Paul's Epistles Read

Did you just skip Philemon?

Philemon is an infamous book from the New Testament. It is just composed of 25 short verses. I didn’t even remember reading this book from the New Testament. And as we all are just staying home because of these trying times, I realized that I could not let this one book just pass by. I’ve told myself that I’m not going to proceed to the next book which is one of my favorite books – Hebrews, unless I have something to take away from Philemon. Finally, it took me a day to have an answer from a question: “What good could I get from the book of Philemon?”

Reading Paul’s epistles is like one of God’s way for me to know more of Paul’s heart for the churches he has planted and its people. Honestly, when I hear of Paul’s name, the picture of him having encountered Jesus on his way to Damascus is all that I have in mind. Little did I know that I also need to read through his sufferings and most importantly, his very heart.

Paul prayed for Philemon’s faith to be effective

“..and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” Philemon 1:6

Paul knew that he won’t have much time and much means to enumerate the things that should be done in every church he has planted. He only wrote and reminded the things that matter most. He prayed that Philemon’s faith to be effective for him and for the people to know that every good thing that is shown and experienced are of Christ and for Christ. In other words Paul wants them to experience it themselves. He believed that faith would always be effective when a person knows why he/she acquires it and what it’s for.

Paul prayed for Philemon to act according to his willingness

“..but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord.” Philemon 1:14

Honestly, I don’t know much about Philemon’s ministry but I pray that I there would come a time that I will be graciously given a chance to know the Scriptures more. But I believe that God was simply just showing Paul’s heart to me, best case: He lets me experience it. How glorious.

In this verse, Paul was acting as a leader. A leader’s heart should be like this. Paul prayed that Philemon might act according to his willingness. He didn’t want anyone to act like they are under a compulsion. The Apostle knows how beautiful and satisfying it is to act because you are compelled by Christ’s love.

Why don’t we have Paul’s heart then? Do the situations around us change over time? They don’t. Things are always uncertain. For me, one of the best things to learn is to how to have a heart like Paul’s. He wasn’t anxious of anything. He simply wanted his brothers in Christ to show people what they have experienced in Christ firsthand. This is so simple but we don’t remind ourselves about this because we tend to forget to hunger and thirst for God’s voice.

All Scripture is God-breathed.. (2 Timothy 3:16). We even forget about this epistle’s importance and life.


Where did that confidence come from?


Faith is the realization that there is nothing you can do but trust in what has been done for you in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.”
-David Platt, Follow Me

Confidence is one of the things I know I would never have, before. It is like a situation wherein you know it in yourself that you will not acquire it because you thought that people that has it were really born with it. Worst is that I was convinced with what my mind and heart are telling me about that.

Thankfully God has killed that lie in my mind. My own self was lying to me. My own mind. My own heart. I have realized that it is even a dangerous thing to know that you have your own will.

“…to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own.”

While I realized that we have been graciously given our own will, I can also say that it is a mischievous thing. In fact, most if not all of our sins root from that gift that should be used for the exaltation of the Most High.

Thankfully, God has given me a number of chances to not decide based on my own will.

Encounter Weekend

I was given a very humbling chance to speak in a three-day retreat (locally known as our Encounter Weekend). It is a retreat for the people who has recently received Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. It will be composed of topics that tackle about the Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

If I was just going to assess myself from my own perspective, I would say that I am not worthy. I am the youngest among the primary leaders of our local church and I was the youngest to speak on that Encounter Weekend. This was then the time that I completely chose to not look at myself but to look and rely on what has been done for me on that Cross.

The Greatest Love

Apparently, my topic was all about The Greatest Love (The Revelation of the Cross). I tried to read a lot of things. That includes my notes from the past years, books I have recently read, listening to online preaching and the likes. Those were all useless at first because I just sought for knowledge. I forgot to consult the Author of the most read book of all time — the Bible.

Fervently I prayed to God. I felt His presence. I prayed more so that I could hear Him and He gave me the ears.

Up until I walked towards the speaker’s area (this term is awkward at some point. Yes, I know), I felt Him cheering behind me. He was excited for His people to hear a bit of His story. But actually that was the very message of the Bible – His cross, His love, His heart, and His purpose.

At some point there was a still small voice that says: “be anxious! these are pastors you are facing. There are doctors. There are professionals. They are older than you..”

Oh, how I thank Paul when he wrote:

“Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set as an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” I Timothy 4:12

And I silenced those voices

Confidence. I did not have it no matter how hard I have tried. It only came to me genuinely when I knew that I should have confidence in what Christ has done for me on that Cross he allowed me to tell people about. It was the maximum expression of His love.

I pray that I will live with that kind of confidence.


Where should your usefulness depend on?

I have to highly recommend Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest book because as much as I’ve thought that I already know a lot, this book pierced me deeply telling me that I don’t.

“What is extremely important is for the worker’s simple relationship with Jesus Christ to be strong and growing. His usefulness to God depends on that, and that alone.”

I’ve come to a realization that I have recently used my strength alone in doing my ministry. I thought that I know much and dealt with my circumstances my way. I grew tired. It was all exhausting. I thought of quitting because I thought my life would be much easier.
One day I was burning inside. Lots of fire. And one day, all that fire consumed me negatively. Where is my motivation now?

Little did I know that I, for a time, wasn’t aware that I relied too much on what I already know. Which will seem to be more dangerous if I didn’t found myself reading a page of the book I’ve mentioned above, and finding some answers to my questions. But the book didn’t provide me the answer. The Author did.

Motivation. What should be the motivation in doing His ministry? The answer is so simple – “your relationship with Me.” These words pierced me. All along I have thought that the main motivation is to witness how we’re growing as His church but it wasn’t. The best motivation is Him.

There have been more challenges when I decided to know Him more. It even made me want to quit and not pursue it anymore but what good will life still give me if I don’t spend it with Him? There will be more pain in this pursuit but this is not my pursuit alone. It’s His. And I will joyfully watch how will He unravel my problems. He will not do it because He is only passionate about us – His children but it’s for His glory, and His glory alone.