Galatians 5:1-6

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Provided pleasing God and knowing Him is important to you at all, you get to choose your way to achieve righteousness.  Whichever way you go you must meet every requirement for that particular method.  Okay….Go!

Here’s the path – works or faith?  One relies on you keeping all of God’s laws and the other means trusting someone else to do it for you.

Works – how confident do you feel?  We can do this, right? Let’s see what’s involved. 

Okay… The best way to do this is never break the Law.  Not ever.  No lying, no cheating, no unkind words, no unintentional outbursts like “damn!” when you hit your thumb with a hammer. No yelling at your kids, no gossiping, no over eating, no working on Sunday or Saturday (whichever you think is correct), no eating certain foods (there’s a list for your convenience), and a bunch more things like this you will need to study up on to know about.  Of course none of the 10 big things like murder, idolatry, etc.  (The big 10 list is in Exodus 20:1-17.) 

I’m told there are about 613 commandments but some of them are fuzzy as to exactly what’s involved, so many leaders have added a bunch of interpretations. You probably need to cover all of these too… Just to be safe.

Have you ever eaten a ham and cheese sandwich?   BUZZZZ… Thank you for playing!

Wait… Okay you messed up.  That’s okay, God has some “stay outta jail cards” available.  Whew!  Now, how do I use those, again?

Lucky for us, all of these are listed in the Old Testament – Leviticus I think is a good starting place. It tells you about all the offerings and sacrifices and stuff you can do to “undo” where you messed up.  Piece of cake, right?  Most of the stuff involves grain or lambs and goats…I think you need a Levite.  Don’t worry.  It’s all written out for ya.

Then there’s faith in Jesus.

He was God in the flesh and He was already perfect and led a sinless life.  Good start!  Then He became the sacrifice that God required to overcome all sin and death – once and for all – the end of trying to keep up.  He really didn’t need to do all that since He never messed up, but He did it for the people He loved.  So if Jesus loves you, then you can get in on this deal.

Wow…so who does Jesus love?  Everyone!  Too cool.  This sounds so much better but how do you get this plan and can Jesus be trusted?  I mean this is my ticket to being “righteous” enough to be with God!

First, since God and Jesus are one in the same – Father and Son – Jesus can be trusted because God never lies.  And He set this whole thing up.  Secondly, all you need to do is ask Him to forgive you for messing up and ask him to take over for you.  You’ll be eternally grateful.

So, here’s the choice: slavery to the Law or freedom by faith?

About God?
He set up the Law to be temporary fix until Jesus could make a perfect way back to God.

About Me?

I chose freedom and grace. I chose Jesus.

About the World?

Sin is the problem.  Jesus is the solution.

Galatians 4:21-31

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“Tell me, you who desire to be under the law…”

Here’s the question: “do you desire to be under the law?” Sometimes I think we chose this.

Of course we say “No” but, in reality, sometimes following the rules let’s us off the hook. It’s easier.  If we just do this or that then we are “ok” in the sight of those we are trying to please. And, in our own eyes, we have “done the right thing” and we are finished.  (Finished – that’s something I’m always looking for.)

Rules are less time consuming.  You can schedule them in and check them off.  Faith – not so much.

Rules are known entities.  Faith might seem like a fog.

Rules – you know, “the right way to do things”  – have been predetermined for you by someone else.
Faith – well, you have to do the asking, seeking and knocking.

Rules don’t require any interaction. Rules are fixed and finished.
Faith is alive, dynamic – faith is a relationship.

Rules are about what is known and appear easy and safe.  Rules are rote. Rules are fill in the blank.
Faith is creative, free – an adventure.  Faith is hoping for the promise.

Rule following is a dead end — faith is about living.

About God?
He is the promise keeper. (Without faith, it is impossible to please Him. That’s worth considering.)

About Me?
Don’t get sucked in to the dead end of rule following.

About the World?
Today I set before you life and death.  Choose LIFE!

Galatians 4:12-20

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About God?
He is always wanting to “make much about” His children.

About Me?

Take stock of your joy. If it’s found wanting, ask why?

About the World?

Beware of those who would seem to build you up only to enslave you.  Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Galatians 4:1-11

Day 7

“But when the fullness of time had come” That’s when God does His work. When the time was perfect God sent Jesus.

When the time was right God revealed Himself to me and I went from slave to free, abandoned to adopted.  ♥

 About God?
He is a Father who longs for a very big family.

About Me?
Chosen, hand-picked, wanted…Adopted!

About the World?
The security of adoption comes from allowing the Spirit into your heart.

Galatians 3:15-29

day 6

Here’s one of those logical arguments by Paul. Sometimes I read one and it sounds so perfectly clear it surprises me. Five minutes later I’m confused again. Today, this seemed crystal.

The thing that made me curious was how the law came: “it was put in place by angels by an intermediary.” I had no idea angels were involved. How can you be a Christian for almost 40 years and never have thought about that? Well, never have. Never heard anybody talk about it. Never heard a sermon on it.

A very little bit of research on this phrase gave me an interesting topic to investigate sometime soon. In the meantime I’ll share an article I found. I don’t make any claims for it except to say I found it on the internet and it makes me curious. Angels and the Giving of the Law.

But what does today’s reading say to me?

About God?
He made a promise to Abraham that would be fulfilled in Jesus.

About Me?
I reaped the benefit of God’s promise when I believe in Jesus as the rescuer.

