You can live by it!  And with God’s help I intend to!!!

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