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Feb.24 Devotion:The Life Changing Power of The Gospel


Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Philemon 1:10-12, 15-18 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:

[11] Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:

[12] Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:

[15] For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;

[16] Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?

[17] If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.

[18] If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;

Is there someone you know in your family or circle of friends that you doubt even God could change; someone so vile or despicable that you have no hope of them ever changing? Change is something many people struggle with. Many of us may desire change within ourselves for various reasons ranging from attitude adjustments, giving up smoking, changing the way we think, compulsive lying, fear, pride, jealousy, worry, obsessive behaviors, mistrust, stealing, and maybe even lustful addictions. Some of us may have secret sins that we are enslaved to that no one else knows about. Most of us would probably agree that we desire change somewhere on some level to some degree in our lives. The problem usually doesn’t rest with the want to change but with the power to bring about that change.

One of the most beautiful illustrations in the Word of God showing us the power to save and restore lives is found in the little but powerful book of Philemon. Written by the hand of Paul to his brother in Christ, Philemon, he is appealing to him as a fellow brother in the Lord to embrace Onesimus. Onesimus was a slave who had stolen from his master, Philemon, and ran away to Rome. But in his running, God brought him face to face with the Apostle Paul who had compassion on Onesimus and led him to the Lord. The challenge came when Paul sent a letter, what we know as the book of Philemon, asking him to embrace Onesimus, not as a slave that he once was, but rather as a beloved brother. It’s difficult enough to give someone their job back after they’ve stolen from you and left you high and dry, but it’s even more challenging to embrace them as a “beloved brother”. He was asking for forgiveness with complete restoration plus a promotion!

Paul was asking Philemon to recognize and to honor the change that God had brought about in Onesimus’ heart. He was appealing to the spirit of the Lord who dwelt within his heart and now was abiding in the heart of his former slave. Paul was reminding Philemon that only God can change a heart and when HE does we are to rejoice! The powerful reminder here is seen in the fact that before Philemon was ever asked to forgive his slave for his wrong doing, God had done so first. Before he was asked to embrace him as a brother, God had embraced him as HIS child. The Lord had removed the shackles of sin from his feet long before Philemon was charged to lose the fetters of slavery. Paul reminded him that he, who was once useless, was now useful to the kingdom of God.

Accepting change comes when we see others, not as they once were, but as instruments in the hand of God; useful and full of purpose, welcomed in the family of God. My friend, nothing is the same after it is placed in the hands of the Creator! Jesus Christ can change lives, HE has and HE will continue to change lives; from useless to useful! Are you willing to embrace those who have been changed by the hand of God even though they may have a sinful past and at one time wronged you? Have you looked to the hand of God to bring about the change needed in your life that you have so desperately longed for? Have you given up on those you have marked as “hopeless” believing they will never change? Have you refused to accept or believe (that one person) you may have given up on can be truly changed by the Power of The Gospel? Then may I leave you with the words of Paul today where he said in (verse 16 above) accept him… “Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me,”

Oh Lord, open our eyes that we might see your Hand of Grace and The Life Changing Power of The Gospel in others!

Bro. Lawrence Longworth

Isaiah 61:1 “the opening of the prison to them that are bound;”

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