Tuesday, February 7, 2012


In our family worship times for the past week or so, we've been reading the book of Philemon.  What a delight!  My husband printed the book so each of us could have a copy to mark up and and to take notes on.  Each night he gives us an assignment for the following morning [tasks like "underline all the verbs," and "color code repeated themes using colored pencils," and "circle the names of all the main characters," and "write a summary statement for each paragraph," etc].  The idea is to help our children (and ourselves) read observantly and meditatively, to slow down enough to absorb and apply.  You should see their papers...oh the fun of color coding and marking the text up and all the discussions that have ensued. 

This morning as we were reading Philemon together after breakfast the word "peace" jumped out at us.  How many times have we zipped through Paul's various letters and breezed right over his introductory greetings of grace and peace?  Maybe you don't do that, but I'm guilty all too often to my own shame and detriment.  But by slowing down, by taking time to look at each word, peace gripped us today and oh what a blessing.  Just think: we were enemies of God, under His wrath and rightly so.  We were completely unable to do a lick on our own behalf to restore the relationship and frankly we were so dead in our sins we didn't even care to.  But God, in His mercy, provided the way of peace...He paid the price to reconcile us to Himself.   We are no longer dead bones a-walking and awaiting our final condemnation.  We ARE new creations (2 Cor. 5:17), created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10), at peace with God and filled with hope of a glorious future with Him.  THAT makes a gargantuan difference to how we proceed to live.

Paul expands the idea of peace in this way in Colossians 1:20-22 (yes, we're a cross-referencing sort of family!): "...having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight..."

No wonder thanksgiving follows in Paul's letter!  How can we be the recipients of His grace and not give thanks?  How can we go from guilt-laden, condemnation-awaiting lives to peace with God and not be overflowing with gratitude? 

1 comment:

  1. When I went to see Beth Moore in the Fall we studied this book. It is an incredible jewel. Community. In a world of facebook etc we need to be encouraged to "face to face". I remember studying Gods word with Kay Arthur this way. Great idea for your family study time.