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Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Country Log House Bed and Breakfast 2/2/19 (Click to enlarge)
The Country Log House Bed and Breakfast on Forry Road near our home.
(Click to enlarge)
"Epaphras" (Part 1)

Message summary: Today let us consider a little referenced man in the Colossian church named Epaphras.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit" (Colossians 1:3-8).

Yesterday we wrote about a little-known, but absolutely crucial position on a football team known as the "long snapper"; the player who snaps the ball for punts and field goals. This player is rarely mentioned but his position is important. Just as every position on a football team is important, so it is in the Body of Christ.

This week let us consider a little referenced man in the Colossian church named Epaphras. Today's portion of Scripture is a bit longer than usual but we want you to have some of the background as Epaphras is introduced. He is mentioned twice in this book (also in 4:12) where Paul writes "who is one of you".

Colossae was a city in modern day Turkey (known as Asia Minor in Biblical geography). It can be located here on a Google map and is one of the churches that Paul wrote to in his prison epistles.

In today's text we can learn at least four points about Epaphras:

1) "Just as you learned it from Epaphras" Paul acknowledges Epaphras' role in the formative teaching to the Colossian church. He was the one who taught them the Gospel and foundations of their faith.
  • We all have people like Epaphras in our own lives. We're especially blessed if we have  parents who raised us in a Christ-filled home. Most all our readers will likely identify believers who were like Epaphras such as a faithful pastor, Sunday School teacher, youth leader, a fellow worker who shared his faith with us, etc.
  • We should all in some way be like an Epaphras in teaching others about the Gospel and ways of the Lord.
2) "Our beloved fellow bond-servant" Epaphras was with Paul when he wrote this letter as a fellow prisoner (see 4:12). Although the "why" is not provided, very likely it was related to their stand for the Gospel. At this time we still have freedom in America and many countries where our messages are read, but there are places today where taking a stand for truth can be costly and lead to imprisonment or worse. May the Lord fortify us to remain faithful should that happen where we live and may He give strength and assurance to our brothers and sisters where it is presently happening.

3) "Who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf" Let the gravity of these four words sink in, "faithful servant of Christ" Faithfulness is not a flashy virtue. So many start the race but over time teeter out, but as you get older you appreciate the simple character trait of one's being a faithful servant of Christ. This Saturday I have the opportunity to preach at a funeral for a 95 year old man that passed away who demonstrated his faithfulness right up to his final breath. In fact I visited him in the hospital two days before he died and he was still witnessing for the Lord in the hospital setting.

4) "He also informed us of your love in the Spirit" Of course this is primarily a commendation to the church but it also speaks of Epaphras' character. The church had some problems which Paul addressed in his letter in chapter 2 but Epaphras also knew the importance of a good report. There's a lot of bad news in our world which is to be expected when people choose not to walk with God. But it's especially troubling when there is scandal, dissension, or backbiting in the church where people choose to walk with God. May those who attend or visit our House of Worship see our congregation's love in the Spirit of God and for their fellow believers.

Tomorrow we will examine an interesting characteristic of Epaphras found in the second reference to him in this letter.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, just as Paul is giving thanks to You for the Colossian believers regarding their faithful walk with Jesus and their love for all Your people, we give thanks for our brothers and sisters in our local congregation, our community and throughout the world. We give thanks to You for the gospel that is bearing fruit in their lives and growing throughout the whole world. How good it is to know that there will always be a remnant who do not bow to Baal, but remain faithful, fruitful, and fervent in their walk with You. May I always be counted among them. Amen.

Kelly Ave mailbox 2/4/19
Brooksyne took a walk with our neighbor, Jane, yesterday and passed this creative loghouse mailbox. Perhaps it was a handmade Christmas present since it wasn't there when they walked on Kelly Avenue in the fall. They could even use the silo for a weekday newspaper drop, although most newspaper deliveries are thrown from a moving vehicle.

Cramers farmhouse 2/2/19 (Click to enlarge)
Saturday afternoon we passed this brick/stone farmhouse along Kraybill Church Road. This is where Jesse and Anna Ruth Lapp, our longtime Amish friends, lived right after they married when we met them in early 2003. It is presently owned by Cramers Farm.

Cardinal at birdfeeder 1/31/19 (Ester)
Another photo Ester took last week of a male cardinal at one of our birdfeeders.

Squirrel 1/31/19 (Ester)
Ester worked hard to get this close up of a squirrel peering in our front window. Kind of makes you want to pet it doesn't it!

Squirrel 1/31/19 (Ester)
Just when you think you might extend your hand and pet the squirrel it heads in another direction. Of course, in reality, rare is the squirrel that can or should be petted!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Longing For Home"  Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

A reminder of a webinar mentioned yesterday:

"Unimaginable: What Our World Would Be Like Without Christianity!" Free Webinar on February 5 (today) at 12:00 noon.

Cynical atheists ask this question to imply that a world without Jesus’ teachings would be a man-made utopia. But could this be true?

In this age when you and I can be attacked for our beliefs, it’s important that you know how believers like you have created a more peaceful, loving and just world – and the important role you have today in promoting Jesus’ world-changing teachings.

Join Jeremiah Johnston and Warren Cole Smith for a free Colson Center webinar designed to equip and encourage believers to share how Jesus' teachings continue to be the most powerful force for good today.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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