Recap Galatians

Galatians – Grace: Receive it.  Give it.

 

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Galatians 6:11-18

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Wow…15 days in Galatians and we’re done!  That was fast.  Wonder what’s next?

Paul has used this letter to challenge and prod these people from falling back into following the law.  At times pointing to his own life and at others really blasting them to wake up.  I happen to notice the letter begins with the offer of Grace and ends the same way.

“Grace to you and peace” 
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers.”

It is hard to give a challenge so well intentioned without becoming angry, disillusioned, disappointed, discouraged, or plain disgusted.  I often find myself in this trap.  While I say “grace” is my intention my emotions go astray. 

Unmerited favor..grace.  Let me be a giver of that.  Let my advice and help be soaked and cloaked in grace.  Hearing only comes by an act of God’s grace.  True for the Galatians, true for me, true for everyone.  Let me rest there…in the assurance that God has got it covered and hearing will come in His time.

About God?

His words are wrapped in His grace.

About me?

Be a giver of grace.

About the World?
Looking for something?  Consider the meaning of grace.

Galatians 6:6-10

day 14

About God?
He will not abandon you in your weariness.

About Me?
Pray, dummy! Ask the God of the universe for help and grace and wisdom and clarity.

About the World?
Where are you sowing? It’s worth asking when you consider the law of the universe says it is from there you will reap.

Galatians 6:1-5

day 13

Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.  (the MSG)

You can’t say it much better than that.

About God?
He has given us gifts that we are to use to be our creative best.

About Me?
Be your creative best and at the same time support others in being their creative best.

About the World?
“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.”

Galatians 5:7-15

Day 11

Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another

 It’s hard not to focus on this section.  Its 2 fold – a don’t and a doDon’t allow your freedom to be sidetracked by your sin nature.  Do love one another by serving them.

 When I forget that the things I am doing are intended to serve someone else, I begin to drift toward what serves me in how I serve them.  That of course, leads to me only serving me and I have forgotten all about them.

Today I spent quite a long time chatting with an elderly lady in the craft store.  We compared notes about our desire to use our gifts to minister to others.  She was quite a talented artist (I saw one of her pencil sketches).  She had been a teacher and she wanted to teach a specific group of people right now.  She had in mind teaching portrait drawing to men in the new VA hospital who were confined to a bed or a wheelchair.  The only problem was the hospital wasn’t open yet.

We investigated other places she might volunteer in the meantime – the schools, ORMC, nursing homes, women’s groups in her home – many of which she had attempted at some time or another – each one was found lacking.  They all had a problem in common – the teacher wanted to teach a certain way and the audience was not a perfect fit.

This could be me at any time.  My desire to serve must, first and foremost, come from my desire to love.  When that happens I am meeting their needs and not my own

This is not so easy but I’ve notice the warning sign for me being off course is losing my flexibility.  I’m a left brain, linear thinker but I’m coming to realize that the Spirit flowing is right brain – go with the flow – creative.  He is meeting all kinds of needs at the same time – some I see and recognize and others where I am totally clueless.  His plan is to use me but I’ve gotta be fluid, flexible and focused on His goal….to Love by serving.

 About God?

He acted on our behalf because He loved.

 About Me?

Love must inform my serving or my service is not about love. It’s just about me.

 About the World?

Acts motivated by love never go unnoticed.

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.