Regular Christians (Part 7): Onesimus

Regular Christians

Onesimus was one who endured social and economic inequality as a slave. We learn about him in the letter Paul wrote to his master, Philemon.

I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel; but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will. For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord” (Philemon 10-16).

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The Root of the Problem (Part 1): The Problem of Sin

The Root of the Problem: Why We Sin & How We Can Overcome

There are many problems facing the world today, such as poverty, injustice, famine, and disease. Great amounts of time, effort, and resources are used to try to find solutions to these problems. Even if we have not felt the effects of these ourselves, it is natural as human beings to feel empathy toward those who are suffering. This is particularly true if we heed Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).

As difficult as these problems are to face, there is something that is much more destructive and prevalent. That problem is sin.
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Pardee Butler: “You Can Not Teach an Old Dog New Tricks”

Pardee Butler: You Can Not Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Pardee Butler (1816-1888) was an evangelist who spent much of his time preaching in Kansas. He first came to Kansas in 1855 prior to it entering the union. During this time, there was an intense – often violent – debate over whether Kansas would be a free state or a slave state. Butler, with his abolitionist views, suffered physical attacks from pro-slavery settlers. Below is his reaction to a warning about the threat of such violence for refusing to support the sinful practice of slavery that was common in those days.
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"We Used to Eat Free in Egypt" (2/28)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Numbers 11-13.

The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, ‘Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna’” (Numbers 11:4-6).

The complaints of the children of Israel were a frequent occurrence in the wilderness. It is amazing that those who had seen the power of God first-hand would so quickly lose faith in Him.

Yet we see something about human nature here. Many people want someone to regularly provide for them, even if there are strings attached. They want consistency in their lives, even if their circumstances are not ideal. They do not desire true freedom, for this requires contentment, diligence, personal responsibility, and a trust in the providence of God.
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For Food, We Will Be Slaves (1/28)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Genesis 46-47.

Bible students are familiar with the period of slavery the children of Israel endured in Egypt. But there was another period of Egyptian bondage that occurred earlier. In this case, the slaves were not the Israelites or any other foreign people, they were the Egyptians themselves.

During the time of the famine, the Egyptian people willingly gave themselves over to be slaves. But it took some time for this to happen. First they used all of their money to buy grain (Genesis 47:13-14). When their money was gone and the famine was still ongoing, they exchanged their livestock for food (Genesis 47:15-17). But the famine continued.
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