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Thursday, June 11, 2020

Petunias on bike
These colorful petunias cover an old bike at a roadside flower stand.
We see so many creative sights in the course of our travels through Lancaster County!


Message summary: Is there someone you might minister to by refreshing them just as Onesiphorus often did toward Paul.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me—the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day—and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus" (2 Timothy 1:16-18).

How do you like your name? I was named after the Stephen in the Bible (Acts 6,7). But my grandpa enjoyed purposefully mispronouncing it and called me Step-hen, making it sound like two words, step and hen. Brooksyne's name is far more unique, actually a name her mother made up so she could be named after her father Brooklyn. She explains to people it's pronounced brook-seen', like the scene of a brook.

But some people have really unusual names. Elon Musk recently named his son X Ć A-12 which he says is pronounced "X Ash A Twelve". We kind of wonder how that name will age and how much his son will enjoy explaining it to others for the rest of his life!

Today's Scripture portion has three rather unusual names; Phygelus, Hermogenes and Onesiphorus,

We learn from Biblical examples, both positive and negative, such as the negative reference concerning two otherwise unknown men, Phygelus and Hermogenes
: "You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes" (1 Timothy 1:15). If you've been rejected (and who hasn't) you are in good company with Paul and Jesus.

Onesiphorus, on the other hand, is highly commended as a blessing to Paul and to others in Ephesus. His name means "bringing profit" and the brief description of his life indicates he indeed brought profit to those who were blessed to know him.

Jim and Dorothy SchmidtWhen reading the Bible we tend to gloss over these brief passages wondering what relevance they may have for us. In this reference and the only other reference to Onesiphorus in 2 Timothy 4:19 Paul refers to "the house of Onesiphorus". Some speculate that he may have died by this point but the phrase could also be a way of saying how his entire household had been a blessing. In our years of Christian service we consider households that just seem to minister together as a family, especially married couples. The first example that comes to mind is our friends, the Schmidts. We don't think of Jim only or Dorothy only, but we refer to them as Jim and Dorothy.

Let's look at four characteristics we can glean about Onesiphorus in our text that are an example for all of us:

1) "He often refreshed me." Don't overlook the little word "often" which means many times, again and again, time after time. It conveys a vivid picture of Onesiphorus's servant heart that he extended to Paul.  "Refresh" translates a word that literally means "to cool again, to make cool or refresh". The Living Bible paraphrase draws a colorful word picture, "He visited me and encouraged me often. His visits revived me like a breath of fresh air." Onesiphorus' visits to the squalid conditions of the dungeon prison was like a "cool breeze" reviving Paul's spirit and soul.  A great promise to the refresher is a Proverb that states, "Whoever refreshes others will himself be refreshed" (Proverbs 11:25b). May God help us to refresh others.

2) He "was not ashamed of my chains." Knowing the rest of the story I can't imagine being ashamed of Paul's chains. We have the whole record since Paul's imprisonment is now history, but the full understanding of all his sufferings was subject to one's own interpretation. Some were embarrassed, afraid or even ashamed of his situation. What a great privilege it would have been to know Paul and to continually refresh him in his otherwise drab, insufferable surroundings. May God give us boldness and discernment to stand with those who suffer, as we by faith envision the rest of the story even before it happens!

3) "He eagerly searched for me and found me." It must have taken some effort to locate Paul and Onesiphorus did this eagerly. Many times meaningful ministry to others takes effort. We need to go out of our way or in some way be inconvenienced whether it involves our time, finances, roadblocks or whatever other setback we must overcome in the process.

4) "You know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus." As mentioned above the only reference we have to Onesiphorus is here in Paul's second letter to Timothy, but Onesiphorus was already so well-known and highly regarded among the people. Paul briefly alludes to their familiarity with him through the services he offered in Ephesus. Can you think of people well-regarded because of their service for the Lord and to others? What type of reputation do you have?

Spurgeon comments on Onesiphorus:

"This good man is here immortalized. When he risked his life to find out and succour a poor despised prisoner, he little knew that he would live forever on the page of the church's history. His cup of cold water given to an apostle has received an apostle's reward. Are there any yet alive like Paul to whom we might minister in love after the manner of Onesiphorus?"

Spurgeon's challenge is one we issue to all our readers today.  Is there someone you might minister to by refreshing them just as Onesiphorus often did toward Paul?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, there are people you bring alongside us on our path of suffering who bring us comfort, assurance, and encouragement. They know just what to say or do that lifts our spirit to give us courage for another day just like Onesiphorus refreshed Paul while he was in chains.  In some cases, it is their own gracious example of suffering that teaches us a great deal without their saying a word.  There are those instances when we grow fearful, doubtful, and wonder if you're mindful of our suffering and, if so, why you don't eliminate it.  But until our suffering is over we thank you for those who come to refresh us. We, too, need to be the ones who refresh others who are weary, sick, or struggling in some way. Bring those individuals to our mind so that we can reach out to them and refresh their spirit while reminding them of their importance in our lives. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Want To Be That Man"  Video  Brian Free & Assurance

The following versions of "Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus" present different arrangements, singers, and settings. Each one caught our attention and warmed our hearts as we consider the confusion, turmoil, and divisiveness that spans our nation and our world for that matter. If you have a few minutes and want to listen to this relaxing and reassuring song I believe it will truly minister to your heart. Perhaps the Lord will lay a person on your heart who needs this refreshing and reassuring message as well.

"O the deep, deep love.
All I need and trust
is the deep, deep love of Jesus."

"Oh the Deep, Deep Love"  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

"Oh The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus"  Video  Fernando Ortega and Audrey Assad

"Oh The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus"  Video  Lifeway Worship

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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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