Refreshment Anyone

Posted by Melissa

After a long, hot day of doing yard work, my daughter brought me a tall glass of ice-cold lemonade. As I felt the coolness on my lips, drank in the smell of the lemons, and tasted the sweet goodness, the cold drink revived my body and boosted my spirits. Simply put, her act of kindness brightened my day.

Being a Christian isn’t always easy, and there are times when it seems downright hard! That’s when a kind word, a helping hand, or a note of encouragement can be lemonade to a weary believer’s parched soul.

Read Philemon 6-7. Take some time to ponder verse 7.

What was Paul’s prayer for his friends?

What is effective faith? Do you have it? Why or why not?

How had Philemon encouraged Paul?

What does it mean to refresh the heart of a saint?

Have there been times when you needed your heart refreshed?

Who is known for refreshing your heart?

In what ways do you refresh other believers?

In today’s passage, Paul wanted to let Philemon know that his kindness, encouragement, and love had brought joy to his spirit and had refreshed his heart. That’s a great reputation to have. I don’t know about you, but I want to be someone who brings encouragement and refreshment into others’ lives.

Take a moment and think about the other believers in your life. Do any of them need to be refreshed? Who needs a word of encouragement? What will you do to refresh their hearts this week?

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People Are Talking

Posted by Melissa

People talk—whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, or in person. Girls post about their boyfriends. People tweet about their plans. We text others about our friends. People talk, so what are they saying about you?

Read Philemon 1-5. Ponder verse 5.

To whom was Paul writing?

What had Paul heard about him?

When people talk about you, what would you like them to say about you?

In what ways can you show the world that you love Jesus this week?

How can you demonstrate your love to other believers on a daily basis?

Why is it important to be known as a person who loves others? Explain.

What kind of reputation do you have?

What areas of your life do you need to change in order to have a solid, godly reputation?

When Paul wrote this letter, he’d been hearing a lot about Philemon and the others—in a good way. People had noticed Philemon and his friends and commented on their love and faith. They had a reputation that spoke volumes about the God they served.

Paul was undoubtedly pleased, but just think about how pleased God must have been. Philemon, Apphia, Archippus, and the others in the church were actively living out their faith, and it was evident in the way they loved others. Their actions were screaming to the world, “I belong to Jesus!”

What are your actions saying about you? Remember that people are talking, so why not give them something good to talk about? Live out your faith every day and let His love be seen in the way you love those around you.

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What You See Is What You Get

Posted by Melissa

Read Colossians 3:12-14.

How many Christians can honestly examine the way they live their lives and boldly promise that what you see on Sunday really is what you get the rest of the week?

My point? It’s easy to look, act, and sound like a believer at church. You are surrounded by people who are seeking God, worshiping Him, and encouraging you to be like Him. However, it’s a different story on Monday. The halls at school are filled with students who couldn’t care less about honoring God or living by biblical principles.

In today’s Scripture passage, Paul reminded Christians of some amazing truths: You have been chosen by God. He loves you. He has made you holy. Let that sink in.

You have been chosen, loved, and made holy by the God of the universe. That should blow your mind! Because of those truths, your actions should scream to the world, “I belong to Jesus!” Paul gives you the battle cry when he lists the character traits that should be evident in every area of your life: forgiveness, love, patience, gentleness, and humility. Sound easy? No, but it is completely possible.

Those character traits don’t happen overnight! You have to make a deliberate choice to spend time with God, to choose obedience, and to care about the things He cares about. Eventually, those character traits become a part of who you are. Then, you can boldly say, “What you see is what you get.”

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Love Like Jesus

Posted by Melissa

Love is a word that often gets overused. Because of that, its definition has become vague and almost meaningless.

Yet, Scripture is crystal clear on how we show love. If we want to know what real love looks like, we only have to look to Jesus.

Read John 15:11-13. Focus on verse 12.

Why does Jesus command His followers to love one another? Is it just an arbitrary rule that we need to follow, or is it deeply rooted in God’s character? Explain.

According to Jesus, what is the greatest form of love we can engage in?

What is particularly hard about the love to which Jesus calls us? Why?

What does it mean to lay down your life for others?

Have you had opportunities to lay down your life for others this week? Have you embraced them or turned your back on them?

What prevents you from showing this kind of love for others? Why?

The phrase “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” is becoming a popular line in Christian circles. That phrase means all of your knowledge about God is irrelevant if you don’t show a deep concern or love for those around you. Hopefully you have realized this week that loving God and loving others are two sides of the same coin. One cannot be easily separated from the other. God wants us to love people the same way that He does: by sacrificing ourselves for their benefit and by thinking more about their needs than our own. The question is, do you?

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