A Walk Through Galatians ~ Days 16/17

galatians31_photoToday our passage brings good news.  REALLY good news!  

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.  24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.  25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.  27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. ~ Galatians 3:23-29

 I am…you are…a child of God!  Isn’t that the best news EVER?  Have you ever considered the difference between the children of God in the Old Testament and those in the New Testament?  In the OT, they had to do some wandering in the desert for a long time before they understood that God really was their Father.  They claimed to understand it but their actions…well, they spoke louder than their words.

Go forward to the NT and their faith sealed the deal – so to speak.  What a glorious thought!!!

I am not attempting to make faith inconsequential.   It’s just that it’s not hard.  I get the trust factor.  I get fears.  I get that satan wants us to think it’s not possibly that simple.  But Christ came.  He took over the “guardianship” of the law and made it possible for ALL people to be a child of God.

All means everyone.  In Paul’s day he clarified, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female…”  That means that we are to share the message of the gospel with everyone.  We are going through the bible study that goes with the book Counter Culture by David Platt on Wednesday nights at church.  Something he said in the very first video was “how much do you have to hate someone not to share the gospel with them?”

That was poignant for me.  Does he mean that we really hate people?  Not really.  But then again, those who are not like us — those we would not instinctively run to with the gospel – deserve the love and compassion of the gospel.  And we may be the one that God has chosen to share.

Until tomorrow…..Joy to You!

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A Walk Through Galatians ~ Days 6 & 7

galatians31_photoThis is a 31 day journey.  I missed Day 6.  Not because I am lazy but because life happened and, well, day 6 was full of homeschool lessons, cooking dinner for a pregnant friend on bed rest, helping prepare for a ladies fellowship at church, and choosing to go to bed early for much needed rest instead of trying to compose a post at 10pm.

So, now it’s 6 am on day 7.  I had to get up to take my son to his first day of his first real job.  He’s growing up and, frankly, it’s just too fast for me.   I’m going to blink and we will be taking him to college.   As I read over today’s passage in Galatians – combined with yesterdays – time passing is on my heart.  We are in Galatians 2:1-10.  It opens with Paul telling us that 14 years have passed.   I have to wonder all that he did in those years….

No doubt he was preparing for and doing ministry.  Here’s the passage:

1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me.  2 I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. 3 But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.  4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in–who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery–  5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.  6 And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)–those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.  7 On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised  8 (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles),  9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.  10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

I love that, in this letter to the church at Galatia, he just talks to them.  Yes he is sharing the gospel.  But he’s not “high and mighty”.  He is sharing life with them.  He wants them, and us, to know that he takes other along with him.  Titus, Barnabas…and they see James and Cephas and John.  It’s fellowship.  It’s encouragement in the gospel.  He also wants to be sure that his efforts in the gospel are not in vain.  I’ve always loved how he compares this to running a race.  I’m not a runner but I do like to manage my time well.  I think that’s his goal.  He wants to be sure that how he spent his time, what he was doing, was not in vain.

Paul is still dealing with circumcision.  How can he not.  It was part of the covenant for the Jews and their faith.  Yet Galatians is all about the gospel being for anyone and everyone.  Across the span of time.  There is still circumcision but it’s of our own hearts.

There were obstacles that Paul faced.  Though they are not the same, we face obstacles too.  Satan loves to keep us quiet, to distract us from telling the gospel.  Or better yet, he loves for the gospel to be presented falsely.  It’s hard to fathom that someone, in today’s world, could be “secretly” spying out our faith for ill will.  Then again, we just have to watch the news to know that persecution of Christians is VERY real in our world today.

This passage gets exciting……for me anyway……around verse 6.  Paul says, “…what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality”.  Isn’t that good news?  The gospel was made available to all.  Jews and Gentiles.  Sinner and saint.  You and me.  It’s for ALL!!

Paul ends sharing that his friends, who were preaching to the Jews, asked them to remember the poor.  He says he was eager to do so.

This has me wondering how often I truly remember the poor.  I serve at the local soup kitchen on occasion and we contribute to world hunger funds or donate to the local clothing shelter.  But do I really remember the poor?  Do I care enough to help feed their souls?  To share the gospel with them?  This is something I have to commit to prayer.  Something I know I need to be “eager” to do.

Until tomorrow……Joy to You!

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Mission HOME

Every July our church does what we call “Mission Hartsville”.  It’s a week-long, church-wide mission trip, in our home town. There are approximately 21 ministry areas that are carried out during this set week in July.  It’s a sweet time of service to our community and a great time of fellowship with other church members.  For some, we are stretched out of our comfort zone. For some, a passion for a particular ministry area is ignited and then carried out continuously throughout the year. For many, it’s the only mission “trip” that is feasible for them.  No matter the outcome, it truely is a beautiful time in our city. Matter of fact, there are some that have come to expect, or I should say anticipate our mission efforts.  It’s a really good thing.

The down side to our mission week is that although we are at home, we are not at home.  We are in and out.  Breakfast is on the fly, lunch is at odd times, dinner….well, 8 or 9 p.m. seems a good time to eat.  Laundry doesn’t get done.  The kids rooms become a mess and the hubby and I are piling clothes on the floor because the laundry basket is full.  We run out of milk, the trash doesn’t get put out for weekly pick-up…….

