This post is Day 27 in a series of studies about “Joy”. I strongly suggest you begin with the introduction to this study, please click here to read it.

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Joy – Day 27

Philemon 1:7

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.

The Thought

The single chapter of this book is a personal letter from Paul about a private matter, not particularly a spiritual one, to his friend Philemon, who had a church in his home. Paul was writing from prison. But it seems that news was still reaching him and he was pleased with what he heard about Philemon’s church. The first seven verses of the message are full of praise and encouragement. What a nice compliment this verse for today is; that the recipient has refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people. Does that happen in the Christian meetings that you attend? Do you come away with your heart refreshed?

We can imagine that Philemon was encouraged as he read the beginning of the letter. But then came the challenge! Paul had obviously met Philemon’s runaway slave Onesimus, and because we know of Paul’s evangelical heart, we can suppose that he was responsible for Onesimus’s conversion to Christianity.

The runaway slave’s name means “useful”, and Paul uses the play on words in the next sentence of his letter (verse 11), appealing to Philemon to receive his former slave as a fellow believer.


Read the short book of Philemon (25 short verses), and think about the different actors. Philemon the leader who has servants. Paul the evangelist and spiritual parent to both Philemon and Onesimus. And Onesimus, the escaped slave.

If you are one who is responsible for a meeting, do you feel that people leave having had their hearts refreshed? Do they leave with joy?

Are you refreshed yourself in participating in the meetings you go to?

Pray for more evidence of the Lord’s presence in your meetings, whether you are responsible for them or just a listener. (Don’t be just a listener, be a participator.)

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