A Walk Through Galatians ~ Day 31

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Today is the last post of the 31 day challenge that I have been participating in.  What a journey.  I started this with my daughter but I have to admit that here at the end, I finished it alone.  Not that we didn’t open God’s Word together but we did not finish Galatians together.

We are taking a look at the final 7 verses of Galatians…chapter 6, verses 11-18.

11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.  13 For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.  14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.  16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.  17From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.  18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

Is it any surprise that Paul gives one more warning?  One more reminder that there is nothing we can do to secure our eternity with Christ, except faith in Him.  One more reminder that the only thing we can boast in is the cross of Jesus.

We are a new creation in Christ and that is ALL. THAT. COUNTS.  Can I get an amen?

Paul ends with a blessing of sorts – “peace and mercy be upon them…” and “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit…”

So I too end asking the Lord to grant you, my dear reader friends, peace and mercy.  And grace to you.

Thanks so much for joining me on this journey…  I hope you will visit again soon.

Until then…Joy to You!

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A Walk Through Galatians ~ Days 29 & 30

galatians31_photoI believe in the sovereignty of God.  And in His providence.

What do those two words mean?

Sovereignty ~ Supreme; superior to all others; chief. God is the sovereign good of all who love and obey him.  (this is the definition of ‘sovereign’ according to the Webster’s 1828 dictionary).

Providence ~ the care and superintendence which God exercises over his creatures. (also taken from the Webster’s 1828 dictionary).

If you’ve read today’s passage before, you may be asking how in the world I could connect sovereignty and providence to Galatians 6:1-10.  I typically read the ESV Bible and when I opened to the passage for today, the heading reads…

Bear One Another’s Burdens

Here’s the passage:

1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.  2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.  6 One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.  7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

You see, I missed writing yesterday.  The reason was not because of the transgressions committed by myself or others nor was it because of any of the other things listed in the passage.  The reason was that the Lord was making tangible to me what it means to “bear one another’s burdens”.  This was done through a listening ear, shared tears, and of course – prayer.  After all, prayer is the best way to hold (bear) something for someone else.

Not necessarily yesterday, but often in this bearing, there is temptation to be angry, to lash out…to transgress.  That’s when we need each other.  That’s when godly counsel and accountability are so important.  When we are in the midst of adversity, we can convince ourselves that things are not the way they seem…that we are not who we thought we were.  This could swing both ways — good or bad.  Point is that we are responsible for our own actions.  Praise the Lord that He is available to help us – to guide us – to give us grace!

I love verse 8.  I’ve heard it all my life from parents, grandparents, teachers….. “whatever one sows, that will he also reap”.  Paul has not let this point slip by throughout the rest of Galatians.  We are to live in the Spirit….bear fruit….share Christ.  The result reaping of these things that are fueled by our faith is eternal life.

So friends, please don’t grow weary.  The Lord has called everyone who believes in Him to a plan and a purpose.  He’s in control.   Ultimately we get to reside with Him.  Let us love our neighbor…let us do good to everyone.  Let us bear one another’s burden.  In these ways we surely let them know that they are loved.

Until tomorrow…Joy to You!

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A Walk Through Galatians ~ Day 28

galatians31_photoGalatians 5:22-26

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.  26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Today’s passage is among my favorite in God’s Word.  I remember learning verses 22-23 as a child.  Then as I got older, I remember coming to really understand the rest of this passage.

When I look at the list, I often wonder how I can possibly do all of those things.  So I find myself picking one or two to focus on.  You know try love & joy today and then patience & kindness tomorrow.  But it doesn’t work that way.  I had already been considering this post a few days back – I’m actually a few verses ahead in my personal quiet time {smile}.  Anyway, so I had been thinking about the fruit of the Spirit and then back on day 23, Karrilee, a fellow blogger also doing this 31 day challenge over at Abiding Love Abounding Grace wrote about joy.  Of course, you can’t really write about joy and not touch on the fruit of the Spirit.  She said, “I love that it is not the fruits of the Spirit… but it is the fruit of the Spirit. We cannot pick and choose from Galatians 5.”  You can read her full post on Joy HERE.

But isn’t that the truth?  We don’t have the luxury of being joyful today and full of patience tomorrow.  We are called, by God, to have it all every minute of every day.  It’s hard.  And some days are harder than others.  That’s when we give praise and thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for His grace and mercy towards us.

Here’s the thing, when we live like the Spirit of God lives in us, this fruit becomes who we are.  We might still have a day that we lose our patience or we’re just not feeling the love but God still loves us and is patient with us.

Such a simple truth and yet, it seems so BIG!

I think I need to re-learn the jingle that lists the fruit of the Spirit.  And then I need to sing it daily.  Some days I’ll have to sing it all day long.  How about you?  How’s the fruit in your life?

Until tomorrow…Joy to You!

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A Walk Through Galatians ~ Day 27

galatians31_photoMy grandmother used to say, “now you’ve gone to meddling”.  I don’t think I fully understood that when I was young, but I do now.  I’ve also heard the same thing said of Scripture.   People say that they are okay with Scripture until it gets to the list of do’s and don’ts.  Our human nature, that is sinful, doesn’t like calling sin what it is – sin.  For me, I am glad for the reminder.  Today we look at Galatians 5:16-21:

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

What would you say if someone told you that, basically, there is a war within you?  I mean, there really is but I’m not sure how often we really think about it.  But it’s true.  Satan wants us to mess up.  He wants to control our flesh.  But the desires of the (Holy) Spirit – that lives within us – are good.  Those desires give glory to God.  Those desires lead us to “love our neighbor” as we talked about in verse 14 yesterday.

