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Joy that Refreshes

Joy that Refreshes

Words of Faith 1-2-20

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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[20] I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.   [21] Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.      


     So, Paul asked for consideration from a partner in Christ.  He wanted Philemon to welcome the runaway slave Onesimus as he would not just a brother… but an Apostle!  Welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me (17-18). But as a personal point, Paul now mentioned the effect that this would have on him.  In essence, Paul says, Give me some joy in this to refresh my spirit. 

     Remember that Paul was writing from prison.  He had made the effort to awkwardly write in his own hand in spite of the clanking of the chains that held his wrists.  This was not an easy time for him, to say the least.  Onesimus had come to Christ and then been a great help to Paul.  He may have served to retrieve water or bring food to Paul.  He very much needed Onesimus, but sending him back to face his past was clearly the right thing to do.  

      Now, it would serve so greatly for Paul to gain some benefit from all this.  The benefit of which he spoke had nothing to do with creature comforts.  The word benefit actually is a different form of the word joy.  Give me some joy, says Paul.  Give me some joy in this matter that will refresh my spirit.  The word “refresh” means to give rest or repose to.  Amid the many disappointments that Paul had to deal with, believers bickering in Corinth and others like Demas who had their eye on worldly temptations, it would refresh Paul’s spirit with joy to hear back that Philemon had done the right thing.

      Sometimes we fail to realize the things that really offer benefit and refreshment to a Christian leader.  In ministry, it is not about creature comforts. It is always about seeing progress in the lives of believers that has an eternal impact. 

     After many years of ministry since first starting as a summer youth director at a small church, I have periodically had a contact from one of the students from long ago, or a couple that I married in decades past, or someone who came to Christ through my ministry.  It is always such a refreshment to hear about the way that God has been working the life of that person.  Around our house, we affectionately call that a "paycheck.”  Whenever we hear about how God has worked in the life of a person such that they made a Godly decision, or had a breakthrough, or carried forth in Christian service, or stuck to a hard choice for Jesus—we rejoice in a refreshing of the spirit that comes from such news.  Those are the paychecks that count.

      Have you had a breakthrough in your life that sprang from seeds sown into your life long ago?  Have you made a venture in Christian ministry, taken a job that serves the Lord, developed a mission effort, answered a call to ministry, shifted the emphasis in your life, recovered a part of your life from the ravages of sin, or redirected your priorities in order to give rather then get?  Is there someone who planted the seeds of that change long ago?  Someone who invested in you long before you ever saw the potential that God was bringing about?  You might want to contact that person and give them a paycheck.  It would surely give them joy that would refresh their spirit.


    Father God, keep me always seeking after Your dream for my life.  Give me the grace to listen to You and water the seeds of Your Word planted in my life.  Keep me focused on You but ever grateful toward those whom You have used in my life.  In Jesus’ Name.


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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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