About the World?
You can too.

Galatians 3:1-14

day 5

Ah, Galatians 3 – here resides a concept that I claim as a life verse:  O foolish Galatians! …Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?  Many quote some powerful ideal or challenge for a life verse but mine is an often needed kick in the pants.  “Hey smuck…why are you doing that again?”

Now to be fair to myself, I don’t think I’m trying to earn God’s favor or my salvation.  I’m just trying to run the race set before me but I get distracted and keep straight when I should have taken the first left.  When I find myself at a dead end and out of steam, it’s usually because I was so intent on running I missed the latest Spirit directions.  I don’t like having to stop — because once I cool down I might not want to start running again – I may not be “inspired”. What if I quit?

Whoa!  That sounds a lot like trying to live by the “law of doing”!  Humm, so now I see the connection between forsaking the law of performance and embracing faith. Faith says “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.” No one of His will be left lost in a cul de sac.

About God?
He encourages u-turns whenever necessary.

About Me?
Faith means trusting God for the running, the re-evaluation, the resting and the restarting.

About the World?
We practice faith everyday.  It’s what (or who) your faith is IN that matters

Galatians 2:1-21

day 4

In a nutshell, what I appreciated about this very full passage was Paul’s willingness to be accountable. He was out in the field now 14 years, doing exactly what God called him to do – share the Gospel with the gentile world. Then he had what he called a “revelation”. I guess I’d have to go parallel this point in his ministry with Acts to see what the revelation might have been. It would be worth the effort, but not necessarily important to this comment.

The point is he decided to take his revelation to believers he trusted to give him a straight answer. Having one’s own idea about something is a fine thing, but the higher calling is to be as sure as possible that you have God’s idea. With that in mind, he took his guys and went to see the big guns in J-town in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain.

Who of us is this secure in following the Lord or this humble?

Paul – no mild-mannered reporter – came away affirmed and then did not take a step back. He held his position hard and fast, even when Peter faltered. Paul called them like he saw them, but that confidence surely came, in part,  from willingly submitting himself to scrutiny in order to have his best shot at having God’s plan foremost in his life.

About God?
God gives “personal revelations” to guide us.

About me?
A woman who seeks wise counsel is wise.

About the World?
People of integrity are open to evaluation.

Galatians 1:10-24

day 3

I guess one might ask how could you know if you had the One true gospel? One way is to recognize that the delivery of the message is intended, and in fact does, bring glory to God. Not, in some way, to the one delivering the message. Another way could be to look at how you might have gotten the message in the first place. In that case are the sources trustworthy? which leads you back to the first question – how do you know if they had the right gospel?

So Paul starts by telling where he got it from – Jesus Christ, himself. This was the beginning years of the church. Firsthand information was still readily available and more than that, the original apostles were right therethey saw it all, walked with Jesus side by side. You could go right back to themone step from Jesus. This is what Paul has claimed to be…an apostle.

Paul gives his testimony of a changed life. He was a type A over-achiever his whole lifehe started out over-achieving in Judaism. He learned everything, sat at the front, raised his hand, made straight A’s, and generally screwed up the curve. Teacher’s pet….the kind of guy you love to hate. After graduation, he went on to become a company man extraordinaire – getting his license to kill – and set out to destroy the uprising of Christians who were the sworn enemies of “the traditions”.
When Jesus knocked him off his high horse, he was humbled. All of a sudden he didn’t know it all. In fact, he didn’t know anything much. He did come to understand later that all of his life – even the whole “you are completely on the wrong track” thing – had a purpose. God had actually called him from before he was born to take the true gospel to the Gentiles. But, like I said, falling off that horse left him wondering what to do next.

This is where Paul has it on most of us. He does not go look it up on the internet or set off to get trained by the known apostles in J-town. Unlike the guy who benefits from counseling and immediately thinks he is ready to be a counselor himself, Paul goes to an obscure area to learn his new trade from the Lord – not men.

He gets his BA (Bachelor of Apostleship) in a 3 year program with Jesus and then goes to visit Peter for a couple of weeks and have dinner with James. Here he received affirmation and confirmation on the message he had learned from the Lord. It’s kinda of like doing your own study and reading the commentaries afterward. Across the miles with minimal interaction, the HS has revealed the same message to everyone.

Next Paul goes out to Syria and Cilicia preaching the true gospel, completely unknown and un- introduced to the churches of Judea. In this situation, Paul was just living out his new faith and being faithful to his calling. His actions and his life became his introduction to the main church in Judea. This was what they heard, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”

And what was their response? “Wow! Great new preacher – so glad we got him. Isn’t it great when a powerful guy like that comes on board? It’s like getting Brad Pitt to be your ad guy. We’re gonna get a lot of press now.      When is he coming to J-town? Can we get tickets?”

Uhhhhh no… They glorified God because of Paul.

It was the one and only, true Gospelit came from the Lord and brought glory back to Him and Him alone.

About God?
God is the author of “The Good News”.

About Me?
Would my life cause people to give glory to God?

About the World?
Here’s a clue: The true Gospel message makes God famous, not the speaker.

Galatians 1:1-5

day 1

About God?
Powerful enough to raise Jesus from the dead.
The giver of Grace and Peace
Worthy of glory.

About Me?
I have the same credentials as Paul – appointed by Jesus and the Father and saved by the work of Jesus.

About the World?
Jesus is the hope to escape “the present evil age.