You get the idea!

This year, the week after I admit I was in a bit of a tizzy.  I wanted the house clean.  The laundry done. The groceries bought.  My poor kids!!  They just wanted to rest a little.  Read a little.  Watch a little TV.  Have friends over.  I confess that I was frustrated with them!

That’s when it hit me.

I spent a week pouring my heart and soul into ministry after ministry.  I participated in random acts of kindness. I loved on people that I don’t know and, honestly, weren’t very lovable.  I gave grace to people that I may never see again. (Actually in our small town that’s unlikely, but you know what I mean).  I prayed for those I came in contact with.

But my kids….my husband?

When was the last time I loved on them in their unlovable moments? Showed them grace whether they needed it or not? Really prayed over them?

OR….did a random act of kindness for my kids?  My husband?  I mean why shouldn’t I put their laundry away instead of piling it on their bed? Or do their chores instead of nagging for the chores to be done?  Not all the time, mind you, but randomly.

I’m convinced that missions should take place in the four walls of our home.  I’m not living out the example of being the Christian wife and mom I claim to be if I am not serving those that the Lord so graciously gave me to be my family.mission_home

What about you?  Does your heart for missions come to fruition in your own home?  With your extended family? In your circle of friends?

I am praying about how I can serve my family more.  Knowing that they may read this, I’m held accountable {smile}. Knowing that the Lord knows my heart is accountability enough!!

I pray that you will be on “mission” in your own home.

Joy to You!

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Have This Attitude….(A Meditation)

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Beginning very soon our church will begin renovations on our sanctuary.   It will be a challenge because services will be held in the gym…parking lots will be closed off…..there will be chair set up and take down — OFTEN.
As the church is preparing for the construction, difference in service location, etc. we have been presented with bracelets to wear. They are blue and green that say:
attitude
Why this scripture?  Because this passage is about the humility that Christ exemplified.  Our Pastor focused on verses 1-5 as he presented this to the church yesterday. 

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,  complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,…..

I’ve always loved Philippians — what it has to say, how it encourages me.  As I have looked over these verses several times in the past few weeks, I have thought a lot about how this passage goes along with my desire to “impact” those around me this year.  Living out this passage daily is my calling as a follower of Christ.
It’s a great reminder as the new year begins.  As school (that is our homeschool co-op), church activities, sports and other extra curricular activities start back up.  If you have a chance, read through Philippians.  Especially chapter 2.  Meditate on it and make it your prayer. 
Blessings and Joy To You!

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2014 Word of the Year

The past few years I have selected a “word of the year”.
2012 ~ Conform
2013 ~ Diligent
 One that I meditate on and strive to achieve the quality that the word describes.   Now it’s 2014 and I truly believe that my “word for the year” was given to me way back in August.
 This is my word.
impact
What does it mean?
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary gives both the verb and the noun meaning.  I like them both. I can see how both will be applicable in my life as I try to IMPACT my little corner of the world.
Verb: To drive close; to press or drive firmly together.
Noun:  Touch; impression.
I never really thought about it, never considered it, but our lives really do IMPACT those around us…those who come after us ALL. THE. TIME!  Here is how is strikes me:
  • IMPACT as a verb ~ as we come in contact with each other we do have the ability to drive close together.  
  • IMPACT as a noun ~ as we come in contact with each other we touch and leave impressions on them with every action, attitude, and word.
Back in September, I began working part time for a ministry in Myrtle Beach, SC.  It’s called Impact Ministries.  Their mission statement is: “…. to influence those who live, work and vacation in Myrtle Beach and along the Grand Strand with the life-changing love and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Isn’t that a great mission statement?  Shouldn’t that be what we, as Christ followers, desire to do daily?  Shouldn’t that be what we do everywhere we go?  With everyone we come in contact with?
In November I begin working through Devotions In Genesis for a book launch/review that I participated in a few weeks later.  I can not say enough about this devotional.  It is awesome.  Nicole takes us through Genesis documenting how the lives of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Esau, and many more impacted the lives of those who came after them.  Even today, you and I are touched by the decisions that they made.  Isn’t it incredible to think of the ripple effect of decisions made long ago?
So this year, I want to IMPACT my children to know and love the Lord with all their heart, all their soul, all their mind, and all their strength (Mark 12:30).  I want to IMPACT my husband in the way I pray for him and in the way that I treat him — with love and respect.  I want to IMPACT those around me by my actions and attitudes.  I want to IMPACT those I come in contact with at the grocery store, restaurants, etc. with the love of Christ.  There are more I am sure…..
This year, I want my own life to be IMPACTED by the Word of God. Colossians 3:16-17 are two of my favorite verses.  They really are all about being IMPACTED by the Word of God.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

This will be my prayer as I read and study His word this year.  
I pray that your life is also IMPACTED by Christ this year.  I pray that you seek to IMPACT others in some way this year.
This post is linked up with His Mercy Is New.  Click over to see what word others have selected for 2014.  I guarantee you’ll be inspired.  Maybe even IMPACTED!!
Joy to You!

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