The fleshly desires want no part of loving our neighbor.  The flesh seeks to be selfish…jealous…angry…I’ll let you peruse the rest of the list in verse 19 & 20.

I can just imagine the passion that Paul is writing with.  He wants the people of Galatia to know exactly how to “inherit” the kingdom of God.  He reminds them, often, what it means to have salvation.  He loves them and wants them to spend eternity with their Heavenly Father.

I am thankful that throughout my life, I have had people in my life to guide me.  People who have loved me, guided me, and reminded me who I need to be so that I too can inherit the kingdom of God.

I am thankful that when I succumb to things like fits of anger or jealousy that I have a Heavenly Father that gently reminds me…or sometimes warns me…what it takes to inherit the kingdom of God.

Until tomorrow…Joy to You!

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A Walk Through Galatians ~ Days 24 – 26

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Have you ever felt like you are rolling along in life?  You know everything at work, home, and school is exactly the way you expect it to be.  Your prayer life and personal quiet time is spot on.  Friendships are sweet and refreshing.  And then, something happens and you slip.   Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

We all sin.  It often comes out of nowhere.  I’m not referring to the so called “big” sins, but things like a bad attitude, a snide remark, selfishness, pride…..I could keep going, but I won’t.

As I read today’s passage, the thoughts above are what came to me.  Galatians 5:7-15 is where we are:

7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?  8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you.  9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

Paul commends the Galatians on “running well”.  This is not unusual for him.  In 1 Corinthians 9:24, he talks of running to obtain the prize.  In Hebrews 12:1, he says to run with endurance.  So it’s not odd at all to hear Paul use the analogy of running in Galatians.  He asks them a poignant question.  He wants to know who has hindered these people that he dearly loves from obeying what they know to be truth.  He reminds them that it only takes a little bit of something to ruin the whole.  That’s sort of like the whole class missing recess because one kid misbehaved.  

Then he is right back to encouraging them in their faith.  He tells them that he is confident in what they believe…his view.  Confident — what a strong and beautiful word!!  Even more beautiful because his confidence is in the Lord. It’s in what the Lord is doing in these people that are so precious to Paul.  Can you imagine being mentored in the faith by the Apostle Paul?  Wow!

I love that he continues to remind them that their faith is not based on anything they can do.  If it was, the cross would have been for nothing.  And we know that the cross was everything!!!  Paul’s encouragement continues as he reminds them to live out their faith in the way they treat each other…to “love your neighbor as yourself”.  He ends this passage with a warning to be alert for those that can lead astray.  He warns that we can be devoured by one another when we are not on guard.

To bring it to a more personal note for me, this means that I have to be careful of what I watch and do.  I have to be careful of who I hang around.  Negative attitudes can be just as influential and problematic as bad language.  I am extremely blessed in that my circle of influence is pretty small.  As a homeschooling mama, I tend to be around like minded people but we can still get discouraged and be negative.  And I can be very selfish.  I forget to “love my neighbor”.

My prayer is that my focus would be to really “love my neighbor”.  I’m challenging myself to do just that at least once this week.  How about you?  Can you find one way to show love to someone…to your neighbor, this week?

Until tomorrow…Joy to You!

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A Walk Through Galatians ~ Day 23

galatians31_photoDo you ever find yourself singing through Scripture?  You know, the tune automatically begins in your head because a very talented Christian music artist has set the passage to music.  That’s what happened when I began reading today’s passage in Galatians.  We’re looking at 5:1-6 today:

1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.  3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.  4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.  5For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.  6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. 

The song I had in my head was “I Am Set Free” by All Sons & Daughters.  They are one of my favorite groups.  I just love all their songs.  But I digress… Here are the lyrics.

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After reading them you may wonder why, other than the first line, does she think of this song?  Grant it not the whole song reflects the Scripture passage, however, for me, it does.  The song speaks of the chains of sin and shame being broken.  Verse 1 talks of the yolk of slavery.  Verse 4 talks of falling from grace.  The song speaks of being covered with grace.  The song says, “And yes Lord, we are grateful for Your grace and for Your love.”  Verse 6 reminds us that it is Christ’s love that counts for everything.

Paul keeps reminding the Galatians that it is faith that gives salvation.  Not the law.  He reminds them that under the law, there is obligation but through faith, there is freedom.  And in the freedom, righteousness comes through hope.

I may be way off base, but as I read the passage, this is what the Lord laid on my heart.  Here is a video of All Sons and Daughters singing “I Am Set Free”.  I pray that it will speak to your heart.

Until tomorrow…Joy to You!

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A Walk Through Galatians ~ Day 22

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Today we are again looking back on Abraham. It’s not surprising that Paul does this more than once since Abraham was such a man of faith.  The passage to ponder is Galatians 4:21-31:

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?  22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman.  23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.  24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar.  25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.  26But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.  27 For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.”  28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.  29But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.  30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.”  31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

As I read through this I am reminded that Abraham, a man with great faith, took matters into his own hands.  He had been told, or rather, promised by God in Genesis 17 that he (Abraham) would be a great nation.  He wanted a son and looking at what he could see, it just didn’t seem possible.  So, he and Sarai took matters into their own hands.  We all know the story.  Hagar had Ishmael.  But God planned for Isaac.  History has played out according the decision that they made.  We are still feeling the effects of it today.  And yet, Abraham was still considered faithful and righteous.

I often look at what I can see and, instead of waiting on God; I take matters into my own hands.  Oh, I pray about it but sometimes I don’t commit it to prayer the way I should.   As Christ followers, we are children of the promise – – children of the free woman.  My  salvation, your salvation was part of the promise that God made to Abraham.  Part of the covenant that He made with him.

Such a simple but really BIG truth.

Until tomorrow…Joy to You!

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