Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "When Mothers Of Salem"1 (Lyrics)
Romans 1:1,7a – [From] Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God — To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people. (NIV 2011)
1 Timothy 1:1-2a – [From] Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy, my true son in the faith. (NIV 2011)
When I was a child, I loved the sound of mail being pushed through the letterbox and landing whisper-soft on the doormat. I had several pen pals all over the world. I did not know their language, but they all wrote fairly good English. I was interested in the way they lived. I found their homes in my atlas and collected their postage stamps in an album. I often received souvenir postcards, which I pasted into a scrapbook. Some of my pen pals soon grew tired of writing, but I corresponded with others for several years.
Years ago, airmail letters were written on a single, thin sheet of blue paper which was folded to create its own envelope. Handwriting had to be small, and nothing could be enclosed. When I left England, I wrote regularly to family members, and fifty years later, I still write letters to my 92-year-old mother every couple of weeks. I stay in contact by email with friends and other members of my family, as well as my best friend from high school.
Receiving mail, no matter how it arrives, has always been a big part of my life. My two childhood dreams were to travel and to write, and I am so blessed that I have been able to do both. Now retired, I also write letters of encouragement to prisoners.
The apostle Paul was not only a preacher (and often a prisoner), but he was also a letter writer. He travelled about the Roman province of Asia (Asia Minor) planting new churches. Continuing his journey, he wrote to instruct the leaders of the churches. They read the letters aloud to encourage new Christians. Paul's letters were treasured and shared with nearby churches. They were kept and copied, and eventually placed together with other writings to form the New Testament, then bound together with the Jewish Scriptures to make the holy Bible.
Paul began ten of his letters, Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. He wrote with authority, sometimes admonishing the new converts, but always teaching them with great love and caring. His words were inspired by God, and they are His love letters to all of us.
Have you ever come across a stack of your mother's old love letters, tied up with a ribbon, that have not been read for a long time? How often do we read God's precious love letters to us?
More than kisses, letters mingle souls. – John Donne, poet.
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, Your Word is Your love letter to us, and we treasure it. Thank You for giving us Your message of love and good news. Alleluia from Your children here on earth. Amen.