I will sing of loyalty and of justice;
to you, O Lord, I will sing.
I will study the way that is blameless.
When shall I attain it?
As I read the opening verses of Lamentations, I think about the condition of so many of our cities: "How lonely sits the city that once was full of people!"and "No one comes to the festivals; all her gates are desolate, her priests groan; her young girls grieve, and her lot is bitter."
We may mourn, and we may look for reasons for the desolation of the once powerful, once loved city. We may ask why we let such desertion and devastation happen? In the case of Jerusalem they had been overtaken by a foreign army. The author of Lamentation tells Jerusalem that they deserved what had happened to them. Do we?
As I began reading this letter from the emprisoned Paul to his friends and fellow Christians, I started to wonder who would write to me and to whom would I write. Well, of course now, I never write the paper kind of letters any more. But, I do e-mail some and I do send some direct messages by facebook.
What do I say? To whom do I write? Do I ever say anything about remembering someone in prayer? How often do I remember someone in prayer? How often do I tell someone how much joy and encouragement their friendship and support has given me? Well, how often do I even remind myself of this?
Paul is asking something hard of Philemon. "Your slave escaped. Take him back--but as a brother not as a slave."
What one Christian can ask of another. Give up what is due you. Forget the wrongs that have been done to you.
Paul is so sure of Philemon's love, that he is willing to trust him, willing to ask him to do this hard thing.
Paul is asking something difficult of his friend. Am I willing to do that? Do I have friends that I allow to ask difficult things of me? What is noticeable about my faith toward the Lord Jesus?
Someone in charge says "Here are some things that would disqualify you from working for me."
For lack of wood the fire goes out,
and where there is no whisperer,
Prayer for Today: O Lord our God, show us how to restore what we people have destroyed. Give us the words to speak to people who need to change. And, encourage us to reach out to those people who have demonstrated friendship and support. Give us the words to express our appreciation to them. Amen.